Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Its Beginning to feel a lot like Christmas....


Hey Y'all
.Sorry to disappoint you ataya, but i don't have an accent... we are in a suburban area and hardly anyone has an accent... ill have to wait till i go into the country to hear the legit accents... anyway, we will be skyping from sister galts house tomorrow at 7:30pm sorry it is so late, but we are super busy and i kinda just wanted to talk to y'all at the end of the night so i could just go home and go to bed after ward. I hope your Christmas is good and i thank you for the Christmas packages... and yes the ginger bread house made it in one piece. Sister berrett and i are excited to decorate it tonight! i got the package that you sent to sister galts house thank you so much!
Well i am glad to know that it is pretty normal for missionaries to be depressed for the first 3-4 months... things are starting to get better though... i am very glad, and i am sure my companion is too.
This past week has been one of the best so far! The lavoies were baptized on Saturday!!!! it was incredible! Jenne, the mom, her parents (converts themselves) drove into town form Vermont to be here for the baptism...but... they thought, and we let them believe that it was just the two children getting baptized... because Jenne and James wanted to surprise them! so we came to the church on Saturday at like 5:15 and the family was there waiting for us! so we all went in and when 5:30 rolled around we had Jenne take Alexis and "help" her get dressed into her jumpsuit and James "helped" Brandon get dressed too... so Jenne and James dressed in their jumpsuits as well, then the children went back into the relief society room where grandma and grandpa were waiting... then all four of us missionaries came into the room and had James and Jenne wait 10 seconds before they came in.... oh, when they came in, it was so incredible!! Jenne's mom let out a cry of excitement, jumped to her feet and took her daughter in her arms and started sobbing! it was the sweetest moment on my mission so far! Tears began to sting my eyes as grandma hugged her daughter and son in law. Oh man, i can't even begin to describe the spirit that was in that room! and it only became stronger as they each stepped down into the water to be baptized. Probably my most favorite moment of the night though, was talking to james after and asking him how he felt... tears welled up in his kind brown eyes as he told us that it felt as though a weight had been lifted from his shoulders when he came out of the water. Oh family, i seriously can't even begin to tell you how it felt when he said that! James is a good man and he txts us now all the time telling us thank you for all that you have done for my family! 
I have so much love for this family and the only bummer about the date that they were baptized, is that i will still be on my mission when they go through the temple... so i won't get to go with them...   
On Sunday they were confirmed! again, another amazing moment!!!! 
After church, we taught a lesson to our high school investigator and i hope i don't sound prideful when i say this, but i was able to actually vocalize the thoughts of my heart, and the promptings that came to my mind. and i bore down in pure testimony to her as i told her that she knew wat she needed to do to know that the church is true, and  that was to read the book of Mormon. i was pretty bold with her, but it was completely out of love and by the spirit! it was such an amazing feeling to say those things and watch the spirit penetrate her heart... we are hopeful that she will be baptized on the 5th of January!!
well family this week has been a pretty good one! and i am glad that i have been able to feel and realize my confidence growing.. i thank my Heavenly Father for this great blessing!
...oh... Elder Thompson aka the bomb (zone leader) says HI... Sister Berrett (mom/trainer) says hi! she still wants a picture of the whole family!  
well family, i will talk to you tomorrow... till tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Humid Cold...Gerogia Style...

Hey Y'all,
   So we should have SKYPEing capabilities. we are just working details out with some of the members to see how and when we can come over and skype, but it shouldn't be a problem. I don't remember my account information... so you may have to set up another account for me and them give me the user name and login info... but ataya expressed concern that she would not be home till after 3:00. so i will have to call at about 5:00 pm our time. Does it cost to skype?... anyway, i am really excited to see you guys on Christmas! WARNING: there will most likely be lots of tears on my end!! so don't be surprised!
   So the weather here has been pretty mild... so im told, it has been raining a bit this week and the humid cold is defiantly different from the dry cold... the members tease me because i stay in my coat longer than everyone else when we get to the church on sundays... when that cold gets to you, it takes a little longer to warm up!  and i never had a problem with my toes freezing, but my toes are always cold... ha ha! anyway, i have loved the skies here though they are just so majestic!... the clouds are always so different and interesting, and the sunsets are AMAZING!!!! I love them!  
   So we have a Mission Christmas party on Wednesday... the entire mission is getting together! it should be.... interesting... i have a hard time with large groups of people lately... it seems to be more severe than before... anyway, all the sisters are having a secret sister gift exchange  that will be fun I'm sure! I got the most out going sister in the mission. its a good thing my MOM (trainer) has been her companion before so she can help me find something for her!
   This last week has been... interesting, Sister Berrett has been sick lately so we have been taking it at a slower pace, but we have still seen many miracles! The lord is merciful!
we spent one evening with on of  the members and baked cookies, cakes and brownies and decorated them all and then the next day delivered them to all our recent converts and investigators. we took one to this lady we met a few weeks ago and gave her a Book of Mormon with it. when we handed her the Book of Mormon, she looked at it and her eyes lit up and welled with tears and she took the book and pressed it to her chest and said " oh...i love this book thank you so much!" it was so neat to see her reaction to the Book of Mormon. She is from Palau and almost half of the population on that island are Mormon, so she is familiar with with the church and we are pretty sure that she will be baptized! 
   We then went to one of our recent converts homes to deliver a treat, she wasn't home, but her housemate was. He let us in and we talked with him and offered him a Book of Mormon and he accepted it... which was miracle in itself because Sister Berrett has tried to give him one, a few times before, and he would flat out refuse it! but he took it and we both bore testimony of it and the spirit entered an then we said a prayer and with the prayer, the spirit grew even stronger! it was great! So, had our recent convert been there we would not have gotten to speak with the roommate, because he will usually leave the room or the apartment completely when we come to visit! so that was a miracle! 
   I don't know if i told you this last week or not, but the family that we have helped teach with the zone leaders has FINALLY accepted to be baptized on the 22nd!!!!!! we are all so excited! this family has been in contact with the missionaries since April and now they are getting baptized!!! 
   We also had a lesson last Sunday with an investigator that is really struggling to pray to know if the church is true, because she is afraid of the answer that she will get... she knows that she will have to become a "Mormon" when she gets her answer, we are pretty sure that she knows the answer she will get, and this scares her... she is in high school and she is afraid of how she will be treated if people knows she is Mormon. We are so blessed in Idaho to have a large LDS population and to have seminary classes and attend schools with a large number of LDS students! because here, the seminary classes are very small and the students are spread out over many different schools... it is totally different out here. But anyway, this girl will be baptized, we aren't worried about that, but she will just do it at her own pace... but the lesson that we had with her was SUPER powerful, we were ALL in tears at the end... members, missionaries and investigator! POWERFUL!! it was so much fun!!! i love leaving those lessons, because we are on a spiritual high for the rest of the day!!! The only thing that i hate doing is trying to describing it... because there are no words that exist that can explain adequately the feelings and experiences that i am having out here. It is just plain incredible! I can't even put words to them well enough to get them into a journal... i try, i really do, but as i read what i have written, my entries fall short of the actual experience... i just hope i can recall these experiences when i read over them, years form now... speaking of journaling, does grandpa have his journals form his mission? 
well family, it is that time again, that i must say good bye for the week, so until next week, I love you!
Sister Dannika Nielsen!
i hope Y'all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Memos from Georgia 12/9/12

The Christmas Party was good... we just ate lunch at our Zone Leaders place... they live with a member and the member let us come over and have the party there. Then we did a white elephant gift exchange with random things that we find in the missionary apartments...lol pretty interesting stuff that you can find in these apartments! Anyway, the rest of the time the Elders just goofed off... lol there was magic tricks, some were walking up and down t he stairs on their hands, balancing chairs on their chins, playing ukulalis and harmonicas, and at one point there was a rubber chicken... ha ha ... we had quite the assortment of entertainment. It was great fun. I am suprised at how comfortable i am around all these other missionaries, i mean not totally comfortable, but comfortable enough.
     My emotions are still out of whack... one day there are at an all time high and then at an all time low... I am all for roller coasters, but this is a roller coaster ride that i want off of... 

     So we were blessed to have yet another baptism on Saturday!! And we have at least 2 more lined up for the 22nd... i say at least, because the Lavoie family that we have been teaching has allowed their 11 and 12 year old children to get baptized, and we have been working on the parents and we are pretty sure that they will be baptized with them as well, so that will be 4 total and if we can get the Dad to allow the 9 year old to be baptized too, then their entire family (with the exception of their youngest who is 6)  will be baptized together on the 22nd!! how exciting is that!!
We had a pretty POWERFUL lesson with them on Thursday night. Again there was NO doubt that that family knows that this gospel is true. The spirit was so strong, i think that even the hardest heart would have felt this.
I am constantly amazed at the great miracles that i get to witness each week. So indescribable, and so numerous that i can not write and describe the wonder of it all!!
     Anyway, i better get going, i still have shopping to do. But i do want to let y'all know that i do have a testimony of this gospel Helaman 5:12 has just recently become personally meaningful to me...
"and now my sons remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon in men build THEY CANNOT FALL."
I know this is true, because i have had some very tough times out here, but no matter how bad my day gets and no matter how low Satan brings me...it all comes back to what i know to be true...and i know that i have a testimony, my foundation, and it is build on and centered in Christ, i know he lives, i know his gospel is true, and it is this that keeps me from giving up. There is hope and i am promised that i CANNOT fall. If this church were not true, i would not be out here still, because nothing save it be the true and everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ could keep me out here. It is great and it is all true!!
Will you please send my love and deepest gratitude to the 15th ward, I've been thinking alot about them lately!
love you all,
Sister Nielsen

Monday, December 10, 2012

Henderson Family Baptized-Dec 1st

Dannika Had the opportunity to help this family come to the gospel. She has tough days. but says This work is worth it. She had prayed to have only one person to teach from the beginning to baptism...and the lord brought 3. She said it was amazing to watch the family change with the spirit of christ in their lives. She said she was glad that she was a sister missionary this day though, cause she got to stay warm and dry on the beach instead of in the lake.
Keep her in your prayers

Small blessings

This week was pretty neat.
I experienced my first exchange... Honestly, i was not happy about this, because i was to stay in the area and be the senior companion... i wasn't excited about this because i was certain that i couldn't do it and that i didn't know the area well enough and that i couldn't teach well enough... all sorts of negitive thoughts flooded my mind and i became just plain grumpy about it.
The exchange happened against my wishes, and the Lord humbled... in the MOST loving of ways. I took control of all the teaching appointments and was able to speak my mind without too much trouble i was able to find my way arround with the help of a GPS,... but then it died... and i didn't even get stressed out about it,  which i totally had reason too.
Finally we got to our last appointment of the night, with  our now recent convert! It went suprisingly well!! She was concerned about not having a testimony about Joseph Smith so we went over the restoration with her again, she was very happy, she said that she had learned more this time around because last time, she said " i was so close minded" after the lesson i asked her to close the lesson with a prayer and to pray to know if Joseph Smith was a Prophet. She began trying to get out of praying, but i persisted and told her that i really believed that she would recieve an answer if she prayed at the end of the lesson. Hesitently, she agreed, and we all got to our knees. Before she started she looked at me and said " I am going to try starting out with "Dear Heavenly Father" instead of Dear God."
I was thrilled that she wanted to try this because she was pretty adiment before that she was always going to use Dear God because that was what she has always done and "Dear Heavenly Father" was awkward. So she began... when that phrase crossed her lips the spirit immedietaly filled the room and and there was NO doubt that she felt this too, her prayer was BEAUTIFUL!! and at the end she looked at me and said " i think i will use "Dear Heavenly Father" from now on." I was so excited! and filled with so much love for her! So although i was very upset about the whoe excange and everything, at the end of it, i was very greatful... and humbled to know that me Heavenly Father loves me enough to challenge me, and then show me that i can do tackle the challenge and that i know more a than i give myself credit for. He humbles me with care and concern and with perfect love.

So saturday was orbaptism up at Lake Lanier and it was absoutely beautiful. By the look on Elder Yates Face when he got into the water... it was very cold HA HA!! I was glad to be a Sister Missionary, Dry and warm on the beach! 
I have been so blessed to be one of the missionaries that has helped this family in their journey to baptism and as i stood there on the beach of lake lanier i was filled with so much love for this family and feeling so blessed to be a missionary... i can't believe i am actually out here, actually serving a mission, bringing the Lords children unto him! Heavenly Father has answered my prayer with so much more than i expected! i had prayed that we would be able to find and teach one person... all i asked for was just one... to find and teach form Lesson one to baptism... and he gave us a family! How merciful is our Lord!! He gives me so much more than i ever deserve and then keeps on giving, i am not worthy of all the blessings he gives me!

Love your Favorite Missionary
Sister Nielsen! 

Tough times...but keeping on!!!

First Thanksgiving In Georgia!!!
Hey all,
So it is true that i am struggling with anxiety, but more recently with depression... at least that's what i think it is... i have all the signs of it... i am unhappy, i often fell angry, hopeless and indifferent to everything kinda like i am just going through the motions... and i don't laugh anymore, i laugh to be polite when someone says something funny or makes a joke but y'all know me... that is not how i am... i live to laugh, i love to laugh and the fact the i haven't really makes me sad... but to put your mind at ease, and make you aware... i will tell you that i am getting help (as hard as it is for me to ask for it), i am being taken care of. I really desire to serve the Lord with all my Heart, Might , Mind and Strength... my heart is in the right place , but my mind is a little off and with out my mind i cannot serve my Lord, and because of this, i have forced myself (with a little encouragement form my comp, whom i love with all my heart!) to ask for help so i can be an effective servant!  
Please don't worry to much about me, and just know that i am being taken care of. I truly believe that the Lord takes care of his missionaries and although i don't know that reason he has given me this trial, i know that there is a wise purpose that the Lord has for it and that all will be ok. I love you all and thank you so much for your prayers and fasting in my behalf. I will get through this... i know i will (it is just hard to see when i am in the thick of it)... the Lord does not give his children anything that he will not help us through. maybe i must learn  to trust the Lord more and allow him to carry this burden instead of me carrying it on my own... it's just hard to do when i feel so depressed that i can no longer feel the spirit... let me tell you... this is the most lonely and hopeless feeling and believe me, i can hear Satan in my own voice in my head telling me that i a truly alone, but i KNOW without a doubt and no matter how bad i feel that Satan is a liar and that my Savior suffered these things for me specifically so that i would never ever be alone i know that he is truly beside me and because of this i must press forward! I would ask that you mail me talks about the atonement and others that you think might help me further my understanding of the atonement so that i can give this burden to the Lord. And if it isn't too much trouble, i would like to have my art portfolio... i just want something to remind me of the one talent that i sort of posses... and i have people here who have discovered my talent by snooping in my planner and seeing doodles, and now they want to see the real things... wow that sounds totally boastful....

Anyway on a less depressing note!!! thanks giving was GREAT!! although i was away from family i didn't even get sad at all... we were up and going, visiting family after family and it was just a good day! I am disturbed by the amount of food we all ate, but it was totally worth it.... ok so this was our day... 9:00 am borther and sister bowman's (sister galts daughter) house for breakfast, them 11am Adrienne's house (recent convert) for brunch 1pm Lunch with bro and sis adams 2:30 stuffing at and investigators house 3pm dinner with the tuley and johnson family 5pm another dinner with the Qureshi family.. and then dessert with the carlisle family at 7pm.... i don't think i have ever had so much food in my life... all four of us were so full that by the end of the night none of us could sit up stright... it's pretty dross that we ate that much food, but my stomach hurt so bad and we were running all over that i didn't have time to think of what i was missing at home. I was pretty happy! for the first time in a while...
So it sounds like y'all had a pretty awesome thanksgiving... im glad that eirc was able to get home for it this year.

So we have another baptism coming up on saturday...the family will be getting baptized... oh yeah and we are doing it in Lake Laneir.... and it's gonna be cold... im just glad i don't have to get in the water  its an interesting story actually... so the Elders found  the father and started teaching him and then his wife  was very upset with him for speaking to the Mormons, because she had been raised to believe that Mormons were a cult so she was very. When joey had found out for himself that it the book of Mormon was true, he of course wanted her to know, so he bore his testimony to her, and she decided to hear the lessons... so the elders called us and said that they wanted us to teach her, so we got all excited and ready to teach her and then she decided that she didn't want to anymore and tried to get joey to stop meeting with the elders, she tried bringing over her pastor form her church and looked up anti on the computer and everything... finally when he would not give in, she just decided to appease her husband and just get baptized with him... so we began to teach her and challenged her to read and find out for herself... she did, and as she began to read, very attitude toward us changed and she was less hostile and all the very pointed and argumentative questions that she had were eliminated as we taught her that Gospel of Jesus Christ. We taught her all the lessons and challenged her to do different things and she accepted whole heatedly and we know that she is keeping her commitments because we can see such a change in her... she quit drinking her sweet tea, cold turkey and enforced it for her family, she sat down with her husband and they figured out how they would pay tithing and are completely willing to live it! She now comes to church with her little family and loves having us over. Her countenance has changed and softened, and to be honest she is the rock of that family, i have no doubt that she will remain strong even after we leave. I am so excited for them and i know that they will never regret this decision to be baptized and come unto their Savior! Oh how the Lord loves this family and is blessing them for their dedication to him! So it will be Her and Her husband and their 11 year old son who will be baptized! so exciting!! I have gained a testimony of the power of the Book Of Mormon. The Book of Mormon changes behavior... because when we read this book, the spirit is with us and causes us to want to change! How can this book not be of God! I am coming to LOVE this book!

Anyway that is what is happening here in the field. I haven't heard anything more about the bikes, so im not going to worry about that till i actually come to it.
I can't wait to talk you y"all on Christmas! hopefully i get to skype!
well i better get going and i hope y'alls week goes great!
l love you and miss you
Love sister nielsen     


We have 2 dinner appointments and a dessert appointment for thanksgiving so far.... last year my comp had 7! i really hope we don't get that many. We defiantly don't starve here in Suwanee. the members LOVE their missionaries and do so much for us! a lot of the missionaries here call Suwanee, Zion... ha ha. it it really great here though. A lot of the members are either vegan or vegetarian... so i have had vegan spaghetti and it was actually really tasty!  
Oh, you would be proud of me, i ate banana pudding yesterday... still not my favorite thing in the world,but i ate it anyway! So here in GGeorgia they use Pine Straw for a lot of their landscaping... all it is, is pine needles that they put in their flower beds, instead of bark or rock.... very strange... that is want we try to remove from our flowerbeds.

We taught the 12-13 yr olds Sunday school class on Sunday. It was really neat, we taught them about honoring their parents. Sundays are so crazy as a missionary... I have a hard time with Sundays because i have to go and meet members in the ward and it really gives me anxiety, i really don't like it, but i try really hard to do it, so by the end of the day on Sundays, i am completely depressed (because this shouldn't bother me) and exhausted. I have noticed that my anxiety has gotten much worse in large groups... during zone conference i couldn't talk to anyone without breaking down into tears. I feel so stupid... i hate it so much!!! My comp though, is so great,  she really helps me through a lot, and is very patient with me when i just break down! i love her so much!

So we have been meeting with the Lavoie family every week and this last week they told us that they were coming to church every week for the next month! and we taught them the very last lesson and i got the opportunity to invite them again to be baptized... i was SO nervous, but i followed the spirit and it turned out just fine... they didn't say yes, but they told us they would think about it... so they didn't exactly say no... but they are coming to church and we are going to continue meeting with them. Hopefully soon, i will be including details about their baptism. this family is SO close. James has tremendous faith, he just doesn't realize it. He is such a good man, great father to his children and a respectful husband! He pretty much practices and believes all that we as members of the church practice and believe, but im not sure that he understands his relationship with his loving Heavenly Father. i think once he internalizes that, everything will fall into place!

Saturday, we went and knocked doors around a less active members home, when she didn't answer her door. we went to the next door and knocked. I was so nervous because Sister Berrett told me i would be taking lead on this one, so i began frantically assembling phrases to say in my mind and then a teenage son answered the door so i introduced us as the LDS missionaries AKA the Mormons and we hared his dad call from  the living room "why didn't Romney win" so we told him that we were politically neutral... blah blah blah... and then he said "why don't you come on in and have a seat" Stunned... Sister Berrett and i looked at each other and made our way to his living room. We sat and talked to this man about our church and we taught him the whole first lesson, discussed his beliefs (he is baptist) and our favorite scriptures, he was so open minded, spiritual and very kind. we left him with a Book of Mormon and a chapter to read, and he committed to read it and pray about it. we will talk to him again in a few weeks. We had NO time to prepare this lesson for this man because we had no idea that we would meet him, but we were able to teach a flawless lesson and the spirit was there. I was completely calm and confident. i was so grateful for this experience and i am really praying for John, he would be so much fun to teach! he and his family are so great! I spent a total of 30 minutes with this man and his family, but i already have started to love them, i am again, amazed at the ability i have as a missionary, to love so quickly. This work is so hard and frustrating at times but just when it seems to get unbearably hard, the Lord in all his mercy gives us a break, by helping us find those who are prepared, and it makes ALL the frustrating times worth it... i can't even begin to describe how much i love this work, and these emails don't even do the experiences justice. i can't wait till i actually get to pull an all nighter and talk about everything!

So with the huge influx of missionaries, due to the announcement, all missionaries will be put on bikes.... sisters included, so ive got to figure out a way to get a bike... this should be interesting. And, now i am stressed out, because the possibility of me turning around and becoming a trainer after i have been trained (at three months old)... is very high, i am not a leader... never have been, and the possibility of me having to train a baby missionary freaks and stresses me out! anyway... this is missionary life... lol very stressful but very much worth it!

I love you all so much and i hope all is still well Give tenna some kisses and squishes for me!
 Sister Dannika Nielsen 

11/5/12 short letter home

We have had an awesome week this week and i really wish i had the time to write it all out, but this p day has been crazy and i don't have alot of time to write. but here is just a little bit of what happened!

we had a wonderful experience with the Lavoie family! Thursday night they called us and asked if we would come over with the elders so that they could give Brandon (their son) a priesthood blessing. he had some sudden health issues. so we went over there and while the elders blessed brandon, the spirit filled the living room. it we tangible. After they blessed brandon, they gave sister lavoie (jenne) a blessing and again the spirit filled the room, even stronger this time and everyone began to cry. they blessed her with peace of mind and comfort. i can't even begin to describe the feeling  that was in that room! and Heavenly Father didn't stop there, the elders blessed their 11 year old daughter because she was having anxiety about the whole thing with brandon's health issues so they blessed her and again the spirit was so strong. we left that house knowing with out a doubt that the Lavoies knew that the power of the priesthood was real! 

Oh i really wish i had time to tell you everything
i love you all and amglad that you all are doing well
love you so much
Sister nielsen