Hello family :)
I want to talk a little bit about the concept of happiness. A lot of people in the world seem to think that happiness means the absence of difficulty and trials. To be blunt, that´s wrong. Completely off-track. Here are the scriptures for today: Doctrine and Covenants 24:8, John 16:33, Doctrine and Covenants 101:36.
Life was never supposed to be easy. It´s actually supposed to be our refining fire. As we exercise our physical bodies, we have to break down the muscles so that they become stronger. The same thing happens to us spiritually. As we learn to apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement to our lives in the midst of our trials, we learn, grow, and become more worthy of our heavenly home. What I have come to learn here is that true happiness is very similar to the word "peace". That peace comes from making, and keeping sacred covenants with our Father in Heaven--living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we do so, we are not promised that our trials will be taken from us, but that in the midst of them, we will be at peace. I love the scripture in John. In Spanish, instead of saying "be of good cheer", it says "confiad"--Christ says "Trust in me, I have overcome the world." We, as our older brother and Savior, can overcome the world by just following Him and keeping our covenants. This is illustrated in the last scriptures that I want to share: Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-8 and 122:7. It shall be as a short moment, and shall be for our good—for our eternal good. We were not sent here to fail and fall under the tribulation and temptation, rather triumph over it all and, with the help of our Savior, become even as He is.
So, this week in a nutshell... it´s been a fast, fast week and I don´t remember that much, even though I know a lot happened! We’re hoping to move this week to Margaritas, which is my favorite place in this area. It´s a pretty little town about 20 minutes away. It’s expensive to go there because the combis charge a ton. All of our investigators are there, so we’ve been spending a lot of money on that, and we keep finding new people there and we keep not finding new people around where we live. We have two investigators there who we´re going to invite this week to be baptized on the 16th. They're a young couple that´s going to be married soon. The young man is a friend of a return missionary in Balún Canán, and so he´s helped us out a lot with giving us the referral and helping us to teach them. We have another investigator there as well who has read almost all of the Book of Mormon. Yesterday he stopped at 3 Nephi 11 (good point to pick up reading again). We´re kind of afraid that he´s going to turn into an eternal investigator because he won´t accept a baptismal date and he´s definitely receiving answers to his prayers, but he wants to "conocer más" (learn more... and more... and more...). But, hopefully after reading all of the Book of Mormon that´s not the case.
Another cool thing that happened this week was that we ate with my favorite member family in the branch Saturday (the mom and dad are both RM´s, and they always give us referrals and come with us to appointments and stuff). I had mentioned to them about a month back that I was going to hit the half way point this week, and they bought me a cake. So that was cool. I was really impressed and touched that they remembered and made that extra effort for me.
Sorry, I´m out of time or I could probably ramble for a while longer :) but anyway, I love you all so, so much and I pray for you constantly. Thank you for all of your support!
I love you all!
Con mucho amor,
Elder Andrew Nickerl
We got to be fire-fighters. We probably should have run to put the fire out right away instead of taking the picture first, but I figured it was already pretty burnt and 10 seconds more wasn´t going to make it all that much worse. After taking the picture, we formed part of the bucket-brigade and put it out. There weren´t any more buckets for me, so I stole the dogs water dish (a huge water dish).
This is our humble church building. When there´s not a ward there, and the branch has a place to meet that´s not quite a chapel, in the U.S. do they call it the "house of prayer" or "prayer house" or neither of the two? Because here it´s the "Casa de Oración".
We had zone conference this week. Elder Perez (who was in my district in Huixtla for 3 changes and is the same one who trained Elder Scott) got changed to be a zone leader in the Tzotzil zone, so we see each other at zone conferences. It was cool to see him and hear a few updates on Huixtla (he was the district leader after I left so he could tell me a little bit about how it was when he left). I was super excited to learn that Elder Esparza and his comp baptized two of the investigators that we had found there my last week.
This is my zone. Also at the zone conference. Not too much else to comment here.
This is my comp and me at the zone conference. I didn´t tell you too much about him last week because of the lack of time, but he´s awesome and we get along really well. It took a little bit of adjusting to be able to understand how he talks just because of the difference in the accent and vocab (I´m learning Peruvian Spanish now too), but we get along great, he´s a great missionary, and I´m really grateful for the chance to be his companion.
We had a visitor in our house. It kind of reminded me of how we had tarantulas in Huixtla. I liked the scorpion a lot more because it was smaller and not hairy like the tarantulas.
Freezing in the back of the pick up truck. I´m not sure how cold it was, but it felt really, really cold.