FOR STARTERS, I FINALLY MADE SUCCESSFUL COOKIES FOLKS. (after some more failed attempts.. including more flat cookies with just mounds of broken up chocolate bars in them...) Aaaand they were dang good. so I took a picture to prove it :)
This has been an amazing week! I seriously don't even know where to begin! So many miracles have been happening and I finally feel like everything is starting to come together. I kinda feel like Kuopio has been somewhat of a refiner's fire for me, which has been good because I feel like I've been on my knees a lot more here. It has strengthened my relationship with my Heavenly Father and I know that He always supports us in our trials.
Okay so we have this new amaaaazing investigator! She's a super cute girl, about 25. We had our first lesson with her this week and it went so well! It was one of the smoothest first lessons I've ever taught. The Spirit was so strong and she even asked us if she could have the Restoration pamphlet! We can't wait to meet with her again! And we found some other amazing people that we hope to teach soon. All of a sudden, they're starting to appear. My district leader asked me last night what we did differently this week because all of a sudden, we're starting to have more success. I told him that we're doing nothing differently, but that that's just it. We're not letting ourselves get discouraged, we're not slowing down, and we're not letting up. And the Lord knows that and when we're doing all we can, He makes up the rest.
And then yesterday (Sunday) my heart was so full of love it was bursting at the seams! For starters, it was the primary program! THE BRANCH I'M IN IS SO AMAZING. I truly feel like they are trusting us more! I don't even know what has made the difference, but I can feel it! And they are becoming my family here! These members are sooo strong. They are few in number, but they are all so amazing. Some drive 1 1/2 hours to church every Sunday! It's incredible. Well anyway, I ask you, WHAT IS CUTER THAN A PRIMARY PROGRAM... IN FINNISH?! Uhm the answer is NOTHING. My heart was dying. I was practically crying the whole time! And I could understand it ALL because the kids were like "Jesus loves me" and I was like YESSSSS. I understand you child! It was adorable. And so cool to hear all of the familiar primary songs I've grown up with my whole life, sung by little kids in Finnish. It's also so great that the church is worldwide, and that its members are basically the same everywhere. We had the typical franticly waving child, the one that cries when they get to the pulpit, and the ones that fan themselves with their little talks. So great. So basically, church was amazing. And then we had a concert that night at the church. And through a series of crazy events and miracles (I'll save you all the details) our investigator came! And the ward just welcomed her in and she was just beaming. And then all of a sudden right before it starts, the elders run over and say "Sisters, another one of your investigators is here" and a guy had showed up that we had talked to briefly on the phone. We were like whaaaaaat? And he really enjoyed it and we're meeting with him this week too! Seriously, the miracles are just flowing! THE LORD IS IN THIS WORK. This branch I'm in is arguably the most musically talented branch in the world. Seriously. They have a musical number every sacrament meeting, and the concert was amazing. And my heart was bursting because the Bishop's sons (ages 6 and 3) both played the violin together with their dad. It was the cutest thing ever. Sisar Lund and I sang a duet in the program (in Finnish!). (I KNOW I KNOW, I DON'T SING. But I'm doing soooo many things that are forcing me out of my comfort zone here, and that is one of them! and it helped get our investigator there because I told her I needed a fan club... so I was willing to sacrifice the ears of the congregation for her:)) That night, as we were sitting home eating some very yummy famous Finnish ice cream, my heart was so full I wanted to cry! I know the Lord is there for me always, during the hardest and the sweetest of times.
I saw the sun! It was glorious. and short lived, but absolutely BEAUTIFUL. I love being here! I love this gospel! I love the happiness, joy, and purpose I have found in it! I love that I can share it with others. Finland is gorgeous, the members are so loving, and the church is just soo true sometimes I can barely handle it! I LOVE MY LIFE.
Love and miss you all!
Sisar Nielsen - ps This week while we were tracting, I was talking to a guy at his door and I accidently took a little step back and literally fell off his porch! It was awkward, and he laughed at me, and then I just kept right on going with preaching the gospel to him because all these people need it. Unfortunately for them, they have an imperfect, uncoordinated, unable to speak their language missionary like me - but they ain't getting rid of me anytime soon :)