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