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. 

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