Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 31, 2017

Sister Training Leader Dinner

Meet Sisar Adams!

I had food in my mouth so I did a Finnish smile!

I'm in Tampere! This past week has been the busiest week of my mission so far! It started off with me saying goodbye to Sisar Holbrook which was so hard. I traveled by train to Tampere with Sisar Pugmire who is in the same city as me but in a different ward and with a new companion. Then Sisar Adams became my new companion! She is so awesome and it is her last transfer here as a missionary so I have already learned so much from her. 

The second day we were here we had a World Wide Missionary broadcast that announced that we will be following a new schedule. 

The day after the broadcast we headed to the city of Jyväskylä for our weekly district meeting. It takes 1.5 hours to get there by train and walking after the train stop. Right after it ended we hopped onto another train and headed for the mission home in Espoo! Because half of the leadership in the mission is new now President Watson decided to hold a dinner for the Sister Training Leaders. So I got to see Sisar Burden and Sisar Carter from my MTC group there as we received some instruction on how to fulfill our new assignment. After that the Zone leaders arrived and we began our Missionary Leadership Council (MLC) meeting the next day. We discussed the new schedule for most of it and how we could help everyone adjust. Then it was back to Tampere! 

We have 7 recent converts living in our area so we have been meeting with at least one of them everyday to teach the the recent convert lessons so we've been so busy! It's a miracle that I'm already fully unpacked. On Saturday night when we were trying to figure out where we were going to go the next day we realized we only had about an hour to do missionary work before church started. So we picked a nearby area that we had never been to before and Sisar Adams started to list off street names and told me to pick one that sounded good. I picked one and then she picked a random building number. The next day on Sunday we typed the address into the GPS and we just went! We talked to about two people and then I made the comment how no one was outside. Then, someone emerged from the forest! We started to talk to him and introduced ourselves and told him that we teach people about Jesus Christ and asked if he would have time next week to learn more. He was like...''Well I have time right now.'' We told him that we were headed to church but that we would have time to teach him later that night at his home. So we did and set up a return appointment for this next Thursday.

Yesterday was our Zone Conference meeting and so there were about 40 missionaries from our zone gathered together and in the middle of the meeting someone started to knock on the door. The assistants to the President stepped out the room and were gone for a while. We were all kind of wondering what was happening and then later the assistants came running over to us saying that the man we had met and taught the day before had felt inspiration to come to the church! The assistants had given him a church tour and taught the restoration to him again and set a baptismal date with him! Then he stayed for a long time just chatting with all of the missionaries there. He ended up going to the FHE night that the young single adults have every Monday night and we are teaching him again tonight! It was just cool to see that some people are just really prepared!

We have Zone Training training next week as well as another MLC meeting at the mission home (This time we get to go to the temple too!). I think this transfer is going to be not only super busy but amazing! I have seen so many miracles this past week and it has just grown my testimony that this is truly the Lord's work and with His help we can do anything.  

Monday, January 23, 2017

January 23, 2017

Sisar Holbrook - Sisar Roberts - Sisar Pugmire

Being able to go to the temple last Tuesday was just what we all needed right before a stressful week of waiting for transfer calls! 

It was kind of crazy getting 3 transfer calls at once. Sister Holbrook got hers first and she is staying here in Marjaniemi for her third transfer and someone from her MTC group is coming down from Kuopio to join her here. She is kind of freaking out to be with someone from her group so early on but I know she'll do amazing. Then Sisar Pugmire was told hers that she was going to Tampere to be in the second ward there. My transfer call was that I am leaving Marjaniemi! I am going to Tampere as well to be in the first ward and to be a Sister Training Leader with my new companion Sister Adams. I was blown away and I'm really excited for what's coming next. We are headed out tomorrow morning to catch our train to Tampere! I get to travel with Sisar Pugmire who I'll be seeing around a lot and with another sister who is headed to our zone. Also, my past companion Sisar Andersson is in the Tampere second ward so even though we are in different wards it's in the same building and I'll get to see her!!!! I am so excited! I have heard nothing but good things about Tampere and I have always wanted to serve there. I was also told that my new area has a car! 

One of the downsides to leaving is all the packing. It has been such a process and I'm almost done! I have currently 3 suitcases and a bike. I think all my stuff will technically fit but it might all weigh 300 pounds by the end. Saying goodbye to all of our amazing members has been so hard. This has been my home for the past six months and the people here have made me feel like family. I love them so much and on Sunday all the missionaries that were leaving the ward (there were 4 of us) were asked to stand up in the front of the chapel and the whole ward sang ''God be with you till we meet again'' to us. I managed not to cry until I started to actually say goodbye to people and then I lost it. The Marjaniemi ward is simply amazing and I am so glad I got to serve here. I feel like I could have honestly spent my whole mission here and I would have loved it. We also bore our testimonies in sacrament meeting and it was nice to be able to thank them for all they have done for me. 

I had my last lesson with our amazing Estonian investigator and when I told her I was leaving she was sad but thanked all of us for changing her life. She said that she's so much happier now and that her life has just gone up and that she loves us. I gave her my contact information and I hope that we can stay in contact and I'll get to hear about when she gets baptized! 

This past week was also my companions' 6 month mark! So naturally we celebrated with pizza. It was much needed after such an emotional week. So many tears were shed this week as we were saying goodbye to the ward and to our investigators and also saying goodbye to my amazing companions. It's going to be so weird to be in a normal companionship again, I have gotten used to the trio life and I love it! 

Tomorrow is going to be crazy but I take a lot of comfort in the fact that my transfer call comes from the Lord and even though it is kind of scary to think about being a Sister Training Leader I know that with Lord's help I can do it. I have a feeling that I'll be working really hard for the rest of my mission and I wouldn't have it any other way! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January 17, 2017

This past week we found out about our New Mission President and his wife! It will be Brother and Sister Aura from Finland! It is the first time the Helsinki, Finland mission will have a Finnish mission President! I will only have the chance to serve with them for a couple of weeks but it is still so exciting! This past week I also hit my 1 year mark as a missionary. The time has gone so fast. My companions made me a little ''Happy One Year'' banner and I literally cried. I was just feeling so many mixed emotions and I started panicking a little bit that I don't have any time left. I feel like it was just yesterday when I was thinking that 18 months way sooooo long and now, it's going so fast and the thought of ever leaving is tear inducing!
This past week we had a Zone Training meeting in Haaga and it was great seeing so many of my friends in the mission there as well as having a chance to learn more from our amazing mission leaders. We mostly talked about the doctrine of repentance and how we can better teach it in our lessons.

One of the highlights of the week was eating out at an actual restaurant. I don't know if it's because I haven't really had a burger since I got here...so over a year, or the fact that it was a really nice restaurant but I had the best bacon cheese burger of my life the other day and I can't get over it. I also forgot how much I loved burgers and this one had bacon mayonnaise as well as onion rings, french fries, and a side salad. I have never felt so spiritually uplifted by food before in my life. I also had three scoops of gelato and it was my first time ever having gelato and I literally felt like I was walking on air and could do missionary work without sleep for the next 4 days. That's how good it was and I would describe it in more detail if I had the time.

On a more spiritual note I read an amazing talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf this morning in my personal study called '' Grateful in any circumstances'' and I would definitely suggest reading it. One of my favorite lines from the talk were when he said '' How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is the rain?'' I really loved that and it made me think about how much God truly loves us and how everything we experience is for our good. I loved the way he described this life and how we can always have an attitude of gratitude! I love being a missionary in Finland and I am actually writing this from the temple guest house! I am going later today and am so grateful for the blessings of the temple. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

January 10, 2017

Terve! This past week we had exchanges in Espoo! It was with Sisar Burden and Sisar Cardon and it was so much fun. I got to spend the whole day with Sisar Burden and it was so much fun just having time to catch up and do missionary work together. It was amazing getting to speak Finnish with her after being in the MTC together and seeing how far we've both come. I also got to see the Helsinki Temple covered in snow and it was absolutely beautiful. Two amazing things that happened was that we were talking to people outside and all of the sudden I looked up and there was a Finnish woman coming toward us on skis and she had a big leather belt on her waist and pulling her was a snow dog!!! so we stopped her and tried to share the gospel. She wasn't interested but it was amazing. We watched her ski off into the distance with her snow dog and I feel that I must have a talk with my mission president regarding the the most effective way to travel during the winter. Also, later that night we saw something strange coming our way. This time we ran into a woman on horseback just taking a nightly stroll. We stopped her as well and she we talked to her about the gospel and also got to pet her horse. 

It got way cold last week, it was -15 Celsius! It's been really interesting for sure and it also took us at least 20 minutes to be sufficiently bundled before we went out. I was so scared of freezing that I might have gone overboard, I wore 3 pairs of tights, a wool jacket, a bigger jacket, 2 scarfs, 2 pairs of wool socks, and 2 hats. Needless to say I was very toasty. I feel blessed to be serving in southern Finland for winter, it's super windy but it's definitely not as cold as Oulu! My companions and I are going to the temple next p-day! It's our last Tuesday p-day together next week so we wanted it to be really special. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January 3, 2017

Today as we were walking to the church!

Hyvää Uutta Vuotta! Happy New Year! We actually got to see a good amount of fireworks from our apartment New Year's Eve which was fun. 2017 is a big year for Finland because it's Finland's 100th year of being an independent country! I have loved learning about the history of Finland during my time here and apparently there will be lots of celebrations throughout the year. 

Yesterday it finally started to snow again and it hasn't stopped! It is gorgeous and I am so grateful for the snow because first of all, it isn't as cold now and it's so much brighter. And when we only have 3-4 hours of sunlight it is much appreciated! I love serving here in the Helsinki and although I don't have time to write as much as I would like about it, I just want to express my gratitude for the time that I have been given to serve the Lord and to be His missionary. He is the light of the world! That has taken on a much more literal meaning serving here in the dark because it can be kind of depressing if you let it be. But I know that our Savior loves and understands us all perfectly and He goes to where we are. I am excited for the new year and I plan to make it another great one.