Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December 16, 2015 - She's Home!!

Anxiously awaiting our missionary!
Getting some loves from Dad.

Three cute Arkansas girls!

Aunt Chris with Dad and Alyssa on the shuttle.

December 12, 2015 - A Pretty Fabulous Week

This week has been a pretty fabulous week to end a mission on! Monday we had a fun secret Santa with the other missionaries. The long-sleeve, full-length, button-up plaid dress Sister Bryce got was top notch. And of course don't forget the shoulder pads. Then we had some great lessons. We went to see some less active teenagers and shared the "A Savior is Born" video with all ten kids in the house. They were mesmerized. We showed them a few more. The mom said, "Man I got to get me an iPad if it keeps them that quiet," but we knew it was the Spirit, not the iPad. It was a really precious experience and I'm so glad to be a missionary and share a little bit of the gospel with children who need it so much.

Tuesday all the sisters went to Little Rock for sisters day. We did a project to make 10000 meals for people in the mission area. Arkansas is number one in food instability. We funneled different dry ingredients into packages that were then sealed. It was really cool. Then we learned a dance, did crafts, made fudge and Oreo balls, and caroled to the elderly. It was a great day and I got to see all my friends in the mission one last time.

Wednesday was a wild exchange with the sister training leaders, complete with ex-Mormons, 7th Day Adventists, and a dog peeing on Sister Jones' shoes.

Thursday was the Christmas zone conference. We ate Christmas dinner, watched a movie, had a talent show, and even played the "left right" game, which I thought was hilarious. Then that night our plans to go to the Relief Society activity became a wreck, but instead we found a great new investigator and had a good ASL class. Beth, a non-member who attends the class, gave us the cutest gifts. The night turned out great.

Yesterday we really focused on talking with everyone and sharing the Christmas video. We went up to a group of people outside a super-decked out house and turns out, their sister got baptized last year and they have been wanting to know more about the church! Yay!

Today I've been packing, then tonight is the ward Christmas party. Monday is the temple then Tuesday I'll be home! I am so grateful for my experience as a full-time missionary, it is priceless. I know the Book of Mormon is true, Christ is our Savior, and God is good. I love my Heavenly Father and am grateful for all He has done for me and all His children. I am so grateful for all the lessons I have learned, all the friends I have made, and all the miracles I have seen. Today in studies I was pondering if I accomplished all God wanted me to on my mission. I realized that it is not about what I did, it is about what He did. I have seen so many miracles by His hand. I am just blessed to be there to witness them and to do my small part. I'm eternally grateful for my mission and for my Savior. 

Thanks for all your support, I love y'all,
Sister Nielsen
The stake gave us these shirts for Christmas. It is a president Wakolo catch phrase.

ASL sisters at the sisters day. Our color scheme is super impressive.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

December 7, 2015 - Healing

Hey y'all!
This week was off to a great start. Monday we met a cool new investigator Keyon. He lives two houses down from some members. He has read a little of the Book of Mormon before and accepted the invitation to read more. We went back and he had been reading every night at work! He asked us why our church is different and if it matters where we go since we all worship Christ. We taught him a little about the Restoration and plan to teach his whole family together soon.
Sunday we felt prompted to change our plans and go finding on a certain street. It was inspired, we definitely found who God wanted us too! There was a lady from Kenya. She was pleased that we were "building God's kingdom" and she comprehended very well when we discussed prophets. She is a smart lady. Then we met her neighbor, he let us right in and asked us to share our message. We taught him the whole Restoration and he was very receptive and grateful. We had lots of good contact with the rest of the street, many of them were foreigners and many of them had had good contact with the church before.
Sunday we also had the great chance to teach the Gospel Doctrine class and talk about how we can share the new "A Savior is Born" video with our friends. The members had lots of great ideas, like putting a pass along card on the plates of cookies they give to their neighbors, or giving one to an overwhelmed cashier. They are great member missionaries and excited to share the things that are important to them.
I love the two videos and have been thinking lots about how we need a Savior. One thing I have learned a lot about lately is "healing." In 3 Nephi, Christ keeps saying how we can be healed as we come unto Him. It gives me so much hope to know that when I feel disappointment, guilt, anxiety, pain, or sadness, I have a Savior who can heal me. Those feelings won't stay forever. The bad days or weeks or months will come to an end. I am not stuck in my sins or sorrow. Christ can fix the mistakes that I can't. Even though I hate times when I feel any of these negative things, it brings me closer to the Savior and I must rely on the hope I have in Him. And I love what President Packer said, that physical wounds leave scars when they heal, but when our spirit heals, there are no scars. I am eternally grateful for a Savior heals me and makes me whole.
Sister Nielsen
Our baby Christmas tree.

Fried Oreos. Tasty, but worth a heart attack? I think not.

Sister Kent took us to Popeye's, she's our favorite.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

November 30, 2015 - Update from Tennessee

Hey y'all!
Update from Tennessee:
-Wednesday we met a girl our age who is converting to Judaism and her best friend is Mormon. We talked with her a good minute and were able to answer a lot of her questions about the church, and she told us a lot about her beliefs too. One thing I really liked is the concept that when we make a mistake or fail to fulfill a commandment, we miss an opportunity to be our best selves.
-We had a great Thanksgiving. We visited members and shared the Christmas video and gave them pass along cards to share with their friends. It was a great way to spend the holiday and help members with their missionary work. We felt the spirit a lot!
-Saturday we had a great miracle! Sister Jensen, another ASL missionary, met a deaf couple at a restaurant just before she left. We hadn't been able to set up something with them, so we finally just went to their house. We thought we would just say hello for a minute, but I felt I should bring an ASL Book of Mormon anyways. They let us in and we had 2 hour lesson! Two hour lessons are normal for deaf people, but still. We chatted a bit, then they started asking questions about why God lets bad things happen. We answered with a scripture Sister Havran read that morning. They had more questions and we taught the whole restoration lesson. They have great questions, like, "How could the people trust Moses?" Good question! So we talked about prayer and the spirit and how the prophets always teach good things. They have so many questions of the soul and a desire to learn God's word. They are excited to read/watch to Book of Mormon. They also want to share the word and have tons of referrals for us. Serious miracles! They will be such a blessing for the deaf community here. It felt so good to teach them, we teach much better in ASL than English, and the gospel just makes more sense to me in ASL. I know we are definitely supposed to be here teaching the deaf.
Love you, have a good week!
Sister Nielsen
Had to use the emergency TP this week. Thanks Mom!

Sister Dean lives in our building, she's a super cute neighbor!

Made cookies for a Vietnamese family we are teaching.

Thanksgiving with the Molines from the temple presidency.

Ready to proselytize in the rain!

Friday, November 27, 2015

November 23, 2015 - Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!
To be honest, this week was really long and really hard, but we pulled through! Everyone canceled on us and it got really cold really fast. Saturday turned out to be pretty good. We were walking and felt inspired to go back to a family we hadn't seen in a while. The son opened the door. We had given him a Book of Mormon and he had read several chapters. He had been asking his mom where the church was and she couldn't remember. We had a really good chat with him, he is loving the Book of Mormon.

Saturday we also were fasting for Mario, he didn't come to church last week and hasn't answered our calls. Henry was a good pal and called him and told him that since he got baptized, he promised to come to church every Sunday. And Sunday Mario came to church! Yay! Fasting is real. Still have some other things to figure out, but God will take care of the things we can't.

Another cool thing was one of the assistants to the president found a deaf person this week and used his tiny bit of ASL and got her info. She turned out to be in the other ASL area, but it was still exciting. Elder Johnston was SO proud of himself.

Yesterday we had a good contact, it was the last door before a member came to get us for dinner. He is a very elderly man, and has a nephew that is a bishop in Canada. He had been looking for a Book of Mormon in the library and couldn't find one, so we gave him a copy and we are going back next week. Definitely inspired and we have a lot to be grateful for this week.

Have a great week and enjoy your Thanksgiving! Love you!
Sister Nielsen

Relief Society luau!

When we were walking this week, an agnostic lady gave us some flowers she was trimming. It was funny.

The impact elders came to the Bartlett area. We Bartlett missionaries always fail at pictures.

Welcome to the South!

Last week for p-day we went to the Civil Rights Museum. It is at the hotel where Martin Luther King  was assassinated. It was really interesting and well done museum, we loved it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

November 16, 2015 - #miraclenovember

Hello, hello!
       A quick story: this week we had dinner with a member and she prayed that we would be invisible to evil people. That's a pretty good thing to ask for I would say.
       Saturday we weren't having much luck, and most of the people we met weren't very nice. We said a prayer that we could find the one person Heavenly Father needed us to see that day. A little bit later, we met a lady who was nice, but not interested. I felt prompted to give her a card for the family history center. She was so excited! She is already on Family Search and has found many of her ancestors. She thinks it is great she can go to the center and get more help, and  says she will be a frequent patron there. Our prayers were definitely answered and I think some angels sent us her way that day!
         This week we had a great lesson with Edwin's whole family. It started off just Edwin, then Brook joined, then we felt prompted to teach plan of salvation instead of our original plan. Then when we pulled out the pictures for the plan of salvation, they went and got the kids, then Brook's sister Erica came home, and we taught them all together! The kids really got the plan of salvation and that we have to do what Jesus asks us to do. Then Caden, who is 7, wanted to say the closing prayer. It was really sweet. And Erica and Brook already heard about the word of wisdom and want to start living it. This family is hungry for the gospel! #miraclenovember
Have a fantastic week in your neck of the woods! Love y'all!
God speed,
Sister Nielsen
Mario had a white shirt and tie for church, he was so proud and made us take a picture.
Deaf event with Henry and Scarlett!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November 9, 2015 - Happy Birthday

Hello! Hello!
      So today the other missionaries were very sneaky and set up a surprise party for me at the church.  They even brought Peach Nehi, my favorite soda, and Oreos and Carmel apples, so it is a pretty great party. I was thoroughly surprised, I am impressed.
       For the month of November we are striving for 100 baptisms in the mission, and we are sacrificing a lot for our goal. We have seen a lot of miracles already this month. One of the miracles is a guy named Edwin. We met him a couple weeks ago, he and his family just moved in and don't have a "church home" yet, so we went back to see them. We knocked on the door, no answer, then were headed back to the car. He was driving up and was going to keep going, but felt he should talk to us. We had a great lesson about the restoration. He loved the gospel library app and downloaded it right there. He has been to a few churches but hasn't felt the spirit. He wants to go some somewhere worth his time and where he feels the spirit. HE asked US to come back twice a week and teach his family. And he wants to feed us dinner, he's practically a member already! He is really ready to change his life, I'm so excited to see his family grow in the gospel.
      There is another lady named Virginia, the other sisters found her number in their phone, texted her, then she came to church. We taught her a great lesson and she wanted to get her family involved too. She talked to her family, then texted us and said that her family is going to continue searching for a church home elsewhere :( We had a lot of people drop us over text this week, and it is hard. Yesterday we watched a Mormon message called "You Never Know" about a mom who is so busy helping everyone that she misses out on what she wanted to do. At the end it shows how much good she did that she didn't even know about. We as missionaries try so hard and still have disappointments, but we have done our part in sharing God's word and helping people on the path to accept the gospel. We might not see the fruit of our labors now, and some people may use their agency to reject the message, but what we do is still worthwhile and the Lord is still pleased with our efforts. He is here to support us every step of the way.
       Love you all very much! Have a blessed day!
Sister Nielsen