Thursday, July 18, 2013

July 18, 2013 - One Month Down, 17 to Go

Well this week has been quite the eventful week. For starters, I HIT MY ONE MONTH MARK AS A MISSIONARY TOMORROW. CRAZY. I can't believe that I've been here for a whole month! And that  I have 17 more months to go of my mission! I feel like it's going so fast. Yet I feel like my life before the mission was all a dream....
I am no longer the District Leader. I am now the Sister Training Leader for our Zone. It's essentially the sister equivalent of being a Zone Leader so that's pretty exciting. I'm just super stoked to work with all of the amazing sisters in our zone. Our Zone consists of our Finnish district, one other Finnish district, two Hungarian districts, one Albanian, and one Estonian. So needless to say, we are all learning killer languages. One of the responsibilities that I have as a Sister Training Leader is to go around to all of the apartments at night and say goodnight to everyone. I absolutely LOVE doing it, but honestly it is wearing me out! I have never been more exhausted in my life as I am as a missionary. I've fallen asleep on my desk, on the couch in one of our teaching investigators rooms, on the keyboard of a computer, outside laying in the grass, on the floor of my classroom, sitting up, laying down, you name it! It's so frustrating because I work so hard to stay awake and next thing I know, my comp is waking me up! Sometimes I even dream that I'm still awake - like I honestly thought I was bearing my testimony to everyone on how the gospel of Jesus Christ brings our life hope and helps eliminate the darkness in our lives, but in the middle of my testimony my comp shook me awake! Yep, missionary probs.
This week I had a really cool experience with the language. We have this thing called TRC that we started for the first time last week. We teach members (volunteers that come into the MTC) different gospel lessons to help strengthen them. We were teaching an older gentleman on the doctrine of Christ. I had him read 3 Nephi 9:14 (one of my favorite scriptures!) and then I bore my testimony about it. (btw, all of this is in Finnish). As I was bearing my broken testimony, I was overwhelmed by the Spirit and I started to cry. It was the first time that I felt the Spirit that strong while speaking Finnish. I told him that I knew Christ was our Redeemer and that He loves us. Before I could realize what I was saying, the words "se on miksi me olemme lahetysaarnajia" (this is why we are missionaries) escaped from my lips. The Lord testified to me then and there that I don't need to know Finnish perfectly, I don't need to be an expert at conjugating the verbs, adjectives, nouns, pronouns, and everything else that we conjugate. I just need to work my hardest, be worthy of the Spirit, and trust in the Lord. This is His work and He won't let somebody as imperfect as Iam mess it up. Basically, KIRKKO ON TOTTA (church is true).
Sundays are one of my favorite days at the MTC! First off, we don't have any Finnish classes! Whooooohoooo! Second off, we get to watch Music and the Spoken Word which is awesome because I've missed music! We also get to go to a devotional every night and after devotional we get to watch movies! YAY! The films I've seen so far are Legacy, Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration, and The Testaments. They're all so good. It's kinda funny how this is one of our main forms of entertainment for the week. I love being a missionary!
This past Tuesday, we went over to the Marriott Center for our regular Tuesday Devotional. Elder Richard Hinckley spoke! So that was really exciting. He did a great job. I sang in the choir with the other sisters of my district, and Sister Hubner, Vincent, Dayton, and I were on the big screen! Hollllllllla. The spirit was amazing during the meeting. Afterwards, they took the new MTC picture. They've only taken 3 in the history of the MTC, and I get to be in the newest one! So that's really exciting. It's so cool because they have the old one hanging up in our cafeteria. It's a sea of suit coats and ties, and a tiny little group of sisters. In this new one, there's gonna be a LOT more sisters! And I get to be one of them! During the choir number, they had photographers going around and taking pictures. Well there was a lovely (aka awkward) pic of me, Sisar Dayton, Hubner, and Vincent taken while we were singing. And naturally, it was printed out and hung up in our cafeteria. Well, all of our Chilean Elder friends call us the "superstars" now. greaaaat..... hahaha oh well!
We had two SYL days where we tried as hard as we could to speak only Finnish. They actually went pretty well. It's crazy to see how far we've come, but we still have sooo far to go! What's hard is that towards the end of the day we usually start failing at it. We get so burned out that it's hard to keep speaking it, but we're improving and that's what's important.
When I first got here, I kinda just imagined that I would stick with my district for most of my time here, however, that has not been the case. We have made so many amazing friends! Many of them are starting to head off now to the mission field. This week, a couple of our favorite elders headed off. It's been so incredible meeting so many people that have sacrificed so much to be here. There truly is a power with all of us.
I've had a lot of awkward/embarrassing moments while I've been here (who's even surprised right now.....) but we had a devotional on Sunday about how awkward moments are good because sometimes we may feel awkward inviting people to do things (come to church, read scriptures, get baptized, etc), but we just need to take that leap and do it anyways. So what I concluded from the devotional is that I have a testimony of awkward moments... and that awkward moments can help bring people to Christ! YAY! There's hope for me!
I love you all and I know the church is true. I wouldn't be here if I didn't. I know the Lord cares about each and everyone of us. He answers our prayers. I am so grateful for that. This is the gospel of happiness! This is a gospel of hope! This is a gospel that gives purpose to our lives and invites us to be better. "Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him". I'm grateful for my Savior. I'm grateful for His love. I'm grateful that He trusts me enough to send me on a mission to preach His gospel to God's children in Finland. It really hit me this week that I wouldn't let anybody walk around wearing my name and representing me unless I had complete and utmost confidence in them. And that's exactly what He's doing with me. Everyday I wake up and put my name tag on. A name tag that says in bold letters "JEESUKSEN KRISTUKSEN". Jesus Christ. The Lord has faith in me, and I must have faith in myself. 
Minä rakastaan sinua. (I LOVE YOU)
Sisar Nielsen

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