Tuesday, April 22, 2014

4/20/14 - Lessons Learned, Big Surprises, and Lots of Food

This week was marked by lessons learned, big surprises, and lots of food. Bear with me as I try to compress everything that happened this week into this one email. Sorry that it might be longer than normal!

One of the biggest surprises that happened this week came Thursday morning when we got a phone call from President Rawlings. It was our change calls, almost 2 days early! So that was a surprise. So were the transfer calls we received (in fact they were literally the opposite of what everyone expected). Sisar Woods is heading down to Helsinki and I'm STAYING IN KUOPIO AGAIN! Bring on change (a change lasts 2 months) number 4 here in this land of dreams! And the surprises didn't stop there... I'M TRAINING AGAIN. Uh, WHAT?! There's only 2 sisters coming in, about a million sisters that can train, and President is crazy enough to have me train again. So uh, yeah this is craziness. After I finish this email, I'm getting on a train to head down to Helsinki to pick up my new comp. 

This week was also marked by a really powerful lesson that I learned. In order for E to get baptized, we needed to meet with her about 4 times this week. We had a lesson planned last Monday with her but our member called and said "E just called and said she can't meet today. She's really upset about the things going on with her brother and she's just not up to meeting today anymore." (side note: her brother has a lot of health issues. He came to the hospital here in Kuopio to get treatments but they weren't successful so he left Monday to go back to his home. His situation doesn't look very promising and E was really upset about it because shes's really close with her brother). Well at first I was devastated. I was like "you've got to be kidding me!" I knew that her chances of getting baptized Saturday had shrunk a lot because that lesson was the make it or break it lesson. But then I got the feeling "fulfill your baptismal covenants. mourn with those that mourn." We baked cookies and showed up at her house with them. She just sat there and cried and we sang hymns and testified of Christ's love. The spirit was amazing. It was like Heavenly Father reopened my eyes to my true purpose as a missionary: to walk where Christ would walk, to say what He would say, and to do as He would do if He personally were here. E didn't get baptized, but I know she will! She is progressing amazingly! Her faith has grown so much and I can see the light of Christ shine through her more every day! It's truly amazing to see. And it was amazing the overwhelming peace that came into my heart. I expected to be really upset if E didn't enter the waters of baptism, but I wasn't. The Lord literally poured His Spirit upon me, it's almost difficult to describe exactly this peace that I felt. I knew that the Lord is in charge and that everything would be okay in the end. I'm so grateful for my personal relationship with my Heavenly Father and how much it has grown while I've been here. 

We also had our first lesson with our investigator from Ethiopia, Am. It went really well! We had him read a scripture from the Bible that talks about how the world would experience a famine from the word of God (the Apostasy, the space of time after Christ's death and before Joseph Smith restored the gospel when Christ's true church wasn't on the earth). He paused and said "I feel like this is me."He said he's searching for answers and he's searching for truth. Afterwards, I asked our member what she thought and she said "Well, there's no such thing as a perfect lesson, but if there were, that would have been it." Way cool stuff. 

And then on Sunday, we hit a new record for the Sisters here in Kuopio! We had 3 investigators in church! WHOOOT WHOOOOOT! Miracles and big surprises! E came and sat with all of her member friends (seriously the ward adores her!) Am showed up right after it started! Which was amazing! annnnd as we're standing by the doors welcoming people into the chapel, our old investigator A walks in! What?! we had gotten the feeling to stop by with cookies and invite him to church for Easter this week. And he came! it was awesome! and he stayed for all 3 hours, says he wants to meet and learn more again (we've only had 1 lesson with him), annnnddd he happens to be friends with one of the Elder's investigators! Which was an answer to prayer as well because during our correlation meeting the day before (when we meet with our branch mission leader and discuss missionary work in our area every week), the Elders had said they're really having a hard time with helping their investigator stay for all 3 hours of church and he really needs a solid friend to help him stay. Welllll guess what! The Lord works in mysterious ways! We asked the Elder's investigator to ask A to stay for priesthood meeting, and A did! And as a result, so did the Elder's investigator! Way sweet! Miracles are happening all over the place! 

This week we had 2 "red" days. Finland has way strict privacy laws (which is why I can only use people's initials in this letter and not their names). We can't knock any doors after 8 or on any holidays ("red" days.) Due to Easter- FridaySunday, and today (Monday) are all holidays so we knew we had to plan something special for those days. Well, we have this awesome part member family that lives an hour and a half away. The mom is active, and the two little boys are too, but the dad's not a member. We really wanted to visit them but the only time we had was Friday morning. We called and asked if we could and they said they were busy then. However, they called back and said that they rearranged everything so that we could come because they wanted us to come so badly! Friday morning, Sisar Woods and I hopped on a bus and rode out to their home in Iisalmi, a little tiny town. Their home is gorgeous and huge! Surrounded by the most amazing pine trees and in a gorgeous area! (ok, let's get real, everywhere in Finland is beautiful!) We stayed at their house for 3 hours! Which was way special and such a treat! They made a TON of food and we ate a delicious brunch with them: riisi purro (like rice porridge... so good!), smoked salmon, lamb, ham, tons of different kinds of berries (including the famous (and expensive) Finnish cloud berries, these delicious crepe type things with lots of different kinds of jam, breakfast cake, and so much more! It was incredible! And they sent a ton of it home with us! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaay good! We were definitely eating like kings for days. 

This week, in honor of Easter, I also got to try mämmi! It's a Finnish Easter dish that is ruis (rye) porridge. It was interesting... but actually not too bad! I drowned mine in vanilla creme haha. It was way cool to try it though and I felt way Finnish! For Easter we also received homemade voi pulla from a member, tons of chocolate, and lots of other treats! I love our members here so much. 

ALRIGHT, now you all need to stop and watch this video right now. Sisar Woods and I watched it this week and it like changed my life. When it finished, we just looked at each other and were like "ddddddang!" I think I've already watched it like 50 times. http://easter.mormon.org/?cid=HPTU041514694. It's called #BecauseofHim and it's all about Christ. Jesus Christ is for everyone. Because of Him, we ALL can live again. Without Him, this life would have no purpose and would have an end. Because of Him, we have a way to find happiness, peace, and receive Eternal Life. 

I love my Savior. I know He lives. I am another witness of Him. 


Sisar Nielsen    -  ps awkward moment of the week: we got back to Kuopio from Iisalmi and we were getting off the bus. I don't know why but I was struggling hard core. The whole time, this little boy was watching me. Sisar Woods got off and I finally got all my things together and was about to get off. The little boy said "hei hei" to me (bye) and I went to go down the steps and the doors closed! And the bus took off! With Sisar Woods outside of it and me still in it! When it took off, I fell into the seat and the last thing I saw was Sisar Woods' freaked out face as the doors closed. Well I stood up, composed myself, and hurried to the front of the bus (meanwhile falling into everybody's seat... I was really struggling!) I finally got to the front and was like "excuse me." Well I got off the bus, waaaaaay across the parking lot and had to walk back to Sisar Woods. She was laughing so hard she started crying. Man. Will this awkwardness ever end? and is President sure he wants to make me a trainer again...? I'm pretty sure I need to be trained again. Oh well. Church is true y'all! :) 

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