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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