Monday, November 3, 2014

11/3/14 - The Greatest Halloween of My Lifetime

Happy Halloween friends! I dressed up as... a missionary. shocker. Also it was probably the greatest Halloween of my lifetime. I spent all day with my Mission President and his wonderful wife for MLC (mission leadership council). We spent the whole day at their house with the zone leaders and sister training leaders of the mission (which included Sister Hubner my former comp/twin, Sister Woods my former comp/trainee!, Sister Crandall from my MTC district, and Sister Dixon who I've done exchanges with multiple times), eating yummy food, and basking in the Spirit. It was a blast! At the end of the day we all went to the temple together. OH MY WORD. Seriously, greatest Halloween ever. 

So transfers happened! And Sister Bitner arrived here from the North on Tuesday. It's been so fun and we get along great! She is from Utah, was in the same group as Sister Woods, and loves soccer. I seriously have been blessed my whole mission with amazing companions! I've been so lucky to get along with and love every single one of them. Monday night we went to FHE with some of our friends. It was in Helsinki and was tons of fun. I love being a missionary and living in this beautiful place. And I LOVE Helsinki. It's such a great city. Tuesday I went around with Sister Heggie to say goodbye to people. Voi että... it was rough. Many a tear was shed. I'm so not excited for that to be me. But luckily I've still got some time :) Due to the craziness of everything, we hardly had time to shop for food this week. And now I must say, the story of the loaves and fishes has greater meaning for me. We had Sisters Heggie, Bitner, and me here Tuesday night, Sister Heggie and her trainee with us Wednesday night, all of the sister training leaders (Sisters Hubner, Woods, Crandall, and Dixon) Thursday night (and oh my word was that a BLAST OR WHAT!!! IT WAS SOOO FUN!), Sisters Crandall and Dixon again on Friday night, and finally just us for the weekend. As a result, we have been completely cleaned out of food. Like I opened the jar of peanut butter and it was scraped clean haha. But some how, none of us went hungry and we were all able to be fed. It was incredible. The Lord definitely provided (including a senior missionary couple randomly showing up to our district meeting and giving us bread, grapes, and brownies to take home with us haha). The Lord takes what we have, and magnifies it. When we think about the story of the loaves and the fishes, the Lord never asked "what do you lack?" or "what do you need?" He simply said "bring me what you have" and He blessed it. And that's what He does for us with our lives. He doesn't ask us what talents, skills, or possessions we lack. He simply says bring what you have and let me bless it. Let me help you become something you can't on your own. Let me help you do the impossible. Allow me to heal you. Allow me to bless you. Bring me what you have and let me do the rest. How grateful I am to have such a powerful and loving Savior, healer, and friend. 

This week was a great week! We had 3 of our friends in church on Sunday with us! Including S and L and a new friend D from China! We met him on the street a couple days ago and started talking with him. The whole time we were chatting, I was just praying that we could turn it to the gospel in a meaningful way. We started asking about his family and he said that his mom passed away 10 years ago and that it was really hard and still affects him, but he said that as a result of that experience he started to believe in God. We then were able to explain why we are here and talked about the temple and how families can be together forever. He wants to meet and came to church and loved it! It was so cool! He has a wife and little boy that are moving here from China towards the end of this month so that's extra exciting! And it was so cool because after Sacrament meeting, we explained that there were two more classes to go to and he said that he had an appointment at 12 so he needed to leave but that he was sooo sooo sorry that he didn't know and next week he will stay for the whole thing. Well that's what every missionary wants to hear. We are so excited to help him and his family become an eternal family. That's what this is all about :) 

We had a great lesson right before Sister Heggie left with S and L. Their understanding of the gospel is incredible. We had an amazing discussion about the restoration and what it means to us that the church is true. That if we really know it's true, then we have to live it. When we asked them what they should do because they know it's true they said, "pray, read the book of Mormon, and go to church." Um, that's exactly right! and then they brought up that they should be baptized! Oh my word, I wish with all my heart to be there when they get baptized but as of now, they are still set on getting baptized in Taiwan when they go home in June. But ultimately, it's not about me it's about them. I know the Lord will take care of them and help them do what is best for them. He sees the whole picture, we just see a part of it. 

R is doing really well post baptism. When we met with him, he said he had already gone through and started reading all of the pamphlets again on his own. He's so solid and loves being a member of the church. It's so cool to see. 

With November here (CRAZY!) we've officially started listening to CHRISTMAS MUSIC!!! Neither of us had Christmas music last Christmas so we have to make up for lost time :) It's so crazy that I will be in Finland for another Christmas but I'm so excited! If I have to spend Christmas away from my home and family, what better way to spend it than as a missionary in the fine land of Finland?! Yeah, I know. There isn't anything else that would be better. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about giving things over to the Lord. Giving our burdens, our sins, our pains, our sadness to the Lord and allowing Him to heal us. When I was studying Preach My Gospel (our manual) this week, I read something that I really liked. It said that when we repent, we receive a remission (forgiveness) of our sins. This remission is Jesus Christ healing us spiritually. He wants us to come as we are, and He will heal us. As a missionary, sometimes I try to put too much on my shoulders. Sometimes I feel the weight of the work pulling me down. Sometimes I try to take too much responsibility for other people's salvation and hold myself accountable for other people's actions. Sometimes I blame myself for other people's mistakes or wrong actions. Last night was one of those nights. As I knelt in prayer with my overwhelmed and disappointed heart, pleading with my Father, I felt a load lifted off of me. Literally, I felt it leave me. It was incredible. It was real. The Lord loves each and everyone of us. He is all powerful, understands infinitely more than we do, and is a just and loving Father. As I talked with my Father, I realized that these people I love are His. He has them in His hands. All He expects of me is to be the best person I can be and do my best to bring others to Christ and He will take care of the rest. It was amazing to feel the power of the Atonement take this burden away from me. The Atonement is not just for the sinners, it's for anyone with a burden, pain, load, or hardship. Anyone that feels lonely, lost, or abandoned. It's for anyone that needs help, strength, and love. It is for all of us. It has been incredible to see how my understanding and use of the Atonement has changed since the beginning of my mission. It has become such a real and enabling power. I'm so grateful to have a Savior that loved me enough to do what He did for me. Little, insignificant, awkward me. Oh Lord, how great thou art!

The church is true! Think, like S and L did, what that knowledge means to you and what you want to do about it. What you are willing to do for it? What changes in your life do you need to make as a result?

I love you!

Sisar Nielsen

ps during the FHE activity, I was walking with Sisar Heggie and it was rather dark. I ran right into a WC (bathroom) sign that was made out of metal and shaped as an arrow. Needless to say, I have a sick nasty bruise on my thigh now that became a pretty big bump. Sisar Heggie was cracking up and making fun of me until later in the evening she ran right into a pole. hahaha maybe there's a reason why President split us up.....

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