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.