Monday, December 29, 2014

Louetta Week 10

Hello Mom and everyone else,

The big thing that happened this week was I got to Skype with my family. It was really fun to see them all and hear how everyone was doing. I loved that I go to see my little brother, and it means a lot to me that he is still thinking about me and missing me. It was also fun to hear Arielle play a song on the ukulele, and to just see how everyone is still the same dorky family that I left (especially Lilly). It was really fun to just sit and talk with all of them.
The rest of the week was pretty good, we got to go over to a members house Christmas Eve. I enjoyed going over there. They are a good family and have been very welcoming to Elder Grasse and I. While there, we had some dinner, some rice, noodles, chicken, and ribs, which was fantastic. After dinner, they gave all the missionaries their gifts, the first gift was a prank gift. I got toilet paper. Then they pulled out the real gifts and I got a nice long sleeve t. That was a fun Christmas eve. Then Christmas rolled around, got to call the fam, then we had a great dinner, hayaca, which was real good. We got to see the Skype call of the son of the family we were eating with, who is serving in the DC North Mission. It was fun to see him because we worked with him some before he left on his mission.
The rest of the week, we were pretty much just knocking and contacting people. It was kinda awkward, because the people didn't really want to let us in, but said that later would be better (out of the Christmas season). It was fun to go knocking, we met two people who seemed really interested in hearing more. 
I love you all, and you all are the best!! Nic


Louetta Christmas time!

Monday evening I received a letter from the ward mission leader in the ward Nic is serving in.  It was so exciting to hear these nice things said about Nic!

Dear Sister Atkinson,

This is Brother Mario E BerRios, ward mission leader at Louetta Ward.
It has been a great blessing for me to know and work with your son, Elder Atkinson. Since the first day in the mission field, I did feel the power and spiritual strength of him, who openly and very fluently spoke to me in Spanish. I was amazed at his talent and disposition to serve. Now, after this time serving in our ward with Elder Grasse, I can tell you again and again, you have done a wonderful work in raising such a powerful missionary. Thank you Sister Atkinson. Thank you to you, your husband, your children, and all those whose influences have helped to form this fine missionary.
Here, I am sending our family Christmas Greeting Card and some pictures from our Ward Christmas Program. May God bless you and yours, always. Your son is a powerful servant of the Lord.  
Sincerely, Brother BerRios
This was a special Christmas treat for me!  I am very grateful he took the time to share his thoughts of Nic as a missionary.
Christmas day we were able to chat with Nic.  He was at a member's home waiting for extra family to arrive and have dinner.  If was fun to see his smile and ask him questions without wondering if he would really answer! :)  He serves in a ward with 2 other sets of sister missionaries.  He and some missionaries went Christmas caroling during the beginning of the week.  He had a fun dinner and gifts given him from a member on Christmas eve.  He misses us, but isn't homesick!  No surprise there, it is just nice to hear. 
We love our missionary!


Louetta Week 9

Hello Mom!

1- I got the package, they were hoarding it until the party.
2- It is probably just a busier time so it is probably taking a bit long than normal (Speaking about another package).
3- I have not received Skype info yet, but yes it will be skype. It will be about 2 or 3 our time on Thursday, but knowing you guys, you will probably be home all day (When asking if he knew when we would chat Christmas Day).
4- I will be at a members house, and we will get dinner there (What will you be doing for Christmas)
5-The week has been pretty good, the one thing that stressed me out the most (looking forward) turned out to not be all that stressful. It was called 8 Week Training, and we had to prepare outlines for it (really stressful). It was not that bad, President Mortensen basically just checked up on us to see how we are doing/adjusting. Then the trainers and trainees split, President went with us and the APs took the trainers. President asked us what we feel like would be the biggest struggle if we were to train next transfer. It was reassuring to hear the answers of everyone around, and President offered advice for each of our concerns. It was good to here his advice, and hopefully I can apply all of it. After that we did a lot of role playing (teaching the trainers) which was good, President also gave me some pointers to help me teach. I was glad that it didn't turn out to be overly stressful.
Something that was really fun was the Christmas Conference on Friday. It was a mission wide thing, so I got to see everyone in the mission. At this conference, we took a huge picture, had some teachings about the birth of Christ, and watched the Nativity. Then we had lunch, which was really good (especially the rolls). After lunch, we sang songs, had some musical numbers and testimonies. At the end of the conference, President started saying that "Santa" had gifts for us, I was really excited because I thought that that meant iPads, but when we went to the rooms to pick it up, it was the packages that they received over the past month. These are the big things that happened this week.
This month has been pretty good over all, we have this one less active that we have been working with, he is slowly (slowly what?  I am not sure what he meant here. :), but hopefully we will get him back. It has been a pretty good Christmas month to be a missionary. I feel it is easier to bring up the gospel since it is the time of Christ's birth (since the gospel is centered around Christ). The busy feeling comes and goes from day to day, but I feel busy most of the times.
I love you mom, and everyone else.
Have a Great Christmas. Nic


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Louetta Week 8

HI Mom,
WHAT!?!?!?!?!? How on Earth is Val not stressed, that must mean some evil robot took over her and has replaced the sister that I know and love. And Kiley went on a date!?!?!?!??!?!?!?! Did some evil robot take her over as well? I'm gone for three months and everyone has decided to change everything on me. At least she is still rocking basketball, and Arielle still loving her music stuff. Tell her that I was in the ward choir. Everyone is growing up, Lilly and even Lathen, I love seeing the pictures that I get throughout the week, they are really nice. 
My week went good. We went on exchanges on Friday, and I had to be in charge of the area down here for the day. It was my first time really planning out the whole day, where we where going to go, where to knock and all that jazz. Teaching is going pretty well, there is a meeting on Wednesday to see how well we will be able to teach and stuff like that. I'm kinda nervous for that just because I am still not 100% with the Spanish. My area is pretty nice, it ranges from nice houses, to kinda rundown apartments. The one thing about it is that a little over a fourth from the bottom right corner is pretty much all African American people, so there aren't many Hispanics there, so that limits our proselyting area quite a bit. There are some main apartment complexes and house areas that we go to find, and where most of our investigators are. So I guess it is a little hard to find because the area is kinda small, but we are working around it. The regular dinner schedule, about 2-4 dinners a week depending on the week. 
This last Sunday was our Christmas sacrament meeting thing, and I was part of the choir. I was a little scared because while we where practicing up till that date, I was the only tenor in the choir, and you know how I sing, so it was a little sketchy. Fortunately  Un Hermano  joined the choir and was able to help me with my, er, singing talent. 
I love you so much, Nic

Louetta Week 7

Hi Mom!
 I have not gotten your package yet, but the last time I checked was on Tuesday, it probably arrived between now and then. There is nothing that I can think of that I want for Christmas, good Christmas music is a definite though (Trans Siberian Orchestra).  Mom, no tree is ever too big (I told him ours was a ridiculous size this year), I'm just upset it got bigger when I left.

 OK, first week of December went by pretty good. Not many lessons came through, but the ones that did where real fun. Elder Grasse and I did a little Christmas tree hunting ourselves, we got an artificial tree that stands about 6 feet tall, not as big as yours, but it is what were able to manage. It was fun, we got some lights and put them up all around the house, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere I go... I am really enjoying the holiday season so far, and I am looking forward to what Christmas day is like for the missionaries. On Saturday we had a meeting as a stake and missionaries ( just the ward leaders from each ward) about how to have a better consjeo del barrio (ward council). It was good, President Mortensen taught us all a little about how to make the consejo more effective while we are there. Something fun about this day was that I got to meet a lot of missionaries whose name I have heard, but have never put a face to it.  I enjoyed just talking with all the other missionaries in our stake. Last night was the Christmas Special, and Elder Grasse and I went to the church to watch it. Unfortunately it was in Spanish and it had all the weird voice overs, which I didn't like too much. I wish I could have just listened to their regular voices. That was pretty much how my week went.
 I love you, Nic

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Louetta Week 6


 Some good news, we got our car back on Wednesday! Elder Grasse and I were super stoked about that. For Thanksgiving we went over to a recent converts family's house and had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, the food was delicious. It was really cool, no one else in his family are members of the church, but we got to give a blessing to one of the family members there. While I was there, I got to see the Eagles start whooping the cowboys, which was fun. The rest of the week was fairly uneventful. We just drove around not having too much success, but at nights it would begin to pick up. It was just another week in the field for me. What is fun is that it is December, everything feels like it is going by so quickly, soon enough it will be Christmas and I am skyping you. Could you send pictures of the tree when you get it and the lights outside please. Tell Lathen that he needs to shape up, and tell Dom that "i dont got no formal learning." 
I love you a lot



Sunday, November 30, 2014

Louetta Week 5

My week has been slow, not many lessons taught, travel takes a long time with the bikes, etc. The good thing about the bikes is that I can eat pretty much anything that I want, cause I just burn it all of. Since I've gotten here, I have gained 5 pounds,  This week was also a lot warmer than 2 weeks ago, it was in about the 50s-70s which was the bomb.  I actually picked up a nice sweat from the bike riding. On Friday we had a zone conference where we learned how to better teach the Plan de Salvacion, and introduced to us an initiative for December, it is called, He is the Gift. It's all about how Christ is the best gift that has ever been given on Christmas. The church is going all out, they are going to have stuff at Times Square, New York, and the YouTube headline area. We watched the video, and it was awesome, I felt the spirit so strongly during it. It is not out yet, but when it comes out (Dec 1 or something like that) I would say watch it for a family home evening or something like that. I am super excited for December now.
On Saturday it was raining on and off all day, entonces (so), there were puddles that we had to dodge, mud that we had to avoid etc. So we where going throughout the day, little success, no of our appointments where coming through, so we decided to go see this one Familia menos active (family less active). We knocked on their door, and one friend that was staying there answered, and told us that the family wasn't home, so we asked if we could teach him. He said we could and we taught him about the Restauracion (restoration), which he seemed to get pretty well. We got a soft commitment for baptism (said he would but don't have a date yet) from him, and he agreed. That brought our day up, and so we went along and it was about 8 when we called on of the members of our ward if we could talk with him and he said we could. He asked if we had eaten dinner yet, and we said no. So he got us burritos and tacos from a taco truck as well as some groceries that we had been needing. It was a great blessing to us to see that he would be willing to help us like that. He has been so kind to us every time we have seen him.

On Sunday I got a copy of the Ensign (conference edition) and have read about half of it right now. It is so awesome to be able to look back and see what all of the profetas (prophets) have told us and counseled us to do. It is so weird, ever since being on the mission all these spiritual things that may have seemed like a drag before, I'm so excited to do now. Before it was a little bit of a chore to read the Ensign, but now I cant wait to get the Liahona Confrencia Edition.

Something that is weird, I don't feel like I've been out in the field for almost a transfer (6 weeks). It seems like it was only a couple days ago that I was assigned to Louetta, but it was a couple of weeks ago. 
(Me: Are you going to someone's house for Thanksgiving?) Yeah, we will have about 2 dinners that day, or rather a lunch and a dinner
Much love as always, tell everyone that I say hi and that I love them!  Nic


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Louetta Week 4

My week was great as always, and the over arching question is yes, my internet is slow. 

This week we got our car taken away from us for repairs, but I don't know if/when we will get it back. Entonces, we have been biking until there was a flat tire in my comps bike, and then we were walking. It has been real fun especially, with the wind chill and what not. On Friday and Saturday we probably walked about 7 miles per day, and then Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we rode our bikes for about 9ish miles per day. It was grand fun. We don't have many opportunities to do street contacting right now, porque el frio , pero (it's cold, but) we have been doing some knocking/ following up on referrals. One referral that was annoying was on Thursday. We set up an appointment, and drove our bikes there (about 3 miles in the wind) and he was not there, so we called him three times, the first no answer, the second, "Bueno?" and then he hung up, and third his phone was off. We can't only work with the Spanish, but we try to just work with them. While we where knocking on Saturday we met an English speaking family that seemed really prepared to listen and learn about the gospel, but we won't be able to teach them, so we handed them off to the English Elders.  One day we got into a Bible Bashy lesson, but we couldn't leave because he would just keep on talking, and talking, so we finally had to just tell him that we had to go, and we got out of there. I got a letter from Mariah this week, it was pretty fun to hear from her and what she is doing right now. I have gotten both your letters and plan on writing you back today. 
I love you, you are great, i love my Yetins (Lathen), and all my sisters.
Did you go and buy a bike (sometimes we get to email back and forth a bit)?  No, the mission office gave me one. It is pretty nice, I might just take it with me everywhere I go.
Another little thing that happened, I was riding my bike, and then I biffed it. My pants got a pretty nice hole in them (see drop box) but I stitched them back up. (The picture he referred to in dropbox didn't get uploaded)
Was it one of your suit pants or regular pants? Are you warm on the bike, do you need gloves? It was one of the regular ones. I can just get gloves and a hat. I taught my comp how to Rubik's cube, and now he knows how, and we occasionally have little time trials to see if we can beat our best time. Right now I am at 1'49".
Transfers happen every 6 weeks, but I will be here until mid January or late February probably. My ward is great, there is a family that we go over to their house every Sunday for a meal, it is fantastic, she makes great food. In truth, I don't know much of the ward, but those that I do know have been really nice and willing to help us in our struggles. It is fairly busy at times though.
How do you know you aren't going to be transferred until Jan or Feb? Do the members feed you a lot? We have 12 week training as a newbie, so I will be in the same area for 2 transfers at least to do that training, and I will have the same comp for all of that training. It really depends on the week on how much we eat at members houses. I gotta bounce, maybe I'll get a little more time later today. I love you much, Have fun in Spain, and speak good Spanish.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Louetta Week 3

I received one letter, but I  have not checked the mail recently for the other. It is probably in there, the mail here is more reliable than Mexico. I did get a package from sister Vallette, had some cookies and a nice letter. Please tell her thank you!

I do miss Lathen, I think about him quite a bit, He just seems like he is getting older. Tell him that I love him and he rocks. I think it is really cool to hear about your obra misional (missionary work), and I am proud of you for doing that. As always, it is fun to hear what everyone is doing.
This week went pretty good, we had a member of the Quorum of the 70, Elder Corbridge and his wife, come and talk to us about our purpose as a missionary. It was pretty inspiring. The rest of the week went by pretty normal; Study, lunch and go out to teach people. It gets a little frustrating when you set up a time for someone, and then they aren't there. It kinda stinks, but whatever. We extended a baptisimal commitment, and the guy accepted. He still has a little bit to go, but we will work with him.
On Friday, pulling out of our apartment, on our way to district meeting, we got into an accident. No one was hurt, but the car is meh. We fixed what we could with duct tape, bless that stuff. I went on exchanges with my brother, Elder Christensen. I went to his area, and it was interesting to see how different missionaries are. We had some solid lessons that night. I tried a habanero chile, it wasn't too bad. Yesterday after church, I participated in my first Consejo del barrio (ward council meeting), and I think the Lord helped me understand what was going on a bit more than I normally could have, because I was able to understand the majority of it. 
I went to the temple on Wednesday, and it was a Spanish session. We went with a member that we have been using to help teach, and it was so amazing. I was so excited, it was like a teenage me going to an amusement park. I would have to say that this was the highlight of my week. If any of you ever get the chance to go to the temple, do it, it is worth it, and I know you will enjoy yourselves there. 
I love you, as always, all of you, from my dorky sisters, to my awesome dad, to my sweet little brother, to my marvelous mom, and to all of my wonderful friends and extended family. I truly have been blessed with this life that the Lord gave me.

Could I also get some pictures of dad balling it up?
I love you and the rest of the family, you are all the best, Elder Nic Atkinson


Louetta Week 2

This week was pretty slow, lots of walking, a fair amount of rejection, but whatever. We are fine food wise, we actually come up with some pretty cool stuff, like Nacho cheese on bread with stuffing, really good, you should try it.

The past two days have been really nice because of the car miles ( a new month, a new budget of driving miles). I got to meet some of the investigators that live farther away which was really cool.

On Halloween we had to be in by 6, don't know why, probably not to be tempted to get candy, but we had some Elders over and we ate pizza and played some games, pretty fun. I have yet to receive a letter, but I received the package from the Meise's.  Please tell them thank you.  I have all my bedding, and everything else, the blanket is really soft, I like it. Apparently it gets pretty cold here, who would have guessed, but I might need my coat later on, not now, it is still beautiful.

The language is going well, I speak so much better than I understand, but I  am getting better at both. I read the scriptures in Spanish for personal study every morning. It was a little strange this week, because we had a member help drive us around, and he preferred English, so I gave a prayer in English once and it was a little difficult. 

This week was pretty good, we stayed very local, so we just tried to get some more people around our apartments. I did my first door contacting, and it went pretty well. She turned out to be JW, but we had a nice conversation about the Bible. The week was all pretty much the same, contact and check on the people in our area, but it was pretty fun. Last Friday we had a Zone meeting, and I met my brother (another missionary that was trained by the same missionary Nic is being trained by) and he seems pretty cool, he is our Zone Leader.
We have better plans for p-day today, we are going to play a little church ball latter on. Tomorrow we have Zone Conference, where Elder Corbridge is coming to talk with us. I am pretty excited about that. 
Much love as always,


Monday, October 27, 2014

Louetta Week 1

I did make it to Texas, and I already sent a letter to you, but don't use that address, ours is 11111 W. Montgomery Apt #1306 Houston, TX 77088.  If you want to send me letters this is where you send them.

The flight over was easy, I slept the whole time because I accidentally got up an hour earlier than I could have. Everything else was easy, customs, finding the APs. My first day was pretty good, we went to the ward building next to the mission office, and learned a bit about what it will be like on the mission. Oh, I got to sleep on the pews in the capilla (chapel)for a little bit, it was lovely. Then we had a social at President Mortensen's house, it was a good social and we got some pretty good food. I wrote the letter to you at the social. That night we went to one of the missionary's apartments to sleep, and that ends Wednesday.

On Thursday, I met my first comp,  he is from Oregon and is pretty cool. He is pretty good at the street contacting, and I hope that that rubs off on me. We've been doing a lot of walking because our car is low on miles. It is a little tiring, but fun. The people in the ward, that I have met, seem really nice.  Saturday one took us to a taco truck, and Sunday a member fed us dinner. Sunday was a el programa de primeria (Primary Program) which was cool. During the classes, I didn't really understand much, but I hope that I can understand it more in the weeks to come.

I am feeling great, I am excited for November because we get more miles on the car. I miss Lathen, please tell him that I love him.  I don't know when I will get my bike so if you could just put money on the debit card to buy a bike or whatever, that would be cool. Thanks, you are the best!

 I love you. Nic

 His first homemade dinner.....he can cook better than this, it's all about the budget....


Last Week in Mexico!

I think my bags will be fine mother, stop worrying about your little boy. I would love to say that I am in Houston right now, but I'm still stuck in the CCM. You can tell Lilly that I have been playing quite a bit of soccer as well, and tell her that it is the bomb.

To answer your questions (What will you miss the most?), I will miss my District (A group of 8 guys, including Nic. They just spent the last 6 weeks together) the most here at the CCM.  It stinks cause they all left yesterday, and I am with a different district right now and it is not the same. And no, there is only me and two hermanas that are going to be going to Houston and we leave tomorrow. I feel like I am ready language wise, but I know that there is always something I can be doing better. And yes, I am a bit nervous because now is time to deal with real souls, no more "investigators" only investigators.
So a couple cool things happened this week.  We had an apostle, Neil L. Anderson come and give us a talk. It was about the atonement and its role in our lives as missionaries, it was awesome. I got to shake his hand. I gave a talk on Sunday during sacrament meeting, and guess who showed up, Presidente Pratt, the president of the CCM. It was a little nerve wracking, but I think I did a good job. We also gave a musical number as a district, Yo Sé Que Vive Mi Señor (I Know That My Redeemer Lives, I think.....), and it sounded beautiful. I gave my first blessing this week, I am not going to go into details, but it was nice. I could feel the spirit working through me. That is pretty much all the fun stuff that happened to me this week.
I am still sad because I haven't received the letter from Lilly yet (we sent it the day he left), and now I don't think that I ever will.
I love you mom, Nic


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thanks Mom for everything. I don't need any of the nail clippers, I have a pair here, which are really fun to play with. Thanks for the email/letter, it was what I needed to hear.  Thanks for all the pictures that you send me about Lathen, and tell Kiley to be careful, the roads are dangerous place.

Onto my week, it is all really a bunch of the same old same old here, study, learn, teach, study. Its fun, but gets a little repetitive sometimes. I finished the book of Mormon and it was pretty awesome, In this book I just highlighted whatever I thought was interesting, so it is my go to place to find a scripture/spiritual thought from the Book of Mormon. I love that little book. After I finished that, I decided to do a study of the Book of Isaiah, it can be confusing, but overall it is pretty fun to read and it has quite a few interesting things about the destruction of many different people. It can be hard to understand when he is talking about the Millennium and when he is talking about back then. Other than that, not much has happened, on Sunday we had a devotional by Jeffery R. Holland, it was about what we could do to be better as missionaries in teaching, studying and preparing. I have a note sheet I will send you a picture of. I am so excited to be getting out of here and into the field next week. I received my flight information right before emailing.
I got a hair cut this week.  I also got to bless the sacrament for the people who work at El Comedor (the cafeteria).  It was a great experience.  I was also blessed to play the piano for the whole shebang! Guess what songs I played! (He has about 6 hymns he plays very well).
Something that I am looking forward to is Neil L Anderson is coming on Saturday to give a devotional, I am stoked. Well that is about my week, oh and Spanish is coming along fairly well.
I love you, you rock, tell everyone that I love them.
NIC, (Elder Atkinson)

I can tell in his letters he is spending a lot of time studying Spanish.  His grammar is getting worse....and knowing Spanish some, I can see it is translation problems.  He is definitely beginning to think more in Spanish!

HEY MOM! To answer questions, I am fine, yes, a lot of studying and learning. I only have about 50 pages left in the Book of Mormon. Spanish is going well, I hate the subjunctive, as does everyone else in my district. Food is pretty good, I have to say my favorite would probably have to be the hamburgers. GO AMERICA! I got the package slip on Friday, I am excited about the chips and dip.

Now onto my life, the good old studying and teaching and learning of my day to day life. I was really excited that we got to watch General Conference this weekend, it was spiritually uplifting and a break from the rigor of our normal schedule. I do have to say I got a little homesick at the Priesthood Session, because I didn't have my dad there next to me and it just felt a little weird. And five guys, I could use a good burger right now. But of the talks at Conference I liked President Uchtdorf's from the Priesthood Session, it was about looking into yourself and seeing if you are good, for the lack of a better word. It caused me to look into myself and just have a check up and wonder what my weaknesses are.  I also loved the story from Elder Bednar's talk, I am beginning to like him more and more, because we hear a lot from him. I was so greatful for the opportunity to watch general conference and I would like you to read the talk from Elder Uchtdorf in the priesthood session, it was fantastic. 
I love you mom, I loved the video of Lathen, I miss him so much. I still haven't received Lilly's letter, but I look forward to it everyday. Tell everyone that I love them. Two more weeks in the CCM, woot woot!

Dear Dad,

How are you doin dad? Thanks for the Dear Elder letter, I got it last week, and I read it whenever just to hear what you have to say. I can say that I am not eating as well as you (there are some strange Mexican foods), but every Tuesday we eat like kings, Costco pizza, ooooooohh yeah. 

I just wanted to write you to tell you how much I love you and appreciate what you have done for me in the first 18 years of life.....even through all my numb-skull knuckle headedness. El CCM is fun, same days though, which kinda stinks. My Spanish has been coming along very well and I am excited that I am going to speak it.  My email to mom has all my specifics, but I just felt like I needed to write you too. I love you dad and I think you are awesome.

Elder Atkinson ( the younger more handsome one)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Third week at the CCM (Mexico MTC)

This week went pretty well, the same old study, teach, learn, study, learn, learn kinda thing that is going on. It is fun and I am enjoying myself and learning a lot. My "investigators" seem to be progressing well, I have a soft commit from one, and nothing from the other yet. It has been a great experience just having the opportunity to teach and learn what I need to do better.
On Sunday we had a devotional with Elder Bednar, and he talked about the character of Christ, and how he turned outward when we, the normal human, probably would have turned inward. An example of this was when he was on the cross, while all of these bad things were happening to him, he asked God to forgive them for what they did. After this devotional, we watched the restoration movie with Joseph smith and the one scene where he is beating a rug, then the Scottish guy started beating a rug as well. I was impressed with how outgoing Joseph Smith was and how he was always looking to push the gospel forward and help those around him. It was a good movie and a great Sunday experience. 
Last night we said good bye to one off the districts in the zone, and it was really sad because I felt like we made a lot of good friends in that district. I played the piano for a musical number for them on Sunday, which was pretty cool. I played well! It was I hope they Call Me On A Mission with a verse of Llamados a Servir. It was a powerful experience.
This morning I went to the temple.  It was really cool, I wasn't able to do a session, but I got to see the visitor center and the temple. In the Visitor's Center there is a primary room, which was the bomb digaty. There are little touch screens where you could color pictures or do other activities on it. I wish the DC one was that cool!
I love you a lot mom and miss you, I pray for you and the rest of the family every night.
Your favorite son (obviously),


Second Week at the CCM

The days go by and are pretty much the same, last week on Wednesday and Thursday we finished our last two lessons with an "investigator" (he was already a member) but we got a baptismal date for him.  On Friday we were taught in the morning and in the afternoon we learned about the next two investigators we are going to be teaching. Again, they are role playing investigators.... they are really our teachers.

On Saturday night, there was a devotional put on by some of the Elders. It was about one Elder who got in a bad accident with a Ranger (ATV/ 4 wheeler type of thing) where it fell and shattered his pelvis. He said that he was in so much pain that he just wanted it to end. He had a knife with him, so he stabbed himself in the chest and then slit his throat to get to heaven quicker. His friend found him and took him to the hospital where he was immediately evacuated. The amazing thing was that the doctors told his dad that if he hadn't of slit his throat he would have died. After all the surgeries, the doctors told him that he might not be able to walk or play sports again. He said after 5 months he was able to play football. It was a really touching and spiritually charged experience.

On Sunday, it is a great time to be a missionary, because of the spirit that is felt all day. Again, it started off slow, but picked up at the devotional. The devotional was one given by Elder Bednar, he talked to us about how to become a Preach My Gospel Missionary. It was very moving and I felt that I learned so much from it. That night we also watched the movie How Rare A Possession, The Book of Mormon. it is the story of how the Book of Mormon affected two people, the first Parley P. Pratt, and the second an Italian minister. The interesting thing about the Italian minister is that he didn't know it was the Book of Mormon until latter in his life, and he was preaching by it because he did as Moroni challenged him and found out the truth. This has reinvigorated me in my studies of the Book of Mormon and I have been more diligently reading from it. I love the Book of Mormon and I know that it is true.

 Yesterday we had our first lesson with our second "investigator" and it didn't go at all as planned, but we felt the spirit and we know that the true teacher in these lessons is the spirit. It felt great to get to know him and I know that he felt the spirit while we where teaching. Also, yesterday, we set up a time where we are going to play cage soccer with a district of Latinos, we are going to get killed.

Last night was the last night for some Elders in our zone. We played Signs as a "Family Night" thing. We had so much fun and were all just laughing so hard. I am going to miss those that are leaving, but I know that they will do well wherever they are headed.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

First Week in the Mexico MTC

All week I was anxious to hear from Nic and how he was doing.  I was a little concerned with his writing skills, so I wrote him an email full of questions.  He did an excellent job of answering them below.  Basically I wanted to know how his day was......

I'll answer your questions first and then tell my story. My typical schedule is wake up at 6:30, go study at 7:00, Breakfast at 7:45, then gym from 8:25-9:15 (I think there should be more time), then back to the classroom from 9:45-12:00 where we do miscellaneous work. Next comes lunch, then back to the classroom to study and prepare a lesson for an "investigator."  Dinner is 6:15-7:00 and  after that we study, maybe there is a devotional or something similar, we gotta be back at the house by 9:30, then lights out at 10:30. That is a basic day so far.

 I room with my companion, who is from Sandy, Utah and we have been able to get along very nicely. He likes Star Wars about as much as I do. My Spanish is coming along greatly and I feel like I can speak it so much better. We don't speak it every minute of the day, but we do speak it a lot. Tell dad that my accent is better than a lot of the people here!  I learned that we do not go outside the CCM unless we have a Temple visit scheduled. What I have seen of Mexico is pretty crazy, traffic here is like nothing else, there is barely any space to move around cars, but they somehow do it. The flight and everything about it was easy, the Elders that I met up with were really cool. I have not felt homesick or stressed, in all honesty I don't feel like I'm in Mexico right now. I am a little sad to be away from all of you but I can deal with it and this whole experience has been a happy one. In all honesty I feel the spirit extremely strong here.

Now, my story. I'll start of by saying that I have had refried beans at every meal that they have been available, but don't worry I'm not too gassy. Some off the food is really good, but a lot of it looks strange so I choose what looks good. One of my favorite meals was the asada, basically grilled meat. I put it on a tortilla with beans and rice and made a mini burrito. I think it is a little weird how lunch is there big meal of the day. 

I taught my first "investigator" on Friday (he is a real member). It went pretty well, I feel like I was able to get my message across and get to know him a little bit better. I taught him again on Sat and Mon, same feelings there. The first two days were really long and boring because of all the orientation and meetings that we went to, but since then it has been pretty good.  Ever since I got here, I have been told two things, make it to Sunday, then make it to P-Day(Preparation day, his "weekend"). I can say that they were right. Sunday was the best experience ever. In the morning I didn't really feel the spirit overwhelmingly, but there was a devotional that night that I began to feel it. The devotional was about staying on target for the reason that you are here. After that we went to dinner and then a movie. The movie we watched was the Testament, the one about the Nephite boy joining Cohor and then finding redemption. All throughout the movie, I kept on feeling the spirit especially when it flashed to Christ, and when He was being crucified, then when he came down to the Nephites. It was all so amazing. I love this movie because it shows how the Nephite boy was able to be redeemed even through all the bad he did, and I just loved the feeling that happened. After the movie, there was a little good bye for the missionaries that are leaving this week and we all sang till we meet, it was beautiful and the Spirit was just radiating then. After this we went back to our classroom as a district and had a mini testimony meeting, and again the spirit was almost tangible. I loved the feelings that I got that day. 

Monday night was fun because we celebrated the Mexican Independence day. There were dancers that came to dance some traditional Mexican dances. It was really beautiful.  After the dancers, we all stood as the flag was presented and shouted viva many times. On the final "Viva" fireworks went off, then we all sang the Mexican national anthem, it is a beautiful song, . 
I love the CCM, and i love my district and my Zone is really cool. My district is really close knit, we have a little trouble focusing because of it, but we get our work done. 

I love you and pray for you and miss you, Elder Atkinson