Monday, February 9, 2015

Farewell President and Sister Smedley

 A week before last saturday we picked up the new mission president, President Moon and his wife from the airport.  

Later that night we had the unique opportunity and complete honor to take President and Sister Smedley to the airport to return home after 3 years of amazing service. It was a weird feeling. I couldn't believe it.  I remember so clearly, my first interview with President Smedley as a brand new missionary. Now I was taking him to the airport as he left the country. It was a sacred thing to be with them.  For the first time in 3 years, they had no phone calls, no urgent interviews or urgent needs or worries running a unique and unpredictable mission. I wondered if it felt like it was their first chance to catch their breath since they hit the ground running 3 years before.  I wondered what they were thinking.  I had the chance to ask them what was the most important thing they learned on their mission. President Smedley said, "Always, ALWAYS, follow the spirit." Sister Smedley said, "It's all worth it." I've thought about those two sentences a lot. Any sacrifice we make for the Lord is "worth it". Any sacrifice is always accompanied by blessings we can't even begin to count. It's a promise from our Heavenly Father.  When we got to the airport there were many native Cambodian members of the church, lined up to greet him one last time and say farewell. A lot of emotion by a people who tend to keep their emotion very private. Like I said, a sacred experience that words do no justice.

Then, the next day, we took the Moons to church. I think it was pretty fun for their family. The Cambodian people respect the Mission President similar to way that the people on the other side of heaven treat their missionaries. Everyone is so excited to meet and talk to him. Amazingly, he speaks really good Khmer and the members couldn't believe it. 

That night President Moon went proselyting with Elder Ott and I. It was great! He's very spiritual and you feel it whenever he talks. 

During our first AP planning with him we talked a lot about the Zone leader council the next day. We got the topic  and were asked to prepare a 30 minute lesson. Elder Ott and I really work good as a team and we were able to teach a pretty decent lesson the next day.

The following day we had our first "Meet the President" meeting. We had about 40 missionaries there and President/Sister Moon took time to talk with and meet each one of them. 

Next day we had meetings from 9-1:30. Afterwards I drove President out to Sen Sok for a baptismal interview. It's an area pretty much in the middle of no where. I went in to the interview room fully expecting to translate for him. Then he took off and did the whole interview himself in Khmer. I just helped to translate what they said.   The majority of the interview he did himself. I was super impressed. He was using words that I just recently learned! 
On friday we went to Battambang. That was fun. The meeting with the missionaries went really well. and then we ate. Following which we had a meeting with the members. We walked into the chapel and the District president yelled out, "Give them a round of applause!" and then everyone started clapping and put leis around their necks. 

Then, I drove from Battambang to Siem Reap. That was a blast. Half the distance is crazy Cambodian bumpy, pot hole filled roads where you can rarely go over 65. But then halfway there is a road that was constructed by Thais. You could get going pretty fast on those roads. When I drive on these Cambodian highways, I feel like I'm  in a Pod Racer from Star Wars. Passengers in the back of the van hit their heads on the ceiling and you must avoid very slow cars, strange vehicles packed with people and stuff, even parked cars in the middle of the road.  We got stuck in a rainstorm going like 40 kilos an hour and I could not see a thing. The rain was coming down super super hard. It was completely blinding and very scary. Then Elder Ott prayed that the rain would let up and almost on demand it let up.

In Siem Reap, we get to stay at the Angkor Paradise Hotel....pure heaven. Full sized beds, nice showers (with water pressure!) Free shampoo and bottled waters too. All the Cambodian workers love talking to us because we know the language. They can't believe it.  The guard outside even brought me a coconut with a straw poked in the top.
Then we drove back after that and came back to Phom Penh. 


Oh and exciting news for next week! Elder Ott and I are going to Vietnam with Presiident. We are going to both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city as well! 

I love my Savior. I know this church is true.

I love you all 

Elder Nelson

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Always Kicked Him in the Shin

A very fun and exciting week.

To start, I would like to tell you about a recent convert named Ouen. He is from the area I recently left. He told me on my last day there, if he gets baptized he wants me to do it. No matter where in the world I am. So after a month in the offiice I got a call from the Pochentong Elders telling me that Ouen insisted I baptize him. I did, and it was an amazing experience. Brother Ouen lost his leg in the war. He was hit by a missile and it was amputated from the knee down. I used to do this thing where I would walk up to him at church and kick him in the shin. He would act like it hurt really bad and people standing around would be super confused until they realized was wearing a prosthetic leg. He was so excited to be baptized. As he climbed into the font, he had to carefully go down one step, adjust his leg, down another step, adjust his leg, until he was in the water. Getting out was the same way. As I watched, it reminded me of his conversion. He had some issues and problems like most converts. He carefully took it one step at a time. Little by little until he was ready for baptism. I realized it's the same way any of us who decide to make positive changes in our lives. One step at a time, then analyze, adjust, and move forward. 

Last Wednesday my trainer's group went home. They had such a solid group that it will be hard for the mission to make up for their absence. It was sooo cool to see them meet up with their parents after 2 years. It was a pretty emotional day for those elders. I got to conduct their final meeting as a missionary. It was a real honor to be there with my trainer.

Interestingly, almost every single elder's parents said something to me about the movie. In fact the Wellers couldn't stop talking about it. His dad told me I was a "movie star" in Sugar City Idaho. Then his mother asked if I could take a picture with her daughter to prove that "she actually met me." It was pretty awkward around the other Elders but it was alright. 

The new mission president is the man. He seems calm and ready to lead Cambodia and Vietnam! 

I love you all so much. The mission is a blast. I couldn't be happier. 

Elder Nelson 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dairy Queen break in the Prado

We went to the airport to pick up President. We got to drive the Prado, which is a lot nicer than the white van we drive around. I'm thinking I want to drive a stick shift when I get back. Its always a big bonus going to the airport because it means that we go to Dairy Queen! 

In 9 days I went on exchanges with 7 different Elders. It was crazy. One place to the next. It's a great opportunity because I get to see what EVERY area of the mission is like.  It's our best opportunity to train, lift, encourage, inspire, and bless. It is so much fun to get to know missionaries that I would normally rarely even meet. 

Bad news, I have a stomach infection! I think. For the past 3 days I've gotten painful stomach cramps every time I try and eat something. Also, we have 2 missionaries in the hospital with Dengue Fever. Very rare to have 2 at the same time. Boy, it looks miserable. One elder was in there with a fever of 104 degrees for an entire day. They couldn't do anything to lower his fever either. It was tough to watch. He's a huge soccer player from Southern Virginia University and it took him out completely. I felt so bad for him. I guess getting sick is just part of the experience of serving here. 

I love you guys!

Elder Nelson 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sam found me my first, real sister?

Wow! Sam is engaged! That's awesome! That will be cool to come back to. Happy to add Lauren to the family! Wow. A real sister... 

This week was busy. Things have slowed down in the office quite a bit but whenever we have any free time we  will proselyte as much as we can. We are baptizing 2 people this week. 

Another amazing experiences. We went to Issac's house yesterday and he came down the stairs to his house  very excited. He yelled to us "Get up here brothas, I got somethin to show you!" So elder Ott goes up first and goes inside, then out of the window I hear, "Brotha Nelson get in here my brotha, I'm tellin you. I am an anointed one!" So we go upstairs and he told us a long story about how he was almost robbed a couple nights ago. He ends up going through the whole house and showing us everything the robber could have taken. Wifi Router, DVD player. His 2 phones, computer. Everything. Nothing was even touched. I guess what happened was that he forgot to bring his clothes in from drying outside. So that night a Cambodian man saw it and went to go steal his clothes. Then he the found the door wasn't locked and came in to steal everything. He had taken one of Issac's shirts, laid it on the floor, and then started putting all speakers and things in order to wrap it up and get out. And then he went into Issac's room and started going through Issac's stuff. At which point Issac says, "God woke me up!" and when he opened his eyes the thief turned around and fled it out the balcony and off the 18 foot roof, and ran away. Pretty crazy story. Issac still can't believe nothing was stolen. He had to have been in the house for over 10 minutes and didn't put anything in his pocket. Even his wallet his 2 phones his passport were still there. 

He is so awesome. I love Issac so much. His faith is incredible. I will not be surprised if he ends up being a general authority someday. He is so excited about being baptized.

One thing. If you could keep Darhnin Amil and Morali in your prayers it would be so nice. They are the refugees from Sri Lanka. They have such great faith.  They are a week late on their house payment and literally have no money. It could be taken away soon. They faithfully read their Book of Mormon everyday. They show up to church in a white shirt and tie. (though I don't know where they got them) And they are great member help. It makes me sad to see such great people struggle to that degree. They are remarkable members of the church. 

Love you guys! 

Elder Nelson 

Roaming Cambodia

Hey family,

Almost done with our road trip adventure. Right now, we're in Kampong Cham.  It's a province about 3 1/2 hours from Phnom Penh.  

It's been a wild week. In 5 days we worked with the zone leaders in 4 different provinces. It's a unique experience because we are able to see the entire mission, which is also the entire country! I've been able to work with a lot of the guys I was with at the MTC. Its AMAZING to see how far we've all come. I can still remember being in my first area with my MTC companion and moaning about how we'll never be any good at the language. Now, over a year later, we are seasoned missionaries speaking Cambodian up a storm! Super cool! 

I had the chance to go back to my first area, Siem Reap this week.  BY FAR one of my favorite days of the mission!  Some of the people I worked with there talked a lot about when I first came to the country I didn't know Khmer at all, but now I'm speaking very well. They thought it was super funny for some reason. They said I unfortunately lost my Siem Reap accent and I talk like a city person now. (I imagine its similar to the difference between a New York accent and a Southern accent). When we first got there, Poo Tre couldn't take me seriously. But that night we met with him. After we said the opening prayer I invited him to share a spiritual experience where he felt the love of God. We then continued to have a very spiritual lesson which ended with him committing to pray as a family every night. (That's a big deal because he and his wife were separated from each other for a while) and to go to church the next week. It was awesome. I can't wait for you guys to meet them. You'll absolutely love them.

Another cool experience: we had just finished a lesson in Battambong and started to leave. Before we left the Elders quorum president came up to me and asked me how to spell my name. He took a ball point pen and scribbled it on his hand. It was kind of awkward for a couple seconds because he just stood their smiling. Then suddenly he said, "Elder Nelson, I know that i have never met you before. This is my first time meeting you. But when I heard you teaching today it made me feel like I have known you for a very long time."  It was a very touching thing for him to say to me. I would love to serve in Battambong before the end of my mission. 

The stories could go on and on... But, we gotta go catch a bus. I'll be able to email again when I get back to the mission home but It will probably be pretty late for you!

I love you all with all of my heart!

Have a great week!!

Elder Nelson

Monday, October 1, 2012

Isaac and the Centipede

It was another fun week. We had 2 baptisms last Sunday. We baptized Issac, the man from Nigeria and Patro, the man from Mexico. Issac has learned for 3 weeks, and Patro has learned for about 6 months. It's interesting how the teaching process is different for different people.  It was a special service. The Spirit was very strong. It was also cool performing the ordinance in English. It was funny because right before I was to baptize Issac we were standing behind the font in the hallway. He was getting pretty pumped, swaying back and forth and clapping his hands.  It reminded me of what I used to do in High school before football games. I suddenly realized I didn't know his full name. So I quickly asked him, "Issac, what's your full name?" He looked at me, snickered and said, "Don't worry about it my brotha Nelson, just call me Mr. Isaac". I thought that was funny, but  I insisted I needed it to properly perform the baptism.  He told me his name was Issac jeh-tae-fook-ae-goo-guo. I don't know much about the language in Nigeria but I'd say I  learned a little bit that day. The first time I said it he was like, "nah brotha, that's not it. You gotta get some rhythm in it." He started bobbing up and down nodding his head and saying his name while using his hand to pronounce it more clearly. Then we started going back and forth and saying it back and forth, and every time he said it a little bit louder until I was saying it right.  Funny stuff right before a baptism in the hallway while everyone was waiting.  I love Isaac.

We went out to "USA Doughnut" yesterday. Its run by someone who used to work in the U.S, came back to Cambodia and opened his own shop. He sells good tasting doughnuts and burgers. On this day, I decided to get the club sandwich for a change. It looked pretty good, and when I got it,  I have to admit, I was pretty excited. Right before I took the first bite, I had a thought to see what exactly they put in this sandwich. I paused, put the sandwich in front of my face and looked through it for a little bit. While I was looking, I saw 2 little, wiggling antennae sticking out one end. I chuckled and turned to Elder Ott and said "Hey Elder, check this out, glad I didn't eat my sandwich right away!"  I thought It was just a little bug or something, Not that big of a deal.  Certainly not enough to stop me from eating it once it was pulled out.  Elder Kuhn said, "Hey, let me check that out." We were surprised to see when I unfolded the lettuce there was a 4 inch centipede in my sandwich! I guess that's where I draw the line.  I showed the lady that worked there and told her I wasn't hungry anymore. She understood. The restaurant owner came out and told me he would buy me a donut. I insisted that I wasn't hungry anymore and we left. I'm pretty sure he put it in there on purpose. The lettuce was washed, but somehow there was a centipede with red legs, tucked neatly in the middle of my carefully folded lettuce. Confusing.

Everything is going well. AP life is a lot different. 

This week Elder Ott and I are heading out to the Provinces so we leave Monday and get back Saturday. We take  buses and stay at elders houses. It will be a blast. We will go to Battambong, Siem Reap, Kampong Cham, and Kampong Thom. An adventure. It will be fun to proselyte in my first area.

I love you all 

Elder Nelson 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Super Busy

Super busy. 

Office life is crazy. 

I think we're going to be on later today but we're setting up a ton for the Apostle coming in. 

I love you all. 

Road Trip!

Well, we finally got to take a breath. Its been a wild couple of weeks. We had a ton of new missionaries come in (biggest group in the history of Cambodia) followed by having 5 general authorities show up. Afterwards we took a big road trip to the provinces where in 3 days we went to 4 provinces and taught 2 Zone Conferences. We went up to Battambong to Siem Reap afterwards we went down through Kampong Thom for a couple interviews then after that finished with a Zone Conference in Kampong Cam. It was quite a week. I really enjoy teaching in Zone Conferences. I've noticed that I'm able to feel the spirit strong when my main focus is to help build missionaries. I feel like I've been blessed with the ability to relate to people. I guess you could say I like to try to put myself in other people's shoes. And then say what I feel impressed that they need to hear in order to help them. 

It was quite the road triip. It was a blast being with President and Sister Smedley. Also, Sister Smedleys sisters were visiting so they came along in the van. We were all in a crazy silver van together and it was pretty funny. 

It was fun to be in Siem Reap again. I didn't have a chance to visit any of my recent converts but we went up and visited some of the people that I know in Srah Srong. It was fun. i suddenly noticed their very thick accents. I can see now why I talk a little funny. That week we stayed in 3 hotels. The one in Siem Reap was the best. It was awesome, unreal. Hot showers, full sized beds, the whole shabang. I even used conditioner, then I used the blow dryer on my hair. It was... wonderful. 

We're teaching a man named Isaac right now. He's awesome. He should get baptized next week. He's got some of the funniest quotes I've ever heard.

That's all I've got. Pretty busy! 

love you all. 

Elder Nelson

I Had No Idea...

Hey Family,

I had NO idea what goes into making a mission work! Its interesting, because as a missionary you focus on your one little area and your own investigators. Then, as a district or zone leader you worry about your respective zones or districts, but still a relatively small area. When you are in the office, all the sudden you are put into different situations where the whole mission is concerned. 

I finished being trained last week and it was a crazy couple of days. We had transfers (with 23 new elders coming in) so we have to do a lot of instructing for that and then did several hours of teaching.  Then we have to translate for the new Cambodian Elders and etc etc. Its crazy and its hard work. It will definitely get me prepared for school! We are required to do many things things that no one will ever see or know.  Had no idea. 

My new companion, Elder Ott and I are having a blast. It's really fun being with him. We are both pretty good at keeping things loose in stressful situations. 

Example: Last night we'd just finished a long day. We were driving back completely exhausted.  We got a phone call from an elder saying that he needed a mattress. (A little frustrating, who waits 30 minutes before lights out to ask for that?)  We were absolutely exhausted but, drove back to the mission home and got the mattresses. We were the only ones there, so we decided to ride the mattresses all the way down the stairs. Sounds dumb but it was REALLY funny! 

Other things we did this week: 

Conducted a devotional of very emotional departing missionaries and their families with the senior couple from the office.

Picked up all the new missionaries. 

Learned how to drive a stick shift. 

Gave instructions to all the trainers in the mission.

Coordinated all the bus tickets.

Shuttled Elders to bus stations. 

We got to be a part of a last minute transfer meeting with President. (super cool) 

And so much more... 


I'm now in the international branch so we teach people from many places in the world. Mostly Nigerians right now. They have an amazing accent and are the nicest people. I feel like the Lord has really been looking out for me. I actually wanted to serve in Africa my whole life and right now, we're teaching many Nigerians. Some are refugees others are here playing soccer and others are here to teach. So awesome.  The other day we took Solomon (a super buff 19 year old Nigerian man who is leaving soccer to serve a mission... to Nigeria) to help us with teaching Isaac. (another man from Nigeria) They started talking after the meeting and said something to each other and then went off for like 15 minutes about their ancestors.... turns out they're from the same village in Nigeria!  It was super cool. 

We're also teaching 4 Sri Lankan refugees. They got baptized last week. They might have to go back to Sri Lanka next week. But we'll see. 

We're doing zone conferences next week so its pretty much going to be one big road trip.

I have to admit it's been a little overwhelming for me and I'm sure my companion as well. There are many times when I feel completely inadequate for this calling. I'm companions with one of the better Khmer speakers.  The Standards are pretty high.  I usually speak really slow so that people can understand. But now all the sudden I have to learn to focus on what people are saying and then translate quickly and its been super hard for me.  I have faith in the Lord and that He wouldn't call me to this unless I was ready, but at the same time there's so many things that I'm simply not very good at. Its a blur every day. There's much more qualified elders that are older than me that could probably do a much better job. It's a struggle, but it will be good for me. I just need to rely on the Lord, and everything will be all right.

I love you guys so much. 

Read your scriptures and stay safe. 

Elder Nelson.

May be my last week in Pochentong

Hows it going?

So this week was pretty uneventful. Wait, I did get a box of cereal from the senior couple? That's big news.

We had a leadership conference this week in the city. It was pretty fun. Its nice spending time with the Elders from around the mission. The meetings are always very spiritual with President Smedley and it serves as a nice boost for the next couple months. ITs so cool to see how people change as they go throughout their mission I'm so proud of everyone in our group and everything that they have done. I feel like our MTC group is pretty strong. 

This is likely my last week in Pochentong. I've been here for 6 months. Transfer calls are on Sunday. I love this place. If they left me here I wouldn't mind it at all. Elder Blocker and I are having a great time right now. 

An apostle is coming next week. Super exciting. The district center is getting all prettied up for it. 
But other than that its just the usual things. Sounds like everything is going really well at home.

Thanks guys. Love you. 

Elder Nelson 

Look Ta Say is a Baller.

Another good week. Elder Blocker and I kept ourselves busy and were pretty efficient. We had 45 lessons, 8 investigators at church and 1 baptism. Not bad. There's this one guy, Lookta Say, and he's "a baller," he is 77 years old. I feel like he was the reason I came to Pochentong.

His story: 

So about 4 1/2 months ago Elder Nielsen and I were teaching an inactive member of the branch presidency, Om Non. We'd been hoping to find new investigators and towards the end of the lesson we were about to say the closing prayer and I looked at him and said, "Om Non, there is someone down this street that the Lord has prepared to be baptized." He kind of laughed and didn't say anything. We said the closing prayer and then stayed for a couple minutes and talked with the family. Apparently, Om Non had secretly snuck out and a few minutes later came back and said. "Elders, I found him!"  Elder Nielsen and I looked at each other and started to laugh a little bit but we followed Om Non out the door. He said he had left because he suddenly remembered hearing that there was an old guy who believed in Christ, just down the street. He went over there and told him that he needed to meet with some missionaries from our church. He was very strong in another church and wouldn't really listen to anything we said. But, it was obvious he had great faith. So Elder Nielsen and I decided to continue teaching him.  His name is Lookta Say. 

He started to progress more and more and things came up that were difficult, going to church, reading in the B.O.M. The usual things. There were several times when Elder Nielsen and I came very close to dropping him. But we would always pray about it and feel like we really needed to keep meeting him. 

Then, things started falling into place. He prayed about the B.O.M and had a dream that it was true. Priesthood blessings were given to his wife, and the church ended moving to an area closer to his house. 

He started to walk to church every week. He started following the commandments and then things just started to take off. 

It's been wonderful seeing his progression in the Gospel. His testimony of Jesus Christ is so strong, his faith is remarkable. 
His baptism was one of my favorite days in the mission. He was so happy when he came out of the water and you could see the light in his eyes.

No mail came last week for Khmer New Year so we're expecting a lot today. 

A couple days ago there was this guy buying food on the street. He was wearing a seahawks jersey. (first one I've seen in Cambodia) and so I went up and asked to take a picture with him. 

Other than that. Pretty normal week. A lot of hard work. I've had a really bad stuffy nose/sore throat/ ear aches this week. It lasted the entire week and I always felt like I was out of energy. Elder Blocker really did help me out a lot. Such a stud. 

I love you guys. This gospel is true. Jesus is the Christ. He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. 

Elder Nelson 

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Time to Assist President Smedley

Dear Elder Nelson,

I just want to let you know how proud of you I am. You are going to be a heck of an assistant and I think you can take confidence in the call the Lord has given you to serve close by both President Smedley and President Moon. I want you to know that with how much I worked with President this is a call from the Lord. I was wrong to think that a call to serve as an assistant was a good thought from President. I know President prayed over this a lot and I think you should be super excited and humbled and the chance you have. You are the man for the job big guy. Put you trust and confidence all on the Lord. This is going to be an experience of a lifetime for you. Love you big guy.

Elder Hill

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Harmonizing in the hospital with Elder Faught

Letter from March 18, 2012

Another solid week.

It's the hot season. Man, they weren't kidding when they told us it would be hot here.  I guess its hovering around 45 degrees Celsius and last week it got up to 47. I had to dope my companion all day yesterday. And by the end of the day I was absolutely covered in sweat. All my clothes were heavy and soaked.   

The Lord is testing me by sending me to a place like this.  Remember how sensitive I am to heat and the sun?  Every day by 2 o clock I hit a wall and feel totally exhausted. Just like that day in Moab Utah when I
had an allergic reaction to the heat. But, I'm finding little tricks to get me through. For example:

1.  On super hot days I wear a long sleeved shirt.  It protects me from the sun and when the long sleeves get wet, it keeps me cooled off.

2. I freeze water bottles in the morning to have an ice pack later in the day,

3.  I use the hose to cool me off a bit and soak my long sleeve shirts,

 4.  I tilt my head down when I ride my bike to have shade cover my face 

I went on an exchange with the ZL, Elder Faught (a buddy from Siem Reap.)It was super fun. The spirit was strong the whole day. I am much more sensitive to the spirit now compared to before my mission. I think before my mission, a tear filled testimony was a big spiritual moment. But now, I feel like I've come to a place in my life where I'm able to notice the Spirit in smaller, quiet ways. For example:

1.  Hearing someone's first prayer to their Heavenly Father ever,
2.  Testifying of Jesus Christ to someone who's never heard His name before.
3.  Hearing my companion try his very best to give a Priesthood blessing in Khmer, 
4.  Taking he Sacrament,
5.  Every single time I read the B.O.M

I guess what I'm saying is, at this moment in time, I feel like I know exactly when the Spirit is telling me to do
something, or if something is true.

On the exchange with Elder Faught we had the opportunity to visit a member in the hospital suffering from intestinal cancer. There's a strong chance she will die soon. She looked very weak in her hospital bed,
her head was bald and she was hardly able to speak. We were there to talk to her for a while and sing to her. After our talking, we sang her 2 songs. First, we sang "Nearer my God to Thee." Her daughter was there too and she knew it in Khmer and sang along.  Then we sang "I Need Thee Every Hour" in Khmer and the husband started humming along. Then in the 2nd verse he started singing with us so Elder Faught and I were able to sing different parts. When we got to the 3rd verse a Vietnamese man (who turns out to be the 6th Branch, Vietnamese Branch President, who's daughter has terminal cancer on the other side of the room) came over and sang the last 2 verses with us in Vietnamese. By the end of the song the woman was in tears holding her daughters hand.  It was so spiritual it felt like the veil may have been lifted for a few moments while we sang.  It was one of my favorite experiences of my mission thus far. I'm getting a lot of those.

When we ended she talked to us about a reference to a scripture in Alma. It was about how we shouldn't procrastinate the day of our repentance. She said she knows that she will be ready to meet her Heavenly Father when the time comes. The combination of events made her comments so real for me and gave me a crystal clear understanding of eternal perspective.

I am blessed to have the opportunity to serve a mission. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I love you

Elder Nelson

P.S. We're teaching the KFC delivery guy. Super pumped.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Happy Khmer New Year!

 We didn't proselyte Friday OR Saturday because of the Khmer New Year celebrations. I thought it was odd when we were told we weren't able to proselyte because of a holiday.  My thoughts were, there's no way it could be "that bad". Well it is. 

Everyone goes to their "home country" which is usually anywhere but the city. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone! It was eerie to walk down a usually bustling street and find it completely abandoned. And there were only random cattle roaming around. We did proselyte on Sunday though. It was still technically Khmer New year. (Feeling like America needs to catch up. Why do we celebrate our New Year for only a day?) 

Sunday's church attendance was pretty pathetic. We only had 30 people there. 5 of which were investigators though.  The night before I had got a text from the Branch President asking me to speak on how the gospel blesses families. I didn't see the whole text message that said my companion and I would BOTH be speaking.  When we got there we were reminded that both of us needed to fill the 35 minutes of speaking time. I had only prepared for an 8 minute talk. Like a champ, Elder Blocker went up first. He gave it all he had for a solid 3 or 4 minutes, and then it was my turn. I looked at the clock, took a deep breath and went for it. I started by stating how this life is a life to prepare to meet God. In the eternities we will be living as families. I felt like the spirit guided me for the rest of the talk. I think those 30 people were glad they came. It was a neat experience. I can't fully expelling how great it is to be able to get up and say things correctly. It takes a long time in this mission

Other news...

We had a sports day on one of the days we couldn't proselyte. It was fun! It was the first time I've tossed around the football in over a year. It was pretty sweet. We played basketball for hours. There's some pretty athletic kids in the mission and it got pretty fun (intense.) The last 2 days I've loved waking up soooo sore. 

The other day we had this huge red spotted lizard in our house. By huge, I mean the size of my forearm. My companion and I chased it all around the house for 30 minutes. It went under couches over dressers, into the kitchen, climbed up on the ceiling.  I would throw socks at it and it would bite at the socks and start hissing. It reminded me of the You Tube that mom and I used to watch over and over of the lizard that jumped on the TV show host. We finally chased it outside and it started climbing up our landlord's front window.  We followed it and it was in the perfect position to catch. I had my broom cocked back and a big orange basket to catch it in. Then out of nowhere a nice older woman came out and was very surprised to see us there. She asked what we were doing and I tried to explain that an extremely large lizard was climbing up the window and we thought we'd do you a favor and catch it. So, if you wait one more second we will take care of it. She told us, "Oh don't worry, where you boys scared? let it come into my house, no problem...." It made us feel really dumb. Then she walked us back to our house and said. I hope you have sweet dreams, don't worry about lizards in your house now, you have nothing to worry about. We went back in our house and it looked like a tornado had hit. Couches crooked, chairs turned over, dressers out of place. It was pretty funny. We got so close to conquering the lizard.

We have a baptism set for next week, I'm really excited, its the 77 year old man that we've been teaching for a while now. He's awesome. I feel like he was the reason I was sent to Pochentong.