Sunday, December 6, 2015

12.05.15 Changes week!!

Hey everybody!!

How are you all doing?  I hope that everyone is well and happy!  The Lord sure is good to us!

So last week my companion and I realized that we had a mouse in our house.  (Did you like that rhyme?)  So we were cleaning up and we noticed that this mouse had been tearing up the entire house.  He got into my companion's suitcase and tore everything up and went to the bathroom and long story short his suitcase is now in the garbage dump (I learned early on to always keep my suitcases zipped up to keep out the cockroaches).  So we went to the little store around the corner and asked for mousetraps.  The first one they gave to me was the size of my foot.  I had never seen a mousetrap that big in my entire life.  I chuckled to myself and asked if they had any smaller traps.  They gave me the standard size and we returned to the house to set them.  We left for the day and when we returned we had a surprise on the ground!  The rat was lying dead on the ground.  Both of the traps were both set, so we still don't know exactly how it died in the middle of the floor. The greatest lesson I learned was the reason why they sell the mousetraps the size of my foot!  The rat was HUGE!!  Those normal traps wouldn't have done anything!  It kind of gives me an eerie feeling to know that rats that big are in our house..

This week was another changes week.  It was really stressful because President opened a lot of new areas and made tons of changes.  We had lots of late nights this week.  On Wednesday the office was full of 80 missionaries with their luggage!  We got it all managed well and everyone took off to their new areas!  We brought in 10 new missionaries and they are great!  They are so ready to work and we are so happy to have them in the mission!  

I don't have a lot of time this week, so I have got to get going!  I love you all so much!

Elder Nelson

Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decía "Siempre hay que comprar las ratoneras grandes"


Saturday, November 28, 2015



11.28.15 Happy Holidays!

Hey everybody!!

I hope you had a great week and an especially great Thanksgiving!!  I am glad that the family was together and that you got to enjoy each other's company.  I sure had a great Thanksgiving!  It was the first time I had eaten food that was so authentically American in a long time!  I was in heaven!

This week was definitely one to remember!  President sent us on an errand to Puerto Viejo to take care of some business for him.  So, we loaded up the Hilux and headed out.  Puerto Viejo is a little branch in the state of Limon and is part of the Guapiles Stake (same stake as La Rita).  So we headed out for the two and a half hour drive to Puerto Viejo.  The drive out there was so beautiful and green.  We saw waterfalls, rivers, and dense fog.  When we arrived in Puerto Vejo, it was hot!  It is completely different than San Jose and it was interesting to be in the campo again.  Everyone there works in fields and lives in little houses made of tin.  We were able to see the little building that the branch rents to meet in and it was really great!  It reminded me of when we were meeting in the school in La Rita.  When it rained, you could forget about hearing what the speaker said because of the noise of the heavy rain beating down on the tin roof.   Good memories!

After finishing what we were sent to do, President said that we could stop in La Rita on the way back.  Can you believe it!  I was so happy!  So we pulled off onto the little dirt roads of La Rita to see a couple of families that I worked with there. I only had a little bit of time so I could only visit two houses.  We pulled up to Hermana Luisa's house.  The same wooden house was there on the side of the river.  We parked the car and started down the dirt path to the front door.  All of her grandkids live there and always play outside.  As I came down the path all of the little kids looked a little baffled.  After a few seconds they began to scream "Elder Nelson is here" and ran to the house to let everyone know.  When we got to the house, there was the entire family inside their humble home, and Hermana Kaylin  (our old cook) was in there too doing her visiting teaching!  We sang a hymn, said a prayer, and heard the little message from Kaylin.  It brought back tons of memories of just one year ago, wiping the dust off our bags after setting them down on the dirty cement floor.  

Afterwards, I stopped by the house of Moises and Marisol real quick to see how they were doing.  They were the couple that we helped to marry and baptize.  They, too, were all in the house.  It was so great to see them after so long.  Marisol's son Braulin, was there too, and he got baptized the week that I left La Rita.  We talked a bit and they informed me that they have the goal with the bishop to get sealed in January!!  They love the church and are doing so great!

This week we had a great lesson with Renzo!  He is so prepared and has read just about every piece of literature that we have placed in his hands.  In the lesson, he explained all about the temple to us!  He had read all about it in the Liahona magazine haha.  He accepted a baptismal date and we are working with him to be able to be prepared for that day!  At the close of the lesson we knelt in prayer.  I know that the Lord prepares those that are ready to receive our message.  How grateful I am to serve him.

I hope you all have a great week!  You're the best!

Elder Nelson

Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decìa "Fe en cada paso."

Sunday, November 22, 2015

11.21.15 Teachin' in the Rain

Hey everybody!

I hope everyone is doing great and enjoying life.  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  I know that you will all be spread out, so I hope that you travel safely and have a great day.  This week we will be at our ward mission leader's house for Thanksgiving dinner.  Super excited!  Glad to hear that you are all healthy and happy.  May God continue to bless you!

This week was full of work!  Lots of work in and out of the office.  We were able to have some really great teaching opportunities and I am really happy with the progress we made this week.  We received four new missionaries this week from the Guatemala MTC.  They sent the Latin missionaries a week early this change so they will be with other missionaries waiting for the changes next week.  We were at the airport early to receive them and took them to see the temple before bringing them back to the office where we got them ready to head out.  They are full of excitement and ready to serve!

Earlier in the week we loaded up a nice bright orange couch in the pickup to take up to San Miguel for the missionaries.  They have a really nice house up there and they asked if they could have the orange couch that has been here in the office for a while.  So, we took a little trip up to their house and I would say that it looks great where they put it haha.

We received a reference this week from a great family in the ward, the Moya family.  That family is always willing to help us out and they are great member missionaries.  They own an internet cafe here by the office and everybody around here knows that they are Mormons because they put out pamphlets and Books of Mormon for everybody to take.  So last week a man named Renzo entered their internet cafe and began to talk with Steve.  He has had a rough time for the last three months.  I don't know how it all happened, but somehow his wife had all of the things in her name.  So she took it all, threw him in the street, and got with another man.  It is really sad.  He found a little house to live in, but he is about to be thrown out because he can't pay the bills anymore because he got fired.  There is nothing in his house.  He has a little bed and a coffee-maker.  He has been in a deep depression and has turned to alcohol to stop him from crying the day away.  When he entered the internet cafe he got talking to Steve and wanted to talk to us really bad.  So we went over to talk with him and it was great!  He wants to get closer to the Lord and become a better man.  When we went for the second visit, he wanted to know all about Joseph Smith.  He has already read through 2 Nephi and is loving it.  He is meeting with Steve to come to church tomorrow and we are so happy for him!

We also met with Lily and her family this week.  They have been investigation the church for quite some time.  She is half way through the Book of Mormon and knows that it is true.  She just wants to take her time to be baptized.  We haven't been able to meet much with her family because she recently got married to her husband and went to the Texas afterwards.  She is back now and will be with us at church tomorrow!

This week we also met with a less active named Julio.  His entire family has not been to church for over three years and I have never seen him.  Turns out he was the bishop of this ward quite some time ago.  When we met him, I was on a division with Elder Jackman.  The lesson was full of the Spirit and he really opened up.  He works on Sundays, but we hope to see him progress and make it back to church soon.

This week I read a talk that I really liked.  It is by Elder Dale G. Renlund and it is called "Latter-Day Saints Keep on Trying."  Something that he said that I really like was "If we don’t try, we’re just latter-day sinners; if we don’t persevere, we’re latter-day quitters; and if we don’t allow others to try, we’re just latter-day hypocrites." https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/04/latter-day-saints-keep-on-trying?lang=eng

Love you all!  Have a great week!

Elder Nelson

Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decía "Un santo es un pecador que sigue intentándolo."

Sunday, November 8, 2015

11.07.15

Hey everybody!

Hope that everything is going well at home!  Great job Conner on landing the internship!  I'm not super surprised but I am happy for you.  Congratulations to Nate and Kelly for upgrading into a bigger apartment.  Not much is better than that!  Now you can study more in peace, huh?  Good on ya.  And a shout out to little Bentley for doing some trick or treating even though he was scared.  Good job!!

This week was a great week and we had some great experiences.  You know the kick-boxer from Meet the Mormons?  Well my companion and I met her this past week.  Her husband was with us at a meeting in the Seminary and Institute building so we got to meet her.  Pretty cool!

We have been starting to work a lot with the less actives of the ward.  We have been asking everyone who are the less active families and we are going out to find them.  On Sunday evening, we went to a family's house to ask about the less actives and we left with a planner full of names, phone numbers, and plans.  Super great!  We have lots of work to do and many great leads.  We are hoping to raise the attendance of the ward.  We ask the Lord to direct us as we seek out the "lost sheep"  and bring them back to the fold.  This week I learned a bit more about this principle as I studied the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15. Christ taught "
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
 And when he cometh home, he calleth together hisfriends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
I pondered how it was that this sheep could have been lost.  There are several possibilities really: it fell in a hole, broke its leg,  or possibly couldn't keep up with the rest.  Really it doesn't matter how the sheep got lost.  The same is with us.  People get lost for many different reasons: it could be that they are offended at church, they don't get along with the bishop, or they are confronted with new trials and temptations.  Really is doesn't matter how we got could have gotten lost.  What matters is that we show the Lord that we are willing to do all that he commands, and that we are willing to humble ourselves before Him and to do His will.   The Lord is always calling, we must decide whether or not to respond to His call.
This week I saw a little miracle.  Most times that I go to migration with missionaries I buy some cookies or chips that they have at a little stand there.  Naturally, I have become friends with the young man who sells them to me.  This week were talking a bit and he asked me about Jehovah.  I started to explain to him about our beliefs and how Jehovah really is Jesus Christ.  We talked a little more and I decided to return back to the missionaries to check on them.  Moments later, he came over to me and asked for me to come visit his house and to teach him more about what we believe.  I told him that we would gladly send over the missionaries closest to his house and was very delighted when he said that he lived in Zapote.  He is in our area!  We have an appointment to go teach him this coming week.  Fingers crossed.  Buying cookies is a great way to share the gospel!
I love you all and hope that everything is well on the home front.
Elder Nelson
Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decía "Compre algunas galleticas en todos lados para predicar el evangelio."


Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Gross!!

10.31.15 Happy Halloween!

Hey everybody! 
It sounds like everybody is in tip-top shape in the Nelson home!  Conner, I'm pulling for you with the internship, I know everything will work out great.  Nate is studying the GI system huh?  That's pretty interesting if you ask me.  Take good notes haha.  Have fun spending the weekend in St. George and "trick or treating" with the grandkids.

This week was great!  I spent a lot of time this week whipping this office into shape!  It looks really good now and it is really organized.  The mission is 100% legal and we are leading Central America in properly documented missionaries.  I will be doing tons of migration work this week just to tie up some loose ends and then we will be free sailing.  So, everything is well here in the office.  Elder Burt recently had his birthday so we ate some chocolate cake.  Mmmmmm.  

Christmas is going to be a lot different here in the city.  Half of the city is already lit up with Christmas lights and all of the stores are playing Christmas music.  Everybody has already began to celebrate.  It will be a lot different than La Rita for sure.  Also, Elder Nielson and I will be celebrating our 9 month companionship anniversay hahaha.  Going strong!

This morning we cleaned up the house.  It was absolutely disgusting!  My companion and I have gotten really good and cleaning the place up after tons of missionaries have been through it.  It is no longer a disaster zone so we are happy.  While we were cleaning today there was a pretty big earthquake in the morning.  No damage to anything but we definitely felt it.  I'm pretty sure a volcano erupted too because when we got to the office today our shirts wee covered in ash.  I'm sure we will hear about it later from people that we talk to.  Costa Rica is great!  I love it so much!

This week President has been doing zone conferences in all of the zones.  We attended on Wednesday and it was amazing!  We had the assignment to read Mosiah 1-5 , which as you all know is the discourse of King Benjamin to his people, before we came.  It was so good and I learned so much.  He taught about the significance of what was taught and it really opened up my mind to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Up to this point in the world, the people have been living the Law of Moses.  King Benjamin calls together all of his people and begins to teach them about Jesus Christ and about the "higher law" that he will teach.  We cannot live our lives under the Law of Moses.  Doing things just to do them or completing things just to say we did.  To live the "higher law," we must do things out of love for Jesus Christ and His gospel.  We must continue to progress always, continually thinking of "what more do I lack."  We must constantly work to become "spiritually born again."  The sermon on the mount teaches us a lot about this "higher law," and as we strive to live it, we will find that we act more out of love to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and less out of fear of punishment.  The scriptures never cease to amaze me.  There is so much knowledge and power found inside.  If we want to fill our lives with "light" we must start in the scriptures.  

This week we got some great references from members and we are very happy!  Some great new investigators for sure!  We are trying to teach our Savior's gospel the best we can.  I know that all of the success that we have comes from our Heavenly Father.  It's his work!

I love you all and hope you have a great week!  ¡Pura Vida!

Elder Nelson

Mi amigo Mexicano siempre me decia "Lo limpio nos acerca a lo divino."

P.S. I finally got myself a new pillow.  My old one was gross.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Elias's house on his birthday for some cake and ice cream

10.24.15 God Bless America!

Hey everybody!

Good to hear from all of you this week!  Things sure sound great.  I wish Conner and Claire luck in their new adventure working in the temple!  That is pretty sweet for you two!  Also, it is super exciting that you will all be home for Christmas!  Hope that you all have fun and live it up.  I love hearing about all of the nephews.  I'm sure Nate and Karli have their hands full with those little guys.
Last but not least.. Happy Birthday Dad!!  You are the best dad that there is!  Really I don't have the words to describe how much I appreciate all that you do for the family.  You are my hero!

This week I had a great experience.  I took an Elder to the United States Embassy.  First time that I have ever been there.  Now, you have to realize that the most American thing I have seen for a long time comes out of the packages that I get from home.  This place was amazing!  Huge perimeter walls, maximum security, english.. I felt right at home haha!  I gave a nice salute as I passed the Utah state flag on our way in to help this Elder with his travel documents.  I haven't seen such great service in such a long time either, we were in and out in minutes.  Good stuff!

Oscar and Martha are doing so well!  I cannot believe how much they have progressed in the last couple of months.  When we first found them, Martha was drunk on the street about every other day and a smoking addict.  She couldn't hold a job or be trusted with any money for fear that she would buy alcohol.  Now, she looks like a completely different person.  She dresses all up to come to church and participates in the classes each week.  Oscar and Martha are now saying a prayer together each morning and night.  She now has a job and has advanced in that job to the point where they are considering her for a raise.  Now carries all of the money that she makes with no problem and is down to one or two cigarettes a day!  

Oscar, too, is doing so well!  He really understands the doctrine.  He reads the Gospel Principles lesson manual and underlines and makes notes all over the place.  He has advanced considerably in the Book of Mormon and reads out loud with Martha each night the addiction recovery manual from LDS Family Services.  Currently they are learning about how sincerity is essential in addiction recovery.  He, too, has improved considerably with his smoking, considering that he has been addicted since the age of 13.  

I am so blessed to see the hand of the Lord work in their lives.  The atonement of Jesus Christ and His grace are a reality!  Each time that we visit Oscar and Martha and am in awe at the power and grace of our Savior and how He can transform our lives if we allow him to.  I think all of us have felt at one point or another the grace of Jesus Christ in our lives.  Only through Him can we return to our Heavenly Father and only through Him the dream of eternal life can become a reality.  One of my favorite sacrament hymns helps me to understand better the atonement of Christ.  It says, 
I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.
I am a witness of Christ´s grace and His atonement.  Each day in Costa Rica I am amazed at how the Lord´s work is unfolding all over the world.  

Elder Nelson

Mi amigo mexicano siempre me cantaba "Asombro me da el amor que me da Jesús."

10.17.15

Hey family!

I hope that you are all doing well and that you are seeing the hand of the Lord in your lives.  Wow it sounds like life is moving forward at a rapid pace.  I love to hear about what is going on with each of you and all of the success that you are having.  You are the best!

This week was another changes week.  Which meant a lot of paperwork and early mornings.  We lost a bunch of great missionaries, but we also received missionaries with tons of potential as well.  Each time we send a group of missionaries to the airport, it gives me a sense of urgency about this great work.  We only have two years to give all that we have to the Lord, and as Tad. R. Callister so masterfully stated "to put all that we have on the altar of sacrifice."  For each of us, there will be an end to our full-time missionary service as young men, and we better well have made the most of those two years.  It is my prayer that I can become the servant that the Lord wants me to become and to give Him everything I have to offer.  President Wilkinson always taught us that we, alone, are nothing.  Many times in life we think that we did something great, or that we are great people.  He taught that in this life, if we count on our own abilities or our own knowledge and strength, we will surely fail.  Only through Christ, and His mercy, do we have all that we have and can become what we will become.  Just like Christ turned water into wine, if we let Him into our lives, we can allow Him to turn us into "wine" as well.

My companion and I have been thinking and praying about how we can help this ward.  For years, the missionaries have struggled in this ward to find how to work effectively and efficiently.  Like all wards, it has several issues, but from what I can tell the best way to describe it would be to say that the members are spiritually "asleep."  It has had several issues in the past and the members have no trust in the missionaries.  My companion and I are now on a quest to wake up this ward!  In the most loving way possible we hope to teach the ward that being a Mormon is not just going to church on Sundays.  It is a way of life.  We are a covenant keeping people.  We make sacred covenants with our Heavenly Father and we do all that we can to stay true to those covenants throughout our lives.  That is how we find true happiness and joy!  Like President Uchtdorf poignantly asked "Are you sleeping through the restoration?"  Ancient prophets saw visions of our day and longed to  be a part of the time when the gospel of Jesus Christ would once again be restored in its fullness to the earth!  We are living in a crucial time in the history of this earth.  We must do all we can to prepare ourselves, and the kingdom of God for second coming and the millennial reign of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We can't live our lives half way.  God wants us to be hot or cold, not lukewarm as he says in Revalation 3:16 "So then because thou art lukewarmand neither cold nor hotwill spue thee out of my mouth."

My faith has grown so much over the past 15 months.  The spirit continues to testify to me the truthfulness of our message.  Faith is a choice.  We must ask our Heavenly Father each day for more faith!  

I love you all so much!

Elder Nelson

Mi amigo mexicano siempre me preguntaba "¿Estás durmiendo durante la restauración?"

Monday, October 12, 2015

10.10.15 Conferencia General Octubre 2015

Hey everybody!

So I saw the the pictures of the wedding finally!  Wow.. everything looks completely different.  I can tell that you put tons of work into it and it looked fantastic!  Everybody looked different too.  Robert is huge and has tons of hair!  I never even met the little guy, but he is no longer a little guy.  Karli's two kids look super big too, wow.  Everybody just looks different in those pictures.  Oh well, I guess I look different too.  My companion tells me that I look like an old man.  Everybody in the street guesses that I am 25 or up.  I no longer have the baby face that I loved so much haha.

I hope you all enjoyed General Conference.  It was so good!  We tried to get as many people there as possible and I feel like it was a success.  Elias was there for all five sessions!  He is doing so good.  There were so many good talks, and I noticed that a ton of them were great for all of the Costa Rican members.  Right on point. I loved Niel L. Andersen´s statement "For now, give Brother Joseph a break!  In a future day, you will have 100 times more information than from all of today’s search engines combined, and it will come from our all-knowing Father in Heaven."  What great advice for us, and like he also said "faith is not by chance, but by choice."  We can spend our whole lives living as critics and unbelievers, or we can put all of that aside and begin to FEEL what the Spirit tells us to be true.  Through the spirit we can know the truthfulness of all things.  I am so excited to review all of these General Conference talks, so good!

This week we were in the office quite a bit preparing for the changes this week.  We will be bringing in a good number of new missionaries and saying goodbye to a bunch of my friends who have finished their missions.  It will be a busy week and we will have a full house.
 
Cultural note:  Do not mention the word "Halloween" in Costa Rica.  The country is very superstitious, and they don't want anything to do with it.  My companion bought some pumpkins at the store this week, and when he was walking back to the office people yelled at him and called him a demon worshiper.  It is even to the extreme that some people, when they hear that members in the United States celebrate Halloween, they go inactive and never go back to church.  I just thought that it was so interesting.  

Hey, I was in the Central American news section of the Liahona this month.  Pretty cool, huh?  I'll send you a picture.

Well, I've gotta go!  The church is true!  Love you tons!  

Elder Nelson

Mi amigo m
exicano siempre me decía "Agarre la barra de hierro, y no lo suelte para nada."

Sunday, October 4, 2015

02.10.15

Hey everybody!

I send my love from Costa Rica!  Everything is well here, the work is great and the people are good to us.  Glad to hear that everyone will be home for the weekend.  Hopefully you can all listen to conference together and receive the inspired direction from prophets of God!  And with the new apostles, who could miss such a great conference.  To prepare for conference, I watched Jeffrey R. Holland's first talk as an apostle.  It was so good, and got me excited to see what happens.  The best part of this situation is that whoever it is.. we know that we are in good hands, the God of Israel directs this church!

This week was great!  Elias got a temple recommend and went to the temple to do baptisms for the dead.  He loved it!  He also blessed the sacrament this Sunday.  He was so nervous but did so well! He also went out on divisions with us this week, he completely taught the lesson and testified like a champ. He is turning 17 soon and has his eyes set on a mission, it makes us so happy to see him growing and progressing in the gospel.  He is so great!  

We have been teaching several good families and hope to bring as many people to the stake center this weekend as possible to hear a prophet's voice!  We will be running back and forth between each session to see who we can get there. I'm really excited!

My companion is a Christmas lover.  I mean.. can I blame him? But, on October 1st he started the Christmas season here in the office.  He always has the music playing, and he has been buying tons of hot chocolate.  Personally, I think it's a little early, but it makes him happy so it's all good!  We´ve got the Christmas spirit going in October.

I hope that you all enjoy conference!  I love you lots!  ¡Que Dios les bendiga!

Elder Nelson

P.S. Amazing talk that I heard this week.  Tad R. Callister is one of my favorites. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/10/joseph-smith-prophet-of-the-restoration?lang=eng


09.26.15 Temple Trip

Hey everybody!!

This week was really great!  Got a lot of work done and did a lot of work.  I'm glad to hear that everything is going well back at home, I know that the Lord is watching over our family.  I hope that Dad has a great time in Budapest and that everything goes well there.  Glad to hear that Conner and Claire are teaching primary.  They will do so good.  They need to prepare those future missionaries while they are young!  I hope that Nate does well on his exams and that Zach and Karli have some time to relax with those two children haha.

So, we ate the pigs foot.... it wasn't too bad.  The fat melts in your mouth like an ice cream cone.  I would eat that any day over mondongo.  My companion was completely grossed out though, there was no convincing him.  The deal breaker was when Hermana Flor showed us that the best part was sucking on the bones and the hoof.  I enjoyed it for the most part..  

This week was pretty crazy.  We have been running pretty low on energy but we were able to get it all done.  Now we can take a nice deep breath.  The mission planned a temple trip for all of the missionaries (half of the mission this week and half next week.)  So we were doing a lot of running around to prepare all of the plans and events that would accompany the temple trip.  On Tuesday night, in preparation for an early temple session the next morning, we had over thirty elders sleeping in our house.  It is quite the experience being in a house with that many elders, but everything turned out okay and the house was only mildly destroyed.  We were up early in the morning on Wednesday to get everyone out the door, take President's daughter to the airport, and make it to a late-morning session.  It was a great day in the temple and the spirit was so strong.  As a missionary, I seem to look at everything completely different.  What a great blessing of the restoration, temples of our Lord upon the face of the earth once again.  What a great blessing, the restoration of the Priesthood authority, the key that unlocks such great blessings unto our Heavenly Father´s children.  I can only imagine the love that our Heavenly Father has for his children, that he would restore such key principles and ordinances to the Earth for the happiness and the welfare of His children.  How blessed are we to be a part of this great work.

This week I learned a great lesson of faith from an Elder friend that I have.  He has about 7 months in the mission, and on his first day here I took him out on divisions.  While we were at the temple on Wednesday, he received the news that his brother had passed away back home in Guatemala.  He was crushed.  What really amazes me about the faith of this Elder is how he takes trials with joy.  He is a convert to the church, and little before leaving to the mission he lost his mother as well.  I was able to be on divisions with him for a couple of hours on Wednesday night, and I was just amazed at the way that he was taking this trial.  Yes, he was very sad, but he has the hope that the gospel brings to the lives of those who live it.  After this experience, I began to think a lot about what hope is and started to study a bit about it.  The prophet Ether in chapter 12 teaches great things about hope.  Hope is what the gospel is all about.  We have trials and difficulties in life, but with our hope we can progress and be happy despite the trials.

I love you all so much!  Keep the faith!  Build the kingdom!

Elder Nelson

Mi amigo Mexicano siempre me decía "y fe, esperanza, caridad y amor, con la mira puesta únicamente en la gloria de Dios, lo califican para la obra."

Monday, September 21, 2015



09/19/15 Elias' Baptism

Hey everybody!

This week was great!  Sounds like BYU is off to a good start and that everyone is in "cool down" mode from after the wedding.  I hope that everything continues great and that everything is well with the family.

Today my companion and I went to get some food for lunch, and it was delicious.  But afterwards we were on our way back when all of a sudden the biggest rainstorm ever started!  It was really heavy rain and the wind was yanking our umbrellas every which way.  Within minutes the roads were flooded and we were walking in ankle-deep water back to the office.  Right now we are trying to dry off a little bit before we head out to the storm again.  Gotta love that Costa Rica rain!

Yesterday was a great day!  Elías got baptized!  We were super happy for him and the decision he made to be baptized!  He has come a long way and he is great!  Elías comes each week to wash the mission cars and while here he has gotten to know President quite well.  So he wanted President Hayes at his baptism and wanted him to baptize him!  It was so great!  Before the service President mentioned that the last time he had been the baptizer in a service was 20 years ago and it took place in the Jordan River when he was living in Jerusalem.  Really cool!  

The baptism was very interesting because there were very few active members there.  The entire room was filled with less-active members and investigators.  It was a great service and we hope that the spirit touch the hearts of the less-actives and investigators.  The best part about the service was that afterwards we were invited over to Hermana Flor's house for a special dinner that she had prepared for us.  She is Elías's grandmother and somebody that we have been working with to reactivate.  The dinner was called "mondongo"  or in english, cow intestine soup.  Now, the experience wasn't all bad, I learned some things as I conquered the mondongo.  I learned that intestine is very chewy and that my gag reflex still works.  But really though, one side was very spongy and on the other side you could see the little hair-like things that line the intestines to keep the food moving along the digestive tract.  It was quite the experience.  She is talking about how she wants to prepare us pig hoof and leg for next week, so wish me luck haha.
 
This week we found some great families!  One of the families is now living in the house where we went to teach a family that moved a while ago.  There is something about that house and accepting the missionaries.  They were very interested and let us in and wanted to talk.  In Costa Rica, the church plays commercials on TV all of the time. So this family had all of the church commercials memorized and they just wanted to know more about what we believe.  They are great.  We found another family this week and it is large.  They are from Nicaragua and about 12 people live in their little house.  We are excited to teach them and they are interested as well.  

Oscar and Martha are doing great!  They were at the baptism yesterday and they were happy.  Little by little they are working on their addictions.  We are working hard with them and pass by every night for at least five minutes to see how they are doing with their addictions, to sing a hymn, and to pray. They are now praying each morning and night together for strength to overcome their addictions and I know that they can do it!

The work is great!  I am so grateful to work in this part of the Lord's vineyard.  The priesthood authority of God has been restored upon the face of the Earth.  Through that authority families can be forever!  How great is our message!

Elder Nelson

Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decía "Mejor el mondongo en salsa que el mondongo en sopa."

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Photos I never sent from La Rita

09.12.15 Service on the Mount

Hey everybody!

From what I hear everything is going great!  The wedding sounds like it was amazing and I can't wait to see the photos.  And it sounds like everyone is going to be traveling quite a bit for the next little bit!  I hope you all have fun!

This week was great.  We had a really exciting experience this week.  A companionship of Elders called this week from La Loma, a ward located in Desamparados, not too far from the office.  They said that they needed our help because one of their investigators was getting thrown out of their house and hadn't eaten for two days because her husband is incapacitated from cancer.  They needed us to take the truck and help them to move houses.  So we rounded up some good food and hopped in the pickup and headed out to La Loma.  We came to find out that this family lived on the top of the mountain.  San José is located in a valley and surrounded by mountains, and they were at the top.  So I started getting a little nervous because we were driving the brand new mission truck up the mountain on really small, beat up roads.  At some points I was amazed that roads could even be that steep.  So we got to their house and began to load their things into the truck.  This was all happening while the landlord was verbally abusing her and trying to tell us how terrible of a person she was.  Finally we got the first load strapped down and we were heading down the mountain on the tiny streets, trying not to get hit by the buses.  She was moving to the top of the other side of the mountain.  So we started up with the load of things.  The entire time I was completely nervous that the entire load was going to fall right out of the back as we scaled the mountain.  It was like mount crumpet!  The very last house at the very top was where she was going to live.  It didn't help either that everybody was telling us to be careful because it isn't a very safe place.  So after two more loads we had successfully passed the house.  Truthfully, I thought it was a lot of fun, but it was really edifying to see how much she appreciated it.  She started to tell us about her life, and it made me really grateful for my family and my country.  She was in tears to see that somebody came to help her in her time of great need.

This week I took missionaries from Argentina, Panama, and Mexico to their respective embassies and got a lot of good work done in the office.  This coming week is really full too!

Our investigators are doing really well and we are happy to see their progress.  Martha is doing a lot better that before with drinking.  We will be visiting them tonight to give them support.  Elias's baptism was moved to next week so we hope that all goes well with that!  Elder Nielson and I are super happy and we are seeing the Lord's hand often in our lives and in the lives of the investigators. 

Love you all and hope a week of éxito!

Elder Nelson

Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decía "Subamos, pues, al monte"

09.05.15 The Ninth Wheel

Hey everybody!

Conner is getting married today!  You are the best!  I love you so much and hope that it is a day that you will never forget!  I wish I could be there with you, but the Lord needs me here and that is perfectly fine with me.  This morning when I woke up it dawned on me that I am now the ninth wheel of the family!  You've got Mom and Dad, Zach and Karli, Nate and Kelly, Conner and Claire, and Tan Dawg.  Hopefully one day we can make this training wheel into a ten wheeler haha.

This week was another changes week.  We were really busy and tired all week, but we made it without any problems.  We went to the airport at 2:30 in the morning twice this week.  I'm starting to think there has got to be a limit to how many times someone can wake up at 2:30 to go to the airport on their mission haha.  I don´t know what it could be, but it looks like I still haven't hit that limit so all is well!  President changed around the schedule of changes this time so it took us a little bit of getting used to but we figured it out and I think in the long run the changes were good.  

Last Sunday there was a meeting for all of the stake presidents and stake secretaries in the Seminary and Institute building.  President asked us to attend to represent the Rio Claro District.  It was very interesting to learn all about how the stakes function and it was a great experience.  Later that night, we took the Burts with us to a lesson with Oscar and Martha.  Sister Burt is a convert to the gospel and had many similar difficulties when the missionaries began to teach her family.  She doesn't speak Spanish, so we translated for her and it was great!  The Spirit was strong.  Then they asked Elder Burt if he would give them blessing to overcome their addictions.  It was a great lesson and we are very happy to see the progress that they are having.  

Elias continues doing very well!  Yesterday he had his baptismal interview and he passed.  We are planning his baptism for this week and we couldn't be more happy to see the progress that he has made.  Through his example, his grandmother has been reactivated and the rest of the family is warming back up the the missionaries.  

This week I went on divisions twice to other areas!  It was so weird!  I haven't been on divisions in a different area for seven and a half months!  It was really good to get out and be kind of like a normal missionary again.  On Tuesday I went to Tres Rios with Elder Saavedra from Colombia and yesterday I was with Elder Gonzalez from Guatemala in Paso Ancho.  It was fun to talk with them and get to know them better.  I learned a lot from both areas and the investigators that we taught.

This week we also received an amazing reference from a member.  She had been attending church for quite a while before but stopped going and stopped investigating the church.  We received the reference from her family members and she is completely receive the gospel now.  It is funny how each person has a time to receive the gospel.  Not every person that we teach will be ready right away, but the Lord has a way of working on them over time until they become ready.

I love you all tons!  Un abrazo!

Elder Nelson

"Su camion solo tiene nueve ruedas, me parece raro."

Monday, August 31, 2015

Johnny Rockets!!

08.29.15

Hey family!!

I'm glad to hear that everything went great with the surgery!  I know that the Lord took care of Nate and that he blesses our family so much.  Your letters have shown me a lot about the faith through this trial, and it reminds me of a scripture in the seventh chapter of Moroni--  37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.--  Faith produces miracles, and the Lord blesses His children when they act upon their faith.  I hope that the recovery continues well and that the Lord continues to bless you.  

It seems to me that the wedding is coming up soon!  I'm sure it will be the event of the year!  I will be there in heart.  Love you Con Dawg.  And the nephews are well too, what more could we ask for?  We really are blessed.

This week has been super great!  Elder Nielson and I are doing well and working hard to strengthen the members and teach the gospel to everyone who will talk to us.  I told you about an investigator named Elias, the son of a less-active member that we have been working with.  Well, this week we made major advancements with him.  He is our buddy now!  Before in our lessons, he wouldn't talk much, kind of like he didn't want to tell us things.  But now he is complete dynamite.  He has had several problems while growing up, but he is ready to change and he is on fire.  He is sixteen years old now and has been smoking two to three packs of cigarettes a day starting at the age of twelve.  He has overcome that like a champ.  He has had some terrible experiences with evil spirits, so getting him to pray was a struggle at first, but now he is doing great!  This week he washed all of the mission cars and was with us at the office for most of the day.  We gave him a white shirt and a tie to wear to church and he is excited to wear it.  We told him that we would take him to get a smoothie later on today and he asked us if we would be wearing our white shirts and ties.  We responded that we would, so he asked if he could wear his too when we go to get smoothies.  I'm excited for that later today haha!

We are working hard with Oscar and Martha to get them over their addictions.  It is a battle but I know that they can do it!

Well, in the office we are really taken care of.  The Hayes love to feed us all of the time, and it is not helping my figure haha.  They always make us food for our meetings.  Earlier this week we went to the one-month check up with all of the trainers and new missionaries and we had quite the barbeque.  Super delicious.  And this morning we met with President in his home and Sister Hayes prepared a breakfast with the works.  Scones, fresh fruit, bacon, etc.  And lately she has been bringing us loaves of freshly cooked bread that she baked with honey butter.  You don't have to worry about me starving one bit haha.  

This week, in honor of the family, I took my companion to eat at Johnny Rockets.  It was super good and now I know where it is at.  It is like five minutes from the office haha.  I didn't know it was that close but now I think it will be a more frequent trip.

The work is well!  Costa Rica is good!  God is great!  I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the opportunity I have to be a missionary!  It is the greatest calling in the church!  The Lord loves His children and wants the best for each of them.  We just need speck of faith and He will do the rest. Like Elder D. Todd Christofferson testified in the April General Conference --No one is predestined to receive less than all that the Father has for His children.--

Elder Nelson

Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decia --Despues de comer una hamburgesa rica, hay que terminar con un pastel de manzana--

P.S.  The Hayes have set up a facebook page called Los Hayes en Costa Rica, and they are constantly putting up pictures of the mission. You should check it out.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

08.22.15

Hey everybody!

I hope that you are all doing well!  I sure am doing great!  The mission is as great as ever!  I hope that everyone is doing well with Nate's surgery.  I'm praying hard for him!  How great is it that we have the knowledge that we do of the gospel.  It can give us hope in times of despair and peace in  the difficult times.  I know that the Lord is in charge, so we have no reason to stress.  Trials strengthen our faith in Him.

Today we had a special area conference with President Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles with the entire Central America area.  It was great!  He focused a lot on the Plan of Salvation and getting our converts to the temple.  The Spirit was so strong!  He broke the gospel down to the basics and the Spirit taught me a lot as I pondered the message he gave.  The most powerful part of the conference was at the end when he was closing.  He said that he was going to give us a blessing with his holy apostolic keys.  He blessed us with much, and the Spirit really hit me.  One of the blessings that he gave was that any of us with family members with health problems, that they would have a blessing of health and strength.  That according to the will of the Lord, they would be healed.  I thought of Nate, and started to tear up a bit.  I know that all will be alright!  Nate probably didn't know it, but today he got a blessing from President Nelson, and believe me, it was powerful.

This week we were able to get a lot of good work done.  We are working hard to help Oscar and Martha get rid of their addictions.  We testify to them that they can do it with the help of the Lord.  They are excited!  Oscar told us that he really wants to beat his addictions so that he can be baptized.  He is really going through a true conversion.  He commented that he knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.  And that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  His only obstacle is smoking.  We are also working with Ivan and Tania.  This week we took them to a members home to see "Meet the Mormons."  That movie is so good and they loved it!  They just need to get married and they can be baptized.  The obstacle is that she is from Nicaragua and in Costa Rica completely illegally.  We are working with a lawyer to see what we can do to help her.  
We also found a really good investigator this week in the house of a less-active member that we have been working with.  His name is Elias and he wants to learn all he can about the gospel.  He is only sixteen, but for the last two years he was really lost.  He said "I have tried the world and it was terrible, now I want to try God."  He knows that he has made several mistakes in his life and he is looking for a source of peace and forgiveness.  We testified that he would be able to find it Christ's church.  We are excited to work with him as well.

Tonight we have an appointment with a family from El Salvador.  She is a member and some family recently came to live with her in search for a better life.  They are going to make us Pupusas, typical food from El Salvador that is like a circular empanada stuffed with beans, cheese, and veggies.  Super good and hopefully we get some promising investigators from it!

I love you all and hope the best for the week!  God bless!

Elder Nelson

Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decía "Pupusas.. psh..  mucho mejor el pinto."

08.15.15

Hey everybody!

I hope that everybody is well!  I'm glad to hear that everything is working out with the wedding, it sounds like the house will be looking really good for that day.  Send some pictures!  Also, I hope the best for Nate, from the sounds of it he's got a great surgeon!  I hope the best and the family is in my prayers!  Take one day at a time and the Lord will work the miracles.

This week was great!  A pretty normal week as far as the office goes.  President told us this week that we are going to stay in the office a while longer to help him make the desired changes to the mission.  So from the sounds of things, we will be here at least through November haha.  We are about to finish our fifth change here already, so a couple more won't hurt.  It has been really interesting to see the changes that have happened in the mission, and to be able to see different points of view on things.  My testimony is strengthened of our leaders that are truly called of God. I can see how President Wilkinson was called to help grow the work in Costa Rica during a certain time, and how equally President Hayes was called for this time.  It is all the same great work, but the way that it is done can vary.  I feel very fortunate to have a front row seat to see the Lord prepare and hasten His work in this country.

Each time that we meet with President Hayes, he allows us to ask him whatever question we have about the scriptures.  Let me just say that these moments have left me speechless on several occasions.  I mean, this man knows the scriptures like the palm of his hand.  We could ask a question and he knows references to talks, other scriptures, etc.  For example, last week the question came up about how it was possible that the Lamanites knew not that they received the gift of the Holy Ghost as stated in 3 Nephi 9:20  "And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not."  He explained using all sorts of scriptures and talks.  Several times he tells us to go to a chapter in the scriptures then he says "okay, you will find you answer in the second column about half way down."  He's got the scriptures memorized!  It is really amazing to be able to talk with him and learn from his great knowledge of the scriptures.  My testimony is constantly strengthened.  I have seen my love for the scriptures deepen greatly on the mission.  Truly, they are the word of God and the treasures inside are endless.  One of the goals that the mission now has is to have at least one spiritual experience in the Book of Mormon in each lesson.  By teaching this way, our investigators will become more converted to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the retention of new members will go up.

This week my companion and I began to work in a new part of our area that we haven't worked too much in before.  It is called Barrio Lujan and it borders San José central.  We went down there to contact a reference and we found that it is a gold mine.  We never realized how many inactive families lived out there.  We are excited because like Elder Duncan said, "for missionaries, the more less actives the better.. lots of work to be done."  

I love my Heavenly Father and the opportunities that he is giving me to learn and to grow.  This truly is the greatest experience of a lifetime.

Elder Nelson

Mi amigo mexicano siempre me decía "Si mejoramos nuestra enseñanza, mejoraremos nuestros resultados."