Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 26, 2011 (Man... what joy :)

Dearest Family,

Wow, what a wonderful week here in the Finland. Easter is a wonerful time of year and guess what! The Finns celebrate Christ's visit to the americas!! haha yesterday was a random holiday that follows easter (I can't remember what the official name of the holiday is... sacred monday or something) but as we know Christ went to visit his other sheep and so I think that is pretty cool :) They all believe in the Book of Mormon and don't even know it.. yet :D So, This last weekend has been a really good weekend, in about 30 different ways. We have 3 new really good investigators, the sun has been shining beautifully, on sunday Teuvo (who set a baptism this last week) LOVED the sunday school lesson on the savior and His atonement, and I have a wonderful little family who supports me and loves me. Thanks for the wonderful emails, they were inspiring... Ryan shared some wonderful thoughts! (and of course mom and dad did too! they always do :) )

Thanks for all the information you gave, now I know and I can ask more specific questions in my prayers so I can get more specific answers! Really missionary work has been one of the greatest things that I have ever been a part of! My eyes have been opened so wide to the beauty of the gospel. We had a wonderful family home evening message with the Hentunen family (Saul hentunen was my mini-missionary in Jyväskylä with Elder Fuchs haha pretty cool arranging in heaven :) haha ) I would like to share the thoughts I had before that appointment and the thoughts that lead up to that appointment. Our message was that we need to always take time to see the beauty that is all around us. God is so loving and sometimes I think we get caught up in the little things (the devil enjoys that) and we miss the beauty that is so abundant around us. Christ shared that as we do righteous actions we receive our reward, namely peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come. That peace which does not come as the world giveth is probably one of the most beautiful things the gospel has to offer in this life! I've noticed that the times I don't feel as much peace are the time that I focus on the less important things. Children have a wonderful affinity to simply enjoy what is around them. They love the little toy they have (unless their parents have spoiled them and taken away that beautiful affinity to be satisfied) and they can play and play and play with that toy for hours on end. We need to have the same joy that experienced pilot has that loves EVERY single time he takes off! (Elder uchtdorf from priesthood session) As we take time to remember what a bless this gospel is the glass through which we look through becomes clear and the picture sharpens. We can see life through heavens eyes. So I don't know if that all made sense, and I am not sure if you got all the scripture references (D&C 59, John 14, and the words of paul) But we need to remember that the joy we can feel through Christ can exceed all the troubles of the world if we but let it! that takes time :)

Alright, now I need to crunch through my "laundry list" of things I wanted to share in this email. First things first. Thanks to aunt kristie and tayzia.. I got a call from the office and I have a package waiting from auntie K and Cousiny T :)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY THIS WEEKEND NATALIE!!!!! Wow... 21 years old! haha hopefully my letter makes it to you before your birthday! Because I wrote a hightlight of all the memories I have with you throughout our time as brother and sister :D haha and of course Rocky is in it! (If I remember right :)) happy Birthday!

Ema, Sam, and Tess are our new investigators and they are absolutely wonderful! I don't have time today but hopefully next week I can share Sam's Story... He is a wonderful man, he has a very humble heart, and has lived through so very tough times... I LOVE HIM! Teuvo Set a baptismal date... 21.5.11.. I love teuvo. Have I shared much about him? I'm pretty sure I have... He has been an investigator for about a year. Read the Book of Mormon, loves it. Elder Sharp and I taught him ALL the commandments and he is ready... Just waiting for reassurance which has come... we just need to help him see it :) Such a pure hearted man! haha SO GOOD!

We chopped wood for 4 hours strait (No injuries) for a less active man, Brother Blair, good man... We had an awesome discussion after about the savior's atonement and how it is never to late to apply it :)

that is all! Thanks again mom and dad and ryan for the things you shared! I love you all and I hope you have a great week and can feel the Joy and beauty all around

ELder nielsen

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 18, 2011 (haha sorry mom)

Dearest family,

(a few technical paragraphs thanking mom for getting his college all deferred and set up this week)

So... Life is good I am serving with Elder Fuchs again. Sorry dad if I confused you, I meant that Kyle has been in change board meetings before, not elder fuchs. I am learning a little bit of german, although Elder fuchs prefers to speak finnish. This last week was a very good week, the weather has been absolutely gorgeous, it got up to 15 degrees last saturday which is fabulous! We found about 6 solid potential investigtors which we have appointments this week (well 3 specific appointments and 3 just said come on a specific day) President Brown taught in our district meeting about finding people. I really am impressed with President Brown and the things he has done for Finland, he is a very inspired man. I can't wait for you to hear his homecoming talk.

The Zone is doing very well we had 2 baptisms last week and hopefully by the end of the month we will have 6 or 7 total... Keep you fingers crossed... well mostly arms folded, and mouths moving. It has been fun to see all the miracles happening and the wonderful things the Lord is teaching us. It really never ceases to amazed me how much The Lord has to teach us as long as we have a willing heart. Mom it sounds to me like you fit that catagory, thanks for that, keep your head up and in the end we will be like Him!

I have really been impressed by the Atonement and really the power it has in our daily lives. President Brown once shared a thought that I really liked. He said "The Atonment is to be used every single day, because without the daily use of it, it has no significance to us eternally" I thought that was a pretty powerful thought, it is there to help us receive eternal life and become like God. I know that is true and I have felt the power it brings and the Joy as we become new creatures... You would think the church is true or something :)

Unfortunately I have no time :( but, I love you all and am grateful for the good you do for others every day!


Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

P.S. Mothers day phonecalls... Would 7 P.M. My time work for you on the 8th? so 10 olcok your time I think... let me know... don't want to make the fuchs family mad :)

April 11, 2011 (OHHH NOOO... Genetic defects actually get inherited...)

Dear Family,

Lol... I'm definentally my mother's son... I forgot to share some pretty big news from last week. But Before all that... "HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARAH LIBBIE NIELSEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Paljon onnea vaan, paljon onnea vaan, paljon onnea vaan, paljon onnea vaan... (I won't give the finns props for orignality in their happy birthday song... 3 words repeated 4 times :) lol no names even included) Congrats sarah... I remember when I turned 10 years old and started attending 5th grade...man those were the days ;) eiku... you are turning 15 and from the sounds of it you beat me by 1 year in getting a special surprise (well... actually I probably better not spill the beans if you are reading this over pan-cake cake) I forget that we live in different time zones. I hope that you aren't too sick for your birthday... that makes for crummy times... If you are sick you can postpone it i'm sure ;) You should be getting Birthday package within the next week or so.. .sorry I sent it 2nd class which means they send it the other way around the world on a boat that can only go 5 knotts an hours.... :) And I also have to say somethings about the saapuva package... We are going to have to make so battle field adjustments (sorry whitney) I didn't know that it was jessica's Birthday yesterday so... There was a little something in the package for whitney (a reimbursement for her dog eaten birthday present) which is now jessica's birthday present... dun dun dun (Whitney...I'll get the reimbursement of the reimbursement sent out just as fast as I can... and I'll even write you a letter as a bonus for it.. thanks for being so patient... how do you spell patient?)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY JESSICA!! lol... I apologize I didn't know that it was your birthday! Our family just keeps growing while I am gone (well just 2 additions) and The Birthday dates never seem to make it to finland...they seem to get stuck in the postal system (right mom? ;) lol) just kidding I probably should have asked for them... When is Julia's Birthday?In the summer sometime right?

Alright... so that is enough of my wierd humor which is probably really confusing in an email (sorry about that...no time to proofread) back to the big news which I totally forgot to share. I have a new companion! I forgot to share that last email because I was too excited about all the other stuff that happened in Espoo. His name is Elder Fuchs... you might remember him... He was my second companion in Jyväskylä. Pretty crazy that we are serving together again! Kyle knows how rare that happens.. he was in change board meetings and stuff. So it is good to be back together again to learn the things that heavenly father wants us to learn, because I guess we missed them the first time around ;) I'm really excited to work with him again. We had another Zone leader council last week which went very well. We had a lot of really good teaches and a couple heart breakers last week. I will share the big one... Ann-ma no longer has a baptismal date anymore and she is actually no longer even an in investigator :( We were at a teach with her last saturday and it was all going well, we were teaching the Word of Wisdom again to her and helping her understand the principles of God's laws (Coffee is a tough one for finns) and in walks her Lähihoitaja (a nurse that comes to people's homes) and she said that we can't teach her anymore :( she explained that even though Ann-ma is "all there" she isn't responsible and can't sign for herself for some wierd reason. It was pretty sad because we have been especially careful to look for that (with her being 70 years old) and have asked all the members what they think about her, just in case there was something we missed (being forigener (spelling?) and all) they all seemed to think that see was perfectly fine... Sad news... but what can you do... Elder Sharp and I will teach her in the next life :)

This week has gone by fast. Busy Busy Busy. I really enjoyed my time with Elder Sharp and I am looking forward to the time with Elder Fuchs again :D haha I am going to have to do some explaining with some of the pictures Elder sharp and I took together lol... but we will get there when we get there... haha

Life is great and the gospel is true! Sister Brow shared a really neat thing story that I want to share with you all. It is actually a true story, an experiment that some newspaper or someone lined up (I can't remember the details to well). In a busy subway in new york (or somewhere like that) a man goes to play his violin for the many many people that will be walking by. It was "rush hour" and it was estimated that some few thousand people heard the man playing his violin. He begins to play some wonderful music on his violin. 1 man stops to listen but after a little while he looks at his watch and realizes he is going to be late, so he walks away. a few children stopped to listen to the man play his violin, but as they stopped their parents nudged them forward because they were going to be late. 20 people dropped some money into his violin case and at the end of his 45 minutes it totalled 32 dollars. He stopped and left. This violinist was Josh Fraceli (I'm not to sure about the name) who was playing som of the most complex and beautiful pieces there are for the violin, not to mention he was playing on his violin which was worth 3.5 million dollars. He had just a couple weeks earilier sold out an entire stadium for one of his concerts with tickets averaging 100 dollars a piece. In a busy subway when people were in a hurry, no one stopped to see the beauty that was there. How often do we do that with the gospel, go from place to place and do the same things we have done and we forget the beauty and peace it provides.

Alright 23 seconds left... Love you family

Vanhin Thomas Neal NIelsen

April 4, 2011 (well... I can't say much happend this week... NOT!!)

Dearest family,

Holy cow! Crazy week haha and my head is still spining. Well... I guess I will just go through the whole list of things that happened. VELI MATT WAS BAPTIZED!!! yay! when we first told our ward mission leader that he is going to be baptized on the 1st of april he asked us if we are sure it isn't an april fools joke (in a joking manner of course) and it sure wasn't. It was a very good meeting. As soon as I get my Old SD card from you mom I'll send all my pictures and baptismal programs from the last 3 baptisms. Miracles are happening family. Baptisms are just sky rocketing in finland. I don't remember if I shared with you or not but Elder sharp and I felt strongly that we needed to commit our Zone to invite our Zone to invite all our investigators to baptism (we even gave a 2 week dead line) because Elder Causse who came about a year ago said we should be doing it in every teach anyways. Anyways long story short we did that and have followed up and our dates went from 9 clear up to 15 in our zone. It was a very wonderful thing to see how faithful the missionaries are and how much heavenly father has blessed our investigators who really are searching. It was incredible. ANYWAYS... I'm talking about Veli matt's baptism. It went well. Here is a funny story we were filling up the font and (well... I don't know if this was kosher to leave the chapel while it was filling... haha) but we realized neither of us have camera's... and neither of us wanted to face the punishment of our mothers as we tried to explain that we didn't have any pictures from the baptism. ( the baptismee said he would hop right back out of the water if it was cold) So we left the water on warm and went home as fast as we could to get our cameras (still a little guilty about leaving the church with running water... we have repented though) and get back... all and all the round trip took something like 35 minutes. We get back and the water was SUPER warm... like it stung to put our hands in, by that time the font was all but full and ready for baptism. We turned it to all the way cold and hoped it would be bareable... haha it was. but I thought it was a funny experience... luckily the water had an hour to cool down a bit. The talks were really good and I think our other investigator who was there really benified from them... good good good all around.

Fun to hear from you family. Wasn't general conference just incredible?! I personally love president uchtdorfs talk from priesthood session with talked about how we often time live under our privelages, in the priesthood as well as children of divine heritage. He gave a good example of this. He told of a man who scrimped and saved to save up enough money to go on a cruise to visit the cities he had always dreamed of going. He bought a ticket and packed canned beans, crackers, and powederd lemonade so he would not have to spend extra money. On the cruise he saw the delicious foods, the mini golf, and many other fun things that people did on the ship and longed badly for these but told himself he could afford them and went to his cabin and ate crackers and beans. He visited the cities he longed for, but it wasn't until the end of the cruise he found out that ALL that he had envied and desired was included in the ticket price. Pretty sad story... but sometimes we do the same sort of things. We do all we can to live the laws of God and we work and do our best, but then when we are being obedient we doubt that we can really have all the blessings the spirit has to offer. President uchtdorf talked about that and the priesthood (I applied to obedience in general... It was really good! I felt like all of general conference was to help us understand that we need personal revelation daily, and we need to act when we receive personal revelation... really really powerful... yet so very simple :) So simple even I can do it... and every sinlge on of God's children.

I really enjoy dad's emails, it makes me laugh how much the garden gets mentioned. I feel like last years produce just got finished off last week and now we are starting a new season :) I'm looking forward to hearing about it´s growth... I'm going to start comparing the garden to dad's garden... so keep me updated :) lol.
Well... one quick funny story. with a good moral. We contacted a lady on the street and it was super icy. She said very rudely "No" to us. I didn't think anything of it, until I turned around just to see her slip on the ice a few meters behind us. I ran back to help her up. I think she was very suprised to see the person she was just rude to help her up out of a situation like that. I think it touched her. She said "anteeks kun mä vastasin niin rapeasti" sorry I responded so crisply...

43And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy;

44But behold I say unto you, love your aenemies, bless them that curse you, do bgood to them that hate you, and cpray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you;

45That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise aon the evil and on the good.

Love everyone...
Elder nielsen

March 28, 2011 (It's snowin' there too?!?)

Dearest Family,

What a joy it is to see lily! haha martianless head and all :) lol I probably shouldn't make jokes about that, because boston is so cute now a-days, I just was scared the first time I saw him.... (mom you can edit this out if it is offensive ;) ) Fun to see that life is good and fun to hear the little stories about prayer. That is crazy though... I think heavenly father sent a text for me to pray for kimberlie and lily too... 10:20 P.M. my time...

Boston Boston Boston... I might have to admit that I am a bit jealous that you got to be with him. Thanks for the top 5 story count down. Life is great.

So, this week has gone very well. We have a new investigator, well techinically isn't an investigator yet, so we couldn't count her or the member teach for this week but that is a different story... Her name is dani and she is wonderful. The member we had there was perfect and I really am excited to see what comes of it. She asked what it is like to be a member so we passed the question to the member, he explained a little and mentioned the Word of Wisdom. She then explained that she quit drinking 4 years ago because it felt wrong. Then we quickly mentioned what the word of wisdom is and that it is so we can feel the spirit. Elder sharp said it includes 5 things and said coffee was one of them and she laughed. (finns and coffee is like koreans and tea) She said "sorry i'm laughing, it is just that I quit drinking kahvia 3 weeks ago because I was so addicted to it" I was in shock! She is a wonderful finnish, on top of the ball, smart, single mother this gospel is going to bless her so much!! She is great, we however didn't get a return appointment because her next week is absolutely full, she sent us a text (after we texted the times for general conference) to thank us for the visit and to assure us that we could meet next week. Little miracles are so abundant... I really never cease to be amazed at how true the promise is in 2 nephi that angels are preparing people to accept this marvolous work and wonder :)

So coming up this week is a baptism with Veli-matt... He is wonderful, and very very ready to make this covanent with God. It is going to be all smiles this friday... I feel a little bad because we have had to move our Zone leader council, messing with the other Zone leaders schedules, but president Brown understands how important baptisms are. So, this is a fun little miracle for finland... So the year before president brown came to finland there were a woppin' 34 baptism and Finland had been kinda dropping for a long time, nothing big for 25 years or so. This month as a mission their were 11 baptism in one month, that hasn't happened in Finland for a long time! YAY!! and next month there are already 20 dates scheduled for the whole month. Veli-matti Koivula is going to start the month off with a bang! I love the people of Finland! The Lord is really pouring out angels to prepare people to accept the message.

Life is good, I feel like I have never been happier in my life. The work is brutal sometimes but so rewarding. The promise from God is that if we give him our hearts,and obey his commandments He will help us have peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come. I think it is finally starting to click (lol... I thought I knew 7 months on the misssion.... and I'm sure i'll look back and say "ya I really didn't know what I was talking about at 20 months on my mission" but the process is fun!)

So... I love hearing the stories, we are still working with our investigators... so are dropping, but others being found! I'm excited for the upcoming baptisms! I love the Finland!

I think that is all I have to say... Love ya! Hey I bought a finnish suit by the way.. .THanks for the christmas gift all those who gave christmas money :D haha I sent a letter to mom and dad... hope you got it!


Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

P.S. I think I saw Kyle on Mormon.org as it was presented to us in a meeting. does he have a profile on that? the picture looked like him... It was on the side of one of the pages there...

March 21, 2011 (Kimberlie hasn't popped yet?!? haha)

Dear Family,

What an incredible week! Thanks for the good news all around, it makes my heart happy to hear about everything going on, and to hear how sure you all on the foundation of the Savior! Haha Kimberlie is still expecting... thats good... I am ok with waiting on the pictures until the lily is has a normal shaped head. I still wake up screaming because of nightmare of baby boston's abnormally shaped head... haha just kidding! You can send the pictures on over, that is very exciting! (I have faith that she will turn out as cute as boston in the end) and (not sure about the phone call to my president... although I will be all day with him tuesday)

So last week was a great week, It snowed all day saturday and so we ended up with a couple inches on top of the meter we have had all winter. I LOVE SNOW!! Elder Sharp and I are doing great, I love working with him. It is fun to work with someone who is for the most part at the same stage as you in your mission. We get along very well, even though I would say we are about as different as it gets. He reminds me of you dad because he is a numbers guy and really knows his stuff. I have a little more williams genetics inside of me (running into glass walls and stuff) haha actually this morning I slipped on the ice on our morning run and scraped me knee ;( but nothing to bad... I'll get better!

We have really been seeing miracles all over finland and especially here in Espoo. Espoo is really exploding and the Lord is really helping the investigators I have some stories I want to share. So our area president, Elder Caussé, commited us last august to invite all our investigators to baptism (somethign that we should be doing anyways all the time) Elder sharp and I have felt like that has slipped again and so we brought it up to our Zone and commited. We too took that commitment (you gotta live what you preach :) ) and we are really seeing some increidible things. The Ali family said they would be baptized when they receive the assurance from the Holy Ghost that we talked about. They talked very openly and they are just an incredible family! Yesterday in our lesson we talked about the plan of Salvation and how we are all brothers and sisters. They shared about how big of a deal family is in Africa, and how even your neighbors are included in you family! haha they already live gospel principles! I really am excited for them. Another investigator Matt is really starting to progress and understand the power of the Book of Mormon.

Veli-Matt is a stud! I'll have to share his whole story sometime because right now isn't the appropriate place or time... But it is a good story! Maybe I'll ship off a letter to mom and dad. Good stuff. The gospel blesses families. So, in our last teach (which was also yesterday) we talked about the Law of Tithing and he shared his testimony about it.. It was really neat. His wife is a member and they have been married for 9 years or so, so he knows everything there is to know about the gospel. Elder sharp and I are now just helping him continue going forward and to live it! It has been a really fun experience thus far. His baptism is April 1st and we pretty much have everything ready... I'm stoked!

This week was neat because in Hyvinkää (the city that Elder fuchs is a district leader in) was preparing for a baptism and I had the opportunity to held the baptismal interview, it was a neat because this man (Tim) really was ready and the spirit testified powerfully to me, even though at first glance I may have thought otherwise. God knows what is inside of us and that really in the end is all that matters! It was a neat eye opener for me. So we held splits there and all went well, until I get back to Espoo and realize that I forgot to sign the baptismal Record.... OHHH NOO!! so we had to make a special visit on saturday (the day of the baptism) and go get my "John Hancock" on the record... God is a God of order! It was fun to be at the baptism as well! Tender mercies all around!

President shared a couple really good quotes about teaching and humility:

Elder Richard G. Scott once said, “Humility is that quality that permits us to be taught from on high through the spirit or to be taught from sources whose origin was inspiration from the Lord, such as scriptures and the comments of the prophets. Humility is the precious, fertile soil of righteous character. In it, the seeds of personal growth germinate. When cultivated through the exercise of faith, pruned by repentance, and fortified by obedience and good works, such seeds produce the cherished fruit of spiritual direction.”
That is exactly what we need at this time, spiritual direction. Similarly, Elder David A. Bednar said, “We must be careful to remember in our service that we are conduits and channels; we are not the light. ‘For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of our Father which speaketh in you’ (Matt 10:20). It is never about me and it is never about you.

Pretty neat! Tommorow we have a special Zone meeting that I'm stoked for... president is going to really teach us good!

I feel like ammon! alma 26

11But Ammon said unto him: I do not aboast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my bjoy is full, yea, my heart is brim with cjoy, and I will rejoice in my God.

12Yea, I know that I am anothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will bnot boast of myself, but I will cboast of my God, for in his dstrength I can do allethings; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

So I love you and hope have a wonderful week! Say hi to Lily for me! I hope this email was good enough to ward off the mission president phone call for at least another week :)


Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen