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Monday, August 26, 2013

August 26, 2013--Week 77

Hello everyone!

Mom, I got the package today and everything is great!  My comp told me to tell you a huge thank you for the CD.  We liked that you wrapped it up :) and thank you very much for all the other stuff as well. It was exactly what I asked for :D 

This week I don´t have a whole lot different to report other than that we are definitely going to have all 5 of the baptisms that we had planned for this week! We were kind of stressing because a lot of the times things happen and the baptisms don´t happen... but everything is ready to go and we´re working on putting together awesome baptismal services for Friday and Saturday.  Obviously we´re super psyched about that.  The only problem is that after we baptize those 5 people, we literally have no investigators left... sooooo... we´re definitely going to be relying on the Lord more than ever this month since we have the goal of 10 baptisms for the month of September and we have nobody to teach... But that´s how August was too, we had the goal of 6 and only one person to teach.  And the Lord made it happen.  We believe that´s going to happen again as long as we do our part and work hard--so that´s what we´re going to do. :) We´ve got transfers again in a week... I´m kind of scared about that.  I´ve not been here in Chahuites 4 transfers... like 5 and a half months.  Much longer than I had been in any other area before.  I´m just hoping for more time here.  The branch is on fire and the average sacrament meeting attendence is about 150% of what it was about 2 months ago.  I hope the Lord lets me stay here.  I love this town, these people, and this branch.  But, if the Lord has other things in mind, that´s ok, too.  "So trusting my all to Thy tender care, and knowing Thou lovest me, I´ll do thy will with a heart sincere:  I´ll be what you want me to be."  That´s definitely one of my favorite hymns.  Anyway, I'm happy as always and each week is better than the last.  I love you all very much and I know that as you rely on the Lord with all the changes and new responsibilities that you´ll have in your lives, everything will be fine.  

Con mucho amor,
Elder Andrew Nickerl

PS--This week I almost ate a chicken foot!  They gave us chicken with potatoes in stew... which is pretty normal.  What isn´t normal is that I found the foot of the chicken floating in my stew.  I didn´t eat it.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 19, 2013--Week 76

Dear Family,

This week has been awesome! I basically have a lot of the same things to say as last week.  Claudia and her family are progressing toward their baptismal date, we just have to teach them a few more things. They stopped drinking coffee and they came to church again yesterday. We did a ward FHE in their house this week, and like 30 members from the ward came. It was pretty awesome. Around the middle of the week, we learned that the other baptismal dates that we had set to meet our goal of 6 for the months fell through (there were 2). So, we didn´t really know what to think about that. But we didn´t worry too much because we´re working hard and we know that the Lord was going to keep His promise that He made us when we set the goal. So, we kept working, and Saturday and yesterday we set two more baptismal dates for the 30th and 31st. So, we are going to have 6.  Just like we knew would happen. :) We didn´t know who they were, but the Lord had prepared us 6 people to baptize in the month of August and on His own timeline He led us to them. Yesterday we set our goal for September. We don´t know if we´re both still going to be here (President kind of told us but not 100% sure thay he´s going to take us out of the area to put hermanas here, but we don´t know for sure yet), but we´re going to work hard to make sure that whoever ends up being here has those 10 baptisms in September. We love this branch, but we know that other missionaries have to come sooner or later. Speaking of the branch, we´re now at a weekly attendance of about 90. When I got here, it was between 50-60. The branch is excited and so are we. The blessings of the Lord here are so evident.  

On a different note: Every week it blows my mind that Adam and Jared are really going to BYU... it can´t have been two years ago already that I was there.  It makes me realize just how much time I´ve been on my mission. In 10 days I´ll have been on my mission for exactly a year and a half. Wow.  I can´t believe that it´s all passed by so fast.  Kind of bittersweet.  I don´t want it to end yet.  The only thing I can do is make the 6 months that I have left the best 6 months of my mission. :)

Anyway, I wanted to write more, but I´m out of time. :(  I´m sure I´ll be able to tell you about how great this week is going to be next Monday (but it may be later than normal because we´re supposed to have our zone activity next Monday in Arriaga). Each week is better than the one before. I love being a missionary. I love you all!! You´re in my prayers.

Con mucho amor,

Elder Andrew Nickerl

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013--Week 75

This has been an awesome week! :) I don´t remember if we mentioned it last week or not, but in July, we set the goal of 6 baptisms for August. As of the last week of July, we only had one person with a baptismal date.  Well, she just got baptized, and we were kind of freaking out because we had only been able to find one other person to be baptized by the end of the month.  Doing the math (it´s an incredibly complicated sum... 6 - 1 - 1 = ?) we were still 4 people short, and the way that we prepare people to be baptized is usually over a 3 week period of time (they have to go to church at least twice) and so this week we´re doing baptismal invitations for the first week of September.  So, Saturday after our baptism, the branch president of the neighboring town called us and told us that he had a family for us to teach and that he wanted to take us to see them immediately.  We went with him to see them, and we met another sister.  Her name is Claudia.  She has 3 kids (Osvaldo is 10, Diego is 8, and José is 6) and she´s had a lot of challenges in her life. She´s in the middle of several challenges right now and a separation from her husband. She´s not from here, so she doesn´t have any family to fall back on. So, this branch president had talked with her and of course knew to call us right away.  Yesterday we woke up early and went to pick her and her kids up to go to church. And they loved it. And all of the members were super supportive.  They came up and were hugging her and everything even though they don´t know her yet.  Seriously we have seen such a change in the attitude in this branch in the last couple of months.  It´s been incredible.  We went with some members to visit her yesterday afternoon after church and we invited her to be baptized with her two oldest children on the 31st of August, and they accepted.  So, now we´re only one short of our goal instead of 4 short.  We know that the Lord will put that last person in our path.  And it´ll be two months in a row that we´ve met our goals for baptisms :) and it feels incredible, because we know that we´re doing the work that the Lord expects of us.  When we set goals with the influence of the Holy Ghost, it isn´t just a goal set by us, but a promise from the Lord.  So, we know that as we meet those goals we´re finding and baptizing the people that the Lord has prepared.  We have to set those type of goals to really have success in our lives and not just as missionaries--but everyone.  Here´s a quote from Presidente Cárdenas that I love:  "He who does not have goals calls everything success."  But doesn´t really have much success at all. :)

Anyway, I´m very happy.  I know that I am doing the Lord´s work.  There´s nothing more satisfying in life than seeing the results of dedicated and inspired service to Him in my own life and in the lives of others.  My testimony of this Gospel has been strengthened to a point that I didn´t know existed before. I know that it´s true and that it changes lives and changes people.  I know because I personally have lived it and experienced it.  I've felt the Lord´s love and forgiveness as I repent, followed by an increased capacity to serve Him and help others.  I´ve grown so much in these last weeks and months, and I´m so grateful for all of the experiences, although some of them have been very difficult for me, that have caused that growth.  The Lord is aware of our needs and puts us through His refining fire so that we can grow and be more happy. 

I love you all very much.  You´re always in my prayers.  I know that with all of the changes and the start of school, college, and seminary in these next couple of weeks, everything will be okay.  Difficult things might come, but the Lord will take care of it all.  

Con mucho amor,

Elder Andrew Nickerl

This is Martha.  She´s had some challenges in her life. She´s been listening to the missionaries for more than two years.  Her niece (who is a member) told us to go visit her again, and the Lord had prepared her for baptism.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5, 2013--Week 74

Hello everyone :)

So, this has been another great week.  After our baptism last week, we were kind of like, "So, what now?"  And so this week we put almost all of our energy into finding new people.  And we did find new people :) and we´re going to have a baptism of one of the new people this Saturday.  Something pretty awesome is that we´re baptizing every other week.  I like that a lot.  It´s a lot more fun than not baptizing or baptizing every once in a while :) We´ve still got a lot of work to do, though because we don´t have near as many investigators as we should, and our goal for the month of August is 6 baptisms.  So far we only have one planned (the one for this Saturday).  But, we know that the Lord has prepared us people.  We just have to find them.  So, that´s what we´ll do :) 

Umm... I really don´t have that much more to report this week.  We´re working hard.  We walk a lot in the sun :) and apart from that we decided to start exercising a lot better than we had been and we passed the majority of this week very, very sore (we did the routine that Dad sent me last week a couple of times).  

Oh!  We also went to Tuxtla for our leadership council.  And we were really psyched to see that even though we´re one of the smaller zones in the mission, our zone baptized more than any other in the mission (except that we tied with another zone that has 28 missionaries--we only have 16).  So, we´re planning a repeat of that this month (not that it's a competition, it´s just good to know that we´re working well).  Oh, and I promised the elders that I would buy everyone pizza if we meet our goal of baptisms as a zone this month.  So, I´m really hoping that at the end of the month I'll have to ask you to transfer about 80 dollars from my savings account so that I can do that.  Anyway.  That´s all I have to report :) I´m very happy.  I love you all very much!  Have a great week!

Con mucho amor,

Elder Andrew Nickerl