Friday, March 18, 2011

March 16, 2011 (Wow... How can you thank Him enough?)

Dearest Family,

Heavenly Father really does take care of us as long a we put our trust in Him and remember, like Jesus said to "ask and it shall be given you". I can't even beging to share how happy I am about the things I am hearing from you. It really is a blessing to know in whom we trust. Although we face all sorts of trials, difficulties, and even temptations as long as we remember to who is in charge and remember to council with him (in all our doing) We will still have the peace of God which passeth all understanding through the atonement of Christ.

We know from the Scripture mastery in the New testament that we won't be tempted above that which we can handle:

1 Cor. 10:12-13
12Wherefore let him that thinketh he astandeth take heed lest he bfall.

13There hath no temptation ataken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be btempted above that ye are able; but will with the ctemptation also make a way to descape, that ye may be able to ebear it.

We rarely read the verse the is before that scripture (verse 12) Which is a pretty powerful warning! And the cross reference is Philip. 4:1-7 But I don't want to bore you so I'll let you read it and make the connections with prayer and facing adversity :)

Philip. 4:1,6-7
1Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so astand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

6aBe bcareful for nothing; but in every thing by cprayer and supplication with dthanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7And the apeace of God, which passeth all bunderstanding, shall ckeep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Oh yeah and another good promise is in D&C 84:88...

Anyways... Stories from this week. I was at a leadership training meeting for pretty much the entire day from tuesday to wednesday. That was incredible... I'm telling you you need to really listen to preident brown talk... wow! So all is well... We did have some really good teaches in the evenings with some super great investigators. Veli-matti Koivula is doing well, and looking forward to his baptism on april 1st. He is a good man with a good heart, and has shared how much the examples he has seen have really left a good impression in (in or on?) him.

I met Elder Jarvis (he was in Jyväskylä when I was there... he is originally from ohio) we are convinced that we are going to serve together in Jyväskylä... I'm pretty excited for that. Elder sharp and I are gettting along great... Speaking finnish 24/7 and it is sweet! I Don't know what kinds of stories you want... Would you rather the ones where Elder sharp gets punched in the face as we are tracting? or more like the ones where we can't get out of a Dinner appointment to make it to a teach because the family won't let us... (haha one of those are true... I'll let you decide :D) Hmmm.... This week we set a goal for baptism with tev... but it isn't official yet. He is a great man... He is kind of like a grandpa figure in my life. Lol He really likes the ward! We dropped a couple investigators. Found a really good one... Everything is just going great... haha

Hmm... Well... Thanks for all you do for me family :D lol put up with my emails.. always waiting for the 1 out of 20 that is good.... No but really I want to thank you for all you have done to help me be able to serve the Lord with all my heart. This work has changed me and I know that I owe it to a wonderful family. Who brought a little hyperactive child to church and let him feel the spirit even if he wasn't paying the best attention. Lol Good brothers who always took an elbow in the side from me (lol kyle do you remember when we would do that in sacrament meeting.. I would try to elbow you as hard as I could in sacrament meeting without mom noticing?) Isn't it great that we learn and grow. So I hope you have another wonderful week... maybe a little more relaxing... haha but tons of crazy events are good too! Hope and pray all goes well in japan as they work through their little trial.

Love ya!

Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

P.S. Thanks for the wonderful package! the cootie catcher and the puzzle and picture were lovely!!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 7, 2011 (1 is awful lonely without 2)

Dearest Family,

1 is awful lonely without 2! haha 2 new baptismal dates for the week :) God is good and knows how to help His children make the right steps towards eternal exaltation (spelling? its korotus in finnish) I am very very excited. April 1 and April 23. The one became an investigator just this last week. His name is Veli-matt and the other is Anne. Veli Matt has been attending church for the last 9 years!?! crazy, his wife is a memeber and for whatever reason he has not been baptized. We asked him what has changed to make him feel ready to take the next step. He said, well... It just feels wierd to do all the things a member does and not be a member. haha then we talked about blessings and eternal life with him. It went well.... I'm just hoping that he isn't pulling and april fools joke (haha just kidding) Wonderful investigators coming to church and meeting with us... SO BUSY... AND I LOVE IT!!! The Akilie family is amazing! we had a teach yesterday with them and the father had some concerns about this being the only true church (we watch the restoration DVD) and the discussion went very well and the spirit was way strong so I think that really answered his question. I don't know if I told you they are from the Congo... But have lived in finland for a long time, they fled to finland because of the rebels and rebellions and all sorts of crazy things. They all speak finnish... so they have been in finland for a long long time.

Alright, last friday I got a letter from julia (haha fromage I already got the bad news... I very excited for her! that is wonderful tell her and her new hubby congrats from me sometime :) Katelin is a gem! He is a lucky man!) On the front of the card was a quote that I really liked It had a little girl on rollarskates and underneath the picture it said "Success consists of getting up once oftener than you fall down" *(refer to * at the bottom) This quote and the cute letter really started me off on a wonderful personal study, about which I would like to share some thoughts.

I came to the story about a man who is just breifly mentioned in the doctrine and covenants, President Packer (if I remember right) gave a really good talk about this. In it he explaines a little background of Oliver Granger. Oliver Granger was assigned by the Lord to stay back as the saints left Kirkland and sell the property for whatever he could. I have limited access so I don't have too much background, but I do know that Oliver Granger was partially blind because of exposure to the cold. He was a very faithful man and loyal to the Lord. This is what the Lord says about him:

D&C 117:12,14-15

12And again, I say unto you, I remember my servant aOliver Granger; behold, verily I say unto him that his name shall be had in sacred remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever, saith the Lord.

14Therefore, let him come up hither speedily, unto the land of Zion; and in the due time he shall be made a merchant unto my name, saith the Lord, for the benefit of my people.

15Therefore let no man despise my servant Oliver Granger, but let the blessings of my people be on him forever and ever.

his name shall be had in sacred remembrance... What a beautiful thing to hear from the Lord through a prophet. The verse I left out is verse 13 which says:

13 Therefore, let him contend earnestly for the redemption of the First Presidency of my Church, saith the Lord; and when he falls he shall rise again, for his asacrifice shall be more sacred unto me than his increase, saith the Lord.

when he falls he shall rise again, for his asacrifice shall be more sacred unto me than his increase... I believe that that is God's eternal truth. When we fall, as long as we rise again and continue to progress towards eternal life, we are doing exactly what God would have us do.

Julia also shared somethings about how inevitably we all face trials, but as we continue to press forward and focus on the good, we able to enjoy life more fully (something along those lines) it was great. It made me think of the times I have felt a little down, and when things haven't gone the best... by focusing on the happy things and joyful things I actually don't remember any specific downer times., by that same token you can bet that I remember every joyful memory. Every smile that lights up an investigator's face. Every truth that hits them and enlightens their understanding... I think that is what life is about... and I'll bet it is even a greater feeling to see your children FINALLY understand an eternal truth you have been trying to teach them for 20 years of their life (lol like me :) )

President uchtdorf says this about not giving up in his talk "the love of God" (oct 2009 conf.)

My dear brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged if you stumble at times. Don’t feel downcast or despair if you don’t feel worthy to be a disciple of Christ at all times. The first step to walking in righteousness is simply to try. We must try to believe. Try to learn of God: read the scriptures; study the words of His latter-day prophets; choose to listen to the Father, and do the things He asks of us. Try and keep on trying until that which seems difficult becomes possible—and that which seems only possible becomes habit and a real part of you.

Progression is what it is all about. Finally another talk by Elder maxwell entitled "concecrate thy performance" Is truly humbling about giving your whole heart to God (haha this is kinda like alma 5 in a sense that if you are prideful and think you have got it... just read this and you are in tears and realize how far from perfection you are)

In pondering and pursuing consecration, understandably we tremble inwardly at what may be required. Yet the Lord has said consolingly, “My grace is sufficient for you” (D&C 17:8). Do we really believe Him? He has also promised to make weak things strong (see Ether 12:27). Are we really willing to submit to that process? Yet if we desire fulness, we cannot hold back part!

Having our wills increasingly swallowed up by the will of the Father actually means an enhanced individuality, stretched and more capable of receiving “all that [God] hath” (D&C 84:38). Besides, how could we be entrusted with His “all” until our wills are much more like His? Nor could His “all” be fully appreciated by the partially committed.

I loev you all and hope that by sharing my personal study with you rather than share my weeks events you are able to learn :) haha maybe next week I will give a good report lol :) haha


Vänhin Thömäs Nielsen

*(haha julia that was the perfect quote because it is almost direct translation how a finn would say that)

February 28, 2011 (Fairy tales do come true! :)

Dear Family,

Wahoo! They did it! They became investigators! haha a Whole family of 8! I can't even begin to describe the Joy I felt at our teach yesterday. I'm very excited to see how the next few weeks go, and pray that we can teach with the Holy Ghost so that it can enlighten them and help them come closer to Christ by being baptized into his church... and gettign sealed in the temple!! We taught about the Book of Mormon yesterday and it really was a powerful lesson. They Father was in particular touched, and his "TERVETULOA UDELLEEN" (Welcome back again) at the end was music to my ears. Family are great! We will see if they keep their commitments. haha It is some much different extending commitments to an entire family. It was exciting to bring 7 copies of the Book of Mormon (the father already had one) and deal them out. The youngest daughter (6 years old) was particularly excited to get her own copy, even though she can't read yet. Fun fun fun!!!

So... Life is good... God's work is going forward... and the Lord is really sending some forces of angels to Finland! YESSSS!! We'll pray that a couple extra get sent southeast of finland too :)

So... It is back to meeting time again haha. This week we have another Zone leader council, and next week we have the 4 day long training meeting... Whew! I'm pretty excited because it has been 2 months, and we have already had 1/3 as many baptisms here in the south Zone as we did all of last year. So with a little math, that works out to be double if we can keep up the same pace (which we will, as long as we remember in whom we trust :) ) by the end of the year! And last year was double of a couple years previous... GROWTH GROWTH GROWTH... really I'm not leaving Finland :) LOL now it probably easier to see why we are all so excited here in the North!

Did I ever write about the Jarvis family when I was in Jyväskylä? They were the american family whose mother is a finnish. Anyways... they moved away at the end of my time in Jyväskylä, but guess what, the son is now in Finland... he got his mission call to serve here a while back (I don't think I ever told you) but now he is here. I haven't seen him yet...

Vanin Sharp (my companion) says Hi.

We had some russian elders in church with us yesterday... they were renewing their visas...

I enjoyed mom's series of unfortunate events, it made me laugh... I don't think the lady siiting kitty corner of enjoyed my laughing... I tried to keep it quite.. too funny.

No niin, that is about all that happend in my week, it was a very eventful week... hey actually. We tracted into a man named Petri, we set up an appointment for 3 days later, and we went back and had a wonderful first teach. He had already read two thirds of the Book of Mormon. I can't believe I almost forgot to share that haha. Pretty incredible!

Fun to hear the good updates of the family... Hope they keep coming... I sent some random packages puolitoista viikkoa sitten... and I sent them all to our home address because I don't have anyone elses address except kimberlies... divide and conquer I guess. Hey, what is julia's, kyle's, and jessica's addresses by the way? (well... I assume kyle's and Jessica's is the same... you don't have to write that twice) lol

Alright enough babbaling elder nielsen. Love you all, wish you the best.

until next week!
tons of rakkaus!

Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

February 21, 2011 (Finland is getting Cold haha I LOVE IT!)

Dearest Family,

Ok, I will give the run down as thoroughly as I possible can of this whole week. It was a good week. Zone conference was a fun one, and it actually wasn't much different than teaching a District meeting, except that there were about 30 people instead of 8 or so. It was nice, and I felt like heavenly father did a wonderful job at sharing with our zone what we need to do. President Brown is one of the greatest men on earth! you guys are going to have to be at his "homecoming" talk in July!

Elder sharp and I made it through change calls un-scathed, I am pretty excited because I enjoy being the junior companion, and not having as much stress.... but I'm sure the time will come that I will be knocked out of my comfort zone again. He always does. I loved you emails and it sounds like you had quite the eventful week. Pretty neat. Elder Sharp and I have been blessed. This last week we found 3 new investigators, and held a family home evening with a member family and another family there with 6 kids. I am very excited to see how that goes, and see what miracles will be brought into their lives through the gospel. Maybe there with be a whole family of investigators next week! (a missionaries DREAM!)
So they 3 people we meet were actually all found through tracting. Teuvo came to church for the first time and he loved it! It was a really good overall week.

I forgot to share that last week I went to the FAZER chocolate factory again, I sent some goodies home! ENJOY!

We are doing well, I kind of told all my stories not really in a story format... kind of like an outline of the whole week haha. The cold is setting in... brrr... I enjoy it. Ok I just thought of a story about good old teuvo. Teuvo has been an investigator for a while, ever since Elder Sharp and I got here. The previous Elders taught him but he had never been to church. He was ready to come to church this sunday (eli yesterday) and we had a ride and everything set up so he could come. The ward mission leader informs us as we get to church that because of the -24 degree morning Veli Ylisaari's (the memeber who was going to pick him up) car wouldn't start. We called teuvo and you know what, He was outside waiting for the ride to come, he was standing out in the cold in his church clothes, we explained the situation and he said well... maybe next week. I was pretty sad because he was ready :( and so we go and sit down and the sacrament meeting starts. About 20 minutes into the meeting the ovimies (usher) opens the doors and motions for the missionaries to come over, there was teuvo! So teuvo made it to church for his first time thanks to the member finding a back up ride. Teuvo loved it and the High counciler gave a really good talk about coming to church for the right reasons... teuvo loved it!

Thanks for all you do, hope you have a great week!

Vanhin Thomas Nielsen

(Thomas said he's really not a fun-hater... he just switched jackets with Elder Fuchs in this one... I personally think that's a little on the fun-hating side :)