Mission Map

Thursday, December 18, 2014

It's December

Well this week was pretty fun. We got to go over to Espoo on Tuesday to do splits so that was sweet! We were in the other ward though of Espoo so it wasn't like where I used to serve but it was still nice to be back over there and I was with elder Larsen for the day who is a way cool guy so it was awesome! Unfortunately everything they had planned didn't work out so it was kind of a slow day of contacting and checking on formers and stuff but we were able to find a couple of new potentials and a new investigator! I tried to see Pete who got baptized a little while ago but unfortunately he wasn't at his place and couldn't make it home in time so that was too bad. But he's still doing super well and loving everything and goes to church every week! Well after our trip to Espoo we came back here and had a normal week but it was a good week! We've been using this new church initiative with the He is the Gift video and people are really receptive to it! We give out a ton of pass along cards for people to watch the video online and have found quite a few new investigators through it. We found a really cool couple this week that are now investigators. They're like 30ish and the girl is from Peru originally and the guy is Finnish and they have a little baby and they were really nice! We met the girl on the street and told her about the Christmas message and then we went over and showed them the video and gave them both Book of Mormons and are going back on Saturday! So we're pretty excited about them. Unfortunately we had trouble meeting with a lot of our other investigators this week because a ton of people got sick so that was rough but hopefully they're all better this week and can meet. Everyone else we met with is doing well though. We're pumped for all the exciting stuff coming up like the Christmas Holidays! People from our ward have invited us over for Christmas Eve, Christmas, and the day after Christmas so we should be well fed and have a ton of fun! The Christmas celebrations here are always way exciting, we're hoping for some big feasts like last year.

Well this week coming up should be same, we have our district meeting and the normal schedule. I've been jamming the sweet Christmas cd that we always listen to back home and elder Mcknight is already converted to it. It brings me back to the good old days of matching Christmas pajamas and all that good stuff. It's still fairly warm here which is way nice but I hope that enough snow comes for Christmas. There hasn't been enough to really stick around yet. It's just been raining a lot and super dark but I'm just glad it's warm!
 Ok by the way I got my christmas package!!! Holy cow it's massive! Thank you so much to everybody that sent stuff I can't wait for Christmas to open all of this stuff up. I feel like I'm not even missing out on anything this year there were so many presents in there. You guys are all way too nice to me and I love you all so much. It came with stockings and everything, ha ha this is a real Christmas. Well I love! Have a good week. 

Proud to be an American

Helsinki Temple
Well hello! Man I am so proud to be an American. I miss that place so much. What a blessed land. Elder McKnight and I are listening to Motab sing patriotic songs about America while I write this. Well I will tell you right now about my thanksgiving- So the day before THanksgiving elder  McKnight used a recipe that his mom sent him to get some chikcen soaking to make fried chicken. So then on actual THanksgiving for lunch I made dad's classic waffle recipe while elder Mcknight fried up our chicken and we made a legit chicken and waffles feast! We went all out and bout the 5 euro maple syrup that was the real maple syrup from Canada and everything. It was super delicious! Probably as good as it could get for missionaries outside of America. So we enjoyed out feast of chicken and waffles and then got back to normal missionary stuff thinking that our festivities were over but then that night the sisters that serve in our same ward gave us some leftover thanksgiving food that they had made for some members earlier in the day so it turned out to be a pretty solid Thanksgiving. 

The rest of our week was pretty good though. We had splits with the APs which was fun they're both cool guys, one of them was in the mtc with me so it's always fun to hang out with them. So they came here for the day and our days went well. We have a few good investigators right now but one of them had a flu all week and then there is this other African family we taught once last week who we were supposed to teach again on Saturday but they all got way sick too so everyone's been sick or out of town which is a bummer. But hopefully this week we're able to see them again. We still had a way good week though. We found a bunch of new investigators again and have a lot of things set up for this week so it should be good. On Friday last week we had our MLC meeting so we were at President Watson's house in Espoo for the day and that's always fun. I got to see some other missionary buddies and sister Watson even made us a little thanksgiving dinner so that was delicious! At the end of the meeting though we got to go to the temple which is always sweet. I even saw a couple of members from Turku while I was at the temple so that was super cool I love seeing members that I used to know! Then on Saturday and Sunday we just had normal days full of missionary work but they were really productive and we found a lot of cool people. We talked a ton at our MLC meeting about the new initiative that the church came out with called "He is the Gift" which is a sweet short video that the church came out with for Christmas all about how Jesus is the center of Christmas and we should always remember that. So we've just been writing down the link to the video on our pass along cards and we've giving out a ton of those cards lately. People are much more open and will to listen to a little message about Christ in December so it's a good time for missionary work. It is starting to get pretty cold though. It's been below 0 the last few days but there's not a lot of snow so it's just pitch black all the time and way cold and windy. But on the bright side the workout plan that Elder McKnight and I have compiled has been very effective and I'm packing on some pounds for the winter. I've got a sweet meal plan as well that I've been going hard with so we're getting in to pretty tip top shape. (other than occasional chicken and waffle meals) 

This week will be fun though, tonight we're going over to Espoo to do splits with the elders over there so I get to hang out back in my old stomping ground for the day. I'm pretty pumped for that, then later in the week we just have district meeting and all the normal stuff but that's all for the week! I love you guys so much! I hope everyone is getting ready for Christmas! I love you! 

Thanksgiving in Finland

Waffles and Chicken for Thanksgiving
Hello! Well yes this week will be my last Thanksgiving outside of America and I am happy about that. I don't really think we'll get to have any sort of celebration here so maybe elder Mcknight and I will find some sort of good manly meal to celebrate. It sounds like good old UCLA is tearing it up! That's way exciting! Yeah they better keep up the good work next year when I'm there to see it all! Thanks for being so diligent with your sports updates dad. 

 Well this week has been really good! We had a lot of fun stuff going on and the missionary work is going way well! In our own area we had a crazy good finding week, we found five new investigators. That's a ton! It was pretty crazy like practically every day we just went out to an appointment or were on the way home from district meeting or whatever and we just found a sweet person who was totally down to give their number and address and set up a time to meet! So we have two new people with baptismal dates and hopefully will get a couple more this week. We found this one man who is like a 45 year old finnish guy who has a daughter and is just a really good guy. Probably one of the most solid investigators I've ever taught. We went over and had a fantastic first lesson with him, he was very open and willing to read the Book of Mormon and pray to find out if it's true. we have another appointment with him tomorrow so we're pumped for that! Our other investigator that is the older man who's wife was a member of the church was planning on coming to church and stuff but unfortunately his daughter was in the hospital this weekend so he had to take care of his grand kids but we'll be meeting with him this week for sure. We also got to go down to do splits with the Neitsytpolku elders this week (the downtown Helsinki area) and that's always fun. We had a super fun day with them and got to see some cool stuff around Helsinki. I'll send a picture of the big Tuomiokirkko which is the big Lutheran church in Helsinki. They were getting a Christmas tree set up outside of it and it looks super cool. Well mom you asked about Peter I've talked to him a few times after his baptism and he's doing great! He's been being a super great member missionary and one of his friends has been investigating the church and coming to church with him and he now has a baptismal date so he's just doing fantastic! 

Well today elder McKnight and I are going to this sweet sushi buffet place because today is his birthday so we've been living large lately. This week we have the APs coming over to do splits with us and also on Friday we have MLC so we get to go down to President's house and go to the temple after our meeting and so that's always fun. 

Well I love all of you so much! Thanks so much for the love and emails I'll talk to you next week! 

November 17, 2014

It's a Bruin Birthday
Vahnin Wilson is 21

Well I didn't even realize I was hitting 15 months but you're right I'll hit it this week! Pretty crazy! I don't really know what we're doing for Thanksgiving or Christmas yet we don't have it planned out or anything but we'll probably not do a whole lot for Thanksgiving, but for Christmas I think we'll get invited over to some members houses and I can skype from one of their houses for sure. Well it has still not been too cold here. It snowed once last week but it melted the next day and it's sticking right around 0 degrees Celsius so it's not terrible thus far. It is getting super dark though which is rough, but you know it's better than -30. 

I had a great week though! Thank you so much for all the Birthday wishes this week I love you guys so much and it was a great birthday! I didn't get to go to Pizza hut on my actual birthday and last p day the buffet was closed, but we went another day and it was delicious. Super worth it. On my actual b day we had our combined zone conference with the Tampere zone so that was super fun because I got to see a lot of old missionary buddies and former companions and elder Bascom even stayed over night at our place so that was fun to see him. Elder Teixeira spoke to us a lot about finding and how to ask for referrals more effectively. He challenged us to really push the limits and forget about the limits that we have set on ourselves, but to really follow the spirit when setting goals. So we're hoping that we can all start to find more investigators as a mission and increase our averages as a whole. After the meeting I opened up my presents that you guys sent me wrapped up for me and I love it so much! The new sweatshirt is so sweet! I wore it today! And I needed the extra t shirt too so I was so pumped! I also made my sweet chocolate cake with the buttercream frosting and it was to die for. But I definitely will be looking forward to mom's homemade chocolate cake and my favorite stroganoff and all that good stuff! Well I'm 21 now which is pretty sweet but birthday's on a mission are pretty weird haha I don't feel like a 21 year old guy I feel like I'm still a 19 year old kid that just finished some schooling at UCLA but it's good to be older and wiser now. 

Well this week should be pretty exciting! Today we are going to play some more sähly which is always fun and I've been having a ton of fun with elder McKnight. We've been working out and having a ton of fun. Well our super golden investigator from last week moved to another area unfortunately so we're kind of starting over but our older investigator is still doing really well and we had a great lesson with him this week. Well I love you all so much! Have a good week! 

Happy Birthday Vahnin Wilson

Vahnin Wood's Last Day
Hello! Well first off I've gotta say thank you so much for my awesome package this week! I thought the little Indie book was super adorable! The little sea shell that she taped on the front was a great touch haha And I loved everything in there. Chloe- the little awesome book was hilarious and I loved the socks and sweate that you sent! I'm going to buy some new pants today to match my sweet sweater and I've already worn both pairs of socks haha they're super sweet! Well This week was pretty great altogether. Our new ward is super cool, we went over to the bishops house for dinner on tuesday and their son who just got home from his mission a couple months ago is our ward mission leader so it's pretty fun hanging out with them. We also had some good success with finding this week. We found this super cool new investigator from Ghana who we've met with like 4 times in the last week and who came to church yesterday! It was way funny when we found him, we just talked to him on the street and elder McKnight said yeah we just talk with people about Jesus do you like Jesus and he responded by saying "Man I'm from Africa, of course I like Jesus" so we all laughed and he gave us his number and we've been over at his place like 4 times now. He's like 35ish and just a way funny guy. He is accepting the gospel really quickly though and he loved church yesterday, he said that he'll come every week! Unfortunately he may be moving soon to a cheaper apartment that would be in a different ward boundaries but either way I think this guy will get baptized. We invited him to be baptized on the 29th of November and he just said "yeah guys don't worry bout dat" haha he's a cool dude. But we also have this investigator who is an older finnish man who's wife was a member of the church but his wife passed away about a month ago and so now this man is interested in learning about how he can see his wife again and live with her eternally. We met with him this week with a member and taught about the priesthood and how the priesthood is the power that will allow him to live with his wife again. It went really well but unfortunately he didn't make it to church yesterday. But he also has a baptismal date. So we've got two investigators looking pretty good right now. 

Well this week should be exciting. We have a cool zone conference that will be combined with another zone and a member of the 70 is coming to speak to us. He is the president of the Europe Area and we're way excited to hear what he has to teach us! I have to conduct the meeting though so that's a little weird haha hopefully I don't mess up his name or something like that. Also we'll have some elders staying with us the day before that zone conference including elder Bascom (my former companion) so that'll be way fun. Also today we're going to go down to Helsinki to the Pizza Hut Buffet to celebrate my birthday! It'll be a little early celebration but I'm way excited. It will smell and taste like america. O also here on P days we play sähly at our church which is just like floor hockey with a wiffle ball but it's a huge sport in Finland. Like the go way hard at sähly so we can't compete with real finns but we all play together as missionaries so it's pretty fun. 

Alright well I think that's all the exciting stuff for the week. I love you all so much! 

Rakkaudella- Vanhin Wilson 

A Baptism!!!!!!!!!

Vahnin Wilson and Pete

14 months and a Baptism, What a day!!

Hello everyone! Well it's been a way good week. I really like our new area even though we've gotten lost a couple of times and don't know anybody it's been super fun. The members we met at church yesterday seemed awesome and they are all super helpful with missionary work and very willing to go to lessons with us and all that good stuff. My new companion is elder McKnight from Dallas! He's way cool and we've been having a fun time together. Our new apartment is pretty cool, it's not like the nicest apartment I've lived in out here, but it's got some really nice things about it. We have a dryer which is super nice. In Finland they don't ever use dryers they just hang their clothes to dry so that's what I've been doing for the last year but our apartment is the only apartment in the mission (and pretty much all of finland) with a dryer so we have been enjoying that. It's a piece  and you have to do the drying cycle twice for it to work but still it's better than nothing! We also have a lot of space and a whole room dedicated for workouts. It's just like a second bedroom with mirrors and stuff that we have all my weights in and all the weights that previous missionaries left there and a weight lifting bench and so it's a sweet set up. We've been going way hard with the workouts and it's been super fun! Our area is just like the furthest north eastern side of Helsinki  and is just all straight apartment buildings and stuff. Nothing really cool to look at in our area but it's a good area and we've had some success this week finding people and get potential investigators and stuff like that. Our ward mission leader is the bishops son and is a way cool guy that just got back from a mission in England two months ago, we're going to his place tomorrow night for dinner and that should be fun. We've just been trying to find out way around our areas since we're both new here and we have a couple of less actives and recent converts to work with here so we've met a couple of them which has been good. 

Well the real exciting news for the week: P got baptized! It was great!! I went over yesterday to Espoo and got to watch the baptismal service and I was asked to give a short talk and bear testimony. P's member friend in the ward baptized him and it was a super spiritual experience for them both. It was just so great to see and feel how happy he was after the baptism. He came out of the changing room with his suit on with a huge smile and just full of life and light and it was just awesome. He was so grateful that I was able to come and he was just excited about everything. He got confirmed the next day in church by the bishop and he called me last night to tell me about it. He's doing really well and I'm planning on still seeing him from time to time in Helsinki at family nights at the mission office or somehow. As I was sitting in the baptismal service before the ordinance I just had the overwhelming feeling of it all being worth it and it was a really rewarding experience. I gave my short little talk and testimony on the importance of the Savior and how we can change and become perfected in him as the Book of Mormon says. It was a great experience and everyone there loved it. I'm excited for him to be able to progress as a new member and get his patriarchal blessing and go to the Temple and things like that. 

Well it was too bad that I didn't get to be at home with all of you for the sweet halloween celebrations and all that fun stuff but it was a good week. The weather hasn't been too cold here yet. It warmed up this week to above freezing but it's been cloudy and dark and raining for like 4 days so that kind of sucks haha it's getting pretty dark here already. It's setting in way hard. But it's all good at least I'm not up in the north. Well I love you all so much! Thank you for all the love and support each week! Have a great week! 

Leaving Espoo Too Soon

1AE.gif That's as festive as it gets out here in Finland. They don't really have Halloween here haha but regardless I am still a big fan of Halloween. I miss eating delicious scones and chili out of the bread bowls and all that good stuff. Well it sounds like you all had a sweet Halloween party though! I am dying to see a picture of Max as Darth Vader haha that is hilarious! Mom it sounds like your costume was the sweetest for sure haha that is so cool that you wore my name tag and everything. You would be such a great missionary! Well we had a pretty insane week. First off we got change calls, so what they're doing is switching the APs and the Zone Leader's areas around because they want the APs to be closer to the mission home so I was told on Saturday to get packed up and I moved this morning over to Marjaniemi which is an area of Helsinki just on the east side of Helsinki. So it has been a hectic last few days. Elder Bascom got transferred up to another zone to a city called Tampere and I will be in Marjaniemi as zone leader still and my new companion will be a guy named Elder Mcknight. I don't really know him too well but I've met him a few times and he seems like a really cool guy so that should be fun! He gets in tomorrow night so me and elder Bascom got picked up by the APs this morning and they drove us over to my new apartment and so we're hanging here in Marjaniemi and don't really know where we are but we're just chilling here till tomorrow. I'll take elder Bascom down to the central train station in Helsinki and he'll head out from there and then I'll hang with some other elders till my new companion gets in. So honestly I was not expecting to leave Espoo so soon and I was pretty bummed to leave. We had a lot of way cool people there and the work was going super well so we're disappointed to both leave the area when it was going so well. Our investigator that looks like CJ is still planning on getting baptized on Saturday and he had asked me last week to baptize him and I told him yes because I thought I would be there but now I'm gone. So I really hope that I can still make it over to Espoo on Saturday to be at his baptism because I'm not that far away and I could get over there on public transportation but we'll see. We talked to everyone we could though before we left and all of the members and investigators were kind of bummed but that's just how it goes as missionaries. It will be a little tough getting going in an area where we both don't know anything about it but I looked at the map and don't think it should be too bad so I think we'll learn the area pretty quickly. I hear that the ward here in Marjaniemi is sweet too so I'm excited to meet the members and get going here. 

Well we also took a language test two weeks ago at our zone meeting so all last week I was working on grading tests and then on Saturday I met elder Downs at the mission office and we entered in all of the scores in to the computer program and gave everyone their scores and all that good stuff so that was pretty crazy but it was fun! So every night I've been working on those and then doing the scores so elder Bascom and I didn't really get to pack until like last night at 9 and then got picked up this morning at 9:30 so it's been hectic. But other than all the craziness the missionary work was great last week! We had some great lessons with CJ and our 18 year old boy as well. The 18 year old boy started making great progress. He has always struggled with reading the book of Mormon and never really wanted to but last night we had our final lesson with him and he told us that he had read six chapters of the Book of Mormon! We were so excited! He's finally showing some really great progress! The African family with the little twins are doing well and he is excited to meet the new elders there and keep learning more about the church. We also had a real miracle on Sunday, a man came in to church and said that he had visited our church before and read a bit of the Book of Mormon but it was a while ago but on Saturday he just felt inspired to go to church the next day so he came and we set up a return appointment with him! He was a way nice guy and stayed for all 3 hours of church!  Also in church there was another nice surprise for me. Two of my friends from Turku came to our ward there to visit me and another sister serving in Espoo who also served in Turku! So I got to see two of the way cool YSAs from back in Turku that always helped out the missionaries so much and were super tight with us. It was so much fun to see them! One of them is a 19 year old boy who's almost done with the army and should be putting in his mission papers soon! It was so much fun to see them! 

So overall things in Espoo ended on a great note. I'll miss that place for sure. My time was way to short there but I'm here in Helsinki now and I'm sure I'll love Marjaniemi as well. Well I love you all! Have a great week!

Monday, December 15, 2014

One Year in Finland

Hey! So as of tomorrow I've been living in Finland for one year! In some ways it feels like it's been a year and that I've been here a long time but other times it feels like it's gone by way fast. I was just thinking about that day, getting off of the train in Seinäjoki and meeting the one priesthood holder that lives in Seinäjoki and not understanding a word he said and feeling super out of place. Things are a little different now haha now when somebody speaks to us in fluent english on the street it's equally as weird as it was hearing finnish the first time. We also get our change calls this week, this change has just flown by. I feel like I'm still new in Espoo, but I'll probably be starting my second change here next week. Pretty crazy. Well mom I'm sorry to hear that you're sick this week. Hopefully you get to drink the delicious pink medicine that we always drank when we had strep when we were little kids! Well I'm super excited to get this birthday package that's coming, thank you so much for being the greatest family ever! 

Well last week was pretty great. We had the chance to teach a lot and found a few new investigators! The investigator I'm most excited about is a guy from Cameroon who has a wife and four little kids! His kids are adorable, he has two daughters that are like 7 and 5 and then two twin baby boys and the twins are like 4 months old and their names are Fortune, and Fortunate..... how funny is that? Super adorable kids though and the little girls speak finnish as well which is sweet! But he's a really good guy and he said that he will be able to come to church next with with the whole family! Also our investigator that looks like CJ invited a couple friends to a lesson this week and they both became new investigators! That investigator is doing way well though. We've been working super hard with him and we had a lesson with President Watson there and stuff and we feel that he will be ready to be baptized on the 1 of November, so we are planning on that and I think it's really going to happen! We're super pumped for him! He's looking really good and is planning on it. Our other 18 year old investigator is doing alright. He always says that he plans to be baptized but just doesn't see the need to do it right now and keeps coming up with excuses to wait. But we had a way good lesson with him last night with a cool ysa member of our ward and it went super well so hopefully he starts to feel more of a desire to be baptized. So the work is going well, everyone is doing great. It's to bad that the one guy will be baptized the week after changes but like I would guess that I will still be here to see it since I just got to Espoo. This week we also had the chance to go to baptisms at the Temple with a recent convert who got baptized here in Espoo but then moved to a different city but was back visiting this weekend! So we went with the sisters who taught him and the recent convert and another member from the ward and we just happened to go on the day that people from the north of Finland were at the Temple. It was the north districts temple week so I saw a bunch of people that I knew from Seinäjoki and Vaasa and stuff and it was awesome to see them! It made me nostalgic and reflect on Seinäjoki and all that but it was way cool to see that the few members are still strong and were in the temple. Then the member of our ward who went with us to the temple took us out for lunch to an all you can eat sushi buffet which was super good and reminded me of america haha it was awesome! O also I forgot to mention that we had a zone meeting on Wednesday. So we prepared an hour and a half long meeting and it went really well. President Watson was there as well and we focused a lot on finding the one a day meaning finding one person or having one really good conversation with somebody every single day to help our finding. We also talked about planning and how to daily plan better to become better prepared missionaries. We ended by reading the story of Gideon in Judges chapters 6 and 7. I really like that story because it shows that it doesn't matter how many we have or how strong our force is, but if we are obedient and trust in God than he will use us to accomplish his purpose. It's a really cool story you should all read it sometime this week. At the zone meeting we also took a language test. So I've been working on grading all of those this week with elder Downs and we're going to do the oral exams this week by just calling all the companionships. So that's a lot of work but it's pretty cool. 

This week should be good. Same old stuff, district meeting and one of us has to go over to another city to do a baptismal interview and then change calls come Friday or saturday. So next week I'll get to tell you about where I'm going or who my companion is and all that. Well I love you all so much! Have a great week! 

October 13, 2014

Elder Bascom and Elder Wilson
Hey! Well how's it going? I'm super jealous that you all got to take a trip down to California! Way cool. And dad even trusted Indie with driving the boat, what the hey is going on over there?! Well thank you so much for all the pictures they were great! I was so pumped to see Max and Indie repping that UCLA blue! Tell Marcus to go to UCLA for sure that would be so cool! Marcus could be in my bishopric or something it would be so fun! Well it looked super beautiful and sunny over in California. It's been getting darker and sadder over here haha we are losing the sun more and more each day and it's usually cloudy and overcast. It hasn't snowed here in Espoo but in central and northern Finland it's been snowing. Hopefully we hold strong down here in the south though a little longer. Well mom I never really found out who it was that gave the testimony in the Woodlands ward but whoever it was they were inspired for sure! That is super cool that there is now a Woodlands Stake I can't believe that! 

Elders Wilson and Hughie (MTC comps)

Well life over here in Finland is still good! Last P day we had a way fun day. We played basketball with our district and then went down to Helsinki to Pizza Hut and had a buffet it was way sweet! It reminded me of America and College Park because I ate pizza hut for lunch every day in high school. I had forgotten how delicious and greasy it was. Then on Wednesday the new missionaries had their interim training thing so all the trainers and new missionaries were down at the mission home and Elder downs and I went over and did a language school so that was cool.  All the new missionaries and the trianers get language school at that interim training every change. So I got to chill with a lot of the missionaries over there. Then on Friday we went over to a place called Kotka which is just east of Helsinki a couple hours for splits. We did splits over there for the day which was way fun. Kotka is a small town right on the ocean and a really beautiful place. I had a cool experience while we were over there. We went to visit a sister of their branch who is an elderly sister and has a few kids but they are all older and have moved away. She's gone through some really hard times lately and has had a tough life but has remained a faithful rock solid member of the church through it all. Even though the church is like a 45 minute drive from her place. Well we visited her and she was really sick so she asked us to give her a blessing and I had the chance to do that. It was a really sweet spiritual experience.

The next day we went over to another city a little further east and north called Mikkeli. Mikkeli is a tiny little town and it reminded me of being in Seinäjoki. But the cool part was that I got to be with elder Hugie for the day! Elder Hugie was my MTC companion. We had a ton of fun together, he's such a good guy. It was kind of fun to do small town missionary work again as well. Then saturday night we got home kind of late and had church Sunday. A cool thing happened though yesterday, we met a lady on a train a few days ago and we exchanged numbers with her. Then Sunday morning she texted us and said that she wanted to come to our church. So we sent her the address and she came with her daughter! That was the first time anybody has ever called me before after exchanging numbers haha it was nuts. She lives in the other ward boundaries so we passed her to them but it was way cool! We also had our two normal investigators in church which was good. We had a great lesson with our 18 year old investigator about baptism and asked him why he was waiting. He said he wanted to wait for his brother to be baptized first who is sort of investigating the church down in Helsinki but we just told him that he had to be the example here and that there was no reason to wait anymore. So hopefully he starts to get more serious about being baptized. 

Well I think that's all from the week! I love you all so much! 

Conference Weekend

Hey everyone! Well alright I'm super bummed to hear that UCLA and the texans both lost..... way dumb. The only upside is that USC lost as well so that's good. A pretty tragic weekend for everyone though. I met an American this week from Los Angeles who was a USC fan so it got me all worked up and stuff just like the good old days.  Well this week was great! We started off by doing some splits with the Neitsytpolku elders (that's like the downtown Helsinki area. So I was down with an elder who's brand new for the day and we had a great time! It was cool we got to walk around some areas of Helsinki I'd never walked around before and I took some sweet pictures but unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera today.... so I will email tons of sweet pictures next week though! It kind of felt back to normal being with a trainee for the day, pretty fun! It was funny too while I was down there we had a lesson with this less active guy who got baptized a couple years ago and has schizophrenia and stuff and so we just had a normal lesson with him. And then at conference this weekend he borrowed some missionaries phone to call me and he was like "hey Wilson will you be there at the church tonight to watch conference" And I said yes and He was like "ok cool I'll see you soon" So I thought that was pretty weird. So that night I saw him and he came up to me and says in english "Hey I'm glad to see you again, you really made an impression on me because you don't talk so much trash hahaha so apparently I he really liked me it was pretty funny. O also a pretty crazy story from this week. So there's this Filipino lady that lives here in Helsinki and she is a member that got baptized about a year ago. And she was talking to me at Conference and said that her sister just recently moved from Hawaii to the Woodlands Texas! And that she went to the good old Sterling Ridge church building last sunday on Fast Sunday because the sister convinced her to go check it out. And somebody was bearing their testimony and mentioned me and that I was serving a mission in Finland! She said she thought it was my mom but it obviously wasn't mom since she wasn't in the Woodlands last Sunday but whoever it was it was perfect because this Filipino lady got way excited and is now being taught by the missionaries there in the Woodlands!  So it's a pretty small world haha I thought that was a really cool story though. 

Well for the rest of the week we did the normal stuff, ate dinner at a members house one day which was super fun! The dad is super in to guitars and music and stuff so I talked music with him for a long time which was sweet. We taught our investigators a few times and on Wednesday we got the 18 year old and CJ to come down to Helsinki with us to go to institute. It went well, I think they both enjoyed it. After institute me and CJ grabbed the guitars there and jammed for a while which was super fun! He's played guitar his whole life and was in bands and stuff so it was sweet! Then General Conference weekend of course was great! We had all the elders in our district together Friday and Saturday night so that we could take a car to conference. We went down to the Haaga chapel which is just like the north side of Helsinki. So our whole district and a couple other districts from around Helsinki all watched conference there and there were a bunch of members there as well that speak english. So we got to watch it all in english! I haven't been able to watch the sunday afternoon session yet but I saw everything else. I agreed with dad I really loved the Saturday afternoon session, it was just all great talks right in a row and it was fantastic! I don't know if I had a favorite talk but elder Holland was a power house as always and I loved President Callister's as well. 

Today we're doing a district activity, we're going to play basketball pretty soon all together and then go down to Helsinki to the only pizza hut in Finland for a pizza buffet! We're super excited! 

Well I think that's everything from the week. I love you all so much! 

Lots of Missionary Work

Hey everyone! How's it going? Well we've had another super crazy week holy cow. Even this morning we had to go down to Helsinki to the mission office to meet with President and the APs and the language coordinator about language coordinator stuff and what we're going to change so that took forever so I kind of lost all of my P day which is pretty rough. So now we're emailing then have to buy food and then it will be about 6 so we're just rushing all over and we have to do the same thing next week but ... it's all good. While we in Helsinki though we went to this place called the Tortilla House which is a little mexican restaurant owned by members and so they always give missionaries like 50% off and it is SUPER good. By far the best burrito I've had in finland. It was great. I even got a doctor pepper and everything, I felt like I was back in America for a minute. Well this week was really good! We had a zone conference on Wednesday so that took up the whole day really but it was fun and it's always cool to see the whole zone together. It was my first normal zone conference with President Watson and it went well. We talked a lot about applying what Elder Bednar said and how we would use it to become the types of missionaries that Heavenly Father wants us to be. After Zone Conference Elder Downs and I taught a language school to two missionaries in the zone who have been in the country about 5 months and that was way fun! For language schools we just talk a little about language study plans and then let the missionaries ask us questions about whatever they want. So Elder downs and I just took turns answering questions and it went well. It was the first language school I got to help out with so it was pretty cool. This week we're going to do splits with Elder Downs for like half a day so that Downs can teach me some stuff about the computer program we use for language tests and so that we can come up with our recommendations for President ie what to do in the future for language training of new missionaries and stuff like that. So that should be a bit of a project but it'll be fun. I like elder Downs a lot he's a way cool guy so I'm excited for that. So after zone conference and all that stuff we helped drive some of the missionaries back to the train station and the mission home and all that kind of stuff. Then the rest of the week was pretty normal. We did exchanges though with a companionship on Saturday and that was super fun. I was with an elder named elder Ream who is going home in a few weeks but it was a great day. We got to play some basketball in the morning and had a great game and then got to enjoy elder Reams cooking the rest of the day because he's super good at cooking so he made us all sorts of delicious stuff. We had a really good weekend of missionary work though we had lots of cool experiences. While we were on Splits Elder Bascom and the elder he was with taught this guy who was a former investigator that elder Bascom had taught and then gave to the sisters because he lived in their area but then the sisters never really got back in contact with him. But we finally got back in contact with him and so Bascom went there and the guy said that he received a Book of Moron a few months ago from the sisters and so Bascom said o that's great! Have you read any of it? And the guy said "well no the text was really small so it hurt my eyes.... but I downloaded it as an audiobook and I listened to the whole thing." The guy listened to the entire book of mormon and like remembered everything very well haha he said that he believes the book is true and that he enjoyed listening to it! So we were way pumped about that guy we have another lesson with him scheduled for this week! Then yesterday we had a great lesson with another former investigator. This guy was in the phone so we just called him and he was down to meet. So turns out this guy is from Bangladesh originally but has been living in Finland since he was a little kid so speaks fluent finnish and is married to a Finnish girl and they have a baby boy. So this guy said that he's atheist and was just kind of interested in what we had to say so we taught him the restoration and invited him to pray and he prayed with us!! That usually never happens when it's an atheist on the first lesson! Then we told him about the Book of Mormon and he said that we can come back tomorrow to give him a Book of Mormon and teach him more! So we were super excited about him! Our other investigators are doing well, we had two in church yesterday which was great! But other than all that everything is just normal. I took some pictures of our little house for you today mom so you can see what it looks like! It's pretty sweet! Yes the weather here is getting very fall like and yes mom most missionaries that have had a winter here get pretty depressed right about now haha it's been cloudy and dark and rainy and kinda cold the last week or so and it willl be darker and colder for the next 8 months pretty much hahaha But it's ok I'm just grateful that I'm down south. We're spoiled down here with all our trains and buses and good stuff like that. Well I think that's all the news from this week but I love you all so much! Thank you so much for all the love and prayers, have a great week! 

A Visit from Elder Bednar

Hey everyone! Mom I'm super jealous that you get to go to some sweet nerdy training seminars and stuff. Don't let dad get to you! What schools did Marcus apply to for his MBA program? Sounds like they're pretty serious about this, way cool! So yes we had our mission conference with elder Bednar this week and it was awesome! Seriously so so cool. It's always great listening to apostles speak at conference or in the MTC but being in a chapel with Elder Bednar and just missionaries was pretty incredible. He was just such a sincere and cool guy, like pretty much everyone was stressing out before the meeting trying to make everything so perfect and professional but Elder Bednar was so easy going and relaxed and was just awesome. He was there with President Kearon (from the area presidency) and both of their wives. And then one of the stake presidents from Finland and his wife were there. Elder Bednar pretty much talked for a couple minutes at the beginning and then asked us what we had all learned from a couple of talks that he asked us to read before he came. So some people would raise their hand and say what they learned and then Elder Bednar would expound on everything that was said and just blew our minds with awesomeness. Then he opened it up for all of us to ask him questions about whatever we wanted. So people just asked questions about all sorts of stuff and it went super well. Some of the questions were things like "can fear ever come from God as an answer to a prayer"- anser: no​. And other stuff like "why do we become prideful so easily" And elder Bednar just was being super wise and saying all sorts of profound stuff and teaching us a ton and being hilarious and easy to talk to all at the same time. It was sweet. Pretty much it all boiled down to this- Be good, honor your covenants. Try to be just a little bit better tomorrow than you are today and you'll be ok. He told us that the world is pretty crazy right now, but it will never be this good ever again. Things will get worse and worse for the rest of our lifes; but as long as we're trying our best and doing what he said, we don't need to fear it at all. So pretty much the spiritual thought for the week is pick some small things that we can all do better on, and focus and improving just a little bit every single day. Then as time goes by someday we'll end up wiser and more prepared for what lies ahead. We will essentially become .... the most interesting man in the world. 

Well Elder Bednar flew in that morning, had our meeting and then flew right back out. The morning of the meeting Bascom and I drove the big vans with a bunch of people that stayed the night at the mission office to the chapel where we held the meeting and then drove them all back afterwards. It was super fun to see the whole mission though. I got to see all my old buddies and it was the only time I've ever seen the whole mission together so it was a pretty cool experience. Well Elder Bednar was definitely the highlight of the week but we did some other cool stuff as well! Things with our investigators are going really well. He is about halfway through the Book of Alma now and lives all of the commandments and has stopped drinking coffee and smoking! He feels ready to be baptized so we are just preparing him and hopefully in the next couple of weeks he gets baptized! The 18 year old kid is doing really well also, he was at church yesterday too and had a good time and is just working on getting answers to his prayers. I invited him to say kneeling prayers this week though and I hope that that helps him get a more clear answer. We have this one member in our ward that got baptized like almost a year ago but that we still visit every week and he is in to theater and stuff like that and he was in a play on Saturday. So we went to watch his play which was way cool! It was a musical and they did the play Honk (the ugly duckling one) and it was super funny because I remember watching Chloe do the same play when she was in high school but this time it was all in Finnish so it was pretty interesting. It was just at this little theater in Espoo and I think our member was really glad we came so that was a pretty fun experience. 

Well this week should be another good one. We have a zone conference on wednesday that president Watson will be in charge of of course. Then on Friday we have MLC which is the meeting we have once a month for all the zone leaders and aps and stuff and we get to go to the temple so I'm excited for that! 

I love you all so much! Have a good week! 

September 9, 2014

Alright so first off I got my package this week!! Thank you so so so much family! I loved the giant poster thing you made for me, Indie's little picture was adorable haha I was dying! Thank you so much, the candy went down real fast and we'll probably make some of the brownies tonight. That push up thing you sent is also pretty sweet so thanks for that! I also inherited elder wood's full set of weights this week because he goes home soon and so he sold them all to me so I've got tons of work out equipment now. I should be set now! Well we did have a pretty crazy week, yes mom I remembered how to drive and drove everybody around safely so that worked out well. We were pretty much helping out with the new group of missionaries all that day on Wednesday but that was pretty fun. We got in 9 new elders which was much needed. Well life is good here in Espoo. Mom you asked what we do in Kauniainen for fun, well we get to play basketball on Saturdays but on Pday by the time we email and then buy groceries and stuff we don't really have any p day left ... so not a whole lot haha one member from Turku though is visiting Espoo today so he's taking me and Bascom out to lunch so that will be way fun! Mom you asked about elder Bascom, Bascom is way cool! He's from Georgia and played rugby in high school and was way in to working out and stuff so we talk about that kind of stuff a lot and he's a way fun guy. We're glad to be together. 
On Sunday we had Helsinki Stake Stake conference and it went great! We had it at some place in Helsinki that was just a big concert hall type of thing so that it would fit everyone but it was great! President Kearon (the area president) was there and president Watson spoke and everyone enjoyed it! There were some way cool musical numbers too and I got to see all the missionaries in the zone so it was a ton of fun! None of our investigators were able to make it so that was a bummer, but a bunch of recent converts were there so that was great! Our investigators are doing well though. One of our investigators  has read the Book of Mormon and is all the way to the book of Alma and feels like he'll be ready to be baptzied on the 20th of September so we are praying that everything works out so that he can be baptized then! This week we do have Elder Bednar coming! It will be awesome! He is going to be here on Friday. I don't really think I'll get to talk to him one on one at all but I'll get to shake his hand for sure and it will be a big question and answer session so maybe I'll ask him a question. Mom, honestly I haven't written in my journal as much as I should but I will definitely write in it this week! I'm super jealous that Marcus and Brittanie got to go to a Ravens game! Sounds like they're having a sweet trip! Tell Marcus to just man up and go to UCLA for his MBA so that we can all be in the same ward! Dad I was way jealous to hear about your manly motorcycle ride this week. It looks like a ton of fun! O also I was so proud to hear that lil Sammy is in an AP class! Way funny! It's bringing back memories for sure haha I never took AP Euro though so that's sweet! Is sammy still planning on the dental school route like she wanted when she was 8? Well I love you all so much! I hope you're all enjoying school and work and everything like that! We're busy but having fun over here in Finland! Have a great week! 

September 1 Espoo

 Hello everyone! Well it's been a good week! My first full week in Espoo. We had a pretty good week of sweet lessons with investigators and finding new investigators as well. Mom- you wanted to know if we have a car, no we don't have a car. We just take buses and trains to get everwhere but the public transportation is way good. We have a train stop right by our house that takes us straight to the center of Helsinki in like 15 minutes so it's a pretty cool place. Our responsibilities are just to do call ins with district leaders on sundays and report the zone numbers to the APs. We also get to do splits a lot with missionaries around the zone so that's pretty fun. We did splits this week with the neitsytpolku elders (which is like downtown Helsinki) So that was a ton of fun. I was with an elder for the day and got to see how missionary work is done in the real big city, it was cool! Helsinki is a beautfiul place. This week we have some special stuff we get to do that will be super fun! The new group of missionaries flies in on Tuesday, so on Wednesday elder Bascom and I get to drive the big mission vans full of the new missionaries to this place called the Maistratti in Helsinki where they get their permit to live in Finland and all that stuff so we will drive them down there Wednesday morning then back to the mission home afterwards. We had to go with the aps yesterday to the maistratti to learn the route and it was super confusing, driving in Helsinki is crazy especially with big vans so it will be an adventure haha we'll see how that turns out. Then the following week we have the big mission conference that elder Bednar is coming to! We're way pumped for that and have to help out with setting stuff up for that. But this week we had some sweet experiences in Espoo! We have an investigator who is an 18 year kid and his dad just got baptized a few weeks ago. He is super close to being baptized himself and we taught him some commandments this week and it went well. He is pretty much doing everything we ask but says he just still doesn't feel ready so we're trying to find out what he is really expecting from all of this and we think we will be baptized sometime this month. There's this other sweet new investigator we found this week who is a sweet biker dude that came up to us and asked us to come to his place because he thinks he believes a lot of the same things we do. (that has never happened to me before) So we taught this guy and he loved everything then the next lesson he brought two friends along and one of the friends became an investigator as well. He is so cool and is super accepting of everything we've taught him so far! We have lot's of sweet people like that and our ward is awesome here! In church yesterday I was asked to translate so I had to wear the full on headset and all that intense equipment so it felt pretty legit. We had our 18 year old investigator in church yesterday which was awesome! I'm excited for the changes happening this week as well, I am going to have elder wood and elder Anderson both in my new district and they are both my former companions so that will be a ton of fun! Well I think that's all the exciting news for the week! O by the way, the office staff told me I had a package in the office so I had some other elders pick it up for me and when they gave it to me it was supposed to be for some guy named parker wilson who is one of the new missionaries coming in. So I think I still have the package for me in the office somewhere but I'll get it this week. Well I love you so much! Have a great week!