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!!!!