Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016 - Baptized Penelope!

Sooo this week was a little rough. We worked really hard to try and reach our goal of two baptisms, but in the end the second baptism ended up falling through and we only achieved one. But one is one!!

Penelope's baptism was super cool. It was really funny because we went with the ZLs to do the interview Saturday morning at Penelope's house and she was just super prepared. Like one of the smartest little girls I know. She went into the interview with Elder Ourth and he came out afterwards just smiling and was like blown away by Penelope and how much she knows about the gospel. Elder Ourth asked her why she wanted to be baptized and she said, "so that I can have the Holy Ghost", and then Ourth asked, "why do you want the Holy Ghost?" and she responded "so it's with me forever!" She's just such a cute and smart little girl!!!

Christmas in the mission just isn't the same... it's cool and all but it's just not the same at all. Especially when it doesn't get cold and there's no snow or even cold rain hahahaha. But I guess it was cool this year, we got to skype the fam and that was sweet! It's kinda awkward sometimes because it's like... what do I say hahaha. But I got to see some cousins and parts of the Nelson side of the family. All the cousins look like they're like 2x the size that they were when I left! We ate a lot of rice with these things that idk what they're called in English- arroz con gandules. Y nos dieron pernil (idk how to say that in English either) But whatever I just know that it was a lot of food so that was tight. We hung out with the neighbors quite a bit and played a lot of pool. I always ended up losing because I could never get the 8 ball in. I'm good up until the end hahahaha

Oh and transfers! I'm getting moved to San German, which is on the west side of the island. I'll be a Zone Leader and my comp will be Elder Corales (I think that's how you spell his name). Elder Colon is going to stay here in San Juan as District Leader and he'll be training a greenie! I'm gonna be a grandpa! So that's cool. It's sad to leave San Juan but I'm excited to have something new, and it'll probably be my last area before going home!

Hope everyone had a rad Christmas and was able to spend it with the family. I'm so glad to be a part of this gospel and His work. This is His church. He lives. He died for us and was resurrected so that we too can have the chance to live again. Thanks to Him, the promised blessings can be ours. 

Love you all!
Elder Nelson
Baptism pics with Penelope!  I baptized Penelope (age 9) on Christmas day!

 Elder Nelson and Penelope
Elder Colon, Penelope and me
opening presents on Christmas morning!
 me and Rafael Cuevas
 with Zadkiel (super cool 10 year old)
Elder Nelson and Elder Colon with President and Sister Boucher (23 Dec, Zone Christmas party)

More pictures from the San Juan Zone Christmas Party (Dec. 23, 2016)
 MTC group back together in the San Juan zone!
 w/ Elder Colon
 w/ Elder Gil
 w/ Elder Hanna
 w/ Elder Ourth

Monday, December 19, 2016

Cool Week!

Things have been crazy good here. Yesterday we were able to get 5 investigators to church and we have some super cool people that are progressing towards baptism. The sad part is that I'm probably going to get pulled out of the area this coming week. I haven't been this sad for transfers to come before in my mission. I've just grown to love some of these people over the last few weeks and it's been ridiculously cool to see them progress and learn about the gospel.

Coraimy is family of a member. We're teaching her and her ex-husband (they separated recently but he comes by to hang with the kids). Coraimy is SOOOOO prepared! She wants to change her life and be better and get closer to her Heavenly Father, so it's been really cool to work with her. We saw her desire the first time we met with her and so this week we set a baptismal date with her for the 25th. It's super close but it's possible! Or it was possible... She has a super strong desire to change and be better but this Sunday kinda messed up our plans. We had told her everything that she needed to do to be baptized, and she was all for it. But we forgot to tell her that she has to come to church a minimum of 2 times to be baptized. So we went to her house on Sunday morning to get her to come because her phone doesn't work. And we get there and told her that she had to come in order to reach her goal of the 25th. And she started to change her plans and try and get a ride but then her aunt went off saying that she's not ready to be baptized and stuff and never came and got her! We got her to want to come but then her aunt starts blowing up on us and it was a mess. But Coraimy is soooo ready. You'd never think that a member would get in the way of our miracle!! But oh well, she'll get baptized soon.

Gabby and Leti are a young family that are progressing a ton! They're super cool and want to find direction in their lives. They're accepting everything that we teach and Gabby came to church yesterday! They have a date for the 8th of January. Pretty sure they'll be baptized that day.

Ana Gomez and her family are progressing really well also. Ana and her daughter Nicole came to church again yesterday and love it. So it's been really cool to see, especially because at the beginning, we didn't see a ton of potential in them. But now they're really progressing! The dad hasn't been super interactive with us. He works a lot. They have a date for the 15th because we're pretty sure they're not married.

Penelope will be baptized on the 25th! She's doing well and just finished her 3rd grade finals this week, hahaha.

But yeah, working has been really fun lately. And we're working really hard to try and achieve what's called the "Standards of Excellence" which is basically like the goal for all of us to achieve. But we're having some problems because we probably won't have the 2 baptisms that you need to reach the goals. But we're really close and it's been super cool to try and reach the goals because they're quite a bit higher than what we normally achieve as missionaries.

Merry Christmas!
Elder Nelson
Only pic from this week was taken on P-day last week. We got serious playing chess on the floor. That's how the big dawgs role in this mission hahaahha

Monday, December 12, 2016

Things turn around! Christmas baptism scheduled!

The first part of the week was pretty rough. We've gone a few weeks without finding any really solid investigators and I was starting to get really stressed out about it. Like I was really stressed because we've just been teaching the same people for like a month without finding other people to bring to church! But things got turned around.

Like it's just my luck to go to a new area to contact and the few 5 houses we contacted say "You guys need to leave, they just shot a guy on this street last night." It was super annoying like everyone was super scared and told us to leave "for our protection" but they wouldn't let us in to share a message about Jesus Christ. So that didn't make a lot of sense to me. Dumb people. But it was cool because we found a few cool potentials, and contacted into an older couple that we had no idea was there, that go to a different ward on assignment from the stake. They gave us food and a ride home. Super cool people.

But yeah so the start of the week was rough. I was discouraged because Penelope (who's the 9 year old daughter of the less active family we visit) was like, "no, I want to be baptized on January 8th." And we were like WHYYYYYY but she was stuck on being baptized on the 8th! Even though it's like a month away so we just told her to talk with her parents and pray about being baptized on the 25th. Because like the girl is ready, she says better prayers than lots of adults I've met, hahaha. So we left her like that. It was funny because the girl is so cute but she was just firm on the 8th of January!

That was Thursday. At that point we still hadn't found new investigators. And I was stressed. But then Friday came around and we had a solid day. Although it started off really rough. We went to contact a giant apartment complex and it was hard to start out. Nobody even answered the door at first. We even thought about leaving but then we made a contact between buildings and it was super cool and I think that was the key. We just had to listen to the spirit and contact whoever we felt would accept us. So we just went off talking and we found some really cool people. One really cool family too.

Then Friday night we had a ward Christmas activity and Penelope tells me "Hey Nelson. I wanna be baptized on Christmas" and I was pumped. So that was a little miracle. And her dad was just reactivated and he's going to baptize her!

Saturday we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders and it was really cool because Elder Colon worked in our area with Elder Ourth and they came home that night with 6 new investigators and some really cool experiences. So all our contacts were really cool!

Elder Colon was really funny when they came home because he said that they taught a family that we contacted in the apartments, but it was a really weird lesson. But then on Sunday, they all showed up at church! We weren't expecting at all to see them in church. So that was tight.

Sunday was super cool too because the Primary did their annual program and it was super cool! There's a gringo family and the little kids were so cute speaking their Spanish hahaha and Penelope did great on her part in the program! So it turned out being a really really cool week! And we expect to have a lot of success this week.

And if everything goes well, we could be baptizing a girl named Diandra on the 18th. She's been like flying under the radar but she's progressing pretty well so we'll see if we can get her prepared in time.

Love you all, have a great week and remember the reason for the season!
Elder Nelson
Exchange with Elder Gil

Monday, December 5, 2016

It's all good

Hey everybody!

This week wasn't anything really special, we had a ton of appointments to go to but a lot of them ended up falling through even though we had confirmed that same day! So that was a little disappointing... but it's all good because we have some cool people that are progressing. So we're happy for that.

We're working with a less active family that is coming back to church slowly. We went and visited them on Tuesday and it turns out that while they were less active for 3 years, the daughter wasn't able to get baptized! So we're jumping on that and hopefully we can get her baptized on the 18th. Her name is Penelope and she's 9 years old. Super super cool girl. She talks a ton and is really, really funny! Super cute. And they're a really cool family so hopefully soon they can get to the temple and stuff. That'd be sweet!

We're working with a few families also, the hard part is just getting in with them to visit! Everyone has really weird schedules and they have babies and it's just not the best for meeting with the missionaries. But we'll see if they can progress because they have a ton of potential, it's just hard with their schedules and stuff.

There really wasn't anything special or funny that happened this week, we just worked a ton and walked a ton and it was really tiring and stuff. Really nothing special. Maria did get called as the 2nd counselor in the Young Women's presidency though! So that's awesome! They've already got her working and planning activities for the young women.

I think this week I've really realized how unique the Church of Jesus Christ is. Like we're really like no other church. It's completely unique and really is a church to help all get back to His presence. Everyone is there with one goal and that one goal is clearly shown by the services that are done in the church, the way the members are and the involvement we all have in the church. It was interesting this week to really understand that.

Love you all and hope you have a semana que sea super chevere!
 Elder Nelson

Carmen Ivette Ortiz came up from Caguas to visit Colon and I and took us out to eat in Plaza Las Americas on Tuesday! 

Elder Colon

Monday, November 28, 2016


Sooooo you're all going to pee your pants when you read this I think. So take a break and go to the bathroom and then come back and read it because you're going to die laughing/crying.

So it was a long week! Tuesday was really just a normal day, other than the zone conference we had. It was really cool, the area president (Elder Gonzalez) came and talked to us and we had 3 zones together at the same time for the conference. So I got to see some mission buddies! After the conference nothing really happened, we found a couple new investigators and taught a couple lessons. That was really it. Lots of our plans fell through so we just ended up contacting and trying to visit less actives.

Wednesday is when things got crazy. We had been working a couple days in an area called Rio Piedras which is like a little town outside of the normal city of San Juan. We've gone out there a few times to work and it's always been a pain because we have to take the bus and it's really unpredictable and stuff. But that's not it. We were out working and all was cool. We went to visit a contact we had made the week before, and out comes some 65 year old guy that we hadn't seen before. So we ask him "hey is Tatia here?" AND BOOM the dude just started going off on us for 15 minutes about how he founded a church 40 years ago and he baptized Tatia in his church and she doesn't want anything to do with other religions and then started to quote bible verses. It was really funny because all the verses he quoted were like against him. He says "it's not my words that will save me!" but yet he's there yelling and two young men about how he already knows everything there is to know about the gospel. So me and Elder Colon just stood there on the sidewalk staring at him. The dude literally looked nuts! He was like drooling because he didn't ever stop talking! We just stared at him and never even got a word in.

Wednesday part 2: We were contacting in that same area and we were talking to a lady and then out of the blue comes a crazy lady! BUT LITERALLY CRAZY I kid you not. She had a guitar resting on one shoulder and a tree branch in the other hand, and her head wrapped in some weird scarf. We could hear her from down the street yelling at people. So then she gets to where Elder Colon and I are talking to the lady and the comes up like right between us and starts yelling stuff about Columbians and blue eyes and police and Obama and her mom and more Columbians and all kinds of weird stuff, honestly it was one of the weirdest things I've ever heard in Spanish. But yelling and I mean yelling at the top of her lungs. And the lady we were talking to just stood there in the doorway of her house like what the heck is going on here. So Elder Colon got smart and took a few steps away from the lady but I just stood there and we all just listened to her rant. Then out of nowhere she takes the stick/tree branch that she had in her hand and WHACKED ME ACROSS THE CHEST. And obviously me being superman, the stick broke into 3 pieces! (I kid you not). But then it gets even better! Seconds later, she spit in my face! It looked like the lady had rabies or something, hahahahaha and the lady in her doorway just took a few steps back and said "yeah I'm going to leave now". IT WAS NUTS. I've never felt so weird in my life. I had no idea what to do. So we start walking away and the lady continues down the street yelling at people and we turn around to see her yelling at an old lady and then the old lady pulls out a broom and starts to wail on the crazy lady! Then her whole family came running out of the house and there were 5 people whacking the crazy lady with brooms!

So we continue down the street and we found a police officer and we were like, hey dude there's some old ladies wailing on some crazy chick down the street. And the freaking police officer just says "yeah she's normal around here, she gets arrested but the government doesn't have money to keep her locked up" hahahahaha.

Wednesday part 3: We went to visit another contact we had made. A family of like 6. We get there and the pregnant mom was out on the porch with some friends and the first things she says is "be careful! My friend wants to violate you guys!" And like of everything that had happened this day, that was not one of the things I was expecting. So we kept walking.

Wednesday part 4: 7pm waiting for the bus- a Chinese guy walks by wearing plastic garbage bags (I would assume to be able to sweat more) and Elder Colon begins to contact him. The dude said that he doesn't think Christ will come again because it's been 2000 years of people saying that he'll come and he hasn't come. Like dude tranquilo have some faith. Read the Bible. Pray. We walked with him like half a mile to be able to talk with him because the dude wouldn't stop to talk to us!

Thursday was normal, nobody invited us to eat on Thanksgiving so we contacted hopelessly the whole day. Then some old lady in the street invited us to eat with her and her family.

Friday I was on an exchange with Elder Eguino who's new here in PR. We had a killer day and made some solid contacts. Super cool dude from Bolivia.

Saturday we went and committed people to church and went to some follow up appointments which all turned out pretty cool!

Sunday we got 3 investigators in church which was really cool because they were 3 that we weren't expecting to show up.

Maria is awesome! She loves the church and I heard that yesterday she was interviewed for a calling in the Young Women's, so it's super cool to see her progression in the gospel!!

Really after being hit with a stick and spat on, it was one of the worst days of my life. We came home and we hadn't taught a single lesson, everything seemed to be going against us. But it was cool because all the guys in the house reminded me of the talk by Elder Holland about walking shoulder to shoulder with Jesus Christ and it really made me think that I really experienced a tiny part of what Christ went through. Even though what happened to me was super insignificant, it meant a lot to think that I was just that much closer to being like Christ and going through a little tiny bit of what He went through. He suffered for all of us and took on himself things like the crazy woman hitting me with a stick. The gospel is so true and even though things get hard, He's there for us and wants to help. I know it's true. I felt His love this week more than I really have in a while. I'm so thankful for the opportunity I have to be here on the mission, on His errand. I love this work.

Love you all!
Elder Nelson
Elder Nelson and Maria

Monday, November 21, 2016


Well, we worked our butts off this week. It was cool, we about filled up a page of contacts in the agenda, but didn't get a lot of new investigators. We have tons of contacts so hopefully in the next week we'll be able to make all those contacts into new investigators.


We had 2 more baptisms here in Hato Rey this week, the sisters and the Zone Leaders had a baptism a piece. Soooo that's pretty sick. And as a district we just have a ton of excitement for the work and it's really cool to see. It just makes you wanna work even harder when you know that everything is going well and there's success around you. It's like a self competition sometimes to just work harder and be better missionaries!

Elder Colon and I obviously get along just fine, since he's my son (he's forced to love me... haha). Sometimes it's kinda weird to see what he does... like I realize that I trained him like that. But then it's kinda cool because as missionaries we're always forced to evolve and it's cool to see how far we've both come in the little time we've been apart.

But there wasn't really much that happened here this week. It's been raining really hard. That's about it. The house is super fun with Elder Gil (a super tall and skinny Mexican), Elder Colon, and Elder Ourth. It's kinda crazy.

Sorry this is so short... I can't really remember if there was anything cool that happened this week.

But really I know this is His true church. It's been really cool to interview people lately who are preparing to be baptized. Their testimonies help me to strengthen mine! I know that this is His work and that this is the truth. There's no other way to make it back to His presence other than through full obedience to His commandments. The Lord needs us in His work. Ours in the commitment to help bring His children back to the fold. I love the gospel!

Love you all!
Elder Nelson

Last day with Munoz! (Nov 15, 2016)

 se fue Sueritosssssss

 Orr se va!

la familia Cuevas!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Wow! Coolest Week Ever!


This week was nuts. I can't even remember exactly how it all happened. But it was actually really stressful too. Being in a tri with a guy you don't know makes everything like 30x harder. It made teaching weird, walking weird, car rides weird, eating weird. Like everything you can think of about the daily routine that Munoz and I had got super weird because we had to work Elder Powell into it. He came from Dominica for the week before he went home. It was a headache in all honesty.

But holy cow we saw miracles! We got to Maria's house on Wednesday and we were talking to her and the family and she was talking and showed us how she moved into the other room in her house, away from the boyfriend. So she said that and literally a light bulb went off on top of my head! I was like boom baptism! So we talked a little more and turns out that she's going to be moving out of the house in about a week or two. So Munoz and I talked and I called President Boucher and explained the situation, that she doesn't want anything to do with the boyfriend, and he gave us permission to baptize her on Sunday! So boom we told Maria about the plan and she was all for it. Boom boom boom super fast work. So then it's Friday and we were out at some lessons with the bishop and being in a trio our teaching was weird and took longer so we were running behind and stuff and so we flew up to Maria's house in a different part of town. Got there at 8:30 with the bishop. She says "I thought you guys weren't going to show up!"

So we get into it. We tried to get her daughter to make the decision to be baptized with her. The bishop was pulling out super awesome scriptures and it was a sweet lesson. But in the end only Maria committed to baptism.

Saturday: Maria had her interview and passed with flying colors. Tight. Baptism secured.

Sunday: Maria got baptized and it was one of the most special moments of my mission. She got baptized and came out smiling a super big smile. Then she dried off and came and sat down. The bishop said some words and then invited the 3 that got baptized to share their testimonies. At first none of them wanted to. But then Maria got up and bore a SUPER strong testimony. She started bawling and saying that she knows it's true and she's so thankful for the gospel. Man I hadn't felt the spirit that strong in a long long time. She's super great.

The other parts of the week was just contacting! We found some cool new areas to contact that are just gold mines. So hopefully we can explode those areas this transfer.

Saturday was super stressful. Because we had 3 baptisms in the district, and the zone had 6 baptisms, we had to do interviews all over the San Juan area. So we had to do weird splits and stuff in order to cover all the interviews. I was sooooo stressed about getting everything done. But we did it with a little bit of thinking.

I got to baptize the little 11 year old girl. She was a reference that we sent to the sisters. Her name is Neidalis Quinones Rodriguez and we contacted into her grandma one day who's less active. She said "hey teach my granddaughter" and so her and I like instantly clicked playing little games with her. So she asked me to baptize her. Super special girl.

The Zone Leaders had a real miracle too! They had this investigator named Cristian. He was kinda like slowly going through  the lessons but then on Wednesday they went and he asked if he could be baptized on the 20th. Then Elder Orr says "you can be baptized on the 13th if you want!" And he was all for it. So they taught him all the lessons and then it turns out he's actually been listening to the missionaries for 6 years!!!!!! When I did the interview on Saturday the dude new EVERYTHING. Super prepared.

BOOM so as a ward we baptized 3 and everyone was extremely happy.

Then we got the transfer calls. I'm going to be staying here in San Juan. But the weirdest part is that I'm going to be companions with Elder Colon. I trained him 3 months ago. I'm going to be with my hijo again! Super weird, but it's cool!

I think that's all that happened this week. It was nuts. If I missed anything, I apologize.

But seriously this week was just a testimony to me that the Lord has plans for us! He guides us in everything that we do and even though lots of times we don't quite understand, He does. This is His true church. The only true church. I love this work. Wouldn't trade it for the world.

Love you all!
Elder Nelson
Neidalis and I before her baptism.  Neidalis Quinones Rodriguez- we found her contacting, and the sisters taught her and I was able to baptize her!
 Groupie.  3 baptisms in the ward! All 3 companionships in a ward in PR baptize the same week - Wow!
Maria and I before her baptism, Elder Munoz got to baptize her
This week we got stuck in a trio (Elder Powell with us for the week).  We took a cool picture sitting on the escalator in the train station.      
 Got to see Maria Pineda and Zoe from Caguas!  They were up in San Juan and took us to get pizza.

 San Juan graffiti
 means "take it easy"

Monday, November 7, 2016

Rough week

For some reason no blog email from Zack today.  Here's part of a short email we did get --

Our baptism didn't go through, the girl got cold feet and said that she doesn't feel mature enough to be baptized. And then there was a whole mess of things going on and we really didn't even get to talk with her about it. Which is really sad. But we'll see if this coming weekend we can get her to make the decision. Things have just been really frustrating for us lately. Lots of people not taking action and stuff like that. We had a really rough week finding and we weren't able to bring anyone to church nor did we have any baptismal dates. So this week we gotta hit it hard. Just a really humbling week I think.

Elder Nelson

Monday, October 31, 2016

This week was so good!

Sooooo really quick because I don't have much time left. This week was super cool. We had a lot of success working with members and even though it didn't feel like things went the way we wanted, the results showed. We were able to bring 4 investigators to church on Sunday and this coming Sunday Maria's daughter, Yarielis, is going to get baptized.

With Maria we've had some really cool experiences. This week she found some bogus info on the internet about the church but with her strong testimony she was able to really just push all that garbage aside. So that was a huge win for us! The second thing was when one night Elder Munoz and I both really felt that while we work with Maria to get her married, that we should baptize her daughter. So we went and we talked with Maria and it turns out that she had felt the same thing! She felt like she wants her daughter to have the blessings of the gospel. And then she invited her other daughter to come to church on Sunday and she came! It was really cool. She has such a strong testimony.

Last week we found a less active lady and her non-member granddaughter. And it was really special this week because the Primary had an activity for the kids and she went and loved it and we got her super excited to be baptized and she accepted the date for the 13th and everything. So we passed her over to the sisters and soon she'll also be baptized. It was really cool just how much she changed when we began to talk about baptism and stuff. The gospel changes lives!!

Today we had a zone activity, and we got to go bowling as a zone and it was really fun. It's crazy that all these elders that I've known since the start of my mission are heading home soon! And then I'll be home in like 7 months almost!

On Sunday we ate like pigs, a lot of members invited us over and so we ate lunch, dinner, and more dinner with root beer floats! We had to search all over San Juan for Root Beer, apparently it really doesn't exist here on the island. What a shame!

Ummm that's about it. We're just really excited for the next few weeks because finally the district will be baptizing here in San Juan.

The church is true and I love it.

Love you all!
Me and my companion, Elder Munoz.  Bowling zone activity today.
Zone activity today -- Bowling!
me and Elder Ruiz
me and Elder Clavel

Monday, October 24, 2016

Baptism dates have all fallen through

This week went by super fast and felt like we weren't really able to get anything done. It was kinda depressing because all of our baptismal dates have fallen through and nobody came to church. But, we continue and this week we're just going to kick butt in a different area where we haven't worked before.

This transfer is literally flying by. It was really weird this week because the days went by really really fast. Yesterday we saw a little miracle. We were contacting the last street in the area where we've been working, like the only street we hadn't walked on yet. And we got about halfway down and we were pooped man, like drained and our legs hurt. Idk why but for some reason we were pooped. And we contacted a house and a lady came out and started talking to us and then told us that she's a member of the church! So we shared a little message with her and her granddaughter and it was really cool because she granddaughter isn't baptized and the grandma wants her to come to church with her as she works on being reactivated in the church! So, a little miracle, and hopefully the sister missionaries can be a big help to the little girl since we'll be passing them over to the sisters. It was really cool!

As far as the people we've been working with, things are a little slow. Maria has now told us that she's basically sure that she's going to split up from her husband/boyfriend. So we hope that soon we'll see more progress and a baptism or two as we work with both of them!

On Tuesday we had a Zone meeting and it was really interesting. As a mission we have standards or goals that we try to reach. For example, 2 investigators in church each week. But this week they upped the standards. So now the standards are a little bit more of a challenge to reach and encourage us missionaries to work harder and continue finding. IT really involves more finding and continually having people that actually progress. So it's 2 investigators in church each week, but they should be 2 new investigators in church each week. For example, I have a family of 3 coming to church one week, and should have 5 people coming the next week. Something like that. All the goals have kinda been changed like that to encourage us to work a little better. So that was cool and interesting. Makes the work a little more challenging.

I really don't know what else happened this week, it went by wayyyyy too fast.

Ummmmm but yeah that's about it!

Love you all!


Pics from the mission-wide conference that we had a couple weeks ago --
 Vega Baja throw back with the tigres!
 me and Elder Henriod
me with Hermana Galan and Elder Colon from Caguas!

Sending home los muertos on transfer day!

on an exchange with Elder Moss
when the Puerto Rican wants his music