Monday, November 17, 2014

11/17/14 - Make Every Moment Count

Voi että! This week has flown by! I swear the days just keep getting shorter and shorter and the weeks keep going by faster and faster. So before I go over my week, SHOUT OUT TO THE DADDY-O! HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLD MAN! CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE HAVING ANOTHER BIRTHDAY! Hope that it's wonderful and joyful and full of lots of Costco cake and zingers. Thanks for being my dad and for blessing our family with the priesthood and your funny face. Sure am lucky to have you as a father! 
So remember D, the guy from China who is AMAZING? Well we had two more lessons with him this week. We taught the Restoration and once again, the spirit was off the charts! It was so cool! After we taught him about Joseph Smith, he said "I believe he was a prophet." We asked him to pray that night and ask God if Joseph Smith is a prophet and if the church really is true. He responded that he already believes that it is but he will ask God to just strengthen that belief. wow! Also after we taught the restoration, he said "I know this might sound crazy, but I feel like I've heard this before. Like I feel like I've seen this in a dream before. I know it sounds crazy but I really do....." We were just like it does not sound crazy! That sounds like a miracle! I've secretly wanted somebody to tell me that my whole mission! I've never met anyone like him before in my life. He's lived in China his whole life and moved to Finland 2 months ago. There is no way he's ever heard about Joseph Smith and the restoration before. Yet he says it sounds so familiar. The Lord has been preparing him so much. In Preach My Gospel (our missionary manual) it says the following: President Boyd K. Packer said, "It is important for a... missionary... to know that the Holy Ghost can work through the Light of Christ. A teacher of gospel truths is not planting something foreign or even new into an adult or a child. Rather, the missionary or teacher is making contact with the Spirit of Christ already there. The gospel will have a familiar ´ring` to them." It has been so humbling to teach D and realize even more fully something I've learned on my mission: it's not us, it's Him. People's lives don't change because we're such great teachers, such friendly people, or because we're just "so wonderful," but because they can feel the love of God and the Holy Ghost in their hearts. Our job as missionaries is to get out of the way and allow the Holy Ghost to do the teaching. We taught D again later this week and taught the Word of Wisdom. He said he used to drink everyday, but 2 years ago he decided to quit. He also said that he is willing to completely give up coffee and tea, a big part of his culture for this. He is seriously so cool! He came to stake conference this weekend and loved it. He told 2 other missionaries that he feels like this is what he's been looking for his whole life. And here's the sad part.... he just moved so he is now no longer in our area. He now lives in the ward right next to ours. So we had to pass him over to the Elders there. I'm honestly so sad. Not because "I really want another baptism blah blah blah" but because I leave every single one of his lessons feeling edified and taught by the Spirit. But I know the Lord wants him there now and I'm grateful that we can still go to his baptism November 29th :) It's been so cool to see him already change and grow so much! It was such a miracle to find him and it has really strengthened my testimony that there are people who are prepared for this message! We just have to find them. 

We taught S and L, our friends from Taiwan, this week. We have been praying about them a lot lately and feel like they're ready for baptism even though their parents want them to get baptized in Taiwan. We really feel like they can get baptized the beginning of December. We talked with them about it and after praying about it, they are willing to work towards it as a goal. Gosh, they are so sweet! Please pray for them and for their families so that they will get baptized December 6th! The Lord doesn't want to wait any longer to give them the blessings he has waiting for them. He wants to bless them now! 

This week we met with A and R, our recent converts, and watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. <- if you haven't watched it or haven't watched it recently, WATCH IT. It reaffirmed to me again the truthfulness of the Restoration and that Joseph Smith really was a Prophet of God. There is no way that a man could have done what he did if it weren't for the help of the Lord. It was the first time I had watched it since the MTC and it was such a great experience. Watch it! You won't regret it :) 

We had a way cool opportunity this week when Elder Texeira, the Europe Area President and a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, came to do a mission tour. He gave us so much great counsel and advice. One of the biggest things he focused on was our need to be BOLD. That we are here to help people go back to live with God again and that we need to be straightforward and bold with the things we do, the things we say, and the commitments we give. I'm really excited to step up my game and just be even more straightforward with people like "HEY do you want eternal life?! yes or no?" (ok maybe not quite like that.. but you get the point). Also it was really cool because I was chosen with one other missionary to be interviewed by Elder Texeira. He videoed it which was kinda nerve wracking but still really cool. And it was sweet to have that one on one time with him and his wife. They are both great people. Also it was fun to see old companions and friends. Our mission is divided into 3 zones, so our meeting this week was ours and another zone together. I saw so many sisters from my original group. It's amazing to see how we've all grown and changed and come closer to the Lord. It was so cool to hear updates about people I teached or baptized in other areas. I'm so grateful to be a part of this work. 

We found a new investigator this week! It was actually by visiting our recent convert R. He wasn't home....... but his roommate was :) He's also from Ghana and we had a great chat with him about the gospel. We later told R what had happened and he looked like a little kid on Christmas! He was so excited! He's been trying to share the gospel with his friends. One of them is taking the lessons from other missionaries. R said that his friend asked him what it was like to be baptized and R said that it was amazing! That it was the best feeling and that after he's been baptized, he's been able to understand everything even more! That everything just makes so much more sense! It's amazing how having the gift of the Holy Ghost makes all the difference. The gift of the Holy Ghost is such an amazing gift from God. We can feel the Holy Ghost before we are baptized (telling us what is true, what is right, and what to do) but he is not our constant companion. After we are baptized, if we live worthily, we have that guide with us always. He will warn us of danger, testify to our hearts truth from God, and give us answers to our prayers. One of the reasons the Holy Ghost is so crucial is because through it, we can be cleansed and purified. Every Sunday when we take the sacrament, we can be cleansed from all of our mistakes and sins and start over - thanks to the Atonement of Christ.

I love you! I love this work. I love representing my Savior. When Elder Texeira asked me what advice I would give to new missionaries, it was this: make every moment count. I feel like that applies not just to a mission, but to our lives. Make every moment count. Life is much to short to live with regrets. Choose ye this day whom ye will serve. Use every day to become a little better, improve a little more. Just pick one thing you want to change, and do it. Then pick another and do that. As we improve step by step, little by little, we make every moment count and can truly live our lives to the fullest. And we can be happier :)

Church is true! Book is blue. I love you!

Sisar Nielsen

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