Friday, October 16, 2015

God Lives, He Answers Prayers

(Written Monday, October 12, 2015)

Dear friends and family,

What a wonderful week this has been for us. I am so grateful to be here learning from others and continually trying to better myself and become who God wants and needs me to be. We saw many miracles this week which is what we have been praying for since it is Sister Martin's last transfer. Heavenly Father is delivering in marvelous ways as we work our hardest to prove to the Lord we are willing and trying. We went to areas we have never worked in before and found many promising people to teach and we had a zone training meeting where we, as leaders, inspired our missionaries to exercise their faith (my training) their agency to make their missions the best (Sister Martin's training) and to be obedient (Elder Hale's training) and use and access the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ daily (elder Rockwood's training).  It was such a spiritual day and we learned a lot.

I would like to express my love and testimony to all of you about my Savior, Jesus Christ. It is through him that sinners can become good and good people can become better. I have hope to become who God needs me to be as I exercise my faith in Him through my actions. Our goal as a companionship this transfer was to bring 6 people to the waters of baptism and the gates of heaven. We have one that is solid named Anahi who is 14 and getting baptized this Saturday, but we lost a ton of investigators and we're basically starting from scratch and wanted to find a family of five. All week we were struggling to find them. We went to the temple and began to pray for them, we tried different things. This Sunday we both fasted to find them, we planned so well and tried to create the situation in which we would find them with specific prayer. We asked Heavenly Father to prepare a family in our blue or purple areas and that we would go there. All day we found no success, none before church in our blue area, but we worked tirelessly to find our family, we went to church, after church we found no one. We talked to a man who tried to question everything we said and wouldn't let us talk. But I remembered something that my trainer said to me one of my first weeks in the mission " when things get hard or frustrating, just keep going, because something really great is about to happen and this part is just a test." That has proven true my whole mission, so as we left sad and frustrated, we prayed that Heavenly Father would guide us to them in our purple area. As we knocked on every door, nothing happened. We were about to get in our car to go to our meeting at 7:55 and we saw a house and we knew we needed to knock it, we walked over and knocked twice, there was no answer so we walked away, but they opened the door! It was a family of seven who have Mormon friends and were so kind and they invited us in to say a prayer with them and come by next week. There are five of them that are of age to be baptized, but what a ten times mercy that Heavenly Father gave us two extra sweet young boys to love and cherish too. We walked away and just cried that at the very last moment when we were about to resign the fact that we wouldn't find them that night, Heavenly Father gave them to us for our diligence. I know that God exists, that He hears our prayers and is mindful of our righteous desires and wants to help us. He helped us, he answered our prayers and he will answer yours. Keep praying, keep going, be creators in your circumstances and He will give you success.
I love you all so much!
Please have a marvelous week!
Sister Alayna Nelson

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fall, Illness and General Conference

(Written Monday, October 5, 2015)

Hello family and friends,

This week there really isn't too much to report because I spent most of the week laying on a member's couch recovering from a nasty, nasty cold that wiped out my whole body.  It was a lot of sleeping and some interesting concoctions like apple cider vinegar mixed with water to heal a sore throat, elderberry which is nasty, a Cayman pepper water mixture, berating treatments, and lots of other strange things from members.  I've tried lots of them now. I ended up staying with one family who nursed me back to health while my companion continued to work with other members and missionaries. But I did get to watch conference, and boy, was it powerful!  I got answers to my questions and felt the spirit even from the couch in my pjs.  I've felt a little lazy because it's the missionary mentality, but I knew that if I kept working it would only get worse and I slept sooo much!

I think the biggest things that I got from Conference were things that I can do better and also protecting myself and future family from temptation and also to just simplify life. My favorite quote was by Elder Hales quoting Elder Bednar, "When you cannot do what you've always done, do what's most important!" I really like that, it helps me want to prioritize when I go home and make better use of my time and simplify.  Too many people have the regret when they are close to passing away that they wish they would have spent more time as a family or made fun memories and so my question to you this week is what is most important to you and how will you make that a priority this week?

I know that Heavenly Father gives us time to do all the things we want to do when we put Him first. It's not logical, but I know it works, I've seen it in my life. Make time for what really matters and you will see.

I love you all, please know I am doing much better and ready to work and see miracles this week, prepare to be amazed!

Love you all!
Sister Alayna Nelson

PS-Again I can't get on the normal computer, maybe later I can
send you pics from my other camera, but I really didn't take photos this week.
Yes I did take a photo on a selfie stick, it was radical I guess, and I'm doing much better now.
This is Haley, she comes out with us all the time and she took care of me!
Breathing treatment


Come listen to a Prophet's Voice

(Written Monday, September 28, 2015)

My dear sweet family and friends,

What a marvelous thing it is to be alive and on the earth right now this very day.  We have a purpose we are called here and saved to come at this time to do a wondrous work of good and truth.   I am so happy to be a missionary at this time.  I was reminded in an email today from a very close friend of mine to think back to the first time I had a desire to serve a mission and if it was still just as fun as imagining it. I have been thinking a lot about that because sometimes we just go go go that we forget to see how far we've come and recognize who we are. It has been difficult for me to see large changes in myself, but recently, I've seen similar situations that I've been in and I always think how I'd respond and the most satisfying thing is when I think, I used to do it that way, but I would do it differently now.  I don't know if that makes sense, but I suppose all that matters is that I understand.

Some wonderful things have happened this week that have made me so happy and grateful for the knowledge that I have and also glad to be able to share it. We talked to even more people this week. As a zone, we didn't reach our goal of 2,000 but we all talked to more people than ever which makes us feel good.

This week we got to watch the primary program where the children share what songs and principles they have learned. My two favorite songs that touched my heart were "I know that my Savior Loves me" and "I belong to the church of Jesus Christ."  It was so cute because I realized how singing those songs helped me learn things at a young age and feel close to God and have helped me become who I am. They sang with such conviction that they know Jesus loves them and they know God's plan. I want to be a little kid again sometimes.

October has always been my favorite time of year with the changing colors and the crisper air and the sweaters and candles and pumpkins.  I always liked doing the primary program and getting ready for Halloween and Thanksgiving and as I've gotten older I've loved watching General Conference. I have fond memories watching it in pjs at home and fond memories watching it in person twice in college. As a missionary I've come to realize how special and significant and merciful it is that God gave us a prophet again today like Adam, Noah and Moses to be the mouthpiece for God to lead and guide us safely in this crazy world. He's speaking to the world this weekend and it's free and you can watch it from your home, but I encourage you to watch it. They will answer your questions, they will bring peace and joy and they will testify of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so looking forward to more guidance and I would just love to hear what you learn and how conference helped you next week!

Love you all,
Sister Alayna Nelson

PS: here's an easy link to watch general conference, get information about what it is, activities for your kids to do etc.
http://conference.lds.org

PPS: Sorry I don't have pictures, I tried sending them from the computer but it didn't work. Maybe next week. There weren't many anyways. I'll do better this week!
 I love this quote!

Enlisted

(Written Monday September 21, 2105)

Well Everyone,

It's been another crazy, eventful and random week. After much prayer and consideration, weighing the pros and cons, I have decided to join the air force and cease to be a missionary. View photos below for proof. I'm just playing, but I did get to do some crazy stuff this week. It was a week of miracles.

I saw Brother Nolin make the commitment to be baptized this week by his son Matt which was so neat and all of the missionaries came back to visit him, even some that had gone home so it was super special.

We got to do my first set of official training in front of the zone for interviews with the president where we trained about loving our companion, prayer and we even boarded the boat with the "twelve disciples" and simulated Jesus walking on the sea and leaving the boat to join him, by leaving everything behind and just riding on faith. It was powerful and allowed me to reflect on my mission and on my life and what I was giving to the Lord and how I trusted him in my life!

This week I have seen miracles, I am not happy to say this part, but our mission has a goal for us to talk to at least 70 people each week in the street and invite them to listen to our message. Despite trying my whole mission to hit 70, I never had reached it until this week. We had a miracle week where in one day we talked to 41 people. 41 people. I was blown away by the help of the Lord and the confidence I needed to talked to all those people, and I hadn't even felt good that morning! The Lord blessed us to be able to not only achieve our standard, but far exceed it by reaching over 100 street contacts! I was so humbled to see the Lord work through me! One of my friends wrote to me this week and said that when we understand the atonement and Christ's love for us, we physically cannot keep our mouth shut, but are propelled to open our mouths and share this message with others. I must be understanding the atonement more even though I feel so stationary as a missionary right now, not learning nearly as much as I want to.

Lastly to explain the military outfits, I didn't join the military. We just borrowed uniforms for a zone leadership activity to pump up our missionaries to expand their vision and talk to everyone so that we could have 2,000 strippling street contacts for our last week of transfers! We want to have a miracle week and beat another zone's number from their miracle week. WE decided to do the strippling street contacts like the strippling warriors and pray for miracles to come and that we can work so hard, so we had like a pep rally and had cool music and just got people pumped so I hope to write to you next week saying it was a big success and we did it!
I love the mission and being creative to help other missionaries be excited and see their potential!  I can't believe how fast his transfer has gone, my companion will be going home after next transfer and my time is getting shorter and shorter as next month I have been out for a year with only 6 months left. I hope I am doing everything I can to please the Lord and change myself and be the person he wants me to be. I hope that He is proud of me. This week I plan to be even more enlisted in the work of the Lord to bring salvation and eternal blessings to others, may we all try to enlist ourselves more in our capacities and positions now is my prayer!
I love you all!
Have a wonderful week!
Love,
Sister Alayna Nelson

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Hype Hike

(Written Monday, September 14, 2015)

My dear sweet family and friends,

This has been a wonderful week and I have learned a lot about myself and my mission. I had the privilege of going on exchanges with Sister Blanchard (she is basically a Sister AP in our mission).
We got to go to another zone's training conference and it was so creative what they did. They taught their trainings along the trail of a hike up a mountain and it was one of the most spiritual things I have done. The hike brought a lot of symbolism up in my mind for me personally and I learned a lot. We started at the base and talked about working hard and how the mission was hard. Looking up at that mountain and thinking, 'I have to climb this in a skirt and it's really hot! This will be nuts' was tough, but as I started the hike, I noticed it was so much easier to watch each step I took rather than looking straight ahead to see how much farther I needed to go.  And when I did look up occasionally, I was able to see I had traveled so far. It was hot, but Heavenly Father sent us breezes and I learned so much about how I could be a better missionary.
Now that I do lots of trainings it was nice to sit back and learn from someone else rather than having to teach others! I love learning! I wish I could explain everything that I learned on this hike, but I feel like a lot of it are things I don't know how to explain! It just gave me motivation to work harder and to see that all is possible with God! I hiked a mountain in a skirt and got burned so I have a wonderful tan and peeling forehead to go along with it, but it made me so happy that day! I did hard things and walking down the mountain was like walking down the last part of my mission! There is not much time left and it made me want to work really hard so I can run to the end and just like I was exhausted, red in the face and really sweaty, that's how I figuratively want to finish my mission! I want to give it my all with sore muscles from exercising them so hard (a stronger spirit and mind) and the desire to continue to work hard and do amazing things when I get home.
This hike was meant to pump up their zone so they called it the Hype Hike. It certainly helped me and I know I was there for that reason, to learn something from someone else that Heavenly Father needed to teach me. Where are you at on your hike, on your journey to better yourself? Find out and keep moving forward! Heavenly Father makes all things possible and loves us enough to do so! He sent his Son, which is the demonstration of the love of God and we have the chance to push ourselves and be a little better today than we were yesterday! We can do hard things!
I've seen numerous miracles this week and I honestly feel that I cheat you all out of so many stories because there is not enough time to tell them, but know that they are changing me and the only way you would be able to see and understand all the stories would be if you were serving right here beside me, so with that being said, if you want to be better and change yourself, draw closer to God and Jesus Christ and increase your faith like never before, I cannot recommend serving a mission more. God is building his army to bring the world his truth because he loves his children and you and I get to be a part of that!
I witnessed this week Bro. Nolin pass his baptismal interview and he will get baptized this weekend to complete his family so they can be sealed together! I love the gospel and the joy it brings to life! Share what makes you happy with someone this week and your joy will grow even more!

I love you all so much,
Sister Alayna Nelson

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"I Love Jesus So Much"

(Written Monday, September 7, 2015)

Hello Friends and Family,

It's crazy that another Pday has rolled around, why does time just go faster and faster the older you get in the mission. This week, I went to something called MLC which is Mission Leadership Council.  All the leaders in the mission got together to receive counsel that they could take back to their zones of working and training their missionaries. It was quite enlightening, a little stressful because they encourage you to continue to be better and you're like, "woah, I am trying!"  But I can always do more, but it's way good!
We came back to our areas and planned special training on always being converted by having spiritual experiences. So no matter what religion you are, ask yourself this question, when was the last time you had a spiritual experience? Hopefully it was today or yesterday, but we should try to have them often. If we aren't nourishing our spirituality, it will wither and we won't notice.

Sometimes we will just need an extra powerful experience. A couple weeks ago, we tried saying hi to someone on the street who didn't believe in God (which we didn't know) and rather than saying no he didn't want to hear it and walk away, he came over and started grilling us and trying to trap us in lies for like 30 minutes. Needless to say that wasn't a very spiritual experience and we walked away with our hearts feeling depressed and frustrated and sad. We went to our next lesson and were just having a discussion about God and it was so powerful the manifestation that both Sister Martin and I got as each time God, Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ or the atonement were mentioned and talked about. We knew He existed and that He knew us and what happened and the stark difference was incredible to notice. I was grateful for that moment because sometimes we need a reminder on the most basic of principles that God is our loving Heavenly Father and he knows us personally and loves us and wants to help us. So please, seek out a spiritual experience daily to nourish your spiritual faith and life! I promise it will bless you for I have seen it bless my own life.

We taught the Fellman family about tithing and the only reason April is worried about paying it is because she has a teacher's salary and she works at a low income school so kids come to school without shoes and good clothes and she buys it for them out of pocket. She wants to be able to do both but doesn't see how she can. We felt so prompted to promise that as she pays tithing, she will be able to do even more for those kids. And our inspired member shared that the relief society program for women at church would be happy to help! It was so wonderful! She has such righteous desires and I know the Lord will bless her for her good heart.

One final story for you all, last night, we watched the Testaments with the Nolin family. This movie sums up what happened in the Bible and Book of Mormon at the same time and when Christ comes to the Americas. It is an incredible movie and the spirit was so strong. Their ten year old son, Ryan, is very spiritual and very close to the Lord.  As he watched the end, he started bawling because he was so happy to see Jesus heal the faithful prophet. He said "I love Jesus so much, I want to hug him." We were able to talk about missionary work and how we can love the Savior even more now by helping him bring his other family members to the truth. He was asking why Christ couldn't come now and it was just so spiritual. Everyone was crying (even Brother Nolin who is the only nonmember in the family and getting baptized on the 19th) The spirit was incredible. Group hugs were shared and the week ended on a wonderful note!

I know Christ will come again, I know the work I am doing is the most important work on the earth and I, too, Love Jesus So Much! I hope you all have a wonderful week and a safe labor day!
I love you all so much!
-Sister Alayna Nelson

Taezon Hall's baptism, now the hall family is complete :)
Our Zone

Exchanges and Baptisms

 (Written Monday, August 31, 2015)

Well everyone,

Above is a summary of such a beautiful week. We had exchanges for a day with each set of sisters in the zone and it was fun to see miracles from preparing an inspired street contact the night before. With Sister Gier, we prayed about doing a street contact on family history and connecting with our ancestors. We prayed to Heavenly Father that he would give us miracles, that we would talk to people who were interested in family history. During personal study, we looked for scriptures in the Bible and Book of Mormon that we could use in street contacts and we also thought of questions we could ask people and then we went out and did it and talked to so many people and it was incredible, everyone we talked to that day was interested, and if they weren't no one was rude about it so that was cool!  I want to keep doing that and see the miracles that come from it. I also got to go learn from a teacher at institute on exchanges and that was one of the most exciting things too! I love learning, I miss college! This area is pretty cool. It's different because I'm speaking English, but I've had opportunities to use my Spanish. People are popping up everywhere for us to talk to and it's amazing what an example can do. One of my favorite quotes says "Preach the gospel always, and when necessary use words" some of the easiest things for us to start a conversation is when we help someone or compliment them sincerely. Members and missionaries are not much different, we still get scared just like members, we still have to excite ourselves to do the work sometimes and to even talk to people, but members can just start by inviting to activities, inviting to baptisms, to dinners, to do service! So much good comes from opening our mouths.

The family in the picture above got baptized this past Saturday.  They met the missionaries about two months ago because they knocked on the door during times of trials and now they have been welcomed into the Craig Ranch ward with loving arms as the newest members.  And next Saturday, the dad, Teazell gets to baptize his son on his 8 year old birthday which will be so special.

This next week I will go to my first leadership meeting as a mission and I will give my first trainings to my zone. I'm still a little nervous and stressed, but Heavenly Father put us here to stretch and grow when we think we can't.

I love the church and the miracles I have seen the gospel of Jesus Christ do for people. I know this is Christ's church in its fullness on the earth once more and I feel so privileged to be a part of God's army. Find a way to share what you know with your friends this week whether it be through inviting them to an activity, a baptism, church or to do service. I promise that if you pray for missionary experiences, Heavenly Father will give them to you.
Have a wonderful week,
LOVE YOU SO MUCH,
Sister Alayna Nelson

Sidewalk Art, Pambosas and The Elect

(Written Monday, August 24, 2015)

Hello friends and family,

This is SISTER Nelson reporting from NORTH Las Vegas. I have had an incredible week of learning and miracles. I still am a little sad that Spanish is in hibernation (FOR NOW) and I have to teach in English but we have seen so many people ready for the gospel come our way in the street. Miracles come to those who who follow the Lord.

As leaders we have to be an example to those around us. My ability to love and plan specifically for people has increased. I feel like I'm a brand new missionary again because I feel like I don't know anything, but I love it because hopefully that means that I am humble and teachable right now. Hopefully I learn so much and change so much because this responsibility is making me realize that I still have so much I better learn before coming home.

I have a love/hate relationship with change because it stretches you. I know the stretch is good, sometimes it feels hard, but Heavenly Father won't give me (or any of us for that matter) anything we can't handle. I've had the privilege this week to get to know many prepared families that make all the hardships in missionary work worth it.
One of which is the Hall family, a family of six with a baby on the way, they will be baptized this next Saturday and their story is so humbling, inspiring and special. They have been prepared by God and I can't wait to see them get baptized.
I've met an older couple named the Baudinos and they have quickly become like my grandparents. Brother Baudino just got baptized right before I got here and he's such a happy and funny man. I hope that when I get to be celebrating my 49th anniversary like they are that I will have that much love and happiness still in my marriage. Life goals!
My companion is great, Sister Martin is from Mexico City (the motherland of my Spanish knowledge) and so sweet. She's 24 and has a degree in graphic design. She wants to work for a fashion magazine doing the front covers. She goes home in three months, so chances are I will be "killing" her ( which is missionary terminology for being someone's last companion and sending them home from their mission).
She's really great and we are having so much fun thinking of creative ways to do missionary work.  There's a big park in our area called Craig Ranch Park and last night we decided to go tag the park with the positive message that families can be together forever. We drew a couple pictures like this one and walked around talking to so many families about the importance of an eternal family.
We had so much success around the park and we got many opportunities set up to teach people. We are excited, the mission is fun. Being a sister training leader is going to be an adventure with so much growth, but I'm looking forward to it because hopefully I become such a better person!

I love you all! Thanks for all your prayers, keep praying and I'll keep praying for you. This is the greatest blessing in my life. Please visit Mormon.org if you want to learn more about how your family can be together forever and not just until death do us part. His plan is for the whole world and anyone who will listen.

Have a blessed week,
Hermana Alayna Nelson

PS: despite being in an English area, I still have had Mexican food . This is a Pambazo which I had never had before but they are super popular in Mexico and super delicious. I will make them when I come home.

Hasta Pronto Espanol, Howdy English

(Written Monday, August 17, 2015)

Well Friends and Family,

The transfer has come to a close and so many changes are about to happen it's not even funny.  My pattern of staying 3 transfers in an area and then moving on to somewhere else has continued as I will now be switching areas once more. I must say that I really grew to love this ward, this has been my favorite area thus far because we have had the sacred privilege and blessing of reaping from the Lord's harvest so fruitfully here. This past transfer, I watched 8 wonderful people and beautiful souls follow the example of their savior, Jesus Christ and make the first step to receiving eternal life through baptism. I feel like I have done what the Lord needed me to do here and we closed on a good and strong note by seeing the De La Torre family get baptized.
Many of these people have become a second family to me and I will be so sad to leave this area, but I must go where the Lord wants (and needs me to go) When our bishop announced it in sacrament meeting he had us all come up and I watched many people look so sad with tears in their eyes as we got to share our testimonies with them. I know this is the Lord's work. I know the next sisters will be able to do things that we couldn't do here, they will have a different gift with people we could not help. I know this is the Lord's work and not mine and it will continue on when I leave, but I still wish I could have done even more here. This area is the coolest with so many prepared people and it's been very nice having the temple 3 minutes away from our apartment. The spirit is strong in the Sunrise Stake. It's been a blast and I know we did a good job here.

So, you might ask, where am I going and what is happening. Sister Haycock and I are both getting transferred out of this area because both of us have been asked to be Sister Training Leaders which for those of you who don't know, I will be a leader in a zone of missionaries for the sisters. It's like the girl version of a Zone Leader. Which also means, that I will have to leave Spanish behind and speak and teach and serve the English folks. I'm pretty sad about it because I have grown to love this lyrical and romantic language. I don't know when I will have the chance to serve again as a Spanish speaking missionary because all of the leadership positions only speak English, but I know that Heavenly Father has a plan and I'll still be able to study Spanish for an hour a day. it's just going to be way different. My next area is just north west of here and is called the North Zone. I will be serving in two English wards and I will do exchanges with the other sisters in my area quite often, I will have other meetings to attend and hopefully will learn, grow and change a lot! I don't want anyone to recognize me when I come home.

Last Friday we had the privilege of teaching the Rodriguez-Garibay family what a family home evening is and how it can strengthen their family. We thought it would just be the family, but as you can see in the photo, literally all the neighborhood kids came over and there were like 20 of us (including Jaime who came too) So we started with a song, I am a child of God and all the kids loved it, we talked about our families and why they are so important and then we acted out stories from the Book of Mormon with a bag of random props. Sister Garibay said at the end "Okay! Everyone come to my house on Monday and we'll do it again!" This family is incredible at sharing the gospel with others and helping all those kids feel as though it was a refuge at their house! We are excited to go again tonight and celebrate Emely's thirteenth birthday and do more fun activities! I think I will miss this family and Jaime the most, but I am grateful for this time I have had to serve here.

Serving a mission is the best thing in the world! Be prepared to continue to hear about crazy miracles in the transfer to come!

So much love,
Hermana Alayna Nelson

Monday, October 12, 2015

Subjects are Overratted

(Written Monday, August 10, 2015) 

Hi Family and Friends!

I wish I had a more creative title, but I don't feel like too many crazy things happened this week. Israel got baptized on Saturday which was so special! The family is nearly complete and it feels great. They have an older sister who kinda lives at home and kinda at her boyfriend's house, but they really want her to be a part of this too because it's been making them so happy! It's wonderful to see all the tiny yet profound changes each week. I love this gospel.
We also got ipads which has been one of the weirdest things of my life, it's interesting to interact with technology again and use it to teach people. I kinda don't like it, but I'm working on it. I thought the picture below was pretty clever haha. but that's just me ;)
Also, our zone had a really awesome conference this past week where we talked about appearance and how we can help people by showing them what they don't know through questions and helping them realize they want answers to those questions and then providing the answers through the Book of Mormon. It was a spiritual experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. At the end we talked about why we came on a mission and why we were going to stay on our missions, which re-centered us on our purpose and focus. I love serving a mission. I love all the tools Heavenly Father has given us to be successful and I love the person he is helping me become. I am so grateful for the opportunity to change, it just keeps sticking with me. The church is true and Heavenly Father is calling each of our names! He loves us because we are his children!

I can't believe this transfer is coming to a close, I feel like Sister Haycock just got here and I really want to stay here with her, but we will know what happens this Saturday! One more transfer would be lovely, but I will go where the Lord wants me to go.

May all of you have a wonderful week!
Love,
Hermana Alayna Nelson

video

So I can finally send videos! This is a clip of me singing at a zone
conference :) I love and miss you all!