Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mission Accomplished

(Written Monday, May 2, 2016)

My dear family and friends,

It is strange to be writing my last email today, that's probably why I waited until way late to email today, trying to avoid the fact that this beautiful life and ministry dedicated to Christ is coming to a close. The Lord has blessed me to see so many tender mercies and miracles this week of pure spiritual experiences and I feel so privileged to be a part of this work.

We saw Tiara and Lannard's continue to draw closer to Christ as we've studied with them, their hearts have softened and they are beginning to feel the peace that comes from increasing our relationship with Christ. Tammy, a new investigator had read the whole restoration pamphlet by the time we had our next lesson and we were able to answer her questions and teach to her needs. She has such a strong desire to seek God and Christ out and is excited to read the Book of Mormon and come to church with her husband.

This past Friday, I got to meet and shake hands with an apostle of the Lord, who also happens to be my favorite one, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland who shared with us how to meet the people we are teaching where they are at and help them raise their vision and realize that they can have and deserve so much more through Christ. It was very spiritual, as we sang in a room full of 400 missionaries, the spirit was so strong. As we stood for Elder Holland to leave, he waved with tears in his eyes and said "I love you" it was a great close to a wonderful mission.

We also got to take Keyana to stake conference where she got to meet Elder Frost from the Seventy. So many precious moments were shared as she offered to share her snacks with the other kids and said "I love sharing, it makes me feel good" she cuddled with me and at the end wanted to hug Elder and Sister Frost and asked me to go up there with her. I had a distinct feeling that we needed to take her to the temple before we took her home and we had one of the best temple tours of my mission with her and I know she felt something special there, as we pulled up she just kept gasping and awing at the beauty that was there and when we invited her pick a spot and touch the temple to make a promise with herself that she would enter in one day, she said she felt so much peace and was so happy and almost crying. It will be a memory that we both hold on to for a long time!

In the past 18 months, I've been to Mexico and back, served in five areas, had 10 companions, found many of God's elect people, had incredible spiritual experiences that have changed me permanently, I've seen the pain and hurt of a world without the Savior and I've seen those who have followed Christ who changes everything and helps us live in the world but not of the world. And I have to come home and give a talk for like 18-20 minutes, one minute to describe every month, it's just not possible to describe the love, light joy and peace that I've felt in the past year and a half.

I once had someone share Mosiah 18:30 with me from the Book of Mormon, but they changed the wording: "And now it came to pass that all this was done in NEVADA, yea, by the waters of LAKE MEAD in the forest that was near the waters of LAKE MEAD; yea, the place of LAS VEGAS, the waters of LAS VEGAS, the forest of LAS VEGAS, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer."  Every area that I have served in, I've come to know my Savior more and better. I'm grateful for the walk I've had with Christ. He's held my hand and I appreciate my Savior so much more now. Las Vegas will never be the same for me, what once was sin city is now sacred city, this place is holy ground now and I can truly say mission accomplished!

See you all very soon,
Love you lots!
Sister Nelson

Once a sister always a sister, time to apply everything I know now!

Ps: Pictures are from:  Our sisters lunch,

My final mission photo,

and The boulder city kids were reunited again at the mission conference

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Last 10 Yards

(Written Monday, April 25, 2016)

Hi everybody,

Here we are, the last quarter of the game, the final play to determine the score, the last ten yards 'til the touchdown and boy do I feel the pressure. It's been a crazy journey with ups and downs, but I made it to this very play. I love talking in football terms because it always reminds me of my dad. We got to watch meet the Mormons as a ward activity this week and believe it or not I started tearing up at the football part because I thought of dad, I'm such a wuss. I've just become even more sentimental as a missionary. It's such a great movie though.

I had a good week, it's officially started hitting me, though, so that's weird, but this next week miracles will happen every day! I have been praying so hard. The allergy came back really bad his week, but I waited to take my third round of steroids until today so that it would last me until the end of my mission and I wouldn't feel sick traveling. The sick eyes are back but won't be here for long. We did three exchanges this week and got really close with all of our sisters, I became great friends with Sister Sandoval who I really didn't know and hadn't served around, but she's incredible and we saw some great miracles when we taught a girl named Ariana who said she wanted to be married in a church so her family could have a solid foundation. We were teaching the restoration, but segued into temples and how we can be with our family for time and all eternity rather than til death do us part. She loved it and wants to be baptized and she's only sixteen! Woah!

We saw another miracle where a member canceled an hour before a really important lesson so we were frantically texting people and the only one who could help was a lady by the name of Sister Alberti who just moved back into our ward. As we taught part of the restoration to Machelle, Sister Alberti kept sharing things and we realized that Heavenly Father had orchestrated everything to demonstrate his love for Machelle. They both had similar religious backgrounds, health issues and current life situations and trials and it just spoke so much to me that Machelle is a golden, precious spirit daughter of God and he wanted her to know. I love miracles like this.

We also had a lesson with a woman named Tiara who we haven't been able to catch recently, but her husband (who doesn't really believe in organized religion) sat in on the restoration lesson and seemed interested, as we explained the priesthood authority, it made sense to him and we really taught to their needs, he seemed very intrigued by the Book of Mormon and by the spirit that was there and we are going back to teach them tonight. It's going to be so cool.

Heavenly Father truly does answer prayers and show us incredible miracles and blessings. I love this gospel, I love my Savior Jesus Christ, I love being one of his representatives with the authority to teach others in His place. This is the greatest blessing of my life thus far and it truly has changed me. I'll never look at Vegas the same again. It's holy ground for me. I love it here. It's time to give it my all, sprint to the finish and see miracles daily and then collapse on my bed when I get home. Now is the time to perform our labors, rest later.

I love you all and will see many of you soon, but until then, I'm running for miracles.
Love you all so much,
Sister Nelson

Since I've been fighting this awful eye thing, I don't have other pictures.... So just look at this pretty picture someone drew of Jesus, I always love seeing him smile. I know he's happy.
 Also, this is me and sister Sandoval being crazy.

I'll take lots of pictures this week I promise. Love you all!

A Believer's Prayer

(Written Monday, April 18, 2016)

My dear family and friends,

It's been another incredible week.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary, each moment gets more special as the days seem to slip through my grasp. We keep seeing miracles over here and I know this is the work of the Lord.

It was another amazing week, so many hints seem to happen and the days seem to be too fast and all blurring together. I've been good about writing in my journal though, so that will be helpful. We had a zone conference this week where three zones got together and got trained on being more accountable to our ward leaders and also sustaining them, being obedient with our iPads and allowing the learning and habits we are forming here to change our eternities for the better and to also help our children. Our Mission President shared a movie that I want to see if I can find when I get home, it's called The Go Getter and the main character is named Billy Peck. He's a super optimist and does everything he can to go the extra mile for a company without compromising his standards or the trust of his employer. It was great and really got me thinking about how I can do my job -whatever it may be at the current time of my life- better. It was phenomenal. I'm pretty sure I won't be able to watch a movie without analyzing it for purposes of making my life better once I get home, that will be weird. But all trainings were great and we are working on applying them.

I also got to give my first of three departing testimonies, which was strange. I thought I'd be more emotional, but honestly I'm just grateful for this, I'm just in awe and can't really process it all. It's just crazy how merciful the Lord is to us. I was also given the opportunity to sing in one of our sacrament meetings and I got to sing the song "A believer's Prayer" by Sally Deford. It talks about someone who has a desire to do what the Savior has done and help the hungry and needy, to give them courage so they can stand in his place and help increase others faith in him. The chorus says, "Let me be light to the wanderer by night, compass and guide to the seeker, let thy love shine in me, teach me to be, an example of the believers." It's so pretty and I know I had angels singing it with me to convey the spirit and feeling that I have, having spent 17.5 months serving my savior, completely imperfectly, but with his grace and help to do what he needs me to do. It was a special moment for me.

I'm having so many sentimental and nostalgic moments lately, it's crazy. Being a missionary is the greatest thing, I'm so fortunate to be changed because of Him. I love you all and will see many of you soon, but until then, I go to carry my testimony to as many as will listen. Have a wonderful week and work to increase someone's faith in Christ!

Sister Nelson

Ps: Our zone vision is Connect Everyone with Christ and we were on our way to a meeting with the zone leaders, Elder Jones and Elder Serranilla and saw this and had to stop, it was a sign for a Christian church and they have our same vision, so funny haha.

PPS: This is the triple zone conference that everyone went to. It was also announced here that JEFFREY R. HOLLAND MY FAVORITE APOSTLE is coming to our mission on April 29th.....woah. Right before I go home, that will be cool!
PPpS: My eyes are still a little red, but not as itchy.. Just trying not to die in my final days.  But I made my first decisive decision ever when I had a crazy craving for fettuccine Alfredo so we got it and it was the best thing ever. So yummy.
PPPPS: I will send the clip I have of me singing to my family and they will put it on the blog for you to see. Have a good week!

It's Raining, It's Pouring

(Written Monday, April 11, 2016)

Hello my wonderful family and friends,

It's been raining and super cold (aka 57 degrees-which is super cold for us folk out in Nevada) so we broke out the boots (which turns out have been worn so much they have holes in them and are kinda good for nothing without duct tape, trust me I am so classy) and the big puffy coat and have been running through the rain sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the world.

One night in particular I wasn't prepared and was working with one of our leaders in the Warmsprings area south of here and only had a thin jacket and my black flats, well it was pouring and we just laughed and ran through it knocking on all these doors in this apartment complex to find people at home. It was so fun, it was a little chilly, but when will I ever get to do that again as a missionary for such a worthy cause. By the end, my shoes were so soaked that they were really heavy and every step I took made a sloshing sound. But it was neat. I am reminded of a video that we've been sharing with people called "A shower of Heavenly Blessings" by President Uchtdorf that talks about rain in a positive way. The rain is God's blessings for us but when we out up our umbrellas we are preventing ourselves from receiving that joy. When we keep the commandments and do all we can to love and serve the Lord, we are more happy and love the rain. That's how I felt running through the rain, it didn't make sense, but it was such a joy. I love that the gospel brings joy.

In other news, my face is no longer swollen and awful looking, I'm normal again so this week was so much better, we worked super hard and saw amazing, simple miracles. I'm looking at every moment as so precious now because this doesn't last forever and I'm doing things right now that I'll probably never have a reason to do again. Like enter people's homes and hear their whole life story and find out they are a custom embroiderer and met the prophet once. Just random things that are so special because this is all we do, we don't have distractions of the world in the way and we are just loving and serving God's children. It's so simple and profound and beautiful.

I love being a missionary with all my heart, I love having good health so I can run to the end and not faint or be weary and I love my elder brother, Jesus Christ who has taken this journey with me the whole time and is bringing me full circle to show me all of the wonderful things that I've learned and how much more full of joy and love our lives are when we reach out to others.

I love you all so much! May god bless you this week to see the positive in any particularly negative moment and may you feel his love!
Sister Nelson

The Red Panda Goes To Conference

(Written Monday, April 4, 2016)

Hello dear family and friends,

It's been a crazy week. I wrote this email earlier and accidentally deleted it with no way to retrieve it so it won't be as good as the first time, but here we are nonetheless.

Conference was simply amazing, I feel so grateful to have been able to watch it three times as a missionary. The messages were incredible and inspiring, Elder Arnold telling us to just get to the rescue and stop talking about it, President Uchtdorf talking about the building being restored and how Christ can restore us and all the awesome talks on families being together forever. That's really what it's all about, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church that can offer families together forever. I love that knowledge and belief that my family can be together forever and I love sharing that with other people.

This week, one of the highlights was taking the Montez family and some of their cousins to the temple. As we showed them a picture before the visit they said, "Woah, that looks like a castle I want to go there everyday!" And as they walked around they were in awe at the beauty and peace around the Lord's home. They picked a spot on the temple and made it their promise between each other and God that they would go through the temple and be sealed as a family for eternity someday. I love having people do that, I even have my own spot on the temple that I can't wait to share with my future family.
This week has had a lot of ups and downs as I have continued to fight my health. After finishing up at a doctor's office today, they told me I have severe allergies and thankfully not mono or anything else crazy I've been worried about and that the medicine prescribed will take away all the struggles that have been keeping me down. Who knew allergies could do so much harm to you? I'm excited to go back to the fresh clean air of Columbus, Indiana soon so my face doesn't look crazy. We've been joking that I look like the animal called the red panda because of all the redness around my eyes.

Thankfully things should get better this week so I can proselyte my heart out before returning home. All I can say is that I love the lord, I love conference and listening to his servants, I believe in what they say and desire to apply it to my life. I know I'm not perfect and still have so much to learn. Thank goodness my progression doesn't end at the end of a mission. I feel so grateful for these precious moments to serve the Lord and now this worn out body won't get in the way of this fired up spirit. Just like it was said in conference "Christ has already cured this illness" and I'm grateful to know that is true. May you all apply what you've learned from conference for an even more spiritual week to come!
Love you all!
Sister Nelson

That Easter Morn

(Written Monday, March 28, 2016)

Hello my dear friends and family,

The first week of the transfer was incredible. Sister Faucette got to say bye to some wonderful families that we've been teaching and she's off to Kingman, Arizona. I'll be seeing her this week on Wednesday, though, so I'm excited about that. Since then, Sister Wilde and I have had some funny adventures as we've run all over doing the work of the Lord. This transfer we are continuing our focus on helping find the elect and bring forth of God's children to the waters of baptism, but we are adding the overarching theme to be "Connecting everyone with Christ" and focusing on every contact we have will be helping others increase their faith in Christ and preparing them at whatever phase they are at whether it's getting them to the waters of baptism or helping them prepare to go to the temple.

It's such a privilege to be working in the most effective and highest producing part of our mission for the end of my time here. We are working hard with so many people we are teaching and were able to help three of our investigators come to church for the first time yesterday and they loved it. Hard work is paying off and we will see others come unto Christ this transfer for sure.

Sister Wilde and I just keep laughing about everything whether it's our orange mouths or our homemade bread baby (he was so delicious!)

The work keeps moving forward. Everyday brings cool experiences and wonderful people to meet. We got to have traditional Japanese food this week from a member family who asked what we wanted and I said "Katsu don" ( did I spell that right Dad?) my Dad always made that and I'd been craving it and it was so good! We also had sushi and I ate it! It was an incredible night and so yummy!
I got to see Sara, an 8 year old from a part member family we have been working with get baptized this week and she overcame her big fear of water and did it and she was just smiling so big! I love seeing things like this happening :)
We also got to watch the women's broadcast which was the best one I've seen, my two favorite quotes were "Throw away the mirrors and look out the window" and "Love is making space in your life for someone else."  It was a great broadcast and it was an eventful week!

I set a goal with myself at the beginning of this transfer that without fail I'd stay up to write in my journal after every day so that I could remember how I felt for my last transfer clearly and freshly. I know this will be a treasure to me and my future family one day. I've noticed the help I've received from the Lord to be able to stay awake to do so. In the past I would be so tired I'd crash when going to bed which is why I'm 100 something days behind, but recently He's been giving me strength to do this and I feel so blessed. I am reminded of wonderful miracles and blessings He gives me daily and it makes me happy. It helps me know that the things that are important to me are important to the Lord too. I love my Savior.

I would be missing out on a wonderful opportunity if I didn't bear my firm and solemn witness of Jesus Christ today as a representative of Him. I testify that Jesus Christ lives. He knows us personally for He suffered for us individually. He knows my strengths and my weaknesses and He knows how to help me grow. I've seen Him work with me in patience and love to mold me into the woman I am today. Without my Redeemer I am nothing, but through Christ I can do all things asked of me because He gives me strength. I testify that the single greatest event in the history of mankind took place in a garden, on a hill and in a tomb. Christ suffered, bled and died for us only to conquer not only sin but death also when He rose from the dead. It is because of Him that I have the hope to see my grandmother and recently deceased grandfather again and have the hope to be with my wonderful family who I love for time and all eternity. What greater blessing and knowledge is there than this? He lives, He loves, He knows and understands. My time as a representative of Him is getting really short. I pray that I can bear his name with dignity and grace until the end of this chapter and through the rest of my life to show others that I am one of His disciples and I follow Him.

It's a privilege to feel the Savior walking beside me every day and I cherish these moments and smile. The work of salvation is the work of the Lord and I know it to be true.
I love you all, I hope your Easter was Christ-centered and spirit-filled and full of sunshine and feelings of love for and from the Savior.
Sister Nelson

PS: You'll have to check the blog because I have lots of other pictures!

The Final Stretch

(Written Monday, March 21, 2016)

My dear family and friends,

This was a great ending to transfer 12 and now it is time to begin my last transfer. I can't believe that this is it. But we had a great week with so many miracles that came from working so hard. We hit all the standards of excellence this week, met some amazing people while walking on the street and shared some great lessons and messages about the New Easter video called "Hallelujah." We are finding so many prepared people and have set a high goal for baptisms next transfer but I believe we can do it. The people are out there.
We've also seen some great miracles from temple tours and teaching people about forever families. The Vegas Temple holds a special place in my heart.

We saw Talia and Nicole get baptized on Saturday as well. It was such a great day to bring more of God's children back to Him.

We've also really been trying to organize our apartment and the old paper area books so that no one gets lost and we can find old investigators to try teaching again. We are getting the area in great shape so we can put things on the iPad and I can leave the area better than I found it when I go home. Sister Faucette and I have a stack of papers probably 6 inches high that have to be recycled. So much paper! Ahh but all is going well.

We found out about transfers this week and Sister Faucette is leaving me to go out of valley to Kingman, Arizona. I'm way excited for her, but sad she won't be with me til the end. My new companion is Sister Wilde, I don't know much about her other than that she's really funny and she works hard. She's 27 and she'll be here with me tomorrow morning so here we go!

I've been really touched by the scriptures this week. They have become even more "delicious" to me as I read about the amazing missionaries in the book of Alma. I read Alma 26, the missionary anthem chapter this week and felt near tears because of all the miracles I've been blessed to see and the people I've come to know in this amazing city. I love it here so much. It's crazy that my time is so short. I wish I could stay but I'm also excited to see my family, how bittersweet this is.
I did learn something that has changed the way I look at sin and hopefully sharing it with you will change it as well. I run into a lot of people involved with so many awful sad things that perhaps under different circumstances they may not have fell prey to. I always wonder how they got there, where did it all start and how Satan can be so sneaky with us and I learned how today while reading
 Alma 30:17-18 17  "And many more such things did he say unto them, telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime.
 18 And thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms--telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof."
I think what Satan does to convince us that sinning is great in one or both of these things. He clouds our understanding of an eternal perspective which makes our choices matter and he teaches us to forget who we are (sons and daughters of a Divine Being).  He teaches us to rely on ourselves and takes away our self worth as divine beings as well and when that happens, sin seems enticing. I've learned that we can't ever be stronger than Satan when put into tempting situations, but we can be smarter than him by remembering who we are and whose we are and by always having an eternal perspective of the blessings coming our way because of our divine nature. I don't know about you, but this makes me want to sin less and remember who I am more.

I love you all. I'm grateful for the good examples you are to me and I can't wait to come home and be around you more and learn more from you. But until my six weeks are up, I still have time to be a great representative of the Lord and proclaim his gospel to the world. I'm very excited about these final days to give it my all. May you all have a great week!
 Sister Nelson
"And the race is about to begin..."
Only those of you who have seen better off dead will get it but it's so true, here I go! Running to the very end!