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!


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!


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 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!