Monday, November 17, 2014

President Teixeira and the Book of Mormon Challenge

Hello there everyone!

Well this week I am astonished at all that has happened! It literally feels like I just emailed yesterday and yet, at the same time, last month... Well this week was one that probably changed my life. And not to sound dramatic or anything because that happens every week on a mission, but this one especially! Here's why:

On Monday I got a call from President Watson (which is either really bad or really good) but since I'm Sister Training Leader, I've gotten a little more used to it. So I answered and he asked if this was a good time and I said yes and so he proceeded "Sisar Crandall, I'd like for you to have an interview with President Teixeira" Well okay! President Teixeira is a member of the first quorum of the 70 and also the Area President of Europe. Here's a little more about him: He was the guest coming to our mission tour on Wednesday and now I got to interview with him! I thought President had picked a bunch of missionaries to interview, but it wasn't until Wednesday until I found out that it was only me and one other sister! And to make it even better/worse, they recorded the entire interview on camera to use for training purposes. So Sisar Nielsen and I (The other one that got interviewed) were slightly nervous, but it went great! On Wednesday morning we traveled to the Haaga chapel and has to be there by 8am... Then President Teixeira and his wife arrived so they and President and Sisar Watson and Sisar Nielsen and I all went into the chapel. President Teixeira started by asking us how we've found success on our missions. He said that for some reason President Watson wanted him to talk to us, so we must be doing something right and he wanted to know the secret! So we talked about it for a couple of minutes, and then he put us on the camera! We were on there individually and basically just repeated some of the ideas and thoughts we had just discussed. And for those of you wondering, there's not really a secret... it'a all in PMG! But most of mine and Sisar Nielsen's answers revolved around talking with everyone and doing it diligently and full time.  You never take a break of bring missionary minded! I talked a lot about how here in Finland, the culture and the weather and the people in general are very quiet and reserved and to themselves. And I like it! It makes the light of the gospel that we have in our eyes and in our smiles that much brighter! People literally are attracted to us and want to hear what we have to say because we're so happy about it! So I focused on being happy and positive and sharing this joyful message. Afterwards, President Teixeira came up to me and said "Most people would see this culture as a barrier, but you see it as a window!" I had never really thought about it, but it's true! A light burns brighter in the dark. And we're out here as a light and the dark is noticing it!

So all of this took place in the hour before the mission tour when most of the missionaries weren't even there yet. But then we headed into a leadership meeting with the Sister training leaders and the zone leaders and the assistants. President Teixeira and his wife really focused on if we want to help the missionary work go forth, we, as a mission, need to raise our goals. And that all starts with the leaders of the mission. He had us tell him what our goals were for last week and our actual numbers as well and then told us they weren't high enough! So this week Sisar Dixon and I really focused on raising them! 

Then we headed into the mission tour. All this had happened and the meeting hadn't even started yet! So a couple of weeks ago we all took a survey about PMG. How we're using it and how we'd still like some help and what things to focus on. So the meeting was centered around this. President Teixeira helped us out a lot with finding techniques and handing out more pass along cards and the Book of Mormon! We really focused on helping more people receive and then read the Book of Mormon. So Sisar Dixon and I set the goal of giving away 100 copies of the Book of Mormon before the end of the year. It sounds pretty hefty in our minds, but it'll be exciting! So we're talking to EVERYONE and it's been SOO exhausting, but also SO REWARDING! We were led to 3 new investigators and have some potentials we're meeting with this week! The work really is going well and this meeting just helped relight that fire :) 

The mission tour was also the whole Tampere and Helsinki zone together and then the North zone on another day so I got to see Sisar Johnston again! And she's training! And her trainee, Sisar Richards, and I wore the same shirt. So that explains that picture.
Since we were in Helsinki on Wednesday and then Turku on splits on Friday, the rest of the days were packed. We go from lesson to lesson, and run for buses and trains, but the members are helping us out and we're still having time to find. We're trying to focus on working with the Less actives a little more and really be balanced in all phases of missionary work.

Friday we were in Turku. I went on exchanges with Sisar Vincent. We were in the same district in the MTC so it was fun seeing her again. That meant Sisar Dixon and Sisar Ross were together. We had lots of appointments and spent the day talking to everyone and implementing the new finding and approaching techniques we had learned in the mission tour. It went really well and we had about an hour in the evening before we headed home and we ended up singing and contacting in the center. We handed out a lot of cards with our website on them and even got the phone number and address of a man who wants a Book of Mormon in Swedish! So it was a pretty fun and unique finding activity that really made a difference.

Yesterday we went to church in the Hämeenlinna branch. We ended up not having any investigators coming to church because they wanted to come to the music night instead. So after ward council, we drove down to Hämeenlinna. This is a pretty rare thing and may have been the only time we do this, but the bishop really wants us to work with the older single women and too many of them were confused when we would stop by or call them to set up an appointment so we figured they better know we at least exist. Well I ended up giving a talk and leading the music and Sisar Dixon and I did a musical number. Sisar Dixon also played the piano and translated for the less active we brought to church with us (she's from Thailand). We also were able to meet with a couple other less active women while we were there and the branch was SO nice and welcoming. They really just miss having sisters there. 

Sunday night was our musical concert. It's called "Tulkaa Kristuksen Luokse" "Come unto Christ" It's basically the restoration pamphlet that we give out to people in musical form. For example, there would be a short talk about how God is our loving Heavenly Father and then we sang "I am a Child of God" in all different languages and so forth for each page in the pamphlet. It went really well! Our investigator and a couple of less actives even sang and gave talks! And the members helped out by bringing desserts for afterwards and everyone came together and mingled. In all there were about 75 people there. So I consider it a success :) 

So overall this week was great. Super busy and a little crazy and hectic and all over the place, but great. We really and focusing on teaching those who are willing to progress and keep commitments and giving everyone else to the Lord and his timing. Sisar Dixon and I are going great and we're excited for this upcoming week. We're only gone 1 day this week in Lahti so it'll be nice to be able to continue hastening the work here in Tampere.

I love you all! I love being a missionary! Thank you for all the support and love! Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Sisar Crandall

Sisar Dowd and I
Sisar Seegmiller and I
Sisar Johnston and I

Sisar Howell and I!
Sisar Richards and I and our matching shirts
Sisar Thayne and I

(This was the last time I was going to see a lot of the sisters in the Helsinki zone so I took lots of pictures with them)

Burger King just opened up in Tampere :) And they have OREO SHAKES!! It was delicious. And totally satisfied my oreo cravings. 
Me with the fries
Sisar Richards who is being trained by Sisar Johnston who was trained by me

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