Mission Map

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas is Coming!


He got his Christmas package!!

Hello! 
Wow I have so much to tell you guys it's been a crazy week! So, last Monday it was insanely cold it was like -16 and a blizzard outside but we headed over to Pietarsaari and we did splits over there on Tuesday! But it was super weird since Tuesday the weather has warmed up its been getting up to 0 most days so it has been so nice! But, it was really fun doing splits in P town. I was with Elder Werjfelt and he's an awesome guy. I didn't get to talk much most of the day because all of the lessons were in Swedish so I just sat there haha but we drove up with a member to this elderly ladies house who lives about 45 minutes north of P town in this sweet old house that overlooks this big clearing and then its just forest all around, it was incredible like right out of a movie. And she made us a whole meal of stew and then at the end she gave us these legit home made Swedish Pancakes.... O wow.... I almost died, they were the greatest things ever. 

So, all that was fun then Tuesday we had a district meeting back here in Seinäjoki and just did normal missionary work, but then Saturday we got our change calls! I will be staying in Seinäjoki, but unfortunately Elder Christiansen is leaving me, he's going up to Oulu to serve as a zone leader so I'm excited for him, but I'm bummed that were splitting up! So I'm getting Elder Wood, he's coming up from Helsinki and he will finish my training and all that. So, it will be interesting, I technically have three weeks left of actual training, but then after that I'm just a regular full blown missionary haha so it will be cool! I will have to show Elder Wood all around Seinäjoki and set up lessons for us and all that so it will be a cool experience! I am also excited to have a new group of missionaries in the country, so I won't be a part of the youngest group anymore haha it will be fun! Well everything else has been pretty normal here, our branch is hilarious they were all so sad that Christiansen is leaving, they were all giving him hugs and stuff and they all gave us Christmas cards and a little calendar, they are all super sweet. We picked up a couple new investigators this week which is cool, one of them is this Russian guy we met on the street last night and we're going by tomorrow to give him a Russian BOM and our Burmese family is doing great! They read the book of Mormon together as a family and they pray pretty consistently! They didn't come to church yesterday because they had some school event they had to go to but they are doing awesome! 
So this week will be hectic! Elder Wood shows up on a train at 10AM and then Christiansen leaves on that train so they will just swap. Then Thursday we will go up to Oulu because we have a zone Conference so I'm excited for that! President Rawlings will be up there and all that good stuff. So, for Christmas, the one couple in our branch that lives in Seinäjoki is going to Espoo for Christmas and we were planning on going there for Christmas, so instead me and Elder Wood will go up to Vaasa and spend it with the Vaasa elders at one of there members house. We will probably go up there Christmas eve and stay all of Christmas day. In Finland Christmas Eve is the big day, that's when Joulupukki (literally means the christmas goat but it means Santa) comes and knocks on the door and give gifts and all that good stuff. Then Christmas you just eat a lot of Turkey! So I'm excited for all that! It will be an awesome week! Man I was super sad to here about Elder Bowen mom that's crazy... I hope everything goes smoothly and he can get back out to Canada quickly, that would be super hard.... And Dad thank you very much for looking up the fighters hahaha that made my day! Can't believe those guys were in the title fight that's crazy! Well alright I love you all! Have an awesome week, can't wait to skype! 
-Rakkaudella (with love)
Vanhin Wilson
Seinajoki Library

Back to Helsinki!


Back to Helsinki for training!

Splits in Swedish no less!

Hello everyone! 

Ok well we had an awesome week! I've got so much to say so this may be a little all over the place, but here we go:
So Sunday night the Vaasa Elders picked us up in the sisters car and we all drove down to Helsinki! It was like a 4 and a half hour drive but it was fun! So, we changed our plans, instead of staying in Espoo we just all stayed at the AP's apartment in Marjaniemi which is just on the east side of Helsinki. It was way nice and the assistants are super cool guys! It was super fun we woke up at like 5:40 every day and went to the chapel and played Sähly. Sähly is a super popular sport in the Nordic countries, it's basically just floor hockey with a wiffel ball, its usually teams of three and you have a goalie and whatnot but it was super fun! Finn's go crazy for Sähly haha the missionaries that live in places with a chapel and where they play Sähly a lot buy their own sticks and whatnot haha it was super fun. 
So then for Monday through Wednesday we went to the Mission office every day till about 5 and President Rawlings just gave us all sorts of instruction, it was great! We did a ton of role plays, like how to invite people to pray or be baptized or whatever and so he taught us a lot of teaching skills and also just gospel stuff and it was amazing. He is an incredible guy. I've never even heard of a person being so dedicated to missionary work, he works insanely hard, he is an awesome mission president. Every night we would go back to the Marjaniemi area and go on splits! So I went out with the AP's a couple times and then twice I went out with a new elder like me, so it was just us brand new missionaries walking around the streets of Helsinki haha it was super fun! It was a really good experience because I realized that I can't really speak great finnish yet but we got around all night having good conversations with people and teaching lessons and stuff and we did it! It was way cool, for the first time I felt pretty comfortable and independent in a way. So that was a lot of fun. Then on Thursday we had our Kieli Koulu (language school) which was good. The way it was set up was basically: there are three zones in Finland and each zone has a missionary that serves as the language coordinator. So these language coordinators work together and they make the twelve week training program for all the new missionaries coming in and they call missionaries periodically in their zone and do little language tests with them. So basically they are really good at finnish haha so all the language coordinators were there and they split us up in to three small groups and just answered some of our language questions but mostly we just talked about our language study plans and how we can be more effective with our language study time every day. 

So then we took a train back up to Seinäjoki that night! The next day, Friday, was Finland's Independence day and we also had a district meeting in Kokkola which is like 2 hours away so we drove up with the Vaasa elders to Kokkola and it was like a straight up blizzard outside hahaha it was frightening. I've never seen it snow so hard in my life. So then we came back to Seinäjoki on the train that day and went out to some lessons! We taught the Burmese family that evening which was great but we had to take our one member with us because the dad and brother weren't home and it's just a little awkward because the member is this older Finnish guy and he speaks really really fast so I don't think they understood most of what he said haha but it was good! Then Friday we had another great day of lessons and we met this guy on the street and we ended up giving him a book of mormon, then he called us like an hour later and let us come over and we taught him the first lesson! It was super cool, that was the first time something like that had happened haha it was just so fast! So hopefully he will turn in to a solid investigator!
 So then yesterday we had another great day! The Sisters that live in Vaasa that served here in Seinäjoki just before us came down to Seinäjoki because they were going to participate in our sacrament meeting and our christmas party which was last night. So we had the sisters there AND 4 of the Burmese family came to church!!!! We were so pumped! It was like the first time that one of OUR investigators who we had found and are teaching actually came to church so we were SUPER excited. We think it went well and that they really enjoyed it. During Sacrament the sisters told us like an hour before that we were going to do a song as well hahaha so I introduced a christmas song in sacrament and then we all sang it for the ward and then the sisters and elder Christiansen spoke so it was a really cool sacrament meeting. So after church me and Elder CHristiansen took the sisters car up to this less active lady who lives about 45 minutes away and gave her the sacrament and then her and her husband both asked for blessings which was super cool because the husband is a non member! So I gave a blessing to the sister (in english because she is from sweden and speaks better english than finnsih) and then Elder Christiansen gave a blessing in finnish to the husband because he's a finn. So it was a super cool experience. Then we hustled back to Seinäjoki and had our christmas party which went great! We had like 25 people there! One family from the Vaasa ward came and their kids all did musical numbers and they were adorable haha Finnish kids are so stinking cute, and they all speak Finnish and Swedish it's awesome haha and we had a less active lady there and a few non members so the party was bumping! It was just a great day all in all! Unfortunately, I made the mistake of getting a big plate of the food they were serving though and it was straight nasty haha it was this classic finnish dish and it's just like plain rice pudding with some other gross stuff on it. So I was trying to choke this big fat bowl down for a while and then realize that everyone else put sugar on theres because it's so gross when it's just plain but mine was just plain and it was horrible hahaha but other than that it was super good! 
So we had a really busy week but super rewarding. We only got to do work here in Seinäjoki for 3 days but taught 12 lessons and got 2 new investigators so it was fantastic! So tonight we are actually going to do splits in Pietarsaari where are district leader is. Unfortunately Pietarsaari is the straight up Swedish speaking city in Finland haha so I will be very quiet tomorrow but luckily I will be with Elder Werjefelt for the day and he is a Swede so it's no big deal! I'm super excited thought I think it will be fun! 
Ok so here's a really cool quote for you all for the week. This quote is our Mission statement, we say it at the beggining of every district, zone, or any other type of meeting.
"We can stand in the place and stead of the Lord Jesus Christ in administering salvation unto the children of men. He preached the gospel, so can we. He spoke by the power of the Holy Ghost, so can we. He served as a missionary, so can we. He went about doing good, so can we. He performed the ordinances of Salvation, so can we. He kept the commandments, so can we. He wrought miracles. Such also is our privelege if we are true and faithful in all things. We are his agents, we represent him. We are expected to do and say what he would do and say if he were personally administering among men at this time." 
-Elder Bruce R. McConkie
As human beings were are obviously not perfect and never will be. We are entitled to make mistakes here or there but as children of God we have the ability to be perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect. We all have the privelege and honor of representing Jesus Christ at this time. As members of Jesus Christ's true church we can see miracles. We are seeing miracles happen all around us here in Finland and they are happening throughout the world.
Well I love you all so much! Have a great week!
A lot of shoveling pictures from Seinajoki!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Winter has Arrived!

Sabbath day in Finland!
Wow, I've already been in Finland for 6 weeks, how did that happen? The Time is starting to fly by, the days are very long,  but the weeks just keep rolling. It will be Christmas so soon! Well we had a great week here! We got a bit of a warm front which sounds like a good thing, but basically it means that you're still biking through snow and ice and then it starts raining on top of that so I was very wet this week. I fell off my bike like three times (which does not help the whole image), but it's ok! I successfully put snow tires on my bike, so I am good to go! And also I bought my snow boots last week, they are some nice echo snow boots so I'm pumped about them, they will keep me feet nice and toasty! So, it feels weird to email on a Sunday! We are at the church just emailing before church starts and so I don't have a ton of time, but basically we are just going to email then after church we have a lesson with one investigator and our branch president is going with us, and then we go home, eat and head out for Helsiniki! 

I'm super pumped to go to Helsinki! It is going to be way fun, we are staying in Espoo at the zone leader's apartment and then every night we go on splits with the zone leaders. So, we basically just have like three days of training from the mission president and then on Thursday we have language school which will be great! And yes my whole group from the MTC will be there this week so I'm so excited to see them! It's going to be awesome and I will take lots of pictures of Helsinki! I'm also just really excited to listen to our mission president for a few days, he is a really amazing guy. He is a lawyer from California, and everyone says that he was like the BEST lawyer in California, he is this crazy smart guy, has a photographic memory and is just a spiritual powerhouse. He is so motivated and dedicated to helping us serve our purpose here in Finland. When President Rawlings got to Finland 2 years ago the mission was averaging about 5 lessons per week, now the mission is averaging close to 20 lessons per week. The work in Finland is moving forward like crazy, the baptisms still are a bit slow I guess, like theres 100 missionaries in Finland and this year there have been somewhere around 80 baptisms. So I guess it is still difficult in that way like most European countries are, but since me and elder Christiansen have come to Seinäjoki we have taught about 20 lessons a week and receieved 5 baptismal dates and have found about 3 new investigators a week which is fantastic! So it is just a really exciting time here. 
A few hours of sunlight and that sweet powder blue bike!
I have been learning tons of Finnish, but at a certain point I realize that even if we learn Finnish the rest of our lives we will never be able to speak like a Finn. It's just absolutely insane hahaha I was talking to this Finnish guy this week who has studied english his entire life and I was asking him a grammar question about Finnish and so after I asked it he was like.... I honestly have no idea why we say it that way, and there's really no way to know whether you should use the partitive there or not, you kind of just have to listen and memorize which form of the word they use in every situation for every word in finnish hahaha and I know that doesn't make any sense but trust me.... it wasn't good news hahaha he said to us I mean I probably shouldn't say that Finnish is confusing because I'm a Finn and that would be discouraging but truthfully...  Finnish is very confusing hahaha so anyway, Finnish is coming along and I love learning it, it is a lot of fun. 
View from the Elders apartment in Vaasa.
Well we found a couple really solid potential investigators this week which we're excited about! One guy we saw on the street was wearing a UFC sweatshirt so I started talking to him about UFC which maybe I shouldn't admit to people that I love UFC since I'm a missionary and all but apparently conversations about MMA can lead in to gospel topics because we talked to him about the church for like 20 minutes and then he gave his address and number and we have an appointment with him! We also have a new investigator who lives in the building right next to us! We would see him sitting on his balcony a lot as we would be walking home and he was always out there smoking so we would always talk to him and so he let us come in to his home this week and we taught him and gave him a book of mormon and he seems super interested and it went great! So, little things like that are happening all over the country and we are truly seeing miracles out here. Our Burmese family is progressing as well, and the 12 year old daughter is coming to church today! The others have a soccer game (the problems of trying to baptize a 12 year old girl) But, we are so excited that at least one of them is coming! Yes, last week I gave my talk in Sacrament! It went really well I think, ya here they kind of just tell you to give a talk and they never assign topics or anything so I talked for 15 minutes about the atonement and how we can apply it in to our daily lives. I even talked about how my dad gave me man lessons when I was a young man haha everyone loved it. The Branch president got up after me and was like "Well I don't think I can speak finnish as well as Vanhin Wilson, but I will try" hahaha so everyone is just super nice and supportive and loving. Well, unfortunately I have to go out and shovel snow! church starts at 11! But I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Week 5, time is flying by!

Hello everyone!
 Wow another week just few by I feel like I was just here! Well we had a really good week! Everything has been super fun here in Seinäjoki. Well I guess not everything is all good, we've been dropped by all our investigators with baptismal dates, so that's a bummer, but we have been finding lots of new investigators and are really excited about the Burmese family! So, yes yes my bike is pretty sweet, and the best part is that it even came with a little bell on it so I don't need to buy my own haha.  We have been teaching a few new people and this one guy should literally be on that AMC show "Hoarders" his house is quite a mess, so we offered to help him clean it sometime as a service project but I don't know... we shall see. So, to answer some of your questions: P days we don't really do anything besides email and then buy food and clean the apartment because we have to bike all back and forth to get to the library and then to the grocery store so it takes forever, so we basically have like one hour of free time and we're so tired so we just sit on the couch and watch little church dvds. P days are just about as busy as any other day. So, we had a district meeting up in Pietarsaari this week and it is a small town not connected by the train lines so we took a train up to Vaasa on wednesday night and slept at the elders apartment up there and then drove with them up to Pietarsaari because the sisters in Vaasa have a car that we could use. So, we did all that which was fun! Pietarsaari is the one city that is pretty much all Sweedish speaking so it was kind of cool to see. But then when we got back to Seinäjoki Thursday evening there was snow everywhere and it snowed on us for like a day straight haha so now there is tons of snow everywhere and it is here to stay! I don't think it's gotten above 0 all week long so it's getting pretty chilly, especially at night when you're biking and getting pelted by wind and snow in the face hahaha. I haven't bought my boots but I will buy them today! I have been wearing two pairs of socks and even two pairs of gloves one day so I have been keeping pretty warm. It's just scary to think that it will drop at least another 30 degrees still hahaha but don't worry I have been staying warm! I'm going to buy snow tires for my bike today because we've been slipping all over the place. 
And also you all asked a little bit about my service days, well unfortunately they don't really exist we're in charge of trying to find service opportunites and we ask every person we meet if we can serve them in some way but Finns won't let anyone help them usually so its really hard to do service. We did shovel this one guys drive way the other night because he had tons of snow and so we just decided to shovel it because he had two shovels sitting out by his porch. So, eventually the guy comes out and is like what are you doing? So we explain that we're church representatives and do service and all that so he was like O.... well thanks..... and then went back inside to his sauna hahaha so that's pretty much all the service we have done. 
So we taught the Burmese family twice this week and they're awesome! the little 12 year old girl loves it so much and she reads all the pamphlets and the Book of Mormon every day and prays and she's awesome! The rest of them aren't nearly as interested but I think it's just because they don't understand us and unfortuantely we don't have any printed church materials in their language so it's really hard. We had a really funy/embarrassing teach with them thought this week haha so it was thurseday and we went over and it was the one daughter that is always there (lets say her name is Mitsuyo) and her brother and the mom, so we are teaching for like 30 minutes and we keep calling the daughter by name and asking her all these questions and eventually she just looks at us and is like .... "I'm not Mitsuyo, I'm her little sister"...... turns out the 12 year old and the 11 year old look EXACTLY alike hahahahaha so we had being teaching the 11 year old the entire night thinking it was the 12 year old so it was super embarrassing. But other than that things have been going very well. So, next week though,  I have my 6 week language training! So, that means that on Sunday me and elder Christiansen are going to Helsinki and will be there for about 4 days. We are staying at the zone leaders apartment who live in Espoo and so I just have language training and other training from the mission president so it will be really fun! We're going to drive down Sunday evening witht he Vaasa elders. But, that means that I wont be emailing next Monday, instead I will be emailing sometime on Sunday! So be ready for that. But yes that is pretty much all the exciting stuff from the week! Good things are happening here in Finland! Yes, mom unfortunately we do have to bike around all day and it's pitch black by like 4:00 every day hahaha so it's kind of rough, but I have been taking my vitamin D every day and everything! But, so when the sun does come out every day it is really exciting, I take a picture most days hashaha I have grown to appreciate sunshine and clouds a lot here in Finland, since were so far North the sun never gets very high in the sky and it only stays on the horizon so it never really gets overhead haha it's really cool though and it makes beautiful sunrises! But anyway, that's pretty much the week! I love you all and hope you have a great thanksgiving! I wish I could be there so bad! I'm sure our little meal on Thursday will be nothing in comparison, I miss you all and love you! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Four Weeks in Finland!

Some of the Elders made Gregory a scarf for his birthday.

Hello everyone! 
Well I cannot believe that I have already been in Finland for about a month! Wow! The weeks are starting to fly by already! Well we had a great week this week! Last P day I treated me and my companion to a McDonalds lunch, haha it sounded way good and the Mcdonalds in Finland are so much better than in America! The French fries were some of the best french fries I've ever had, so it was a good choice. Then on Tuesday, my birthday, we had district meeting here in Seinäjoki so that was good, but it was so cool because the elders in Vaasa knew it was my birthday (one of them was in the mtc with me) and they made me a scarf! hahaha it was super nice of them so I got a sweet homemade scarf! So then after district meeting we ate at this asian buffet that was actually pretty dang good and they had all these little Sweedish pancakes for dessert and they were amazing, I had like 6 hahaha!  I also got my birthday package from you guys and from Aunt Shelly this week so I was so happy! Thank you so much! The cake was so good we ate it in like 12 hours haha and I love everything you sent me thank you so much! I'm definitely the most spoiled missionary out here, thank you. I will be nice and warm now with my new beanie and hand warmers from Shelly! 
Well we also had a great week of missionary work out here! We found three new investigators which is really really good, especially for Seinäjoki. One of the investigators is a sweet story I'll tell you. So last Wednesday ( I think) we didn't really have any appointments so we did whats called a blank day schedule and that means we just literally try to talk to every single person we see on the street and we check a bunch of former investigators from the area book. So, we literally talked to people on the street allllll day long and we were biking down this little bridge and there was like 30 people on the bridge, so we just decided to stop and talk to this one random guy who was kind of leaning against the railing. So we stopped and talked, he's a man from Burma and he speaks a little Finnish and no english. So, we explained we're missionaries and asked if we could stop by sometime and he gave us his address! So then later that night we were leaving the house of this less active member and we see this same guy walking in to his house, so we run over and say hi and he told us to come in. So, he's married and has four kids, one of his kids was there, she's this little 12 year old girl and she spoke pretty decent finnish but the parents don't speak well at all. So we gave them a book of mormon and told them how the gospel could bless their family and gave them a restoration pamphlet. The 12 year old girl is SUPER interested, she loved it, and she just wants to learn about Jesus.  We made an appointment to go back on Sunday, so we went back last night and the girl said she had read the whole pamphlet and read some of the Book of Mormon but that it's really hard to understand the book of mormon (which is true, I still don't understand most of it when I read it in Finnish). But anyway, she loves learning about it and so basically the whole time while we teach we will talk to the daughter and then she will translate stuff in to their language which is called Karrie or something like that, but so we're not too sure how the parents feel about it all because they sort of just sit there while we teach their daughter hahaha so its super funny. We asked the girl if they are ok with us being there and if they would want to learn more and she just says ya ya its fine! But we don't reaaaally know what she says to them when she translates for us hahaha so it's a little bit tricky but they are a very nice family and we are going back on Thursday! So we are excited about that! Then also we taught this new investigator with the Branch president and his wife yesterday which went well so we have some investigators that we're really excited about! 
Finnish is coming along gradually but it is definitely getting easier. I can understand WAY better than I could even 3 weeks ago. I have definitely learned a ton by just being here in Finland, just hearing the way Finns say stuff is very helpful. And Finn's are just really helpful in general, they are always so impressed that we can speak their language at least somewhat. In lessons now I pretty much always know what's going on and always know how to say what I want to say, and when we talk to random people I generally know what they're saying but like when we're in church and people give talks or if someone is trying to talk to us about like deep philisophical questions they have about the gospel it gets really hard hahaha, but it is coming so I will get there eventually! Well we had two investigators drop us this week, but it is really hard because they basically both said that they believe the church is true... they just don't want to change their lives. Like one guy said that he wants to join the church but he doesn't jaksaa to quit smoking (jaksaa is this great word in finnish that we don't really have in english but it basically means he doesn't feel like doing it, like if you're in bed and super tired you don't jaksaa to go take out the trash) but so anyway it's hard to deal with stuff like that but we're doing all we can do. Finn's are just very satisfied with their lives and don't really like to change, so that makes it hard to explain why they should join our church but anywho, it's going really well. We have been having great success with number of lessons and all that, it's just still really hard to get member lessons since we have one to chose from hahaha and he doesn't speak any English, so we can't really take him to those lessons cause that would just be awkward. But anyway for Thanksgiving we are going to have a district meeting in Vaasa and this elderly missionary couple is going to cook a thanksgiving meal for us all so it will be so fun! Well that is pretty much the whole week! Just know that I love you and miss you all! Keep being amazing! 

Love,
Elder Wilson
Yes, that is Elder Wilson's bike, it's the only one he could find in Seinajoki, that wasn't expensive he said. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Is it Winter Yet?

It's not Winter yet, just a preview!
Hello everyone!!!  Well anyway thank you so much for all the birthday love everyone! I miss you all so much, especially with the most important day of the year tomorrow, but you are all the greatest! I'm sure the package will get to me soon mom thank you so much for sending one! You know you really don't have to! hahaha well if I must give an ideas for a christmas thing... the only thing would be like a nice looking scarf. I bought this neck and hood thing to kind of shield my face, but all these Finnish guys walk around with super classy scarfs … and they look dang good so I want to embrace the culture hahaha so that would be an excellent gift idea! But anyway, we had a good week here in Seinäjoki! 

We had two new investigators accept baptismal dates and one other new investigator accept a baptismal invitation! WOOT WOOT! It has been great! Our most promising investigator is this guy from India. We met him about a week and a half ago on the street and have met him like 4 times since. He married this women who lives in Finland, but then they got a divorce and he has been going through a lot of hard times, but he grew up a christian and has a lot of faith. He is a really cool guy and he has accepted and enjoys everything we've taught so far. He was out of town this weekend but we hope he comes to church next weekend! As far as other investigators we have this really cool really religious guy from Africa who is a student here and then we've found a couple other new investigators so we've been staying pretty busy! The thing thats hard is like all these international students are pretty open and willing to learn about the gospel, but it's hard to teach actual finns. They are just very content with their lifestyle and usually don't see the need to join a different church. They are great people though, always very kind and they think its super cool that we know finnish haha. Especially like college aged Finnish people when they hear we're from America they just think were super cool hahaha. A lot of young Finns speak pretty good english so they want to practice their english on us and a lot of people are very interested in religion, but more just to talk about it not really to test it out. So it's tough, but it's been so great! 

We didn't have any investigators in church this week, but we had a less active lady we've been working with there and another family that usually goes up to Vaasa for church, but this week they were in our branch so we had 19 people in church on sunday! It was awesome! It's funny what a difference 7 people make when you go from 12 to 19 hahaha, but we were super excited about it. I even blessed the sacrament this week which was a little scary but I nailed it haha and the sacrament prayers sound awesome in Finnish. My companion gave a talk in sacrament this week and the branch president asked me to give a talk in two weeks.... a fifteen minute talk.... It will be kind of hard hahaha I need to start working on that one early, probably shouldn't try to wing it. So, yesterday morning we woke up and looked outside and there was snow everywhere! I almost started crying hahaha so we biked to church through the snow storm and my face was numb when we got there and so I said to the branch president that winter has come! And he looked at me and just said.... no ..... winter has not come winter WILL come in about a month when we have a meter of snow everywhere and its thirty degrees colder all the time...... ouch hahaha I'm so scared. I did buy my coat and another beanie last week though and some mittens! so now I just need to buy some snow boots. I want to buy a big russian hat with fur and stuff but you cant wear those hats with helmets so I guess I'll have to stick with beanies. The bike I've been using has been horrible, one of the tires popped again this week and then yesterday my seat popped up while I was riding…. so I'm just going to buy myself a bike today haha it's not worth it to use this one all winter because it could be lethal. 

Well, we did splits this week for the first time which was fun! So our district leader and his companion came down from Pietasaari (the swedish speaking city) and they were with us for the day. I was with elder Gustaffson, he's a really cool guy and he actually used to serve in Seinäjoki, it was his first area as well, so he introduced me to some former investigators and helped us out a lot so it was great! Elder gustaffson has been in Finland about 7 months, but he's been learning swedish for the past 3 months so it was funny because there were several times throughout the day when we were in lessons or talking to people and we both just had no idea what they were saying hahahaha and it's not like he's bad at finnish, but he just hasn't used it in three months so it was tough, but it was good because we kind of took everything together, usually I can always rely on elder Christiansen to understand everything, but with Gustaffson I really had to focus all day so it was really good. We had a great time though! So, tomorrow we have a district meeting here in Seinäjoki and then we're all going to eat at this asian buffet place so that is how I will be celebrating tomorrow hahaha 7 euro asian buffet! But, I'm excited I like my district a lot it will be fun! Well, we had a few hard days this week as well, we had to drop one investigator, the 77 year old guy. Which was really sad…. kinda makes you feel like a bad missionary, but I mean he didn't really ever listen to what we taught and he said he didn't want to receive any answers about the book of mormon and wouldn't come to church or do anything so .... had to move on I guess. 

Well the weather hasn't actually been too cold yet but the thing is its dark and cloudy like every single day, I've seen the sun like 4 times since I've been here haha and it rains a lot, and yesterday it snowed on us like all day so I'm just always wet and numb and by the end of the day my hands are frozen haha, but it still hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be already! But in another month or two I will be crying about it every week, but Finland is beautiful and everything has been great! The food is all good! We eat these little things for dinner almost every single night haha they are called riisipiirata and it is basically a rye bread crust with like rye bread budding inside and then you put butter and cheese on it ... and it may sound kind of gross but it is SO GOOD! So everything has been great and I'm having lots of fun! I love you all and hope all is well at home! I miss you all! Moi Moi! 

On splits

Monday, November 4, 2013

Zone Conference in Oulu
Hello all!!!! Well it has been a great week here in Seinäjoki!! We had a busy week again but it was so good! Tuesday we took a train up to Oulu which is a beautiful city, we slept there Tuesday night just in the chapel on little sleeping rolls and then we had the zone meeting on Wednesday then came back that afternoon. It's way fun being able to travel all over for meetings like that, and the North zone of Finland is so sweet! All the missionaries here are awesome! Finland is on fire for missionary work, the standard of excellence for the mission is 20 lessons a week and this week we taught 19, so were almost there! Honestly Seinäjoki is a bit of a challenging area just because there really is like 12 people there each Sunday and when we want to bring members to lessons we only have like 2 people that live in Seinäjoki to chose from hahaha so its challenging, but the members are fantastic. They are all so sweet and are so excited to do missionary work with us! They love us and all want to feed us whenever possible haha we had two dinner appointments this week and o man.... it was so good. The people go all out here when they feed the missionaries. Full on 4 course meals and its all like steak and potatoes and the most delicious home made pastry things for dessert.... wow. hahaha I love dinner appointments so much. We ate at this families house on Thursday and we wanted to share a brief message and be in and out in an hour, but they just wouldn't let us go haha they just talk to us forever and they love having us over. 
Finnish was definitely better this week! It's obviously extremely hard to understand people still, and will be for a while, but when we talk to people on the street I feel like I'm able to recognize more words and I'm picking up a lot of common phrases that we hear alot (usually indicating that we should get lost) but I'm actually really surpised how many people talk to us on the street. There's a pretty big portion of like born again christians in Seinäjoki and also Jehova Witnesses so they always want to discuss a little doctrine with us, but there are actually a lot of people that are just religious and hear us out for a few minutes. Unfortunately, most people feel that their faith is sufficient and there's no need for organized religion or that their childhood baptism was sufficient, so it's difficult to find people that actually want to investigate the church on the street, but we actually did get one new investigator this week from street contacting! He's this really cool 20 year old guy and we gave him the first lesson on Saturday and he seems very interested and were meeting him again on Saturday so we are really excited about that! We also have met a lot of international people that go to the little college here and a lot of the African and Asian students are interested and talk with us so we're  building a pretty solid pool of potential investigators. We're basically building from nothing here in Seinäjoki, we came in with two investigators for us, one is the 90 year old man and the other is 77 and has some dimentia..... so not extremely effective to teach him because he doesn't remember anything that he learns. So it's difficult but the work is moving forward and it is awesome! I am definitely getting more confident and talk a lot more in lessons. Finns are way helpful too and they're very kind people. They are quiet and reserved, but they're always willing to help you and they're very courteous, we've really only been yelled at like 1 time so that's pretty solid I would say haha. Most Finns are just very impressed that we speak some finnish. They all ask where we're from and how long we've studied Finnish, and when I say I studied for 8 weeks then got here last week they are amazed haha, so they are really cool people. The culture is very similar, so it's not really like a huge culture shock in that way.
One funny thing though is that in apartment buildings here a lot of the time they will have like 1 sauna for every floor, so the floor of apartments has a schedule and everyone has their designated sauna night. And when they have their sauna night there is literally nothing in the world more important hahaha like if you ask a ward member to teach a lesson with you but it conflicts with his sauna night there's not a chance hahaha. Well anyway, so we were knocking a few doors in this apartment building this week and this guy answers the door. He's about 40 and he's in his underwear and a robe that's just open and nothing else, so he sees us and he's like oh you're the mormons!!! COME IN! So we walk in and him and his buddy are sitting at the kitchen table (his friend is wearing the same thing) and they are just totally drunk, but they wanted us to share a scripture with them hahaha so they tell us "Our sauna time begins in twenty minutes so you must be done by that time" So we shared a scripture with them, one of them threw up on the table about halfway through and then when we left they gave us both hugs so it was quite an experience hahahaha. Definitely doesn't happen every day but they had spoken with missionaries before so they were pumped to see us. 
Well the weather is definitely getting chilly, and of course riding a bike doesn't help because the wind is just blowing in your face haha but I'm going to buy my big coat right after I send this email! Seinäjoki has a train station for long distance trains but theres no public transportation locally so we just ride our bikes everywhere. 
Well that's pretty much the report for the week, Oh we had these two investigators in church on Sunday which was great! They are from Morocco and are Muslim, one speaks Finnish and one speaks english and they speak to each other in Arabic so its way confusing when we teach them hahaha, but they came to church! So it was awesome! Well I love you all so much! Have a fantastic week! The pictures of the babies were so cute!!! I miss those kids and I can't believe that Wilson bore his testimony hahaha that is the cutest thing ever! I miss you and I love you all! 
Biking before the big coat ha ha!

Week One in Finland - Seinajoki

Vahnin Wilson and Vahnin Christiansen
HELLO ALL! Well I just want to say if my grammar and spelling is a little weird in this email it's because this is a finnish keyboard and it's super weird haha I'm not used to it yet. Well week one in Finland has been an adventure! Today has been a little hectic, we had to change my bike tire and then the computers at the library locked us out, so I don't have a lot of time. We had to come all the way to the chapel so I will type as fast as I can! I have been sent to a small town called Seinäjoki. It is a town of about 60,000 people and has a small university here. It's about 3 and a half hours northwest of Helsinki. I am in the Pietasaari district which means our district takes in the Swedish speaking cities of Finland so two elders in my district are Swedish speaking (one of them is a real Sweed though so.... no fair) There is a grand total of 25 people in the Seinäjoki branch. About 12 were actually in church on Sunday. We are in the smallest branch in all of Finland haha so we have some work to do. We live in Seinäjoki, but we can take trains up to Lapua and a few other little towns around our area because our branch takes in all those towns. There's only one Priesthood holder in Seinäjoki, everyone else comes from surrounding towns. 
My companinion is elder Christiansen, he is from Utah and has been here about a year. He's a super nice guy, we get along great! Yeah he's pretty good at Finnish so that it super helpful hahaha Ok so finnish..... when we're on the street I understand about 5 percent of what people are saying to us. When we're in lessons I can understand more and I can talk pretty well, like if I know what's going on I am able to contribute to the lesson and testify so what I usually do is listen to what my comp says (because I can always understand everything he says) and then I just add on to that. A few times I have embarrassed myself... like some guy was talking to me on the train and he was talking about some horrible train crash in the 70s and I had no idea what he was saying so I just like laughed and was like O ya ya that's right ...... super embarassing..... But in church on Sunday they had us both speak hahaha so that was a little scary. We have a tiny little chapel but I got up there and told them about myself and shared a couple scriptures and they loved it! I'm winning over the hearts of the people already hahaha all the sweet Finnish ladies were talking to me after saying that I speak really well and all that haha what's ironic is I didn't know what they were saying but my companion told me later. It's already getting a little chilly here.... I bought some gloves and a scarf thing but I don't really need a big coat and boots yet, my rain coat is pretty warm, but don't worry I will buy my coat and stuff next week probably. The branch here provides a bike for me which is way nice, so i just won't buy a bike until I transfer to a new area because I don't know if I will actually need a bike in my next area so i will just wait and see. 
Well we're doing whats called SHOTGUNNING an area. So that means that elder christiansen is new in Seinäjoki as well so were pretty much starting from scratch. We have a couple former investigators weve been meeting with though and we just contact all the people we pass on the street. We haven't done any tracting yet. Finland has strict privacy laws so I can't actually tell you peoples names here, but let me tell you about this one guy..... so its my very first lesson, I'm a little nervous and we go in there and this man is literally 88 years old. Picture an extremely old american person with dentures and whatnot..... now picture that person speaking finnish. That is this man. Full on wears the same robe every time we're over there and his dentures fall out while he's talking hahahaha I cannot understand ANYTHING he says. So it's a definite struggle but he is just the coolest, sweetest man and he has a baptismal date!! So we already have one baptismal date! We also taught a lesson to this guy who full on answered the door and sat with us the entire time without wearing pants.... so ya I'm officially a finnish missionary. I guess that's fairly common here hahaha well anyway, Seinäjoki is way cool! We get to go up to Oulu for a zone conference this week which is way exciting! I here that Oulu is a beautiful city and it's way up north so I'm excited. We're in the northern district of Finland which we call the district for men so that means we get to go up to Rovaniemi for Christmas!!! (Christmas village)
 
Well even though its extremely difficult everything is going really well. I'm learning so much every day and finns make the best desserts... and the chocolate is so good I want to die..... well I really have to go but I love you all so much! I'll send lots of pictures! and mom tell grandma and grandpa thank you so much for their email!
Pretty nice missionary digs! 
Finland doesn't have dryers!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Finland Finally!!

President and Sister Rawlings and Vahnin Wilson


Brother and Sister Wilson,
Greetings from the great land of Finland.  This picture was taken at the mission home the night your son arrived in Finland.  We met your son yesterday, which was a great blessing for us.  We are very happy that they all arrived safely.  We are excited to have new missionaries.  They always bring a special spirit to the mission. This is a group of well-prepared missionaries who will see much success.

Hey mom and dad!! It is currently 845 PM and I am sitting with everyone in the mission home! We landed in Helsinki around 3 this afternoon, got to speak to real Finns on the plane and it is so awesome! President Rawlings and the APs picked us up from the airport and took us right to the Temple grounds. It was so beautiful! The temple is so much bigger and more beautiful in person. Then we came back here to the mission home and sister Rawlings made us all a dinner and we had interviews with President Rawlings. We are all going to shower and go to sleep, tomorrow we have a little orientation in the morning then get assigned our first areas! President just wanted us to send a quick email to let you know we are here safe and sound! Everything is great and Finland is absolutely beautiful! I love you! I will email you on Monday!
 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Week 6 & 7

Heading to Finland in 10 more days!!
Ran in to my Cousin Dakota in the MTC!! 
Ok we go to Finland in 11 days!!! I can't even describe how excited I am! Well this week has been fantastic! I had so many cool opportunities but I'll start with conference. Conference was incredible! Our teachers promised us that watching conference in the MTC is the best way to experience it and they were absolutely right. I felt like the entire conference was so applicable and beneficial to missionary work and I am so grateful that the church has been pushing for more member missionary work because that's how pretty much all of the work is done in Finland. I absolutely loved all of the talks but a few that stuck out to me were President Monson's Sunday morning and Dieter F Uchtdorf's Saturday morning. President Monson's poem about how strong wind creates stronger trees was just perfect and while he gave that talk I felt my testimony of him and his divine calling as a prophet grow exponentially. I received a powerful witness that he truly is God's chosen prophet on the earth today and I am just so grateful for all of the authorities of the church that we have to follow. I took a few specific questions to conference that I wanted to receive answers to and I literally received tons of answers during the very first two talks!

 I also got to see Dakota a lot during Conference weekend because we all walked up to the main campus to watch it all so it was just so much fun!! I feel like Cody was really excited to get out to Iowa and I'm so happy for him. We also had the chance to spend a lot of time with Vanhin Vormo which is always awesome because we get to here some real Finnish but we met another Finnish sister as well so it was sweet! But then the Finnish sister and Vanhin Vormo started talking to each other and all of our faces just went blank because we couldn't understand ANYTHING they were saying hahaha so then the finnish sister turned to me and said "Puhummeko nopeasti?" (Do we speak fast?) and I just said "kyllä, tosi nopeasti" (yes, very fast) hahaha but they said we were doing a great job and I feel like the more I just try to speak and practice my finnish the more I learn. So then on Monday I had a chance to help give a blessing to a sister in our district because she's been really sick and she has to have some test run at the hospital today so she asked Vanhin Hugie (because he's the district leader) if we could give her a blessing so that was a great experience. I annointed and Vanhin Hugie blessed. Blessings are always really powerful ways to feel the spirit and it is always equally as awesome for the people giving it as the person receiving it. Well then yesterday we had the chance to be new missionary hosts!!! It was so much fun because we got to actually interact with people rather than sit in our classroom all day like usual haha So basically all the missionaries that get sent down here to west campus come in on buses and they hop off and we just grab one and help them with their luggage and show them to their room and all that. It was so much fun and I even hosted an elder from Texas which was cool! But some of these new missionaries looked absolutely terrified hahaha that first day is way rough and some of these kids look like they just left primary, but it was nice to be able to talk to them and sort of help them through it. Well today we started our consecration week! So as soon as we left the temple this morning it began and I have not spoken any english all day! It is going to be very difficult but we are all very motivated to make this week 100% Finnish and I know that it will be very rewarding. I learn so much on SYL days so I can't even imagine a whole week haha I always assumed that by the time consecration week started we'd actually be able to speak pretty well but now I realize that that's not the case haha I mean I can pretty much find a way to say anything I want to say, just very simple and with a lot of hand motions. But I know that it is good preparation! 

We have kind of hit a point where they've basically taught us everything we need to learn, we've learned every major grammar principle so I feel like I've hit a wall. I think the only way to progress now is to actually go to Finland so I am so ready to get out of here. OK so for my first area: we've all been guessing where we'll go and I really really want to go to Rovaniemi which is the furthest north that they send misionaries (it's full on in the arctic circle) but my guess for my first area is Oulu which is super high north as well. I'm not sure why but that's my guess. The further away from Helsinki you are the better you get at Finnish so I'm hoping to go pretty far north so that I can immerse myself in it. But don't worry we asked Vanhin Vormo for some tips to survive the Finnish winters so I think I will be able to make it haha Well that's pretty much all for this week! Just know that I love you all and I miss you! I hope you all have a fantastic week and I can't wait to tell you all about our consecration week! I only have one more week to email you from the MTC! SO WEIRD! OK I love you! Moi Moi! 
Learning a lot of Finish!!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

One Month Down



Devotional at MTC

Hello Everyone!! Mom thank you so much for all the news on everything I'm so excited for my Bruins!! 2-0 BOO YA!  And tell grandma that dear elder is a little weird sometimes, I get some letters randomly from like a week or two ago so I don't know what that deal is but it usually works fine but tell grandma I did get her letters and I appreciate them so much! I am so grateful that I got my visa so I don't have to waste my time learning finnish like Grandpa Hanks Grandson that learned Russian! And tell Chloe I love her and I loved her dear elder this week! She is the sweetest and it was so nice to hear from her! Tell Tyson that 2 years is not nearly enough time to get good enough to beat me in Risk hahaha Well this week seriously did fly by! I feel like I was just sitting here writing to you all! This week was great though so many cool things to tell you all! First off our first SYL day went great! It was super hard and by the end I was so ready to speak english but I feel like I learned so much and we are going to be doing SYL days every friday from now on so tomorrow is round 2! I'm pumped! As difficult as it is I absolutely love learning finnish, it is so much fun and so rewarding when it just starts to flow. I feel like when I'm giving a lesson I can just sort of flow with what I want to say but when I'm making small talk I kind of have to think about it and form sentences in my head but it will get better! Thanks so much for sending brother Richards my emails! I got an email from him and it was so good to hear from him! 

Well this week was great for a lot of reasons but the best part is that there's an actual Finnish Elder here! He just got in last Wednesday and he's going to the Ukraine but he always comes up to us and speaks to us in Finnish which is awesome! He speaks fast and is definitely hard to understand but I feel like I understand him fairly well for only having studied for 4 weeks so it's super encouraging! He is the coolest guy ever everybody loves him! He seriously speaks english as well as I do and when he realized Elder stegeby was from Sweden he went off in fluent Swedish to him hahaha so by the end of his mission he'll be speaking fluent Russian too so he makes us all feel pretty worthless about ourselves but he is awesome! Our teacher actually served in his ward when he was serving in Espoo so it's really cool! It just makes me even more excited to get out there and start teaching real people! The Finn's just sound awesome and they all seem to be incredible people. I'm already about half way done with my stay here at the MTC which is kind of crazy but I can't wait to get out there. Well this week I saw Kyle Nunez because he got transferred down here from the main MTC so that was so much fun! And I also saw Davey from UCLA up at the main campus and it was awesome!! Every week for the Sunday devotional one branch from the west campus goes up to the main campus for the devotional and it was our turn so I just happened to see him while I was up there! Well as well as we're all progressing in Finnish it seems that the more we learn the more I realize how little I know haha Finnish is absolutely crazy. Every single word (verb, noun, adjective, numbers, names, etc.) has a stem and they are all conjugated different ways according to what part of the sentence they are in like if I say I am grateful for this opportunity I say "Mina olen kiitollinen tasta tillaisuudesta" But if I say this opportunity is great I would say "Tama Tillaisuus on mahtava" so that's kind of a bad example but its just insanity hahaha but piece by piece it is coming to me. I'm starting to be able to hear what sounds right and I can guess how to put nouns in the partitive but I'm wrong about 80 percent of the time. What I'm terrified of is that I'll get to Finland and then be asked to learn Swedish as well hahaha one of the people we taught in TRC last week was this recently returned elder who spoke the best finnish I've heard yet and also spoke fluent Swedish to elder Stegeby. He was one of the Elders that was asked to learn swedish when he got to Finland but obviously he was able to handle it pretty well haha Well our devotionals this week were great. On Sunday one of the producers of "17 Miracles" and "Ephraim's Rescue" spoke to us all about the sacrifice of the early saints and told some really touching stories. It reiterated to me how grateful I am to live in this modern time and to be serving a mission at this time. One of the counselors in our branch presidency served his mission in Finland about 50 years ago and he said that all of us probably speak Finnish better after 9 weeks than he spoke after 6 months of being in Finland so I am just super grateful for everything we have been blessed with. 


On Tuesday our speaker was Gregory Schweitzer of the 70 and he actually lives in Cottonwood so maybe he's in your new stake! But it was great, he just talked all about how we need to completely forget about our own needs and work as hard as we possible can. Even if we can't speak well or are scared we will be more effective missionaries if we just lay it all down on the line and try our hardest. It was really encouraging and comforting to hear. I am physically exhausted every single day but I know I can work harder and push myself a little more. I had a cool experience this week with one of my teachers, Veli Stewart. They do one on one interviews with all of us every once in a while and just help us with whatever language principle we need help with. So he was helping me out and I was asking about this super confusing grammar principle I discovered in my workbook and I learned a lot from him. So then he told me that I have been very blessed and that I'm doing a great job! But he told me because I'm learning pretty quickly that the Lord expects more from me, and that I may even be put in positions early on in my mission which require these advanced grammar principles. It was just really cool to get such a big compliment from him and it really motivates me to work harder like I said earlier. My teachers are the best and they are working miracles with all of us. Well that has been the week! Today is actually Vanhin Hugie's birthday so we are going to walk down to Jamba Juice to celebrate haha (most depressing birthday ever) but I love you all so much! Mom I am so happy and proud of everything you're doing in school, you're motivation has always been an example to me and I know that you're probably at the top of your class already! I love you and please tell Brittanie that I love her and I can't wait for baby Rosie to get here! I am so glad that everything is going better with baby Rosie and I am praying for her every day. Rakastan Teita!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Week 3

   
Hey mom!! So good to here from you and dad thank you both so much for the email I love P day because I get to here from you and actually respond! Everything has been great here this week has gone fast! My tailbone is much better now with my sweet seat cushions haha thank you so much! I stack them and use them both so its very comfortable now thank you! Everything is going great my shirts are looking nice and I cant think of anything that I really need right now I think everything is going well and for my next package I dont even know just any cookies of yours are good! We have tons of food in our apartment and I have enough tic tacs to last the millennium so I think Im good on that front haha but anything you send is GREATLY appreciated. I am so sad to hear all that about Brittanie I cant even imagine... that sounds crazy, but tell her that I hope shes feeling ok and I'm praying for her every day. By the way, I know the grammar in this email is terrible I have the keyboard on this computer set to finnish and I can't change it back hahaha so the english will be choppy, but I will type some finnish too! That is so crazy about Kollin Galland too that breaks my heart I hope him and his family will all be ok. Mom would you tell sister Moore thank you for me, she wrote me a dear elder it was super sweet of her so tell her I appreciate it so much!                          
I loved your quote this week mom I have one for you too.. When life gets to hard to stand, kneel.... I love that and I think it goes right along with what you were saying. Ive been learning a lot about the power of prayer here at the MTC in fact Im teaching about it tonight! Like I said last week we had our first TRC where we do a little spiritual message with some people that speak finnish and it was a little frightening at first but once I got in there it was so much fun! It was extremely difficult but I found that I understood them pretty well and when I'm teaching something it starts to flow pretty nicely. 

I've been learning tons of Finnish this week and its really nice to expand our vocabulary and grammar techniques but at the same time it makes you realize how difficult it is haha so it's a bit overwhelming at times, but were doing the best we can! We basically all just speak Finenglish all day every day (we just speak as much finnish as possible and throw in english words we dont know) but tomorrow we are doing our very first SYL day! We are going to speak finnish ALL DAY LONG it will be extremely vaikkea (hard) and Im sure some of us will be brought to tears by the end but Im so excited to just try it. I feel like I learn a lot when we SYL (we only speak finnish every lunch period) so I think it will be a great learning experience. Well I have realized that I am extremely blessed to be going to Finland at this time rather than even five years ago. Finnish has only been a written language for the past 100 years or so and since nobody really wants to learn finnish there's not really any text books on it but.... a few of our awesome teachers got together like a year ago and literally wrote an entire Finnish Grammar book that is AWESOME! (you get really excited about stupid stuff as a missionary) But we seriously all love this book, we call it the mahtava kirja (the awesome book) and our teacher, Veli Stewart, who got home like three years ago says that he believes it's probably the single best book for an english speaker to use to learn Finnish from scratch in the whole world! Its pretty amazing how quickly we are all learning and it is so rewarding when I read a verse of the Finnish Mormonin Kirja and understand the entire verse! One of my teachers, Veli Arneson, is seriously the coolest guy of all time. All of the elders in my district have a massive man crush on him haha he is like the coolest, nicest, smartest guy ever and he's a fantastic teacher! Well everything is still good with my companions and everything, we all get along great and have a ton of fun. We got in three new missionaries yesterday to our branch so we were all so pumped!! We got two Hungarians and one Estonian, they are all really nice and one of the Hungarians is from Ireland! I just feel bad for the estonian though, I cant imagine being the only person learning estonian for nine weeks haha but we are all happy to have some new faces and now our branch is up to 19! 

I haven't seen Chloes friend around anywhere, but we did get a bunch of new Russians and Ukrainians in yesterday so maybe shes here somewhere. I haven't seen Davey either so maybe he's on the main campus. Well this Sunnuntai (Sunday) was a great one. Every Sunday the Branch president just asks two missionaries to give short five minute talks in sacrament meeting like on the spot and he asked me to speak. So it was a little scary, but I got up there and I even told the story of dad giving me man lessons and everyone loved it! (works every time) So it went really well and then me and my companions taught the lesson in our district meeting and it went great! So I got a lot of teaching opportunities on Sunday, but it was an awesome day! We live in the apartments and play basketball on outdoor hoops over by that little creamery in Raintree. I feel like I'm losing weight but I am eating a ton! The food is great I'm just losing all my muscle mass hahaha, but overall another great week! I'll send some pictures now but I'll leave you with a little finnish testimony.
Minä tiedän että tämä kirkko on totta. Minä olen kiitollinen vanhemmatsta ja minun perheesta. Minä olen tunti pyha Henkeä ja minä tiedän että Jumal vastaa meitä roukouksia. Rakastan Teita!!! 

by the way, look up the word for (chapel) in finnish..... its insane its like 20 letters long hahaha I tried to say it in a lesson this week and just started laughing hahaha anyway I love you all!!!  
A few study materials
P-Day Go Texans!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Week One

HELLO EVERYONE!
Wow it feels super weird to be emailing you all haha mom if you could forward this to whoever wants to hear about it or just upload it to your blog or whatever that would be great thank you! Well I have so much to tell you all. I miss you all but I am doing quite well. The first day here was insanity, there's 16 of us finnish missionaries (lahetysaarnajia) 8 in each district. My district is 5 elders 3 sisters and the other is 6 elders 2 sisters. All the elders in my district are AWESOME!

We live in the west campus and its super nice over here, we all get along great. My Swedish comp, Vanhin Stegeby is this super funky guy but is awesome and makes us all laugh like all day long. He doesn't speak any finnish, Swedish and Finnish are just as different as english and finnish are so it's just as hard for him as it is for us haha Finish is INSANELY difficult. But I am doing pretty well, I appreciate all your prayers because I can tell you all that they help a lot! I have always been able to learn quickly... but I've never been able to learn and remember so much so fast as I have hear. I am learning extremely fast and I love every second of it. We pretty much study finnish for like 8 or 9 hours a day and all the other time is spent eating or going to choir or devotionals. My tailbone hurts and I crawl in to bed exhausted every single night  but it is all worth it.

On Monday I was told that me and a few other elders and sisters were all supposed to go to LA to get our Visas! So I woke up at 3 AM and got to the airport only to find out that the MTC lied to me and I wasn't supposed to go till wednesday.... I lost a lot of faith in the MTC travel department that day. But I thought to myself, hey maybe as I ride the tracks back down to provo by myself somebody will want to hear the gospel.... but no. Some guy just asked me "Where's the other one" ... that was a long day. But that night was amazing! Elder Anderson of the quorum of the twelve came to speak to us and it was incredible!! He talked all about sacrifice and he said something cool "we sacrifice what we love, and we love what we sacrifice for" It was exactly what I needed to hear and afterwards he shook my hand!!! it was a super cool experience. So then wednesday morning I got to wake up at 3 AM again and actually went to LA this time. It was super fun! I went with elder Hugie and Richards, Hugie is my other companion and Richards is in my district.

They are both really really awesome guys. It's true what they say, the finnish missionaries are awesome haha every single elder in my district is either a genius or like a spiritual powerhouse. Our trip to LA was way fun but it sort of made me homesick seeing normal UCLA students walking around made me miss school. But on the plane ride to LA I was the only elder that sat apart from the rest of the group and I sat next to this man who was going to Mexico because his father is super sick. He talked to me the entire plane ride and asked me all these questions about what I believe and I taught him a little bit about what we believe and gave him a pass along card. It was awesome I felt like a real missionary! It was weird having people look at us weird all day but I kind of liked it. While in LA our shuttle driver dropped us off in the hood to get some food from this sketchy taco place, we were like the only 7 white people in ten square miles and we're all dressed up in suits in this crappy little restaurant so we looked pretty ridiculous but I got my visa so now I can officially live in Finland! They just needed us to sign something and take finger prints and we got to practice our finnnish on the consulate lady and she was impressed!

So today was our first P day and we got to go to the temple which was great! I have never been so physically exhausted in my life but it was really nice being in the temple and I felt rejuvenated. We then did our service project for the week which was cleaning the creamery and now I'm here emailing you all! It has been an insanely busy week and I am tired all the time but it has been the best experience ever. Vanhin Hugie and I are super close already and I love all these guys. We're all progressing fast in finnish but keep praying for me! Our zone consists of us Finn's, two Hungarian districts and some albainians but all of them are leaving on Monday so us Finns will be the only ones left! well I am out of time but I love you all so much! I will send pictures in another email! I love you and I miss you! Mom I don't really need you to send me anything else I got the first package and I love the dear elder letters!! Do that as much as you want they make my day :)
P.S. I want a picture of sammies swollen bunny face!