Called to Serve

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Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013--Week 86

Hello family!

So, first of all, we´re going to have a baptism this Saturday so we´re pretty excited about that. With the new rule that they have to go to church five times before getting baptized, Merced is definitely more than ready and we´re ready to have one too. We´ve now gone more than a month without a baptism so we we’re getting a little restless. I´m not actually going to write that much today because I´m going to send some pictures. I figured out a way to fix my camera short-term (I put in and take out the SD card with tweezers) and I´m hoping it´ll last until I get home and then we can take it to a good repair-man.

We're off to Tuxtla now for our leadership conference which is tomorrow.  We're taking the bus and it will take us about 2 1/2 hours to get there so I need to go after I send some photos.  

I love you all.  Have a great week!
Con mucho amor, 
Elder Andrew Nickerl

I´ve now been in Oaxaca almost longer than I was in Chiapas. :) Oaxaca is currently my favorite Mexican state. 

This past Saturday we had an activity in the Church.  It was kind of an "open house" so that the people from the town could see the Church on the inside.  Each organization prepared their own room and were assigned to talk about certain things. This is the room that the Relief Society (Sociedad de Socorro) prepared to explain Relief Society.  They talked about the history of Relief Society and what it does for women today.

This room was prepared by the Primary... so I´m not exactly sure why it has the Young Women´s banner hanging on the wall behind the little temple--but it looked really nice.  And I´m not sure who made the little temple, but it was pretty amazing.

The Youth (meaning basically the YW because there is only one fully active YM) were assigned to explain the Book of Mormon.

The activity went really well.  They were announcing it all week on the radio.  We didn´t have as big of a showout from the general public as we had hoped (based on how many people asked us in the street about it), but a good number of people showed up and we´re going to look for them this week and try to teach them. :) 

Here we are with the sisters and with Cristian at the activity.  They´re going to call some ward missionaries soon which will be awesome.  The missionary corps is growing. :)

This was this morning.  We´ve been looking for more opportunities lately to give service, and today we got to cut down an oak tree with a hand saw. :) We started by cutting off the branches on top so that it didn´t break anything when it fell (and then we got to make firewood out of the branches with a machete!!  I love machetes!)  This is finishing that process.

This is the last branch we cut off the top before we started cutting the trunk. 
Making firewood out of the branches with the machete. 

This was the hardest part.  Cutting through the trunk was a beast.  

The tree is finally down! And, my comp and I got a picture together.  With me sending pictures of just me it makes it look like I did all the work.  But no, my comp probably did more than I did.  To answer the confusion with the half missionary clothes/half service clothes, we were in our own yard--doing service for the people who own the house (they´re awesome and they take care of us a lot, so we owe them all sorts of favors anyway).  

So yeah it took us about an hour, but we beat the tree.  I feel like my man-skills have greatly increased on my mission haha (I´ve now cut down trees with a hand saw and cut grass with a giant knife--and it feels pretty cool).  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 21, 2013--Week 85

Hey family :)

So, this week was a pretty cool week. We started it with transfers. It was pretty unreal when Elder Reyes left. After having been companions for almost 6 months, I was expecting him to come back at any minute. Turns out that he stayed in Tuxtla (that´s what he was supposed to do, I just wasn´t quite with the program yet).  

So, then we waited for the afternoon in Arriaga for the new missionaries in the zone to get there. I didn't tell you guys that Elder Esparza is in our zone now as a district leader. It's pretty cool having an old companion here.  I'm happy to be able to be around him for this last transfer in Chahuites (it´s almost for sure that at the end of November I'll be heading out of here.  It's pretty much unheard of that a missionary stays longer in his area than 6 transfers, and I´m now in my 6th transfer).  

So, this week having Elder Finn as my comp has been pretty awesome. It's pretty funny hearing us talk. Our Spanglish is terrible. We never speak English, only pure Spanish or a ridiculous mix of the two languages. For example, this morning I said, "I´ve got to wash this vass todavía" (meaning "I´ve still got to wash this cup" or "Tengo que lavar este vaso todavía"). And that´s how we do it. We get along great and we work and teach together really well, too, so it´s a shame that we´re only going to be companions this transfer. Another thing that I didn´t realize until this week is how many people I know in this town. Elder Reyes knew almost everyone that I knew, so I didn´t really think about with when I was with him. But yeah, I almost can´t walk for a block here without saying hi to someone that I know. We went on Wednesday to buy tlayudas (the famous gigantic quesadilla with carne asada and beans of Oaxaca) so that Elder Finn could try them, and I knew everyone in the restaurant. It´s not a huge restaurant, there were only like 4 families eating there, but yeah it was pretty funny. I knew and talked to them all. So that's pretty cool.  

As far as the Work goes we had a couple of disappointments this week. A lot of people that we thought were going to get baptized made it clear to us this week that they don´t really want to. But, we´ve got one awesome young man (he´s 18) who´s going to get baptized November 2nd. He even brought a friend with him this week to Church. We´re going to visit her for the first time tomorrow. So yeah. I´m running out of time, and I don´t have much else to say right now :) I love you all!

Have a great week!  

Con mucho amor,

Elder Andrew Nickerl

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14, 2013--Week 84


So, this was an awesome week.  Before I forget, I have to share the bad news first that I've been forgetting to tell you for the last couple of weeks. My camera broke. :( The camera itself is fine, but the card slot is broken.  Part of one of the SD cards got jammed inside. Maybe I dropped it or something.  I have no idea.  But the good thing is that the card works too and I still have all of my pictures. But yeah.... needless to say it´s going to be kind of tough for me to take pictures. I guess I´ll just be relying on my comp for the rest of the time that I´m in Chahuites because there´s definitely not a place around here to fix it. If they send me to Tuxtla or something then I´ll be able to get it fixed.  

That brings me to my next big news! TODAY IS TRANSFERS!!!! And I´M OFFICIALLY GOING TO......................... CHURCH IN CHAHUITES THIS SUNDAY!!!  Again :) for another 6 weeks! So awesome. But, Elder Reyes is getting transfered :( after almost 6 months of being my comp. But, that´s how it all goes and if all goes according to our plan then this time next year we´ll be roommates at BYU anyway. So, the cool news is that my comp is going to be Elder Finn. He´s from my "graduating class" of elders por así decirlo (don´t remember how to say that correctly in English...). We got here at the same time and we´ll be leaving at the same time.  He´s going to get here tomorrow from Comitán. He´s an awesome missionary and I already know him so I´m pretty excited. And I just love Chahuites so I´m happy. :) I think I´m actually just going to live here after my mission (not really). This is almost for sure my last transfer here, though. I´ve only ever heard once that a missionary in this mission stayed in his area for more than 6 transfers... and it´s now my sixth. So yeah. That´s what´s going down with transfers.

So, this week we had a really awesome opportunity to find some new investigators. We were looking for a referral that the sister missionaries had given us and just asking around with the people who live around there so that they could tell us where the referral lived. We asked this one lady and she said that she didn´t know him, but we said that she was moving a bunch of wood in her yard so we offered to help.  We helped and we also noticed that her two daughters were pulling out the weeds in her yard (which is huge) by hand. Here in Chahuites they usually do that with a machete.  We had never actually worked with machetes before, but we told her that we were going to go back the next day (which was Saturday) to chop her giant weeds down with machetes. We rounded up a couple of the brothers from the branch (thanks to Cristian, our ward mission leader, who you´ve now met, Mom) and went to cut her yard. And that was definitely the most grueling physical labor that I´ve done in my entire life (it didn´t help that we had decided to go on a run that morning, too).  Seriously I´m still out of energy. Cristian took some pictures and said he was going to post them on facebook, which is awesome because I don´t have access to my camera anymore. So anyway, we invited them to church, and then we went with a brother that has a truck and we took them to church the next day. We had 4 new investigators go to church for the first time this week! I love it when that happens :) So, that was a cool experience from this week.  I feel pretty cool cutting grass with a machete. But I don´t think I´ll be doing it again any time soon, though, because I´m beat still. But I think that has inspired me to buy a machete (they´re really cheap here--4-7 bucks depending on the size). 

So that´s all :) the work continues to move forward here in this wonderful part of the Lord's vinyard. I love you all!!!  Have a wonderful week!

Con mucho amor,

Elder Andrew Jason Nickerl

Thursday, October 10, 2013

October 7, 2013--Week 83

Hello family!

So, first of all, I got the package this week. And it is SOOOOOOO awesome. We downed the goldfish pretty quickly. :) Surprisingly, the package was pretty banged up, but everything inside was intact and the goldfish weren´t even that broken. We´re going to make the brownies this week with Imara and her kids!  We don´t have an oven and we figured it would be better to share them anyway instead of eating them all ourselves and getting really sick :) and the textbooks are great! Please tell Mrs. LaMotte that I said muchísimas gracias he podido estudiar mejor esta semana que lo que he podido hacer hace mucho tiempo. So the package was a huge ánimo-booster all the way around. Thank you :)

The leadership conference in Tuxtla was pretty cool. We got to Tuxlta pretty late last Monday night and there were way too many people staying in the asistants´ house. Getting ready in the morning was a nightmare.  But anyway, it was a pretty cool conference and I got to see a couple of my old companions that I hadn´t seen for a while and that was pretty cool. And Sister Cárdenas got back from the States (she had a surgery there and had been gone for about a month or maybe a little more), so it was good to see her back with us again. Turns out that our zone, even though we´re one of the smaller zones in this mission, had the 2nd most baptisms in the mission (the zone that had one more baptism than us has 28 missionaries--we have 18) in the month of September.  We have awesome missionaries in the zone right now, and we´re so grateful for them and for their efforts in helping the work of the Lord roll forth in this part of His vinyard. We also found out this week that next transfer (which is next Monday--the 14th), we´ll be recieving yet another pair of sisters in the zone.  So that´s pretty cool as well. Now every zone in the mission except for one will have at least 4 sisters in it--with some of the bigger zones having up to 10. And, the first American sister will be coming to our mission at the end of November. That´s pretty crazy. It´s been years and years and years since there has been American sister missionaries in Mexico.  It´s incredible to see how fast the work is now progressing.  

This week here in Chahuites has been pretty great, too. After our baptism last week we bastically didn't have any investigators left, so this week we used in large part to find new investigators.  And we found them. :) We now have 6 investigators with baptismal dates. It´s wonderful how they just appear out of nowhere when we trust in the Lord :) He knows where His chosen children are. We just have to trust in Him and be worthy so that one way or another He leads us to them.  

Apart from that we did exchanges with Elder Stucki and his comp Elder Gervais this week to do the baptismal interviews for their three baptisms this weekend. That was fun as always. Elder Stucki and I have been in the same zone for almost 7 months now, so we´re good buddies.

I was so grateful for the chance to listen to Conference this week... We had some experience talking to people this week that reminded me just how wonderful it is to have the knowledge of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life.  Sometimes we take for granted that we know the simple and beautiful truths that we know.  I love the emphasis on family and marriage that there was in the Conference--it´s so plain to me here that this is one way that Satan gains so much power--by fragmenting the family and defacing the value of marraige. I´m so grateful that the family is the center of God´s plan and that He has given us the oportunity to be eternal families. He lives, and He loves us. His work is progressing, and the world is being prepared for the Second Coming of His Son.

Umm I think that´s about all that I have to report this week. :) Thank you so much for all the support and prayers from home.  I hope you all know how much I love you and that you can feel my prayers like I can feel the strength from yours.

Con mucho amor,

Elder Andrew Nickerl