Heavenly Father loves us. Isn't that a beautiful and amazing truth? I have felt His love a lot this week as He has spoken peace to my heart and allowed me to witness so many amazing miracles.
Just so you know.... Originally I was supposed to be released from my mission. Our release date was pushed back until . They were debating it for a little while but now it is set in stone. I'm going to be honest, at first I was pretty upset. That means I will miss Christmas with my family, BYU starts and that's just craziness, but the Lord has spoken great peace to my heart and now I am completely calm about it and know that this is His plan. So I will see you all next year! And that also means that I was a full time missionary every. single. day. of the year 2014, which is kinda exciting :) God's timing is perfect. Sometimes, we just have to trust Him.
So Sister Heggie and I have been focusing on finding and teaching kingdom builders. People who want to join the church and who will stay true to it and help strengthen others. When people aren't willing to give it their all or keep the commitments we give, we drop them and put them into the Lord's hands and find others that will. As a result, we actually aren't teaching very many people. But every single person we are teaching is a ROCKSTAR. We are currently teaching 3 people. Let me tell you about these wonderful friends of mine. The first is A, the mom from India that we met miraculously on the street and have been teaching for a little while now. Well..... SHE'S GETTING BAPTIZED. It's sooo amazing! The Spirit is always so strong in her lessons. She said she called her parents in India and told them about it and they were so happy for her and she was able to talk with them about the Book of Mormon. She's already doing missionary work! What a star! And she has such strong faith that in the future her husband will join the church and will hold the priesthood and bless her family with it. As she spoke these words to us, so full of faith and hope, it really touched my heart. Just a month ago, she didn't even know what the priesthood was and now she has a firm desire for her husband to bless their family with it. The gospel is the only way to keep our family together in this world. I have learned so much about the kind of family I want in the future from my mission. I refuse to settle for anything less than a righteous priesthood holder and a temple marriage. We talked about the temple and A said that they often go as a FAMILY and sit on the benches in the temple garden and just feel the peace that is there. Her husband goes as well! Ahhhh! When she came to church yesterday, she brought her little 6 year old daughter. And she went to primary! And even though she doesn't speak Finnish, she loved it! The kids were so kind (and there are actually a couple her age that speak English and Finnish fluently.. these kids are incredible) so that was awesome! She was just beaming and told me how fun it was. In 2 years, she can be baptized too :) The gospel truly blesses families.
Our second friend is T. He is H's (a recent convert that joined last year) and D's (our friend that joined the church last month, I'll talk about him in a minute) roommate. He's also from Vietnam and we have been meeting with him for a while. He too is preparing for baptism. It's been sooo amazing to see the change that has occurred in him. He seems so much happier and his faith has grown a ton. When we first started talking with him his understanding of who God is was very different from ours, but as we've continued to meet with him, his ideas have completely changed. Plus he feels the spirit sooo strongly. It's so cool to hear him describe it. He's the one that describes his heart feeling warm as all the blood vessels in his body push the blood back to his hard quickly so that it becomes warm because of the increase of blood flow to the heart (he has a very logical and scientific mind). He says he feels such an incredible, different feeling every time he comes to church, reads the Book of Mormon, and prays. It's been really cool to literally see the change in him. I know that he too will soon enter into the gate of baptism which will open up a whole new world of joy and blessings :)
The third friend is S. Oh my word you guys I just LOVE her so much! She's a 20 year old student from Taiwan and is the one that came to church with us last week. Well she had gone out of town this past week so we didn't really have any contact with her, but she came to church with us again and loved it! And she stayed for all three hours this time. This was her second time going to church in her whole life! She said she felt so much peace and joy there and that it felt like a family. It was sooo cool. While A went and met with the bishop to discuss her baptism, S and I were outside the office chatting. I explained to her how A was getting baptizedand what that means. I explained to her our purpose as missionaries and how we teach and help people come closer to Christ and strengthen their relationship with God. When I asked her what her belief or idea about God was, she said she's not sure but she wants to learn more. I explained how we are all His children and He loves us. I compared it to her parents back in Taiwan. She said that ever since she has come to Finland to study, her relationship with them has grown a ton. I explained that even though she's not with them, she is still able to have a strong relationship with them. Even though we're not with God, we can still have a strong relationship with Him through the gospel of Jesus Christ: through prayer, reading the scriptures, and going to church. She got really excited and wants to come closer to Him. Sisar Heggie gave her a Book of Mormon and she was sooo excited and said "really?!?!" when we told her she could keep the book :) We set up a time to meet with her this coming week. And last night, we hurried and baked chocolate chip banana bread and took it to some of our friends. We decided to stop by S's apartment because she had given us her address. Well we ended up accidentally kinda scaring her roommate and her hahaha but they were so excited to see us. Her roommate is from South Korea and said "S told me all about you! I come home right when you guys are coming over and I would like to join you" uhhhhh soooooo cool! They were both incredibly sweet and I just feel so much love towards them. The Lord is blessing us so much to find such amazing and prepared people. It's nothing that we're doing. It's all Him. Sometimes I just stand in awe as I think about the miracles I get to witness everyday. One of those moments was in church when I looked around and saw all three of the people we're teaching there. Plus A's daughter. Ah. This is the Lord's work. I'm so grateful to be able to take part in it.
D texted us this week. He's the one who was baptized last month and then moved to Turku. He is such a rockstar and is doing so well. He's just so solid! And is such a kingdom builder. When we asked him how going to church in Turku has been, he responded with this text: " :) yea. people are friendly and always welcome people. I"m happy that I help my friend to read bible again. She haven"t had time to read and she told me that she believe in God in another way. I response that only way is u read gospel and pray and go to church then u feel happy and close to God. she promise to read it everyday. She is lutheran church member but im still happy for her. Thanks God to give me priesthood so im confident to talk to people about gospel." OHHH MY WORD! Sister Heggie and I about cried! We responded about how awesome that is and he texted: "I feel good bc I have chance to service God. I told her mormon book is awesome and she should read it. She answer that she will read when she finish her thesis" He has been telling his friends all about the gospel. And I love that he said having the priesthood has given him the confidence to share the gospel with others. He recognizes that God is with Him and that he does not need to fear. Do we fear to tell others about this great truth or do we remember our great worth, that we are children of God and that He has given us His spirit to support the words we say and that we never stand alone? This is the truth! Why not share it with everyone around us?! If we don't share it with them, when, from whom, and how will they get it? We don't want any of them coming up to us after this life and saying "you had it. you had the truth. you had lasting peace, happiness, and the way back to live with God again. Why didn't you share it with me? Why didn't you even try?" As we remember who we are and who is with us, we will have the confidence to do as D did and help others to come unto Christ :)
I love you. I love this gospel. The time is flying by but I'm working to make every moment count. I went to the temple this week as part of MLC (mission leadership council) and it was so amazing. Every time I go there I never want to leave. Go to the temple. After you read this, SET A DATE for the next time YOU will enter the temple doors. The Lord will bless you in more ways than you can know.
I love you!
ps sisar heggie and I are having way to much fun. she went to the bathroom and so I thought it would be funny to hide and scare her. So I hid in the closet and turned off all the lights. She came out talking to me and then stopped when she realized what was going on. she was like "oh no...." well long story short, she searched everywhere and finally found me and when she opened up the door I scared her and she screamed like a little girl. so now we have this on going battle of trying to scare each other hahaha. ya know, it's the little things that help make the work more fun :)