Monday, September 23, 2013

Miracles in Jyväskylä! (or how I became a Finnish math tutor)


Well this week has just been crazy I don't even know where to start! 

Well, this email is a little later today because we decided to go for a run this morning! Around all of Jyväsjarvi! It's about 13km and we woke up at 5 so we wouldn't use up too much P day time and it was so good! Yep, definitely the furthest I've ran and you all would've laughed at me running in the pitch dark with thermals and pants and a jacket and everything but it was way fun! I'm getting used to the cold whether I like it or not! I wear leggings/tights everyday and boots of course and a cardigan and a jacket and a cardigan! It definitely takes me longer to get ready now, but I finally get to break out my winter clothes! Also, it's rained every day this week and I haven't seen the sun for a while, so yeah, Vitamin D is definitely a must. It's hard to go contacting on the streets as well now because no one is out! Oh well, I guess we'll just have to get more investigators to let us in!

So sooo many miracles happened this week it's amazing. First off, I said the opening prayer in church. Extremely nerve wracking, but as far as I can tell my conjugations were okay so I felt good about it :) Well, on Thursday we went on Exchanges! I went with Sisar Heggie and my trainer Sisar Ballif. Sisar Heggie was with me in the MTC so it was awesome seeing her again and hearing about how all the other sisters are doing. We went to a recent convert's house and taught her how she can get a temple recommend to go do baptisms. We also taught a little about family history and how all of her family, even those who have passed on, will get the chance to hear the gospel. As soon as she realized this, she just started crying and the spirit was so strong even though I really didn't understand much she was saying. I've sure come to realize the language isn't as nearly as important as you think.

Then on Friday we (the 5 sister missionaries in our ward) were in charge of a Young Women activity. We taught about missionary work and did role plays with them and it was awesome! The members here are crazy good about doing missionary work and inviting their friends to everything! It was really cool to see.

And then on Saturday the biggest miracle happened. We were given a referral from a member and went to visit them a couple times and they said we could come back and do service for them since they're building their own house and need lots of help. So we've gone over every Saturday for 3 weeks now, but somehow felt that we should wait to share the gospel with her, which is a super weird feeling for a missionary to feel. Then, this last Saturday, we decided we wanted to tell her more about what we do and how we help others find out for themselves that this is true. So, we practiced it all out and felt comfortable sharing it with her before we went over. Then, while we were helping her clean her house, she straight up asks us the exact question we had prepared for! So cool! We knew exactly how to answer it and we were all on the same page and it was way cool. And then, she just started telling us about her religious background and everything went even better than planned. 

But wait, there's more! So then, we talked about how God created everything and therefore, everything testifies of him. Sisar Dayton had the idea to tell her the lyrics to that song "Whenever I hear the song of a bird" and then we look over at her and she's crying! I know that's not usually a good thing, but it is to a missionary! Eventually Sisar dayton asked her if she was okay and she said "yeah I don't know, maybe I'm just stressed or maybe I'm just missing something in my life, I wish I had a religion to hold to like you guys do" So cool! It was just awesome and 100% by the spirit. So yeah, I definitely gained a testimony of role playing. 

Well, after this experience, we were eating a snack she had given us and she mentioned how she loves how we're so willing to help and everything and then she turns to her 18 year old son and says "Why don't you become mormon and go on a mission, it'd be good for you" haha how right she is! So we all just died laughing at that later. Well in the midst of all of this she told us that her son was struggling in math and my companions felt the need to mention that I was a math major and could totally help. So, I agreed and sat down to look at his math book to see if I could even help and he was doing Trigonometry. No big deal right? Yeah, well it was in Finnish. So I kinda thought it was a big deal. So after I finally understood even what the question was asking, I was able to figure out a question or two. So as soon as she realized I understood the problem, she asked if I could tutor him whenever we come over to do service and set up a return appointment right then and there for us! So that's the story of how I became a Finnish math tutor. I'll letcha know how it works out!

So on Thursday I get to go to Tampere for zone conference and then on Sunday-Friday I'm in Helsinki for Interim training and language school! And I get to go to the temple! I'm really excited to do a session in Finnish! But that means I miss a p day so I have no idea if I can email so sorry if you don't hear from me for a bit. Just know I'm alive and i'll email if I can.

Well, I received lots of letters and love this week :) You guys are awesome. I hope all is well and I just loved seeing all the pictures and hearing how everyone's week went! Keep it up!

Til next week,
Sisar Crandall

Monday, September 16, 2013

Things They Don't Teach You in the MTC - One Month Reflections

Well I've been in Finland for almost a month now and boy oh boy have I learned a lot! I've also learned that there are a lot of things they don't teach you in the MTC. Here's just a short list of what I've come up with:
How to use a toilet in Finland
How to read a map in Finnish
How to use a bus card in Finland
How to weigh and sticker your fruit at the grocery store
How to check-out in Finnish
How to react when people open the door wearing no pants (apparently this is a very common thing)
How to react when a drunk person throws up on the bus near you
How to cover for your companion when she's throwing up at a Dinner Appointment
How to open doors (this one still gets me every time)
How to work with Elders in your district
How to deal with not getting mail on Saturday
How to order food at restaurants
How to read Swedish
That when you order Pepperoni Pizza, it is actually a Pepperoni and Tuna Fish Pizza.

Well all of these life lessons have very interesting stories behind them and they're things I now know. haha But after being out in the field a month there are some lesson that I've really learned. 
The first one is the Lord's timing. I can't even explain it sometimes but it's so cool! Like there was this Less-Active in our ward we've been trying to work with and get a hold of and we couldn't reach her but then we got off the bus and there she was just sitting right there! Way cool! We were able to teach her and invite her to a YW activity and it was just great! Especially considering that we don't usually take that bus. And another time we were going to visit a potential investigator and on the way we ran into our referral (like literally, she almost hit us on her bike) and we were able to talk to her and set up a return appointment and it was awesome. And we were both way far away from where we live so we didn't expect to see her but the Lord led us right to where we need to be!
I've also learned that the gift of tongues is real. I know all foreign missionaries say that but come on, this is Finnish here, so it must be true. Like last week a Young Adult in our ward brought her friend to church. We didn't know she was coming so we were a little unprepared but somehow I ended up sitting with her in sacrament meeting which was awesome. I told her to let me know if she had any questions and she asked something and the only word I understood was "white" And I though Oh shoot, I have no idea what she's talking about! But then somehow I got the idea oh, she's probably talking about the while sheet at the front of the chapel. So I just assumed that was the question and explained all about the sacrament. It was pretty cool for me to see that I can understand the sentence by not understanding every word in it. Not sure if I'm just a good guesser, but I've definitely spoken and understood way beyond my normal capability with the Lord's help.
I've also learned that it sure helps to be happy! The days are pretty cold and very foggy here already and it's so funny how simply saying Hello to someone brightens their day! And mine! So I'm grateful that it's become easier to be happy and then I have companion that support me.
So overall, life is great :) Nothing to complain about here! We're teaching more and more, little by little, each week and the work continues to move forward no matter how much the Finns try to resist it haha. 
I got a letter from Mom and Dad and Camille this week so thanks for all the love and support! And huge shout out to CAMILLE! Holy cow you're gorgeous! Where'd you get that dress!? I just loved seeing all the pictures so thank you so much!! You're awesome :)
Well anyway, I hope all is well at home. Life sounds crazy, but I'm praying for you all! Especially Melissa! I love you all so so much! 
Till next week,
Kirkko on totta!

Sisar Crandall

The main bridge all lit up at night

A cute little sauna - they are everywhere

These little mushrooms are all over, too.

Sisar Baliff and Kathryn on the Bus

Monday, September 9, 2013

Another Week in Jyväskylä!!

September 9, 2013
Well, this week was sure an interesting one! One full of miracles as well as awkward funny stories so I'll see how much I can fit in today!
Well to start off, we went to contact a referral (which went pretty well btw) and then we decided to knock some doors on either side. So we went to knock on our first door and decided to say a quick little prayer before we knocked. So we're standing on the door step praying and sure enough, the door flings open and the lady says (In Finnish) "You know I can see you right?" So my companion tried to quickly explain why we were hanging out on here door step and we ended up just apologizing and leaving haha. She was surprisingly nice about it though.  We all had a good laugh about it.
The next day we were walking to the church for District Meeting and we try to always make an effort to say hi to everyone we pass. Sometimes we can't stop and talk to them because they're on bikes usually. So anyway, I went to say "Huomenta" which means "Morning" and instead I said "Huomenna" which means "tomorrow." So yeah I got a pretty weird look from that one but my companions couldn't stop laughing. Then, the next night my companion Sis Dayton said Huomenta to a man at about 8:30 at night so that one made me laugh too. Yeah we have lots of fun together. We like to play a game called "Who can get the weirdest look from a person by just saying hello to them" We've got some great looks. People here are just so surprised that a stranger would say hello and they almost always do a double take and then a delayed "Moi!" and keep on riding. It's pretty fun. 
Well this week we've really been focusing on finding. We prayed to be able to find "the one" that day and were really trying to talk to everyone in order to do it. So, as we were walking to visit a part member family, we passed a young woman and stopped and talked to her and she was so nice! And she spoke English! That was awesome. We invited her to come to a church tour and everything and then went on our way. We ended up somehow getting her wrong number as well (I know what you all are thinking, no she didn't purposely give us the wrong one) So we went back to try to find her but we had met her on the street and only had a general idea of which apartment complex she lived in. We narrowed it down to the right complex and there were 25 or more apartments there so we were prepared to knock all the doors until we found her. We said a prayer and then walked into the complex and there she was! Just sitting outside her house! She was the only person in the whole complex outside and we found her in literally 10 seconds! That was awesome and definitely a miracle this week.
Well, more about Jyväskylä. There's only one ward here but the land area it covers is massive. It's split into three areas which are covered but the three companionships here (2 sister companionships and 1 elders) So we had the goal this week to reach out and visit all the less active and active members in our area. There were only about 15 names so it wasn't too difficult and I really think we're starting to build better relationships with the members which is awesome. They really are very excited about missionary work here. 
Finland also has tons of immigrants and refugees and almost every person here speaks English which is good and bad. Good because I can talk to them and understand but bad because I'm not being as immersed as I want to be. But the language is definitely coming! Slow and steady! 
Also, last P day we visited Kebab house and ate some Finland famous Kebabs. That's what the picture is of.
I also got a letter from Camille and Melissa and some friends this week so thanks so much! I can really feel the love and support! Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! You've got a present coming your way!

Rhett: Thanks for your Finnish letters! I still have to look up a couple words in the dictionary so you're definitely learning way fast!

Brianne: Great to hear from you and your fun friends you've made! Thanks for the quote again! You're awesome!

Ashley: I head about your homecoming assembly! You're so sweet! Let me know how it goes! There's something in the mail for you too!

Mom: Thanks for the talks! We've added them to our General Conference countdown which we're all so excited for! And I'm super jealous of the Motab concert! We have our own little music and the spoken word each Sunday and I just love the peace the music brings all the time! 
I'll write everyone else back in the family letter. Keep up the indexing! It's almost the 19th! 
Mail seems to still be pretty reliable so that's good! 
Well, that's all for now! I love you all so much! Thanks for all the love and support and I'm excited to see how the spirit of missionary work is catching on in all of your lives! 
Sisar Crandall

Sisar Ballif and I in the gorgeous woods

The Kebab House

Hanging Out at Church

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week 2 From Jyväskylä!!!


Well, my second full week here is over and I've got lots to tell so here goes!

Finland is great. It's the most beautiful place on earth! I'm in a very big city and it reminds me a lot of New York. We ride buses everywhere and everyone rides bikes (except us). That sometimes makes it hard to contact because they're on a bike, but that's okay! Finland has no public restrooms or drinking fountains anywhere which I thought was really weird. But although Jyväskylä is a big city, there is nature and forests everywhere. We run across the bridge or around the lake each morning for workout. (The lake is called Jyväsjärvi go look it up) and it's so beautiful! It's definitely started getting pretty cold already. Cardigans are a must everyday and I've broken out my medium sized coat a couple times. I've also been caught out in the rain a couple times and showed up to Dinner Appointments completely drenched so I'm definitely learning!

So Since they added another companionship of sisters in Jyväskylä this transfer, our area is pretty new. There aren't a lot of members and our ward boundaries are HUGE! So it takes a long time to ride the bus out to visit them all and that sucks up a lot of our day, but that's okay, it's worth it. The members who are active though are wonderful. They want to help us and give us rides or stuff like that whenever they can so that helps a lot.

So my trainer is Sisar Ballif. She's from California and this is her last transfer so her Finnish is way good. We're learning a lot from her. We study a ton everyday. 2 hours of companionship study, one hour of personal, one hour of language, and anything else we need to get done that day. And it still doesn't feel like enough!

Oh And I don't know if I ever mentioned that transfers have been changed to every NINE weeks. I haven't heard of another mission doing that yet so that's pretty new/weird. So I'm basically guaranteed to be here in Jyväkylä through Thanksgiving and probably until Christmas so I can finnish up my training.

Well one cool thing our companionship does is we have a conference countdown in our apartment. We are so excited for conference! We take a chain off each day and read a previous conference talk each day and it's just awesome. We recently read The Tongue of Angels by Holland. Highly recommend.

Well the family sounds like they're doing well! Cart Racing and swimming and everything sounds awesome! I've gotten the letters that were sent way before I got to Finland on like the first day I got here and then I got Mom's card/pictures and Melissa's Dear Elder on Saturday so thank you so much! It takes about a week, but the mail is pretty reliable. Especially if you send it directly to my apartment address. However, if it's close to the end of a transfer or something, just send it to the mission office and I'll get it just as fast.

I was glad to hear about everyone's fun time in Wyoming! And about the storytelling festival! It sounds like something I'd enjoy. Kinda reminded me of the Melodramas in Blanding and how no matter how cheesey, they make me laugh every time.

Courtney! I didn't know you were putting your papers in! Congrats! Let me know if you have any questions!

Brianne-Congrats on getting some braces soon! I better see some pictures! And stop accidentally getting hurt okay??
Oh and I'm glad all the indexing is coming along well! You'll be done way before Sept 19th at this rate!

Mom-So the house is basically all put together now? Do I get to see a picture anytime soon! I'm probably imagining it totally wrong...  
And no, mom, we don't get to use the sauna :( We just end up using it as a storage closet for our suitcases and stuff. 

Rhett- Your finnish is sounding great! I'm so impressed every week with what you come up with! Keep up the great work!

Savanna-glad to hear school is going well!
Allyson-School sounds great! And that's so fun you ran into an old friend! Small world!
Dad-Take care of those missionaries! What goes around comes around!
Camille-Can't wait for your letters! And I wanna hear about DYW!
Melissa-Well I pray for you and Joseph and Lydia and Hyrum all the time! Stay healthy!
Well, I'm out of time for today! I love you all so much! Thanks for all the love and support I feel everyday! Whenever I try to contact someone on the street I always bring up families (everyone loves talking about their families) and then I whip out a picture of you all and it's just so awesome! The church is true and I'm excited to keep up this work! p.s. if any of you feel up to the challenge, go translate this:

Onneksi Olkoon! Sina voit lukea Sumoea! Ja Oikeasti, Ajatellen että minä voisin kirjoittaa kaikkin tämän kirjen Suomeksi, mutta sitten sina et voi ymartta.
Minä rakastan ja kaipaan teitä!!

Sisar Crandall
Waiting for the Mail

Picking Apples for Service with Sister Dayton and Sister Ballif