The emails, pictures, stories, and adventures of Sisar Kathryn Crandall in Helsinki, Finland
Monday, February 24, 2014
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!
(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.)