After my last email, I boarded a train (BY MYSELF. weird.) and rode 3 hours to the North to my new city. The longer we rode, the more snow there was. When I finally arrived, I was greeted by my new companion Sisar Lund. She's from Utah and we get along really well! I'm so excited to see what we will do together this change. We are officially the youngest companionship in the mission. I've been in the country for 2 months, she's been in the country for 4. We are by far the most inexperienced and neither one of us knows the language all that well. She's only been in Kuopio 2 weeks longer than me because of a mid transfer transfer so everything's pretty much new to her too. Long story short, WE ARE PRETTY MUCH CLUELESS. But we're ready to work! This area apparently has a rep for being a low baptizing and low finding area. When I got here, there were no progressing investigators (somebody who learns about the gospel continually) and only about 2 investigators (people who are interested in learning more). We decided that we don't care what the past is here. We don't care what is "expected" or "possible" here. We don't care what people say we can or can't do. We're just gonna do it! We drove around Kuopio (WHICH IS GORGEOUS BY THE WAY) and found a place to stop. We got out and said a prayer together asking the Lord to help us to take Kuopio where He desires it to be, because we both know that He has greater things in mind for this place than the limitations that have previously been set for it. After we said "Aamen", we were ready to work.
On one of the days this week, we didn't have any plans at all. So we decided to make it a "finding day" so we could find more people that would be interested in the gospel. We also made it a "pray always" day (which we pray all the time anyway, but we reaaaaaally prayed A TON that day). We felt we should go stop by a less actives house, so we took her some cake and went to introduce ourselves. She let us in and we were able to give her a nice teach. Then we decided to tract her whole building. It was interesting because earlier that day, I had been praying to ask the Lord where we should go. I had gotten the feeling that we needed to go tracting. Now here's the thing, I hate tracting! I think it's so inefficient and quite frankly having the door slammed in your face time after time after time eventually starts to get old (call me crazy). But I had gotten that impression and I knew that's what we needed to do. We also knew that the Lord had brought us to this area for a reason so we tracted that building. And guess what! WE FOUND 3 NEW INVESTIGATORS. AND TWO WERE FAMILIES. It was amazing! We also had met a really awesome 20 year old girl on the street the day before and we set up an appointment with her the day we found those other 3 investigators so that means we found a total of 4! WE MORE THAN DOUBLED the current investigator count. It was insane. As we walked home in the freezing rain, I could not wipe the smile off my face! This is why I'm a missionary! And it just amazes me that we have a Father in Heaven who cares about us and loves us! And lets imperfect people like ME do HIS work. I have witnessed so many miracles in my lifetime, and I think on my mission I am just more aware of even more. God lives. and He cares! When we called our district leader that night (we call in every night to let him know we're home safe and give a mini reporting of the day) he could not believe that we had found 4! He just kept being like "4?! What?!" We're going to take Kuopio to the next level. It's not going to be easy. It's actually gonna be way hard. Pretty much impossible if we didn't have the Lord on our side. But we do and with Him, all things are possible.
I have witnessed the miracle of the gift of tongues even more apparently since coming to Kuopio. Both Sisar Lund and I are at a similar level of understanding... which basically means most of the time we are totally clueless as to what is happening. But here's the thing, so many times this change I feel like all of sudden I can understand everything perfectly! It's crazy. And then all of sudden, I go back to not being able to understand anything at all, like literally nothing. It's the craziest thing. But I've noticed in times where we need to understand what is being said, all of a sudden it comes clearer to me and it's almost as if I'm hearing it in English. CRAZZZY. And then on Sunday there were some nonmembers at church who were from China and didn't speak Finnish. The teacher of the class asked if Sisar Lund and I would translate for them. UHHHH MITÄ?! We didn't really have a choice so we said "okay....". And I mean it was probably the worst translating job in the history of translators (and who knows... we might've just taught them our own lesson instead of what the teacher was saying) but we did it! Through the Lord, we were able to do it.
So long story short, I'm alive! I'm well! and I'm happy! I drove in Finland for the first time here so that was pretty exciting. We have a car so we drive a lot. It makes it harder to contact people but it's nice when it's raining/showing and it's freezing cold. Pray for the people of Kuopio. They don't know what's about to hit them. Pretty much, they're all gonna join the church, the teens are all going on missions, and everybody's gonna get married in the temple and live with their families forever and be HAPPY. Sounds like a pretty good game plan to me.
LOVE YOU ALL. THE CHURCH IS TRUE.
Sisar Nielsen - p.s. I just got myself a new reflector. Because it's so dark here, it's required by law that everybody wear reflectors all the time. So now I'm all legit and stuff (and obeying the law... ya know us missionaries - we gotta be obedient.)