Called to Serve

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Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014--Week 99

Hey Mom!

To answer your question about where we live so you can find it on Google, I'll just send you some points so that you can check out our area. It is more or less in the southern part of Tuxtla right in the middle. If you zoom down enough to see the names of the colonies (or neighborhoods as we would call them) we live in Obrera, and our area embarks most of what's to the right of that: Benito Juárez, San Juan Sabinito, Lomas del Venado, and Maldonado, until Cerro Hueco. If you have trouble finding that it´s below Av 9a Sur Ote and around Libramiento Sur.  

This is the stree right in front of my house:

If you give it a 180 degree turn you´ll see our house. We live on the second floor of the house where there´s a lady´s gym poster on the wall (which is no longer there, but in this satelite picture it is). 

The work continues to roll forth here in Barrio Juárez. We're planning on having two baptisms on the 8th of Febrero (a brother and sister of 24 and 19 years--don´t make fun of my English there I know it´s horrible haha), and then another one on the 15th (a 16 year old girl that`s a cousin of a family of youth in the ward). We also found 8 new investigators this week. So that´s pretty cool too. Yesterday a guy that was just a tad bit drunk called us into his house and told us that he wants to change his life and that he wants us to visit him. So we convinced him to dump his beer down the drain and stomp on his cigarrettes :) which was quite lovely. We're going to visit him with a couple of guys from the elders quorum that had problems with the Palabra de Sabiduría in the past.  

I want to tell everyone who is reading this, especially family, how grateful I am for your prayers and support and how much I love you. I want to tell you all that I love being a missionary. I can't believe that my time is coming to an end, and I'm realizing now at the end of these two years just how much I've learned and grown.  I'm approaching my 23 month "birthday", and in this last month I'm going to work my heart out and invite all that cross my way to come unto Christ through repentence and baptism.  I've realized lately just how much more bold I've become as I invite people to repent and do what's right.  Before, I think I was embarrassed to invite people to change their lives.  Inviting people to prepare to be baptized terrified me.  I'm so grateful that God has helped me overcome those weaknesses. As I've realized that the door to discipleship is baptism, I kind of wonder what I was pointing my investigators toward before if I wasn't inviting them to prepare themselves to enter the waters of baptism and make sacred covenants. That is now our only focus as we teach--to ignite in others the desire to be disciples of Jesus Christ, to help them identify the way, and help the to do so, so that they can come unto Christ and be perfected in Him. I invite all that are reading this to examine your own lives and identify what you can do to become a more devoted disciple of the Master. For most of you that is no longer baptism--but we can all be more committed to keep the covenants that we have made with the Lord.  Let us all come unto Christ, and be perfected in Him. Let's deny ourselves of all ungodliness.  That's my invitation today.

So, I'm sorry that was kind of disjointed.  I was trying to piece together quickly all of what I've learned about my missionary purpose over the last two years... that's what came out without editting.  I love you all very much.  Trust in the Lord and have a great week.

Con mucho amor,
Elder Nickerl (el mexicano)

And this is apple pie.  We ate it yesterday.  It was the first time I´ve seen anything resembling American pie in my entire mission.  And I don´t really remember what it tastes like all that well, but I feel like the sister that made it (the daughter of the family that we eat with almost every Sunday, la familia Sánchez, made it) did a pretty good job and I think that it was just like genuine apple pie.  So, I was excited about
that and I wanted to share :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014--Week 98

Hello everyone!

So, I just want to start off talking a little bit about our area before I start to talk about my awesome birthday yesterday. :) So, we now have baptismal dates!  We´ve found people because the members are working hard. :) I love teaching the message of the Restoration to the members.  There´s a very special spirit as we do it and we gain a lot of confidence that way.  So, we´re going to have a bunch of baptisms in February :) and the Lord has blessed us.

Ok, so, about my birthday.  My second birthday in my mission was only like 100000x better than the first one.  First of all, my companion remembered this year and told me happy birthday haha.  In church, the entire elders quorum sang me the latino Happy Birthday (las mañanitas).  And in the afternoon, an awesome family from the ward invited us to come over to eat cake (their daughter has the same birthday as me--first person that I´ve met in my life).  They made me my own mini-cheesecake!!!  Like legitimate cheesecake with "Felicidades Elder Nickerl" and everything.  I attached a picture. So that was so awesome. I´m very grateful for the love that they showed to me here in our ward. They did all this without me telling anybody other than my comp that it was going to be my birthday (he´s awesome too and I´m pretty sure he told everybody--but without me knowing). We got home at night and gave our weekly report over the phone and planned and all the normal things. And then, to my surprise, after we finished, Elder Finn and his companion Elder Escobedo came in with another cake! So that was awesome as well. We had a great time eating it :) Anyway, I had an awesome birthday and I´m very grateful for all the love that was shown to me yestderday.  

Just know that I¨m very happy here and I´m working my heart out for this last little bit in my mission... the time is going very quickly and it´s pretty scary--so the only thing that I can do is work harder. :)

Thanks for all of your prayers and love in my direction :) and don´t worry at all that the package you sent wasn´t here for my birthday.  I really wasn´t expecting you to send one in the first place anyway. You´re the best :) te amo muchísimo!  Que tengas una semana súper excelente :) 

Con mucho amor,

Elder Nickerl (el mexicano)

This is my cake from the familia Mendoza! Pretty awesome, huh?

Really pretty bad quality, but it´s the best we could do.  This is the cake from Elder Finn and Elder Escobedo.

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014--Week 97

Hey Mom!

While the photos load, I want to tell you that my new area is awesome.  Our area is on the outskirts of Tuxtla, and we´ve got some hills that go up and offer some pretty cool views of the city.  I will load a couple photos of that in a few minutes.  I've enjoyed getting adjusted to the city.  It's very different than what I'm used to.  I was nervous at first and almost got run over a couple of times, but I've got the city life down now.  :)  

We´re working hard to coordinate with the members here and as we´ve taught several of them the message of the Restoration (something that hasn't been done here before). We've seen a lot of positive results and I feel like we´ve gained a lot of trust.  We´ve received a couple of referrals and found some people this week that are definitely going to get baptized. 

Apart from teaching the members, we´ve also been trying to work with the ward council so that they will fill up our planners with important appointments.  We´ve told them that we want appointments to do the following:

1) Obviously as missionaries we want to teach nonmembers and prepare them for baptism and confirmation.  So, teaching nonmember friends and family members of the members of the ward in the homes of members or at least with the members present.
2) Teach less-active members in the company of presidencies of their respective organization to help them to achieve reactivity.
3) Teach and strengthen active members.

We´ve had a pretty positive response so far, and we´re going to keep working hard so that the stone cut out of the mountain can roll a little faster here in Barrio Juárez.

My companion´s name is Elder Sanchez.  He´s been in the mission for about 11 months and he´s from Guatemala City, Guatemala.  He´s really awesome and we get along really well.  He´s very obedient, a hard worker, and very service oriented.  I´m grateful to be here with him for my last couple of months and I´m LOVING just being a normal senior companion again and focusing all of my energy on proselyting in my own area. :)

But anyway, getting back to my area.  To my pleasant surprise, getting here to Tuxtla I learned that we live in an appartment with another companionship of elders.  I was super excited to learn that the senior companion of the other companionship is none other than Elder Finn, my companion from my last transfer in Chahuites who goes home the same day as me and one of my best friends in the mission. So, that was pretty awesome.  The four of us missionaires play soccer every morning here (on a basketball court, not a field), and then Elder Finn and I go to a field in front of our house and we do sprints. :) He's my workout buddy, so it's been a lot of fun having him around.

Okay--that´s all for today.  You´re all in my prayers, especially Elder Nickerl el español :) I love you all very much.  

Con mucho amor,
Elder Nickerl (el mexicano)

This is Elder Martinez and me at the Christmas banquet.  He was my companion in San Cristóbal.  We got a long great and I miss him a lot.

Christmas Day!

 This is the 1st Counselor in my ward in San Cristóbal when I went to say goodbye to him and his family.  He helped us A TON last transfer.  Without him, we never would have gotten the tours in the stake up and running.  We´re definitely going to go visit him and his family when we come back to visit  in March.

Elder Martinez and me--as we part our ways at the bus station in San Cristóbal.

With my new companion, Elder Sanchez.  Our new area is on the outskirts of Tuxtla and we´ve got some hills that go up and offer some pretty cool views of the city.  

My new area is pretty awesome!

Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6, 2014--Week 96

Hey Mom! :) 

WOW today has involved a lot of changes!  Between knowing that Adam's been set apart as a missionary and that he's leaving today and receiving my own transfer today, things are pretty well mixed up in my head.  So, for my last trasfer, I´m finally going to have an area in Tuxtla.  It´s called Juarez and it´s in the Tuxtla Mactumatza Stake.  So, that´s pretty cool and I'm excited about it. :)  Also, I will no longer be a zone leader or district leader :D and so my stress level will be much lower.

In the last couple of minutes with Adam before he gets on the plane to leave, please tell him that I love him very much and that I´m so proud of him.  And I´m excited to not be the only Elder Nickerl any more.  Sorry, I can´t email again this week for shortage of time... I feel so incredibly lame about my emails this transfer. haha.  But, next week I will no longer have to turn in a report of the zone :) so I´ll have more time for writing and photos.  Just know that I love you all very much and that you´re all in my prayers, especially Adam this week.  And know as well that I´m very at peace with my transfer and that I´m really excited to work for these last two months in Tuxtla. :)

Con mucho amor,
Elder Nickerl (el mexicano)

December 30, 2013--Week 95

Sorry for no real email--again.  Next week I´ll probably have a transfer but I´ll try to send some pictures and give a little brief of what we´ve done this transfer.  The visitors tours that I told you about when we Skyped have been AWESOME.  They've ended up great and have been very successful.  Thanks for everything again, Mom :) You´re the best and I love you very very much.  Have a great birthday this week!  

Elder Andrew Nickerl

December 23, 2013--Week 94

Hey, Mom!  

I just logged into my email after a stressful week to find out that I will be officially going home on the 6th of March. So, just to figure things out so that I can tell the mission secretary to buy a plane ticket or not, would you and Dad fly in that day to come pick me up or would I fly home and then a few days later fly back?  I know you mentioned your spring vacation starts on the 6th... so let me know what I should tell the secretary to do for my ticket.

Also, I´m writing stocking notes for everyone at home right now and so I don´t think that I'll have time to write a regular weekly email, but I just wanted to say thank you so much for the Twelve Days of Christmas presents!!!!  Please tell Dad thank you for his work on that, as well. It's been so much fun because my companion has been gracious and grateful for the gifts too.  We´ve been loving opening them every day :) You´re the best!

I haven´t said too much about my comp or even sent pictures.  Just so you know, he´s awesome.  We get a long great and we´re doing a lot of important work here. We´re crazy busy working with the stake leaders to try to get some things together to make missionary work really take off with the members here.  Hopefully next week I´ll have more time to tell you about it.  Or tomorrow when we Skype. :) And remember that it won't be a full hour. :/ We´ll have to start saying goodbye´s at 35 minutes because the missionary handbook says no more than 30-40 minutes.  But, we´ll make the time worth it :) and it´s my 4th call of my mission, which means I´m about to really see you all, anyway.

I love you very much!  I'm excited to talk to you tomorrow!  Have a great Monday!

Con mucho amor,
Elder Nickerl