30 May 2012

family away from home

Ah my heart is so full today! First of all I get on my little myldsmail account to read all of your wonderful emails and then BAM BAM BAM like 10 people got married, engaged and are preggo. Everyone better email me pictures!
This week was amazing. Yesterday Mohamed got baptized. Then Fransisco, the man from Angola I contacted on the street my first week here comes to church every week and agrees with everything the church stands for. He wants to be baptized but won’t commit to a date. We brought the zone leaders with us to an appointment and he accepted. But then on Sunday he said in sacrament meeting he wanted to wait. So we will continue to work with him. We also marked Flavio from Mozambique for baptism and he's going to fast all week to prepare for this baptism next weekend. I can barely fast one day! This man is truly a tender mercy from Heavenly Father. I love my area here in Porto, I love my companion, I love Lucia and her husband (who will get baptized one day), I love Vanessa and the cute little Brazilian couple Cassandra and Lindenburg, Silva and Irmão Carvalho. They all help us so much with the missionary work here. They are my family away from home. I swear I´m spoiled rotten here.
Today for p-day we are hanging out at our chapel playing basketball and writing letters and emails. I realized that Portugal doesn´t have Memorial Day. Today I am really missing my cousin Riky. He passed away November of 2010 and I think about him every day. I know he is in a better place now but I still catch my self wishing I could talk to him again. That's why I am so grateful for the Gospel. We can be with our families again after this life. The Lord's plan of Salvation is so clear and gives hope to each of us if we follow it and keep the Lord's commandments we can all be together for eternity. 
Thank you all for writing me and not forgetting about me. I’m so proud of all of you and I miss you all each day. My missionary, little Jenn Woodward wrote this to me in her letter last week and I want to share it with you, "I feel like you start your mission and end it as a completely different person in many ways. It's like the scripture about turning yourself over to the Lord and He will take your heart away and give you a new one. That's how I feel with every person that I´ve met or taught, every ward/branch I’ve served in and every companion and city you give away a piece of your heart and you´ll never get that piece back....but in exchange you receive a new piece...it's not the same, it's different, it allows your heart to feel something it’s never felt, and it fits perfectly where the other piece was. But it's not at all the same. And this giving and receiving cycle goes on and on through out your whole mission...or life...and at the end you have a completely different heart. You experience a literal change of heart". I swear Jenn needs to write a book or something. She always has the perfect things to say. I can’t believe she ends her mission in Paris soon. This is happening to me. I'm experiencing that change of heart. When I leave Porto I will leave a part of my heart here. I'm excited for what is in store for me in the future and what the Lord has planned for me.
Thank you all for being a part of my life. I love you.

Irmã Nelson

27 May 2012

5+ months down!

Can you believe I´ve already been on my mission for five months and in Portugal for three? Some days I feel like I have lived here forever and others I feel like I just arrived.
Getting to Skype my family yesterday for Mother’s Day was so fun. Seeing your faces was exactly what I needed. You all know exactly what to say to make me feel better and carry on. I don´t know what I did to be so blessed to have such a great family.

This week was really good. We have several investigators marked for baptism and I’m so stoked. Everyday I’m growing better in the language and in my knowledge of the Gospel. I know I will never be perfect
but I will never stop working hard and learning from my mistakes. If we truly pray for the Lord to help us He will prepare a way. The rain finally went away and now it’s really sunny and hot.
Really hot, but I love it. I’ll take heat over cold any day. I’m sorry my email won’t be very long today but know that I love all of you very much. I’m so happy to be here in Porto and to be serving another
transfer with my companion. She helps me so much. I love you all and miss you. Have an amazing week. You’re always in my prayers

Irmã Nelson

Mother's Day Skype Session!

AH SUCH GREAT EMAILS THIS WEEK! Time is seriously my biggest enemy. I don’t even have time to write in my journal! I try to play catch up but it’s so hard.
YESTERDAY WAS AMAZING! WE HAD FOUR BAPTISMS! This work is so inspired and the Lord has so many people prepared for this Gospel and I´m blessed enough to be the one here with them holding their hand. It was such a miracle. We have been working with this mother and her daughter since I arrived in Porto, named Olivia and Rosinda. Every week we would invite them to follow Christ’s example and be baptized. Olivia would say the same thing "não filha, não filha". They go to church every week with us and institute. Last Sunday Olivia FINALLY said yes. Her daughter was a little more hesitant. She finally prayed out loud with us for the first time in almost four months on Saturday night, asking Heaven Father if she should get baptized. It was one of those moments that fill your heart with so much joy. My favorite part of being a missionary is kneeling with an investigator hearing them pray out loud for the first time. I cry every time. These people are earnestly seeking the truth and are sincerely asking our Father in Heaven for an answer. So the next morning at church she ran up to us and told us she received an answer and wanted to get baptized with her mom that afternoon. Ah I love being a missionary.
Another miracle this week. We have been teaching this family who is from Mali, Africa for about three weeks now. They are the most humble people I have ever met. They just want to be happy and be together for eternity. The mom Miriam we met at church three weeks ago. A recent convert neighbor brought her to church. We began stopping by every afternoon to teach her and her two sons, Abdulaye (28) and Mohamed (20). Mohamed is Islam and was very against changing religions. He always listened but refused to pray with us and accept Christ as his Savior. But last week when we came over the first thing he said was "Sisters, I have good news. I prayed and I know the Church is true and I want to get baptized. It won’t be easy but it’s what God told me; along with my mom and brother.” On Thursday we went over to teach them and we were talking a little bit about being missionaries and why we leave our friends families and lives behind for 18-24 months. I was saying to him that we are here because we know the Gospel is true, we love our Savior and we’re here to find people like you and invite you to come unto Christ. I was saying that it’s not easy. It’s very hard but it is all worth it for the tender mercies and the little moments like him telling me that he had good news and wanted to be baptized. I went on to say that my mission is changing me and the people here. He stopped me and said "no, you are changing ME" and I of course we both started crying. This is why I’m here to see the Lord change these people. His mom and brother had both attended church once so they could be baptized on Sunday, but their father lives in France and they couldn’t get a hold of him to get his permission. Since he’s Muslim we needed to get consent. So only Abdulaye was baptized after church with Olivia and Rosinda. We went to dinner at a member’s house with people from the ward and the zone leaders called us and said that given the situation, President said she could be baptized without consent from her husband. We went back to the chapel, re- filled with font and had another baptism :) Mohamed will be baptized this next Sunday.
I’m so grateful for this Gospel and miracles in my life. I know I was sent here for a purpose. It requires a lot of hard work, including my first two splits this week which was so intimidating teaching without Irmã Young with me, but the Lord puts the exact words in your mouth that the people need to hear. I’m so grateful for this Church and all of the tender mercies. You are all tender mercies in my life. I pray for you every day and I can always feel your prayers. Thank you all for everything. Congrats to everyone who graduated; Brandon, Sheree, Court! And all the engaged and preggos! I love you guys :)
Irmã Nelson

11 May 2012

Bed Bugs and Baptism!

To answer your question, yes I still have bed bug bites. They won’t go away. Irmã young wrapped me in Neosporin and gauze last night to keep me from scratching them.....it’s better than the cone of shame.
LUCIA GOT BAPTIZED YESTERDAY! I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful baptism. She is my angel. Every hard day of my mission is worth it to see her make this covenant with our Heavenly Father. I was dying laughing because when she put on the baptismal clothes she started doing karate kicks and HIE-YAS all around the dressing room. I love my crazy Lucia. Then she ran around the lawn outside the chapel while we were taking pictures and wanted pictures with a basketball she found nearby. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard. She was baptized by this cute young Brazilian named Lindenburg. He and his wife are in our Ward. He has an adorable little wife named Preggo. We love them so much. She’s the one who started giving me a manicure during FHE a couple of weeks ago. We’re going to buy a white little dress today for their baby’s blessing.
At the baptism I gave a talk on baptism and our Ward Mission Leader spoke on the Holy Ghost. It was so funny; Lucia’s feet went flying in the air when she went under the water so they had to do it again. She’s the cutest little thing. She weighs probably 80 pounds. I made chocolate chip cookies and the entire ward was obsessed with them and wants the recipe (And you thought I couldn’t cook). They call them "bolachas Americana’s." They don’t bake chocolate chip cookies here and chocolate chips don’t exist here either.  
Lucia and her husband fed us after church. Her husband agreed to let us teach him one lesson if he could take us on a drive by the beach and the river. It was the most beautiful sight ever. I’m in love with Porto. Transfers are Monday and I hope I don’t get transferred. There are still so many people here I need to see baptized. We have some awesome new investigators that are so ready to be baptized. 
Ah I love being a missionary. I was a little run down this week but our Ward Mission Leader Irma Carvalho gave me a blessing and I’m feeling so much better. I have a strong testimony of the power of the Priesthood. We need to take advantage of it more often and all worthy Priesthood holders should use this amazing power more often as well to bless the lives of those around them. 
I’m so sad the senior couple here, the McConkies, are leaving tomorrow. They were my family when I first arrived in my area. They are such amazing people and I will miss them so much.
I received an unexpected package of letters from the Tempe University 4th Ward this week. It was so randomly perfect. Thank you so much.

This Church is so true. I know it with all my heart. My testimony gets stronger each day. I’m so honored to be doing the Lord’s work here in Portugal. Thank you for all your letters and prayers.
I love you
Irmã Nelson

Chuva Chuva Chuva!

Chuva Chuva Chuva!
Bom dia! Well today is another rainy day in Porto. Its been raining non-stop all month. I started putting all my warm weather clothing in my suitcases then had to take it all out and wear it because it’s been cold and rainy all month. But May is going to be so beautiful. They have the prettiest trees and flowers. There is an area here called Gondomar where we have some investigators and it’s honestly so gorgeous and green and full of vineyards and has a pretty view of the city. All the rain is making everything neon green. I love it. 
I was little sad last night because Augusta wasn´t baptized. Her son took her out of town and wouldnt give us their number or address. So we weren´t able to baptize her, but as soon as she comes back we will baptize her right away. She has such a desire to be baptized and knows that this Church is true. I love my little old Augusta. I know the Lord has plans for her. She truly is so special. 
Our investigators and recent converts are always feeding us. They are such humble giving people and are following Christ’s example. I love my Ward here so much. They are so involved and all want to be missionaries. The ward missionaries have been helping so much this week going out on lessons with us. I’m sorry my email is so short but you guys know how it goes.
My bed bug bites still haven’t gone away yet so I look like Ii have chicken pox or some weird disease but whatever, who am I trying to impress. I’m getting better at street contacting
Four people this week on the street asked if I was Portuguese. They told me I have an amazing accent. This is the best compliments ever. I´m still working on understanding every little word but it will come with time. Im actually leading the lessons now and do pretty well on the phone.
  WellI have to go. We’re taking our recent convert Vanessa to find long skirts for Church. Her new calling is so perfect for her. Shes so excited and I couldn´t be more proud of her. 
Mom, she loves the CTR ring :) Please remember how much I love and miss all of you. Please continue to pray and thank our Heavenly Father for all the blessings He has given us.
I love being a missionary. I know this Church is true with all my heart and I am so blessed to be His servant here in Portugal. Fica Bem! Beijinhos! Amo Vocês!!

the work is marvelous

HELLO!!!I´m sorry I didn´t write yesterday we had zone conference and interviews with President Torgan! Honestly President Torgan is one of the most amazing men I know. (next to my daddy of course) He is so close to the spirit and constantly telling us that nothing is possible without faith in the Lord. Reading Ether 12 &chapter 9 in preach my gospel has become a daily thing for me. I’m so obsessed with the scriptures and Preach My Gospel it’s not even funny. They have answers to EVERYTHING. PMG is not just for missionaries. EVERYONE should be reading this book. Please use this book along with your scriptures and it with amplify your study and help you serve others.

THIS WEEKEND WILL BE MY FIRST BAPTISM! she is seriously the CUTEST little thing you have ever seen. Her name is Augusta and she about 4.5 feet tall and is 78 years old.  She lives alone and the first day we met her she asked us to live in her big house with her. She always calls us her maninas (girls) and she basically contacted us! We were waiting at the bus paragem (stop) last week asked about the book in our hands and our names tags. Ever since we have been teaching her (she was stanch catholic so she’s still trying to understand everything she still thinks we need a papa (pope) but we explained that a prophet is called of God and not elected by the people like the pope. She has already come with us to sacrament once, a church relief society activity and President Torgan gave a fireside in our stake on Sunday and we brought her to that. After the activity on Friday we asked her if she would be baptized next Sunday and she said yes! she always carries the book of Mormon in her purse and read all the pamphlets we gave her before she goes to bed. she always likes to walk with her arm linked with mine and told me she has a facebook! I’m obsessed with her!

last Sunday we ate with Lucia’s family. She is such an amazing person and has so much love for others. We´re helping her prepare for baptism she’s so close! I love her very much. the bed bug problem is getting better since we don’t have a washing machine the sister in our ward took all our linens etc to be washed. the bites are slowly going away. and I haven’t found any new ones.... yet.

Every time I think if the bed bugs I think of jay on his mission when he told me that they’re clever & crawl up the wall to the ceiling and fall back onto the bed.  weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! stupid little guys stop biting me.

today we only get 3 hours instead of a regular pday so I apologize for not writing much. this work is so hard but I’ve never been happier in my entire life. you care SO much about your investigators that you begin to forget about yourself. but that’s what we learn in the scriptures if we lose ourselves in the service of others we find ourselves.

I love you all so much it hurts. I can’t thank our Heavenly Father enough for all of you. I don’t know what I did to have such an amazing family and friends. thank you for  everything you do and your prayers I feel them every day. I also thank him for the amazing companion I have. She teaches me so much everyday and helps me to keep focused on my purpose. This Work really is marvelous. I couldn’t be more lucky to be serving in this beautiful country. At times it doesn’t even feel like work but if were not working were not doing our job.

We are on the Lords errand and I only get 18 months to serve. Thank you for all of your examples I love you so much.