Monday, December 30, 2013

Feeling gods love for strangers, odd coincidences, & Memories with friends, these are a few of my favorite things!

Well to begin my email this week! It was great to get to hear my wonderful families' voices! yes only voices, technology hates me! and Skype didn't work properly again, but that is ok I still enjoyed every bit of it!
I realized something very special this holiday season, and please don't take offense, because I love yall and I so enjoyed talking to you! But even though I am far from family this holiday season, I was still able to enjoy myself because I was with people I have come to love! That night after we hung up. My district had made their way (caroling) to the members house where we were skyping. just as we hung up they knocked on the door and began their attempt at silent night, but not everyone was on the same page and others began singing a different song entirely... it was quite comical. but as they abandoned hope to salvage their effort, Brother Mauryama (the member) invited them all in for hot chocolate. while the water was being heated, we all sat in their living room and went through the hymn book singing the Christmas songs. 8 missionaries, both brother and sister mauryama and their 4 children were all stuffed onto couches and chairs and all were singing! it was the most wonderful feeling to look around the room and watch each person sing with an expression of love and happiness on their faces. all of us praising the Savior's coming for he truly is the reason for the season. I felt so warm and happy there in this families home! it made our parting a bit easier on me... because It is hard to hang up with yall! After we were through singing we drank hot chocolate and joked with the family... each of us trying to see how long we could get our spoons to stay on our noses... :) I got chosen to share the thought so I read about Christ's birth in the book of Mormon and bore my testimony of he savior, then brother Mauryama thanked each of us for making their Christmas special. they just moved from Hawaii three months ago and were unsure of how Christmas would be without their family. Brother Mauryama became emotional as he blessed us with success and happiness! it was the most wonderful feeling! I realized that we are all part of Gods family and because of that, we can enjoy Christmas no matter who we are with! it was such a wonderful way to end the Christmas night, and a memory that will not soon be forgotten!
That was my Christmas miracle!
This week held more miracles for us too!
We were able to talk with many different people and bare frequent testimony of the love that our Savior has for His Fathers children!
One instance in particular. Last night as we were tracting we decided to knock one more house before leaving for dinner. we knocked and this wonderful man answered and he began talking with us... he was a bit skeptical at first, he thought we were Jehovah's witnesses but we told him that we were actually Mormons this only made him slightly less skeptical... he went on to tell us some of the things he didn't agree with in our doctrine... all of which were misconceptions... and I was able to quickly and lovingly correct him... and he didn't seem to have much more to say. He then went on to tell us about himself and his children and foster children and some experiences he has had with them. He has been part of many different religions and never liked any of their doctrines, so he decided to worship on his own... I could feel the faith of this man, and the love that he has for his children and for God! I felt the need to tell him that. so I did... I told a complete stranger how much I respected and loved the faith that he had. He was touched by this and I could immediately feel Gods love for one of his beloved sons. I will never tire of feeling this feeling! it is the most wonderful thing ever! I hope that all yall are able to feel that at one point or another in your life. It is one thing to feel the love for some one that you love already, but to be able to feel it for a man/woman that you have just met is a completely and totally different experience and the most exhilarating feeling! he continued talking to us, he did make it clear that he was happy with his current beliefs and he said that we wouldn't be able to change him. I just told him "we are not looking to change you, we are looking to invite you to learn more about your savior and follow his example." The lord will change him... not us! He still resisted, but he did tell us that he thinks that having a communication with god Is important, and he does have a communication with him. Again I was urged to share testimony. so I said "that is so true, the lord loves when we communicate with him, just as any loving parent would, how do you feel when your children communicate with you?" he thought about it for a second and then he said, ya know, you have a great point... I do get kinda upset when my kids go forever with out calling me. that makes complete sense that God would feel the same about me. it felt so good to feel the spirit bare witness to him that what was being said was true. one last attempt, I gave him our card and invited him to check out our website and that if he ever did find himself curious, that he could come see what one of our services is like! he respectfully declined my offer. and we were on our way. There was nothing about that contact that was negative and I did my best to make sure that he was good and invited. I felt so good as I walked away from his house! I felt uplifted and better having talked to him! I have no doubt that he will be one to embrace the gospel if not in this life, defiantly in the next! What a good man!
Now a little humor (and a miracle) from the week... so we received a referral from the collins hill sisters for a man named Jerry, they said he was really promising and took a book of Mormon and said he would come to church! so we take down his number and we call him. I am on the phone with him and I am listening to his voice the whole time I am thinking "why does his voice sound so familiar?" I listen and listen and finally it hits me! OH MY WHAT! I turn to my comp and mouth to her "on my goodness it's "chester" (that's what we named him cuz we didn't get his name) she starts laughing hysterically... so why is this so funny!? Just a few weeks earlier we had met this man... he is actually the "homeless" man that i told yall about that hit on me... yeah... what are the odds that something like that would happen! ha ah! Anyway, Turns out that Jerry is living with his sister here in Lawrenceville now... and we are going to try and get him some help and hopefully begin teaching him because there are no such things as coincidences in the lords work.
I hope that yall are still reading the Book of Mormon with me. Even though I am not keeping track of the days I have left, the fact that we are nearing the end of the BofM is a pretty good indicator that my time is short. I never thought this day would come... heck I never thought that this past 15 months would ever happen in my life. I've never felt that I was cut out for such things... I've always felt that ive lived a life of mediocrity... not someone who has great accomplishments... but this February will mark the end of my greatest accomplishment and I could have never done it with out the support of yall and most of all, the support for my loving Father in Heaven!
Well have a great week! until next time

Sister Dannika Nielsen

Monday, December 16, 2013

It's ok to have fears and even questions... but we must handle those questions with faith and hold to the faith that we have.

Well i realize that my email writing abilities have not been that great lately... i guess i just get caught up in the Playing part of P-day

This week we went on exchange with the STL's in the zone. I went to their area and worked with sister Kunz. we were tracting and we talked to a young man (Jake) and he said that he had met the sisters before, but sister kunz didn't recognize him so she thought it was the other sisters in their area that had contacted him... we talked to him for a bit, but I could tell that he was not interested... so we invited him to check out the website and left it at that... we finish tracting then we go and contact some of their potential investigators... the first one isn't home, so we try another one across town in another neighborhood... his name is Marshall and the sisters met him and his brother as they were leaving their house and he told them to come back another time. So we knock on his door and the dad answers and invites us in and Sis. Kunz asks for Marshall, and he goes off to find him. Sister Kunz turns to me and says how weird would it be if this was jakes house... I think it was us that tracted into Jake.... I think Marshall is his brother" the dad came back and, turns out that Marshall was busy... but as we are talking to the dad... his other son walks by the doorway... and you will never believe it, but it was Jake, the young man we had just met like an hour earlier... he kinda paused and looked at us funny and then walked off quickly.... man, I felt like a total creeper! "oh, don't mind us, we are just mormon missionaries who are seemingly stalking you..." Ha Ha. We had a great laugh about that one after we walked out the door... 
Then the next funny experience, Sister Snyder and I were at the church this week it was just her and I there practicing our song for the ward Christmas party, and all the sudden we hear someone banging on the doors... so we walk into the hall to see what was going on and there was a man out side.... so we walked to the doors and asked if we could help him. he wanted to know if he could have the metal pipes that were behind our dumpster, he wanted to take them to the recycling to get money for them. I of course couldn't say yes or no but I told him that I would call the building maintenance guy and ask... so while we waited for the building guy to call us back this man talked with us... I asked him if he had ever heard of Mormons before he said no. I asked him if he had ever read the book of Mormon and he just stared at me... so I asked again and he shook his head as if to break a stare and said " Dang girl, you have beautiful eyes!" then looking away and under his breath he repeats himself "beautiful brown eyes"..... "uh... thanks" I said slowly... I wasn't sure how to continue our conversation... so I just asked him about his belief in God... and he quickly went off on that...phew.... He talked about how he was baptized like five times... so I just asked him if he would be baptized again this time by someone holding the proper priesthood authority of god... he said no, but that's ok... then he went on to ask about our food pantry and if we gave food to people... yatta yatta yatta... then he said, again with the same uncomfortable and creepy stare as before "Is there a place I can sign up for a wife... the bachelor life is kinda lonely." I was just praying that the building guy would call just then... but no such luck! Finally he got tired of waiting and he said he wuod check back later... and he walked off. I was so relieved.
Only on a mission would I have these kind of experiences... ha ha... but now I have something to look back on and laugh!

anyway, this week has been alright, we are still trying to build up our teaching pool. I had a pretty neat experience with prayer this week. We were trying to think of where we should tract and so we said a prayer and asked the Lord where He needed us. then we looked at our map and as I looked over it my eyes kept coming back to a certain neighbor hood, so I said "well, this must be it, lets go" so we went... we tracted the neighborhood and  found only one person that invited us back! But this one person seems to really be searching. we had a first lesson with her and we are scheduled to go back for a second this week. How cool is that ! I love prayer! the lord really has his hand in every aspect of this work. 
anyway this lady is Spanish and I thought that she would want to have the Spanish elders come and teach her... so I offered that and she told us that she wanted to better her English so she wanted us to come and help her better it by teaching her. She is really awesome and she seems to understand what we teach her! im really excited to continue teaching her!

Welll family, I hope yall are still reading along with me. We now have finished Helaman and are into 3rd nephi.... something that I really loved in the first chapter of 3rd nephi, was verse 7 and 8 Talks about the believers how the sorrowed for fear that the signs might not come that were told by the prophets. but then in 8 it says "...they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day" that had been prophesied of.... I love this because even though there was fear and maybe some doubt... they still held true to their faith... they still believed. Like us, sometimes things happen to test our faith, and even though we may have doubts we must re-evaluate our faith and take it back to the basics... do we believe in god? yes... do we believe that Jesus Christ is his Son and our savior? yes...  then if we believe these things, then we work up from there... and we hold to the faith we have. It's ok to have fears and even questions... but we must handle those questions with faith and hold to the faith that we have.
Well family I hope that yall are having a good week!

Love Sister Dannika Nielsen