Monday, October 21, 2013

10/21/13 - I'm Ready To Go (Alternate title - Crying, Crying and More Crying)

This has been quite the week.

On Friday we were expecting change calls. All of the missionaries in the mission patiently (and by patiently I mean not very patiently!) wait around their phones for President to call. He calls to tell us if any changes are being made to our companionship. Well Friday came and went and there was NO CALL from President. We were staying with the Sisters in Turku because we went down there for exchanges and we were all freaking out. Well Friday came and went and Saturday morning dawned bright and early. Sisar Hubner and I woke up and went on a run at 6 am through the streets of Turku. It was absolutely beautiful. Turku is a very old city and we ran across the cobblestone roads past the beautiful architecture until we made our way to a very old church in a different area of the city. It looked like something out of the Middle Ages. It was amazing. We returned back to the Sisters' apartment and were getting ready for the day when the phone rang - it was President. Sister Hubner and I weren't nervous at all because we have only been here for 9 weeks and we still have 3 weeks left of training and they don't normally split up new missionaries from their companions for the first two changes. Also, we had basically been hinted to by the Zone Leaders it was pretty much decided that we would all stay in Tampere. Welllllll, it just constantly amazes me how President can rock our world. His voice came clearly on the phone and said "Well, this is actually a real change call. Sisar Nielsen, you're going to Kuopio." WHAT. So basically I'm being transferred today (Monday) to Kuopio. I'm the only sister in my zone and the only one of the 15 of us who arrived to the country together to get transferred! Kuopio is in the North Zone so it's even COLDER. Apparently they have a craaazy accent and many Finns have told me that it's hard for them to understand them! Pray for me! However I've heard that it's absolutely beautiful there and that it's the perfect "Finnish experience." I'm really excited to go, but I'm also so sad! I'm gonna be honest, I've done a lot of crying since I found out. I cried pretty much all through both wards at church yesterday. Both made me bear my testimony. In the first ward, my district leader gave his goodbye address because he's going home to America. In the second ward, my Zone Leader gave his goodbye address because he's going home too. It was so emotional! Sarah, the recent convert, just cried as she hugged me. She also bought me a very expensive sweater that has a really big turtle neck as a going away gift. She said it was so big so "it can keep my neck warm so I have my voice to preach the gospel in the cold." Baaaaaasically I love her. It broke my heart having to leave her. Many of the youth wanted to know my name so they could add me on Facebook when I go home. I had many a tearful goodbye. The night before we were sitting at home, and Sisar Hubner was like "what am I gonna do without my twin? I'm gonna start crying" and then tears literally started BURSTING from her eyes. It was actually the weirdest thing. hahaha and even she was like "uh what is going on?" as they started streaming down her face. Long story short, it's reallllly hard for me to say goodbye because I already love all of these people so much. But I know that I'm needed in Kuopio. Before change calls happened, I had prayed that the Lord would keep me in Tampere unless I was needed somewhere else. When President first told me I was going, I felt the Spirit confirm to me that I'm needed there. Then yesterday at church, the young woman who's friend we are teaching tearfully said goodbye to me and said (in Finnish) "they need you there". The Spirit instantly hit me. I'm ready to go. I'm ready to travel by train (BY MYSELF)  for a couple hours  North to storm castles,  preach the gospel, and save souls! 

MISSIONARY WORK IS BOOMING HERE. We had the most amazing lesson of my life. (which is another reason why it's going to be so hard for me to leave). We taught that teenage girl again. This time we taught her at the church. We discussed the second half of the Restoration and focused more on the Priesthood. First we started by giving a church tour (she comes to church a lot but she doesn't know what all the other classes at church are). We talked about the restoration of the Priesthood, how it's the power of God and the authority to act in God's name, and how it blesses our lives. We talked about the different ordinances we perform with the priesthood-sacrament, baptism, and gift of the Holy Ghost. We then showed her a Mormon Message called Power of God ( The Spirit flooded the room. We then bore testimony of the power of the Priesthood and the blessings it brings. The member shared a personal experience about the Priesthood which was very good. Then the Spirit told me to share the story of Matthew's head injury. I was scared because I didn't know lots of the vocab for it, but I felt the prompting again so I just opened my mouth to say it. And guess what! My mouth was filled with the words I needed to speak. WE HAVE A GOD OF MIRACLES PEOPLE. I told her how when Matthew was little, he fell down and hit his head. I explained how he wasn't acting normal and how Dad gave him a Priesthood Blessing. I then explained the rest of the story about how the doctors said he could possibly die or never be the same, how the Priesthood saved his life, and how the doctors couldn't explain it. As I was telling the story, the Spirit became so intense that every single one of us started crying. I then bore my testimony about how I don't even want to imagine what would've happened to my brother if he hadn't received a Priesthood Blessing. How I love him so much and my life would be empty without him. I talked about how grateful I am for this power and how I want my future husband to have it so he can bless our children. Right after that I looked at Sisar Egan and she turned and asked the investigator if she wants to receive all of these blessings and more by being baptized by this Priesthood authority. With tears in her eyes, she said yes! The member looked soooo shocked! It was wonderful. Then she just started crying and grabbed her friend. So then we were all crying again. It was so beautiful. She's getting baptized Dec. 7. I'm so sad that I won't be here to witness it, but my heart is so full of happiness and joy for this amazing girl. The member (the same one who told me that I'm needed in Kuopio) hugged me and told me how grateful she is that I was her missionary. It made me feel so good. Basically one of the reasons I knew I was supposed to come on a mission was for the youth and that's governing almost all of my actions. I make interacting with them a top priority and my trainer told me that she has noticed this. Maybe it's just because I'm so awkward that I feel like I fit in with them better. Or maybe it's because most of them know English well so they can help me with my Finnish. Either way, I love em! They're going to be the future leaders and teachers and missionaries of Finland. 

I had to whip out my winter coat for the day it snowed. Like my real $200 winter coat that comes down to my mid-calf and is about the warmest thing I've ever worn in my life. I've heard that there's already quite a bit of snow in Kuopio... we shall see about that. 

Basically, I'm still way awkward. When we were at the train station going to Turku I tried to walk through doors that were automatically closing the other way. I about got squashed in them and I had to shimmy my way out. Sisar Egan just looked at me as she walked through the doors next to me with ease (because they were actually the correct doors to go through) and just said "wow, can you get any more awkward....?" Luckily, Sisar Hubner is also way awkward. On Saturday, we were sprinting to our bus (something that we do quite often) except this time we had our suitcases with us because we were heading home from Turku and had our backpacks full and were wearing like a bajillion warm clothes and boots that pretty much acted as ankle weights. Sisar Hubner and I were sprinting towards the bus when all of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I saw things flying around. I turned and saw that Sisar Hubner's backpack had come unzipped and pamphlets and cards were going every which way. Also, she had broken one of her boots earlier and we had just picked it up from a shop where it was fixed so it also went flying and almost landed in the street. As I yelled at her to stop running, she whipped around and more things went flying out. The bus' doors were starting to close so I just continued to book it to the bus. I got there just in time to stop the bus and get on, completely out of breath (did I mention we had to run up a sloped street in the middle of the busy city to get to the bus stop?) I said "Anteeks, meilla on ongelma" (sorry, we have a problem) the bus driver just looked in the side mirror and could see everything and just said "yessss...." I yelled out "Sisar, oletko ok?" (Are you okay) and the entire bus turned in one accord to look out the window at my two companions struggling to pick up everything. I felt kinda bad for drawing the entire bus' attention towards them but I needed someway to stall the bus driver! After a lot of running around and grabbing things, they finally stumbled on the bus with pamphlets, books, and boot in hand. 

Well, next time you hear from me, I'll be up north. Hopefully I'm not a total popsicle. KIRKKO ON TOTTA. just remember that okay? The gospel changes lives! This is the only way that we can find lasting happiness, in this life and the life to come. I miss and love you all. But I know I'm exactly where I need to be right now. 


Sisar Nielsen

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