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Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013--Week 82

Hello everyone!

The only really new thing to report this week was our baptism... which I covered in the comment on the photo that I sent. So I'm not really sure what else I have to talk about. The weather is better now. It only rained a couple times this week and we only got soaked once. So that's good :) 

Let´s see... we´ve been working a lot more with the missionaries of the zone lately. We've been doing exchanges every week and that´s been pretty great. We have some really awesome missionaries in our zone. Funny note:  one of the new missionaries that got here this transfer is from Panama. And he knows my roommate Cameron from BYU (that's where Cameron is serving his mission right now). The fact that we figured that out is pretty crazy. It's a small world. Other than that, we get to go to Tuxtla today for a leadership training. We are going with all of our district leaders from here (there are 4 of them now, as compared with only 2 when I got here. The zone has gotten a lot bigger). And we're going to have the conference in the Tuxtla México Stake, which is right by the temple. That is awesome, because it's been awhile since I last saw the temple. And I always enjoy going back to civilization once a month. :) The best part is that when we get back we have a tonnnnn of appointments. Actually the entire day Wednesday and Thursday we´ve got booked. I'm down with that. I love it when we have a lot of work to do. The only scary part about it is that it makes the time flyyyyyyyy by.  

Anyway, I´m kind of just rambling because I don´t have that much more to talk about.  :) So, I'll close by sharing my testimony quickly (it gets tougher every time to do that in English). I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ has power to change us and transform us into better people in our lives. I'm so thankful for that influence and power in my life. I know that Jesus Christ really lived, worked miracles, taught the words of life, and suffered and died for our sins because He loves us and knew that there would be no other way for us to return to the presence of our Eternal Father. I know that His Church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He directs it through His prophets and apostles, and in doing so He prepares the Earth for His Second Coming. That´s what this work is about. I´m now out of time, so I'll just finish with that. God loves us, and in each moment He is ready and willing to accept our efforts to repent and serve Him more fully and bless us in return.

I love you all!  Have a great week!

Con mucho amor,
Elder Andrew Nickerl

This is us with Brian right before he got baptized.  He's an incredibly kid.  He's good friends with an active family in our branch and he´s the only one out of his family that wanted to listen to us. But his mom went to his baptism and felt the Spirit very strongly and afterwards she said that we could go visit her. We're going to visit her and her other kids this Wednesday.  And, we´re hoping to have a picture of the rest of the family in white in just a couple of weeks--thanks to Brian's example.

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 22, 2013--Week 81

Hello family :)

So, this week we´ve been very blessed.  The Lord is blessing us in the whole zone the find the people that He has prepared for us to baptize.  We´ve been traveling all over the place to do baptismal interviews for the district leaders.  This week we´ll also be having a baptism in our own area.  Then we'll have another the 19th of October.  There was a change in the area a couple of weeks ago that an investigator must now attend church at least 5 times before being baptized, hence the really far away date (it feels really far to me because since the week before last we set that baptismal date and before we invited for about 3 or 4 weeks out instead of 5 or 6).  This week will also be the same thing in the zone--we'll be traveling all over the place doing baptismal interviews.  That means less time in our area, but that´s okay. :) We like it when the rest of the zone gets to baptize, too.  I don´t have too much else to report :) Sorry, I feel like this is happening more and more these days.  If you want to know about anything specifically, you can tell me.  

Thanks so much for all of your support, love, and prayers :) I love you all so much.  

Con mucho amor,

Elder Nickerl

This is the street--I mean river--that was outside of our house during the tropical storm last week.  And this was like 6 hours after the rain stopped.

This is us on Elder Reyes´ birthday (Happy birthday!!!  We´re going to put church clothes on and get soaking wet and walk around in those soaking wet church clothes all day!!  Doesn´t that sound like a great birthday celebration?)  The day after this I made a really nice rain coat out of giant plastic trash bag that goes all the way down to my ankles almost so I stay a lot dryer now.  

This is earlier the same day--we had done exchanges with Elder Stucki and I went to Zanatepec (his area) to interview their investigator for baptism.  We got soaked.  Then, the next day, we also got soaked.  This is us with our incredibly ineffective umbrellas.  I don´t like umbrellas anyway... they just make you mad when the wind starts blowing.   

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9, 2013--Week 79

Hey Mama :) 

What awesome news from home this week!  I´m soooooooo psyched for Adam.  He will be a great missionary in Madrid Spain! We´re going to speak with COMPLETELY different accents haha.  That's so awesome.  He's going to speak Castellano (that´s what the Spain accent is called) and I think I´m going to end up speaking like a mix of a bunch of different states here because I talk like my comps. But anyway, I´m really really happy and excited for him. 

Ok, so I don´t have time to write much anymore because I was sending the pictures, but basically we spent a lot of time this week preparing the area and the house of the hermanas, who got here this week. We now officially have cut our area in half.  But that´s ok. :) The branch is super excited to have them and things are going great.  We had 103 people in sacrament meeting last week, which apart from our branch conference (and about 20 people from other branches in the district attended our branch conference and it totalled at 103) is more people than have attended since I´ve been in Chahuites.  So, we're psyched!  The only problem is we don´t really have any more investigators.  But that´s ok, we´re going to Tuxtla for consejo today and tomorrow, and when we get back, we´re going to devote all our time to help the members be missionaries, and that way we find wayyyyyyyy more investigators than we ever did alone.  That´s about all I have to report this week.  I´m so excited for the news of Adam´s mission call this week.  I´m going to miss seeing him by less than 3 months, but that´s ok.  The Lord needs him in His harvest field :) 

I love you all so much.  Have an awesome week!

Con mucho amor,
Elder Andrew Nickerl

This is Elder Reyes and I with Elder Jensen, another good friend who had been in the zone with me for the last 6 months or so.  He was Elder Stucki´s comp and this is in the bus station just before he left to go to his new area in Tuxtla.

This is us with Elder Stucki again.  This place is in Arriaga (the closest "city" to where we are--that´s where we do the transfers from and everything), and it makes awesome hamburgers and tortas (giant sandwiches on hogie-type bread) and licuados (kind of like a crumby milkshake).  So we went there while we were waiting for the other Elders to get to Arriaga to make sure all the transfers happened without problems. 

This is Elder Stucki and I pulling water out of a well.  I pulled it out and he poured it into the giant water bucket next to it.  That´s how a lot of people get their water here.  They don´t have running water sometimes.  Elder Stucki has been my district leader here in Chahuites since I got here, so he´s my good buddy.  He was with us this Tuesday while we were waiting for his new comp to get here.  Mom, I don´t know if you know his mom, but if you don´t you should try to find her on missionary moms or facebook or something.  But yeah, he went to BYU beforehand too and he finishes his mission in June of next year (a couple months after me), so we decided with Elder Reyes that we´re all going to be roommates there fall semester of next year.  

After we pulled water out of the well, we played soccer for a few minutes with these kids (they´re the same ones that got baptized the week before last).  We usually do something like this with them because they have short attention spans so we make deals with them that we get to teach them for 20 minutes and if they behave well afterwards we play soccer with them for 20 minutes or something like that.  I´m not sure where the ball is in this picture but that´s what we were doing :)

Another action shot playing soccer... I think Elder Stucki totally stuffed me about a half second after this picture was taken... haha we don´t play that often so I´m still not that great at soccer.  

One of the miracles of the week.  I found bottled root bear!!!  I´m not going to say that it was like "IBC" or anything, but it was pretty awesome after not having dranken (or is it "drinken"?) root beer for like a year and a half.  So, I decided to take advantage of the fact that I had root beer and I did something that I very rarely do:  I bought ice cream (it´s valued here at about the price of gold, which is why I almost never buy it).  And I had root beer floats.  And it was incredible.

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2, 2013--Week 78

Hello family!  

Well, this was a great week. :) We had 4 baptisms!  One of the ones that we were going to have got posponed until next week, but that´s ok!  That happens sometimes.  I´ll send the pictures in just a sec :) I´m so grateful for the success that the Lord has given us here these last couple of weeks.  I love this little town and these people and branch so much.  

So, transfer news!!!!!!!!!!  Elder Reyes and I are staying here another transfer!!! Woohoo! It´s pretty crazy. I had never had a comp for longer than 2 transfers before. This new one makes 4 now. I´m just really grateful that it´s with a companion that I get along with and work together really well with. If not it would be a nightmare haha. But yeah. This month I also will have been here in Chahuites for more than 6 months. :) That´s pretty crazy too because I had never been in an area for longer than 4 months. But the crazy news is that we had to divide our area today!  They´re sending hermanas here to open the area of Chahuites 2!!! That´s awesome because we know that the work is going to progress way faster and the branch is going to be super excited. Our area is now half the size that is was, but that´s ok because we know that the Lord will still give us people to meet our goals :) and we won´t even have to walk as much to do it.  So, we´re pretty psyched.  We´re working on finding the hermanas a nice house right now and buying them all the stuff they need before they get here (beds, fridge, table and chairs, etc).  

Other than that I don´t have too much to say this week.  I´m glad that you guys have two pairs of missionaries now.  That´s awesome!  I´m a pretty big fan of missionaries. So tell them "hi" for me and more importantly give them people to teach!!!  Because knocking doors is horrible and we never find anybody that wants to listen that way. :) If you want proof you can do a comparison of how many people I had baptized in all my mission before like 3 months ago and how many we´ve baptized in the last 3 months.  What´s the difference?  We work to gain the confidence of the members.  They trust us and let us teach the people that they love and care about. And those people get baptized. And they stay active and become the strong members. The Work progresses and the Lord is pleased and blesses us.  

I testify that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings peace and changes lives.  I´ve never lived without it, so I hadn´t realized that before my mission.  Here I have seen a change in the disposition of the people who start to live it over and over again.  In the MTC I understood for the first time that as I share the Gospel with people, a light comes into their lives. Some people don´t have any light in their lives beforehand. Since then I have seen that darkness replaced by light and despair replaced by hope and peace in the lives of those who have chosen to accept our invitation to come unto Christ.  That´s what makes me love my mission.  I am happy.  

I love you all. In these busy couple of weeks starting school and ending vacations, rely on the Lord. He´ll help :)

Con mucho amor,

Elder Andrew Nickerl

This is Claudia and her 3 kids:  Osvaldo, Diego, and Yovani.  They´re a perfect example of a hard life made so much more happy and peaceful as it was filled with the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This is Mariana.  The photo turned out kind of funny... But anyway, we had been teaching her a while back and then we stopped. Out of the blue she decided a couple weeks after that that she was going to get baptized.  It´s an example of the fact that the Lord does way more to prepare people and change their hearts than we do.