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Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012--Week 22

Dear Family,

So, it’s been a week in my new area.  Huixtla is very different than Tapachula.  It´s kind of that area that people are like "Ahh man you´re going to Huixtla... umm that´s really cool Elder. Good luck.”  But I’m not really sure why it has a negative connotation, because we’ve been received really well this week.  We’ve taught more lessons and have more new investigators this week than any other week in my mission (and obviously things are going to change a little from comp to comp but Elder Howell and I worked really hard in San José, Tapachula and just didn´t get results like this).  That being said, it is HOT here—much hotter than Tapachula.  Which is just ridiculous.  And we walk wayyyy more than we did in San José.  I think I´ve dropped like 10 pounds this week.  Also, you can see on the map that Huixtla is pretty fairly sized.  Not huge, and I don´t know how many people live here, but it is a city.  And, we´re the only missionaries here.  Our area actually covers a lot of little outlying towns as well (Escuintla, Xochil, others that have weird names too...).  It´s a huge area!  Also, we only have a branch.  This week 46 people showed up to Sacrament Meeting, and that was a lot.  We meet in the upstairs of a house, but they're going to start building a chapel here toward the end of August.

Elder Alonso is awesome.  The first couple of days we didn´t get along great, but we´ve straightened things out, and we´re getting along fine now.  We´ve been really successful in our work this week, and we´re excited for this upcoming week, because we´ve got a ton of people that we`re going to invite to be baptized.  Also, this is his last transfer, and then he´s going home (to Mexico City), so this is a really awesome opportunity for me to learn from him as a missionary as well as to improve my Spanish.  I feel like I´ve really improved a lot this week, in learning to be a better teacher and focus on people and their individual needs, and also in my Spanish.  To answer your question about Spanish, I´m really getting it.  If I´m really listening to what someone is saying, I understand everything they say.  The only exception happens if I don´t know one specific word, but in that case I can just narrow it down to that word and ask what it means.  It´s more or less the same with my speaking now too.  I can say what I want without having to focus on it much unless there´s just one word that I lack, and then I can just describe what that word is and someone tells me.  It´s a pretty good system :)

I forgot that I also wanted to share with you guys a couple experiences I had this week.  Being away makes me really realize how incredibly blessed we are to be sealed as an eternal family.  I miss you all and love you so much.  This week I had two different opportunities to bear my testimony of eternal marriage, and both were very spiritual experiences for me that made me feel very close to you guys even though I´m in a very foreign place.  All I said was (after teaching what it is) "Hermana, tengo una familia así.  Somos unidos por el Evangelio de Jesucristo y por este convenio sagrado con Dios.  Los amo a ellos, y mientras que estoy aquí los extraño muchísimo, pero realmente vale la pena porque sé que usted también puede recibir esta bendición si está dispuesta a hacer cambios en su vida."  It´s amazing to me how our Heavenly Father can consecrate our simple words with power.  I miss you guys a ton and I love you!

Sorry for the late email today.  Elder Alonso schedules his p-days a little differently than Elder Howell.  I´m not sure if it´ll be the same time next week or earlier.  I don´t have much more to report right now... just wanted to say that I´m glad that Dad made it home safely and in time for the high adventure, and that you guys have some time to spend with him. 

Con amor,
Elder Nickerl

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