Called to Serve

Daisypath Vacation tickers

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012--Week 17

Buenos días Presidente:
Cada semana es mejor que la última.  El área de San José realmente es increible.  Los miembros del barrio siempre están dispuestos a ayudarnos y apoyarnos en lo que nesecitemos, y esta semana casi la mitad de nuestras lecciones se ensenaron con miembros presente. 
También, nuestro asistencia sigue mejorando cada semana.  Esta semana tuvimos 97 en la iglesia, y casi logramos nuestra meta de 100.  Familias menos activas y más investigadores llegan. 
Tenemos ahorita un hermano que es muy bueno con una fecha bautismal para el 7 de julio.  Ha dejado de tomar, y ya ha llegado dos veces en la iglesia.  Todavia tenemos algunos investigadores que se impeden por no llegar a la iglesia, entonces una meta que tenemos en la samana que viene es ayudar cada uno de ellos resolver sus dudas y hacer y guardar sus compromisos, especialmente el de llegar a la iglesia.
He aprendido mucho esta semana en mi estudio personal.  Estoy terminando el primér libro de Nefi en El Libro de Mormón, y de su ejemplo de diligencia en obediencia a los mandamientos del Señor, aunque sus hermanos siempre tratan de impedirlo, me ha ayudado en esforzarme por siempre estar obediente.

Hello family!

Here I am at another Monday.  When next Monday comes around I will have had as much time in the field as I had in the MTC.  Four months already.  That´s pretty crazy for me.  Thanks so much for sending pictures this week!  It´s great to see how things are going back home.  Mom, it looks like crossfit has been working well for you--you look great!  Keep up the good work!

Update on San José:

We’re going to be having another baptism the 7th of July!  Salvador, who we started teaching two weeks ago (and was drunk the first time we taught him), has stopped drinking, and has been to church each Sunday since then.  The only downside of this is that his wife doesn´t really like us (although she has become quite a bit more happy with us since he stopped drinking) and won´t listen to our lessons.  With a little bit of time though I´m sure she´ll become a lot more open and ready to accept the Gospel. 

We´ve had a little bit of trouble finding Cesar again this week.  He works a ton and that can be a problem a lot of the time.  We´re hopefully going to find him tonight though and set a baptismal date for him for the 14th.   

We have a lot of people who are progressing right now that should have baptismal dates right now, but have a couple things impeding them.  For example, we´re teaching a mom and two daughters who are really animated (not sure how I would translate that well in English... "excited" just sounds like a weird word there) to listen to us, but the dad makes them go to church with him every week and won´t let them come to ours.  There´s also a really old couple (like REALLY old, I can understand aproximatley 4% of what the old man says) that´s going to be married within the next couple weeks, and then they can get baptized as well.  They´re awesome, even though I can´t understand a blessed thing they say.  A sentence that Victoriano (the husband) says sounds about like this to me: "a aflkañsdjf aeifa ñf e jñaiefja ef jñefjaw e "lamina" (which is like a metal sheet that people use for roofing here) asldkjfaeñi jfefjefj ji aiefjñe "luz" lkasjdf jñjieife".  It goes something like that anyway.  His wife can´t talk or hear, but she just always smiles and is really happy and gives us thumbs up.  I´m really excited for them to be able to be baptized!  Also, there is another family that Elder Howell and Elder Rios taught for a while before I got here who moved out of town my first week that is moving back into the ward.  They´re also going to be getting married within a couple of weeks and they also have a 9-year old that are all going to be baptized right after that!

Something cool that we have going this week is that there is a priest in a ward who is going to be accompanying us all week.  He´ll be with us from 8 in the morning when we start our studies until 9:30 pm when we finish planning, and then he´ll go to his house to sleep.  His name is Mario, and he´s Adam and Jared´s age.  He actually reminds me a lot of you guys other than that he doesn´t speak English and that he´s about a foot shorter.  But he´s awesome and it´s going to be a really good opportunity for us to help one of the young men see a little bit about how missionary work really is.  He started with us yesterday, and it was reallllllly good to have someone there that forces us to speak Spanish all the time and to just be an example for. 

Funny story from yesterday:  Elder Howell and I were doing divisions so that we could pass for all the people that were supposed to be coming to church.  Mario and I went by Gabriel´s house.  This part of the story is not that funny because Gabriel didn´t come to church.  But his dad came out after I woke him up banging on the door and was not very happy with us.  Anyway, we went toward the church and when we were almost there a drunk guy that stopped us and was asking us about Joseph Smith (that happens all the time).  We were almost late, so I told him that I we needed to go, but that we´d like to invite him to come to church.  He said he´d go put his bike away and then come.  He was reallllly drunk, so I didn´t think he´d even remember, but 5 minutes later, he actually showed up.  We weren´t sure what to do, because we started walking into the chapel right before Sacrament meeting started and he started yelling greetings to the whole congregation (he wasn´t being antagonistic or anything, he was just really happy to be there and very drunk), so we took him out to a different room and just talked with him a little bit, gave him a word of wisdom pamphlet, took down his address, and told him we´d come back and talk to him when he wasn´t as drunk. 

That´s about all I have to report this week.  I love you all!!

Con amor,
Elder Nickerl

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18, 2012--Week 16

Esta semana ha sido muy buena.  Aunque no enseñamos muchos lecciónes, tenemos investigadores que realmente están progresando.  Tuvimos este jueves una actividad misional, en que vimos "José Smith: El Profeta de la Restauración".  Vinieron muchos investigadores y menos activos, y por eso también tuvimos más asistencia por miembros y investigadores en la iglesia ayer que hemos tenide desde llegué.  Dos de los hermanos que llegaron a la iglesia ayer asistieron por la primera vez, y están tomando pasos hacia el bautismo.
Por la falta que tuvimos de lecciones, también tuvimos más contactos que hemos tenido desde llegué esta semana, y tenemos muchas citas esta semana para regresar a esas personas.  También, despues de algunas horas de contactar sin poder hablar con nadie, nuestro final contacto antes de la comida encontramos un hombre que es bien bueno.  Se llama Fernando, tiene 50 años, su mamá y hermano son miembros, y se ha invitado a la iglesia muchas veces, sólo no ha asistido por algunas cositas en su vida.  Leemos con el Alma 34, y explicamos que ahora es el tiempo que nesecita hacer esos cambios en su vida y acercarse a Dios.  Fue muy especial para mí a ver como Dios nos da oportunidades así cuando trabajamos con diligencia.
¡¡Buenas días!!

Couple quick things:

1.  I´m not sure if it´s going to work out yet, but I´m working on seeing if I can send a package home.  If I know it won´t get there or if it´s something ridiculously expensive like 500 pesos to send I won´t be sending it.  Anyway, I would like to know the favorite combination of colors of each of my siblings (like 2 colors:  more or less a one for background and one for letters). 
2.  I was thinking if anybody has questions they want to ask me if you guys could make a separate email for questions each week that would help me.  I think I usually do a pretty good job of answering moms, but by the time I start to type the email, I forget any that anyone else may have questions. 
3.  Thank you very much for sending a new charger!  We get mail every change (at zone conference or interviews), so each 6 weeks.  For the rest of this change Elder Howell just sends pictures the same way I did.  The baptism picture I sent was actually from his camera, so that will be a solution until the new charger either gets here or until he switches. 
4.  The questions I found in your email:  I don´t have clippers, although I´m thinking about buying some, but the bishop does, and we just use his when we need to.  And yes, the Gift of Tongues is very real.  It´s still kind of funny to look at the difference of how well I understand someone when we´re contacting or teaching a lesson as compared to when I´m buying something at the store. 
5.  I just realized when I mentioned the Bishop in the last point that I haven’t talked about him really all that much.  Obispo Tadeo is really, really awesome.  He’s really young.  His oldest daughter I think is 10 or 11.  He´s always incredibly busy because he´s an awesome bishop, but he always takes the time to talk with us and offer whatever help he can.  An awesome example is how he took the time to help us put together the missionary activity that we had this week and made sure we had a projector/computer/popcorn and just everything to make it awesome. 

This week has been pretty crazy.  Probably the best one that I´ve had in seeing progress in the lives of those we are teaching.  The funny thing is that we had tons of appointments fall this week.  We usually teach a little bit more than 15 each week, and this week we only had 11.  But we had a ton of people at church, and we´ve definitely got some really good baptisms coming up.  We started teaching one man this week (random rant about frustration with English:  in Spanish, you just say things how they are.  For example "Ahhhhh sí la gordita que vive por allá" is not rude or offensive even though it was just said "Ohhh yeah that fat lady who lives over there".  Really, we started teaching a viejito, an old guy, this week.)  But anyway, he has been trying to stop drinking for a long time now, and after our lesson Tuesday on the word of wisdom he has not drank/drunk/whatever the right word is (sólo sé que no ha tomado desde entonces).  It´s incredible what the Lord can do for us when we show our faith in him and keep trying, even when times are tough.  Also, Cesar attended church for the first time this week.  It definitely took much longer than we wanted to get him there, but he had a really good experience and he´s really progressing toward baptism as well.  AND we´re going to be able to start talking with his wife soon.  Which is awesome because baptizing matrimonies is way better than just baptizing one person because they can get sealed in a year!!!!  I don´t think they say "matrimonies" like that in English.... what´s the real word other than "couples"?  It´s all really cool to think about your English starting to go away as you learn more Spanish until it actually happens.  The learning more Spanish part is cool, just not the forgetting English.  And I still have an American comp so this is ridiculous that I´m forgetting my English.  There are just some words that we always say in Spanish.  Anyway, the point is that we´re just really excited to start teaching both of them.  That´s really the reason everything is so, so, so worth dropping life for two years, coming to Chiapas, and walking around all day, rain or blazing sun.  If they choose to do what the Lord wants them to do, they can be sealed in the temple with their two little girls in a year as an eternal family.  And I will have had the opportunity to have helped them just a little bit to get there.  That is the reason that mission call packets say (I don´t remember how exactly it says it but something like this) "More happiness than you have before experienced await you as you serve the Lord in this labor of love among His children."

I am so incredibly gratefully that the Lord has trusted me enough to give me this opportunity to serve him among the people here, and although it seems tough at times, and all that happens in a day is that our appointments fall and afterwards we just get rejected door after door, the people who´s lives are changed when they accept and begin to live by the Gospel of Jesus Christ make is more than worth it. 

I love you all tons and hope you´re doing well.  Enjoy summer and all that stuff!

Con amor,
Elder Nickerl

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012--Week 15

Aquí anda (they use "andar" here sometimes instead of "estar") mi carta al presidente:

Esta semana bautizamos a la Hermana Albertina Velazquez Pereyra.  Encontramos a ella mi segundo día, y hemos visto un gran cambio en ella en el último mes.  Eso fue una experiencia muy especial para mí, y me dio mucho animo de trabajar con mas diligencia para que podamos llevar el gozo que trae bautismo y progresión en el Evangelio a mas gente aquí en el área San José. 
Algo que hicemos muy bien esta semana fue nuestro invitaciones.  Aprendimos que realmente sólo hay que hacerlas.  Mediante eso, podíamos ayudar resolver muchas dudas que tenían nuestras investigadores.  Algunas cosas en que nos vamos a enfocar esta semana son los siguientes:
1.  Hacer hincapié en las invitaciones.  Si nuestros investigadores no guardan sus compromisos, no ganan fe.  Vamos a planear mejor en centrar las lecciónes en las invitaciones, y explicar mejor nuestro proposito en invitarles a venir a Cristo, y que no van a acercarse a Él sin leer, orar, y asistir a la iglesia.
2.  Tener mas investigadores en la iglesia.  Esta semana, vamos a pedir los numeros de todos nuestros investigadores para que podamos hablar con ellos el sabado antes.  También, nuestra primera meta de hacer hincapié en invitaciones ayudará nuestros investigadores a hacer esto al reconocer la importancia de eso.

¡Buenas tardes!
So, just a couple of things real quickly that I wanted to say last week that weren´t necessarily super important (actually a couple of them are maybe) but I just wanted to say. 

1.  I sent some packages in the MTC my last week.  I know you got the one with they hymn books (and MTC books and stuff, right?), but I sent one with a sweater and my extra set of Spanish scriptures, and I´m not sure if that one got there too.
2.  My camera charger is very MIA.  Not good.  I looked for it like an hour last p-day and could not find it.  It leads me to believe that it is gone.  So if you had some way of getting another one of those (although I´m sure it will be awhile before it gets to me) that would be awesome because I don´t have a camera until then... For now I´m using Elder Howell's.  If not, I could find one to buy here if I needed to.
3.  I CUT MY OWN HAIR.  Two weeks ago.  It was terrifying.  I think it looks ok but I don't really know... It´s not really at the top of my priority list :)

Now to respond to your questions:

1.  We´re close to what´s called "The Stone of Izapa", which apparently has Lehi´s Vision engraved on it.  We haven´t had time to do really anything on our p-day´s though.  They're really busy.  I don´t think we´re close to any pyramids though... Not sure.
3.  Sorry--I can´t really think of anything specific that would be nice in a package other than just a camera charger... I´ll try to think more about that and get back to you.
4.  That might be a good idea.  I do print out the emails every week so that I can have them when I get around to writing letters (although I have been reading them all during my hour too, it would probably be better if I started not doing that and just emailed--that way I would have more time--I just like being able to feel a little bit more connected before I respond).

So!!!  It´s so good to hear from you guys each week.  I really miss you (although I would rather be here at this point in my life :p) and I pray for you all each morning and night.  Mom, it´s ok that you had to drop your Spanish class, the language will still be more or less the same in 6 weeks :) It´s better that you learn it well anyway so that I can talk your ear off in Spanish in a couple years :p the awesome thing about Spanish is that although in and of itself it´s a pretty tough language (just because the verbs conjugate in a thousand different ways), the pronunciation is infinitely easier to pick up than English, and there are way less idiomatic expressions, and it just makes sense in a lot more ways.

So, this week was the baptism de la Hna. Albertina (as seen in my letter to Presidente Cárdenas--how did translating that last week go?)!  She got baptized Saturday and confirmed yesterday.  I´m trying to send a picture from Elder Howell´s camera but I´m not sure if I´m going to have time. 

So, this week changes are seen (just kidding--my English isn´t that bad yet).  This week we have transfers.  Elder Howell and I are staying here in San José.  By the way, this week I found our chapel on LDS maps, it´s the furthest one south in Tapachula (the wards are San José y Indeco).  I don´t think we have any satellite imagery in our area though.  Anyway though, our district leader, Elder Townsend (who is an awesome missionary), goes home in 4 weeks (right in the middle of a transfer, which is really weird, apparently his family is moving to Peru and they need his help or something, so he´s going home two weeks early).  Anyway, apparently he´s supposed to be training someone new there in Indeco, but then he´s leaving after that.  So the new guy will have to know the area in 4 weeks.  I feel like I know my area really well after 6 weeks, but after 4 I´m not sure if I would have, and Indeco is a lot bigger than our area.  So we´re a bit confused about that.  We´ll see what happens.  

Update on investigators:

Cesar we found twice this week.  That was awesome.  We invited him to be baptized the 30th, and he agreed, but the investigators have to come twice to church before they can, and he didn´t come this Sunday because of work, and he has to work one of the next two Sundays, so we´re just praying that our lesson about the Sabbath day goes well and that we´ll animate him to ask for the day off work.  

Gabriel did not come to church again.  We´re really frustrated about that, because he said he would, and that means we´re going to have to move his baptismal date back from the 23rd.  He still hasn´t been to church yet, so we´ll be focusing a lot on that this week.  

A couple other people too, but I´m out of time on my machine so I´m just going to get on Elder Howell´s (he´s done and he has a little bit more time still) and send the picture from the baptism.  

Love you!!!!!!

Con amor,
Elder Nickerl

Monday, June 4, 2012

June 4, 2012--Week 14

Hello fam!

Aquí está mi carta a Presidente Cárdenas (me olvidé de hacer esto la semana pasada):

La semana pasada fue una semana muy buena para mí.  La segunda mitad de la semana empecé de hablar y participar más en enseñando, contactando, y comunicando con el obispo y otros miembros del barrio.  Me daba cuenta en esta esfuerza que más o menos ya puedo decir lo que quiera decir y entender casi todo que diga la gente, y he visto mucha ayuda del Señor.  También, acabamos de planear un bautismo para el 9 de junio por una hermana a quien enseñamos desde mi primera semana.

Esta semana nos vamos a esforzar en ayudando a nuestros investigadores a guardar sus compromisos.  Hay muchas personas que enseñamos que no están progresando por ese razón, entonces esta semana vamos a ver si realmente quieren progresar y guardar sus compromisos (especialmente la asistencia a la iglesia) o si nesecitamos dejarlos.  Tenemos otra meta también de planear mejor esta semana para que tantas citas no caigan.  También vamos a pedir a miembros el día antes de la cita si nos pueden acompañar para que tengamos más citas con miembros, el que nos ayudará mucho con la asistencia a la iglesia.

Y ya mi carta a ustedes:

Well, first update:  I speak Spanish.  It´s a pretty good thing to speak here in Tapachula.  So far I´ve talked to one person who is not a missionary who fluently speaks English, so Spanish is fairly important.  Anyway, I pretty much understand everything people say now, and unless I´m trying to say something really complicated, or if I don´t know a certain word here or there, I can basically say whatever I want.  It rocks :) everyone told me I would be more or less fluent in about 3 months, and I feel really close right now, so I´m pretty psyched about that.  Speaking of which, Mom I´m so excited for you to get to start your Spanish class!!  Spanish is a beautiful language.  It´s more expressive than English (still not for me definitely, but it really is haha), and it just rocks.  I´ll definitely keep you in my prayers. 

Quick story to make you guys laugh real quick.  Tuesday Elder Howell and I were touching doors (as we say in Spanish), and we started talking to this guy sitting outside his house.  He was reallllly drunk.  To share a brief part of the conversation:

Boracho:  ¿Y cómo creen ustedes que se construyeron las pirámidas?}
Elder Howell: Por esfuerza, paso a paso, poco a poco.
Boracho:  ¡No!, es una gran mentira eso.  ¿Cómo que podían constuir esas pirámidas sólo por esfuerza?  Se construyeron las pirámidas por marijuana.

Drunk guy:  And how do you think the pyramids were built?
Elder Howell:  By effort, step by step, little by little.
Drunk guy:  No!  That´s a huge lie.  How could they have built the pyramids just by effort?  The pyramids were built by (the builders using) marijuana.

So yes, that was interesting.  We were talking about the Book of Mormon and how it was written here on the American continent, and then he asked us that.  We cracked up laughing (we tried pretty hard not to, but how could we not have at that point?), gave him a word of wisdom pamphlet, and left. 

So, to talk about my investigators real quick:
Albertina is still crazy.  She kind of scares us a little bit, and she calls us all the time about really insignificant stuff.  BUT she´s getting baptized this Saturday!!!  And she´s really ready too.  She´s been to church every week since my first Sunday, and she always keeps her commitments.  And she stopped drinking.  So we´re pretty psyched for that!

We´re teaching a young married couple named Ana and Manuel.  They´re really smart and always understand really well what we teach, but we´re having a tough time getting them to keep their commitments and come to church.  So we´re going to be focusing a lot on that with them this week.  We´re teaching them tonight at the church and we´re going to have our lesson in front of the baptismal font and inviting them to be baptized.  The only problem is this week we´re supposed to be inviting for the 30 of June, and Ana is expecting a baby around the end of June/beginning of July.  So we´ll see how that goes.

Gabriel is basically in the same boat as Ana y Manuel.  He gets everything we teach, he just needs to keep his commitments and come to church.  We´re going to do the same thing with him at the church on Tuesday.  He actually already has a baptismal date though (the 23), so we´re working toward preparing him for that.

Oh and we found Cesar this week!  We´ll be teaching him Tuesday and challinging him to be baptized.

Love you all!

Elder Nickerl