In order to celebrate the New Year, we are the proud new owners of a HAPPY LAMP. Okay so it wasn't to celebrate the New Year, but we did buy a Happy Lamp this week. Sisar Nielsen's energy levels have been dropping dramatically the past couple weeks. Last Monday, I hit a low. I still was obviously pushing myself to do all of our missionary work, wake up on time, run from place to place, be completely obedient etc. but it got to the point where last Monday, I was writing a hand written letter and had to stop to put my head down a couple of times because I was so exhausted. That's when I realized I needed to talk to my Mission President because that is not normal. Turns out I'm SAD (I have Seasonal Affective Disorder... don't worry mom. I really am waaaaay HAPPPY here) and basically with some extra Vitamin D and having a happy lamp on all day, I'll be recharged and ready to go in no time! And it has made quite the difference already! I guess the fact that I seriously can't even remember the last time I saw the sun is affecting me a lot more than I thought. It's okay, because as I always tell people- in this dark world, the gospel truly is my light! (and now I have a fake, artificial sunlight lamp to help lighten up my life as well....)
So this week was great. Lots of miracles. We got 3 new investigators! We had set a goal by the Spirit this week to find 3. We went to a woman's house that we had met last week and had set up a time to teach her this week. We were way stoked 'cause the first time we met her had gone so well (and she was about to become a new investigator! and she has 2 kids). We got her neighbor (a member) to come with us and we were all pretty excited. Well, we walked up to the door and there was a note taped to it. I couldn't understand a lot but from the member's shocked reaction, apparently there were some pretty intense swear words and it told us to never come back again. Well, talk about discouraging. It's amazing how there are so many little tests like this every day in the mission (and in our lives). We have a choice to decide if we will give up, get discouraged, or slow down or if we will step up, get motivated, and run faster. Through prayer, we can do the latter. And that's what we did. By praying a ton this week, we were able to witness a lot of miracles. We got in contact with a former investigator (somebody who used to learn about the church but for whatever reason stopped) and had a great first lesson with her. The Spirit was really strong. On our way to that lesson, we had seen a woman struggling to push a bike that had tons of grocery bags tied on it. We saw her and were like "wow. that woman needs help. do we have time...? we don't have time. no, there's always time!" We parked our car and ran over to her. She gladly accepted our help (which was a miracle in and of itself) and we helped her push this bike down this steep hill she was struggling on. We talked with her about how we are all God's children and that we need to take care of each other. We were able to testify about the Savior and other principles of the gospel and had a great teach with her as we walked. She told us she definitely wants to learn more and she was so grateful for our help! So that was a great miracle! And then last night, we had an hour of contacting time. Our mission president has told us that we all need to teach 20 lessons a week. We've been struggling with that these past two weeks because we've had so many holidays, "red days", and people going out of town/appointments dropping. Well last night, we were at 18. So we prayed and asked to Lord to help us teach 2 more. We walked all over the center of Kuopio, and nobody seemed to really want to talk with us. Then,we ended up having a great teach with a woman who has talked with missionaries before. It got to the point where we had about 10 minutes before we had to go inside. We huddled together, sent a heartfelt plea towards heaven, and took off walking again. There was a man walking towards us so we engaged in conversation with him. He had headphones in but he took them out! We ended up having a great gospel discussion, gave him a Book of Mormon, and set up a time to meet with him at the church this week. It was amazing! So we got our 20 teaches and our last teach became a new investigator! It's amazing how when we follow counsel, the miracles really do come!
Another miracle story that happened this week.... We went and did work in an area that's kind of farther away so we don't go there a ton. We had noticed on our ward sheet that a less active lived in a city close by so we decided to just go stop by. We got to her house and we said a prayer before we knocked. I prayed that this woman would let us in, that she would be really nice to us, and that she would invite us back. Well the door opened and she said "oh hello! come in!" We were in such shock, we just stood there. She had turned around and was walking back into her house at this point. When she realized we weren't behind her (no, we were just standing on the front porch still like two dummies) she said "come. in." We stepped inside. She indicated that we take our coats off and sit down. We were seriously in such shock we didn't know what to do. She had to explain "take off your coats and go sit down on the couch" (gosh... she probably thought we were incompetent or something). Well we ended up sitting down and having a wonderful discussion with her. Her nonmember husband came out and he talked with us too. We shared a great scripture from the Book of Mormon and they welcomed us back! They apologized that they didn't have anything to give us so they gave us a carton of juice. When we left, Sisar Woods and I just kept looking at each other. Did that really just happen?! It was incredible how the Lord answered my prayer exactly. Now prayers aren't always answered that way. Sometimes they aren't answered in the way we want, or when we want, or how we want. The important thing though is that they are always answered. This just happened to be in the way, when, and how we asked ours to be. It was pretty amazing.
I love you all. The church is true. God lives. Jesus is the Christ. I encourage all of your to go read Elder Ballard's talk from this past conference. NOW. Here, I took some of my precious emailing time to find this for you all, so read it :) and pray and ask the Lord how you can better be a part of this great movement - how you can better help the Lord hasten the work, regardless of where you are, your age, education, position in life, or means. Through prayer, you can know how YOU can make a difference and bless the lives of others. http://www.lds.org/general-
conference/2013/10/put-your- trust-in-the-lord?lang=eng& query=elder
RAKKAUDELLA (with love),
Sisar Nielsen PS missionary work is really awkward. this week sisar woods and i baked cookies to try to help soften people's hearts and get into their homes (crazy right?! as if eternal life and being happy forever aren't enough...). we went to a former investigator's home and she didn't answer the door. we decided to stick the plate of cookies through her little mail slot in her door. well the plan worked great, until half way through the cookies got stuck. so then we were trying to push/pull them out. and the whole time we're making a fuss and probably looked ridiculous to anyone watching (two girls in skirts wrestling a plate through a door...). long story short, we were able to pull the plate back out. and i'm just really hoping she wasn't home so she didn't witness that whole exchange (like seeing a plate go in and out of her front door multiple times). unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, everything I do just seems more awkward than the average person. oh well. 'Cause THE CHURCH IS STILL TRUE.