Monday, April 14, 2014

Tilling Soil and Planting Seeds

Hello Family and Friends!

Well this week went by surprisingly faster than last week! How's is that even possible?! I'm not super sure...but that means we're busy which is always a good thing! 

This week started off on Monday after email when we had a church tour with our investigator. I'm going to start calling her "D". Finns are super quiet sometimes and just sit there and nod and say "niin" ("mhmm") every couple of seconds so actually I'm not 100% sure what she was thinking the whole time. But at the end we had a really good discussion with her in the chapel and invited her to be baptized. She was super unsure and shaky about it and so we asked what would prevent her from being baptized. She sat there for a minute or two and then asked "Is this the only true church?" What a great question. So we helped her identify that was her question and she agreed to pray about it this week so we'll see! She's also plowing through the Book of Mormon and has now finnished the book of Alma so I'm super excited to see her progress! 

After this church tour and lesson we had dinner with a potential investigator who actually became a new investigator this week! I'll call her "V" (I decided to start naming my investigators so that you all can keep track of them) She asked us what we did that today and we told her about the church tour and SHE asked us "Can I come get one of those?" Uhh yeah! So we're meeting with her again tonight and I'm super excited! Her mom is a member in Jyväskylä and is my good friend and we just found out that her mom teaches the gospel principles class there and calls her daughter each week and teaches her a practice "lesson" over the phone in preparation for Sunday. so cool. So she knows a lot about the church but this week we were able to give her a Book of Mormon and Sis. Curtis wrote her testimony in it and it just went really well.

On Tuesday we had Zone Meeting and then Kieli Koulu (Language School) The Language coordinator who is Elder Downs (My former district leader from Jyväskylä) And Sisar Curtis and Sisar Bunting and I got to spend the WHOLE day together learning Finnish. It's pretty fun usually, but after about 5 hours my brain hurts. But I figured out what I needed to work on and  I'm glad I can keep improving my language skills instead of just leveling out since I can get by on my current language abilities. 

Zone Meeting was super cool though. We talked a lot about the parable of the sower. And how we can be throwing these seeds all over the place, but unless we're planting them in the right kind of soil by talking to the right people, it's not going to benefit anyone anything. After we had this discussion I kinda was feeling bad because a lot of times people reject me and I think "Oh it's okay. I'm just planting seeds" But then I started thinking that all these people's hearts were just the thorny and dried out ground and I haven't been doing anything... BUT then. An Elder Clegg gave this insight and he said "I think one of the most important things that we realize is that soil can be tilled and fertilized and can BECOME fertile." Boom. He nailed it. THAT's the point of missionary work. We're placing the seed in those hearts that are prepared, and we're tilling the hearts of others to hear the word in the near future. Then Elder Clegg commented again "Talking with everyone finds the elect for today and prepares the elect for tomorrow" So yeah. I really am out here planting seeds. I'm out here harvesting all that tilling that has been done for years and I'm preparing the way for future missionaries too. I just really liked this parable related to missionary work and talking with everyone. I know I mentioned last week that Sisar Curtis and I were struggling to talk with the RIGHT people. We talk with people all day long, but now we're just really focusing and praying to find the people the LORD wants us too. 

Other things that happened this week:

-We taught a 7-year-old member girl who's scared to get baptized about baptism and the Holy Ghost and it went great! Her birthday is the 20th and the baptismal service is April 27th so we're excited for that!

-We went to the island called Suomenlinna again to visit a less active and a potential and met some awesome people on the ferry ride over. One of them was a group of three Finnish guys and honestly, Sisar Curtis and I normally don't go up and talk to groups of guys because this is downtown Helsinki, but we had made a goal to talk to anyone who had a "Haglofs" bag (That's a Swedish brand of backpacks that is VERY popular here) And sure enough, one of them had one so we just HAD to talk with them. The conversation went well and they were super nice and everything, but the point of this story is that one of the guys spoke some insane dialect of Finnish and I couldn't understand a single word he said. So much for getting by on my language abilities... The other two guys' Finnish we could understand fine, but his was so fast and so slurred that I didn't catch a word. I asked him what he was studying here in Finland and he said something that went over my head so I asked him what it was in English and he said it in English and it still went over my head. So that made we feel at least a little better about myself because I couldn't understand his Finnish OR English. I had heard that other cities have other Finnish dialects, but that was the first time I had tried (and failed) to understand it.

Another short random funny story. A Finn asked us if we (Sisar Curtis and I) speak differently because we're from different states. I told her that Sisar Curtis says "mounTain", but I say "mounain" (without the T) and the Finn had NO idea what word I was trying to say. She asked "Wait, are those the same word?" And of course any native english speaker can hear the difference, but it was kinda funny to see a Finn struggle the way we do everyday.

-Sunday was Palm Sunday, which is America, doesn't mean much me to. But it's a major holiday here in Finland. Little kids dress up as witches and go trick-or-treating door to door with willow branches for candy. Kinda hard to explain so just so google it, but that was a fun Easter tradition to experience.

-Today we had the Londons over for lunch! The Londons are an awesome Senior couple who work in the office and do so much for us, so we invited them over and made them food and just got to know them a little better so that was nice.

Well, those are the major things that happened this week. It's going pretty well if you ask me! Transfer calls are on Friday and we move next Monday/Tuesday (21st and 22nd) So send any mail to the mission office and I'll be sure to get it there. Sisar Curtis and I REALLY hope that we stay together in Helsinki, but we'll see! This is our Mission President's last transfer so who knows what sort of transfers he'll make! I'll letcha know next week!
Also, I mentioned how they were doing a segment on Sisar Curtis and sister missionaries last week. Well, it's airing this week on Tuesday and Wednesday! You can check it out online too. Just google "YLE" (The name of the broadcasting company) And a Finnish website should pop up and the program's name is "Puoli Seitsemän" It's only like 10 minutes or so, but that's my companion! Sisar Curtis!

I also get to go to the temple tomorrow for one last time this transfer! I'm so excited! And Sisar Bunting and Sisar Vath (The other 2 sisters in our district) will be joining us so that's always fun.

I heard about the family going to the Easter pageant in AZ and I'm extremely jealous and will definitely be missing that since it's probably my favorite part of this time of year. I'm very excited for Easter this Sunday and for this chance to remember the Savior's life, atonement, and resurrection. I hope that people are able to feel the power of our message a little more and be more open to learning about their loving Heavenly Father. I'll have more Easter insights next Monday, but I'm just so grateful for the atonement and everything it allows us to do. To repent, to be enable, to progress, and to just be better every day. I hope we all can take more advantage of it this week.

I love you all! Have a most wonderful week!

Sisar Crandall


Eating Finnish Chocolate Eggs for Easter

I just can't do the skies justice her in Finland. AMAZING.

REUNITED with Sisar Howell for splits!

Splits with Sisar Schellenberg! (And for those of you wondering, yes I still have to wear my winter coat and boots)

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