Thursday, December 26, 2013

Trio

Dec 16

Hey you guys!

Happy Holidays! I can not BELIEVE I get to Skype you guys so soon oh my gosh! I am TOTALLY gonna cry when I see all of your beautiful faces. I miss you guys so MUCH its not even funny. I can not WAIT for Christmas :)

Ahhh sooo excited :)

Other than my Christmas excitement Hermana Garcia and I are in a trio with Hermana Atkinson. We're making the trio work just fine, haha. We took a mini photo shoot last night so here are some of those :) Anyways, I love you all so much and hope you have a wonderful week!

Love, Hermana Nielson

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Nahima

December 2

Family & friends!

Hey! How are you guys? Happy December 2nd! Can you believe its already December? The year went by so fast! A year ago I as at the mall with Mom looking for missionary shoes... Crazy huh? How's good old SLC? Has it snowed over there yet? I hope you guys are having a good holiday season in the 'Fabrica de los Mormones' AKA Utah :)

This week was sooo good :') I finished up translating for 'Smiles for Central America' and we had a BAPTISM! My baptism number 13 was to the BEAUTIFUL Nahima Ocon. Out of all the little baptisms I've been apart of, THIS baptism was my favorite and most special.

From the moment I met her, I knew she would be baptized. She is sooo different from the other girls I've met around here. She's kind and genuine and sweet and radiates the most pure and angelic presence I have ever felt. She reminds me so much of my little sister Katherine. The reason I love this area so much is BECAUSE of Nahima. Nahima is my One Direction loving angel :')

When she got set apart as a member of the Church, her blessing said she would serve a full time mission and marry in the temple :')

If anything, Nahima is/was/and will be the best part of my entire mission. I love this gospel so much. I know its true and am so grateful to be a part of it :')

I also love YOU guys and cant wait to talk to you all in 23 days :) I love you so much and will talk to you next week!

Love, Hermana Nielson


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Full Heart

November 25th

Hi :)

How are you guys? I miss you guys sooo much! I cant BELIEVE I’ve been away for from you all for almost 9 months… It feels like I left yesterday. Before I know it I’m going to be home and all of this will feel like a dream.

Before the mission I always had a love for people (family, close friends ect…) and things (animals, music, donuts, etc…) but for the first time in my entire life, I love a PLACE :’)

You guys, I LOVE Nicaragua with every ounce of my entire heart. My eyes are FILLED with tears as I type this. I would be happy in this beautiful country for the rest of my life. Would you guys want to move out here and live with me? ;) This place and these people have completely stolen my heart.

Some doctors/dentists from the church came from Utah to do dental work on ALL the future missionaries in Nicaragua Friday morning, and I got to work as a translator for them. I haven’t spoken English with a bunch of Utahans in a while so I found it a little overwhelming and uncomfortable, but it was still fun. I was in HEAVEN talking with all of the Nicaraguan teenagers preparing to serve missions. Mostly all of them have their calls to Mexico or Guatemala. They are going to be the best missionaries in the whole world :’) I want to give all of them the BIGGEST hugs and tell them how much I loved them, but I didn’t haha. They were so cute walking home without their wisdom teeth and puffy cheeks :)

Anyways, because of your increased prayers we have been sooo humbled and found BEAUTIFUL families all ready for us. Thank you for that :)

I love the mission so much. Being a missionary for the church is hard sometimes, but its it the most WONDERFUL thing I have ever done. When the next 9 months comes to a close, I’m worried I’m going to die from a broken heart. I’m just glad I’ll have you guys to take care of me, and I cant wait to share with you all that I’ve learned.

For now, the church is true and I love yoooou! Have a WONDERFUL week and I’ll talk to you soon!

Love, Hna Nielson

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Got behind on letter posting! Here's a good one

November 18, 2013

Mi familia!

How are you all? Did you have a good week? I hope so :) I miss you so much and pray for every single one of you every day. Everything is good over here with Hna Garia and I. Our area is huge but is in the middle of the Capital so its REALLY hard to find people to teach.We have families and investigators but they're not progressing. Its gets discouraging at times, but we've just gotta be patient with them and they'll eventually come around. All we've been praying for as of late is just 1 positive family. I LOVE families :)

We received a reference from the Elders about a little family they ran into the other day and we were sooo stoked. YES a family por FIN! We were disappointed to find their address completely IMPOSSIBLE to find. We asked just about everyone where the 'Cooperativa Juan Walkin Pedro freaking Valle' was but no one had any idea. After just about giving up I asked a random man passing by and he said 'Yeah I know where it is. Follow me.' Hna Garcia was SUPER skeptical, haha. For all we knew he could have been a robber leading us away to get robbed. After what seemed like miles 'Here is is.' He said, and we were in front of the house we had been searching for. Before we could say thank you, the man was gone.

That man MUST have been one of the 3 Nephites or something because WOW. We NEVER would have found it without him :) Inside that house was the most wonderful positive family I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. It was like they had been waiting for us to come their whole lives. Miracles happen every day on the mission, but this little miracle was an answer to my little prayers.

In a blessing I received a little bit ago, it said
'People will come to you to receive the blessing of the gospel waiting for them' and yes :) Here they come :)

Have a wonderful week you guys! The church is true and I love yoooou!

Love, Hermana Nielson

PS: new music for mom :)

Tu y Yo - Maite Perroni

Loco - Enrique Iglesias and Romeo Santos

Te Perdiste Mi Amor - Thalia and Prince Royce

Romeo Santos - Propuesta Indecente (its kind of heavy bachata but you might like it. ALL the little tiny kids know EVERY SINGLE world haha!)


Bye!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

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God Bless the USA

Queridos,

How are you guys?? I hope you all had an AWESOME Halloween! I wish I could have been there to see everyone in their costumes and be a part of the fun :( I miss you all sooo much! 

Halloween over here in Nicaragua is Memorial Day, so they just decorate the grave yards all pretty and flowery. They have a day of the dead in early December though where everyone dresses up as skeletons and demons and run around reeking havoc. 

I found out Christmas is different over here too! They stay up ALL night Christmas Eve and shoot off fireworks and things at midnight. Kind of like New Years, I guess. But when Nicaraguans party, they part sooo hard. Everyone is drunk, roaming around the streets and passed out everywhere. I wish they had laws against things like that like they do in in the states. I don't like watching the news here either. They show EVERYTHING and talk using the worst slander I've ever heard. God bless the USA. But I DO like that you can blast your music as loud as you want here, the year round personal fireworks (like the good old Nielson Cul-de-sac of Fire) but every day! Ha ha. Another cool thing about Nicaragua, the more people you can fit into a moving vehicle the better. Ha ha.

Everything is great over here with Hna Garcia and me. I love this area soooo MUCH and never want to leave.The members here have become my dearest and closest friends. I feel so loved and appreciated its almost overwhelming. The day I leave this area will be one of the saddest days of my life :( 

We almost got robbed the other day! It was SUPER scary but Hna Garcia is from El Salvador and is trained in these types of things. She grabbed my arm and yanked me away from some creepo who I didn't even know was there and we RAN away. I have no doubt angels are protecting us because it is a MIRACLE nothing has happened to us. Elder Bringhurst got robbed the other day just a block away from where we were. The Lord takes SUPER good care of His Hermanas.

In other news, Elder Harmon is my new Zone Leader. Crazy huh? He's trying to convert ALL the Elders to wear skinny jeans when they get home so they can get married. Ha ha. He goes home in December with his hipster glasses :)

Anyways, I really miss you guys in the good old USA :( ESPECIALLY now that its the Holiday season. Know that I think of you all everyday and you are ALWAYS in my prayers. 

The church is the most true thing in the entire world and I love it so much. And I love YOU guys! Have an AWESOME week and I'll talk to you soon!


Love, Hna Nielson

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Taken aback

Hello! How are you all? I hope you guys had a SUPER awesome week. I miss you guys.

Over here in Nicaragua everything is sooo good. I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful this week went. Just when I thought my testimony couldn't get any stronger, it did. I am learning so much and am feeling so blessed. Hermana Garcia is an absolute JOY to work with, oh my gosh. This little Salvadorian fire cracker and I are closer friends than I could ever have imagined. She reminds me of a Latina Rachel Whitehead! We are sooo happy together its not even funny. The combined positive energy that we bring out in each other is bringing us sooo much success it's ridiculous. We are PRAYING we can outlast at least two more companion changes together, if not more. We'd be happy if we were companions the rest of our missions ha ha! I don't speak English hardly at all anymore so even typing it feels a little weird... :)

I have a little experience I would like to share with you all that was super special. We were walking to a cita (appointment) Saturday afternoon when I felt the impression to contact a certain house we had never before contacted. We knocked on the door and out came a man who looked to be in his mid 50s. I told him who we were and that we had a message that could bless his life. While I was talking, he was looking at me like he had seen a ghost. Before I could say another word he said 'I know you.' Knowing I had never before seen him I was a little taken aback. 'I have seen your face' he began 'Years ago I saw your face in a dream. In my dream you came and blessed the life of my family and I. I knew you were coming. Please come in :')'  So. Humbling. The BEST part of being a missionary is finding the people waiting for you :) The church is so true you guys. I love you so much and hope your week is AWESOME!

Love,
Hna Nielson


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Fun pics

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from a primary child in her ward

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Yes. She is wearing her Thor t-shirt in Nicaragua ;)

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The District -eating waffles

Beautiful Nicaragua

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Echando fuego en Managua

How are you guys? Did you have a good weekend? I sure hope so :) 

Conference was so... Wonderful. Every single talk and song was so beautiful, inspired and perfect, it left me speechless. The Prophet, his Apostles, the choir... I love it so much I could die! :')

It was sooo crazy seeing the missionaries on TV using i-pads, i-phones, teaching in houses, sitting on COUCHES!! (I haven't seen a couch since I left home) They were driving in cars, and looking clean and beautiful. Those types of missions look sooo glamorous. All of us Nortes were a little jealous... but we are teaching real Lamanite decedents about their literal ancestors. It doesn't get much cooler than that. So serving in Central America is worth it to us :) We love it here 

Hna Shaffer had changes last week so I am now companions with Hna Garcia! She is a little Salvadorian fire cracker and loves me so much. It's really humbling being around someone who loves you so much. This past week I've had with her has been the best week of my mission :') We are the BEST companionship ever. Estamos echando fuego aqui en Managua!

At the reunion de cambios we received 4 sweet little Norte girls. They were so scared, barley speaking any Spanish and were in tears by the end of the meeting. One of them was just bawling scared to death. I consoled them and told them they were going to be just fine. I was fluent-ish in Spanish after about 6 months so I know they'll get there. It's crazy to think I was in their place not too long ago with the toughest trainer out here.

But the mission is sooo special. You learn and grow in ways that I can't even begin to explain. The mission doesn't just make you tough, strong, bilingual and more doctrinally educated, but brings you so much closer to the Savior, Jesus Christ. While being out here on the mission I have really come to KNOW Him, and can call Him my best friend :') I love Him so much and have learned how to fully render to Him all that I have and all that I am. I have fully accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and love this gospel with all of my heart. I love all of you as well, and hope you have a wonderful week.

The church is true and I love yoooou!

Love,

Hermana Nielson 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Attack of the Nicaraguan animals

Hey guys!

I miss you all so much. I have been praying for you each individually every time I pray. I hope you're week was AWESOME :)

This week was basically attack of the Nicaraguan animals over here. Iguanas ate out electric wires so we didn't have electricity for 3 whole days. We were so hot without our fans we thought we were going to die of heat stroke. Bats have now made our ceiling their new home and keep us up all night with their little bat noises. During dinner the other night, Hna Shaffer almost got attacked by a HUGE rat (more like a rodent of unusual size because it was enormous)! And then the next night Hna Shaffer killed a tarantula in our hallway with a shovel. I was all trying to save it with a cup and a piece of paper... Ha! Nicaraguan anything- bat, snake, tarantula, is so.  Nasty.  All this madness was due to fumigation week. The government comes and fumigates all the houses in Managua to protect us from the little creatures lurking around. I say it does the opposite!

I have eaten rice and beans, beans and rice mixed together gio pinto and fried cheese every day my entire Nicaraguan life. The Zone all went to McDonald's and all got soooo sick.Our diets are so simple now that our tummies couldn't handle the change. So I have found I am VERY happy with my rice and beans. I can't live without them now!

They don't have ovens here, only stoves, so I haven't had a baked good in 200 years. I am super excited to eat a brownie or a cookie again someday.

They don't have washing machines here in Nicaragua either. Everyone (including us) washes their clothes by hand. We were telling one of our investigators that there are things called washing machines that clean your clothes for you and they thought it was the strangest thing they have ever heard. They said we shouldn't trust things like that, ha ha. I think I have come to like hand washing more actually because 1. I'm getting strong from it (strong for me anyways) and 2. You can make sure your clothes get super clean because YOU are the one who cleans them :) So yes, hand washing and rice and beans are my favorite things.

My Spanish is pretty good now so I have been having to do a lot. I've had to teach at district meetings and zone conferences and lead my area in divisions and things, so the time has been FLYING by. It feels like I just got here. In a little over 2 months I'm going to be half way done. THAT just about gives me a heart attack... Ah, you blink and before you know it, its over. So I will see you all again ridiculously soon!

Until then, here's a beautiful quote from Spencer W Kimball that is perfect for those unexpected challenges and struggles.

¨No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education... builds our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called children of God.¨

The church is so true its ridiculous :´)

Have a WONDERFUL week. I love you all!

Love, Hermana Nielson

Monday, September 16, 2013

more baptisms :)

Hello everyone! To start I just want to apologize for being so upset last letter about the Carlos thing. Thank you for protecting me. He's a looser and I'm so over him its not even funny.
We had a baptism Saturday to the amazing Oscar Ponce and his adorable son Fabiano. Fabiano reminds me so much of Joseph and gives the best hugs. Baptism numbers 11 and 12! Hermana Shaffer has almost doubled the number of baptism she has had in her whole mission during her time with me.
3 months till Christmas and my half way mark! Ahhh so crazy. Anyways, I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!
Love, Hermana Nielson

PS. Songs you MUST put on my 'When Sarah gets home playlist'
Darte un Beso - Prince Royce
BEST. SONG. EVER.
And the newish one by Chris Brown, T Pain and some latin guy. I think its called Something I Like but I'm not sure.
AND one more by Joe Montana. I don't know the name, but all of Nica is obsessed with it! It starts out with a little guitar and is the HAPPIEST little skippy song ever.

Anyways, I hope you can find the songs. The church is true and I love YOU!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

living in the HOOD

Hello my wonderful family and friends! How are you guys? I hope your week was awesome =)

We had changes this week and I am now in Managua with a new companion! Managua is sooo Ghetto. Mom, I am living in the HOOD! Im going to come out of this place a gangsta.

My new companion is the wonderful... drum roll please... Hermana Shaffer! Hermana Shaffer is the mission nurse. She is answering phones all day helping Elders with dog/scorpion bites, rashes, stomach/bathroom problems and dengue. An Elder had to get circumcised the other day and all sorts of crazy stuff. It's a little hectic, but I'm kind of enjoying hearing about all the mission drama. Hermana Shaffer is hilarious and she thinks I'm hilarious too, so our companionship is going just splendidly =)

We were sitting in a lesson with a bunch of die hard Evangelicos and Hermana Shaffer had to answer the nurse phone and leave me. It was a call from an Elder who got stung by a scorpion.Turns out he was allergic so she was gone forever! I got stuck explaining to all of them why their baptism wasn't valid. Haha agh... Gotta love the mission.

Anyways, while being in Nicaragua these last few months, my companions and I have been blessed with 9 baptisms! Sweet little Hermana Shaffer has been out for over 13 and has only had 3... (not that numbers matter all that much) BUT my goal is to baptize as many as we can with our time together to help lift her spirits. I'm going around 'fetcha-ing' (making baptismal dates) with EVERYONE, so hopefully we will be baptizing soon!

AND! You all MUST go through the temple and do a session for me because the church has made a brand new video! We have heard is cooler than Planet Earth (the awesome HDTV show on the Discovery Channel) and is absolutely WONDERFUL! We are sooo jealous we can't see it, so you have to go see it for me =)

Anyways, this gospel is so true and I love it so much. I have learned so much on my mission thus far I don't even know where to begin. All I want to say for now, is that I love you guys more than words can describe. Thank you for taking such good care of me while being out here, and I cant wait to talk to you next week.

Love, Hermana Nielson

p.s. My spanish is kinda getting good... I know. Its a miracle! =)

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pedro

Hello my loved ones!

How are you guys? I miss you sooo much and hope you had an awesome week. Everything's good over here other than Hermana Anderson has changes this Wednesday :( I will miss her so much. 

We had a WONDERFUL baptism this week to the amazing Pedro Ocampo Cano! (AKA Albert Einstein) Pedro is an absolute genius and has his own radio show here in Granada. He knows the Bible cover to cover, and could answer any question you could possibly ask with an hour long response. He already knows the Book of Mormon better than we do, and its been an honor being able to learn from him. The secrets of the gospel this man knows are just astounding. He had to get baptized in secret (our next project is his wife) but I can't wait for him to go through the temple someday. Hermana Anderson and I are going to come back and go through with him in Honduras. He just discovered Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price and is in complete and total heaven! His children Dharma y Alain are recent converts as well, and couldn't be more proud of their Papa! I'm trying to send pics of the baptism and I'm praying they work... But if not, I love you guys sooo much and hope you have a wonderful week!

Love, 
Hermana Nielson

P.S. Mom thank you sooo much for the pics! I LOVE them :) And if you can, could you put a little money in my account? Estoy pobre :(  Muah!


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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

to the moon and back

Mom! Sorry its been so long since I've been able to write. The internet connection was sooo bad. It took me over an hour so send you those pics last week!  But I've been thinking about you and the fam all week and love you all more than you know.

Ah, those pics of Anna at her wedding were so beautiful. I am so happy for her. Tell Katherine to tell Emmy to tell her, that she's the most beautiful bride on earth and I couldn't be more happy for her.

A part of me was a little jealous at 1st, wishing I was the one back in Utah getting married. What brought me comfort was asking myself, would I rather be getting married, or coming closer to Christ. I would rather be coming closer to Christ hands down. So bring on the wedding pics. I LOVE them!

Nothing to report over here other than Oscar is now president of the Young Men! Its so cute watching him teach all of these 13 and 14 year hooligans. Its the best. We had a BEAUTIFUL baptism and marriage last week to Alejandro and Margina (the parents of little Jesus Miguel). The are sooo solid and I love them so much.

Hermana Anderson only has 6 months left. How crazy is that? We are absolute best friends. We love each other so much its kind of ridiculous. We're going to be in each others weddings and everything. She's the best friend I have EVER had and I'm going to visit her at her ranch in Arizona after the mission! The love she has for me is almost overwhelming. We are going to be friends for the rest of our lives. I cant wait for you to meet her someday. Honestly, if it wasn't for Hermana Anderson I don't know how I would be able to to this. She is my greatest blessing.

As for my foot fungus, it’s still there and there's not much I can do. But don't worry, other than that I’m super healthy and my hair is doing nothing but growing out of control!

The time is going to FLY. I have officially completed 5 months! 13 more to go :)

Tell Dad Analisa Katherine Matthew Joseph and little Sammy that I love them all so much and miss them like crazy! Have a wonderful week mama. I love you to the moon and back.

Love, Hermana Nielson

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A picture tells a thousand words

Our last email delivered the following pictures with corresponding captions:

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 Living the life
 
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Loving the life
 
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Best Wedding EVER
 
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Best baptism EVER
 

Couldn't be happier :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Best week of my mission

Mi familia!

What a wonderful week we were blessed with. The blessings, miracles and powerful spiritual experiences we have had make this week the best week of my mission thus far.

We are the proud teachers of three beautiful families who all have dates to be baptized this month. I can't help but get teary eyed watching their eyes light up as they see us on their doorstep ready to share more with them. They were so prepared for us by the Lord, and as led by the Spirit, we are able to teach them everything they need to know and do to live with their Heavenly Father again.

While teaching a lesson, the Spirit will fill the entire room, so much so that I feel the very walls won’t be able to contain it’s power. Our words and messages sound so familiar to them. It’s beautiful to see the way the Spirit touches their hearts. They’ll say, “Why do I feel this wonderful burning in my chest”, or “Why do I feel like I’m going to cry tears of happiness?”. The power of the Holy Ghost is central to conversion, and I couldn’t be more grateful for him and the ability he has to dwell within us.

Seeing the difference in their lives from our first visit to now is as clear as night and day. Their eyes now sparkle with the light of Christ, even so much that their very countenances have changed. The happiness the knowledge of the gospel has brought to their lives is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

We were teaching a lesson on the Plan of Salvation to one of our families who has recently lost a loved one. The lesson was going so beautifully, that I couldn’t help but feel something different about this lesson than that of the others. We were on our knees at the end of the lesson. The father of the family was offering the prayer, when I was blessed with one of the most spiritual experiences I have had thus far.  I felt the presence of an angel in the room with us. She was standing behind me, watching over her family as they prayed together for the first time. She was so proud of them, and so proud of us for leading them to the path they were destined to take. The second he said Amen she departed. I’m sure we not only had her helping hand in the lesson, but will in the lessons to come.

I had not recognized the presence of an angel in my life before. After this experience I found myself exhausted for the rest of the evening. Her presence was too strong for my little mortal body to handle. I’m just grateful I was spiritually prepared enough to have been blessed with such a wonderful experience that I will be able to treasure for the rest of my life. It also reminded me of how important this work is, even so that we have help from the other side.

One of our other families asked me to choose the middle name of their 2 year old son! I felt so honored and decided Miguel would be the perfect fit. They are inscribing his birth certificate tomorrow so they can be married by the end of this month. Instead of hearing “Jesus! Ven aquí!” We now hear “Jesus Miguel!”. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? =)

The father of our last family received a priesthood blessing for help with his addictions. The Spirit touched his heart so strongly, that he has promised never to break the word of wisdom again. Miracles happen every single day on the mission.

We got to meet our new mission President this week. When I met his wife, she gave me a hug which she said was from my mom. I could feel my mother hugging me right through her. We both cried, haha!

Anyways, I love you guys sooo much! Its only 5 months till Christmas, 6 months till my birthday, and 7 months after that I’m home! Have a wonderful week! I will talk to you all soon!

Con mucho cariño,
Hermana Nielson

p.s. Mom! I'm on my very last pair of contacts and need new ones asap =)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Oscar

Dear Family,

After what felt like ages, we were finally blessed this week with the baptism of Oscar Enriques! Since day 1 he has been SUPER prepared, and it's been wonderful watching his testimony grow with each lesson. While the other 20 year old boys around here spend their time drinking and sleeping around, Oscar takes care of his Mom and couldn't be a better example to his friends. His baptism was sooo special and his mom was just bawling. I couldn't help but shed a tear when he received the gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday at church... ahhh, I just love this work. He's the most pure in all of Nicaragua right now! I love this Gospel and the happiness it brings to the people who accept it. There is no other happiness in the world stronger than this. The peace that comes along with it surpasses all understanding.

Life here on earth is hard, but I know that as we "press forward with a stead fastness in Christ... and endure to the end" we are promised, "Ye shall have eternal life." Pray always, read your scriptures every day, and keep on the straight and narrow. Life is too short and too precious to loose a single minute. I love you and missed you all sooo much this week. You are always in my prayers and I hope you have a wonderful week!

Love,
Hermanita Sonrisa

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Gallopinto

Dear Ones,

The sweet people here are so poor they go some nights without dinner. They barely have enough to take care of themselves, but they show us their gratitude and love for us by feeding us. My stomach drops as they come out of the kitchen section of the room with the biggest mountain of rice I have EVER seen, just for me. They set our plates in front of us beaming with pride, and quietly sit there watching us eat. If you don't eat every grain of rice its offensive, so I literally stuff myself. While looking at the MOUNTAIN of gallopinto (which would normally take me a week to finish) I say the most sincere prayer my heart can pray and I finish, every time. My companion and I look at each other in desperation about half way through when we start lacking faith, and she always reminds me, you’re eating love Hermana Nielson. You’re eating love! We stuff spoonfuls of carbs into our poor little bodies. I’ve learned to open my throat and drink it down like a true Nicaraguan. When we returned home one night after two dinner citas (appointments) IN A ROW, we were laying in our chairs struggling to hold it all down when Hermana A. said, “They love us so much... it HURTS”... hahaha!

Not much to report this week other than I'm getting fat. I'm afraid I'm going to come home with diabetes! ALL of our investigators either need to get a divorce from someone else and get married to the person they're currently living with, or need to quit smoking-drinking or using illegal substances to get baptized. Because of all this we're struggling with baptisms at the moment, but I know that through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, this Gospel can change lives.

I’ve been reading the general conference talks published in the Liahona and I can’t even tell you how much I love and am grateful for our prophet and his apostles. They are men truly called of God. Reading their words this week has been such a blessing. Their words are so true and so inspired I feel that we should treat them as latter-day scripture. In fact, that's exactly what they are! If you haven't already, I recommend reading them. Every single talk is truly wonderful.

This church is so true its ridiculous. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Con mucho cariño,
Hermana Sarah Nielson

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With Elder Harmon who she went to high school with. Small world. His Compañero is shorter than Sarah!
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Monday, June 24, 2013

Un pedazo de tu corazón

My wonderful family and loved ones :)

Oh the joy of missionary work. The love I have for these people is unlike anything I have ever felt. The hours we've spent praying for them, fasting for them, serving them, and teaching them goes by all too fast, and the only thing I wish I had was more time to spend with each of them. When I left my old area and into my new one, I cried for the investigators I had to leave behind. I find myself praying, still praying for them and their salvation even though they are now in the hands of others. Because of the way things are in the mission world, with Elders and Hermanas quickly moving from one area to the next and taking the place of others, I couldn't help but feel slightly discouraged. I felt that I was just a body in the Lords hands and any Hermana could easily take my place, baptize the same people, and have the same experiences. It wasn't until last night that I was reminded of my individual worth in this 65,000 plus sea of missionaries. I received a text message from my #1 favorite investigator from my 1st area who I had worried had forgotten me which read:

'Existen personas que por mas que quieras jamas podrás olvidar... son parte de tu vida, son 1 pedazo de tu corazón, 1 capitulo de tu historia, y por mas que a tu lado dejen de estar de tu memoria y de tus recuerdos nunca desaparecerán. En mi vida, en mi corazón, 'USTED' Hermana Nielson es 1 de esas personas. Gracias por TODO. ' 

I'm not just a body. The Lord needed and picked specifically me to be here at this time, in this place and with these people. For that I am now certain.

Until next time :)

Hermana Nielson
aka Hermanita Sonrisa

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with Paula

Monday, June 17, 2013

in LOVE

Dearest family and loved ones,

The people of Nicaragua are so beautiful it just astounds me. They live their lives on dirt floors without nice things (cars, makeup, washing machines, clean clothes, hair straighteners, etc) and live a plain, simple and pure way of life I had never known until coming here. They live with the bare necessities, and that's all you really need :) But the one thing they absolutely can not live without, is the company of each other. There will be more than 20 of them, all in a one room shack no bigger than my room at home, relaxing in a comfortable silence, simply enjoying each others presence. Besides being in the celestial room in the temple, I think being in the home with the family is the closest thing we have to heaven. My testimony has been strengthened so much this week.

While living here and being stripped of all the luxuries and things of the world, I have not only become more like the Nicaraguans, but more like the Savior. As missionaries we are literal representatives of Jesus Christ. Serving them, loving them, and teaching them the most important thing in the world that can change their lives forever. When I think my testimony couldn't get any stronger, it does, and grows more and more every day. It has nothing to do BUT grow while serving a mission, and I think that's why people call it “the best two years”. Being here is such a blessing, and so necessary for me to learn everything I need to in this life.

While teaching a lesson on the Atonement yesterday, I received a beautiful compliment. The woman we were teaching said to me 'Hermana Nielson, there is a difference between you and the other missionaries. The others believe that what they're saying is true, but you KNOW that what your saying is true. There isn't a shadow of doubt behind your eyes, and I want to know as well as you do the truthfulness of these things. I am jealous of you Hermana Nielson, and I pray I will be able to receive that knowledge someday.'

In my patriarchal blessing, there is a lovely line that reads, 'Sarah, you are a beautiful daughter of God because of the love of God abiding in your heart.' While serving my mission, I have fully come to understand the meaning of that sentence, and couldn't be more happy and at peace with who I am, and who I am becoming. When I someday walk up to the gates of heaven, I'm going in my worn out missionary shoes with gratitude in my heart for the opportunity I had to live on this earth and fulfill the full purpose of my creation as a woman of Christ. I am in LOVE with these people, this gospel and being a missionary.

With Love,
Hermana Nielson

p.s. Could you please send my Lonely Planets Latin American Spanish Phrasebook 4th edition? Its a little tiny purple book I've borrowed that is SAVING my life and I need my own copy before I have to return it. Thank you!
p.p.s sorry about my spelling and grammatical errors! I cant type on these Spanish keyboards :)


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Walking the dirt roads of Granada

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#sistermissionaryselfie  

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with Hermana A.

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Home sweet home

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Con las Hermanas

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❤ Hermana Nielson

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The language of the Spirit

My dearest family and loved ones-

I have been away from home for officially 3 months now! The amount I have learned in these 3 months is so immense I can hardly believe it. I feel like I say this every email but it couldn't be more true. I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity I have to be here. It is the greatest blessing I have received in my life thus far. I just completed my first week in Granada with Hermana A and wow... what a difference. My last companion and my new one are polar opposites. Hermana A has been out for 10 months, doesn't speak the language very well, and doesn't talk above a whisper. I can hardly hear her standing right beside her, so I say the words que dice and como at least 100 times a day. The people here can’t hear or understand her either, but this has only strengthened my testimony of the convincing power of the Holy Ghost. The language of the spirit speaks stronger to our investigators than any Spanish words we could ever say. The Spirit works directly through us and makes up the difference for our lack of communication skills. While tracting in the street, almost every family accepts our invitation to hear more about our message and I know its 100% the spirit convincing them to let us in. Without the power of the Holy Ghost, we wouldn't be able to teach a single person. Being an instrument in the Lords hands is such an honor, and I couldn't feel more humbled Heavenly Father picked me to use :) My last companion would scare people into teaching them and treat them as numbers, so I couldn't feel more at peace and happy with the new companionship I have been blessed with. I can fully be myself around Hermana A, and I love her and the people in my new area with all of my heart.  I am helping her learn how to use her voice to speak louder (she's struggled with it her entire life) and her lack of Spanish is forcing me to learn more. We couldn't be a more perfect match.

Unlike my last area, Granada is dangerous. A man was following us home last night, and I couldn't have been more terrified. We took twists and turns through the dark streets and finally lost him, but I know we have special sister missionary protection. Heavenly Father reassured me in my setting apart blessing, not a hair on my head will be harmed while serving him. I believe.

It has rained HARD every single day this week. Our poor little house floods so we spend a lot a time sweeping and mopping out all of the water. Because of this, and trudging through the mud day in and day out, I have developed a foot fungus. Its super painful and sooo gross but we've been putting medicine on it so hopefully it will clear up with time.

I love this gospel more than anything on this green earth. The love I have for my Savior Jesus Christ is a love that defies all description, and I couldn't be more grateful for his atoning sacrifice so I can live with my Heavenly Father again. When I stand at the judgment bar of God, I will be able to say I did everything I possibly could to help build up Zion because I dedicate my entire life to serving him. I am so grateful I was born and raised in the Church and able to serve a mission so I can have the training I need to be the mother of soldiers who with the priesthood, will fight in the army of God to defeat Satan.

Until next time,

Hermana Nielson :)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Adios Nindiri

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 with Hermana Vasquez

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 with Hermana Mercades

I just got transferred this morning to a new area called Granada! I am now with the beautiful Hermana A.! Shes a tall farm girl from Arizona with stringy hair and the sweetest spirit I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I can't wait to get to know her more and experience with her new adventures in this sweet little town. My new area is right next to the lake so its twice as hot, and I am more sunburned than I have ever been in my life. I look like a little tomato bouncing around these streets with my giant of a companion haha. She's 5'8''! Our house is so much nicer than the other I can hardly believe it! It even has a flushable toilet! I just have to remember to lather on the sunscreen and I'm good to go.
I cried for all the investigators I loved so much in Nindiri. I miss them already, but I know there are only more amazing people to meet here in Granada as well. I'm sure I'll have a monton of stories for you next week while serving here in Granada. So until next time!
Sending all my love,
Hermana Nielson

Monday, May 27, 2013

Hermanita Sonrisa

My wonderful family and loved ones:

Serving a mission por la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias en Nicaragua for these 7 weeks is the HARDEST thing I have ever done (and I've feel I have experienced a lot of hard things). Its been grueling, but I have learned more in this 3 months than I have learned in my 20 years of life. I have learned so much about myself, who I truly am, and so much more I cant even begin to describe. Only by serving a mission could this have been possible. My success and happiness on this mission is ONLY possible through faith in Jesucristo. Christ didn’t just suffer to cleanse us from sin, he suffered so he could lift our burdens and help us through hardships as well. Through faith in Him I will be able to do all that I am asked on this mission. I couldn’t be more grateful for the gift of the Expiación and the beautiful role it plays in my life. Alma 34:40-41 dice: 'I would exhort you to have patience, and that ye bear with all manner of afflictions... with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.'

Even though I want to, I can’t give up just yet. I don’t know quite what it is, but something is keeping me here. This is something I need to fight for for as long as I can. If I don’t make it till the end, I know you will all support me in the course my life decides to take. I'm not saying I'm all of the sudden strong, I cry wanting to go home every day (I'm a sensitive little thing) but through faith, the beautiful attribute of paciencia, your prayers, love and support, I can do this :) Don't be surprised if another 'I want to go home email comes', just pray for me. I can feel it every time you do.

Mom, Dad and Jace. Thank you so much for you beautiful emails. I printed them out so I can read them every time I need strength. I love you more than you could possible imagine.

Guess what? Mom, I got your wonderful package Friday morning at Zone Conference! Look at you still taking care of me being a thousand miles away. The camisas are absolutely beautiful, and your love radiates off of them. When I wear them, I feel like a little part of you is with me. And a Reese's fast break? Best tasting thing I have eaten in ages! I cant thank you enough Mom. You are and always have been my best friend. 'virtual hug' :)

We had our 3rd baptism this week to wonderful William! Words cant even describe how much I adore him, and how grateful I am Heavenly Father let us teach him. There isn’t anyone else on earth as genuine and Christ like as he (besides Katherine). But his baptism... UGH. He had to be baptized 6 times in a row because Roger kept doing it wrong (my face was beat red for them) and I'm not exaggerating when I say 6. Literally 6 TIMES. Why does every baptism have to be so dramatic... At least I can look back and laugh right? Heh... heh...

My companion is going to be the death of me... I don’t know how I'm going to spend every second of every minute of every day for another 2 months with that woman, but I'm going to give it my best try. I don’t even know how I've made it 7 weeks... I literally might shoot myself in the face, or let myself get eaten by a dog. Fe. Paciencia. Tranquila.

Hermana Vasquez and I almost drowned in a Nicaraguan thunder storm this week! It was raining so hard I couldn’t see two feet in front of me through my glasses. We were screaming! My umbrella was blowing away in  a wet tornado of wind. The streets turned into rivers of mud and we were completely soaked head to toe. Hermana Vasquez whipped out a huge yellow poncho out of her backpack, and she looked so cute in it (like a screaming Guatemalan rubber ducky) dragging me through the river that had been a street two seconds before. She doesn’t let me sing anything other than hymns, but I sang Singing in the Rain at the TOP of my lungs. We were saved by a guardian angel who peddled us home on his cabonera. The power was out that entire night but we used Sammy’s Wallie flashlight and Matthew’s flashlight with the colored lights on the sides that mom had packed last minute! What a blessing it was to have those and new batteries on hand. Thanks mom! It made me miss my 3 lil bros even more than I already did. Tell them I love them for me! Tell Chesty and Tophey I love them too. How is lil Toph? I hope he’s not too much trouble. I picture him waddling around these streets with the other dogs and it makes me laugh haha :)

I gave the spiritual thought at Zone Conference in perfect Spanish on Jueves... YES! Thank you Heavenly Father... The Norte Elders were so proud of me, haha.

Oh how I love this gospel. Every day I learn more about the principles, ordinances, attributes of Christ, and the deepness of their meanings forever imprint themselves on my heart. Because I have learned so much, even the lyrics to hymns have a deepness and beauty in them I didn’t see before. Through prayer, scripture study, and Preach my Gospel, the secrets of this gospel unfold and the truth of these things is undeniable. I wish I could read and study all day long, but I have to be out in the Nicaraguan streets practically begging people to let us teach them in a language I hardly speak. People don’t fully understand how hard missionary work is, but the pain I feel out here isn’t even a fraction of what Christ did in Gethsemane. All I have to do is lean on him, listen and follow the promptings of the Spirit, and do what I was sent here to do.

The people here have officially named me Hermanita Sonrisa, because of the constant smile I don’t even notice is there. The people here don’t even smile when they laugh, so seeing a smiler is different enough to name someone after it :)

I have so many more stories for you all! I'll jot them all down so I don’t forget, and next week we have to email on Martez instead of Lunes because of a meeting thingy, so until Martes!

With Love,

Hermana Nielson aka Hermanita Sonrisa

ps: I promise I know how to type and spell these Spanish keyboards are ridiculous!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Struggling

I've received many texts, phone calls and e-mails asking about our missionary. Thank you all so much for your concern. Here is an excerpt from her last letter. She is really home-sick and struggling.

This experience has completely solidified my testimony, and I love this gospel with every ounce of my entire being. I dedicate my entire life to keeping the commandments and I love my Heavenly Father and love Jesus Christ more than I love myself. This gospel means everything to me, but I miss you all so much...

Continued and increase of prayers on her behalf are so appreciated. Hugs to all!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

An early Mother's Day surprise!

My cell phone rang several times with a number I didn't recognize from Miami, Florida. "Hello", I said repeatedly with no response. Silence. After the 5th attempt I thought, it's either a really determined telemarketer or my Dad calling from Mexico with some funky calling card. And then finally, the broken up words, "Mom, this is Sarah!" OH MY GOSH!!! I screamed so loud Analisa who was down stairs blow drying her hair ran up shouting, I want to talk! Oh my sweet baby Sarah, I love you and can't tell you how proud I am of you, I poured through the phone! She cried and said how good it was to hear my voice. I am calling to schedule a time to talk to you on Dia De Las Madres she said proudly. I could hear her being rushed. I only have a minute left she said so I spoke in the phone as fast as I could telling her how much I loved her and enjoyed her letters and could imagine chickens and rabid dogs following her around on the dirt roads of Nicaragua! All that for a girl who refused to go to girls camp, I added. She just laughed and laughed. I know, she beamed. What a blessing! Analisa and I had smiles we couldn't wipe off. "Day made", Analisa said. I couldn't agree more :)

I received more pics from her time at the CCM from her dear friend Hermana S. What a beautiful, radiant bunch of missionaries!

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Blanca Nieves