We had splits this week with Elder Jones (from my MTC group) and Elder Lindén (who is swedish.) They came over to Joensuu and we did work together last friday. It went very well and we all learned a lot. Elder Lindén and I had a ball together. We also saw a ton of miracles. We got a couple new investigators that day and really had some good teaches. We were busy busy busy. I think we had like 4 or 5 teaches together and the other elders had 2 or 3 haha.. We win :) hehe (not that it is a competition or anything) It was pretty funny, Elder Lindén has been in Kuopio for a few changes so he has been to Joensuu a few times. A ward member stayed at his grandparents house in Sweden like 15 or so years ago... small world. Anyways we were at this members house a couple weeks ago and she said "hey, is elder lindén still in kuopio" and I said "Yes ma'am" (well kind of).. and she said "I found some pictures in an drawer that I want you to give to him". Took the pictures home... then the idea came to me... Elder Lindén has no idea these pictures exist... I hung them up on my wall along with some other picture so they would look like they were my family :) Then towards the end of splits we were in for dinner, and I showed him the pictures of my family :D (Insert punch line here.... LOL that's pretty much the story... I thought it was funny :) ) lol just kidding.. then he looked at them and said "hey wait a second that is me"... I said "What?!? no that is my brother kyle and my little sister whitney" he said "oh ok... wait.. no really that is me, I had that same shirt as a little kid" then we laughed.
I guess I'll keep going with stories about Kuopio. So they left friday night, and we went to work just like normal. We were biking to an appointment or something a little further away. We were going along and I see this man and I think to myself "I Think we need to talk to that man" as we biked right past him... I stopped and flip around my bike and start talking with him. Come to find out he is an investigator from Kuopio. He was visiting Joensuu for the weekend. He said to us "Hey I have a couple friends like you in Kuopio" and then we had a really good talk and it just felt good. We were where we needed to be and we talked to the person to Lord prompted us to, even though it was a little awkward to turn around, and chase down a guy we already passed :D We called Kuopio and come to find out they were about to drop him because he wasn't really enthusiastic about meeting and stuff. Well, just before we called this investigator called them and he was stoked about running into us here in Joensuu, and for whatever reason the talk we had made him excited again about meeting :) Pretty cool like happenstance (is that a real word or did I make that up?) It showed me really how simple revelation is. A lot of times we wait for something big or something really profound. But as we are simply out doing what is right and planning by the spirit, the Lord will let us know who we need to talk to and what we need to do. Revelation comes on the move... and alot of the time we think it is our own thoughts, until we look back and see what Heavenly Fahther accomplished through that. We couldn't have known.. but he sure does! This and literally thousands of other little things like this have really strengthened my testimony out here... I LOVE IT!
What a fun week it has been. Sad, but President Brown gave us his final discourse. We had our final meeting with that wonderful man. It was a good meeting. It is wierd to be up in the North. We live so far away from Oulu that we had to leave thursday and because of the Broadcast we weren't home until sunday evening. Crazy. Speaking of homecomings (Congrats to trent!) I asked president and Sister Brown about theirs and they said they have no information whether they even have a homecoming. They have kind of a wierd situation because they moved into their new ward a little bit before they left on their mission. If I get any information I'll let you know... I'm pretty sad about that because I was looking forward to you getting to see the man that I wrote about in pretty much every single email home. haha He has really changed my life and giving me a burning desire that has helped me change and become more like the Savior. Just a good good man!
In the little broadcast that was just for the Nordic countries, Per Mahn (70), Sister Beck (relief society), Elder Bednar, and President Eyring spoke. It was really good! Sister Beck's talk was super good, she was talking to the women (but I just applied it to myself haha... and my future wife). She talked about how they need to be a Loiness (I would be a lion) protecting their homes from the advesary. She then talked about prioritizing our time according to 1.Essential things 2. Neccesary things 3. Nice to do things. and she explained what goes in all these catagories. Elder Bednar and President Eyring talked about following the prophet and increasing our faith in the current prophet. They we BOLD haha I loved it. Sounds like you had quite and intense sunday... Busy Busy Busy!
Our investigators are doing well. There are a couple chinese students here who are investigating! We have been working with them and they are now preparing to be baptized on the 23 of July! Whew whew! we shall see how that goes. They are great! It is crazy to teach in english, and to teach people who don't have hardly any background with religion. I'm sure Annie understands a lot better than me of how the people of china are. I actually told them I have a cousin teaching english in China. Haha maybe when annie gets her call she will open china up to missionary work, and these two will be recent converts who will go on teaches with Annie! We shall see.
Sure I can give a talk on the 14th of august... haha That is like 2 days after I get home I think. So you will have to let everyone know when, where, and all that good stuff. Maybe kimberlie could put it on my blog and myspace... but I Still have a long time till that happens. We are still in this change #18, We will worry about #19 when it comes. BONUS ROUND!!!!! This weekend is change calls, I'm almost 100% Elder Perry and I are staying together, but I have been wrong before. Juhannusis this weekend Juhannus is an holiday in which many finns drink :( so we have to come home early and stuff. Crazy finns... I'm debating pulling a dan jones and preaching the Word of Wisdom on a soap box in the middle of town... what do you think?
Life is good and our investigators are doing well. Hey, happy Father's day dad! I'm sorry I didn't even know it was coming up. I don't think they celebrate father's day on the same day here in Finland, wierd! Hope kyle's trip went well, and that everything is going just fine.
We are working with a family, The turt. The mom is a member, but the dad isn't. The children are so great! The dad won't let them come to church or be baptized and stuff like that. So would you keep them in your prayers. The mom is so great and our teaches with them have been great. The father just needs his heart to be softend. We like to keep our lessons very simple and to the point, especially with the kids being there. We did an activity with prayer that turned out pretty well. We bought some candy bars and then we hid them and they were to find the "Happiness" (like eternal life) The lesson had been about praying to God and asking for help. We made sure to explain that for this activity they could ask their mom (haha we didn't want them to really go off and pray to find a hidden candy bar) and she could help, but only if they asked questions. The kids just wandered around for the longest time trying to find it by themselves. Then they final humbled themselves and asked questions and found it a lot faster! I thought of how we kind of are like that often. We, because of pride, don't ask as often as we can and as often as we should. What a privilage it is to be able to have that, but often we live under our privilages because we are too stubborn. It went well I thought. I was scared they would find it without prayer for a little while lol, then our whole teach would have gone down the drain hehe
So, kind of a wierd week here, lots of traveling but lots of good opportunities to learn. I'm going to miss President Brown, but at the same time I am pretty excited to see what it is like to have a different mission president. Katsotaan. Love you all, hope this email isn't too boring ;) Mom, if you could get me the subject of my talk whenever you can so I can think and ponder and have some ideas flowinng through my head, that would be lovely. thanks!
Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen
P.S. I'm struggling with spelling, I have to stop and think on every word that is longer than 6 characters... Hopefully i'm guessing mostly right so I don't look too foolish :)