Called to Serve

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Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012--Week 13

¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡Buenas tardes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Soooooo.... I´m going to try to talk about me again this week since that´s what I´ve been told to do :) but, I did realllllly enjoy hearing from all of you and all the new stuff that´s going on this week!  I´m almost out of time already since I just sent some pictures.  They take a really long time to attach.  I sent them all in separate emails, so I hope they all just come through right away this time.

San José:
So, we went to Tuxtla this week, as I said in the picture emails.  It was awesome to see Elder Turner again and basically just be able to speak Spanish with him this time around.  It was funny to compare how I felt between the last time I was in the mission offices (my first day) and this week.  It was funny to be there without being completely nervous to try to talk to someone in public haha...

Anyway, investigators:

We lacked two days from going to Tuxtla, and they were Thursday and Friday (huge teaching days since we usually do a lot of scheduling Tuesday and Wednesday and a lot of teaching the rest of the week), so our numbers took a large hit from that, and we didn´t get all the things done that we wanted to.  It´s ok though, because it´s pretty necessary that I be legal here...

Cesar (I told you guys about him last week) we could not find.  It´s difficult sometimes.  And frustrating because he´s soooo great when we find him... But he works all the time and is hardly ever home.  We´re going to try to schedule a baptismal date with him this week though.

Albertina:  this lady is a little bit crazy.  She´s 29 years old, speaks a little bit of English, and is married to a gringo who lives in Tijuana (who only speaks a little bit of spanish... not sure how that worked out).  But she´s golden.  She keeps all her committments, and we´ve seen her change so much in the last month.  It´s incredible.  She´s getting baptized the 9th (even though she´s already ready.... she just won´t move her date up haha).  We´re really excited! 

I´ve got to go :( love you all!!!!!

Con amor,
Elder Nickerl

This lovely contraption is our kitchen sink/washing machine.  Also our front door is off to the right.

Me in the rain.  :)

My hammock is a good friend of mine... when we went to Tuxtla this week I had to sleep on a bed.  I didn´t like it any more and was very grateful to get back to my hammock the next night.

The hammock is fairly good sized as well.  I´m a big fan of it.

Elder Turner and I when we had to go to Tuxtla this week to get our papers all worked out (I´m officially legal here for a year now).

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 20, 2012--Week 12

Glad you guys got my emails from last week.  And, now you have the username/password combo just in case something like that happens again.  I´m not going to send more pictures today... I´ll try to take some more of me and Elder Howell.  And I´ll take one of my hammock as well :)

So as to answer your preguntas...

1.  We email each week from a little ciber lobby.  Here they just call them "ciberes".  It´s not pronounced like a Spanish word though... just like cibers.  Yes the keyboards are different--that´s why my apostrophes look like accents.  Because they are actually accents haha.  (acentos así <--)
2.  My blisters are doing much better.  Almost gone now actually.  I´m getting used to walking so much, and everything is getting much better on that front.  Thank you so much for your prayers!  Also, the rain season has officially started, and it´s raining every day now.  So the weather is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy nicer.  It´s actually not that bad any more. 
3.  The rule with is technically only your immediate family is supposed to email you through the service.  So for the sake of obedience through dearelder would be best.  I should be having zone conference some time this week (we still don´t know the exact day), so I think I would get them then.

Thanks for letting me know about prom and stuff!  I loved the pictures!  I would like to respond more to your emails, but according to orders of Mom I´m going to be talking about only me here for the next 12 minutes (til I get off) :p so... Oh but I did actually want to say real quick how excited I am for Taylor!  Tell him I´m super psyched for him.  La gente hispanica es una gente muy especial.  Here´s the update on el área San José:

First of all, I gave a discourse in Sacrament meeting yesterday.  I was reallllllly nervous because the bishop asked me to prepare something in case two of the speakers didn´t show.  And it was pouring when we walked to church, so actually only one of the other speakers showed up.  Needless to say, I gave my talk.  I was the first one to speak after the Sacrament, so at least I didn´t have to sit there the whole meeting anticipating it.  Once I got up the the pulpit, I wasn´t nervous any more.  I definitely had a ton of divine help, because I gave a 10 minute talk in Spanish on being an example of the believers by using 6 bulleted points that I felt I actually delivered pretty well. 

On that note, my Spanish is skyrocketing.  I understand what people are saying more and more.  I´ve been working during my language study on watching videos (La Restauración, Los Testamentos, etc) in Spanish and trying to translate them to English, and I´m getting pretty good at it.  I really don´t ever have problems communicating a point from my end, and the understanding is really coming :) I´m pretty psyched. 

Just wanted to tell you about one investigator we have right now in specific.  I don´t have too much time left, but we´ve been teaching a man who has 38 years (i think), and we´re going to invite him to be baptized this week.  This is super exciting because he has two little girls and a wife as well (that will be moving back in with him soon.  They haven´t been living together) and we´re really hoping for the chance to teach his wife as well so that they can be sealed in a year.

Well, I´ve got to go!  Love you tons!

Con amor,
Elder Nickerl

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012--Week 11

Dear Family,

MOM, I FORGOT TO TELL YOU HAPPY MOTHER´S DAY ON MOTHERS DAY!!!!!!!!! Mother's Day here was Thursday so I totally forgot :( sorry.  Happy Mother´s Day a day late.  Me alegro tanto que tú eres mi mamá y que he tenido la oportunidad de aprender en mi vida de alguién tan fuerte y amorosa como tú.  ¡¡¡Te amo mucho!!!

First of all, here is my direction:

Manzana 10 casa 1
Calle Rio Negro
Fraccionamiento Texcuyuapan
Tapachula, Chiapas

Sorry, I don´t have a zip code.... That would probably make things a lot easier for you, but we don´t know what it is.  I hope that´s enough for you to be able to find us on google maps :

I´m going to write letters today.  I haven´t been able to do any individual correspondence because there just isn´t enough time to email.  So I´m going to write today. 

Next of all I´m going to send some pictures.  I´m just trying to give you a glimpse of my world down here :) although google maps can probably do that too... Also, take note of what the street looks like when it rains.  It´s great.

I have to go if I want to get more pictures attached, but I really love and miss all of you!  Talking to you last night was awesome!  It made me sad because it wasn´t really enough time, especially not to talk to each of you and see how you´re doing, but it was great.  

I hope each one of you is doing well, and amongst your busy lives, remembering what is really the most important:  the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Adam, Jared, Jacob, and Anna, always remember that there are people, whether people who you will teach on you mission, or your children, that there are people whose salvation depends on your willingness to serve them and your testimony.  The Lord has a great work in mind for each member of our family, and if you keep progressing in His Gospel, you will truly be prepared to be instruments in His hands to work miracles in the lives of those around you.  

I love you all!

Con amor,

Elder Andrew Nickerl

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012--Week 10

RE:  Hola from Tapachula :)


I´m so glad that I finally get to email!!!!  I have so much to say and I´m not really sure where to start....

First of all, quick item of business:

I will be calling Sunday night after all.  It will be 7:20-8pm our time, so I believe that is 5:20-6 your time.  So I do get to call on Mother´s Day :) Actually though, I don´t call, you guys do.  The number is 962-620-5949 (that´s the church here).  We think the country code is 01, but we´re not positive, so if you could check online that would be best.  And if for some reason I don´t answer the first time, just keep calling, because I would be really sad if I missed the call haha.

Next, comp/area:

Tuesday afternoons we met our companions and got assigned areas.  I was the only gringo to get another gringo comp.  I was really relieved by that.  His name is Elder Howell, and he´s from Cali.  North LA area I believe.  I´ve loved working with him this week, and I´m learning a ton very quickly.  We´re serving in the San Jose, Tapachula area.  Our area is a maze, so I´m really glad that Elder Howell has already been here 4 transfers.  It´ll take me some time to figure out.  So, pretty much right after I got told where we were going, we got on a bus and left.  It was about a 6 hour drive from Tuxtla to Tapachula. 

So, both Tapachula and Tuxtla are not jungle.  I think the only area in the mission that really is is San Cristobal and the surrounding areas.  But, Chiapas is absolutely beautiful.  Suffocatingly hot and humid (quite a bit more humid than South Carolina actually), but also beautiful.  However, it really is a completely different world here.  I really can´t explain it without sending pictures (and when I do I still don´t think they´ll do justice--also, that would be something great to have in a package, a card reader, because I don´t think I have the cord to hook up my camera to a computer), but I´ll confirm a few "rumors" real quick.  We do not have hot water (that´s not really a big deal showering in the mornings though because I would not want to shower in hot water here--it´s already to hot), and yes we do wash our clothes by hand.  We´ll be doing that this afternoon.  Also, there are beds to sleep in, but I haven´t been too psyched to sleep in it so far.  It´s not terrible, but I want to try a hammock.  So that´s another item on my list of things to buy today.  Also, we definitely don´t sleep with blankets.  It´s sooooooo hot and humid, and we don´t have AC.  Our lifeline the two fans that we have.  I sleep with one right next to my face every night.  All the houses here, even the nice ones, would be considered horrible by American standards.  Not too many have AC, and they are really just so different.  It took some adjusting, but I love it.  The way of life here is really simple and relaxed (not quite so relaxed for us, we don´t really stop going :) ), and the people are so warm and friendly and always offer us drinks and food whenever we teach or just stop by. 

Apparently I speak Spanish pretty well.  Somebody told us earlier this week that I have a better accent than Elder Howell.  I´m pretty sure that´s not true (he´s been out about 13 months), but I´m glad that I speak well.  Something I´ve said a lot this week is "Lo chistoso es que hablo mejor que entiento", which means: "The funny thing is that I speak better than I understand".  Because I really have a tough time understanding people here.  I understand infinitely more already than I did when I got here, and I carry on a fairly normal conversation, but when two natives are talking, I catch about 50% of what they say.  They say some funny stuff here I hadn´t heard before, but I´m getting used to the Spanish they speak here, and I think I´ll be pretty close to fluent by the end of the month. 

We´ve been working hard this week.  I have a massive blister on each foot.  It´s not really too much fun, but I´m glad.  It means we´re doing what we´re supposed to, and they´ll go away soon.  Sorry I don´t have more time to type, I could type all day, but my hour is almost up, and I´ve got to go buy a hammock :) Also, we´re going to Walmart this afternoon, and I´ve never been so excited to go to Walmart in my life.  I get to have a little taste of America again. 

Oh and I´m super excited for you to take a Spanish class!!! That´s awesome.  I hope it goes well!

Love you all lots and I´ll talk to you Sunday!

Con amor,
Elder Nickerl

Sunday, May 6, 2012

MTC Photos: Part II

Elder Nickerl with his companion, Elder Rhodes and with Elder Draper.

 About half-way through his MTC time, Elder Nickerl saw some new elders moving into the room next door. To his surprise, one of the Elders was his best friend from 6th grade, Elder Alema Domingez.  What a great surprise to be so close to someone that he already knew and loved.

Elder Nickerl with his favorite MTC instructor, Brother Barnard.

Two more instructors:  Brother Gamez and Brother Wood.

The District before they all head out into the field.