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

Monday, February 23, 2015

Endure To The End

So we got a major heat wave this week! Not only was it positive, but it was in the double digits. Yesterday we hit 24 degrees! Wahoo!! I felt like I could wear my skirt with no tights. :) haha
This week has been super crazy! Sister McLaren and I gave trainings at both our zone meeting and Buffalo south's zone meeting! It went pretty well! We took them on a journey talking about 4 different principles of following up. I get so nervous before trainings because I want them to be so perfect, but once we get going they always turn out pretty good! 
After buffalo South's zone meeting, we went on exchanges with our Freedom sisters! It was so fun to see how they were doing. There haven't been sisters in Freedom for 25 years and it's cool to see the miracles that they're seeing! Exchanges are probably my favorite part of being a Sister Training Leader. I love being able to see the sisters and learn from their missionary work! After their exchange we were on our way to go to our other sisters in Gowanda and we got a phone call for an emergency Mission Leadership Council (MLC) the next day so we had to cancel with our other sisters and drive home to spend the next day with President Francis preparing us for when the 2 members of the seventy will be speaking to us tomorrow. That should be fun! 
We faced a lot of challenges this last week! Lots of tough things happened, and as much as that's a part of missionary work, and as many times as it happens, it's NEVER any easier. Tuesday we had an investigator who was in a really bad place and within 10 minutes of trying to talk to him and help him, we had a member call us and she was facing some MAJOR struggles. She'd been a member for a year and was REALLY struggling. Then we had to cancel our exchanges with Gowanda. Then the day before our sites trip, Tonya said she didn't want to meet with us anymore. I mean one thing after another kept happening... Talk about my heart being ripped out... But I was reading in the Book of Mormon the other day and I read one of the scriptures that I'd read a million times! But this time it meant something different for ME. 2 Nephi 31:20 says "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the words of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: ye shall have eternal life." I know that the Lord was so aware of me and what Sister McLaren and I had to go through this last week and as I read this scripture I knew that it was up to me to Press Forward and Endure to the END! This week it felt like everyday I was just trying to endure until the end of the day. I was so comforted to know that as I kept enduring, the Lord would help me. It was also kind of a spiritual kick in the pants saying "Sister Nield! Get your act together! You've been through hard times before and you know that it's going to make you a better person so stop whining!" haha I need a spiritual kick in the pants every now and then! 
And despite the hard things we went through, there were SO many things to be grateful for! Sister McLaren have gotten even closer over this last week! We got to spend a day with President, the other STLs and Zone Leaders. We got to have an amazing lesson with Steve and committed him to baptism which he'd been thinking about before we even asked him. We got to go to the sites with the YSA and it felt like I was home again! I got to take tours at each of the sites! I got to go through the grove in the snow and it was BEAUTIFUL! 
There are going to be things to endure but despite those things there are also things to enjoy! President Hinckley said "Life isn't just to be endured but enjoyed". So much wisdom in one statement! Find happiness in the little things:)
I love you all and how you have a great week!:)
Love Sister Nield


Monday, February 16, 2015

Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen

Man! This last week has been quite the week! We've definitely been staying busy!
Sister McLaren and I came up with a Missionary March idea for the Amherst ward where everyday we will go and instead of having dinner with these families, we're going to start a fast with them to have their own missionary opportunities. It's going to be a huge thing for the ward and the bishop is really pushing it! He's been so awesome with missionary work! But I've been asked to speak next Sunday to get the ward pumped for it, so I've been preparing for that. Then I had to give a talk in the YSA branch yesterday so I was preparing for that. Then tomorrow is our zone meeting and Wednesday is Buff South's zone meeting and we have to do a training at both so we've been preparing for that. Lots of preparation this last week.
My 8 month mark was spent tracting in the snow. There was this neighborhood where a member lived and we decided we'd visit the member and then tract in the neighborhood right next to it. It kind of reminded me of a day back when I was with Sister Andrus (I still can't believe that she's already gone home). Sister Andrus and I knocked on at least 20 doors and NO ONE opened. Haha I remember that like it was yesterday. This day though, we knocked on at least 35. It was FREEZING, it was snowing, and EVERYONE answered their door. And EVERYONE very rudely declined. After about the 10th door I had this urge to punch someone in the nose, but I refrained and used a bit more self control than I would've liked at the time. We both wanted to leave the area, but I remembered a quote from a missionary book that I had read before my mission. This man served in Romania and would go tracting in big apartment complexes. His motto was:"Last floor last door". So we kept trudging along. No one was interested to put it mildly, but the last house we passed there was a man out shoveling. His name is Eric. He's in his mid 40s I'd say and we started talking to him. When he saw us he was like, "You're LDS aren't you?" I'm sure the look on my face was priceless (I can't decide if that's due to the fact that my mascara was dripping down my face and I was so sick of it that I didn't care to wipe it away, or the fact that I was so shocked that someone called us LDS). No one ever calls us LDS. Come to find out he dated a member when he was in high school and really looked into the church for a while. We talked to him for probably 15 minutes in the snow and he said we could come back and talk to his family anytime. I learned that sometimes the Lord lets us go through some tough things because there is something much better at the END. We wouldn't have appreciated it as much had we not experienced some hard things. Even though all of those people were rude, the only hard feelings I have are because I'm so sad that they chose not to accept the one thing that can bring them eternal happiness. I don't know those people but I love them more than I can explain.
For Valentine's Day, we made a valentine and took it to one of our members in a nursing home. We couldn't stay long because he was having Valentine's dinner, so we left him the valentine and went on our way. As we were driving home that night we got a call and Brother Reade was calling to thank us for the valentine. He was telling us how much it meant to him that we thought about him and were willing to go see him. He was so appreciative and my heart was so full and I just felt so satisfied with the work Sister McLaren and I have done here.
We had exchanges with Cheektowaga this week and it was so fun to be with Hermana Storms. We had a lot of fun and saw quite a few miracles. #1: The YSA is taking a temple trip on Saturday and whoever isn't going to the temple is going to the sites, and we got Tonya to agree to come with us. I'm so excited to take her to the sacred grove and have her pray to know if the church is true in the place where it all started. She's been pretty hesitant but she gets a long with all the YSA members that we've taken with us so we're excited to get her there.
To fill you in on the weather, yesterday we weren't allowed out of our apartments except for church because the high was -15 degrees. The low was -35. Welcome to February in Western NY.  I'm surprised that I don't have frostbite yet with walking through snow up to my waist. But luckily I'm still alive. Send a little heat my way please! (Ps I'm still bitter that the one winter when I'm gone, ya'll have a great winter... :P)
Love you all anyway! Have a fantastic week!:)
Sister Mandi Nield

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Let It Snow

Mama, I got your package this week! Thank you!:)
I hate when it's time to email because it feels like the week has gone by so fast and I never know what to share. Every week is so different, but so much alike. It seems like everything just runs together since time is going so fast.
It's snowed a lot.. Haha I'm a bit jealous of the 50-60 degree weather in Utah! Of course the one winter I'm gone it decides to be warm there ha no it's really funny. So Clarence is a wealthier place. People are fortunate enough to have houses with garages, people have their long driveways plowed and fail to shovel their walkways to their front door because they just use their garage. Sister McLaren and I have had to just trudge through lots of snow to get to people's doors. With all the snow we've got, it comes up about mid thigh so by the time I get to the door and back, my tights are COVERED in snow--top to bottom.
So the other day, we walked up to this house, knocked, no answer.. So we decided to go across the street and since we have to walk through the snow anyway, I though I'd be smart and just walk through the yard to the street. Well on the sides of the road are mountains of snow from the snow plows. So we're walking through the snow and I get to the mountain of snow and I'm up to my stomach in snow and I realize I'm stuck. I can't move. Haha. I can't turn around, I can barely move my feet. So I have to try as hard as I can go lift my leg above the snow and luckily at the top the snow was packed enough that I could pull the rest of my body out of the snow and slide down the mountain. Gotta love the Buffalo experience.
Tonya has really been moving forward. She's had about half of the YSA branch come to her lessons, so she's met quite a few people, but she's still not feeling like she's ready to come to church. It was so cool though, last week when we were teaching her I asked her how she feels when she reads the Book of Mormon. She said, "I know it's true. There's no other explanation for it. It has to be true." I was so amazed. She is so prepared, she just needs to come to church! She'll feel the spirit so much stronger if she comes. She has become such a good friend. That's one thing that I love about serving in the YSA branch. I get to teach people that are my friends. My favorite thing has been to see the light in Tonya's eyes grow brighter and brighter over the last couple weeks. She's growing so much. :)
I've thought a lot this week about the blessings that come from "forgetting yourself and going to work". God is so good. As I've tried my hardest to not think about myself, focus on the people and give everything to them, I feel like I've been the one to receive the greatest blessings from it. I get to witness the growth of each of the people that were working with. I've seen Gods hand in their lives. I've learned more to strengthen my testimony than I can even explain. It's just so interesting how in our commitment to serve others, we still benefit so much more than we'll ever realize. :)
Oh and it was so crazy! I got an email from Sister Andrus (my trainer) since she went home just a couple weeks ago. Now she's Turia, not sister.. It really hit me that I'm not going to be here forever. YUCK!! Buffalo has been so good to me!
Sister Nield!

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Danger of Delegation‏

Another wonderful week goes down in the books. Aside from the foot of snow we got last night that's still falling, everything has been great! I don't know if I mentioned this last week but last week was transfer week. I'm staying and so is Sister McLaren. We're still the only sisters in the zone but we'll be doing exchanges with the sisters that just got put into the Buff South zone in Cheektowaga, Freedom, and still Gowanda. We got another set of elders in the Amherst ward so now there are 3 sets of missionaries in the ward.
So this week we had to split the area and it has been so cool to see how the Lord has been preparing us for this. Most of our main people have been in the sweet home area (mostly because we live 10 miles outside of Clarence so it's better on miles to go to the Sweet Home area). But we've felt the need to spend more time in Clarence and that's where all of our miracles have been happening. It's funny how the Lord prepares us for things to come.
I won't lie, I was a bit nervous to pass Brother Candino off to the new elders just because of the progress that we'd made with him, so we took the elders over to meet him and brother candino told me "I don't make promises that I can't keep, but I promise that you'll see me at church on Sunday." And of course, he followed through. After church as he was walking out he said "I promise you'll see me next week!" I can't even begin to explain how happy that makes me. Brother Candino is back!:)
Thursday, Sister McLaren and I had the opportunity to go down to Buffalo for the NRC (Network of Religious Community) meeting at the b\Buffalo ward building. What an amazing opportunity it was to see so many different religions all come together. There were people from religions that I didn't even know existed. I guess growing up in Utah kind of deprives you of that. Haha. I had the chance to sit and talk to a Hindu priest. It was so neat to compare beliefs and get to understand more about what they believe. I want to take a second to just brag about this ward. They are all so missionary focused and so willing to help out the missionaries. There is a family in the ward that 2 of the kids had friends come to church with them last Sunday that we'll be teaching and on of the other kids in that family introduced us to her friend Rachel last P-day. This girl is such a miracle! She was asking such deep questions and she genuinely is seeking for the truth! As of a couple days ago, we texted her to see how she was, when we could meet again, and if she'd had a chance to start reading the Book of Mormon. You will never guess what happened. She's already read over half of the Book of Mormon. We showed her last Monday a couple different places in the Book of Mormon that could help answer the questions she had and she is just eating it up! There are people prepared for the gospel but they're kept from the truth because they don't know where to find it. If that family hadn't invited their friends to meet with us, Rachel wouldn't have found the gospel when she needed it most. Always be ready to open your mouth!
And now for the funny story of the week. The danger of delegation. Once upon a time, Sister McLaren and I were doing our weekly planning. Friday mornings always consist of about 2 1/2 hours of planning out who we want to see for the next week, what we want to teach, what we want our goals to be, etc. We were getting close to the end of our planning but had to talk to the Amherst 2.0 elders about one of the investigators in the Sweet Home area that they'd be having a lesson with and they told us they'd call us after the 12 week meeting for the greeny. So we hung up and continued on for about 2 minutes and our phone starts ringing and President Francis's name shows up on the phone (that never fails to give me anxiety). So we answer and he asks if we're planning on being at the meeting. And we said "what meeting?" So he proceeds to tell us that we were supposed to be at the meeting with all the elders since almost half of our mission is in training, we're going to be doing 12 week as a mission. Apparently the zone leaders were supposed to tell us, which shouldn't have been hardbecause we see them at least 4 times a week between district meeting, church, and YSA activities. Haha. So we speed to get to the church as fast as we can. We were a half hour late. So after the meeting President made a comment about how funny it is that the only sisters in the zone are the only ones that didn't hear about the meeting, so we pulled the elders aside for a second. The zone leaders told the district leader to tell us. The district leader was getting ready for his greeny to get here and told his companion before transfers to tell us. Haha no one told us... Hopefully this doesn't become routine. Ha I love the district that I'm serving in though! They're all great missionaries. And sometimes I forget that they're 18-21 year old boys. I guess they have an excuse. ;) haha
All is well in Zion! Hoorah for Israel!
Sister Nield