Mission Map

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas is Coming!

He got his Christmas package!!

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!