Monday, July 21, 2014

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

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