Vina Del Mar, Chile

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Week 4 and nothing more (quite the poet)

Buenas Dias!

This week has been a pretty standard one. Everyday is still just filled with learning, studying, teaching, and a little bit of playing.

This week for teaching both of our "Investigators" have agreed to be baptized which is great and our lessons are going smoothly. The only new thing for teaching was Saturday when we had TRC. TRC is where our teachers invite friends, family members, co-workers, or anyone they know, who could be members or non-members and we have to teach them a lesson. It was an awesome experience because we got to teach two non-members (only companionship who was trusted with both the non members ;) ) which was intimidating at first, but ended up being great. The first was a young woman, probably about 17 or 18 who was named Laura. We taught her about prayer and receiving answers and revelation from God. She was taught by 2 other companionship's and afterwords said she wanted to be baptized!! It was super exciting. 

After Laura we taught Alma, a young married woman with a 9 month old baby girl. Before hand our instructor gave my companion a 5 to 10 minute lecture/information talk stating how important it was to teach with the spirit and use it's guidance because this lesson was a make or break for Alma. It was so nerve wracking after receiving that talk and I felt so inadequate. But I gave the most heartfelt to plea to God for the spirit and the gift of tongues. The lesson went so well! I believe it was the best lesson we have taught... well allowed the spirit to teach. She had lots of doubts and questions. We taught her that we have a loving God in heaven and that he wants to talk to us and help us. We taught that to talk to us he gave us prophets (There happened to be a picture of the prophet in the room we were using... Divine intervention) to receive revelation for us. We taught her what revelation was and that we can also receive revelation on our own through prayer and reading the scriptures. She agreed to read more of the Book of Mormon and to pray to to if it is true! It was so amazing and makes me so excited to actually get out and teach :) After Sunday our teacher (who is friends with Alma) Said that she went to church with him and she loved it, especially relief society. I hope she gets baptized because it would bless her life so much, and knowing that we helped her receive those blessing would bring me such great joy!

This week soccer has been pretty good. I continually have scrapes on my elbow and arms but nothing too bad. Although this week we have been playing with some Peruvians and they are super good. One day Elder Yuit (A Peruvian) and I went to head a ball at the same time. We both nicked the ball but drilled each other in the head. That was Saturday afternoon and I still have a goose egg above my left eye, right above the eyebrow, but I've always been a fan of bruises and war wounds ;) 

On Tuesday we had a devotional by M. Russel Ballard which was broadcast from the Provo MTC. It was super cool because it was just a bunch of advice like a grandfather would give his grandson. He talked about waking up and making every day the best day it can be. So basically living each day with "No Regrets". 

Tomorrow we have a special devotional so I Believe it is a General Authority that is coming! So I am super excited! Although our Zone (4 districts with about 12 in each districts) was picked to be the choir for the devotional (Heaven help me!) and if any of you have heard me sing before well ...Heaven help the Audience!

This morning I got a haircut! It was kind of nervewracking because they are known for giving bad haircuts here (They are free... but still) But I don't think it turned out bad at all, it is super short so now I am rocking the mini faux hawk.
The weirdest thing I guess was there was a mosquito in our room (each night before bed we go on a mosquito hunt because during the night they buzz really loudly around your head and it is hard to sleep) and my companion hit it out of the air (our favorite way to kill mosquitoes is by backhanding them out of they air and they fall to the floor and die from the impact, because that way we don't get blood on our hands) and it landed on the floor, he stomped on it with flat shoes, and it started flying again, so he stomped on it again, and it started flying. He stomped on it 5 times before it died, so we called it the devil mosquito. We are still worried that it will come back to life to get us. 

Besides that all is going well

Thank you all for your prayers and support!
Love you all,
Elder Nielson

PS:  I am leaving the MTC the 7th of October.

Sun burn after doing a service project outside.

Just having fun! (before the haircut)

 My haircut. Pretty short so sporting the mini faux hawk!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Week 3!!!!!

Buenas Dias!

This week has been a pretty good one! I've just been in the daily routine of classes, studying, teaching, and playing. Not much new stuff has actually happened this week.
The weather here has been fantastic! It has rained a couple of days but only one of the days did it rain super hard.

We asked what the CCM (Mexican Mission Training Center) was like.
The CCM is pretty big, with a huge wall all the way around ( A rock wall, with metal fencing, and barbed wire circles at the top, like a prison (Hence why one of the nicknames of the CCM is "Spirit Prison")) There are six classroom buildings with about 12 classrooms in each, the buildings are in a layout of 2 by 3.  They are by the Comedor (Cafeteria) and the Thomas S. Monson building (Investigator rooms study area, etc.) The other half of the CCM is devoted to the casas, there are 51 casas with 5 rooms in each. The rooms are nice and big... except ours, ours is the weird one. Ours has a little hallway with a couple chairs and a bench desk thing. Our room is through the short hallway and it is smaller than the others, but apparently our shower is bigger than everyone else.

The most amazing thing we do is teach the fake investigators, because when we are in there the spirit is so strong, not only teaching, but giving us the gift of tongues. When we are teaching the fake investigators the Spanish just rolls off of my tongue and I understand every word, it is incredible.

Our new pretend investigators have agreed to be baptized which is good! The new investigators also have harder problems and harder questions. For example this week our fake investigator "Eric" has to make the decision whether or not to take his mom of life support after the car crash that killed his father and brother, and put her in a coma. This was definitely a hard and delicate thing to teach, but I believe that we did it.

Our gym time is still devoted to soccer. We play soccer so much that my shoes already look like I've been playing for a year, they are pretty worn out ha ha:) But it is always fun to play and relieve the stress that builds up.

These past couple days my roommates and I have started doing the push-up challenge. For those of you who don't know what the push-up challenge is; It is when you start done day by doing 25 push-ups. Then everyday you increase the number you do by 5. Yesterday was my 70 day, it was difficult, but I managed to do my 70 pushups in a row. Tonight is 75 and I'm ready for the challenge! I can't wait to make it to 100 though :)

This week my back muscles that have given me trouble the past year or so seized up again and were really painful. They made it hurt to breath, sit, talk, or  pretty much do anything. Saturday night I had my roommates give me a priesthood blessing which helped so much, within two days I was able to do everything I wanted. Even though it is healed I can still feel that they are really tight. I am stretching and taking preventative measures, but I would appreciate it if everyone would pray for my back to loosen up and not cause me pain.

This week I got a package from my family with some treats and it made my day. It made everyone jealous because I have received 2 packages whereas most have received none. But I shared my treats with everyone.;)

In class they don't actually teach that much Spanish. They teach us a couple things, but it is all review of the simple stuff we know. All of the Spanish that we learn is on our own during personal study time and during class (In the aspect that the whole class is taught in Spanish). During class time we usually do many things, we learn the fundamentals of the gospel and conversion, we study them, We discuss some preach my gospel. But the main thing we do Is practice teaching, and every time we do we learn something new, whether it be how to use preach my gospel, how to plan a lesson, how to use the book of Mormon and introduction, and so on and so forth.
Sunday was good again and the spirit was so string. We watched the Testaments so I had to tell everyone about "Papadwa" (What i call my dad every since we watched that movie for the first time) It made so many memories come back and reminded me of the good times at home. 

Monday night was pretty special because it was Mexico's Independence Day, so our nighttime classes were canceled (YES!) and we got to have a fiesta! Well as much of a fiesta as you can have at the MTC (CCM) ;) We got to watch some traditional Mexican Dancers which was really fun and relaxing. I've always thought it was cool what the dancers could do with the traditional swirly dresses,so it was a fun activity.

Tuesday night we had a devotional broadcast from the Provo MTC where Richard G. Scott spoke abouty prayer and it was awesome. It taught me so much about prayer that I didn't ever know. But I do know that we can pray to our Heavenly Father and he always wants to hear from us and speak to us, no matter what.

Besides that I'm just living and loving :)

Love you all!
Elder Nielson :)

in front of my Casa

My fake mustache on Mexican Independence day

Two others and myself took turns drawing one part of a drawing until we had a full drawing and I had to get a picture       with it :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Week 2, I can make it through!!

Buenos Dias! 

Week 2 in the CCM has gone by alot faster than the first week. I've finally gotten into the routine which definitely helps time go by much faster. Every day is basically spent learning, studying, preparing, and teaching. Our first practice investigator is over which is kind of bittersweet. It's nice knowing we made it through and she didn't ever slam the door in our face, but she was replaced with TWO new "investigators." So now not only do we have double the amount of teaching but the new investigators are much more difficult because they don't automatically accept or agree with everything we say. They are fake investigators but they are both based on real investigators that our teacher had, so they have a complete backstory and personality and everything which makes it much harder but more realistic which is nice. 

My spanish is coming along nicely and I am understanding more and more and am starting to be able to speak more quickly. Every day I pray in spanish and teach in spanish, but i still speak english to my companion (we will see how much longer that lasts). I still have a long way to go but  I definitely feel like I am making progress. 

This week was also awesome because Sunday was incredible. Every Sunday is stress free because there is no class and no teaching assignments. All day is just spent studying, Church meetings, and devotionals. The best part of Sunday though is the night time. Every Sunday night we watch church movies. This is nice because it is time to relax and unwind, but the real best part about it is that they are super spiritual and you can always feel the spirit testifying to you. It makes every hardship and trial here worth it. Afterwards we have a testimony meeting where we reflect on what we learned from the movies. Our last one was so incredible, as we talked and listened my whole body burned with the knowledge that God loves us and sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and pa for our sins so that we can return to live with God. It was absolutely incredible. 

The following things that happened will let you know that I am still the Taylor Nielson that you all know :)

This week we bought some index cards from the tienda (Often used to make language flash cards) and we used them to make playing cards. So today in the morning while our laundry was washing we playing some games, well I guess one game, Oh Heck. It was really fun and everyone seemed to enjoy it after I finished teaching it. But now we have 2 decks of index card playing cards that we can use on P-days :)

This week My roomates and I initiated Operation "Lunch Box." As I mentioned before there isn't much at each meal and there aren't really snacks around so often times we have the munchies at night or in the middle of the day. Operation Lunch Box was when we took some small trash bags in my companions satchel and filled them up with as much cereal as we could. In total I think we got about 10 bowls of Pops and 10 Bowls of Fruit Loops which we took back to our room. So yes, Operation Lunch Box was definitely a success!

Another great moment from this week was on Tuesday. I was really craving some sugar and sweets (Our meals have 0 sugar) but i didn't have any. But suddenly I got a slip of paper letting me know that I had received a package. My grandparents sent me a package from I opened it up and it was loaded with candy! My day was made! Plus it made my companion and every one else in my district super jealous!

Besides all that I'm just basically going along, living, learning, and loving every minute of it. I miss you all so much, but I want you to know that you are all capable of great things. Stay goldend and live life to the fullest. And always live knowing that God truly loves you.

Love you all!
Elder Nielson

P.S. I have an hour to email and so far I don't have enough people emailing me to fill it all up, so I would definitely love your emails to hear how your guys's lives are going :)
Questions he answered: 
Have you eaten anything crazy? Craziest things I have eaten... I haven't really eaten anything crazy... But one day we had curly fries and I almost cried! I didn't realize how much i miss American food! I definitely miss my mashed potatoes and gravy, and of course my Jack Tacos.
Spiritual Highs? My spiritual high was definitely the sunday night that i describe in my letter to everyone. 
How is your District? (a group of people he is associated with while in the training center)  
My district is super awesome. I'm pretty sure that everyone in my district was the funniest and craziest one in their friend group, so I definitely fit. We have 2 kids who are super strict which can be annoying sometimes but they also help keep us in line.
Have you seen anyone you know? 
I have seen Derek Wasden who is a kid who worked with me at System Kleen, I have also seen Rocky Mountain's star basketball player. But I haven't seen anyone you would know.  
What do you do on P-day?  (P-day stands for preparation day. A day usually once a week to accomplish cleaning, laundry, laundry, shopping etc.)
Every week on p-day we have to do laundry on our own. On p-day we also have to clean our own rooms in our casa (Sweeping, toilet, sink, etc.). Every Tuesday we also have an hour of service which is spent deep cleaning different casas or the kitchen of the comedor or other things like that. I definitely understand more spanish, but the amount we speak it hasn't increased besides the occasional conversation with a latino.  

Elder Willardson ​CompaƱero y yo (my companion and me)
My District

 ​Elder Eschenberg (he is 6'4". When I reach my arm straight up, my wrist is at the top of his head)

Typical Meal
Operation Lunchbox! Success!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My first week, and welcome to it!

Buenas Dias!

This week has  been an incredible week!
I got here from the airport at about 5 or 6 o'clock on Wednesday and got placed into a zone, district, and companionship. I am in Zone 11, Branch B, and my companion is Elder Willardson (I'll get to him later). Then began the whole week. Everyday we wake up and have studies in language, gospel topics, and other events. Every day we have to prepare for "out night time" event which is when we teach an investigator in spanish! After that we return to our casa (house) where four of us share a room. Then the next day it begins all over again. It is incredible how much we get done, but our 16 hour days are pretty long.

Our investigator (a pretend one who will become our teacher soon) is Ana. We have taught her three lessons that were a half hour each completely in spanish. The first one was so nerve wracking that I'm sure Ana could smell our fear! But after that the lessons slowly became easier and easier. She has committed to be baptized and is working on keeping the commandments in order to do so. As I said, the lessons became easier to teach, and I know that it is because the gift of tongues is real and is so powerful. When I used to listen to spanish I would translate it all in  my head for it to make sense, which would cause me to miss the next phrase or sentence that was said. But now when I listen I don't translate it in my head and it just makes sense, it is incredible. I still have a long way to go, but the gift of tongues has truly blessed me while I am here.

My companion is Elder Willardson and he is awesome. He is from southern Texas and we are pretty identical. On more than one occasion we have said the same things and have told each other that we are basically the same person. He plays soccer too which makes picking the gym time activity every day much easier than it could be. He is really good and we dominate the court every time. We play on a caged basketball court that has soccer goals built in under the hoops (Gotta love Mexico). There are usually 3 or 4 teams who play  5 on 5 and it is golden goal (First goal wins) and King of the court so the winners get to stay on. The other day we stayed on for 8 games in a row! I've played against some of the best soccer players I ever have and I have played the best I ever have while here. My indoor shoes also work really well on the court because it is cement and not grass.

The food here is different in so many ways. It is actually pretty good and I enjoy almost all of it (except the fish). The serving sizes are alot smaller so the first couple days I thought I was going to starve, but after the first couple days your stomach shrinks and your body fills up so much easier. The food is good, but sometimes your stomach doesn't agree with your taste buds. The first week is known as the time when you start to become mexican, inside and out, but until it is over sometime you feel sick after eating. My goal was to not gain 5 pounds, but I'm pretty sure that I have already lost some weight just because you eat much less and feel full from it. I am eating all my fruits, vegitables, and dairy, just for you mom ;)

The Spanish learning is going well. I speak spanish in class and lots of the time with my companion. But luckily it isn't 24/7 Spanish. Even with only part of the day being Spanish I feel like I am really progressing quickly.

Just to answer a couple questions I have received really fast
Favorite moment:
My favorite moment was when we were playing soccer and my companion had 3 defenders on him so he kicked it up over there heads and I did a 360 degree turn and volleyed (kick the ball out of the air) into the goal and scored. It was easily the coolest thing I have ever done and people still talk about it.

Favorite food:
My favorite food has been the enchiladas, they are nothing like American enchiladas and taste super delicious.

Am I having fun:
Yes, I am having so much fun! Even though we study so much we still have time to make each other (everyone in the district) die laughing. I can honestly say I don't think I have laughed this much in my whole life and it is wonderful.

I think that is pretty much my first week, 
Until next week
Elder Nielson