TIS THE SEASON TO BE GRATEFUL. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
This has been a week of miracles. And a week that has helped me come closer to my Savior.
So remember how I talked last time about our golden investigator? The one where we taught her and the Spirit was so strong, how she came to the ward concert and absolutely loved it, and left beaming, telling us how grateful she was that she came and asking us to call her on Wednesday to set up our next appointment? Well, Wednesday came and I excitedly called her and I proceeded to get an earful (of which I mostly couldn't understand because it was in Finnish) about how she has been talking to her mom and her mom says we're bad and as a result she refuses to ever meet with us again, our beliefs are wrong, the Book of Mormon is false, etc. I couldn't believe it. I felt numb. I had felt so good about her. And at this point, she was one of our two investigators. And the whole time on the phone (15 minutes), I just kept bearing my testimony to her and just kept thinking "no! I don't want to lose her! I don't want her to walk away from this truth! From this thing that I KNOW will bless her life". But something I've learned is that agency is a gift from God. He has given us the ability to choose. And as a result, we are the captains of our own lives. When I hung up the phone, my companion just looked at me and I started to cry. I love these people with all my heart. I want them to experience the joy and lasting happiness that I have found in the gospel. I want them to have what I have! But they have the power to choose. Afterwards, I was just crying and thinking "Heavenly Father, why?? Why couldn't you have softened her heart? Why couldn't you have given me the words to say that would've convinced her to meet with us just one more time?" why why why. All of a sudden, the most incredible warm feeling came over me. It was like somebody had wrapped me up in a blanket. I just felt so much love and peace. It's difficult to describe, but the Lord testified to me that He is with me. That He loves me. And that my Savior died for me and knows EXACTLY what I'm going through. It was the most amazing feeling. I dried my tears and quietly said "okay", got up, and just kept going. I know that our Savior is always with us. It's like that Footprints in the Sand poem. During our hardest times, that is when He carries us. My Savior has been carrying me.
After the trial of our faith comes the blessings. And boy, have the blessings been flowing! So that night, as we were contacting people on the street (and getting rejected over and over and over again) I just prayed that the Lord would send somebody to lift our Spirits. The next person we said "Terve" to stopped. I said "wow it's really cold" and pointed to the lake next to us that was starting to freeze. And unlike the frozen water, our conversation just started flowing! She's an 18 year old girl and very outgoing. SHE ASKED US if she could come to church with us to check it out sometime. UH WHAT? and SHE CAME. She stayed for all three hours of church. She has a lot of strong opinions about things and has a bit of a push back towards God and church (and it didn't help that we had the Law of Chastity as our Sunday School lesson... it was pretty heavy stuff hahaha) but she said that there's something about our church that she likes, and that she wants to learn more. We're meeting with her this week! So we got a new investigator! ANDDDDD, a woman in her 20's with bright red hair came to church. I thought she was one of the member's friends, but it turns out that she just decided to walk into our church building on her own and the members grabbed her and sat with her. And she said she wants to learn more about our church and asked us for our number so we can go teach her! WHAAAAAT? Folks, that does not happen.... UNLESS WE HAVE A GOD OF MIRACLES. OH WAIT, WE DO. It was amazing.
And then this week, we went to go contact a "potential" (somebody who has never been an investigator or been taught but has expressed interest to the missionaries before). She is from Russia and she is a 20 year old student here. She has been dodging our phone calls but keeps telling us to try again later. Well, we got to her house and she wasn't home. Her roommate opened the door. She's from Vietnam. She said that her roommate wasn't home and as she was about to close the door, we just decided to start talking to her. We explained who we are and what our purpose is. She is Buddhist, 19 years old, and studying Business here. We testified to her about how we have a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior, Jesus Christ. We told her we have a book that testifies of Him, and we asked if we could come back sometime. She said she would really like that. Well we went back later this week to teach her, and had one of the most amazing lessons I've ever had. It was all in English and we had to teach everything sooo simply, because English is her second language and she has absolutely no Christian background. We opened with a simple prayer and asked the Lord to bless her. When we closed the prayer, we asked her how she felt as we were praying. She said that as we prayed, she felt this warm feeling come into her heart and that she got goosebumps. We taught, simply, that we have a loving Heavenly Father, we are His children, and that He knows us. We testified about Jesus Christ and used pictures to explain His life, His death, and His Atonement. We read together some of the verses from the Book of Mormon - the part where Christ comes to the Americas, the crowning moment in the Book of Mormon. As we testified to this sweet young woman, the Spirit was incredible. It was amazing, and as I spoke these words about my Savior and the role He has played in my life, tears sprang to my eyes. It was the most amazing, powerful feeling introducing the idea of Christ to someone for the first time. And she felt it. She asked us if we could please come back and teach her more. We said OF COURSE! We're in the process of getting her a Book of Mormon in Vietnamese. At the end, we taught her how to pray. We happened to have a Vietnamese pamphlet in our apartment that has a page that explains prayer. Using the English and the Vietnamese pamphlets, we taught this sweet, humble young woman how to pray for the first time. Unlike many other people that we've taught, she agreed to try praying for the first time right there. She knelt down, and offered a short, sincere prayer in Vietnamese using the outline we had given her. The Spirit was so strong. We asked her how she felt, and she said that she had this strong feeling in her heart, a feeling that she had never had before, but it was a good feeling. She said it was difficult to describe. Earlier in the lesson, we had taught her about the Holy Ghost and how he testifies to us about truth and about what is good. It was so cute, because we had to make it sooo simple and explain to her that he's not a ghost like in the movies (she looked a little scared at first haha), but that he's a Spirit sent from our Heavenly Father to help and bless us. Oh the lesson was just so good! We truly have a God of miracles! I'm so grateful for the knowledge I have of my Savior.
We also had tons more miracles this week! Including being able to finally meet with the part member family and less active family that the ward has been asking us to focus on! And both said they want us to come back! It was a miracle in and of itself that we were able to meet with them both, and another miracle that they both want us to come back! So today we are going to the less active's house to teach her children English and about the gospel (both of the kids aren't members) and we're really excited! And we met with that guy we had met on the street a while back who took the Book of Mormon from us and had tons of great questions! And the lesson went well and we're meeting again this week! AND HE'S NOW OFFICIALLY A PROGRESSING INVESTIGATOR. whooohoooo!
I know God lives! Jesus is the Christ! As I pause and reflect on the bajillions of blessings I have in my life, they all come from the Lord! I am so grateful for Him! I know that our Savior is always with us, during the hardest and the easiest of times! If we endure, even when things are really hard and look bleak, we will be blessed a million times more than we could ever imagine.
THIS IS THE LORD'S WORK. This is an exciting time to be alive! The truth is on the earth today! We have a living prophet. We have a witness and evidence that this is God's one and only true church. We can hold it in our hands. We can read it. We can pray about it. And we can know for OURSELVES that the Book of Mormon is true, and as a result, this church is true! The Lord is hastening the work. Miracles are happening all over the earth! Will you allow God to work miracles through you? Will you join the effort to bring the world His truth? Will YOU be a part of it? The choice is up to you.
I love you all! Keep warm!
Sisar Nielsen - ps I had a dream I was basking in the warm sun. It was so bright, I had to squint. I was wearing a t-shirt and I could feel the sun on my face and on my skin. It was glorious.... and then my alarm went off. Oh well, THE GOSPEL IS MY LIGHT. And I'm really excited because I'm so far north that during the middle of winter, I'LL BE ABLE TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS. HOW SICK IS THAAAAAAAAAAT?!?!