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!

Elder Nelson


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!


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!

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.

"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