Monday, October 28, 2013

39th Week Oct.28, 2013

Transfer of flat tires

Yep! I did indeed get another flat tire on my bike! luckily, it was super full of slime and we were able to just pump it up and go! But man was i sad when we walked out and my tire was completely flat... Not a good feeling!
So! I have two big exciting stories of the week! Well the ones I find the most interesting at the moment!
First: I did two full days of spanish!!! Ok so to all those that served a foreign mission this doesn't sound exciting.. but let me explain how cool it really was. The first day I did was on tuesday. We had a district meeting so that made it kind of easy. We just did all of our studies and planning in spanish then district meeting is in spanish anyways.. but then began working! Nobody on North Padre speaks spanish... so sister diaz and I would be riding our bikes and yelling back and forth in spanish. (super funny!) then we stopped and talked to people in english, or visited members, (got to speak english for a brief bit!) Then as soon as we walked away, we had to go right back into spanish! I was super proud of myself because I never forgot to go back into speaking spanish and a few times sister diaz would start speaking to me in english and I replied in spanish so she remembered(: It was super cool experience and definitely helped me develope some self control to not be lazy and just speak english. Then we did it again on thursday! That day was a lot harder... I woke up in a bad mood for some reason and kept trying to justify not doing a spanish day even though we already decided it... but my companion reminded me that I wanted to do it in the first place... so I stopped being lazy and we rocked speaking spanish all day long!
That was my personal huge accomplishment for the week!
Next funny story! Service with our bike rack! We have this super awesome member that Sister Diaz and I just love. she has a baby about 7 months old that adores sister diaz. so every time we go over she offers to feed us and just is a super awesome member! Well we were driving to try and find someone one night and saw this lady on the side of the rode with a bike and one of those trailer things on the back for a baby and realized it was our member! so we stopped. her bike tire had gone flat and she was a good 2 miles from her house! She had called her home teacher (husband is out of town) and he came to help out. so we put the trailer in his car, and we just so happened to have our bike rack in our car! so we could take the bike back for her(: It was a nice little moment to be able to serve a member who has done soo much service for us already!
Ok so i guess I should share some investigator and spiritually awesome things too!
So we had a couple member present lessons this week! We LOVE members! and we ESPECIALLY LOVE when members can come to lessons with us! The lessons were awesome too! We are teaching this 17 year old and he is doing his reading and praying! It rocks and we are super stoked for him! Then we had someone come to church this week. Not just anyone. BUT AN INVESTIGATOR! haha it was Sister Diaz first time with an investigator at church and she just didn't know what to do! But I helped her understand that at church, we step back and let the members do the work! Thats what its really about. The members need to be the ones embracing the people and pulling them into the ward. We just teach them the gospel (: So that was a wonderful little miracle! The best part was, one of the members invited him, not us! Best situation for sure(:
Well those are some of our most exciting things this week! We should finally get mail from mcallen this friday! I've had a few people tell me they've sent packages but we haven't gotten anything from mcallen since last month... so i'm excited to see what the elders bring back! Thank you so much for your love and support!
The church is true! Spread the word! :D
Sister Nielson


38th Week Oct. 21, 2013


Oh what a week we have had here on North Padre Island!
Thank goodness we had no car issues this week! haha but we did do a lot of bike riding to talk to more people! My bike tire apparently wasn't as fixed as I thought it was when I patched it... we would put air in it at the beginning of the day and by the end it was flat! So my darling elders helped me out and got me a good slime filled tire and by dang... I will not have another flat in my mission! haha
Highlight of the week:
This week we had interviews with President Maluenda! To paint you a picture.. he is about 6'4" probably... Chilean and prefers to speak Spanish. I was a bit more than terrified! Being in Corpus(the land of no Spanish!) has not helped my Spanish much and my laziness has definitely contributed to that. So I was super worried about that! But it all went well! Something super amazing about my mission president is that he always tells us that we should pay the most attention to the spirit. whatever the spirit says is the most important thing always. As we were talking, he paused, looked around and sat thinking for a second. Then looked back at me and asked me the exactly question that has been bothering me for a long time. I hadn't mentioned anything. In fact, we had been talking about the fact my brother just got married and this question had NOTHING to do with that. We talked for about an hour and it was exactly what I needed to kind of.. pull myself out of the rut I've been stuck in lately(:
It also gave me a focus for my studies on sunday! The atonement!
Now what exactly is the atonement? Well we all know that it involves Christ suffering for our sins... but it has 3 distinct parts. The Garden of Gethsemane, The Cross, and His Resurrection. Something I guess I hadn't thought about is how in depth the suffering in the garden really was...
I know that He understands our pains and can help us with our sins. but as well, Christ felt every temptation, pain, sorrow, happiness, upset, joy, everything. EVERYTHING. He truly understands on a personal level each thing that we pass through. Whether it be great, like the loss of a loved one, or small just as a paper cut! He understands the temptations, the fears, the worries, but also the hopes, the joys, the happiness! How amazing is that?! I know I have definitely had some moments in the mission which I have felt alone... I've felt like I was just walking down the street for no reason. But we are never alone. He always walks beside us because He walked the path first. We need not ever be afraid... because He has overcome these fears...
We like to laugh and joke because President Maluenda always says "Disfruten la mission! no las sufren!" Enjoy the Mission! Don't suffer! haha but how true that statement is. We are here to enjoy. to Learn! To grow! In Doctrine and Covenants 19: 17 the Lord tells us "But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I" He went through those pains so that we wouldn't have to. When we choose to rebel and do the things we know we shouldn't... we will feel the sorrow. But it doesn't mean we have to wallow in it and be stuck in that misery. He is reaching out his hand to lift us back up and higher than ever before! How great is the love our Savior has for us!!!
I testify to you that our Savior lives and LOVES us. Oh man does he LOVE us sooo much. When we are feeling the most upset and alone, His hand is ever reached out to lift. But we have to make that choice. We have our agency always to act in the way we so choose. wouldn't be easier if we all just chose to be happy? :) I challenge you to look for that happiness in your life. Kneel down before your maker and ask his help to make you stronger and happier. Use the atonement in everyway it is meant to be used! Turn to the Savior that loves you and let that love be felt in your life! He is there. Always there :) and I bear testimony of that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen!
-Hermana Nielson


37th Week, Oct. 14, 2013

Flat Tires all around!!


That's right ladies and gentlemen... i had my first flat tire! Not on my bike mind you... but on my CAR! It was the worst! we were driving the elders home from our pday activity and the warning light for low air pressure came on... sure enough we pulled into the gas station and that baby was FLAT. so the elders changed it for us as I tried not to freak out... and we went to pep boys the next day to get it fixed... then... the next day... my bike tire was flat!

I patched it and it was back in working order! Without getting a single grease spot on my skirt! Pretty impressive if you ask me ;) Sister Diaz and I have been riding the bikes a lot this last week so that we can talk to more people! I've already talked to all the people in our potentials and formers book... so now we need to find some new ones! Its definitely been an adventure! I had another drunk guy ask me if I'd marry him. 

We were talking to this lady and from across the yard this guy yells 'Do you wanna fall in love?' so I just kind of ignored him of course, he had a beer can. Then he walks up... and starts saying all this creepy stuff... "you're really pretty" "you know i need a wife" Talk about weird!! Luckily they weren't interested and we just peddled away VERY quickly! 

I think the best part of this last week was our zone meeting! We had transfers this last week ( sister diaz and i stayed the same since i'm training her and have only been here for one transfer) and we got a new district leader and zone leader. always a fun thing to have a leadership change.

The main emphasis of our training was being excited about the work and just going for it! We have to talk to everyone! Our duty is to invite people to come unto Christ... if we aren't inviting everyone.. well we aren't fulfilling our purpose! So that's the purpose of the bike riding. Its been a huge adventure and man have we been sore lately! But its been worth it to just have the time to talk to everyone. even if people aren't interested, we can return home at the end of the day and maybe feel a little sad for them, but as well we know that we did all we could. That's the most important thing! Putting in your full effort. I don't think i have ever ridden so many miles on a bike! I think my greenie was assuming she'd barely ride her bike in her mission and now she is questioning how sane her companion is.. :) oh well! I have the faith that because we are out there working hard, the Lord is going to provide a way! That's the wonderful thing about the grace of God. We are saved by grace but its not the sense people think... We are saved after all that we can do. We have to follow the example of Christ, be baptized and receive those saving ordinance, we have to share the gospel and love one another, we do all we can, then the Lord takes up the rest and as the Baptist say, "We are saved souls!" We are not saved on our belief allow. Faith without works is just believing, not true faith!

On the Spanish front, I am in 3 Nefi en el libro de Mormon! Super awesome right?! I've got everyone reading with me now. Whenever we are stuck places with the elders i make them pull out their book and read with me. Its been pretty great and helped my understanding a lot! The gospel is so cool. The best part is, even when i don't completely understand what I'm reading, i know what is going on. Not just because I've read it a lot in English, but because the spirit is the same no matter what language it is. I still feel the power of the words and the truthfulness there in. This last week we were reading through the introduction to the book of Mormon with a family and after each paragraph we stopped in talked about what things stood out to them. afterwards we challenged them to get down on their knees and ask again if the book of Mormon is true. because God loves us so much, he is will to make sure we know the truthfulness there of each time we ask. I challenge you to do the same! Read the intro and pray to know. Feel that power again just like the first time(:

Love you all and I wish you the best this week! The church is true, our Savior lives and God loves us!

-Sister Nielson


Monday, October 7, 2013

36th Week, October 7, 2013


Oh man! My second general conference in the field!! How weird is that?! One more and I will be on my way home! Yikes!
First some of the funny things of the week!
So past sisters got my car rearended... gosh women drivers!(; just kidding. it totally wasn't their fault. but I had to deal with it. so we got a call from the office saying we needed to go get it fixed and arrange things with our zone leader because we probably wouldn't have a car for a few days... Yikes!
So we took the car on Tuesday to the shop early in the morning, did our studies at the church, had our district meeting then had to wait with the bluff elders(we drive them everywhere) for the zone leaders to pick us up and take us home... well we didn't get back to the island until about 5 because they decided they wanted olive garden for lunch/dinner... darn elders!
But when we got home.. we had no car. So we biked! haha oh my dear lanta... my sweet companion is not so great at biking(: But we didn't have a bike accident! So that was wonderful! I love when my companions don't fall off their bikes(: we ended up not having to bike too much because everyone let us in that day! Tender mercy from the Lord. Then Wednesday we got up thinking our car would be done... nope... we biked again! But again, we got into houses so it wasn't so bad. then a member took us in around 3 oclock because our car was done! Sister Diaz was very grateful to not have to bike any more!
So that was our main big adventure of the week!
On to conference!!!
I love conference as a missionary! Watching it at the church, taking notes and getting answers to questions! I LOVE IT! The funniest part was having my companion ask me what different English words meant. then when Edward Dube started speaking I looked at her and she looked back horrified and said "I cant understand him at all!!!" Ironic that ended up being one of my favorite talks!
I loved how he said "Never look back! Look at what we still have to do!" I think in life we get so focused on wanting recognition for the things we have done that we forget there is still so much to do! still more adventures to be had, still more people to help, still one more door to knock at the end of the day! We can't be afraid to look to the future! There are so many great things in store that our Father in Heaven is just waiting for us to earn and enjoy. I've definitely felt some powerful love from my Heavenly Father during this transfer...
Something I also loved from conference is how much they talked about how we must prepare ourselves to share the gospel and such with others. We can't expect the Lord to give us the words we need in the moment we need them if we have not yet studied it out and done our part! President Maluenda challenged us to put away our scriptures of our native language and only read in the mission language. I had already decided I would do that when I got to corpus but its been cool to see the difference... I'm starting to feel the gospel more powerfully because I can't just read over it quickly like I always have before. I have to read deeper and think more about it and instead of reading 5 chapters a day, sometimes I only read 1 or two in the book of Mormon... (well in the Libro de Mormon!) Understand it first, that you might teach it to others.
I am working hard to be a true preach my gospel missionary and know the basics. know exactly what the Lord wants spoken to His beloved children here on North Padre Island. He loves these people just as much as he loves me and my family and friends. so I need to study hard and know His words that they might know of His love as well!
If you haven't read preach my gospel, Read it!!! This week my personal challenge is to read a christlike attribute every day! Yesterday I focused on diligence and today is virtue! I promise if you will do this as well you will feel Christ directing you more! He can only lead you fully as you come to know him. I know Preach my gospel is free online or probably you can download it! so no one has an excuse not to read!! Chapter 6 Christlike Attributes ! one a day!
Christ lives. He is our Savior. He loves us and understands every trial and happiness which we pass through. He is always there(: Doubt not, fear not, simply turn to Him and let His ways be yours as well!
con amor de North Padre Island!
-Sister Nielson

Monday, September 30, 2013

35th Week, September 30, 2013


So I lost a child this last week... It was very sad..
Sister Diaz and I knew we were going to have to go down to McAllen for our 1 Companion Training. But we weren't sure if Sister Petersen was supposed to come too or we should leave her in corpus with another companionship of sisters... so I bugged the elders to find out. Well Tuesday the Assistants called(you'd think I'd figured out by now not to answer them!!!) and told us Sister Petersen would be transferred to Harlingen!
Sister Petersen cried sooo much... it was bad... and I don't know how to deal with crying! So that was an added interesting measure of fun... But we packed her up Tuesday night, left Wednesday morning for our training and she waited in the office, then her new companion came and picked her up. So its just been sister diaz and I since then! Here comes the funny story of the week...
We will call this one...

The Burning Hands Service....

So Sister Diaz and I asked a member in our ward if we could serve her in anyway because her husband had to fly to Idaho suddenly because of his mothers death... well she invited us over and we helped her make salsa!! That was fun. my compy and I chopped all the tomatoes and stuff and we got to mix it and over all it was a fun time! Well. Here is what they don't tell you about making salsa... you know those hot jalapenos and chile Serrano you put in salsa to give them that... yum factor? Well you see... when the juices get on your hands you need to not touch your face right? because it will burn. well we were good and didn't but because we had been handling them so long... the juices had seeped deep into our hands.... we went to our next appointment (which was dinner at the ward mission leaders house) and had pizza and I suddenly was very aware that my skin around my mouth was burning and my hands were burning a little... but I ignored it. That night when we got home I looked at sister diaz and could see she was in a little pain... then began the madness.
Our hands really felt like they were burning. So we tried putting lime on them... then milk.... then I tried toothpaste(don't ask why I thought toothpaste would work it just seemed like a good idea!) and everything we could think of... we called the elders... we called our Sister Training Leaders... No relief. That night we went to bed with our hands still burning and woke up a couple of times in the night in pain... Talk about embarrassing... No good deed goes unpunished my friends!! Our hands continued to burn until about... noon the next day... Then finally it was gone... but still if we wash our hands with hot water, they get the burning sensation back a little... I will never make salsa again. although I must say it was very delicious...

So that was our service excitement of the week!

Next fun story is with the relief society broadcast!! and my birthday!!! I am 20! holy cow!!! I don't feel like I should be able to say I am that old.. but after all these crazy mission experiences, I do feel that old haha. Sooo I woke up Saturday and felt pretty cool... my birthday right? We had studies and what not... Sister Garry got to call me from McAllen to wish me a happy birthday! (being in the APs ward for a while definitely gets you some special privileges haha!) Then that night we went to the broadcast!! I met a friend of Aunt Barb's and she told me about going on a date with my dad! (awkward.... ? haha we had a good laugh about it though!) She bought me a little birthday present and it was a sweet little tender mercy to have someone there that knows my family(: Sister Kreis made me a big candy gram on the back of their whiteboard and we got some pictures with it and then the elders made me a cake! It was delicious too. I am very impressed with the cooking skills of my cute little elders we drive around everywhere! However, they don't have an oven. so I bugged them for the next day about how in the world they made me a cake... finally they confessed. They made a deal with a member that they would come do some yard work if they could use his oven to make a cake(: My elders love me!

I loved the Relief Society Broadcast!! It truly was amazing and soo inspiring. It kind of shocked me at first to have them talking so much about keeping our covenants but the more they did the more I realized something... We are so excited to get people baptized and teach them, but they need to understand the seriousness of these covenants they are making with our Heavenly Father... It isn't something to be taken lightly. It is a seriously matter.

Sunday! I spoke in church!! about missionary work! My favorite thing in the world! I was really nervous about this talk. Not because of the speaking in front of people, but I wanted to tell the ward exactly what they needed to hear. Elder Dance(one of my cute little short elders I drive everyone because they don't have a car) and I spoke. We joked before hand that I would show the ward the love and then he would get after them and "jack them" for not doing missionary work. That kind of is how it turned out!

I tried to follow the spirit and what the spirit wanted them to know is that missionary work is a work of love. If we love our friends, family, neighbors, we will share the gospel with them. We need to love them enough to say something and help them come closer to their father in heaven. God loved us enough to send His son to us stop our suffering and help us find the way, do we love our friends enough to help stop their suffering? Do we love them enough to show them the way they can have their family for eternity and feel the peace and joy the gospel brings? If I didn't love my brothers and sisters I would have gone home along time ago(: Its by pushing ourselves outside of our bubble and bringing others to Him that we find really happiness and others do too. I love you all! I hope you know your Savior loves you too. He is there for us. I realized this last week more than ever that he truly is there. When we find ourselves on our knees and all we can do is cry and plead for help, He is doing all he can to comfort us and provide a way through others to help us find the light. We must be that light ourselves for those people that are suffering. Someone is on their knees crying out for your help right now. Be prepared to help them! I know that God lives and loves us and providing ways through us to bring back his lost sheep. I testify to you that He is working miracles right now in our lifes without us even realizing it. Let those miracles work through you and be a blessing to other person! I leave this testimony with you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, amen!

This week is conference! Don't forget to write down your questions of the soul and seek out the answer in the words of God's mouthpiece on the earth! I love conference! The church is true and there are people who need you!!

Sister Courtenae Nielson


34th Week, September

Week Fun Times!!

Well this life in the mission field is definitely exciting...
We finally got the a/c fixed! Then it started leaking again! Haha so we are stilling leaking! I'm still on the couch but its downstairs... so when we have to turn the a/c off at night to prevent flooding, i have my own fan and its cooler(: So I see the couch as a pretty good thing actually! haha!
My dear greenies and I have definitely had some interesting experiences this last week! Thursday was zone conference!!! I love zone conference! For those that know him, I got a picture with elder bertrand and he is doing well haha! One of the main things President Maluenda focused on during our zone conference is that we need to be obedient and enjoy our time in the mission. It really is so short! Its blowing my mind that next week I will hit EIGHT MONTHS of being a missionary! The end of october will be my half way mark and I need to burn something! I haven't figured out if it should be a tie or not but something will be burnt in honor of tradition!
Also... in case anyone forgot, my birthday is friday! How crazy is that?! I am going to be 20 years old. No longer a teenager! But I definitely don't quite feel like an adult yet. I have to apologize for this shortness of this letter because I spent most of my time trying to email some pictures home... hopefully those worked and a few will be forwarded on. This adventure really has been crazy this week.
Probably the funniest thing about this week is the fact it has rained sooo much. Mosquitos apparently reproduce like crazy on the island when it rains... so we were talking to these two families in their drive way one night and suddenly I could just feel myself getting bit all over. I looked down... OH YES. THERE WERE AT LEAST 20 MOSQUITOS ON MY LEGS. So of course I very calmly started jumping around and trying to write the church address on a pass along card for each of the families so they could come worship with us sometimes. all their kids were justing laughing as the sisters and I were jumping around trying to kill all the mosquitos on us. Then we went to pick the elders up on the bluff one day (we live on the island and the other missionaries in our ward are the elders on the bluff) and they came running out of their apartment swatting at all the bugs and jumped in the car. They of course let a bunch of mosquitos in and one of the elders started yelling 'MATA LO MATA LO!" (kill it kill it!!) as the bugs swarmed around the car... it was bad haha. I don't think I have ever had so many bites on me in my life! and one of my greenies is allergic to mosquito bites... so thats been an interesting adventure as well! ah man, the Lord... He definitely has a sense of humor(: Thats what I know and believe with all my heart! But He sure does love me to send me all these things to teach me. I'm working on not being as selfish right now and focusing solely on the needs of my companions. Its been fun!
Well unfortunately I am out of time! so i hope all is well! If you'd like to send me a card this week, send it over to
Sister Nielson
14825 Windward Dr #211
Corpus Christi, TX 78418
Sister Nielson


33rd Week, September 16, 2013

Una Hija! Y una Hijastra!

Sooo because I am finishing Sister Petersen's training, she is my step daughter. and I am STARTING Sister Diaz, she is my daughter! My first born in the Wilderness! My "jacob" you might say! Mission lingo is super funny and a little bit weird sometimes!
So when we left off last week, I told you all that we were driving to Mcallen that night! Yup. It really did happen! Sister Petersen and I took the GPS and I drove to Mcallen to pick up my second trainee! Crazy right?! Sister Diaz is from Guatamala! The office lied to me and said Ecuador! But nope! She is chapina! (guatamalan) aaand just as my mother in the mission was 27 years old, so is my child! Crazy right? But super fun! We are having a blast so far!
Tuesday we drove back from Mcallen in the morning to make it just in time for our zone meeting! Yay for zone meetings. I love when we get all the missionaries together because we can bounce ideas off one another on different stuff... and I get to see more missionaries that just my companions! I love them dearly but... living on an island 20 minutes from the nearest missionaries is kind of a bummer sometimes!
We convinced the Elders that Sister Diaz only knows spanish... (: She in reality knows spanish, english and french fluently! Pretty cool right? So we convinced them she didn't know english and it was adorable to see how patiently they re-explained they jokes they made in english to her in spanish! Oh man i was dying laughing. It was great. Then we finally told our district on wednesday she knows english and they were so mad at us. but they laughed too so it was fun! I can definitely feel my spanish improving immensely speaking it so much with her! We have had a few moments where she has to explain a word to me and I have to explain some english words to her. Its been super fun though!
Our apartment has sprung a leak! On sunday we got a call saying that a tropical storm is headed in and we need to have our stuff ready to leave at a moments notice if we need to evacuate... not scary at all right? Haha no we aren't really worried because the hurricane is going down into mexico. we are just having awesome rain. So because our apartment is so small, I moved to the couch so my baby could have a bed, well the leak is right above my couch... and now my sheets are wet! haha! so fun right? ah well. That's mission life. I realized that we think mission life is so fun and perfect and missionary work all the time, but man... we have real life problems we have to deal with in the mission! Who forgot to tell me that??
We were also talking on sunday and I realized a few others things. I know Dad has been saying this all along, but the mission really is meant to convert you unto the Lord as well.. I was looking through my pictures so far in the mission with sister Diaz and she pointed out how much I've changed. I haven't really felt like I was changing too much... but when I looked at the picture I realized I don't really look like I'm 16 any more... In 12 days I'm actually going to be 20! TWENTY YEARS OLD.  I officially made it out of my teenage years without getting married or pregnant! The mission has taught me so much so far and now training is making my testimony of faith so much stronger... It really is scary each day thinking, "oh man.. is my companion gonna insult someone... or are we gonna find a family today?" I was so selfish before just worrying about myself and now worrying about others has really made me open my eyes a lot.. I'm not sure if any of this makes sense to anyone else.. but I thought I'd share my profound moment.
I was telling one of the elders in my district how nervous I am about this adventure and he said that when he started training it was scary too but he realized he could use the atonement at any moment to help him out. So that is my goal. In the moments I'm the most confused or afraid and really don't know what to do. I will lean on my Savior. He knows right?
Another thing one of the elders said to me really hit me hard... He told me that the first thing his trainer told him was "I am not perfect. I'm not a perfect missionary and I don't know everything. But I do know what I'm doing. I know how to be a missionary and I am asking you to trust me. I promise to trust you as well because we both receive revelation for this area. I will trust and respect you as long as you do the same" and he said I have to trust my companions enough to do things I know wont work. I'm working on trusting them a lot right now because I know they trust me. We have to work as a team though!
This church is so true and amazing. I'm grateful to be out here in corpus learning all these things even if I am a little stressed, smelly, and tired. Its worth every moment! I testify that our Savior loves us and lives. He died for us and now He lives for us that we might return to Him!
Love you all!
Sister Courtenae Nielson


32nd Week, September 9, 2013

Because just training one would be too easy.

I'm getting another baby in the mission!
Sooo Sister Petersen is still in training and I've been finishing training her, well we got a call from the Assistants to the President last night... I didn't really think anything of it at first because I served in the ward with them for a while and was used to them calling ocasionally. so they called and the conversation went like this:
Elders: Hey sisters hows it going?
Sisters: Great! We love it up there!
Elders: Sister Nielson! Youre not surfing right?
Sister Nielson: Oh elders! you know i surf every day for morning exercise!
Elders: We are sure you do sister nielson! well we are calling on behalf of President Maluenda tonight
(this is where we started panicking)
Sisters: Alrighty... whats up elders?
Elders: Well we were wondering if you could take a trip down to McAllen tomorrow to pick up your new baby Sister Nielson! Your gonna train another missionary and be in a trio!
Sister Nielson: You're joking right?
Elders: Nope! We want you to still have your pday though! so you will leave Corpus at 530 so you can get to president's house at 8 and pick up your new baby!
Sister Nielson: No but really... you're joking right?
Elders: Sister Nielson the Lord has confidence in you and President Maluenda feels very strongly that this sister needs to be up there with you both! We are really excited for you to come down!
So! We will be leaving here at 530pm to head to McAllen and pick up my second born in the wilderness! How crazy is that? Sister Petersen and I were just getting comfortable being together and now we will be an awesome trio! I'm super excited but definitely went through some serious panicking last night! I called the Sister Training Leaders and told them what was going on so we could borrow their GPS to drive down and just freaked out to them a little. one of the sisters gave me some really good advice though...
She reminded me that these things happen for a reason.That the Lord knows exactly who we need to be with and where we need to be always. Apparently I need to be training these two sisters at this time and though I'm a little overwhelmed and nervous, I'm excited to see what exactly the Lord has in mind for this adventure... haha! I love that right when I start getting comfortable the Lord laughs a little and throws me a new curve! The mission wouldn't be fun if He didn't!
In other news... Our air conditioning died this week(: I've discovered what its like in those countries where you don't have any.. you wake up in the morning wet... from sweat... its pretty gross haha! Sister Petersen and I woke up friday morning and looked at each other and tried not to panic. we tried all weekend to get a hold of our land lord and he was unavaible... luckily he called our house keeper lady today and said he would get it fixed! So we survived 3 days with out airconditioning(: But! the elders were sympathetic to our needs and brought us two big box fans! that was a serious blessing for sure! we love those serving elders!
Next awesome news: WE FOUND A FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are super awesome! Sister Petersen and I were visiting a referrel and she told us we should talk to her neighbors. One neighbor she said was super friendly and nice the other super mean. the mean one is a biker and she told us some bad stories... so we were a little nervous... guess which neighbor was the family that invited us back and we've already taught the restoration to? Yup. The biker! he's super cool! Him and his wife have two adorable kids 13 and 9! Fantastic ages right? So we have another lesson with them tomorrow and they will be in church on sunday! We have been praying since I got there to find a family and we know this is the one! We just need to help them receive that spiritual confirmation that this is God's true church on the earth today! and it is! so that shouldn't be too hard right? Haha.
One more cool thing for the week! I spoke in sacrament meeting at the singles ward here! It was my first time speaking in church in the mission! So i was pretty excited!  I decided to try that whole... "lead by the spirit" approach with my talk.... the branch president asked us to speak on preach my gospel too so it was an awesome topic i know VERY well! I decided on chapter 6 as my focus! Christlike Attributes! I went through each of the attributes and talked about why each one of them is important to me personally and what it means. I think the best part of the talks is that my companion panicked and got scared and only talked for 7 minutes... welll this branch is tiny. and we were the only speakers.. so that gave me 20 minutes to talk and I did! How cool is that?! I had a couple of the members thank me afterward for my talk and tell me that they really felt the spirit :D That was an awesome feeling!
I think one of the attributes that I need to apply the most currenlty is patience... always patience I struggle with! I've gotten good(i think) with my patience with others. its definitely been interesting being patient teaching a new missionary(and now a NEWER missionary) but my self patience isn't so great. I keep expecting a lot better out of myself and feeling like i'm failing. But I've realized that... by getting upset at myself and not being patient with myself, its not just me I'm affecting. My companions can tell when my confidence level goes down and I'm afraid. Members can see it and I can see the change in them when they notice. So I have made that my goal in this new adventure that begins today! I must be a lot more patient with myself. That doesn't mean getting lazy when I can't do something perfect right away... it means I'm going to keep trying. I invite all who read this to do the same thing! Think of something you've been getting frustrated with yourself on... maybe its a talent you are trying to develope that just doesn't seem to be working out... try it again. and when you feel that frustration, take it to the Lord right then. Ask him for help and trust Him. He knows better(:
I'm grateful for my loving Heavenly Father that knows me so well and is patient with me, and my loving Father here on earth that whenever I get frustrated I can hear him in the back of my head saying "suck it up and fix the problem! you're killing me smalls!"
I know that when we are patient with ourselves, miracles can happen! I'm so excited for this next adventure in my mission and can't wait to meet my 2nd baby in the mission tonight! I can just feel that she is going to be a wonderful blessing in my life and teach me a whole lot more than I could ever teach her! I wish everyone back at home the best! Love you!
Sister Courtenae Nielson

31st Week, September 2, 2013

 This email was actually sent on Sept 3 due to Labor Day

Coming to you live.

From the beaches of North Padre Island! Where the water is warm, the breezes never stop, and the missionaries can't even really enjoy it! Haha!
Oh what a first week of transfer!!!!
It was CRAZY getting all my stuff packed up so I could leave from McAllen. Somehow you accumulate all this crap during a transfer and then you have to pack everything! there were definitely things left behind and I hope Sister Garry is enjoying the passed along clothing! No worries, she didn't get any of my skirts(:
So transfers were on Tuesday last week! yay!! I got to ride in the transfer van with SISTER KREIS!!! It was so wonderful to be with her again! I love sister kreis so much! she is wonderful!! I got to tell her all my crazy stories of the far south and she told me all about the gossip from Laredo! She is now a Sister Training Leader over me and I'm super excited I can call her whenever I need help!
SO THE ISLAND! I have never lived by the beach. I honestly remember one time going to the beach and that was our cruise in 7th grade... This place is amazing! Its so pretty! we run on the beach for morning exercise, there is always a breeze, we drive over the water to get into corpus... oh yes. sounds like a dream right? Unfortunately! I am here to be a missionary! Ahhhh!!! Haha just kidding! I love it!
Our members are super awesome and very strong but we only have a few... we work on North Padre Island and Port Aransas. AND I have twice as many miles as before! but that's because the Flour Bluff elders only bike and we have to pick  them up for meetings and church. I love our elders(: Elder Dance and Solis are both standing at 5'3". One is a redhead and the other is latino. They are seriously an adorable companionship and don't mind answering my questions about Spanish. Oh by the way... NO ONE SPEAKS SPANISH IN CORPUS. So our only Spanish interaction is with missionaries or the one lady that lives in our apartment building who speaks the language! oh yeah... so i'm pretty much teaching my baby the language! No worries(:
My baby!!!! So she is technically my step child. but that's alright! I still love her! Her name is Sister Petersen! She's from Mapleton Utah and is 19 as well! I finally have a companion that I'm older than! :D That was an exciting surprise! We've had some interesting driving adventures so far. she doesn't know the area very well because her first momma used a GPS. so we are pretty much officially learning it together by using our cute little maps and taking wrong turns... good thing we have so many miles!
We have one current investigator that will hopefully be baptized soon! He is an interesting fellow for sure... Very interesting... we have to hunt him down today to finish teaching him things he needs to know for his interview! this is the fun part... crunch time!
I touched a CRAB!! That was one of my life goal moments this last week! We were talking to a member on her back dock and she pulled this thing out of the water to show me what barnacles are... and this little crab came running out! I found out they truly do walk sideways... so anyone who ever mocked my crab walk should know, I was walking like a true crab! He was so cute! i'm sad I didn't get a picture...
Adjusting to a new area is definitely hard... especially one as new as this one... its an adventure every second of every day! I'm definitely learning to truly put my trust in the Lord and know that He knows whats up... Its definitely been a little hard pushing my pride to the side and asking for help... That pride thing sure is a problem! Especially when you think you are being pretty humble.... (; I've realized though.... that this are the moments our savior rejoices in. when we are willing to admit.. yeah we don't know what we are doing! We need help for sure! It just happens that way sometimes... we need to trust in our father that loves us and ask for his advice... That being said... I have a challenge for all reading this!!!!
Think of something that bothers you. Something someone does that just... makes you mad every time. (remember how I went crazy when Dad would whistle? all my companions have liked to whistle.... very funny God...) Pray about that thing and ask the Lord to help you forget about it. Then do it! Don't let it bother you any more. Think something positive every time you feel a little irked about that one thing! That's currently my self challenge(: So lets start it this week and see what we can do!
Love you all! I'll try to get letters out to people I haven't written back next week... and I'm probably gonna go post card crazy next week because I'm finally in a tourist spot! Love you all! be safe! THE CHURCH IS TRUE. Hold strong to the faith!
Sister Nielson


30th Week, August 26, 2013

Sister Nielson pack your bags

Soooo. This week has been crazy intense!! we have transfers tomorrow!!! So here's how everything was told to me...
Tuesday night we get a text from our awesome zone leaders that says "The meeting starts at 10 :)" and of course sister garry and i panic thinking "what meeting?!" so we text back asking and just get a reply of "hahahahahaha" ... fishy or what?! So we called and asked what was up and they said we would be getting a call soon and that person would need to be at the la vista chapel at 10am for a meeting! so sister garry and i starting placing bets which one of us was training... well then we see President Maluenda on our phone! AHHHH!!
They called me to be a trainer! I'm gonna finish training a sister! So in training, we have this program thats the first 12 weeks of your mission... well this sister has done the first 6 and i'm gonna finish the rest with her! So she's my step daughter(: I can't decide whether I should count her as my first born in the wilderness or not... but its ok(: I'm still excited!
But they didn't tell me who I would get! So we had to wait for transfer calls! They finally were supposed to come Saturday and the elders ended up just telling us in person because we were practicing for a musical number for sunday. Elder Smith couldn't keep a straight face telling me... Because... we've had a long standing joke(we are in a ward with the assistants to the president) that if we aren't nice to them, they will send us to corpus! so last transfer we left candy and a note in the office saying "thanks for not sending us to corpus.... yet!" Well guess where sister nielson is headed to train?!
I'm headed back up north!!
I will be serving on the beautiful North Padre Island with Sister Peterson! I'm super excited but nervous and sad to be leaving Mission East! This area has truly been amazing! I have so much love in my heart for all the members and people we have met in this area and I am going to miss Sister Garry so much!!! But when the Lord calls, we must go!
The training meeting for new trainers and district leaders was super amazing as well. I have learned sooo many things this week! one of the biggest things I learned in the training is that the last 10 minutes of the day truly are the most important. Its in those last few that you show God if you are truly willing to endure to the end and do all that is possible to bring his work to pass. It truly is an amazing work that we are about... Miracles happen when we are having fun, following the spirit, and doing all we can to listen to its whisperings.
Our mission president truly is a blessed man! He is so intune with the spirit and wants us to focus most on what it says. our training meeting was ALL in spanish. and i was nervous at first but i was pleasantly surprised when I totally understood everything that was said... then President Maluenda went around and asked people what the spirit and told them... You know that terrifying moment when a tall chilean man asks you what the spirit has told you and you know it has to be said in spanish? Yep. Happened! BUT. It was awesome. The thing I had been thinking about the whole meeting was when we give our will to the Lord we can become what he wants. He knows how special we are and wants us to feel that and understand that. Though I am finishing training someone and not getting a brand new greenie, there is a reason! This sister and I are specifially needed to be together for some reason and I need to find that reason out by giving my will to the Lord and doing what he wants! I can't wait to get to Corpus and starting working harder than I ever have! I'm determined to be that missionay that has to be picked up by an ambulance at the airport after my mission because I did all i possible could. I won't do it perfect, or maybe I won't change the whole world, but i will change lives in Corpus!!!
Our challenge we have been giving members lately is to have a mighty prayer! In Enos we read about his "wrestle" before the Lord before he received a remission for his sins. then after he prayers in behalf of his people and us as well! Future generations! The challenge I want to leave you today is to have a mighty prayer! BUT NOT FOR YOURSELF. We pray for ourselves all the time! The Lord needs you to occasionally kneel down, and pray solely in behalf of those around you. Don't mention yourself at all in your prayer. Just prayer for others. It doesn't have to been long. but make a list of people or things you would like to pray for before hand and pray for them(: Have a mighty prayer in behalf of others. I promist you will feel the love of God even stronger as you turn away from your own needs and fears and ask for others strength. Thats what has made the mission truly amazing. Not worrying about myself and focusing on the needs of the people around us!
I love you all! next time you hear from me I'll be a little closer to home! But not really.... Good bye for the last time from the Mission East, Mission Zone area of the GREAT Texas Mcallen Mission!!!!
Hermana Courtenae Nielson!



29th Week, August 19, 2013

Spanish with a... FRENCH ACCENT?!

Yes indeed ladies and gentleman, it IS possible to speak spanish with a french accent! and not a fake one!
Sister Garry and I were walking down the street one day and this lady had a fake scottish terrior. so i started talking to her (because I'm sister Nielson and i talk to strangers on the streets!)  and she told me politely in english she didnt' speak english (always makes me laugh) so i went into spanish and she went into spanish and we talked for a minute but her accent was strange... so we asked where she is from. Yup. France. She speaks french, spanish and italian!!! French is her native tongue so she has a french accent in spanish! it was seriously the coolest thing i have ever heard in my life! her daughter is a member and she has a french book of mormon! she loves the church and thinks its awesome but "no quiero obligaciones!" she doesn't want any obligations like having to go to church weekly and stuff... psh! but she is willing to teach us french and thinks we are beautiful(: so we will just have to work on her commitment issues!
Next story is super cool!!! We had a zone meeting on tuesday with our mission president! he is amazing!!! the meeting was led completely by the spirit. he called it last minute and told our zone leaders, Sister training leaders, and the asistants that they all were to speak according to the spirit. no prepping was done before hand. so they all got up in turn and followed the spirit! it was amazing! our zone leaders even sang for us! i love those elders so much!! one is from CHILE! and the other from sandy utah and they are absolutely amazing!
Well. then wednesday morning we got a call from our zone leader. sister garry answered becuase I was in the shower and she came up afterwards freaking out. The elder called and said "sisters... i was praying last night and feel impressed that you need to find a family today. read 1 Nephi 3 and 4 and go find them" so we read and.... we found them!!!!
We started out the day going to see a former because she informed us that maybe other families needed the gospel more than her family right now so we decided to go ask her who those families are (ha ha) and they weren't home. so we looked at the house next door and sister garry commented that we had seen kids there before. so we knocked. got inside within a few minutes of talking about importance of familes... and  well... they are getting baptized september 15!!!
Here's the coolest part of the whole thing! we were sitting on the couch talking to them... and i pulled out my book of mormon. Well one of the sons looks at me and asks what book i'm holding. so of course i told him... and he said he has one! WHAT?! His sister went to our church a few times and her friend gave her a book... but then she didn't like it so she gave it to him! we challenged him to read it and he's already on chapter 10 of first nephi! this family is super cool! We are so grateful for the direction of our leaders! they truly are inspired not only for their areas but for us as well!!!
Soooo things i've studied this week... The church keeps putting all of these old books on a table for people to take... yes i have a small collection currently of books of grabbed. mosty spanish ones because i need more to read and learn in spanish but I recently grabbed one about the priesthood... can i just say AH MAZING!!!!! Its just the priesthood manuel they used for young mens but seriously... i am in ah every time i read that thing! the priesthood truly is SOOO amazing!!! and I totally didn't know we could write down fathers blessings... i am kicking myself I haven't ever done that!
One of the things I found the most amazing is that it talks about how when you receive the priesthood you pretty much always have the AUTHORITY to use it. But the POWER comes from your worthiness and how you are living according to God's commandments. I realized that is the same with missionary work! We can wear the pretty black tag and call ourselves missionaries all we want. we have that AUTHORITY. But our POWER comes from being worthy to act in God's name and doing all that He asks of us! We recently issued a super cool challenge to some members that i want to issue out to you all!! Figure out one thing you are doing that is driving away the spirit. Something that maybe isn't helping you follow what God would have you do... you are thinking of it aren't you? (: Stop it. Right now. Do not do that thing ANY more. Purify yourself against it and stop right this instant. As soon as you decide to, it will be hard. Satan will do all he can to see you fail. Don't let him win. Change just one thing today to help you have the spirit more fully and write about it in your journal! I'm currenlty working on that by not saying some words that aren't bad... but definitely Christ probably wouldn't use(: I wish you luck in your journey!
The Lord truly loves us. I've realized more and more that every bad or good experience I have had has prepared me for right now! In good ways and bad(: Rejoice in pains and infirmities! Take please in reproaches for when we are weak! we are strong! Love you all!
The church IS TRUE! The Lord LOVES you. and there are people who need your testimony more than you could ever know!
-Sister Nielson

28th Week, August 12, 2013

The Adventures Continue!

Well! this is draft two of my letter because i started writing about one thing then decided it didn't need to be written so i'm writing something else!!
here's the cool story of the week!!!
So friday we got a call from the assistants to the president. (which at first seems like trouble right? no worries. this time its good!) They asked Sister Garry to sing in a special musical number for our ward because the mission president was coming to speak! super cool right? so they brought down some sisters from corpus, elders from brownsville/edinburg and then sister garry! it was super cool. they sang I need thee every hour. it was a beautiful arrangement and a super cool experience! i missed the presidents talk though because i went with another sister to try rounding up investigators haha. sunday joys!
after church we went to the mission presidents house for lunch with his family. The Maluenda's are serioously the most beautiful family ever! i love them all so much! as we were all talking President put a LOT of emphasis on the fact that we need to use our talents in the mission! all of them! if we can sing or play an instrument, do it! So i have plans to get a guitar or something and develope a talent to share since i can't sing(: haha!
Then we got back to church for spanish ward! i love spanish ward so much(: i'm finally understanding basically all that goes on and keeping conversations up(sorta) and we had a miracle! we had given up hope anyone was coming to church when suddenly sister garry and i turned around and behold!! one of our investigators was their with his kids!! it was super exciting! and he loved the meetings! yay!! we get go see him on wednesday to see what his thoughts were and hopefully commit him to a baptismal date!
Super cool!
Not sure why but i'm feeling slightly off today... so thats all my exciting new for the week to share(: sister garry and i are still chugging along! we know we can do this work together and are going to make the best of the next two weeks we know we have together! thanks for the prayers and updates from home! i hope all continues to be well and know that the Lord is always there and understands! Christ didn't just suffer for our signs, he knows every pain we have and ever will feel. From stubbing your toe, to losing a loved one he understands and is there for us to turn to at the moment we need a friend most. I've learned that lesson for sure so far in my mission. Don't ever be afraid to pray for direction!
Love y'all!
Sister Nielson

27th Week, August 5, 2013


Mini missionary fun!

Soooo this last week sister Garry and I had babies! mission babies! two young woman from the other stake got to come work with us for the whole week. they slept over at the house of a member, got dropped off at 715 in the morning and picked up at 930 at night! it was a crazy week and sister Garry and i are stoked to take naps today!!!! Longest. Yet. Shortest. Week. Ever!!!

So because we had NO miles left at the end of July... we walked. a lot. on our first full day out walking... our minis didn't bring enough water... for some reason they thought missionaries sat in cars and houses all day? Silly girls(: So one of the minis threw up... not so great... The rest of the week we planned a lot better so they wouldn't have to walk quite as far. each day we switched which mini was with us so that made it a lot of fun! We even found 4 new investigators this week!! Two of them are moms with 3 boys each! ( we plan to get the whole families together this week and teach them all! oh and baptize them as we bring them to Christ)

Our last new investigator of the week we found last night when it was just sister Garry and I! he is probably my favorite one so far. His name is Pete(: and he speaks Spanish. No worries. sister Garry and I are totally awesome at teaching in Spanish now (: except when they use non gospel related words... then we are super confused and they have to try speaking English to us to help us understand the question. That was interesting...

But really what i want to tell you this week is i got jacked for not having my bible with me... jacked is a term we use in the mission meaning... like we got in trouble. When we don't do the reading for district meeting for example, our district leader might "jack us". Sooooo here's what happened!
My mini and i were walking down the street right? a very missionary thing to do(: when this red jeep drives up and the guy yells out "hey are you the Mormons?" well of course that's our favorite thing in the world to hear. so we said "why yes we are" and walked over. what took place after that was one of the most intense conversations I have ever had.

 Yes. We bible bashed. Correction, they bible bashed, my mini missionary stood terrified and confused, and I testified because that's all you can really do in that situation. There were two guys sitting in the car and at first the conversation was friendly! they asked why we are called Mormons(2nd time that week I'd had that question) and I told them I'd show them. so I pulled out a book of Mormon and started explaining(: They were pretty receptive at first... but there is this physical change you can see when Satan takes hold of someone's heart and they start attacking you... yep... it happened. afterward my mini told me that she was understand everything going on, then suddenly she couldn't understand any more and they just looked mean. That is what I call the shift. They shift from being open and receptive to attacking.. and they claim they just want to talk... and that Christ rejoices when we speak of Him. However I don't think He is a fan of when you attack His representatives with false beliefs... ah well! I stood my ground and gave them some things to serioously think about(: as well as gave them both a book of Mormon and committed them to read the introduction and pray about it(: HOWEVER. i did not have my bible... So they asked to see it and I couldn't pull it out... (I'll be honest, its a pure lazy thing... I just carry my triple in Spanish, a BoM in both languages to give away and 3 pamphlets each of the main lessons we teach with my picture book and folder of information for our area... backpacks are heavy when you walk around all day and bibles are SUPER HEAVY!) They pointed out that i was trying to preach about something I didn't even carry... Spiritual jacking right there. the spirit was NOT happy with me. So i will never go anywhere without a bible again. I literally have my triple and bible sitting on my desk as i write this.

Yesterday when we found Pete he also asked to see our bible in Spanish. No worries. it was safely in my backpack ready to be pulled out(: Two witnesses in two days? I get the picture. I won't leave my bible in the car any more!!

On the Spanish news! i gave a talk in Spanish in our zone meeting this last week! It was about the importance of families. i talked about how my parents are where all my gospel learning begin. I learned from my mom to make your bed then say your prayers and I know the importance of knowing your scriptures because my dad can still quote the scripture masteries! I felt pretty awesome speaking and being understood and the elders told me i did a great job and thanked me for it(: yay!!! If only my Spanish teachers could see me now! Speaking to the people and testifying too!

Over all that's the basics of the week! its been a pretty crazy ride but sister Garry and I are excited to fly this week as just the two of us again! mini missionaries are boss and I wish they did this in Utah... but man they complicate things a lot!

I wish you all a great week and don't forget to share the gospel with someone this week! and bring yourself closer to Christ. that is the most important thing! you can only convert to the level of your own conversion. and for that i am reading the bible daily now! Feast upon the words of Christ ! for the words of Christ will tell you all things that ye should do!
Love you!

Hermana Nielson

Thursday, September 19, 2013

26th Week, July 29, 2013


Oh what a week we have seen down here in south texas!!!
Highlight of the week :we found EIGHT. thats right. 8!!! new investigators this week! super cool right? Bad news... none could come to church! but its ok. they will be there next week because the church is true(:
So funny things of the week:
Our miles are totally zapped! on wednesday we looked at it and realized we only had 100 miles left for the week. which seems like a lot... but definitely isn't! so we biked! a lot... in the 108 degree weather.. in skirts. I bought some better biking shoes last week with a strap across the foot(mary jane style) and i am now proudly sporting a very ridiculous tan line(: Its great! our members just laugh at us and tell us we should be more careful with our miles! probably true... but its been fun! the bikes are always an adventure! Sister Garry didn't wear the pencil skirt this week though so we didn't have an crashes(: just a few flashing moments with the wind... woops... probably should buy leggings or shorts for under my skirt this week haha!
Mail! so this story is pretty great(: we hadn't gotten any mail for like two weeks... and man.. i was having a serioous pity party quietly by myself thinking "why doesn't anyone love me enough to write? i understand my siblings writing me... but aunt linda usually writes me... or other missionaries..." so as i was feeling this way, we got home on wednesday and the sisters were disgusted with me. (not my companion the other ones we live with) I asked what was up and they pointed to my desk. our mail box has apparently been broken and he hasn't been able to put it in so they happened to run into him today and i got 5 letters from various loving people! It was a wonderful moment in life to know that someone in the real world is thinking of me(: haha!
Spanish and Teaching update!!! We found this wonderful family this last week! The Chavez family! consisting of a mom and 3 adorable girls! they were a referel from the member and super awesome! when we came by the mom told me she had been waiting  for someone from our church but no one had come yet! so we set an appointment for friday and off sister garry and i went! we taught them the restoration! in spanish. completely. and my compy is still uncomfortable with spanish so i taught most of it and she said the first vision(: It was more than a little awesome knowing that i was being understood completely and i was understanding their questions and comments as well! This family is super wonderful! they accepted baptismal dates for the 25 of August and we are hopefully going to have a family home evening with them tonight! i'm super excited!
oh also this week we get mini missionaries... which means youth from down here will come be with us for a week. we get  two! which means sister garry takes one and they work, and i got the other and we go to work.. for a week!!! crazy right? we are freaking out a little and anticipating weight loss as we have no miles and only one car.. yay for adventures!! we will have more updates on this story next week for sure!!
overall that is the main points of excitement we have been blessed with and stumbled into this last week! Every day an adventure in the TMM! Love you all and i wish you the best this week! If you aren't reading your scriptures... i hope the spirit just hit you with a little guilt and you will open them tonight! The book of Mormon changes lives!!! I know it!!
-Sister Nielson

25th Week, July 22, 2013

Dumped like a bad prom date..

Well this week has been a bit flip floppy! Conveniently I forgot my journal so i can't give you any play-by-plays! Haha works out well right? But here's the highlights that i can remember!

Sister Bolster headed home on Tuesday and I officially took over as senior companion! I now know how stressful it feels to ask your companion what you should do and have them turn to you and say "i don't know you are the senior companion!" basically the only thought that went through my head the first time was "oh shoot." We even had our first door slammed in our faces as a solo companionship haha! But no worries! We are all learning right? The secret is acting like you totally know whats going on all the time(;

Sister Garry and I have realized that we have to put our FULL trust in the Lord right now. We aren't completely fluently and sometimes have to resort to hand gestures to figure out what our spanish speakers mean, but we aren't going to give up! We chosen Moroni 7:33 as our theme scripture for the week!

"And Christ hath said: if ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me."
We know that the Lord whats us to bring souls unto Him, so if we will be faithful and focused, we WILL be blessed for sure! There truly are people prepared every where in the world. they are just waiting for the right person to knock at their door at the right moment. and with that being said, our no knocking rule has been lifted! No to say we are going to knock all the doors now, but we will definitely be trying some more ways of finding people.

To explain the subject line, we literally had all of our investigators drop us this week... It could be seen as a bad thing, but i see it as good because we are starting with a fresh slate. It is now time for my compy and I to find the people prepared specifically for us to teach at this time!

Best Adventure of the week!
We have decided in an effort to be more healthy that we will bike more. Oh yes. So we biked on thursday! that wasn't so bad. it was actually pretty fun! then on Saturday we biked again and sister garry decided to try wearing a pencil skirt to see if that was better because it wouldnt be able to flip up like my skirts sometimes do(i learned the bike trick though! you put your seat as high as you can stand it and your skirt stays down easier! dunno why! but it does!) so she is riding in her little skirt and then as i'm locking my bike up I hear "sister nielson!!!! sister nielson look!!!!" i looked up in time to see my companion riding side saddle on her bike and go STRAIGHT BACKWARDS! No worries, she isn't injured at all! but it was the funniiest thing i have ever see in my life. the bike went down first and then i thougth she had caught herself but nope! you can't really catch yourself in a pencil skirt so she went right down on top of it and well... so much for not having her skirt fly up! it seriously was hilarious. i just stood there laughing for a second after she announced she was ok! Then as we were riding back to the apartment to get our car, it started raining. Yup. Picture this one, two white girls riding bikes in the car lane in the rain in texas! i hope you got a chuckle out of that one because we were laughing super hard as everyone looked at us like we were crazy. maybe we are... oh well! I love my companion!
Last event of the week was our convert being confirmed and receiving the holy ghost! she was sooo excited and her kids came to sacrament meeting!(they aren't members... yet!) She received a very sweet blessing and I'm excited to see what things unfold with their family!
Overall that was basically my first week as a senior companion! Pray for the success of the Texas McAllen Mission! and all missionaries! but most of all i challenge you to pray for a missionary experience and carry a book of mormon with you every where! There is someone just waiting to receive it! i promise! The church is true and the Lord blesses all those that embark in his work!  Una obra maravillosa!
Love you all!
-Sister Nielson!


24th Week, July 15, 2013

Milagros y Locos!!!

This week has been absolutely INSANE!!!! I believe the last week of every transfer should but but
man!!!! I can't even begin to describe the roller coaster! so we will just share a few stories and maybe you can read my journal someday and learn of ALL the craziness!!!!

We can go with a funny story first! soooo we went to visit this permagater (permanent investigator) His family is all members and he was supposed to get baptized on the 30th of June but backed out and didn't do it.. Super sad right? here's the funny part... we had felt that we need to visit them this week. so we went! and his wife told us that the day after he should have been baptized he told her he wanted to be! But she just never got around to calling us... (WHAT?!) so we asked where he was currently and she said that when we started walking up to the house and he saw us he ran to the back to hide... so then we heard all this quacking out front(they have a bunch of chickens and ducks and dogs. this is the house sister bolster got bit by a goose at). we walk out... and he is in the car leaving! He literally ran for it when he saw us! now we are thinking we are clever because our car is in the middle of their super long driveway and he can't get out. Yeah right. He drove ON THE GRASS! AROUND OUR CAR to get out of there! How crazy is that?! Its not the best situation ever... but when you step back and look at it? we died laughing when we got home that night because it really is funny the extreme measure he went to running away! Crazy right?
and when I say MIRACLE. I MEAN IT!!! She literally decided on Thursday she was getting baptized! We will call them the A family!!! Well They were actually miraculously found by a member about 2 months ago right? so brother A got baptized in May before i got here and that was a big messy mess but because he was SO prepared to be a member, everything worked out! His wife knew the church was true as well but refused to be baptized until her two kids found god. so we have been visiting them this whole transfer trying to help her realize she need to make the first move and follow what she knows is true. Yeah a wiser person might have walked away... but we knew we had to help them! We had lessons where we just read in the book of mormon with brother A about baptism and he straight up told her should would go to hell if she wasn't baptized! Crazy right? so thursday night we were like "ok... this has to happen. she is getting baptized" we had it in our plans all week that we would have a baptism on the 14th of July because it was sister bolster's last sunday in the field. so we went into the lesson with that mind set and were TERRIFIED!!!! But Sister Garry started us out strong and after a good hour of discussion I told Sister A "you have to kneel and ask him and you will feel ready" and she asked "well what if i don't feel it?" and I felt like at that moment it truly was God saying through me "Sister A, you are going to feel it. You will." oh man it was scary. we were all shaking and hearts pounding as we knelt on the floor and she prayed. when she finished she said she felt so much peace and comfort! her heart was just racing. we told her that was her sign. But no worries, the devil tries! Friday morning she woke up and told her kids she wasn't going to do it. Through-out friday she literally had SIX signs pretty much tell her she needed to be baptized, from finding notes in her car, so a lady straight up reading to her in the bible(completely randomly) about how she needs to put the things of GOD first!!! :D So we visited saturday and talked and she straight up said "it would be idiotic NOT to get baptized after the signs I've had!" Holy shoot man!!! We were ALL smiles. then sunday she had her interview during church, passed with flying colors and a testimony and gold!
Now is the best part of the story, Her HUSBAND! (member of one month) BAPTIZED HER!!!! He speaks mainly spanish. so he did it in spanish and it was flawless perfect! She came out of the water and they were all smiles! they hugged and he kissed her cheeks and we were waiting at the top of the stairs to hug her! it was seriously the biggest miracle ever! We are so happy for them! and the children's hearts are being soften towards the church SO much! Sister Garry and I are determined to get them to accept the gospel this transfer!
Oh yeah! Transfers!!!! Not too exciting but they are at the same time!! Sister Bolster is headed home to cali! she will be greatly missed because she truly is a great missionary! But here's the fun bit... Sister Nielson is now senior companion with sister  garry! wooooo!!! D: I'm just glad I'm not training yet! Sister Garry and I have VERY similar personalities so we get along great(: we both are determined to work our behinds off this transfer and bring some serious souls unto Christ! The only real perk of being senior comp is i get to drive again(; yay! Sister Nielson hates driving haha. this should be fun! Oh well! I'm excited! this next transfer will be a blast!! So you can keep sending me letters here in mcallen! I love hearing from home so much!!! I especially love pictures from my cute neighbers(: They are the best! I hope all is well back in Utah and you've enjoyed my crazy stories from this past week! The mission really is the biggest adventure ever! Sister Bolster said this transfer has literally been her craziest ever... i hope thats not my fault! If so, I have a GREAT future to look forward to! Remember to always put the things of the Lord first! he is ready and willing to help us but man... he has it ALL planned out so much better than we EVER could! TRUST HIM!!!! :D Love you all and keep me posted on the Utah Gossip!
-Sister Nielson
and privileged information. Any unauthorized review,

23rd Week, July 8, 2013

Every day is a great day to be a Texas Mcallen Missionary!

Why hello once again from the great city of McAllen Texas! Its been a nice and cool 100 degrees this past week and we had quite the 4th of July celebration! ok so not really. it wasn't like a utah party... which was interesting for sure!
In past years, the missionaries have been required to come in early on the 4th of july. but with our new president came new rules! we were directed to stay out til normal time and spend time with members! Sooo the day started with an AWESOME 4th of july breakfast! lots of people came! the missionaries got put in charge of serving syrup! but since our companionship had members bringing nonmembers, we... meaning I... bossed the elders around a little and made them do the syrup(: no worries, it was done with love and then they were all(20 elders) awkwardly standing by syrup. so they got bossed again to go talk to members. Good times had by all(: We actually had two members bring their friends! it was super cool! a family from our spanish ward brought this really nice older lady from Chile! she is absolutely amazing! (more on her later because we saw her later in the day!) Then an english ward family we have been working with brought their neighbors. We were super excited and hopefully will see some progress with them in the near future! Oh and guess what we ate for breakfast? a good old american texas meal! there were pancakes, sausage, bacon, and TACOS. because no meal is complete down here without tortillas! I wish i could say it was delicious but i was too districted talking to members/investigators and helping with the serving ): no worries i ate when we got back to the apartment!
Ok so more on the chilean lady! a SPANISH family brought her to the breakfast. Then we had plans to visit a family from our english ward and when we got their, they told us they had invited a good friend to meet us! (yay for member work!!!!) AND IT WAS THE SAME LADY!! We were so excited!!! So we got to talk to her and build some friendship there and we have an appoint to see her tomorrow afternoon! Huzzah for members bringing their friends! 
That night we had dinner with a family from our english ward. They are seriously the coolest ever. They barbecued and i am sorry to say it was better than any I have ever had!(sorry dad!) They are a super cool family too! they are always open to us coming over and keep bugging us to bring investigators to family home evenings at their house. best. members. ever!  After that we kind of visited a few more people but ended up home a little early anyways because everyone was at the fireworks and we weren't allowed to go... bummer man!
So that was our 4th of july fun!
My other awesome story for this week took place friday night! Friday is our planning day, so on top of our morning studies, we have 3 hours of planning for the next week. Yuck. we did make pizza this time though so that made it slightly fun. Well all of our plans fell through... so we decided to park at the church and walk to a potential investigators house... but of course... totally wasn't home. So as we were walking back i saw this little girl kind of teasing a dog behind a truck. so i started talking to her of course (you would be surprised how good i am at talking to strangers now! i totally order for myself every time we go out to eat mom!) So she asked us if we would like to take a seat and ran over to the truck infront of her house and put down the back thing... she was super cute! then we asked if we could to talk to her family too. Her mom is currently in the hospital, step father is in jail, and brother is in jail. so her 19 year old sister is taking care of her (shes 6) and their 8 month old sister. How crazy is that??? We talked to the 19 year old for a bit and asked her about church and she said her mom never takes them... so we offered to show her the church! Yeah! she accepted! we were walking around showing it to her when she asks "so does your church baptize?" UM! HECK YES WE DO!!!  Long story short, She is now preparing to be baptized on August 4th(: She wasn't able to come to church yesterday though because she had to go to the hospital to see her mom): but its ok! she will be there next week!
So in studies this week i put an emphasis on studying faith... in the bible dictionary is says "All true faith must be based upon correct knowledge or it cannot produce the desired results." Lots of people down here have a lot of faith. They know that Christ is their savior and that they can be saved, they just don't have the correct knowledge to get the "results" or help they need in their lives. My love for the people here has grown so much as I've realized this. Faith truly is a powerful thing. we can be healed by it, change our lives and those around us with it, but it must be based on the true doctrine of Christ. in our zone conference with the Trayner's, President Trayner talked about truths. Lots of things can be true. like a lemon is sour. That is true! Unfortunately that truth isn't going to help your salvation much.... we need to distinguish between the right truths that truly matter and find where our faith lies. that has been my focus this past week to really figure out my faith for sure. and this are the things i know because of my faith and it being based on correct knowledge:
Jesus Christ Lives. He is our Savior and our brother. He not only died for us, but He also lived for us. He walked the path that we must take and showed us by example what we must to do return to our Father in Heaven. God is our Father! He loves us sooo much! He truly loves every person that has walked this earth and ever will! I feel so grateful to be able to be here with the people in Mcallen Texas and serve them! Feeling that love our Father in Heaven has for them is truly incredible! He wants to bless us so much but when we get stuck on temporal things... He can only do so much. Just like us missionaries! we want to help people and teach them... but unless they are prepared to receive the message... we can't do anything. I hate that feeling a lot! When someone is suffering and I know they could be relieved of it if they would exercise a little faith but they wont... it really is hard!
I'm really greatfully to be serving here! I've had a few moments this past week i've been trunky...(homesick) But I know i am here to help these people. In any and EVERY way i can! Thank you to all for your prayers and support! This adventure is pretty crazy! I realized yesterday that the end of this month will mark 6 months since i watched my family drive away from the MTC... Its been the longest AND shortest of my life but worth every minute! I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week! I challenge you to look at where your faith lies, whether it is in the arm of man or the arm of God. If its a little... off from where it should be, do all you can to fix and seek that help!
Con mucho fe y amor de Tejas,
Hermana Nielson


22nd Week, July 1, 2013

 Bienvenido a nuestro presidente nuevo!!!

Thats right ladies and gentlemen! The Great Texas Mcallen Mission said good bye to the Trayners this last week and we received the wonderful Maluenda Familia!! We are super excited for the changes they will bring but it was a bitter sweet goodbye! The Maluendas are actually native to chile! super cool huh? I bet that elder in chile would be able to communicate a lot better with them than i can currently because they prefer to only speak spanish... yikes! we call the mission presidents wife for medical help and we need to learn all our medical terms in spanish PRONTO! "hermana... tengo.. problemas... con... mi... boca? uh... nariz? no se!!" it will definitely be fun if i have to call her! haha
But enough about that! on to the stuff you really want to know! Our El Salvadorian investigators!!!!! So we had our hearts broken this last week... we have been meeting with this family (sort of... bits of pieces of family. cousins and nieces) and they are soooo prepared for the gospel! They are truly the prepared lamanites the book of mormon talks about! But they all want to travel up north and leave this week... we felt like dumped prom dates. i've decided dating a lot has prepared me for my mission because literally it feels like a heartbreaking dump when you have someone say they don't want to learn any more or tells you not to come back... ouch! So they have decided to leave us but we are praying like crazy they will stay a little longer!
This week is the fourth of July!! in the past we have been required to come indoors early because people in Texas... oh man they party hard on the fourth! Fireworks and such and there are stories of people shooting guns up in the air and someone dying because well.. what goes up must come down! but this year we are told to spend time with members and stay away from fireworks! That should be interesting for sure!!!

We had zone conference this last week and it was the trayners last one in the mission! oh man i have never seen so many 20 year old men cry! It was intense!!! We learned some super awesome things though that I really enjoyed! and the best part of zone conference is the ridiculous games!!
Spiritual moment!!! last Pday the sisters decided we should go shopping! somehow i got a group of shoppers... big surprise! so we played soccer with the elders( i rocked at it. just so you know. i totally went after the ball when our natives had it and got it! didn't score... but someday i will!) then we went to the mall! I had the most epic moment of my mission so far! We were just wandering and i was smiling at a little baby boy as his dad was chasing him down. well then the dad stops and looks at my tag and says "hermana??? habla en espanol!" to which i replied! why yes i do! and we talked for a little bit! he told me about his family and stuff and i asked if i could give him a card! so i gave him a finding faith in christ card and he committed to calling and getting the dvd! i didn't get an address because he is moving in five days... but how cool is that?! i had a totally spanish conversation and understand everything and shared some gospel ALONE! no help!! because the sisters were shopping... which i forgive them for! ;D it was a super awesome experience though! its crazy how happy people are that we are trying to speak their language.. they are seriously so patient with us.
We had one of our el salvadorians say how much he loves us because he is in our country and we are learning to speak his language! i love the spanish language so much! this week we are planning to only speak spanish and i seriously can't wait!!
Thats about all i have that was interesting and good this past week! it was kind of a rough week for us but this one will be better! Love you all! The church is true!! SHARE THE GOSPEL!
-Sister Nielson

Monday, June 24, 2013

21 st Week June 24, 2013

Oh the madness!!!

oh man. This last week has literally been one of the craziest!!!

From awesome investigators to amazing texan/mexican food, to running to jump in the car and not get eaten by charging dogs!!! yes that did happen and i'm not exagerating at all! It was scary!
Soooo lets start with Tuesday!
This was interesting... so highlight of the day was having a lesson with one of our recent converts daugthers. she is kind of anti but she came to young womans last sunday! so we got her a personal progress book and made plans to do an activity! well conveniently part of the activity was reading joseph smith history.... >:D missionary win! So sister bolster retells the whole first vision, the spirit is so strong you need a steak knife to cut it! when suddenly our recent convert(her dad) says COMPLETELY OUT OF NO WHERE "why couldn't blacks have the priesthood until (insert year)" Literrally you felt the spirit just die suddenly in the room as all of us were in shock and the daughter just shook her head at her mom. it was insane! yeah... thats awesome fun when your converts get anti-ed... but no worries! he was asking in behalf of his son, because he is totally converted and his son is super anti... Yay.... we will figure it out though and get him a testimony!
Our other tuesday adventure... we were supposed to have dinner with this family we haven't actually met... well we got there and only their son was home (convenietly when you are a sister trio you can get in any house! power of three witnesses man!) so we waited for his mom for a bit then he was like "ummm i'll be right back!" and takes off... so we are sitting on the porch like "well.. what do we do?" about 10 minutes later he gets back with pizza! apparently his mom had forgotten(despite our calling the night before) and he came to the rescue with pizza! which was delicious by the way(:\
Wednesday! The zone leaders made us cookies! earlier this week they sent out a daily challenge for us all to make sure we asked people if there was anything we could do for them before leaving. then ended the text with a "can we help you missionaries in any way?" well of course sister nielson texts back right away and asks for cookies. no worries. shockingly enough! they made them for us! and they are pretty good! yay for elders who can bake! Thats about all the excitement we had that day... everything else just got canceled ):
Thursday! one of our members took us to the Texas steakhouse. um... yeah.. it was delicious and my dad would have LOVED it! We ate around 12 and i wasn't hungry when we got home that night! crazy right? so much delicious food!!! Then we had a lesson with our investigator from El Salvador!! soooo cool! he is awesome! half way through his sister joined us and we were takling about the restoration(: my very favorite lesson for sure! we asked him to pray after about joseph smith and the book of mormon. so we all kneeled and he prayed and after he said he felt like it was right!!! :D those are seriously magical words to a missionary! "i know its true" yay!! and we asked his sister if she would like to pray too but she was super nervous... but no worries. we just invited her to be baptized with him and she didn't even hesitate to accept! craziness!!!
Friday! Since our mission is no longer allowed to knock doors we are visitng our members a LOT. conveniently we have the most members in our area. so thats been fun. most of friday was spent with them because we didnt have any appointments... it was interesting to hear some of their fears about sharing the gospel... most of it was just not knowing how! I think if people would just read preach my gospel they woudl be so much less afriad! that book is golden when it comes to explaining every thing simply and telling you how to share the gospel! If you don't have a PMG, GET ONE!!! they are amazing!!! i love mine so much!
Saturday was my favorite day this week! we were back at the recent convert i talked about befores house! he made us the most fantastic tacos, rice and salsa that i have ever taste! it was amazing! I was sooo happy! then we got attacked by dogs... are you ready for this story?
So we went to see Bernardo... he was supposed to be baptized on the 30. his wife adn kids are members but he is not.. this is the house my compy got bit by a goose just so you know.. they have 5 dogs... one is big and white and mean and the others are just crazy looking. so we pulled into their driveway a little bit and were getting out of our car when the dogs came running at us! usually they are chained... NOT TODAY!! We all screamed and ran for the car door and jumped in the backseat in all of 5 seconds... it was scary!!! Then the sons came running and herded the dogs back into the house. talk about embarressing! i literally saw my life flash before my eyes and sister garry said she saw her unborn children never gettign to experience life on this earth. it was scary!
Sunday!!! yay for sundays! Highlight of the day! our el salvador man came to church!!! and came to see a baptism!! So cool! he enjoyed it all too so we are feeling pretty awesome and high on the spirit! and we had that awesome broadcast!!! The prophet and apostles are sooo cool!! Its amazing what a different it makes when members bring people into the church!!! We are working so hard with our members to help them find their friends and family that are truly prepared to receive the gospel. The answer i hate the most is "oh well i only know members of the church!"  NO WAY!! there are nonmembers everywhere and it is a shame!! they are not able to experience the joys of the gospel because we are too afraid to step out and just invite them! It really is just as simple as inviting them to an activity! members need to prepare their friends so that missionaries can step in and teach them!
I just realized this email is huge!! no worries! its fine! haha.
So my challenge for the week!! speaking of member missionary work! Pray for a missionary experience! we have been trying to work with the YW a little on personal progress and get them to do the activity with missionary work. just pray for an experience and i promise it will happen! just keep your eyes open!
Love you all and take care!
Its only 100 degrees here in McAllen and I'm lovin it!
Sister Nielson