Friday, March 6, 2015

Weeks 6-7: Elder Nelson now in Artigas, Uruguay! Complete with: Eternal Perspective on Wrecking his Car, Meeting President Smith, and Loving his Mom.

(Editorial Note: It has been a while since the last blog post, as Elder Ben Nelson has left Buenos Aires, Argentina, and moved on to Artigas, Uruguay- all the way at the top of the nation of Uruguay, immediately adjacent to Brazil! Mom got a little worried not hearing from him, and wrote three times.  He dutifully responded to all of them...)

Elder Nelson To Mom (#1):

Yeah, our flight was super smooth and there weren't any problems. I woke up at 4 in the morning to see off Elder Tidball and Hermana Toone, who were half of the Canadians. They got delayed for like half an hour, so we got to have that time to ourselves reminiscing which was a cool experience. The plane ride was super short. The ocean here was pure brown, when flying over it. My companion is from Pocatello, Idaho. He's really cool. Last night we taught a lesson to the Leshe family or something like that. I think their concern was that they didn't feel welcome at church anymore, and stopped going because of that. By the end of the lesson, the dad was in tears but don't know if we had any impact on the mom yet. They're both members, but they have two sons who haven't been baptized yet. We're hoping to assist them to go to the temple, and baptize their kids. However, after that super awesome experience, we got caught in a tropical storm. I'm talking raining cats and dogs. We took refuge in a neighbors house once we were like halfway home, to dry off. However we had to make it the rest of the way home and we got pretty soaked. Luckily my swiss bag seemed to hold up pretty well despite not being waterproof. I now know to always carry my umbrella because it can rain at anytime. That sucks about the house, but I know the Lord is going to take care of you guys. Have faith. I know this will be a situation that seems bad but is really a blessing. I view my car crash as that. I mean, I was being stupid, but not having my own car cut down my opportunity to go to events that weren't helping me prepare for a mission and we got more than the car was originally worth. I just know the Lord watches over his children and he never closes one door without opening another. I love you and I'll talk to you next week.

To Mom (#2):

I got to Uruguay safe. We flew first class, but it was only for 20 minutes. However I tried to get some cool plane pics. I stayed the first night in the capital (Montevideo) in the temple hotel with 6 other dudes, 4 of which were in my group in the CCM. The next day I took off to Artigas, which is the hottest zone in Uruguay. It's at the very top, touching Brazil. Today I actually ate lunch in Brazil but they speak Portuguese there, which is similar to spanish, but I don't understand it just because it isn't what i'm expecting to here. However, aside from a few annoying bug bites I'm totally fine. I love you. Thanks for raising me. You did a pretty awesome job because let's face it, I'm pretty awesome. Chiste. En serio, though, I know I probably gave you you too many headaches in my youth but I'm so grateful for every sacrifice you've made just so I could have a better life. You're honestly the best and I love you more than I can express in words.

To Mom (#3):

Yeah my p-days are on Mondays now, and I have to pay to email now, but it's all good. The worst thing that's happened to me is I left my loofa in the temple hotel. You know my dove one? I want to contact the people there and see if they can send it to me, but I imagine the chances of that are pretty slim even though it has only been like 5 days since I had it last. Uruguay seems to be a lot nicer than Argentina. The houses look better the stores look better. I don't know, everything just seems nicer, but I suppose that's what happens when you only have like 3 million people in your entire country. The people here are super nice. Like everyone says "Hi" back here which wasn't always the case in Argentina. My companion is American, so it's always tempting to just talk in English, but I try my best to learn Spanish. I heard from a lot of people that the best way to learn was have a Latino comp, but hopefully I'll be just fine. I mean it's nice, because when I don't understand stuff, he can explain in English or help me say what I want to say in Spanish. It's only been 7 days mom :P It's gonna be like this every week from now on. The church is right across the street. We play basketball outside everyday in the morning. However, I guess they recently made it a mission rule that you can't play soccer, plus there aren't many grass fields so I doubt I'll ever use my soccer cleats. The worst travel was getting to Artigas. We did a temple session in the morning which was cool. I was fighting sleep half the time which was a bummer since it was a new temple experience. We were waiting in this giant bus terminal for like half the day, with a bunch of other missionaries. We left at 6pm, but didn't reach our house until like 3am. The next day was super difficult to pay attention. However now, I'm fairly well adjusted. None of the people in the CCM are in my zone, which is a bummer, but the two other elders in my house are cool. There's Elder Clark from Utah who dies (finishes his mission) in 5 weeks. Then his companion, Elder Sifuentes is 1 change after Elder Clark, so both those guys will die in the next two months. I have a "brother" named Elder Gunnell who works in the offices in Montevideo, and I might get to do that too, eventually. A brother means your trainer also trained that person. My "mom" is Elder Johnson who I've never met, but you're a mom if you're the previous comp of a trainer. At the airport,we got greeted by all the office people, which was really sweet. We had a couple meetings with President Smith and his wife, and his APs the first day. That night, we went to a baptism where two people got baptized. I don't know if I'll get a ton of baptisms in this area, because I guess a common problem is people will get baptized because they like the missionaries, but then when they leave, they go inactive. So right now, we are talking to a lot of less active and inactive members and encouraging them to come back to church with us. This week in church we had 100 people, compared to 76 normally. So to me it doesn't feel like we're having a ton of success, but my comp says this stuff has never happened before, so I guess we're doing good.  We got to have lunch at the stake presidents house, which was cool. However here, they only really eat lunch, so if I'm lucky I'll get or buy something for dinner. Glad to hear all the kids are doing well, and that I'm missed. I miss you guys as well. Don't know if I have much else to say since i RESPONDED TO 3 DIFFERENT EMAILS FROM  you. Caps lock was accidentally, I promise. But yeah, I love you and will report back next week.

And to Dad:

Yes. I flew into Montevideo in first class on Tuesday and stayed in Montevideo for a day. Wednesday, I left with my new companion Elder Finlay from Pocatello, Idaho. He's not a native Spanish speaker, but President Smith seems to have a pretty spiritual process with choosing companionships, so I'm positive I'm with who I'm supposed to be with. I'm at the very top of Uruguay, touching Brazil. I should be here for like 3 changes. First 2 changes with my trainer, and then 1 showing a new person around. Or at least that's what I've been told. If I work in the offices, I would be in Montevideo, and it seems like there's a strong chance of that happening. My brother is 5 months old, and he's already working in the offices. I've met President Smith. He's super nice, but the first day he stopped his APs as they were teaching us new missionaries a lesson, and told them they were doing it all wrong. He's a serious dude, whom I don't want to mess with. There were 8 of us on the plane. 5 from our district. Elder Salinas from Southern California, and 2 latinos that slept in mine and Tidballs room. None of them are in my zone, so don't know when I'll see them again. It's like 23 or 24 pesos to the dollar here. No I didn't have to pay for extra luggage, but I was told if I had to pay for the extra bag, I'd be reimbursed once I got to the mission which hasn't happened. I love you too. Keep care of them fam, and talk to you next week.

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