Monday, September 29, 2014

9/29/14 - This is Zion

Heavenly Father is incredible. He has been blessing us so immensely. I am just in awe. This week has been full of so many amazing, tender, spiritual, joyful moments that I will not be able to tell even half of what I feel. But I guess the most important thing is that God lives, He loves, He hears, and He knows. As we put our trust in Him and go forward, amazing things happen. 

A WAS BAPTIZED!!!!!!! IT WAS AMAZING. So tender. So special. Her whole family came: husband and 2 daughters. Words can't even describe how much I love them. The service was beautiful. Our members were awesome. President and Sisar Watson came so that was a nice treat. We had taught S (A's 6 year old daughter) "I Am a Child of God" and sang it together as the musical number. There were many teary eyes in the room. It was such a special moment. She kept talking about how excited she is to be baptized. Our members just welcomed them right in. One of the couples exchanged numbers with A and her husband so that they could get together sometime. It was incredible! Especially since this was her husband's first time in the church building. Afterwards, he told his wife that he was so impressed by how kind and genuine everyone was. That my friends is an example of being a true friend, and not just being friendly. A glowed after her baptism. It was so amazing to see. S (her daughter) came up to me and said "is it time for class yet?!?" meaning primary. I told her it wasn't until tomorrow and she was like "ahh man... okay well then I'll come tomorrow". haha it's so cute! She's only been once and even though she doesn't understand Finnish, she LOVES it. And we've taught her some of the primary songs so she said that when they sang those songs, she sang them in English :) She's so cute! As they were leaving, they stopped and said "keep coming by. Don't forget about us :)". Well that night, we took them a cookie cake that we made (okay, that we attempted to make...) for their youngest daughter's 1 year birthday. They welcomed us in and gave us juice boxes and cake and said that we really are part of their family. I felt so much love as we were with them. Her daughter has become our best friend and her 1 year old daughter gets so excited when she sees us. It's adorable. Sisar Heggie and I sang the first verse of "Love is Spoken Here", a children's church song. The Spirit got so strong as we sang the words "I see my mother kneeling with our family each day. I hear the words she whispers as she bows her head to pray. Her plea to the Father quiets all my fears. And I am thankful, love is spoken here". We knelt with their family to pray and it was such a powerful, tender moment. Before they left they said that we must come eat dinner with their family and that she will make us lots of yummy, traditional Indian food! YAY! We're really excited! And her husband said "yes you must come! you must!" He is so kind and welcoming to us. And he is so supportive of his wife. It's really cool to see. :) On Sunday A got the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was so sweet and the blessing was beautiful. The members just love her and made her feel welcome. It's hard because she doesn't speak any Finnish yet, but luckily a lot of our members know English really well. (also just a side note, church is translated every Sunday into English. All the English speakers just grab a head set and can listen to it in English. pretty neat). She was going to have to leave after the second hour because her little daughter at home needed her, but S absolutely REFUSED to leave primary! It was so cute! She said "no mom! I'm not leaving!" A consented and came to Relief Society. It was great because two of our members joyfully hugged her when she walked in and were so excited that she stayed because she had just told them she had to go. The person teaching the lesson had printed out the conference talk the lesson was on in English for the English speakers and had A read a portion of it out loud during the class in English. Afterwards, the teacher was saying that she really wants our English speakers to feel more included. It was really cool. All in all, the baptism was wonderful, our Bishop is blown away by how amazing A is, and the ward just took her right in and loved her to pieces. As I sat in church and looked around, I thought "this is Zion." A had been searching for a church. The Lord sent us to her. He knows His sheep. He knows who is ready. As we put our trust in Him, He will guide us every step of the way. 

So as if that isn't a big enough miracle, the Lord continued to shower blessings upon us. We had multiple amazing lessons with S, the girl from Taiwan. Oh my gosh you guys I love her sooo much! We went over and she made us traditional Taiwanese food. It was soo good. She had texted us the day of our lesson and told us she would make us dinner. We asked "what can we bring" she responded "just come tell me more about the church." Well we're sure good at that :) We taught her and her friend all about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. We gave her a Book of Mormon in Chinese. The lesson was so cool and at the end, they both prayed! It was their first time praying! So special :) Her friend said that this was all so cool. That earlier in her life when she did something wrong and felt guilty or when she felt bad, she didn't really have anyone to talk to but that through this religion, she does. She can talk to God. Sometimes I forget how much I take simple things like knowing I can pray to God for granted. We are so lucky to have the knowledge that we have. Two days later, we went back and met with S again and set a baptismal date for October 25 so keep her in your prayers! She had put post it notes in her scriptures and had marked verses that she really liked. She shared one with us about how we need to put our trust in God. I noticed that she had a post it note in 1 Nephi 12. I asked her if this is where she was in her reading. She responded yes. My mouth dropped open. She had read so much in such a short period of time! She was like "I'm sorry I'm sorry! Am I not reading fast enough?" mistaking my shock for scolding. I responded "no, S this is AMAZING!" she replied "really?!? :)" I asked her if she had prayed about the Book of Mormon. She said she had. She replied "I did. I felt very peaceful... I believe it's true." ahhhh! And we followed up and asked if she had prayed about Joseph Smith. She responded "who?" "Joseph Smith" "Oh the boy??" "yes" "no I didn't do that" "ok.." "I'm really sorry!!!" "hahaha "it's okay just pray about him tonight" "ok I will!" She also said that she's been praying every morning and every night and that on Thursday she had a big exam she was nervous about and as she was walking in, she prayed that God would help her. Then she said "am I allowed to do that? To pray while I walk?" we said "yes of course!" she replied "ok good! because it helped!" :). She came to the baptism and loved it! We received a text from her that morning that said she didn't feel well and wouldn't be able to make it to the baptism. We were so sad! So we prayed together that she would feel better and would come. Imagine my joy when I saw her show up to the baptism. She said all of a sudden she got completely better! Prayer works! She felt the Spirit so strongly at the baptism and loved it. After the baptism we had another lesson with a guy. In order to teach a man, we must have another woman present. Well none of the women we asked could come. We were at a loss. And then we turned around and were like "uh.. S" she said "yes...?" "what are you doing in an hour?" hahaha she ended up coming to the lesson with us!!! We prepped her by saying "we're teaching Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon... ya know just that thing we taught you two days ago" haha she came and she testified! It was incredible! You guys, it was the best! She missed church yesterday and we were so sad :( we stopped by her house and she had stayed up past 6 am writing a report for school and had slept through her alarm. She was sooo sad! She kept saying that she wanted to cry, she was so upset she missed church. When we asked if there was anything we could do for her, she simply said "can I just have a hug??" haha she's sooo sweet! And she's been praying and reading the Book of Mormon everyday. Tonight we're going with her to the young single adult family home evening activity in Helsinki so that should be fun. 

This is getting long but I just wanted to talk about one other experience we had this week. So T, our friend from Vietnam, is doing well. We have been repeatedly asking him and committing him to pray and ask God if the Book of Mormon is true and for some reason, he hadn't! We had a lesson with him this week and he basically was like "I think I want to investigate other Christian religions. When I come to church and read the Book of Mormon, I feel the Holy Ghost but I want to see how I feel when I go to other churches and learn about them." I responded "T, the whole reason you're even thinking about going to other churches is because you don't know the Book of Mormon is true. If you knew it was true, you wouldn't have to go to other churches. You wouldn't want to" We committed him to pray that night to ask God. Well, he gave the closing prayer and he stopped half way through and asked "is the Book of Mormon true? is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints true?" the Spirit got so strong and he closed his prayer. We asked how do you feel? and he said "peaceful. why do I have water that wants to come out of my nose and eyes?" (he had started to get all teary eyed). We responded because this is true, and God just answered your prayer. The feeling in the room became incredible. The Spirit was sooo strong. He was in awe. We told him that the God of the Universe just answered his prayer. Now he has an answer. It's up to him what he will do about it. It was incredible to be able to witness first hand the power of the Book of Mormon. We have been promised that if we want to know truth, if we want answers, we need to read the Book of Mormon, ponder it, and ask God in the name of Christ with a sincere heart if it is true and He will answer us. He has answered me, He has answered T, and He will answer you. 

Life is amazing. And get ready! Because next week is GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!! All the caps lock in the world could not convey my EXCITEMENT!!!!! Elder Bednar promised us that if we come prepared to General Conference with a sincere question, we will get an answer to it. Whether it be something that somebody says or a thought or feeling that comes into our hearts, we will get an answer. So start preparing now and watch all of the sessions of General Conference. If you don't watch all of them, you might miss the message the Lord is trying to send to you. I love you! Prayer works. GENERAL CONFERENCE IS HAPPENING IN LESS THAN A WEEK! YAYAYAYAYAY!

I love you!

Sisar Nielsen

ps the stars here are so much CLOSER than back home. We saw the big dipper and it was literally SO CLOSE TO US. it was huge! absolutely beautiful!

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