Monday, August 18, 2014

8/18/14 - Have I Told You Lately the Church is True?!

Have you ever felt so happy that you felt like your heart was so full it was going to burst? Well if yes, you will understand how I have felt this past week. If not, you should keep reading and I'll do my best to explain it. 

So have I told you lately the church is TRUE?! like that it is 100% completely the TRUTH sent from God to help us TODAY. Because it is. And I have been able to, in a small way, see how it can literally change a person. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. And it can and does change people. 

This week was a really great week. On Monday (p-day) we went to a place called Suomenlinna (an island fortress off of Helsinki that we took a ferry to) with our district and our friends D and H (H is a recent convert as of last year and is D's friend). It was a ton of fun and we snapped some fun pics. We also had a MIRACLE later that day! Okay so Tuesday was the day that the photographer and reporter followed us around all day. So we just haaaaaddddd to wear cute clothes (no frumpy sister missionaries here! well.. at least for a day). Well, in the space of 2.5 hours, we managed to run around Helsinki like mad women and find 3 complete outfits (accessories included) that weren't only cute but that coordinated really well together! And for those of you who understand, you know that this REALLY is a HUGE miracle! I don't even remember how many stores we went to! We literally had prayed that morning that Heavenly Father would help us because we had such a limited amount of time. Well, let's just say He is the best stylist ever. He loves us personally and He cares about the little things we care about. So thanks to Him, we were all ready for our "Anna" debut! 

Tuesday went really well! The reporter and photographer were both so cool! And they were so interested in what we're doing here. We started the day going to lunch at a hotel so that she could interview us and just ask us tons of questions and then we spent the rest of the day with her and the photographer running around with us (I say running because we end up running at least 3 times a day: to a train, bus, appointment, away from a bee... you name it!) It was tons of fun and we finished at the temple so that was really cool for them to see. It will be printed at the end of this month so I'll let you know how everything goes!

ALRIGHT FRIENDS, now the most exciting news of the week! D WAS BAPTIZED! Oh my word I wish you all could have come and felt the Spirit that was there! It was incredible! On Wednesday, we met with him and did a "mock baptismal interview" where we ask the questions that everybody must answer in order to be baptized (it's questions about their testimonies and their willingness to live certain commandments. We don't want anybody to get baptized unless they choose it and are ready to live it). As we went down the questions, he was just a star! When we asked about the Sabbath day he said "well, last Sunday, I said I would play football (soccer) with some of my friends because I forgot it was the Sabbath day..." he paused. I was like "ahh dang it!" but then he continued "but then I remembered and I refused to go." Gosh... he's such a boss! On Thursday, we talked about the importance of sharing the gospel. We showed him this video (watch it friends!): He smiled through the whole thing! When it ended, he declared, "that was awesome!" And when he prayed he talked about how he's going to share the gospel. And he talked about how he just could not wait for SaturdayOn Saturday we always get together with a big group of people and play football (soccer). D came with some of his friends. One of them was kinda against how D was joining the church. He was like "he has changed 180 degrees! I NEVER thought that he would join your church..." Another one (the recent convert from last year) piped in "yeah, just a year ago, he was saying that he would NEVER ever join the church. It's crazy..." Saturday evening was perfect! D dressed in white and was baptized by the authority of God. He was made clean. He was made perfect. He was made whole. When he came up out of the water, he shot up a thumbs up at the Elder who baptized him. So cool. The Spirit was so strong the whole time. My comps and I sang the "Come Unto Christ" song that I sent home a couple weeks go. As we sang, the Spirit got so strong. It was incredible. When we do missionary work, we are simply inviting others to come unto Christ. The Savior and Redeemer of the world. Our personal Savior. Ultimately He is the most important thing in our lives! Why would we not share this glorious message about Him and His restored truths?? And of course, this wave of emotions hit me during the middle of our song. And I started to cry a little. And then I looked into the crowd and others started to cry when I did. Then I really started to cry. Gosh, the church is just so true! After the baptism, D was just glowing! He said he felt so good! Gosh, he is such a kingdom builder! We gave him a tie and wrote a little message on the back "you've entered the gate, now continue to the end. love, your sisters" (he always calls us his sisters. He usually calls us his "nephite sisters" :)). This little message really is a great reminder to us all. Baptism is just the beginning. We need to continue living, defending, and loving the gospel of Jesus Christ every day of our lives. 

Well Sunday, we were running a little late to the train so we were booking it there. All of a sudden I see movement on the side walk on the other side of our building and H and D are running to the train station too with their suit jackets flapping in the wind! Hilarious. We all show up in a tired mess only to find out that the train schedules were all just changed 2 days earlier and the train had already come! But I couldn't help but feel so incredibly happy and I just couldn't stop laughing as I saw D in a white shirt and the tie we gave him and H wearing a white shirt, tie, and dress shoes! (something that he never does! He also said that they were super hard to run in hahaha.) They also said when they got home from the baptism, there was a party going on at their apartment with lots and lots of beer cans. D used to have a drinking problem and he asked us "guess what I did?" and we said what? and he said "I drank lots and lots of glasses of.... water :)" hahaha he's hilarious. As we're standing there trying to frantically figure out what to do and calling all the members we can think of (D was going to be confirmed in church and receive the Holy Ghost!), their friend T (who we are teaching right now) comes flying around the corner saying "I knew this would happen!" hahaha what? Apparently he was the only one who realized the schedule had changed so he booked it down to us as fast as he could so he could come to church with us too. Basically we all ended up jumping on the 9:47 train (church starts at 10) and had to have a member hurry and bus us to the church from the train station. We arrived just as the meeting started and D got the Holy Ghost and it was amazing! He is just SO happy! It's incredible to see! And he met with Bishop after church so he can get the priesthood and bishop said that during the interview he asked "so when can I go to the temple?!" Awesome! So we're working on having him go really soon! AHHHHHHHHHH!

Basically the church is true and the gospel changes lives! The first time we met with D was on July 29th and in the short space of a couple weeks, he has completely changed! It has been truly AHHHMAZING to witness. It has strengthened my testimony so much of God's love for us and the changing power of the Atonement. I love the gospel. I love my life. I love Heavenly Father! He is just the best! And He just loves us sooo much! Whenever you feel down, unloved, or unimportant, just remember to whom you belong! He loves you! He cares about you! Ahhhhh He is just so amazing! 

Sorry this is so long, but seriously, the mission is just the best years that everybody always talks about! Yeah, it ain't easy. Yeah, the lows are way low. Yeah, sometimes I just wanna sit down and cry. But guess what, the HIGHS ARE SO HIGH that I feel like I can fly! And I have come sooo much closer to God. I just love Him so much! Share this joy with somebody else! It will bring you even greater joy in return. Church is true! 

Until next week, I love you!

Sisar Nielsen

ps it's been raining like CRAZAY here. We got stuck in a down pour on the way to district meeting and we huddled under a tree for a little while but it would not let up. So we took off running cuz we had to get to our meeting and I tried to cover my hair with a plastic bag but it turned into more of a parachute and kept falling over my face and I ended up getting completely soaked anyway. So we showed up to district meeting completely SOAKED and everyone else had arrived right before it started pouring so they were all dry. Then right when our meeting started, the sun came out and it was blue skies.  hahaha

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