Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Why does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints send forth its young men and young women, copies of The Book of Mormon in hand, black badges shining, preaching the gospel to all the world?

Indeed, we have missionaries not only here in the Unites States, but throughout the globe, including Brazil, Chile, Russia, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and many parts of Africa. Some missionaries, if not all, experience some pretty scary things -- especially those who serve in foreign lands.

There has to be a reason behind it. Why do these young people stop their school, work, and general good time in order to wake up at 6:30 a.m. every morning, study scriptures, and talk to people they have never met about a topic that is being increasingly thrust away from the public plane of conversation, even religion?

This is my family, minus my little brother. Sorry, Elder Neilson!
Some may claim for money.Or perhaps fame? There are many reasons an organization may endeavor to recruit others to their cause. I would argue, however, that the Church's reason for doing so lies in a simple but critically important unit: Family.

The family is ordained of God. That is what we teach in our church. God would not have placed us in these small, intimate social groups if they did not have a purpose. We believe that that purpose is so we can learn the gospel of Jesus Christ and how to apply His teachings into our own lives. We can learn correct principles in a loving environment. Of course, no family is perfect. And some familial environments are even detrimental to our learning. But if we strive to establish our family on Christ's teachings, we can be assured that our family will grow, learn, and have that eternal perspective that helps us to focus our priorities.

Perhaps you are wondering what I mean when I say "eternal perspective." That eternal perspective is another reason why God has put us into families. We all lived with our Heavenly Father before we were born, as spirits. He is the literal Father of everyone's spirit here on earth. Therefore, all humanity are brothers and sisters. And just as we were one huge family in heaven before we were born, and just as we are born into family units here on earth, we have the potential to perpetuate our families into the eternities.

That is the beauty of our Heavenly Father's plan. This life is not only to help us learn, grow, and progress individually, but to do so together, as families. And not just as individuals and families in this life, but in the life to come.

However, we have to do our part for God to trust us with that eternal and marvelous responsibility.

This Sister is out of time. More on that later.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tender Mercy Tuesday

A "tender mercy" is a small blessing or miracle that God gives to us that shows His love. Today, I would like to share one of mine.

My companion and I (missionaries always travel in companionships) were out one hot, summer afternoon, trying to spread Christ's gospel. Unfortunately, we had both forgotten to bring water. We were dying. We were so thirsty that we had to keep telling ourselves, "Just fifteen more minutes. Just fifteen more minutes." At one point, we happened to talk to a nice gentleman with great faith in Christ. In the middle of our conversation, he stopped and said, "Do y'all want water?" We accepted gratefully and he rushed into his home to get us some bottles of water.

After finishing our conversation with him a few minutes later, my companion turned to me and said, "Sister Neilson, we need to pray."
"Why?" I asked.
"'Cause I prayed for water and that man gave us some."
We said a prayer of thanks, gulped some water down appreciatively, and continued on.

God loves us.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Of Blessings and Banana Pudding

Of Blessings and Banana Pudding: Being the Observations and Experiences of a Missionary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the North Carolina Charlotte Mission of Miracles

Well, that is what I wanted to name this blog. You can see that it might have been a little too long to make the actual title, but that is the gist of it. Have y'all ever seen young men in white shirts and ties with black badges? Perhaps they were riding bikes or knocking on doors? You might have even talked to a few. More likely than not, these young men were missonaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You may have also seen young women in skirts and black badges (they might have been riding bikes too -- yes, in their skirts!). These young women were probably missionaries for the LDS church. It may interest you to know that I am one of these black badge-wearing, bike-while-in-a-skirt young women. Yes, we know we don't look very cool. But let me tell you why we do it.

We have been called by a prophet of God to share what we know. What we know is that Christ's full and true gospel has been restored to the earth by a living prophet who was called of God. We know that the heavens are open and that we still receive revelation from God, both through a prophet and personally.  We know that this is true.