Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May 31, 2016

Our crazy district!

Terve Kaikkille! There have been some new missionary rule changes and as of last week we are allowed to wear sunglasses and sunhats! I don't see myself buying a hat but it's been so nice not having to glare at people when I talk to them because of the sun. It's sunny all of the time! I don't know when the sun goes down anymore but it's still bright out at 10:30 at night. This week our phone was accidentally cancelled so we had a bit of a panic moment but 2 long days later we were able to call our investigators again. 

I learned a valuable lesson about listening to the promptings of the spirit the other day. Sister Hayter and I were contacting people on the street and we started talking to this really friendly old man. He invited us to walk with him as he walked to the grocery store and just chat with him. It was just a really nice change from people not wanting to talk to us that I kind of ignored this feeling that something was off. We continued to walk and talk a bit and then he started to ask us if we were married or had boyfriends.....and then he explained that he had two wives and then he proceeded to propose to Sister Hayter. I just kind of stood there in shock, like was this really happening? And this whole conversation was in Finnish as well so I just kind of stared at Sister Hayter thinking that I must have misunderstood. But then she kindly rejected his marriage proposal and then we left feeling really grossed out..... So that happened. We had to get a piece of cake to make us feel better and then we went back to work! It was such a weird day. I will try and listen better to the Holy Ghost next time!!! 

We have been meeting a lot with our investigator that's being baptized next month and he is so amazing!!! I feel like God always blesses me when I least expect it. Sister Hayter and I are SO excited for him and it's been amazing to be apart of the process. Two of our investigators are refugees and hearing their stories, it just makes me so grateful for everything I've had. It has really put a lot of things into perspective as I've come to realize how blessed I've been. I know this church is true and I know that we have so many blessings even if we don't always notice them. I know that sometimes just saying a prayer of thanks even when things seem hard is one of the best ways we show our love to our Heavenly Father. I know He loves us. Jeesuksen Kristuksen nimessa aamen. 

We have a Swede in our district and he requested a no smiling picture for Sweden.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May 24, 2016

This past week has been crazy! My new companion's name is Sisar Hayter!!! She's from Utah and don't let her last name fool you, she's actually really sweet. I said goodbye to Sisar Kwok last Tuesday and it was so weird. I am so grateful that she was my trainer and I learned so much from her. We celebrated our last day together by going to European McDonald's. (My brother would be proud.) I was nervous about getting a new companion but Sisar Hayter has been amazing. I have also come to realize that for once in my life I am not directionally confused. I actually know how to get around Vaasa without panicking now and I am learning how to read maps! It's such a silly thing but honestly it was one of my biggest stresses about the new transfer but everything has gone really well.

Sister Hayter and I had our first official lesson with one of our investigators last week and he said that he wants to be baptized! We were so excited and we set a date for next month. We've seen him a couple times since then and we're also teaching him tonight. I feel like a lot has happened this week but it all feels like a blur to me. We did a lot of walking because we had to wait for Sisar Hayter's driving record but the weather's been so beautiful that it was really fun to be outside. Before my mission I don't think I've ever reapplied sunscreen at 8 o'clock at night but I feel like the sun never goes down anymore. It's not the best for us gingers, but fear not! I have been trained very well by my mother! 

I am so grateful for this gospel and all of the blessings I've seen in my life. I know this church is true and that God hears and answers my prayers. I love sharing all of the things I believe in with others. Jeesuksen Kristuksen nimessa amen.

Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16, 2016

The Tori (market) in Vaasa

Transfer calls!!! I am staying in lovely Vaasa! I really do love the people here, the members and all of the people that I've had the privilege to meet so far. My preparation day is on Monday this week because tomorrow is Transfer Day! The time has gone by way too fast. I can't believe I have to say goodbye to Sisar Kwok tomorrow. She has been so amazing and I'm so grateful for her amazing example. My new companion is coming up from Espoo and I'm picking her up from the train station right after saying bye to Sisar Kwok. Sisar Kwok has served with my next companion (can't write her name until I have permission because of Finnish privacy laws) and I have heard nothing but good things about her so I am very excited to meet her. 

We had a baptism last week!!!!! Our nine year old investigator was baptized on Saturday and it was such an amazing experience. A lot of his family and friends were there and the service was in Swedish. Luckily it was translated into Finnish so I could kind of understand what was going on. I would say that I am finally at the point in my mission where I understand more Finnish than Swedish! A lot of Swedish words are similar to English so that's saying something. Finnish! There was also an Icelandic hymn that was sung and which was really pretty. The refreshments after the baptism were all Icelandic dishes as well.

Sisar Kwok and I are teaching a new investigator that we met about 2 weeks ago who's from Nigeria. He has the coolest name but I can't write it! But he was telling us that where he is from it's normal to name your child after the day of the week that they are born on. Our other investigator from Nigeria told us that her husband and her brother are named after two different days of the week as well. I love serving in Vaasa, it's the most diverse place I've ever been in and it's been such an amazing experience to meet all of the amazing people here and to learn about all different kinds of people and cultures. Just this morning I was telling Sisar Kwok that I wanted to sound more Finnish and so she told me that I should talk in a very monotone voice with almost no emphasis. The two questions people always ask when we talk to them are ''Where are you from?'' and ''How long have you been here?'' It's still weird for me to think that I have an accent.

Once again we traveled up to Oulu for Zone Conference. On pitkä matkaa joka kerta! It's a long trip every time! In the morning during our workout time Sisar Kwok and I went running in Oulu and it was gorgeous! We ran through the forest there and it just made me super grateful to be serving in such a beautiful place. During conference we talked a lot about the importance of repentance and how to teach repentance. Every time I read the scriptures I am reminded of just how much our Heavenly Father loves each of us. I know that He knows us and loves us perfectly. I know that it is through repentance that we show our love for Him. I am so grateful that our Savior provided a way for us to return to our Heavenly Father and I know that through His plan for us we can receive lasting happiness. Minä rakastan tämä evankeliumi ja minä teidän etta tämä kirkko on totta. I love this gospel and I know this church is true. Jeesuksen Kristuksen nimessa aamen. 

Our local grocery store Lidls, there are a lot of ''American style'' brands here.
It's all like fried food and BBQ

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May 10, 2016

This is our church building here in Vaasa!

Hyvää Aitien Päivää! Happy Mother's Day! It was so cool talking to my amazing family on Sunday although we had some technical difficulties for a little bit and I think my Mom was in the process of booking a flight to Finland in case it didn't work. But it worked out and it was awesome! 

This past week Sisar Kwok sold her bike so it's been a lot of walking and a lot of sunscreen. This has officially been my first week in Finland without wearing tights! The sun is still out now when we go to bed at 10:30 every night. I am grateful for blackout curtains and my sleeping mask. 

I have tried Finnish ice cream or Jäätelö!!! And they sell licorice by the meter here and although the most Finnish flavor is salmioki I have come to find out that it's way gross. I have tried it twice but I don't think it'll grow on me. 

We have a baptism this week for our 9 year old investigator and I am super excited! He requested that we bring something chocolatey so we will be making him some brownies. It's been so fun to teach him and his family is so sweet so I am sure it'll be a great day.

We recently started teaching this woman that only speaks Spanish and German but is still willing to meet with us! Every time I would try to remember even a little bit of Spanish I would just reply in Finnish and then try again in English. We ended up understanding each other alright all things considered and we were able to watch a church video with her that had been translated into Spanish. It really helped to strengthen my testimony that the most important language is the language of the spirit. I know that if we are trying our best the Lord truly does help us out. We have a lesson with her tomorrow and we couldn't find someone that speaks German or Spanish to come with us. It'll be a lot of relying on the spirit again but I have faith that it'll work out!

I know that our Savior Jesus Christ loves us so very much and that it is only through Him that we can return to our loving Heavenly Father. I am so grateful to be in this wonderful land and to tell people about the restored gospel. I love bearing testimony that we are all part of God's family and that families can be together forever. Jeesuksen Kristuksen nimessa aamen.
We wash the car every p-day, that was last week. We basically just throw buckets of water at it and wipe it down. We don't drive often so it's never dirty! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 3, 2016

One of the sketchy ways to eat kebab!

Mitä Kuulu! Another good week here in Vaasa and I don't want to jinx myself again but summer might be here! Ehkä! (maybe) We had zone conference in Oulu last Monday and the trip there and back was way long compared to the actual meeting so most of the day we were just on the train. As always we set new goals. We were challenged to ''Set goals that make us gasp!'' It is kind of scary to set huge goals because of the amount of work and planning required and most of all the amount of faith. As we have been trying to set higher goals than before I have noticed a difference and I feel like it definitely pushes us to work harder than ever. Also, I make a point to gasp every time we set goals now and it's probably really annoying.  

This past Sunday in church Sisar Kwok and I sang Herrasta ja Kuninkaasta or Called to Serve for the Relief Society because the topic for the week was missionary work! It was actually way fun and a really good opportunity to get to know the ward members better. They really are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Finns are just the best! They are always so willing to come to lessons and help out with the language. 

 May 1st was Vappu!!! It's a huge holiday here in Finland and it's basically just a huge party. It was great because there were a lot of people for us to talk to. We didn't go into the tori area (market area) on Vappu but they're opening up a ton of food stands for the summer and we hope to try out some :) Finland is really coming alive as it's been getting warmer and people are outside! The days are getting longer and the sun is still out at 9 o'clock at night! Luckily we have blackout curtains for when we go to sleep but it's so bright. ( I plan on buying sunscreen today Mom.) 

We will not be having a baptism this week for our investigator but we are still meeting with her and hope to set another date soon when the timing is better. I know that everything happens in the Lord's timing and that we just have to have faith. I am so grateful to be a missionary. There are so many people that don't know why we are here or who are struggling and don't know where they can find happiness. I know that through Christ we can do all things and that we can return to live with our Father in Heaven again. I love this church and I love knowing my purpose. Jeesuksen Kristuksen nimessa aamen.