This week was really good. And really crazy. I spent almost all of it in Helsinki for Interim Training. Since I've been here 6 weeks, everybody who came in the same day as I did all met in Helsinki for 3 days of training and a day of language school. It was amazing. I absolutely LOVE Helsinki. It is such a beautiful city! And our Mission President pretty much blew our minds away. It was all so good. I learned a ton and I can't wait to practice what I learned and become a better missionary!
Sisar Hubner and I had quite the interesting experience. All during Interim, my companions and I stayed with the sisters in Espoo (pronounced es-poe.. not es-poo!). It's about a 15 minute train ride from Helsinki. So the day of the language school, all of our trainers went on splits (meaning they went with other missionaries) while we newer missionaries worked on our language skills. When it was over, Sisar Hubner and I had to travel to a city called Killo while our trainer was somewhere completely different. We navigated our way through Helsinki and made it to the train. We got on and sat down. This man across from us started talking to us. It was obvious that he was very drunk. He started getting up in our faces and making both of us feel very uncomfortable. He said "where are you from?" we told him America. He said "no you're not! where are you from??" we said "we're from America" he started getting more angry and said "no you're not!". At this point, Sisar Hubner and I got up and walked to another train car. We did not want to have to deal with that. We sat down and all of a sudden, this man sat down next to us. He had followed us! He started asking us more questions and kept telling us that all of our answers were wrong. Well, needless to say, both Sisar Hubner and I got the "you need to get out of here now!" feeling. We excused ourselves, got off the train, and literally sprinted towards the front of the train so we could get back on in another train car. We did, slid into our seats, and thought phewww that's the end of that. Well, we were wrong.
We got to Killo and we visited some former investigators and contacted on the street. As we were walking, I turned to Sisar Hubner and said "we need to talk to this man" so we did. We had an awesome experience with him. Turns out, he has met with the Elders before. He said at that time, he was just too busy for these kinds of things. But now, he's ready to learn more. We talked about the hope and happiness the gospel brings to our lives. He said he's read parts of the Book of Mormon before. He said, "At first I thought that this cannot be. There is only one Bible and this book is wrong! but as I read it, I realized that this book says the same things as the Bible. It's just another testimony of those things. It's a good book." As he talked about the Book of Mormon, I felt the Spirit so strongly. It was amazing. After that, Sisar Hubner and I went to go meet 3 punk kids we had met two days earlier. They are all atheist and we asked them to try praying then report back to us. As we were walking to meet them, we saw the crazy drunk man again! He had gotten off at our same stop. We had to quickly dodge out of the way - and this is when things got crazy. Some of the punk kids had actually showed up and were waiting for us in the parking lot of a store. We were walking over to them when the drunk man showed up. He went up to them and started harassing them. Then, more punk kids showed up. Then this random woman runs up to us and says "sisters, sisters!" turns out she had a meeting with the Espoo sisters that we were staying with and they had planned to meet in the parking lot where we were. But the Espoo sisters were on the other side of town! This woman is a new convert and wanted to introduce her friend (who was with her) to the Gospel. So basically, there Sisar Hubner and I were, two new missionaries that can't really speak Finnish, with a group of punk kids that we want to meet with, a random sister who we apparently have an appointment with, and a drunk man who won't leave us alone! This is my life. The kids bought the drunk man a drink and ushered him away, we told the lady with the friend to wait for a second while we went to talk to the punk kids, then we told the punk kids that we wanted to talk to them but we needed to talk to someone else first, then we went and introduced this woman's friend to the Gospel, then the other Sisters finally showed up. We finished that teach and by then the castle was HUGEEE (See previous blog post if you don't know what this means :). There were so many punk kids! So we said a quick silent prayer and then we stormed that castle! We stormed it really well if I do say so myself. It was the biggest castle we've ever stormed. We just marched up and shook their hands. The ones we hadn't talked to earlier were way surprised. We talked to them for a while, were able to share little pieces about the gospel without being over bearing, and were able to walk away feeling triumphant. As we were walking to the bus stop, we came around the corner and the HELSINKI TEMPLE WAS THERE. Oh my word, it was beautiful! It literally radiated! It shown brightly in the darkness. The Spirit hit me like a wall. This is why I'm here. To get people there! The temple is seriously my favorite place on earth. I'm so grateful for the blessings of it in my life. I haven't had the opportunity to go to the Temple in Finland. So here's what I say to you all. If you have the opportunity to go to the temple in the near future, DO IT. It's where the Lord wants you to be.
So basically General Conference was AMAZING. I loved every single minute of it. We didn't get to watch Sunday evening's session because of the time difference, but I'll be sure to do that on one of my p-days. As I watched conference, it really just hit me how important it is to share the gospel. How important it is to share the light that we have. To share the happiness and hope that it brings. I love how they don't call it "missionary work". They call it "the work of Salvation". Salvation. That's huge. I encourage you all to pray daily for ways you can share the gospel. Ways you can help others. The word of God heals the wounded soul. We're not trying to get more members for our congregations, we're trying to heal souls and save them. So put a Book of Mormon in your backpack and pray for the Lord to give you an opportunity to give it away. Post a Mormon message on Facebook. Invite your friends to hear you speak in church or to an activity. If you're not a member of this church, find somebody who is and ask to learn more. I promise, this is what everybody in the world needs. If we don't share the gospel with our families and friends, who will?
I love you all and the church is true. I know it. I love it. I testify of it. And I'm so grateful to be able to represent my best friend, represent my Savior and Redeemer every day.
"doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith" dieter f. uchtdorf
Sisar Nielsen - PS The night of our adventure, we talked to the AP's (Assistants to the President). They said that after we left the office that afternoon they had thought "Wait, was that smart? Letting two new missionaries go off on their own?" but then they said they were like "Ehhh, one's from Chicago and one's from New York. They're fine." hahaha