Thursday, September 19, 2013


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!
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.
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 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 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 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 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