Mission Map

Friday, February 21, 2014

It's Transfer Time, Off to Turku!

Some of the sights I will be seeing!

Hello everyone! 
Ok so exciting news! I am being transferred to Turku!! Turku is an awesome city, the second biggest city in Finland and it has two big wards there! I will be serving in the Turku second ward with a guy named elder Anderson! Elder Anderson is elder Wood's former companion and says that he's super cool! I keep lucking out with super chill companions, but I am so pumped! There are 8 missionaries in Turku, two sets of elders and two sets of sisters. We called elder Anderson and he said that we always use buses and walk there so I won't have to use the girly bike for a while haha. I'm hoping I stay there for a long time, a ton of people have told me it's like the most beautiful city in Finland in the summer. Well I will be heading out Tuesday night on a train, spend the night in Tampere and then continue on to Turku Wednesday morning! Well even though I'm excited to be in Turku it was kind of bitter sweet saying goodbye to everyone in the Seinäjoki branch yesterday. I got up to give a little departing testimony and as I looked out at everyone I just felt like strongest desire to help this little branch. They are all such solid members even though they are in a pretty tiny and rough situation. Most of them drive an hour to church every Sunday and they try they're hardest to give us referrals and stuff and it's really cool to see how dedicated they all are. There's one family that live in Lapua which is like a half hour outside of Seinäjoki and the parents were converts, both of their sons went on missions and for years the missionaries have been going up to Lapua once a week to try and teach people up there with the member who lives there. This guy has literally introduced me to every one of his friends up there, gives people Books of mormons and does everything he can despite never having had anybody actually be interested. It is just a very powerful example to me to see how much the gospel can change these people's lives and how much they care about it. It has been a lot of fun in Seinäjoki and I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for it, it is my birth city as we call it,  but I just got to keep pressing forward. Well our two potentials we found last week weren't home when we went back on saturday but they both had a family member home and they said we could come back so they are still looking good! Our investigator that is a 55 year old woman is a super solid investigator and we had a great lesson with her this week. She gave a super heart felt prayer at the end and was even crying a bit. We could tell she was feeling the spirit for sure and she is probably the most promising investigator I have seen on my mission thus far. 
Well thanks for all the pictures and everything mom! It looks like you guys all had a great week back home! Man I miss all the little kids! They are all looking so big and old it makes me so sad! I hope Mandy and Max had a great birthday and that everyone is doing well! Mom as far as packages and stuff I can pretty much get mac n cheese and stuff if I really wanted it, it's pretty expensive, but it would be a lot more expensive for you guys to send it all the way here haha so I don't think I need anything in particular! But, I love you all and will be sending lots of sweet pictures of my new city next week! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Power of Prayer

Catching up with his MTC Buddies
Conference in Oulu
Hello everyone! Alright well we had a pretty fun week here in Finland! Mom you asked me about our study schedule, so we just do an hour of personal study of like reading the scriptures in english, then during our hour of language study we read the scriptures aloud together in Finnish to work on pronunciation and we pick up vocab and stuff like that. Well we get our change calls on Friday! Pretty nuts, I've already been here about two changes, thats 4 months in the country! Can't believe it, time is starting to fly by. I am pretty anxious to get the call, I suspect I will probably leave Seinäjoki but you never really know, If I do leave Seinäjoki though I would hope to stay in the north zone or go down to Helsinki or something like that, but we will just have to wait and see! So, next monday will be the last P day of the change and then everyone will move to their new places next Tuesday. Well this week was a lot of fun because we got to go up to Oulu for a zone meeting. I got to see elder Christiansen and my mtc companions Elder Hugie and Stegeby so it was awesome! We all slept in the chapel up there and played games and whatnot and then we came back down to Seinäjoki the next day. At our zone meeting the zone leaders talked alot about the nature of God and Satan. We talked about the feelings that come from God and the feelings that come from Satan and how we can resist the negativity that the adversary would want us to experience. It was a really good discussion, it lead in to this whole idea of praying always and how we need to all be praying always as missionaries and also as just regualr members. When we pray always we are keeping that connection with God and with the spirit open at all times and it is a lot easier to feel spiritual promptings that way. So, we really tried to implement this whole idea of praying always this week and we had a pretty cool experience through it! On Saturday we had a blank day, meaning we had no appointments, and nothing to do. So we tried one area in the morning and nobody was home, so it was like 4:00 and we hadn't taught any lessons and we felt like we were going to be out all day with no success. But we decided to go to another area and try a potential over there who is never home. We talked to people on the street on the way over there and had a couple good chats with people but nothing great. so we get to the potentials house and she wasn't home so we started making our way back and both trying to know what to do and then I just looked up and saw this housing complex and a very clear thought just came to me that we should tract in there. Usually when I get little thoughts like that I am a little heistant to say anything because usually they never work out, but this time it was just super clear and I just said immediately to Elder wood that we should tract here. So, literally the very first two doors we knock both people answered, accepted book of mormons, and said that we could come back! That literally NEVER happens and it happened two houses in a row! It was super cool we were really pumped. Afterwards wood said that he had felt like we should stop as well but he just didn't say anything, but we were both super glad we had been trying to receive some guidance. So hopefully those two will become investigators! 
We had some other good lessons this week as well. We tracted in to this family a couple weeks ago who said we could come back sometime and they seemed kinda interested, but not really so we went back on Monday and the dad came out and talked to us for about an hour. They are this cool young family with 5 kids. The dad knew the bible super well and was asking all sorts of deep questions but we had a good conversation with him so we went back yesterday but unfortunately he had been researching the church on the internet and came accross all sorts of anti info and so he was just asking all sorts of crazy questions and he wouldn't take a Book of Mormon. so we told him that the only way for him to really find out what we believe is be reading the book of mormon, not reading stuff on the internet. He agreed but still wouldn't take a Book of Mormon but said that maybe he would find it on LDS.org and read the chapter we suggested to him, so that was a disappointment but what can ya do. 
Well everything else has been pretty good here, the weather is warming up which is SO nice but unfortuantely it's just all slushy and muddy and nasty everywhere so we come home super gross every day, but once all the slush and stuff melts it will be amazing! Well tell Mandy that I say happy birthday! I wish I could be there for her little birthday bash but I love you all! Näkemiin!
Biking with Snow Tires!
Hello everyone! So mom you asked me a few language questions in your email this week so I will answer those first. Yes I definitely feel like I'm still learning a lot of Finnish every single week. As far as new vocab  and stuff I'm starting to slow down a little but I feel like I understand new grammar principles and get a better accent and all that continually. I have had a few dreams where I'm speaking finnish to people but it's not like I'm jsut fluent in my dreams haha even in my dreams I still kind of think things out and say them how I normally would so it's super weird! As missionaries we kind of speak Finenglish all the time, like there a lot of sweet words in finnish that we just straight up don't have in english so we will throw in words like that all the time but we usually just all speak english together. I kind of think in finnish for like certain words and especially when I pray. I haven't said a prayer in English in months and it would just feel super weird if I prayed one in english. I think in Finnish when I pray now because it just feels more natural, so stuff like that is really weird. Like when I was in my interview with our mission president a few weeks ago I literally forgot how to say Branch president in English so I just said Seurankunnan Johtaja because it was all I could think of hahaha so I feel like my brain is a little confused all the time but it's good, things that I thought were super weird about finnish a few months ago now just make sense and then I think about how we say it in english and it seems weird to me haha But what's cool about finnish is theres always more to learn. Nobody ever gets to a point here where they can say ya I know everything. Like even Finns don't understand their own grammar and they make grammar mistakes sometimes that I catch hahaha it's just a super complicated language but it's fun. 
Well we had a pretty good week here in Seinäjoki! Unfortunately all of our members were down in Helsinki doing a temple trip so we literally couldn't teach our new investigator that is a 50 year old woman so that was a bumer..... the problems with having like 3 members haha but we did have a pretty good week of getting other random lessons on the street and contacting people. We had our 30 year old investigator guy in church again yesterday! I think that was his third time so it's great! We're excited about that, he seems to be very sincere and giving it a real shot. He said probably the best prayer I have heard an investigator give last week and he seems to be doing well. We also have been teaching that vietnamese girl that me and Christiansen found because the sisters were supposed to teach her, but they haven't come to Seinäjoki in like 2 and half weeks so they asked us to teach her so on Saturday we went over to a members house and taught the girl and her roomate and we think both of them have some potential so that's going pretty well! 
We got to do a little service this week as well this lady in the ward was moving in to a new apartment so me and elder Wood were there with like one other lady from the ward and the ladies ex husband who brought a trailer so pretty much me and wood had to carry all the furniture down three flights of stairs and load it all up hahaha so it took about five hourse but it was good. We got her all moved in to her new place and she was excited so it was a good day. We had a disctrict meeting up in Vaasa on Friday so we went up thursday night to sleep over and we had all the elders in the district there! We played a massive Lord of the Rings risk game and it was awesome! So that was super fun and the other than that we just had a pretty normal week! O after our district meeting we went to this american burger place and it was pretty good! It felt like I was back in America for a minute haha unfortuantely Cheeseburgers is something that Finland doesn't do very well, I miss Five guys and all that good stuff but we have been eating some pretty insanely good ice cream. They have caramel apple and blueberry pie ice cream and it is delicious. Well this week we have some exciting stuff as well! We head out for Oulu tomorrow and we have a zone meeting up there on Wednesday so I will get to see elder Christiansen and all my other buddies up there so it will be fun! The weather has warmed up the last few days and today it was all the way up to 0 C!! It felt like a sauna we were burning up on the bike ride over here haha it snowed a town the last couple days as well which is super cool and everything looks pretty. But anyway that is the week! I hope you are all doing well! I love you all!