Thursday, October 3, 2013

Home

So I don't know if anyone reads this blog that I haven't seen yet or spoken to. But I came home a couple weeks ago on Sept 18 to take care of my medical health. There are a lot of unknowns right now. I don't know how long I'll be here and what my future has in store. As for now, I'm in Minnesota. Taking it one day at a time discovering what God has in mind for me. The option of going back to Colorado is still open (I miss it like crazy!) but I'll see what happens over the next several weeks and few months.  Thanks for your support.

Karisa

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Flooding

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IMG_1048.JPGIMG_1135.JPG         So I'm assuming people know that there has been major flooding in Boulder and surronding area (where I am). It really has been a CRAZY week!
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Thursday we had zone conference in Loveland (about an hour north). There was talking of canceling because it has been raining here since last Tuesday and roads were starting to get bad. However, we still held conference. That was a great experience! Seeing other missionaries, being able to talk with President and Sister Brown, ask questions, get training and learn what we can be doing better.
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IMG_1088.JPGSo far, can I just brag about my mission president and his wife? They are wonderful! I've been able to work with them a lot the last 2 weeks and they are amazing! Really care for each missionary and strives to (even though he is new too) to get to know each of us individually and be seen. Even members in the ward have noticed, they know President Brown when he comes. During the little over 2 months since he has been in the field, he has come to our ward twice on Sunday and has for many other wards in the mission. They are great and I really do love them!
 
Sorry for the side topic...but going back to zone conference, so had a great time and ended a little early to get us back home safely. Left around 3:30 and the normal hour drive took 2 hours. Driving on I-25, we passed an RV dealership in Longmount. Water was half way up the RV (passed the tires, pass where the doors were to get in). It was bad. As we continue to drive, there's signs saying this road is closed and that road....took a while to find a road that was open to get us to Boulder. Finally get back to our stake center (we carpooled) and got in our car and start heading the 2.5 mile drive home. Didn't last long. The road home is closed. We plan out our night to sleep at the stake center (all roads are closed at this point). We (Sister Woessner, me, and the spanish boulder sisters....Hermanna Seaborn and Cropper) order Dominos Pizza. As the night draws on, we start calling people on higher ground that would have extra floor space for us to sleep...better then the gym floor at the church building. Lesson learned from this experience: ALWAYS have the essentials in your car (toothpaste, clean underwear, comb, and deorderant). Always! We stayed at a member's home that was dry and in one piece. It actually was a beautiful home. Reminded me of the Sound of Music!
 
On Friday around noon I think it was, we got a text from the Rice's (the family we live with) and said it was better so we were able to get home. Their basement flooded a little and I thought that was the worst I would see. I was wrong! They had water in the basement (that is currently in the process of remodel....so stripped down to the beams luckily) but it was more puddles of water. We change out of our nice clothes and drove to Boulder and start "service tracting". So much better than proselyting tracting. People are so much niceer when they know we are there to help. If only they realized that all the time!  But helped out at one home ripping out carpet. That basement was bad, the carpet was completely saturated with water. But that still wasn't bad.
 
Our zone helped shovel a driveway of mud. I hate shoveling snow. But mud is so much worse!!! This driveway had 6-7 inches of mud. Thick, HEAVY, stinky mud!
 
On Saturday and yesterday and probably every day this week, our whole zone (22 missionaries) have been helping another home in Boulder. When we arrived Saturday morning, the water level in the basement was a little above our ankles. We worked all day getting the carpet out and as much stuff as we could. The basement has pretty much been untouch beforehand. Let me just say...good quality carpet is a lot harder to rip and take out than cheap carpet. I think I'm always going to buy cheap carpet for my home. This took several hours....the basement is HUGE! Then we started to attempt to get the water out. It was fun to see everyone's different methods. There was a drain in the utility room. We had brooms, shovels, dixie cups (not effective), shop-vacs, water pump, fooseball paddles, plastic bin lids, making water snow angels to get the water flowing, etc. I took off my shoes and just played "sweeping" the water towards the drain. When we left, the water level was to our mid sole on our shoes. Huge difference. We returned Sunday most congergations cancelled, ours didn't because we meet at 9, but after we got out, they locked the building and canceled everything else. With our return, brought heartbreak. The water level was now to our knees in the basement. Now we worked on getting the things out of the basement: pictures, books, papers, memories, drawings, it was so sad!!! Everything was ruined!!!
 
There is so much work to do! And the rain just won't stop coming!!! It was supposed to stop raining around 2 am last night, but woke up at 6:30 and it's still coming! Roads a damaged (chunks of road missing), a few bridges have collapsed, it's devestating!
 
There is a lot of work to do! We are cancelling almost all of our normal activities to be go help people and their homes. I heard of missionaries in NY when Hurricane Sandy hit...spent 3 months straight cleaning up. I don't think this is as bad, but it will be the next few weeks missionaries helping with clean up.
 
I'm greatful to be able to help out the most I can. I didn't realize how many muscles our body has that can be so sore. My hands hurt...to move my fingers kill! So many little bruises and cuts.
 
Well, until next time, love you all and thankful for the support I have recieved!
 
Sister Nielsen

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Over 2 months in the field down!

IMG_0946.JPGSome of you know it's been a hard this past week, but missions were never to be easy. Yesterday was our 2 month mark of being in the field (in Colorado). Can't believe how the time has flown by! We celebrated last week by going to McDonald's and getting a Big Mac (first Big Mac in over 2 months)!
 
IMG_0948.JPGHuge moment of celebration (mom may not like this though), my hair can fit in a pony again!!!! Although I need almost a gallon of hairspray and a headband; it is so nice to get my hair off my neck and out of my face again! Especially during service projects such as Rocky Mountain Riding Therapy. It's fun! Basically it is horse therapy for children with physical disabilities. With riding horses, it helps the children have the movement that most of us can get by stretching or walking. Our job since we can't ride horses as missionaries (safety issue) is to walk next to the horse and guide the horse. It reminds me a lot of my childhood in St. George when I took horse riding lessons and riding by Grandpa and Grandma Nielsen's home.
 
Two weeks ago, we started a weekly Book of Mormon reading group on Wednesday nights at our church building. It is great to read together as a group of investigators, recent converts, less active members, active members, and other missionaries. I had this idea about a month ago when a relief society member talked about how hard it is to read sometimes, new empty nester and her husband isn't a member. It's great to have a time that we can learn and grow together.
 
IMG_0978.JPGWhen having a hard day, there is a great support group for missionaries. Last week had a hard time, so we called our "sister training leader" (zone leader type idea  for sister missionaries). Sister Seaborn came over and we talked. My awesome companion, Sister Woessner, made brownies. Sis Seaborn's companion made potatoes. We ate this girl bad day style. The brownie pan with 4 spoons and the mashed potato bowl with 4 forks. It was fun and made my day better.
 
Running out of time today, so going to be short. But this week is going to be better!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Things I Have Learned

I've been on my mission over two months now! Crazy!!!  But this last week, I've been reflecting a lot on what I've learned so far on my mission. Here are just some:
 
-you can never have enough Reese's Puffs in the house
-always have hope for people, hope is a big word!
-never believe what you hear about people
-involve members in missionary work
-share miracles a lot (with companion, members, ward council, family, etc)...I'm going to work on this with my emails
-don't be afraid to pray ever
-this is the Lord's work, He will not let us mess up too much
-don't let the mission president scare you (story below)
-always have post it notes and use them (thank you mom for sending some, they ARE getting used!)
-have fun every day (and many times a day)
-it's only awkard if you make it awkard
-it's fun to role play and practice awkard moments with your missionary companion!
-spiritual exhaustion is so much different from physical exhaustion (working with 14 two year olds, I thought was tiring, I was wrong)
 
The list keeps going, but this is enough for now.
 
Right now, we are in the middle of exchanges. This time I went to a new area...Broomfield about 15 minutes away. Once every transfer (6 weeks), we do a 24 hour exchange to help us learn from other missionaries and we take turns who stays and who goes between Sis Woessner and I. This time I left. It's weird being in a new area. But love working with Hermanna Jarvis (she's spanish speaking sister...so instead of sister, it's Hermanna).  One of our service projects is at a place called Bead for Life in Boulder. On Thursday, having a rough day, and it ended up being just Sis W and I and Nicole (one of the employees at Bead for Life). They always have music playing, but we don't request anything because we aren't supposed to listen to music anyways. But about 3 weeks ago, we were talking about different kinds of  music that we liked between Sis W and I. I guess Nicole heard this conversation, because about half way through our service when the other volunteers left, she went to the computer and played a new station on pandora. It was Idina Menzel. After the first song started, I laughed and thanked her...she said she remembered it was my favorite! It was so great to listen to good music again. The song Brave came on...reminded me of moving to Rexburg and playing that song while driving out with Katie. The words still fit pretty well for a mission.  Tender mercy!
 
Last Tuesday we had a correlation meeting with Sis W and I, the two elders in the ward, and our ward mission leader. About 20 minutes before the meeting, the elders text us and say President Brown is coming as well. Freak out moment! WHAT"S HAPPENING? Usually a mission president has so many things to do, they don't just "pop in" on little meetings! We meet him there and all is well.  President Brown is a great guy! But the fact that we don't know what he is doing is kinda scaring us. Then on Wednesday, it's our first Book of Mormon reading group. We decided to do this and just trying it out....with a group of whoever is interested reading the Book of Mormon together. We are in the Chapel in the church building. About 35 minutes into our lesson, President Brown comes in the back door and walks up to where we are sitting on the stand. We are both terrified (can't think of a better term)....two days in a row!!! He sits down as if it's nothing. One investigator we had there kinda asked, so we introduced President and explain who he was.  That evening he left at the end and we had no idea why he keeps showing up. We are thinkning maybe he is going to transfer one of us or something extreme. It wasn't until late that night that we got a call.  The elders were getting ETed (emergency transfered....being transfered in the middle of the normal 6 weeks). So we are back to being by ourselves in the ward. On September 30th is the next transfer, and I think they are going to try having two sets of missionaries again in Louisville.
 
On Friday, we had our last trainer's meeting when we get to see everyone from the MTC all together for the last time. We may cross paths again as we serve in the same areas, but for everyone that was in the MTC, it was our last time together. We started the two hour meeting with spending about 50 minutes going around and each person sharing a miracle that they have seen. It's not just in the Ensign that miracles happen...it really is all around us!
 
Funny/annoying moment of the week is when my red pen exploded in my purse! Leaked through all the layers on onto me! Not fun to clean up! My finger nails are still dyed red. Wallet, chapstick, planner, everything now has a tint of red to it. Don't know what happened. I think it came untwisted, the little tube the ink is in came out and then it snapped in half. Oh well. Have a new purse that I'm borrowing from the Relief Society president with a perfect pocket outside for my planner, keys, etc.
 
Spiritual thought for this week is more focused on other missionaries...since there are so many missionaries serving right now! In Alma 8 in the Book of Mormon, it talks about Alma the Younger teaching the gospel. Some things that stood out to me when I read that last week is that when times do get hard and we think we need to turn around and 'go back' that we should keep trying. That's when the Lord can open up the windows of heaven and bless those around us. It wasn't until Alma the Younger did leave and was told to go back that the miracles started. So missionaries, even when it is hard, keep working! Also members are so important in missionary work!!!! Can't emphasize it enough!!! Offer to help the missionaries whenever....go on lessons, whatever! It is appreciated!
 
Love ya all!
Sister Nielsen

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fort Collins Colorado Temple Groundbrea​king

Hey all!
 
It's been a crazy, hectic, emotional, spiritual, insane week! So I'll start out with the story I forgot to tell last week. Sister Woessner and I went to Loveland to help transport new sisters and luggage back to this area. However, the first day is crazy long for these greenies (new missionaries); so the meeting is done around 8:30 and we leave around 9. We drive these two sisters (or they are Spanish speaking missionaries, so Hermanas) to the home they are staying at in a nearby town. I'll just leave it as a nearby town, because this is crazy! We get to the member's home, take out their bags and bring everything up to the front porch. Knock. wait. Ring the bell. wait. knock. wait. Eventually after like 7 minutes, we call the bishop of this ward and get this member's phone number so we can call her. On the porch, it's Sis W and I, our zone leaders Elder Gable and Elder Peace, and the newer Hermana's. We call and say we are on the front porch. She finally comes to the door and says "I told them I don't want missionaries anymore" (remember at this point it's 10:30 pm, one of the Hermana's has been up since 1am when she left the Mexico City CCM). So we call the WONDERFUL family that Sis W and I stay with, the Rices', and explain the situation. They graciously allowed us to bring the sisters there. But felt bad for those sisters; one first day in the field, the other the first day in this area and they are homeless.
 
The temple ground breaking was this past Saturday and that was really cool! I didn't realize how many political people they would have there! It was cool to listen to the talks and how they would direct their comments to both members of the church and politicians. During the dedication, he also blessed the missionary effort in this mission and area. When he said that, I got goose bumps all over. I'm so glad to be serving here! Afterwards, they invited different groups up to help turn the dirt (basically photo op). One group was all of the missionaries in the area. We say President and Sister Brown get up and also some other missionaries that I know from the MTC. But after their photo, he said it was inspiration that he was told to pray for the missionary work here. That was so cool!
 
This week, I've been studying a lot about faith and realized that is something I really need to work on. Something cool I was reading last week in the bible dictionary in the LDS scriptures was about conversion. It says something similar to trails is how we become converted. So remembering that during hard times, why trials are so important is to help humble us and help us remember that we can't go through life on our own, we need God's help!  Another book that I've been reading and love is the Gospel Principle's manual. It says things so simply and is organized in topics that it's easy to research and learn about one topic at a time.
 
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A bishopric member here does something for chipotle... I think he's higher up in the company and gives us (sis w and I) free coupons for whatever in chipotle for the few times we don't have a dinner appointment
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We came home on Saturday and found Emma (the dog) in our closet. There was some nasty thunder and lightning outside...she was so scared!!!! It was sad but kind of funny. It storms every day, but this is the first time I have seen Emma freaking out! Glad our messy closet can give her comfort! lol


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Went to DQ on our way to transfer doctrine (last week when we find out where we were going this transfer...but we both stayed here)
 
 

First transfer-I'm staying

August 20 (posted late as I was in Juda WI last week helping with Marc and Jen's new baby William)

First off, just wanted to say, I love this ward! It really is awesome! We have only had two nights since we have been here (both last week....school starting) that we have not had meals. Many days, we will eat with members for lunch and dinner! So as you can tell, I am staying here in Louisville and Sister Woessner is staying here as well! I'M SO EXCITED AND THRILLED!!!!  We honestly didn't think that would happen! So our prediction...we knew we were getting two new missionaries in our ward (4 total) and so we thought it would be two greeny sisters and we would separate to train them in this ward. So glad we are not training yet. At least let us get through training each other before we have to train someone new.
 
Someone asked me last week (forgot who) how many missionary meetings there are. Surprisingly, not as many as I thought in one aspect but more than I thought too. We had the first day we arrived (July 8th) was all day meeting informing us about all the logistical stuff (money, housing, transportation, safety, etc.). A little over a week after that, we had a follow up meeting that was like a half day. That's been it so far. Rumor has it that there is training again next Friday, but we will see. On the other hand, ward meetings are a lot more. We meet with the ward council every week, meet with the bishop every week (for about an hour), meet with the ward mission leader  weekly and contact by phone at least once a day. Our ward mission leader is Eric who is a very hard worker and enthusiastic btw which is great...he has helped unofficially train us quite a bit. They have a 19 month old son though that is hard to not play with.
 
We have two new elders in the ward (new to this ward, not mission). Excited to see the work that we can get done by working together. It's Elder Ameida and Elder Peterson. The ward is really excited about this opportunity to get a lot of missionary work and a lot of things accomplished! With transfers, it's exciting having the change in the environment....fresh start even though we are in the same place.
 
Last week I had a fun personal goal...to do something fun or spontaneous every day. Totally staying in mission rules of course. It was fun! I did accomplish it! Little things such as singing a primary song really loud with the windows rolled down. It was a lot of fun thinking of little things and doing it with Sister Woessner.
 
Something to look forward to next week is hearing about the temple ground breaking. The LDS Fort Collins temple ground breaking is in a few days...Saturday morning. So excited!!! This past Sunday in Sacrament, the focus was on temples. The stake presidency spoke in every ward in the stake and they had great talks! Makes me excited to be able to go to the temple again in 16 months to be able to feel of that unique peace feeling that is only there.
 
So glad to be on my mission and to be staying in Louisville longer!!!!
 
Sister Nielsen

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sister Woessner saved my life!

Spiders, spiders, spiders! Everywhere I look there are spiders! Not helping my phobia! So last Monday, I wash all of my clothes because it's P-day. Hang them out Monday night and go to sleep. Tuesday I wake up, not feeling well so tell sister Woessner that it's a maxi skirt day today. Go to the closet. Touch it. Jump and squeal onto my bed. I jumped probably 12-15 feet at once! It was huge! Sister Woessner looked to try and find it. Not there. Moved the skirts around a little then she sees it and realizes I'm not making it up. She admits it's huge and tries to go find Brother Rice (the dad in the house). No luck. So she comes back and takes the skirt carefully outside and destroys it. In Sister Woessner word's, "I am David, and I just killed Goliath!" Seriously don't know what I'd do without her! To conclude the story, I washed all my laundry again (only touching clothes with gloves) and have not worn that skirt again. Don't know if I ever will.
 
Gave a talk yesterday in Sacrament meeting. Topic was Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself, which can spread out to almost anything. So I talked about service, forgiving others and forgiving ourselves. Overall, happy with how the talk went. Really missed my normal situation though. Usually I will type a talk and copy/paste quotes and scriptures in it so it's just one paper. However, I don't have a computer. So go up to the pulpit with part of my farewell talk, Gospel Principle manual, scriptures, 2 ensigns, notebook paper, and my journal. Felt odd getting situated. So if you have to give a talk soon, be grateful for technology to help pull it together. But I got to the part of my talk where I was going to read a scripture about Jesus forgiving others while he was on the cross. I must have written the scripture down wrong, because when I opened to it, I luckily read it in my mind first and realized it was wrong. So blonde moment, but oh well. Just kept going and didn't read it. It was Luke 23:24 that I had written, but has nothing to do with forgiveness or anything I was talking about.
 
Speaking of Ensigns, if anyone has old church magazines (Ensign, New Era, or Friend) that they can part with...send it on over! Great to read talks from and the friend and new era are awesome for cutting up and making new planners.
 
Next Monday is transfers. Basically when I might get moved to a new area or get a new companion. Every 6 weeks on Monday is transfers. So I might not be able to email on Monday (probably won't); but Tuesday I will be able to. I have my theories on what is going to happen, but I'll wait to tell until I know.
 
IMG_0879.JPGThis morning, our district went on a "walk"....so they said so Sis W and I would come. It was not a "walk" it was very much a hike. Oh well. The view was amazing! We hiked up by the flat irons in Boulder (amazing mountians). Could see all of Boulder, CU, and felt like all of Colorado. I'll send some pictures.
 
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During this last week, we taught a lot about the Plan of Salvation and the Doctrine of Christ. Really made me realize how simple the church is and it makes so much sense! Sometimes we joke about 'drawing out the plan of salvation', but it really is so simple and answers so many important questions of life. Knowing that we lived with God before coming here to this earth, that we are here to prepare to meet God and to become better people. The God loves us so much, that even after this life everyone can have a chance to hear about the gospel. It's amazing! Also just laying out the specific things that we need to do during this life to have more peace. I didn't realize how simple it all is. But it's so true! By having faith, repenting, being baptized, receiving the holy ghost and enduring to the end, we can be happy. So grateful to know this simple truth!
 
Sorry for the long email. Still have time to write, but out of topics. Love you all and miss you!
 
Sister Nielsen

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Awesome storm and exchanges

 

Almost out of time, but had to write something quickly to everyone. Two big events for this week is the AWESOME storm on Saturday here and exchanges we had last Wednesday.
 
IMG_0721.JPGIMG_0723.JPGSaturday started out beautiful, but afternoon came and it got cloudy. We came home to eat dinner quick (probably about 30 minutes). In that time, it came from just cloudy skies to clouds that don't look so good. Luckily, growing up mainly in Minnesota, I know what tornado clouds look like, although these weren't the right color (yet). We took some pictures from the drive way, then continued onto our appointment. With a no-show, we decided to head to the church building for 2 primary baptisms. As we are driving, we are singing along to Nearer My God to Thee from Vocal Point. The song finishes and I thought I heard a siren. Sure enough, turn off the music and roll down the window and there's the siren. We were pulling into the church building at that time, so just continued on inside. Everyone was safe, and haven't heard anything about any touch-downs. But someone should let me know, because I'm curious. It was just some awesome rainstorms and some sweet looking clouds. I'm LOVING that about Colorado, and forgot about that when we lived here...the thunderstorms are awesome and almost daily (but only last 20-30 minutes, then it's sunny again). But I'll be sure to add some pictures of the weather!
 
So exchanges were a lot of fun. Didn't know what to expect, but turned out to be great. We had a really full day planned. I stayed here and Sister Woessner went north to Longmount. Throughout the day, we had 7 lessons with different people. It was great to experience and see different ways of teaching. I really missed Sister Woessner though and glad to have her back. But here is a small world moment! The sister that came to Louisville with me is Sister Zvirzdin (or Sister Z, for me cuz I can't say Zvirzdin). Does that name sound familiar to anyone (dad or mom)? She is from upstate New York and has been in the Oneida ward (or branch) her whole life!!!! She knows right where Hamilton is that we lived. I tried remembering different people's names from there, because I'm sure that we would know people in common, but couldn't think of anyone. But it's still fun! She was born a few years after me.
 
Random missionary term that I don't know how long has been around. But yesterday I woke up not feeling well, so decided to visit our "investigator" Dan. Daily Afternoon Nap. Get it? LOL! It's random. I've been told, but don't think it's true (or hope not), but some lazy missionaries will schedule Dan into their calendar every day. Usually don't have time to sleep, but did yesterday briefly during our lunch break. Woke up a lot better! So glad I wouldn't be okay doing that. Had to get talked into taking a break. So that's my other random picture. Taking a visit with "DAN" in the nursery room. (Note from Lynn - I didn't get this picture).
 
Hope you are all doing great!
 
How is Grandpa Frank doing? How is everyone else in the family doing?
 
Sister Nielsen

 

Monday, July 29, 2013

I HATE SPIDERS!!!​!!!!!!!!!!​!!!!!!!!!!​!


No pictures of spiders though, could barely look at it! We were teaching a less active couple yesterday, the Holmbergs. Sweet people and both very active outdoors! But we had another family come with us to get to know them as well. The Landerman's have a son that's probably like 10 years old. We all got talking about outdoors and this boy loves bugs! So when Sister Holmberg heard this, she stood up and got a jar that was WAY to close to me for my comfort (probably like 6 or 7 feet). But she found a spider outside and kept it! CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  This spider was HUGE! Even Sister Woessner that can handle spiders was creeped out by it! It was a brown horn spider (or some color). Google it if you dare. But I wouldn't. HUGE! NASTY! I have never gripped onto my scriptures so tight as they were in my lap. I wanted to run away, but didn't. We continued have a lesson on blessings (not spiders...that was NOT on my list) and the comfort reading the Book of Mormon brings. There is a great promise from President Hinckley in PMG page 107 (I think...it's chapter 5, left page at the bottom). Worth looking at and reading. But the main point was that no matter how many times we read the Book of Mormon, we will always gain something new and it will always deepen our testimony.
 
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A beautiful sunset outside our bedroom window
Besides the spider, I'm having a great time here. The families in this ward are incredible!  I love that no matter what ward we are in there are wonderful families everywhere!  One family that I have loved from the first time I met them was the Snyders. Sister Snyder has 3 young kids and being at their home reminds me of watching the Gilberts back in the day. But Sister Snyder is so sweet and nice, we had a great conversation with her on Saturday afternoon.
 
It's also been a shock, there are a lot of people here that moved to Colorado from upstate New York. I think growing up at school and stuff, 2 people have known where Hamilton was. But here, there have only been a couple that did not know. I'll say Hamilton and they'll say "Oh Hamilton, what a beautiful place, I know right where that is!" I was not expecting that. But it's fun!
 
Our ward has a lot of diversity too in age which is great! This past Sunday, we taught two lessons. Gospel Principles and Beehives in the Young Women group. The lessons were great, but there was so much to cover in our Gospel Principles lesson and class was only 8-10 minutes. The youth in the stake had trek last week, so Sacrament meeting was having all the youth and pa's and ma's speak. Sacrament meeting got out at 10:40! I've never had such a long first hour. But it was worth it. Hearing about their experiences was incredible. I'm so grateful my youth trek was in a tour bus! I wouldn't have survived if not so. Although Sister Woessner has informed me that that is NOT a trek!  :)
 
I hope these letters aren't too long. But let me know and I'll cut them down a little. There is just so much to talk about and update! Each day, so much happens!!! But so glad to be here! My testimony really does grow more and more each day! I'm getting better (SLOWLY) at remembering people's names. It's a work in progress.
 
Sister Nielsen

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Companionship Shrunk 4 to 2

Hey gang,
 
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Sister Donovan and I with one of our district's mascots
....a random huge stuffed animal
 
I can see now why we have 2 hours on the computer. Thank you for everyone that emailed me! But now I'm running out of time and only have 45 minutes left.
 
I really can't believe it's been almost a month since I saw everyone (for the most part). On Friday this weeks marks one months of my mission experience already gone. That's sad to think about. There's a lot of work to do. But just keep going with the time that we have.


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Saying goodbye to Johnson and Donovan
Also with the Rice family that we live with
Emma is their dog
This last week, Sister Woessner and I had to say goodbye to our trainers (Sister Donovan and Sister Johnson).  I'm so glad I was able to learn everything that I could from them. They are both great missionaries and are missed. They provided huge footsteps to follow in, but we are trying to keep them big.  :)  It really hasn't been as hard as I thought: keeping going after they left Thursday afternoon. Although Friday we had an all day training.  That's something I didn't realize about missionary work until coming here. There are a lot of meetings. Everyday it seems like we spend at least 2 hours in some kind of meeting, plus the time we have to study, doesn't leave that much time (which is great) for wondering what to do. We haven't gone "tracting" (knocking on doors) once yet.
 
I beat a new record for myself on day 2 in the field. I have written in my journal every day since being here. In the past, I think my record for journal writing is three days in a row, with about a decade recorded in 10 pages. Never too late to change. So much happens on my mission, that even missing one day is hard to catch up on. For example, if you asked what I did on Saturday or how I felt, I would have no idea. So much has happened since then. It's a constant roller coaster! Fun and challenging and scary. But I know through Christ's Atonement, all things are possible.
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Trying to stand up in a life
size hamster wheel is hard!
There are miracles out there, we just need to open our eyes and see them!  Little things, such as getting a pair of shoes from another missionary that FIT my huge 12 wide feet. Huge blessing, shoes are hard to find in general, but especially in the size that's needed. So grateful for that missionary! This weekend, we have had three random referrals from different people in other congregations that want to hear our message or meet the missionaries. All completely separate circumstances, but the Lord is preparing people all the time. Whether people change in 6 weeks such as Katrina, or people that have been investigating the church since 2004 as one person that is in our area book (have yet to meet them).
 
Thank you for all your love and support and prayers. I always thought it sounded wierd, but now I understand more...you can feel the power of other's prayers. It's a great comfort, especially at those hard times.


 
When I was getting nervous earlier last week about Sister Donovan and Sister Johnson leaving, I came across this scripture and it was very comforting. Alma 26:27.
 
Sister Nielsen
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PS: We helped at a spy birthday party for a family in the ward. Afterwards, Sis W0essner and I decided we wanted to be spies too!
 

Amazing Area with Amazing People

Hi all!
 
So I think I mentioned this already, but I'm in the Loisville ward (you can go to lds.org/maps) and find the boundaries. But Lafayette, Louisville, and the southeast part of Boulder are all in this area. So grateful to have a car! There are only two areas in this mission where sisters are on bikes, so might be put there someday, but for now, I have a car. The ward here is amazing! They have really been emphasizing missionary work since the spring, and have seen a lot of changes! Our ward mission leader, Brother Forthyst is great to work with. He just got off his mission probably about 5 years ago and misses it, so his enthusiasm helps. I was able to successfully name  about 10 families yesterday in sacrament meeting. Trying hard to get to know everyone and remember their names and a little about them.
 
Katrina's baptism was on Saturday. I have never been to such an awesome, spiritual baptismal service. Sister Johnson plays the violin and did a beautiful musical number How Great Thou Art. The rest of us (Sister Donovan, Sister Woessner, and I) did the "halftime" show. While Katrina was getting dressed after her baptism, we taught the first lesson, the restoration. I was just a little nervous getting ready and practicing, but when it came down to the program starting, I started getting extremely nervous. I don't think I've ever been so nervous. Giving talks in Sacrament meeting, you have the pulpit to kind of hid behind. Nothing here. President Brown and Sister Brown were also there. I was meeting a lot of the ward members for the first time, Katrina's family was there who range from investigator's (her daughter Aja is wonderful) to her fiancĂ©, and other members of her family who are more anti-Mormon. It was great that they were there to support; but made teaching to a wide audience like that hard. Now I have a sense of how nerve racking General Conference would be! Anyways, as the program started with the opening song, I was shaking with nerves. Sister Donovan helped comfort me. But saying a prayer made the biggest difference. It came time to do our part. We stood up front, and started. All my nerves went away. In the MTC, and hearing stories, you hear "just say something and the words will come". I thought that'd be cool, but would happen to me. It did though! I don't know how, just started talking...I really have no idea what I said. I was calm, could look everyone in the eye and say that I know with a surety that this church is true. That the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith did restore Christ's church. It was amazing!!!
 
Sister Donovan and Sister Johnson leave Thursday afternoon, I'm more confident than I was when I first heard what was happening.  Afterall, I was in the MTC for 10 days, now I'm training for 10 days. With looking how much I have grown and learned in those few days at the MTC is a testament that I can do this. I know that it is the Lord's work. He will let me fall, but will not let us fail.
 
This area is truly wonderful! I love it here! If I spent the next 18 months in this ward, that'd be wonderful, however I know that won't happen. Hopefully for at least a few months. Boulder especially is a fun/crazy/unique place! So much diversity.
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Everyone that flew in from the MTC last Monday (7/8)
 
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New quad-ship...Sis Johnson, Sis Woessner, Me, Sis Donovan
 
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Sis Woessner and I filling up for font for Katrina's baptism
 
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 Me, Sis Johnson, Katrina, Sis Donovan, Sis Woessner

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

In Colorado

Wow...I hope Heavenly Father knows what he is doing! I know he does, but I'm scared/honored/surprised at what's happening!
 
I met President Brown yesterday, he really is a great President...best mission president I've ever had!  LOL!  But seriously....he is easy to talk to and really energetic about the work! He recieved his call on Feb 20th, the Fort Collins temple was approved on Feb 21st (which has been over a year in process with the city approval), and the mission was announced on Feb 22nd.  The Lord is hastening his work here and it's incredible to be a part of!
 
My new companion is Sister Donovan from Virgina. Today marks 10 days until she goes home. Which is why I'm scared/honored/surprised. Her old companion, Sister Johnson, is also going home next Thursday. So Sister Woessner (MTC roommate/district sister) is her companion.  Sister Johnson is from Rochester, MN!!!!! It's confusing to explain. Sister Donovan and Sister Johnson have been companions here for 6 weeks, but both leave next Thursday.  Sister Woessner and I are their replacements.  Right now, it's all four of us together, so doesn't really feel like it's two companionships but a quad-companionship.  hahaha! Both new. Both training. So the 12 week training that 99.9% of missionaries have (that statistic is from Karisa and not a fact), we are trying to condense into just over a week. Then Sister Woessner and I are on our own with the Lord's help.  Prayers would be appreciated this coming week as we are both trying to take it all in. I'm so glad to be with Sister Woessner though! I loved being with her in the MTC. So is strong and knows what she is doing.  I'll get pictures next week.  But looking in the pictures from last week, she is blonde and usually has her hair up in a cute bun/pony.
 
We are in the Boulder-Loisville Ward. Boulder has some amazing/interesting people. We have a baptism on Saturday. Praying that all goes through and works out! I know the week before we are doing anything good, Satan plays hard ball and tries to beat us down.  K is so nice though and has made AMAZING changes recently!  She has overcome SOO much! In and out of foster homes since she was 6. Several were not good experiences. She is now about 33 and has a 12 year old daughter.
 
We are living in a member's home. Normal P-day is Monday, so that's when I'll usually be emailing. Probably afternoon sometime. But since yesterday was transfers and we got out of meetings really late, we had approval to come to the library briefly today.
 
Hope to learn everything I can from Sister Donovan and Sister Johnson this week.
 
The address to send things throughout my mission is the mission office. Make sure my first and last name is on it...just incase we get another Sister Nielsen. 
 
Sister Karisa Nielsen
5285 McWhinny Blvd Suite 100
Loveland, CO 80536
 
Sorry, this email feels more scattered. Last time I had an outline beforehand of what I wanted to write. Been too busy today for anything like that.
 
I'm so happy to be here and having a lot of fun stretching and growing. Praying a lot and know He is listening and answering. Love you all! Stay strong!
 
Sister Nielsen

Monday, July 8, 2013

Overwhelmed and Amazed!


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The District: Elder Christensen, Elder Clay, Elder Perry, Elder Baker, Elder Arnado, and Elder Payne, me, Sister Pincock (my companion), Sister Martinez, Sister Jacobsen, and Sister Woessner
Mom, thank you for your letter. It was nice to get something. When you were thinking of me on the deck, I was finishing personal study time that we had from 7-8:15. Breakfast is at 8:15, so I was probably thinking about that at that very moment. LOL! I'm finally figuring my way around campus. All the buildings are the same brick building it feels like.  I'm on the main campus, not the west campus (Raintree/Wyview).  It is nice being here. Otherwise I would have to take the shuttle that runs every 30 minutes to the main campus for devotionals, meals, the bookstore,  etc.  I pretty much live in our classroom building, 4M.  We get back at the residence hall at 9:30 and are suppose to be in bed at 10. So far though that hasn't happened.  One of us will have a hard time, or our sister training leaders will come and see how we are doing, or the branch presidency wives will come check on us. There are 5 sisters in the room.  My companion and I, and a tri-companionship. We are all going to Fort Collins.
My companion is Sister Pincock.  She is great!  We are so much alike, kinda crazy.  Except for our height.  She maybe reaches my shoulder. I feel like a giant sometimes around campus with her next to me.  From Idaho Falls born and raised. She was baptized in the church but her family didn't really go that often.  It was last fall when she went to Brazil for about 3 months to teach English that she read the Book of Mormon. I love that she has a huge testimony of prayer. Whenever something is feeling off in the district, she is the one the gets the group together to say a prayer to help bring the spirit back. It's great and a wonderful example for me.
In the district, we have 6 elders and 5 sisters.  We are all going to Fort Collins which is nice because we can all relate and it's exciting knowing that I might be able to see them in Colorado when we get there.  We are all from the states in various places. There is Elder Christensen, Elder Clay, Elder Perry, Elder Baker, Elder Arnado, and Elder Payne. The sisters I'm beginning to love more and more as we grow together and rely on each other. There is Sister Pincock (my companion), Sister Martinez, Sister Jacobsen, and Sister Woessner (pronounced like Wess-ner). They are all going to be great missionaries!

They  have a saying here at the MTC that the days are weeks and the weeks are days.  It does not make much sense until you experience it. It feels like I just got here an hour ago, but have learned and gone through so much that it's been months that it feels like I've been here! The schedule is crazy. Barely have time to use the restroom or get a drink.  We have class, zone teaching, TRC (role playing teaching an investigator), meals, gym, service, more classes.  It is crazy!
 
Sunday we had Sheri Dew come to speak to us. She gave the best talk that I have ever heard!  It was great!  That evening, we also had the choice between 3 other old MTC devotionals to watch.  Sister Pincock and I were going to go to one with Elder Holland, but there was only standing room. So we went to a talk from Elder Bednar called the Character of Christ.  Good luck trying to find it though. Our branch president said he has been trying for years to get a copy of the text or clips or anything.  It was wonderful! One of his overall messages was during times we would want to turn inward, Christ would turn outwards.  There was several examples that he gave and stories of people he knows.  But one from Christ's life was after the Garden, he went back and saw his Apostles asleep.  Instead of getting angry with them for not listening, he healed the guard. On the cross, instead of thinking about the pain, he thought about his mother and wanted to make sure she was going to be taken care of.
 
As we study and learn more and more, it amazes me how much I thought I knew, but really didn't.  It is exhausting!
 
Today is the fourth (happy Independence day all!).  I've needed a P-day (preparation day) like this several days ago...but it came!   It's so nice to do laundry again after like 2 weeks, to settle in a little (even though we are packing again on Sunday).   Tonight we get to watch Stadium of Fire!  Nielsen family in Utah...I'll be watching for you on the screen!  I forgot they broadcast Stadium of Fire to the MTC.
A scripture that has helped me this week is D&C 50:40-41. It's a great one!
 
Love you all!
 
Sister Nielsen

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Saying good-bye to Minnesota

I had the blessing of going home to visit friends and family in Minnesota before I leave.  Thank you for all of your support and encouragement!

Had lunch with mom, Kim, Diane, Chris, Stacey, and myself at Pablo's (best salsa in Shakopee, Minnesota)...forgot to get a picture though.  But thank you ladies for coming and for those that tried to come!

I wanted to see all my friends and family there, but one of my biggest enjoyments of going to Minnesota was playing with my niece Kelsey!  She's going to be almost 3 when I come back....so much changes in that time of 16 months to 34 months!


 
Saying good-bye is hard.  But I know the time is going to fly by and I'll be home before I know it!  This is me, Tyler, Kelsey, and Brenda (before the tears came).  :)

Missionary Advice

This is a post I found in another missionary blog and I love this advice....some of it extends beyond missionary work!  Do you have advice for future missionaries?  Comment below.

From the blog of Sister Emily Silva (click on title to go to her blog)

How to be a Happy Missionary
  • Get in the habit of exercising regularly before you leave
  • Start your mission journal a couple of weeks before you leave the MTC
  • Bring an extra pair of glasses (if you wear glasses)
  • "practice" recipes before you get here- once you've left the MTC...you're on your own and grilled cheese starts to get old
  • Memorize D&C 4
  • Homesickness means you are fortunate enough to have a fantastic family. Be grateful- not mournful.
  • If you play piano, memorize as many hymns as possible to play at a moment's notice. They WILL hunt you down.
  • Remember, the Lord blesses the families of missionaries.
  • Get to church early-get to everything early.
  • know how to budget and don't go out to eat a lot- these are sacred funds ($1 menus work occasionally:)
  • Eat a good breakfast every morning...sometimes you don't get a good lunch
  • leggings under skirts if you're biking and watch your miles carefully if you're blessed to have a car.
  • learn what annoys your companion...and do it on occasion:)
  • keep a copy of an already prepared talk for when the Bishop or Branch Pres. calls you to speak randomly.
  • Bring Sticky notes...they will be used.
  • Laugh.
  • Cry.
  • Pray...a lot. He understands.
  • I have a testimony of going to bed on time at 10:30 and getting up at 6:30. Somehow your body will have just enough energy to last the day.
  • 50 push-ups in the mornings feels good. Don't just do sit-ups in bed!
  • Eventually you'll get good at eating all the food on your plate.
  • For at least one day each week, completely refrain from thinking about home.
  • Write your family weekly...not weakly.
  • fasting should prayerfully be considered between you and your companion and for a special reason
  • Help with the dishes at dinner appointments
  • You'll have bad days. Keep ice cream in the freezer for this purpose.
  • Buy fruit!
  • Don't "coo" at any dogs before you walk inside...they probably won't like you.
  • Microwave popcorn saves lives.
  • If you don't approach a stranger, the answer is already "no".
  • Names not numbers.
  • Remember your feelings when you first opened your call for when times get tough.
  • Let yourself stretch, that's what a mission does to you.
  • Smile...it's the only curve that sets everything straight.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

So much to do....so little time

Tomorrow marks my two week mark before entering the Provo MTC!  I'm so excited to serve the Lord and get to know the people of the Fort Collins Colorado mission area, but there's a lot of last minute things to wrap up before I leave too.

I wanted to thank those that were able to make it to lunch at Pablo's in Minnesota....it was great to catch up before I leave for 18 months.

Blogging is a new thing for me, but felt like it was the best way for friends and family (and future missionaries) to keep in touch.  If you are ever bored, feel free to send me an old fashioned letter in the mail.  :)  Well time to get this whole blog thing figured out and keep going on my to do list.

Stay strong!
Sister Karisa Nielsen