We can be happy in the most humble of circumstances

Hello all!

Oh my goodness! What an amazing week! This past week was so crazy and full of changes and awesome experiences. To begin with, we have a baptism set for this Saturday!! We have been teaching a young man who is 11. The missionaries here before me had been teaching him for quite a while, but his mom wouldn’t let him get baptized and stopped letting the missionaries teach him. Just recently she started letting us teach him again and now he is getting baptized! He is such an awesome little kid and studies the scriptures and prays way more than I did when I was 11.

Also, early in the week I went to see “Meet the Mormons” and had an interview with the Mission President!!! “Meet the Mormons” is such an awesome movie!!! There are so many cool stories in the movie about people of various backgrounds. It is perfect to show to investigators!! My favorite story was the one of the “Candy Bomber” during the Berlin Airlift! I remember learning about him in my history class, but I didn’t know that he was Mormon . . . way cool! In other news, it’s so great to be able to interact with Austin so much and to be with him here in Alabama! We played basketball together this week again, just like we did with the missionaries back home except there were a few big differences. We weren’t back home in Irvine and I am now the missionary!

Also this week, we got to be “grandparents” for some of the kids in our branch! What does that mean? So every year here in the elementary schools they have a “grand pals day” at the school and everyone’s grandparents come out and see what the kids have been learning. But a lot of the members of the branch have family members living outside of the country or far away, so they are unable to attend. So the missionaries were enlisted and we went to school to see the kids and pretend we were their grandparents – ha! It was actually a great missionary opportunity because a lot of people asked us why we were there or they commented that we were way too young to be grandparents. It was awesome!

I have one other really cool story for this week. I went on exchanges with my district leader, Elder Schmutz, who is an awesome guy and we went to a place we call here in the mission the “Quemada.” It is a really poor area of northern Birmingham where people are living in really poor conditions. So we drove up there and we had an appointment with a man that we had never met that was referred to us by some members. And when we went into his amazingly humble house and saw how little he had, it made both of us feel very sad for the man. But over the course of talking with him, we learned he has cancer and is getting all the treatment he can pay for right now. You would have thought, however, that he was the king of the world. He didn’t let a single thing on the planet get him down! It was so amazing to me to see this very poor as well as ill man be as happy as he was and so receptive to the gospel!! Walking away from that experience, I thought, ” If that man can be happy, anybody can be happy.” It was an amazing experience for me and is now pushing me to find the good in everything, because there IS good in everything. I am so grateful for the experiences I am having here and for all the prayers in my behalf. I know the church is true! I love the gospel! I love all of you and miss all of you back home. Hope everything is going great!

Elder Neser

P.S. You know you’re a missionary in the south when the best way to contact people is to talk loudly about football and watch people gather around to offer their opinions!

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