Monday, July 10, 2017

July 10, 2017 - Fireworks in Pittsburgh

This week went so dang fast... Okay here's my week!

Monday- Monday was pretty good, we took some other Elders to the waterfront shopping center during the day because one of them needed clothes or shoes or something and he said he would buy me Chik-Fil-A if we took them so we did and it was fun and I got my Chik-Fil-A after that we went back to the church and just messed around outside for awhile because it was super nice and sunny. Then we got some things ready for the 4th of July the next day and then we headed to dinner at the Seppi's house and that was good. After dinner, we went to try some people and invite them to our party the next day and then we went to ESL class and then we headed home.

Tuesday- 4th of July!! 🇺🇸 we started the day with a nice run in the morning and then we had our studies and went and saw Dorothy in the afternoon and had a good visit with her. It was a super warm clear day all day long so that was nice ️ We weren't sure how to best spend our time in the mid afternoon because almost everyone was BBQing, swimming or with family and friends somewhere else. If we had gone tracting we would have just been asking to get cussed out haha cause we get cussed out even when it's not the 4th of July🤷‍♀️ We decided to make cookies and take them to less-actives in the area and a couple of our neighbors. I actually made cereal candy and took that to some people as well because Dad gave me the recipe. We only had Honey Chex in the apartment but it still tasted good After taking goodies to people, we went to the church to get ready for the Spanish party! The party was a ton of fun!! We had Chilean hot dogs and carne asada tacos and corn on the cob and salsa picante and s'mores etc. The food was super random because that what happens when you mix Hispanics with an American holiday but it was a really good time. We also hit Piñatas and did some small fireworks. We had 5 investigators there too! After the Spanish party, we hurried over to the Dushku's for a little bit because they were having a party too so we said hi to them and tried some of their food and then headed back to our apartment. Little did we know(we should've) that Mt. Washington(where we live) would be absolutely slam packed for the firework show. The grocery stores next to our house were charging people $20 to park in their parking lots! It was insane. Our street was slammed but luckily we pulled up right as one guy was leaving our street because his kid was scared of the fireworks or something haha so we got a spot. They launch the fireworks off boats in the river right in front of the downtown area so the view is pretty impressive from our neighborhood. We could see most of the firework show from our porch so it all worked out, we weren't going to try and go up on Grandview where are all the people were at. Only downside to this night was that when we got home the power was out for our entire street the AC was off until like 3 AM so it was kinda hot that night but what can ya do.

Wednesday- Wednesday was actually a super good day! It was pretty much just Zone Conference. We had a normal morning but then we headed over to the chapel for our first actual "Meet & Greet" with President and Sister Bednar. It was so dang good. President Bednar is hilarious and he's a ridiculously powerful speaker. His sense of humor is the exact same as Michael Keaton from the movie Mr. Mom I kept laughing to myself because of how similar it was. Anyways, they gave a couple trainings and told us about themselves and we had a Q&A and it was all really good. I actually felt motivated leaving there. After the conference, we had to take some Elder's without cars to their appointments and apartments and by that time it was time for dinner. For dinner, we had a Gospel Principles class party at the Dushku's house. So the teachers and the students who attend, including Dorothy and other recent converts, were all there! It was a fun time!

Thursday- On Thursday we all got together and played basketball in the morning then we had District Meeting and it was alrighttt. That afternoon, everything fell through. It started pouring rain and our appointments didn't answer the door and our dinner canceled we were finally able to get in the house of a less active family that we hadn't met before and we shared a spiritual message with them. The dad wasn't a member and he started asking us some questions so I just gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to read it. After that we called another less active lady that we hadn't met before and she said it was raining too hard for us to come over(whatever that means) but she said we could come over for dinner next week so that was good. For dinner we decided to try this Wings place and we ordered it take out but it took forever to get our food. Had we just headed home to eat at that point, I would've felt like a pretty pathetic missionary taking so long for dinner so I felt like we should try and do a little more work before heading back. So we tried a few other less actives and they weren't home but we found ourselves on a small street near our house and we started knocking random doors and we kept saying "alright alright one more door." We were both starving and our wings were getting cold but we are diligent lol. So I ran across the street and knocked another door and a Mexican lady and her family opened the door!! We talked to her for like 20 min, she actually spoke really good English but she was relieved to see that we spoke Spanish haha we gave her a Book of Mormon and stuff and invited her to church and got her contact info so hopefully something comes from that! Then we finally went home and ate our wings and they were delicious.

Friday- On Friday we got a call from Dorothy saying that she was in the hospital. She had passed out on her porch the night before so they took her in. We went and visited her and she looked about as happy as can be, she's going to be fine. We talked with her for awhile and gave her a blessing. Then she handed me a fat wad of cash and said "here, can you please pay my tithing and fast offerings for me? I don't know if I'm going to make it on Sunday." I assured her that I would. She is so faithful haha. After that visit we got some lunch and then we headed over to Raymond's house. He is the recent convert in the Spanish group who's mom just recently moved her with him from Peru. We went with Brother Stoddard to teach him, we are helping him to prepare to receive the Melchizedek priesthood. His mom sat in during the lesson so we were able to teach her about the priesthood in the process. It was a really good lesson but it was kind of long because we were teaching 2 people pretty much. We haven't taught his Mom separately yet because she hasn't expressed a lot of desire to learn to more about the doctrines and things but she goes to church every week and comes to the parties and everything. After that lesson, we went to dinner at the Pinto-Martins house and that was a fun time they're a hilarious couple. We helped him with some service in his backyard right after dinner too Then we headed back over to our side of town and tried some people in the area and then just ended up knocking some doors but no one answered there was a gorgeous sunset that night though.

Saturday- On Saturday we went to a baptismal service early in the morning for the same Elders that we took to the waterfront on Monday. It was a little long but still good! Sometimes the 5-minute speakers on Baptism and the Holy Ghost get a little carried away and give a full sermon but hey🤷‍♀️ might as well. Haha after that we went back home and finished our studies and had lunch and then we went and saw a less active named Bill. This was the first time I had actually gotten the opportunity to sit down and talk to him and he was really cool. He joined the church in Los Angeles when he was 19 because he met the missionaries at the rec center playing basketball. Then he played basketball in college at Iowa University. And then one thing led to another and he ended up in Pittsburgh. He has a super strong testimony though, we just need to get him to church. After that we went to our friend Juans house whom we had met the week before while he was fixing his car. We set up an appointment with him for this coming week. Then we went to the house of one of the Nepalese families and we didn't have a plan going in there but I guess we just tried to follow the spirit haha. They let us in and we sat down in their living room and the whole family came in and sat down with us. I need to remind you guys that this particular family from Nepal are of the Hindu faith and don't believe in Jesus Christ but they invite us in anyways Well they had the TV on and they had YouTube pulled up so Elder Herzog grabbed the controller and searched Meet the Mormons because one of the featured Mormons is from Nepal. Luckily the full movie is on YouTube so we skipped to the part about the guy from Nepal and watched his whole section and the family loved it! In certain parts of the movie they would say stuff like "I've been there!" Or "I used to do that!" And the mom liked it too but she speaks 0 English so we had one of her daughters translate for us. The movie has some people speaking Nepalí in it though. Showing them that movie was 110% inspired haha hopefully it planted a seed for something in the future. After that visit, we went to McDonalds to get wifi so that we could download Meet the Mormons on our iPads for our future visits with the Nepalese people because it worked out so well. While at McDonald's, this one guy started a fight with the workers because they were taking too long to bring his food out. It was exciting to watch but honestly pretty piteous lol sometimes I'm embarrassed to be a human. I'm gonna miss the Pittsburgh hood one day though. After that we rushed over to the other family's house from Nepal that we had met but the parents weren't home. We set up a return appointment through their kids so hopefully it goes through haha. Then we headed over to dinner at the Cárdenas house. It was a delicious meal, sister Cardenas and another lady from the Spanish group were there and earlier that day, they had taken some adventure through all of Pittsburgh and they were so excited to tell us all about it haha. Halfway through dinner, sister Cardenas got a call from her husband and he had locked his keys in his car so we went and took him the spare key because Sister Cardenas doesn't drive but it was super funny because we weren't sure exactly where he was at until we saw a beat up car in the middle of a busy street with its hazardous on and a 60 year old Ecuadorian man standing next to it we were just like "yup that's our guy" he locked his keys in his car while trying to run a letter up to the mailbox in traffic haha. Anyways, after that, we finished dinner and then tried a couple people in the area and invited them to church and then we headed home.

Sunday- Sunday was a beautiful day which kinda made me mad because it seems like every Sunday here the weather is perfect and those are the days that we sit inside all afternoon Church was pretty normal though, nothing special or crazy. The Spanish group is taking a trip to the Hill Cumorah Pageant and then camping overnight Palmyra and then seeing the sacred grove the next day and then driving back. Elder Herzog and I want to go sooo bad but I don't think there's any way in the world we could get permission to go. Jorge, our investigator, might even go too, and our Spanish group leader wants us to go lol. After church, we talked to the Stake President for like an hour, he just came and sat down next to us looking for someone to talk to. You can tell how tiring and strenuous his calling is, it was cool to talk to him. After that we went to a potluck dinner with a couple of the ward families. I just talked to this one guy named Brother Cardiff the entire time about my future and like options occupation wise and stuff. He's super intelligent and charismatic so he's fun to talk to. After the potluck, we went over to Jorge's house and had a lesson with him and it wasn't the most productive lesson but he had some good questions about the Fall and stuff. Then we headed home. Well that's my week! thanks for your emails, I will respond to them throughout the day. I love and miss you guys!!

-Elder Nelson

Monday, June 26, 2017

June 26 - Carter is elected Branch President (Hahaha...)

Monday- P-Dayyy, was kind of a bust. We didn't really do anything, we just went shopping then ended up playing some games with some other Elders at the church. Towards the end of the day, 2 other Elders and I went upstairs to play 21(basketball game) and it was the funniest thing of my life. You know when you're so tired that everything is hilarious? Cause we were all at that point and I swatted one of the kids super hard and we couldn't stop laughing after that we went to dinner at the Stevenson's house(son of the Apostle) and it was a lot of fun, they're pretty cool people. Then we went to ESL class and had a pretty good turn out. Then we went to go try a couple houses with Hispanics in the area and we knocked one door and they didn't answer but then as we were walking down the stairs, 2 Hispanic men were coming home from the work just walking down the street so we talked to them a little bit and got their contact information and stuff. Then when we got home that night, Elder Herzog and I found a chess set so we started playing chess so we are going to keep a tally of who wins haha but I won the first game

Tuesday- Tuesday was super nice ️ We had a service project planned for the morning but then the people canceled so we had like a 3 hour gap with nothing planned to do. It was mid day so everybody was going to be at work but it was nice out, so we decided to go knock some doors we didn't have a ton of success but we found a couple people later in the day that we are going to go back and see later in the week. Then we had a lesson with Dorothy and she was doing super good! She told us about her temple trip and we read some scriptures with her and it went really well. After that we went and saw Pete, he just got surgery but he was in super high spirits regardless. We read some scriptures with him as well. Then we went to Jorge's house for our lesson with him as well. Jorge is so close to being baptized, he just needs to make the decision to do it. He talks like he's already part of the group and he invites other people to church and he reads the Book of Mormon. So we are praying for him, but we had a good lesson! After that, we had a super late dinner at the Cárdenas house and they made us some wonderful food Then we tried contacting a couple people in the area but it turns out they had moved🤷‍♀️ So Elder Herzog has been saying that we needed to get Orange Dream shakes from Arby's for like 2 weeks now but I kept putting it off but we had been working for 8 hours straight from Lunch at noon to dinner at 8 so after trying those people, I caved and said we could go There was an Arby's on the way home so it worked out. The shakes are super good actually I would recommend them, they're super cheap too. Then we came home and played chess again and I won the second game as well haha.

Wednesday- On Wednesday, we had a lesson with Kayla in the morning and it went good! She has understood the things that we've taught her really well. We just need her to come to church. After that lesson we went and stopped by another few potential investigator's houses but we didn't really have lessons with them, we just said we would come back another time. After that, we went over to Days for Girls and sharpened our sewing skills. I'm becoming a specialist! I can do all but one of the rotations in the room with the sewing machine After that, we were driving to dinner and we got rear-ended! Nothing happened to the car and we were both fine but we got the information from the guy who hit us so we'll see if the bumper falls off in the next few days or something lol. After that incident, we went to dinner at a member from the Spanish group's house named Iris. She's kind of crazy and a terrible rambler but she made us some dang good food and we had a good visit with her! After dinner we went to try some people on the other side of town. We set up a few return appointments with some Hispanics and talked to some people on the street.

Thursday- Thursday morning we played basketball then we came home and got ready real quick and then we went over to the breakfast they have at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church! District Meeting was later that day so that's why we could go. It was fun though, the people there love when we show up haha because they are all old and lonely. So we had some good breakfast with them and then we went over to District Meeting and that was good. Then we came home and had some quick studies and then we went out and found a few new less actives and met some new people that could end up being investigators. By then it was time for dinner so we headed over to the Seppi's house and had dinner with them. Then we went to one of our lessons with that new Hispanic house that we found last week. We ended up just talking to one guy but we talked to him for like an hour and taught him the Restoration. He works here in the U.S. 10 months out of the year but he has a wife and son back home in Mexico. He was a cool guy, I'm excited to go back. After that we went over to our lesson at Sergio's house and taught him and his family a little bit of the Plan of Salvation! It was good, then as we were leaving his house, there was another Hispanic lady on the street and we started talking to her and got a return appointment with her for next Monday✔️

Friday- On Friday we went to see some people in the morning but most of them weren't home. As a missionary, I've come to hate the hours of the day between 12-4 because they are incredibly unproductive no one is home except the retirees and they don't want to talk to you at all. We will be walking down the street and there will be an old person sitting on their porch and they will just yell out "not interested" Half the time we aren't even going to their house anyways, we might just be walking to our car but they make sure that we know that they are not interested haha I just respond saying "That's okay we weren't coming to talk to you anyways, stay lonely!" just kidding we don't say that. After that we headed to lunch. So Raymond, one of our more recent converts, just had his mom move in with him from Peru and she has been attending church and we have taught her the Restoration and stuff. Well it was her birthday so Raymond invited us to go to lunch with them! It was late in the day and we already had a dinner scheduled but he sincerely insisted that we come. Well guess where we went?? Another Chinese Buffet because Hispanics love Chinese buffets!! This was actually the best one I've been too so far though. It was really fun, it was us, Raymond and his mom, and then several other members from the Spanish group. Raymond's mom is already part of the Spanish group, she absolutely loves The Relief Society so she's pretty much Mormon. We just need to baptize her! After lunch we did weekly planning, we had dinner in like 3 hours and we were super full so after every step of weekly planning we did 20 Push Ups haha. So after weekly planning we headed to dinner with Dorothy! She took us out to a really cool Mongolian Grill. They give you a bowl and then you fill it up with raw meet and vegetables and noodles and pretty much whatever you want, then you take it to the chefs and they cook it for you It was delicious but I could barely eat any of it because I was so dang full. Dorothy didn't care though, she was just so happy to be at a restaurant with us haha and it was fun! But yeah I ended up taking most of my food home After that, we went to go try a couple people in the area. We talked to some of the neighbors of people we were trying to see but no one was home on a Friday night I felt like a terrible missionary on Friday because of how much time we spent eating but it's not like there was anything we could do about it. We got invited to an investigator's birthday party on a day when it was pouring rain at 3:00 PM in afternoon so no one was going to be outside or talk to us anyways. Then we got taken to dinner by a recent convert who has been saving money just so that she could take us out to a nice restaurant. How would you say no to either one of those? but you're not supposed to spend that much time eating during the day as a missionary either so it's one of those things where you are set up for failure haha.

Saturday- Transfer Saturday! We played basketball in the morning for the last time all together with this group Then we went over to missionary coordination meeting at the Dushku's house and had a good meeting with them. They're so cool, so guess what, Sister Dushku and Brother Dushku both have Master's degrees from really good universities so they both have pretty good jobs right now for mid 20 year olds. But Sister Dushku got an invitation to interview for a managing position for Apple this last week! So they are flying her out to Cupertino in California to Apple headquarters to interview! It would be a super good job so I hope she gets it. Anyways, after that meeting we went to help Nicky, a less active, move. It was just us and 2 of her uncles so we ended up doing quite a bit but it was a nice day so I didn't mind ️ Then we headed over to a baptism at the church! It was for a girl in the young single adult ward and she's way cool. She actually came to Dorothy's Baptism last month so it was cool to see her have the same experience. Did you know that 80% of investigators who attend a baptismal service, eventually get baptized themselves? after that baptism we went to our appointment with Belle, another less active. It was a pretty funny lesson haha we were talking about the Word of Wisdom and she thought that part of the Word of Wisdom was that we can't eat fried foods lol. So every time she eats fried food, she said she felt bad we were dying haha so we cleared that one up luckily. We were outside and at the end of the lesson, her boyfriend and his friend were chillin on the of other side of the yard and we invited them to come say a prayer with us and they actually did ha it was pretty sweet. We all held hands in a circle, it was Elder Herzog and I and then 2 African American 25 year olds and then Belle who's like half white and half African American. It must've been quite the sight. After that we went to go see some other people and we had a couple brief visits and found out about some more people who had moved. Since I've been here, I've created a list of people who have moved in our area and there are 27 people (and counting) we are finally almost done with the list though. Then it was pretty late so we went to go eat dinner. We went to this place called Szechuan Express and I got the Pad Thai noodles and they were delicious we just took our food back to the church and waited for transfer boards to come out with some of the other Elders. Andddd.... I'm staying here!! I'll be here for at least another transfer and probably 2 transfers because this is Elder Herzog's last transfer before he goes home ️ so I'm going to Kill him(missionary term) I'm excited to continue serving here in Pittsburgh though!

Sunday- Sunday was good! We had 2 investigators at church too. I love Gospel Principles and Priesthood in the Spanish Branch hahaha in Gospel Principles the subject was supposed to be about Fasting and we were doing super good at first but then it turned into a discussion about our 4th of July party with the Spanish group. Then one of our investigators(70 year old lady from Peru) was confused and said (in Spanish) "so you guys fast on your Independence Day?" I was like yeah we need to get back on subject lol then during Priesthood, our group leader(brother Lewis) taught and it was just a discussion on how we are going to become a branch haha. He was teaching about Branch presidents and stuff and all the callings that would need to be filled. Then Oscar(Spanish member) asked who the president would be and Raymond and Brother Reyes started saying "NelSUN for presidente de la rama!" so I guess I'm going to be the branch President here in the next little bit because he church is a democracy After church we had another linger longer within the Spanish group because all these people do is eat and party but I'm certainly not complaining. Then we helped accompany Raymond for a quick home teaching appointment and then we went to our dinner at the Hamiltons they have a family friend back home in Utah and he got called to the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission Spanish speaking and he gets here on August 16th! So he could be my next companion maybe ha who knows. After dinner we went and knocked a few doors in the area looking for some people and then we went over to the house of that Nepalese family again and they let us right in. We tried to teach them about the Book of Mormon and we downloaded it for them on their phones but the church hasn't even published a paper copy in Nepalese yet. They are super interested about us though and they started asking us questions about Adam and Eve and stuff haha. Then we said a prayer with them Nepalese style and it was super cool. And that was it for the night. Well that's my week!! So no I did not get transferred! I will be here for at least the next 7 weeks. This transfer is longer than most because of the new President and stuff coming in and this last transfer was only 5 weeks. So I will be here in Pittsburgh at least until mid August and most likely even longer than that because Elder Herzog goes home in August and I will have to continue leading out the area even after he leaves. Write me when you guys can! I love and miss you all

-Elder Nelson

Monday, June 19, 2017

June 19 - Father's Day

Hey guys! Here's my week!   
Monday- It was a pretty good P-Day! It was super hot though, like 90 with humidity. We took some pictures in the morning then went to the Dry Cleaners and the grocery store. Then Elder Herzog wanted to get his haircut at a legit barbershop  so we went to the highest rated one in Southside. We sat there forevvver even though there was only one guy in front of him. They are perfectionists though so they take a long time. After that we went to chipotle for lunch and then to the church to play basketball and hang out with some people. The Assistants and 2 other Elders came to our church to play us because they wanted "new competition" and we beat them 3 games in a row  hahaha it was fun to play with them though. After that we went to this store called "Daily Bread." The rappers that have come out of Pittsburgh have ties to it so they wear their stuff in their music videos and at concerts. It was a cool little shop and it wasn't too expensive. Next door was this Supreme store and they are known for being expensive because they are designer. Well they teamed up with North Face and made the coolest overnight//backpack that I've ever seen but it was $300   it was so sick though. After that we headed to dinner with this family named the Taylor's and they are super cool. The mom and her sister group up surfing and they were both there so I talked to them like the entire time. The mom's sister was actually a lot like Chelsea and probably only like a year older than her, I should've taken a picture with her. After dinner, we went and got a Birthday present for one of the Reyes daughters and took it to them. They had a big party at their house and they invited us but it was the same time as our dinner so we stopped by late and their old boss was there and he started asking us questions about our religion and things and we ended up having a little lesson with him. It was a perfect evening though because the sun had just set and we were sitting on this little Hispanic porch near downtown Pittsburgh and then guess what, I saw a firefly!!! We were talking to this guy about Jesus and then I was just like "¡Mira!" and I ran over to it. It was so dang cool, it was pretty big too. The Reyes were laughing at me but it was sick because I had never seen one before  I guess they're all over Mexico though haha. Anyways, we ended up getting that guys contact information! And then we went home. 
A pic from inside our apartment. We study with Bro. Curry in the evenings.
Elder Herzog outside our apartment
The local paper. I love Pittsburgh news -- there's so much culture and stuff going on!
Cafe Rio Pork!! Best dinner ever
Tuesday- Tuesday was fine, it was super hot in the morning but cooled off later in the day. We taught Dorothy about temples because she is preparing to go do baptisms. We had the lesson in Brother Stoddard's home and he was able to help her set up a family history account and stuff. After our lesson we went and tried to see a few people but we got slammed in traffic. We were eventually able to talk to a couple people. We starting talking to this one girl in the street and we asked her about church and stuff and she was like "nah I'm good I watch TV church" bruhhhh that can't be a real thing. But people actually tune in every week to watch church on TV or on YouTube. I was dumbfounded. What's next? Like yeah I have cancer but I'm just gonna go to the TV doctor then I'm gonna get my haircut at the TV barber. We already have self driving cars here in Pittsburgh and I realized that we are slowly becoming those one people from the movie Wall-E that live in the big space ship   After a few frustrating visits, we got to our lesson at Jorge's house and that actually went really well. We taught him about Prophets and about Thomas S. Monson and showed him a video clip of the Prophet speaking. He is starting to develop a stronger testimony of the church, it will just take time. After that lesson we tried doing some Hispanic finding and so we followed our gut//spirit//the clues of hispanics and we ended up finding a Brazilian family haha they spoke Portuguese but they also spoke some English so it all worked out. They said they'd be interested in us stopping by another day though! After that, we went to dinner at Chik-Fil-A with a member named Jill and it was delicious   

Wednesday- On Wednesday we tracked down a million less actives and finally almost finished the list. We just work on less actives during the day because it's hard to actively find investigators and Hispanics between the hours of 12-5. But we actually found a lot of stuff out likes who's moved, who's not interested, who wants us to come back etc. We came to one apartment complex and it was one of those where you can't get passed the 2nd door without someone letting you in. Well we started pressing the intercom button and we didn't think it was working so then Elder Herzog pressed every single one of the buttons and the door unlocked  so we open it and go in and everybody from the first floor is out in the hallway saying stuff like "did you get a ring?" "Someone ring you?" "Yeah me too" I was trying so hard not to bust up laughing, we just quickly boarded the elevator before they could confront us. Then 2 people got off the elevator heading to the front to see who rang them hahaha but we got up to the less active member's apartment and she had just recently had a heart attack and was going to have to move soon and needed help so she was glad to see us! After that, Elder Herzog turned to me and said "after 22 months on your mission, you learn how to get into places like that" He's a wise man. After that we headed to Las Palmas and talked to a younger guy from Guatemala and gave him a Book of Mormon, I could actually see him calling us. Then we went to Days for Girls to do some service and I learned a new skill on the Sewing Machine   then we went to the Dushku's for dinner and brother Dushku made the best chicken wings I've ever had   they were so dang good. I love going over there. After that, we went to this street over on Southside that we knew had some new Hispanic families. We came to the doorstep of this first one and this middle aged Guatemalan man was sitting there with several beers and he tried talking to us but I couldn't make any sense out of the words he was saying in English or Spanish, he was so far gone. Then he started bawling and we couldn't really figure out why, then he told me to give him my book, which was a Book of Mormon so I did. He had to have been on some heavy drugs too or something, it was clear that something wasn't right because he actually looked like a fairly put together guy, it was sad to see. I didn't feel super safe so we left and went to a different house and this Hispanic lady answered and quickly grabbed her kid and told her to talk to us and the kid was like "sorry my mom doesn't speak English." So then I looked at the mom and said "Por eso hablamos español." She smiled and let us right in haha she actually has a nice house and like 3 kids. We shared a little bit about the Restoration and then asked if we could come back later in the week when it wasn't so late and she gladly agreed.   she seemed super cool though, I'm excited to go back! 
Thursday- On Thursday we went for a super nice run over sunrise and then we went to District Meeting. It was pretty good. Then afterwards we exchanged and it was my turn to go to Swissvale(a different part of Pittsburgh) and Elder Herzog led out the Southside area. Swissvale is a walk area so I was back walking and taking buses again haha. We started by heading over to an appointment with an investigator that we had in a members home and it went really well. The investigator was actually at Dorothy's Baptism and she is set to be baptized the first week of July. After that lesson, we went with a different member and saw a few less actives and helped him see his home teaching families. Then we went to dinner at the Ford's house and it was delicious, they are super good people they just have crazy kids   I had to do the spiritual thought and it's always a rough time getting the kids attention and keeping them focused but I feel like I did alright. After that lesson we took some buses over to a different neighborhood and tracted out some people there and then we started walking home. But then we got caught in the worst rain storm ever, I actually had my umbrella because I figured it might rain but this was nuts. We got absolutely soaked from head to toe. The Swissvale Elders live at the very top of this super steep long hill and it just destroyed us, we may as well have jumped in a pool  I was trying my best to stay positive but it was just all around bad lol. I was most bugged because I was wearing the pants I had just gotten back from the dry cleaning the day before  so they were looking all nice with a crease and stuff but by the end of the night they looked like soaking wet soccer sweats. The Elder I was with still has some greenie fire and he just kept saying stuff like "Man I love this, isn't this awesome?!" "As a kid I used to dream about days on the mission like this, this is so much fun." It sounds sarcastic but he was dead serious.  I was just like "shut up?" Hahaha... nah I didn't say that, maybe something more along the lines of "yeah man this is some excellent precipitation we are receiving." I mean props to the kid for being positive, but I didn't want to hear it in that moment. 
Friday- On Friday by some miracle my clothes dried so we took the bus over to the church and exchanged back. Then we had a lesson with Kayla, our investigator, and Brother Stoddard  came with us and it went good! She had some good questions about the priesthood and stuff, you can call that she has a real desire to learn. After that lesson, Brother Stoddard came with us over to Dorothy's house and we got her family history names all ready for when she goes to the temple to do Baptisms! After that lesson it started pouring rain and we had weekly planning to do but Elder Herzog was craving pizza so clearly we had to go buy some pizza before starting. So then we weekly planned and it took 10 years because we have been going through all these less actives that haven't been contacted by anybody in at least the last 3 years. We are fulfilling Moroni 6:4. We have found new investigators while doing it though so it's been good. After weekly planning, we tried a couple people but they weren't home and then we headed to dinner at the Salem Market middle eastern grill place because Brother Ramon Mendoza took us out again. I have like 3 homies that work at the Restaurant so I got a bunch of samples but then I just ordered the same Philly Cheesesteak that I always get because it's so dang good. This time I didn't leave my iPad on top of the car though  After dinner we went to ESL class and it was super fun! We started talking to Oscar again, one of the students, and he asked if we could come over and teach him this week! We have tried inviting him to learn more before but he just kind of brushed it off but he's been attending ESL class every week and now we say prayers and stuff at ESL and now he wants to learn! Then after the class, the Reyes were talking to us and they said that their boss(the one we talked to at their party on Monday) told them that he really liked what we said and that he'd like to learn more and have us over! She said she was impressed because he's a pretty firm guy but I guess he was softened by our answers. After ESL, we went to go try some Hispanic houses near the church. It was a beautiful evening and I saw some more fireflies. The sunset was like a cotton candy color and the weather was perfect. We knocked a couple doors and found some places to come back too. We talked to one lady from Vietnam but she spoke like 0 English so it was super funny, Asian people that AREN'T from China, Japan or Korea are super interesting and usually open to talk despite the fact that they don't know the language haha I love them. 
Saturday- On Saturday we played basketball then we went to our coordination meeting at Brother Dushku's house. We had a good meeting with him. Then we headed back home for lunch and studies. After that we went over to this one street to tract it out. The week before we were talking to this lady on the street and she wasn't really interested but we asked her for referrals or if she knew anyone that could use our message and she recommended the whole Street of Concordia  so we took that quite literally and knocked every door on the street. It was a really hot day but it was actually pretty fun though. We talked to a few people but no one was really interested until we came to a house full of Hispanics drinking. We started talking to them and they seemed to like us, after a while they invited us to come back next week and share a little bit more when they aren't drinking and that sounded good to us. Then we came to another house with another Nepalese family! We have found sooo many people from Nepal lately, it's insane. And one of the Nepalese guys we talked to invited us to go play soccer with them this next week  anyways, the mom of this family from Nepal let us right in her house even though she hardly spoke any English. She had 4 young daughters and they were all over us hahah asking who we were and stuff. And these girls, along with all the other Nepalese girls we had met under the age of 16, were absolutely beautiful. They all have huge dark brown eyes and wavy dark brown hair and olive skin. The daughters spoke some English so were able to communicate a little bit, we showed them a video of Jesus Christ and they liked it and we gave them some Jesus pass along cards as well. I wish I spoke their language so much, they seem like such humble people and they are Christian. The mom said we could come back and share more with them next Saturday so we are going to Study up on our Nepalese and see what materials we can get our hands on. After that, we went over to the Stoddard's for dinner and it was a wonderful meal because they are the most holy people ever. So I didn't know this, but Brother Stoddard(before he retired) was the Economic Events Planner for the city of Pittsburgh for 20 years during its rebuilding phase. Brother Stoddard rebuilt Pittsburgh of course he's humble about it, but he totally did. He even wrote a book called Transformation( by Evan Stoddard) so you guys should read it. It's probably pretty boring but still. After dinner, Brother Stoddard teamed up with us for an appointment we were supposed to have with the Hispanic family but they weren't home so we knocked another door with a hispanic family that we had known about and they answered and we set up a time to go back the next day! Then we went to a less actives house with him but the less active had moved and her daughter lived there with her family. The daughter answered the door and luckily Brother Stoddard knew the family of the mother really well so he was able to connect with this lady. She wasn't raised in the church though so she wasn't a member but she says that she wants to start learning! She says she's ready for a change and wants us to start coming over. She met with missionaries when she was really young but never joined, but her father was a member so she says that she says she knows it's something important cause she had a lot of respect for her father before he passed. So we are going to start teaching her starting next week! After that we tried a couple more people and found ANOTHER couple from Nepal and talked to them for a sec but then we headed home cause it was already late. In other news, Dorothy went with the Ward to the Temple in Washington D.C. on Saturday and did baptisms for the dead!! She took 4 family names that us and Brother Stoddard helped her find! She had a super good experience, I was so happy for her. 
Sunday- Father's Day!! Sunday was good! So we went to church and had our Sacrament. We were in the Spanish group but Dorothy shared her testimony and her temple experience during Sacrament Meeting in the English Ward. For third hour, there was confusion as to where everyone was supposed to go with it being Father's Day so Elder's Quorum didn't have any lessons prepared so everyone was just sitting around. But the Spanish Elders all got together in one of the empty relief society rooms and at first we were just messing around but then we had a mini testimony meeting and it was so cool. The Hispanic men in the group are such studs. We all shared our testimonies about the priesthood and church and the spirit was there. Then Jorge, our investigator who was at church, shared his testimony too about how he's recently felt a change of heart and wants to be better. I was super proud of our Spanish members. After that, we had a linger longer with the Ward for Father's Day and that was fun! It was good for our investigators. Then get this... so there is a Cafe Rio in Washington D.C. close to the temple and this member from the Young Single Adult Ward named Jill who is our homie for life went to the temple the day before and stopped by Cafe Rio on the way home and got us pork burritos and put them in the fridge at the church for us!!!! Oh my heck I was so dang excited. But we had to finish doing missionary work first before dinner. After the linger longer, we went to a hospital to give this lady with cancer a blessing. It was sad because she could barely talk but right after the blessing she said, "I feel no pain.." The priesthood is crazy, like to you it just feels like any other blessing, but to them, it's making all the difference in the world. After the blessing we went to some Hispanic families house and the dad was out front gardening and at first he just acted like he didn't want to talk to us or anything but after a little bit of talking to him, he opened up and we were able to share a little bit of the Restoration with him and his family. Then we got their contact info so that we can go back! After that we went to a new Hispanic house and this guy named Alfredo answered the door and told us that he goes to another church but I was super sly with him   so we taught him the Restoration and had him read the first vision out loud and by the end of our visit he seemed genuinely interested in us coming back! So we got his contact info too✔️ then on our way home, we stopped by a less actives house and the lady was actually home and said that we could come by next week. Then I got to come home and eat my Cafe Rio burrito and it was so dang good     I cherished every bite, I could only eat like half the burrito though because those things are so dang big haha I had forgotten but it's okay cause I have more for tomorrow   it's crazy that Cafe Rio after a 3 hour car ride, 20 hours in the fridge, warmed up in the oven and microwave.. can STILL taste better than every single Mexican restaurant that I've been too on my mission haha. It was a good night though. Well that was my week, we have been on the prowl  but our work has payed off. Thank you for your emails this week  I will respond to them today! This week we get transfer boards so don't send anything in the mail! I hope I get to stay here another transfer but who knows  I love and miss you guys!!

June 12 - Last Zone Conference with President Johnson

Hey guys! I got my iPad back so I will be better at emailing today haha but thanks for your emails here's my week! 

Monday- P-Dayyyy... Monday was okay, we went shopping super fast then went to the church because I didn't have my iPad to email so I had to email from the computer in the church library  it felt like being back at the MTC haha. Well normally just the Pittsburgh missionaries come to the church on P-Day but for some reason every missionary in the surrounding 2 zones came to our chapel   it was super crowded, I wasn't a huge fan but it was fun to hang out with some new people  We played basketball and hung out outside for a little bit because it was sunny then this missionary who is kind of nerdy asked a couple of us if we wanted to play Risk(the board game) with him so clearly we went and played Risk haha I've never actually tried to play Risk before but it was pretty fun. After that we got ready for a Spanish Family Home Evening that we were having at the church that night. We had a pretty good turn out! We had a 2 or 3 of our less active Hispanics there along with the active families and they all brought food and we had a spiritual before and songs and it was good! Our group leader couldn't come because he had a meeting so I ended up leading everything and giving the spiritual thought while Elder Herzog tried his best to play the Piano  it all turned out good though, people had a good time and the food, of course, was delicious  

Tuesday- On Tuesday we had a lesson in the morning with Kayla, our new investigator, and it actually went super well! She had a lot of questions about how the church runs and things and she said that it was her goal to come this Sunday! We also taught her the Restoration and she had read a little bit of the Book of Mormon so it was a good lesson. After that, we started tracking down more less actives for bishop but we just ended up finding a lot of kids because they are out of school for summer but their parents are still working. We found good times to go back though. Later that afternoon, we had a lesson with Ricardo and Brother Lewis(Spanish group leader) and it went super well! Ricardo is learning super fast and he will for sure be ready to be baptized when he gets back from Mexico in July 🇲🇽. His baptism date is July 29th, so idk if I will be here but I'm excited for him. After that lesson, we were driving to our dinner appointment but Ricardo lives super far away so we were taking a weird route and we came across a brand new Panda Express on the side of the main road. So Panda Express is super rare in PA, idk why but it is  so missionaries always look for reasons to go when they are near one haha. So we are driving and we see it and Elder Herzog sees it and he's like "no wayyy we are going" and I was like "nah we have a dinner appointment" (even though clearly I was craving it too) so then I said "is it worth it to buy it and take a couple bites while it's hot and then put it in the fridge for tomorrow?" and Elder Herzog was like "Ricardo leaves for Mexico next week so we aren't going to be out here again until the end of July, yes it's worth it" then he hung a left in the middle of traffic and we went and grabbed 2 boxes super fast   it took less than 5 minutes so it wasn't a big deal and it was so gooood   I took a few good bites in car and then tried to save my appetite for dinner. Well here's the funny part, our dinner appointment was with the Cárdenas family and she always makes us a nice healthy Hispanic meal so that's what we were expecting when we bought Panda Express and ate a little bit previously to our appointment. Well we walk in the house and there isn't any food prepared and she asked us if we would give her husband a blessing because he's been stressed out lately so we did, and then we shared a brief spiritual thought with them. Then Sister Cárdenas throws a curveball on us and says that she wants to take us to a Chinese Buffet for dinner because she didn't have time to cook    so with Panda Express sitting in our car, we went to a Chinese buffet. I have no idea why all these Hispanic people love Chinese Buffets but this is the 3rd one I've been too with Hispanics since being here and they are all terrible. Just goes to show that God had a sense of humor. After dinner, we tried contacting a couple former investigators in the area but they weren't interested. 

Wednesday- Well I thought I would have my iPad back by now but I called the store and the part came in late then the next day they said they were busy so they didn't get to it so by the time Wednesday came around, I was pretty firm on the phone haha Dad would have been proud. If I were in the store that would have been one thing, but they couldn't see my nametag over the phone  Anyways, I'll finish that story later. We went and taught Dorothy in the morning and had a good lesson with her and she is great, she loves church so much. Then we tried some other potential investigators but didn't have a ton of luck. Then we went to Days for Girls and did some sewing service. Then we had dinner and FHE with the Reyes family. They are going to be sealed in the temple soon and I'm so dang excited for them. We had a super good dinner with them and they said they are going to find some referrals for us  After dinner we went with our group leader to a lesson that we were supposed to have with an investigator but she didn't answer so we ended up just tracting the rest of the apartment complex with him and it was actually pretty fun. We got a few people to answer and talked to them for a second about the Restoration. Then he took us down the street to a Spanish store and bought us some Mexican candy and we talked to a few people in the store. Then we went to another appointment with a less active who's father was actually the man who started the Spanish group. Well we went to this guys house and guess who answered the door... the dad of the less active(man who started the Spanish group). It was like in the movie Megamind when Megamind and Roxanne walk in and find Metroman alive and just chillin    haha the guy didn't even tell anybody that he was coming to town or anything. Anyways, I got to meet him, he's from Tiawana, Baja California. We had a super good visit with him and his son and we had no idea that he was going to be there. Our current group leader, the one who came with us, was super surprised too ahaha it was pretty funny. 

Thursday- On Thursday we played basketball in the morning   and then we went to a breakfast that we got invited too at a Ukrainian Orthodox Church  When Elder Halls was here, we went to this one guys house who was the Uncle of Elder Halls best friend growing up. So this "Uncle" is the arch bishop or whatever of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church here and when we showed up at his door he was surprised but realized who we were and invited us to his breakfast every Thursday as long as we don't proselyte. Well Elder Halls got transferred but I still wanted to go so we went and the guy was super glad that we came!! He said "when you guys didn't show up last week, I was kind of salty and if you didn't show up this week, I was going to call Salt Lake City myself"    so he was happy that we were there and we got to talk to some cool people and have a good breakfast! After breakfast, I finally got a call about my iPad. The manager of the store called me and said "Hey man we have your iPad here and it's completely fixed, sorry that it took so long. We want you to know that this isn't how we do business so this one is on us. You can come pick it up completely free of charge."  ✔️✔️ cha ching. So that was pretty cool! It was definitely worth the wait to get it fixed for free! Tender Mercy for sure. So I went and picked it up and it looks super good and I love the white screen and now I'm the only missionary in the mission with a white iPad . I will not be hesitant to recommend that place to anybody who breaks their device in the future because of how cool they were about everything and how good of a job they did. After getting my iPad, we went back to work. We spent most of the day in Southside walking a couple different streets near less actives and trying to find new investigators. We want a Hispanic Family from Guatemala and we are going to go back and try them again and we also talked with a couple less actives who claimed to now be Atheist. And we got a couple return appointments with some potential white investigators. For dinner we went over to the Dushku's house and had our Missionary Coordination meeting with them as well. It was delicious as always and good to talk to them. 

Friday- Friday was absolutely beautiful. It was our last Zone Conference with President Johnson so we were inside all day but Elder Herzog and I went for a run at sunrise overlooking the city and it was so dang cool   Zone Conference was good but it was kind of sad too. At the very end, we sang Armies of Helaman//Sisters in Zion as our closing song right after President Johnson's departing testimony and the spirit was so flippin strong my heck I lost it, i couldn't even sing the last line of the song. And President was just standing up on the stand and you could tell he was so sad to leave all of us and this place. Afterwards, we gave him and sister Johnson a hug and said goodbye. I will probably see him again because I live in Pittsburgh but there's a lot of missionaries who won't, so that was their last time. The conference was good though! Afterwards we went to ESL class and then we got some dinner and went home. 

Saturday- On Saturday morning we played basketball and then we went and did service for the Seppi family again. We started rebuilding this retaining wall in their backyard and at first I was super doubtful that it was going to work but it actually looks super good. We didn't quite get done so we will go back and finish it next week. They were super grateful though, we have gotten pretty close with them. After service we came back to the apartment and did our weekly planning and then we worked the whole rest of the day haha at first we were like okay let's go try these people because we said we would and then we will go to Cheesecake Factory for dinner(cause we hadn't spent any money all week). But then we kept knocking random doors and on our way to the Cheesecake Factory we kept stopping to try "one more person" and we kept finding people then pretty soon it was like 9:15 and we missed dinner . That's what we get for being diligent I guess lol. 

Sunday- On Sunday we had Ward Council and stuff in the morning and then church and it was pretty good, I spoke in the Spanish group sacrament meeting and it went well! During Ward Council we were talking about the Lizarraga family and how we were teaching Ricardo and about his baptism and stuff. Then Bishop was like "so I have a question, we have been sending missionaries to that house for like 3 years without any luck, how in the world did you guys get in?"  Lol I didn't even know how to answer that I was just like uhh idk we just did haha. Oh and Brother Seppi came to church! He's the one that we have been doing service for who has been less active!! The other Elders in the ward went home sick and they were supposed to teach Gospel Principles so we had to teach it with 10 minutes notice but it went alright. After church we went to dinner at the Whites house and it was pretty fun. They bought us Little Caesars pizza and crazy bread  I love when people break the sabbath for us haha After dinner went to our lesson with Rou, the Columbian Shakira, and had a super good lesson with her! She had read more of the Book of Mormon but she is stuck in the Isaiah Chapters of Nephi and she says that she's pretty confused. But she understood our lesson perfectly and she said that she wants to be at church on Sunday and that her son really wants to go! She is so awesome. At the end of the lesson, she sent her daughter to the store to buy us gatorades because it was hot out haha and she wouldn't let us leave until her daughter got back. 2nd time yesterday that people broke the sabbath for us haha whatever the Gatorade and pizza were both delicious. Well that's my week! Typed up on my uncracked iPad screen  thanks for your other emails!! I will go respond to them later!! I love and miss you all  oh and uhh PENGUINS 2017 STANLEY CUP CHAMPS!!!

Fancy place Elder Herzog got his hair cut. We waited a long time, but it was worth it!

View from Triangle Park. This is just up the street from our apartment.

View from our morning run. Gorgeous! 

Some girls from the YSA ward asked to take pictures with us. They are cool. 

Elder Herzog is a whopping 6'4"! He's awesome! 

June 5th - The iPad saga begins...

Hey everyone!! So funny news haha I took my iPad in to get it fixed and just to my luck they broke it more!!  So I am emailing from a computer haha I feel like I'm in the dang MTC again. Luckily they have a computer at the church so I can just chill here. So yeah I don't have an iPad right now lol. When putting on the new screen, the guy damaged the LCD Display screen which is directly below the touch screen so the coloring was all weird I guess. The good news is that they are fixing that part free of charge, the bad news is that I have to wait until Tomorrow evening to get my iPad back because the part doesn't come in until tomorrow morning. 

Other good news, the replacement screen I got for my iPad is white so I will be the only missionary in the mission with a white iPad because they are replacing the home button too I know thats not actually that cool but for me it is because I wanted a white iPad haha. So I haven't had an iPad for the last 4 days and I've actually loved it. I have had to teach and study out of paper scriptures again and its been good for me. I started reading Jesus the Christ because its one of the few paper books I could find in the apartment and its super good, I am already on chapter 6.  I will send both of my weekly emails next week because the draft is typed up on my iPad and I really don't want to go back through and rewrite my whole week. But other than them jacking up my iPad, things have been good! We found some new investigators this week and we did a ton of service but it was good because it was sunny all week so I got a nice tan ha. 

Church was good, last night we knocked on this door and these drunk hispanics let us in and it was the funniest thing of my life. They thought we were immigration at first but then they ended up telling us their stories about crossing the border(drunk version) then they told us to read them a scripture so I stood up and just told them all to listen up like Abinadi in the middle of King Noah's court. haha except these guys actually liked us. they kept saying "de donde son?" because they couldn't figure out why we spoke spanish   they told us to come back every sunday though so maybe if we go back next week they wont be drunk. it was hilarious though, we were joking around with them so much. Im trying to remember if anything else crazy happened... idk I will tell more about this week next week when I have my iPad again but things here are good! 

Thanks for your emails! I will probably be terrible at emailing today because I don't want to sit in front of this computer all day but I will respond as best as I can. I love you guys!

-Elder Nelson

May 29 - Dorothy gets baptized!

Hey guys here's my week!   

Monday- On Monday we went to Jamba Juice in the morning and got smoothies for breakfast. I got a secret menu item called the the "Fruity Pebble" smoothie and it was really good. Then we went over to some of the other Elders apartment and hung out with them for awhile. Because my companions were getting transferred, they had to send a lot of emails and we had to make a bunch of quick runs to the store and stuff. Later that day, we went over to the church for a little bit and played indoor soccer and a couple last games of basketball. Then we headed to Dinner, we went with some members named the Ballards. We met them at this place called Bull River Taco and it was okay but not my favorite. Then we went to ESL class and we actually had a super big group so that was fun! Then we went over to the Reyes so that Elder Halls and Condie could say goodbye. It was kind of sad but the Reyes were happy that I get to stay at least🤷‍♀️ 

Tuesday- On Tuesday my companions finished packing and then we went and visited Dorothy so that Elder Condie and Elder Halls could say goodbye and that was pretty sad. Then we went to Olive Garden for one last lunch as a trio. We did the unlimited soup salad and breadstick special and it was only $6.99 and it was delicious. I'd recommend it  Then we went to the church in GreenTree for transfers and Elder Condie and Elder Halls left and I picked up Elder Herzog. Then Elder Herzog and I headed back to the apartment and dropped off his luggage then we went to the grocery store and grabbed some stuff for the week real quick and then we got right to work. We went and saw Belle, a less active, who just had her baby. But she's going through one of the most difficult situations ever and she just told us all about it and I had no idea what to say. I was trying to follow the spirit and stuff but it was beyond missionary control, so I referred her to talk to the Bishop and she said she would so we gave her his number. After that we went to Erica's house and taught her a little bit. She went to church last week but she said she didn't feel super comfortable because it's hard for her to be baptized without the support of her family and the lesson at church was about the importance of baptism. I could understand where she was coming from. We just invited her to keep coming and told her that God would create a way for her and she said she would keep coming for the first hour at least. After that lesson we went to Jorge's and finished going through the baptismal interview questions with him and talked to him more about the standards of the gospel and why we live them. It actually went really well! Then we came back home for dinner. 

The Trio says goodbye to Dorothy.
Wednesday-  On Wednesday we went and taught Dorothy in the morning and it went super well! She actually filled out the back Study section of the pamphlets and wrote down all of her answers on a separate piece of paper and gave it to me. And all of her answers were 100% correct! It was kind of cool cause I'm the one who's taught her all of this stuff haha. After that, we went to do service at Days for Girls and that was good. Elder Herzog has actually served in Pittsburgh before so he used to go to Days for Girls like 10 months ago so the ladies remembered him. After service, we went to the church to have a lesson with this referral named Juan. It was terrible. He had no interest in learning about our spiritual beliefs, he just wanted to know what our church would do for him if he were an illegal immigrant and needed papers. He couldn't believe that the church wouldn't hire lawyers to help a someone getting deported who was a member. And then I explained to him that if word got out that the church were to hire lawyers for someone who was an illegal immigrant then every illegal immigrant on the street would come join then church just for that reason. He didn't believe it and just kept telling us that in his church they would do everything possible for every illegal immigrant and I was just like that's great, you go back to your church then. I was getting so upset because he told me I would never know what it's like to be illegal and all this stuff so I can't relate to the people here or actually grow to love them. I'm happy to never see that guy again. After that "lesson" we went to the Reyes house for dinner.(An illegal family that I absolutely love) and we had a good time with them, it's super fun to joke around with them and the food is always delicious. We had a spiritual thought with the kids and I told them they had to read a certain chapter in the Book of Mormon then tell me what it was about at church and I would have a prize for them haha. Then after that we went to a lesson with a less active that I had never met before but she was super cool. She's a convert to the church of a couple years and she's covered in tattoos and piercings like the "tattooed Mormon" or whatever. It was just kind of cool to talk to someone who's different from the rest and she has a strong testimony too. Then I came home and got my package with cookies from home so I enjoyed a couple. 

Thursday- On Thursday, we went and played basketball in the morning  it was fun with our new group here. Then we went and showered and stuff then went to District Meeting and that was good. Then we had another lesson with Dorothy(we had to do Daily Contact with her baptism on Saturday) and it went well! She keeps giving me recipes to try and make because I gave her some of the Banana bread I made last week and she loved it so now she assumes I'm a chef  After that lesson we had a lesson with the Lizarraga family but we couldn't find a team-up to come with us and we wouldn't be able to enter the house without a male member. We didn't want to cancel the lesson by any means and it was raining so we couldn't meet outside. So we were struggling and then we got the idea to take a priest out with us so I called Margarita(lady from the Spanish group) and asked if her son was home  and if he could come out with us. I knew beforehand that if you ask a strong Hispanic mom if her son can go out with the missionaries then she's going to send him regardless of anything else going on hahaha so we went and picked up her son Abinadi. He was quiet at first but then he opened up to us and it was super good to have him and he plans on serving a mission and stuff too. So we had the lesson with the Lizarragas and it went perfect! Then we went to dinner and just took Abinadi with us because the member who was taking us out to dinner was super good family friends with Abinadi and lives next door. So we all went and ate and then he went home with the member so it all worked out super good! We went to that same middle-eastern restaurant that had the super good Philly cheesesteaks  the guy that works there is my homie, he took us to the back where they keep all the meet and showed us how fresh it was and then he gave me a bunch of free samples haha so it was fun. But then the saddest thing ever happened. We were leaving the restaurant we were parked on a busy street so I set my iPad and my to-go box on top of the car while trying to get in without getting hit by incoming traffic. I grabbed my to-go box and set it in the back of the car and then I saw a car coming and I didn't want it to rip my door off or hit me so I hurried and got in the drivers seat. (Leaving my iPad on top of the car) then I started to drive off, I got about a 50 yards and I was like wait... where's my iPad?! And at that very moment I saw it fall off the car in the rear view window so I stopped the car and ran outside and grabbed it and it was shattered   I'm such an idiot I hate myself. So now my iPad is cracked pretty bad but it still works and everything. After that sad story we went to the Dushku's house for a correlation meeting and figured out some final things for the baptism and stuff and then we went home. Funniest part about Thursday was that I read the story about Nephi breaking his bow during my personal study that day.   

Friday- On Friday, we tried to see a couple less actives in the morning but there was no answer so then we went and tried a couple potential investigators and got a return appointment with one of them who said she was interested ✔️ Then we went back to the apartment and weekly planned. Then we had an early dinner with some members and it was good to be in their home because the husband is less active but we had a good time with him. After that we went to go try a few hispanics near the church and we actually had super good luck. We got a return appointment with a Guatemalan family! And we met 2 other new Hispanic men who said we should talk again soon but didn't actually set a return appointment with us. Then we went to ESL class and then we tried a couple more people afterwards but they weren't home. But in the same apartment complex that we were trying, we met 2 more guys from Guatemala haha so we talked to them for awhile and one of the guys used to build LDS church's in Guatemala for his job but he didn't seem super interested ha. 

Saturday- BAPTISM! On Saturday we had a baptism!! Dorothy got dunked! Woohoo! 

Dorothy's baptism with Elder Herzog! 

But to start the day, we went and played basketball in the morning and it was a good time. Then we went and made the programs for Dorothy's Baptism and it reminded me how much I hate Word and computers in general. Everything is so complicated. But we finally made it look good so we printed those out and got a couple other things ready and then we headed back to the apartment. We called Dorothy to make sure she was all ready and she was in tears because her 2 best friends couldn't go but I tried my best to comfort her over the phone but I was already kinda stressed out myself trying to make sure everything was good with the actual service. Buttt everything went prefect!! We had lots of support from the Ward at the service and everybody did great. President and Sister Johnson came too. I had the opportunity to baptize her and then afterwards Dorothy bore her testimony and she did super good! Then we had refreshments and stuff, she was so dang happy. After the service we went to our dinner appointment with the Pineda family and that was good! Hermana Pineda told me that my Spanish was "bastante bien" getting compliments from natives is always nice. After dinner we went back to the church to make sure that everything got cleaned up after the baptism. Then we took some of the left over refreshments to some less actives in our area and they were actually super grateful that we were thinking about them. Sunday- On Sunday, we went to church and the Spanish group was combined with the English Ward which actually worked out good because we had to confirm Dorothy! So that went well, then afterwards I had to translate the talks to English for the Reyes family during Sacrament meeting.   it's exhausting. The Reyes kids wrote me letters about what they read in the Book of Mormon and they are pretty funny   I'll send a pic of them. After church, we went and tried some Hispanic houses in the area but we didn't have a ton of luck. We came to one apartment building that has doorbells for every apartment on the front and Elder Herzog just pressed all of them at once haha and like 3 different people stuck their head at the window saying "who? What do you want?" And Elder Herzog was just like "Hello! We are messengers sent from God!" then the 2 put their heads back in and the last lady was just like "uhh huh yeah have a good day." I was dying laughing    I think you had to be there. After that we came back to the apartment and had dinner. Then we went to what was supposed to be a part member family's house but this guy from Mexico City lived there. He was sitting outside on his porch and he just starting talking to us in Spanish without realizing it and then we responded in Spanish and he was like "esperen¿ hablan español¿" and we were like "de hecho, sí"   anyways this guy was super cool and I had a full on conversation with him for like an hour. I think I'm close to "Pittsburgh fluent" as far as Spanish goes. But we talked to him forever and he was so chill and we gave him a Book of Mormon and set up a time to come back. He said he would find the address for the lady that used to live their for us too! It was good. Then we went to the Columbians house but they weren't home so we went to Sergio's house and he was home but at that point it was like 8:50. He let us in and we taught a 10- minute version of the Restoration and invited him to pray about it and to come to church and we got home before 9:30   And that was pretty much it! So this week was good and bad! I shattered my iPad! We had a baptism! We had a lesson with a racist immigrant! We found new investigators! so yeah.. Elder Herzog is my new companion and he's great ha he's just super chill. He's from American Fork and he's 21 years old and he's been out for 21 months so he goes home soon. He's been in a lot of English areas so he's trying to get his Spanish back but he's doing good! Well that's my week! I'll send pictures later. ️ ️ 

I love and miss you guys!! Happy Memorial Day! 

-Elder Nelson

May 22 - The Trio gets transferred :(

Hey guys here's my week!  

Monday- Monday was good!! We got our shopping done in the morning and then we headed down to Carson St. with a couple other Elders. We went to this gourmet-waffle place for breakfast called "Waffles INCaffienated." It was dang good  we just split a few of them to hold us over until lunch but it was fun to try it out! It's one of those places you have to try while in Pittsburgh. After that we went to a few stores like H&M and the 412 Shop and stuff. Then we headed up to the church to play basketball and email and stuff. Mom ordered us Papa Johns and it was delicious. We also laid outside on the lawn for a little bit again because it was sunny haha. We went to dinner that night at the Stevenson's house, Brother Stevenson is actually the son of Elder Stevenson, the Apostle! So that was kind of cool, he talks about his dad like he's no one special not like he's an Apostle or anything like that. But I guess to him, it really just is his dad🤷‍♀️ After dinner, we dropped Elder Condie at ESL and then Elder Halls and I went to visit Dorothy. She was doing super good! No cigarettes and she's been learning a ton in the scriptures lately. 

Tuesday- On Tuesday we had District Meeting and our last interviews with President Johnson because he goes home next month! It's coming so fast. We had a good District Meeting cause Sister Johnson taught and my interview with President Johnson was so dang insightful. He basically just gave me council for the rest of my life, it was cool. After District Meeting and interviews, we went to the Reyes house to help them get ready for the temple this Friday! Then we went over to Jorge's house and had a lesson with him, it actually went really well. I think he will accept a Baptism date here in the near future. After that lesson, we went to our lesson with Dorothy and she was doing so good! We had an in depth lesson on the Atonement and she bore testimony about how she has seen Jesus Christ help her quit smoking  Then we went back to the apartment for dinner and I ate the rest of my pizza (thanks Mom)  

Wednesday- On Wednesday we had a lesson with Dorothy in the morning and it went super good. We are just going back and re-teaching her all the lessons in more depth because she's already been taught all the principles. But she's understanding everything super well so it's been good! After our lesson with her, we went and met this new less active named Bill and he told us to come back later in the week on his day off so we just planned for that. Then we talked to a few more people on the street and then we headed to Days for Girls for service. After that, we went and tried a couple hispanics in the area. We went to this one house where we had taught hispanics before and this Asian lady was standing outside near the house and she was like "no you no can go in, they no speak english"  we assured her that it's okay because we speak Spanish but it was kind of funny haha. Then we knocked on the door and this new girl answered and so we talked to her for a second and told her to let the other people know that we stopped by. Then we got back in the car and I instantly felt like we should have tried harder to teach her something, I could tell that Elder Halls felt the same way, so despite as weird as it was, we decided to go back up and knock on the door again and try and teach her. We were only able to give her a pamphlet with our number and stuff but it was better than nothing. I still felt unsatisfied but we couldn't go up 3 times so we left  Then we went to the Columbians house because we weren't able to see them on Sunday and we hadn't heard from them. Rou(the mom) wasn't there but her parents from Columbia were in town and they were just chillin on her porch so we talked to them for like an hour haha then her daughters came outside and we taught them a little bit more about the Plan of Salvation. It ended up being a really good visit even though the mom wasn't home. Then afterwards, the daughters starting walking up and down the street and writing down addresses of their relatives and friends as referrals for us hahah it was awesome. Then after that we made a quick stop by Dorothy's cause she had some treats for us and then we headed home and ate dinner. We tried making our own flour tortillas because we had all this leftover meat from the Spanish party and we didn't have any tortillas. It was pretty much a disaster because flour tortillas are so dang hard to make without a tortilla press and a kitchen with decent counter space. But it was funny to see 3 missionaries trying to cook. After several failed attempts, I finally made a good one.  

Thursday- Thursday was all over the place, it started off pretty rough and sad. We went for a nice run in the morning, it was a warm day. Then we had studies and stuff and then we went to see Don because we have had no idea what's going on there. He came to the Ward Party last week with his family and had a great time and then he didn't come to church and then he started sending us weird texts again so we just decided to go over. I can't even really describe what happened over email but his whole demeanor has changed. The conversation was just us trying to figure out what was wrong and he just said he doesn't believe the Book of Mormon is true. Even though he's had spiritual experiences that he's described to us about it, he won't believe it. He had some other theories and doubts and stuff too but we rebutted all those. You would've been proud because we didn't hold back at all, we were straight up bold with him. It was to the point where he didn't want to hear our testimonies so we actually had to use scriptures and facts to counteract his arguments and we did with every single one and he knew we were right. For example, he said the spirit was telling him all these things and that he should try other church's and stuff and Elder Halls basically straight up told him "Don you don't have the gift of the Holy Ghost so the spirit can't talk to you.."  then he started saying that the Beatitudes were exactly the same in the book of Mathew as the Book of Mormon like someone had just "plagiarized" the Bible. I explained to him 3 separate where they differ, then explained to him that of course they were going to be similar because God's word doesn't change then I asked him if he had even read passed chapter 13 of 3 Nephi and he said no. Then I said that the next 12 chapters were all witness of Christ ministerios and teaching from Jesus Christ that he wouldn't find in the Bible and he refused to read and see for himself. After realizing that he didn't have any legitimate argument, he just said "no, I won't read it anymore." And we pretty much said goodbye to him. All of this started when we taught him the Word of Wisdom. He didn't want to believe that there were more commandments that he would have to follow. So he tied it all back to the Book of Mormon and denied everything from there. It was sad. The craziest part was that during my personal study earlier that day, I read 2 Nephi Chapter 29 which described the whole situation perfectly. So it strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon if anything. To lighten the mood, after our final lesson with Don, we went to a part member families house named the Lizarragas and taught the kids the Restoration and it went super good! The mom only speaks Spanish but the kids understand English better so we just taught them in English but they loved everything we taught and understood it perfectly. Ricardo(the younger kid, 10 years old) even asked if he could get "early access" to the priesthood before he turns 12 hahaha. At the end of the lesson, they both accepted a Baptism date! So we lost Don and Tammy, but we picked up the Lizarragas! Brother Stoddard(the Stake Patriarch who comes out with us all the time) teamed up with us for that lesson so his presence was helpful. Afterwards we were talking to him and we told him that we had bad news, then he said "it's about Don isn't it?" And we were like "woah you really are a patriarch" then he told us that they had been on his mind. He said for us not to worry, he's not going to let them go yet. Even though we had been uninvited to return, he said he's going to go knock the door in a month or so and talk to them. After all that, we went to dinner at this family named the Winkles house. It was fun! They made some good food and gave us coupons to Chipotle  After dinner, we went to this Hispanic member family's house named the Lopez to share a message with them about missionary work and it went really well actually! 

Friday- On Friday we saw Dorothy and a couple less actives in the morning and then we did weekly planning. We were supposed to have a lesson that afternoon but it fell through. We had dinner that night at a Family's house named the Whites and it was good because all the food was from Costco lol. That night we had exchanges so an Elder named Elder Jarvis came here and Elder Halls went to one of the other areas in Pittsburgh. That night, I went to ESL class and helped out there while Elder Condie and Jarvis tried to see a couple people in the area. Then we hooked back up afterwards and went to see a couple hispanics but we didn't have much luck. So we went to Las Palmas and started talking to some people there and we found 2 old potential investigators and set up appointments with them! Also, the Reyes had the opportunity to go to the temple for their first time on Friday!! They went to the Columbus Ohio Temple and I guess they had an amazing experience doing baptisms for their family members. It was so good to hear because we have been helping teach them the temple prep classes so the work paid off. Next month they are going to get sealed! 

Saturday- Transfer Saturday!! On Saturday we played basketball in the morning ⛹️ Then we went and did some service for this less active guy haha he was kind of weird but he gave me a box of Fruity Pebbles after we helped him move his air conditioners so I was happy  then later we went and taught Dorothy an actual lesson and it was fantastic. We found a Mega-large-print Book of Mormon//D&C//PoGP triple combination and we brought it to her and she was the happiest person alive hahaha she's like "I can read this thing without my dang glasses!!" After that lesson, we struck out with pretty much every single person that we tried.   It was a long day.. we finally were able to stop by the Cárdenas that evening and share a message with them. I was pretty much completely on my own though because it was Spanish and Elder Halls was in the other area ha but whatever, it went well. Then we headed over to the church for language study and "draft night." So all the Elders in the Pittsburgh area decided to take their dinner hour at the church so that we could be together for when Transfer Boards came out. So we all sat in a room and we had to put our iPads in the corner so that we couldn't look at them and see the transfer boards. But there was one elder at the front of the room who had his and he was the "commissioner for the Draft." So when the Transfer Board came out, he read us the name of the area and then who they selected to serve there just like the Draft  so for example he said, "With the first pick in the May 2017 PPM Draft, Pittsburgh Southside selects Elder Nelson as Senior Companion" then everyone claps and stuff haha it was super fun when he read everyone's name. Soooo in real news, I'm staying here!! Elder Condie got transferred to State College and Elder Halls got transferred to Harrisburg. So I'm the only one of the trio who survived   an Elder named Elder Herzog is coming here and I'm super pumped because he's one of my favorite Elders that I've met haha we served near each other for a couple transfers when I was in Lebanon so I know him pretty well! He's like 6'4" and super skinny but he's hilarious. He goes home in August so he doesn't have much time left so I might be staying here in Pittsburgh for quite a while but we'll see. I'm here for now though! 

Sunday- Sunday morning I made Banana Bread  Mom you would have been so proud. I made it all by myself and it turned out super good. On Sunday I was supposed to give a talk in the Spanish group so I had been preparing all week but then we got a call 5-minutes before leaving for church saying that Elder Stevenson(the Apostle) was in town and that he wanted to speak in our ward. So clearly he took precedent over me 🤷‍♀️ So the Spanish group combined with the English Ward to listen to Elder Stevenson! It was super cool! Elder Halls and I did the translation for the Spanish members so we were up on the stand with Elder Stevenson. We had met him before but it was still cool to have an Apostle at church. When he bears his testimony of Jesus Christ, you can tell that there is something different about it. After Sacrament Meeting we talked to him for a second and we asked him to introduce himself to a couple our investigators and he did!! We had 4 at church and 2 of them met him so that was sweet. To see him(an apostle) talking to Dorothy while just smiling was so dang sick. She told him about how we had taught her and helped her find something new in life! The Lizarragas also came to church and it was the Mom's first time at church in years! Her son met Elder Stevenson as well. During the second hour of church we taught one of our other investigators named Olga the Restoration with the help of several members in the Spanish group and it was super cool, they all bore testimony and shared their experiences. After church, Dorothy had her baptism interview and she passed so we will go through with the baptism this coming Saturday. I also gave her some of my banana bread after church and she couldn't believe that I made it, so I got the Dorothy approval. Then we went to our dinner appointment at the Ford's house and it was super good  Then we went and saw the Columbians for a second but they had family over still so we are going to go back next week. Then we went searching for a couple less actives for Bishop and then we came home. Well that's my week! I'll be serving here in Pittsburgh for at least the next 5 weeks! This transfer is only a 5-week transfer because President and Sister Johnson go home the last week of June  Well I will go respond to all your emails when I can. I love and miss you guys!!

-Elder Nelson

 Gettin' the free missionary haircut -- haha! 

 Elder Condie and Elder Nelson on the T-tracks

The Trio with Brother Stoddard, the Stake Patriarch

The Reyes at the temple with Brother Stoddard and the Spanish Group Leader (not sure if you care about this one but it was huge for us because we helped get them ready!) Brother Stoddard started crying when he heard the trio was getting split up because he's been working so closely with us. He said he's never seen missionaries work together so well and effectively and he was super touched by it. It made me want to burst out into tears too, it was such a nice compliment. He actually called President Johnson a couple weeks ago to tell him how impressed he was with us and President Johnson told each of us about it in our interviews.