Alright fam and friends, sorry I didn´t email last week. Things got a little crazy because MY SISTER IS ENGAGED!!! LIKE WHAT?!?! Feliz Navidad Hermana Nielsen!!! Anyways, today I´m just gonna throw out all of my thoughts from the past two weeks...I hope you enjoy!
Tomorrow I hit my 5 month mark....AHHHHHH time is flying. I can´t believe it! I also still cannot believe that I am in Paraguay teaching the gospel with a lil Peruvian...life is cray cray. I´ve been thinking a lot about what I´ve learned in the last 5 months and everything has been so central on the Atonement.
You guys! The Atonement is the most incredible thing ever!! As a missionary I have had to use the Atonement every single day. I´ve learned more about my Savior than I thought possible in such a short amount of time. One thing I´ve learned is that even though we are commanded by our Heavenly Father to be perfect, He does not expect us to be perfect in this lifetime....like, what?? That's what I had in my head. That we have to be perfect to be righteous...no no no. That is so wrong! Righteousness means that you keep on trying and doing your best. That is all Heavenly Father asks of us-that we try our best! My testimony has been strengthened so much and I know that I would not have been able to make it through these last 5 months without our Savior. We are #blessed!!! Here's a solid quote from Elder Holland that I want to share with you guys:
"Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?”
I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionary’s and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is,nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.
If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fallon His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” 11 then little wonder that salvation is not an easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.
When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
I´m so grateful for the hard days and weeks in the mission because they bring me closer to Christ and I have been able to change myself in a way that would have never been possible if I didn´t come on my mission. I know that Jesus Christ lives and because of this knowledge I can do anything! Don´t run from hard things, push forward with faith in Jesus Christ and you will find that "The hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing." (Elder Eyring)
I love you all! Thank you for every letter, email, prayer, thought….they have blessed my life every day!
Love, Hermana Nielsen