Sunday, September 29, 2013


Sisar Nielsen and Sisar Hubner - wet and cold but on fire with the Gospel :)

9/29/2013 - Drawn To This Little Section of Light

So I'm writing earlier this week because we're heading to Helsinki tonight for Interim Training all week. We'll return back to Tampere on Friday.

IT SNOWED. Yep, you just read that right folks. Snow fell on the ground. And on my head. It didn't stick and mostly it's just been raining all week, but still, it SNOWED and I snapped a couple of pictures to prove it! Also, it's freezing here! Everyday I put on under armour with plush lined tights over them, a long sleeve shirt, a thick sweater, a coat, a scarf, and gloves. When I mention how cold it is already, the Finns just shake their heads and say "just wait." The sun sets a lot earlier already. I can only imagine how it will be when we only have a couple hours of sunlight everyday. Oh how my life is an adventure!

For starters, the CHURCH IS TRUE YALL. but really. This is Jumalan tosi kirkko maanpalla (this is God's true church on the earth). I wouldn't be here if it weren't. We had our first zone conference on Thursday. Each set of missionaries cover/are assigned to a certain area. A couple sets of missionaries with neighboring areas make up a district. Multiple districts in an area make up a zone. The President of our mission, President Rawlings, came and met and talked with us all day. It was amazing. He has so many great insights and truly is called of God. He was so inspiring and the whole thing made me want to be a better missionary. And it was so fun because my MTC companion, Sisar Dayton, is in my zone so I got to see her! We pretty much almost tackled each other.

After Zone Conference, Sisar Hubner and I set out on our own to find a woman in our ward's area. Normally our trainer, Sisar Egan, manages the bus system and we just follow her lead. This time all we had was the two of us, a map, an address, and a limited amount of time. We headed in a direction that we had never been before. It was pouring rain and I didn't have an umbrella or a hood so I just wrapped my scarf around my head like the grandmas do here. We decided to just get on a bus and see where we went. Needless to say, I kind of felt like it was the blind leading the blinder. We just had no idea what in the world we were doing. We got off at a stop when we realized our bus was about to turn to go the opposite direction of where we wanted to go. So then we just started walking in the direction of the woman's house. We took turns holding the map because our hands would start to freeze. We trudged through the rain and kept giving each other pep talks about how "we knew this was going to be hard when we signed up to go on missions" and "when the storms of the world rage around us, we need to be the light that offers hope" and all that good stuff. After walking for about a half hour, we finally made it to the address. We knocked on the door and a girl about my age came to the door. "Does Tulla live here?" we asked. She said no. "Do you know her?" she said no. We then showed her the address we had and we were at it, so we then realized we had the wrong address! We decided to take the opportunity to teach this girl. She was a tough egg to crack. Basically, she doesn't believe in God. She's never prayed before. She refused to try later that night. She's never read the Bible. She doesn't care about what it would mean to her if God lived. She wouldn't take our card and she closed the door when we asked her her name. So there we were left in the rain. We looked at each other and said "wellllllll, let's keep going". Onward and upward people, onward and upward. We finally got a hold of Tulla, were able to find her house, and had a lovely conversation with her. As I think back to that girl, it makes me so sad. Her life  must be so empty. What is the point of life if there is no God? What is the point of living if you have no hope? What is the point of doing good if you have no reason to? This gospel is everything to me. It gives me purpose in life. It gives me happiness and joy. It is my light. It is my life. It is the most important thing to me. I know who I am. I know that God has a plan for me, that He knows me, and that He loves ME. I'm sooo grateful for the knowledge that I have. 

I TRIED REINDEER, so that's pretty exciting. After we tried it a person wearing a shirt with a reindeer on it walked by and Sisar Hubner wanted to cry. Tampere was having it's birthday party, and in the middle of town was a huge market with lots of stands. So we walked around it and the guy selling reindeer offered us free samples (it's expensive) and so we taught him about the gospel. It was pretty awesome. I love being a missionary! As we walked by a group of hippies playing music, one of them yelled "HEI SISARET!" we looked behind and he smiled and waved at us! Turns out he's met with the elders before (but they said he's hard to teach because he's homeless and doesn't have a phone so he keeps disappearing... kind of a problem), but he was very nice and I realized I've actually taught one of the girls that was with him on the bus before!) But really, this is the best job ever. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Some days it's reaaaaally hard. Some days it's pouring rain and it's freezing and I feel like everybody and their dog is rejecting us and that the animals here speak better Finnish than I do and that I'm never gonna see the sun again as long as I live, and then the Savior reminds me that I'm never alone, this is His work, and He will be on my right hand and on my left hand and lift me up. And so I hold my head high and keep going. 

As we were driving this week, I looked up and saw that the sky was covered in huge churning storm clouds. Different shades of gray and black covered the sky. However, there was one small area where the light was breaking through. The sun beamed down from it and the sky was pure blue behind it. My eyes were immediately drawn to this little section of light. It was completely outnumbered by the storm clouds, but this little area of light gave so much hope and stood out brightly against the dark sky. So it is with us. When we live the gospel, it radiates from us. We are outnumbered. The storm clouds will push in all around us, but we must hold firm and stead fast. We must stand up, and stand out for the Lord. When we forgo our standards and break the commandments, we aren't cool or tough or "so rebellious", all we're doing is becoming gray and blending in with the crowd. When we keep the word of wisdom, dress modestly, obey the commandments, read our scriptures and say our prayers every day, when we SHARE the gospel with everyone around us, that is when we shine. That is when people notice us. That is when we are a light in the darkness. And that is when we stand out. I would much rather be a glimmer of hope, than a shade of despair. We must all remember to stand up for what we believe in. For when we do, we take our spot next to the Savior, the greatest light of all. 

KIRKKO ON TOTTA. I'M SO STOKED FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE NEXT WEEK. Life is good. Sometimes it's hard but I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live and love us and that gives us the perfect reason to smile! 

Sisar Nielsen  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sisar Nielsen and Sisar Hubner - "two Greenies trying to preach the Gospel"

Fall is in the air

Sisar Nielsen spreading the light of the Gospel

9/23/2013 - I gotta admit, I'm grateful for that drunk man!


and I still feel like I can't understand anything! But it's coming along. Fall is officially in full swing and we didn't get to see the sun for 4 days in a row this week, but it still is soooo beautiful here with the changing leaves and misty skies. 

Basically there are a lot a drunks here and we had another encounter with one. We were on our way  home and we were waiting at the bus stop. It was around 8:30 at night and it was already totally dark. There was a woman there, wearing black and camo with piercings on her lips. We started talking to her and we brought up the gospel and she was just not feeling it. She said it was personal and that she didn't really want to discuss it. We asked if she had read the Mormonin Kirja (Book of Mormon), and she said no but that if she wants to she'll find it on her own. Basically she was a tough cookie to crack. Well when we thought all hope was lost, a very drunk man walked up to us. He started getting in our faces, and he actually ran into me with a lot of force (which I will admit scared me quite a bit). He waved his cigarette in my comps face and would not leave us alone. The Finnish woman told him to keep moving along, but he wouldn't and it was quite obvious that she was getting scared too. He just kept harassing us, so finally it got to the point where we said we need to leave. My comps and this woman and I started walking to the next bus stop. The drunk man tried to follow us, but was running into parked cars and stuff (THIS IS WHY DRINKING IS BAD PEOPLE). When we were about half way to the bus stop, our bus came! so we missed it! At this point we just kept walking. As we walked, we started talking with this woman. She ended up being sooo sweet! And we ended up walking a long time to the center of the city to wait where it was safest (Finland is a very safe country, but being out late at night with sooo many drunk men as a woman isn't the smartest idea). We passed lots of bars and men, but we just walked with a purpose and nobody else bothered us. When we finally got to our bus stop (and it was quite the walk!) we were pretty much best friends with this girl. When we got on the bus, she sat down next to me without even questioning it. I told her that if she ever needed anything, she can count on us as her friends. I told her that I was glad that we had been together. She said she was too and that she felt that she had to protect us. After that Sisar
Hubner said that she wanted to give her a Book of Mormon to thank her. She took it readily. Sisar Egan asked for her number so we could meet again and she gave it without hesitation. She told us she would love to meet again and discuss and that she was very touched by our gift (the Book of Mormon). It was amazing to see the transformation that came over her! She went form barely saying "moi" back to us to being our best friend. I gotta admit, I'm grateful for that drunk man! Heavenly Father sure does have a sense of humor. The church is true people!

Sisar Egan (my trainer) was sick a lot this week, so there were a few times where Sisar Hubner and I went out into the world alone. Two greenies (new missionaries) trying to preach the gospel! We ran into some interesting people, including a very devout atheist who tried to argue with us (even though we kept saying we were not there to argue, we were there to simply testify of our beliefs). We also taught the woman from my last email - the drama teacher who had seen us at church. The spirit was incredible. Sisar Hubner and I had to do it on our own, but we weren't alone. Heavenly Father played a huge role in our lesson and we ended up committing her to be baptized when she comes to know that these things are all true! When we asked her, she said "well everything you've told me so far makes sense". (We taught about the Restoration, about Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon). and so she said "why not?". I loved that. It was seriously an awesome lesson and I'm soo stoked to teach her again!

There's a family in the ward that is less active (meaning they don't come to church but are baptized members) that we went to visit. We were told they were hard to meet with - so as sister missionaries, we baked cookies and took them over. When we knocked we heard voices. We heard somebody say "kuka? kuka?!" meaning "who is it?" We responded that we were the new sister missionaries in their ward and we came by to meet them. They didn't open the door. We then said that we had made cookies and brought them over to give to them. The door flew open. A 14 year old girl stood there with her mom and younger siblings behind her. They're from Angola and only the 14 year old really knows Finnish. The mom speaks mostly Portuguese (her native tongue). We gave them the cookies and talked with them quite a bit. They actually responded to us very warmly and gave us their number so we could come back (A MIRACLE). Sarah (who was baptized a few weeks ago) is also from Angola! The crazy thing is that yesterday (Sunday) we told Sarah about this family and she got so excited. In the other ward a family from Angola has just moved in as well. Right as we started telling her this, she stopped us and said "Wait! before you tell me anything, I want to tell you about my dream last night!" Sarah has this amazing gift where her dreams actually mean something. Mine are always ridiculous and don't make much sense. Her's do. She had dreamed the night before about Angola and coming together with people from her home country. Well that's pretty much what is happening. She has already said she wants to help this less active family come back to church and she met and welcomed the new Angolan family in the other ward. She is seriously such an amazing example to me. Here she's only been a member a few weeks, and she focuses so much of her time and energy on bringing others closer to Christ. She truly is an example to us all. 

Well, the land of the Finns is doing great. I've been eating quite a bit of Finnish food lately and it's WAAAAY GOOD. I've decided to make a list of random Finnish quirks/things so you can get a little bit of a better image of my life:
1. There are no separate showers. The shower is in the middle of the bathroom and you just squeegie everything when you're done. 
2. We don't have any dryers - everything gets hung up. (which actually has proven to be an extra pain because due to the fact that it's very wet here, often times your clothes end up stinking after they dry because it took them so long to dry. and then you have to wash them again. but oh well)
3. Mummos are the best! (grandmas). a sweet mummo from one of the wards knitted me some BOMB AWESOME SOCKS!
4. Speaking of knitting, EVERYBODY KNITS. Apparently they learn it in school. 
5. Wooden butter knives are all the rage.
6. The bus systems here are amazing. They go everywhere and everybody uses them. 
7. Bread and chocolate help the world go round. and apples. 
8. Everrrrrybody and their mom has either a cat or a dog. I'm going to be honest, being on a mission makes me want to never have either one. 
9. they mostly sell juice in bottles that is very concentrated juice syrup. You then add water to it to make it into the juice that you drink. (which is actually really brilliant). Wanna know what's not brilliant? When a sweet older woman in the ward gives you some and your name is Sisar Nielsen and you're suuuper thirsty so you open the fridge, pour some in a glass, and throw it back and totally forget that you didn't add water to it! Needless to say, my throat was coated, but it's all good. 
10. H&M stores are on every corner. 

Well I love you all and the church is true. In this world of so much darkness, the gospel is my light. I'm so grateful and humbled that I have it and I never ever want to take it for granted. KIRKKO ON TOTTA. 

Sisar Nielsen  -       ps so Sisar Hubner and I have been making a couple language mistakes lately...... apparently to some people when we have tried to ask them "are you religious?" we've actually been asking them "are you faithful?" I guess that explains why they've said "that's a very personal question..." and walked away. ooooops. We were only off by one letter, but apparently that one letter makes quite the difference! Welllll just remember folks:


Monday, September 16, 2013

Sisar Nielsen, Sisar Egan, Sisar Hubner - the dynamic trio :)

Sisar Nielsen and Sisar Hubner -  "we are basically the same person"

September 16, 2013 - So We've Got a Little Repenting To Do :)

Time to pull out your plush-lined tights Ladies.... FALL IS IN THE AIR. And it's chilly!

It's crazy that I'm already watching the leaves fall and wearing tights and coats. I can tell it's going to be a long winter... pray for me.
As always this was a crazy week. As I sit down to write about it, it's hard to assemble my thoughts and get everything straight, but I'm going to try. On Monday we borrowed the zone leader's car and drove a very long way to our Bishop's house and had Family Home Evening with their family. It was so fun and made me miss my family! We ate really yummy food  (a VERY Finnish thing to do is to take bread (especially rye bread) put butter on it, sliced cheese, and cucumbers. It's actually really good and I can tell I'm going to be addicted to it when I come home) and they had me try some weird Finnish candies including salted black licorice and pepper candy (hard candies covered and filled with black pepper). They lured me into biting it and I felt like my throat was burning. haha It was quite the experience! Then we had this lesson where we had them all pick names of Mormonin Kirja (Book of Mormon) prophets, read some verses about them, then act them out so we could guess who they were. We then likened them to our day and how we can be bold in sharing the gospel, just like the prophets of old. It was really fun. They have a 16 year old daughter that I just love. At the end of the night, she pulled us aside and said "I'm glad you're my missionaries" I said "I'm glad too" and then she gave me a hug. These Finnish youth are so strong and so amazing. There are so few of them yet they shine here. I just love them. 

On Tuesday we went on our first exchanges (for those of you who don't know, exchanges are when you "exchange" missionary companions for a day so you get to be with somebody else and learn from them and work with them). Sisar Hubner and I were with Sisar Kunz, one of the Sister Training leaders. It was so fun. We literally talked with everybody and we saw so many miracles. We passed by this teenage boy and said "Moi!" and kept walking. I got the feeling to stop and talk to him, but at this point he had continued walking the other direction so I kept walking. Then I got the feeling again. "Okay fine!" I thought and whipped my body around saying "how is your day going?!" he looked a bit startled as he turned his head around (especially since at this point there was quite some space between us) but we walked back to him and had a great discussion. He and his family are atheists but we taught him how to pray and he said maybe he would try it. Well the next day we texted him and invited him to sähly (the finnish sport) and he said he was busy but that he wants to come this week! and that he had tried praying! He said it felt kind of awkward because he had never done it before but that he wants to meet with us to learn more! Waaaahoooo! Prayer changes lives people. Do it! 

Towards the end of the week, we were struggling a little bit. Sisar Egan was sick and so we were only able to work about half the day before she needed to get more medicine and sleep. One day we had 3 lessons planned and had members planned to come to all of them. Well the first lesson, the investigator came but the member didn't. For the second lesson, the member came but the investigator didn't. For the third lesson, neither the investigator nor the member came. I just couldn't help but laugh. Missionary work is just plain comical sometimes. 

We went and visited a college aged guy that Sisar Egan had given a Mormonin Kirja (Book of Mormon)  to earlier but had never had the opportunity to meet with him again. He's from Africa and he was so amazing and spiritual. We have a lesson planned with him for this week. As we were talking with him, I got the feeling to ask if he has any friends he would like to bring to the lesson but since he was busy talking about something else, I shrugged it off. I got the feeling again so I decided to just interrupt and ask him. He said "yes, I have 3 guy friends and 2 girl friends who would love to come". uhmmm church is true! When you get promptings, just obey them. The Lord keeps teaching me how important this principle is. 

OKAY, so we've got a little repenting to do... but I just have to tell you all this awesome story that happened last night! So we were walking home from our meeting with our Ward Mission Leader. We were passing a lot of people and trying to stop and talk to them. Literally NOBODY was listening to us. We would say "Moi!" or "Terve" and people would either straight up ignore us or just give us mean looks or just say "ei kiitos (no thanks)". Needless to say, we were feeling pretty discouraged, especially since our weekly goal this week for teaches was 40, and we were at 37! (which is insane... especially because the standard of excellence for the mission is 20 lessons a week). So we huddled together and prayed that the Lord would send somebody that would listen to us. Well, right then a woman walked towards us. We went up to her and she said that she had actually seen us before - in church! She came two weeks ago because she just moved to Tampere and her aunt (who's Mormon) kept telling her that she must find the Mormon church and go to it! So she did. We talked with her (in English because she studied a lot in the States) and she invited us over to her apartment. She is so amazing and kind. And the Lord put her in our path. She told us that she normally never walks that way, but that she had gotten this sudden craving for rye bread so she went and bought some and that was why she walked the way she did. She just went through a divorce and it is obvious that the Lord has been preparing her for this gospel. We had such an amazing spiritual discussion with her and we have a meeting with her this week! I'm sooooo excited! She is a drama teacher at a very prestigious Cultural Arts school here and she has so much life in her. Basically, we became best friends and I know the Lord put her in our path. Welllllll, here's where the repenting part comes in. We are supposed to be home at 9:30. We left her house at 9:45 (we TOTAAAALLY lost track of time!). We looked at our phones and the Zone Leaders and the District Leader had called us a million times. We started walking to the bus stop and our DL (on the phone) told us to go to a well lit area and not to talk to ANYBODY. We did as we were told. Soon the Zone Leaders zoomed up to us in their car. They said they had been planning how they were going to handle whoever had taken us hostage or beat up the bad guys that had us when they couldn't reach us. Needless to say, the Elders in my area are very high quality Elders and care about their Sisters. After we apologized profusely and promised to never ever do anything like that again, they finally started breathing again. I really felt so bad for breaking the rules (100% obedience is my goal!) but she seriously was such a miracle to us and I know the Lord answers prayers. 

Well I love you all. KIRKKO ON TOTTA! (Church is True!)


Sisar Nielsen

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sisar Nielsen - Finland is beautiful!

Sarah's Baptism

Sisar Hubner and Sisar Nielsen

Sisar Nielsen, Sisar Egan, Sisar Hubner

9/9/13 - BAPTISM!

Well we had quite the week this week!

For starters... WE HAD A BAPTISM. It was seriously the most amazing thing ever! Sarah is so amazing. We were scared the baptism wouldn't happen because her husband hates the church... well actually he just hates all churches in general and in order to get baptized, she had to get his consent.  We felt like she was Esther going into the King. We all fasted and prayed last Sunday, then she went and asked for permission... and he said yes! It was truly a miracle! She said she was so shocked, that she asked him again. He said "yes....". She said that she still didn't believe it, so after he left for work, she called him and explained it all to him again and he said "I already said yes. Why do you keep asking me?" When she told us, it was all I could do to not stand up and cheer (but we were in public so I restrained myself). She said this is not like him... that he never ever would just say "yes" without a fight. I know that God answers our prayers and that He cares about our lives! Saturday dawned a beautiful morning. Sarah came to the church wearing black dress pants and a nice black shirt. The baptism was done in English so that she could make sure she understood it all. After she was baptized, she came back into the women's bathroom and just praised God. She looked like she was glowing! Afterwards, she changed back into dry clothes, except this time she wore white dress pants and a white jacket. She looked so pure and holy. This is why I love her, because only she would think to wear something so symbolic as all black before and all white after. She just radiated with the joy of the gospel. I could not wipe the smile off my face. She has so much enthusiasm for this church, I just love it. The light of Christ shined through her so brightly, it was incredible. The next morning at church she was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and received the Holy Ghost. The Elder (male missionary) giving her the blessing said he felt impressed to tell her that one day her children and husband would follow her example and be baptized and that they would be an eternal family. He blessed her with patience and said that it will take time, but that it will happen. I couldn't control my tears. It truly was amazing. This gospel changes lives. We can become new people through it! The happiness and light that she radiates now is unlike anything I've seen in her before (and she was soooo amazing before!). She just kept thanking us over and over again for helping her receive this amazing gospel. We just kept thanking her and thanking God. We truly have a God of miracles. 

We started riding bikes! My trainer had her appendix out a couple weeks before we got here so she wasn't able to ride for awhile ... but now she can. Let's just say, my butt and legs were real sore afterwards. But I couldn't help but let out a squeal when I realized that I was riding a bike in FINLAND! With the wind whipping through my hair, the tall majestic pines all around me, and the most beautiful white puffy clouds above me.... I gotta say, I love my life. 

For our district meeting, we drove about an hour away to a city called Hameen Linna. We had our district meeting by a castle there. OKAY, HOW COOL IS THAT?! Finland is so amazing. And sometimes I literally still can't believe how truly gorgeous it is. Every time I say that to Finns, they always say "it is.... but just wait till winter." I think that's why they're all so reserved and not very open. They're all just getting ready to hibernate and deal with the winter. Well I say, bring on the winter! (except feel free to stay warm for as long as possible.....)

This week in our mission we had a "talk with everyone week" in which we tried to do just that- talk with EVERYONE. I had lots of great conversations and we found a lot of new investigators this week! So many of the Finns I talked to said that usually on the bus, people just sit and don't talk to each other, but how nice it was that I talked to them. Even though many of them didn't want to accept the gospel, it still gave me an opportunity to bear my testimony, extend commitments, and give them a positive view of the church. Almost everyone I talked to left the bus with a smile on their face. So that was cool. It was kinda hard though because we got a lot of fake numbers. LAME. Who gives people fake numbers anyway?? It was hard not to get discouraged when we thought that we had a lot more investigators than we actually did. But I really just prayed hard to focus on the positive and not get down. 

During one of my personal studies, I was feeling extra discouraged. I prayed for strength. Through a series of footnotes, I read Doctrine & Covenants 33. It was exactly what I needed! It testified to me that this is the last time the Lord will call laborers to his vineyard. This is crunch time. He will "gather [His] elect from the four quarters of the earth" (verse 6). He then says "the field is white already to harvest" (verse 7) and talks about how we must labor with all our might, mind, and strength. "Open your mouths and they shall be filled, and you shall become even as Nephi of old" (verse 8). We can become like the great prophet Nephi. He was courageous, bold, and true to the Lord at all times, in all things, and in all places. WE can be too. The Lord will give power to our words and testify that what we say is true. We can't be afraid of rejection. Every time we are rejected, we take our place next to the Savior because he was despised, rejected, and cast out by men. And honestly, I'd take a place next to the Savior any day. That's a pretty great place to be. 

I love you all and I miss you all. I'll probably be 200 pounds heavier by the time I get home. One day we had a teach (lesson?) and the lady bought us hot chocolate and pastries, we then went to our next teach and she gave us juice and these potato type things and 2 pieces of apple cake/pie, and then we went to another teach and they gave us a sprite type drink and these amazing apple filled pastries that looked like huge crescent rolls covered in sugar. Needless to say, I was afraid my companions would have to roll me home. 



Sisar Nielsen!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sisar Nielsen's District in Finland

The view from Sisar Nielsen's back window - "the picture just doesn't even begin to do it justice"

9/2/13 - Storming the Castle

Well, life in the Fine Land is pretty great.

This week was really good, but really, really long. We literally wake up every morning with the mindset of "how are we going to get everything done today?" which I guess means that we're doing something right. 

I'M SO EXCITED FOR THIS SATURDAY. We have Sarah's baptism! The Lord has prepared her so much for this gospel. This week we taught the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity. We started by saying "alright we've got some more commandments to discuss..." and she responded with "give it all to me sisters. If you don't tell me then I won't know to repent and that'll be on you." She accepted everything readily. Her enthusiasm for "the word" (as she calls it) is inspiring. Her sister was the one that called her up (from London) and told her that she must find the missionaries. While we were in a discussion, Sarah said that she wants her brothers and sisters back in Africa to have this gospel too. At our next lesson, she was so excited to inform us that she had called her brothers and sisters in Africa to tell them about the church and they are already in the process of taking the missionary discussions! This truly is a world wide church. It's so amazing to be a part of it. 

WE HAVE ANOTHER BAPTISM. This was my first time meeting Hannah. She is the sweetest woman you ever did meet and had drinks and cookies waiting for us when we got there. As we were talking, I felt the impression that she was going to commit to be baptized today. (The other sisters had been teaching her before we came. She's super knowledgeable in the Bible and is a very spiritual woman). As we were talking and discussing baptism, it got to the point of the lesson when we extend the commitment. I looked at her and asked her if she were willing to follow the Savior's example and be baptized. She said she just wasn't ready and that she had already been baptized. She asked if we were saying that her previous baptism meant nothing and that she just didn't feel like she should do it yet. I was so confused as to why I got the strong impression that she would be. We kept discussing and I told her that her previous baptism was great. She showed her love and obedience to her Heavenly Father, but that we only ask people to bring all the good they have and see if we can add more to it. I then talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost. She said if she didn't have the gift yet, why could she feel the Spirit. As my companions were trying to explain, the distinct thought came into my mind to have her read Mosiah 18:10 ("Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?"). I asked Hannah if she would please read it. As she read it, the Spirit filled the room. It was absolutely incredible. She said "I can feel it". I said "I can feel it too." I then testified to her that this is the true church of Jesus Christ. I told her that I know that the Lord has been preparing her to receive this gospel and that this is what He wants for her. She pointed to the scripture and said "as you were talking I realized that I need this. I need this Spirit more." I had the feeling to extend the baptismal commitment again, so I looked her in the eye and I did. I could feel the power of the Spirit flow through me. She said "alright. yes." She then explained how she had been praying for more direction. How she had been praying to God to give her more truth. She said that right after that, the sister missionaries had knocked on her door and she knew that we were her answer. I felt like I was on fire, the Spirit was so strong. I thought "wow, the Lord really has been preparing people." As we left, it was all I could do to not just jump up and cheer right then. This is the Lord's work. I did nothing. It was all the Spirit of the Lord and it was honestly amazing to be able to witness it. 

WE STORMED THE CASTLE. Okay so we have this phrase that my comps and I have developed called "storming the castle". Pretty much, there are TONS of punk kids here. Everybody smokes. Everybody drinks. Everybody does drugs. I've seen more colored hair, piercings, and crazy hair cuts here than anywhere else. When we see a group of punk teenage kids, we say "alright, let's go storm this castle" and we go up to them and start talking to them. The first time we did it, it was perfect because there were three of them sitting by some motorcycles. The leader was wearing a Bulls hat and a New York shirt. I started out by saying "hey, you like the Chicago Bulls?" and Sisar Hubner said "hey you're a New York fan?" He said no, that he was just wearing them. We said "oh well we're from those places so we got really excited." We then jumped into asking them about religion and God. Apparently one of them said "religion is garbage" and the other said "Mormons are crazy". Well Sisar Hubner and I couldn't understand them (Sisar Egan told us later) so we just kept right on talkin with them. As the conversation progressed, they started warming up a bit more. We invited them to church, they said no. We invited them to play Sähly with us (a Finnish sport similar to field hockey... super fun! we played with the ward last Wednesday). They said no. We asked them to visit the website. They said yes. Score! When the conversation was wrapping up, I stepped forward and shook all of their hands. My companions followed. These three punk kids looked like they weren't quite sure what had just happened. As we were starting to walk away, I turned back and bore a simple testimony about how I know that God lives, that He loves us, and that He knows us. That we have a Savior and this gospel brings me so much happiness in my life and gives me purpose. I smiled and said hopefully we'll get to see them again. They said "yeah, we'll see you around". As we left, I looked back and they were all smiling! (WHICH DOES NOT HAPPEN. I don't know why but usually all this teenage kids NEVER smile. It's so sad!) So pretty much we stormed that castle real good :) and whenever we see other punk kids, we try it again. They're always so shocked that anybody's even talking to them. (except sometimes they're high or drunk and don't really know what's going on... and it's so sad because they're like 15 years old.) But that's why we're here! To storm the castle.

On Saturday we had the opportunity to attend the Stake Relief Society Activity. It's amazing how this really is a world wide church. All of these woman came from all over to go, some traveling 2+ hours to get there because the stake boundaries are so big. They had work shops and classes. Then they provided lunch and had lots of different cakes. It was fantastic. Then they had this pioneer Relief Society program with music and stories. It was amazing. I couldn't understand most of it, but I could feel the Spirit really strong. It was so awesome seeing so many of these women dressed up in pioneer clothes, telling stories of the early pioneer women. It's so amazing that none of these women have ancestors who were pioneers, but they feel this deep connection to them. Most of these women are pioneers, as a large part of them are converts, themselves. I loved every minute of it. 

I'm trying reeeeeally hard not to get frustrated about the language. It's so difficult not being able to understand what people are saying. I just keep trying to remind myself that eventually it will come. Sometimes I feel like I'm in the dark and I'm seeking for clarity and it's just not coming, but I'm just trying to be patient with myself and trust in the Lord. 

Jacob 6:12. Aina. 

Love you all and KIRKKO ON TOTTA. 


Sisar Nielsen

ps It rained for the first time yesterday. And the cold weather is definitely rolling in.... pray for me. It's going to be a long winter. 
pps Everybody likes to give the sisters apples from their trees, which is pretty cool.