Fear Not...

This week we had the opportunity to go to the temple again! We are so blessed to have temples here on this earth today. I really love to see the temple. When we visit the temple it really is like being close to our heavenly home. 

We have been teaching Maria's family again, and this week her son, David, has actually been reading the Book of Mormon! (If you aren't a missionary, you have to understand how hard it is to get investigators to open the book by themselves...) He is only 12 years old, but he is actually interested in the thing's we are teaching. I have gained such a huge testimony of the great spirit that children have! They are so humble and willing to learn. It is no wonder that we are commanded to be like little children. 

In honor of Halloween, I would like to share my thoughts on fear. I have actually been thinking a lot about how faith can counter our fears. When we have sufficient faith, we won't be afraid of acting on spiritual promptings. When we have faith, we won't be afraid of how someone will react to our invitation to church or to reading the Book of Mormon. When we have faith, we don't need to fear knocking on doors or talking to strangers on the street. I would like to invite you all to study D&C 6:34, Moroni 8:16, 2 Timothy 1:7, and Joshua 1:9.

-- Hermana Nielsen

P.S. If any parents out there want a scary story to share with your rebellious children, read them Deuteronomy 21:18-21. That should straighten them out for a bit

Alma 34:38

This has been such a great week! I have so many reasons to be thankful.

First of all, Hermana Gatten is amazing, I absolutely love her! Ella me cae muy bien. We get along well, and we laugh lots. Hermana Gatten has a laugh that cannot be described... seriously. When she gets going, her laugh goes through about 5 layers of hilariousness, and then everyone around can't help but laugh at her laugh, which makes her laugh even more... it's quite the experience.

My favorite experience of the week: We were walking down a street, and a man was walking the opposite direction with a box of pizza. As he approached us, he opened the box of pizza and said "It's from God!" At first we said oh thank you, but we're fine, but he insisted and said "Why, because God gave this pizza to me and not to you?" so, we got a free slice of pizza! As missionaries, we get to see all kinds of people, and I love it! People are awesome.

Yesterday was the primary program in the branch, and it was so cute! If you think it's hard to understand little kids in sacrament meeting though, try listening to them in another language! What I did understand though, was beautiful. Primary children have such perfectly simple testimonies!

This week, we have seen so many miracles, including teaching THREE new families. As missionaries, teaching families is the best thing we can do, and I'm so thankful for these opportunities!

So, the theme of this week is gratitude! Give thanks for all the blessings and miracles you see each hour of each day!

-- Hermana Nielsen

3 Nephi 8:12

-The biggest rainbow I had ever seen in my life. The picture doesn't do it justice.

This is a week of changes all around! First of all, the weather is changing rapidly! The leaves are changing, it is getting cold, and the past couple days it has actually been rainy! Yesterday it was raining so much I could have been back in North Carolina. I didn't know so much water existed in the state of Nevada. 

Secondly, transfer season is here! I am staying in my area (which makes me really happy because I don't want to leave this awesome branch!) and Hermana Gatten, my sister training leader, is going to be my new companion! She is an amazing missionary, and I am so excited. Hermana Martinez will be going all the way to Elko (English speaking!) and it's going to be hard to let her go. 

This week we had a "specialized sister training" for all the sister missionaries in the whole mission. It was awesome to be able to receive training from so many great sisters.

Yesterday Evelyn and Roberto (who are now fiances by the way... no big deal) spoke at the "Why I Believe" fireside! It was so powerful because just 6 weeks ago, Evelyn was there as an investigator. 

Spiritual thought for the week: Life is full of changes. Change is one of the most important and fundamental parts of our Heavenly Father's plan for us. Change can be hard, but as long as we have the gospel in our lives, no matter what happens, we "might with surety hope for a better world..." (Ether 12:4) Remember to have hope in all things!

-The Castiblanco family!

-Evelyn and Roberto at "Why I Believe"

 -The Coto family! They are recent converts and they are amazing!

-I finally got to use my umbrella

1 Nephi 10:19

This Saturday we had a "Noche Latina," where all the members in the branch brought food and decorations from their native country! It was so cool, I ate so much good food! I love how much culture their is in Latin America. It made me think about if I went to another country and had to represent the United States, what would I do? Probably make hamburgers... but that's all I can think of. I love that, since I am serving in the states, I get to experience a little bit of almost every Spanish speaking country!

Yesterday, Evelyn made the missionaries real Mexican enchiladas for dinner, and they were amazing. I ate 10 of them.

Yesterday, Presidente Castiblanco was released! Hermano Batioja is the new branch president. it was such a bittersweet sacrament meeting. Presidente Batioja is awesome, and we are excited to work with him, but we are definitely going to miss Presidente Castiblanco. He was branch president for 8 years, and he and his family do SO MUCH for the missionary work in the branch. 

Something interesting that I have been thinking about this week is the concept of work. One of our investigators, Jose, tells us that he never prays for money, but he often prays and asks God for work. I think that is such a great perspective to have!  We can find the same concept in 3 Nephi 6:3. It is important to apply this principle to our spiritual needs as well as our physical needs. We shouldn't ask Heavenly Father for immediate answers to all of our questions, but we should absolutely ask him to guide us as we search the scriptures and help us to recognize the answers.

Conferencia General!

So we got snow yesterday. I guess I said that I wanted cold weather, and we are rewarded according to our desires! Heavenly Father is probably just laughing saying "Just wait until January..."

I have discovered that I love "finding" time as a missionary. My companion hates knocking on doors, but I have come to enjoy it. It's like a mystery game! They could laugh, they could cry, they could yell, they could look at you through the curtains so that you know they are home but they don't open the door anyway, they could slam the door... you never know! You see it all as a missionary, but it keeps me going knowing that the Lord is preparing people to hear the gospel. What I have found, too, is that most people are actually really nice! We find the occasional grumpy person, but most people are at least willing to have a bit of small talk with us. I also have yet to find a correlation between someone's religion and how they treat us. We meet really nice Catholics and really rude Catholics. Really nice Atheists and really rude Atheists. We get to see it all as missionaries, and I love it! 

Isn't General Conference the BEST?! I hope you all watched all of the sessions, they were amazing! They talked so much about missionary work, and so many of the talks were centered on the pure doctrines that we teach from Preach my Gospel. I can't tell if Conference was really that much different this time, or if my perspective as a missionary is what is different (probably some of both!)

One of our investigators, Jose, walked all the way to the chapel to watch the Sunday morning session of conference! He lives at least 3 miles away, and he's probably about 60 years old. He is SOLID. 

My favorite talk was Russel M. Nelson's talk about having joy during all times in our life. What an awesome reminder that Heavenly Father wants us to be happy, and if we choose to mope or whine excessively, we are just listening to Lucifer, who wants us to be miserable, like unto himself (2 Nephi 2:27)

If you didn't watch general conference, I would like to invite you to do so. I can promise you that if you will, you will be able to feel the spirit and you will find answers meant specifically for YOU!

Have an awesome week!