Monday, July 25, 2011

May 16, 2011 (City #5 to be announced...)

Dearest Family,

HAHA Whitewashing a city with a greenie... Sound familiar? haha I guess there is still a bit more the Lord wants to teach me with a greenie whitewash experience. I don't think it will be as intense this time because I am not going to be in the capitol city... I'm going to a much calmer.... smaller... Closer to russia city... (I think mom will like that one :) ) The City's name is Joensuu (which means river's mouth translated) and I don't know who my companion is yet because he is leaving america... Probably within the next 12 hours or so. Joensuu is the most eastern city in Finland where missionaries serve... (at least from the map I have it looks like that. It is a very small city... Probably the smallest city I will have served in. The branch has 15 members that attend every week and 25 total on the records. A bit smaller than This Espoo ward which seriously reminds me of a ward in Utah... It is packed every sunday and the little kids are running all over the place... I love it! All the members told me that Joensuu is one of the most beautiful places in the summer, and that makes me happy because it is almost like I am going back to Jyväskylä :) I will be in the "North Zone" which means that Zone Conferences will be in Oulu... Probably a 8 or 9 hour train ride... I'm STOKED to learn all the things the Lord has in store for my cute little new greenie and I. They made a change in how greenies are trained from when I train Elder Pearson and Elder Pace... We have an extra hour in the day for 12 weeks that we take to go over things, to teach him thoroughly how to do missionary work and to practice together. This is all over the world and the goal is that the New missionary could, if needed, train someone after 2 transfers... pretty intense. So that is an answer to your change call question.

This last week has gone super well here in Espoo! The members are SO nice and I really have grown very attached to them. It was neat to see that by serving faithfully and doing it with a smile on my face the Lord was able to touch peoples hearts and strengthen them as well as me... A LOT. There was a man... who pulled me aside in the middle of classes and shared some really neat things with me... It was awesome family! The gospel is so true! We have a busy couple days meeting with investigators and members before I leave on wednesday morning to get my new companion... I hope I have time to pack haha our p-day today is full of 6 or so appointments... 2 of which are Dinner/lunch appointments... wish me luck on packing ;)

Sounds like you had a fun week and thanks for the wonderful things you shared in your emails... I love the updates of everyone... but mostly the updates of the garden ;) sounds like dad is getting pretty fancy, growing herbs and stuff... Chocolate mint.. pretty fancy ;) That means I can probably stop sending the Chocolate mint chocolate home because dad is growing his own for you mom ;) heeheee (that one is for the finding a wife joke ;) hehe lol) (I told Thomas about spending the Weekend with Julia and Jessica, and how "I hate to have to try and find someone as neat as those two are" heehee)

Zone conference went super well we talked about working effectively with members and building relationships with them. We compared it to building fire and that the closer we are together the brighter our testimonies will burn... and we compared it to a finnish tradition which is on midsummers eve they make HUGE bonfires and burn them on the lakes. Finland is the place for me :) Even though I can't play with fire... and I am asleep when they start burning them the knowledge that they like huge fire warms my soul. Sähly went well... to anwer mom's question it is just like playing floor hockey... or lacrosse with hockey sticks. I loved it! but we keep it pretty mellow as missionaries. I am sending a super nice stick I found in our apartment home so I can find others and teach Dad, Ryan,Nate, Kyle, and of course boston how to play! I'm sending some other random stuff home so it should get there in like 3 weeks or something... nothing for you guys :( sorry... Maybe I'll sneek a little surprise in, we will see.

Life is great and I really am excited to see what happens in Joensuu. I hope that all goes well, I'll be excited to hear the news about when Ryan is back on american soil. I'll bet he has learned a lot being out there serving even though it was a little bit different from the service that I am doing... there is a lot of spiritual things to learn wherever you are at. It'll be fun to hear about those after the actual experience. Glad to hear that mom is still a pretty big deal haha... Life is great and I love being a missionary in Finland!


Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

P.S. thanks for the package mommy, I'll be picking it up wednesday with my new companion.

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