Monday, July 28, 2014

Helsinki Temple

Sister Training Leaders at the Helsinki Temple

Eating blueberries while walking through the forest - "This place is magical!"

Kuvia Porkkalasta

Kuvia Porkkalasta

Kuvia Porkkalasta

7/28/14 - Finglish 24/7

For starters, SHOUT OUT TO MY NOT SO LITTLE BRO MATTHEW! CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE TURNING 18 TOMORROW! MITÄÄÄÄÄ?!?! Where has the time gone?! I love and miss you a lot! I'm excited for the day when you can suit up and put a name tag on and take the world our Father's truth too. Start preparing now. The mission will be the best thing FOR your life, like mine has been for me! 

This was quite a HOT week. It's been hot and humid and the sun is ALWAYS shining. I think what makes it hard is that nobody has air conditioning. We're out in the sun all day giving people the word,then we come home and our house is like a sauna. But it's all good. Besides that, this week has been amazing! We've seen a lot of miracles and it just never ceases to amaze me how much our Heavenly Father really loves us. And how lucky I am to be here in Finland! I just love every single minute of it! 

The work here is progressing super well. As always, there is always opposition. And we've felt it, but it's okay, because it just strengthens my testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel. M, our investigator who was supposed to get baptized last Saturday, has decided for some reason to cut all ties with the church. Something must have happened (we think that his family was super against him joining). It was hard watching him walk away from the truth, but it strengthed my testimony so much. My comps and I had prayed about when the Lord wanted our next baptism to be. We got the answer that it needed to be the 24th of July. So we said, "alrighty then. let's go find em" and we set out everyday to find our "one" who would go to baptism that day. Well we found M (actually the Lord just led us to him) and we got him completely ready for baptism in just 12 days! Like what?! He was sooo prepared. He loved church and he just ate up He LOVED watching all of the videos on it. It was soo cool to watch him change. He even gave up smoking. When he cut all ties with us, the Lord really spoke peace to my heart. I was confused at first as to why the Lord would inspire us to set that date and then even though we gave it our ALL, it didn't happen. While in MLC (our mission leadership council with President and all of the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders in the mission) my answer just came to me while I was sitting there. The Lord helps us set goals and leads us up the hills to accomplish them. Sometimes we reach the top of the hill and things didn't go the way we wanted and we're confused and feel the Lord has abandoned us, but in reality, He is saying to us "Look. I have led you up this hill. Look how far you've come. Look how much you've learned. There's an even bigger hill to climb next, but it's okay, because I'll help you do it. We will do it together. And every hill you climb brings you a little closer to me, so that one day, you will be like me." It's so comforting to know that we are never alone and there is always somebody next to us, helping us climb. Even though that was really sad, we picked up 3 new investigators! And one was a 19 year old girl who had been taught before (her roommates were members of the church). We saw her name in our area book and felt like we should call her and we ended up having an AMAZING lesson. We brought one of the oldest ladies in our ward to the lesson. When we asked her to come she was like "me?! me?! why in the world would you want ME to come to a lesson with a young woman?! do you realize how old I am?!" We told her that we did in fact realize but when we prayed about it, her name came to our mind. She agreed to come and it went amazingly! She and M (this girl) just totally bonded. And it was WAY schweet cuz at the end, M was like "ya know, every time I've met with the missionaries, they always bring people my age with them, but I've often wondered, what about later in life. How does the gospel help you then? It was cool cuz today you helped me see" YES! She and our member even rode home together like bff's. It was fantastic. And sooo cool how the Lord just knows His children perfectly :) 

This week we had MLC. We got to start by going to THE TEMPLE!!!!!! Now I want you to all stop and do a self check. When was the last time YOU went to the temple? When is the next time you are going to the temple? When you really think about it, what does the temple mean to you? And if for whatever reason, you are unable to go to the temple right now, what are you willing to do to get there? The temple is the closest place to heaven on earth. I am so grateful that we have such an amazing temple here! And that I get to go to it once a month! What a blessing it has been in my life. It was fun having our first MLC with President and Sisar Watson. They are just great. They live close to us so it's fun to be able to see them often. This week we went and gardened at their house with some of our friends (members, nonmembers, and recent converts). All went well, until I grabbed a fistfull of stinging neddle, but it's okay. I'm a tough cookie. Speaking of cookies, afterwards Sisar Watson gave us punch and cookies. I had forgotten that the word "punch" could apply to a drink. Hahaha it's cray cray how my English is getting so bad - but also how my Finnish is still so bad. So basically I just speak Finglish 24/7, it's great. 

Oi, this week we did exchanges and I went with two of the sisters here. We met up Wednesday night and did the exchange on Thursday (basically I just spent the day with them in their area). Wednesday night, the sisters just seemed kinda upset.. mostly they just didn't seem too happy about the exchange. And I don't blame them, one of the sisters had literally JUST lost her planner (which like has like ALL of our info) which contained the information for the new investigator they had found that day and the sisters had been having a rough time lately with finding investigators. Well that night, I got on my knees and just pled with Heavenly Father that we would have a miracle day the next day. I just knew that these sisters needed to have a good day to get their fires burning again and give them hope. Well guess what guys? God answers prayers. We had a BOMB AWESOME MIRACLE DAY. The sisters knew the general area where the investigator lived, but that was it. They were supposed to have a lesson with her Thursday but they were like "well we lost her info, there's no point in going" but I felt like we should so I was just like "let's just go try and see if we can find her." Well we went, and we didn't find her, but we did find a new investigator and I know that the Lord led us right to him! He is about our age and as we were chatting, we asked if he believed in God and he said "I don't know. But I hope so..." turns out, his best friend had just died from an overdose so now this kid was wondering about God and what happened to his friend. The Lord really does know His children! We also found 2 other investigators! One was a dad who invited us over to teach him and his FAMILY about how to hold a family home evening! We also had a way neat experience. We were at a member's home for dinner (she's 19 and about to leave on a mission to England). She was the only one home cuz her family had tons of crazy stuff going on. Well we are about to eat, and she goes and calls up to N and says "hey, I just made some food for dinner if you want some" in English and we were like "huh?" Well they have this guy from the States staying with them for about 2 months. He is traveling through Europe for a year studying music. He's not lds, but his whole family is so that's how he ended up staying with a member here. Well we had a great dinner, then we had planned to go over the BOM role play with the member (where we practice giving a BOM away). Well, one of the sisters said "We'll have a demonstration. Sisar Nielsen will give one to N first." I was like "uhhh... whatttt??" This guy already knows everything about the church. Has refused to ever read the Book Of Mormon. Plus I don't even have the excuse of a language barrier if I mess up. This is gonna be interesting... It ended up going great! At first he just tried to be somebody on the street, but he ended up just being himself. The whole time I could just feel that the other sisters were praying for me. And turns out, they were! In the end, he actually ended up keeping the Book of Mormon and promised to read it. WHAT?! It was way cool. Long story short, the Lord completlely answered my prayers and by the end of the day, the sisters were literally DANCING around they were so happy! Gosh, the church is true! 

Today we had an awesome adventure! One of our members took us to a place called Porkkalaniemi. It's a beautiful place on the coast! It has a lot of war history and was so cool. Our member was SO nice to take us! She bought us a yummy lunch and ice cream later at the harbor. Gosh it was something out of a dream! As we hiked through the forest, we were stuffing our stomachs with the fresh blueberries that lined the paths. This is Finland folks. It is seriously such a magical place! 

I love my life. I love the gospel. The message we share is one of hope, peace, happiness, and love! Why in the world would we ever just want to keep it to ourselves?! When we could help and lift somebody else?? So pray and help bring somebody closer to Christ! When we pray and ask specific questions like "what can I to TODAY to bring one person closer to Christ?" or "WHO do you want me to help today?" or "HOW can I help so and so feel your love today?" we can get specific answers. So really ponder and pray for specific things, and then "go out and astonish the world" -Jeffrey R. Holland. 

I love you! 

Sisar Nielsen

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Helsinki Temple

Sisar Nielsen playing a popular Finnish lawn game

Face masks and hand cream - ahhhh

Sisar Nielsen and her companions walking home from the temple

Roasting marshmallows haha - trying to keep their fires burning :)

7/21/14 - "If You Spit it Out, it Doesn't Count"

Ok for starters, I can't believe I forgot to write home about this. Something really exciting is happening in our mission for the first time in YEARS. It is evidence that the Lord really is hastening His work HERE in Finland! AN APOSTLE OF THE LORD IS COMING TO OUR MISSION IN SEPTEMBER. David A. Bednar is coming to visit! I'M SOOO EXCITED! Maybe for other missions that's not a big deal to have an apostle visit, but for the Finland Helsinki mission, it's HUGE. And to make it even more special, his son served a mission here many years ago so Finland already has a special place in his heart. We are really excited and working really hard to prepare our mission for an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

So as always, we are just having way too much fun together. We met with T again this week and she is really progressing. I just love her. She is currently praying about August 14th as a baptismal date. I'll let you know how things go. We also had the opportunity to attend 2 baptisms this past Saturday. One was the cutest 24 year old girl. Her friend gave her a Book of Mormon 4 years ago, and recently she got the feeling she needed to read it. Have I mentioned before the power of the Book of Mormon? When we give a Book of Mormon away by the Spirit, we show the Lord that we REALLY do believe it to be the word of God and that it has power to change people. Change somebody's life and give a Book of Mormon away. We also got to attend the baptism of a recently re-activated member's husband in our ward. It was so cool. It's been amazing to watch this family change and see the light of Christ come on inside of them. The gospel really does bless families. M, the investigator we found on the train from Nigeria, has been progressing really well. Because he technically lives in the Elders' area, we have been team teaching him with the Elders which is something none of us have ever done before. It's actually been going really well. And he's progressing towards baptism! He came to the baptism on Saturday and loved it and was talking about his own. He was supposed to get baptized next Saturday but unfortunately he'll have to wait because he has to attend church at least one more time. He LOVES the mormon.orgvideos and how happy all the people are in them, despite the fact that many of them have had really hard lives. This gospel is a gospel of happiness. And the best way to share the gospel is by inviting others into our gospel centered lives, loving them, and helping them feel the Savior's love and the Spirit in our homes. By helping them realize that they too can find lasting happiness in this life. When we truly, honestly live the gospel at all times, and in all things, and in all places, others will be able to see Christ in us. And that my friends, is the highest level of success in this life. 

I wish I could just transport you all to be with me here for one day! To experience what it's like to be a missionary in Finland! I love this place with all my heart! It's so green here. There are wild flowers all along the roads. The clouds are the most amazing things I've ever seen, constantly changing and moving. The sun never sets. There's a nice breeze but it's warm. You can walk from any where for 5 minutes and find yourself in a forest. They're everywhere! And the pine trees are incredible. The chocolate is to die for. You haven't tasted good chocolate until you've had Finnish chocolate. Unfortunately, they still haven't jumped on the whole peanut butter and chocolate train but the other kinds (like dark chocolate lemon and ginger, dark chocolate pear, chili pepper, raspberry yogurt, dark chocolate with orange pieces... the list goes on and on) are sooo good! And the ice cream here is ahhhnmazing. But gosh, nothing beats the fact that I'm right by the temple! It seriously is my favorite place in Finland! It is SUCH a special temple and it's soooo Finnish! I love it! We got to take one of our new friends there this week. We met her on the street last week and met with her the first time on Monday. She's from Turkey and is so sweet. At the end of our discussion, she said "you girls are so sweet, I want to do something for you!" so she goes into the kitchen, whips up a face mask, and puts it on our faces (she is a hair stylist and cosmetologist) and then she did our eyebrows using a thread (which was my first time ever having anybody do that... it kinda freaked me out but don't worry, I was brave!) It was great. Later in the week we took her to the temple with us and she wanted to go in so badly. We kept saying "I'm sorry you can't go in yet". She went up to one of the temple missionary couples and was like "maybe if I tell them I didn't get to go through the open house they'll let me go in". Yeah, unfortunately that didn't work either, but we want to help G have a chance to go there one day. The temple really is a such a special place :) 

The work is progressing here really well! We have a lot of people that are coming closer to Christ and we are having so much fun doing it! People always say that trios are either amazing or the worst thing ever. Well luckily for us, it has been the best thing ever! Our goal is to never lose our love and our FIRE for missionary work and to make everyday an adventure, and we have been pretty darn successful. As we pray always, we've been having way cool experiences and been seeing lots of miracles. Like a woman who brought 4 children with her and just walked over to us as we were walking to the temple and asked if we could show it to them. She lives right by it, loved going to the open house, and always shows all of her tourist friends it but never realized that she was able to walk around the gardens of it. Then out of nowhere, we got a text from a man whom the sisters had met months and months ago who said that he was sorry he had been so busy but now he wanted to finally meet with us. So we met with him and had a great church tour. Another set of sisters showed up to the temple tour that we do every Wednesday and brought their investigator who brought a friend who became our new investigator cuz she lives in our area! Way sweet! It's amazing to see the Lord's hand in all things and how much He blesses us! 

Alright, now for some random stories real quickie. So my companions and I have decided to start a water drinking contest. We all have water bottles and we've been competing to see who can drink the most liters in a day. The highest I've gotten so far is 3 liters! The first day I tapped out after 1 1/2 so I've been making lots of improvements. It only counts when we drink it from our water bottles, so any water we drink from a glass doesn't count. Well, it's been really good and we actually feel a lot better. The only problem is that we have to visit the bathroom a lot and there are essentially no public restrooms in Europe so that's adding an exciting factor to the challenge. One day we were on splits and we were doing language study. Sisar Pugmire and Sisar Cribbs and I were together. We were taking turns going around in a circle reading the Book of Mormon out loud in Finnish. Well, because the water competition was getting fierce, every time somebody would read, the other two would start chugging their water which resulted in the reader reading as fast as possible. Well it was my turn again to read and my verse was way long and both sisters were just chugging their water as fast as possible and I start reading and they're chugging and finally I just yell "that's it!" and I grab my water bottle to drink it. Well, this made both of them laugh but their mouths were full of water... yeah, that's an issue. Long story short, they both almost die choking on their water, they jump up looking for a place to spit it out, I yell "if you spit it out, it doesn't count!" to which they both really start laughing and run like chickens with their heads cut off to our deck and spit their water everywhere! One of the sisters starting losing it while still inside the apartment and got water all over the floor and door. My word we were all laughing so hard we almost peed our pants (which was a legitimate concern since we had drunk so much). Basically it was just hilarious and drinking water is good for the soul.

I love my life. I love the gospel. And I love YOU! Christ is the well of living water. When we drink of the water He offers us, we will never thirst again. He loves us more than we can comprehend and He wants to quench our thirst. He wants our cups to run over. He wants us to experience the incredible kind of joy that infuses our souls with light. Come closer to Him. Read the Book of Mormon EVERY DAY. As you do, you will be able to partake of the water He is offering you. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. Christ won't force you. You must make that choice. So make it. Because I can promise you, it will make all the difference. The church is true. Stop, and think about what that phrase really means. And what it means to you. 


Sisar Nielsen

Monday, July 14, 2014

7/14/14- Light Your Fire Within


My this has been quite the week. For starters, we had Zone Meeting which is a meeting that is put on by the Sister Training Leaders and Zone leaders for all the missionaries serving in our Zone. It was such a great experience to be a part of it as a Sister Training Leader. Our whole theme was putting fire back into missionary work. It was absolutely amazing and exactly what I needed! After opening the meeting in the chapel we brought all the missionaries into the gym, had them close their eyes, and then had one of our Elders who goes home soon read his mission call. The Spirit completely flooded the room. We all focused on what our thoughts and feeling were when we first read those words: "You are called to serve in the Finland Helsinki mission." The Elder reading got chocked up. Many people had tears running down their faces. I was one of them (I know.. shocker). After he finished reading, they turned to the people at their tables (they were divided into groups) and discussed the feelings they had when they opened their calls and how they feel now hearing them again. We did a scripture study on having a "burning fire... in our bones" (Jeremiah 20:9) and focused on how when Christ is our motivation, our vision for our area, mission, and lives raises. We shared quotes from the new mission president seminar about how the goal is for missionaries to come home and never fall away - to be strong and have our great great grandchildren receive the blessings of the temple. Overall, it was an absolutely amazing meeting. Many missionaries said it was the best they had ever gone to. And that's because we really just turned it over to the Lord and let Him lead it. It's nothing that we did. It was all the Lord. We gotta help keep this fire burning in our missionaries! And in all of us! This is such an exciting time to be a member of the church!  The Lord really is hastening His work and He wants us to be a part of it! "Shall we not go on is so great a cause?" -Joseph Smith.

So this week we saw tons of miracles! As my companions and I work on consecrating ourselves while still having fun and keeping our fires bright, things have really started picking up. We found 3 new investigators this week! And when I first got here, there was only 1. That one investigator, T, wasn't progressing (because she wasn't attending church) so we really didn't have anywhere to go but up, and let me tell you, we're going up! T is so adorable and is in her late 20's. We met with her this week at the temple and she said she wants to go in sometime. And then later in the week, we kind of had like a "do or die" lesson and just walked in and were like "today we are talking about baptism." Well, it ended up going really well! And she wants to get baptized in August! Whaaahooo! She is going through a lot of changes in her life and recently just went through a rough time, so this is the perfect time for her to start again. She went out of town (we were pretty bummed) but we arranged for the elders in that area to drop some bread off at her house. They did and she was so touched that when we asked if she would want to go to church where she is, she said yes! Those same elders worked out a ride for her with some of their members and she went to church! It was a miracle! She has completely changed since the sisters first met her, and even since I first got here. She LOVES the Book of Mormon and can't go to sleep at night without reading it. We are really excited to help her progress down this covenant path. 

My companion also met this guy from Nigeria on the train. He saw her name tag and even though it was in Finnish, he said "Are you from the Church of Jesus Christ? I've seen a lot of you guys around Nigeria." She was like "Why yes we are!" Our stop was right then so she gave him her card and told him to call us. Well sure enough, the next day we got a call from M. We were like whaaaat? Nobody ever calls! It was way sweet! We were on exchanges so my comp and another sister gave him a church tour and had a great lesson. He came to church on Sunday and stayed for all three lessons and loved it! He's set for baptism later this month. One of the elders said they were talking to him at church and he said he wants to get baptized. He loves the idea of being made clean and having all of his mistakes, guilt, and sins taken away. And that is exactly why we are here. To help set people free. The gospel is a message of hope and love. We can all be made perfect and clean, regardless of our mistakes in the past. The Savior is standing before us with His arms open wide, calling our name. He wants to take away our burdens and the pain that weighs us down. He wants us to be full of light and love. Let Him heal you. He's waiting for you. 

One of our other new investigators was a guy I met on the bus. I sat down and started chatting with him. He's from Nigeria and was born into a Muslim family but decided that he didn't really receive the answers he was looking for, so he started practicing a christian religion. He still didn't feel like his questions were answered so he ended up leaving that religion and now he's not really sure what to believe. He believes there is a God but he's not too sure about anything else. His biggest question is "what is my purpose on this earth?" We had an amazing first lesson. He said a really heartfelt prayer at the end. I love hearing people pray! It is the most amazing thing to hear somebody communicate with their Heavenly Father, especially when they aren't used to it. He is a really great guy with a big heart, and he is searching for the truth. Luckily for him, he just found it! 

This week was full of lots of other fun things! Like I got to go on exchanges with my baby Sisar Woods (one of the perks of being a Sister Training Leader). I also ate a lot of lakaritsi (licorice) ice cream. and a lakaritsi pie (have I mentioned before how much they LOVE licorice here?) We also play soccer every Saturday and through our recruiting, we had a ton of people there last week! And the majority were nonmembers! It was way cool. I also got to see one of the members that I love from my first area, Tampere, because she came to Espoo to visit a friend. We about died when we saw each other. It was a great surprise! We also went and visited our American family that is here for 6 weeks and played the traditional mölkky game (it's a way fun Finnish lawn game) and I won! We also enjoyed chips and REAL AMERICAN SALSA! We were so excited! How I've missed it! We also made homemade Finnish pancakes (so good! shout out to my mama for the maple syrup extract!) and homemade chicken pesto pizza. mmmmmm. Overall, this has been a great week! We're loving life!

Light your fire within! YOU are a child of God. He loves YOU. You are IMPORTANT and DIVINE. Let Him change you! Let the fire burn inside of you. You can do great things. God lives. And He is a God of miracles. I witness miracles every single day! He just constantly amazes me. Share the light that you have received. Open your mouth! And it WILL be filled (D&C 33). You can do it! But start now! Make a goal to bring others closer to Christ. Today! Tomorrow! and forever! Share the gospel. Live the gospel. Love the gospel. 

I love you!

Sisar Nielsen

ps so we got on the train and I went and sat down. I got a feeling I needed to go back and sit somewhere else. So I got up and moved and sat down next to this guy. I strike up a conversation with him but find out he doesn't know Finnish so we go into English. When I told him I was from the states, he was like "hey I met 3 girls from there last week. they're church people" I was like "they were probably my friends" He was like "yeah, I feel really bad. They have been calling me a lot but I haven't been able to respond or meet with them." All of a sudden, I was like "what's your name?" and he was like "O" and I was like "what the heck! we've been trying to call you!!!!!!" turns out, we were those three girls! He was like "I thought you looked familiar but your hair looked different (this time I had it up instead of down) so I wasn't sure." He took his hat off and then I immediately recognized him. hahah so I was like "O, I was sitting over there and had a feeling I needed to move, so I did and look what happened! Clearly God wants us to meet!" He said "yes I think you're right." So he came to sports on Saturday with his friend and we lined him up with the other sisters because they actually live in their area. But moral of the story people is, YOU CAN'T ESCAPE THE WORD. or SISAR NIELSEN. Imma find you! :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

"In honor of our 1 week together, we got some treats :) "

Happy 4th of July!

7/7/14 - Proud to Be an American

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY EVERYBODY. Aren't you just proud to be an American? In honor of the holiday, our recent convert friend from Vietnam here threw a BBQ. His nonmember Vietnamese friends came, along with members from Estonia, Spain, and Sweden. Plus the Elders and their investigator from the Philippines (who happens to be a pastry chef who studied in Paris and brought the most delicious treats everrrrr!) were there and a member from Finland. There's nothing like a group of people from all around the world coming together to celebrate the one and only US of A. We sang some good old fashioned American songs (in English... weird!) and had a lot of fun! One of the things I love about Finland is how it truly is a place of peace and refuge. People come from all over the world in search of peace and safety. Espoo is a LOT more diverse than Kuopio was. I love it! But honestly, one of the main reasons why so many people come here is because we have a temple here. It didn't make sense to build a temple in little, tiny Finland with only about 5,000 members in the whole country, but the Lord knew that this would be a gathering place for the Saints.  As a result, He has preserved this land and is bringing people to it. There is an energy and a Spirit here in this beautiful country. It was here when I got here but it has been growing. The Lord is hastening His work in this part of the world, and we truly are laying a foundation for it. 

This week we got to meet our new mission president and his wife, President and Sisar Watson! They're just great. And so kind. And they live pretty close to our house so they're actually in our ward! We took the opportunity to drop cookies by their house and they just invited us right in, sat us down on their couch, and just asked about our lives and showed us pictures of their family. They acted like we were just part of the fam. It was great. We had a "Meet the President" meeting last night for the Helsinki Stake that was filmed and broadcast to those who couldn't be there. There were a couple of small musical numbers and I had the chance to sing in them! (yeah we all know I'm not musically talented, but somehow I keep scoring comps that are) so that was pretty exciting! Honestly I feel like a new kingdom has begun here and it's exciting to be a part of it. 

Gosh, my comps and I are just having way too much fun. We laugh literally 24/7 which is great because right now one of our goals is to breath life and excitement back into the work here. Too many missionaries are getting stressed and discouraged. Our focus is to help them have fun while doing this AMAZING work - to feel the excitement of the Lord hastening His work, and to LOVE every minute of it. We got to go on our first exchanges this week, so I was sent off to another area to work with a Sister there and her companion came to our area to work with my companions here. I always love working with other missionaries because there are so many opportunities to learn new things. We had a miracle happen that was way cool. We had been praying like crazy and following the little promptings we received. We got to the bus stop and both prayed and felt we needed to walk down to the next bus stop. We did and met a man there who ended up getting on the same bus as us. Throughout the conversation, we got out the Book of Mormon and ended up giving it to him after showing him a chapter that answered his question "what is the purpose of life?" He was soo touched and grateful! And he started reading it right away. It was way cool and he's super excited to meet with the missionaries.

So being down here in the big bad South means that I'm always taking public transportation. Which also means that we're constantly running like crazy people to catch a bus or a train or catch a bus to take us to a train. Life is always an adventure here. Once, we accidentally took a bus all the way to Helsinki! That was a bit of a shock when we realized we were there instead of home. Being on public transportation gives us the opportunity to talk with lots of people and meet all kinds of different people! I love it! But it can also lead to some interesting or embarassing experiences. Yesterday I sat down next to this way cute girl in her mid 20's. I complimented her shirt and we started talking. Then a guy from across the aisle interrupted me and started asking me about my name tag. The problem was that he was extremely drunk. Well he ended up moving and sitting facing me and getting way to close for comfort and kept trying to touch my name tag. As soon as he came over, I watched this girl just close up. Even though I really just wanted to get sassy with this drunk man and tell him to get lost because I was trying to give this woman eternal life, I held my cool and just answered his questions. At this point, other people were watching and listening to everything that was going on, so it hit me that I should just teach this drunk man and thereby, teach like half the train! So he started asking me different questions like "why are you in Finland?" and "why does it say Jesus Christ on your name tag?" and stuff so I just started teaching him the basic principles of the gospel. It ended up being way cool cuz as I held my own and just stayed calm, the woman ended up asking "wait, how long have you been here?" and I was able to keep talking with her again. So I taught her and the drunk man. It ended up being a pretty successful teach. When we got off, my comp ran up to me and was like "are you okay?!" She had been in the row of seats behind mine and had seen the whole thing. Gosh, the life of a missionary. Oh also another embarrassing moment that happened on a train: so my comp was teaching this guy from Africa named Ola. Well, as we're getting off I go and shake his hand and say "moi" to which he says "Ola" to which I respond "Bonjour" and he just gave me a weird look and I kept walking. Afterwards I realized that the reason he gave me a weird look was because when I said hi in Finnish and then he told me his name, I thought for some reason he said "hola" so then I just responded in another language because I thought we were just being funny and saying "hi" in different languages. My companions died laughing. Gosh, why do I have to be SO AWKWARD. Oh, another cool experience was when we were on the train and I didn't have anybody to talk to but both of my companions did. I just prayed my heart out for them so that the Lord would soften the hearts of the people they were talking with and help them to know what to say. Well, as we got up to leave, a woman from across the aisle of my companion said "is that a Mormonin Kirja?!" to which my comp responded "yes it is." She responded with "I've been wanting to talk with people from your church! Can I get your contact information?" It was sooo cool how the Lord totally answered my prayer like that! Church is true folks! Another experience was when we were on the train coming home and my companions and I were all standing together. One of the train ticket collectors who was from Africa started to talk to us. He asked us why we were here and we explained that we were church representatives. He was like "well that's not fair! they send beautiful young women to tell people about your church? you girls are weapons of mass destruction. heartbreakers...." hahahaha we died laughing. It was the most ridiculous thing ever. So now when anything happens, we just turn to each other and are like "it's okay guys, cuz I'm a weapon of mass destruction." Weapons of mass destruction in the Lord's Army... :)

Basically, I know I say this every time but THE CHURCH IS TRUE FOLKS. It just is. Whether you support it, live it, love it, or build it- is up to you. But regardless, it is true. So ask yourself this question: are YOU true to the church? Do you live it in the light and in the dark? With your family and with your friends? At school, at work, and at home? When people look at you, do they see Christ? Are you a true Christian in word and in deed? He lives, ya know. He lives. And He loves you. It doesn't matter what you're going through. He wants to help and carry you. So stand for Him. A true disciple of Christ would not only die for Him, but more importantly, they want to live for Him. Be a true friend to all around you. Seek to bless and lift. You are amazing. And you are loved by somebody who knows you perfectly. Turn to Him. He's calling your name. He lives. 

I love you! 

Sisar Nielsen

ps we met this family from America that is here for 6 weeks. they're from Georgia. we ran into them and they said "hey we live in that big yellow house over there, come visit anytime". well last night, we stopped by and did. they were so kind and welcoming! I love Americans! they gave us butterscotch cookies (I forgot butterscotch existed!) and told us to come back! the mom's grandma was a member of the church so she knows a little about it. it was cool meeting an American family. I'm pretty sure it's the first actual American family I've met my whole mission!