June 27, 2011 (Whew, we made it through change call.)
What a fun week it has been here in Joensuu. We have had some pretty intense things going on (as always) and I really enjoy this town. Working with a small ward is fun, but it really breaks my heart to see so few, and the trials they face to be there. There were actually about 40 people in church last week, They are soo faithful. I see all the sacrifices they give to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it makes my heart happy. What a blessing this gospel is, and how humbling it is for me to see some of these Finnish Pioneers make the sacrifices in their lives necessary to follow Jesus Christ, and receive "Peace that passeth all understanding" that is not "as the world giveth" but His peace. WOW!
Wow, President Brown is off to Utah this week. I hope you can make it to his homecoming. Last time I talked with him he didn't have any clue about a homecoming, but if you can find out through your little network of Finnish missionary moms, fromage, I would absolutely LOVE for you two to be there! (Maybe through Elder Quinn's mom, well is Elder quinn still in Jerusalem? I don't know... somehow find out!) haha Is ist possible to bring a tape recorder and record his talk so I can listen to it someday? haha I remember Jake did that at his homecoming or farewell.. lol but if it isn't kosher don't worry about it.
Speaking of cousins going on missions, Tell lance congrats. He is going to be a fantastic missionary. All 7 feet of him. Ohh man I can't wait to see what is in store for him. lol I get giddy when I think of the MTC and the experience I had there. God really molded me and prepared me for Finland.
Alright, the New mission president will be in Finland this week (I think tomorrow, and president Brown leaves on thursday) I will be meeting him on friday, he is flying up to oulu and we are going to take a train for a "meet the new president" meeting. His name is President Rawlings. I feel like I already know him because he is from the same ward as Elder Pace (my 2nd greenie) When we all found out who the new mission president was elder Pace gave me the run-down (well kinda) I'm pretty stoked and I feel that it is going to be a wonderful time. He is coming at a crucial time, we are breaking out of our little shell and really moving the work forward. Around 40 baptismal dates around Finland... Whew... Intense. Lol he is going to be fighting jet lag and is going to be in meeting after meeting after meeting! The Lord will provide!
Elder Perry and I made it through change calls so it looks like he will be my last companion... WIERD. I'm excited for this next change. BONUS ROUND!!! Extensions are sweet. Thank you Ryan for the advice... Let's see what happens :)
It made me laugh when mom told me that two of the 4 trees have a chance of survival. Lol when I found out that the 4 trees I had plucked had all died I also found out from another missionary that plucking trees from nature is illegal, so I resolved that I couldn't send anymore (now it would be a sin because I know the law lol) which leads me to wonder... bishop was the one that said "there elder nielsen is a koivu tree" anyways. Finding out these two things I was kinda bummed out because I couldn't bring myself to go pluck more trees. So that was good good news to hear! tender mercies :) hehe
Dad, that is pretty amazing success story! I like hearing those types of stories of things that just kind of seem to work out as we follow the spirit and do what is right because I have felt that in this work, and it really strengthens my faith. I was listening to a talk entitled "to aquire spiritual guidance" by Elder Richard G. Scott. and he says something pretty interesting in it he says "I am convinced that there is no simple formula or technique that would immediately allow you to master the ability to be guided by the voice of the Spirit. Our Father expects you to learn how to obtain that divine help by exercising faith in Him and His Holy Son, Jesus Christ. Were you to receive inspired guidance just for the asking, you would become weak and ever more dependent on Them. They know that essential personal growth will come as you struggle to learn how to be led by the Spirit"
He then goes on and says "I witness that as you gain experience and success in being guided by the Spirit, your confidence in the impressions you feel can become more certain than your dependence on what you see or hear."
Ever since I heard that quote and really thought about the power behind it, it has just blown my mind. More certain than your dependence on what you see or hear. God knows how to help us become and it happens as we are on the move, as we willingly listen to that spirit when it prompts us. It isn't that the spirit works for us on our timetable it is more that we are willing to yield to the will of the father and go and do even though it might not be optimal timing for us. Thanks dad for your example!
Life is good and I really am excited about this change with Elder Perry. He is a great elder and it really is fun to see a younger me in the mission. He is great!
I hope that you all are doing well, sounds like you had quite the week. Congrats mom and dad... 29 years being married?!? whoa! I'm glad to hear about oakie, sad, but at the same time he is definentally a dog that likes chasing cows and stuff. Whenever I need a good life I think of the time that oakie chased my lazer pointer for about an hour straight... I thought I was going to give him a heart attack! haha good times! With that said, I am off,
Love you all,
Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen
P.S. You may notice a little larger than average charge on my card (like 50 euros) that is part of "Operation suklaalevyt" pay no mind to it ;D