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 :)


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.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Survived the First Transfer

This was a cool week. We had the opportunity to visit with a lot of members and less active members who are having health problems and stuff. And it was the week of Stake Conference in Caguas and that was super good.

Monday: was P-day and again I can't remember what we did but we had a super good Family Home Evening (Noche de Hogar in Spanish) with some members and a less active youth in the branch. It was really simple and fun. We just shared and talked about the Plan of Salvation and they all really liked it because we made it more interactive and stuff. It was cool.

Tuesday: We had our last District meeting of the transfer, so we took pictures and talked and stuff and took guesses about who will be transferred and such. Then we all went out to Wendy's for lunch because nobody wanted to cook and it was really fun. I really like our district that we had this transfer. It was the biggest one on the island, with 12 people. Most districts only have like 8 or 10 people in them. Then, we had planned to go out to campo, but it was pouring rain so we scrambled over to the house where we teach the ‘3 ladies”, the ones who talk a lot. We got there and they gave us towels and one of their sons was there and brought us Sprite and she gave us candies and it was fun. And we were actually able to share more of a message this time because the first time, we couldn't really get a word out with them. But it was good. The rest of the day was pretty normal. Lots of people not home/not answering.

Wednesday: we went out to Patillas. Patillas is the next town over, in the middle of our 3 towns that we cover. It's more campo, there's not really a lot to do there. But we went out and had a list of names of less actives and old references that we wanted to find. As we found the houses, none of them were home or wanted to come out and talk with us. So that gave us the opportunity to do a lot of contacting. And I actually like contacting. Going off of the instruction we got from President Boucher at Zone Conference, we just began contacting their neighbors. 3 or 4 on one side, the same on the other. And although we got shot down a lot, we found some super cool people that we really want to go back to visit. One guy is like 85 and was out doing yard work and wouldn't let us help him because that's his exercise. He spoke English and was super cool. He said that if we ever need anything that we can call him. And then he just took my planner and wrote all his info in it. Then we found another guy who's cool and seemed interested. As we walked back through the main part of town we walked past a Veterans Council place, something like that. And some guy came out and started talking to us in English so we talked for a while and he was super cool. When we asked for his name he said "ya know Latinos have a lot of names" and then continued to list off like 7 of his names. Then he said "but you can call me Pete". Just a super funny and cool guy. We also got fed by a less active out there even though we did not at all expect her to be receptive. It was a really good day.

Thursday: we had just another normal day back in Arroyo. Nothing really special happened, mostly all of our people fell through. We had a few set appointments and it was pretty disappointing to have those fall through but we're going to try and pick them up again this week. At 7 we went and played basketball at the church with 2 less active youth. They're working on coming back and really like us. And they're good. Or Borries and I are really bad at basketball. Idk. But it was really fun and I got some much needed exercise. Then we left for Salinas, where I had an entercambio (where we swap companions with the district leader and his companion for a day) that night. It was a super fun night. I was kinda nervous because Elder Rodriguez is from Guatemala and speaks Spanish mostly and I'm just a greenie. But I got there and prayed and started talking in Spanish and he told me he was super impressed. Also Elder Kemsley (Elder Borries' trainer) told me the same thing. I really like talking in Spanish.

Friday: I woke up at like 6 because there's a random alarm in Rodrguez's room that went off and I was super confused why the District Leader wasn't getting up on time and then the real alarm went off and it all made sense. I was somewhat mad that I woke up early. But whatever. We got up and had a really good study session and talked a lot about our district and what might happen at transfers and stuff and my Spanish just seemed to be flowing. And it was that way throughout the day. I was super surprised. I don't think Rodriguez likes Elder Kemsley's cooking so we went to McDonalds hahaha. And we just talked a lot and got along really well and I was super happy with how things were going. Then we had a lot of appointments fall through. But then at like 4 we found a member and then Pascual (their branch mission leader) came and picked us up and he made me sit in the front seat with the other three elders in the back. And we talked and he likes me. We went to dinner at a member's house, I believe it was a member. And I shared Mosiah 23: 21-22 and it went really well and Kemsley and Rodriguez both said it was really good. And then we had another lesson and continued to get along really well and I had a ton of fun.

Wow I have a lot to say this week

Saturday: was a pretty normal day. We had a few lessons and then had to leave at like 5 for Stake Conference in Caguas, like an hour away from Arroyo. And that conference was good. It was the adult session so there weren't tons of people but it was good. They talked about missionary work and families and stuff. Really good talks and I understand a lot of the stuff people say now.

Sunday: was conference again. We left at 8 am to drive to Caguas again and conference was again really good. They talked about tithing and families and President Boucher gave a really good talk about how Puerto Rico is in a drought of both water and the gospel. And there's a plan to bring water back and also a plan to bring the gospel back but both things need the help of members. Both sessions of conference really emphasized missionary work. Both were very good. After conference Borries introduced me to people he met while serving in Humacao (oo-ma-cow) and they're all really cool. I think I would like serving there at some point. But I do really want to stay in Arroyo for a while. Then we came home and had a lesson and met with another member family and they fed us. And while we were there, an investigator (one of the 3 ladies) called and told us to come over because he had Alcapuria for us to eat. So we went and ate and it was so good. They're like 8 inch rods that are like an inch thick and have a little ground beef in the middle of like a fried coating. I have no idea what the coating was but it was so good. I ate like 9 of them because Evelyn just kept giving them to me. 

AND TRANSFERS. The only one moving is Elder Florez to Utuado, in like the middle of the island where it actually gets kinda cold. And they split our big 12 person district into 2. Beecroft is our DL and our new district is Arroyo (so our house) and 2 sisters from Guayama. The other two sisters are with Salinas in that district. So we're pretty happy. Everything is good out here!

The church is true. This is the Lord's work and the gospel is spreading and I love being a part of it!

Love you all!

Zack/ Elder Nelson

 my district this transfer

Picture of the coast when we visited the local, and very small, lighthouse that wasn't worth taking pictures of

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sick companion is no fun!

September 14, 2015

This week was rough! Tuesday we had a really good Zone Conference in Caguas that lasted all day. There were a lot of good talks and lessons and Sister Boucher is such a good cook. She cooked for all of us and it was amazing. President Boucher gave a really good lesson/talk. After the conference, most everybody has like a 15 minute interview with President and that was actually pretty cool. He's a great guy and is really concerned for the mission and how his missionaries are doing. So that was Tuesday. Not much happened.

Wednesday, Elder Borries and Beecroft woke up sick. We got like halfway through companionship study and Borries like fell over so I told him to go to bed. He slept for like the next 7 hours until I woke him up for Branch Correlation meeting and a lesson. And then he still sounded super sick. So we came home and he slept some more and that basically takes us to the next morning. Not much going on.

Thursday, Borries again woke up sick. But it sucked for him because Thursday was his one year mark, as well as Elder Beecroft's (who was still sick as well). So they tried to do studies, but ended up both going back to bed. They sounded horrible. So both days now, I was stuck in the study room with really nothing to do. So I began to read Our Heritage, and I finished that in those 2 days that I was stuck inside because of the sick Elder Borries. It's such a good book. I would recommend it to anyone. It's amazing that I could feel the spirit on nearly every page I read. There was always something new to learn and always good reminders of the restoration of the gospel and the process of the pioneers coming across the plains and all that. It was so good. So Thursday after I finished Our Heritage, I started to read Our Search for Happiness by M. Russell Ballard. For anyone who doesn't know, it's basically written so that anyone who reads it can gain an understanding of the things we believe in. And it's also a great book. I haven't finished yet, but it's good. Entonces, tambien on Thursday Borries and I went out and got a huge calzone to celebrate one year and tried to do some work but he just couldn't physically handle it. So another rough day.

Friday he woke up and was feeling better, thank goodness. So we went and did some service. We painted a house. But it was kind of interesting because painting their cement houses is a huge thing here in Puerto Rico. But you have to scrape off the old paint before you paint over it. And that is a big pain. So we were scraping and after like 2 hours of scraping the owners of the house just said forget it, so we started painting over it all. If anybody questions it, it was their decision haha. So we did that and then we went out and had like 2 lessons and then went to the Youth activity that night. It was outside, at like 30 minutes into it, it began to rain super hard and there was thunder and lightning. But we just stayed out in the rain and continued to play the games and stuff.

Saturday, we had a branch activity which was actually really fun. It was a BBQ and there were lots of games and stuff and a kiddy pool for the kids (obviously the kids since it's a kiddy pool). But anyways, at like 1:30 it started to pour and there was super loud thunder and a lot of lightning. So we basically just all sat under the pavilion and talked and had a good time with some of the investigators and less actives that were there. It was a fun activity. And it continued to be super stormy for the rest of the day, which was a downer.

Sunday was our best day of the week. We had a really good church meeting with some good talks and lessons. And we had 2 less actives there. After church, we took the sacrament to Hermano Bidro who is an amputee and has some other handicaps so he can't get to church easily. Then we went over to Jeila and Angel (Jeila is recently reactivated and her husband is in the process) and we just had a really good time with them. We talked and talked about our families and stuff and then at random points, Angel would ask super random gospel questions. This was actually really cool because it kinda proved to me that he's really interested in coming back to church. So we were able to answer some of them, but we were able to set up a time to come back and teach him more about the questions. He only went to church like 4 times after he got baptized like 7 years ago, so he doesn't know or remember much. So it'll be cool to teach him everything over again with his wife. They're just such cool and funny people. That was the best part about our Sunday.

So we had a pretty slow week, but even though it was slow, my testimony has been strengthened so much. By reading those two books, I have not only come to a better understanding about the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but my testimony has grown as well. The Holy Ghost has testified to me that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. That through him, the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored and we now have the fullness of the gospel on the earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that if we read it, we can come to a knowledge of all things, as Moroni prophesied in Moroni 10:5. I know that that is true. I know that we all have a loving Heavenly Father who watches out for us and knows of all the stress and trials and good things in our lives. He has our best interests in mind, and often will do things or even put people in our lives who can help us to come closer to Him and overcome the trials in our lives. I have seen that in my mission, that often people are placed in our lives or the lives of other people so that we or they can be helped, healed, and their lives can be changed. I'm so thankful for the knowledge I have that this is the true church and that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can all put all the bad things in our lives, sin, trials, sicknesses, behind us. I'm so thankful for that. I know that this church is true and that it changes lives. It has changed my life.

I love you all! Keep pushing on, there's always someone who has been through the exact trial you went through and knows exactly how you feel.


Elder Nelson

Huge calzone to celebrate Elder Borries one year mark

Monday, September 7, 2015

A good week!

September 7, 2015

Monday (Aug. 31) was just P-day and I really can't remember what we did, so it probably wasn't that exciting.

Tuesday was sooooo cool because we had a district meeting and an elder who is a Zone Leader and served in Arroyo like a year ago came down to Arroyo with us after the meeting and went out with us and showed us all the people that he used to teach and talk to, and everyone that he had ever really had a conversation with. Then we did some real contacting, which was super successful. I was a little shaky, just adding in my 2 cents every now and then. But Elder Witt is so good at it and can just talk to anyone and as we went down this street just talking to people, he was like- alright Elder Nelson it's your turn. And I kinda panicked but then I was like alright whatever so I just went for it and started talking. So I started talking and it worked and these ladies came out and loved us and loved talking to us and were super interested in us and the missionary life and stuff and then I did another house and they were super receptive so Borries and Witt called me the good luck charm. It was fun and we got a lot of potential investigators from that, and so far they have been quality potentials that are turning into new investigators.

Wednesday I don't really remember what happened. We had a lunch appointment and it was so good and we just talked a lot. The Perez family makes some really, really, good food and feed us a lot. We had lunch and ended up staying at their house for longer than we wanted because Elder Florez got so distracted with stuff and toys and the newspaper. Ohhhh and then we went and contacted a reference that Witt gave us on Tuesday and he's SOOOO coool. He's a K9 cop and was in the Army for 11 years and is super ripped and speaks English and has ATVs and a nice car and truck and he's just such a cool guy and we talked to him and we started talking about his schedule (it's going to be really hard for us to find him because he's always on call and his work covers like the entire bottom half of the island) and he talked about his family and how he does everything for them and we were like wow he's perfect we need to baptize him. We just both felt that he is going to be really receptive and stuff and he's so cool and I just wanna teach him again.

Thursday we had weekly planning that actually took longer than usual because we had so many people and investigators and contacts to talk about. Hopefully all of our planning pays off, we saw it pay off on Sunday. Then we had some lessons and then played basketball that night with a neighbor boy.

Friday we had a successful day and got a new investigator and get this, we went to an investigator's house and his dad came out and started yelling at us and telling us that everything we believe is lies and we're stupid and not welcome there and then to finish it off he goes "ustedes son hijos del diablo!" hahahahaha he called us children of the devil and it was so funny because we just stood there and had no idea what to say and then we left and both said, yeah we are totally going back there hahaha. It was awesome. Then we went to mutual (YM/YW) and it was the first one the branch has ever had and it was fun, we played basketball in our church clothes and we got whooped by the 4 youth we were playing against.

Saturday we stayed in for most of the day because Borries was sick. Then at like 4 we had some lessons and talked with Jayla and her husband and he said he would come to church. So we hoped and prayed and fasted for him to be able to come to church.

Sunday Jayla and her husband came to church and we were pumped it was awesome. If all the members show up next week, we could have 45 or more people there. That would be flippin awesome. And we also had a lesson with these 3 ladies that we contacted on Tuesday and man they talk so much! They just talk and talk and talk but it's fun to talk with them. 

That's basically the week we had, it was awesome and we had super good numbers when we reported them last night.

Love you all and everyone at home is in my prayers!


Elder Nelson