{mis-sion-ary, [noun] someone who leaves their family for a short time so that others can be with theirs for eternity}

Monday, December 29, 2014

Livin' On A Prayer

So... It's safe to say that December pretty much didn't exist. How does time go by so quickly? I basically had an anxiety attack the other day thinking that I will be home this time next year... I love you all and can't wait to see you again, but there is no better feeling than sharing the gospel! It was really good to Skype you all this week though! I was happy to see you! P.S. Read all the way to the bottom because there are hidden miracles in this email.  I know it's long. Sorry, but not really. 
We've had some really great stories this week. It's the end of the month and the mom-mobile has been driven to Pittsford twice (65ish miles each way) and we live about 10 miles outside our area so.... We were SUPER low on miles. Amherst (the other area in our ward) used to be a biking area so the elders have a couple bikes in their apartment which they don't use because they now have a car and they're a trio at the moment, so we asked if we could take the bikes for the rest of the month. They absolutely refused. "It's not proper for sisters to be riding bikes in the winter". Yeah yeah.... We don't have any snow and it's been super warm lately. So basically this last week turned into Battle of the Bikes. We desperately needed the bikes to save on miles and they weren't going to let it happen so they tried giving us some of their miles (which we couldn't take because they needed them). Neither of us were going to cave. Friday we were so sick of it so we told the elders that we were going to pick up the bikes in the morning, no questions. Well Elder Walker who is as stubborn as I am, said "just let me make a couple phone calls.." Within 10 minutes the ZLs called. I was praying that meant more miles! Then I hear Elder Skinner talking to Sister McLaren and he says "How do you feel about miles?" We didn't understand so we asked what he meant and he said "well we're going to have to take some miles away next month.." I about jumped out of my footy pajamas (thanks Jeanne!) and then we hear all the elders on the phone laughing. It took them a few minutes but they told us that they were kidding and they gave us 700 more miles for the month. We definitely don't need that many but hey.. It was a tender mercy. Elder Walker became my new favorite. I don't know who he called or what he said but I'm secretly relieved that I don't have to try biking in a skirt. Whew!!
Christmas Eve was such a great day! We car pooled down to Pittsford with the elders. Everyone stuck their white elephant gifts and guitars for the talent show in the trunk of our mom-mobile and we went on our way. (Somehow Elder Walker managed to get a HUGE TV that he used as his white elephant gift... Super useful for a missionary haha) we sang to Nashville Tribute the entire drive which is the closest thing to country music that I'm going to get on my mission. (Mom if you can find their new cd called "redeemer", I would LOVE to get that!) the Christmas party was pretty great! A bunch of the sisters here played volleyball in high school so I snatched a ball and started peppering with one of them. Within 2 minutes half of the mission had gathered around to play with us. Haha it was a ton of fun! There were a few elders that were super good and I got to set them and DANG! They are good hitters! I miss volleyball a TON. But I will never regret my decision to not play in college. I know that I was meant to be here on a mission and I wouldn't have had this experience if I'd chosen volleyball. That makes me think of my farewell topic: "Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven". At the time, I thought it was a sacrifice to let go of something that was my whole life, but the things that I've gained and learned and the happiness that I feel completely make up for what I thought I was losing and then some. I remember a quote from President Hinckley that said something along the lines of: "What appears today to be a sacrifice will prove instead to be the greatest investment you ever make." My mission literally has been the best decision I've ever made. It's preparing me to be a much better wife, mother, teacher, and daughter of God. I know that sometimes it feels like we have to sacrifice a lot in the gospel, like with tithing or going on a mission or the word of wisdom.. Whatever it may be, I know that the blessings that come from that sacrifice will make up for anything you may be losing. The blessings may not come how you expect or desire but they come!
It was so good to see everyone for the Christmas party! I forget how much I love the sisters when I don't get to see them all the time. On the drive home, the elders pulled out the guitars and we sang the whole way home. 
Mom I know you were asking about Bill and Dee and what's going on with them. Well I have some good news. :) Friday, we went and did service for Dee and then since the weather was so nice we went for a walk along the Eerie Canal. We had a really great discussion with her. She told us how when she was in San Diego she saw the temple and thought it was so beautiful so they went in and she was saying how even though they could only go into the lobby, she felt like she was in heaven. She loved seeing everyone all dressed in white and the way she felt was so amazing, she couldn't even explain it. but when she couldn't go in any further she felt like she was being turned away from heaven so we talked about the temple and how sacred it is and the standard of worthiness for going there. I know she'll get to go back someday! I know she will. She loves us and she's really opening up to the gospel. That's not the only good news though. We talked to both her and Bill about how we were singing in sacrament meeting and guess who showed up at church?:) Bill and Dee! BOOYAH!!!!! I've never sang in sacrament meeting before but we decided that we'd sing since all of the Amherst elders have nice voices and Sister McLaren is a great piano player and then there's me. Haha so the elders and I sang Where Can I turn for Peace in church yesterday! I wanted to pass out. But it went pretty well. 
We were also expecting Eugene to be at church yesterday. He's the man I was telling you guys about on Skype that has cancer but chose not to have any treatments. He hasn't been to church in a while because of how sick he is but he had to come to church one more time so that he could be interviewed to receive his endowment on Tuesday. Well... He got sick that morning and wasn't able to make it. I wanted to cry. We had gotten him so excited about the temple and he was going to be going on Elder Walker's last day in the mission and it was going to be the perfect almost New Years present. Then a miracle happened. The bishop and stake president decided that they were going to interview him anyway and guess who's going through the temple on Tuesday?! I am seriously so happy. 
Finally last night after our dinner appointment, we realized our other plans for the night had cancelled on us so we were trying to figure out what to do so I suggested to say a prayer and we both felt like we needed to go see this sweet lady in an assisted living center and we had a great lesson with her and then we started talking to her aid. MIRACLE!!! She was praying for direction for a way to change her life and to find a place to go to church with her kids. She was praying for that right as we came! She's not normally Sister Stebbins aid on Sunday's so it was a TOTAL miracle. It was no coincidence that we were led there at that time! (I had always heard RMs tell stories like that where complete miracles happen but I haven't seen too many of those HUGE divine intervention moments on my mission. There are constantly miracles but they hadn't been so drastic until yesterday.) She loved hearing about the restoration and the Book of Mormon and wanted to meet with us again tonight! And she accepted the invitation to be baptized!! This is exactly what she needs and what she's looking for! Sadly she isn't in our area, so we're giving her to the Buffalo elders but that's ok! I got to be part of this woman coming to know the truth and I promised the Lord that I'd work my hardest no matter what the outcome, and he put me in this woman's path:) the elders will do a great job with her! As we were leaving, we were walking out to the mom-mobile and I started singing "living on a prayer" by Bon Jovi (sometimes worldly music pops into my head but I thought it was fitting!:) haha) the Lord will always inspire us and put people in our path that we need to touch! Never postpone a prompting!
Have a great week, and be the answer to someone's prayer!
Sister Amanda Nield

Monday, December 22, 2014

Math on the Mission ---> Multiply, Never Divide‏

Ok ok so before I talk about this week I've got to talk about last week! Sister Rogers was called to be a trainer so I'm a grandma now! Wahoo!!!!:) I'm getting OLD. I'm so happy for Sister Rogers! and her baby is from Thailand! She was soooo nervous but I know she's going to do such a wonderful job! I'm so excited for her! It was so sad knowing that I had to Leave her though!  We got so close during that time together!
It really started to snow in Irondequoit a couple weeks ago... My hair would freeze when we'd go out into our area. And there were a few times that I thought I was going to have to amputate my toes because of frostbite. (Hahaha all I wanted was to go somewhere warm on my mission. The Lord has a sense of humor!:) haha
It was a hard week having to say goodbye to everyone. My heart was broken. That is something that I will openly say that I STRONGLY dislike about a mission. I've spent the last 6 months of my life getting attached to these people, building their trust, feeling God's love for them, and trying to help them feel that as well, and then I have to leave them. Between the ward and the people we were teaching, my heart was completely torn to pieces to say goodbye! I was pretty upset about it. It didn't seem fair. I was so scared that I wouldn't love the people in my new area as much as I loved the people in Irondequoit! That was my home. But the Lord knows better than we do, what we need, who needs us, and where we should go. 
Last Sunday night I got a call from President (as the 4 sisters in our apartment were making a music video). My heart dropped because Sister Rogers had already gotten her training call so all president had to do next was choose sister training leaders, district leaders and zone leaders. I got the call to be a sister training leader which is so exciting and terrifying at the same time. I'm thrilled to do exchanges with the sweet sisters, but terrified to do trainings at zone meetings and zone conferences. I feel too young in the mission for that! But the Lord knows that I need to learn to serve and love others better, so that's why I got this call. :)
Then Monday morning transfer calls came! I got called to go to the Clarence/Amherst area which is right outside of Buffalo. It's a full pros area so I'll be doing only proselyting while I'm here since we're about 2 hours away from the sites. My companion is Sister McLaren. She's been out for 10 months. She grew up in Belgium and England in a military family. We're going to see a lot of miracles together! I'm excited. 
So Tuesday we went to transfer meeting and carpooled out to good ol' Clarence with the elders in our mom-mobile (aka the mini van). It was awkward at first being in the van with just us and a couple elders but it was a really good experience. Elder Walker was telling us all about the people we'll be working with since he'd been serving here for the last 3 transfers. And remember that fear that I had that I wouldn't love these people as much as the others? Ya... That feeling was ridiculous. Just as he was telling us about these people I KNEW this is where I needed to be and I could already feel my love for them growing. Over the next few days the elders came with us to a lot of the people they'd been teaching so we could carol and they could hand us over and introduce us. All these people that I have met so far are sooo wonderful! I had heard that the Amherst ward was the promised land and from day 1 that was confirmed. We have dinner appointments every single night. The members are so willing to do missionary work and come teaching with us. It's so wonderful. This area is so different from Irondequoit. The houses here are probably worth more than my life (and tracting here is super out of my comfort zone) whereas in Irondequoit 75% of the people were on welfare. It's a HUGE difference but I'm already in love with this area. 
Everyone is so excited to have sisters here. All the sisters are in the Rochester or Palmyra stakes so that they're closer to the sites and so to have sisters out here in Buffalo is pretty crazy! We're the only sisters in our zone. Everyone has warmed up to us so quickly though! For example Elder Walker was telling us on the drive up here about Bill and Dee. Dee loves having the elders over and she's been so open to the messages but doesn't want to act until Bill is there with her. He said that Bill hates talking about the gospel and only talks about hunting. But after we had caroled to them, I started talking to Bill. Just asking simple questions and getting to know him and eventually it led into a gospel conversation where we talked about the restoration. I was amazed! It was so funny because Dee was in the kitchen talking to the elders about how she couldn't believe that Bill was talking to us. And Bill looked at The elders and said "You guys never explained it that way before. This makes a lot more sense!" I felt so bad because Elder Walker will be going home mid-transfer to start school so this was kind of his last time to see them and I didn't want him to feel bad that almost everyone had been warming up to Sister McLaren and I so quickly. But it really showed me that were really supposed to be here. The Lord knew sisters needed to be out here. 
There was no reason to worry about whether or not I'd love these people. I've seen in the last week that love is multiplied. Never divided. There's no such thing as loving too many people. The Lord will always place new people in our lives at times when we aren't sure we can love them as much as anyone else, but just because you've learned to love others, doesn't mean you can't love more. There's no limit. LOVE IS MULTIPLIED, NOT DIVIDED
I love all of you so much! Thanks for being a part of my life!
Sister Nield
Ps. I'll see some of you Thursday when I skype!Victory handHeavy black heart
Pss. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!Christmas treeWrapped present

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Innkeeper‏

First of all. The Doctors appointment went great! You have no need to worry! It was really funny (probably more funny for me than for you) but I was explaining to him my symptoms and he was doing some tests with my balance and different things of the sort. And he said "well you seem healthy so that's good. We can almost rule out tumors ." Hahaha sister Rogers and I shoot each other a look saying "wow.. Thanks doc. We hadn't even thought of that one." So that was funny. He did have a hard time figuring out what he wanted to do because I don't have the typical symptoms of a migraine, but he gave me a migraine medication that has been working pretty well, so that's good.
Second of all. Transfers are next week. Chances are, I'm not staying in Irondequoit. (That means if I don't email next Tuesday, I got transferred and my pday is on a different day. Pdays differ for the sisters depending on which area you're in! So don't freak out and email president again!;) haha) I'm pretty bummed because I love it here! This is my training area! 2 transfers with sister Andrus training me and 2 transfers training sister Rogers. There have been SO MANY wonderful memories here. But it's ok. The Lord knows where I need to go and there are more memories to make in other places! It'll just be super weird being somewhere else for Christmas. Good things are ahead though!:) I'm excited!
So this week we've had a couple funny incidents. One of my favorites happened just the other day. We were going to see this lady but thought we'd park down the street and knock on some doors along the way, so we parked in this empty lot by a house. We walked up the street, met some great people, talked with the lady for about a half hour and then walked back to the car. As we were getting into the car we hear "why are you parked on my lot?" So we turn to the house and there is this little old lady (she had to be in her 90s) and she just starts yelling at us and waving her cane! I should've felt bad, but I was trying too hard not to laugh at this adorable old lady yelling and waving her cane!:) haha it was so funny! 
The Yesterday we met a couple really great people!:) we knock on this door and this lady comes to the door. We try sharing a message about Christmas and she doesn't want to hear it but her husband comes to the door and pushes her out of the way and says "Go BYU!! I love Brigham Young!!" I thought there was a criteria for BYU fans of either living in Utah or being LDS, but boy was I wrong. This man LOVES BYU. he was very adamant that he's not going to change religions but he's a huge cougar fan! So I'm hoping we were one knock closer to him wanting to hear from missionaries :) he was a hoot.
And also yesterday, we met this little old man named William. He was in his late 80s and doesn't hear to well so I had to stand really close and talk pretty loud. We were talking about Christ and Christmas and all of a sudden he says "you have nice teeth." Hahaha I didn't really know what to say to that so i said "thanks! So do you" and he said "yeah, but honey... Mine are bought." Haha I about died. And then after talking to him for another couple minutes he said "honey, I've been praying for someone to come to my door. And I think they're here." I started thinking the heavens had opened and this man was a miracle and then... I hear a voice behind me. It was a maintenance man coming to put up Williams Christmas tree. Hahaha
Laughter is the greatest thing!:) without it, missionary work would be pretty hard because you have to learn to laugh at the rude people or else you'll just get discouraged. Haha like yesterday, we met this man who was very apposed to the church. He was so intelligent and had studied theology and was trying to talk about contradictions in the Book of Mormon and then he said "Moroni is a phony" but his pronunciation of Moroni was Moronee so he said "Moronee is a phony" and I couldn't help but laugh. I kept myself together until we walked away and then I about died!
This week I have been reading through the new testiment about Christ's life and birth. And as I was reading about his birth i started to try to put myself in the shoes of different people from the story. Mary, Joseph, the wisemen, the innkeeper. And obviously by the subject line of this email, I want to talk to you about the innkeeper. As I put myself in the innkeeper's place and looked at the story from that perspective I came to a realization. We are all inn keepers. We all decide whether or not there is room enough for Christ in our lives (inn). Not just during the Christmas season, but every single day. What things do you do to make room for Him? Christ gave His life for you, so I would challenge you to dedicate more of your lives to Him. I know life is busy but I also I know that lasting and eternal joy will come as you make Him the center of your life. :) He loves you and wants to be a part of your life, so what kind of innkeeper will you be? The innkeeper who makes room for Christ in the chaotic craziness of life? Or the innkeeper who says their inn is full? You get to decide!:) That's the beauty of life.:)
Love you all!!:) have a great week!
Love, Sister Nield

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Temples, Testimonies, and Turkeys‏

Holiday season already? Bizarre! There's no way I'm ready for it! It hit me just the other day that my 6 month mark is next week! How is that even possible?! It does NOT feel like I've been gone for 6 months! It's gone by so fast! It feels like just yesterday that I entered the MTC! Oh how things have changed! It's been amazing to see how much I've grown in the last 6 months! I read journal entries from the MTC and its a day and night difference! I'm so grateful for the experience of being on a mission! I have learned so many things that wouldn't have been learned any other way!
We set up a little Christmas tree in our apartment, so mom, it's ok that I wasn't there to set up ours this year cause I'm still getting the practice in!:)
So before I talk about the week, let me clarify the doctor's appointment so you don't freak out! I've just had some headaches for the last couple months and the mission nurse just wants me to get it looked at because all of the things we've tried so far haven't worked. It's ok though! It's not a big deal. No need to worry about me!:)
This week has been so wonderful! Wednesday we got to go to the temple! Once a transfer isn't enough, but I'm so grateful that I get to go at all! I feel so bad for all the missionaries who don't get to go at all during their missions! I'm really blessed! It was such a beautiful night! It was snowing and I got some pretty great pictures! Being in the temple is such a wonderful experience! It's always so nice to feel the love that our Heavenly Father has for all His children and to be able to receive revelation for what I can do for His children here in Irondequoit! After we got done at the temple, we went over to the Smith Farm. The only other time I'd been to the Smith Farm at night, in the dark, was during the summer when the Fireflies come out! But let me tell you something! That place is almost just as peaceful as the temple! Walking down Stafford Rd in the snow was magical! No one but the Sisters that serve here will ever really know what this road is and how sacred it is! I've had so many revelatory moments walking up this gravel road after a tour. This road is more than just a road, just like the sacred grove is more than just a patch of trees. It's a sacred place that you never really understand until you serve here!
I remember a moment at the beginning of my mission where I was having a hard time. For the first time in my life I questioned my testimony of Joseph Smith. It was so intimidating having to testify of him daily in these sacred places, and for the first time, I didn't know if I really had that testimony or not. For days I was frustrated. For days I struggled. But one day, I finished up my tour and bore testimony that Joseph Smith really was a prophet and that the things that we talked about really did happen and that God really does answer our prayers. After I sent this family into the Sacred Grove, I started walking back up Stafford Rd. and I prayed as hard as I knew how and pleaded with Heavenly Father to help me to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I begged to have my testimony confirmed. I remember this moment as if it was yesterday! I got to the point in the road where if you look one way, you can see the temple and if you look the other way, you see the sacred grove and looked at the temple. With tears in my eyes, I knelt down and prayed out loud. And I received my answer. I can't even explain the feelings of peace and comfort that overcame me. At that moment I KNEW that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he restored our Savior's church to the earth! I KNEW that my Savior Jesus Christ is the head of this church and that He knows me and is aware of me! That is one of my fondest memories of the last 6 months!
Thanksgiving was great! One of the senior ladies from the ward had us over! It was a lot of fun! We really enjoyed it and we had a great dinner! (Not as good as back home, but good;) ) There is so much to be thankful for!:) Live in thanksgiving daily though! Don't let your gratitude disappear now that Thanksgiving is over!
So the church is doing a "He is the Gift" initiative for Christmas, where we talk about how Christ is the reason for the Christmas season! It's so amazing the effect it's had on our work!:) People LOVE to talk about Christ this time of year! So share your testimony of Christ and invite someone to go to christmas.mormon.org!:)
I love you all! Have a great week!
Lots of love!
Sister Nield