2 Nephi 1:15

Yesterday was stake conference, which went from 10-12, and we decided to have our correlation meeting with our branch mission leader right afterwards. The YSA branch normally meets at 12:30, so we actually had a couple people show up at 12:30 because they didn't know about stake conference. Two of them were less active members! We had already met one of them, but the other one was coming for the first time in a while, and he said that he just knew that he needed to come back to church! We were able to get phone numbers for both of them. It was a huge miracle, because we didn't even think about anyone possibly coming at 12:30, but since we stayed a bit longer for correlation in stead of running home to eat lunch because we were hungry, we were able to get contact info for those two less active members! We also found out that our investigator Danny went to the Saturday evening session of Stake conference... and we didn't even tell him about it, haha! His fellowshippers are on top of things!

This week Sister Neeley and I did a "blitz" with the sisters from Spring Creek! A blitz is an exchange where both companionships work in one area. I worked with Sister Tupuola, and Sister Neeley worked with Sister Murdock in our area. We were able to track down so many people and get a lot of work done; it was exciting!

I am thankful for the Book of Mormon. I am thankful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the knowledge and understanding that we have of the Plan of Happiness. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer! 

-- Hermana Nielsen


-last week's mission meeting

-I got to see Hermana Adams again!!! We hadn't seen each other for more than 3 months! 

-Sister Neeley and I

-Driving to Sparks

-We went to a restaurant in Winnemucca that had a tres leches cheesecake.... those are my two most favorite desserts put together!

-pday: Lamoille Canyon in the Ruby mountains

Alma 22:15

This week we were able to do exchanges, zone conference, and watch general conference, so it was quite the spiritually uplifting week! After zone conference, there was a fire between Elko and Spring Creek, so the sisters stayed with us in Elko for the evening and blitzed our area!

This week I was able to go on exchanges with sister Cluff in her area, and we had a powerful lesson with their investigator, Will, in which we invited him to be baptized. When we extended the invitation, he looked at us with wonder and said "Yes! Wow. Are you really asking me?!" The spirit was so strong, and that experience strengthened my testimony that the Lord is preparing people to receive this gospel!

My favorite talk from conference was probably Tad R. Callister's talk about the Book of Mormon. The enemies of the restored gospel will do everything they can to disprove the Book of Mormon... but they can't, for the simple reason that it is impossible to disprove something that is true. I also appreciated President Nelson's invitation to self reflection: if we had a choice between rubies and diamonds, or the Book of Mormon, which would we choose? Really?

Have an awesome week!

-- Hermana Nielsen

-My flawless companion and me

-A horse that belongs to one of the counselors in the branch presidency!

 -Ran into someone while buying snacks at Maverick

Helaman 13:7

This week I had fiz for the first time. I'm not a huge soda fan, but I got the "frozen butterbeer" which was excellent! We also got our first SNOW! In September. Last week I was melting every day. This week I wear a coat and scarf every day. Elko weather! 

We had so many miracles this week! A less active member named Curtis just showed up at church all on his own. We didn't recognize him, but we introduced ourselves to him after sacrament meeting, and he ended up staying for all 3 hours. The members really reached out to him as well, which was amazing! 

We've also seen miracles inviting ourselves over for dinner. One perk about being a missionary, is that so many people are more than happy to feed us. They actually get excited when we ask them for food! So, rather than letting the 15 or so members that feed us all the time fill up our dinner calendar, we have been calling other families that we have never eaten with before. We have been setting up dinners with YSA members that don't normally sign up, active YSA's that go to their home ward, recent returned missionaries that haven't come to the branch yet, and even some less active members. It has been super effective!

Last Monday we were in charge of FHE for the branch! We talked about missionary work (of course!) and watched the video "Dare to Stand Alone" with everyone. We had all the members share the video on their smart phones during the activity. We talked a lot about how they can invite their friends to come to activities. At the end of the activity, we asked everyone to "invite" their neighbor to come play tag at the park, so we all went to play tag! It was great!

--Hermana Nielsen

Alma 29:6

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. 

-- Hermana Nielsen

Alma 40:8

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.

-- Hermana Nielsen

-Why is the rest of my district so tall?!

-Driving to Sparks

-Tevin (recent convert) making us dinner!

Alma 52:21 (haha, get it?)

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

-One of our investigators, Danny (far right)


2 Nefi 32:5

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

-Exchanges with Ely

2 Nephi 31:2

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. 

-- Hermana Nielsen

Alma 29:9

This week my new companion, Sister Neeley came to Elko! We actually came out in the same transfer, so we are excited to work together. Sister Neeley is such a powerful, focused missionary, and I am excited for all of the miracles that we will see this transfer! We got a bunch of new missionaries this transfer, so in the Elko zone, all of the missionaries are training a new missionary, except for us and the zone leaders. New missionaries are the best, so this is going to be an amazing transfer!

We have had a great week, and we have been able to visit lots of different people! Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in administrative missionary work (calls, organizing records, working with ward leaders, etc.) and really successful missionaries know how to use that time to make other proselyting more effective. However, when it comes down to it, I feel the most successful when we are talking to an individual. When we are in homes, or on the streets, the most important thing that we can do as missionaries is teach doctrine, testify, and invite the spirit. As much as I love efficiency, and as revolutionary as the assembly line was... we cannot and should not mass produce salvation. It is personal, and happens one soul at a time. I am thankful for each opportunity that I have to contribute to an individual's progression, because Christ truly ministered one on one, and we should do the same.

-- Hermana Nielsen

-Sister Neeley and I!

-Before transfers

Helaman 12:23

Can you believe it's already transfer time again?! I sure can't. Sister Hull is going to Sparks, and my new companion will be Sister Neely! I don't know her super well, but she came out at the same time as me, and she is awesome! I'm excited for this next transfer, but I am going to miss Sister Hull, and I'm also nervous to take over this area. YSA is the hardest area that I've had to learn so far, just because not even the active members are stable (people move, have birthdays, or get married, sooo...) But I know that we will see miracles this transfer!

Update on Craig: We accidentally set him up with one of the girls in the branch, so they are dating now... weird.

We had a great week! For some reason, it has been so hard for us to pick up new investigators recently. We have been trying so hard to meet with potentials, but for some reason things never work out. Yesterday was the last day of the (missionary) week, and we still hadn't found any new investigators for the week. Right before dinner, we had about 15 minutes, and we saw that one of our potential investigators was home (his truck was right outside) So we knocked, and had our first lesson with him! Later that evening, we were able to have a lesson with another potential investigator right after she got home. So the last day of the week we found 2 new investigators! Afterwards, we found out that both of us had fasted to find a new investigator! Fasting is amazing.

I love you all! Have an amazing week :)

-- Hermana Nielsen

-My beautiful soon-to-be-former companion :(

-Our hike with the zone!

-Hike picture #2

-Our district! 

Alma 38:12

It's been another great week! 

Update on Craig: This week he came to a baptism, our scripture study, and a fireside, and he came to all 3 hours of church yesterday! Craig always says that he won't do something, then does it, and we say "Craig, you did it!" and he just rolls his eyes. He wants us to think that he has given up and that he doesn't care... but he really wants to progress; he just needs a little push!

I had exchanges with Sister Parra in Ely this week, which was so fun. Hermana Martinez is her mom, which makes her my sister! I feel bad, let's just say that I put her through a lot during the exchange... but hopefully I learned my lesson, haha. 

I also got to do an exchange with Hermana Servin!!!! I just love that hermana. She got to meet Craig, and he showed us a bunch of his old mission stuff. We were also finally able to have a lesson with our investigator, Danny, which was a huge miracle! I haven't had a lesson with him since my first week in the area.

Use boldness... but not overbearance. When you don't feel love, and the spirit is gone... you crossed the line.

-- Hermana Nielsen

-Some elders put a dead frog on our windshield, haha. We put it on their door handle. 

-On the way back from one of our dinner appointments in the middle of nowhere...

-Intercambios con Sister Parra!!

1 Nephi 4:6

We have had so many amazing spiritual experiences this week. I'm just going to tell you about Craig.

Craig is a returned missionary, but less active. He is 30, so he is barely YSA, but we have had so many amazing experiences with him. Two weeks ago, we weren't going to go to our FHE activity, because we had a lesson. Well, the lesson fell through, so we decided to go back. After the activity (it was about 8:15) we walked outside and Craig was there. (I had never met him before). He told us that he just felt like he needed to come to church, so he came, and there we were! We were able to have a mini lesson with him outside, and somehow we ended up talking about tithing. We showed him how to pay tithing on his phone, so that he would never have any excuse not to. Craig knows the doctrine, and he knows that the gospel is true, he even admits it. He has just been through so much heartache over the last year that he is broken. He wants to be good, but he doesn't want to. He just has this war going on inside of him. Well, since that lesson, he has paid his tithing TWICE! Last Sunday, Craig even came to our sacrament meeting! Then, last Monday, we ran into him at the church again and had another surprise lesson with him, and this time we set up an appointment. 

We were going to see Craig Friday afternoon. Well, Thursday evening (after we were already home) he texted us and told us "I'm not worth it, I am too far gone, and I don't want to waste the time of the Lord's anointed." Wow. We sent him several scriptures, but nothing seemed to help, so finally my amazing companion felt inspired to call him and sing a himn. He answered the phone, and we sang "Be Still My Soul," which really helped to invite the spirit, and we were able to talk with him for a while, but he was still fighting it. Eventually he told us "It's a good thing you didn't sing my favorite song. I really like Be Still My Soul, but I couldn't handle my favorite song right now. If you sang it, it would be a sign from God that I had to come to church every week!" He absolutely refused to tell us what song it was, but eventually we found out that it was in the children's hymn book. We finally gave up trying to figure out which song it was, but we asked his permission to sing him one more song, from the children's book. He agreed. As I looked through the book, I saw "My Heavenly Father Loves Me," which is my favorite primary song. And if Craig needed to know anything, it was that his Heavenly Father loved him. So we sang that primary song, and when we had finished, Craig was very quiet. He finally said "My mother..... used to sing that song to me every night. I don't know how you picked out that song out of so many." It was such an amazing miracle! Craig just kept saying "I can't believe you picked that song. I don't know how you did it. Well, I do know, and you know, but I still can't believe it." 

I am so thankful for the spirit that allows us to be instruments in the hands of God! I am thankful that I am learning to recognize how it works for me. I didn't get an overwhelming feeling that we should sing that song. I had the simple thought: Craig needs to know that God loves him. For some reason I never realized that the spirit could work through logic... but God knows that I trust my logic more that my feelings, so he knows exactly how I need to receive inspiration. I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of that moment; it was one of the most sacred experiences that I have had on my mission. 

And yes, Craig then allowed us to have a lesson with him the next day, and he came to sacrament meeting again yesterday! He is still struggling, but he is coming around! 

-- Hermana Nielsen

Whenever I:
-Hear the song of a bird, or look at the blue and red sky,

-Get tamales for dinner (what a tender mercy!)
Yes I know Heavenly Father loves me!

1 Nefi 11:17

So, remember Hermana Martinez? She was my trainer! As soon as she finished training me, she got transferred to the "East Side," and I only saw her once after that, when the whole mission was together. Well, this week we got to do an exchange together!!! It was really weird, and bittersweet, and nostalgic. This is Hermana Martinez's last transfer, so I got transferred here just in time to do one last exchange with her. We even got to have a mini lesson in Spanish! I hadn't realized how much I missed Spanish... until I got to really speak it again! 

Another tender mercy of the week: Yesterday, we had a fireside to welcome back President and Sister Bouler, who just finished serving in Honduras. Some of their returned missionaries were there, and two of them sang "How Great Thou Art." It was nice, but then when they closed the hymn book, they sang the last verse in Spanish, a capella. It brought me back to singing the song with the Hermanas in my CCM district, and it was the most beautiful thing I had heard in a long time. The sister who was singing couldn't even finish singing the Spanish verse, because she was so emotional, and I know just how she felt. 

I could tell you many more stories of tender mercies from this week, but it is sufficient to say, that "I know that [God] loveth his children"! 

-- Hermana Nielsen

-Intercambios con la Hermana Martinez!

-We had to eat watermelon in the car... it was messy

Alma 46:12

We had permission to watch the fireworks on the 4th of July, which was awesome! I am so thankful for this country, and that we are free to share this wonderful gospel with so many people! I love this gospel, and I love the commandments, because they allow us to be truly free!

This week I'm finally getting used to Elko YSA. It is so different from all of my other areas, but I still love it. We have so many members inviting their friends to church, and inviting them to activities. I love meeting all these people who are prepared to change their lives to receive the blessings of the gospel (I just wonder why not everyone is!)

Wisdom of the week: "You never know how far a frog will jump, until you poke it." -Brother Dahl
So don't be shy to invite your friends! Invite them to read, to pray, to come unto Christ. We never know how far they are prepared to go. 

Our mission president asked us to study Elder Eyring's talk "Walk With Me" from the last General Conference. As I was reading it, I thought about the ways that Satan works against us. He knows that we need Jesus Christ in order to have a full measure of success. (This applies for missionaries, parents, humans... etc.) Therefore, his goal is to keep us away from Christ. He can do one of two things: he can make us feel discouraged at the size of our task, making us feel doubt and fear, which dispel faith. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, Satan can lift us up unto pride, so that we do not think that we need the Savior's help to accomplish our task. Either way, we lose that divine help, and we cannot accomplish everything that our Heavenly Father requires. We must remember two things: 1) We absolutely CANNOT succeed without Christ, and 2) We absulutely CAN succeed with him. 

Have an awesome week!

-- Hermana Nielsen

-Happy 4th of July!

-If you've never watched the fireworks through a diffraction grating before, I would highly recommend it!

-Beautiful Nevada

Alma 37:35

So, Elko YSA is the BEST area in the whole mission. Just saying. 

I absolutely love working in my new area. I don't even miss Tahoe, which should tell you something! (Well, I do miss the cooler weather...) But I love all of the people we teach. So many YSA people are just honestly looking for the truth, which makes them perfect investigators. The majority of the members of our branch are returned missionaries, which means that member missionary work is on FIRE. It is also super easy to find members that want to come to lessons with us and give us rides. 

One girl that we are teaching, Jordan, just asked us "So, when am I going to get baptized?" which is the golden question! She wants to get baptized on August 11th, which is her birthday. She is so sweet. We don't have a ton of investigators, like I am used to having, but the ones that we do have are progressing towards baptism, which is a welcome change. And even though I don't teach in Spanish anymore, there are plenty of opportunities to use my language abilities! Some people we teach have parents who only Speak Spanish, so it is a good thing to know. 

Sister Hull, my new companion, is awesome. We are getting so much work done together. I am excited for this transfer, we are going to see so many miracles!

I am living with a member now, which is different, but I love it. We just call her grandma, because she is about 80 years old, but she is awesome! She just got back from a rafting trip a couple weeks ago, and she travels all the time! Haha, go grandma!

Pet peeve of going to a new area: The first question they always ask is "Where are you from?" (Which is fine) and then the very next question is ALWAYS "How long have you been out?" or "how much time do you have left?" (Please don't do this. Por favor. Going home is called "dying" for a reason. This question is like asking someone how long they have left to live.)

I am so thankful for the privilege that I have to participate in this work! I am thankful for all the experiences that I have had, and I am excited for all of the experiences that are coming!

-- Hermana Nielsen


-The drive to Elko

-My new home!

-My new companion!

-No caption needed