Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Andrew Update - 24 August 2010

Chepicano - 2 August 2010

Thank you Dad for your email!

Even though it was short, I was so happy to hear that you had shared the gospel a bit this week! Sweet! I actually almost cried! I have no idea why! I can not wait to get home, so I can go on splits with the missionaries! Woo hoo! I know I was terrible at not going out before the mission, but I am so repented now, and the members here inspire me so much! Story:

The family Salinas. The Mother, Ines, pronounced e-nez, like e-mail combined with pez candy, e-nez, leaves with us all the time to appointments. She RIDES HER BIKE with us to appointments. She is so awesome! I cannot even believe this lady! She is totally a missionary still, even after being home for 30 years from her mission! She gives us so many references, and always asks US if she can join us in lessons, that I gave her a present. A missionary agenda. I filled it up with the dates, a bunch of appointments, and marked it in the back where she can put her references. She has already put in like 7! She is into politics, so she knows almost everybody in Chepica! ALLLL the time in contacts, people always so, "Oh ya, I know la hermana Ines. She is my friend." ALLL the time! And her son, Felipe, leaves with us all the time to work too. That family, along with her nephew Michael, all help us all the time.

For Hermana Ines, I am going to make her a scarf. I learned how to knit, or something. How do you say tejer in English? Because I can do that. So I am tejiendo Hermana Ines a scarf, and am building her a door for her house. She lives poor, and her door is made of that super thin wood, I cannot remember what it`s called in English. Cartón. Plywood! I remembered! So I am making her a real door out of 2 by 4`s, and nails, and good hinges. She`s going to be so surprised! I want to serve her, because she always serves us! Since she only likes us, she feeds us lunch sometimes, and bought me a beanie, and buys me egg bread.

So Saturday we celebrated pioneer day. We did a pioneer trek! for like 30 kilometers I don`t know... We left the chapel in chepica at 5:30 am, traveled for half an hour, went up a big hill, had a big fire, devotional, I walked with a guitar, and we sang hymns on top around the fire. (I can play like 6 hymns on the guitar now, I am so proud!) Then we walked and walked in mud and rivers until 3:30 in the afternoon all the way back to Chepica. I took lots of pictures. And 3 of our investigators went, and had a blast! More of our investigators wanted to go, but their parents wouldn`t let them... lame. I also made this thing called a manto. Like a big blanket coat. All the huasos wear them here. A huaso is like a cowboy kind of dude. They wear big sombreros, and stand on street corners in their cloaks, and do nothing all day. Just stand and salute people, or ride horses all day. So I made one of those cloaks and wore it while I played guitar, so I could be more Chepicano. Ha. It was lot of fun. We got to grow really strong relationships with investigators, because before, they did not really trust us that much, or liked what we do. But after spending 12 hours straight with them, they realized how awesome we are. Being all girls between 14 and 18, they complained a lot. That sounds bad doesn`t it? That 3 teenage girls spent all day with us. But don`t worry. We were in a group of like 30 people. But we talked a lot, and they complained a lot, and I helped them get through a lot of tough challenges. Climbing over barbed wire fences, and getting stuck in deep mub, I had to pull them out. It was really funny, and I got a lot of good pictures. Haha. MY shoes came off once, and I had to dig them out of the ground., It was a classic movie scene. I even laughed, even though it was really lame. But now they really trust us, and want to follow this gospel, because they can see the difference between the member that went, and the investigator.

Afterwards, we had a fireside in the chapel, and Pres. MacArthur came to speak! The mission pres! Sweet! And the School orchestra came and played a few hymns. It was a realy good experience. We had them play, because we teach two members of the orchestra, and the director. Funny huh?

Well I am totally out of time now, and need to go shopping. I love you all! Thank you for your love, prayers, support, and being MY family. I am so proud of my family, and tell stories about you to everyone I know, especially the families I teach. I want everybody to have a family like I have. I hope my converts serve a mission, and I try to support every single person I talk to, whether they are a member or not. I know that my efforts have changed this branch I am in, because a few members that usually are not active, I have helped respark their interest in going to church, and not attend regularly, and bear testimony in church, and give talks. Well I love you all THIIIIIIIIIIIIS MUCH! (With my arms spread wide open) Chao familia!

-Elder Nicholls

Here I am - 26 July 2010

I want to respond to a few DearElders I got a few weeks ago...

Mom: It is true, we have been learning about the temple since we were about three years old. How important must it be then to recognize the importance of it? Also, it is really important to really search for the right spouse because it is a selection for an Eternity. Being a Mom, you really have taught me a lot of how a Mom should be. I realized over these last few weeks that you and Dad NEVER yelled at each other. Sometimes you bickered and disagreed and were disappointed with each other, but you never let it out of control. That is an incredible example for me. Happiness really IS knowledge that all is well, like you said. What do you mean "You JUST talked like a year and a half ago???" That is forever! I give talks like ever 3-4 weeks in church! So what are the callings of everybody in the church? Mom, Dad, Jenn, Sam... I cannot remember, and do not know if anything changed.. I really wanna know because a lot of people ask me, and I do not know... Yes it is super sad to see converts stop coming to church. My old companion Elder Rodriquez came here to Chepica on his last p-day, and it was a very sad experience for him. Because all of his 7 converts from here are not active, nor do they want anything with the church. They told him that they do not want anybody coming back to their house. I felt so bad for him. I cannot even imagine the pain. But, he certainly did his part, because they have their free agency, and understand their sins.

In a lesson this week, the husband of a lady returned home in the middle of the lesson, and said stuff like "Christ never existed, all this is false." Then went on in a little speech trying to destroy my hopes, and asked me something like "So what happens if all this is fake?" And in this moment, I remembered what Jeffrey R. Holland said once, or at least I think is was him... But I said something along the lines of "If all this is fake, then billions of people have been misled into a path of happiness success, family unity and peace, when really the life is made to be miserable, fight, and always question the truth." Then he shut up after that, and we both testified of the existence of the Savior, and the Book of Mormon. I was really proud of myself. But after the lesson, the lady told us not to come back anymore, because even if she received a testimony of this church, she will not stop being Catholic, because it is a tradition in her family.

This week has been really cool, because for a while in every single contact, even if they yelled at me to leave, I mustered up the best spirit I could, and testified of the Savior and the Book of Mormon. And in every contact like that, they left to go inside quiet, not yelling, and changed. They left their house with the intentions of rejecting me, but entered like a puppy with it´s tail between the legs. Testifying of the Book of Mormon really is the best weapon I have in fighting the evil here. It sounds weird talking like this, that I make it like a video game. But it really is like this. We have weapons, and so do they. We have a certain amount of energy, and they do too. I am going to employ using the Book of Mormon more often in contacts this next week, to see how I do.

Well until next week. I love you all so much, and hope all is well. Chao!

-Elder Nicholls

Chepicano Soy - 19 July 2010

Well Family, hello.

Well to start of, I want to say I love you all. And secondly, has anybody seen the video from the church "By small and simple things"? Because the main actor in it, the boy who receives the Book of Mormon, and in the end gets baptized, I know him. He was my EFY counselor one year, and he gave me a nickname, and was so cool and unforgettable. But the other day I chose that video to show in a lesson we had in the chapel, and when it started, I recognized him, Jason, and strangely missed him. I wanted to see him again, talk to him more, know him better. Weird... But I told everybody I knew who he was, and they were all impressed, including the other gringo missionary in the branch. Ha.

So, want to know something weird? Ok I have never really been that good at the piano, but the mission lent me an electric piano, to practice for sacrament meetings. But instead of playing the piano, I play the organ. I put it on the organ function, because it doesn`t have a pedal. So we have an ORGAN in church, and I can play a lot of hymns now. I am so impressed with myself. I cannot believe how good I am getting at piano, especially because I can only practice about 10 minutes a day, if that. But, cool!

MOM!!!!!! I love you!!! I read that talk you gave me from Sister Lant in the conference, and did as you said. I felt inspired to share it with a family that has been investigating for MONTHS. The Mom does not want to get baptized, but the children have gone to church like 25 times, gives talks in sacrament meeting, read daily, and go to seminary. But the Mom will not give them permission to get baptized, because they "Are not ready". But after prayfully reading this talk with my companion, we decided to enlist the help of a Sister in the branch, and we shared the talk with the family. And the Mom gave us permission! After months of asking for it and being denied, she finally decided to hand over the authorization! Wow! I really feel like I was the missionary needed in the conversion of these youth. Now I cannot talk too much, because the baptism is not until the 8th, so the Mom can still withdraw. But we are working hard to encourage her in her decision, and remind her it was the right thing to do. Because like the talk says, the parents have to allow that the children act, or when they leave the house to live, they will not be able to make good decisions, because they do not have the experience.

Well 6 investigators went to church with us yesterday, so we are definitely having some good progress. We do not find so many news, but we teach a bit with members. And the Engligh class I had this Saturday, like 15 people went. And we set an appointment with a lady called Genesis, and she is so awesome and smart and nice. That appointment is tomorrow, SUPER far. We have to ride our bikes like 30 minutes just to get to her house. Or even longer. Because we do not know exactly where she lives.

Well I do not know what else to tell you guys. Well yesterday we had a confirmation, and the lady asked ME to do it! I did not do it, really because I was not prepared. I did not know what to say, because there are certain things that must be said, and I did not know. Because the branch president always does it. I felt bad, but in the end, everyone agreed that really the leader should do it, or someone from the branch. Well we still give blessings to the sick, and it is so awesome, because it´s out of this world, literally! Well I am looking forward to getting an email from you guys this next week, because today I did not get anything. I hope the letter I send home today with my memory card reaches you quickly without problems, or anybody stealing them. Well I love you all! I hope you don`t forget who I am or what I am doing! Because I think about you guys daily!

-Elder Nicholls

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