Monday, October 20, 2014
Hello Family and Friends!
Well lots happened this week but I can't currently remember any of them... Whoops. Good thing I journal! So here's what sticks out from this week:
Monday we had family night with the YSA! We watched the John Tanner story and our friend S came! She's from Thailand, but speaks Finnish so it went pretty well. And then we made Finnish waffles so that part is always fun as well :)
Tuesday it SNOWED!! Yep this week winter hit! I've worn my winter boots and coat all week and enjoyed the snow covered leaves a bit as well. It's definitely not "white" here yet, but it's coming soon! We also met with a former investigator A this week and she became a new investigator again! She loves the church and really wants to get baptized. She just lives with her boyfriend, but we'll work on that :)
Wednesday we had some appointments with less actives and they went well and contacted and studied and stuff like that, but at night we got to go play Sähly! We had a potential investigator and a less active and her non member boyfriend come so it was a pretty successful night! (I looked up Sähly and it is like floor hockey.)
Thursday consisted of weekly planning and then meeting with L. She's our investigator from Columbia. We showed her the church and she expressed her desire to get baptized! She doesn't quite understand priesthood and authority yet, but she knows she needs baptism. She's so cool! And we've become really good friends now.
Friday we had a weird experience.... Earlier in the week we went and stopped by a less active Sisar Jones and I had never met nor knew anything about. He was home, but busy, but gave us his number and said we could call sometime to come meet and that was about it. Well on Friday we went to visit Sisar H who is an older lady in our ward who is in a wheelchair. So she always has an assistant at her house when we go. Well we walked in and this less active man answered the door! How crazy! Sisar Jones had never met him in the 8 months of her being here and the sees him twice in 2 days! So yeah, I think he's getting the sign. We were able to watch a talk of general conference with them and it went great! That's kind of been our way in with the less actives recently. Everyone loves general conference, especially now that it's online and in Finnish. So we've had about 4 appointments with less active members we usually struggle to meet with to watch general conference. We just watch a talk or two and then talk about them, but then they want to watch more after we leave! One less active member even asked us to show her how she could send the link to her mom in Ukraine. So yeah, you can always bank on the prophets :) It works pretty well for us as well because now we've been able to see some of the talks from the sessions we missed.
Saturday was super busy as well! We had an appointment with our investigator A from Bangladesh. We talked about prayer and the Book of Mormon and gave him a copy in Bengali (his native tongue) There's a slight language barrier, but he's already Christian and was going to a Christian church here in English so I think we'll be okay. We also met with our ward music coordinator who is kinda a less active. We're planning a restoration concert entitled "Tulkaa Kristuksen Luokse" (Come Unto Christ). It's going to be a lot like the Music and the Spoken Word that we did in Neitsytpolku, but a lot of people here in Tampere play instruments so that should make it pretty cool!
Sunday - great day! L came to church! We went and picked her up in the morning and she loved it! And stayed for all 3 hours! We're watching the restoration movie with her later today so it should help some of her questions. Then we had a lesson with V. He's the investigator with a LOT of questions. He's Lutheran (as all Finns are) and struggles with the idea that he would first have to say that the Lutheran church isn't true in order for him to ask God if the Book of Mormon is true because there are contradictions between the two. We had Sisar And Vanhin Jouttenus come with us (he's a member of the area 70 I think) And tried to teach simply, but it's hard when he has such deep doctrinal questions. So we just focused on the fact that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion and by the end I think he understood that he needs to pray about it. We'll see how it goes next week.
Well this week was a great one! I'm really loving Sisar Jones and Tampere and being a missionary and everything. Transfer calls come this Friday and that means Transfers are next Monday/Tuesday. so send any mail to the mission office. Also, I'm pretty sure I'm staying here in Tampere, but you never know what President Watson has up his sleeve!
All is well here in the North Pole. Christmas lights are already up all over the city even though it's still fall. But when Halloween and Thanksgiving aren't holidays, people have no reason to not just jump to Christmas in October! Sisar Jones and I love it though :)
Well I hope you're all happy and healthy :) I'm praying for you all and that we can all do what the Lord needs us to today. I love you!!
p.s. Sorry if this is short. The pictures will make up for it.
First day we had to wear our winter clothes!
There are so many leaves!!
Zoomed out version of the above picture...
Just look how beautiful Finland is!
Monday, October 13, 2014
Ok so much to tell you all this week so this letter will be all over the place but here goes!
We met with our investigator V this week too. He's been investigating for a while, but not really progressing anywhere, just kinda "learning" about our church. But we reset expectations and the lesson went great! So now we're all studying what we're going to teach the next time ahead of time and hopefully we can all progress and learn together. He was the one we were praying about how to help him so I think this was our answer.
We met 3 NEW INVESTIGATORS this week!
One is E who is an older gentleman who is a former investigator. He didn't learn much the first time he investigated so we gave him a Book of Mormon and talked a lot about Moroni's promise and at the end of the lesson he prayed! So we're excited for him!
Then we met A. He's a man from Bangledash we talked to on the busand he came to church ! So cool! We ended up going to both wards of church yesterday because that was the one he could come to and the 2nd ward doesn't have a translator so I translated all of sacrament meeting for him and for another member from Holland. Kinda makes my brain hurt but luckily a missionary spoke and another man who used a lot of scriptures so it wasn't bad. We're working on getting him a Book of Mormon in his mother tongue, but he's already Christian so that helps a lot!
And last but not least! L! She's an AMAZING woman from Columbia. About 25 years old and married to a Finn. Seriously the most prepared person I've probably met in my whole life. We met herand met with her twice last week and have 2 appointments set up for this week. She was ECSTATIC to get a Book of Mormon and has such a strong testimony already! Her spirit is just such a contrast from the Finns we usually teach because she is so connected with God. I love it! So I'll definitely keep you all updated on her.
Our other investigators are doing pretty well.WE're teaching M who is an older Finnish man. He has a testimony, but won't come to church because he's too "busy" so we might give him a break and come back in the winter.
We met with B who is an amazing woman from Czech. She's reading the Book of Mormon everyday and meeting multiple times a week with us and praying about Joseph Smith right now and just waiting for her answer. The faith that these people have is just amazing.
We also met with a bunch of less actives but one close to my heart right now is a woman from Peru. She doesn't speak a lot of Finnish even though she's married to a Finn so I get to use my Spanish and we just have a lot of fun together. And she always makes us Peruvian food so it all works :)
Zone meeting was also this week! Sisar Jones and I and the Zone Leaders were in charge of teaching it. We had met with the Stake President who gave us the vision for this zone: 20-30 baptisms by the end of the year. That's a pretty high goal! But with the Lord it's all possible! And with the rate we're going with our investigators, it's super possible! So we'll keep relying on the Lord and doing our part and keep seeing the miracles all around us.
This week was a great one and I think a huge part of it is that the ward is having a monthly fast for missionary work and everyday we call whatever member fasted and tell them about a miracle that happened that day and thank them for helping us out. It's really built up the member missionary relationships just this past week and it'll continue the rest of the month so I'm excited to see where we can all go together!
We also got asked to help out at a Single Adult Activity (30 and older) and got to see a TON of members from Jyväskylä and they were all happy to see me and i was just kind of a tender mercy because I seriously never thought I'd see any of them again.
Well I've got lots of goals I've been working on and trying to apply lots of things from General Conference so I hope you all are too! I love you all so much! Keep up the great week and keep seeing the Lord's hand in your life! This church is true and the gospel truly is good news :)
Bikes in Skirts are ridiculous...
The leaves now totally cover all the sidewalks. You can't even see them!
Waiting at our favorite bus stop
haha gotta love bike helmets with Sisar Hillebrant
Monday, October 6, 2014
What a week! By far the fastest and tiringest of my mission thus far but I love it! We had packed days onTuesday and Wednesday because Thursday we went to JYVÄSKYLÄ! So good to be back in my old stomping ground. It's the first time I had been back since I left in February and man I missed that place so much! All the wonderful memories came back and I was able to follow up with some recent converts and less actives and they're all doing well! But anyway, back to Tuesday and Wednesday.
Tuesday we helped a lady in our ward clean her windows, contacted a referral, and headed out to the Relief Society activity! We made voileipäkakku (sandwich cake) and learned all about the resources available on the church website (especially the ones available in Finnish) So a sandwich cake sounds gross I know but it's actually delicious. It's basically just bread layered 4 times with a filling mixture of pickles and leeks and mayonnaise and stuff like that and then you "frost" it with some more filling and decorate it and eat it like a cake! It's apparently a super finnish thing to do and all the finns were astounded that we don't do this in America so I guess I'll have to show you all it someday!
Wednesday was full of appointments! A cute older member couple has wanted to have us over to eat, but she didn't jaksaa to make us food so she offered to take us out! Of course we said they didn't have to, but they insisted! So we headed to a cute cafeteria type restaurant with them and then went and taught our Chinese investigator L. A member (who I actually knew from Jyväskylä and then moved to Tampere) came with us and the lesson went so well! She prayed at the end and she's reading and praying everyday about the BofM! good stuff!
We've also been struggling to meet with some of the member families who are fully active because they're just so busy! But we FINALLY got an appointment with a member of the bishopric and his family. They live a bit away, so we borrowed the car from the Elders and drove on down there! I think I forgot to tell you all that we have a car here in tampere. WE only have it about once a week and Sisar Jones doesn't like driving so that means I get to! Yikes! Last month was the first time I had driven since last June so that took some getting used to but don't worry, I'm a lot better driver now that I'm a missionary... Anyway, we met with them and taught a cute lesson and had rice krispie treats with them (The dad is American) and they loved them! And then we hopped on a train to good ol' JKL!
Thursday was splits in Jyväsklyä! I was with Sisar Seegmiller who just got to the country about 3 weeks ago. It was so much fun! We did some service for some members and met with some less actives and contacted a lot and ended with a member DA! It really was awesome to get to see old people and places again. I thought I'd never be back in JKL until I came back to Finland some day to visit. And it was even better to be there with Sisar Seegmiller and know that all the dear friends I have there are in good hands. We talked a lot about our goals for our missions and our lives and she's way ahead of where I was at 3 weeks in the country and her Finnish is amazing and I guess the more I go on exchanges the more I realize how better all these new missionaries are prepared and how much faster the work is going to move forward here!
Friday was packed to make up from being out of our area on Thursday. So we have this new investigator L who I mentioned last week as a referral from a member. So this member is in a wheelchair and has an assistant to come help her every day I think so whenever it's L's turn to come, we go teach her! It works out pretty well because she's willing to listen and everything because we're able to teach her while she's at "work". This week we watched the Restoration movie and committed her to pray about the Book of Mormon. She's super interested to learn more and is about a 22 year old girl so we're super excited for her! Today we also had a last minute lunch appointment with a member and her non-member husband and were able to teach them all about prophets and conference. and then 2 appointments with less actives and one of them is helping us plan our upcoming music and the spoken word activity here so things are going well with them!
Saturday! We helped decorate for a part member's son's birthday party and they speak spanish so I got to practice some of that as well! I basically just understand and can translate into english or finnish fine, but I can't talk back in Spanish. It's kinda pathetic but the understanding is still there! Then we had an appointment with our investigator V. He's super interested in meeting and learning more, but doesn't really want to do anything about it. He's very specific in word choice and what we mean when we say words like "saved" "Heaven" and "grace" so our lessons are a lot of defining terms (all in Finnish btw) but he's getting there. We're not 100% sure what he needs, but we're praying to find out. And then, GENERAL CONFERENCE! The 2 wards here in Tampere organized a sisters' luncheon before the sisters' meeting which was shown here at 17.
Then the Saturday morning session was at 19. We got to watch them all in English since there are so many foreigners here. So they just set up 2 screens and have one room be in Finnish and one in English and it works out pretty well! The sessions on Sunday were at 15 and 19 so we got home pretty late, but it was worth it!
Sisar Jones and I have been talking about it a lot and we realize that this session (to us at least) was a lot about going back to the basics. Going back to strengthening our families and homes and keeping our covenants and getting to the temple. We're very excited to implement it all and to follow up with all of our members and investigators as well. WE LOVE CONFERENCE!!
And this week we have exchanges in Turku tomorrow and we come back Wednesday and then zone meeting on Friday and we're teaching! So I'll letcha all know how that goes!
Well I love you all so much! Thanks for all the love and support and wonderful insights about conference! I hope we can all apply the things we learned! Have a great week!
All the pretty trees changing colors :)
Us and our companionship rock :) long story...
Back home! Jyväskylä!
Fall is here!
Contacting some potentials :
Voileipäkakku (sandwich cake)
Cruising down to good ol' Kangasala
Us eating Delicious Minetti Ice Cream on P-day
Home made taco bowls!