Monday, May 19, 2014

5/19/14 - He Is Always With You

Today marks my 11 month anniversary of being a missionary. Man, time sure flies when you're having fun! It's a beautiful day here in Finland! For the first time since August, I walked outside today with a t-shirt on! The sweaters, the tights, the leggings, the boots, the hats, gloves, scarves, big coat, thick socks, and long sleeves are gone! YESSSS! And the sunshine is here! Like all day, every day. It's so great.

As I sit down to write, a lot of emotions are running through my mind. Sometimes it's hard to separate them all out and put into words exactly how I'm feeling, but bear with me as I strive to do my best. Earlier this week, we had a lesson with E. We went through the baptismal questions (questions that everyone must answer before they are baptized.. like about their willingness to obey commandments and their testimonies of the gospel) again with her (a couple of weeks ago when we did them, she had some issues with some of the questions and it didn't go well..). This time it went amazingly! She answered every one perfectly! She even yelled "NO" in English (and she doesn't speak any English) when we asked her some of the questions (like have you ever committed a crime) - haha it was so great. When we asked her if she would pay tithing (something she wasn't sure about earlier) her response was "well, it's a law isn't it?" At the end of the questions, we said E, you're ready! You're ready for baptism! And she just smiled at us and nodded. I felt like I could fly! I have seen this woman change so much. I still remember the day we found her on the street back in March. The light of Christ is so bright inside of her now. It has truly been such a profound testimony to me that the gospel changes lives. We had another lesson later this week with her and focused on the temple. She is way excited to go and loved learning about it. Later in the week we met again and she chose who she wants to baptize her and we set the time for 6 on the 24th. Again, she was just glowing. I have come to love this woman so much. She was unable to come to church on Sunday because her son came to visit at the same time as church. She asked him to come another time but that was the only time he could come. She said it was important that she meet with him because she was going to tell him that she is getting baptized (and she is very close to her children and they literally mean the world to her). Sisar Bates and I fasted for her this weekend and we've been praying like crazy. Ahhh it's just been so cool seeing how much happier she is now. This church is so true.
Last night I called her to ask how it went and to set up another time to meet with her this week. Gosh my eyes are starting to water as I'm writing this. Basically, her son is very very against her joining the church. And as a result, she feels she cannot be baptized because she doesn't want to put a wedge in her family. As I sat there on the phone, I literally could not believe the words that I was hearing. I was in shock. That was not what I expected, at all. I just kept testifying to her about how important this is and kept praying "Heavenly Father, I don't want to loose her!" I'm not completely sure, but I'm pretty sure she started crying on the phone. It was so hard for me to fight back my tears. I asked her if she could meet again, and she responded "Of course, I'm not against you. I love you." We then hung up the phone and the tears just came. I got up from the table and went to go to my room, but ended up kneeling on the bathroom floor, tears streaming down my face, pouring my heart out to God. I felt like my heart was breaking. I felt like I did back when I was in high school when my best friend Kimmy was told by her parents that she couldn't join the church and we went and cried on my bathroom floor after the Elders left our house for the last time.(Side note - Kimmy did eventually join the church after she turned 18.)  I literally thought "Heavenly Father, why have you forsaken me? I have been giving my whole heart and soul to this work. I am completely obedient, I follow counsel, I try to talk with everybody, I try to always be happy and lift others up, I crash into bed every night completely exhausted and I get up the next day and start going right away. Do you not care? Do you not care that I'm giving this my all? Do you not care about the sacrifices I've made? Why aren't you here? Why have you left me?" All of a sudden this peaceful, calming feeling came over me. Our district leader called and we explained what happened and he just kept telling us how amazed he has been with how hard we've been working. The impression came that I should ask him for a blessing. I shrugged it off because I was like, "No. I can do this on my own. I don't need one." The thought came again. And again. And finally I just blurted it out and asked him for a blessing. The Elders came this morning and gave me an absolutely beautiful blessing. I literally cried through the entire thing. As soon as he began speaking, I literally felt the Spirit surge through me from my head down to my toes. He spoke of Heavenly Father's love for me. And the most amazing peaceful and strong feeling came over me. He said "Your Heavenly Father wants you to know that He is always with you." It was amazing how personal it was and how it literally covered everything that I needed to hear. I felt so close to my Father. I knew He was with me. And that He loves me. And that He does care! He has never left me, and He never will. He can't. He is my perfect, unchanging, all loving Father. And like a Father, in the blessing He told me He is pleased with all I have done. He is pleased with my hard work and the influence I am having, but that He expects me to keep working with the same diligence and hard work that I have been. To not slow down. To keep going. When the blessing ended, I felt once again that I could fly but that my wings were stronger because they were His. The Lord testified to me that E will get baptized, I just don't know when. I felt  His love for me so immensely that I trust that whatever happens is what He desires. This life is but a small moment, and then if we endure it well, God shall exalt us on high. It doesn't matter if I don't baptize again on my mission or if I baptize 50 million people, the most important thing is that I can stand blameless before the Father at the last day and tell Him that I gave it my all. I love Him. This church is true. Trials don't break us, they build us. He has healed my heart. And He can and will heal yours, if you will turn it over to Him. He loves you.
I love you!
Sisar Nielsen
ps finns are OBSESSED with salmiakki (salted black licorice). they eat it as gum, ice cream, candy, you name it! They LOVE it. So today, Sisar Bates (in honor of her 1 month in finland and my 11 months as a missionary) had a taste testing experiment with trying different salmiakkis. gosh, some of the candies were really gross (like the salmiakki salted peppered banana or the marshmallow one..) but it was really fun to try them!

No comments:

Post a Comment