Monday, January 23, 2017

1/23/17: Our Savior Lives!

Well. I honestly could not have asked for a better end to my almost 25 months in the service of our Lord. It has truly been a ride. 

This past week Sister Heikkinen got Baptized!!!!!!!! it was the most amazing service, so much love and the spirit was so strong. So starting from wednesday we left to do splits in Oulu with the elders there, and that went well. Then Friday Sister Heikkinen had her baptismal interview and it went perfect. Earlier in the day we went over to her house and watched the prophet of the restoration. It really is a powerful movie, and the spirit bore itself very powerfully.  Saturday was the service and it went absolutely perfect. Our other Investigator Jenni got to sing "Maa on niin Kaunis" (Sister Heikkinens favorite hymn), and she did so well! We then drove about an hour and a half north west to the branch presidents house and I got to perform the baptism in a hot tub since the Kajaani building does not have a font.  We then had a delicious moose soup that our lovely branch presidents wife made. It was Amazing! Then my last sunday in church went perfect. I got to bear my testimony one last time to them, my companion (who is in his first change) confirmed her in finnish, and there was an amazing afterparty for Sister Heikkinens baptism and my farewell.  The branch even sang to me "god be with you till we meet again", which is Herra Olkoon tiell√§ kanssasi in Finnish. It was very sweet.

So I dont think I ever explained the full finding process of how we found Sister Heikkinen. At sometime in November I was going through old potential records and I came across her name, and in March of 2015, two elders stopped her on the street, talked to her briefly and gave her a book of mormon. After that there was no contact. I remember distinctly just a light around her name just looking at it, so we wrote it down and we road over to her house, but it wasnt for a few days later.  I will always remember the night. We saw them in their kitchen and we didnt want to interrupt their family dinner but we just thought, oh well, it will just be quick so we knocked. Sister Heikkinen came to the door, and I asked are you Sister Heikkinen, and her face lit up with a big smile and she practically grabbed us and we went into the entry way.  She was so happy and we set up a return lesson. We later learned the summer before that she had heard a song on the radio and she described the experience where it just pierced her heart. She looked up who it was and it was Brandon Flowers (who is the lead singer of the killers). She started listening to more of his music and Brandon does a very good job at relating life and the gospel in his songs. She found out he was mormon and the Book of Mormon on her shelf she had been randomly given to her on the street over a year and a half previous started drawing her, and she had been using Guide to the holy scriptures in it. Well, the night before we had came she had prayed and asked which church she should join, which path is right for her. And then we showed up the very next day. Well ever since then there has just been miracle after miracle along the way.  Sometime in the middle of her teaching, we asked if her mom would like to start learning (who lives in another city), and so we referred her mom that day. Her mother knew she had been meeting with us, and that very day we referred the missionaries to her she found a random book of mormon on the ground while she was walking.  Now she is meeting with the missionaries and its going great! Eventually it led to this past saturday of her being baptized and confirmed a Member of gods church restored on the earth!  

I truly know that Gods hand was in that the whole process. But we were not just led to her for her and her familys benefit. Her family and she have blessed my life so richly. She is truly a finnish mother to me, and her sweet cute 2 little girls are like my little sisters (there 7&5), and her little boy who is 9 is like my little brother. I love them with all my heart, they are truly just the best family ever, and it has been such a blessing to get so close to them.  It has been such a huge blessing to see the blessings of the gospel come into their life, and how god truly does prepare people.  The branch has done an amazing job, and have lovingly opened their arms to her, and everyone feels so home. I love the kajaani branch and it was pretty bittersweet having to say goodbye to a lot of them, because it just feels like home. It has just been a privelage serving here.

Its pretty crazy that the mission is over. Of course, as with life it just goes by so fast. Sometimes it can be slow in the moment but overall just like Jacob 7 says" and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream". Its so crazy but true. I have been so privelaged to meet and teach so many amazing people, and get to know so many amazing members here in Finland. The members in Finland are a very strong people. The church is small here but the members make up for it in their faith and sacrifice.  It is truly amazing to see how far the work has come, and will continue to.  I have been so blessed, the good, the bad, and everything in between has been such a blessing to me, and has just gotten me closer to the savior. The very hard parts of the mission only made the good times more rich.  Just like Alma 7:11-13 says he suffered every pain, and then later 3 Nephi 17:20 Christ has a fullness of joy. He was able to experience that because of how low he went. And it is because of christ we are able to eventually experience that high without go to the lowest of lows. However just like D&C says"My people must be tried in all things that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them", and also Romans says that we are co-heirs with christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory, that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us.  Truly it was all to help shape us to become better people to be able to serve our families, nations, and church.     I am so grateful for the people I got to serve with and the people that I got to become acquainted with here, many truly eternal friends.  I know that this church is true, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and god truly does help us to become what we are destined to become, even in the middle of what may seem to be an incredible trial. It will be a incredible blessing later. The true potential is limitless in the eyes of god. Every soul is great. Everyone can overcome any failure or mistake they have made. Through Christs atonement they can change. 

They not only change, they become better, until that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day (D&C 50:24) . They forgive more freely, they love more strongly and they follow more willingly. It has been such a privelage to have the gift of charity for these people. To be able to see past their mistakes and see the eternal worth of the soul. That God does not see us for what we once were but where we are going and what we have become. How people have been able to change past their own capacity, forgive, and change. I am forever thankful for all the many opportunities that have happened on my mission.

See you soon

Elder Weston Ford.

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