Monday, December 1, 2014

12/1/14 - He Is The Gift

#sharethegift. So as I'm sure you've all heard, the church has launched this huge new Christmas initiative called "He is the Gift." Oh my word. It is seriously the most amazing thing I've ever seen! I am so PUMPED to be a missionary this Christmas season and spread the message of Christ throughout the world. We had MLC (mission leadership council) earlier this week and our President trained us for how we can best use this campaign here. He explained to us how it will be all over youtube, Times Square in New York, in every copy of the Liahona and Ensign church magazines, and all over social media. Oh my word you guys this is HUGE! Then he showed us the video and words cannot express the feeling I had in my heart. I felt like it was going to overflow. It hit me so hard. He is the Gift. He is Christmas. This Christmas season, share the gift. Tell others about Christ. And be BOLD in doing it. Why wouldn't you be bold?? What have you got to lose? You are spreading the message of the Savior of the World. Will you shrink from your call to be a disciple because of your fear of people's opinions or will you stand bold and tell the world the you know He lives and that He was given by a loving Father for you? Make a goal right now to tell as many people as possible about this video. Spread it so it will take over the whole world. And watch it over and over again to remind yourself what Christmas truly means.

So to kick off this week, we had a good old fashioned turkey bowl in the snow. It was freezing to say the least and I couldn't feel my hands by the end, but it was still fun. It was nice to have a taste of home. A shout out to my brothers (and Dre), you better watch out when I get home! Imma beat you all at football! You don't stand a chance! That night we headed to a smaller city called Kerava. It was extra fun because my old comp Sister Heggie is there. It was nice to reunite with her and have a blast going on splits. I went with her trainee which was super fun as well. It's crazy how I really am the "experienced" missionary now. She kept asking me questions about my mission, what I wish I'd known, what I've learned, etc. It was way weird. We contacted this guy and ended up having a great teach with him about the Book of Mormon. He took it quite graciously and said that he really was interested in reading it. I love the feeling of giving a Book of Mormon away. It is seriously the best. The Book of Mormom has helped me so much, that I can't help but want to share it with others. 

Also this week we met with this way cool American woman named L. It was our first real meeting with her and it went amazingly. She is just hungry for the gospel. Seriously though. She's lived here for about 6 years and is a very spiritual person. We simply taught the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. I had a really humbling, cool experience. I was telling her the first vision (we recite to people Joseph Smith's exact words) and the Spirit was really strong. Now, I've got this thing memorized in English and in Finnish and have probably said it on my mission about 1,000 times. Well, as I'm in the middle of it, I mess up and say the wrong line. I was shocked and thought "oh my word! I cannot believe I just messed that up! I ruined it.... I never mess this up... what do I do now?!" and suddenly this incredible peace came over me and I just corrected it and finished it. The Spirit was very strong and I had this feeling come into my heart that said "see, you're imperfect but my message is not. As long as the Spirit is there, it's ok if you make a mistake. I won't let you mess up my work." I felt so much peace and gratitude. I know that God really is with me. All the time. Every moment of everyday. This is His work. And I am SUCH an imperfect person, yet He still lets me be a part of it. The Spirit is the real teacher. It was a very valuable lesson for me, not only for my mission but for my life. I want to always live my life in a way that I always have the Spirit with me. I can't function without it. 

Thanksgiving in Finland. HOLLLLLAAAAA! I love Thanksgiving. It sure doesn't beat Thanksgiving in good old Amuuurrrrica but it was still fun to celebrate it here. We went over to a member's house that is a Finn but was born in Canada and lived in America for a long time. Her Finnish husband and son were there along with S and L from Taiwan, and our friend H and his brother from Vietnam. Sister Bitner and I were the only Americans. I guess you could say it wasn't the most "traditional" Thanksgiving but it was so fun! And it was fun to introduce Thanksgiving to all these people that have never celebrated it before. It was so cute because we went around the room and shared what we were grateful for and L looked at me and said "that I met the sisters and can learn about Heavenly Father." Oh my word I thought that my heart would burst! She is just so dang cute! S too said that she's grateful that she met us. Ah, I'm so grateful that I made the choice to come on a mission. I think about how I wouldn't have met all of these amazing people here and it makes me want to cry. I'm so grateful that I made that choice. At MLC, Sister Watson made us Thanksgiving dinner and I about cried! It was so good. God bless America :). And Finland! We got to go to the temple again at the end of MLC. This temple is seriously the MOST amazing place ever! I'm going to miss it with all my heart. I only get one more chance to go :( I love it so much. It has become a part of me. It is "my temple" now.

So going back to this He is the Gift campaign. Sister Bitner and I wrote the website on all of our pass along cards and set out on Saturday with the intent of telling EVERYONE about it. Well, we ended up talking with everyone and their snowman about it and had such a BLAST doing it. It seriously gave me the extra fire that I needed to shoot me forward. We ended up teaching 10 people in one day, 8 of which were unplanned! It was a miracle day! We didn't focus on the numbers at all throughout the day, we just focused on telling the next person about Christ. And that's really what this whole thing is all about. Everybody loves Christmas. We all talk about the "Christmas Spirit" and the magic that Christmas brings, but really that Spirit that we're feeling is the Spirit of Christ and that magic we're feeling is the joy He brings. I can't believe that it's already JOULUKUU (December)! My how time flies! I can't wait to light up this place with the Spirit of CHRISTmas!

On Sunday we were asked to do the music in the Primary. At first I'm gonna be honest, I was a little frustrated and stressed, but it ended up being a great tender mercy. It was so fun and the kids are so dang cute! I love singing the primary songs that I adored as a child in a language that is now so special to me. When the little kids all sang "Oon lapsi Jumalan" (I Am a Child of God), my heart felt so full. I remember singing that song as a little kid. I love singing it now in Finnish. It has brought so much more meaning to the song for me. I am a child of God and He has sent me here. He loves me. "For God so loved the world," and Sister Nielsen "that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. This Christmas season, remember and focus on what this gift means to you. Because God so loved YOU. 

"The first gift was not wrapped, had no bow, wasn't purchased online or in a store. The first gift of Christmas was a simple gift, a sacred gift. It wasn't gold or frankincense or myrrh. It was a gift of love and life and peace and hope given by a Father to all His children. 'For God so loved the world.' And so loved you, and every single one of us. He gave His Son. He is the Christ. He is Christmas. He is the Gift. This Christmas season, discover the gift, embrace the gift, share the gift." --He is the Gift video. 

I love you!

Sisar Nielsen

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