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