Sunday, December 27, 2015

Toa Baja Zone Christmas party picture

Toa Baja Zone Christmas Party (Dec.17, 2015)  Elder Nelson - back row, middle (under the light)

Merry Christmas!

(received Dec. 25, 2015.  Zack said he tried to send it on P-day and thought it went through but then when he got on the computer on Christmas he saw that it hadn’t sent)


December 21, 2015

Hey guys this week was really long and hard and it kinda sucked so I really don't want to talk much about it but I will anyway wooooooo!

Basically the best part of the week was on Monday when we met with the family that had 2 baptismal dates. We had only talked with the dad and the daughter previously but this night we got to talk with the mom too. We had a really good lesson and watched a video about the Plan of Salvation. After the movie I asked the wife if she would commit to be baptized just like her husband and daughter had last week. Super cool because she accepted without hesitation! This family is so ready! The only problem is that the dad is a meat vender and has like his own independent distribution company. And he works a ton especially in the Christmas season, because Puerto Ricans buy a lot of meat for Christmas. So it's really hard to get into their house to teach them. But this family is so ready to be baptized!

The rest of the week was rough. We had a ton, and I mean a ton, of appointments. But like luck would have it, they all fell through. We barely even got to talk to our investigators this week because everyone seems to be in this Christmas mode which is understandable but makes the mission work really hard during this time.

Wednesday we walked into an urbanization and found a car accident. The guy was trying to commit suicide and ran his tiny Toyota Yaris into a wall. The suicide didn't really work because it kinda just deflected and got jammed between the wall and a tree, and the guy was fine he just had to go to the hospital. Like all the people in the area were around this tiny car and some nutty guy who was probably high tried to pull it out with his tiny truck and he couldn't do it hahahaha. The druggies in Vega Baja are super funny. One guy came up to me and asked me if I have the pics of his brother. I had no idea what he was talking about and then he said "you know my older brother?" Somehow I figured out that he was talking about Jesus Christ and he wanted one of our passalong cards! So I pulled out all the different cards I had in my bag and he was like "no I have that one. No I have that one. Oh dame eso! (give me that one!)". The druggies are weird man but they make the work interesting.

Friday we got to go to the Mission President's house for a Christmas party with the entire zone of Toa Baja. It was super fun and Hermana Boucher makes such good food my goodness she cooks so well. It was super fun to get the gifts from our families and gifts from President and stuff and then take pictures with everybody and yeah. And we got to watch the video that Sister Boucher made of all the missionaries (which if you haven't seen or want to see you can email my mom) and it was really funny to watch all the missionaries from my group with like 6 weeks in the field trying to speak Spanish and repeat a phrase from a quote. It was just a really fun night. But then the drive home was sooooo long we didn't get home until like 11 because of a traffic jam like 20 miles long on the freeway. 

And that was the week. Super super long. Not a lot of success. But we're just really hoping we can keep working with this family to get them baptized! They're just super humble and you can tell these people are ready to change their lives.
Actually here is the link to the video! 


If you have a chance, watch the video that talks about Christ and all that he did for us. As we celebrate the Christmas season take the time to remember why we celebrate. I know that Christ suffered for me and you, each and every person and all of their afflictions. He is our Savior. Our Redeemer, and we owe it all to Him.

While you're watching that video, go to navidad.mormon.org (that's what it is in Spanish, I'm assuming it's christmas.mormon.org in English but I have no idea) and watch the videos there on that site about Christ and the reason for the season!

Espero que todo puedan disfrutar de esta epoca de navidad con sus familias!

Love,

Elder Nelson

Friday, December 18, 2015

Merry Christmas from the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission

(see Elder Nelson around the 2:55 mark)

Dear Family and Friends,
Click on the link below to see a special Christmas message from all the missionaries in The Puerto Rico San Juan Mission.  We hope your holidays are filled with joy and love and that you have a chance to appreciate the divine gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Love, President and Sister Boucher

Queridas Familias y Amigos,
Hagan un clíc abajo para ver un mensaje navideña especiál desde todos los misioneros de La Misión Puerto Rico San Juan. Esperamos que sus fiestas sean llenas de gozo y amor y que tomen la oportunidad de apreciar el don divino de nuestro Salvador Jesucristo.
Con amor, Presidente y la Hermana Boucher

https://youtu.be/NwQQK-k0zc8

Monday, December 14, 2015

Set 2 baptismal dates!


Okay so last week was weird because we were in the mission offices and President Boucher said we could use the computers there to write home but we were writing and like 30 minutes in, we got kicked off so that a sister missionary could do an English test because it's her last transfer and needs to pass the test. So we got kicked off and the only email I got sent was to President Boucher. So I sent a nice long letter home with all the info from the week and if you have time maybe you can type it up and put it all into the blog for me.  
(That letter has not arrived)


Monday (Dec.7) We went to Bayamon for a doctor's appointment for Elder Suero. We went and spent like 4 hours in the office with a bunch of children hahaha. Then we went to the mission offices and talked with President Boucher just to catch up and stuff. He gave us packages for us and all that stuff, anything that had been sent to the offices for us. Then we went to lunch at Church's Chicken and stuffed ourselves and yeah. We came home and slept because we left the house on Pday at 6am I mean who does that but we did and I was pooped. Also the traffic was so bad to Bayamon because I don't think Puerto Ricans really know how to drive in the rain. They need to live in Oregon for a while. Monday night we met with some investigators and set 2 baptismal dates! A dad and a daughter for January 2nd. It's hard to meet with the rest of the family because they're so busy but we have confidence that this week we can commit the rest of the family to baptism.

Tuesday we had a zone meeting and talked about our mentalities in the mission and stuff and I actually learned a lot from this meeting. Then we came home and we had a few appointments but they all fell through so we did a lot of contacting, as usual. It was interesting because we ended up teaching the parents of one of the investigators we have.

Wednesday we contacted el dia enteroooooo which means we contacted all dayyyyyy and we really got nothing. We went to one part of Vega Baja that was super sketchy and apparently is like 1 of 4 drug points in Vega Baja and it was weird and we didn't really feel safe so we left. We found nobody to teach this day, I think a lot of that was because we were kind of in bad moods leaving this area because we thought we could find a lot of people but it ended up being a bust. So that was rough and I think it effected the rest of our day.

Thursday was really weird too because we had weekly planning and we ended up planning for like 4 hours for the investigators we have and how we can improve our work here. We made some really good plans and now just need to put them into action. But because we planned for so long, we only worked like 2 hours before the Book of Mormon class that we put on every Thursday. So we had the class and during the class the Sisters needed their tire changed so I changed it and from what I heard, the people in the class were more interested in what I was doing than in the class itself hahahaha

Friday we also contacted the whole day and came out with big fat zeros again. ZEROOOOOO. We found nobody to teach. It was a rough day and as you can probably tell we kinda had a rough week. But yeah Friday was rough on our attitudes.

Saturday we did like 7 hours of service and ate really well with a less active lady in the ward. She cooks really well but this time we had to earn her food by cutting her grass and stuff. And the grass was like 3 feet tall and a mess and took wayyyyyy longer than we expected. But we got the food so that's what matters! The rest of the day was pretty good. We visited with a lot of people to invite them to church.

Sunday we expected to have 2 investigators in church but she ran into a small problem that I don't think is really appropriate to put in my blog. But I'll hint at it anyways because she found it necessary to tell us about it hahahhaa. She woke up and it was her feminine time of month and couldn't come to church. She explained the whole thing to us through text hahahaha it was really weird. Suero texted back and said "you can come for just an hour! There's bathrooms here!" And she didn't respond hhahahahaa I died when I read the text, man I died. After church we went out with Hermano Laureano and visited a bunch of less actives all afternoon. Then we came home and found out about Transfers and nobody is going anywhere this transfer. So that's cool.

But yeah it was a really long and hard week. And we didn't have a lot of success. But we know that we're working hard and that the success will come with time. Just have to keep telling myself why I'm here and that things will work out better as we continue to work hard.

I know that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it because I have prayed and studied it. I heard the other day that the measure of our conversion in the gospel is in our desire to share the gospel. And I've seen my desire grow so much in the last 6 months, so hopefully that means that my conversion is progressing. Keep that in mind because it's a good idea!

Love you all and have a good time sharing this Christmas Season with your families!
Love,

Elder Nelson

Me and Elder Suero

Our district this last transfer.  Hermana Kirkland is going home tomorrow.


LETTER WRITTEN 12/8/15 (received Dec. 15)
Monday (Nov.30) was P-day and I have no idea what we did.  I can't remember which either means we worked hard this week or it was really boring, but I think it was fun and we worked hard.  In the words of Elder Suero, "we do muchas vinas!"  I do know we found 2 new investigators with potential.
Tuesday (Dec.1) was really good with 2 lessons with member present.  We had a good district meeting with the Zone Leaders and then had a lesson with our most progressing investigator.  We took Hermana Rivera and her daughter Angelica with us and they helped the lesson so much.  What was weird was when we went to set a baptismal date for her and her son, something happened that interrupted the spirit -- we still don't know what happened, it was really weird - but we we couldn't get them to commit to a date.  But overall it was a good day.
Wednesday was rough.  We had no lessons lined up, well one but it fell through.  So we contacted el dia entero.  The entire day contacting and could only find people that have no interest.  So it was a really long day, but was better when Hermano Laureano bought us pizza for the correlation meeting.
Thursday was also really weird.  We planned for next week and then went out and contacted.  Then we went to the weekly Book of Mormon class and that was basically the end of our day because after the class we went to Levitown and picked up Elder Burton to do and exchange with Elder Amaro.
Friday we again contacted el dia entero.  Literally all of our appointments fell through and we ended up contacting because whitewashing is hard.  But, we did get in 4 lessons with 4 new investigators so that was good.  But still was a very long day.  Finished the day taking Elder Burton back to Levitown and eating Panda Express.
Saturday we got up an did 5 hours of service at a less active's house.  It was weird because there were chicken eggs all over on the ground and apparently they explode if you touch them.  I think it was Amaro that touched one and it exploded and smelled so bad.  Then we came home and showered and went out to work.  But again, every single appointment we had fell through.  We ended up contacting the rest of the day and didn't really find anybody.  So it was a little discouraging but we know we're working hard.
Sunday we had church and planned to have 2 investigators at church but apparently they slept through their alarm or something.  After church Vigo and Sean Michael sent our with us to visit a family we contacted.  At first we weren't sure if they'd have potential, but the lesson went well and we'll continue to work with them.  Then we went with Hermano Laureano to the hospital to visit some less actives.  Hospitals suck because they're always freezing inside.  But it was a good day all together.

As we finished this week we weren't able to set any baptismal dates like we wanted to, but we see a lot of potential in what we have and hopefully can meet our goals this week.  As we met with Michelle and Hermano Rivera on Tuesday, it's truly amazing how much a member and their testimony can help a lesson.  The testimony, no matter how strong can help any lesson and help others come unto Christ.  No matter what happens I know that to be true and I know this is the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  He is directing work here as He is in every mission.  I'm so thankful for the opportunity I have to serve.

Love you all!
Elder Nelson

November Zone Conference

November 2015 Zone Conference

Monday, November 30, 2015

Food, lots and lots of food! And investigators!

What a week to be thankful for! This week was awesome with 12 new investigators and lots of potential coming from Vega Baja! Oh and food, lots and lots of food.

Monday was just regular P-day as usual if I remember right. I can't seem to remember the days anymore because they all are filled with contacting and talking to people and it's all a blur! I have no idea what we did.

Tuesday we had a little bit of a long morning. Elder Suero and I left the house at 9:45 for his doctor appointment in Bayamon, got to the appointment late because we had no idea where the building/office was, and then found out that the appointment was actually for Monday! We went all the way out there just to make another appointment! But it's all good. It was a fun morning and we got to go out to Church's Chicken and they have Nutella filled biscuits and they're really good. So we got back and went straight to contacting again. We finished the area that we've been working in for the last week. We contacted every single house in this urbanization (neighborhood)! Then we went to dinner with a member and they fed us real good! I ate so much that it hurt to walk the 30 minutes home. I guess that was kind of a heads up for the days to come hahaha

Wednesday we intended to go contacting again in Jardines (another urb) but got sidetracked when a member asked us to help and do some service. So we spent 2 hours painting their fence and then they fed us and it was a good time because their family has 2 guys that are recently returned missionaries and are super fun to hang out with. So they fed us and I could hardly walk after that. So Hermano Laureano came and picked us up for Missionary Correlation with all the missionaries in the ward. That meeting for some reason took like 2.5 hours. For some reason we had tons to talk about. But the coolest experience of the week was after the meeting. We went out to the urb that's right next to the church, and tried to go and visit with our investigators and potentials in the area. Nobody and I mean nobody could talk with us. So we had no idea what to do. So we said a prayer in the street for direction and inspiration. Then both of us at the same time thought of a name. We both came up with an investigator who seemed super interested but hadn't been answering our calls nor did he come to church like he promised. Although the house is on the other side of the town, we went. And like 35 minutes of walking later we got to the house and just found his mom. After a short conversation with her we asked where her son was and why he hadn't been answering our calls. She first said that he's at school studying, but then as we asked more questions she broke down and told us that he's in trouble with the law and is in jail right now. So wow, the spirit definitely directed us to go to this house and comfort this mom in her time of need. We had an amazing lesson and although the first time we went by she didn't want anything to do with us, now she is super interested in our message. She was asking questions and I know she could feel the spirit. It was an amazing lesson and we're hoping that when we visit her this week we can get her to commit to a baptismal date.

Thursday was Turkey Day. We had an appointment at 1 and 5 for food and I literally felt sick as I ate. I was stuffed. We visited some other people but we all ate too much and all felt sick so it was just a weird day but it was so fun. We went to the Torres family first and then to the Rivera family second and man Puerto Ricans cook and it was a ridiculous amount of food everywhere.

Friday we had a Zone Conference in Toa Baja and it was really good. I learned a ton and was able to share with President Boucher all the awesome stuff that's happening to me in the mission. It was a really good day.

Saturday we did service at a less active's house until like 4pm. It was a crazy amount of service. Her house is huge and like overgrown so we have a ton more work to do there. Then because service went so long, all of our plans got messed up so we had no idea what to do. Again, we said a prayer. And oddly we were directed to an area that we had not planned to go to that day. So we went, and ended up contacting the whole night and found 3 more new investigators and were able to teach some really good lessons.

Sunday was church and we had a really good time after church visiting with the wife of the Bishop who's in the hospital right now. She's super nice. Then we walked like forever to a member's house and they gave us dinner and it was good. The chapel was freezing though like I'm going to need to wear a sweater or something to church even though I don't have one. It rained and was cold and the A/C was all the way up and pumping and I almost died of hypothermia.

But yeah that was the week. I learned so much this week from Elder Suero about how to follow the spirit. We have super good things happening in this area and are super excited for what we have coming up. This next week we hope to have bunch of baptismal dates and the work will progress real fast!

Love you all! Enjoy this season with your families!


Elder Nelson

Monday, November 23, 2015

New companion and working hard!

November 23, 2015

Holy cow another crazy week! More changes and hard work made up this week so there isn't really a good story to tell for each day, but I'll do the best I can to remember everything that I did this week!

Monday we had Pday and went to Vega Alta to write and then wondered around the Vega Alta mall until like 5 just looking at stuff. Nobody bought anything, we just did a lot of looking hahaha.

Tuesday and Wednesday were basically the same to me. I think I wrote this in my last letter, I was with Elder Morales and Amaro for this week. We had a few good appointments but really just did a lot of contacting and had a lot of ward activities to go to. We contacted in some super far away places too. Like it took us forever to walk all over the place. Tuesday morning after district meeting President Boucher called and told us that I would be getting a new companion Wednesday night. Elder Suero- who I kinda knew from the Caguas Zone when I was in Arroyo. He had a minor surgery at the beginning of the transfer and had been living with the APs until he was healed. They thought it would take longer but obviously the Priesthood blessing that President Boucher gave him really worked! After just 15 days, he was ready to go back to the field. So he was put in Vega Baja with me. He's a big Dominican and has about 10 months in the mission. He just finished training Elder Hunt who's from my group, so he's good at teaching me stuff. So Wednesday night we drove out to Bayamon to pick him up at like 10pm. Man that was a long day. But the APs are super cool about it and are always thanking me for making the drive out there and stuff.

Thursday we went to work man and we worked hard! We just started straight out the gate talking about the investigators we had. I really knew nothing and he obviously knew nothing so we were basically white washing or starting over. We went through all the old records we have and pulled out anyone who looked promising, and then called like all of them. Then we went contacting. We knocked doors (not really because you don't knock doors here you just yell until somebody comes outside) for like 6 hours straight. And we found a lot of cool people that we think will be really good to teach and hopefully baptize. And I'm getting a ton better at teaching the Restoration of the Gospel because that's all we talk about when we contact. My Spanish is getting better too. But yeah we contacted for so long.

Friday was lo mismo (the same). We contacted hard for like 6 hours and found more new people. I won't go into detail because it was literally talking and talking and talking to people all day.

Saturday we had the ward Thanksgiving activity and that was pretty fun. Puerto Ricans cook really well. After the activity we went back to contacting hahaha. In these 3 days of contacting we found 7 new investigators and have a list like a mile long of potential investigators that we need to call and set up appointments to teach. It has been a tiring 3 days but it's super cool to be able to really see the fruits of our labors already.

Sunday was a good day at church, we had about 85 people there. It was the youth day or something like that so all the talks were by youth in the ward and they did a bunch of musical numbers and stuff. It was good. After church we went home and cooked and Hermano Laureano came and took us to the hospital to visit some less actives there. Then we had dinner with a member family and then went and took the sacrament to some old people that can't make it to church. One guy looks like he's maybe 75 but he's 97!! It's ridiculous!

And today is Pday and we cleaned and did laundry and Elder Suero made us a lot of some really good food. I'm kinda scared to live with him because he cooks a lot and eats a lot. And I think I'm gaining weight with all the rice I'm eating. Literally 2 meals a day are straight rice. I'm scared. I need to eat less and work out more.

But yeah that was the week! It was crazy and stressful in a totally different way, this time stressful with the workload. And we still have a ton of contacting to do. Our goal is to give out 4 Book of Mormons every day. Which hopefully means 4 lessons taught and at least 4 new investigators. If we can keep up this pace, we'll be golden here. We really want to get at least 2 baptisms in January and are confident we can do so.

Elder Suero is teaching me so much that I didn't know before. In just 3 days he's taught me a ton of Spanish, how to work with the Holy Ghost, and how to use time effectively and make the most of our efforts. And he's a contacting machine. I could contact anybody now hahaha.

I know that this church and gospel are true and I'm so thankful for the opportunity I have to be here learning and serving the people here. The blessings of the gospel are true and have been manifested in my life. We truly have something unique and something that can bless us and our families forever.

Love you all!

Zack


Just some parts of our house, I haven't had time to take other pictures with all the changes and working so hard! I'll get a picture with Elder Suero for next week. Hopefully the other 2 guys too. I've had 4 companions in the last week!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

In a trio now

This week was crazy and felt like it was about 2 years long. A lot of stress and changes and things that I didn't expect to happen only a week into the new transfer!

Monday we went to meet with President Boucher and talked about the things that happened Sunday night with Elder B. It was a long time sitting around in the mission offices, but it was definitely good to be able to talk with him and try to figure out the best plan for Elder B. Then after that we went out and got something to eat and went to Marshall's and stuff, some of the stores on the way home just to try to have a little bit of fun on our P-day. Then we came home and went out and emailed and all that fun stuff. It wasn't a very eventful day. At like 9pm President Boucher called us as we were walking back from Walgreens and told us that Elder B. would be going home, but he didn't exactly know when yet. That was hard. We were walking and he just kinda stopped and dropped his bags and it was just really difficult to get that news.

Tuesday we had a district meeting and it was... normal. Just a district meeting. But the sisters did bring bread and some donut holes for us so that made it about 10x better. After the meeting we went and visited some people and visited some of the little shops in town so that Elder B. could buy some souvenirs for his family before he left. We visited some more people and started to pack his stuff although it was a really slow process because he just did not want to do it nor did he want to leave. He was super stressed out because he still didn't know exactly when he would be leaving and stuff like that.

Wednesday was kinda the same thing. We went and visited some people and tried to go to some shops but they were all closed because it was Veteran's Day and we had totally forgotten about that. So we went and got lunch at Wendy's and then a big chocolate dessert thing at Church's Chicken. It was during lunch that President called and told us that Elder B. would be flying out Thursday morning. So then we just went back to the house because now he had a deadline to finish packing. We ended up having to skip the missionary correlation meeting with the other missionaries because we had to leave at 8 and he was not anywhere near done packing hahaha. But we got it done and then at 8pm we left with the other 2 elders to go to Bayamon to the AP's house so that Elder B. could sleep there for the night and then leave early in the morning to go to the airport. So it was like 9:30pm when we got there and then still had to take some things from the APs to the ZL's house in Levitown. So we didn't get back home until like 11pm. It was such a long day. After not getting to sleep until 4:30am one day, then like midnight for the next few nights, this was a super long day.

Thursday we started working. I'm now in a trio with the 2 elders that were already here in Vega Baja with me. They're both Latinos, Elder Amaro is from Mexico and Elder Morales is from Guatemala and don't know English at all. So I've had to pick up the Spanish really fast. But it's coming to me. I think this will be the best way for me to learn Spanish. They're both helping me a lot. We went to a family that lives in Manati and had a really good lesson and the mom made us some awesome pasta. It was a really fun night with them.

Friday we went out and visited a family that they had contacted before. The visit ended up being more oriented toward the mom because the others weren't very involved but she was super receptive. After the lesson Amaro and I both said that that was the first lesson we've been in in a few weeks that went so well. I think next time we're going to extend the invitation to be baptized because she is super ready. Then we went out with the Bishop to a lady in the hospital and that was kinda fun. Morales and I had no idea who she was so we just kinda hung around. I really don't remember what else we did Friday since all the days are mashing together and it was a super long week.

Saturday we went and did service at the house next to Hermano Laureano's and just cut the lawn and stuff. It was really easy, then we went to the church and had a ward mission activity where the kids ran around and tried to find things. I guess you call that a scavenger hunt. I couldn't think of the word all week. Then we had nachos and sandwiches and watched Meet the Mormons which is always a good movie to watch and I love it. We had way more people show up than I thought we would which made it really cool.

Sunday we had a good day at church and then had a ward leadership meeting which we were invited too and because I'm new in the ward I had no idea what anybody was talking about. So that was pretty boring. Then we went and visited some people and it was a good day!

This week was so long but we have tons of support and things are getting better! We're really starting to find our groove here and the work is starting to progress a little better for me than it has been for the past 2 weeks almost.

This week I really learned that prayers are answered. When Elder B. and I needed help the most, I could feel the peace that comes from this gospel and I know that my Heavenly Father was there watching over us and protecting us and giving us the guidance and direction we needed.

I love you all! And I'm officially 1/5 of the way through my mission already!

Love,

Elder Nelson

Me and Elder B. at 9:30pm on Wed. night (Nov. 11) when we dropped off Elder B.

Monday, November 9, 2015

New area (Vega Baja) and some stress!

Wowzers this week was something that I'll never forget. New area, new comp, new experiences and no sleep!

Tuesday I had to get up at 5am to go to Caguas, then to Pontezuela, and then to Bayamon, and then to Vega Baja. So it was a long day. We didn't get to the Vega Baja house until like 8:30pm. And that first night the mosquitos ate me like crazy! My feet are covered in red dots and I really need to buy some bug spray but I keep forgetting. So yeah Tuesday was straight up driving and moving.

Wednesday we went shopping for food and I got a little tiny itsy bitsy tour of part of one of the 7 cities that my area covers. It was more or less just a "meet people and let people know that you're here now" kind of day. Our ward mission leader is super nice and really really helpful so that's really cool. Like we had a missionary correlation meeting with him and after the meeting he took all 4 of us elders to get chicken and biscuits and stuff. I was stuffed dude.

Thursday we went out and visited some members, a lot of less active members. The area is really confusing. It's really interesting to come into a new area and have to rely on somebody else for direction and help and all that. But then at like 6 we went to the church and had a Book of Mormon class which is led by one of the missionaries each week. After the class Hermano Laureano (ward mission leader) had some bread and chicken and we all made sandwiches and stuff and it was a dandy old time.

Friday we went to a couple less active members houses and that was pretty interesting. One house has a daughter that's super into her own church, which is really cool and is super respectable, but she was giving us assignments and telling us that she hopes we don't get lost. Basically trying to imply that she has the truth which is interesting because she always wants us to come back to teach her. So idk about that family. Then we went and got to know one of the families in the ward who is super cool. They have a son who just got home from a mission in Guatemala and is super involved with us. Then they have another "son" who served in Puerto Rico and is the only member in his family and they kinda kicked him out so he's here living with this family and studying and stuff. Super cool people. Then we tried to go to some other potential investigators but didn't have a lot of success doing that. So we went and visited a recent convert couple who are like 75 years old and honestly kind of crazy, but they're really cool and fun to talk to. His name is Rafi and he has a really good friend in the ward named Fransisco and they're like the same age and are such jokers! It's sooooo funny. Anytime you try to shake Fransisco's hand he pulls away and goes "psych!" and it's super funny, you can't understand a word he says when he talks though hahaha.

Saturday was the Caribbean Day of Service. So at like 8am we went to this old people home (honestly I have no idea how to say it in English anymore) and we cleaned the yard and pressure washed the roof. It took until like 2 and then it started to DOWNPOUR. Like it was the hardest rain I've ever seen. Maybe harder than the tropical storm we had in Arroyo. Crazy stuff. So then we stayed in until like 6:30 when we went to a less active's house and talked with them. They're mom left Sunday morning to go serve in Kuwait in the Army. And she's like 5' 4" hahaha. It was really an interesting night because my companion, Elder Brinkerhoff, has depression and had a little depression attack while we were there. But other than that it was a good day. Apparently he just forgot to take his pill.

Sunday we had a really good day at church. The ward had about 65 people there but Brinkerhoff says that they usually have about 80. But everybody is super nice and it was cool because there were 3 young men that got the Priesthood at church that day. One was a less active guy and the other two are recent converts from a family of 5 in the ward. The rest of church was good I think, I'm super tired so I can't really remember. Then we came home from church and went out and tried to work but things just weren’t really happening for us. So we went home after talking with some less actives and making a few appointments with people who didn't have the time to talk with us. When we got home some stuff kinda went down and Elder Brinkerhoff went into another depression attack but this one was way worse. So much worse. It took us until like midnight to get him calmed down and stuff so that he could go to bed. Then I called President Boucher and we talked quite a bit about it and I stayed up until 4:30am to make sure that nothing else happened while we were sleeping.

Then today (Monday) we went to Bayamon to the mission offices so that President Boucher could talk with both of us. I woke up at 6:30am and had to drive. It was my first time driving in the mission so I was even more a little on edge. We got to the office at like 11am and did our interviews and basically Elder Brinkerhoff has to have a psych exam and then we'll see what happens from there. I'm super tired and stressed out and it's just been a super long week.

So yeah that was my week. Some stuff about my area:

My area covers 7 cities: Barceloneta, Morovis, Cialis, Vega Baja, Vega Alta, Florida, and Manati. It has the nicest beaches on the island and in Barceloneta is a TON of huge Outlet Malls. And apparently you can get stuff for super cheap so I need money so I can buy stuff. I wanna go to the Outlets really bad. Our house is actually really big. It has a big kitchen and front room, but man it has so many leaks. The roof leaks, the toilets leak. It's kinda a mess. And the mosquitos man they're killing me! My first night I got so many bites on my feet,they're covered in red dots! Each day is hard with the mosquitos trying to study and stuff. I mean while I'm trying to study hahahaha the mosquitos don't study. I don't think they do.

Oh another funny story is that our landlord called about the leaking roof and in Spanish he said "eh su techo, su techo todavia esta leakiando?" LEAKIANDO HOW MUCH MORE SPANGLISH CAN YOU GET! I died when I hear that. Oh by the way that sentence means "is your roof still leaking?" But man, leakiando that's not a word hahahaha anyways....

I love the area. It's huge. Oh another funny story! We hitch hike. It's a super good way of contacting. The chapel is on top of a really big hill so we hitch hike at the bottom and get a ride to the top and talk to the people that give us rides. It's pretty fun. Once we went up and down like 3 times just to contact. Kinda mixes things up a little. I was so freaked out when we first did it though, my goodness I was like man are you crazy?? But yeah. Kinda crazy.

Ummmm, I really don't know what else to say about the area. My comp is Elder Brinkerhoff and the other two elders in the house are Elder Amaro (from Mexico and is training and District Leader) and the other is Elder Morales from Guatemala. They're super cool and I love talking with them even though I can't understand a lot of what they say hahaha. It's fun. Elder Amaro has been in Vega Baja for 2 transfers already and has a little less than 6 months left. He's trained 3 times now. Super cool. There are also 2 Sisters in Vega Baja and they're Sister Trainer leaders.

I don't think I have much more to say since I've talked so much in this email. I'm gonna get carpal tunnel. I know that this church is true. I know that the principles and doctrine are the things that we need in our lives in this day and age. I know that I'm here in the mission for whatever things my Heavenly Father has planned for me. One thing I've learned is that trials come and trials go but your faith, if true faith, will always be there with you. The Sunday before I left Arroyo, President Ramos gave a talk about how life was never promised to be easy. Things were never meant to be handed to us. But through all the trials we always have Christ and our faith in Him. I love my mission and I wouldn't change any of it for the world.

Love you all!

Zack/ Elder Nelson

Me and Elder Brinkerhoff on a hill above the beach. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Pictures!

Pictures from Elder Nelson!

Me and Elder Borries with Elder Clavel

all 4 of us at our last district meeting

My district from this last transfer.  Us 4 from Arroyo and Hermana Hoko (in the pink) and Hermana Fergus

Me and people from my MTC district that I found at the Mission Conference in Trujillo Alto

Me and Borries en frente de nuestra casa

da 3 greengos

Leaving Arroyo

Another transfer gone by! This one felt like it went wayyyyy faster than the last. Like it still feels like just last week we were watching Conferencia General in Guayama. But, it's gone and it's time to move on! I'm being transferred to an area on the North coast called Vega Baja! I've really heard nothing about it before and have never met a missionary that has served there, so we'll see how it goes. I'm excited for this change though to grow and learn more about the mission and progress as a missionary!

This week was weird and I don't want to talk about all the days in order. We spent a ton of time out contacting old investigators. There's a stack of papers in the house of old investigators that at one point got "dropped" or stopped teaching by the elders that were here. So we went out and tried to find them. That's what we did for like 2 whole days so our numbers were kinda whacky this week. We didn't have a lot of success, but we did find one guy who said that he loves our message and has already read The Book of Mormon. So we wanted to go visit him again but, obviously now we can't because both Borries and I are being transferred. 

Oh, more about transfers- Beecroft and Clavel are staying in Arroyo and are going to be in a trio with another elder. Which will be super weird for Arroyo, especially with the amount of work they'll have to do now. It'll be weird to hear about as this next transfer passes. 

One day this week Jose from Guayama took us out to a member of his family who's less active and we had a little lesson and they love us and are coming back to church super easy and really fast. Then Jose took us out to pizza, but this pizza was even better than regular pizza because he took his grandma's debit card and paid for the pizza with that so that was cool. We were super pumped to be able to go back and teach this family but now we're leaving and idk what's going to happen with a lot of the people we've been teaching and in contact with. 

Saturday was really cool because we had a Mission-wide conference in Trujillo Alto with Elder Christiansen (member of the Presidency of the 70) and Elder Cornish (Area President I believe). And it was really cool. They're both super funny and laid back guys that just want to help the mission be the best it can be. They cracked a lot of jokes which kind of surprised me but it made the conference really fun. Then on the way home we may or may not have gotten lost and took a really sketchy back road home but nonetheless we got home. That was our Halloween. Not super eventful but it was fun. 

Sunday was crazy. Church was good as usual and there were some really good testimonies given about how Christ never said that life would be easy, but that he would always be here to help us through it. Then the rest of the day was kinda nervous and then por fin! at 10:30 we got the transfer call. And we all expected us 4 to stay, although I thought Borries would leave at some point. Then we kinda freaked out and screamed like little girls when we found out that both Borries and I are leaving the area. I have never even heard the name Vega Baja so this will be weird and then Borries and I stayed up until like 12 packing and freaking out about how crazy this transfer is. 

But yeah we got up and started packing right away this morning and I'm pretty proud because I fit everything into 2 suit cases and put the other suitcase in one of the suit cases. Idk if that makes sense but I'm proud haha. So we're just doing goodbyes today and stuff. 

On to another adventure in Puerto Rico! I really felt like I had more to do in Arroyo but I know that it's the Lord's plan for each of his missionaries to be where they're needed and when they're needed. I know that this change will help me grow so much as a missionary!

In church on Sunday we heard a lot about what I mentioned before, that this life was never guaranteed to be easy. We weren't promised anything easy in this life. But we were promised that we would have Christ by our sides to help us make the right decisions and live our lives in a way that we can be as happy as possible. I know that this is true. That no matter what life throws at us, we are here to learn and things will always get better if we just put our trust in the Lord. I love this gospel and I know this is where I'm meant to be and I, my family, and others are being blessed for my service.

Love you all!

Zack

Monday, October 26, 2015

Almost 4 months out! Wow!

This week was pretty good for being forced to spend more time inside than we wanted. We're making progress though and are getting a TON more support from the Branch!

Tuesday we had a nice District Meeting where we actually got a lot of good input for one of the people we want to try to teach. He's the brother of a member but just isn't super motivated to come to church or anything. But we got good ideas to help him. Then we went out to Las 500s where we had a few good lessons. As we were walking back into town, we actually ran into President Boucher driving away from our house. So he stopped in the middle of the road and got out and hugged us and we talked for like 10 minutes in the road about our investigators and how things are going and he gave us some really good reminders and advice about one of the people we had just taught. So that was really awesome. 

Wednesday we went out to Patillas and contacted a reference that we have been trying to talk to for a long time. He's really nice and said that we could come back and talk to him some more, he was just really busy and had to go get his daughter from school. We ended up doing a lot of contacting in Patillas, looking for potential investigators and such. We visited with a less active and it was just a good time out there although we only taught like one lesson. We have a few people we want to go back and visit though. When we came home, we actually skipped Branch Council (with permission from Pres. Ramos of course) to go visit a less active. And that was really cool. Kind of a new experience for me because she's inactive for real reasons. Like she has real doubts and stuff, it's not like she just stopped going to church. So that was a cool experience.

Thursday we went out and tried to find more investigators. It was just a really rough day for that though. Nobody was available to talk or in their houses and such. So we went to Taqui, the lady who's 91 and gives us crackers. Her daughter was there too and she explained to us that Taqui makes her go out to the store and buy food for us so that we can eat when we come to her house hahahahaa. When we left she gave us a whole 2 liter of sprite and bread and stuff. She's a funny lady. She always tells us that we can eat everything because she doesn't eat at all. Which is a whole other story but I don't want to explain it. She's just old and crazy and can't hear and is really funny. 

Friday was a super good day! We went out to Las 500s again and taught some really good lessons, really using the advice that President Boucher gave us. We extended the invitation to 2 of our investigators to be baptized, but they kinda, not really, but kinda said no. I say kinda because they're just confused because they were baptized Catholic like at birth or something so we just have to explain some things and work with them to have the faith to make the jump. I think they'll come around. Then we had a good lesson with a less active and got him committed to come to church on Sunday. Then Alex came and picked us up and we went and played soccer with all our non-member friends for awhile. That was a rough game but I still scored twice. I've still got it ;) 

Saturday was a looooong day for some reason. We went out to the barrio that's like right before Las 500s and went to Jose's mom's house and actually found Jose there. Our goal was to go out and find people from a list of like 15 old investigators from that area, but we ended up talking with Jose (the guy from Guayama who is going on his mission to El Salvador) and his brother for like 2 hours about his family and how they're less active and non members and stuff. Jose is related to almost everyone. Taqui is his great-grandma, and his grandma's sister is a less active. So he's got contacts with tons of the people we teach and talk to. He's being really helpful with them right now. Then we came back into town and went to a Relief Society activity where all 4 missionaries and Pres. Ramos were the judges in a dessert bake-off. So that was awesome. We didn't eat dinner so that we could be good hungry judges. There were like 12 things to taste and they were all really good and judging desserts is really hard but we made it though and we were able to choose one to win. It was a Tres Leches cake and it was really good. I remember making a Tres Leches cake in like 11th grade and it was not nearly as good as this one. 

Sunday we had church and had no less actives or investigators show up. So that was disappointing. And the power had gone out at like 5am so the chapel had no power because the weather has been CRAZY. Like for the past 3 days it's been raining really hard and thundering and lightning a ton. Borries gave a talk in Sacrament meeting and President Ramos gave a really good quick little talk about supporting the missionaries which was super good and influential. Then we taught the combined Elders Quorum and Relief Society lesson about missionary work and it was actually really good. We're getting a ton of help from the Branch now which is going to help us soooo much especially because our branch Mission leader, Orlando, is moving to Humacao. He gave us so many rides places so it'll be tough without him but the Branch is really stepping up for us. Then we went home and ate lunch and it like literally got black outside at 2pm. Clouds just covered Arroyo and it started to pour and there was soooo much thunder and lightning. It was kinda freaky sometimes. It actually got kind of cold in the house too. So we didn't go out because it was raining so hard and we didn't have any set appointments that we were sure we could get to. Apparently there were flash flood warnings too.

So things are getting better in Arroyo. Although sometimes it feels like as we take one step forward we take two more back, things are getting better. We had 45 people in church on Sunday and opened another section of the chapel for people to sit in, which was SUPER cool for Arroyo.

I know that this church is true. I know that our Heavenly Father answers prayers. I've realized lately that my Spanish is pretty darn good. And I know I can only attribute all of my speaking ability in the mission to my Heavenly Father. As I continue to pray for help with the language, and study my hardest, He is making up for what I lack and will continue to do so. He listens to prayers and answers. Not always when we would expect, but He does and He will.

Hope all is well at home and wherever you are!

Love,
Elder Nelson


AND IT'S ALMOST BEEN 4 MONTHS IN THE MISSION ALREADY WOWWWWW

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Lord's Work (and 95 degrees all the time)

This week was really good! We got pretty good numbers, and visited with a lot of people that we haven't been able to see for a while. And we got a new car so it was a really good week.

Tuesday was really fun. We had a zone meeting in Caguas at 11 but Beecroft had to be there at 10 for a district leader meeting, so we all went with and got there early. We just hung out for an hour with other missionaries and talked while we waited for the actual zone meeting to start. The meeting itself was really good and was wayyyyyy bettter than my first zone meeting because I can understand Spanish now. Honestly life is 30x better when you can understand Spanish. After the meeting we got our new car, a Chevey Cruze which is way nicer than the weak little Toyota Corollas that we had before. So then we went out to lunch and took the coast roads home through the mountains and dang the views on the side of the island going past Humacao are BEAUTIFUL. You're super high up in the mountains and can see forever into the ocean. At one point we could see Viecus (the island off Puerto Rico) and like the entire coast. So I got some cool pictures. Then we came home and worked and had a really good afternoon, got 2 new investigators and had like 3 other good visits.

Wednesday was also a pretty good day. We had Elder Diaz with us in the house from Tuesday night through Wednesday night for an exchange with Elder Beecroft (Diaz is a ZL and Beecroft had to do an exchange with them because he's a DL). So it was fun to have him with us. Then we went out to Patillas and that was pretty good. We got in a few lessons and found a really cool guy who's like 20 and he was just sitting in the grass in a park and started talking to us in English. So hopefully he'll be interested when we come back this week. Oh and Branch Correlation meeting was super long and boring and Diaz had no idea what was going on because obviously Arroyo isn't his branch.

Thursday we went out and visited a lady that we haven't seen for like a month. She's been kinda sick and not in her house but we got to talk to her. And she talked forever. She had so much to tell us and just talked and talked for like 2 and a half hours. I think Borries fell asleep in his chair at one point so she was mostly talking to me and I had no idea what she was saying most of the time so I just smile and nod and say si and act like I know Spanish. Then we went over to a recent convert's house (she's turning 91 soon and has tons of energy) and she gave us crackers and cheese and salami (like the only food she has in her house). And we shared a good message with her. So those two visits took like the entire afternoon. And then we just didn't have a very successful night.

Friday was our day in Las 500s again and this time was not as good as Tuesday. We had good member present lessons lined up and stuff but then the investigators couldn't meet with us. So we only got one less active lesson in but committed him to come to church on Sunday. then we went to Laura's for dinner with her family and are reviewing the lessons with her to see what she remembers and she's actually really good with the lessons so far, but doesn't think she knows enough to be baptized.

Saturday basically we spent the whole day out with a guy named Eric, who's 16 in our branch but is the only member in his family. We went over to his house and talked with him and his brother and we're going to start working with his brother to get him to come to church. Then Eric took us around his whole neighborhood and showed us where all the houses are that missionaries used to go to like a year ago. So that was cool and really helpful. Then we came home and played soccer with Eric and his brother and Alex (our Young Men's President) and like 15 other non-member people. And we kicked their butts. All the Mormons were on one team with some of the other guys, but the other team was stacked with guys that play soccer all the time. We won 16-5 and I had 4 goals. I was on fire man I took like a million shots and had like 4 assists and it was just super fun. 

Sunday church was good. We went early and Hermana Martinez brought us pancakes so that was cool. Then in church our less active didn't show up, but we still had 45 people in the chapel. So that's good. Our numbers continue to rise. Then after church we got food from Hermana Roche and I think it was rabbit but idk. It was really good then we went out and really nobody was home and it began to pour at like 5 and got super dark so we went home. And it poured all night. A relief from the heat  we had all week. It's supposed to cool down but it has not. Flippin Puerto Rico just stays at 95 degrees all the timeeeeeee.

And now it's P day! It's crazy that I've got like 4 months in my mission already. Feels like I was just in the MTC! But every day I come to know that this church is true more than I knew yesterday. The power of this gospel to bless lives is real. Each day I see how much of an impact this gospel has in the lives of everyone we come in contact with and I love that. I know that this is the Lord's work and that every small effort of missionary work whether from a full time missionary or simply a member in a tiny branch can have a lifelong impact on someone. I'm so thankful for this gospel and the blessings I have in my life because of it. I know it is true with everything I have and I love it.

Hoping all is well at home wherever you all are!

Love,

Elder Nelson

Me and a view in Humacao on our way home from Caguas.  Super cool views along the coast!

A huge hill we climbed on Friday trying to find a house but Elder Borries got us lost.

Monday, October 12, 2015

This week was successful and unsuccessful at the same time. Our numbers were better and we got more lessons in, but still wasn't up to par with what we had set for our goals and what we know we can achieve in this area. 

Tuesday: we had a district meeting in Guayama and that was actually really fun. President and Sister Boucher came for the first part to do something with us which will be sent out as a Christmas card around the holidays. They actually had to bring the Elders from Salinas to Guayama because they locked their keys in their car at home and couldn't get into the car. So they all piled into the Boucher's car and came to the district meeting. And the Zone Leaders were there and gave us mail and stuff and I got a letter from the DR. One that my mom had sent to me while I was in the MTC. Somehow it got here, and I think I'm still missing like 3 other letters that are still floating around in the DR, hahaha. So then we had our meeting and had to take one of the Salinas elders back to Salinas because they didn't have a car. So that was like another hour taken out of our day and we didn't get back until like 2 I think. Then we went out and worked in Las 500s but didn't have much success. We talked to some people but weren't able to get any lessons in. Then we went to dinner with an investigator and we got STUFFED. Like I couldn't even express in English how full I was. I couldn't even finish half my plate. So we waddled home and tried to visit some other people but they were all busy. By that time it was time to go home.

Wednesday: we went out to Patillas. It was somewhat successful, although we still didn't get what we wanted out of it. We did a lot of contacting and talked to a lot of people but nobody was really interested in talking or learning more about us. OH! This was also the day we ran into the Jehovah Witness people outside our house. It was like 10:30 and they were just standing out there for like 30 minutes so we went out and started talking to them. and you could tell this old guy got super nervous when 4 Mormon missionaries came out to talk with him. We talked and he shared his little tid bit, and then we turned the tables and started to share with him. Beecroft even invited him to pray about the Book of Mormon. It was interesting. So then we came home from Patillas and ate a little and then went to Branch Council where people like to make fun of me for being a greenie and being so young and only having 3 months in the mission. I put up with it. They're all fun people. And that basically ended that night.

Thursday was my 100th day! And it was really good. We went to the pizza shop that we usually go to and we got pizza cones. It was interesting but pretty good. Then we went out and worked and got in a lot of lessons actually. We talked with a lot of people and just had a really good day. So we had a good day and to make it even better, we went out to play soccer with our non-member and member friends. We had like 20 people there and were playing a big game when the team with all the Mormons on it started to win. We were kicking their butts and they're guys that play on like club teams and are 20 years old. My defense was super good and I scored 2 goals. I was pretty proud. But my cleats are thrashed. It was a really good game. 

Friday we went back out to Las 500s and had a lot more success. We got to talk with a bunch of our investigators and share lessons with them. Then we went and had dinner with another investigator and got stuffed again, and then went home and had another lesson. It was a really good day. And Jose, who was waiting for his mission papers, got called to San Salvador, El Salvador. He's pumped and it'll be super cool for him to go. Yeah good day.

Saturday was good even though we only got one less active lesson in. We had lunch with them and worked in their area but really nothing came from that. It was just a really slow day and nothing was happening in Arroyo.

Sunday was really good and church was even better. There was a baby blessing and the family brought like 20 family and friends to church, some less actives and some not members. So we had 45 people there and were still missing like 15 people that are actually members of our branch. And there were really good testimonies and stuff and then President Ramos made eye contact with me when nobody else was going up to bear their testimonies. And he smiled and I smiled and I knew I had to go bear my testimony now. I was super nervous but I went up and did it and the Spanish just kinda flowed. I was super impressed with how well it went and I think everyone else was too. It was a good day all together.

This church is true and we have a living prophet on the earth today. He leads and guides this church and what a blessing it is to be able to be with our families forever. That's all the time I have, until next week. 

Love you all!
Zack

view of a lake in Patillas that we saw on Wednesday

pizza cone



Monday, October 5, 2015

General Conference was amazing!

Well, another week has gone by. And GENERAL CONFERENCE WAS AMAZING. It is such a blessing to be able to listen to our prophet and the apostles of the church.

This week was not really successful and I'll explain why later, but conference was just so amazing and such a spiritual booster and I learned so much and wow yeah it was good. 16 pages of notes front and back! Feels like I was back in school for two days, doing more than I ever really did in school!

Tuesday: was rough. But it was only the start of a rough week. We had District meeting and it was fun and good, it was Elder Beecroft's first District meeting as a DL, so he was kinda nervous. But it was good. Then we got home and went out to Las 500s. We had so many people to meet with and people we wanted to teach and possible new investigators, but man it was hot and nobody was home. I can't remember how many people we visited but basically all of Las 500s was gone. So we ended up at a less active member's house and he let us in. And it was kinda awkward because nobody was really talking so I jumped in and just started to ask him questions about his family and his history in the church. Apparently he knows like all of Arroyo and all the members and he's really cool. He kinda lit up when talking about all this stuff. So then after Esteban, we went to Margarita and she gave us some super good food and I cannot for my life pronounce the name of it. But it was good and we taught a lesson and talked for a while, and then went back home and in Arroyo, had no success as well.

Wednesday: we went out to Patillas with a guy named Jose from the Guayama ward. He's 18 and waiting on his mission call and is super cool. I can't remember if I've talked about him before. So we went out there and had quite a few people we wanted to visit but most of them fell through. So we went and taught a lady that was a new investigator last week. She seems to like talking with us but doesn't listen at all to the lesson. But Jose bore a really good testimony and helped a lot and will be a super good missionary. So then we came home after a day in the sun and went to Branch Counsel where it was actually kind of a wild meeting with members making jokes about other members and it was weird. All the missionaries just sat in the back and messed with this fan and moth that was flying around because we had done our part and had absolutely no idea what was going on with all the members there.

Thursday: We had literally no success. We stayed in Arroyo and tried to talk to people around here but nobody would talk or was home or anything. I think we really only talked to one person all day. We have a list of less actives and references but it's so old and out of date and people move all the time and it's rough. So it was a rough day. But then at 6:30 we went and played soccer at the field with a bunch of Jose's friends and non-members and some youth from our branch and from Guayama. It was super fun. There were like full teams and it was so good to play real soccer again. And I still played pretty well, but Elder Clavel is super good.

Friday we went back to Las 500s and it was a repeat of last time on Tuesday. We had actually set up appointments but nobody was home again. It was rough and I was getting super down and discouraged. It was hard to keep on working. We literally went 1 for 9 with people we wanted to teach. And the 1 person was Esteban again. At least we can rely on him hahaha. So we talked with him and he kinda just lights up when we come over. He's so cool. He has so many video games and movies and loves to talk about them and I have no idea what he's talking about most of the time. But he's cool. That was basically the end of it that day too. We walked all the way back home and tried to visit some potential investigators but again, nobody would come out to talk with us. Other than one guy who knew who we are and spoke English and was friendly but wanted nothing to do with us hahaha. Another rough day.

Saturday basically made up for everything that happened in the week. General Conference was a great experience. We watched it in the Guayama chapel and thankfully in English. So it was like the 6 English speaking missionaries from Salinas, Guayama, and Arroyo in this room with Alex (our Young Men's president who speaks english too). But it was so good. The talks were amazing and I learned so much and took tons of notes. I have like 4 pages of really good quotes too. So we were basically in the Guayama chapel all day becausee conference started at noon here and then after the Priesthood session, it was 10 pm. For lunch Alex took us to Pizza Hut and Clavel and Beecroft spent like 40 bucks on pizza because it was Clavel's birthday. So we ate a lot and it was good.

Sunday was also amazing with conference, although I think I liked the talks on Saturday better. Still, a ton of good information and I learned a ton from it. We were there from 11 to like 6:30 and then came home and visited with Jeila and Angel who we actually hadn't had the opportunity to visit with at all during the week. They're always fun to talk with and stuff.

So the week was slow and rough and discouraging. But conference was super good and awesome.

Quotes:
"In mortality, we are laying the foundation for perfection" - Larry R. Lawrence
"There is no darkness that can not be overcome by light" - Vern P. Stanfill
"Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can't cure" - Dallin H. Oaks
"We fail only when we choose not to take another step forward" - Randall K. Bennett
"BELIEF, is not for a select group of people" - Uchtdorf
"Focus not on what you can't do, but what you CAN do, and what He can do through you" - Gary E. Stevenson
"He can make more of us than we could ever make of ourselves" - Von G. Keetch
"The Savior's Atonement leaves no trace, no track. It heals, mends, and forgets" - Allen D. Haynie

And I have tons more but I'll share them some other time. This church is true and it is led by a living prophet who guides and receives revelation for the church. This is the Lord's church and gospel. It changes lives and has changed mine. It can change yours. I love it and I'm working every day to live the gospel in a more simple manner. It's an amazing gift we have. Christ lives and is at the head of His church. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and is true and I know all of this with every part of myself. It is true.

I love you all!
Elder Nelson

Our nice little Arroyo chapel

our study room

our kitchen

our empty front room where we sometimes work out

our car, that will probably be different soon because it's being sold

our house

Monday, September 28, 2015

Blood Moon

Well this week was something else. We had a lot of success and our numbers were really good! Anyways here it is- 

Tuesday: we drove basically all day. We left at about 10 to take Elder Florez to Cayey in order for him to be taken to the middle of the island to Utuado where it rains like every day. That's the rain forest if there's anything rain foresty on the island. And then all the like 15 missionaries that met there, went out to Taco Bell and talked and had fun and stuff. Then we continued driving (Borries, Beecroft and I) for like another hour and a half to Guayanilla where we picked up Elder Clavel. Then we drove home. So it was like a total of like 5 hours of driving. But it was pretty fun. Then Borries and I went and talked with Daniel (the super cool guy who is now an investigator) and it was awesome because he basically believes everything we do which made teaching him really easy. And he's super interested in just making the world a better place and stuff and he's cool.

Wednesday: we went out to Patillas and had a really good day out there. We got a new investigator from an old reference we had, and then had a big lunch with Hermano Martinez and his wife. Then we went and visited with Anthony, who works in a surf shop in Patillas and is super cool. He's totally a skater/surfer dude and has so many opinions and is just really fun to talk to because he talks about some weird stuff sometimes. Patillas is turning into one of our more successful areas, but it's hard to get out there a lot because you have to get a ride with a member to go out there.

Thursday: we spent basically the entire day doing service. At like 11 we went to the Gutierrez's house and cleaned up their patio and stuff and then they gave us lunch, which was also really interesting food. Then at like 1 we got picked up by the other Hermano Martinez and he took us to his house where we helped him clean up a huge tree that he cut down in front of his house. (this was all 4 elders by the way). And that took us until about 5 but we got it all done, and he was super thankful because he really needed the help and it probably would've taken a lot longer without us. Then we went home and showered and went over to the church where we taught the Young Men and Young Women about the missionary life. Then the young men forced us to play basketball with them which I had ZERO energy for.

Friday: we went out to Las 500s where we had an even more successful day. We got 2 new investigators and one of them is like a 50 year old guy and we got there and started teaching and he basically took over. He had the whole first lesson basically memorized. He taught us. So that was super cool and super easy for us and he really wants to learn more. Hopefully we can teach his family too next time. Then we went to a lady who is also super cool. She actually contacted us and told us that she wanted to learn about us. So we went over and started by answering her questions about missionaries and then she said "okay. Teach me". So we taught her and she was totally accepting and wanted a Book of Mormon so we gave her one and she was so excited because it was all free and she was willing to pay for it too hahaha. But she's super cool.

Saturday: we got up and went over to clean the church at 8am with all the ladies from the branch. And Hermano Gutierrez. He's a funny guy haha. But that took about 3 hours and it was kinda fun/not really. Then we went home and ate lunch and did some studying and then we really tried to go out and get work done but literally everything was falling through. There was just nobody home and nobody willing to talk and it was rough. So we ended up going over to Jeila and Angel's house and sat around and talked and then they fed us and we shared a good message with them and it was a pretty good time, even though we really didn't get a lot done. 

Sunday: was kinda the same way. We had church and it was really good and we had 38 people there. The talks were good and we had a good lesson and stuff and then we went and took the sacrament to a member of the ward who isn't physically able to come to church. After that, we went home and ate the food that Hermana Roche made for us (and it was really good. Chuletas are super good). And we went out and tried to get stuff done. But again, people were just not really willing to talk and stuff was just falling through all over the place. Por ejemplo (for example): We have (had) an investigator and apparently his pastor told him he's not allowed to investigate other religions and so he can't talk with us anymore. So I got dropped for the first time hahaha. It was kinda really awkward because he doesn't want to stop talking with us but his pastor said so. Sooooo idk. That's basically how our day went. Then we went home and sat outside from like 9 to 10:45 watching the Blood Moon and taking pictures and stuff. I got some cool shots. 

So that was my week! Even though we had a few days where we really got almost noting done, our numbers were surprisingly good for the week and looking back, it was a really successful week.

And now this week is General Conference and we are pumped to be able to listen to all the leaders of the church. And it'll be super interesting since 3 Apostles have died since the last one, so things will be changed up a little. 

"The yearning you feel for something better is a yearning to come unto Christ" ~ Henry B. Eyring. This quote is really cool and super true. The scriptures say that all good things come from God and as we try to change our lives to come closer to those good things, we are ultimately trying to bring ourselves closer with Christ even if we don't realize it at the time. 

Hoping that all is good at home! You're all great :)

Love,

Elder Nelson

Blood Moon last night

Selfie from last night watching the Blood Moon. The flash was rough to deal with.  The glasses are technically Elder Florez's but he gave them to me when he left, soooo I wear them sometimes and tell people that I got glasses.