I seriously can't believe that February is almost over! Usually I feel like February drags on forever, but as a missionary it flew by! The weather is crazy again - we got a ton of snow (yeah that was fun to bike in.....) and now all of a sudden it's gotten warm so there's just slush and heaps of gravel everywhere (they don't salt the streets here when it snows, they just put gravel everywhere to make it easier to walk/drive on the snow).
We lost a couple more investigators this week. I swear, Sisar woods and I hold the record for the most first lessons taught. We keep finding people to teach and then after one or two lessons, they decide that they really don't care about religion and that this isn't their thing. It's so frustrating. This is everybody's thing! This is ETERNAL LIFE people. ugh. but we just keep pressing forward, holding onto our faith that the Lord is with us and that He will lead us by the hand and give us answers to our prayers. We had about 30 minutes left one night to do something. We decided to just go try a former (somebody who learned about the church earlier but for whatever reason stopped) that we've tried multiple times before. We got there and realized that there was a different name on the door (oh btw, in Finland everybody puts their last name on their front doors - whether it be an apartment building, an individual house, a town home, whatever, they all have their last names on the door which is actually pretty convenient for us missionaries). We decided to just knock the door anyway. A guy came to the door and we had a great conversation with him about the Book of Mormon. We gave him one and set up a time to meet at the church, and he came! however, when he got there he said "I came because you guys were so nice, but I read the part of the BOM that you gave me and it didn't do anything for me. I don't want it, and I brought it back to return it." We were like noooo! not again! so I just asked if we could show him around our church and then discuss it with him a little more. He agreed. We ended up teaching him all about Christ, the Book of Mormon, and Joseph Smith. The member with us was crucial because this man was kinda hard to understand. but by the end of the lesson, he asked "What do I need to do in order to know if these things are true?" UH WHAT?! yeah this is like every missionary's' dream question (besides of course, when can I get baptized?). We explained that in order to know if these things are true, he must attend church, read the BOM and pray about it. He asked "Well, how do I pray?" We taught him and he said a very simple prayer. It was amazing! And it was amazing to see how the Spirit had taken over the lesson and helped change this man's heart. It went from "I came to return this book. I don't want it." to "How can I know if these things are the truth?" I'm sooo grateful for the Spirit when we teach. It carries our words to these people's hearts. It's really not what we say that is important, it's how they feel as we speak. The Spirit is the real teacher and especially because I fumble over words and can't always find the right ones to say in Finnish, I'm so grateful.
We had a way cool experience with a less active this week. This is the less active that we visited a couple weeks ago and that we had prayed that she would let us in, be nice to us, invite us back, etc and then she did! Well anyways, we went back this week and her husband was in Barcelona (he's not a member) so it was just her. We had a great conversation with her and read the account of Christ coming to the Americas in the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was way strong. We invited her to read the Book of Mormon as a commitment, and she was like "well I'm already in the middle of it right now." We were like "huhhh?" So then I just straight up asked her, "What prevents you from coming to church?" This amazing woman just started to cry and pour her heart out to us. How she and her husband had investigated the church together and how she had joined but he hadn't. And how he pretty much prevents her from going to church every Sunday because when she doesn't have to work on Sundays (she's a nurse) he makes them go out to his childhood home in the country to fix it up all weekend. She cried as she said that she reads in the Liahona (church magazine) every month about how she needs to partake of the Sacrament and how she can't. The tears were just streaming down her face as she said all she wants is a temple marriage, but her husband won't open his heart to the church. It made me so sad. The Spirit got waaaaay strong as we just testified to her of the incredible love her Heavenly Father has for her. That He is always with her, and that He understands her situation and what she's going through. This is not the first woman I have met here that has broken down and cried to us about how all they want is for their husband to accept the gospel so they can get sealed in the temple. It just breaks my heart and has strengthened my already strong resolve to not settle for anything less than a temple marriage. In the temple we can be married forever. We can be with our families forever. And our marriages are so much stronger when they have God as its foundation. We also have an eternal perspective and this is the way the Lord wants it to be. This sweet woman hugged us goodbye and gave us a bag of food (way good food btw, like fresh bread and yummy licorice) and just stood by the window and watched us drive away. It was amazing the amount of love I felt Heavenly Father has for this sweet daughter of His - and how much love He has for all of us.
Unfortunately this week we had a lot of blank days (days when all of our appointments fall through). We got to the point where we only had 1 investigator again. ugh! But we decided to just pray ALWAYS and follow the Spirit. and miracles happened (OF COURSE!) We found A, the guy I wrote about above and we found another investigator this week from Nigeria. She's here with her 3 children to get her doctorate and her husband works for the UN so he's currently in Kenya. She is so welcoming and we're excited to teach her. I'll let you know how things go. Also, we were sitting in our apartment and all of a sudden I remembered this random 20 year old girl we had met about a month ago. We decided to call her and she was totally interested in meeting! So we're meeting with her this week! The Elders also passed one of their investigators over to us (cuz she's a single woman) and we received 3 referrals this week! One was from the missionaries in Jyvaskyla - a 21 year old girl who had investigated the church earlier and then moved to Kuopio and they just found her in their area book. So we're hoping to set something up with her this week! Basically, the blessings really do come after the trial of our faith. And the Lord truly has a plan. We just need to trust Him.
I love this gospel. I love this work. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY and a representative of Christ. It seriously is the most fulfilling thing ever. I encourage you all to pray everyday to bring one person closer to their Savior this week. Just one. And as we bring one, many more will follow.
I love you!
Sisar Nielsen - PS I SAW THE SUN. I TOOK A PIC TO PROVE IT. it's been sooooo cloudy and overcast that we haven't seen it in a reaaally long time! and it only lasted for like an hour. but still, I SAW IT.