Saturday, December 17, 2016

Snow in Lebanon!

Hey Mom!! Today the #Light the World service is to thank our mothers, so the mission president gave us all permission to send an email to our mothers!!  Woo hoo!  (Additional content edited for Mom's eyes only... 😏)

Today is going to be a service day, we woke up to about 4 inches of snow on the ground! Then it rained, so now it's all hard ice. We are going to go out today and shovel people's walks. 

Here's a video that my companion took of me this morning shoveling our walk outside our house. 

Anyways, thank you so much for all you've done for me! I love you!! 


(This video makes me laugh out loud for several reasons: First, that shovel is pathetic and clearly not up to the job. Second, he's not going to last an hour in those shoes; vans were not made for snow. And third, I love how when he finally gets a big scoop of snow, he throws it onto the neighbor's walkway without even realizing it! Hahaha!!!) 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Email from President Johnson

I got an early Christmas present today! We received this email from President and Sister Johnson of the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh mission:

Dear Brother and Sister Nelson - 

We had the opportunity this week to attend your missionary's District Meeting. Elder Nelson prepared an outstanding District Meeting! He did a wonderful job of conducting a discussion on helping people make and keep commitments and learn the promised blessings that come with those commitments. He is leading his district in a wonderful way. He is an outstanding missionary. 

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

President and Sister Johnson 

Week 18 - Elder Angulo joins the ranks

Hey guys! Okay here's my week🙆 nothing crazy, just some cool stuff!! 

Monday- Okay so on Sunday night we took the Sister's car because Elder Ibarra needed to pack his stuff in it so we had the car. Then on Monday we woke up and packed up the car and drove to crossfit💪 at Sister Boyds and got shredded out of our minds. Then we studied while the sisters made us breakfast again(gosh I love that) then we had to do some shopping and then we drove to Harrisburg. In Harrisburg we did the usual (basketball, food, email etc.) Then we all went out to eat one last time before everybody left. After that we got in the car and headed out to Pittsburgh. While we were on our way I looked at the phone which had been in my bag all day and it said 3 missed calls from President so we were freaking out because that's never something you want to see. But it turns out it was for Elder Ibarra and President said that he was actually being transferred to Pittsburgh instead of Erie so Elder Ibarra was pretty pumped about that. So it was actually a good thing💁 Well the drive to Pittsburgh was actually super fun. It was me and Elder Ibarra and two sisters who were going home. Elder Ibarra has less than 3 months left and the other 2 sisters had just finished and were heading to Pittsburgh to catch the plane home the next day so they had all kicked the can at that point😂 We call it being "trunky" but they were all super funny and kept talking about how they couldn't wait to date again and watch movies and then I'm over here like "shut up guys I still have a while to go" 😂😂 but they said that the year between month 5 to month 17 goes insanely fast so that made me feel good. The rest of the time was spent jamming to Christmas music and playing "I'm thinking of an Animal" Anyways, then we got to Pittsburgh that night and stayed in the AP's apartment so that was fun to hang out with them. 

Serving by Hershey certainly has it's perks!
Carter says several men who work there frequently give them
chocolates to "sample" before they are officially sold in stores.
He loves to share his opinion on which chocolates are the best! 
Tuesday- Okay sooo Tuesday morning we woke up and drove to the green tree chapel(just outside of Downtown). And I had to drive and it was terrible. Pittsburgh roads are the worst thing ever. The turning lanes are all jacked up and there's a million hills and it's awful. But we got there safely, well kinda. Then we had a meeting with President about being a trainer and how to help the trainees and whatnot. Then we had lunch and met all the trainees and introduced ourselves and then we found out who our new companions were gonna be! Okay so back story, the night before, I was talking to the APs who had already met all the trainees and they were telling me how one of the ones that's supposed to go to Portugal doesn't really speak English and part of me wanted him so that I would have no choice but to become fluent and the other part of me didn't want that at all. Well guess what, my new companion is that missionary! His name is Elder Angulo and he barely speaks any English!!!😂😂 Its actually awesome, my ability to speak Spanish has probably doubled in the last 5 days. We don't speak any English to each other. He understands a lot of English but he can't really speak it. When he does, his accent is so thick that you can barely understand what he's saying hahahaha but it sounds cool. So yeah! Anyways, after we got our new companions, we said goodbye to everybody and then headed back to Lebanon. I got to know Elder Angulo pretty well just on the long car ride home. He's originally from Mexico in the Baja California area but he moved to MexiCali ,which is legit on the boreder, right before he left. He got called to the Portugal mission but he hasn't gotten his visa so he's here! Anyways we eventually got home that night and he unpacked and we went straight to bed. 

Wednesday- Wednesday was my first District Meeting! It went good! Planning a 60-90 minute lesson is hard but everyone participated and contributed and it went really well. After that we did some grocery shopping for the new missionaries and then we got back to work. We did some finding and taught a less active lesson and then we went to Bishops house for dinner and he got to meet Elder Angulo and the new Sister. It helps that Bishop speaks Spanish hahaha😂😂 

Elder Nelson and Elder Angulo -- this is the best picture they could send me...? 
Thursday- On Thursday we woke up and went by to see Carlos and Marina. Marina has been having some health issues so we gave her a blessing and then we took their dog for a walk. After that we went and taught Modesto and then we did some puzzles as always and then we went and visited//taught Sister Bord, who obviously loved our visit. Then that night for dinner we went to the Fishers house😋 and they gave us a wonderful meal. 

Friday- On Friday we helped Brother Alva pretty much all day! But then guess what... for the first time in 8 years, he came to the church! I asked him if we could have a ride to the church for the ward Christmas party when we were done at his house and he said yes. Then when we got to the church I was like "Just come on in with us" and he said "uhhh alright I guess, I don't see my ex-wife's car"😂 so he came! He stepped foot inside the church for the first time in forever. Then some of the older members of the ward greeted him and talked to him and stuff so it was good! 

Both Elders at the Hershey factory. I don't know what day this was.
Saturday- Saturday we spent most of the day teaching less actives and then that evening we had Dinner with the Hollands. FYI...All the time I'm not accounting for was spent doing studies, planning and other training stuff. So every single one of the English lessons that we taught, were only taught by me. My companion didn't say one thing!! 😅 Every once in awhile, I'll have him read a scripture or something so he will open his mouth. I can understand that it's hard though because he gets really embarrassed when he has to speak English. Just because his accent is so dang thick and he doesn't know all the right words and stuff. He has said a couple things in English just to introduce himself and stuff and a few of the people we were with couldn't even understand what he said. So yeah I just don't ever stop talking during the lessons, it's hard. Even in one of the Spanish lessons he wasn't saying anything and the lady we were teaching asked if he spoke Spanish and I was yes he does and if he doesn't say something soon then I'm gonna smack him😂 like cmon man this is your native language. 

Sunday- Sunday was good, we just had our meetings and then church and then afterwards we decided to text this guy who doesn't go to church and who I've never even met and we asked him if we could come by and share a spiritual thought later that evening. He immediately called us back and said that he would love that and then just invited us over for dinner! So we went there for dinner and got to meet him and his wife. They are both members and both served missions too! He is from Bulgaria and has the coolest accent ever and she served her mission in Bulgaria hahaha anyways I guess they were super close with the missionaries in the past and they would feed them all the time and stuff but then the missionaries stopped calling them so they thought they did something wrong. So now they really like me because I broke the ice and decided to text them. 😂 We are actually going over to their house for Christmas and they are gonna make us a Bulgaraian meal and play games and stuff and they said that we could FaceTime our families at their house if we wanted🙆 so yeah that was Sunday! Later that night I made Elder Angulo practice giving me the lessons in Portuguese because he doesn't have any opportunities to speak it around here. It's pretty cool, it's so close to Spanish that I understood pretty much everything he said. So maybe I will become TriLingual and speak Spanish and Portuguese hahaha but my Spanish really has improved a ton this last week just because I'm forced to speak it and when I don't know a word, I have to look it up right then and there. Having an iPad helps 😂 

As far as training goes, it's not too bad. It's kinda hard to describe things in Spanish sometimes but we are figuring it out. It pretty much just comes down to setting an example. District Leader isn't too bad either, planning lessons and trainings every week is going to get tiresome but it's good. I have to plan a lesson for Wednesday and the Mission President and his wife are gonna be there😅😬 so pray for me. The district actually did really well this week as far as numbers go. I thought it would be slow because it was a transfer week but we did great! 

I extended an invitation during District Meeting to incorporate how to use the #LightTheWorld Christmas Initiative each day into everyone's Daily Planning session. Then last night during call-ins I followed up to see if they did it and they all did and they said it made a big difference! So that was sick😋  well that's the week! I hope I answered all your questions. Write me if you have any questions🙆. I will respond to your personal emails! I love and miss you guys tons❤️❤️

-Elder Nelson


This is the church's #Light the World initiative this year. It's fantastic! 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 17 - Carter is made a Trainer and District Leader!

Heyyyy guys!!❤️ This week has been crazy and not crazy at the same time😂 I'll explain... 

Monday- Monday was good! We woke up and went to crossfit as usual then the sisters made us breakfast while we studied(this is really a great system). Then we went to the Hershey Outlets and everything was on sale! So I got some new slacks and some under armor tights for really cheap. We were in the Disney store there and the Rogue One trailer came on the big TV in the store and we all just paused in our tracks for a few minutes and watched it because we are sinners hahaha jk but the trailer looks really cool so I hope the movie is good! After shopping we went to Harrisburg to hang out at the stake center and we played basketball and emailed and stuff. Then we went to dinner at a new converts house with the sister and it was really fun. The ladies husband wasn't a member but we played pool with him and I beat him😎 I was getting super lucky though cause he was really good. But that's it for Monday. 

Hanging Christmas lights at the Boyd's home
Tuesday- Tuesday was really slow. It was raining all day so we had to walk everywhere and when you're walking while holding an umbrella it's hard to talk. So the whole day was pretty much spent walking in silence but we taught 5 lessons that day💁 We taught Lloyd the less active in the morning who actually just got a calling because he has been coming to church enough! So he is excited about his new calling. Then we taught Modesto, our investigator. The only lessons we hadn't taught him yet were about Tithing and the Law of Chastity, neither of which really apply to him as an essentially immobile 65 year old un-baptized man. 😂😂 so the lesson was kind of pointless and he was familiar with those commandments anyways but at least we can check them off the list. Then we taught Sister Bord and Robert(the nursing home crew). Only this time it was a little bit different. Usually we have a good conversation with Robert and we read some scriptures and whatever but this time we sat down and started talking to them and this is what he says..."So the lady across the hall, well uhh, she's got the hots for me" and at first I thought he was joking but then he started to describe what sounded like a nursing home affair and I was like ROBERT😂😂 I was trying so hard not to just start dying of laughter but we just kinda said "okayyyy so uh yeah Nephi was a great leader" trying to change the subject but that whole visit was a mess haha the guy is just getting old. I'm not sure if he's gonna be able to make it out to church again. However, we were able to teach our lesson even though it was relatively short. After that we taught Sister Bord and showed her the light the world video which she loved. Then we went to dinner and then we taught EJ our other less active. EJ knows so much about the Book of Mormon, the dang lady just won't come to church so we are really working with her. 

At Zone Conference
Wednesday- Wednesday was soooo long. We had Zone Conference in State College and it was the longest Zone conference that Elder Ibarra said he's ever been too. We woke up at 6 and got to the chapel in State College a little after 8 and we didn't leave the chapel until 5:30 that evening. It was way too long. There were some good trainings and stuff but it was really drawn out. However, we got our #LightTheWorld pass along cards there and those have already made such a big difference in street contacting. I love the pass along cards, they are pretty effective anywhere but Utah hahaha. Anyways, after Zone conference we went to Texas Roadhouse with a bunch of missionaries which was pretty fun and then we drove home. 

Still at Zone Conference...
Thursday- December 1st!! This was the first day of the Christmas challenge so we were encouraged to do service all day. We woke up early and went to crossfit again because we were gonna be in Palmyra the rest of the day anyways! So we worked out and then made pancakes with the Boyd's and then we studied and then we went to Brother Alva's again😂 but it was good! We started by helping him clean up all of his leaves again and then once we were done with his we started doing his neighbors leaves and then we started doing his other neighbors leaves and then one of the neighbors joined us in helping! 🍃🍃🍂🍂It was cool to see these other people being willing to help their neighbors and friends. It has been especially cool to see as we serve Brother Alva you can see his whole attitude towards everything change just since I've been here. He seems to always be in a better mood and he's always willing to help those around him even though he has this rough disease. He still has the mouth of a sailor but at least he's happy when he swears😂 

Still at Zone Conference...!!
Once we were done, we barbecued some chicken with Brother Alva and he's surprisingly a good cook. He likes to cook for us so it's pretty much service💁 After that, we went to Fishers for dinner and more service. We helped the Fishers move Furniture all over their house and then we had dinner with them. They bought a bunch of different wings from a local restaurant because they knew that we liked them so we had a good meal😍 They got a flavor called the Flamethrower and you have to sign a waiver to get it because it's so hot. I dipped my finger in the sauce and tried it and it was pretty dang hot but Elder Ibarra and actually tried one and he ate the whole wing and he was like "it's not even that bad" then it actually hit him and he had to drink a half gallon of milk just to cool his mouth down😂😂 then he felt sick the rest of the night so I'm glad I didn't eat one ha. 

Friday- On Friday we woke up and went and translated for the marriage counselor again but this time the session was good haha the couple is happy and doing better. After that we taught a couple less active lessons neither of which were overly significant. Then we went and helped the blind lady in our ward move a freezer down her stairs and that was heavy😅 and then we did Puzzles with the puzzle ladies and helped them decorate their lobby with Christmas decorations🎄 After that we went to dinner with a member of the ward at a Mexican Restaurant and the member invited Brother Alva too! It was fun to go out with them and the food was really good😍 

Saturday- So we woke up and started studying and then transfer calls came in... So I picked up the phone and President said "Elder Nelson, how are you doing? Do you have a second?" And I was like crapp what's about to happen and then he told me that I'm going to train someone!!! I was like what? I just barely got trained, in fact, I'm technically not even done being trained. But he said yeah you're going to be a trainer and then he was like AND you're going to be district leader😅  he said "Yeah there's very few missionaries who go straight from being trained to training someone and there's even fewer who go from being trained straight to a district leader position, and I'm asking you to do both! but really it's an assignment from the lord." So yeah! I'm staying in Lebanon but now I'm training someone new and I'm the District Leader. Elder Ibarra is getting transferred to Erie which is going to be freezing😂❄️🌨 So I'm a District Trainer now which is a mix of the 2 assignments. Anyways, I'm nervous and excited but I'm not entirely sure what to think. Tonight I have to drive to Pittsburgh and tomorrow I pick up my new trainee. The Elders coming in are actually missionaries who were assigned to different missions but they didn't get their Visas in time so now they got reassigned to the Pittsburgh mission🙆 so that's what I'm going to be doing for the next 3 months! I'm going to be in Lebanon for awhile but it's okay because this is a good place and the ward is awesome. 

ANYWAYS, on Saturday we had Brother Boyd come out with us and we taught Modesto and it worked out perfectly because Brother Boyd speaks Spanish because he served his mission in Spain. So that was a good lesson! Then after that we did "service" for the Boyds😂😂 we spent several hours making Tamales with them. It was Elder Ibarra's last hoo-raw with them so we made his moms famous tamales. Anyone who knows anything about tamales, knows that they are pretty hard to make. We had 5 people and it still took us almost 3 hours. We made about 80 tamales and we took them to some non members in the neighborhood along with #LightTheWorld pass along cards. Then we got to eat our own batch of them and they were delicious 😍😍 I probably ate like 7 or 8 of them so now I'm fat Jk I actually lost like 5 lbs this last week and idk how or why. After the Boyd's I planned out the next week while Elder Ibarra started to pack. 

A new member gave them "wide" ties.
So they wore them to church!
Sunday- Sunday was fast Sunday and I had plenty of things to fast for. And for the first time in my life I fasted without even chewing a piece of gum! Can you believe it? Cause it was awful😂 but I did it! Anyways, we had our normal meetings and then we had church and we taught Deacon's quorum. After church, we had a meeting with Bishop about everybody that we've come in contact with and at this point we have tried everybody in the Area Book. So I pretty much get to start fresh and not have to worry about anybody from the previous which is kinda nice🙆  After our meeting with Bishop, we came back to the apartment and Elder Ibarra continued to pack while I straightened up the apartment and studied more for next week. Then we went to dinner at the Ghering's and they made the cafe rio pork again! A good way to end our fast😋 and then we came back and he finished packing while I watched the Christmas devotional and wrote draft emails💁 So that's my week! Tonight I drive to Pittsburgh and stay in the AP's apartment. Then tomorrow morning I have a meeting with president where he teaches me and whoever else is there how to train and then I meet my trainee and then we drive back to Lebanon. So I will be in Lebanon for Christmas, New Years and my Birthday and I will most likely be here until the beginning of March. So that's what's going on. Feel free to send anything now because I'm here to stay😋 I will respond to all of your other emails today when I get a chance. I love and miss you all so much!!💙

-Elder Nelson
Enjoying his last P-Day basketball with Elder Ibarra


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Week 16 - Thanksgiving

Hey guys!! Here is my week, nothing too exciting but I'll share anyways🙆 

Monday- Monday was pretty good, we woke up early again and did Crossfit with Momma Boyd then we did studies and helped the sisters fix up their car. It got pretty cold here this last week so everybody's tires needed to be filled up with air. The sisters didn't know how to do it and my companion thought it was too cold so I had to do all of that and check their oil and stuff. After that we went to a couple outlets in Hershey because they were having early sales and then we went to the Harrisburg stake center to play basketball again. After cross fit and 3 hours of basketball, my body was dead and I paid the price the rest of the week😂 Then that night we went to dinner with the members that buy us wings every week!😋 so that's always good and then we went to teach a less active and we took the members with us so that was good💁 so yeah! 

Tuesday- Tuesday wasn't the best haha I WAS SO SORE!! We walked all over the place and my legs were dead and we had to try people all over town and it was too cold to bike. We taught 3 or 4 less active lessons so that was good but it was miserable for my body. That night we didn't have a meal so we went to this little coffee house cafe next to this old fashioned style movie theatre and it was fun! We got milkshakes too even though it was freezing outside but they were good😍 

Wednesday- Wednesday was even worse for my body! My legs felt terrible haha and we had to walk all over again😅 and we didn't have much luck walking that day but we handed out a couple Book of Mormons out💁 After that a member came out with us and we taught Modesto and Anil! Lessons always go better when there is a member present. After that we walked to another less actives house and invited her to church and she came!! Then we went to dinner at the Nelson's house for dinner and they had a ton of people over so it was a lot of fun. It was like Thanksgiving Eve. They had a lot of non member friends over so we were able to show them the Light the World video as a spiritual thought thing and it went really well🎄 I got packages from Mom and Kam today so that improved my day❤️❤️ 

Thursday- Thanksgiving!! We woke up and I stretched as best as I could despite how sore I was and then we jogged over to the Turkey Bowl. It was fun but nothing great, we had a really good turn out but I didn't have cleats and I was sore so I couldn't do much. BUT I broke Bishop's finger!!😂😂 I didn't even know it! Bishop and I were passing the ball before the game(I can throw a football pretty well and I was giving him some zippy passes) and I guess one of the passes hit his finger wrong and broke it! He didn't say anything about during the game or anything but the next day he had a splint on it and told us that it was broken. We asked him what happened and he started laughing and was like you!! And pointed to me and told me what happened😂😂 it was funny, he was a super good sport about it but I still felt bad. After the Turkey Bowl we went and visited Robert and Sister Bord. They were very appreciative of our visit on Thanksgiving. After that we went to our Thanksgiving meal at the Lessings house! They have all older kids and they were all in town so it was fun to have a big group there. Their food was really good as well😍😍 so it was a good meal. After that everybody was out Black Friday Shopping so no one wanted us over😅 not to mention that it was still Thanksgiving. So we went to the church and played games to finish our holiday because no one wants us hahaha Honestly I was kinda homesick on Thanksgiving. It was just gloomy here and the city was empty and it just wasn't alive and fun. Election Day here was more of a party. 

Friday- Friday wasn't too bad, we had District Meeting and it was our last one with this district because transfers are next week! It's already been a transfer again. Anyways, after that we taught Carlos and then we had to track down some less actives for Bishop and then we had to find a referral that our mission president gave us. The referral was a man who's been in prison for several years and he started reading the Ensigns in prison and now he's interested so we went to his house and set up an appointment for this week with him! Our Mission President said "yeah he has been in prison for white collar crime" and I was like "oooo my favorite kind" 😂😂 so yeah we got in contact with him within 24 hours of getting the referral so our mission president thanked us for acting on it quickly. 

While we were walking around all day we started taking a bunch of pictures because it was a boring walk so I have a bunch that look like someone's Senior Pictures haha it's pretty funny. My companion would just say stuff like go sit on that bench over there and I'll take a pic lol. On Friday night we got invited to a private baptism. The kid getting baptized was really shy so he didn't want anybody there but his mom invited us so we went. But when we showed up and he saw us, he got stage fright and refused to get baptized. Cause that's our job, to prevent people from getting baptized😅😂😂 we are the worst haha we were all kinda bummed so we went and got dinner at Dominos to lighten our moods. 

Saturday- Saturday was service🍃 we went to Brother Alva's house and cleaned up all of his leaves and made a huge pile. I've never seen so many leaves in one spot, they almost filled up half of the street! His yard/house catches all the leaves from the neighborhood because of the way the wind blows so it was quite the pile up. After that we taught Modesto again and then we went to dinner at a Members house. Nothing significant really... 

Sunday- Sunday was pretty good. We woke up and had meetings and then we had 2 investigators and 4 less actives at church!! So that was awesome💁 One of the less actives called us during Ward council and I went out and took the call and it was a Spanish lady and I was able to have a conversation with her over the phone without even thinking about it! It's hard to talk in Spanish and comprehend what people are saying over a crappy phone so I was pretty proud of myself. After church we went to the Boyd's house and had lunch with them and one of the less actives and then we helped them put up their Christmas lights🎄 the lights look terrible😂😂 we were all laughing about it but it was still a good time. Last night we had a lesson with Skylar and her mom! It went really well. They are receptive and interested! We taught about the Restoration and Brother Boyd came with us as well and you could feel the spirit so it was great! They come in with questions and want to try going to church and everything! They live in a nice neighborhood and seem to have plenty of money so it's weird that they are listening to us hahaha usually it's only the poor people that do. 

But I'm excited to them again and we hope they continue to progress. ---I apologize that my letter is pretty lame this week. There just wasn't much that happened. Hopefully I have a better one next week🙆 Everybody should go watch the Light the World video on YouTube or !! We have been showing it to everyone. Thank you all for your emails and updates as always❤️ they make my week better. I will go respond to your individual letters!!

-Elder Nelson
They went to visit this old fashioned movie theater.
Didn't see the movie! Just visited :)

He thought the inside lighting was cool

A picture with silent film stars