Mission Map

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Happy Easter

Hello! Well ok this was a very exciting week! Lot’s of good stuff to tell you guys. So, first off we got our change calls and elder Anderson is leaving, I get to stay here in Turku and I will be training a new missionary! So that will be way fun I'm super excited. I will hop on a train tonight and head down to Helsinki and spend the night down there, then tomorrow morning we have a trainers meeting and then are matched with our trainees and then will head back to Turku tomorrow night! I am way pumped, he won’t understand anything and will be terrible at Finnish, but it will be fun! Usually when people train they have a good chance of staying with their trainee for two changes so I may stay in Turku all summer which would be awesome! Anderson and I are sad to split up though, we have had a lot of fun together, but we're both happy with our change calls. Well other exciting news: I ate reindeer this week. On Thursday we got our change calls from President and elder Anderson and I wanted to celebrate a great change together so we went to this restaurant called Harald's and it's this viking restaurant so they have all traditional Finnish food like all sorts of deer and reindeer and elk and all that good stuff. We invited the other Turku elders to join us and we feasted. I of course went with the Wild Witch of the North Reindeer platter. Including reindeer meat, cheese bread, an assortment of sauces.... and reindeer heart. Yes I ate a reindeer heart. It actually wasn't too bad. It was covered in some weird cream stuff and it was super chewy but overall not bad. The reindeer meat itself was absolutely delicious. O man it was awesome. The meal itself was like the ultimate man lesson.
Reindeer Heart!!
Well we all had a great time doing that and then on Saturday the sister's in our ward had a baptism so we all go to be there for that! The guy that got baptized was like a 40ish year old single finnish guy. A very nice guy and very sincere. It was the first Finnish person I have seen get baptized since I've been here. It was really cool and the baptismal service all went great! After the baptismal service we left with a member out to his house. He invited a friend to the baptism so that was great we got to know him a little bit, he’s this 60 year old finnish man and was very nice. But, anyway we went to the members house who lives outside of Turku and has a pretty big piece of land and we helped him chop wood using some machines and stuff for like 5 hours haha we chopped sooo much wood I am still a little sore. But it was fun! It was nice to do some manly labor and they fed us a nice meal of lamb and potatoes afterwards haha it was a very Finnish day. Unfortunately, they fed us Mämmi for dessert…. the really gross traditional Easter food they love here. I got mämmi twice this week, but I have gotten pretty good at pounding it really fast. We asked why he need so much wood chopped and turns out it was enough wood to use their sauna for the next twenty years hahaha so that was pretty cool.

The Mortensons and Elder Wilson and Anderson had matching ties!
Well yesterday we had a good day of church. Had some very good talks about the life of Christ and the new member received the gift of the Holy Ghost, so it was a very nice day. None of our investigators could make it yesterday, but the new trainee and I will hit it hard this week and get them all there this week. Well the weather has been absolutely perfect this week. I had to bust out my sweet sunglasses and everything yesterday and Anderson made fun of me for having such cool sunglasses as a missionary but hey, I looked good. Well a lot of the less actives we work with were out of town this weekend and all our investigators were busy for the holidays and stuff (in Finland good friday is a really big holiday and today is another big one) But, yes that is pretty much the whole week. We didn't get to do the castle tour unfortunately but I will see it sometime before I leave Turku. We had a very good district meeting on friday, the last district meeting ever for the Mortnsons. They bore their testimonies and it was a very sweet meeting. Well that is it! Next week I will tell you all about my little trip to Helsinki and the new guy! I love you all have a great week!
All the Turku Elders

Mammi and Easter Traditions

World War 2 Gunner Box
Sunny Day on the Bay
April 14, 2014
Well I've already been in turku for 8 weeks and we get our change calls on Friday! Pretty crazy! The changes just go by faster and faster each time. I would guess that I will stay here in Turku since I just got here and that's what I hope happens! I love this place I don't want to leave yet! Well our week was really good! We went up to Tampere on Wednesday for a zone meeting and it was great! We talked about the things we are supposed to do with investigators in the first ten days of teaching them and how we can do them more effectively so it was really good. The Mortensons (our senior couple in Turku) gave some departing testimonies to us and it was super cool, we will all miss them so much they are super sad to leave. The whole ward has been lamenting them leaving for months they all love them to death. Well we ended up not taking a language test up at the zone meeting, I'm not sure why, but we dodged that bullet haha. So, then we came back and had a good normal week. We had another lesson with our investigator that is depressed, but it was a good lesson and he prayed with us again and he came to church on Sunday again! It was super good! We also had a good lesson with this less active guy we have been meeting with on Saturday. He is from Venezuela originally and he got baptized there when he was a teenager but then moved to Finland four years ago and hasn't been to church since. But, he came to watch conference last week and was in church again yesterday! He's a really cool guy and knows a lot about the Bible and has lot's of good questions about the Book of Mormon and stuff so it's always fun to meet with him. He says that he wants to come back and start over in the church so we think he will keep coming!
 Well another cool thing that went on this week was we had a big surprise party for the Mortensons on Saturday! Both Turku wards got all together in the gym and it was all decorated and had tons of food and stuff and some members went and got the Mortensons and blind folded them and walked them in to the gym and it was super fun! They loved the party. The wards had an awesome program and it was super well organized. They sange some traditional Finnish songs in Acapella groups and they had some members that played instruments playing in a band playing music all night and it was a ton of fun. There were a ton of non members and less actives there as well which was great! They had a whole slide show of pictures and everything so it was very cool. One member was telling me that before the Mortensons got here there were literally like no YSAs and they never did activites or anything, but now they have like 10 people at Family night every week and they do all sorts of activities and they all love it. The young adults are going to miss them especially bad. So, in sacrament meeting yesterday the Mortensons both spoke and it was packed. After church we went to a member's house to eat and it was so much fun! We went to their house once before, they have a 16 year old daughter and 14 year old son and they're just a way nice family. We told them last time we were there that some members take pictures of themselves and then we put the picture in Book of Mormons that we give out to people. So, when we were there yesterday they had us take some pictures of them studying the Book of Mormon as a family and the kids were super embarrassed and complaining the whole time hahaha it was way funny.  We had a good time and we all talked about Easter traditions a little bit. They said that in Finland the Easter Bunny comes and puts chocolate in their baskets, but doesn't hid them or anything like that so it's pretty similar. The main difference is that they eat this stuff called Mämmi on easter and o man.... it is terrible. It tastes like raw gingerbread batter covered in cream but it's just super bitter and nasty and they have to cover it in cream and sugar to try and mask the taste of mämmi, but it's too powerful and overbearing haha! I don't know why they like that stuff, even a lot of finns say that it's pretty nasty but they all eat it. But that was pretty much the whole week! This week will be fun too! On Friday we are having a district meeting and then we are going to tour the castle here in Turku! I'm excited it should be awesome so I will send lots of pictures of that next week! Well I love you all! Have a great week and an awesome Easter!
Elder Wilson sent a bunny pic for Sammy and Mitzi:)

Conference in Finland

April 7, 2014
Hello everyone! Ok so this week was pretty great because we had General Conference!! I got to watch all of it except I still haven't seen the Sunday afternoon session, I don't even know when I will get to watch it hopefully next P day when it's all online. But anywho Conference was awesome. As it got started it was just intensely spiritual and I loved it! It was so cool seeing how people all over the world experience conference in different ways, but it's so important to them. We had a tv set up in the Relief society room that was playing in english and then they had the Finnish translation set up in the chapel. So, we got to watch in english with members that speak english and even some Finns who speak way good english and prefer hearing it in english so it was awesome! So we got to watch the Saturday morning session on Saturday night and it was live and then all the other sessions on Sunday. It was way good, I desperately needed a big spiritual refresher like that. It's always so nice to just be reminded what it's all about and why we're all out here on missions and stuff. I especially loved President Monson's talk during the Sunday morning session, he said something that was way cool he said "If we truly love God, then we will love our fellow man" that is something that's a continual struggle as a missionary. It's hard to love people all the time when you get rejected hard core all day or something like that, but I just love that if we really love and appreciate God then the love of man will just come naturally. It was all exactly what I needed to hear. But other than conference we had a great week! 
We had this super intense lesson with our investigator that came to church last week. He's like 50 and is pretty depressed and has a drinking problem and he opened up to us during our lesson and told us that he's so depressed because he had little twin baby boys that died when they were a few months old and it was just heart breaking. We started teaching him about the plan of salvation and how we can all be ressurrected and live again. He said that he has trouble accepting the fact that God's plan included the death of Jesus but we just taught him about the atonement and that Jesus sacrificed himself for us so that this whole plan would be possible and it was just all super intense and very spiritual. Other than that we didn't have a whole lot going on this week, everything else we had planned kind of fell through on us and it was a slow week but overall it was great! O this less active guy we've been working with said that he finally feels that having faith is important and just trusting in his faith and that he wants to start over and come back to church and stuff and it was way good! Hopefully we start seeing some progress there! He is a guy that one of the teachers I knew in the MTC baptized when she served here in turku so it's way cool that here I am a few years later helping that same guy get back on track. But, yes that's pretty much all the excitement! It was a good week! This week should be good too! We have a zone meeting on Wednesday in Tampere and I'm pretty sure we will be taking a language test during it. Every six months everyone in the mission takes a language test and the score will tell you if you're on track and learning Finnish at the pace you should be. It also ranks all the missionaries in the mission so President will know who would be able to train new missionaries and stuff like that. So, we will see how that goes haha. Oh, also this week we are having a going away party for the Mortensons! The senior missionary couple that has been serving here in Turku for a year and a half. We are all going to miss them like crazy they are awesome. The ward loves them to death. So I can't wait for their party and all that. Well that is the whole week! I love you all and hope you all have a great week!

The Work Goes On

March 31, 2014
Hello all! So we had another pretty good week! Some really good stuff happened, our area is starting to beef up quite a bit. So we didn't actually find any new investigators but we got in touch with quite a few less actives and recent converts who are down to meet and we got to teach a few of them and one guy came to basketball on Friday which was way good! There is this guy in the ward here who got baptized a few years ago and he was taught by one of the sisters that was a teacher in the MTC so it was way funny. I was asking him about her and he thought it was so cool that I knew her and stuff. He has fallen in to inactivity, but we got him out to volley ball and basketball this week and had a pretty good lesson with him! We also have this investigator who we gave a church tour to like three weeks ago but then he kind of fell off the map and wouldn't respond to us or anything and we had kind of given up on him but we were in his area on saturday and we decided to stop by and he was home and let us in! We had a super good lesson with him and at the end he prayed with us and everything! His prayer was very good and sincere and very eye opening for me, he started off his prayer by adressing God and then introducing himself to him saying his name and where he was from and stuff. And it was kind of funny but really showed me how crazy it is that most people in the world don't know Heavenly Father and they don't think he knows them. It's like we all have the greatest source of support in our lives that most people don't even know exists. And the fact that we can help people find out that he's really there and knows us is super cool to me. 
Lutheran Church in the center of Turku
Well so we offered to get this guy a ride to church the next day and he came! A member brought him and turns out they have a mutual friend from when they were kids so they hit it off and it went really well. He liked church a lot and even asked us if there were things he could come to at the church during the week haha Then at church this member brought a friend with them to Sacrament meeting who has been quite a few times so we're going to try to start meeting with him as well! So there are some good things going on! Well I am super excited for general conference! It is going to be a very different experience here in Finland. We watch the first session at the church on Saturday night and then we watch all the others on Sunday except we don't get to see the Sunday night session so we will watch it online some other time I guess. It will be awesome though, we have been inviting lots of people and members have been saying they will invite friends! There is this one recent convert in our ward who is from Nigeria and he's way cool and we gave him all the times for the sessions yesterday and he was like O awesome man I will play soccer with my friends on Saturday and then invite them to conference! So hopefully we get to meet some people this weekend during conference! Can't believe this is already my second general conference as a missionary. Pretty crazy. Well that was pretty much all the exciting stuff from this week! I love you all and hope you're all doing well!

New Investigators

Docks in Naantali
March 24, 2014
hello everyone! So we had a pretty good week here! On Tuesday we did splits with the other elders in Turku and it went really well! I was with Elder Strandberg for the day (a swedish elder) we got in contact with some former investigators, this couple of a Finnish girl and African guy and they have a little  4 year old girl and she's adorable. They said that they have been trying to decide what church to go to because they want to set a good example for their daughter and the dad is Catholic and the mom is Lutheran. We had a good conversation about how the church blesses families and stuff and so they are down to discuss some more about it. So, it was a successful day of splits! On Thursday Anderson and I finally met with this Turkish guy who we met like three weeks ago on the street and he said he would like a Turkish Book of Mormon, but every time we have tried to go back he wasn't home. But,  finally this time, we were in his area and he wasn't home… so right as we were walking back to the bus stop to head home he came walking down the street! He was way chill and was excited to see us, he said we could come by any time and talk about stuff with him, and he was like "If I'm not home I work in that restaurant right there so just come in there and talk!" It was way cool.  Oh, also we did some little activity with the young men of the ward and went on splits with them on friday night which was cool! The leaders just wanted us to organize a lesson that we could take them too so that we could show the boys what missionary work is like. Well, we had one lesson with a less active and one with an investigator set up but both of them fell through so the boys saw what missionary work is actually like haha. So, I took my kids to try a couple referrals and we contacted one of them and invited her to come watch general conference so it was pretty good. I think the boys liked it!

Well then yesterday we had a great day at church! There were some really good talks. One member of the bishopric (the one whose daughter I met in the MTC) gave a talk about giving thanks to God because he has given us more than we will ever be able to see or realize. He told this cool story of a young teenage kid who wanted a cool car from his dad. His family was super wealthy and so this kid expected to get this car for his birthday. But when he opened up his birthday presant it was a Bible. The kid was super mad and stormed off and gave his dad a bunch of attitude. Years later the teenage kid turns out to be a very honest successful businessman and he is very grateful that his dad taught him when he was young what was really important in life. He goes to visit his dad to thank him but his dad suddenly dies unexpectedly and he doesn't have a chance to thank him. He goes back and looks in the Bible that his dad gave him and sees that behind the note his dad had written in the Bible was a little key to his very own car. His whole point was that God gives us the things we need before the things that we want. But he also showers down blessings after we have learned what we need. But we should remember to thank God for everything he gives us ASAP and to always look for the meaning between gifts from God. It was a way cool talk and everyone was crying by the end. We then taught our gospel principles class to the english speakers in the ward which is always fun! So, overall it was a great week! Three new investigators and hopefully more on the way! Well I love you all! Have a great week!