This week was marked by a lot of miracles, crazy experiences, and yummy food. We set a goal at the beginning of the week to find 4 new investigators. We hit our goal and found 4! and a couple way solid potentials (people that expressed interest in the church that we will follow up with soon so they can become investigators). It was awesome! We had a free evening so Sisar Woods and I prayerfully considered what the Lord would have us do. We felt we should go try a potential that we had found while tracting his building. We went back and his wife answered. She said she wasn't all that interested and that she had her own religion. Well, I'm sorry but Sisar Nielsen is just so sick and tired of hearing that excuse that she was not about to let the door close on her. So I asked if we could talk to her husband (the one who had told us to come back in the first place). He came to the door and he said he was kinda busy plus, as his wife said, they kinda have their own religion yadadada. So I'm all like "alright Heavenly Father, how can we help these people come closer to Christ?" I just started asking them questions about their faith and how it's helped them. Well long story short, we got invited in, ended up teaching them the first lesson (all about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon), gave the man a Mormonin Kirja in Finnish and promised to bring the woman one in Russian (cuz she's from Russia and can obviously understand it better) and set up a time to come back. It was sweet! So they ended up both becoming investigators! It was an awesome miracle! And was such a turn around from how our encounter first started out.
The next day we went out to one of our areas, parked, and walked everywhere. We talked with everyone we possibly could on the street. We said hi to people as we passed and ended up walking people to bars (ugh, we walked the cutest old couple to a bar and when we got to it they're all like "well, we gotta go! nice talking to you girls!" and went inside. It was like 4 in the afternoon). So we're walking down the street and all of a sudden Sisar Woods turns to me and says in a rather panicked tone "Sisaaaar! That man's been following us! Oh my gosh, he's totally following us! He's almost to us!" at this point I can see him out of my peripheral and I notice that he's trying to call to us. Well, Sisar Woods is freaking out so I'm just like "It's all good, remain calm, here we go" to which I turn and face him and say hello. Well turns out he had followed us for like a waaay long time. He was drunk outta his mind, from Ireland, and spoke English! It was a rather interesting encounter. He kept trying to buy me a drink, I kept trying to give him the word. Sisar Woods kept standing there trying to figure out what to do. I explained to him that we in fact do not drink alcohol and that we are here talking to people about Jesus Christ. A little bit of my Chicago sass may or may not have come out during the course of the conversation.... but it was way justified. And honestly, it just made me sad. I testified to him that we're worth so much more than drugs and alcohol. That we are children of God and that He loves us. My heart broke for this guy as I stared into his blood shot eyes and just felt the love and pain the Savior must feel for this man. It really is so clear to me the difference the gospel makes in people's lives.
Later that day, we prayed and felt we should knock a certain building. Only one person opened their door in the whole building, and he became a new investigator! He's a young man who's a student at the University. We taught him all about the Book of Mormon and he was way interested in it. So we'll be meeting with him this week. Also, later that night we were street contacting before we had a lesson with a less active. We stopped a woman who ended up being way outgoing and nice. We were actually throwing our heads back and laughing throughout the course of the conversation. She too ended up becoming a new investigator and we're meeting with her this week as well. While we were talking, a woman walked by whom I had talked with the day before. She said "terve!" and smiled at me! That in and of itself is a miracle. Finns don't do that! So it was a great day! Also, the less active we went to bought us Finnish munkkis! (doughnuts). This is the first time she's ever done anything like that! She has really come to like us! So that was really exciting. Also the munkkis here are famous so that's cool. Also our Branch Mission Leader and his family (and like half the ward) went on a temple trip this week, so he asked us to watch their plants for them and gave us squash pie (pumpkin pie but there's not pumpkin here so he made it from squash. It was actually way yummy!) so that was the cherry to top off the day. Basically, every day as a missionary is a new adventure. And ya never really know what's gonna happen...
As missionaries, we're currently planning a Talent Show! It'll be later this month! We're way stoked cuz the ward has never done anything like this before. The whole point is to get less actives and non members to come. So basically we've been passing out invites like crazy. Also, we've been biking almost every day this week (if I don't have legs of steel by the end of this, I'm gonna hurt somebody!) We went to go take an invite to a former. She wasn't home so we prayed to know what we should do and we felt we should knock her building. Well we only ended up knocking three doors cuz at the third door a young man opened it and we ended up talking to him for a long time. He was probably about my age, had a tattoo, and earrings, and kinda like a hipster style hair cut. At first he had the attitude like "why should I even care about God? This doesn't really apply to me" but then he started asking the ideal questions like "I'm sure this is a great thing, but how can you say that it's God's only true church?" We then taught him the Restoration and how Joseph Smith had that same question: "which church is the true church?" We taught him about the Book of Mormon and gave it to him. He had so many great questions and you could tell that he was actually really listening to what we were saying. Our conversation lasted for like 25 minutes as we just stood there in the cold, bearing our hearts and souls to this guy. He gave us his number and said he would love to find out more. It was such a great teach and amazing to watch this guy change. It doesn't matter where we are in life, our background, our hobbies, our age, skin color, or the kind of clothes we wear, the gospel of Jesus Christ really is for EVERYBODY. It gives us hope, faith, and enduring happiness. We can still live our lives and have fun but the gospel of Jesus Christ is our anchor and our foundation. I don't know where I would be in this life without it.
As I said, we did lots of biking this week. I noticed as we biked up the hills (especially the steep ones) that as soon as a I let up a little bit, as soon as I began to doubt if I could make it, I would lose my momentum and I would stop. As this kept happening, I noticed that when I focused on the top, on staying constant, and continually pressing forward, I could make it. Even if the hill was really steep and my legs were on fire. So it is with life. As we press forward, steadfastly keeping our eye on Christ, we can make it up the hills and trials of our lives. Even when our legs are on fire and our bodies are exhausted, we can do it. As soon as we loose our focus, let up for a minute, or put our guard down, we loose our momentum and we fall. Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. As we focus our lives on Him and obeying all of His commandments, our lives will be better. Sometimes life will be difficult, we will still fall when the path is really steep and our burdens are difficult to bear, but we need to still press forward. We still continue on. Because we have the promise of eternal life waiting for us. We have the promise of coasting down the other side of the hill with the wind rushing through our hair and a glorious landscape as our view. So press on. Fight on. Because it is worth it. Because He is worth it. Because YOU. ARE. WORTH. IT.
I love you!
Sisar Nielsen ps another funny moment of the week.... yesterday we left somebody's house after delivering invitations. we saw a guy in the parking lot but didn't think anything about it. we hopped on our bikes, took a bike path that led to the university, and cut through the university parking lot. all of a sudden, this car comes and honks at us. the guy driving waves to us to stop. i'm all like "i have no idea who this guy is".... but i stop anyways. he pulls up next to us and says "are you from mormon?" he had an african accent so i couldn't fully understand him. "sorry what?" I said. "are you from mormon??" "are we mormons?" I replied. He said "yes! are you?" I told him that we were and he said "i knew it! i saw you in the parking lot earlier and so i traced you! i've heard of your church before but I want to learn more about it! so i traced you here so I can meet with you sometime and learn more about your church!" hahaha he is from ghana. and he kept using the word "traced" to mean "followed". basically it was one of those "is this really happening?" moments and rather hilarious. so long story short, sisar woods and i got stalked by many different foreign men this week. it was rather exciting. oh the life of a missionary.....