Transfer calls yesterday... and Sister Neeley and I are staying together here in Elko! I am so blessed!
Saturday morning we had a lesson set up with a less active member, and we invited Wayne, an active member, to come and participate. Well, that morning Wayne's little brother took his car, so he had to call his sister to come pick him up. He ended up being an hour late (so he missed the actual lesson) but his sister is actually a less active YSA member that we have been trying to reach out to, but she lives about 40 minutes away, so we never got to see her. She isn't super interested in coming to church right now, but we were able to share a quick message with her and her brother. It was an amazing miracle, because we can't go to visit her, so the Lord brought her to us!!
I am so thankful for the chance that I have to serve as a full time missionary! I am really so blessed.
Yesterday Sister Neeley and I got to speak in sacrament meeting! We had ten minutes each, and we were asked to speak on "missionary experiences, etc." So we could basically share anything we wanted. Both of us ended up talking about how the Lord needs everyone's individual personalities in the missionary work, and how everything happens in the Lord's timing.
A member of the branch, Harlon, brought his girlfriend to church yesterday! Of course, we went and introduced ourselves to her, and we were able to set up a lesson to see her last night. It turns out that she doesn't have a huge religious background, and she is super open! We taught the first half of the restoration, and it went really well. We invited her to say the closing prayer, and at the close of her prayer she said "and I hope that I can keep learning and get baptized, so that Harlon and I can be sealed in the temple." Wow! We hadn't even talked to her a ton about baptism, so Sister Neeley and I were quite surprised. I wish that all of my investigators would include something like that in their prayers, haha! It was a huge miracle!
We also had a big tender mercy this week. We had to bring a bike with us on our way back from Sparks. Well, we were going about 80 on the freeway (which is the speed limit) and it was already windy. At one point, the back end of the bike somehow worked its way off of the bike rack! We had to hurry and pull over to fix it. We found some bungee chords in our car, so we did our best to tie it down to keep it from wobbling so much. Well, about 30 minutes later, the seat came unattached from the rest of the bike! So the seat stayed on the bike rack, but the back end of the bike fell down. Luckily we pulled over before that happened, but then we didn't know what to do. We took the rest of the bike off of the bike rack, and we were contemplating if it would fit in our car. Luckily, the zone leaders that were on their way to Winnemucca (yes, that is a real place) were not too far behind us, so they saw us, pulled over, and helped us stick the bike in the back of the car. They had to take the front wheel off and everything, but we were finally able to make it back to Elko. Fun times!
Everything truly does happen in the Lord's timing. I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary and to witness these miracles every day.
This week, on exchanges, we went to knock on someone's door, but they had a huge dog. It was nice, so we just let ourselves in the gate and knocked on the door... but then, Sister Tupuola dropped the phone, and the battery popped out, and the dog started eating the battery. We were freaking out, and the dog just wouldn't spit the battery out for a solid minute. We finally got the battery back, and it was dented and covered in slobber. Well, we did the only thing that we could... we wiped it off, put it back in the phone, and prayed... and the phone turned on! After about 30 minutes, though, the phone turned off again, so we took the battery out and prayed some more, and after a couple hours without a phone, we finally got it working again, and it has been working ever since!
I've been on my mission for over a year now, and this week I rode my bike while proselyting for the first time (partly because all of my areas have been huge. This area is huge, too, but we want to start biking at least to nearby parts). I'm not a huge fan of riding my bike in a skirt, but it isn't nearly as bad as I thought.
The missionaries in the Elko zone got a booth at the fair this last weekend, so we got to go help with the booth! We just talked to people as they walked by, and it was cool for the community to see us and be exposed to us. We were able to give away a few copies of the Book of Mormon, and I got to contact a couple people in Spanish! We also met a less active YSA young man who is planning on studying mechanical engineering. He said that he isn't really into religion, but I talked to him about physics for a solid 10 minutes, and he eventually gave us his contact information!
Let the holy spirit guide
let Him teach us what is true
He will testify of Christ,
Light our minds with heaven's view
-- Hermana Nielsen
-Tacos al Pastor y tamales para una cena!!! Fue una tierna misericordia
This has been a great week, with lots of fun experiences!
We were going through our area book and calling old phone numbers to see if they still work, and one person actually called us back! The number had belonged to someone named Danny, but the person who currently owns the phone number is named Trevor. I apologized and said that Danny's number must have changed... but I talked to Trevor for a minute, and it turns out that he is a student here in Elko, and he is interested in meeting with us, so we have an appointment to see him this week!!! I am so thankful that I didn't just say "Oops, wrong number, bye!" The Lord has a funny way of leading us to those prepared people, and sometimes it is in ways that we don't expect.
Another cool experience: We were going to an appointment with some new potential investigators, Josh and John. Well, they weren't home, but another girl answered the door. She mentioned that she had talked to missionaries in the past, but apparently it wasn't a great experience, and she wasn't really interested in learning about God at all. But, we talked to her for a minute, and turns out that she is studying mechanical engineering! I told her that I am going to study chemical engineering, and she said that she was studying chemical engineering before, but she changed majors. Before we left, I asked her, "Do you want to hear a sodium joke?" she looked confused and just said "Sure..." to which I replied "Na." She just chuckled, and we said goodbye. For better or for worse, I bet she will remember that forever! Hopefully this experience neutralized (haha) the bad impression that she had of missionaries in the past, and will make her think twice before turning missionaries down again.
My companion, Sister Neeley, loves horses, and so she can connect with all the cowboys out here in Elko... and I can connect with all the nerds on campus! Heavenly Father really knows what he is doing. The lord truly needs our unique personalities and talents to bring about this great work. this applies to full time missionary work, to member missionary work, and to callings! So be the best you that you can be... but be you, because Heavenly Father needs you!
-- Hermana Nielsen
-We found people with glasses to let us watch the eclipse!
-Pin-hole camera that I made to observe the eclipse
Just another amazing, miracle-filled week in the Elko YSA branch!
This week one of the members of the branch, Justin, who is about to leave on his mission, invited one of his friends to meet with us. He asked us to teach her the plan of salvation. The lesson was so powerful! We had barely started teaching doctrine, when she was already in tears. She said "I don't like admitting that Justin is right... but you were right, I needed this." I am so grateful that I got to be a part of that lesson. She is only 17, though, and still in high school, so we will be passing her off to the other missionaries soon, but it was such an amazing experience.
We had another lesson with a new investigator, Brenda, this week, in a member's home! The member that referred her to us was actually Brother Nielsen! (spelled the same way and everything) We taught her the restoration, and I was once again impressed by how much our message makes sense. The doctrine that we know answers so many questions, especially the questions of the soul. After the lesson, Brenda came to see a baptism! Baptisms always bring a special spirit with them, so I am glad that she got to come and have that experience.
God loves us. The gospel blesses families. We have a prophet on the earth today. Jesus Christ is our savior. The gospel and the true church of Jesus Christ were restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is true. God answers prayers. He has a plan for us. Families are forever.