Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 27, 2010

Dearest family,

Wow... Finland is great! Miracles everywhere.... I really wish that I could just share everything thought I have, all the things I have seen happen, and all the progress this mission has had... Even since my arrival almost a year and a half ago.... President Brown is a very very inspired man of god. I Hope that you make it to his "homecoming" speech in july or whenever it is. I really am astounded at the blessings the lord has poured out on this land. Lets keep our prayers up for Tim, Al, and Paul :)

It was really neat to talk to you family... Nice to hear that you are all doing well. I feel bad that I may have harassed you a little to much about the trunky comments ;) haha It doesn't affect me one bit... don't worry! haha I am extending a whole 'nother year :D hehe

That boston is a real artist! [Boston decided to Sharpie decorate the walls in Grandma's bedroom when we stopped there after Christmas] lol... Ohh the joys. I do believe that his rendition of Jingle bells is the best one I have yet to hear! Hey... I forgot to ask while we were on the phone, Did you get the package I sent? I didn't send much this year ( I did however spend all my "free-time" throwing together a rough draft translation of sister kirsi's talk) I sent like two to our home and then one to each of the grandparents... Hopefully they made it.

Well I don't have too much to say... I love life and I really love missionary work...
Love you family!

Remember the feelings you felt during christmas... make christ the center of your life, and that will stay!

Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

P.S. I need to start sharing funny stories.... Haha cuz we have quite a few :) I love greenies!

Monday, December 20, 2010

December 13, 2010

Dearest Family,

Wow, What a wonderful place finland is in the wintertime! I have been hearing from finns that here in Helsinki there is more snow that up north in the Lapland! They Helsinkiläiset are pretty proud of that. I continue to love life and love our investigators. Pim really enjoyed church yesterday as the little primary in our ward put on a wonderful little program in which they sung and talked about the savior. Unfortunately Pim's Baptismal date is going to have to change :( she isn't quite ready, but is still set on being baptized! we just need to meet more lol... Paulo is doing great! haha Helsinki is a busy busy place and the Lord is blessing us with miracles! We had a referral (I'm sure Kyle's eyes just beam at that word) This was one of the most solid referals ever. His name is Alex and we had a really good lesson about the restoration and we set a baptismal date for the 15th of tammikuu (january) We will see how that goes! 3 very very solid investigators and a bunch of other good ones! I love life! (not just because of the success though.. life is Ihanaa!)

We had a wonderful Christmas meeting last tuesday in which President shared many things that have sparked my thoughts about the atonement. He talked about how there are 3 levels of christmas and that they are all for our enjoyment but the last one is the one that lasts all year. 1. santa claus and presents 2. The birth of the Savior. 3. The adult life of Jesus Christ. I really like the thoughts he shared and many of the ones I would like to share tie very well with his thoughts. I also feel that Elder uchtdorf shared some good thoughts in the Christmas devotional that help us focus on the adult life of Christ. President talked about how it is because of the adult life and how Christ lived that his birth is significant.

L. Whitney Clayton shared some things in the October 2009 conference about the atonement in his talk "that you burdens may be light" He talked about how there are 3 sources for the most part where burdens come from.
1.Natural prdoucts of the conditions of the world in which we live. Sicknesses etc.
2.Those imposed on us by the misconduct of others.
3.Own mistakes and shortcomings.

He said concerning this "We are all children of God, who sent us to earth for his eternal purposes (moses 1.39) our unique individual experiences can help prepare us to return to him. The adversities and afflictions that are ours, however difficult they are last, from heavens perspective, for but a small moment. And if we endure them well "God shall exhault us on high"

These thoughts hit me as president shared some very powerful quotes from apostles on the atonement. Pres Boyd K Packer said "When we are wracked or harrowed up or tormented by guilt or burdend with grief, he can heal us. Though we do not fully understand how the atonemnet of christ was made, we can experience the peace of god which passeth all understanding" I think of how wonderful it is that we are able to be healed and more forward in our lives! Truly god is merciful and knows that we will fall sometimes, But we can be made whole again.

Pres henry B Eyring said "Through the power of the Atonemnet of Jesus christ our natures can be changed. Then our power to carry burdens can be increased more than enough"

Elder Joseph B. Worthlin said this, and I really love the hope it shares for our potential selves and the nature of God that is in us all "We see ourselves in terms of yesterday and today. our heavenly father sees us in terms of forever. Though we might settle for less, our heavenly father won't. for he sees us as the glorious beings we are capable of becoming. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of transformatio. it takes men and women of the earth and refines them into men and women for the eternities"


Then I started thinking how personal the atonement is! 2 nephi 9:21 talks about how he suffered for us. 3 nephi 17:9,21 shares about how the Savior healed people one by one. I testify that he knows us all so personally... I don't understand it... but he does! Mark 10:16 also shares the same thing. D&C 50:40-46 "Behold ye are little children, and ye cannot bear all things now. ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth...... Wherefore I am in your midst and I am the good shepherd, and the stone of isreal. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall"

Powerful promise to us all. Howard W. Hunter shared something that ties to that " Please remember this one thing. if our lives and our faith are centered upon Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, Nothing can go permentaly wrong. On the other hand , If our lives are not centered on the savior and his teachings, no other success can ever be permanently right"

God is so loving and merciful that he understands when we make mistakes and is always trying to help us improve. If we do our best he will take care of the rest. D&C 84:88"... For I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you to bear you up"

I know that God helps us, and his little gaurdian angels are here to help us when we fall and if our life is centered on him, then it is cenetered on christ, and we will enjoy the blessings of exhaultation... no matter what the next few steps in the dark are like!

Isaiah 53:4-5!

Life is wonderful! Enjoy it!

Love Vanhin Nielsen

December 7, 2010

Dearest Family,

What a wonderful world we are blessed to live in. I really do love life... Especially in this wonderful wintery land :) It snowed a whole lot overt the past couple days... We have like half a meter of snow outside... It is intense! haha I love it. Sounds like you are all doing well (haha do I say that every single email?)

Elder pace and I had a really good week. It was nice to have just and entire week of work without any delays. I love our investigators :) Patrick who we taught our second day here, set a baptismal date for january 8th. We hope and pray that he will do his part to continue to receive a further testimony of the book of mormon and other laws and principles, pray that he will have a softened heart as we go through all the commandments and teach him everything! I really do love paulo. Did I ever tell you guys how he was found? Ok, So you know elder Quinn my trainer? He is serving in Marjaniemi (Right next to the Neitsytpolku area where I serve... Mitzi served in marjaniemi right?) They were at Prisma (a grocery store) and at the cashier, Elder Quinn tells patrick that he has a father in heaven that loves him, and gives him a pass-along card. Patrick, because he was prepared by our heavenly father, got really excited when he heard this news and helped the next customer and then chased Elder Quinn and Henderson down and asked them if they have a seurakunta (ward) that he could meet at. MAN.... he is so ready for the gospel! I love it!

Hmmm... I love the ward here, they are very very good at working with missionaries! We have a teach actually tonight with Alex who is dating a ward member (lol hopefully he wants to be taking the discussions for the right reason hehe ;) just kidding I'm sure he does) yesterday in Haaga the memebers invited us (elder pace and myself) to go and with the sister missionaries teach the plan of salvation to a group of friends that they invited. Things like that are happening all over... I love it! haha it sure makes the work a lot more effective.

Alright... so I will talk a little bit about my life so you guys know what is going on! haha I am loving serving with elder pace! haha for about 20 minutes of our p-day we played tag with a bean bag in our tiny apartment! lol it was pretty childish... but it made me laugh really really hard. We are loving having tons to do! there are about 5 recent converts in the ward that we are working with. We have some really good investigators and life is just great! We are always on the ratikka (the tram... or trolley) or the train or the bus because that is really the only way to get around. We meet a lot of really nice people and quite a few interested people.

The ward here is really amazing and I really enjoy being here. We went out to this island called "Suomenlinna" to teach a couple members and that was pretty fun. It is pretty wierd to imagine Mitzi here as a missionary... Doing pretty much the same things I do... in pretty much the exact same place! haha crazy!

haha ohh boston! At least you were able to distiguish what he was trying draw. mommy's hand and the castle... I would love to see a picture of picaso's lovely artwork! [*Mom's insert:(Darwin put a new rail in Kimberlie's house Saturday, because Boston was climbing over the existing wall below the rail to look down the tall and dangerous stairway.. The very next morning Boston decorated that wall very well with a black sharpy marker... Kimberlie said I would have been proud of her.. she didn't raise her voice, and found out that the 'art' was "mommy's fingers" and "big Castle".. Over the ENTIRE wall :) Joy of Children :)*]

Thanks for everything! hehe It would like to ask a favor from you mom... if you have time to get me some addresses of our cousins and stuff because I have like 10 christmas postcards that I need to send out!

Thanks family!

With love... From Finland...

Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

November 15, 2010

Dearest Family,

HAHA fromage you should have seen me fretting!! lol I just spent a little while deleting emails and changing my password haha I got locked out of my email for a little bit because I retyped my password different than I thought haha it was a nightmare. lol and the whole time I picture my Mission president getting an ad for something inappropraite from his cute little missionary in Helsinki... Lol I hope the password changing thing works! If not I could get a pretty interesting call from my president pretty soon. Katsotaan!

So I don't have much time after all that freting. It was a wonderful week. We had our bi-monthly week long leadership training meeting here in Helsinki and it was kinda fun to be the hoster (is that a work) rather than a hostee. Lining all sorts teaches and maps and stuff up. This training meeting was incredible and I learned many wonderful things from it. Perhaps the greatest thing from this week however was that Pim (Who became an investigator this week) has a Baptismal Date!!!! YAY!!! Decemeber 18th is her baptismal date. We will hopefully get everything taught and everything in order by then!

Yesterday was fathers day (in finland at least) and we (Elder pace and I) gave talks in church. It went really well I should send a copy of my talk to you guys (hehe it is in finnish ;) ) The bishop asked me if I would share some of the things that I learned from this meeting we had with our mission president of how we can do missionary work...What a wonderful opportunity it was to share with the whole ward all at once how we can do the work together! What an inspired bishop! :D

I learned some really incredible things at this meeting... President is a powerful teacher. Elder Pearson (my first greenie) was there and we were able to contact a little bit together. It was pretty cool to see how much his contacting ability has grown :) he has changed a lot!

Hey sorry this email is short... for some reason the internet crashed and refered back to my last saved email... I printed it but I think the majority of it got saved.. I can send it anyways.

So about the christmas package... I would love the old version of the forgotten carols. That would be lovely.

You dont need to worry about missionary clothes because I can buy the majority of that kind of stuff here in europe pretty inexpensively... and it is european...

Love you all and sorry this email is short.. I got distracted by a bug :) lol


Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

November 8, 2010

Dearest Family,

What a wonderful place Helsinki is. Wow... it has been really fun to be green again.. with a greenie. I just kind of pretend like I know what I am doing and Elder Pace follows behind nicely. I am absolutely astounded at how easily we have got around this larger than Jyväskylä city. I really do enjoy being here and the ward here is incredible. The ward seems to enjoy having two brand new missionaries, and the are very eager and willing to help. I love the ward, it is surprising, the ward here is about half as big as in Jyväskylä because there are 3 wards in Helsinki. We have about 60-70 attending every week.

We had stake conference yesterday and Elder Faustino Lopez from a quorum of the seventy spoke to us a lot about family and how we are to study the scriptures together and have family home evening. I really believe with all my heart that for that very reason you (mom and dad) have kids with such strong testimonies. Just like Elder bednar said... I don't really remember a specific lesson from family home evenings, but I do remember that we had them regulary. Stake conference was good, and just what a couple of our investigators needed. President Brown gave a talk about recent converts and shared their stories. It was really cool. One of our investigators (Paulo... we found him our 2nd day here) was there and hopefully it really helped him. He reminds me a lot of Jocelyn who talked about how it felt warm when she first attended church. Paulo loves church and really has good friends at church. Haha he thinks it is cool that Elder Pace has learned finnish is just 3 months.

This week we have another training meeting for all the leaders and trainers. It has been intense to line up teaches for people, making sure the maps we made for them are right. Haha it's tough to send someone somewhere that I have never been... I just know in theory which buses to take and which trains haha we will see how accurate they are. So president brown will be teaching us for the week.
Hmmm... Pretty funny... today I got a call from Elder Landon Potter, who is serving in the siberia in Russia. He is from tremonton and we have been in the same school since 6th grade. Fun to hear from him. Sounds like Siberia gets even colder than finland. Speaking of cold... Helsinki doesn't reallly get cold haha when I left Jyväskylä it had already snowed a bit. (first day of snow was like oct 12 and it stayed for 2 day) Helsinki I think is going to be a lot milder than Pori/Jyväskylä... Katsotaan.

Tuota... It has been a good week... Life is wonderful... I really am enjoying Helsinki and hope that you guys have a wonderful week!


Vanhin Nielsen

P.S I think that everysingle one of my companions are going to be at this meeting haha that will be a cool picture!

PPS Tell nat I can't wait to hear from her!

PPPS WHAT ON EARTH IS SARAH DOING ON A 9:12 PITCH ROOF?!?!?!? haha crazy girl!!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 2, 2010

Dearest family,

Neitsytpolku is the place! Wow, I love it here. It is a busy busy place and Elder pace and I are staying busy as ever. I still am as lost as ever (well not ever too lost) haha I feel like a blind man leading helen keller around (eli the blind leading the deaf/blind) I feel like we are doing pretty well though. I'm getting a little less blind and helen is putting in her hearing aids :) I actually am quite impressed with how well Elder Pace speaks finnish already, he is going to be a really good in no time at all. I really do love being here in helsinki, It is a good experience and a really good opportunity to grow.

Speaking about the blind, we did a service project yesterday for an association (I got corrected when I called it a "firma" which is a business) who helps blind children and their families. It was really neat to hear about the good things people do. I am convinced that the world is still filled with good good people, regaurdless of what the news says :) (well said... I'm not to up-to-date with the news) anyways, we helped them move boxes and move into their new place. We talked a little bit and it went really good. They people had actually been to the temple open house here in Helsinki in 2006. Pretty cool, we talked about that and offered them a Book of Mormon, but they already had one! So we told them to read it! :)

Pretty small world! So Shawn Coulson from my 8th grade soccer team is currently serving in Elder Pace's home ward in California. Elder Pace went on splits with them. It's weird how many little connections there are all around the world. Like Brother Mark Richards, It was nice to talk with him and I thought you would enjoy the phone call from him. That's too bad you didn't get the photo :( hopefully it will come. Elder Pace's mother was room mates with Crndie misrasi stangar who is from tremonton... I don't know her but I am sure you do. Elder pace's first name is justin.... So I'm currently serving with Elder Justin Pace :) when does the elwood justin pace put in his papers? is he whitney's age?

WHITNEY GOING TO COLLEGE?!?!?!?! Weirded out! USU is my vote! Then when I get back you can cook me delicious food :D hehe just kidding follow the spirit and it will tell you. It knows EVERYTHING!

Hmmm... Not much new other than everything around me! I'm doing well... staying healthy... loving life... I really can't even begin to explain how much happiness there is in missionary work. Last night we were on a tram home and we started talking with this man ( who after the first sentance we found out was drunk off his rocker) haha he said to me "Ole hilja pikku poika, mä oon 50 vuotias ja sä oot... kuinka vanha sä oot?" which mean "Be quiet little boy, I am 50 years old and you are... how old are you?" So it was a pretty ruff beginning anyways by the end we were pretty much best friends and I don't know why but it struck me how much God loves us.... and It made me really happy... anyways no time to explain everything... got to go.

Love you all and I wish you all a wonderful week.

Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

October 28, 2010

Dearest Family,

I moved! But I would imagine that because of the 3 day late email you already knew that. You don't however know where I am.. So I will tell you that. I am now in Nietsytpolku... In otherwords the downtown Helsinki area. My area is ginormous and a bit intimidating.. not the peaceful Jyväskylä I was in. My new companion is as new to finland as I am to helsinki... Well I guess I got to helsinki a day before his plane arrived. He is a greenie. That means that we are "shotgunning" Neitsytpolku, which means that 2 completely new people are replacing the 2 old elders. They try not to do that very often.. but this needed to happen I guess.

I have had a pretty crazy week so far trying to figure out where I am and look as not lost as possible so my greenie trusts me :) haha Elder Pace is from california and went to byu for a year. He actually speaks finnish quite well for how long he has been here. He studied very diligently in the MTC.

Fromage, glad to hear that sisar Kirsi's story helped you as much as it helped her. A nice little testimony of how God helps us as we help others. Missionary work is full of things like that and I think that is why missions help little boys become incredible men. Glad to hear craig fills the mantle :) he was a good boy to begin with!

I don't have much time this week to email because today is thursday and we need to go do work haha but I just wanted to let mom and the family know that I am still alive and kickin' haha now I'm just in the biggest area in all a finland with the greenest elder haha what a fun learning experience this will be!

On a fun side note. The assistants to the president are now in my district (Elder Quinn), so I am my trainers district leader! Fun to be around him again and see his smiling face.

No fun stories... sorry... just a lot of moving and trying to get packed and unpacked between teaches. I was able to visit the temple for the 3rd time since being here... YAY

Ok, I really got to go.. thanks for everything! sounds like a good week! Pray for a 25 :)


Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October 18, 2010

Dearest family,

This week was great.. and full of stories ;) hehe

First one: Sister Kirsi, the less active lady I have been working with since the begging of my time here in Jyväskylä (which I feel is about to come to an abrubt close because change calls is this week and I have been here since december... No one in the ward remembers a missionary being here so long... I know the Lord knew I had a lot to learn here so he left me here with fertile soil to grow in... The Plan is perfect I tell ya...) anyways, Sister Kirsi gave a wonderful talk in church yesterday... That made me smile from ear to ear. The topic for the sacrament meeting was Moroni 7:48 and she did a wonderful job explaining how in order to be filled with that love we need to empty out all the things that are contrary to that love. She has a very powerful testimony of Jesus Christ and share a neat story that I think mom will like :) So this is my paraphrased version of what she said talking about when she felt that pure love of Jesus Christ Fill her. She said "It was a little while ago when the missionaries (I think she shared this just to make me feel good) had been teaching me every week and this particular teach they brought a framed picture of the savior holding a little lamb, I felt as I if I was that little lamb in the saviors arms and I have reflected up that again and again. She then talked about how we are to help everyone and how she felt the loving arms of the savior reach clear from the other side of the world when Elder Nielsen's kiltti (nice) mother sent a picture book with that very same picture" She then talked about how it was the love she felt and not the worldly thing that meant the most. It was really touching and nice be be a small part of that. I thought it was every cooler that my mommy helped me do some missionary work. We had the Pitkämäki couple in Church for the very first time, the love of Christ filled the room as a wonderful daughter of God shared a story about when she felt the love of Jesus Christ through the thoughfulness of another. Thanks Mom :)

The Pitkämäki really enjoyed church I think! They had a few questions about why we don't have drums and guitars in sacrament but overall it went really well. I just had to laugh inside when we sang all 7 verses of "a poor wayfaring man of grief" haha it last 10 minutes... But I would much rather that than a member testifying about kolob and plural marraige and stuff haha. We have had that before... LOL :D

2nd Story: Sister Monanen who is also less active (actually she completely took her records off the church records) gave a really powerful testimony in our investigators class about the word of wisdom (that was the lesson) and how she had tried to quit drinking coffee earlier in life when a doctor told her she shouldn't but couldn't then. Now she has been 5 weeks without coffee and she said it was easy! 1 nephi 3:7 came to my mind, because God truly does provide a way for us to follow his commandments. She tolded a lot of good stories and is doing well on getting back on the path. I'm not sure when she is going to be re-baptized... but we will see. (It is a little different for someone who has divorced eiku taken their records off) anyways... really fun to be the teacher in that class... Really fun to be able to speak and understand finnish! The gift of toungues is truly a gift and it never ceases to amaze me!

District meeting and interview were really good this last week. I feel like God has helped me understand a little better how to teach to people's needs and not just teach lessons. I'm have been thinking that I could really enjoy being a Seminary teacher rather than dentist.. but that is a desicion for the future... for me at least haha not for Kyle :P hehe thanks for the good email by the way! My interview with president was amazing and he basically taught me what life is all about! I love that man!

Thanks for the package full of delicious goodies and AMAZING pens! Those were just what I needed! Glad to hear disneyland was an adventure and I'm sure the little girls had just as much fun being with just mom and dad as they would have if I had been there... :) Dad, thank you for your little tidbits of things you learned... I hope someday to feel that joy of my children... I love the Joy that comes through missionary work, and right now I cannot comprehend being anymore joyful.. it is wonderful!! :)

I heard through the apostate grapevine that USU beat BYU in football HAHAHAHAHAHAHA that is really sad...

Transfer calls are this saturday and I am scared I might have to leave this wonderful place.... but whatever happens it happens under the direction of One who knows all and knows what is best for all of us. That trust brings me great comfort and peace of mind. I know that God lives and loves everyone of us, And FINLAND!!! :D


Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

October 11, 2010

Dearest family!

This week will just be stories... in behalf of a couple requests from a couple of my most favorite people in the world!

First story is the story of Mari Kinnunen: we found her in an activity we did with the young single adults. We drew the plan of salvation on the sidewalk and contacted people as they walked by it was a really neat experience for the young single adults group. We stopped mari and she came to the following young single adult family home evening and then the institute on the following thursday. (this was last week I believe) We gave her a Book of Mormon about a week and a half ago and had our first teach with her last week. In our first teach we asked her if she had read the Book of Mormon, she said "yes, but I'm not as fast as I would like to be, right now Nephi is on a boat with his family" she was almost done with 1st nephi at our first teach. She came to Church yesterday and we had a teach after church, it went really well. Later that night she called us to thank us for the peace she felt at church! " I am the shepard and the elect will hear my voice" Mari testifies to me of just that. There are people that are ready to accept the gospel... our job, regaurdless if we are in Finland or the utah mission, is to find those people and be worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Second story is about and older lady by the name of Leena Ihanainen: She is an older lady that Elder Pearson and I tracted into and she let us right in. We have taken members to our teaches and she attended general conference and loved it. She has been reading the book of mormon very faithfully and really has come closer to Jesus Christ through it's teachings, " a man will come closer to Jesus Christ by the book of mormon than any other book on earth" (badly mis-quoted ,sorry I don't remember it in english... But it is still true rippumatta kielestä) Anyways, we commited her to baptism (as is the way of missionaries) and she said yes! but she didn't feel she would be ready on the date we said :( she wants to read the whole book of mormon... Katsotaan.

Third story (man stories take ALOT of thought and time haha I only have 10 minutes left lol... I'm really going to have to send a tape because mom is right I totally won't have time to share all these) The third story is about the incredible week the district had! yay! I really think that the Book of Mormon Challenge is helping us all learn how to work and be guided be the holy ghost.. Tuota niin noin niin... We found 3 new investigators this week and that was exciting.

I really can't think of stories off the top of my head :( sorry fromage I am a failure... (slowly elder nielsen resorts to the old way of emailing... with his head held low :( ) haha but I really will try and relay them to you in some way or another. :D Elder Fuchs is a machine! We ran a 13 k (8 miles) for our morning work out last saturday haha that was intense! He has really whipped me into shape! haha We ran around the Jyväsjärvi lake... you will have to google it... it is big!

Mom, I'm sorry I am out of time.. But I did find a scripture for you 2 Nephi 2:1-2

Love you all so much... I Love this Work soooo much :D

Rakkaudella sun paras Ystävä/Poika,

Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

October 5, 2010

Dearest Family,

First off sorry that this email is a day late... did your heart beat a little faster fromage? thinking that your favorite son ;) had forgot to email you :) Truth is that we came to the library and accidentally logged on 2 minutes before our time started... then when our time started we were kicked out of the system because you can only log on once a day :( I talked to the librarian and there wasn't anything she could do to fix it... So I kind of have a good excuse :)

Wow... That was an inspiring general conference. I wish we had been able to watch all the sessions, but the 3 we watched were Saturday evening, Priesthood session, and Sunday morning (sunday morning session was the only one that we watched live) We would have been able to watch saturday morning live, but we were at a service project, which went really well... oh the blessings we have in this life! That general conference was absolutely incredible, and it answered a few questions I had in my heart. Priesthood session was amazing! The talked by Elder Kearon really hit home. I loved the way he illistrated what happens as we get to close to the edge of sin because of our laziness and small little rebellions. President Uchtdorfs talk in priesthood session was powerful, We as a mission went pretty thoroughly through the talk he quoted by President Ezra taft Benson. It showed me a lot of things about being humble and understand who really is in charge. I never cease to be amazed at all the tender mercies the lord sends to us as we listen and look for them (and be thankful like President Monson talked about) I am so thankful for the living prophet and the guidance he is to us. Our father in heaven has stacked the deck in our favor... we just need to listen to the prophet and trust in the spirit for personal revelation (and be worthy of that guidance)

Did I tell you about the Book of Mormon Challenge that President Brown gave to us? We each received (I before E except after C... Except in receive lol... ohhhh english...) a fresh new copy of the book of mormon, and we are going through and highlighting names and pronouns refering to the savior, times the savior talks, doctrines in the book of mormon, and chirstlike attributes. It has really opened up my eyes to who the savior is and all that he does and did for us. I shared a quote in District meeting from President Ezra Taft Benson about how we need to each more effectively use that witness (the Book of Mormon) to learn about and testify of him of who it is a chief witness... (Badly mis-quoted/remembered) But The effect of the quote was that we can all learn and come closer to Christ through the Book of Mormon which is the Chief witness of him, and that he himself made it as such. So anyways... I went through and counted and in 1 nephi alone it mentions and uses the name of Jesus Christ 639 times... and then I went through and found more... The Book of Mormon is truly a testimony of Jesus Christ! It has been really interesting to see all these things click in my head.. and then to have the general authorities talk and teach just the things that clicked... INTENSE!

hmmm... I really wish I had time to share all of the things that are happening in my life... but then I wouldn't have any stories for you when I get home! haha So I will tell all those later... when I have time! Missionary work has really helped me come closer to Christ and to understand a little better who he is. President Brown is a man called of God and has brought this mission up and helped us rely more fully on God and the guidance of the Holy Ghost... The Finland Helsinki Mission was well... a little bit different 2 or 3 years ago. Here is a quote from my last email "By the way, we had four baptisms conference weekend and as a result we now have 48 baptisms for the year, which is exactly what we had all of last year. We have approximately 20 outstanding baptismal dates and three months left in the year. Add to our total the 20 outstanding dates and we will have a total of 68 baptisms. If you pray hard and work hard we should be able to have many more baptismal dates between now and the end of the year and reach our goal of 75 baptisms. I hope that will be your goal. May the Lord bless you as we move forward to find, teach and baptize."

The things happening here are incredible. God lives and loves us and is waiting to pour out blessings upon us... but as there is a law irrevocably decreed in the heavens, it comes only according to our obedience to that law.

I know that those men who spoke to us were called of God, Miracles happen and bring 30 baptisms a year to 48 and then to 75... God is the master of timing.

Love you family!

Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

Monday, September 27, 2010

September 27, 2010

Dearest Family,

I love finland haha and it is starting to look and feel alot like the finland I came into almost an entire year ago! Can you believe that? I hit my one year mark in finland next wednesday (Oct 6) That just blows my mind! Finland is definentally the greatest mission in the whole world (not comparing or being prideful... just stating the facts as I see them :) ) It has been incredible to see the change that has happened in the missionary work just in the last year that I have been here! President Brown is doing an incredible thing among the missionaries here! I can't remember if I told you this or not, but someday I'll have to tell you all the stories about "the old Finland mission" haha it was... different lol. Now we are truly relying on the spirit and finding those people that the Lord has been preparing. This new program has aided quite a bit in that process.

Because of this new program I have been in Helsinki for a couple week long leadership meetings. This meeting is all about the more simple and more trust on the spirit way of being a Preach My Gospel Missionary, I love it! I really can't tell you about all the things that are so simple, but make an incredible difference in the Lord's work. I love learning all these and hope that I can apply these correctly... haha maybe one day I'll have time to sit down and share all my thoughts about this into a tape recorder so you guys can know how I feel. I feel like every week I just leave you a little more and more confused... Finland is AMAZING!

This week was a great week and there was A LOT to be learned in this meeting. My thoughts actually were quite influenced by what dad shared in his email last week the "lift where you stand" principle. It was increidible to have the holy ghost testify and so cleary explain to me that truely God has called you here at this specific time because he has a specific work for you to do. Man... He truly is omnipotent and can comprehend things a lot more thoroughly that man can. It was a tender mercy to have a testimony brought to my heart that I am here in Jyväskylä for a very specific purpose and that God has not called me to fail, He will help me as I humbly and sincerely seek his guidance. I think this principle applies to everyone everywhere. We showed God that we are willing and desirious to follow him earlier, and now we are here in our specific appointed place, calling, family, whatever it may be, to succeed. Lift where you stand is all that we can do, it is all we are expected to do because God knows what is best for us... we just need to learn! :) Sorry that was a lot of jumbled thoughts I have had over the past week!

Throughout the whole mission we were given a book of mormon challenge (from the end of chapter 5 in PMG) President gave us each a fresh clean copy of the Book of Mormon and gave some guidelines for underlining and marking, unfortunatelly I don't have time to go into detail, but I have learned a lot about the Book of Mormon and the powerful testimony it has as a testimant of Jesus Christ... INTENSE!

So questions... Week was wonderful, I was in Helsinki and stayed the week in Elder Quinn's (my trainer) apartment, I love that Elder. Funnest part of the week was hearing the amazing things president Brown shared, and being with Elder Higginson who is quite likely the funniest person I have ever meet. Dirty rotten part of the week... I would have to say that I don't really know (I try and block those from my memory ;) lol) Food, Ihan Hyvä... it is good.. ish :) lol... Nope not gaining much weight, Elder Fuchs likes running too much haha. No I think I'm good on a suit and shoes, i really am surprised at how well these eccos are holding out! I will however accept as many black pens as you are willing to send :) especially the Bic ones that write really smooth... I'm down to my last one (they are white, kinda opaq, and aren't anything fancy, just from walmart and they come in a pack of 10 for like 2$) That is one thing Finland doesn't have cheap pens... or good deoderant haha.

District leader is going well. Our district meeting is going to be all about the Book of Mormon this week!

Love you all! Glad everyone is doing great! haha sorry my emails are all pretty much the same... I'll try and get some variance in there someday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY W!


Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

September 20, 2010

Dearest Family,

What a wonderful week in Jyväskylä. haha 11 months.. that is almost exactly how long I will be staying in Jyväskylä if I am transfered at the end of this month. Must be something about the Elwood boys and Jyväskylä :) (well.. I guess Brother Rockhill is from kamas.. but now is an "Elwoodite") I Love Jyväskylä with all my heart... I really can't even begin to describe how amazing this place is. If you ever come to finland go strait to Jyväskylä :) hehe just kidding Pori is pretty good as well :) ( and I have always dreamed about going to Oulu) anyways... Want to hear some more pretty cool facts? I am one of 2 missionaries right now that has been in the same city for 7 transfers (and I know of 1 other, but is no longer in his city) lol this transfer is an extra week long so that will make me and elder schoof the altime kings of our cities haha unless someone stay 8 transfers... Eli if anyone else stays 7 transfers, we can say we still stayed longer. haha Elder Schoof is in Lapeenranta which is pretty close to the russian border. so there is some random info about Jyväskylä and my time here thus far!

This week was a really good week. We have been staying busy between all our meetings and teaches and random odds and ends like a Takkavalkeailta (fireside) at which we spoke for 15 minutes yesterday evening. It was really good, about the savior's atonement. I was thinking yesterday how wonderful it is that the gospel is all around the world and that it is the same unchangable truth from God. I remember thinking about that as a little kid when we went to colorado and church was exactly the same I was in awe that that far away they do the same things! lol now I am a little wiser and a little further away... and yet it is the same unchangable truth and I am still in awe at it's glory! :) I love it! Just before our fireside yesterday evening we had a teach with the Pitkämäki family (translated their name means "long hill".. lol I love finnish last names they are all like indian names little bonfire= Kokkonen (the last name of a potential investigator we met last week) haha that last name seems like a contradicting statement... little bonfire...anyways wow way off subject) The lesson went really well haha they are intense I love it! they are pentacostal and study the bible a lot, they are however very open and are coming to church next week! I know they will be able to feel the wonderful spirit that Jocelyn decribed as "warm" when she came to church for the very first time... Family... the gospel is true and the spirit is "warm" in everyone's heart who is willing to listen.

I really liked a couple things that dad and Mom said in their emails. Mom talked about how the savior knew and understood people capabilities and succored them according to these. I know that is true that God provides a way that we can accomplish the things he has for us. I really liked the way, mom, you shared that nice little ahh hah you had about that. brilliant! Maybe that will be the next district meeting topic :D And dad's thought was wonderful! I can still hear Elder Uchtdorf's voice as he said to the brotheren of the church "lift where you stand" Wow... man in a week an a half we get to participate in general conference AGAIN! I cannot wait! :) I LOVE general conference. Elder fuchs are making our way through previous general conferences ( thanks mom) and it is wonderful the new things we can learn...

This week is looking like another crazy week haha I'm going to be in Helsinki again all week and Elder Fuchs is going to be in Lahti. We have another week long training meeting... i'm way excited! I think there is a reason we are having all these... we have something we need to learn. The new simplified principles from Preach My Gospel are really focusing us on teaching with the power of the holy ghost, and we are having all these leadership meetings so that we can learn so we can teach our districts. Wonderful opportunity to become a better teacher so in the future we can teach our families and children!

Thanks family for the wonderful support you are to me! through prayers, emails, letters, packages ;) haha and so forth, I am eternally grateful for the family I have been born into! Happy Birthday Face! Have a fun FHE date :) Mom enjoy being with boston! love you all and hope you have a wonderful week and enjoy the wonderful life God has blessed us all with!


Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13, 2010

Dear Family,

ONNEKSI OLKOON FACE!!!! Boston is having a baby sister/brother! haha Congrats! Fun Fun Fun! Good to hear that Boston recognizes the missionaries as Thomas :) that's my boy! I can just picture fromage when she found out she is having a second grandchild... Joy i'm sure :) fun to hear you guys had a great week all over the place, whitney in provo following a tom tom! (Fromage... mine is lost?!? uhh ohh... haha just kidding I think Ryan said he would "take care" of it while I am on my mission) I love hearing all the neat little things that happend in your guy's lives.

This week was another really good week... but unfortunately I don't really have much new to report. The district is doing well and we are having a Zone conference this wednesday which should be great. Elder Fuchs and I tracted into a neat couple a week and a half ago and they became investigators this week. They really know the bible and are married, which is rare for young finnish couples. We have been staying really busy here in Jyväskylä and I love it! The work of the Lord is incredible. We are having some troubles getting the missionaries in Cameroon to get a hold of Jocelyn's husband. he still hasn't heard anything from them :( I think it may have to do with the address we got, because it was in french and really really confusing and so we call our office in helsinki and had them forward it to africa... I am thinking that somewhere down the line it got changed.

hmmm... This week we had some change in our district, Elder Horne (My mtc companion) is now one of our Zone leaders! Yay! I had a good chance to talk with him yesterday evening as we reported the district numbers up through the chain of command. I guess I could tell you what our district consists of. In it is missionaries from 3 different cities. Jyväskylä (just us 2) Tampere (2 sisters and 2 Zone leaders) and Lahti (2 elders) Because we are so spread out we are only able to hold district meeting twice a change (eli every 3 weeks or so) which is rather unfortunate... how did that work in Dad, Ryan, and Kyle's Missions? I would assume pretty similar. So the Missionaries in our district are tampere Zone leaders- Elder Sharp and Horne (both in Mtc with me :) ) tampere Sisters herde and Christiansen (spelling?) and Lahti- Elders Newman and Higginson. What a great district!

Wow... Fromage if probably going to cry if I end my email here... I better think of something to write haha... we stole some carrots (with permission) from a members garden... this week we had some really good teaches... I love finland :)

Lol... yep I'm drawing a blank... I'll do better next week :) lol I love you family and I am so grateful for the many wonderful things you all do! Do what is right :)

Love Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 6, 2010

Dear Family,

Here is the News.... Dun Dun Dun.... haha I will be staying another 6 weeks (at least) in Jyväskylä haha that means 7 transfers in the same city. I'm not going to lie, I was a bit shocked lol. I all but had my bags packed. It was a really good experience for me to see that things don't happen the way I plan sometimes, but a peaceful realization that the Lord is in charge and that this church is lead by revelation really struck me deep. I'm thinking this is going to be a Good 6 weeks.. lol maybe kind of a reward for all our labors here... Katsotaan :) (eli we will see)

So that means Elder Fox (Fuchs) and I will be together another 6 weeks. I'm pretty excited because it has been pretty fun to have a foreigner as a companion, Good experience. This is a pretty cool little fact about his itavaltalainen (austrian) heritage, His grandfather was the temple president of the switzerland temple in the 70's and he tanslated the book of mormon into German for the Church (I'm sure with help) so the Translation of the German Book of mormon that you (dad) read, shared, and invited others to read was translated by yours sons 5th (6th if you include the mtc) companion's grandpa haha pretty cool!

Speaking of pretty cool. Yesterday we had a special training meeting in which President Rasband (yep the same one that was in tremonton 2 weeks ago) was there and Elder Texiera from the Seventy. It was an amazing meeting. I wish this had come to my mind earlier, because we were shaking hands and talking and asked where I was from and He said that he was just there spliting and creating a new stake. It didn't come to my rememberance that You (dad) were in an interview with this man just 2 weeks earlier, that would have been a fun thing to chat about. Still pretty interesting to talk to a man who had just had a good heart to heart discussion with my dad 2 weeks earlier! haha

Elder Rasband is an incredible man and he shared a lot of wonderful things with us. We had a couple hours of just question and answer time with him. Just us (2/3 of the mission eli 40 missionaries) and 2 general authorities (and president brown and his wife) (and sister texiera) It was an incredible 2 hours and we were shown a lot of wonderful things about the work, ways we can improve the sharpness of our teaching and ways we can follow the prompting of the holy ghost better. It was truly inspirational. He is a loving man with a big heart! and a deep soothing voice haha it was wonderful

Our investigators are doing... pretty well.... Jocelyn is actually doing amazingly well, Minna has been hard to get in touch with. I think she feels like the ward is going to be disappointed... We keep praying for her and doing all we can to help her! Press forward! We will have a nice Family home evening lesson today and Minna hopefully will be there... we will see! i'll tell you how that goes. I can't seise to be amazed at the tender mercies of the Lord that surround me, and really everyone, daily. I really can't even begin to explain everything

This week has been pretty great, we have a few good potential investigators lined up this week, one couple in particular stand out in my mind. The Pitkämäki, They are are about 25ish years old and we tracted into them. We were talking at the door about the gospel and the wife had a lot of good questions and was very interested in our church, her husband (that is a small miracle in and of itself... a lot of people that age in finland are co-habitating) comes home and he had a lot of good things to say, they study the bible and have just incredible amounts of faith... We have an appointment tuesday and I think it is going to go great!

So that was my week here in Finland, I'm grateful for you family and love you all!

Vanhin Thomas Nielsen

Thursday, September 2, 2010

August 30, 2010

Dearest Family,
Wow, Sounds like you had a great week. Boston Boston Boston... I'm going to teach him some Finnish when I get home! lol this last week I had the weirdest dream, You all were in Finland just visiting and I taught you a bunch of random words in Finnish... like bunny and words like that... Pretty random!
Our week here was incredible. Elder Fuchs and I are getting along great... We have had one of the busiest changes of my life so far. This last week we had splits with two sets of elders and a baptismal interview, the week before that was the week long meeting, week before that was district meeting and one other thing... I don't remember... The week before that was our mini missionary week, and Zone conference haha its been nuts! This week we just have district meetings.. and Change calls. I can't believe this change is almost over already. We will see if I survive another 6 weeks in the blessed city of Jyväskylä
This last week was really great, but we had a couple of heartbreaks, well just one. Minna called mid-week and asked us to postpone the baptismal date, sad (especially if I get transfered) she is still unsure and is having a tough time praying with real intent. I know that if she prays and truly desires to know God will answer her. I know that because he promises that in many different scriptures, and through many prophets (latter day, and ancient) Keep her in your prayers, She knows it is true, but unfortunately the natural man inside us all wants to doubt the things we have received as personal revelation.
Jocelyn is doing soooo good, we are sending the missionaries to her husband today and we will see how that goes (Cross your fingers... but mostly pray lol) we had a teach with Jocelyn that went so well yesterday, I will give you the run-down, because the teach itself didn't go very well, but the knowledge and confidence of jocelyn grew so much as she testified of the restored truths! So Jovin is Jocelyn's friend that just comes to the teaches whenever he feels like it haha, he is a nice guy but kinda of a distraction because he asks weird things and doesn't like to listen for answers. This kind of infuriated (in a loving way) Jocelyn who wanted to hear about the temples and the wonderful lesson we had prepared haha. Jocelyn talked to Jovin about how understand comes through prayer and that if he really wants to know he just needs to ask God, and listen. She then talked about the book of mormon and bible... Man she is sooo great! True conversion my family... She is awesome. We hopefully are going to be holding a baptismal service on the 11 of September, we are keeping that as our goal and it pretty much just depends on the husband.
Also this week (in between the two splits) we had a baptismal interview with a man by the name of Santtu. He is an incredible guy, he has asburgers syndrome, but it doesn't affect his mind or thinking. I really enjoyed our time in the interview and he is a very humble man and really devoted to God. He loves the Book of Mormon and he has a powerful testimony of it. Good good guy!
Mom, there is a missionary in the MTC from jyväskylä and I promised him some krispy kreme donuts... Would you like to do me a favor? lol :) I think through dearelder.com you can send things like that... I'm not sure but I know that there is someway online that you can send them to the MTC. (gives name;/address)
He is a great guy, and is going to be a great missionary. He lived here in Jyväskylä, and we actually had a dinner appointment with his family just yesterday. He leave the MTC September 28... so before then would be the time to send them :) thanks mommy, Love ya!
Thanks for the blessing you all are to me, Know that I love you, and that I love Finland more ;) hehe just kidding family... I love you more :) thanks for all you do. Love you tons and I hope you have another great week! (with no fair rides ;) )
Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen
P.s Enjoy school little girls!

August 23, 2010

Dearest Family,
Wow, What an incredible week here in Finland. We (elder fuchs and I) were in Helsinki from Monday to Friday in one of the longest training meeting known to missionary work. I guess they re-did how mission presidents are to train and teach, and this meeting for the leaders is one of those. It was so good, we talked about some incredible things that will help us far beyond the mission field (but they sure will help in the mission field as well!) We talked about the holy ghost and about a lot of the little things of missionary work and teaching, but how as we do them right pretty much the powers of heaven will come down and touch people hearts, that is when true conversion happens. It was really neat, and I hope I can take and apply the things taught... It was ALOT about being a teacher that teaches to the student (in our case right now investigators) needs. Really really good!
Yes, fromage I did get Ryan and Julia's Package, sorry so slow to tell you all! Tell them thanks, it was great. haha I really have been kind of scatterbrained this past little while... all over the place! and this week is looking like it is going to be the same haha we are going to lahti for splits on tuesday and wednesday a baptimal interview in Tampere. Thursday the Zone leaders are coming here for splits and hopefully (depending on Minna :) a baptismal interview for her) So if all goes according to plans, there will be 2 baptisms in our district this week! YAY! I just hope I can keep my head on straight as we are getting all this travel planning done lol. Man, what a good experience missionary work is. I'm serious there is nothing better in the whole wide world that a young Boy/Girl could do.
Alright I will answer any and all questions I find in your emails.
Q. How is jocelyn and husband doing?
A. Hmmm... Tough to say, Jocelyn is doing wonderful and is just about the closet you can be to being perfect without being twinkled :) haha Husband is hopefully reading and learning about our church and having his heart softened. we are going to send the missionaries in Africa to his place to teach so he can understand what an incredible inpact this will have on his family!
Q. How was the training this week?
A. Really good! I loved it! Lots of training now we all have ALOT of responcibilty to apply these eternal principles to our lives and see how it works for reals!
Q. How is Minna Doing?
A. Whew.... keep praying! She is so great, and I just hope and pray that she will see what she has already found out to be true. Doubt and second guessing are nasty stuff... But I truly believe she will come through because I have seen how much accepting the gospel has changed her life so far, She knows it is true family! Katsotaan!!!!
Q.(from Kyle) How is your health? Weight? Height?
A. All is just dandy haha I am about the same as I left (although it would be nice to grow a couple inches so I could be at least a little taller than Kyle hehe)
Q.how is your companion?
A. haha he is really great! Really intense... I love it. Lol we do some serious running in the morning and some serious work all day everyday, couldn't be happier! :D
Well I believe that that is all the questions you had. Nice to hear from Kyle and is new wifey! Fun Fun Fun. Life is so happy! I love it! Kyle is an Aggie now! nice work!
Good to hear about everyone and I hope Ryan gets some Gilletto in Rome! haha
Thank you for all your support, prayers, and love! I love this work with my whole heart and I really can't explain the blessing you, and your examples are to me. You are the greatest!
Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen
P.s send thanks to both grandparents for their birthday cards and gifts! I need to write them an offical thanks lol :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

July 19, 2010

Dearest Family,

Wow, So this week was really good! again :) We had a few things happen this week. We had splits with our Zone leaders and we had Zone conference get cancelled :( The Splits went really well and we were able to see a lot of incredible little miracles! I was with Elder Falk who was adopted from russia when he was 12years old. I Talked about how natalie always used to say lightning when a storm would come. We could not for the life of us remember how to say that in russian... Natalie do you remember? Mom? anyways that would be nice to know. Elder Falk really is an incredible missionary, we had a teach and I was just in awe at how incredible it went... He is on my new top 5 missionary hero list!

Zone conference was cancelled, I wanted to cry because I love zone conference. Pretty much I just love any time that I am able to learn from President Brown! It is great... He is the man. I guess they cancelled it because there is going to be a new program for instructing missionaries. I am pretty stoked about that. I'll give you guys the rundown once I find out :) haha

So anyways, This week went really well. Meg is doing so great! She took a part of the lesson in our investigator class yesterday and did really well and testified so powerfully about increasing faith and learning about Christ. She is so great, I really wish you guys could come live my life for a day and meet all the wonderful people in Jyväskylä. We had a teach with Jan yesterday as well, She is still doing great. Wow. We have had a few other great teaches... some not so great ones. Lol, this is kind of cool thing. Fred is one of our investigators (there are a lot of people that aren't finnish here in Jyväskylä) He is learning and progressing so well. His girlfriend who is a finn decided to start joining us for the lessons so we started from the very begining and they are learning together... It is great!

Sounds like a party getting all ready for the wedding! I'm not going to lie, I'm not envious of all the work you guys have to do for that! But it will be worth it for Kyle and Jessica! Awww... So They are getting married august 3rd but I still haven't heard in which temple they are getting married! I would be delighted to hear that.

So this upcoming week is going to be great, unfortunately we are going to be gone from Jyväskylä for a couple days for some meetings, but it should be a good learning experience. This saturday is Change call so I will know if I will be staying in the wonderful town of Jyväskylä for 6 more weeks making it a total of 6 transfers here... or leaving. I really am ok with whatever happens, because I know who is in charge and who knows more than I do. :) We had a dinner appointment yesterday and we shared a couple scriptures, one of which was D&C 101:16 I wish you could understand the finnish version because when they say "Be still and Know that I am God" in finnish it says "Olkaa levollisia, Ja tietäkää, että minä olen Jumala" Wow... it just feels so much stronger in finnish haha because of the old finnish plural command! it is so great! but that scripture really hit me. He is in charge of everything, we are here to be diligent and faithful to Him. Remember that!

I love you all so much and hope you have a wonderful week! Life is such a wonderful thing... I love it!


Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

July 12, 2010

Dearest Family,
Wow, Sounds like an eventful week in utah! The weather has been actually really warm here in finland. up in the 30's Celcius... So Like 86 farenheit.. that is pretty warm for finland, especially because they don't have any air conditioners haha. I think it is quite nice! A member said that the weather man said that 36 degrees is on it's way! that would be a record in finland haha by a lot! lol the member said the old record was like 32 or something. So we will see :) Finland is so beautiful in the summertime! wow... I hopefully will be sending my memory card to you so you can see a little bit of Jyväskylä in the Summertime! ( and winter haha I haven't sent my memory card home for a while)
The ping pong tournament was intense! I placed 3rd haha only beating my companion Elder Pearson. Elder Lytle was 1st and Elder Newman was 2nd. Then we had a really good splits! Although a couple teaches fell threw :( There was even Funfetti Cake! YUM! lol
Elder Bryant is a great guy. He is serving with Elder Quinn (again, he trained him when he very first got in the country and now he is training him how to be an assitant to the president) He is the elder in that "Evolution of a missionary Chain" Just above Elder Quinn. He does live in Wyomning, Evanston (Spelling?) that is a little drive away.
Great that grandma is doing well and that everything great! I hope everything continues going great. It is fun to hear the beginning of your (moms) email that said "I should surprise you sometime and say somethign slike "Life was horrible this week.. I hated it" But that would be a lie" Lol, That is how I feel! I feel like my emails are all the same haha because I just say how everything is great... because it really is! Jyväskylä is an incredible place! Lol Elder Pearson and I got a bit of contacting in this week and were able to see quite a bit of success. I know we should be able to endure always no matter success or not.. but success helps quite a bit I am not going to lie :)
Fun to hear kyle's dream. haha I would have loved to have been companions with Kyle.. Doing companionship study. We were helping this family in the ward move last week and I was talking with him and he said he had a dream that he got another mission call to sweden again and he was trying to figure out how he would explain that to his wife. Lol sounds like both of you long to be on a mission again! I can see why :) Mission Work is the greatest!
This week really has been wonderful and I just keep loving being here in Jyväskylä!
Sorry this email is so short! haha But everything is great here in Jyväskylä!
Love you all,
Elder Thomas Neal Nielsen
P.S. wow... I kinda over-used the Exclaimation mark! ;)

July 5, 2010

Dearest Family,
Thanks for the wonderful birthday packages and the letters! I had quite the exciting morning opening them up and I was sooo excited about the general conference CDs thank you all so much! Fromage, That face stuff was exactly the stuff! wow... I was scared that walmart quit producing it :) Thanks for your diligence in searching out and finding all those Treasures for me. Thank you all for your letters and words of encouragment, It is has been a great birthday so far. Lol our schedule is all over the place, Personal study here, Companionship study there etc. Today we are pretty lucky, because we had Splits planned for tommorow with our district leader, then he found out it was my birthday and got permission to come here for a little more than the 24 hour normal thing. So We will be spending a little bit of p-day together! I think we are going to have a ping pong tournament :) I might be a little rusty because I haven't played since Last beating Mom (or am I remembering that wrong... I actually think I got owned 7-21) Anyway that should be fun. Then another cool surprise was a less active we stopped by last week wants to start meeting, so we will be teaching him tonight. Haha guess what else? A Member (Mrs.K) Baked us a cake and after sacrament couldn't wait to show us (it was fast sunday) so she took us to the kitchen and said "Happy Birthday America" lol it was a cake of the american flag with blueberries as the stars and strawberries and white frosting and the stripes. She is great! So I believe that will be doubling and my birthday cake today! lol I didn't get a picture until we had eaten half of it (after our fast) haha It was delicious. It is just crazy how little things like that happen, even not very important things like a birthday cake. I felt Loved :D
Wait, what happend to julia's foot? Glad to hear it is healing. Tell grandma and grandpa thanks for the thoughtful card. She shared a very powerful story about Ted that really was inspiring. I hope she is healing well from her surgery. Haha I love all the stories you all shared... Dad's story takes the cake though... That is just funny. Ladd is such a great guy!
So I guess I'll go through our last week. It was so incredible. Elder Caussé (from Paris) From the area presidency came to finland on a "Mission tour" He talked about a lot of increidble things when he was in our Zone. Elder Pearson and I shared a success story about meeting someone on the street. The next step of missionary work was pretty much what Elder Caussé focused on, Teaching the first lesson and focusing all our lessons on baptism. He took us up to the front and we all together went through the steps of how we are going to get Kit (The lady we met on the street) to understand our purpose and feel the holy ghost from the very get go. Really good, now I hope we can do that! Our teach with her is tommorow. Elder Caussé is a really great guy, I talked to him a little bit about Kyle's mission... I don't know if Kyle knew this but his mission split and the dutch speakers became the Brussels belgium mission and The french half became part of the Paris mission... I think! That was a really enlightening meeting.
We have had a few really really good teaches! I love Jyväskylä so much because the members are such great missionaries and the are always willing to help and that helps our investigators soo much! They are all doing great. Meg is doing wonderful! Jan has been praying about baptism and I know she is going to get her answer about Joesph smith because she has such a genuine desire! Wow. This last week we had a meeting with a potential investigator that went really well, He prayed :) he said he felt something! I love it!
We are also so lucky here in Jyväskylä because the ward loves missionaries so much that they always want to feed us and make us fat! haha We have a lot of dinner appointments... Almost too many haha. Yesterday we were with the Jensen Family for dinner and They love you sarah! haha Elli really liked the skittles and I gave them your address and I will hopefully get theirs to you soon. Elli is off to a horseback riding camp for the week, She is pretty excited. The Jensen family really are such great examples of faith in the Lord... Wow I love them.
Such a great week, and this next week is turning out to be even better as we have like 3 potential investigators that want to meet! Small and simple things, great things come to pass. I love this work with all my heart and I really am grateful I have such a wonderful famiyl that supports and encourages me. Your letters were amazing!
I love you all and Hope you all have a wonderful week!
Vanhin Thomas Nielsen

Monday, June 21, 2010

June 21, 2010

Dear Family,

First off, Happy late Father's day! Sorry dad, I forgot because I guess they don't celebrate father's day in finland at least not on the same day lol...

So, Last week was another great week. I went to the Temple in Helsinki For the 2nd time, It was incredible! The last time I went was my very first change here in finland, Crazy how much has happend since then. There is so much power inside the temple... wow. Just yesterday the ward put on this Temppeli Tänään (the temple today) and they had it so that investigators could come and people could invite friends because the temple is such a great thing. They explained a little and the temple presidency and all their wives came and spoke to us. It was great and Meg was there... She is doing so great!

We have been very blessed here in Jyväskylä this week, I guess I will tell you of all the little miracles! It is incredible the things that fall into place, He is the master of timing. A lot of things just keep falling into place, like this teach with one of the new investigators. His name is Vance and he was an investigator about 3 years ago. We finally got a hold of him as he was a referal from sweden. His phone number hadn't worked for the longest time and then finally it worked and we got a hold of him and we had an appointment last wednesday. Earlier that day Larry, who had just recently returned from the Moscow Russia mission (2 days before) ran into us on the street. He asked if there was anything he could do to help us, and we said sure, there is a teach with this former investigator today, and he said ok. We ended up giving Vance a very desrciptive tour of the church and the main focus was the sacrament. Larry did spectacular and I guess they had met eachother about 2 and half years ago in Turku by some little miracle. Vance asked as we were in the Chapel, "So can anyone come to these meetings, like for example can I?" and we said a very emphatic YES! Little miracles

We got 2 other investigators and they are both from africa and they don't speak english the daughter is fluent in finnish and the mom is not quite as good, but she speaks french and so did the member who was there (another small miracle) .They are a mom and her 18 year old daughter. When we taught the whole overview of the restoration they really liked that we believe that the Godhead is 3 seperate beings. They loved the Book of Mormon as well.
Jan and Meg are doing soo well. Meg went with the young single adults to sister muurmäki and brother muurmäki's cabin for the weekend and they had a lot of fun and Sister muurmäki said they had 3 non members there. Wow! Our young single adults are so great, we have a coordination meeting with them every week, but we had an opportunity to talk with them all sunday and to just inspire them to do missionary work, they are doing great work! The spirit was strong in that meeting.

Random cool things this week: So we were at a teach with Meg, Just before they were all going to go to the Möki (cabin) and these two strangers walk into the church and they said they are americans and they are jehovah's witnesses and they just have a few questions to ask us. In my head I wanted to cry because I was like no way are these two jehovah's witnesses going to ruin our teach with minna. But we were courteous and talked a little bit, turns out he was a missionary here about 40 years ago... they weren't really jehovah's witnesses... They did get my blood pressure going though :) His name is Layne Rassmusen and he served in Jyväskyä before the chapel was built here. I got a picture with him, he was very nice! I even gave him your email mom so you might be seeing a random email from him someday.

Also, Do you guys know Blake Christensen? I guess a couple members from Jyväskylä stayed at his house in tremonton like a month ago (I forgot to include this in my email forever ago) I wish I would have known they were going to tremonton or I would have sent them your way :) Oh well, what do you do?

Other cool story of the week (Kinda Prideful... but I needed a boost) lol I had a doctors appointment in order to get my drivers license and I was pretty nervous because I didn't think I would know the vocab (I mean doctors are pretty tough in english ;) ) anyways It went well and the Doctor was very impressed at my finnish, He said he has friends who have lived here for almost 20 years and they don't speak as well... Gift of toungue my friend... and Prayer.. A lot of prayer!!! (haha probably delete this before anyone else reads this... I feel stupid even sharing it... But it was a much needed boost for me :) )

Miracles happen and God is a loving and merciful God. I love this work with all my heart, even the tough times teach you! We are seeing so many miracles among these trials... It is such a great learning process! I hope all goes well this week for you trekers and recepients of surgery! I Love everyone else too!

Elder Thomas Neal Nielsen

June 16, 2010

Dearest Family,

Boston is old enough to be spraying stuff with hoses and poking stuff with sticks? Sounds like you guys had a fun week with him, He is a cute little boy. Settlers of catan... you should be reading Alma where the real actions happens... Much more exciting ;) haha Wow, I love this missionary stuff, I really do.

Ok I'm going to respond to all that you guys said first, Because this week was a pretty normal week (for the most part hehe) so there really isn't much to say.

I got a call from the office that I have a package waiting for me in Helsinki :) Kiitos Paljon Perheeni :) I wont even have to wait until zone conference because Elder Pearson and I are going to Helsinki this thursday because he has his language school for a day. While he is there I get to go to the temple, and I cannot wait. It has been since my very first transfer in Finland that I have been able to go. This is going to be really good and I am way excited for that.

Also, these two things kind of go together but change call was saturday and I am staying here in Jyväskylä with Elder Pearson! I can't tell you how much I love Jyväskylä... This will probably be my favorite city my entire mission just because the ward here is so great. Wow. I love this place.
Hmmm... Well I guess that is all for all the things you guys had....

So, This week was a pretty good week. We had a teach with Minna Tiihonen after church about God's love. She is doing so great, We just to keep that Fire burning because I know she has a testimony. We have gone over a few commandments and just are helping her understand everything it is so great. We also had one of the most intense teaches I have ever had in my entire life. We taught Cecilia and Amos (a married couple from Africa) They were refuges and fled to the ivory coast for 10 years and they have been in finland for 2 years. They know the Bible backwards and frontwards, it is intense. Anyways long story short we had an intense lesson, but I think they liked the promise in moroni 10 (this is actually the 2nd time we shared it with them) They just need to do it now.

Well, I can't really think of much else to talk about, sorry! I really need to start making my Emails Epic like they used to be. Just know that I am loving the mission so much and that I would not trade being here learning what I am learning for anything else in the whole world. I have really come to a better understanding of the Lord and his Atonement. I have learned how much God loves us and how much he wants to help us. It is great, Patience is an incredible attribute to have because with it we are able to hold off on the things we want and align our will with God's will. Elder Uchtdorfs talk on patience was so great last conference. anyways, I love you all and hope you have a great week! Thanks for everything!

Love you,

Vanhin Thomas Nielsen

P.S I'm going to the temple on Thursday!!! Wahoo!

June 7, 2010

Dearest Family,
Wow, what an incredible week it has been. 3 Investigators came to church :) I really feel like things are just getting put into place and Elder Pearson and I get to watch as these Miracles unfold! Missionary work is incredible. This week was like a missionaries dream week :) (most of it at least haha) We followed up on our commitment with Meg, And guess what she said... YES :) I was all smiles after, and I was so happy to be sharing the scriptures we did after which just confirmed that this will bring so much happiness and blessings into her life. She is going to be baptized on the 28th of August, which is kind of far away, but I think she is really commited to this and is so great! ahhh man... The gospel is so true!
Jan came to church and her boyfriend Jay became a new investigator and joined us for the teaches. He was at her house last time, and Preach my Gospel says invite everyone to join. It worked like a charm, and now he wants to continue learning and discussing with us. Preach my Gospel was written in heaven and assembled her on earth, Just ask Ryan and Kyle! So anyways that was great.
We were also able to go to Zone Conference which was a great place to learn how to improve. They focused a lot on planning and on how to align our will with God's will. Prayer is that way, just read in the Bible dictionary... it is intense! Wow, we are so blessed to have so much information at our fingertips. We have all these tools and all these oppurtunities if we will but use them. I was reading the liahona from last general Conference. I re-read The talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf about God's Love, he really does explain how wonderful and all encompassing God's love is. We ended up teaching that at a dinner appointment with the Alis family and the Lemto family yesterday. We had a really good discussion about being realistic with ourselves and seeing ourselves how God sees us. I really took this to heart as I had been thinking about some things. I think I have been a little too hard on myself sometimes, like when I didn't understand a few words a finnish person would say I would get almost mad at myself for not understand, and that isn't good. Or I always just have this expectation of being 100% perfect and not ever messing up. I guess something that President and I talked about in my last interview really just hit home as all these little things fell into place, Be realistic. God is a God of love and he helps us, he knows we will make mistakes and that is why we have the Savior and His atonement. I think that too often like President Uchtdorf says we allows little things that work for other people turn into expectations and our requirements. We need to find out what God has in store for us individually and really just make those things shine! Don't let false expectations bring you down, but be careful that you don't give your self too much slack and become lazy and disobedient to God's eternal laws, because obedience is the law upon which all blessing are predicated (D&C 130). Anyways, those were just some thoughts that hit me yesterday and I hope that you understand, I also hope I am not casting my pearls before swines... (Fromage you are the editor... Keep my pearls of knowledge safe ;) ) lol wow fromage and family... I'm a nerd... Nörtti
Also, We gave a blessing to one of the ward members who was pretty ill... Suomeksi (in finnish) I was pretty scared... It turned out well... Perfect finnish-NO... Good spirit-YES :) The Priesthood is such a blessing wow. (that was the lesson in Pyhä Koulu yesterday)
So that was pretty much all the things that happend here in Jyväskylä this last week, but guess what, instead of being deprived of time this week like I usually am I still have a few minutes... So now read your emails and I will share other random thoughts that pop into my head.
Wow, Sounds like you guys have had a few little miracles happen. Ipod, thats great. Isn't it wonderful to know who is in charge... even in little things. I'm trying to think of some funny tracting stories from this week... but everyone was fully clothed. We have be doing a bit of service for a member, working on their garden, that was pretty fun. Well I really can't think of anything else cool from this week. It was a really great week and I really Loved it! Little girls enjoy your summer :) whitney is almost a big bad senior.. wow. sarah is going to be in highschool... wierded out. I'll keep Ted in my prayers.
I love you family, thanks for your support and prayers.
Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31, 2010

Dear Family,

This week was yet again a good one :) Lol we were kind of all over the place on our new Bicycles that we bought last week! (I finally found a really good deal on a bike I liked 90€ haha it is used, but it should last 2 years :) ) Maybe I will send a picture your way. Actually definentally I will, because I have been meaning to send you guys that memory card for a long long time haha. So this week is Zone Conference, and man I cannot wait, Zone Conference is one of the most motivating things in the whole world.

This week we had a really good teach with Meg, who accepted the commitment to set a specific baptismal date! (keep her in your prayers) We finished up clarifying the word of wisdom and helped her see the blessings. She is great! I really love going to my little preach my gospel that Kyle gave me and looking for things that he highlighted, Scriptures that really help him on his mission. Man, I am learning lots, ALWAYS! haha New Vocab, New ides, new scriptures, lol it is intense/exhausting... but I love it :) wow, Fromage you tell those priest in the ward that missions are the greatest! haha I still kinda get a kick because I sent them all Chocolate for Christmas accompanied with a fine letter haha and on one of the Christmas cards that every ward member signs for christmas (the ones that sister Francom sets up) on one of those it said "thanks for the Chocolate it was bank" lol that is all....

Sounds like you guys are doing great!

This week was really great, We were able to help a man with some service, he isn't an investigator, or member. Just a friend of a less active (he is Brother Rockhills Friend's friend) anyways we had a really good discussion about families as we were working on digging steps into this hill, it was really incredible. He said pretty straight forward that he wouldn't be interested in taking the lessons, But that discussion was great. We dropped one investigator this week... after not progressing or doing anything with his testimony of the book of mormon we decided that would be best. I really do enjoy that man, but we are here to find the people that are willing to act upon the Word of God! We found 2 new investigators this week. They are great, they really know the bible, and have a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon. Their names are Andi and Cina and they are a married couple. We met cecilia on the street and she said she would love to talk more about this "Book of Mormon" :) Little miracles!

We just continue to see miracles! I learned so much from this talk by President Gordon B. Hinckley entitled Find the Lambs, Feed the Sheep. It was great! Mostly about missionary work, actually no entirely about missionary work, but that is my life right now and I love it! Wow, I can't wait for Zone conference, I will give you guys the run down next week! I also studied a lot about Faith, The bible dictionary is an incredible place to start... wow! Also I always enjoy your guys little nuggets of knowledge that you share, I loved going into and studying those stories about the barak and the prophtess in the bible! Thanks dad that was great! I have been reading our heritage, and man that is powerful. Preach my Gospel is so great. I taught Elder pearson Ryans little sticky note with scriptures in Preach my Gospel, and He loves it! Wow... Sorry I always just share all the random things going through my head!

Anyways, moral of the story, I love you all! Good to hear Ryan got his battle wound checked off the list (a black eye in combat training :) ! hopefully Kyle already has his list of fourwheeler accidents all checked off! haha love you all so much! (Kyle is currently in Delta with the in-laws to be 4-wheeling.. we always double our prayers when he's at such activities :)

Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

May 24, 2010

Dearest family,

Wow, This week was pretty intense. We had one of the most incredible teaches ever with one of our investigators (Jan) about the Plan of Salvation. She just really wants to know and really wants to understand. She is a great lady and I truly believe that that true desire to know and the thirst for the truth is there, it is inspiring. We talked a lot about the purpose of life and She asked if we could have just and entire lesson about it :) She is great. She has some of the most incredible questions and I love it. This gospel is so great :) We are able to learn as we teach. I had a lot of little revelations and little Ahhh hahs.

This week has been kinda a rough one, but I can say that it has been worth it. Nothing is greater than the feeling of serving the Lord, Family, Missions are incredible :) We had another School Presentions, I didn't feel like this one went quite as well as the other one even though we had a lot more time to plan it and be prepared. It still went pretty well, but the High school aged kids didn't ever really open up and ask questions, but hey :) it was a great oppurtunity. (spelling?)

We also had some other incredible teaches :) wow, teaching is powerful because you learn so much! I love it. Our investigators are doing great, we have 3 of them progressing and attending church quite regularly. It is grrreat :) Risi came to church for the first time. Meg, we had a teach and we were really straight forward (but loving) and I think we found the problem... Word of wisdom is a tough one for, Satan has been working to get a hold on these people. Fortunatelly we know who will prevail and that just boosts me up and gives me the power and motivation everyday to keep putting forth my best, even when the results aren't always apparent.

So it sounds like all is well is america, except for the freezing cold weather. We are actually quite the opposite, the finns are saying this heat is absolutely ridiculous for spring time here. Maybe the cloud migrated over and you guys are having a nuclear winter and we get all your sunshine ( I would have given anything for sunshine when Elder Slade and I were tracting oma koti's in negative 26 haha) but it is nice here this last week finland has been warm. One day we were the warmest of all Europe nations. VERY RARE for finland. its been about 25 C so like 80 F wow... it's so lovely here, mom dad you are going to love it here if you ever come here! What texas or arizona? really?

so again I don' t have much time sorry about that, but I guess I will make time for next weeks email and so you guys can have an actual update on what is going on in my life :) Moral of this week I guess is that God is in control, and even though sometimes we feel like Joseph smith did in Jail, Like we are under a pavilion and we are just walking in the dark, just keep walking because God is a Loving God and will always restore according to our works. Justice and Mercy are so great! I love you family with all my heart :) I love this Gospel with all my heart because through it we are able to live forever together.


Elder Thomas NEAL Nielsen :)

May 17, 2010

Dearest Family,
Good to hear that you guys are doing great. Jyväskylä is the bomb! This week has had a few ups and downs (maybe after my mission I will share it all) But right now I feel like I am on top of the world! Missions are incredible!
So I told you I was going to talk more about Jyväskylä and the work that is going on here, so I had better do that first before I forget anything :) This week was a pretty great week here! We taught Meg and she is doing great. We went to set a specific date for her baptism, but she just said a month :( but she still has that goal to be baptized in August I hope that as Elder P and I start to prepare her for baptism that she will feel the excitment and the spirit and just be oh so ready that she will move that date up to june! :) only time will tell! she is doing great and she has come a long ways. Even the members have seen a difference in meg, it is wonderful. This gospel is such a powerful thing and it just strengthens everyone, I love it!
Then we had another incredible member teach with Jan who is here from cameroon working on her PHD, Wow, she is smart and she knows the bible. She is one of the most incredible people ever. The member we brought along actually knew her from before we brought Jan to church a couple weeks ago. Little miracles, they were in the same finnish class at the college! Pretty great! Jan loved when we told her how the Holy Ghost testifies of the truth. It was like a couple dots connected in her head. Man teaching is so incredible :)
Then we just had a teach (this morning, hence the later than average email) with Brother Belgi (the man that Brother Rockhill Baptized) and wow that was powerful, we talked about families and what an incredible blessing they are to us in this life, then we talked about how relationships in general everyday life. He is a great man, I can see why Brother Rockhill enjoyed him so much.
All in all it was a great week, We had 8 teaches total (I hope Dad, Ryan, Or Kyle don't laugh) I felt like we did really well :) We are almost up to the standard of Excellence which is 10 teaches total per week per mission companionship. I really would be interested to hear some of the statistics from Dad, Ryan, and Kyle's missions, That would be fun little info :)
I had my interview with President Brown, and man was that a treat, That man.... I'm telling you he is inspired of God and he knows his stuff :) I really hope you get to meet him someday, HE IS THE GREATEST MISSION PRESIDENT IN THE WORLD!!!!
Family, I love you all so much I can't even begin to tell you all that I have learned in my 8 months here finland is an amazing place, ask mitzi :)
tons of Love,
Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

May 8, 2010

Dear Family,
Hey, so I briefly explained change call and that we got a change call. Elder Slade is going to a town by the name of Savonlinna, he is going to have 2 companions, pretty intense haha. So I am staying in the great city of Jyväskylä. This place is great. My companions name is Elder Pearson, He is great, he is just all sorts of excited to do missionary work, It is pretty fun to see. I was in Helsinki yesterday picking him up. I'm kinda scared because I am training him, so any prayers my way would be greatly appreciated haha. He is a great Elder, Super fresh from the MTC it is fun to see the energy and the desire to do the work.
So first of all, the calling situation. Elder Pearson is going to ask his family if they can call at like 8:30 A.M. Utah time, and that means that 7:30 Utah time would work great for me :) So call me then! That is (just to make sure) 4:30 My time, and It should be great. I will probably come down to the Church computer sunday after church just to make sure all is well with the calling situation, because Elder Pearson hasn't had a chance to double check with his family that 8:30 works for them. So that is all for the calling situation,
Second of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!! hope you got my little birthday package that I sent to you ( I feel bad, I sent natalies a few weeks ago, I just got it back because I guess I didn't put enough stamps on it... uhh ohh, So I will be re-sending that to you natalie, sorry for the late birthday present, hope it gets to you soonish :) ) So what sort of things are you guys doing to celebrate dad's birthday? Are you going golfing? Does Kyle still golf? Any other fun things would be great to hear :) I guess I will be talking to you like 3 days from now on the phone so this Email is kinda an obsolete (Spelling) haha. I will try and get that picture sent off to you dad as soon as I can. anyways happy birthday dad :)
So this last week with Elder Slade went great. So this again is going to be a pretty short email with not much to say other than I love you all, and I can't wait to talk to you until sunday. It is going to be great! Thank you all for all you do and the great example you guys are to me, I love my family :) I love this Gospel. Today (Elder Pearson and I's first day of work together) We had a presentation at a high school and we talked about the gospel and the restoration. What an incredible oppurtunities, In the Question and Answer part we talked about families and it was really neat. I don't know what it is, but there is so much power in the love that a family has (does that make sense?) anyways, I guess I will talk to you all on Sunday!
Love you,
Vanhin Thomas Nielsen