Monday, December 15, 2014

Reindeer and Las Vegas

Hello wonderful sweet family and friends!

I am officially back in the states and oh how good it feels to finally be doing official missionary work instead of theoretical work! My goodness Las Vegas is wonderful and I have already seen so many miracles! I got all packed up and made it back to the states (my luggage was all right on the cusp of being overweight 23 KG exactly and then they weighed both my carry-ons instead of just my suitcase. They weighed my purse too and then I had to pay for like 2 KG over which was frustrating, but I made it in one piece!) My Mission President is super great and I got put with the most perfect companion ever to be my "mom" or trainer for the next 12 weeks to show me the ropes in the mission field! She is great! Her name is Sister Defreitas and she is from Hawaii! We are so similar and already best friends and I have only been here for a week! I couldn't have asked for anyone better!
I have met so many wonderful people and I wish you all could just meet them! I feel so much love for them and I feel so blessed to be here. I got put in the richest part of Nevada, in an area called Anthem which is really close to the mission home so everything is just great! It is so beautiful here and our apartment is really nice. For those of you who are curious. I do have a bike, but because we are Spanish missionaries, the area that we cover is much bigger than English missionaries so we use cars far more than bikes. Our apartment is great and super cozy, we each have walk in closets and our own full bathroom which is so nice when we are getting ready in the morning. I feel very blessed. Las Vegas is beautiful and I feel so happy to be somewhere familiar to me again.

Some of the people that we have met are this sweet older woman named Lydia who is investigating the church and made the BEST dinner for us our first night! Gosh I love Mexican food!
We also had another cool dinner of things I have never had before. The man was seriously a pro cook every plate was beautiful. This was the Navarette family and they are less active members as well! He fed us catfish and I basically had the whole head of a catfish with the jaw and everything in my soup and we had the whole shrimp, eyes head and all on our plate in this soup! It was good! As missionaries you learn to be brave and it was so great haha! The little boy Saul named his shrimp little Elvis and we thought it was so funny! It was a fun dinner!
We also met our ward mission leader which is just a member of the ward/branch that you are serving in who helps coordinate the ward members with the missionaries and helps get people to church! He's super cool, he's vegan and he and his wife love fitness so Wednesdays and Thursdays they do insanity with us in the early morning for our exercises. I haven't been able to go yet, but we are going to go do it and die this week! I believe! He also does realignments for your back because one leg has more pressure on it and your spine is quite straight, my was so bad, but he just yanks on your next and then it is perfectly aligned and you feel so good! He said our bodies can get out of line if we are stressed and it can cause headaches and I haven't had any headaches since then so who knows, maybe it works, but nevertheless it feels good!

Nelly is a lady investigating the church that LOVES Christmas, her house is decorated to the max and we love her! Everyone is so loving here and it makes me happy!
We met a man named Hector and he said my Spanish isn't too bad and I understood nearly everything he was saying. The beauty of this time is that so many people are willing to open up to you and hear a short message about Jesus Christ because it is Christmas time! So great :)

We met the Hoyos family who fed us another really good dinner. They are a less active family in the church and they have two little kids who are twins named Sophia and David and they are 6 years old! We love them so much! the second time we went over, David wasn't there but Sophia was having a sleepover with her friend Anestasia (spelling) and they wanted so badly to put barrettes all over in my hair. So cute! I love them so much! Also, I got to try something new here which was banana mashed potatoes. Like instead of a potato they used bananas and evidently something popular in Columbia and it was actually pretty good!
I know I have met so many people this week and me telling you about them does nothing to describe how wonderful these people are, but I have just one more. Her name is Gloria and she is like our adopted grandmother living in a very nice nursing home here. I love her so much, she reminds me a little bit of Gabe's grandma and that makes me smile! So many wonderful people live here and I can't wait to get to know everyone so much better!

I have a couple miracles to share with you. We were in an apartment complex where were trying to find a house and my companion felt like we should walk around the corner one more time and a man was on his balcony named Ali and he was from Iran and he came here because he wanted to be christian and follow Jesus Christ and we shared a message about Jesus Christ by yelling up to this balcony to him from the book of Mormon and we had been prompted to carry an English Book of Mormon with us and we were able to leave it with him! Blessings! How cool is that!

We were also walking in another apartment complex parking lot and we saw a man walking and normally we don't follow them and we even called out to him and he didn't turn around and normally we would go to our car and go, but we both felt strongly prompted to go talk to this man and so we chased him down, he spoke Spanish and so many bad things had been happening to him in the past month, he got his car stolen, his mom is sick and he went to a card reader and she told him he needed to turn to God and he had been praying for help and we showed up. I didn't understand everything and I didn't even know what to say, but just like a scripture we have in Doctrine and Covenants 84:85 says: "Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man." Words were put in my mouth to testify to him and bring him comfort! That was so cool!
One final miracle was that we were walking in an area for an appointment with a lady and noticed an LDS picture of Jesus on someone's door and wanted to go see if they were members of the church. Upon entering her home, Marty told us she had been really sick and was praying for the missionaries to come by and she was crying and we said a prayer of faith with her and it was so cool that Heavenly Father sent us to her! Even just in this week, my faith that this is God's work has increased immensely! I love being a missionary.

Today is Preparation Day and we got to go to a Christmas tree farm and take some pictures for a Cmas card we are going to send home to a couple friends. It's been so great already!
For my spiritual thought (sorry I know this is crazy long) I just want to tell you about a special tradition my family does every year. On Christmas Eve, my family gets in the car and drives around neighborhoods listening to Christmas music and looking at everyone's lights. We all vote on our favorite house and leave them a plate of cookies and a note saying thank you for bringing the Christmas spirit! I love this tradition and this is something my companion and I are going to try to do this year.
As for my goal to you, all I want for Christmas from all of you are letters about your family traditions and more importantly, I really want to hear about a Christlike moment you have had in this time of thanksgiving, love and service! I know that Heavenly Father loves you and I am so happy to be a missionary!
All my love,
 Hermana Alayna Nelson

My address for your letters is:
Hermana Alayna Nelson
Nevada Las Vegas Mission
9270 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas, NV 89123


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