Monday, July 28, 2014

68th Week May 19, 2014

Executive Decisions...

I've come to a decision! I would much rather be a wet from sweat... than soaked from rain! At least with sweat i have a general idea when I will dry out... but when its raining... man you are just wet til you get home :( It rained like crazy this last week! We got to bike in it too! My poor greenie! I think she might have reconsidered a little if someone would have explained to her how hot it gets, how much fun biking in a skirt is, and how miserable it is to bike in the wet and cold... Yup that was a fun lesson for both of us to learn this last week! But I know that we are stronger because of it!!! And my greenie never complained this week :) She's a trooper for sure! A real blessing from the Lord sent to the people here in our area and to me for sure!! :D
Adventures of the week! Well! On monday night we got a call telling us we were having a meeting with President Maluenda on tuesday! yikes! we panicked that it was zone conference and that we should be preparing our dying testimonies... (in your last zone conference you bear your testimony infront of EVERYONE. yikes! no worries its on the 5th of June!) So we got there and found out it was just an animo meeting! Animo meaning.... actually there isn't an english word for animo... but like... it was a meeting to animate us! to get us more excited about the work. man! i was pumped to go out in the rain afterwards! It was cool to just sit down and have our mission president tell us how much he really does care about us and wants us to work hard and help people. He pointed out that the mission is the best place for us to learn and grow, but its not about us. We are here for everyone BUT ourselves. So we need to get our priorities straight and be doing what the Lord wants!
One of the Elders asked President how we can feel like we are being successful when we are doing everything we can and still not having any baptisms. President asked him "elder. why are you here?" and the elder told him "to serve the Lord". Next question "What were you called to do?" and the elder just sat there confused and said "baptize" President told him no. Our purpose as missionaries is clearly stated in preach my gospel and our call letter "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel" (side note, i dont' know how to say the purpose in english, i just translated that from spanish in my head!)  Our purpose is to INVITE!!! and do all we can to help those people receive the gosple. Whether they choose to accept or reject, thats their decision. But we better do all in our power to help them know how important the decision they are making is!
My greenie and i had a great realization moment on that this morning by the way! I was role playing to her how to teach the Plan of Salvation. As we were talking about the Terrestrial kingdom she just stopped and looked at me with wide eyes and asked "so wait... all the people that we teach and they don't accept... they go here? even if they are good people?" Yup. They sure do. Missionary work is fun and exciting and hard... but its also very serious! I don't think that realization hit her until that moment. Its pretty amazing actually! The Lord has prepared ways for everything to work out. Learning more about the plan of salvation has really strengthened my testimony that Heaven Father LOVES us!! He knows the moment when it would be best for us to accept the gospel and I'm grateful that I got it right from the beginning from my wonderful parents! :D He knew that was exactly what I needed, and right now, there are people here in south Texas that need Sister Tovar and Nielson to bring them the restored gospel! Whether they accept it right now with us or we plant the seed that leads to the conversion, I'm game for whatever the Lord has in store!
So those are some of the things I've learned this past week :) On a sad note, my memory card on my camera malfunctioned this last week and i've lost ALL my pictures from Christmas until now... Many tears have been shed... but i know i've emailed home a lot of my important pictures so thats given me a lot of peace! :( But... yeah that was not a happy realization! Then on saturday i realized that the flash drive i keep with all the rest of my mission pictures is currently missing... Yep... I'm feeling pretty sick about that one.. so if you could send an extra prayer my way that the memory card will start working again and i didn't lose the pictures.. or that i find my flash drive, i'd be exceedingly grateful! Other than that, life is good! Its always a good day to be a TEXAS MCALLEN MISSIONARY! The Church is true! God loves you! Love you all!!!
Hermana Courtenae Nielson

67 Week May 12, 2014

 You have a baby.... on a bike! Yeah I can take her anywhere!

I'm hoping my lovely family understands that movie quote and likes how I altered it to fit my situation!
That's right everyone... Sister Nielson is training... AGAIN! Only this time its a little bit more exciting than the last! We are still on bikes! and its getting HOT HOT HOT!!!
We got the official transfer calls on Monday night... so Sister Perez(my last companion) just changed rooms pretty much! She switched areas here in edinburg and we still live together :) Then our lovely zone leaders told me "and sister Nielson! Youre gonna get a greenie!" Craaaaaap!! You'd think I wouldn't be training considering I'm basically dead... ah well! Maybe that's why the Lord is throwing this curve ball at me :) Woohoo!!
My greenie is pretty adorable though! She's from Salt Lake City, Utah! She actually knows a lot of Spanish already, but she's what we would call a half native... her parents speak it and she understands it but I'm still going to be teaching her a whole lot haha :) My first time teaching someone Spanish! Quite the adventure this will be indeed! ah well! Best part? We are still on bikes! So the summer is coming and its getting pretty hot.... my poor greenie tells herself optimistic things as we bike so it doesn't seem as hot. Its been pretty cute because I'm reminded of that misadventure back in Laredo when we accidently went to San Antonio and had to save a bunch of miles... so we biked a lot in the Laredo sun! I now know how my trainer felt as I was complaining :) I have a lot more respect for her now!
Its funny how life comes in a full circle right? You think you're so great and your trainer is just mean... then you get to the situation when you are the trainer and man... You feel pretty humbled and appreciative of what your trainer did! I sure do love and appreciate her now!

In other news!!! HAPPY MOTHERS DAY YESTERDAY TO ALL THE MOMMAS OUT THERE! Another thing that made me laugh, last mothers day I was with my "mom" in the mission and this mothers day I AM the mom! and next mothers day I will be with my mom! So that's even better :) The sisters and members in the house where we skyped sure got a kick out of listening to me talk to my family :) They told me my personality totally makes sense now that they have heard my family :) Super true. I love my crazy family!

So miracles of the week... we found 3 new investigators this week that are pretty solid!! The first day Sister Tovar (my greenie) and I went out to work, we refer to the day as baptism by fire! we had no time for me to explain how to teach or who we would be seeing or anything! we just unpacked her, shopped and went out to work! I felt really bad because she was soo confused! But she rolled with it pretty well :) That day we found a new investigator and they accepted a baptismal date! Woohoo!! Then the next day... we call it baptism by water (a little out of order) We got rained on... Yep :) 2nd day in the field on a bike and my poor greenie got wet. She kept going though! I was super proud of her! Then she informed me that one day this next week, she is going to lead off on everything with door contacting. I just laughed and let her knock the next door and smiled as she stared at the person speaking Spanish and not a word came out :) Hahaha oh man :) I forgot how fun greenies are! Its great :)

This last Friday we had a super crazy storm! We were at the church for an activity with the ward and my compy and I felt like we should leave to go visit a less active. so we left at about 8 and it was starting to lightning a lot! So we thought whatever and kept going... then it started to sprinkle.... well we got to the less active member's house and it was definitely raining by now. so I checked the phone and the zone leaders had forwarded a text from the Assistants to the President saying that everyone needed to go home IMMEDIATELY. You know that moment when you look at your poor greenie, its 8:20 at night, pouring rain and all you have is bikes to ride 2 miles home? Yeah... that was a humbling moment. Luckily we were right by a members house! so we went to the member and she was outside and told us to get the bikes in the back of her van fast and she would take us home :) We made it home with no troubles and got to enjoy the crazy rain/lightning storm from the safety of our house! I'm so grateful for all the little things that worked out to keep us safe that night because I was really scared to ride all the way home in the storm! Blessings for sure! I'm grateful the Lord put us in the perfect place to work everything out!

Last fun adventure! For mothers day, the Spanish ward had their party on Saturday because the 10th of May is mothers day in mexico! We got an investigator to go! and... THEY HAD A MARIACHI BAND!!! best night ever! I took some videos too so I can show them off someday when I'm home again :) I've enjoyed making jokes to the younger elders in our area "hey elder... I have less weeks in the mission, than you have transfers! :)" Poor elders :) I really love being here in edinburg though! I'm so excited to have this opportunity to train again and have this greenie to help me stay focused and finish strong!! I hope you all had a week as crazy and fun as mine! I know this is the Lord's work and I'm SO grateful to be a part of it right now! I know this church is true and this is the LORD's time I'm on right now! I gotta spend it right! I love you all and wish you a wonderful day! :)

Hermana Courtenae Nielson

66th Week May 5, 2014

The Call....

 the mission we have this dangerous call you receive from the office... It comes 90 days before you go home and they ask you what airport you want to fly into and everything. pretty freaky! So I called the office last week to ask about a Spanish project I wanted to do! We have this "capitan" program we use to do Spanish study and the last section of it you have to do a 10 hour Spanish project. My plan is to translate hymns from English to Spanish and vice versa :) So I called the office to get my project approved and  Sister Neil who works in the office was just tickled pink I'd called because she was about to call me D: I talked to her about my project and then made the mistake of asking what she needed from me and she cheerfully said "well! I needed to make your 90 day call to find out some info for when you go home!" AHHHHH!!!! That was scary... but its ok... its over now and I don't have to worry about that stuff at all until a week before I go home :) But now all the elders keep telling me "hey sister.. your at... 87 days now right?" "Hey Sister... 84 days right?" Its awful! Those punks... ah well. that's life!

Other interesting news! Transfers are on Tuesday!!! I will happily be staying here in Edinburg A Pie to bike another 6 weeks! But my companion Sister Perez is headed out! Where to.. we don't know yet! And who is being condemned to the only sister bike area with me, we don't know yet! Yikes! We've made jokes that maybe I'll train a new missionary here! That would be quite the adventure indeed! But surely they wouldn't do that to a fresh little greenie right? I guess we will find out soon enough!
I have a couple of reasons I LOVE transfers! So I'm gonna tell you about that! One of the biggest reasons, is that they are inspired by God. A lot of people think they get transferred because they have been in an area for a long time, or they have been with a companion for a while or whatever. When I was on the island.... I was sooo sure I would leave after the 2nd transfer there. I just knew it! But then when the call came.. I stayed... and then the next transfer... I stayed again! I had a lot to learn up there and man... did it shape my perspective on life a lot! I'm so excited to get a 3rd transfer here in Edinburg! I know that it is part of the Lords plan for me. I'm not done working here yet and I know this will be the best transfer I've even seen because I'm going into it with the faith to see miracles with whoever my new companion is! We will work til we drop :D Hopefully my companion can ride a bike :)
I've attached a couple of pictures for your viewing amusement this week! I know one has me and my texas crackers I bought! Unfortunately. the texas shaped stuff doesn't taste that great. But I buy it to get the cool pictures so its worth it :) I love texas!

Also, I'm very excited for this sunday! Its MOTHERS DAY!!! HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL!

FELIZ CINCE DE MAYO!!! our zone is planning on crashing the Cinco De Mayo party at Pan-Am university today :) Haha maybe not but we have definitely thought about it. You can hear the Mexican music blasting all over town so its pretty great :) I love crazy holidays!

Well I leave you now with my testimony! I know that the Lord puts us where we need to be and with whom He needs us to be so that we can grow and become the people HE needs us to be and OTHERS need us to be! I've learned so much about patience and showing love and gratitude for others this transfer that I just want to send my thanks and appreciation to all those who have supported me so far in my mission! I'm so grateful for the letters, packages, and especially for the prayers that come my way in South Texas! I love this Gospel so much and I'm so grateful to my Savior for His sacrifice for each and every one of us so that we can return to our Father in Heaven some day! and I leave this with you in the name of our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ amen! I love you all and wish you a great week!

Hermana Courtenae Nielson

65th Week April 28,2014

 False Alarm!!!

After more research, we have been informed we do not have bed bugs!! What a relief! None of us wanted to confess to the landlord.... Instead... We have chiggers!!! Woohoo!! Haha :) so the only remedy we have been told is to shower every night and make sure everything stays really clean :) That's easy for sisters! Unfortunately the elders keep getting more bites ;) Ha!
This past week seems like it was really long but super short at the same time! In fact the whole month of April has just flown by! Can you believe that next preparation day is Cince De Mayo!? Haha we are hoping to find a good party to crash and teach the gospel at :) but I guess we will see what happens!
Cool moment of the week... We had a big meeting with our mission president and the stake president this last week! They talked about how the mission president holds the keys to preside over convert baptisms and missionary work, but the stake president has the keys to preside over ALL the people in the stake! So we have to make sure our vision is aligned with his. One of the things they really want us to focus on is reactivation! Yay! I love reactivation! They talked about how in our stake, there are enough baptisms each year to make a new ward... but they haven't had a new ward in a couple years because we have SOOO many less actives. So they have asked us to spend at least half of our proselyting time on reactivation and working with members. I love it! We had some super cool lessons with less actives this last week and actually got a family to church!
Its cool to think about how important it is to work with EVERYONE and invite EVERYONE to Christ. Not just those who aren't members! Convert baptisms are super important but we need more CONVERTS to the church in the literal sense of converting ourselves to the gospel. That is the most important thing of all! When thou art converted, convert thy brethren!
I started the book of Mormon in Spanish for the 3rd time about 2 weeks ago and today I was reading in Jacob 5! Whoo that chapter is 10 pages long in Spanish!! Yikes! But as I was reading, it was interesting to think about what part of that chapter we are now living in! It is the most important! The Lord is doing all He can to help us! We have to take up the responsibility and do our part too! I know that the Lord loves us and that we are all part of this great work right now! We must all do our best in whatever part of the work we are in! Whether we be missionaries, active members, or maybe we haven't been to church is a while, we all have our responsibilities in the work and we must do our part to receive the reward in Heaven!  
Love you all! Be safe! The Church is True!
Hermana Nielson

Monday, April 21, 2014

64 th Week, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter!!!

Oh the stories I have for you this week... We will start with the major bummer. In our house.. we all have bed bugs. Yup. Bed bugs. you know those nasty little things that bite you in the night?? I thought that was a joke. So here's what happened... We had 6 in our house last transfer right? Then they moved 2 of the sisters to take over a former elders apartment.... Yup. The elders apparently had bed bugs... So the sisters got them... and passed them to us because we switched out their beds from some bunk beds in our apartment... Then some sisters did exchanges and slept in each others beds :O basically the Texas McAllen Mission is having a little bed bug epidemic! and its nasty! then the elders confessed that they have been getting bit as well.. our whole zone has bed bugs! Yikes! We are working on getting rid of them though :) lots of cleaning happening...
So that's my nasty fun story for the week!
In other news! We found 5 new investigators this week and 4 of them have baptismal dates they are preparing for!!! Whoo!!! The work is moving forward here in Edinburg! Our main struggle is getting people to church! it didn't help that yesterday was easter and that's one of the few holidays everyone celebrates around here! I don't remember ever getting good Friday off from school in Utah??
We had this super cool lesson with one of our investigators! We were looking through the restoration pamphlet with her and we got to the picture of the first vision and she just stopped. and started talking about how she has been praying to know which church she should join. She went on for a few minutes and when she stopped I told her that the boy in the picture was going through the very same thing! She was sooo excited to know she wasn't alone. Then at the end of the lesson we asked her if she would pray to know Joseph Smith was a prophet. She started to say something then stopped and told us that she just had this voice in her mind just telling her "yes! yes! yes! yes!" She just knew that it was true! So we had her pray to confirm that answer was from God and afterwards she told us it was!  :D The Lord is so amazing! He answers people in truly the exact ways they need to be given the answer!

Also, I made apple pie this week. That was a fun adventure. It was my district leader's birthday and we wanted to do something for him. so we asked him what he would like and it was apple pie... Well we bought the cute little jiffy's pie crust mix and an apple pie filling and I made pie! that was exciting. I feel much more prepared for next thanksgiving!

Overall this week was just filled with craziness in the best ways possible, mostly! We had a few down moments and there was a day that I decided it was time to go get ice cream. Everything had fallen through and we were just done for the day. so we went to Stars (its kind of like sonic but not as good) and my companion and I sat on the curb with our bikes and had a treat. I've decided there are just some moments in life when you need to sit on the curb and have an ice cream. Its not always a bad thing. Sometimes its a good thing to reward yourself with a little ice cream.

Also!!! I'm so excited about my new baby nephew!!!  I hope that everyone who gets to see him will send me pictures!!! The little man is going to grow up a whole lot before I get home! its crazy! Life just keeps going doesn't it? On and on and on! It never stops! That's the best and worst thing about life! We can't stop the moments from passing by, so we shouldn't just let them pass by either! Seize the day! Take on every adventure that crosses your path! I know that's what we will be doing this week in Edinburg so I invite you to do it as well! If you see any sort of opportunity to share the gospel, do it!! Even if its to someone who is just a little less active or maybe the most active person you know! Share the light of Christ that you have been given so that all might know of His glory and love! I know the Lord lives and loves each and every one of us! Whether we feel we deserve that love or not it is always there!! I love you all dearly and wish you a wonderful week!!!

Hermana Nielson

63rd Week, April 14, 2014

Waaay too much happened this week to be able to detail it all! so i'm just gonna send some pictures instead!
First off, we had a zone blitz in our area! which means, 7 sets of missionaries were working in our area for 4 hours! The results, 5 new investigators, 30 referrals received and 20 contacted :) Pretty boss day if you ask me! haha it was crazy! and because we only work on bikes and by foot, everyone did it too :) we felt pretty awesome! and this week we will get to do it to someone else's area! so we are excited :) mission life is fun!!!
So we ran into the other sisters in our area and got the picture of sister hunt and I on the bikes :) pretty great! we actually rode for a couple feet then she jumped off scared haha but it was fun!
I wore my tie skirt to church! the elders begged me all week to wear it! haha so that was fun! I love those silly elders. these are my zone leaders. somehow the camera was positioned just right to cut my companion out of the pictures.. weird right?
 I found a worm on the ground this week.
 So I picked him up and carried him for a little while on my planner. He was a feisty little worm. I have never seen one jump around as much as he did and he curled himself into my planner.
Ok so that sounds random but here was my thought process as I was playing with this worm. He doesn't know he is a creation of God. He just knows life. He goes around. does his worm things... and then goes to bed. People in this life are very much like my little worm friend :) They don't all realize they are sons and daughters of a God that loves them and wants to forgive them of the wrongs they have done. The elders had an investigator in church yesterday and while I was talking to her for a minute she started crying and telling me how her old preacher told her that he wouldn't baptize her and she couldn't be saved. I told her that was a lie. God loves her and every single one of us! We are not "saved" because the preacher says so. We are forgiven and receive eternal life because we are willing to do what the Lord wants! That's all! :) So that was my profound thought for the week! I hope you all have a great one and happy easter on sunday!!!! Remember what it is really all about :) Read it in the bible!
Hermana Nielson

62nd Week, April 7, 2014


WHoooooo!!! We were all talking about conference yesterday with some ward members and I realized that only missionaries can talk about conference like normal people talk about a sporting event.
"Did you see Jeffery R. shake his finger at the audience?!" "Oh man!! Yeah!" "Did you hear that talk on pornography! Wow!"
It was pretty hilarious and cool! I hope everyone has just as much enthusiasm about this last conference as me! Because man! That was my last one as a missionary! D: Yikes!
I loved conference so much!!! This whole last week has just been crazy and full of spiritual moments! We had a great zone meeting on Thursday where we learned about some changed rules. (sadly music rules just got a lot stricter and we will be blasting our MoTab cds again..) Then Thursday night... as we were literally just climbing into bed we got an emergency text form our zone leaders! "Interviews tomorrow! Be at the church at 830am!!!" that was intense... haha so we had interviews on Friday! Super boss! It was really exactly what I needed to really refocus myself a little and get some much needed help from my dear mission president! although it was a little scary..... because there were a few moments where he literally said things EXACTLY like my dad and gave me the same face dad would give... YIKES! But it was cool and made me a little homesick :) haha!
Then conference was super great! I received a lot of insight on my plans for the future and lets just say i'm going to DOUBLE my efforts in Spanish study because I've got some big plans :)
As for the talks! one of my favorites was by Z Craig Zwick! His was super great!  Something super great  I got out of it is that we shouldn't raise our voice but instead ask for understanding in a loving manner first! I think that's something I can apply to missionary work now and as well to my future family! :) Also he mentioned that it doesn't matter who is more right, you must listen to each other.
I think in life a lot we just want to be more right and we don't listen to other people. We don't take a minute to lovingly listen and see what is going on from another persons perspective! How much more smoothly would the world run if we would all just take a second to listen first... then try to help rather than prove how much more right we are? I challenge you this week to stop and listen before answering someone! That's my goal! I know it will definitely help improve my companionship(we are doing well though so that's not a worry but hey! always room for improvement!) and will help you as well to really understand another person and help them! Love you all!!! Be safe! The church is true!
Hermana Nielson

Monday, March 31, 2014

61st Week, March 31, 2014

Aqui estoy!

Here we are again! Transfer 2 in Edinburg A Pie! :P I love the bikes! :P I've been challenged by my district leader to be optimistic this transfer.... ?! What?! I don't remember being pessimistic but whatevs! This Transfer is all sunshine :)  Literally. Because its about to get REAL hot down here in South Texas!
Sooo adventures from the week....
We've been perfecting the art of "Preach My Pamphlet". Its been super interesting! On Friday night we had the coolest experience!! so one of the sisters in my apartment started her mission in Ecuador but got sick and came home and is now here and still feeling some of the effects from the stomach sickness she got... so sometimes she can't got out to work. So to help the sisters we did a mini exchange and I went out to work with her companion and my compy stayed home to take care of the sick sister :)
I was a little nervous about this because I've never worked with this sister but I figured, "hey whatevs! we are both missionaries! It'll be fine!"
 So we went out to work! we did and hour in my area and one her in hers. Well in the hour in my area we got a bunch of referrals! so that was good! then we went to her area and nothing was working! so we stopped and prayed... you know that missionary thing we always do...
and started driving and still nothing... But then I remembered that I had a referral in her area that I hadn't given the sisters yet! So we tracked down this house of a cute little older couple Sister Perez and I had talked to once when they were visiting their daughter who lives in my area. The couple let us in right way and sat down talking to us about religion. We started to teach them the Restoration and the whole time the lady just kept saying "I know this is true..." It was amazing! and at the end of the lesson she said the closing prayer and just expressed the most heart felt desire to know of the message was true. When she finished she told us a story about when she had felt the spirit of the Lord. so I asked her "sister, do you feel that spirit now?" and she started tearing up and she told us "yes! I know he's here!" and she gave us big hugs. It was so amazing! I've never felt the spirit so strong with these new lessons we are teaching but I definitely am developing a testimony that this is the Lord's plan for our mission right now!

Unfortunately I won't be able to keep teaching this couple because they don't live in my area :( but I know the other sisters will take good care of them and I'll be at that baptism! :)

One more fun story! Man I love General Conference!!! We went to the Women's Meeting on Saturday and man!! That was powerful!!! I literally just started crying as they opened the meeting with everyone singing and then when the little girls stood up and sang...  I was done for! The member I was sitting by just laughed at me and I tried to explain to her how much I love conference! I'm so excited for this weekend!!! Ahhhh!!!
8 Hours of listening to servants of the Lord tell us what God has for us to focus on right now?! Heck yeah! I think if we all pray really hard and maybe fast, this will be the conference that sister missions get changed to 2 years!!! :)
Ok so maybe not! But we are supposed to pray about the desires of our hearts right? :) This week I am going to pray and come up with my three specific questions for conference and get those answers! if you haven't done this before, do it now! Come up with questions you want the Lord to answer. They can be simple, complicated, whatever! About anything! and listen for your answers at conference! I have a strong testimony that the answers come! Its like magic :) Except not because its just God at work! and He LOVES us! He wants us to have the answers to the questions of our souls but we gotta be willing to ask first just as Joseph Smith did! Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you!
I promise you the Lord will answer whatever question you bring if you bring it prayerfully and with a humble heart :) And then write me a letter about it... :) Because missionaries love letters and that mail box has been pretty empty lately! Haha!
But really, I know the powerful of a good question :) Its what restored the gospel and has brought us all so much joy! So I invite you to give it a shot and let the Lord do His part. He loves us and desires that we have all that we need in life! I know this the true church of Jesus Christ and God! They are directing this missionary work and we gotta get in line and strengthen ourselves so that we might strengthen others! I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen!
Love you!!!

Hermana Nielson

60th Week, March 24, 2014

Vive A Pie!!!

Long live the sister biking area of A Pie!!!! :)
We had a slight scare this last week. Well. we had a few actually! First off, i almost got hit by a car. Maybe I shouldn't tell you this. But it was actually pretty funny. so here it goes!
We were biking down this street and we knew this big dog lived there... but he's always been chained up right? well... we are biking along when suddenly i look over and realize he is not chained! and suddenly this GIANT black dog is next to me about to snap at me!!!! So... like every good missionary, I SCREAM and bike faster! as fast as i can to get away from the dog! Unfortunately, this street ends in a T with a very busy street at the top, so I realized it just in time to hit my break and the dog had ran off in the other direction, i slid into traffic. Luckily, the two cars coming at me were paying attention and slowed down so i could get out of the way. This was the first moment in my mission i thought, "GET ME A CAR NOW!!!" It was pretty scary. But we made it to the church for coordination after that and all was well and I'm still alive and in one piece! So no worries :) The elders just laughed as we told them the story :P darn elders dont realize its a little harder to kick at dogs when wearing flats!
Next scare.... so transfers are this tuesday! and all week we kept joking that one of us would be training or be called to be an STL. so we pranked each other all week :) we kept changing the numbers in the phones to say Presidente Maluenda and kept calling to freak people out :) it was funny. Then saturday morning.... we hear the phone of one of the sisters ringing.... and she answers... AND ITS PRESIDENT CALLING!!! AHHH!! So we are all freaking out when we realized " oh he's just calling about their health" then he asks to talk to all of us! hands down funniest moment ever happens now. we all gather around the table to talk to president and he tells us he will be coming by in an hour to talk to us... so we tell him thats fine and hang up. as soon as the phone hangs up, we ALL yell "GO!" "CLEAN!" and the race begins to clean our little house of 6 sisters :) That house has never been so clean the whole time I've been here! So then president comes over and we talk for a little while about how we are all doing with the set up and lets us know that the mission wont be having 6 missionaries in one apartment again. EVER. AGAIN. :) He said it lovingly though. So then we waited and anticipated transfer calls to figure out what would happen!
I am happy to announce! We get to keep our sister biking area for at least one more transfer!!! I'm so excited!! i love biking!!! But one of the companionships moved out of our apartment and is off in an apartment by themselves now :( sad because they are the ones that always drove us everywhere. But its ok because the other sisters are fine to drive us :) ah the adventures and madness of transfers!! Transfers will be this tuesday and Sister Perez and I are staying together! Yay! We have a lot of plans on how to improve these next six weeks and have a love of success so it will definitley be fun! I'm excited!
As for people we are teaching, we have some really great people who are LOVING reading the book of mormon! I've gotten to use my skills of making it interesting and helping them see that these are real people! So they are all fired up! we have a less active member as well who is super jazzed about reading with us. We go over 2 times a week to read with her and she is loving it:) so thats great! I love the Book of Mormon!
I'm hoping to finish it for the 2nd time in spanish this next week and i can't decide which language i will read it in next... :)
Well friends and family! These are some of my adventures this last week! I hope yours have been just as exciting and hopefully filled with the spirit! I know that the Lord is directing his missionaries where ever they be! But we must look for that guidance and protection and be worthy to receive it always! I love the gospel and I know this is the true Church of God!! Be strong ! Love you all!
Hermana Nie

59 th Week, March 17, 2014

 One year ago.

lright ladies and gentlemen..
We have hit another big mark! One year ago... I was in Laredo!!! What in the world?! On the 12th of March I hit my one year mark of being in the field as a missionary! Last year at this time, I had just had my little break down freak out and wasn't sure if I could do this whole missionary thing! Well I'm very happy to report at this time, that I can do it! I have been doing it for a year now :)

This week was an interesting one... it has seriously passed sooo fast! I feel like just yesterday I was emailing you! But ah well! lets go over some adventures of the week:
We had exchanges this week! Yay! I went to work in the Sister Train Leaders area in McAllen and Sister Garry came to Edinburg to work with Sister Perez in our area :) It was definitely interesting haha! I think that sometimes we think of our leaders working sooo differently than us and that exchanges will be this huge enlightening of learning and such! Nah... it was just a normal missionary day :) We did have a couple people accept the baptismal invite though! Convenient they actually live in Sister Diaz area! :) YUP! We set BD's with people who live in my babys area! we got to call her and sister diaz was sooo happy to talk to me and so excited when I told her she had two new investigators :)

Another adventure of the week... we had a ton of set appointments the last couple of days! It was so cool! we literally had five set appointments in one day! and so we worked like crazy to get members to come with us... then literally, the members first canceled on us, then the people weren't home :( that was a major bummer! But we found other really cool people to fill the time with and teach so it all works out in the end.

Then on sunday! One of the bishopric members called us Wednesday night and asked if all the sisters would speak in church and tell our stories of how we decided to serve missions and the blessings we have seen as we have served. That was fun :) 6 sister missionaries speaking in sacrament meeting sounds crazy right? it actually went super great! I was 2nd to speak... so the first sister got up and just gave her testimony really fast and sat down after 2 minutes... so I got up and talked about when the age change happened. I still remember sitting on the couch as mom and dad were making breakfast. and that moment when everything just froze as we realized that I could go on a mission. Remember how mom was bragging the week before that she was so happy I was girl turning 19 so she didn't have to worry about a mission for me yet? ;) The whole congregation got a kick out of that. and then I bore my testimony in the end about how the Lord truly does bless us for going on missions.

I know that the Lord loves us so much. He loves us so much to give us the opportunity to go out into the world and proclaim the truth to His lost sheep. He has a lot of trust and confidence in the youth of the church as well to send out crazy 18 year old boys and 19 year old girls! You can definitely see a difference between the elders and sisters that left at a young age ;) sometimes its a maturity difference. But to be honest, the testimonies of the 18 year old missionaries are some of the strongest that have truly brought me to tears.

This gospel is such a wonderful blessing for all of us! We should never be afraid to share what we know to be true and help others come closer to their Savior! Everyone needs to know the peace that living faithfully brings! I love being a missionary! I love sharing my testimony and I love helping my brothers and sister come unto Christ! Be safe and strong this week and if anyone asks, don't be afraid to share the truth with them!

Love you all!

Hermana Nielson
ps. I got to hold chickens this week :)

58th Week, March 10, 2014

: Meetings!!

his week was literally the week of never ending meetings..... we had zone conference, a sisters meeting, zone meeting, and a bunch of companionship studies with the elders to help us learn the new lessons are we teaching! it was insane!!! Literally i felt like i was in the church all day every day! But its ok! we eventually got to go out and work and that was glorious!!

We seriously had the strangest week ever though! Our sisters meeting, they talked a lot about how we need to be confident in what we are doing and remember that Sisters are NOT elders. This is a very important fact that some people forget... we are different! We teach different! we do things differently over all! So that was nice to have our mission president tell us personally that its ok to not be the exact same as the elders!!

Our big miracle of the week!

We have a new investigator!! She is this sweet tiny only mexican lady :) I just adore her soo much! In her home we speak a good healthy mix of texmex :) meaning that her native language is spanish but she speaks english fairly well. so she will go back and forth between the two languages.. and i don't mean every other story... i mean every other word! It almost makes your head hurt when she says "ok... entonces vamos a go to la iglesia a las two por los services?" " Yes Hermana." Its hilarious! I am so not learning spanish. I'm learning Tex-Mex. and I love every minute of it!

So we were teaching her and she is currently committed to baptism on the 23 of March!! Yay! her two daughters actually got baptized last year and she has been wondering if she should be baptized too! why of course she should :) and we are there to help! I love it!


as for bikes.... I love biking :) I just don't really like to be cold when i bike. I'd rather be sweating.. because at least then we can bike and get a breeze to cool off. thats nice! We biked to the church from our house this last week and that was a little bit painful... its 4 miles. which isn't that far... but when you have to do it in less than 30 minutes with a compy that is a little bit sick... well that just complicates things a little haha! but we did it in the rain! so its all good :)


The picture I've included is Sister Diaz and i! I got to see my baby at the sisters meeting! I love her!! It was great! Her family sent me a super cute backpack from guatemala.


I learned a lot of cool stuff this week as well but i don't have time to write it all! I'll just leave you with this quick thought.


We are sons and daughters of God. Just let that thought penetrate deeply into your mind for a second...

Just as we become like our earthly parents, i know I look like my mom and my companions might say I act like my dad these days(yikes!), we are meant to become like our Father in Heaven. That is our divine goal! To do all we can in this life to become like him and be able to see him once again. I love this gospel so much! They Lord has showed us the way and we need only follow him to find lasting joy and happiness! I'm grateful to my earthly parents that taught me the path so that I can share it with my brothers and sisters here in south Texas! The church is true! God loves you! He is your Father!


Hermana Nielson


ps. I made tamales this week! Yup we can do that when i get home!

57th Week, March 3, 2014

 Out with the Old!

Well my friends.... This week truly is a new week! We are beginning all sorts of new things out here in the TMM! Well... its more like a blast from the past! The leaders of the mission had a surprise meeting this last Friday... which was followed by a surprise zone meeting on Saturday! Yikes!
To begin the meeting the elders told us to forget everything we new about teaching the gospel.... ?! what!? Because we are changing it all! The meeting they had was this some of the high up leaders of the church. So now for teaching... we are basically going back to teaching discussions! My understanding of it is that Preach my Gospel and the old Discussions just had a baby! And that's what we will be teaching! We now have set 1 discussions, 2, 3, 4 etc. everything ! But it still has some of the flexibility and versatility of preach my gospel.. it will definitely be a huge adventure relearning EVERYTHING! We tried roleplaying in Spanish this morning and man... I am definitely gonna need to learn even MORE Spanish words to be able to do this ! its crazy! but awesome! We are all super excited. One of the biggest changes is we are no longer allowed to use visual aides or analogies... what?? we need to teach the lessons direct and straight forward. Which makes sense right?  So sadly I don't get to use my cups to teach the restoration... or my little people things from Aunt Carole to teach the plan of salvation or gospel island :( No worries! I will send them home and they will make great family home evening for my future family! :D
So that's our biggest news!
In other awesome news....
WE FOUND A FAMILY TO TEACH!!! Not just any family though.... This family has 3 daughters... Ages 8-16... and they all want to hear about the gospel! Wanna know the best part? They only speak Spanish :) Yes!!!! I love spanish sooo much! Its insane!!! Since I've been back in the valley I can feel my abilities to speak just sky rocketing! because I could already understand most everything I read and hear. but speaking is where I was lacking because I didn't have the opportunity! now I am seeking out those opportunities so I can be completely fluent before I come home! Just five months to bust it out and it is happening!
Another cool adventure this week.... Sister Perez got her first flat tire! ha! Yup.... so we were biking home from this super weird lesson late at night... and we knew we were gonna be late if we didn't hurry... so we are biking a long when I hear my compy yell "sister! I think I have a flat!!" and so we stop.. yup. that thing was flat as texas. D: noooo! and we were 2 miles from home and it was 9pm..... so we started walking and called our district leader. Well we aren't allowed in the car at all with any elders... so they just laughed and said "well sisters... better start planning while you walk! we will pray for you!" :( sad day! but no worries! next we called the zone leaders who have a truck :) So they came to pick up the bikes and the other sisters came and picked us up in their car :) Then I got to teach sister perez how to change a bike tire! how grateful I am that it wasn't my first! but actually my 5th.... haha! practice makes perfect right? The Lord prepared me for this!
On the note of the Lord preparing things.... :) I know He sure does have some crazy plans. This transfer has just been one huge change after another but I know I am growing and learning sooo much! I am truly grateful for this opportunity I have to come to know my Savior better and feel His love as I am tried and tested here in Texas! Honestly there is no place I would rather be! The Lord knows us all so well I love it! The church is true! I know that with all my heart. The more I pray, the more I know that God is listening and answering the prayers of His servants when they humble themselves and put all their might mind and strength into the work! :D I love being a missionary! Have a wonderful week! The Lord loves you!
Hermana Nielson

Monday, February 24, 2014

56th Week, February 24, 2014

Hey Greenie! Grab your tongue taco and lets take a picture!

Oh man... the weird things we eat in Texas!!
For sunday dinner, we ate at a member's house with the other sisters... and we had cow tongue. :) Yep. It was actually good! The only thing is... you gotta get past the whole mental aspect of the fact you are eating tongue... sick!
So you cook it just like a pot roast! In the crock pot while at church :) Then you just scrape the meet from the outside rubbery part of the tongue and ah ha! we have tongue tacos! :D Haha oh man... it was great. So it was me and my compy and then the other sister and her greenie. and the greenie was sitting by me. So I grabbed my camera and said "hey! Greenie! Grab your tongue taco and lets take a picture!" and we did :) So those are the pictures I am sending today :) It was great!
So! Adventures for this week! :D
Oh man... we biked... and we biked... and then... we biked some more!
And when we got tired of that... we walked :O oh man. my legs are getting nice and toned! Its great haha. and the whole biking thing is growing on my companion :) She's starting to like it more so that's great! We actually found a bunch of new investigators this week! it was a blast! WE TAUGHT IN SPANISH!!!! :D 
Literally, God is so great! I know that He is blessing me for working so hard in Corpus to learn the language when  I didn't have anyone to speak it too. I am so grateful and my testimony of hard work has grown even stronger! I know the Lord blesses us when we offer up all we have! There are still moments I have to ask my companion what someone says... but mostly its just when they go off on random tangents... like this lady telling us about her mammogram... or doing a biopsy... o.O that  was weird. I understood with her hand actions though and felt super weirded out! Why do people think its cool to tell us their gross body stuff?! Bah i'll never understand that... oh well! Its still fun.
So! Learning this week!
This week I literally dedicated the majority of my person study times to studying the Christ like attributes... a different one each day. and the one I enjoyed the most this last week was Humility. and  our leaders talked a lot about it too. Something one of them said is that "the only thing that would keep us from loving our companion is our pride". and that is very true. and something I loved that I read is that humility is when we can recognize with gratitude our dependence on God. We are the strongest in life when we are willing to submit our will to the will of the Father.
I thought that I had been humbled a lot when I was in the island and that I wasn't being too prideful, then when we had interviews back in... January... my mission president told me that I needed to be careful with my pride and I was kind of bugged because I thought 'man like... I've been working on that!!' But I've realized that pride manifests itself in SOO MANY WAYS!!
When we compare ourselves to others, we are showing pride. When we are thinking we deserve better? Pride. When we put our trust in ourselves rather than God? Pride!  AHHHHHH! As I was studying I realized that I have a long way to go! But I've set some goals and I want to share one with you. When I start comparing myself to someone, I'm going to stop and just pray for that persons success. We had one of the STL (sister training leader, like female district leader) In our apartment this last week and she is an old companion of mine. So when she started getting after us for having a messy apartment... oh man.. my blood started to boil as I thought back to how her desk and everything looked when we were together. and the fact that its been crazy with 6 sisters in the apartment... I was not happy. Then I realized how prideful I was being... and prayed for her. and felt a lot better. I know that she is doing her best and yeah she is there to help us! Doesn't mean she's perfect! That's ok!
So I would like to invite you to try it to! When you start comparing yourself to someone, just stop and pray for them and there success/happiness :) It'll help get rid of those feelings super fast!
I know that we are in this life to enjoy it. The purpose of us being here is to find happiness and become like our Heavenly Father. He LOVES us! and He wants us to love our brothers and sisters too! Not belittle them, or compare ourselves to them. The Lord is fair. In everything. I know that. I have seen so many cool blessings these last two weeks and I'm STOKED to see the things the Lord has in store for this one! Its gonna be great! and who knows what strange thing I'll be fed next?! :D Yikes! Haha That's the joys of being a missionary! Serving God, and eating mysterious things! I love it! and love you! Have a great week!!!
Hermana Nielson

55th Week, February 17, 2014

 Bienvenida a la primera area de bisis para las hermanas!!!!

Yes. It was true. Sister Perez and I are making TEXAS MCALLEN MISSION HISTORY!!!!

We have no car. Nope. The sisters we live with have cars... But we have bikes! Our area is called "Edinburg A Pie" No thats not english. Its spanish. meaning "Edinburg by foot"! :D I love it!!! I have seriously loved every minute of working this last week because this is my dream area!

I know the Lord is going to bless us with so many miracles here because we are able to talk to EVERYONE and we have a booming area!!! We have tons of people outside all the time, we have humble areas... I LOVE THIS AREA!!!!
The area is awesome! My companion is adorable... She's likes 5 foot nothing and from California. So we are pretty comical riding up on our bikes to people! But its great! We saw some pretty cool miracles this week too! We are focusing right now solely on the ward list! We want to find everyone that lives in our area and make sure we know the people so we can work with them and figure out who all the less actives are to get them reactivated! Our english ward list is HUGE!!!! It seriously should be split but we need some serious reactivation before that can happen so thats my goal! I have a very strong feeling that is why the Lord has called us here at this time! As well we are going to find those prepared souls who need two sisters on bikes to help them remember that they have a loving Heavenly Father! :)
Right now the focus in our mission is referrals! Everything starts with the referral to a prepared person right? So Sister Perez and I are asking everyone we meet who they know that might need the gospel and we received 14 referrals this last week!! Thats the most I have ever gotten in a week! It was so cool and then we found a super awesome investigator when we were contacting the referrals! :D Miracles!
This morning in my personal study I decided to read about faith. Something that really stuck out to me and that I believe is that our faith makes us act! in Hebrews 11 it talks about how for the faith all those people had, they followed the Lord and acted! People are always saying faith brings miracles but this morning I decided something! Its not just the faith bringing the miracles. the faith just helps us recognize them. When we recognize that everything we have, we have been given by the Lord, its a lot easier to recognize the miracles going on in our lives! Its not a miracle of Faith that we found this cool investigator last week, its a miracle we recognized because of our faith that the Lord is going to put prepared people in our path!
I LOVE being a missionary so much! In our apartment right now we have 3 sets of sisters including my companion and I! Sister Tippetts is actually from Grantsville! We spent an evening just talking about all the people we both know. It was really cool to think about how the Lord has blessed those people at home and how... life does go on outside of the world I'm living in here in south texas! Who would have thought? ;)
I love the Gospel so much and I'm grateful for this time I have to be here serving the Lord with literally all my might, mind, STRENGTH (bikes!) and heart! This is a great work we are ALL enlisted in until the Lord takes over :D I challenge you all to give the missionaries a referral this week! Prayerfull select someone you know who is not a member and go with the missionaries to go visit that person! Everyone NEEDS the gospel! Its not just a garnish on the plate of life! It is EVERYTHING!!! I love you all and hope you have a safe week! Please pray for Sister Perez and I's safety on the bikes! we do cross some super busy streets and she's been a little nervous but I know the Lord will protect and watch over us as long as we are obedient and wise in our actions! THE CHURCH IS TRUE! GOD LOVES YOU! and so do I! :D
Hermana Nielson y Pepe (my bike!)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

54th Week February 10, 2014


Soo... I'm not gonna lie... I was stressing about the transfer calls this time around. I kept thinking "it'll be fine if a stay... I love the members... we are working hard... it'll be fine.. " But then the other thought of "I've been here 6 months!!! I need something new before I go crazy! Too late! I'm talking to myself!!"
So i'm stressing right? Attempting to study as we waiting for the calls when suddenly! The phone rings! We have the voicemail! (they send out a group voice mail with information for us)
 We are listening right? and they say a couple changes then say "oh thats all! Bye everyone! No wait! One more! By the way, Sister Nielson you are going to Edinburg... and you are opening an area so we don't know what its called.. or who your companion is. Have a great day!"
AHHHH!!!! I'm sooo excited!!! They finally found out for me, my companion is Sister Perez who started her mission at the same time as me :) So we are opening this new area in Edinburg together! Huzzah! It will be an adventure for sure!
As for adventures of this last week..... :)
We had a baptism on sunday!!!! Sara got baptized!! our 14 year old investigator who's parents are members AND HER DAD GOT TO BAPTIZE HER!!!! How cool is that?! Inactive for 15 years but able to get reactived and be worthy to baptize his youngest daughter!! It was so wonderful and the spirit was very strongly felt there! Blessings and miracles!!! :D We were super nervous about something falling through up until the very last moment! But it all worked out perfectly! He did have to do it twice because her knees popped out of the water... But it all worked out!! The family just looked sooo happy :D :D I love families!! It was a wonderful way to spend my last sunday in the island!! I just love the flour bluff ward sooo much! They are wonderful! The members were super supportive and brought treats and stuff too :) Yay!! Honestly, the best thing in the world for a new member/investigator is a good supportive and loving ward! It truly is a 2nd family and this ward has just EMBRACED this family :) I wish I could just take the whole ward with me to my next area! But i know there is a good ward down in the valley waiting for me so its alright!
Other cool things of the week,
It was freezing. I was cold. :( So we drove most of the week... not my favorite thing to do but... It happens! (its been rumored that my new area is my "sister biking area" that i've been begging the APs for.. so that could be fun!) We met lots of cool people and definitely saw some sweet miracles! We keep finding all this random less active members in the church as we are tracting.. crazy right? We started talking and they just kind of smile and cut us off as they say "oh we know.. we are members" :O what?! So we found more of those this week... Yikes! I also read a talk by Elder Bednar recently... I believe its called "chose not to be offended" There's a part where he talks about visiting less active members who have stopped coming to church because they are offended. When he would go visit them, they would talk about why they hadn't been to church and he would.. kindly... point out all the blessing they are missing out on for not being active members. It reminded me of something my parents say "throwing out the baby with the bath water" ?  I believe? or as well "cutting your nose off despite your face" something like that :) Haha
It makes me so sad to think of all the ways I am being blessed and my family as well for being active in the church and then think of how much these people are denying themselves by not being faithful to their baptismal convenants... I guess thats why I love reactivating people... :) Helping them rediscover the gospel truths and receive all those blessings our loving Heavenly Father is waiting to bestow on them!
The gospel is just such a blessing!! Its not difficult!! In a talk yesterday, one of members spoke on the Plan of Salvation. Is it really that hard? No! This earthly life is sooo short. Its precious! Why would you waste time not going to church and living the best you can because someone ELSE said something dumb?! ahhh!! I don't understand :) But thankful the Lord does. and He is always trying to make things right through other people. He's pretty awesome like that! Something I loved that the member said is everything is just "momentary pain" It doesn't last forever. This life? It can be momentary pain as well! Before you know it, you are back to Heaven and you wondered what happened to the time! Don't waste it!!! I know that I have a little less that 6 months left to serve the Lord with ALL my time! and I plan to use it to the fullest! Next stop Edinburg! After that? Who knows! God does! But I don't need to know right now... because the Lord's work shall roll on until all His promises are fulfilled! I testify of that in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, amen!
Hermana Nielson


53rd Week February 3, 2014

1 Year of Adventure!!!

hats right folks!!! This last week we hit ONE FULL YEAR of Hermana Nielson being... well... Hermana Nielson! The missionary! Its crazy to think that a year ago I entered the MTC and started speaking spanish! To celebrate my one year mark, I spent the whole day speaking only spanish! It was awesome :) At the end of the day I felt super accomplished because man did I struggle with the stupid language in the MTC!! I remember crying one day because I was so frustrated with it and my MTC teacher panicked (being a man and our group being his first sister missionaries he didn't know what to do!) so we went for a walk :) Good times! haha!

So this week has been... CRAZY! Literally Crazy! We decided as a companionship to just go for it... Start tracting... because I've been to all the potential investigators and formers in the book.. we had no other options! So we went knocking! Oh man... did we meet some CRAZY people.... It was... strange! haha. We met all sorts of everything. The island is just so funny because its such a moving area! People are in and out and from different countries and just everything under the sun! This area is a truly "preaching to all creatures and people" kind of place! Its fun :) I think the worst one we talked to this week was a guy in his garage... He was cutting up fish! The contact was bad... just the fish! I was trying so hard not to gag as he was cutting it up and there was blood on the table... SICK! Then afterwards as we were walking down the street everything smelled like fish and I just started gagging... super nasty! But its ok... my companion carries mints and those helped a lot! But I don't think I will ever be able to eat fish again... yuck...
So in good news!! We found a new investigator!!! and he's super cool!!! He actually just lives down the street from our recent convert Logan! and they are about the same age! We met him on thursday, then we had an appointment for friday. We prayed all morning to have a member with us and texted everyone we could but no boday was answering or could come... then as we were biking to Luis's(the investigator) house, we passed Logan outside! So we grabbed him and he got to be a member present for the lesson! How cool is that??? Recent converts doing missionary work! :D we were super excited! Until we started talking about repentance and Logan said "yeah God is very forgiving! I mean we mess up right? Like... I drank a beer last night!" and my face just dropped. We were in shock! So as we walked Logan back to his house we asked what happened and he told us how awful he felt to break the word of wisdom and he said he was gonna repent and never do it again because it made him super sick... Yikes! But he is back on the path! So thats good :) adventure adventure adventure everywhere!!
One last bit of excitement! Our investigator passed her baptismal interview!!! Remember that family we found randomly that the parents were members?? Their daughter is getting baptized next sunday! We are super excited and her family has really warmed up to us a lot! :) We had a lesson with them saturday night and the mom got this funny look on her face as she asked "you do stay in the same area your whole mission right?" and when we told her we actually get moved around a lot she got a really sad look on her face. I love feeling the love of the Savior for the families we work with and knowing that they love us too! Its so amazing :) I just love my people out here on the island!!! They are definitely different from all the people in my other areas... but thats the beautiful thing! God created us all so uniquely and differently so that we could learn and grow together! I love it!!
This last week the plan of salvation has been huge to me! People don't know they are children of God! It breaks my heart when we talk to someone and they say that we just appeared... and if there is a higher being he doesn't care about us. THATS NOT TRUE! We have a loving Heavenly Father! He cares about us! he weeps when we weep, he rejoices when we find happiness! He is wonderful and truly has a plan! This week I am going to make sure everyone we talk to knows they are a child of God and he LOVES them!!! I hope you all know that too. and if you don't, now is a great time to kneel down and ask the Lord. I promise He will bless you with that feeling to know of His love for you! He knows you. Personally. You are not another number. You are a child of GOD. And thats the best thing we can every hope to be :) Because thats what we are :) And he has BIG plans in store for each one of his beloved children.
I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true church with God's power and authority on the earth today! It has been restored and it is here to stay until the Lord returns to guide his people personally. and I'm grateful to have been sharing that with everyone I meet for the past year! I love you all and wish you a happy week! Until next time!
Hermana Nielson


52nd Week January 27, 2014

Here comes the sun doo doo doo doo..

I hope you got the song reference :) We've been really excited when the sun is out here! its been so dang cold! We almost had snow this last week?! What in the world??? its super unheard of for Corpus to get down to the 30s!  Crazy crazy stuff man... who is it saying we are having global warming??

In other news! Mission life is good! Its crazy that on Thursday.... we will hit 1 year! My goodness! It doesn't feel like I've been on the mission for a year but at the same time when I think back, it feels like I've been gone for forever! Ever weirder is that fact that in May, I will have graduated from high school 2 years ago! Yikes! I'm old!! We have it all planned out to burn a dress on Thursday to celebrate one year in the mission :) I'm really excited about it! Even better is the fact I'm burning a dress Sister Kreis and I have shared that we found in the free box at the MTC. How poetic!  Haha!

Soooo as for the work out here! We are continuing to talk to every and have had some pretty funny moments! It just makes me laugh when you talk to someone and they tell you "Oh I know your church. I'm what you call a 'jack-mormon'" .... So crazy! we found a couple more of those this last week!

Well there isn't too much to report on for this week... we haven't found any new solid investigators right now but we are working hard as always! We actually had our bishop compliment us on our diligence in ward council yesterday :) That was super sweet of him. But there is a thought I'd like to share. In our relief society lesson yesterday, they were talking about visiting teaching. The teacher mentioned how even if we do visiting teaching just to get the check mark on each month, that's fine for now. Sometimes we need something to encourage us to keep going like that right? just some recognition :) The testimony comes later. All things in the church are that way I think. We do that because we want recognition sometimes... because it is expected of us... because we just want to be obedient.
But with time we realize there is something more to it. A testimony is growing. We are learning... and slowly those things we do out of habit or obedience, we do them out of love :) That's what I really love the most about church! Especially in the mission! when you see someone fulfilling and magnifying their calling our of the love they have for the members. This sister giving the lesson in Relief Society is seriously the most saintly woman I know. She doesn't help people just because of her calling or her husbands calling. She does it because they need it, and she loves them. Even if its not conveniently for her at all... she will spend hours doing the laundry for a member who can barely walk and can't even get off the couch to go to the bathroom... She will give rides to people who need to come to church because she knows they need to be there. It truly amazes me and makes me think of those heros in the book of Mormon!

Everything they did was out of love! I'm sure occasionally they did it out of obedience first... but then came the testimony! :) Its a truly awesome concept and I love that God has thought it all out for us so if we would test things out, we could know for sure :) He's pretty awesome like that.
 So that's my big ah-ha learning moment for this week! I hope that everyone is doing well and doing all they can to build the Lord's kingdom! Hastening the Work isn't just about baptizing, its about strengthening all the sheep in the flock and bringing every soul closer to the Savior :)
The church is true! Love you!

Hermana Nielson

51st Week January 20, 2014


It would take a lot longer than the hour I have to tell you about all the miracles Sister Vargas and I have beheld this past week!!! So I'm just going to tell you about one!!!
This week... we have literally talked to everyone again! Man... We've had rejections of the worst sort to the point a lady threw the card back in my bike basket and walked away! That was rough... but! Its definitely improved my humility and patience and ability to speak with love when I am... less than happy ;) But as we all know, for all the bad that happens there is just as much, if not MORE good! so here is the major good that happened this week! We were biking, because we love bikes!, and came acrossed this guy. Teenager... skateboard.. you know the type! So we stopped to talk to him and asked if we could come visit his family! and he was like "yeah sure why not" and gave us his address. So we went by them later that day....
 The parents were the only ones home. They opened the door and before we could even introduce ourselves, they invited us right in! asked if we'd like some water, or bread, or a treat or anything and we sat down and started talking. Well, Turns out, they hadnt' talked to their son since we had. So he didn't tell them we were coming! They literally had just invited strangers into their house. so we explained what our purpose is and the father asked us what made our church different from the baptist church they attend. So there we went into teaching the restoration!! Literallly my first time reciting the first vision in english! :D Crazy right? I've only done it in spanish before! So we taught them the restoration and talked about the book of mormon and read a little and he said "alright. lets pray about it shall we?" so we said sure! and we all kneeled down. As he was praying he said "Lord, I offer you this Book of Mormon and ask that you reveal to me if it be true. and if it not be true, please let these sisters know." When he asked if it was true the spirit was so powerful! you could literally cut through it with a knife it was amazing! But the moment he asked if it wasn't true, it dropped! The spirit just disappeared as a no! it is true! It was crazy!
We set a return appointment with them for this week and are super excited to go back! he committed to read and truly find out if the book was true. :) Crazy miracle!! No body just lets us in out here on the island... It was a real testimony builder for me because that day we had sent out to find a family of 5 and new investigators. We found that family( a different one than the one in the story) and will see them this week as well! How crazy is that?
When we really set our mind to something and involve the Lord in it, there is no way we can fail! He will not deny us anything if it is for a righteous purpose and we are willing to sacrifice for it! We've had many long cold days in the sun(ironic i know. cold and sunny!) on those bikes and have been working super hard! I know there are more blessings in store if we remain diligent and steadfast in the Lord's work! I love being a missionary and testifying of the Saviors love! I know this church is true! It is the restored church of God and Jesus Christ!
I hope everyone has a safe this week and know that I will hopefully be enjoying some warmth on the island this week :) Love you!
Hermana Nielson


50th Week January 13, 2013

Rain rain go away!

My goodness... I learned what it means to truly be a bike missionary in the rain this week... That was... awesome!!! ish.. :) We have had the coldest and wettest winter North Padre Island has seen in a long time! just my luck right?! It was a lot of fun though!! on... I think it was Wednesday, we started out on the bikes and it was kind of drizzily.. we get this weird weather that it appears to be raining.. but its not.. its just all this water in the air, like fog, but its not foggy. and if you walk around in it you get wetter... and wetter... and wetter... Sister Vargas and I had a lot of fun riding around and got super wet! So then we went to a members house to dry off for a little bit and felt like we could continue on! Then we had followups with our district leader that night and when I told the Elders we were biking in the rain they didn't believe me!  Its like they think sisters don't bike or something! ;) Little do they know... Sister Nielson is obsessed with the Bikes!!!
Then on Thursday we started out.. and it started raining and I thought "hmmm maybe we should turn back." well when we decided that we should bike we started to turn around and then the rain start pouring... I mean pouring. We were drenched in water and feeling a little miserable... So we were true sisters and went back to our car! D: i know. Not as hardcore of a biker as i like to pretend sometimes. But I figured the Lord would forgive me for whimping out on a pouring rain day. and I said a prayer for the Elders in my heart to find nice people to let them in that day and dry off! so hopefully that worked out for them!
We've been continuing with our speaking to everyone and man... I've gotten really good at it! The moment I see a person it takes about three seconds for me to think "well.. maybe not..." but then i find myself turning the bike around and yelling out to them. Who would of thought I couldn't order for myself in a restaurant just one year ago??
So we have been seeing some awesome less active miracles!!! I swear! When you talk to everyone out here you found hidden lessactives! They are just popping out of the woodwork! Bishop called us this last week and said a lady had contacted him wanting to get active in the church again. She lives in Port Aransas and has been inactive for the last year and half because of her husband passing away. So we went to meet her on Saturday night... She's amazing!!! She said shes changing her work schedule and will be in church next week and she has a 16 year old son and they are gonna come back! Super cool right?? She really was the sweetest! I just LOVE working with lessactives! If that was all I did in my mission, I'd be totally happy! although i do love helping people get baptized :) Thats super wonderful!
As for church... we had TWO less active families come to church!!! and remember that family we found with the daughter that hasn't been baptized? She's 13? yeah they came to church too!!! Sister Vargas was soo excited! I had to play piano for Flour Bluff ward so i was stuck up there while she greeted everyone. Then I looked down and she had the biggest grin as she pointed to the family seated a few rows in front of her! I'm so grateful for all the little tender mercies we have seen from the Lord for our obedience this last week!!!
I know the Lord loves us and has crazy cool miracles for us if only we will seek them out and do our part to be worthy to receive them! He is always ready and willing to welcome people back in with open arms and love :) This church is true and I'm so grateful to be a missionary here in Corpus Christi!!
Hermana Nielson


49th Week January 6, 2014

New Companion Madness!


Well! A new transfer has begun here in the great Texas McAllen Mission and I am super excited for it!
It was a tearful adventure sending Sister Diaz off to her next area but I know she will do great!
My new companion is super awesome! Her name is Sister Vargas! Her family is from the Dominican Republic so she has more native Spanish that I can learn from :) and Dominican Spanish has different slang from Guatemalan and Mexican so I'm learning all sorts of things haha! We have already had some awesome success and this transfer is looking like its gonna be full of miracles and service!
I've decided every transfer seems to have a theme and this transfer is the one of service so far! We got to serve a potential investigator out in Port Aransas this last week! We went out and painted his trailer and will be helping them out again this week and then we got to go clean the house of a less active member on the bluff that the elders can't visit because its a grandmother and her granddaughter.
I seriously love service so much! Its an amazing feeling putting aside your own worries and concerns and just focusing on someone else for a moment. I love it!
This last week was also New Years! Happy New Years to all! We spent our new years eve in the church with the zone :) we watched Mulan and ate soo much candy! We took our big box of Christmas candy and the elders put a good dent in our supply... but Sister Vargas and I are still grabbing a piece out of it every time we walk by it on the counter in our apartment... Its pretty gross but its all stuff I like so... I don't mind :)

Well! I learned something new this week. This week I was studying on Humility. Because I've realized that I am a very proud and spoiled person sometimes. I look at all the things I have and think I need more and then I see these people we are serving and man... it really puts me in my place!
The thing I've learned about humility came out of la Guia... its like the Spanish version of the bible dictionary. to paraphrase, it tells us that being humble is being moldable to the will of the Lord. We need to be willing to bend to our Fathers will and mold ourselves into what He desires that we become. I think I get a little stiff sometimes in my life and like to think that I am being humble by just admitting my faults but i'm really not because i'm not molding myself to what the Lord desires of me.
This transfer I plan to be as flexible as possible! :D partially because I"m going to use my exercise time wiser but mostly because I am going to aim to be more accepting to the mold the Lord has created for me. I know that He knows my perfect form and just wants me to become it, but it all starts with my willingness to comply and allow myself to become as great as I can be!
i invite you as well to aim to be more humble this week! Not just in your words and deeds of accepting your faults, but be willing to comply with the will of the Father in your life! When the Spirit whispers something you need to change, try it before you let the prideful side take over and tell Him you are fine ;)
I know that these next couple of weeks are going to be awesome! I'm so excited for this new year because i will spend half of it as a consecrated full time servant of the Lord and the second half learning how to be that in a more worldly format! I love the Savior and this time i have to serve him and wish you all a Happy New Year!!!
Con Carino desde Texas,
Hermana Nielson

48th Week December 30, 2013

Feliz Navidad!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to all!!!!
Sister Diaz and I tried making cards to send out to everyone but our Walmart machines have been out of commission so it didn't happen :( Sorry! But thank you to all who sent us packages and letters!!! We are gonna get thank you notes written today :)
Literally this Christmas was amazing and crazy! I was blown away by all the wonderful things that ended up in our apartment and they are all being very well enjoyed :)  We have a big box clear full of candy and stuff that we will be taking to the zone new years eve party! We are ordered to be at the stake center tomorrow at 6pm so that we aren't out and about on New years eve! not exactly a safe holiday I guess ;) ah well! the fun we have as missionaries!!

Sooo I don't have too much to write about because I got to Skype home and talk to my lovely family :) It was super cool meeting my sister in law for the first time and getting to see my ADORABLE nephew show off his train underwear :) I love him! Even my companion admitted that I have the cutest nephew :)
But I do have something I want to share with you all.

Yesterday in church my companion got to speak! It was her first time giving an English talk in a big ward and she was terrified. (she's adorable like that. 27 and sometimes scared of her shadow but shes wonderful!) Her topic was sacrifice and what she had to sacrifice to go on a mission. as I listened to her speak... I realized how much the Lord truly has given us and how much we don't realize it. I remember when I was younger my parents taking something away from me for my acting out and always saying "a phone is a privilege not a right!" or "the car is a privilege not a right!"  Being on a mission truly is a privilege the Lord has given me and i'm so grateful! I love being a missionary and sharing the gospel. even when we don't have investigators and its street contacting all day... its still fun. I've literally met the strangest yet coolest people this year as I've been on a mission! In the MTC, in Laredo, in Mcallen and here in Corpus!
I bet the Lord laughs sometimes when we realize just how different everyone is from us! How does He create so many people so differently?! He's amazing!
Ha I realized I've gone into rambling so I better finish this up!
Basically what I have to say is this, the Lord lives! He loves us! We are here to remind everyone else of that fact! Whether they accept or not... that's their problem when we get to face the Lord! But as for me, I know He's there and this is His great work we are all a part of!
Thank you again to everyone for the Christmas wishes! I wish you a great new year! Set some goals that involve the Lord this year and I know He will richly bless you!

Love you all!
Hermana Nielson en la Isla

47th Week December 23, 2013

Merry Navidad y Feliz Christmas!!

Hello World! Its Christmas even in south Texas where the sun is hot! The ocean is still across the street and the palm trees give us the best shade :) Haha! Just kidding! Its actually cold again so I can't brag about a sunburn on Christmas just yet :)
This last week we had our mission christmas party! It was a blast! They split the party in two, so the northern zones had a party and the southern zones had a party! Our party included Corpus Christi zone, Sinton Zone, Laredo North zone and Laredo south! Lots of missionaries! Its so cool to be around a big group of missionaries because the spirit is soo strong!!
I need to give everyone a BIG thank you from President and Sister Maluenda! all the mission parents were so generous that it worked out that instead of every missionary getting one present, everyone got TWO! :) So Thank you to all who helped out with that! it was very much appreciated! Especially by those whose parents couldn't afford to send a christmas package... Now the bad news on packages... if you sent Sister Diaz and I something and it wasn't in mission office by last monday... we haven't gotten it yet :( The hope is that we will get it today but it probably wont happen... If we are lucky, they will do a training on thursday or friday and someone will go down to McAllen and bring up all the stray Christmas presents! But its ok :) We do have a couple packages under the tree that i keep trying to convince Sister Diaz we should open early and she gives me an angry mother look and tells me walk away from the baby tree... :) I have a great companion! She also has kept me inline with our advent calender and made sure I only opened one a day. Darn it!
It just doesn't feel like Christmas when you aren't home! But I have something really cool I have learned this last week. Its about patience! I've been a little frustrated with this transfer and kind of had a difficult time motivating myself... Not a fun adventure but hey! Everything in life has its ups and downs right? So this last week while talking to Sister Kreis, she pointed out to me that maybe I need to learn patience. Of course at first I thought "I AM PATIENT! THATS NOT IT!" But... as we all know... when you get defensive... thats usually what you need work on... So I've been questioning and trying to figure out exactly WHAT IS patience...
Here is my definition:
Patience is having an eternal perspective tha things will be better even when you are miserable.
I guess that sounds a little... pessimistic. But its super not. here's why, we can be patient with people when they upset us when we realize that they aren't perfect... they are doing the best they can to become what God wants and we are never done improving. We can be patient with ourself when we realize that we have faults for a reason, God gives us imperfections so that we will turn to Him and accept/seek the help we need. We are patient with circumstances when we realize that everything happens for a reason and know that things will get better. Thats something that has helped me a lot.. Nathan told me before I left to just remember one thing "It gets better." That has kept me going quite a few times in the mission!
So moral of the story, Patience is looking for the bright side! Its being willing to go with the blows and know that something is better on the other side. Me? I'm not a patience person most of the time :) but man have I learned a lot of it this last week! There is always something better coming! I think the Lord was incredibly patient in His suffering for us because He knew that because of the pain He felt, we would be able to all return back to Him to be with our Heavenly Father again! How wonderful is that? :) I'm grateful for a Savior that loves me enough to suffer for my mistakes, and a family that loves me enough to suffer without me for 18 months so I can help other people know of our Savior's love! ;) I know this Christmas is extra special because I'm learning the true meaning and worth of my eternal family and the eternal family I will have with my future husband some day! The gospel is just wonderful! I hope you all find joy in this Christmas season and learn a little patience as things don't go perfect with present opening, or the Christmas party isnt exactly how you planned. The Lord has something better in store in the future! Love you all!
Feliz Navidad de la isla de Norte Padre! :)
Hermana Nielson


46th Week December 16, 2013

Talking to.... EVERYONE!!

Oh man has this week been some fun :) We have been challenged to talk to literally everyone. and I know as missionaries we always say we talk to everyone but.... this time its for real!
I literally chased a man down that was running and gave him a pass along card. Yes. We are talking to EVERYONE!
So here's the really cool miracle of the week!
Thursday we had exchanges! Yay! I got to work with Sister Sanders in the Island. It was a blast! We have been putting an extra effort on the talk to everyone thing, but sister sanders really showed me how its done! We were literally chasing people down on our bikes and going on completely random streets just because we saw someone. as we were biking down a street we saw a guy moving stuff into a house and disappear in the open door. Sister Sanders looked at me and said "How much faith would it take to follow him in and talk to him?!" Conveniently, my common sense won on that battle and we rang the doorbell instead and met this german sounding man who has been to salt lake and seen the temple and everything! Way cool right? he wasn't interested in listening... but one of the guys moving stuff for him was so we got his address and sent it to the elders in his area! Little miracles :)
Then we had a big miracle!! As we were biking back to the car, we saw a man pull into his driveway. Sister Sanders looked at me and I could see in her face she wasn't go to leave the area without talking to him. So we turned around and basically trapped him in his car as we talked :) haha but! he invited us back to come visit his family the next day!
Part TWO!
Sister Diaz and I go back the next day, we were welcomed right in and everything! We talked casually for a second and then I decided to go for it and start the preaching! haha :) We asked them their experience with the church to which they replied "oh we lived in Utah and were baptized there. " What?! They moved away and stopped going because the church wasn't the same in where they moved to outside of Utah! How crazy is that? But they have a 13 year old daughter who hasn't been baptized and they know she needs to be so they had been talking earlier that day that they needed to come back to church. Sooo! We have an appointment with them tomorrow to meet the bishop and they are coming to our ward party on Thursday! How cool is that?! Little miracles from just... chasing people down and talking to them :)
We also met a lady who was married to a member! But he died in a car accident :( Super sad.. she was very sweet though and lives with a woman who fixes accordions... cool right?! I may have found my future career!

On a more serious note ;) Merry Christmas almost! This holiday has been very strange not being home. Its definitely not warm currently but there isn't any snow... so it just doesn't feel like the holidays here. But I have a scripture for everyone to ponder this season! Its Moroni 7:49. I know that as we pray for that Christlike love and do all we can to gain it, we will help others in ways we never imagine. I know that sometimes in the mission it feels like I'm not doing any good because maybe we haven't baptized in a while... but other things are happening when we don't realize it. There are always miracles in the works! Always! We just need to pray with all energy of heart and look for them in their appropriate time! I love the gospel! I love the love I feel for the people here even when they tell me that missionaries have been trying to convert them for years and they aren't interested! God loves all! The church is true! and miracles are waiting for us EVERYWHERE! :D Love you!

Hermana Nielson