Well we had our first lesson with A, the mom from Nigeria. The first time we stopped by, she was so kind and welcoming. She said she already had a Book of Mormon and she wanted to discuss the word of God more. We were really excited to go back. Well when we did, we were in for quite the surprise... We said the opening prayer and then all of a sudden, she completely did a 180 and started attacking us. I was so confused. I could barely get any words out. She was ranting and raving and I couldn't understand where she was coming from. She was so attacking and antagonistic, and was completely trashing the Book of Mormon. Finally it came out that before we got there, she had gone on the internet to look up stuff about our church. She had gone to a Catholic website (because she's Catholic) to make sure that she would get "true information." Yeah right. The whole website was full of complete lies! The whole time I'm just praying for help and to know what we should do. Of course, we don't want to argue, get upset, or get defensive (it was so hard but when we do, the Spirit isn't with us). So finally when there was a break, I said "ya know, I don't know a whole lot. I'm just 20 years old. I haven't studied as much as most people, I'm not as experienced or as educated, and I'm simple in speaking and can't always put into words what I want to, but I know with every part of my heart that this Book is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Lord, and that my Savior lives and loves me." I then bore testimony of the restoration of the gospel and the power that it has. As I spoke these words to her, I could feel the Spirit flow through me. It became so powerful. It truly is amazing how in situations like this, I do feel like God is with me so strongly and I know that the words that I am speaking are the truth. When people try to tear down my faith, all it does is build it up and strengthen it. By the end of the conversation, we left on a good note. She said that we are actually good people and that next time she talks to somebody about the Mormons, she will be sure to tell them that they don't have more than one wife and that they believe in Christ. It was just so clearly apparent to me the reality of God and the reality of Satan. Both exist. Both are real. Both are as real as you and I are. One seeks to bless, strengthen, and help us. He loves us more than we can possibly understand. The other literally seeks our destruction. He hates us. He despises us. He wants to make our lives miserable so we can be as miserable as he is. It was incredible to feel the loss of the Spirit when she was ranting off all these lies about us. Because those lies on the internet were not influenced by God, they were influenced by Satan. It was then incredible to witness the change that came over all of us as I testified of the truth. Because the words I spoke were from God, testified of Him, and were in fact true. They were the truth. I've had many experiences like this on my mission, and every time they strengthen my conviction and my testimony of this gospel so much more.
We also had a first lesson with a new investigator, P. She is about 20 years old. She showed up to the church and brought two friends! We actually ended up having to teach in English because one of her friends was Vietnamese. It was a good lesson and they had lots of good questions. Once again, we taught the restoration and the Book of Mormon. What I mean when I say that we taught the restoration, is we taught about Joseph Smith and Christ bringing His true church back to the earth. How when He lived, He established His church. But when He died and His apostles were killed, the priesthood power (the authority to act in God's name to baptize, bless the sacrament, etc) was taken from the earth and Christ's teachings were changed. That's why we have soo many different churches on the earth today. It's interesting to think about the need for a restoration, and not just a reformation. The fullness of the gospel, or the complete truth, was no longer on the earth. A reformation just changes what is already existing. A restoration restores what was lost. Every time we teach the restoration, it invites the most amazing Spirit. Every single time that I teach it, the Lord reaffirms to me that my words are true, that this really did happen, and that He loves His children more than we can ever understand.
We got to go to an 18 year old's Finnish Birthday party this week! We went for about 40 minutes. I love being able to experience a different culture while I'm here! We ate sandwich cake (a cake made out of sandwiches... but like you cut into it and it was frosted with like who even knows (a mayonnaise spread or something) and had layers of bread and then one was ham and the other was fish... it was kinda weird but way interesting). It was crazy how much quieter their parties are! I mean maybe this is just this group of people but my family's parties are always just so much louder and crazier. It really is incredible how overall, Finns are much more shy, reserved, and quiet. hahahah I love Finns. And I love how I'm just sooo different than that. They probably don't know what to do with themselves every time I walk into the room and I'm just like "HEYYY GUYS. CHURCH IS TRUE! LET'S ALL LOVE EACH OTHER!" and then I like trip or run into something or do something else just totally embarrassing. My life....
So have I mentioned that there are quite a lot of drunk people here? Especially drunk men..... We passed a guy on the street the other day and said hello. He threw his arms up and responded (in English) with "oh beautiful girls! are you from Russia?!?" Yeah, we just kept walking. Sisar Woods and I also got let in while tracting. We were all excited (of course) but then we realized that the man and woman were both drunk. However, they were really nice and gave us chocolate (because they HAD to give us something and we refused the different kinds of alcohol they kept offering us (I know shocker... but ya know, we got standards)). We ended up teaching them about the Plan of Salvation and surprisingly, they had lots of good questions. I mean they probably didn't remember the lesson the next morning, but it was still pretty exciting for us.
I love being a missionary. I love my life. Every day is full of so many crazy adventures. And every day makes me so much stronger. I can feel myself growing and changing so much. I can feel my desires and my attitudes changing. I feel like I see myself and others in a whole new light. I know what I want out of life and I know that with God, I can get it. My goal is heaven. My path is straight. My guide is reliable and my mission is clear. I want everyone to have what I have. I want everyone to feel the way I feel. I want everyone to know, that Christ truly is the way, the light, and the life. Come unto Him.
I love you!
Sisar Nielsen ps it was so cute. one of the older couples from our ward just got back from Thailand (a place lots of Finns like to vacation) and they brought us back cute little presents. ahhh i just love how this ward truly has become my family here. as members of the church, we truly are family :)
pps Sisar woods and I (well she leads, I just follow her lead) like to get creative with the foods we make (after eating sandwiches almost every day, we needed something new) we make homemade pizza almost every Sunday night, this week we made homemade spring rolls and had an Asian night complete with an aloe vera drink and homemade peanut sauce. We also made turkey, apple, cheese and cinnamon crepes, and lots of other way good shhhhtufff. we're living the good life. :)