Thursday, March 29, 2012

We Went to the Killing Fields.

On Monday we went to the Killing Fields.  Look it up.  You won't believe it. 

I was not completely aware of the magnitude of cruelty and brutality that occurred among the people I love so much.  As much as I dreaded it, I knew it was something I needed to know and understand .  As I learned, I experienced some powerful emotions: 

1) Extreme anger 

2) An intensified love and compassion for the Cambodian people. I saw the death toll not as numbers but as the faces of our investigators and the members enduring something so horrific. It made me physically sick.

3) Then I felt surprisingly peaceful. I knew all of those that were lost, were taken back to a loving Father in Heaven.  He has a plan for them. I feel grateful to serve here among such humble people who have suffered so much.

It is confusing to contemplate that what happened here was even possible.  Especially that so many children were killed.  It was eye opening in every way and made me realize how precious and tender human life is. Words don't do any good when I try to express what I saw and felt here.  I hope you will look up the Pol Pot regime to honor those that senselessly lost their lives and those left behind.

We had incredible experiences this week. I love my mission so much. I wouldn't rather be anywhere else. I feel like I'm truly coming into my own and beginning to understand who the Lord wants me to be.

I love you guys. Thanks for the Emails!

Elder Nelson

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I'm a father of a new baby boy! I'm training!

This week was crazy. No, there was no bugs in my stomach or near deathaccidents, but I've finally become a father! Its super fun, I absolutely love it. I remember the first week in the country thinking to myself "I cant wait to train" So here I am!

My new companion: He reigns from the suburbs of Dallas Texas. He's about 5'2". Black hair and the Cambodians say he has "Indian features" He is an absolute genius! He got a 5 on the AP calculus and physics B and C tests. He also got a 5 on the computer engineering test... He didn't study for it he just figured he'd try it. He got a 5 on a few
other AP tests but I'm drawing a blank. haha He's super intelligent. He wants to be an electrical engineer. He said, "I don't know if you are familiar with people that want to become Electrical Engineers, but I fit the profile. You know, real quiet and make friends by looking at my shoes." He's super funny I love him. He's invented some
of the coolest things I've ever heard of... such a stud.

I had him put one of our investigators on date for baptism... it was awesome! It was the only thing he was able to say that lesson, but he got it out and they accepted! so sweet.

The picky eating will change eventually, I just want his first week of transition to be easy.

He left some candy out and there was literally thousands of ants on his desk when we got home.

He is a stud. I love him. Whenever someone makes fun of his language or says something to him I get super protective. I love thekid so much.

The new church building is almost finished! So this week we'll be meeting in a new building. I'm really excited for it because we haven't had a church to meet in for a while.

Other exciting news.

The area authority Elder Kong is doing interviews by special request and I was one of 3 from our zone that were chosen. One on one with the General Authority... pretty cool opportunity.

I'm the youngest Elder thats training an American right now, the other 2 in my group that are training are with Khmers. I feel honored.

Thats all I've got. I love you all so much!

Elder Nelson

Christian congregation wants us to teach them!

February 12, 2012 letter

I'll start by saying I'm pretty sure I'm typing on a computer from the 60's. The keys all stick and it makes a squeaky noise every time I click a key. 

This was another good week. It was action packed, and we saw good things happen. First off, Elder Nielsen got in another bike accident so we spent some more quality time in the hospital. I was in front of him so I didn't see it happen but I remember stopping my bike and him coming up to me with a big rip in his pants and blood everywhere. I guess someone cut in front of him and swerved to avoid him and ate some pavement. He's doin ok. His hand got pretty torn up and his knee was scratched but he's gonna be alright. I feel like every missionary that comes here eventually gets in a couple moto accidents. I remember in Siem Reap my bike got tied up with a moto and I flew over the handlebars and busted my helmet in half. Its something we get mentally prepared for. and whenever we're at the mission home and somebody is telling a bike crash story.. there's always someone with a story to top it.... Coolest mission in the whole world. 

So the other day we were going to the store to grab a few things for lunch. There was a lady sitting in the front and I said hello to her and she replied "jeh khmer chbah mec" Meaning: "know cambodian clear, why?" (very informal)  Before I could reply this lady comes up and goes off about how we're christian missionaries and we know good Khmer to help us proselyte. She turns to us and says she wants to go to church with us on Sunday and asks if that is ok. I laughed and said of course! 

We sit down with this lady and within minutes, 4 or 5 more adults sit down and it starts feeling like I was making a business deal. I guess this group started their own Christian church and they wanted us to come and teach. They concluded we knew more than them. We agree, on the conditions that they come to church with us. They said once we know each other better and trust us then they will go. They set up an appointment for us to go teach their church at 3 o clock next Sunday.  So they show us to their church. We had to walk through a dump, climb a ladder over a brick wall, down a ladder on the other side of the brick wall. Then walk through a little village and to a small house where they worship. We all sat down in a circle and I led a discussion about the gospel. We went around and had everyone bear their testimony. It was great. People were telling amazing stories about their lifes changing and what Jesus meant to them.

I then asked so when you teach the word of God, what do you teach from. They replied that they use the bible. I said, Oh, thats awesome! That probably means you use the Book of Mormon too right?  They all got quiet, looked at each other and were like Book of Mormon? I haven't heard of that. Do we use the Book of Mormon?. Then one of them turned to me and was sorry they didn't know what the Book of Mormon was. I replied really?! Oh boy! Ok, next week at 3 we'll come and teach you all about the Book of Mormon. They all got super excited and started saying Hallelujah! but in Khmer its AAALLEEELLUUUUYYYAAA.  I was able to give a brief explanation about what the Book of Mormon is. So now we have an arranged appointment to go teach a church the gospel. They said they all want to go to church with us and worship with us. They are very prepared for the truth. They are definitely honest seekers of truth who know not where to find it. 

Then they asked me to say the closing prayer and I was honored and said of course. They all took a deep breath with each other and then starting praying in really low tones of voice really fast. So I bowed my head and prayed too. I assumed when I stopped they would stop too but they kept going. So I looked at my companion he was laughing, and I just put my head back down and said another prayer. I figured I just had to outlast them so I said a pretty long prayer. As each person finished I would thank Heavenly Father for them and by the end I was the last one to pray so I expressed my gratitude for the Book of Mormon and ended my prayer. They all gave a big AMEN and then started clapping and saying alleluyaaa again. It was one of the most interesting experiences of my life. 

They have such strong faith, next week were going over with the senior couple and the Branch President. Lots of potential there. Man I love the people here so much. 

I love you guys 

Elder Nelson

Interesting side notes
-I drink 3 gallons of chocolate soy milk in a week 
-I found a pull up bar!
-I still teach second hour
-We broke the time record to the city from our house.. 26 minutes. 
-I got a new bike.. super nice. It has gears! and both brakes work! 
-Almost finished with the new testament 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Strong Faith of Sovann

Letter from Feb 5, 2012

It feels good to be healthy and hitting the pavement again. My companion still had to come in and rest sometimes but we were still able to get some work done. 

We're starting to earn the trust of the members. When they can trust us we see so much more success. 

We are continuing to teach this man named Sovann. I think I mentioned him before. He's awesome. A moto hit him in an accident 12 years ago and was in a coma for 3 months. During the 3 months people took everything he had, his wife left him and he woke up in a hospital room all alone. He's blind in one eye and almost completely blind in the other. He can't use the right half of his body, and has a big dent in his forehead. He's amazing though. He says that after the accident he started going to a christian church because he knows that God saved his life. He said in 12 years he has only missed 4 Sundays of church. He has such amazing faith. 

So a couple weeks ago we picked him up on Sunday morning and he rode on the back of my bike. We had to stop a few times to readjust but we eventually got to church. The whole time he was there he said that it was so peaceful and that it just felt different from other churches that he had been to.  

He accepted the invitation to be baptized. he needs to have a ride to church first so he's working on that. But he is one of my favorite people I have ever met. He LOVES Jesus Christ. 

I have never met someone with such strong faith in my entire life. He has the whole branch rallying around him. He is exactly what the members here need. 

I love my mission so much. Everyday is an adventure that I wouldn't trade for the world.

Im safe healthy, skinny, sunburned and happy
Much Love

Elder Nelson 

Spent some time in a Cambodian hospital bed.

Letter from January 29, 2012

I hear you heard the hospital story from Sister Smedley.  I bet Mom didn't like it.

Here's the play by play.

Monday comes around and lie normal we go to the mission home to check for mail. It was the week of weeks for teaching and appointments. We were set up for a big week. We go to the mission home and my companion starts complaining about feeling sick. Its kind of been a common occurrence among us over the last 2 months so we didn't think much of it. He starts talking to sister Smedley about it and she tells him to go directly to the hospital.

So, we go to the hospital and it was pretty fun. I spent the night on the couch in the hospital room while my companion was hooked up to the I.V. for an amoebic infection.

When I woke up the next morning I found myself running to the bathroom over and over. They did some tests on me and found out I have the same thing. So they roll another bed in and hook me up to an I.V.  I felt bad for my companion because it was another addition to a long string of unpleasant events over the last few weeks. We were in the hospital for 3 days. He was having a really hard time making sense of it all.  So I ended up being a pep talker for 3 days.  It was a good learning experience for me. 

While I'm in the hosptial, hooked up to an I.V. the nurses check on us all night to make sure that we''re doing ok. So it gets to around 11:30 and I'm exaushted from the day. Im half asleep when all the sudden this beeping noise starts going off. I thought it was my companions I.V. so I ignored it. Finally Elder Nielsen tells me its my I.V.  We realize I forgot to plug the charger back into it after I used the restroom.  So in the dark, I reach down to plug it in and I heard a pop.  Suddenly a lot of liquid began spilling all over the sheets and my arm. I thought it was the liquid from the I.V. so I quickly kept trying to plug my I.V. back in. My companion got up to turn the lights on. When the lights came on I found myself literally in a puddle of my own blood! Me and Iv's don't get along. The nurse came in and took care of me. 

We are ok now. After we were released, we spent the rest of the week at the mission home. Ate dinner with president and his wife last night. I love them both so much.

There wasn't a ton of proselyting this week, but we did get a few lessons in. 

I love you all

Elder Nelson

The few of the older generation are a pleasure to teach.

January 22, 2012 leter

The weeks are starting to go faster, but then again, they're not...

Whenever things start feeling easy or comfortable I start to fear that I'm plateauing. I strive to keep myself uncomfortable. This week I've been on a big cleaning binge. My companion keeps making fun of me because he said that I woke up last Wednesday, said my prayer, and sat up in my bed with a "serious yet angry" look on my face. I jumped out of bed and left the room. He said he was confused and a little scared. He thought ti was mad at him or something. He found me sweeping the doorway with a  serious look on my face. He has told that story everyday this week. But yeah, I've been focused on overall cleanliness, my companion likes the new goal. My mom's dream has come true.

So My companion and I have started to find some good success among the older people. Apparently this is rare because they tend to be set in their ways after surviving the Pol Pot nightmare. I don't know what it is, but they just really like us for some reason. I love talking to them. They have such interesting stories and insights on life. I always take the approach that I want to learn from their wisdom, and in turn, I can share about Jesus Christ. I ask them what the most important thing to have in this life, and the majority of the time they say "Good Health". They explain that if you are healthy, it doesn''t matter if you''re poor, lonely, out of work, beaten down, or having problems. If you have good health, you are still able to have a good life. Its so true. The more I think about that the more I agree.

A couple days ago I was talking to one of the older people and they gave me the good health routine. And I was totally in agreement. Good health is so important. And then I started to relate the concept of the health of our spirit. They LOVED the thought. The idea that we can have good health spiritually and that it is equally as important as good health physically interested them.  I then introduced Jesus Christ and talked about how he is the doctor of our spirits. And that through him we can be cleansed from guilt and sadness, and enjoy good spiritual health. One man agreed that it makes sense... And then I said. Sokh, do you think we could come back and teach you about our Savior Jesus Christ? He looked up with a smile and said ''at mian ei'' which means, "don''t have thing." In English: No problem!. I love the inspiration I have been entitled to receive. 

I love my mission. I go home every night exhausted and wake up every morning with a revived motivation to "seize the day". This life is amazing. I love it. I love the gospel, I love my Savior Jesus Christ. This morning we sang "How Great Thou Art" in our companionship study. We finished the second verse and I was able to feel the spirit so strong, it was overwhelming. It is by far my favorite hymn. I can picture that day so clearly in my head. To kneel at the feet of my Savior and exclaim, How great thou art! 

Everyone on earth is so lucky, whether the know it or not they have a loving Heavenly Father that blesses them so much everyday. 

I love you

Elder Nelson

Friday, March 23, 2012

There are sad times too.

This week was kind of a downer. We were getting this family ready for baptism (Janton) I talked about him earlier. I honestly think he will be one of the first stake presidents in Cambodia. But his work told him that he had to go to Kampong Cham for work. So we showed up to his house yesterday after church to finish reviewing the baptismal interview questions and to get him ready for baptism.. and he just wasn't there. His wife was just like. Oh he just had to go to Kampong Cham for a while.. he'll be back in like 3 months... super super frustrating. (Kampong cham is like 3 hours bus ride away. 

And then we heard that another family had to stop learning because her husband didn't want him them to learn anymore. We go over and visit them on the train tracks. When we get there she was sitting on the train tracks shaving Chayas head with an old exacto blade because his head was bleeding from lice. We start talking to her and she says that her husband says that she needs to worship her ancestors. and if she doesn't it means she doesn't love him. So she said she could learn but couldn't get baptized. I was frustrated but I canwork through it. And then all the sudden her drunk neighbor comes out of his house and starts yelling at her about how Jesus Christ wasn't true and started cussing her out. And she was all calm and then all the sudden she just started shaking and lost it. She stood up and started yelling at him. They were really mad at each other. And then the guy went up and tried to steal her husbands cart to push around and collect garbage for money. And she tried to stop him and he just dragged it down this ledge and slams it in the middle of the road. And THEN this guy on a moto came up and started yelling at the drunk guy. He gets off his moto and throws the cart off to the side. And then they start swearing at each other. And then our investigator got involved, it was chaos. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a big fight. But I just looked at Elder Nielsen and said. Dude. we gotta get outta here. And we left. Its really depressing because she has so much faith. She used to walk 40 minutes to church while stopping along the way to throw up blood because she was so sick. Such a trooper. I have faith that at a later day she'll be baptized. 

And then the other day we're riding down the train tracks and there's all these people in blue boy scout suits and army uniforms walking around with big AK 47's and other guns with really ticked off looks on their faces.. Looks like the cock fighting arena got busted. 

We were riding our bikes through them and then all the sudden one just stands in front of me holding his gun up and pointing. I came to a stop and was pretty nervous but surprisingly calm and just smiled and said, "Hey whats up?"  In Cambodian. He started laughing and yelled to his buddies, "This french guy knows khmer!" And then they all started gathering around and I started totally joking around with them. And then I said, "Well, looks like I gotta go, I'm late for an appointment."  The original guy with the gun says...forgot to tell you...your kick stand is down. Whew!. 
I have to say, I'm glad the cock fighting arena was shut down.

Cock fighting arena.

We're teaching a family with two people over 70 years old. They're super nice and so cute!  It's sad though because they introduced us to their son, who I guess was a very succesful tour guide until 3 months ago. He got in a moto accident and now he's blind, his wife left him, he has a 2 inch deep dent in his forehead, and he can't use his left arm. He speaks suprisingly good english but I don't think he's all there. He laughs like the big guy from the Goonies. And, everytime I say something He says, "That's all right" In an encouraging voice. Its hard to explain.  I love him. I shared my testimony about the importance of prophets on the earth today. And the spirit was strong and I left it quiet for a second. Then he suddenly interrupts, chuckles for a second and says, "thats all right man" Everybody started laughing and it was great. 

I absolutely love my mission. Its insanely hard, physically, mentally, and emotionally. But the people here are amazing and you wouldn't believe the kinds of experiences I'm having. This gospel is true. It changes lives eternally. I know it without out a doubt. I have literally seen lives saved because of it.  

Much love

Elder Nelson 

Outrunning Ninjas.

Letter from January 8, 2012

Thanks for the packages! I got the second one with the Captain America action figure... thanks! It was awesome. I also got one from grandma and grandpa that was really cool to get.

I have a crazy story to tell. I've debated whether to tell it now or wait until later so mom doesn't freak out.  But I can't wait so here it is.

 Every P-Day we go to the mission home which is more than 10 miles away from where we live. It requires us to go on a very busy road and every time we ride it we have funny experiences.  

So last week, we were riding from the mission home back to our house. We were riding along, having a normal, missionary conversation when all the sudden a crazed Cambodian man cuts right in front of us and starts sprinting across the street. He wasn't paying attention to oncoming traffic and motos were swerving out of his way and honking their horns. I turn to Elder Nielsen and said, "Wow. That guy must really be in a hurry. Look at him go! I think he's going to get hit!" So, he gets to the other side or the busy road and we noticed he was calling for someone. Then, he starts running down the other side of the street into oncoming traffic waving at everyone. After a few seconds he makes a sharp turn and comes sprinting back to where we were. By this time me and Elder Nielsen are busting up laughing because we could not figure out what he was trying to do. Then when he was 20 meters behind us, we hear him yelling, "BONG! BONG!" Which is just how you call for people that are older than you. It literally means "older sibling" When I turn around, I see him waving at US trying to flag us down! I look at my companion and just say, "Um, I think he's trying to talk to us? He replied, "So should we stop?"  I told him no, too risky. He eventually comes running up to us. We looked at each other and thought, maybe he REALLY wants to be a Mormon?. 

Then, in a moment of confusion he jumps on the back of my companions bike and starts yelling Faster! Faster! (In khmer of course) Khmers are really touchy feely and he was pretty much bear hugging my companion so it was super funny and we're both just looking at each other laughing really hard. He was completely out of breath and didn't say anything but kept looking back really worried.

So to break the ice I ask him, "Sokh Sbaay tee?" (How are you... or literally translated is "are you happy and healthy yes/no? ) He starts saying, "They're after me! Ride faster! ride faster!" My companion gives me a strange look of wanting to laugh,  worried, and very confused. We keep riding. Then, in a panicked voice he proceeds to explain how he had just been beaten up... he was running away from bad people he was "tangled up with" and owed money. He kept using a word that we didn't know but what we soon realized was, we were suddenly in a "high speed" bike/moto chase down Rosi Blvd in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. My companion was worried sick.  I didn't know what to think so I just started laughing. He looks at me and in a very dramatic voice yells, "Elder, what do we do!" (Its impossible to truly put into words the chaos of the situation.)

I look at him and said. "Listen to him. Elder get on your horse and lets get outta here!" Then we kicked our bikes into high gear and started flying down this busy road. He kept saying to get him to the police station! He kept smacking my companion in the kidney yelling faster! faster! We had about 2 kilos until the mission home and it was honestly one of the scariest moments of our lives.

By this time in our mission we both know how to work traffic in Cambodia. Bikes are the bottom of the food chain, but they're the easiest to maneuver when there's heavy traffic. So we're weaving through traffic and he starts yelling that they have swords! they have swords! (I know that word because of Nephi's experience with Laban in Khmer) Not what we wanted to hear. We later learned that gangs carry big samari swords. Guns are too hard to get so swords are the weapon of choice. So ninjas really do exist.  

We quickly realized it wasn't a joke and I immediately felt like a character on a video game. We got this huge rush of addrenaline and made incredibly good of time in a traffic jam. I need to stress that my companion was really freaked out. The guy holding on to him for dear life was all bruised up and had a cut on his face that was bleeding. 

We finally get to the police station, drop him off and hurry home. We go inside, lock the door, look at each other, and just started busting up laughing. It really was a funny experience. We are convinced we saved his life. 

Interesting side notes:
-We asked the guard at the church about the word we didn't understand... Definition : Mafia
-Apparently were chased by the mafia
-Elder Nielsen is still in shock. 
-Elder Nielsen said when he was a young boy in primary singing "I hope they call me on a mission, he pictured something completely different" 
-We talked about the experience at DM and one of the locals in a really serious voice asked where it happened. We told him which street. He said in a very matter of fact voice that there's a large mafia population there. 

SO Mom, all is well. Don't worry. I am much bigger than any gangsters (ninjas) here. They're all built like Joseph... but shorter. 

Me and Elder Nielson 

We have a new branch president and nobody really knows whats going on. I had to do almost everything last week. Play the piano for sacrament meeting, teach the second hour, teach the 3rd hour, gave someone the holy ghost, the priesthood, Play the piano for priesthood and talk in church next sunday laying out a vision for the future of the branch. 

I love it. But we are good and tired. We raised our church attenedance from 42 to 62  

I love you all. LIfe is good. I love the gospel. I love my Savior. 

Elder Nelson 

New Year, New Bike.

 January 1, 2012 letter

I gave a talk in church about the importance of the Saviors birth. It went pretty well. I didn't have any time to prepare so I shared the basic missionary lesson on the atonement. And then for second hour so I had to give an hour long lesson on how the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. It was kind of tricky because I didn't know how to pronounce the word for Keystone... so to introduce the lesson I just kept asking the members questions until someone said it and then I used it the rest of the lesson. I actually like being put into situations like that. Where I don't have any choice... I just have to do it. Those are the times when I grow the most. 

We've had some really sad experiences with alcohol and abusive husbands and fathers this week. It makes me depressed to think about so I'm not going to write much about it. I've learned the pain that alcohol brings to a family. I've found it includes emotional and physical pain.  The Word of Wisdom is powerful.

On a happy note, I have a lot of fun riding my new bike now. I'm super friendly to people while I'm riding along and I like to say hello and funny Cambodian phrases that nobody expects from a foreigner. Even when people look grumpy I still stop to talk to them and try to have a conversation... But, there was this one time I was having a bad day and I was riding my bike back home in silence. Then, all these people started saying hello to me and saying jokes as I was riding home. It was a really happy experience for me. I couldn't go 5 yards without someone saying hello. I love this country and the people I'm serving right now. 

Elder Nelson

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Almost Christmas!

Letter from Dec 20, 2011

Our Christmas corner with treasures from home.
Oh man, its almost Christmas and it didn't hit me until i got all the emails with people wishing me Merry Christmas! The only Christmas here is in our bedroom and the skimpy Christmas lights hung up outside of KFC. (In the white handbook it says to limit the times you eat fast food in a week, its funny, because we save up money to eat at KFC because its the only clean place to eat food in our area.)

This week will be the best week! Our area is doing very well right now. We're teaching 6 families, and 2 of them came to church. One of them, I'm convinced, will be a Stake president one day. He got in an argument about the power of repentance with one of the really old stubborn members, and totally showed him up. It was awesome. He has such strong faith its amazing. 

So I'm doing good. No illnesses, a couple scrapes from the moto accident but they're almost all healed. I've become quite the cook and when I got my mission money again we went to the Khmer market and bought a ton of food (rice vegetables eggs meat etc. etc.) I have been throwing down the biggest, best stir fries lately. I'm actually getting to be a pretty good cook, My companion really likes that I'm going through a big cooking phase.  He just puts the rice in the rice cooker and sits, and waits. Its kind of funny. P.S. Sorry mom for never doing the dishes, I realize now how frustrating it is to do the cooking and the dishes. It's my new pet peeve.

The areas doing good, we had 59 people at church last week so that numbers going up, we met with the relief society president and her family and they went to church for the first time in a while. They're actually doing really good now, we're going to their house on Christmas to have a FHE and play Uno. It will be really fun. They have the potential to be awesome members. 

The language is coming along. I still get compliments almost everyday from locals. But every once in a while I say something and they will just look at me with a completely blank face. I improve everyday. I'm at a point where its finally fun to be in this country and speak Cambodian.

I found a Christmas decoration!
My companion and I are performing in the talent show he's singing, "├ľne more sleep til Christmas" in a kermit the frog voice while I accompany him on the piano. 

We are also performing the song for our zone. We're performing it to the tune let it snow let it snow let it snow. I'm singing while he does a background, jazzy bass line, beat box thing. Its super funny. Here's the lyrics: 

Well the heat outside is frightful
The air conditioning is so delightful
Your companion is moving slow
(Elder) Its time to go time to go time to go 

The city streets are pretty busy
You think how did that tuk tuk just miss me 
You're energy is running low
Oh how I wish I had a moto

When you finally call it a night
Back to the house and you lock up the door
Oh your stomach just doesn't feel right
And you remember that mii chaa from before!

Sick for your holiday in Cambodia 
Just ask elder Edmunds and be glad it's not an amoeba
Tonight you hope that your dreams will show...
Let it snow let it snow let it snow

So there you go. 

I'm all set up for Christmas. Oh! the branch President called me and asked me to prepare the christmas day sacrament meeting, So we're doing a thing where we read a scripture then sing a christmas song etc. I'm having a blast preparing for it. 

Everything is going well here. I'm happy healthy and having a blast. 

Elder Nelson
Mission Christmas picture


I got pretty sick this week. At first it was just a really bad sore throat and headaches. But then I completely lost my voice. There's nothing more frustrating then losing your voice as a missionary. I kept trying to teach but my voice just wouldn't allow it. Khmer is different then English because in English when you lose your voice you can just talk in a lower voice and it works out. Now that I've learned to speak Khmer clearly, I realize that its mostly spoken in the top of the throat, so when you lose your voice it's literally impossible to say 80 percent of the words. 

My illness ended up getting bad enough that they sent me to the hospital. I can usually work through being tired or sick but I just got hit too hard this time. They gave me some antibiotics and sent me on my way. 

I still wasn't really able to talk but we went out teaching anyway while I sported a surgical mask. But then I was walking to the church, lagging behind my companion, a moto with 3 people were speeding and hit me as they raced by. So I went flying. And, they went flying. Then there was a lot of crazy sounds. People slammed their brakes and started gathering around. I was flat on my back looking up with the wind knocked out of me.  I was very drowsy because of the medicine I was on so I just kind of got up. Brushed my pants off, and walked my bike in the church. Everyone kept coming up to me and asking me if I was ok. My companion saw me walking up, looked at my bike, and said, "What happened to you?!" I guess I'm fine. It was a lot like football practice.  One thing I do know is, the Lord protects his missionaries. Unfortunately my bike isn't exactly rideable for long distances because the back wheel isn't round anymore. The bike is now called Scrappy. My companion says its a musical bike because of all the sounds it makes when I ride.

The good news is, at the hospital they weighed me in at 180!  I'm pretty pumped about that. 

Other than that incident, this week has been great. I'm starting to get to know the members. Our Relief Society President is inactive so we went and met with her.  I really do love the people here. They are amazing in many ways.   And when we speak the language well, they love listening to us. 

We've been finding investigators and things are going good. 

The mission is sweet. I really love it. I go to bed every night completely exhausted and wake up every morning extremely excited for the day. 

Never been happier!

Elder Nelson

The game plan

I'm A City Slicker Now.

That's right. I'm officially a city slicker. My roadside free flowing streams have been replaced with the railroad tracks, the peaceful bike ride home accompanied by the sounds of beetles, crickets and fireflies has now been replaced with a fast paced chaotic, busy main city street, and my rice fields have been replaced with endless run down apartment buildings. 

I've been transferred to Pochentong. They call it the "suburbs" of Cambodia. But it feels like the "ghettos."

We teach a lot of people on the train tracks. It's a very poor area but there is good potential.  I actually love the city.  Mostly because of the sheer numbers of people here. In Siem Reap, I felt like when I rode down the street everyone already knew who I was. Here, it seems like I see thousands of new people everyday. A lot of potential! 

Parts of the city are very disgusting. It feels like Sodom and Gomorrah when we ride down a street full of the dirtiest "strip clubs" or whatever they are.  I get a sick feeling in my stomach when we ride through. Siem Reap was beautiful and peaceful in the middle of the country. 

But here I am and it's time to get work done! 

Miracles happen everyday. I could be here for hours talking about the miracles from just last week. 

I love the work. I love my calling. I love the people. I wouldn't rather be doing anything else than spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I love you all!