Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Welcome Winter

Highligts from the week:
"we have a new investigator, her name is ____ and she has a cute dog :) "

"she had so much makeup on her face when she hugged Sister Hillam she left a face-print on her shirt. We laughed a little bit."

"we just ate usual Thanksgiving food except for fry bread instead of rolls. It was all delicious"

they finally got a pic of the couple that drives a lawnmower to Walmart. 

Another district hike!

"story behind this picture: we went knocking on doors with ____ this weekend and it was like mildly cold but not too bad so neither of us wore coats. Well that night (the person they went out with) and ____ knocked on our door and shoved Walmart bags in our hands and said 'try these on' so we pulled on these coats and they were a perfect fit! ____ bought us coats cause he thought we were gonna freeze to death, it was super nice of him!"

Thursday, November 3, 2016

New Companion

Sister Nilsson's trainer, Sister Strigham recently got transferred to Farmington and Sister Hillam came to Cortez! They are having lots of fun together already
First Zone Conference!!

enjoying goodies from the family. lets hope she shared

She loves the people of Cortez, especially doing service for them such as 
spending a whole Saturday helping people move.

beautiful companions

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Transfer Calls

Big news of the week:

Sister Stringham, Madison's trainer, is being transferred to Farmington! She will finish her training with her new companion, Sister Hillam.

at the ward dutch oven cook out
A ward member who stopped by our house to pick up
a care package to bring to Sister Nilsson. She loves the 
members in Cortez

The beloved truck
what an artistic shot
Lots of unique people in Cortez. She loves them all!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Fall Begins in Cortez

Hello again family,
This week has been a pretty good week. We've had a lot of members available to join us for our lessons, which is a thing we really try to strive for. The more members the merrier. Although some appointments have fallen through with J---'s brother, D----who is having trouble quitting smoking but he thinks he'll be able to do it. Unfortunately, we will have to push back his baptism date, so now we only have one person on date for baptism. That's ok though. The elders had to help us with our care the other night because the tire pressure light wouldn't go away and we checked all the tires and they were fine so we were stumped. The elders came and took a look, didn't find a solution to that problem but helped flip over the spare tire under our truck so that way we wouldn't lose points on its next inspection.

We got to sing with the special needs today and one of the boys kissed my hand, such an honor.

Also our house is infested with earwigs so that's actually awful. I guess they really do crawl in your ears? That's what people keep saying. Way nasty. OH MY GOSH we had the crazies day yesterday. Friday's is when we spend the whole morning reviewing the lessons we gave the past week and planning for the lessons we will giving for the upcoming week, as well as set goals and such. Anyway we had all that done, we went to bingo and the next thing on the agenda was tracting a trailer home. We went there a couple days earlier and found a hidden less active member and gave away some Books of Mormon. So we decided to go back. We met a guy named G--- who sure liked to talk about Trump and other extremely political things for small talk, but he accepted a Book of Mormon.

We got some rejections and we were approaching the next door that we almost walked past cause there was no car but then there was a cute kitty so we knocked anyway. A Navajo woman, probably in her 30s answer the door and just kind of looks at us. We introduce ourselves and she just mumbles "I'm house sitting..." then another Navajo lady walks up to the door and just looks at us. We tell her we share a message about Jesus Christ and she explains how she is mad at God because her daughter  committed suicide 3 weeks ago. Of course both our hearts sink for her and we start trying to say words of comfort but next thing I know she is in Sister Stringham's arms crying. Bawling actually. Asking us why Heavenly Father would do this and then telling us how she has been trying to commit suicide herself. Of course Sister Stringham and I are extremely taken by surprise here but we do our best to comfort her. lots of hugging and wet shoulders, then we try to explain that she will see her daughter again and that her daughter made a choice and Heavenly Father couldn't take away her agency and intervene that situation. After she calmed down she said "come in, I want to talk to you" so all of the sudden we were sitting on her couch. Her name is J--- and her sister is I----. J--- shows us where to sit then takes a huge swig of vodka, then comes and sits next to us. She's pretty durnk. She tells us about how she basically drinks all the time. Her sister has had to stop her from drinking bleach and other harmful chemicals. Then she shows us where she has been shooting heroine. Her sister then explained how 10 minutes before we showed up, she had been praying for J---. They were both amazed how we came so shortly after her prayer. J--- cried to us a good amount. Told us the story of her daughter's suicide, then worked herself back up and stood up, walked over to the table, and shoved everything onto the floor. I was a little scared but mostly just so sad for the poor lady. S She kept telling us "I need help" and we know the gospel will help her. Well another unfortunate thing is, she hates Mormons because of bad past experiences. So Sister Stringham and I are lost as how to teach her but I just want to help her so bad. We helped her calm down and told her the message we share and what we could teach will provide comfort, as well as time and patience. We prayed and then after the prayer J--- said she wants us to come back. We left the trailer wide eyed and with no words.

 We are fasting today because we have no idea what to do, we called our zone leaders today and they gave us some good ideas. We are just praying that J--- is more open to Mormons and will start associating us with good things.

K--- got baptized today! I played the piano and even our zone leaders came.

(this is a summary of Sister Nilsson's week as her emails are about a mile long)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Week Two

Hello again! Here on the alphasmart because so much has already happened since Tuesday and this thing is a lifesaver because one hour email goes by in a snap.

Tuesday went pretty well. I got hit on for the first time buy a guy. He asked if we were into any extra-cirricular activities like swimming which we had to break the news that we didnt' even have a swim suit packed. He took a Book of Mormon though and our number (I dont think he realized that we gave him our number to call us for questions on the Book of Mormon) so who knows with that guy.

We had an entire day of cancellations so we tried tracting and came up with a huge zero so that was nice.

We tracted down another road and got more rejections, one lady seemed genuinely interested so we got her number and I'm pretty sure she'll read the Book of Mormon. We were knocking on a door when a car full of teens pulled up and two teenagers started swearing "who the --- is that?" where at first we were like "aw shoot" but then we went up to them and although they were 17 and smoking cigarettes they still listened to our message and took some Books of Mormon. So lots of tracting experiences. Some other old creepy guys walking down the street said "you look good today, ladies" where I threw up in my mouth a little bit but what can I say.

We volunteered again at the thrift shop and they had us hang up Halloween decor and such. The elders were supposed to help but ended up suit shopping instead. We then got to price old vhs tapes and they had a lot of 80s "beach booty" yoga videos that the elders laughed about but refured to take home.

Wednesday was a ridiculous day. We had every appointment cancel except one, and so we tracted the area instead and got a big fat 0. One lady's door we knocked on, I was telling Sister Stringham that I feel like every time I talk, the people dont want to listen. Anyway, while I'm saying that some older lady cracks open her window and says "What do you want?" so I turn and say "We're sister missionaries fro-" then she sharply interrupts me and says "I don't want to talk to you" and slams the window then locks it, as if we're gonna break in. Point proven right there. I honestly always dreamed of having someone do that to me so it was more exciting than degrading, but still, her loss. We had a few good lessons that evening, including V--- and her girls, where they explained they wanted to go back to church so horay. Sister Stringham suggested I slow down a little bit which I knew talking fast would come back to bite me. So I know what I'll be working on this week. Also the other day while we were teaching, we looked to our right and saw some old lady on a jazzy dragging a desk, cruising down the sidewalk. It looked like she had gone garage saling and found a great find so she found a way to get it home. She tied it up and hooked it to the back of her jazzy. She was unstoppable. Unfortunately I have no doubt in my mind that if dad every finds himself in a jazzy, he'll be doing that exact same thing.

We also had our first meeting as a zone which was fun, it was a zone training. They already found out I play the piano so I got stuck with prelude which was actually kind of nice because I miss the piano. The training was good and I learned a lot and also the missionaries were all super nice to me and didn't treat me like the pathetic newbie I am. We drove to Durango for the training, which is pretty nice...lots of trees and green. I guess work there is pretty slow so I am good staying in Cortez. Still a fun training.

We got to teach J---'s recent convert friend named G----. He's an older guy and farms a marijuana field. He also knows all about the Bible so I got very nervous when we approached his door. He was more curious about our church rather than interested in baptism or anything of those sorts, so we basically told him what we believe and asked any questions he has. Sister Stringham thinks if we teach him correctly that baptism will become more of an option for him.

We've been having troubles with exact obedience which I thought at first was a load of bologna because they tell you, "Exact obedience brings miracles" and I thought they just said that to trick you into being obedient but by proof of the other missionaires  who are experiencing amazing things out there, we're gonna give it a try this week.

We also have a baptism coming up! Her hane is K-----, she's 9 and her family is just starting to come back to church. She gets baptized on the 17 and she's pretty excited. The only thing she is nervous about is her interview which will be with our district leader- our district leader's name is Elder Bowie and he's a little Canadian guy who likes to cook and his mom sends him cookboosk so he's the least intimidating person I've ever met. So she should be fine.

We are also teaching J---'s brother, D----. He is a little odd and he frustrates me because he seems so insincere when we teach. He goes on about how he "always knew this gospel was true" but like if you knew it was true why didn't you do anything about it earlier?

Weirdly enough I'll be in Utah today because we're going to the temple. my companion is dying because she hasnt gone in 6 months and I'm excited but not on the verge of crying like the other sisters because I was literally there 3 weeks ago. I'll still injoy it and I"ve never been to the Monticello temple so it will be good.

I've been out for over a month! Weird huh? I mean I'm only on week 3 of the field (which thats still half the transfer!) but including the MTC I've been out a month and 2 days. Its been fast and slow. I kind of feel like I've been out forever cause the MTC felt like so long and was still pretty recent.

I love you all soso much, give Spud a hug for me and Kiki some nice scratches.
Sister Madison Nilsson
                                    SOME PICTURES FROM THE MISSION FIELD

                                The glories of tracting
her best breakfast yet
Monticello, Utah temple
more Farmington, NM sister missionaries

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Week One. First stop- Cortez, Colorado

Dear Family,
Wanna hear something awesome? I'm typing on an alphasmart! Do you remember those? From Elementary School when we had to practice typing? Well my companion's mom sent her one of those so she can type her emails beforehand to save time on actual email day. These weeks have been crazy! We got to wake up at 2 am on Monday, drag our bags to the bus to frontrunner, frontrunner to trax, trax to airport, fly to Denver, fly to Durango, be greeted by our mission president and wife, drive to Farmington, then collapse in the president's house. We were fed a traditional Little Ceasers pizza with green chiles on top which was way delicious. Not sure if it was so good because I was starving or what but pizza had never tasted so good. We had a quick orientation thing about medical stuff then president said we could just relax and stuff while he did individual interviews. Never have I wanted to cry for joy more than in that moment because I was exhausted. Sister Barber and I tried to nap but failed and ended up hanging out with the elders on the couches and just chatting and being lazy. Then we got to go out with some sisters and help teach. We taught some native americans and I'm already learning some Navajo.

On Tuesday we finally found out our area and companion. My area is Cortez, Colorado and my companion is Sister Strigham. She's very nice and helpful and patient while I try to figure out life, and she lets me borrow butter for my eggs and toast. We get along pretty well so that was a worry I dont have anymore. I was pretty tired all Tuesday so that was kind of a blur but we taught some and met members. I was pretty homesick but Wednesday was much better. We are teaching a lady named A--- and her daughther S----. They are both native and her dad is LDS so he told her to look us up. They want to be baptized but they have to get to church, so on Thursday we gave them a tour of the church building. They really enjoyed it and A---- was touched by a lot of the pictures on the wall (which the Spirit prompted me to ask about so that was fun). A--- called later and thanked us for the tour and said she saw her husband reading from the Book of Mormon (which at first he said he wanted nothing to do with us) so she was very excited about that which made us excited.

The members here are very nice and into missionary work, we got fed a couple times which was nice. Nothing nasty yet. There was a recent convert named J--- here who is like best friends with the missionaries (Sister Stringham to be exact) and its so funny. Sister Stringham watched his entire conversion process so they are really good buds. He is a mason and he invited us to one of their events. I guess masonry is basically a sophisticated adult fraternity. They do like initiations and its super exclusive. Liek a brotherhood! It reminded me of that one Spongebob episode where Squidward wanted to be a prat of that brotherhood thing. Anyway so that was interesting and cool to learn about. I got to meet the grandmaster so how lucky am I.

Everyone is super un-impressed that I'm from Utah though. I said I was from Salt Lake and some guy said "Oh I see straight from the factory" so that joke is getting old. I can see one mountain here that connects to Utah so thats kinda cute.

Also I'm not on a reservation so no worries, the closest reservation to us is called Toawoc and we can only go there if we have a set appointment during the day and we have a priesthood holder and his wife present. So basically we never go there haha. The elders are usually on the reservations but there are still a lot of native people living in these citites. We got ourselves a Navajo workbook and we have got a lot of invites to parties where they are making their famous Navajo tacos. So lets see how good they really are. They served us some in the cafeteria in the MTC and Sister Barber hated it so that will be fun for her. I think we will be having some Monday night so lets see if it lives up to the hype.

So we also volunteer at an old folks home where we are the bingo callers, and I felt like Mr Burns. The old people were sooo cute. There was one table of ladies and one of them could not hear to save her life and the other ladies were getting so frustrated with her. You could always hear them saying "No she said B7" or "You have that one, Judy" or stuff like that.

We also had a DELICIOUS dinner at a member's house on Sunday. The dad made his own smoker and was smoking a variety of ribs. Then we had mashed potatoes and salad and cheesecake with blueberry icecream. I ate so much but it was fast Sunday so it was okay. One of their kids started choking on a rib and his siblings were laughing and his parents just sat and watched while Sister Stringham and I are frozen with fear that we are gonna watch this kid die. Eventually he ran to the bathroom and I guess he got it out, nobody went to check on him which I was like what the heck? But I guess they raise their kids tough. It was terrifying though. But the food was good.

We adopted this investigator from the elders- his name is D---- and he was originally in the elders' area living with his girlfriend but then got kicked out and has a restraining order against him so now he lives with his mom in our area. He has a baptismal date and everything so thanks elders! But of course it is always uneasy teaching a dude with a restraining order against him. They gave us freshly picked apples though so I guess I shouldn't complain.

I'm still adjusting a lot and these days are a little hard but I knew I would go through this and Bishop Reese told me I'd be okay so I can't disagree with him. I do get pretty homesick but luckily that just helps me realize how much I love you all. Sorry I didn't spend as much time with you before I left, I really wish I did. Missions really sort out your priorities. But I know this is where I have to be and I knwo we'll get back to Disneyland on my return :)

So we also get free Dairy Queen on Mondays I just found out so again, one way ticket to weight gain. Its funny because I guess some elders in the past abused this priviledge and they had a competition to see who could eat the most hamburgers so now the elders can only order something thats 5$ or under. The sisters on the other hand, can order whatever. So yesterday we ran into the elders at Dairy Queen getting only a salad or shake or whatever and they were begging us to order them a shake. Poor guys.

I've been out in the field basically a week so thats nice. The first few days really sucked but they are gradually getting better.

I love you all sooo much

Friday, August 19, 2016

First Week at the MTC

       Oh geez for some reason I look super ugly here and Sister Barber is very beautiful so I apologize for those photos you saw. Sounds like everybody had a good week! I miss you guys! Sadie sent me a sweet package of cake pops which was very nice. Everybody in my district got mad at me for being a loud email reader so I guess I better stop thinking out loud. The mtc has been so awesome! Definitely not conference everyday. Its a lot of class, where they teach you how to best teach and help the people you'll serve, study, meals, exercise, with the occasional devotional. My district is so awesome! We have 4 sisters and 8 elders! I will try to attach a picture. Half of us are going to New Mexico and the other half are going to Indianapolis Indiana. All the elders are little 18 year olds but they are so much fun I love them all. One of them seriously reminds me of Ethan, another one quotes Napoleon Dynomite al the tiem and he is amazing at impersonating him its so hilarious. I have a video but I have no idea hwo to download photos on this thing. Our teacher is SO Hot. Quinn look him up his name is (name withheld). It becomes hard to focus with him teaching but we manage. Sister Barber and I were struggling the other day with figuring out how to apply Christ into our lesson so he had to come over and help us out for like 30 minutes straight. We play volleyball a lot everytime we exercise. I already jammed my finger playing it. Tell Mett hello and tell Ian to get his permit otherwise he's gonna need his mommy to drive him everywhere when he's 16. Give Spud a hug for me I miss him, tell me where Connor goes! And congrats to Britton thats awesome! I am SOO glad I didn't have to learn a language I would die if I did. Also I've seen Jessa. Tyler, and a lot of kids from my high school its like a high school reunion. The food here is good. Can't get fat though. umm nothing super exciting. Lots of learning and stress but fun times. Our district snuck into the chapel and sat around and sang church hymns the other night which was like a dream come true for me. I miss music. I'll try to upload pictures but we are all struggling. 
Love, Sister Nilsson

She captioned this one "Taco Bell Night! Best Night Ever!"
Enjoying her study time outside (in an adorable outfit her sister put together)

She says Sister Barber is very stylish on P-day. 

P-day with the district (Sister Barber, Elder Williams, Elder Wren)

Getting some shots
MTC roomies!

Sister Nilsson and Elder McKellar

A typical day in the MTC

Elders Barnard and Richardson

Her sister Sadie sent her some delicious cake pops

companions about to teach a lesson

The elders discovered they can make a kazoo
sound when they blow into their badges which
they call their 'badgepipes'

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

First Email!

Sister Nilsson was able to send us a quick email after she entered the MTC. From the sound of it, she is having a great time already.

"alright so I'm allowed a quick email so I totally saw Tyler already! I tried to hug him but he reminded me I couldn't, my companion is that girl who followed me on instagram and she is from Orange County! She's nice, I'm excited. I'm doing well and am a little nervous but ready. Ha Beatrice already emailed me! I love you guys and miss you already but have fun and I can promise I'll be having fun too:)
Sister Nilsson"

MTC Entry!

August 10, 2016

Sister Madison Nilsson is on her way! We had the morning to prepare her to leave and for her to say her goodbyes to the dog and cat then off to the Provo MTC. We are all excited for her to experience the miracles and blessings that lay ahead yet sad to see her leave us. It was a bittersweet moment as we dropped her at the MTC curb with a sweet sister to help her on her way. Knowing that she is in good hands and fits right in with all the other missionaries makes us feel better about her leaving. We can't wait to hear about her experiences.

In the car right before pulling into the MTC

Tear-filled eyes but happy faces

And there she goes. See you in 18 months. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Called to Serve- June 25, 2016

I was called to serve in the Farmington, New Mexico mission. Initially I was mildly disappointed towards my call, but learning more about my areas and recognizing it wasn't where I serve but who, I quickly became more and more excited. I had 6 short weeks before I would find myself in the Provo MTC, which was a little overwhelming. After weeks of skirt shopping, temple trips, and spiritual preparation, it's finally my time to enter into the mission field. I couldn't be more happy, confident, and ready to go out and serve!
(I thought I was being called to Mexico at first glance)
(My two cute and supportive best friends, Vylia and Beatrice)