Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Feliz Navidad! 12/23/14

Hello everybody!

This week I don't have much time but it's okay because we get to talk on Christmas!  Vacationing in Saint George huh.. sounds pretty good to me.  Have fun!

This week we had our temple and Christmas activity!  We all went to Heredia to go to the temple and after we had a chance to eat a Christmas dinner as a mission and have a devotional.  The temple is such an amazing place.  The peace found inside is something that you can't describe. I also was part of the group that got to talk with the temple president.  We were a small group of missionaries but we sang a hymn and he shared spiritual experiences with us for a little bit.  It was truly amazing.  We then went to a chapel for our Christmas dinner and devotional from President.  He gave a powerful talk about searching for Christ in these times and then he told us that he had some news for us.  That morning the First Presidency announced the forming of a new mission in Costa Rica!!  It was such a powerful experience to hear the testimony of President Wilkinson.  He has so much love and pride in his missionaries. In tears he told us that he was so grateful for our work.  He said that every day he prays that Heavenly Father will send the best missionaries that he has to offer to Costa Rica, and he said that he has the best.  It is so amazing to feel the love and trust of a mission president like we did that day.  Then, we all knelt down as a mission to give thanks to our Heavenly Father for blessing us for our work.  It was so powerful.  Something I will never forget.  So the missions will be Costa Rica East and Costa Rica West!  Each of our names will be put before two apostles and we will have receive another mission call to one of the missions!  It is so exciting!

This week we had the baptism of Anllel!  He is so awesome!  He is nine years old and is so pure and willing to follow his Heavenly Father.  He wants to be a missionary and I am excited for him and his journey in the church!  This week we are preparing the baptism of Jose!  He is my buddy!  He is twelve years old and loves church so much!  Church starts at 9 and he is in the chapel at 7 waiting for us to come and sit with him!  Amazing young man!

Well I hope you all have a Merry Christmas!  I love you all and I'll see you on Christmas!

Elder Nelson

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

12/16/14 Walking in a Winter Wonderland . . . .

Hey everybody!

I love to read all of your emails!  You guys are awesome!  Hope you all have some good plans for Christmas, because I sure do baby!!

This week has been so awesome! We have been working super hard to find and teach all week!  When we get back to the house it is super hard not to just pass out, but that's missionary work!  I love it!

We are preparing an investigator, Anllel, for his baptism this week. He is super excited and we are too!  He's 9 years old but has a good support system with his grandma in the church.  We are working super hard though with his parents.  We had a lesson with him and his mom and she really wants to be baptized too, but she needs to be married first.  This is the biggest trial that we have as missionaries in Costa Rica.  Nobody is married.  I think I have met one, maybe two, families that are married that aren't members of the church.  The reason that nobody is married because they are all in what they call -union libre-.  Basically that means that every couple that has been together for at least three years receives all the rights and benefits of a marriage from Costa Rica.  So in their eyes marriage is just paying a lot of money for a piece of paper that doesn't change anything.  Sometimes it's a little frustrating but there is nothing that we can't overcome!

On Saturday we went to do some service!  Some investigators from the other companionship in La Rita were moving to San Martin.  So they asked us to help them build their house!  We went into the middle of the jungle with a pile of scrap wood and built a house in the pouring rain!  It was so sweet!  The only problem is that the mosquitos ate us alive!  All of us have super red and itchy legs!  I've never itched so bad in my life, but it was an awesome experience and the family is happy!

We are working with another family that is so awesome!  They have three little girls and every time we come they just talk our ears off!  They love talking to gringos haha.  It is such an awesome family.  Every time we are about to teach them I get so nervous!  We are working hard with them but they aren't married either so we have to wait for that.  Bring it on!

The weather is super rainy!  I personally enjoy it!  Better than the super hot sun that they have here haha.

I love you all!  Missionary work is so awesome!  Talk to you soon!

Elder Nelson

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

12/09/14 Cambios!!

Well everybody it sounds like things have slowed down a little bit at the house.  Things are more quiet around there now that Thanksgiving is over haha. Sounds like you've got exciting plans for Christmas too!!  Good stuff!
This week we had changes!  My buddy Elder Mejia took off for San Jose central. Sounds like kind of a rough area but he will figure it out.  Seriously though we were a little sad to get the news of changes.  I mean after four and a half months with the guy we were pretty good buddies. The poor guy didn't want to leave right before Christmas because we are going to eat a lot of tamales coming up here in La Rita haha!
I went to San Jose on Monday to get my new companion!  You will never guess who it is!  It's a gringo!! But not only a gringo.. it's a gringo that came with me in my group!  But even more than that we followed each other on instagram before the mission.. so I guess you could say we are pretty tight haha.  His name is Elder Carter and he graduated from Timpview this year.  He likes to work and we are ready to tear things up in La Rita!  But this next transfer is 8 weeks so by the end of it I will have been in La Rita for 6 full months!  I feel so good here!  Definitely the best area in the mission.. at least to me!
This week we had a lot of powerful lessons.  We are working hard with one of our investigators named Bruno.  He is sixteen years old and is super excited about the gospel!  When we met him he was super closed off to the world and told us that he didn't know for sure if there is a God.  Well now he loves to come to church, stopped taking drugs, and took out his gauges!  He is the man and he invites us to his house for a lesson and a treat!  Killer!!

The weather has been pretty rough the last little bit.  We haven't seen the sun for a while.. lots of rain! It's a different feeling because at night it is freezing and I haven't felt cold in all of my time in Costa Rica until now.  But it'll heat back up I'm sure!

This last little bit I've had to rely on my Spanish more than ever because it's just us two gringos and I don't have someone to save me anymore!  But it is awesome and I'm learning each day!
I love you all and I hope all is well in your preparations for Christmas!

Elder Nelson

Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decia:  Espero que su español es lo suficiente para explicar los principios del evangelio

Thursday, December 4, 2014

12/2/14 Holidays!

Hello everybody!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving dinner and good times with the family!  Reading the letters was awesome, it sounds like the grandkids are so cute and cuddly!  Bentley is starting to talk?!  That is so awesome! Here we had an awesome Thanksgiving!  It was so awesome that the Zone Leaders called and said that they wanted to come on divisions with us to help us "plan."  They just wanted some Thanksgiving dinner from the best cook in the mission!! Hoo-rah!!

Some crazy things have been happening in La Rita.  There is a young man in the ward who is totally our buddy!  Well he has had some difficulties growing up and he was a drug dealer for a while.  Well as of a couple of months ago he decided to turn his life around because he wants to serve a mission!  But he still owed the equivalent of 30 dollars to the drug guys.  So one day we passed by his house and he looked like he had just seen a ghost.  He wouldn't talk to anybody and we found out later that night that earlier in the day the drug guys had passed by and threatened him at gun point for that money.  Well he doesn't have that money so they said they would come back at 10 that night for the money.  But it turns out he got the money and now he's in the clear but it stressed us out a little bit haha.

Also, we just found out yesterday that we have been teaching some sort of leader of bad guys in La Rita.  One of the members in the ward found out that we have been teaching him and basically told us that we should never go back haha. So now we know and we won't be going back haha.

Other than that we have been working super hard in the area.  We started working a new area and are starting to see the fruits.  We contacted a recent convert that lives in the area and now we are teaching her cousin that lives in the same house.  She has gone through some rough times lately. She separated from her husband because he was aggressive and she has a young child.  We were teaching the lesson and focusing on the true nature of our Heavenly Father.  The majority of the people here have the idea that God is somebody angry that wants to punish us.  We always have to explain first the true, loving nature of our Father in Heaven and then we build from there.  So at one point in the lesson Elder Mejia asked her that if Heavenly Father was here right now, what would you ask for?  She began to cry so much.  The Spirit was so strong.  She wanted a second chance at life, and we taught about baptism and that we all have a second chance.  We are super excited to work with her and help her to progress in the Gospel.

Well I love you all!  Hope you all have a great week!

Elder Nelson

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

11/25/14 How is Everybody?!

What up USA?!  I hope all is well and that everyone is getting ready to celebrate one of the greatest days of the year on Thursday
So our cocinera was getting us all pumped up to have typical Thanksgiving food on Thanksgiving but I think that it fell through.. more rice and beans baby!!  I don't know if I have explained this to you but I'm pretty sure that the national food of Costa Rica is rice. We eat it in kilos!  Every other country in Central America eats more tortilla and a lot less rice, but the Costaricans are super proud of it.  But seriously for breakfast the typical food is rice with beans.  For lunch we eat rice and beans with some meat and dinner is more rice and beans or rice and bean soup haha.  There are a some elders that carry sauces in their backpacks to always have with them because they can't take it anymore plain haha.  It's a good thing that I'm the way I am because I actually enjoy it a lot! 
This week has been good and we are finding a lot of good investigators.  Right now Elder Mejia and I are focusing on finding a lot of new investigators to spark the work a little bit in our area. We are working with references from members a lot.  A member of the Bishopric gave us a reference of a family that is amazing.  We went with him to visit them for the first time and they live a little far away haha.  It was a 25 minute hike all the way out to a little neighborhood called La Bomba.  We were super sweaty when we showed up but we had a great lesson with them and have a return appointment today. 
I told you a little bit about a group of teenagers that we found and taught in the street one night.  Well a lot of them are progressing super well and attend church with us.  We talked with one of them in the street a couple of days ago and he said "Elder, why don't you Mormons drink coffee?"  We explained to him a bit about the Word of Wisdom and he said "okay that sounds good.  I want to start coming to your church so I already stopped drinking it. I just wanted to know why."  Elder Mejia and I were so glad because normally the Costa Ricans have a hard time giving up their coffee haha.  Also, this week I was on divisions with an Elder from Puerto Viejo and we went to see one of our investigators, Andrea.  We have been teaching her for a while and she is progressing well but has never come to church with us.  We sat down and began our lesson and she began to tell us about how she knows that the message we bring is true because she feels something different every time we come to teach her.  We then taught about the Spirt and had a powerful lesson.  She now has two friends that she wants to bring to church this week with us.  That's what I'm talking about!
Also, the ward got invited to sing Christmas carols during a city gathering of some sort next Tuesday.  The Bishop asked us to participate and it is going to be awesome.  We are going to try to share a brief message with the crowd of  La Rita before we begin and try to get some things going.  So I'm getting my Christmas carol voice all prepped for next Tuesday.
I hope everyone has a great week and that all goes well.  I love you all from the bottom of my heart and send my love from Costa Rica!
Elder Nelson
Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decia:  Los gringos tienen voces angelicos, por eso necesitamos que participen cuando cantamos villancicos frente de todos.

Monday, November 17, 2014

11/17/14 Hello Everyone!!

How is everybody?  I love to hear that all is well and that everyone is getting along just fine!
It has been another good week in Costa Rica!  Everything is great here in La Rita.  The usual.. tons of rain and sun.  I love it though!  It is really weird that everyone here is putting up the Christmas decorations and its super hot outside and still November.  But as it turns out, our cook cooks a thanksgiving dinner each year for the elders and I am so excited!
The work is great in La Rita. We have been finding a lot of people these last couple of weeks and we are focusing on helping them to progress.  We did have a devastating blow to us though.  Our two buddies Yordi and Pablo had a baptismal date for this week and they were super excited but their family has been working hard to keep them from taking this step.  They told us that they cant be a part of our church if everyone is going to attack them all of the time.  It made us sad but we have a powerful lesson set up with them in the chapel tonight and we have the faith that our Heavenly Father will help us.
This week we had an awesome lesson.  We were walking in the street and we found a group of about 7 teenagers hanging out in the street.  We talked to them and had an awesome lesson.  They were super interested and some of them came to church with us this Sunday.  They love coming to the activities with us when we play soccer and basketball.  We are going to keep things going with them and help them out.

Today Elder Mejia and I were able to go to Guapiles to do some shopping.  He needed some new pants in a bad way.  He has gained a ton of weight on the mission and his pants actually started to burst at the seams haha.  Some of the members call him the "Elder with leggings" hahaha.  Im not sure if he thinks its as funny as I do but we laugh about it.  We got some other good stuff too!  I got a burger so Im feeling pretty good right now!
I love you all and hope that everyone has a great week.  Say your prayers and read your scriptures!
Elder Nelson

Monday, November 10, 2014

11/10/14 Hello!

How is everyone?!  All is well in Costa Rica!  The sun is bright and the rain still comes basically every day!  Good stuff!
This week we had an awesome experience as missionaries.  The local school in La Rita invited the four missionaries in La Rita to participate in English Week at the school.  They thought it would be fun to have two gringos with them to help them in the activities.  So we got special permission from President and had a blast in the school for a couple of days!  At first we thought that the school just wanted us to help some kids learn some English or something.. but oh no.  We were wrong haha.  When we arrived we quickly discovered that we WERE the English Week haha.  All of the kids were gathered in the meeting place of the school and we gave assemblies to all of the students!  It took me back to my days in PLT!
Well at first we were super surprised because we learned that the school had made powerpoint presentations about the United States and typical food and why it is important to learn English.  We didn't know what was in this presentation so we just went with the flow haha.  But to make things more interesting the school wanted us to give the presentations in English to help them learn.  Haha the funny thing is that these kids don't know any English!  So we got a ton of blank stares at first, but then we figured it out.  So I got to give the presentation of the food in the United States, and basically it was pictures of KFC and other fast food.  Haha I guess that's what they think we eat all of the time.  But when we figured out the entertainment thing we had the kids going nuts!  We would yell "fried chicken"  and they would repeat and cheer.  It was a blast!  The good thing about that opportunity is that now all of the kids in La Rita know us.  They say hi to us in the streets and they help us to make their parents like us haha.
Other than that the week was full of a lot of hard work.  We have been working with two brothers to prepare them for their baptism.  Their names are Yordi and Pablo and they are so awesome!  They contacted us in the street and were super interested!  The rest is history haha.  We have their baptism planned for next Saturday and we are continuing to work with our investigators to prepare them for baptism.
I hope that you all have a week full of fun and excitement! 
Elder Nelson
Mi amigo mexican siempre me decia:  Pollo frito es la comida tipica de los Estados Unidos ¿no?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

11/03/14 Hey Fam!

I'm glad to hear that all is well on the home front! Sounds like you all had some fun with Halloween.  That is awesome that Nate and Karli get to dress up their kids and go trick or treating!
This week we had a lot of fun!  We got to go to a FHE/party to say goodbye to Elder Herrera (another Elder in La Rita) who is going back home to Argentina.  We ate a ton of good food and we were able to have a lot of fun with the members and strengthen our relationships.  This week we also got a new ward mission leader.  There is an 18 year old boy named Anthony here in the ward who went out on visits with us all the time.  He just got called to be the Ward Mission Leader and is super nervous but we are going to help him out haha.  We are going to have some major success in our ward!
Also, we just got back from a zone activity.  We started with a meeting to evaluate our progress and goals as a zone and after we played some soccer.  It was pouring rain but it was a blast!  Let's just say that we have a new David Beckham on the rise haha.  I finished with a goal so I'm feeling pretty proud of myself!  All of the latinos were just as surprised as I was when I totally destroyed out there. It was a fun activity to bond as a zone and to relax a bit!
I forgot to tell you last week that we had the baptism of Valeria!  It was awesome and a great day for her family and for the ward.  They have an incredible faith and it impresses me every day!
I hope all is well for you in this coming week!  I love you all so much!
Elder Nelson

New Mailing Address

NEW Address for Letters and Packages:

Elder Tanner Nelson
Misión San José, Costa Rica
Apartado Postal 249-2010 Zapote
San José, Costa Rica

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

10/27/14 Hello Everybody!!

How is everybody?!  I hope everyone is well! I hear that some exciting things have been going on with Halloween and all.  That is awesome!
This week we had changes again!  President shortened the length of the change by two weeks so that the missionaries going home can be home for Christmas.  Elder Mejia and I didn't have changes once again and we are starting our third together! 
This week everyone got sick.  Almost all of the missionaries had a cold but boy I got hit hard.  I had 3 days with super high fever.  I was walking around like a zombie because I was so achy haha.  But no biggy the work of the Lord never ceases.  Being sick here is an experience in itself.  Everybody wanted to give me some sort of medicine!  Haha it was really funny because these guys would ask me how I felt and after I responded would say, "I've got jut the trick"!   Then they would go out in their back yard and pull some leaves off of a tree and boil it in some water for me to drink.  I'm not too convinced that they actually know what they're talking about but if it makes them feel good then I feel good! But the worst was when a member gave us lemons and garlic and told us to boil it.  Elder Mejia and I made the mistake of actually doing it and it was nasty!  I have tried all sorts of crazy mixtures while being here.
The mission is great!  This past month we lead all of Central America in baptisms!  We are working super hard to split the mission next year.  President has asked for our goal to 200 baptisms as a mission in November to keep ourselves on track.  Also, if we reach our goal our whole mission gets to watch Meet the Mormons on Christmas Day! We are excited about that baby.  Our zone is now the largest in the mission with 34 missionaries.  Zona atlantica for life!

I love you all!  You are in my prayers!
Elder Nelson

Monday, October 20, 2014

La Rita's new chapel!

Yesenia's Baptism

Family! 10/20/14

How is everyone this week?  I know that I am taking a lot of flack for how much I have been writing so I will try to be better!
This week was awesome!  We had the opportunity to have the open house for our new chapel!  Boy it is a great building!  The ward here is so excited to have a new building it is crazy!  They all worked so hard to make it an event that the community will never forget.  My favorite part was that I was able to participate in the typical Costa Rican dance!  So you know how on the cruise ship everyone twirls their napkins on Italian night in the dining room? That is basically what it was while hopping around the room.  We kind of looked ridicoulous but the crowd loved it and were cheering us on haha.  We did the dance on the last day, which was centered on cultural things like the dance and they had other people perform.  The Bishop said that we had upwards of 300 people there on the last day to see all of the performances so we are glad to be able to have this exposure in the community!
We also had the dedication of the chapel.  The entire stake presidency came from San Jose and we had a special meeting to discuss the missionary work and other subjects from the ward with them.  They were pressing us pretty hard so were are grateful that we had good things to report.  The dedication of the chapel truly was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had.  The spirit was so strong as the stake president gave the dedicatory prayer.  Wow.
Something that I never mentioned is that we moved two weeks ago.  We went from our apartment to a two bedroom house.  Haha they said that we had to move because of a mold problem so now we have our own little place, and it's cheaper too!  We have had a couple of problems with the pipe in the shower bursting and flooding the bathroom at 3 am but other than that it is treating us really well.  We did, however, give up our hot water.  Boy, at first I was surprised that we were getting water from a polar ice cap in Costa Rica.  But now I actually kind of enjoy it so that's a blessing.  A crazy story that happened this morning is that we were going to do service so I had my workout clothes on.  Elder Mejia kept asking me questions like, When was the last time you washed your clothes? and stuff like that.  He thought they smelt super bad but I didn't think so.  Anyway later in the morning we found a dog on our porch.  This dog was basically really gross and it was kind of sad but it looked like he was rotting alive.  Well anyway that was the smell!!  We had to clean our porch because everywhere the dog was became nasty.  Elder Mejia has since apologized for false accusations of smelliness haha.
Also we had the baptism of Yesenia this week, it was a great service.  Her daughter had to postpone her baptism til Saturday so we will have it this week.  But I am amazed at their testimonies.  They are so strong and they truly were prepared to hear the Gospel. Yesenia always says "God first", and I really love that.  She is really trying to put God first in her life.
Well I hope all goes well for everyone this week!  You are in my prayers and I love you all!
Elder Nelson

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hello Everybody!! 10/13/14

I love you all! The work is well in La Rita!  This week we have the open house and dedication of our new chapel!  It is so beautiful and it will really help out in the missionary work.  We also have the baptism of Yesenia and her daughter Valeria!  Elder Mejia and I are super excited because they are the first converts that we have found and taught!
I love you all!  The church is true!
Elder Nelson

Monday, September 29, 2014


09/29/14 Hey!

Mom and Dad!
Holy crap Karli is going to have another baby?  That is so awesome.  Everyone knows that May birthdays are the best :)

I am doing well and working hard. This week we had changes!.. but I'm still here with Elder Mejia haha.  Really though we get along great.  We are buds.  I don't think we have had a problem this whole transfer so we are getting along well!  Really though I am working so hard to become the best missionary I can be. I have realized that there are tons of missionaries that are just kind of floating from day to day with no real goal or purpose in mind.  I'm seriously going for it!  There is no reason to be one of the thousands of okay missionaries when I can shoot to be one of the best.
This week we had the baptism of Jose.  It was a great day!  It's a little bit difficult because we don't have a church building here.  We had to take a twenty minute bus ride to Guapiles with all of the family to get to the church.  Also, mom I took out extra money because I had to pay for all the bus tickets for the family to see the baptism because they wouldn't have been able to go otherwise.  When we arrived everything was set up for us but the gate was locked!  We were freaking out because we didn't want to have to postpone it again.. no way.  We were frantically trying to call the other missionaries and get them to come and unlock the gate when a member that happened to have keys to the building walked by.  There aren't a ton of members here, let alone members with keys to the building so we were grateful to see that miracle this week.
Elder Mejia and I are preparing for six more weeks in La Rita! Wooh!  We are setting goals and we are praying and working for success!  Finding those that have been prepared to receive the truth! 
I love you all so much!

Elder Nelson

Monday, September 15, 2014

Missionaries in Training

09/15/14 Pura vida

It is so great to hear from everybody! Oh my goodness Nates baby is so cute!  I hear he likes to snuggle and eats well.. what more can you ask for?  Im glad to hear that all is well in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Costa Rica is so great!  Today is their independence day and the whole country is going crazy! They are proud to be Costa Rican!  My companion and I are in San Jose right now because I had my one month check up with the mission president.  We had to wake up really early to catch the bus to make it here on time today, but little did we know that we wouldn't need to set an alarm.  La Rita was going crazy at 3am.  All we could hear was drums and cheering haha.  I'm super grateful to be in such a wonderful country with such amazing people!

This last Sunday we had church in a town 15 minutes away by bus because the school was being used for celebration all day on Sunday.  We crammed the whole ward in one bus.. needless to say it was super hot haha.  But when we arrived in Cariari we entered the chapel and felt the most amazing thing I have felt in a while.. air conditioning!  It felt so good baby.  But seriously it was a great Sunday and we had great meetings.  

The work in La Rita is well.  Elder Mejia and I try to talk with as many people as possible.  We are learning ways to be more effective as missionaries every day.  Right now we are going to make a map of our area to be able to visualize the work better and we are going to be printing of the records so that we can search for part-member families!  We are excited!

So about the baptism of Jose.  Elder Mejia and I are suuuuper sad because it didn't happen.  We had everything ready to go, but the zone leaders forgot to leave the white clothes for Jose and they were very far away so we weren't able to do it.  The baptism has been rescheduled so we are still anxiously awaiting that day!

Hope all is well!  I love you all!

Elder Nelson

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dinner at the house of Hermana Mileidi

09/08/14 Apresurar La Obra


It is so awesome to hear from everybody!  I love you all so much!  I can´t believe that Nate is a dad! What the heck?!  Haha I know he is going to be an awesome dad.  Too bad BobbyMac won't be able to meet his favorite uncle for two years.. poor guy haha.  I am glad to hear that all went well and that the little ray of sunshine made it safely!  Conner is back in school huh? That's crazy!  I'm glad to hear about your success.. keep it up!

Life in La Rita, Costa Rica is as amazing as always! This week has been amazing and we see miracles here every day.  This week I got into my first fight with the Central American food poisoning!  Boy was that an experience!  I must have eaten some rotten food because those feelings were not natural haha.  I was in a lesson with a less active youth named Darren when it hit.  I told him I loved him but I had to go and my companion and I booked it to the house!  It was a blessing that I made it.. from what I hear many missionaries before me haven´t had the same luck haha!

One of our recent converts, Hermana Luisa, has a grandchild that turned eight years old and decided he wanted to take the lessons and be baptized.  She has TONS of grandkids the house is going to explode!  Haha his name is Jose and the whole time we were teaching him he was scared to death of me.  He wouldn't talk to me because I´m a gringo haha.  So when it came time for him to choose who he wanted to baptize him I was certain he was going to pick Elder Mejia. Haha but he didn´t!  He totally picked me and we are totally tight now!  He loves to wear my CTR ring haha. His baptism will be on Friday and he is super excited! Now all of the kids in the house keep saying that they want "Hermano Nelson" to baptize them when they turn 8 haha.  They are so awesome!

I don´t think I told you this but guess who one of the assistants to the president is? Elder Cude haha.  The same Elder Cude that played for Coach Ellis with Conner.  He is so awesome and he likes to talk to me about football haha.

So I am lucky enough to be a part of the most successful zone in the mission.  This last month we almost set a record number of baptisms and confirmations for the mission.  Because the zone is doing so well we were invited to breakfast at President´s house in San Jose. In San Jose there is a Wendy´s, and you know what that means!  Frosties!!  Boy that was the best frosty I think I have ever had.  Mmmm.

Costa Rica is awesome.  The people here are really nice and love to talk to us about religion.  I have heard some of the weirdest ideas about religion in these past three weeks.  I have learned that there are many types of people in the world haha.  

I love you all so much and pray for you!

Elder Nelson

Monday, September 1, 2014

La Rita

09/01/14 La Rita!!

Another week has passed here in La Rita, Costa Rica.  Sorry I have been so lame in my letters I will try to be better and add more things!  This week has been great and I am blessd to be serving in Costa Rica.
This week we had multizone conference in San Jose!  We had to travel two hours by bus each way to get there but we made it and it was awesome!  Our mission president is amazing and is such a powerful man.  We learned a lot about how we can have more success and help others come unto Christ by accepting the restored gospel. 
Our misson is super successful in general.  Everyone says that it is the most successful in Central America but I don't know if they really know haha.  The mission is working so hard right now to hasten the work because our goal is to split the country into two missions by June next year when our mission president leaves.  They have set very high expectations for us and we need to work harder and smarter than ever before to reach our goal. 
One thing that I wanted to share with all of you is something super cool that we do in our mission.  Our goal is to contact two buses every week.  We go to the front of the bus and ask the driver if we can share a message and we preach to the whole bus from the front!  It is so awesome I feel like its something from a movie when I stand up in the front and invite all the people on the bus to hear our message!  And my Spanish is coming along so well!  I understand everything and contribute in the lessons like a missionary that has been out for nine months!  I'm loving it!
The members here are so awesome!  They always want to help us with the missionary work and give us food.  Something I really like about the culture here is that everytime we go into someones home they give us a fruit drink called a fresco and some cookies.  Baby it is soo good!  But at the same time I definitely am learning to eat all types of food. You guys would be so proud, I eat everything on my plate!  Guacamole and all haha. 
I love you all so much and you are in my prayers always!
Elder Nelson

Sunday, August 31, 2014

8/25/14 Address

I couldn't figure out how to send the pics on this computer this week but I will try to figure it out for next week.

The address here for packages:

Elder Tanner Nelson
Costa Rica San Jose Mission
De la Pops de Curridabat
500 mts sur, Oficina Isquienera
Edificio Trebol, Local #6
San Jose, Costa Rica

Address for letters:

Elder Tanner Nelson
Costa Rica San Jose Mission
Apartado Postal 249-2010
San Jose, Costa Rica

They say to only send things USPS.  If they ask what is inside say missionary supplies and treats.

Funny story that happened this week.  I was plunging the toilet because they have no suction at all here and a cockroach the length of my pointer finger crawled up the handled and onto my arm!  It was crazy,,, our house is infested with bugs.

Love you

Elder Nelson

Monday, August 25, 2014

8/25/14 Costa Rica!!

Hello everybody!!  I send my love from Costa Rica! Pura Vida!  Also, sorry for the quality of my future letters.  I am using a keyboard that I have to push really hard on and I cant find all of the symbols on this weird Spanish keyboard.  My computer has already crashed once on me today haha.
So I made it here to Costa Rica!  It is so awesome here!!  Oh my goodness I love it!  It is super humid and hot though.. I don't think that i have sweat so much in my life!  My companion's name is Elder Mejia and he is from Mexico.  I love him to death!  They sent us to the little town of La Rita on the western side of Costa Rica.  First I gotta say that it is not what you imagine at all when you think of Costa Rica.  It is a little pueblo and very humble.  The people don't have very much and it is crazy how much they share with us when we go to visit their homes.  It is all dirt roads and we do A LOT of walking!  My American candy that I got from my last package is the only thing that is keeping me alive haha.  

The food is super basic here.  For breakfast we eat rice and beans, for luch we eat rice and beans with some type of meat on the side, and if we have dinner it is usually rice and beans haha.  It is very humble and I love it!  We have a cocinera that cooks lunch for us every day and does our laundry every week.  She is super funny and a good cook.

So the living conditions are very similar to how it was when I was in Peru.   My companion forgot to pay for the water last week before I got here so he has been living without water for a while.  We finally got the water back on and luckily we have an attachment for the head of our shower to heat it up because it was suuuper cold before.

The church here in La Rita is awesome from what I have seen so far.  We have a great bishop that is very missionary minded and a great guy.  This area has been struggling for a while so we are trying to turn it around. For now we have our church meetings in the little school that they have here while we wait for the chapel that they are building to finish.  The chapel looks so nice!  I am excited to get going in it when it finishes.  My companion has only been in the mission for six weeks and we are figuring it out together!  Bringing people home baby!

I love you all so much and love hearing from each of you!  Keep strong!  The Church is true!!  

Elder Nelson

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

08/19/14 Viva Costa Rica!

Hey everybody!!
I made it to Costa Rica!  It is so beautiful here it´s ridiculous!!  But that rain though..  it is so strong.  Before we go out to work we have to put all of our supplies in Ziploc bags if we don´t want them to get ruined haha.  I have only been here for a couple of hours but I already am so surprised at how strong the rain is!
My preparation day is on Monday and that is when I will be able to write you and tell you about all of my experiences.  I get my new companion tomorrow and assigned to my zone! 
Love you all!  The church is true!
Elder Nelson

Monday, August 11, 2014

08/11/14 Miracles

Hey everybody!! I hope you are all doing well and enjoying life!  That is so awesome that you got to go see Nate at the White Coat Ceremony! Wow.. he is now officially a medical student!  He will do great no doubt!  Conner.. don't get married too fast.  I want to meet this young lady before she takes you away from me forever.  Haha I'm totally kidding, love you.
The work here in Florence is great.  One thing that I am learning is how to be an effective member missionary.  Because there are so many members here already most of our work goes through the members.  They give us referrals, go to appointments with us, and feed us every night!  They really are the key to our success.  Help your local missionaries!  Pray for missionary opportunities and they will come.
We have seen many miracles this week as a companionship.  As I was saying before, there hasn't been much progress here in the Spanish work for a while.  My companion and I were thinking about how we can spark the work and we decided we were going to reestablish expectations and put them on date to be baptized.  So we did, and conquered!  It was so amazing!  We went to the house of an investigator that Elder Sievers has been teaching for 5 months with no progress.  His name is Leonardo and he is super shy.  We went into the lesson and committed him to baptism!  He is on date to be baptized at the end of September because he told us he can't come to church until September because of his work. We were okay with that and on Sunday we were at the dairy trying to round everyone up for church when he gave us a call and said he wanted to come to church he "just needed a ride."  We franctically searched to get him a ride and got him to church on time!  That really was a miracle that we saw this week.
Another miracle that we saw happened on Tuesday this week.  All of our appointments were falling through so we were trying to make signs for our English class (they look pretty aweome by the way) and we went to the home of a recent convert named Manuel Ornelas for some help because he is a super handy guy.  Seriously I have never met somebody so handy.  One of my first weeks here we went over to his house and helped him change the transmission in his car.  He didn't know what he was doing at all haha.  He kept asking us if we can get on the youtube and see how to do it and we had to explain that we can't get on " the youtube."  But he figured it out all by himself!  Anyways when we went over to his house he had a friend there named Remundo from Tucson.  He just moved in with Manuel a couple days before and was looking for work.  We talked to him a little bit about the Plan of Salvation and asked if we can come back and share a message about the Restoration and he was excited.  We came back and gave him the lesson and he committed to baptism in the middle of September!  We now have three people on date to be baptized! I call that progress!
Missionary work is aweome!  I love all of you!  Keep being so great!
Elder Nelson

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

8/4/14 Pics

This is a picture of me in front of the Welcome to Florence sign. The second picture is a picture of me next to the home of one our investigators in Paisano.  They call it cactus forest and it is a lot of desert haha.  Love you guys!

Paisano, Arizona

Florence, Arizona

08/04/14 Arizona Sunshine!

Hello everybody!!  It's great to hear from you!  You are all so amazing and I love you so much!  Sounds like picking Conner up was an adventure!  Man that sounds so fun!  Conner really is a powerful guy and I'm glad that you got to see the effect he had on the Chilean people.
I am love the opportunity I have to be a missionary!  Each time I pray I thank my Heavenly Father for this wonderful blessing.  There is nothing else like it.  My companion and I are super blessed to be teaching a lot!  We have a ton of investigators and many times we find ourselves with too much to do in too little time.  Many of the missionaries in the mission aren't as blessed so we count ourselves lucky!
It is really hard to get a set appointment with our investigators.  They don't know their work schedule from day to day and they don't plan anything so we kind of just have to show up.  We keep five fold-out chairs from the chapel in our trunk and we set them up and start teaching on their porches.  They are very humble people but have had really hard lives.  These people have been in and out of prison and are looking for something to guide their lives.  That guide is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
In my last letter I explained a little bit about the dairy that we teach at.  It's a legitamate dairy farm.  The workers live in trailers on the side of the farm.  I think of dad every time I go there because he always talked about how he wanted to have a dairy farm.  We have five investigators over there and they are all related.  This dairy is infested with mosquitos!  I swear it is the only place in Arizona that is infested with mosquitos!  It is so bad..  I have over thirty mosquito bites on each leg!   They bite right through our shirts and pants, they're some sort of super mosquito haha. I have so gnarly pics but I'm not going to send them because I don't want to gross you out too much.   Anyways, we try so hard to help them, but they just don't progress.  Like this Sunday we drove over there before church to wake them up and make sure they are coming.  We knocked on Luis's door and he was showered and ready to go!  We were so excited and he said he was coming to church. Then he didn't show up and it totally broke our hearts.  All we can do is continue to help them as much as we can.
On Saturday, we visited the home of an investigator that we have had for a while, but this time his son was there!  We were excited and asked him if he wanted to sit in on the lesson with his dad and he said sure.  He didn't seem very interested at first, but as the lesson went on he was excited! Turns out he has a friend on a mission!  We gave the first lesson and he committed to be baptized!  The spirit was so strong!
My time is up and I have to go.  Feed your local missionaries and give them referrals! We have dinner every night at a member's home and they work very closely with us in the missionary efforts.  We are blessed to serve in such a great area.
I send my love from AZ!
Elder Nelson

Monday, August 4, 2014

07/29/14 Pictures

Here are some pictures!  The first one is with my new companion Elder Sievers.  The next one is Elder Carrion and I before he left the MTC and the last one is Elder Brandon Chamberlain and I.
By the way my address at the house I live is:
8060 W. Georgetown Way
Florence,AZ 85132
New Companion - Elder Sievers
Elder Nelson and Elder Carrion at the MTC
Elder Nelson and Elder Chamberlain at the MTC

7/29/14 The Arizona Life!

Hello everybody!!
Hope everything is well back home!  That is so crazy that you are already leaving to pick up Conner!  He has been such an amazing missionary and I love him so much.  I am so lucky to have such a great family!  I can't even believe it.  I am blessed.
So this week I arrived in Arizona! I love it here.  I arrived on Tuesday and we went through a lot of training.  We ate a lot of good food and spent the night at the house of a member that lives in Gilbert.  They sent me to one of the member's houses with an elder from Uruguay.  He will be serving in the English part of the mission, but he is still learning so they had me translate for him a lot.  Boy is that Spanish from Uruguay different!  I don't know how Grandpa did it on his mission haha.  The member that we stayed with lived on his own little farm.  It was pretty cool!  He has chickens and grows a bunch of fruit that I don't normally see. 
The next day we had our transfer meeting and I met my new companion!  His name is Elder Sievers and he is the man!  He is from Orem and is a funny guy. He is showing me the ropes of the mission and is great.  He lets me take the lead in lessons and make the committments.  We are super busy and I love it that way!  We always have people to see and lessons to teach. We are having great success.  
Let me tell you a bit about the mission.  The Arizona Gilbert Misson is an experiment by the church.  It is super small geographically and has a lot of missionaries.  For example, the ward that I am serving in has 10 missionaries!  It's crazy.  It's not a problem for Elder Sievers and I because we are the only Spanish speaking missionaries in the area, but the other missionaries have an interesting situation haha.  We are really lucky to be in the area that we are in also.  We are serving in the city of Florence which reminds me of what you would see in an old western movie.  It looks really old school and is in the middle of the desert. We live in a house about 15 minutes from Florence and drive into the city to work every day.  It's super hot but our Ford has some amamzing A/C!  Also, the Spanish here is a lot of slang.  When Elder Sievers and I were in the care driving down to the area he told me that I am going to have trouble because their Spanish is a lot of slang and they don't speak very well themselves haha.  Well he was right, but I have picked up on it and it is great! 
There is a dairy farm in our area that we teach at a lot.  We have been teaching all of the workers there and it has been a humbling experience.  Each of them works crazy hours through the night on the dairy and live in trailers on the side of the farm.  They are very receptive to our message and one of our investigators, Luis, has a baptismal date, but it is very hard for them to change and overcome their addictions.  We are trying so hard to help them and I know that the Lord will provide a way for them to overcome them.
Thanks to everyone for the support and the love!  I pray for you and hope for the best for each of you!  Read the scriptures and say your prayers!
Elder Nelson

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

7/22/14 Arrival Picture - Gilbert Arizona Mission

07/22/14 Tanner's group arrived in Gilbert, Arizona

Dear Missionary Parents,
Your wonderful missionary arrived here in Gilbert Arizona this morning (Tuesday) – and we love him already!  Within the group we even received 2 missionaries who are waiting for their VISAS to clear - one to South Africa and one to Costa Rica.  We are so happy they will be part of our mission, even for a short time.

They all arrived excited and a bit nervous and tired.  Their day began early morning at the MTC, so they had an early start and were worn out by afternoon for sure.  Each of them had an opportunity to meet and interview with President Nattress.  We fed them, trained them, loved them, introduced them to their bicycles, and by evening they were all looking forward to going to sleep.  They will be housed in a host member’s home on Tuesday evening; then Wednesday they will receive more training, meet their new companion, attend Transfer Meeting, and then head to their assigned areas of service.  We have attached a photo of their smiling faces taken Tuesday morning just after they arrived.

We are happy to have each one of them, and we will do all we can to support and encourage them while they are here.  Thank you for sharing your missionary with us.  Contact us anytime if you have any questions.
Sister Cathy Thornock
Mission Secretary
Arizona Gilbert Mission
1001 North Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ  85234

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Letter 07/19/14

7/18/14 - Travel Plans and Mission Assignment


Today I discovered where I am going to be reassigned for the next transfer. I am going to the ARIZONA GILBERT MISSION!  Arizona in July... yeesh! haha I know it will be great! They wanted me to write you and let you know when I will be leaving.  But apparently Arizona has a ton of members so I'll be taken care of.

I will be flying out on Tuesday morning.  My flight number is Delta 1681 with service to Phoenix(Sky Harbor Int.).  I take off at 8:36am on Tuesday morning and arrive at 9:13am.  I can't wait to be able to talk with you! Be ready! I have to get off and I don't know when I will be able to write you again.  It probably won't be until when I am in AZ.

Love you guys!!

Elder Tanner Nelson

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

7/15/14 Hello, Hello!

Hello everyone!! How are all of you?!  Thank you so much for your love and support of me while I have been on the mission!  As I have read all of your emails I have gotten to be pretty emotional haha.  Only because I love all of you so much and I am so grateful for all that you do for me!  Also thank you so much for the package mom! I love you so much and it made me feel so good!  Keep them coming haha.
The MTC has been a big adjustment! Can you say 180 degree turn around. Wow.  So much has happened in just one week.  I feel like I already could write a book about all of the things I am learning and all of the experiences I have only had here in one week!  I now know that everything that my siblings have told me about the mission and about the MTC are true.  I constantly find myself looking back on their advice and it helps me so much every day.

So much has happened I don't even know where to start!  The first day I got here we had a lot to do and we were really busy.  I was put on a bus and sent over to west campus haha. For those of you that don't know, West Campus is the bomb haha.  All of the elders that are going to spanish speaking missions are there so basically spanish is spoken all the time.  The culture of west campus is completely different too.  Everyone says hi and shakes each others hand as we walk by and talk about where we are going.  Right now I'm on the main campus to write this email and we say hi and the elders just kind of look at us funny.  It's okay though they're great too.  

We have had a lot of funny experiences while we've been here.  So we finally got to our apartment on the first night and we start to get ready for bed when we realize that there is no water in our apartment.. it didn't work haha.  That's the toilet, shower, and sink.  We kept telling the workers that we need some help in our apartment and nothing happened haha.  Then one day we walked into the main office to tell them again and the President of the MTC was standing there.  One of the elders I was with told him the problem and he was so great.  He called up the head of some office and they moved us into a new room.  So we had to put everything back into our suitcases and lug all of our things to the new room.  We were so grateful though, we were the stinkiest missionaries in the MTC for the first couple of days.  

Yesterday I found out some crazy news.  My mission is being reassigned.... for one transfer.  I am the only one going to Costa Rica in the advanced class so I have to wait for them to finish with the six week program while I'm in some provo mission or something!  I'm really excited to get out there and do some real work!  So I get my new assignment around Thursday so I will let all of you know next pday where I am going.  Also, I'll probably be leaving around the beginning of next week so I might not have another pday here in the MTC.

My companion's name is Elder Prugue. He's from Peru but he grew up here mostly in the United States. He likes math and science, and he's not very in to jokes haha.  I think he's learning to love them though;)  Everyone in my zone is awesome and we get along very well!  We joke around a lot be we get down to business!  It has been really hard to be in the advanced Spanish class to be honest.  I opened my English scriptures for the first time yesterday because I have just been craving some English.  Also, we speak only Spanish and it has been difficult.  But I know the Lord is providing a way for me to learn all of this material and learn to teach in Spanish. The spirit here at the MTC is so strong and I enjoy it a lot.  Good food, good people, and good spanish.. that's all I need haha.

I love you all and I hope everything is well!  Till next week!

Elder Nelson


First week in the MTC

Studying with my first companion in the MTC

Friday, July 11, 2014