Thursday, May 28, 2015

79th Week, July 28, 2014

lo se!

Its a bitter sweet feeling knowing that my mission has come to its end! As with all things in life, there is always a beginning, and there has to be an end! But this doesn't mean an end to me being a missionary. Just to full time mission work :)
I am so truly grateful for these 18 months I have had to focus completely on others and help others to grow spiritual. The miracles I have seen in my life, my family's and the people I have worked with while I have been here have truly confirmed my testimony of the Lord's love for us.
I know that my Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ lives. I know that He loves me and that He knows me and each and every one of us. He is merciful and wants us to return back to our Heavenly Father so we can live forever in happiness.
I know that the Book of Mormon is a true record of God's dealings with His children :) I love the Book of Mormon and have found so much peace and comfort as I've read it and applied its teaching to my life. I know that as well the Bible is the word of God and can bring us that same peace.
I know that Joseph Smith was called by God to be the prophet of the restoration. I'm grateful for the sacrifices of the early saints to restore the true church of God. I'm grateful for their examples of faith and trust in the plans God has for each of us.
I know that God loves me. That's something I"ve learned for sure in my mission and life. God's love is ALWAYS there for us. When we feel alone, He is carrying us and we need only pray to feel the strength He is offering.
I testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is God's only true church on the earth today.
I want each of you to know that I have a testimony of all of these things and I know that it is through the Gospel and our families that we can find eternal happiness. The family is key to God's plan and I know that's why Satan is trying sooo hard to destroy it.
God wants us to be happy.
I know that through the atonement of Christ we can be healed. We can be forgiven of every wrong doing and return to live with God some day. I know that is God's plan for each and every person.
I know that missionary work is so important for full time missionaries, and for everyone else as well! We are all missionaries and pioneers of our day bringing the world His truth by being examples and fighting until the end to keep our values in God strong! I love my Savior and I'm so grateful for all the trials I've had in my life that have made me who I am today and I'm excited to keep on learning and coming closer to my Savior when I get home :)
This isn't the end of my mission really, its just another transfer, with new responsibilities and assignments. That's what every step in life is :) Just another transfer with a new companion! Only this time, I'm going to choose my companion ;)
Thank you to everyone for all your support and prayers through-out my mission! They have truly made a difference and helped me in more ways than I can explain! I love you all and will see you soon!
Keep the fire burning of missionary work in your hearts always!  :) Love you!

Hermana Courtenae Irene Nielson

78th Week, July

77th Week, July 14, 2014

Stereotypical missionary moments!

You know when you are little you just picture the missionaries right? and what a mission would be like! all those cool things that always happen to missionaries.. well i had a couple of those this last week that made me feel like a real missionary :) I love when that happens! First off,
we had exchanges on Saturday! SOoo much fun :) Exchanges are always a blast but this one was a little different from the last.
It was weird because i realized it was my last official exchange... wooo that's weird! But it was fun. I left Sister Tovar in our area for the first time (man was she scared!) and i went to an area in McAllen to be with one of the STLs. it was a little awkward because the sister i was with has only be out for about 11 months..  and well... I've been out a little bit longer! So she kept trying to give me this very basic mission advice of all these things I should change in the next two weeks and it definitely bugged me a little... but I realized  that she is doing the best she can :) So I just smiled and took her advice and will apply it the best i can with this little bit of time I have ;) Well! The stereotypical missionary moment that day was that we were biking! Man was I happy to be on the bike again! We biked from 1pm-7pm :) soooo great! but... it rained.. and i don't mean a cute little drizzling rain like we sometimes get. It was one of those POURING Texas rains where the street floods and everything! We were soaked! and as we road through the streets, drenched, all i could think was "man I'm gonna miss this!! when else will i have the opportunity to ride a bike, in a skirt, in a Texas rain storm?!" :) But the downside was, its still hot when it rains. So we got into someone's house and they were blasting the AC. Soaking wet + AC = Cold cold missionaries!!
So that was a great moment on Saturday! We had a lot of success though and Sister Tovar reported back to me that night and said that they only got lost twice! :) I love her! She's such a cute little missionary haha.

Next stereotypical missionary moment... Never in my mission have i had a baptism fall through the day of the baptism... I thought I was pretty cool for that... welp... it happened! We were supposed to be baptizing these two little girls yesterday... first it got a little rocky when the 8 year old informed us she wasn't ready to be baptized... so we told her ok. we can wait til next week and your sister will get baptized this sunday :) all was good! everything in place! Then we got a text from the mom sunday morning saying that the dad of the girls is in town and they wouldn't be attending church... We tried EVERYTHING. we went to their house, knocked on the door, tried talking to the dad (he wouldn't come out)... it was bad :( we were soo bummed. But we figure, there is a reason. If the girls aren't supposed to get baptized right now, we will do everything we can to help them make the right choice, then leave it up to the Lord! Agency is a pain sometimes! a blessing and curse!

So those were my two really good stereotypical moments :)
also this week, we had interviews with President!! Love that!!! It was soooo good!!!! :) I love interviews! Seriously the best thing ever! Not too much detail more on that... but just know .... it was great :)

We also had FIRST COMP TRAINING! WOOOHOO! :) haha this is the big meeting with all the trainers and their greenies where we go and talk about the struggles or things going well :) There was something president shared that i loved and I think applies to EVERYONE in some way. He said that there are moments in the mission we must choose between being a "good missionary" and being a "good companion". Example, when our companion is sick and we really want to go out and work but you know they are miserable, sometimes you have to take time to stay home and get better... that just happens. In life, I think we sometimes have to choose between being a "good person" in the world's eyes vs a "good person" in the eyes of God. When we choose the world's way because we fear man more than God we are being a good person in the world's eyes... But when we make those hard decisions and choose the path God desires for us... we are becoming a good person in God's eyes. Its hard to see the line sometimes i think though... because God does want us to succeed in life and enjoy it! But there are more important things to be done sometimes than what we think is the most important! Just looking for that eternal perspective ;)

So that's kind of been on my mind for a while! I know that when I get home, i want to be able to look back and feel that I was a good missionary and good companion! Then I want to be able to make good choices to be a good person in the eyes of my Heavenly Father :) That is the real goal :) Show Him that I am grateful for all I've been given by using it in the BEST way possible :)
I invite you all to think about that this week as you make decisions every day! "Am I doing this to be recognized by the world as a good person? Or so that my God will know that I love him and follow Him?" I know that is the question I will be asking myself every day as I finish out my time here in the Great TEXAS MCALLEN MISSION! :D I LOVE being a missionary and I love serving my Savior! I know that the work doesn't stop when you take the tag off, but I have to make the BEST of every last moment I've got as a full time servant of the Lord Jesus Christ! I know that this is His work and that He desires the salvation and happiness of all of us! and I share this with you in his Sacred name, even Jesus Christ, amen!

Hermana Nielson

76th Week, July 7, 2014

Happy 4th of July!!!
I'm excited for next 4th of July when I can see the fireworks and don't just hear them and feel like Texas is trying to attack Mexico or something! We literally heard fireworks all night long and have great neighbers that like to blast Tejano music :) Yup! That's the 4th of July in Texas :)
I'm sure we had a crazy cool week.. but the time is passing so fast and slow that I can barely remember it! So I'll just tell you about the 4th :) We started the day with a breakfast from the ward! That was fun :) they had us missionaries sing a musical number... :) That was amusing to say the least ;) But it was good and the members loved it! Then we went and  did service for a member! They manage apartments so we were helping them clean up an apartment that had recently be vacated. It was fun because we got to paint :) I told sister Tovar all about my lunch ladies I did paint crew with... I think that job was definitely preparing me for the mission!

We only got to go out and work for 3 hours on the 4th because it gets a little dangerous here... so we had to be in by 630 and it was weekly planning day so we didn't get to leave until 3! Yikes! but we definitely made the best of the time we could and went hunting for people :)

As for people we are teaching! We are hoping to have 2 baptisms this sunday with the girls that we have been teaching :) Their mom is a little flojo still.... Flojo... I can't remember that word in English.. kind of like lazy. But she is still super wanting the girls to be baptized so we are going today to see what the game plan is :) Then! We are teaching another family! But not just a family... We found these two kids outside one day and taught them a little right? They are 14 and 13. Then we went back to teach their mom and met their brother and his wife and set baptismal dates with all of them! Then they referred us over to her other daughter and her husband and they are committed to baptism on the 3rd of August! Unfortunately the brother and his wife actually live in the elders area... but its still cool that all of them are being taught by missionaries currently! We are really excited and hope to see them progress quickly and maybe get baptized before I leave ;)

That was kind of our main excitement this last week :) We did a lot of walking because we are supposed to do 2 bike days a week in our mission but because of sister Tovar's arm we can't bike... Speaking of which! Everything is healing well and she got her new cast today :) We went for purple this time ;) Definitely a lot of fun right there :) I didn't know that your skin peels off when you get a cast off... Gross!

On a spiritual note... I was reading in the book of Ruth in the bible :) Well actually I read in Spanish so it was the book of Rut. :) But as I was reading I was thinking about the future and things that are important... I've been keeping this little "trunky" list in the back of my planner where I write the things I want to do and what not for after the mission :) As I was reading I was thinking about eternal marriage and how when you get married, people joke that you marry the family. But really... you do! you are sealed to that family! So you have to be loyal to them! Its kind of like the mafia.... :) only not! Haha! But it just made me think a lot about how its super important to not only love the person you marry, but love their family as well and be good to them! Kind of like a mission companion! You have to love your companion and naturally your family loves your companion and wants to help them :) Kind of like my companion from Guatemala :) she was sooo overwhelmed and cried when she saw all the little things that people had sent her for Christmas. Completely strangers. Yet they were kind enough to help her feel loved. Its amazing! I'm sorry if this all sounds a little scattered but it was just something cool I've been thinking about :) The love we have for those around us is sooo important!
I hope you all have a great week!
Love you!
Remember to be kind to others this week and help them feel a little more love!

Hermana Nielson

75th Week, June30, 2014

Every crazy possible...

Muy Buenos Dias a Todos!!!
Sister Tovar and I have decided that every crazy thing possible is going to happen to us while we are together... This last week was no exception.
First of all... we had a super cool ALL sisters meeting!! all the sisters in teh mission got together and had a meeting with the APs, Mission president and his wife and so on. It was great!!! I got to take a family picture  with my three daughers in the mission and my two granddaughters :) That was super cool! A lot of the meeting was talking about our divine potential! Lots of sisters get this mind block that Elders are more successful than us... FALSE! I'd like to humbly say that in the month of June, the sisters in edinburg out baptized the Elders! yup! :) We were excited ;) Every sister companionship(3) baptized in our zone and our companionship had two baptisms. So they talked a lot about how we need to realize that we are called and ordained by the SAME AUTHORITY to teach the gospel. It doesn't matter if we do the physical action of baptizing or not... we are still representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ with his authority to teach and call people unto repentance! :)
Next crazy moment... We had a little scary experience this week which involved takling to the police! Yup! My greenie was pretty freaked out. We had decided to walk around and we left our car in a bank parking lot right? Well, we got super hungry and went to eat at subway right acrossed the street. On the way back at the stop light, as we waited for the light to change, this crazy guy starts talking to us. We of course were good missionaries and gave him a pass along card and invited him to church, but then he went off on this story about getting jumped by a couple of guys and his car breaking down and needing money... It wasn't a big deal until i saw a cop car pull into the parking lot acrossed the street next to our car and just sit there watching us....
Well eventually he stops talking and turns around and sees the cop and runs across the street to talk to him. Sister Tovar and I were thinking "oh good! lets get in the car and get out of here!" well the moment I get in the car and start to back out, another police car pulls up and the guy gets out and tells my companion to go talk to him. well she panics and runs to me... :) My cute greenie. So we get out and he just asks about the crazy guy and if he did anything to scare us or anything. It wasn't too exciting overall now that I think back about it, but in the moment, we were pretty freaked out.
And through this all, my testimony of protecting angels has been strengthened! The bonus of being a missionary in a place you aren't familiar with is that you don't know how dangerous it is. You  have absolutely no clue what person is crazy, has been to jail, or anything like that. We get the happy rose colored glasses of knowing that everyone is a child of God and he wants them back on the right path! So we are here to help with that :) When I was in Laredo, i never felt like I was in danger, but when I mentioned that I started my mission there, people congratulate me on getting out alive!
Speaking of starting my mission... Today is my official 17 month mark of being a missionary! How crazy is that?! 17 Months ago, I waved good bye to my mom, dad and brother at the MTC as Chris tried playing "God Be with you til we meet again" on the radio :) Well I can testify that God has been with me these past months and He will for sure be with me in this last month as we race to the finish! I know every day is going to fly by in slow motion and I'm so excited to see the miracles that are sure to happen! My companion and I have been sooo blessed so far and I know that there is still more to come! I'm grateful for all the prayers said on our behalf and for all the love and support from everyone! I testify that this is the true church of God restored on the earth through a prophet called of God. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I'm so grateful for the guidance I receive as I read it! I love you all and I hope these are things you know as well! If not, its time to read and pray ;) I share these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ amen!
Hermana Nielson
ps. We taught YW in spanish this week! :) That was cool! I love the priesthood!!!
pps. the attached picture is my posterity in the mission! Woohoo :)

74th Week, June 23, 2014


Whats better than finding people to teach? Having people you teach come to church!
Better than that? Them getting baptized!
Better than that? Them getting confirmed!
Better than that? Them excited to pay their tithing!!
Woohoo!! You know you're helping a good solid person to be converted when they get all excited about paying their tithing :) Yeah Ivan is awesome!
Ivan was baptized last week and got confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints yesterday! Then after church he waited for us to show him exactly where the tithing envelopes were so that he could pay his tithing :) Can you say golden?! Yeah he's awesome!
He was our major high light of the week for sure!
This week feels like it was incredibly SLOW but here we are again writing emails on Monday!
Tuesday this last week was transfers, a lot of people from our zone left but sister Tovar and I are still here going strong! The other sisters we live with changed and now Sister Hunt is training a new greenie from California! They are super fun and we are having a great time in our house :) Lots of hard work getting done! Its so great to live with sisters that was working hard so that we can all encourage each other and give support at the end of a hard day too!
As for Sister Tovar's arm.... She had an MRI and we went to the doctor Friday. For now she is clear and free and doesn't need surgery! But she does have a nice big red cast :) we go back in two weeks to re-xray and make sure everything is still good. She's for sure going to have a cast for the next 8 weeks though... so my biking days in the mission are pretty much over :( Sad day! I miss my wonderful bike!

The big adventure of the week... We killed chickens for service. Yup. It was horrifying. We thought we would be cutting their heads off and that didn't seem to bad... nope! The member decided he would twist their necks and kill them that way.... Super gross! Then we had to cut the heads off and drain the blood and pluck them... Yup... I'm proud to say not one of us 4 sisters that did it threw up! But I'm definitely on a chicken fast for at least the next week! It was awful! The last chicken, the member was twisting its head and it literally ripped off! Blood flew EVERYWHERE. I've also sworn an oath to never help with chicken killing again. Sorry dad...

So those were our main adventures of the week! I've noticed the closer to the end you get, the more tired you feel all the time! I'm just exhausted! But my cute greenie is keeping me going and I'm pushing her to her limits to make sure she knows everything she needs to before I leave her here to fend for herself!

Last thought, I finished my Book of Mormon project! Reading it in Spanish and marking Christ's name every time He is mentioned. Now I've started over, the book has Christ marked in red and now I'm marking faith in blue and repentance in yellow. Its fun to search the scriptures for a topic because you become so much more attentive to what is going on and how those things are applied to what is happening to the people... I'm hoping that I can finish the book a 7th time before I come home but its definitely going to be a challenge! I'm so grateful to have the Book of Mormon as a guide and help in my life! The scriptures really become a blessing when we are willing to do the studying required to know how to find things to help other people :) I love it!
I testify to you that the Book of Mormon is true. I know it. I know it because I've read it and prayed to my Father in Heaven and He has answered me! I know that through the scriptures we can find more peace and happiness than anywhere else! It is the Lord's set of rules and instructions for life and I love it! I love you all as well and I hope that you have a fantastic week! If you have a free moment, write a letter to your favorite missionary! and me! ;)

Stay Strong! Stay True!

Hermana Nielson

73rd Week, June 16,2014

Spanish > English

Woohoo!!! So our week was insane. We are affectionately calling it our week of hardcore YOLO. (you only live once). Because, we had about 2 trips to the doctors, one car accident, a spanish ward fathers day party (no one parties like the spanish ward!) 1 confirmation and a BAPTISM! Wooohoo!!
And from this all, there is are many things I've learned but one that I want to share that is most important, Following the spirit!!!
On Thursday we went to the doctor for Sister Tovar's arm. They did another xray and it turns out she didn't just fracture her bone, there is something else possibly wrong and we will be going back for an MRI this week... that's a little nerve wracking for sure... But on our way back, we decided to adventure a little and see if we could get back to Edinburg a little faster... All was going good and we weren't lost at all. but then suddenly.. we stop at a red light and feel the car jerk forward. So we both look back and see that we've been hit! D: in the brand new car that was loaned to us I got in an accident! Crap! So I get out to see the damage and literally, its like 2 scratches above the wheel but we still have to call the police. the lady starts panicking and telling me how she doesn't have tags on her car and she totaled her other car and it will get towed.. so as I'm calling, I look away for two seconds and hear her car start again... I turn around and they are driving away! What the heck?! Hit and run! So the police come and we file the report and everything, then we go home and call all the people we have to inform... Then... we went out to work... :) That night my greenie and I sat down to plan for the next day and she just stares at me for a minute. Then says something quite profound. "We just keep going don't we?" so I asked what she meant and she pointed out that we had been in an accident, she had a broken wrist, I had a freak out a little bit(yes dad, I cried because we got hit) But we still went out to work and teach people. I told her yeah. that's why we are here!
It really opened my eyes too. Because I didn't think about it... I just knew we had appointments and goals to meet, so even though everything bad happened, we still needed to go to work. It was just satan's way of matching all the good things we were doing to send us personal trials to distract us. But we didn't let it work! Rojelio got confirmed yesterday and Ivan was baptized! It was a great baptism and the spirit was wonderful! Ivan is a professional boxer and so right before the baptism we asked if he was nervous he said "well when I go to fights I get nervous, but this isn't anything bad. its good. so I'm not nervous at all"
It reminded me that this work really isn't about us! I love serving the Lord! Its amazing to feel like you truly are an instrument in the hands of God to bring salvation to others.

One last thing.... Happy Father's Day yesterday! We had an awesome Spanish ward party on Saturday and I definitely got a little trunky for my dad and sad that we can't call dad's on fathers day. but one of the members sent pictures of all of us to our dads :) so I think that worked out well! I'm grateful for my great dad who has taught me the importance of the priesthood and always been an example of service to others!

I love you all and hope this week is truly a blessed one! I will be finishing my mission here in Edinburg and finish training Sister Tovar! I'm so happy and feel so blessed! also Sister Diaz is going to train! So I'm going to be a grandma in the mission! Best feeling ever to know your baby is training! :) Love you!

Hermana Nielson