Monday, August 8, 2011

August 8, 2011 (I LOVE THE FINLAND!!!!!!)

Dearest Family,

WOW! What a week. God really has just dumped out his tender mercies. I only have like 17 minutes to type this email so I don't know how much I will get shared, but if I don't just remind me :D What a joy it was to be with Ville Jäkkö. A tender memory of Jyväskylä. God knows how much I love speaking finnish so for this past week straight he gave me the oppurtunity to speak nothing but finnish and serve alongside a wonderful young man who's heart was touched by missionary work. It was a powerful week. Ville at one of our last meetings with a member or an investigators spent 5 or so minutes just testifying about how excited he was to serve a mission because of the love he felt. He shared some pretty personal things with me about his own conversion earlier in the week. He felt the Love God had for his children even on the street, and even when they didn't always say yes :) haha It was a sweet joy to see the Light that missionary work brought to this wonderful future missionary. We were able to see some pretty good miracles this week. We gave a blessing to an older lady who had been having back problems, She stood up in testimony meeting and testified abotu the priesthood and the blessings in her life. She was a great! Testimony meeting was powerful!

We had 5 investigators there and total of 33 people... So subtracting us 3 missionaries makes it an even 30.... 1/6 of the people at church this last week are investigating and coming closer to baptism. We taught the class in Pyhä koulu... sunday school and commited 2 investigators to baptism right on the spot. It was such a wonderful week here. I really can't even begin to describe how much of a tender mercy has been for me!

I had to spend about a half hour of my 1 hour of email time today writing a departing message.. I'll past it in for you if you would like:

Dearest Finland Helsinki Mission,

We are lucky to be in such a wonderful mission at such a marvolous time of growth. I see missionaries coming in so prepared to serve God with all their heart, might, mind, and strength. I couldn't be more happy. Finland is very dear to my heart, and has been a place of joy, and growth for me. So I would like to share a couple quick thoughts.

"As we share the gospel, we appreciate how precious and maningful it is to us, and we feel greater love for God and others" (PMG 84) Pitäähän paikkansa! I belive that is because as we are focusing on others with all our heart, we can't focus on ourselves, thus bring the true peace which passeth all understanding (Phil 4:7)

Jesus Christ said it this way "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it" (Matt 10:39)

God has helped me understand His plan and His will for all of His children, that knowledge makes me happy! Seeing conversion has been one of the greatest joys of my mission. The Light that comes into an investigators eyes as they repent and begin living the laws of God is something worth about a thousand times more that all the hours of work it took to find that particular investigator. (2 Tim 2:10) God wants His children to repent and be baptized so they can return to Him (2 Nephi 9:23)

God Lives, Joseph smith is the palautuksen profeetta. The Book of Mormon and the spirit are our 2 greatest tools for conversion. God loves you and knows your situation. Jesus Christ is my Reedemer... I really have never been more happy in all my life! I LOVE FINLAND!

Love:n kanssa... eiku... rakkaudella,

Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

We have a crazy schedule today haha I don't know if I am going to get packed in time. We have to leave today because we are going to kuopio to help teach a family there. I haven't done any packing because well... I was focusing elsewhere. SO... we shall see if my few hours I set aside to pack will be enough to make weight and get everything folded nicely. This past week has been so great... it really has.

As for all your questions. Sure if the stake presidency can't get there I will do that... They are my leaders :D!(He can't be released until Saturday afternoon, as the Stake president is away at a Laurel training camp) I would follow them where ever they wouold have me go! Maybe you could get a hold of the missionaries in the area and I can spend my friday with them doing work because I know that the techology stuff might be a temptation! lol. Just put me to work. I would actually really enjoy working with them for a day... I don't know how possible that his, but I know that if mom can figure out how to get to president browns homecoming she can line up this ;D

As for the calling... I don't know about that. I have those numbers, I'll ask my president If I can call. If I can I will, if not 7 hours really isn't too much time... especially being surrounded with a few of my favorite missions is a city that desperately needs help! SUPERMAN TO SAVE DAY ;) maybe we'll go fight crime or something! The Food... I trust that whatever mom makes is just wonderful. Dad's dutch oven potatoes and peach cobbler are something that sounds ohh so tasty.

I love life.. I really do. Missionary work has been the most fulfilling thing I have ever been a part of. Well... we better get going haha we have a teach in 10 minutes lol! Have a wonderful week!

Love you family,

Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August 1, 2011 (Mini missionary, Round 2 :))

Dearest Family,

I LOVE JYVÄSKYLÄ!!! haha and guess what! Ville Jäkkö from Jyväskylä is coming to Joensuu to be our "Mini-Missionary" for a week! I don't remember how much I shared about the Jäkkö family while I was there in Jyväskylä, but Victor was one of my favorite youth there. He took Elder Slade and I out to eat some Kebab a couple times. He is a stud! His cousins live in las vegas and a couple summers ago he went there to visit for a while. He LOVES walmart and how cheap root beer is in america haha (Here it is like 2 euros a can.. bluh!) He is crazy hyper and really a big ball of fun. I think it is going to be a very fun week. A little blessing from heavenly father... He knows how much I love being around finns and learning how to speak finnish better. I am not going to lie I AM STOKED! Ville is the man! When we got the letter I was actaully in shock, because last year there were only about 1/4 of the missionary companionships who were able to have a mini missionary, so I figured it would be a 1 time experience. It was a wonderful week last year. Then to get Victor one of my favorite finns. It is like mana from heaven. Elder perry is in for a treat!

This last week has been great. We have been doing a lot more finding and the tender mercies of the Lord are without bounds. It really humbles me to think of all the things he arranges in a simple day, or even a block of finding. We met a lady who had just lost her husband (avomies actually), She was so humbled by the death. She had never really thought about life after death, she didnt' understand the Plan of Salvation. She was humbled and so she listened, she was blessed greatly for listening and I know she will continue to be blessed! We met a ton of people just back to back. We were actually talking to another man when we met this lady haha so I finished talking to the man really quick haha it was great. Sometimes I think we take the knowledge we have been blessed with for grantide (spelling?) We really are blessed to know both the plan of salvation and the message of the restoration. As people though it is easy to look past the mark, I know I do it too often. Elder Perry and I taught the combined lesson for relief society, YM/YW, and preisthood this week (so it was just like everyone stayed seated after sacrament meeting haha I love small wards!) We taught about missionary work of course. It really hit me as we were teaching how much we know. We watched the restoration and afterwards asked them to share the blessings they have had from the one boys prayer. They shared tons of good things, but one in particular hit me, Peace. He said "Peace knowing that I am in line with god's will, peace knowing that Christ died for me" (or something like that) and I really can say that Peace is the thing I am most grateful for.. The thing I have seen again and again on my mission. The tender mercies of the Lord are so abundant... the peace he grants is something that you cannot get from the world, and yet something the world so desperately needs. I think that is the underlying theme of missionary work. Peace comes from obedience to God!

President Brown :D I love that man! haha he has a story or two! I was blessed to be around him for 2 years and just bask in all his stories and wisdom. He is a man who just understands the atonement, and how to apply it to life... I think that is why he is so happy. One time he said something I really like he said "the atonement has to be applied daily, becasuse if there isn't daily applicaiton of the atonement it has no value to us eternally" I'm telling you... president brown is a good one! YOU SAW THE SHARPS AND JONES'S?!?!? Lol I love both their sons! I don't know if I have told you this, but Elder Sharp is one of my favorite companions... and Elder Jones is my favorite district leader... He's a good one.

Alright funny things from this week... HAHA ELDER PERRY! Lol, I feel like I am serving with a brother. He is great. We are getting along pretty well. I told you about how he fell into stinging nettle right? haha he is still recovering from the iching wounds it left... It has been almost two weeks now... maybe it wasn't just stinging nettle. We have been doing some serious contacting and tracting, and we have met some pretty interesting... people. We had a guy invite us back after tracting into him to sit there and try and bible bash like 2 hours.. thing is that he would let us talk... or leave... and when we simply testified he didn't like that because he wanted us to bash. It was a patience growing experience... lol I'll have to tell you the whole story when I can do my interpretation of "the gift of toungue", haha just kidding... I probably shouldn't have typed that... too late now.. I only have a few minutes left :D Life is good and the work is fruitful! I love all the range of people we meet. I really wouldn't trade any of these experience for the world. Remind me to tell you all about Momad (our investigator who moved just barely) He has a great heart! Our investigators are great!

I don't know how much I have shared aboout the Turuset because the whole situtation is sensitive, but they are a couple children (ages 9 and 11) whose mother is a member, and father is against the church. I learned a little bit about what it means to be childlike. We talked with different investigator about mosiah 3:19 because his reading commitment was chapters 2-5. It just came to my mind actually as I was typing and thinking about what I want to tell you this week. The situation was that the dad had to leave for something and the children and the mom had an extra half an hour in the city. The mom says "kids what do you want to do?" As a kid I would have answered... "ICE CREAM" but, these two kids are very childlike. They said, mom can we go meet with the missionaries. I believe very strongly it is because childlike people are sensitive to the spirit. They long for connectiion with God. They understand and can see with clear eyes (apostle Paul's phrase)

This is mos 3:19-21... often we don't read the 2 verses after this scripture mastery scripture...

19For the anatural bman is an cenemy to God, and has been from the dfall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he eyields to the enticings of the Holy fSpirit, and gputteth off the hnatural man and becometh a isaint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a jchild, ksubmissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
20And moreover, I say unto you, that the time shall come when the aknowledge of a bSavior shall spread throughout cevery nation, kindred, tongue, and people.
21And behold, when that time cometh, none shall be found ablameless before God, except it be little children, only through repentance and faith on the name of the Lord God Omnipotent.

Childlike people are the ones who make it back to God's presence... Childlike after the age of 8 means that we repent and have faith on the name of the savior. That is why Alma commanded that nothing should be preached save it be "faith and repentance" So my commitment (slash personal quest) is that each of us become a little more childlike every single day!

Thanks family, sorry I didn't throw in a little more funny stories... I just really wanted to share that thought :D Thanks for the wonderful emails! Thanks for being so great! I am glad you love president Brown, and I am glad that dad agrees that rocky is a man's dog :D


Vanhin Thomas Neal Nielsen