Monday, December 28, 2015

A Nice, Sunny Christmas in Florida :)

Something Good: Well this week has had many good things!
First skyping with my family!! I sure loved seeing them all; it was a wonderful time! :) I am thankful for technology to see my cute family! So thankful that families are forever!! Second, presents from home!!! I got a box of things to "share" before Christmas, and this was one of my favorites - it is a Life Saver's book with a picture of Jesus pasted on the cover with "He is the Real Life Saver" - that is SO TRUE!!! I love talking to people about the Savior. This week has been kinda slow because of the holidays, but we have met very nice people as we have walked around our area. :)
This is Vivian, who has been really nice to feed us, and the second time at her house, we discovered we have a mutual friend in Orem, Utah, Katie Ator Anderson, so this photo came from Vivian to Katie to my Mom. It's a small world - in the Church!! We met this man outside, he was using his cane to brush some leaves out of his garage, so we go over to help him, and he asks, "What do you want?" and we tell him we just want to help him. So we do for a minute and than he tells us to go talk to his wife. We where both like.."OK!" So we go inside, his wife is on the phone but tells us to go sit down, so we sat down, and waited, she came and talked to us for a bit and showed us around her house, and she had the most beautiful Nativities ever!! I really feel like I have see more Nativiy sets here in Florida than I ever have before, I love it so much! Anyways! We find out she is very into her church, but it was just cool and super sweet how nice she was and so respectful of our church and beliefs. There are so many good people who are genuinely kind who are not of our faith that I am so thankful for. :) We went to see a family where the husband is less active and the wife is not a member. It was the second time we have seen them. The first was on Thanksgiving and we just talked to them outside, but this time we where able to go inside and talk to them, and it was great! We had a wonderful visit and where able to show them "A Savior is Born." Many good little things this week. :) On Christmas Eve we went to see Sabrina and Alex and spent time with them. It was cute because we played "Bible Trivia" with Marley, their daughter, and each time she got one right she could open a present. I feel like I want to do that one day with my future kids. ;)
We had a District Meeting on Tuesday and I got taped to the wall. Good times. We must be getting ready for Christmas and don't know what to do with all our energy, since people are busy!!
Something Funny: Only in the South would you find a sign like this surrounded by growing green plants!! Never in my life would I have ever thought it would be 80 degrees on Christmas!! It was so wonderful!! I do miss the feel of Christmas but I do not miss the cold! It was funny because we were driving in the car and we had to turn the A/C on...haha! Oh, a few days ago...we washed our car outside in sandals and shorts, and it was just so lovely. Something I can check off my bucket list!? " Wash your car in the middle of December.." (Check) :) I can understand why people come to FL during the is NICE. Some of our members were at the beach making Florida snowmen out of sand...Haha so awesome. :)
So Christmas eve we went to the Huntsman home and they put on the Nativity for us! Note the dad is in shorts and barefoot and the mom is in flip flops. Only in Florida...
So Christmas when we opened our gifts we had an awesome challenge. My mom sent us a LOT of little gifts that were identical/matching - one for each of us. We had to open the tag and read the scripture, then guess what was in the gift, the open it! It was so much fun!
Here we are with chocolate coins wrapped in gold paper. We learned that we are valuable to the Lord! The matching scarves were "Put on the beautiful garments."
We had a Christmas party at the apartment of the senior couple, Elder and Sister Ross. They bought presents and we drew numbers and each took that gift, then they read a story and we had to pass the gifts left or right, and at the end of the story, we kept the gift we had in our laps. That was a great Christmas day activity, and the Elder and Sister Ross are so wonderful to do that for us! We all felt loved! Something Learned: This week we have been sharing a story called "The Legend of the Candy Cane" by Lori Walburg (available on Amazon) (Thank you to my mother:)) We have given out candy canes as we read this story of the meaning of the candy cane, and how the candy cane is like a shepherd's staff to represent the first people told about His birth, how the J stands for Jesus, and how the red stripes remind us of his pain and his blood shed for us and the white for His life and purity. Each time we read the story, I just knew that Christ was born for me. I am so thankful for Him and all the many blessings I have been given because He was born. Even though the Christmas season is over, I know that we can all keep Christ in our thoughts and minds all during the year. :) One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the Good Samaritan. In one of the ending verses it reads.."And he had compassion on him." This story is just a good reminder that even though we are all different, we can still love others and do what Christ would do. Even after Christmas we can still serve and love others. :) I have enjoyed Christmas so much this year through focusing on the Savior even more, and I hope I can always keep Him in mind throughout this next year! :)
This is the Relief Society Room in the Lynn Haven Ward (cute bulletin board, huh?) We are saying goodbye to Allie, who is in our ward, but moving.
And here we are, post-Christmas shopping at Target with Megan Morse, who loves to shop and takes us along. She is so cute and so good to us!
I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year! So thankful for another year to be alive and another year to serve my Savior and Heavenly Father here in Florida. :) #2016inFL, Love to all, Sister Nielson:)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

"A Savior is Born" For Me & You :)

Something Good: Hi everyone!! Sorry it has been a bit, but I will do some catch up!!
The past few weeks have been awesome in Lynn Haven!! This area has been somewhat slow, but with the Spirit's help we are finding and talking to everyone!! Something good about the South...everyone loves Jesus!! It is awesome to be here around the Christmas Holiday because we talk to so many people who think Jesus is awesome, which makes talking about his birth even better! We have been loving giving out this pass along card with a (Go watch it!) It is one of my favorite videos ever! The Gospel is the Good news to the World, so thankful for the Savior for giving himself to us. He sure is something good to talk about! Ah!!! My wonderful people in Gulf Breeze, Paul and Paula, have set a BCD (Baptism Commitment Date)!! Ahhhh!! I am so excited for them and so proud! And so thankful to have been a missionary to find and introduce the Gospel to them, to watch them change and to feel their incredible love for us and for the Church develop and blossom! So thankful to have planted that seed and know that it grew into fruit! I hope to see them again and rejoice with them in their decision - maybe they will come to Lynn Haven - only a two hour drive! :) Another good things! I sang in our ward church choir on Sunday! My first time ever singing in a church choir before..ha! It was super fun!
Some other good things! We had a "Half Mission Conference," a Christmas conference in Tallahassee with half our mission, which was so great, it is kinda nice to know other missionaries and get to see them again!Here is a picture of me and my girls from the MTC, Sister Laub and Sister Rinlisbacher!! (Re: April 27, 2015 blog post)
This is a photo with Sister Stewart and I and Sister Kirton and her companion. She was serving with us in Gulf Breeze and was transferred to Dothan. So nice to see her again!
And here is our beloved Sister Smith, our "Mission Mom" at our Christmas Half Mission Conference. Sure love her!
And here is a group of smiling Sister missionaries at the conclusion of the conference, with Sister Smith at the back left. What a great group of friends, these Sister Missionaries! I am so blessed to be here!
Oh yes! Our ward is getting way into Family History! This photo was sent to my mom from Angie Jones, who was at the FH center (Insert texted comments from Sister Jones about Sister Nielson, "I was in the FHC with your daughter when she picked up a magnified plastic. She was so cute!! She IS adorable and we LOVE her! Such a great companionship too. She and Sis Stewart make a great team!") This new emphasis is awesome for us because coming up we will get to go around places and share a short message about FH and we get to have time to work on our own FH! I really am starting to love it. We are helping a lady find her family on Family Search. It has been such a good learning and wonderful experience for me. Thankful for FH! :)
Something Funny: IT IS NOW FALL! It is funny to me how the weather works here! Also kinda weird that there is no snow whatsoever! But we do have our own kind of Florida snow...Sand!? Ha! Well Sister Stewart and I walked ALL day on can imagine me...DYING. Haha, but we found an orange tree with oranges on it...went to the door and asked if we could pick some oranges! The man who answered was so nice and totally let us have oranges! Oh the people in the genuinely kind and generous.
Speaking of kind Southerners, we have a good friend named Tiff, we met her at Chick-fil-a, she is probably one of the sweetest ladies I have ever met. She always helps us and calls us, "My loves." Oh she is just so cute! We always are able to share messages with her. Honestly, we go to Chick-fil-a just for her...:) I just love all these wonderful nice people in the area!
So these past few weeks, one of the things we get to do is walk a LOT with real paper maps. Sometimes we have to duck into a place that sells food and try to figure out where we are and how to get to where we are going!
And we try to be friendly and smile at everyone, and bring a bit of happiness to them, too, even if we get photo-bombed in the process. Something Spiritual: Sister Stewart and I had a cool spiritual experience a few weeks ago which strengthened both of us. During planning we decided to go through our former investigators. So we do, and we see a name...Carolyne. Well Carolyne has a lot of history with the missionaries. Well, one day we felt like we should go see her and meet her, so we do, and we knock on the door. She opens the door and starts freaking a good way! She told us she was struggling a lot and just picked up her Book of Mormon, was about to read it when we knocked on the door. She kept saying, "I can't believe this!" So we go in and have a great lesson with her.We talked about faith and love and humility, and how much her Savior loves her. Carolyne is so awesome. She just knows her Savior, and if someone loves the Savior so would be Carolyne. We are so excited to start teaching her and helping her come to Christ..when actually she helps us come to Him! :) I am just so thankful for her and her open heart to learn!
I am also so thankful for the people who have opened their hearts and homes to us. One is Megan Morse, who invited Sister Stewart and I over for a filet mignon dinner on Dec 22. We needed the strength that came from this good meal and the warmth of the love of her family.
There is something so wonderful about children at Christmastime especially. You feel their innocence and love, their trust and their simple and real faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I am grateful to the families who have fed us, encouraged us, and let us be of service to them. But really, they are giving us service. At Christmas, when missionaries are far from their families, it is really easy to get homesick and miss those we would be with at Christmas at home. So it is so nice when we can be invited into the homes of good people who share their families with us as missionaries far from home. So I just want to say THANK YOU to all the families and good people out there who feed and love the missionaries. Thanks for taking care of each of us. May you be blessed for your kindness and generosity. I am sure the Lord loves you for it.
And speaking of service, Sister Stewart and I got to help Megan Morse decorate for the Lynn Haven ward Relief Society Christmas evening. We even got to go with her to Hobby Lobby to get some decorating things. And good thing that Sis Stewart was there to keep us on track, because Megan and I love decorating, so we got distracted as we were shopping. Here is a little bit of the decorating on the stage behind us. I took this selfie with Megan's phone and she texted it to my mom. Something Learned: As many of you know, I am learning a lot lately...some things are harder to learn than others but I am figuring it out! Missions are definately places where you learn a lot about yourself and about the Lord. One of the biggest things I have learned this month is, Sacrifice. I have always kinda thought this word was scary and all, but really it isn't. I am thankful for a Savior for giving himself to me and to all of us, so that one day we can become and be like him. This Christmas season has been one of my favorites, I have focused more on the Savior than I ever have before and I am so thankful for the time I get to do so. I am so thankful for the best gift given to the world. A Savior. He is kind, he is loving and he is forgiving. So blessed. :) And He is the Light of the World. No wonder we celebrate Him and the way we want to follow him by giving and serving others during this season. He lights up our lives. He gives us reason to rejoice!
Hope y'all had a Blessed and Merry Christmas!! I love each y'all big!! To everyone who has sent me encouraging and sweet words, thank you so much. I love you all. <3 Sis Nielson

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Seeking Heaven's Help

Yesterday one of the Seventy spoke in stake conference and his talk was "Faith in Repentance." The spirit hit me hard how important it is for everyone to have faith because we all need continual repentance. It is through Faith we can gain a relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and apply the Atonement in our lives. Last night after stake conference I was looking at a picture of Christ. We had put up lights around his picture, and He was shining. As I pondered it, the Spirit whispered to me that His light is a gift to all, if you use his perfect gift which is the Atonement. I know that in the end all that matters is what Heavenly Father and Christ think of me and each of us. He is the light. He is our center.
There are wonderful people in the Lynn Haven ward, and I am happy to get to know some of them. Here is Sister Stewart and me with Megan Morse, who sent these photo home for me. She took it as a wide angle, which makes the room look sort of curved. She is really nice to us.
This is Sophie, age four and Pyper Morse, age two. I freaked out because the Morse's have a REAL Christmas Tree!!!! I don't remember our family ever having a real tree,so this was super amazing to me. Thank you for all your love and support in everything I have done. Sister Nielson

Friday, December 4, 2015

New Home...Lynn Haven, Panama City, FL

Farewell to Gulf Breeze ward and Navarre! Here are my last photos in Gulf Breeze: Last District Photo - Sister Kinghorn and I are twinners for one last time!
Last photo with Sister Kinghorn hugging goodbye at transfers spot. She is staying and training in Gulf Breeze. I know she will be an awesome trainer! We have had a really great companionship. I will love her always!
And it is always so wonderful to see Sister Smith, who is an incredible Mission Mom. I love her so much and have learned so much from her. So then on to transfers and new companion assignments. I was in for a big surprise!
Something Funny: I am now companions with my trainer, Sister Stewart!!! Ha! We both gasped when our names were read together! How great is that! She is so fun and so funny, that we just laugh and have a great time together! It's going to be awesome! We get to serve together again, which I am SO thankful for!! We have so much good work to do here and I am so pumped and ready for the work to start! :) And!!! I got my wish to go to Panama City!! I am in the Lynn Haven ward. Here is my/our new address: Sister Nielson and Sister Stewart 2401 Stanford Ave. #503 Panama City, FL 32405 I love it here!!!
Look at these cute turtles in the pond by our apartment. Ah, Florida! Something Spiritual: Well, because of transfers I was able to go to Milton for the day with our STL's (oh I just love Milton!) we went to see an RC (recent convert) named Ashley. She has been a member for about 3 months or so...anyways! We just had this amazing lesson with her...It was so cool to see this new member of the Church center everything in her life around Christ. She told us a lot about herself, and the trials she has faced...but she would ALWAYS mention Christ. It was just a good spiritual moment for me to see someone who loves Christ so much. I know that the Savior will NEVER give up on anyone..I am thankful for Ashley for reminding me and teaching me about a personal relationship we can all gain through the Savior Jesus Christ. Another sweet spiritual moment, we went to a member's home a few days ago, the Bober's. Sister Bober is less active and her husband is not a member, but they are so nice and so open with us, we shared about gratitude and went around and said something we are all grateful for. The spirit was just there and it felt so good. :) So thankful for the Holy Ghost to help us feel warm inside. :) Something Good: So many good moments this week..of course there was some hard moments, leaving GB and everyone there..but good moments always come. :) I love Lynn Haven!! It feels so much more homey! (don't know if that is a word...) there is so much to do here...and Target exits here! Yay! :) My new ward is awesome!! It is SO many good people!
One of our investigators, Sabrina...(Yes! We might have the same name!) invited us to go over to her home and have dinner and decorate her Christmas tree...okay probably the best thing I have done in a while. Her husband is from Haiti and speaks French! So awesome he prayed in French! So cool. Anyways, Sabrina and Alex are wonderful people, ah that night with them was just a good moment! Super excited to start the work here!! :) Another funny moment...well we didn't really have miles to do a lot, so we had a member take us to one of our areas and there we walked around and met a few people! Also met a guy named Cary who wants to take us to lunch, so that is nice! :) Anyways it got dark outside so here we are on the side of the road using a legit REAL map to find where we need to go and using a flash light...ha, it was just funny, because I have never used a paper map before...but learning and growing always. ;) Also, Sister Stewart is just a funny person so we laugh a lot. :) Something Learned: This week I have learned that change is good. I was so nervous to leave my first area and the people I love and care about so much..but I have come to realize that change is a good thing. I was reading in Alma and how he received a change of heart..and boom! He was given the spirit! Well, yes. Change can be super tough and scary, but with faith and with the spirit, change is good! I really feel like Heavenly Father was preparing me for change. He has taught me that a true change of heart will overcome anything. I am so thankful for the time that I was given to share the Gospel and my testimony of the Savior in Gulf Breeze. I will always be so thankful for the wonderful people and all the lessons I learned. :) So excited for the NEW adventures I will have here in Lynn Haven! So thankful for all the many blessings that I have seen and have been apart of. I love my Savior. I love this work. I love everyone here in Florida. So thankful for the time I have to be here. It is going by so, so fast! :) Thank y'all for all the love and support!! :) XOXOX!! Sis Nielson! :)