|A beautiful sunset outside our bedroom window|
Monday, July 29, 2013
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.
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.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
|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.
|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.
|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.
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!
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!
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 fiancé, 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.
Everyone that flew in from the MTC last Monday (7/8)
New quad-ship...Sis Johnson, Sis Woessner, Me, Sis Donovan
Sis Woessner and I filling up for font for Katrina's baptism
Me, Sis Johnson, Katrina, Sis Donovan, Sis Woessner
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
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!
Monday, July 8, 2013
|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|
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!