Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012

Terve!

AMAZING week this week! Seriously, our lives are just too dang exciting right now. We're working hard and following counsel and doing our best and constantly trying to be better every day, and we're really being blessed for our efforts. But the humbling part is that it really is the Lord that does all the work that counts. We just try to be effective instruments and not get in the way :)

So where do I begin this week? Well last week I fasted for one of our investigators--the young woman whose dad is a recent convert and mother is not a member (her parents are divorced, and we're just waiting on the mother's permission before she can get baptized.) So I fasted for her mom. This week was the young woman's birthday (actually the same day that baby Austin was born--congratulations to Steven and Robin by the way :)) So we held a family home evening with them to celebrate her birthday. It went really well, and we received some exciting news. Her mom wasn't able to come to the family home evening, but really wanted to and wants us to come to her place sometime in the next couple of weeks to meet her! (we haven't met her yet), so it sounds like things are moving forward! I also received a text from the father the following day thanking us for the spiritual thought, and said that they were now as a family going to have a routine of reading the Book of Mormon together every night. I love experiences like that that confirm to me that I'm where the Lord wants me to be.

Then, I was able to go to Marjaniemi for the day on Thursday for splits with Sisar Christoffersen-- my old companion from the mtc :) She goes home soon-- just a few more weeks! It was a lot of fun to be with her one last time. We had great day together, and it was fun to switch things up and work in a different area. By the time I came back to Haaga with Sisar Ballif, it felt like I had been gone and away from her for a whole week!

But then we had an incredible and miraculous end to the week. Some elders in a neighboring area found some investigators in our area a little while ago, and they handed them off to us this week to start teaching them. They are the coolest, and one of them had a baptismal date for the 29th of this month. Another one of them is a lady from Greece, and has very strong faith in Christ. She loves meeting with us and talking about Christ, but was very turned off to the idea of being baptized again. She had previously been baptized in a different church, and had a great experience with that. We tried addressing her concern, and asked her to pray about it.

Then in church on sunday (side note-- our investigator class was FULL. Add that to our list of miracles for the week :)) this woman brought up her concern about baptism again in the middle of the lesson, which I am SO grateful that she did. There were so many people in that class who had experienced the same thing-- being baptized in a different church and then being baptized again in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints after learning about the restored gospel-- and they were able to tell her about their experiences and help resolve her conern. It was seriously so good. Later that night we met with her again and asked her what she thought about the sunday school lesson. She proceeded to talk again about her previous experience with baptism--so to me it sounded like she was still set and didn't want to change. But then she surprised me. She said that she was willing to be baptized again, and believed that God would answer her prayers before the 29th of september. I could hardly believe it! We were so thrilled.

So the week ended on an unbelievably high note. We also met our goal of 20 teaches this week--we've actually been a little lacking in that the past few weeks. Such a good week. Very rewarding. So grateful to be a missionary. So grateful to be in Finland. I love this work. I love the gospel. I'm grateful for a loving Heavenly Father and our savior Jesus Christ.

I love you all :)

Rakkaudella,
Sisar Shaw

On splits with Sisar Christofferson -- at a dinner appointment with a member and her son -- a future missionary:)
With Sisar Baliff -- countdown to General Conference -- only 26 more days!  We're reading a conference talk everyday leading up to it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

September 3, 2012

Terve!

What a great week. I hardly know where to begin! One thing that has constantly frustrated me throughout my mission as I have written in my journal every night and sent you all emails every week is that WORDS DON'T DO THIS JUSTICE. But I write anyway, hoping that although my words don't give my experiences the credit that they deserve, someday I can look back over what I've written and remember the feelings that i had. And maybe you all can just get a taste of what I'm experiencing :)

So here's a "taste" from this week: Zone Conference with Elder Richards. He's a new member of the European Area Presidency (and gave a talk in conference last year I think: "The Atonement Covers All Pain"). He and his wife are such amazing people. He served as a mission president in Texas! (San Antonio) Way cool. I always love meetings like that, and it's always impossible to capture in words the feelings and the spirit that was felt there. He said something interesting though: He said (something along the lines of): "This is more than just a spiritual 'pump-up' meeting. We are coming here to receive answers to our questions and then make changes in our lives based on the answers that we receive." What he said was so good--and something that I've been learning on my mission. So much of the inspiration and revelation that we receive is dependent upon our personal preparation AND our "real intent"--actually following through with the answers that we receive. And it applies to almost everything that we do in the church-- sacrament meeting, general conference, other church meetings, etc... in order to really receive all that we can from our church meetings, we need to approach them as more than just a "spiritual pump-up meeting." We need to view them as ways of receiving answers by coming prepared with questions, and then we need to leave those meetings with the resolve to make changes based on the answers that we received.

This might be a good point to tell you of a really cool experience that i've been having lately. I'm so grateful for the time that we spend every morning as missionaries studying and reading from the Book of Mormon and other scriptures. I recently finished the Book of Mormon again and started over once again from the beginning. But as I thought about how I didn't really seem to gain anything from my reading the last time around, i decided to do something differently this time. I now read the Book of Mormon every morning with a question in my mind-- I write that question down in my study journal, and i also write down the answers that I receive through my scripture study. And the amazing thing is that without fail, I have received an answer to my question every single day.

One of my favorite experiences from this week was when our investigator came to church on sunday. It was such a victorious and joyful moment. We have been meeting with this investigator for about a month now, and she hadn't come to church yet. She has always expressed a desire to, but has lacked the courage to do so. So last week we all committed to pray every single day that the Lord would prepare a way for her to come to church. So that's what we did--she prayed and we prayed collectively and individually every day. So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when she showed up, but I honestly was! It was such a joyful moment. She was just beaming and we were so happy and I was so grateful because I felt like that was the greatest teaching moment that we've had with her up to this point. We've visited her house and read from the Book of Mormon with her, but in this instance she was putting a principle of the gospel into action and learning for herself the power of prayer. It was once again a testimony to me that the Lord hears and answers our prayers.

My time is running short--there is so much more that I wish I could tell you, but I'll just say this: The gospel is true. Heavenly Father lives and loves us.

I LOVE YOU ALL!!!

Rakkaudella,

Sisar Shaw