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 mormon.org. 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 upnight and did the exchange (basically I just spent the day with them in their area). 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 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!