Sunday, October 23, 2016

18 months! Say what!?!?!

Happy 18 months on my mission to me! What a great experience!
Saturday, October 15 hit my 18 month mark!!. Where did the time go?!? But that's cool I guess! 

So the reason I am not home just yet is that the MTC went back to keeping new missionaries longer, so that meant that I stay till Nov. 3, the next transfer. 

I only had 10 days in the MTC. They must have decided that was not long enough after my turn there. So lucky me - I get almost three more weeks on my mission! 

Then on transfer day, my transfer is back to chilly Utah - but it will be warm because that's where most of my family and friends are!  I'm blessed to be here and blessed to be loved by my fam!

Celebrating 18 months as a Missionary!!!
This is my itty-bitty person photo - maybe this Candy Bar Ice Cream Sunday will help me grow up! (Not out.)

Nelson Street (almost Nielson Street)

I found a street sign that is almost Nielson Street!- Nelson Street.  Pretty cool. If  you look closely at the house, you can see that the heat and humidity are really hard on houses. That's the South! And big deep porches help people survive the heat by creating important shade - and a place to go when you can't stand the sun any longer!!

And this other street sign (below) is for my big brother, James - not just a street, but an Avenue! That blue metal fence is an overpass wall.

This one's for my big brother, James. Love you, Bro.
Something about the South - there is green everywhere - lots of trees and growing things!

With Sister Call in Calloway for a day!
Something Good: So this past week has been pretty peachy! First! We went on exchanges with the Calloway sisters! I was with Sister Call in Calloway..and let me tell is like a WHOLE new world there than the beach, but we had a great time and I just love and adore her! I love to meet new people;  it is wonderful! It was nice to be in a different area for just a day, but it was good to be back home on the beach. :) A funny though, while we where on exchanges..Sis Law and Sis Crosby went to one of the most expensive places on the beach to eat dinner with a LA named John..and while I was in Calloway we had Subway sandwiches..haha! The day I am gone for a single day, they have the best dinner appointment ever. Haha! #Missionlife. Anyways! We have had some good lessons with LA's that we are working with! We were able to pick up on of our former gators, so that is great! :) Also, to celebrate my 18 months on the mish, I burned 4 skirts that I would never wear again because they had been worn so much that they were super gross. So that was fun! ;) Overall a good week! :) 

A Tender Mercy:  A cool little thing that happened to Sis Law and I was on Monday night we decided to contact referrals and none of them were home. As we were driving our car tire pressure sign popped up, saying that our tire was low, so we decided to go fill it up. We get to the gas station and don't really know how to do it.Well this guy drives up in a jeep and sees us struggling, and asks if he could help us. It turns out to be that we had to go to a different gas station but he let us follow him there so he could help us. He paid for the air in our tires and was so nice and so helpful. We decided to give him a book of Mormon and a pass along card...and we came to find out that he did a whole report on Joseph Smith (but never had read the book of Mormon) for his Master's degree and dated a Mormon girl who wanted to get married in the temple! What are the ODDS!?! He told us he was Christian, and that he had twin daughters our age and if they where ever in our situation he would hope someone would help them like he helped us. We invited him to read the Book of Mormon and promised him that he would see a blessing in his life for helping us that night. We told him that the Book of Mormon would bless him, too, and that we would follow up and text him Sunday night to ask him what tender mercy or blessing he saw that week. We followed up with the text and he was actually really surprised that we even remembered, but he did see a few blessings this week! So we are hoping we can see him again! It was awesome!! Something with our car y'all - it seems that when something goes wrong with it that it always turns out to be a good thing. :)
I live in a place of pure beauty! So thankful for my time in Florida! It has been so great!
Something Learned: This week I have really looked back the 18 months that I have been able to serve, and wow, I am just so thankful and so happy that I have been in Florida. I would not trade it for anything. I have been thinking about the things I have learned and the moments that have impacted my life because of this mission, and I cannot express my gratitude enough to my Heavenly Father for everything that he has let me do and the experiences that he has let me have so far. One of the most important things I have learned about missionary work is Christlike Love. 
We go to see Miss Alice! Many people retire to Florida  and we are so lucky to get to teach some of them!
I have come to see the blessings of loving everyone, no matter who they are or what they do. I really know that the Spirit works only with love and gentleness and kindness and goodness. I am SO thankful for this mission that I have been able to be a part of - it really is the Lords mission, and I am just his little helper! So thankful I still have time to be here! :) 
The FTM is the best mission in the world! Sorry y'all who are in other missions. ;) "The Work of our Missionaries is a Magnificent Expression of our Lord's Redeeming Love." I sure do believe that! :)

What can I say? I'm in Florida!
And lastly - Only in Florida!! This sign made me laugh! Maybe it is in honor of the people we teach who don't a a whole lot longer to live - but then the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not just for this earth - it's forever! What a beautiful thing to embrace it's truthfulness and take it to the next life with you!

Love y'all friends!
-Sis N

Thursday, October 20, 2016

"So you're the short ones." -Elder Sitati.

Half Mission Conference and happy reunions with some awesome missionaries:
Sister Kinghorn my babyyy!! I love you boo thing!!!!
The only Sister Stradds!!! (Stradinger) from the MTC!
Something Good: So funny story about being short...We had a half mission conference with Elder and Sister Sitati this week, which was AMAZING by the way! Anyways, Sis Sitati was talking about having good relationships with your companions, she asked us to share comments about how our companions help us, so I shared a story about how Sis Law and I are kinda short and small and that we where going to go see someone and Sis Law had a strong impression that we needed to leave, so we left, so my comment was that companions can help us to be physically safe, even though we are "fun size." So after the meeting, we ran into Elder Sitati and he said hi to us and said,"So you're the short ones." Hahaha! It was funny, but he is right! We are the short ones! ;) But man, this week was another week full of spiritual growth and spiritual happiness! Something I loved that Elder Sitati shared was that our purpose as missionaries is to be diligent, to study and to practice. I feel like the more I study intensely the more the Spirit will teach me new things. Some other good things! We had a wonderful stake conference too! Again we where able to hear from Elder and Sis Sitati! It was great! 

At Half Conference with Sister Lehman! Sure love her!

This week has just been full of tender mercies and blessings. I am so thankful for the Gospel and the truth and happiness it brings to my soul. :) Something sweet, my RC (recent convert), Michael, sent a text to our phone this week and it said.." Sad to see you go, for now. Hope your last month here in this mission is wonderful." He just makes me happy. PCB has the best people in Florida. Another good fun thing I was able to do this week was color Tamera's hair! She is less active, but we were able to do her hair and it was so fun!! :) This week was just the bomb. 
These are photos (above and below) of my missionary friends at Half Mission Conference!
Elder Atu, a friend from the beginning of my mission
Elder Baldwin - He's a homie, too! (from Utah)
A Tender Mercy: The more we look for the tender mercies in our lives, the more we find them. A sweet little tender mercy this week was our lesson with Sister Dann. We where supposed to go and pick her up, but we where running about 30 minutes late...(of course:P) So she decided to walk home in the dark! Scaryy! So we went to her work to try to find her, and she wasn't there, so we decided to drive around to find her! And we found her! So we were able to have a great lesson with her. She is a blessing in my life. :) I am grateful for all the wonderful people that we have the chance to work with every week. They are all amazing to me! Another tender mercy: 
Teaching Pamela about the connections of the Gospel of Christ

Listening to Pamela Hale
These photos of Pamela Hale were taken on October 6 when we visited her and taught her in the hospital. 

She is now in rehab and doing well. She is still planning on October 29 as her baptism date!

That will be a great going home present for me, as my flight is on November 3. I am praying she will be well enough for her baptism. 

She is such a darling lady, and has been such a joy to teach. I have learned that everyone needs the gospel, young or old, and no matter what their situation in life. 

In Preach My Gospel is says 'People become converted as they live the principles they learn and feel the Spirit confirm that what they are doing is pleasing to their Father in Heaven."

I have seen that this is true as I have witnessed people accept the doctrine, and live the principles of the Gospel. It is so wonderful!
On the PCB pier with Jeanette

It has been so wonderful to be in this beautiful part of the United States. We had the opportunity to go to the Panama City Beach pier with less actives, Greg and Jeanette and get these very cool photos taken along the PCB Pier.

It makes me realize why people want to come visit Panama City Beach, or move here when they retire. It is so incredibly beautiful. I can now say I have been to or on!) the Gulf of Mexico! This is surely one of God's most beautiful creations!
Now this is something I will never see in Utah! A pelican waiting for a catch!
Isn't he so cute?! And see how far out we are from the shore! Amazing!!
A dolphin! How cool is that!!! Coming home to the cold of Utah in November from the warmth of the Florida panhandle may not be a culture shock, but it will definitely be a climate shock! The Gulf of Mexico is stunning from Panama City Beach!
Something Learned: Ah! Honestly I don't even know where to start, I have learned so much this week!! But a few things that have really stuck out to me are what President Smith taught at Half Mission Conference. He used an analogy about football and how the receiver is always bound to be hit when he catches the ball, and just like spiritually when we receive a spiritual high, we are also bound to be hit, too. Sometimes the adversary will hit us with not so happy things to try to tear us down from the spiritual highs we receive, but it is our choice to choose whether we will lay on the ground or wither we will get up and run with it. It just hit my mind and made 100% sense to me! So awesome. 

Overall this week was probably one of the best weeks we have had for quite sometime! I am so thankful and so happy. I love the Lord. He is so good to me. 

The Gospel is true, it has become so true and so real to me. I love it with all that I have. :) 

Stay peachy y'all. 🍎🍁🌿🍂🍏
-Sis Nielson

Sunday, October 9, 2016

"Let us be Ambitious for Christ." -Elder Yamashita

Dinner at the Fasts during Conference time.
Something Good: Like everyone else something way too good, was General Conference! Oh man, so many uplifting moments and moments where the Spirit really hit me and told me...This is for you Sis Nielson!!! I really loved, loved the talk by Elder Yamashita. It screamed my name. It brought to my mind moments where I have asked..."Why am I in Florida?" But those moments are the ones I have the chance to learn more about the Savior and His love for me, so with that I am so blessed and thankful. If any of you didn't have the chance to watch Conference, I really encourage you to do so online .
 I really felt Christ talking to me as I listened to His words. Oh God is just so Good!
Teaching with Pamela Hale when she was still in the hospital. She now has a Baptism/Confirmation Date!!  

At Pep Boys waiting - all day - to have our car fixed!
Another highlight of this week!  Pamela Hale has set a BCD!! She is now out of the hospital and recovering so that she will be able to be baptized! We are so happy and excited for her. :) 

Some other good things! We are now teaching a guy named Scott! He lives with Sister Dann, and wanted to take the lessons! We had such a good lesson and he had SO many questions, that we are so excited to answer!!! It was so cool  So many of his questions pertain to the Plan of Salvation. He is awesome!! 

Patsy's sister Holly was able to receive a blessing this week, which went so well. After the blessing she kept telling us that she just feels something so strong.(The Spirit!!) 

It has been so amazing for me to see the blessings of the Priesthood in this area. I feel like every week I am able to see a miracle from the Priesthood. It is building my Testimony daily. You could say this week was pretty awesome. :) Isn't missionary work the I think so.

A Tender Mercy: So our car lately has been making some pretty crazy sounds and us being girls..had no idea what it is, so Tuesday we finally decided to go to the car shop to get it checked! And thank goodness we did..because we ended up being there for 5 hours!!! (We where dying) We found out that the coolant part, which held 3 things together was it was broken. Heath, the guy helping us, told us it was good that we brought it in, or it could have been worse tender mercy for sure!!! Glad our car did not explode..cause if it did..I would cry. Haha! Anyways! God does help us temporally if we use our common sense! ;) It was quite the day, but now our car has new tires, new parts and we are good to go!! :) #blessed

Something Learned: Where to even start?!! Wow. So many things learned. But another thing that really stuck out to me in Conference was the talks that mentioned Joy. I have always really loved the word Joy and especially during Christmas. Joy is a good word to use, but this weekend it became something even greater to me. The real meaning of Joy, and how we can find Joy even when we go through trials. How cool is that? I loved how President Nelson said..."Our focus is on the Gospel. We can have Joy because of him." Jesus Christ is Joy. I want to add my simple testimony to his that I know that true Joy comes from living the Gospel and that no matter what, we can find happiness in any circumstances that we are going through. I love this work, I love all that God has given us to be Joyful. "Adam fell that man might be,and man are that they might have Joy." :)

Went to the Beach for a minute. Ah, I am going to miss this beautiful place.
Hope y'all have a blessed day!!!  -Sis Nielson. :)
P.S. The weather is cooling off finally! We woke up to go play tennis outside on our P-Day..and it felt like Utah for about 20 minutes, and I loved every minute. 😄🍁🍂

Saturday, October 1, 2016

"When we learn how to apply the Doctrine of Christ, to our individual circumstances, our love for the Savior grows."

Something Good: Okay! First gotta say how much I LOVED Women's Conference!! Every talk was just so on point and man, the Spirit was so strong! It was a great way to end a week. :)

Our new ward Mission leader and Missionary, Brother and Sister Fast! They are awesome!
This week has been pretty peachy! Brother Fast is our new Ward Mission Leader, and Sister Fast in a new Ward Missionary! We are so excited!! They have done so much missionary work, I know that our mission efforts will continue even stronger! I am so thankful that we will be able to serve together!

Some other good things! Don't know if I ever mentioned this, but Brandon prayed just last week for the very first time since we have started teaching them. When he prayed, the spirit was just SO powerful and so wonderful. 

So! We are now working with a lady named Alice, she is less active, but oh she is awesome! A little funny for y'all - she was talking about her house and how it was made with so much metal, and how funny she thought it was because we live in Florida where it rains and lightening all the time...and her husband told her that their house will be able to withstand 140 mile per hour winds...and she says..."Well the Titanic was meant to be unsinkable." Ha! It was so funny! Anyways pumped to be working with her!
This is Miss Rita, are darling investi"gator!"

Another good thing! We are teaching Patsy's sister Holly. She is going through a lot in her life right now, and Patsy told her that when we come over she feels so good and that we would be able to help her. We met her yesterday and she is awesome! Also, Patsy told us that she is doing missionary work and giving pass along cards out! And she isn't even a member yet!! So awesome.

 The Turnage family is growing spiritually, it might be a bit slow, but wow. It has been amazing to see. This next week we have some great potential to teach some new gators, pumped and ready!

Pamela hale with heart problems in the hospital. She needs our prayers.
 Our cute little Miss Pamela has been put into the hospital. After trying to see her for about a week, we knew something was wrong and we were able to find out where she was. She is having a few issues with her heart and is too weak to have open heart surgery, so if y'all could pray for her, that would be amazing! We were able to visit her a few times this week, and she told us that she knows that our church is true, and that once she is better she is fixin' to be baptized! She amazes me. We love and adore our Pamela Hale. :)
Sister Nielson and Sister Law bringing a bit of Florida sunshine (and Sista love) to our sweet Pamela Hale!
A Tender Mercy: Okay, so Friday! I woke up and my left side of my body was in so much pain, mostly my back and my neck...don't really know what was wrong with me...but I kinda started to freak out, because it hurt SO bad. Anyways, me being me, thought I was going to die from this pain. But I was able to receive a blessing that day, and in that blessing I was told that my pain would go away with a lot of faith and tears, about an hour later..all the pain went was pretty amazing. 
After a Priesthood blessing, the pain went away and I felt like a queen! So thankful!
I am so thankful for the Priesthood and the blessings that we are able to receive through faith and guidance. Heavenly Father wants to help us. We just need to come unto him. He can take what hurts away. Spiritually and physically. :)

Something Learned: I sure did love Pres Uchtdorf's message in the Women's Conference session about Faith. Something that really hit me was this..."The purpose of faith is not to change God's will, but to empower us to Act on God's will." So straight forward. Sometimes I think it is easy to just think something will change or something will be better if we have enough faith, but we don't know everything that God has in store for us, and maybe what he has in store for us, is different from what we think we want, but it is better than what we could ever imagine. I see that a lot on this mission, Sometimes I wish people would just understand our message and take it, but everyone still has a choice. Eventually it will be made, no matter what. I am thankful for times that test my faith, because I know those are the times that I listen a little harder to God's will rather than mine. I sure do love this work! It is amazing!!!

"Shall we not go on in so great a cause!?"- Joseph Smith

-Sista Nielson!

P.S. I can't believe I will be back home in Utah a month! It makes me panic a little as there is so much work to do here, and I'll have to face real life with adult responsibilities. Yikes!! So I about died when I saw this Utah license plate in Florida!

P.P.S. I hear that my mom will be sending out a "save the date" to come celebrate my return home with me. I'm gonna need some hugs!! Thinking about leaving a This is my real life right now and I can't imagine leaving it - ever.  But again, God is in charge and I know he will empower me to act on His will for "what's next."  The Plan is amazing! For now I love being a missionary for Him.