Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March 29, 2016

This past week has been so good! Today we are getting a car! Apparently the Vaasa sisters before us had it but there was sort of a car crash... but now it's repaired! We pick it up today and I don't know how long we'll have it. It's a lot easier to talk to people if we are outside walking but for now it's ours and we'll try and use it effectively. Only the senior companion can drive so I won't be driving I'll be navigating.... if anyone knows me well they know how directionally confused I can get. Pray for me!  But at least all of the snow has melted so that won't be an issue. There are barely any mission places with cars in Finland so I was really surprised when we got the call. Also, today we are giving a tour of the church to a bunch of high schoolers. In Finland they have to learn about all religions in school which I think is really cool and so they do these yearly tours and the missionaries show them around and answer questions about what we believe in. They are coming from a Swedish speaking school so we'll be teaching in English so I'm a little bit relieved. Europeans speak so many different languages!  

We had a zone conference in Oulu so we had to take the train there last Wednesday and we stayed two nights with the sister training leaders there. They were so cool and President Watson had some really good advice on how to use our resources better and we are starting a new Easter initiative and we got new pass along card that say '' Seuraa Hänta ja lödä uusi elämä'' or ''Follow Him and find new life''. I had a neat learning experience as we tried to talk to this Finnish woman who was out walking her dog about the new video the church has produced about Easter, called Hallelujah. She immediately said she wasn't interested and I was ready to walk away but Sisar Kwok kept talking to her and tried to get to know her. She told us her beliefs and she even told us that two Elders had given her a copy of the Book of Mormon before. After a couple minutes of talking to her Sisar Kwok again asked her if we could drop by her house later and show her the short two minute video about Easter and maybe explain a little bit about our church. She agreed and gave us her information and we are seeing her tomorrow. I learned an important lesson that you should keep talking until they walk away! I know that even though not everyone is interested there are people that are willing to hear us out. I can't say very much in Finnish but I can bear my simple testimony that Christ is our Savior and that he loves us. I can tell people that we are God's children and that we can be with our families forever through the restored gospel. That's about it, but luckily the Holy Ghost can help me out a lot. It also helps that Sisar Kwok is awesome and she always knows what to say to people. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March 22, 2016

I am in Finland!!!!!! Out of all of the places I could have possibly been assigned to (and there were 4 possibilities) I got the most northern city! I am in a lovely city called Vaasa! It's on the west coast and there a ton of Swedish influence here as well. There is a college nearby  and there's a TON of international students. Like a ton. A lot of the students are from Asia or Africa and just from all over the world. We've taught about 6 lessons so far and 4 have been in English. Most of our investigators speak English and I was kind of worried about being able to practice the language but my new companion Sisar Kwok is amazing. She's Asian and she awesome! She's from Utah and this is her last transfer on her mission, she's so cool. We are the only Sister missionaries in Vaasa and in our entire branch! We have one pair of elders here as well so 4 total missionaries in Vaasa. 

So the privacy laws in Finland are some of the strictest in the world and I can't really ever write down someones full name or really even describe them without consent so if I'm being super vague from now on that's why. The members here are so amazing, I can't usually understand what they are saying but they are so kind and loving. Their testimonies are so strong. We had a lesson in Finnish yesterday and I couldn't really understand anything but I was able to bear my testimony and explain that Jesus Christ has blessed my life.....at least I'm pretty sure that's what I said. Sisar Kwok gave me an encouraging head nod so it was probably understandable. I had to realize this week that I will not be able to understand Finns for some time, Finns speak really soft and kind of mumble a little at the end of their sentences so you really have to concentrate when you talk to people. We went around contacting people on the street as well as tracking (knocking on doors) and it was kind of nerve wracking at first but Finns are such nice people and a lot of people actually took the time to talk to us even if they were not interested. We are actually pretty busy with our lessons and usually teach about two lessons every evening. What's not fun is when someone cancels last minute and because there are so many college students here people are very busy with projects and studying. 

I am almost 100% sure that Finnish food is better than American food. O MY GOSH IT IS AMAZING. They don't really have any processed food here but just fresh fruits and vegetables and just fresh everything. By the way I ate reindeer!!!!! We had dinner at a members house last week and it was so yummy. They also have the best jams here and the bread here is amazing. If it wasn't for all of the walking and biking I would be so fat. I also bought this Norwegian salmon (it's super cheap here) and I have cereal that is basically chocolate and nutella. I'm pretty sure I'll be a food snob by the time I get home. I even like stuff here that I didn't like at home like potatoes. Finns know how to cook. 

Something new I did this week- biking uphill, on snow, in a skirt. Not as hard as you might think and almost all of the roads are thawed out now so it was mostly pleasant, but man was I out of shape. I would have taken a bunch of pictures this week but that requires taking off my gloves and when it's -7 C that's not so fun to do. It hasn't been that cold all of the time but it is pretty frosty right about now. Everyone keeps telling me that I came at one of the best times of the year because the sun is out and it's "warm weather". Apparently the days here are starting to get longer and by the summer the sun will still be out when I go to bed! 

The people here are amazing. My new companion is amazing and the Mission President and his wife are amazing people as well. I'm so happy to be here and we are actually going to a zone conference next week in a city called Oulu for a couple of days. That should be pretty fun. I am so excited to finally be doing missionary work. Please pray for me to understand Finnish! It has been so amazing to share the gospel to people in this beautiful country. I know that this gospel blesses lives and I cannot wait to talk to more people. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

March 15, 2016

I'm here and I'm safe and everyone is amazing. I can't really write but I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

March 10, 2016


We got our flight plans!  I have no time to write today because I have to start packing! Turns out Ihave to pay for my luggage ($100) and they reimburse me later. I have learned so much in the MTC but it is definitely time to go. I feel ready and I'm not nervous at all. I'm not looking forward to the 22 hours of traveling but we have a layover in the Netherlands and New York so that'll be exciting. I'll miss the people but I am SOOOOO excited to go to Finland. I have such a strong testimony that this church is the one true church on the earth and that we have a savior. Isn't that the best news ever? I cannot wait to share that with people. I know that this church is for everyone regardless of background and circumstance. I know that if I'm worthy of it and I put in the work the Holy Ghost will guide me to where I need to go. I cannot wait to be a "real" missionary. It makes me so happy to be able to invite others to come unto Christ. Jeesuksen Kristuksen nimessa amen. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

March 3, 2016

Moi! This week was kind of tough. The Swedes and the Norwegiens in our branch that got here a week after us left last wednesday. We've been seeing all of our Danish friends group emails and they've sent really cool pictures of Denmark and yeah....But on more postitive note we got new Norwegiens and Swedes yesterday! I got changed to the Sister Training Leader for the Branch so I was able to meet all of the new arrivals and help take them on a tour of the MTC. It got me out of grammar class so I was very happy. The weather here is beautiful and I no longer have to wear my wool tights and and winter jacket. It now feels like the best of a Florida winter. 

In our Sunday devotional we got hear from Brent H. Nielson and he's the executive director of missionaries and he served in the best mission- Finland! It was really cool to hear from him and we stayed afterwards to shake his hand. 

Yesterday we had TRC skype again and it was the neatest experience. Sister Carter and I talked with a woman named Sallaa (I'm not sure on the spelling) and she was amazing! It was so wierd because she talked SO fast even though she knew we are still learning the langauge and instead of us stressing out the spirit was so strong. I could understand the gist of what she was saying, just a couple words in each sentence but we were still able to talk with her. It was kind of a shock because I'm used to understanding 90% of what my teachers say and then I had to see that once I get there it's going to get really hard again. We talked about the Holy Ghost and how with His help we can do hard things (like learn Finnish). Finns are just the sweetest people and we just felt so much love for her and long story short we were able to have a 30 minutes discussion with a Finn! The Holy Ghost likes to make me cry so after we finished I started crying because I was just reminded that I'll be there soon talking to these amazing people. It was so cool because this could have easily been a really discouraging experience because there was ALOT I didn't understand when she talked with us but at the same time the spirit was so stong. I just felt like Heavenly Father was reminding me that I can do this with His help.

Not much else happened. We are so ready to go. We probably annoy our new roommate alot because we sometimes will say stuff in Finnish without really realizing it and we forget that not everyone here is learning our language. We try to SYL (speak your language) whenever we get the chance and that's not saying I'm any good but it's legit hard to pray in English now. I had to do it the other day and it was the most awkward thing of my life. One of the good things about all of the new missionaries is that we get to see just how far we've come. 

 I know this church is true and I love this gospel. I know Christ is my savior and I know that Heavenly Father loves me. Jeesuksen Kristuksen nimessa aamen.