Friday, February 28, 2014

Kathryn's Addresses . . . and a Picture

Kathryn's Current Address

Sisar Crandall
Lönnrontinkatu 42 H 109
00180 Helsinki

Kathryn's Mission Address (always good):

Sisar Crandall
Finland, Helsinki Mission
Neitsytpolku 3 A 4
FI-00140 Helsinki

Kathryn and Sisar Curtis

Monday, February 24, 2014

Tervetuloa Helsinkiin!

Hello family and friends!

Yep! I just completed my first week in Helsinki and it went amazing! So I'm going to try to hurry and tell you all about it and how it's different/the same so here goes!

Well first off, I am in Neitsytpolku in the Helsinki 3rd ward. Our church building is basically the bottom floor of an apartment building since everything is so city here that we can't have an actual building. The mission office is in the same building as the church so we're there all the time. This ward has 8 missionaries in it! Yep! 8! We're really trying to build it up, reactivate a lot of members, find new investigators, and split the ward! It's an exciting time, that's for sure! There are 4 sisters and 4 elders and even though we have a bigger ward here than in Jyväskylä, less people are in church, so that's definitely something that we'll work on. 

The apartment we live in used to be an apartment that 4 elders would live in, but now only 2 sisters (me and Sister Curtis) So there's plenty of room for us. We have two bathrooms (but only 1 shower) and huge desks and a huge kitchen and basically it's just a really nice apartment. I'll send some pictures if I can get them to work on this computer. Oh and we also live right on the Harbor. Estonia is like just a couple miles away.

We take trams and sometimes the metro everywhere here. It's a lot faster and they come every 10 minutes or so instead of once an hour. So it's a lot harder to talk to people because everyone (including us) hops on and off every two seconds or so. so we're sure getting creative with our contacting approaches. 

Also, Swedish is an official language in Finland and since I'm in Helsinki, there are a lot more Swedes here and Swedish signs everywhere so I've picked up a couple words here and there. Swedish is basically just a mix between English and Finnish so it's pretty easy to pick it out and sometimes get a general idea of what something says. So yeah, Swedish. I'll keep y'all updated on that one. There are also a lot of foreigners so we speak/hear English a lot more so Sisar Curtis and I are just trying to speak our Finnish as much as possible to keep up in it.

It's a lot warmer in Helsinki. Today i wore my red "fall" coat instead of my big black winter one so that was fun! first time in a couple months! I don't have to wear a hat and i'll wear a scarf every now and then. Boots and tights are still a must, but only about a layer of everything. 

I also hear a lot about the Olympics since Russia is pretty close and Sweden beating Finland was such a huge deal. There's a Swedish missionary here in our district and the Finns wouldn't talk to him for like a week so that was sad... Glad that's all over.

So this week was kinda hectic. I packed up everything on Monday and headed out on an 8 am train on Tuesday. I traveled to Tampere with two elders as my companions (that's allowed right?) and then I went to Helsinki by myself. That was the first time in about 8 months I had really been alone so it was kinda weird. Then Sisar Curtis picked me up and we spent all of Tuesday and Wednesday running sisters to and from where they needed to be and being companions with one sister until the other one came and picking up sisters from the train station and putting them on a bus to their new city with all their luggage and bikes and everything. It was pretty hectic. And we got put in charge of it all since we're serving in Helsinki and right next to the train station. But yeah, after Wednesday, things slowed down a bit and our companionship really started. 

So, Sisar Curtis. She is AWESOME. Not gonna lie, we're basically the same person. Whenever one of us has an idea or wants to do something, the other one is already doing it. Or whenever we're just talking, we'll end up saying the same sentence and then just say "Wait, why are we even having a conversation?" Basically I'm companions with myself. Right now, it's an awesome thing. We're always on the same page which is awesome in lessons and stuff and we're super on top of things. WE have NO problem with unity. We have a lot of the same goals and strengths, which means we also have a lot of the same weaknesses. But I think that's a good thing because now we can help each other out and learn and grow together. I just see this companionship and transfer being awesome! 

One of our main goals is the 3 C's. (It fits perfectly because our last names are both C's. Get it?) So we have No Complaining, No Conflicting, and No Comparing. If we're not having a good day, or things aren't right between us, or we don't have the spirit, or if we don't feel like successful missionaries, it's because one of these three C's are happening. So, we're just focusing on working together and being the best we can and I'm super excited to see where we'll go! 

Well, here's a cool miracle story for y'all. Last night we were coming home and trying to get home in time for call-ins and we were only at 19 lessons. We have the goal as a mission to teach 20 lessons in every area every week. And we were NOT about to go home early. So we were trying to find someone to talk to and we said a prayer (of course) and then went to talk to this lady who was out walking her dog. We started talking to her and she said she believes in God and that she prays sometimes and then we testified of prayed and asked her "How has prayer helped you in your life?" And she said "Well, it really hasn't..." So then we asked "Miksi?" "Why?" and she just stopped and stared at us and said "Ya know, I want to get to know your guys' church" Uh wut. okay! This doesn't really happen that often and it was in Finnish so Sisar Curtis and I were like "wait what?" And she said it again! So we taught her and got her information and we have an appointment set up for tonight! So just to let you all know, in case you were doubting, that people ARE prepared here in Finland and we're going to find them! 

So, I love you all so much! Thank you for everything! I hope you all know that I miss you, but there's no place I'd rather be than here in Finland, in Helsinki, sharing the word of God! Have a most wonderful week!

Sisar Crandall

(Kathryn's pictures would not download.  I found a picture of her and Sister Curtis in the MTC so you would know what her companion looked like.)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Transfers -- Allyson was right!

Yep! I bet you're all dying to hear about transfers. Well... Allyson was right! I'm off to Neitsytpolku! My family took guesses about where/if I was going and Allyson won. Onneksi Olkoon! (Congrats!) so, I head out early tomorrow morning at about 8 to take a train to Helsinki! Helsinki is kinda broken up into smaller "neighborhoods" so that's what Neitsytpolku is. It's right in the middle of Helsinki and I'm so excited! And my new companion is.... Sisar Curtis! She came to Finland when I did so we've both been in the country 6 months and then she served with me in Jyväskylä for 4 months so we know each other very well. I'm very sad to leave Jyväskylä, my one and only stomping ground thus far, but I'm excited to get to a little bigger city and see what it's like in a bigger ward and everything!

 Neitsytpolku is also where the mission office is so I get to work a lot more closely with all the senior couples and missionaries down there. So, I don't know my new address yet, but since I live really close to the mission office, any mail (including packages) can just be sent to the mission home address and I'll get it just as fast. 

So I've been trying to pack whenever I have free time (yeah that never happens as a missionary...) And still say goodbye to all the awesome members here and not be too overwhelmed by it all. I had many members tell me that I'm welcome to come back and stay at their home so it looks like I'm going to have to come back and visit! And, since I'm now in the Helsinki zone, I should be able to go to the temple! I'm way excited! I haven't gone in about 6 months and it's been a bummer, but hopefully it'll all work out that I can go this transfer! 

Well, here's how my week went!

Monday, Sisar Lund and I got asked to give the "lesson" at YSA so we went to their fhe and showed the Come unto Christ video (still gets me every time) and talked about what we can do to come closer to christ (read, pray, serve) And it went great! I kinda got the idea from mom who did this at home for fhe so thanks! 

Tuesday, we had 2 lessons with a member present work out in the same day! Way fun! One of them was a former investigator we picked up, and the other one was one of our new investigators! And they're both males (future priesthood holders) so we had some awesome members step up and help us out!

Wednesday, Soooo this week I lost my bus pass ;( So I had to go to the train station today and get a new one which was a bummer, but while we were there we ran into a potential and got his address, so who knows, maybe it was meant to be! We also got little Valentine's Day packages from dad/the fam today! Thank you so much! Sisar Lund and I enjoyed them very much! Today we also baked a TON of heart sugar cookies (the kind mom makes) during our lunch and dinner hours and got them all ready to take to investigators and members later this week. Thanks mom for the recipe! They turned out great! Not as good as yours of course, but we made do. It took us a while to find Almond extract in the store last P day, (probably because I didn't know the word for Almond or extract...) but we found it and it went great! 

Oh! We also had a less-active lady who we've been trying to meet with "break-up" with us last week and said she didn't want to meet because she was too busy. Well we stopped by and dropped off a cookie for her and just left it because she wasn't home or wouldn't answer the door for us and then she texted us a couple hours later asking to meet next week! Miracle! 

Thursday, So this day was the last day of school for the seniors here in Finland. The school system here is always super interesting, but I think Finns are pretty smart so maybe it works. The seniors now don't have school for a month and they just use that time to study for all their finals which they take end of march and then the graduate! I'm impressed with how diligent these finns are at actually studying on their own at home and preparing themselves for these huge tests (like AP tests.) Well, since it was their last day of school, there was a huge parade going all throughout the city. Every student dresses up in a costume (like you would for halloween) and rides in the back of trucks and throws candy and is just celebrating no more school really. So that's what a lot of the pictures are from. It was kinda weird to see anything in Finland that was like loud and celebratory because Finns are very quiet and to themselves people.

There was also a "protest" in the city center the other day, but the people in it were walking in a very straight line and some of them had signs, but no one was shouting or anything. But the best part was that when they went to cross the street, everyone stopped and waited for the light to turn green. Yep, that's how peaceful and quiet it is here. Even the "protesters" obey the laws. I love it :) Crime is super low and everyone is very honest. And the other day, we heard people on the bus just talking and Sisar Lund and I both thought "Wow, why are those people talking so loud?" And then after a minute we realized that it was because they were American. So yeah. It'll be werid going home to a loud busy place like America when everything here is so peaceful and content. 

Friday, Valentine's Day! Finns do celebrate Valentine's day, but it's called "Ystävänpäivä" Which means "Friend day". So it's a lot less romanticy here and you can give valentine's to anyone just as a friend so I really like that part of it. Well, the past couple of Monday we've had lessons or other things that have taken chunks out of our Pday time so we decided to go to a museum today! All the museums are free on Fridays in Finland so that worked out really nice. We went to the Keski-Suomen Museo (Museum of Central Finland) here in Jyväskylä and it was pretty cool! I learned a lot of the history of Finland and specifically Jyväskylä so I'm glad I got to go before I left. We had a lesson with a member present fall through today ;( But then a really cool experience happened! We went to visit a potential who owns this little store out on the outskirts of Jyväskylä in a little village names Säynätsalo. So we were in her store talking to her and 2 other people there and found out they were really good friends with a man in our ward! So we kept talking to them and she then said we could call her sometime to meet! Awesome! So she handed me her phone and I went to put in our phone number and I saw the name of one of our investigators in her phone! So I asked if she knew her and she said yep! We're really good friends! And then she called up our investigator and invited her to our relief society activity that night for us! Yep, that was pretty cool. Sisar Lund and I walked out of that one like "uhh, well, I don't know what just happened, but that was cool!" And then the member found out that we were talking to all his friends and he sent us the best text ever thanking us for the work we're doing and that he's been trying to share the gospel with these friends for forever and they just weren't ready, but now's the time :)

So, then we headed out to our relief society activity! The RS invited all the girls age 8 and older to make cupcakes and necklaces at the church. It was a huge success! I learned lots of new vocab and met a lot of the younger girls I haven't had the chance to work with and really got to know the members in our ward a lot better.

And then, at about 10:29, I'm lying in bed trying to fall asleep and the phone rings... and it was President with our transfers! We thought he'd just call in the morning since it was so late, but we still got them on Friday!

Saturday, We had another lesson with a member present fall through so we spent the day taking cookies to investigators and members for valentine's day and visiting some potentials and in the evening I did a bunch of packing and that was a pretty normal day.

Sunday, I had to say goodbye to all my dear ward members here that I love so much and finnished packing and now I'm all realy to go!
We also met with a lot of members this week and played the "word game" that I think I talked about last week with them and they're all excited to start doing their own missionay work! And we've also ran into this "problem" of us talking to people on the street or at the door and them telling us they're not interested in the gospel, but they keep talking to us for about 20 minutes because we know how to speak Finnish. So they're more interested in us as foreigners who can speak Finnish instead of our message, but we still get to share some of the gospel with them so I guess we'll make do.

So, this week was pretty great, Our district started doing this thing where we stopped counting "total lessons taught" and just tried to focus and sharing the gospel with people out of love and our desire to truly help them and get to know them instead of just throwing doctrine at them so that we can count it as a lesson. It went really well and really helped me see where our priorities are and how we can really relate the gospel to someone's life. It helped me realize a lot about what it talks about in PMG with "teach people, not lessons" These people here in Finland are true sons and daughters of God and i'm just grateful for the opportunity to share this message with them.

Well, I'm sure this week will be a crazy one full of change, but I'm so excited! No idea what time I'll be emailing next week, so don't freak out if it's later in the day. Well I love you all so much! Have a great week and keep on praying :)

Sisar Crandall

Jyvaskyla district, School-ending parade, Jyvaskyla chapel

Jyvaskyla crest, placing a book of mormon at the museum, a map of Jyvaskyla

Monday, February 10, 2014

Just another week in Jyväskylä

Well, this week was another great week! We have some amazing members here in Jyväskylä and I'm just so grateful for them and all they help us with. It really is almost impossible to do missionary work here in Finland without the members. Well, here's what we were up to here in the North Pole this week:

Monday: We had a lesson after P day ended with an investigator who is actually Muslim and he was really open and listened to a lot of what we had to say, but I'm not sure how much of it he actually took in. We asked if we could come back at the end of the lesson and he said "well. I guess so, but just keep this in mind, if a person is thirsty, they'll find the well, the well doesn't need to find them" Kinda interesting. He talked in almost riddles the whole time, but I thought it was a good lesson!

Tuesday: We had zone conference in Tampere and focused on praying always. For our companion, for the mission, for the people of Finland, for the person we're talking to, for everyone! It's so much easier to feel Christ's love for someone when you're praying for it. After zone conference I had Kieli Koulu (Language School) It happens when you've been in the country 6 months. So everyone that I came with who's in my zone all had a little class with the language coordinator (yep, that's a calling) and we just made sure we were all on track. And I got to see Sisar Howell (my MTC companion) so that was awesome! We talked about better ways to study and set some goals and really got me re-energized to learn Finnish and not just be content with my current language ability. It's really easy to slip into mediocracy because I can understand and speak just fine and usually just work my way around something if I don't know the word, but I have so much further to go! So I hope I can keep progressing in Finnish until the end of my mission and even after that! Kieli Koulu ended really late and we had an hour wait til our train back to Jyväskylä so we went to a Chinese restaurant that was delicious. Sometimes I just miss non-Finnish food.

Wednesday: We had a lesson fall through today which was a bummer and then none of our investigators showed up to our Sport Night so it ended up just being the missionaries and the youth, but I still had fun! And learned a lot of Finnish. The youth are seriously awesome here and some of the best teachers!

Thursday: Pretty normal day, nothing too exciting... We had District Meeting and 3 hours of studies and 3 hours of weekly planning all that feel on the same day so not a lot of time to get outdoors, but we do our best!

Friday: We've started this new thing with all of our members here in Jyväskylä where we play this game that we call "Helppo ja Hauska" (Fun and easy) And we have random subjects written on pieces of paper (like school, travel, family, friends, colors, sports,...) And then when it's just turn, you pick a piece of paper and have 30 seconds to think of 3 ways where if you and your friends were talking about this topice, you could mention something gospel related. It's super easy like "Oh hey, there's a boy in our ward who plays basketball" And that's it. It just helps the members realize that we can talk about the gospel in normal and natural ways because it's just who we are. It shouldn't be hard to talk about a huge part of our lives. So we played this game with our Primary President on Friday and it went great! 

Afterwards, we had a lesson with our investigator who is from Africa and speaks French. His English and Finnish are really bad so we've been struggling to teach him (lots of pamphlets and movies that's for sure) but this time we were able to bring a woman in the ward who served a mission in France and her husband. The lesson went great and he understands a lot more and it's awesome! So grateful for members :)
Afterwards we went tracting and found a new investigator! He said he's read some of the book of mormon so we're excited to meet on tuesday and find our more about that!

Saturday: We had splits! Once a transfer the Sister Training Leader works with each companionship in the zone. Well, the Sister Training Leader is here in Jyväskylä so we went on splits, but didn't have to leave our city which is nice. Sisar Dixon came and joined me in my area and Sisar Lund went up to the other sister's area. Sisar Dixon has only been here about 2 months and is still in training, but she's awesome! Definitely more bold and outgoing than I was when I had only been here 2 months and it's so good! She's a great missionary. We went out to do service and I ended up tutoring in math again and Sisar Dixon ended up tutoring in English so it worked out pretty well! So yeah, pretty good day!
Sunday: Always my favorite day, We had a DA at this awesome family's house and played the word game with them and their 5 kids and they're so great at finding creative ways to simply mention the church! I'm excited to see all these future missionaries go out and share the gospel!

Well, that was our week! Not incredibly exciting, but still a great week! This week we have a lot of awesome members who are stepping up to help out and we get to work with them to help their friends and I can't wait! Change calls are also on Friday and we'll see what happens with that! I'll letcha know next week :) 

Well, I love you all so much! Thank you for your awesome love and support and letters and emails and just everything :) It's awesome knowing you are all doing well :) Go look up the song "We'll Be There" on it definitely reminds me of you all right now.

Also, there's a new Mormon Message that you all need to check out as well.
Well. Have an awesome week! I know I will because I'm a missionary and that's basically guaranteed when you have the spirit with you 24/7! This gospel is so true (even up here in the North Pole) and I'm just grateful for the privilege to share it!
Sisar Crandall

Sisar Howell and I at Language School

I finally made the cheddar cheese biscuits dad sent me. They were delicious and so american...

Me and Sisar Dixon walking across the lake! p.s. she went to Alta. Do you know her, Camille? She graduated when I did in 2012 and was on Dance Team

Monday, February 3, 2014

Helmikuu 2014!

Well, it's officially February! That month sure flew by, but we had a a great week this past week! It started out on Monday with a new investigator! She's a woman we met on the street a while ago and we were finally able to meet with her. She's been in the hospital with a brand new baby, but now she's home and ready to learn about the gospel! Very exciting for us! 

On Tuesday we were able to meet with a very nice less-active lady and her family. We showed her the "come unto Christ" video and she loved it! I still tear up every time and I just love how fast that music brings the spirit.

On Wednesday we had the opportunity to go to the Jyväskylä symphony! They were having a free rehearsal and a ton of members from our ward went so we used some Pday time and joined them! It was awesome! And I loved going to something that I 100% understood because music is the same in every language! Then, that night, we traveled out to a member's house for dinner. They invited us and two recent converts to come to and we had an awesome lesson about the restoration. The 3 members we were with were all converts and it was just so amazing to hear their stories and how their prayers were answered. 

On Thursday we had kinda a disappointing day. We had 3 lessons set up with our investigators we found last week and we had 3 members lined up to come with us. This rarely happens, so we were so excited! But then, for some reason, all three lessons fell through. Well shoot. So, we talked to a lot of people on the street and did some tracting and still made the day productive!

Friday and Saturday were fairly normal days too. We had TWO meals with members on Friday (that's a lot of food...) but it's always delicious so I guess I don't mind! 

But then came Sunday! Always the best day of the week :) We had another lesson fall through on Friday and then another one again on Sunday. well shoot. For some reason we couldn't meet with 5 of our investigators this week... well, the Lord sure is creative, and he gave us 5 NEW INVESTIGATORS. Yep, those 5 lessons didn't work out, but we found 5 more! So yep, I definitely learn more and more each week that the Lord has a much bigger plan for us and all of this work that I should just follow the spirit and remember everything will work out. So, we were kinda thinking it wasn't a very good week until we sat down Sunday night to total up all our numbers and call them in to our District Leader and we realized the Lord had definitely blessed up significantly! We just needed to take a moment to count (literally) our blessings! They're always there, I promise! A lot of these investigators came from Sister Lund's and I's new rededication to talking with everyone. On every bus, on every street corner, everyone we pass. Because we pray for the Lord to put someone in our path every day, then we better be willing to go talk to them! 

So, a couple of months ago we had a zone conference where President Rawlings presented us with some numbers of how many lessons we have to teach and people we have to talk to to get one baptism. It came out to something like 312 significant contacts with people will yield one baptism (On average for Finland). Well our ward here in Jyväskylä has the goal to have a baptismal service every month this year, which means we (as a companionship) has to talk to 312 people before that can happen! That seems kinda overwhelming, but Sisar Lund and I decided that that's 10 significant contacts a day. If we can help 10 people have a positive experience with the church and learn something about it every day this month, we'll have a baptism! So that's our goal! We started February 1 (Saturday) and the past two days have been great! So we're excited to see where the Lord will take us!

So overall, a great week :) It always is when you're a missionary :) I love you all so much and I hope you have a wonderful week! Thank you for your encouragement and support and love! I couldn't do it without you! I'm praying for you and I hope you can feel that all the way from Finland!
Sisar Crandall
Reindeer breakfast sandwiches at the smoothie place we always go to. 
Lots of people skating and skiing on the lake! It's so cool!

Sorry, not a lot of pictures this week, sometimes I just forget...