Mission Map

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

18 Months!!!

February 17, 2015

Well mom reminded me that I will hit my 18 month mark this week, that's super weird! That is a pretty long time. Yes I've eaten quite a few strange meats in the last 18 months, but I'm still kicking (ps mom bear meat isn't a common thing to eat, it's like something that people do up here in the north but it's super posh and expensive). Well we had another really awesome week! The weather isn't to bad, just a few degrees below zero most days, and the sun is shining so much now (relatively) and so it's way less dark and depressing. Like in Finland in the month of November there was a total of about 12 hours of sunlight or something like that, it was absolutely nuts. Just because the days were so short and it was cloudy every single day haha so now it feels like it's sunny and bright all of the time. 
Our week was awesome though, the people that we are teaching are doing super well. We have three people scheduled to be baptized on the 28th of this month. The mom and dad of the finnish family, and then this other Chinese guy who is a student here. He's such a nice guy and is super sweet and it's looking like he will make it on the 28th as well. So we are just praying that those will all work out! They are all doing great, reading and praying and they all came to church again on Sunday. Well the dad of the Finnish family couldn't make it because he had some special work thing but the wife and the baby still came which was awesome! We'll teach both of them three times this week and by then they will have been taught everything, it will just be up to them to go for it! It's kind of a weird situation though because the baptismal font in our chapel here is under renovation so we have to find somewhere else to baptize all the people. So we are going to look around at some swimming pools and stuff like that this week. Maybe they'll even want to be baptized in the frozen river you never know haha Our other investigators are also progressing though we have a Korean man and that Russian mom both scheduled to be baptized on the 14th of March and I believe that they could both be ready for that as well. The Korean man came to church again on Sunday and loved it. The Russian mom didn't make it to church, but we have an appointment with her tomorrow and then on Thursday she is going to come to the church and we'll give her a church tour which will be awesome! So everyone is looking super solid and it's just a ton of fun to teach them all. We found a few cool new potentials as well so this week we have a lot of stuff set up. Oh the American girl we found a few weeks ago also came to church and she loved it! She stayed for all three hours and had a great time. We had five people in church this week which was awesome! The ward did a great job of fellowshipping everyone as well, it just went really nicely.
Well today the AP's are flying up to Oulu to do splits with us so we have a bunch of stuff set up for tomorrow for a nice day of splits. We also have this little ward party tonight for this holiday here called laskiainen. Basically everyone just gets together and eats a bunch of pulla and pancakes so I am going to make a ton of dad's special pancakes and provide some American style pancakes for the party. They will probably all think they're weird, but I don't even care our pancakes are the best! That's pretty much everything for the week though. 
Well I love you all so much! Thank you for all the love and support and everything you do! 

The work continues....

February 10, 2015

Hello! Well it's birthday month, happy birthday Mandy and little Maxie boy! Hope you guys have awesome birthdays :) 
We had a super good week here again! Oulu is still awesome. We got 6 people in church on Sunday which is the most I think I've ever had. Including our whole Finnish family! They came to church and they liked it and we're going to their house tomorrow night so we're praying that they felt good in church and are feeling good about being baptized. We had some awesome lessons with them this week. We asked the dad if he had prayed and asked God if this church is true and he told us that he did pray one night and he didn't really feel anything. So the next night he was laying in bed just thinking about his prayer and everything we've taught him and he just started to feel really really good and he even felt like he was hearing some sort of voice telling him that it was true. And he just couldn't figure out what he was feeling so he walked out in the kitchen where is wife was and started talking to her and she said that she was feeling really peaceful and that there was something good there in the room. We were super pumped and explained to them that that is the spirit and that is their answer that they should be baptized. So they are just still reading and praying and doing a great job. They told us on Saturday that they had been looking at pictures online of General conference and they were asking us what it entails to be mormons and about the commandments and stuff so we are going to teach them some commandments this week and we are feeling way good about them. We also had some great lessons with a Chinese student that we are teaching and he committed to read and pray every day and come to church every week until the end of this month so that he can really find out if God is real and so that he can be baptized. I don't really know what the difference is up here mom, you were asking me why everythings going so well and I honestly don't really know but it's just happening for us. It's cool to be with someone else that's experienced and we've taught tons of people for the past year and a half and I feel lik we've both just gotten better with our actual teaching skills and people are just really getting it. 
Horse sandwich
Well we went up to Rovaniemi on Thursday night to do splits there on Friday. It was a ton of fun! It was like a three hour drive north, it's soooo far up there haha Rovaniemi is an awesome city. It's got a ton of cool tourist attractions like Santa's village and it's also a super good place to see the northern lights but unfortunately we didn't see them :( But it is a beautiful city. I took a bunch of pictures so I'll send those after this email. While there we went to this place called Nili for dinner and it's like a Sami restaurant. Samis are the people that are native of the lapland in finland. The sami language is kind of similar to finnish but just like a different dialect. But they had Sami music playing and everything so it was way fun. On the menu they had some sweet options like Bear sausages and a tender Bear roast. I wanted the bear roast but it was way expensive so I went with a plate of Reindeer and mashed potatoes which was delicious. Pretty gamey but very tasty. O that reminds me, last p day elder Ahlquist and I were feeling adventurous so we bought some straight up horse sandwhich meat and tried some horse sandwiches but... it was absolutely disgusting hahaha just straight up horse is super intense. I'll send some pictures of that as well. 
Finnish Feast
This week we are going to have a zone meeting here in Oulu which will be cool and then do splits with  the other set of elder here in Oulu. So should be a good week. 
I love you guys so much! I'll talk to you next time!

Santa's Village

Snow for days
Hey everybody! Happy Groundhog day! Also again happy birthday to Brittanie! Honestly I remembered that it was Brittanie's birthday, but I had totally forgotten what Groundhog day was so thank you for the reminder haha It sounds like it doesn't even matter if the little critter sees his shadow or not since you guys are having such a warm winter! That's awesome! The weather hasn't been too bad here either, it's been even warmer than it was last year but like it's still -10 and is getting colder this weeks so still pretty cold. The main thing though is that there's just tons of snow. There's just massive piles everywhere we go and it hasn't stopped snowing for days. It just keeps coming. A couple weeks ago I saw these three little girls walk out of an apartment building and just start ice skating down the street because all of the streets are completely frozen it was so funny! I see people cross country skiiing all of the time and babies being pulled on little sleds but that was the first time I saw people ice skating on the street. 
Well we had another really exciting week! The work here just keeps going well, we've found a ton of cool people lately and all of the lessons that we've been teaching have been going really well. Unfortunately our little Finnish family's baby was up all night on saturday night and so they didn't come to church on Sunday. But they said they were way sorry and that they will come next week for sure so I really hope that works out! They are doing well though and still reading and praying and everything. We found this american girl over a week ago and she came to Family Night last night at the church so that was way good! I think she enjoyed it and made some friends and so I bet she'll come to church on Sunday as well. We also have this way awesome investigator that is like a 30 year old lady from Russia. She's married to a Finn and speaks pretty good finnish and has a little boy and she is super interested. We've taught her twice now and we brought a member along who served his mission in Russia so he speaks some russian with her and explains things more clearly for her and things are going really well. After our first lesson she read 8 chapters of the book of Mormon and said she would pray about it this week and she's just way cool. We also found this super sweet family this week that is from Vietnam. The family consists of grandparents, a 16 year old boy two other boys and then a little adorable 8 year old girl. All of the kids speak pretty good finnish but the grandparents don't speak super well but the kids are good enough to understand what we say and then translate for the grandparents. Unfortunately they don't speak Vietnamese they speak some little local language (they're from some little village up in the mountains) so we don't have any church materials in their language which is tough. But they've been in Finland for a while and they go to the Lutheran church so they are Christian and are super down to learn about the Book of Mormon. They are just such nice people, we're going over to their house tonight! 
Temple Trip Selfie
We had a way busy week though in addition to all the good stuff going on up here. On Thursday we had to drive down to Vaasa to do a baptismal interview. I did the interview. The guy that got baptized is this 19 year old guy from China he was so cool! He had such a strong testimony and I could really tell that his newfound belief in God had changed him a ton. He was just super excited to get baptized and it was a way cool experience to do his interview. After the interview we drove back up to Oulu then we hopped on a plane that left from Oulu to Helsinki. So got to Helsinki Thursday night and slept at the mission home. Then we had our leadership meeting all day on Friday and went to the temple that night. Then we hopped on a night train and came back to Oulu. So it was a ton of traveling and way crazy but a ton of fun. This week I'm excited because we got to go to Rovaniemi to do splits. Rovaniemi is the norhernmost city in Finland that has missionaries in it. (It's also the northernmst city in the entire world with missionaries in it year round) I've always wanted to go to Rovaniemi so I'm super excited. I'll take lots of pictures. Hopefully I get to see Santa's village (that's where Santa Clause lives). I'm also planning on eating some Reindeer Rovaniemi is famous for it's reindeer pizzas. Alright well that is all I've got for the week. I love you all so much! Have a good week! 

Horse Meat and a lot of Travel

A visit to Seinajoki
Hey! I'm glad that everyone liked the horse meat I'll bring home a few packs in my suit case so that you can all try them. It looks like baby Rosie would love it haha I loved the picture of her chowing down on the sausage, so cute. Well we had another really good week here in Oulu!
Our investigators are doing really well and we've found a lot more really cool ones lately. Yesterday we even found an American!!! We were so excited haha she is from New York and goes to the University here in Oulu to study Finnish and culture. Super random but we're way pumped. This is the first time I've ever taught an American person on my mission, I can't really describe why it makes us so happy but it just does. Being away from America for so long has taken it's toll I guess. Yesterday we had a pretty insane day actually we tracted in to a super cool Finnish guy who just let us in his apartment straight away... that is the second time that has ever happened to me on my mission haha it's pretty rare. He is a super cool guy, he plays guitar and is getting his masters degree right now and is a way good solid investigator. We're going back to his place tomorrow. Our current investigators are doing extremely well too. The one Finnish family that we're teaching is still doing awesome. The dad has read like over 100 pages of the Book of Mormon and he said that him and his wife always talk about the things that we teach them and what they read in the Book of Mormon and that they are seriously considering joining the church. They were out of town this weekend again but this weekend they are in town and will be coming to church, we're super pumped! Everything is going great with them. We have a lot of really good members that are super willing to come to lessons with us and so everything is just working out lately. Last week we also got to go down to a city called Vaasa and do splits with the elders there. It is like a 6 hour train ride so it was a journey but a lot of fun. We got to switch trains in Seinäjoki as well so I hopped out and took a picture of my old hood. They actually have an investigator that is getting baptized this Saturday in Vaasa so we are going to go back this week to do the baptismal interview. Unfortunately we also have our monthly meeting down in helsinki on Friday so we are going to wake up and drive to Vaasa early Thursday morning, do the interview, and then drive right back to Oulu. Then we take a plane that leaves thursday night and we fly to Helsinki. Then we leave from Helsinki back to Oulu on a night train that leaves Friday night. So it will be a pretty hectic couple of days but it will be fun. 
O ok funny story for the week- we have this investigator here who is an older Finnish man and lives in a really nice house and stuff. He's way cool and he has two pet ferrets.  When we go over we sit at his kitchen table and these ferrets come up and scratch and try to bite our feet the entire time so we have to wear our shoes so that they don't bite our toes haha one of the ferrets even crawled inside of elder Ahlquist's bag and he had to pick up the bag and shake it out haha super funny. 
Alright well I love you all so much! Have a great week I will talk to you all next time!

Missionary Work is Awesome

Hello everyone! Well this week was way good. I am super excited to hear about the Superbowl results and all of that fun stuff. Nobody in Finland really knows anthing about American football and they all diss it all the time so I haven't heard much at all about the NFL. Well to explain my subject line: Minä syön hevosta means I eat horse. And I wrote that because I found out a few weeks ago that the lunch meet that I have been eating for the last year and a half has horse in it..... I never knew that haha it's way delicious though I love it. They eat just straight up horse here and last week we saw a huge kilo horse steak in the grocery store and considered buying it haha So that was just kind of a funny foreign food story I thought. I just never took the time to read the labels on my good old lunch meat and find out what it was made of but now I'm a huge advocate of horse, it's pretty tasty.
Well my week here in Oulu was good. Unfortunately elder Ahlquist got pretty sick this week and we had to take him to the doctor and stuff so we were inside for quite a few days but he's feeling much better now. In spite of the sickness though we were still able to teach a ton of member present lessons that we planned in the evenings and find a few new people so despite the circumstances we had a great week! We have this one investigator that is super cool and is preparing to be baptized in March. He is progressing and came to church again on Sunday and is loving the church. He's a student from Bangladesh, working on his thesis for a masters degree, and is Catholic but he has been reading the Book of Mormon and praying regularly and I think he will get baptized. We had some sweet lessons with him this week and we're feeling great about him. We have several other great investigators right now including that awesome little Finnish family I talked about last week. They were out of town this weekend so couldn't come to church but we're going over to their place again tonight so we're still feeling really good about them. 
Ok so I have a way cool story to tell that I meant to tell a while ago but kind of forgot to tell it during our skype call, but now I've found out more about the situation recently and it's just an awesome story. Probably the coolest thing that has happened on my mission thus far. Ok so like 11 months ago I got transferred to Turku and was serving with elder Anderson. During our time together there we got invited by this member to go help her do a school presentation at a local high school. the school class consisted of 14 and 15 year old students and she just got a little excited and started teaching a lot of things that weren't on the powerpoint we had and the kids didn't undersand any of it and were kind of laughing and making fun of us the whole time. So it was a bit of a disaster. At the very end she turned the time over to us and we got up and I just said to the kids that what we really believe is that God loves us and that he answers our prayers. That Jesus Christ is his son and that he made it possible for all of us to live with God and our families again eternally. We bore testimony and that's all we said. So now fast forward from that day to six months in the future. I was serving in Espoo and I saw my buddy elder Ahlquist (who is now my current companion) at a meeting down in Helsinki. He had been in Turku with me at the time of the school presentations and had just gotten transferred away from Turku hile I was in Espoo. Elder Ahlquist tells me that on his very last day in Turku. It was p day. Him and his companion were walking to the church and a 15 year old girl came up to them and told them that six months earlier she had been in a school presentation where people from our church talked. She thought the church was crazy but then two young boys got up (us) and while we were talking she said that she felt something really good. She didn't know what it was. So for six months she researched the church on the internet and finally couldn't take it anymore so on that day she had walked from her house to the center of Turku (a 45 minute walk) and asked random people where the Mormon church was. She then walked all of the way to the church and right at that moment she ran in to elder Ahlquist. So the elders called the sisters right then and the sisters came and started teaching this girl and for the past 4 or 5 months they have taught this girl and she wants to be baptized! Her parents haven't given her permission but she told the sisters there that she knows the Book of Mormon is true and she will join the church as soon as she can. 
On of the sisters serving here in Oulu is the sister that taught her there in turku the whole time and she told me all about her and it's just been an amazing experience to find out that the stuff we do that even seems like a failure can actually have a massive impact down the road. It's been a pretty spiritual realization for me that what we're doing out here really does matter every single day. 
Well this week we are going down to Vaasa to do splits and just have a normal week planned. But it's been a really good week. Thank you for all of the love and everything you do for me. I love you all!


January 6, 2015
Hey! so yes.... mom I'm sorry again that I forgot to change you that our p day changed to tuesday..... I'm really sorry haha I feel the same way I felt when I was in wrestling and you were so sad and terrified haha it was heart breaking. It was so nice to hear that Ucla pulled out the victory in the Alamo bowl and that Jon Jones is still reigning champ! My new companion loves UFC as well so we were pretty pumped to hear that. I've been repping my UCLA stuff all the time so it's nice to know that they didn't let me down. 
Well I'm in Oulu! I've had a super crazy week. So yeah I was a little surprised to leave Helsinki already but I've always hear that Oulu is an awesome place to serve and I was really excited to come up here! I'm with elder Ahlquist who's from Boise Idaho and I've known him since day one of my mission so it's super sweet that we get to serve together now it's been way fun! Oulu is beautiful. It feels cool to be back in the north zone where I started out. The people are a little different up here than they are in Helsinki. It's hard to explain but northern Finland is just really cool. It feels a little more like a different world that down south. It's totally freezing today it's like negative 22 and it's crazy cold but luckily we have a car so that makes it a million times better. We live on the north side of Oulu in a more resdiential area but the church building is in the center of town so we drive into the city all the time. It's a really cool place it's just a nice good size center with cool buildings and stores and stuff then on one side is the ocean and then on all other sides it just goes out into forests. The forests are beautiful in the winter. All the trees are completely white with snow and ice and are totally frozen and it's just really cool looking. It's especially dark up here though it's full on pitch black by 3:00 so by the time we finnish lunch and get out the sun isn't even really visible at all it's just so low on the horizon all the time so it's way weird. I love Oulu already though the ward is way cool, there's a tone of cool YSAs that come out with us a lot and a lot of recent converts in the ward that are from Vietnam so I feel like I'm back at UCLA it's pretty fun. They all think it's way cool that I went to ucla too and some of them have family in California so it's been way fun getting to know all the people up here. 
So my week went like this: I left at 9pm Tuesday night from Helsinki on a night train. I slept in a little compartment in the train by myself which was super super weird. Then got to Oulu at 6:30 am the next day and elder Ahlquist and the other Oulu elders picked me up in the car so I got all my bags in and was even able to move all my weights so we've got the whole set up up here. Then we had a normal day on Wednesday then Thursday night we got on a night train and went back down to Helsinki for our monthly MLC meeting on Friday. We had that meeting, went to the temple, and then slept at the mission home. Then Saturday morning came back on a day train to Oulu which was kind of miserable but we got to see all of Finland pretty much on the ride so that was cool. But in spite of the crazy schedule the work here is going insanely well. We've got a ton of investigators and found a ton of new investigators last week. The most I've ever found on my mission. We have 10 people with baptismal dates so everything is just going great. I really like our investigators and three of them came to church on Sunday so I really cannot complain! It wasa  great week!
Well I love you guys so much! Thanks so much for the emails and love. I'll talk to you next week!

Transfers of to Oulu, way up North!

 Hello everyone! Well it was awesome to skype everyone on Christmas! I swear it gets funnier every time, I love you all so much! The kids are all looking huge and adorable and I can't believe that they can all say so much funny stuff. It looks like they had a sweet  Christmas! I had a great Christmas over here! Well I will go through my whole week but first I'll tell you about my change call. So of the three of us, Elder Chapman (who just got here) went to Espoo (where I used to serve) Elder Mcknight is staying here in Marjaniemi and I am going to Oulu! Oulu is a way sweet biggish city way up in northern Finland. It's about 200,000 people (the biggest city in northern finland) and I'll be serving as zone leader up there with elder Ahlquist! I'm so excited to be with elder Ahlquist he was in the MTC with me and then we were in Turku for 6 months togeter (he served in the other ward in Turku) so I know him super well and we're already good friends so I can't wait! Oulu is in the north zone where I started my mission so hopefully I get to go visit Seinäjoki and reflect on the good times up there. I've always really liked Oulu and have thought it would be sweet to serve there so I'm way pumped! It's a bit of a bummer that I have to serve there in January and February because it's going to be absolutely freezing and pitch black all the time but I'm still way pumped! We'll have a car up there too so that will be nice. At least I don't have to bike all the time. So I will leave Tomorrow night at like 9 pm from Helsinki and then take a night train all the way up there and get to Oulu at like 6:30 the next morning. I've never ridden a night train so that will be kinda cool. 

Well even though I'm excited to see Oulu I'm also pretty bummed to leave Marjaniemi. It's a great place down here in Helsinki, and much warmer but it's all good. Yesterday at church the whole ward got in the chapel after church and sang God be with you till we meet again to me and the other to missionaries leaving from the ward so that was super nice. I took some pics. Our week was a ton of fun though. On Christmas Eve we went down to Helsinki to the big Tuomio Kirkko which is a big huge white Lutheran church down there and we watched a special Christmas Eve Service thing so that was pretty interesting and cool to see. It was way beautiful inside the church. It snowed way hard like that entire day so we had a bunch of snow for Christmas which was really nice. On Christmas Eve we went over to the family's house that lives in our ward that have the five kids that love having us over and we at with them and all the kids opened all their Christmas gifts and it was way fun! It reminded me of home a little bit. Then on Christmas day we went to a members house who is just a finnish family and they have 5 kids but they lived in San Antonio Texas for 6 years and just moved back to Finland like a year agao so they are way cool! They're kids all speak better english than they do finnish so they all speak in english to each other and the parents just speak finnish to them and us but they are a super cool family. So we hung with the dad of the family and played some board games with him and just hung out for a while then we went over to our bishops house to eat and hang with them and that's where we skyped from so that was a ton of fun! Then the next day we went back to the same family that used to live in Texas and we played a game of Lord of the Rings Risk which was super fun! I love risk and the lord of the rings version is super fun haha so we played a nice game of that then that day we got our change calls. So the next morning elder Chapman left to Espoo and it was back to just me and elder Mcknight. Despite the fact that we weren't allowed to do missionary work most of the week we still were able to meet with a few investigators and the work is going really well here. 

Well that's all I got for the week. I love you guys so much though! THank you again for the Christmas gifts and for the sweet skype session! I love you all and will talk to you next week! 

It's Almost Christmas

Christmas in Helsinki

Wow, I really wish that I could watch the Grinch with everyone on Christmas Eve, such a classic movie! Well Merry Christmas everyone! Wow, I get to skype in like 3 days that's pretty nuts. I'm crazy excited! Well life has been good here in Helsinki, it did snow this week so it's looking nice and chrismtasy outside. You guys are going to California next week?! Dang .... just one more winter of not being there haha I can make it. That'll be way fun though have a great time in California and hopefully you find some cool apartment options! It snowed crazy hard yesterday so I hope that the snow stays around till Christmas! It's not too cold outside though just a few degrees below freezing. 

Well this week was actually really good. Like it was probably the best week of missionary work that I've had on my entire mission! With three missionaries it's different for sure but we're able to do member splits all the time so we had members take one of us out to lessons while the other two did other stuff and one night all three of us when out with members so it's been pretty fun and we had a ton of success! We found 7 new investigators and taught like 13 lessons to investigators so that was by far the best week I've ever had. It was way crazy. We've been using the new church christmas video thing and finding a lot of investigators so it's been really cool to see. One of our really good investigators was able to come to church yesterday and he said that he liked church and would come again next week! We have a few really cool investigators right now that we're pretty excited about. This week will definitely be slow since we have three red days in a row when we can't do missionary work but we're all super pumped for what we have planned on all of those days. On Christmas Eve we are going to that super sweet family that's half italian half finnish and they have 5 little kids so that should we way fun! They're going to make tons of food and we'll just hang there all night and then Santa Clause always comes and all of the little kids have to sing a little Finnish Christmas song or else Santa will leave without giving them their toys so it's super cute and we're way excited to hang with them. Then on Christmas we are going to the Bishops house and that's where we will get to skype from! Then on the 26th which is also a big holiday in finland we are going to a couple other members places to eat so we will be well fed this week. Not only are we getting fed by a ton of people but we also have big plans this week to make our famous waffles, muffins, german pancakes, all sorts of good stuff. We went pretty hard at the grocery store today but it's ok it will all be worth it. Then on Friday or Saturday we will get our change calls for the next change, pretty weird. Yeah I would guess that the tripe will definitely get split up so I have no idea if I'll stay or go or what will happen but it'll be interesting but I'm excited to find out! Yeah mom you asked about tripe life, it's definitely different but we've gotten it to work pretty well. We have the fridge perfectly sanctioned off to get all the food in there and three desks and all that so it's big enough for us. We probably scare people when we try to stop them on the street, three foreign guys in big black coats and it's pitch black all the time so Finns are pretty intimidated by it haha but it works out all right. 

Ok I don't have a whole lot more to say today, I'm just so excited to skype! I'm sad that I can't be at home to enjoy the Wilson celebrations but don't worry next year I'll come up with a way good diddy for Christmas eve and it'll be great! Alright I love you guys so much! I'll skype at 7 pm (Helsinki time) on Christmas so be ready for it! I llove you guys I'll see you soon!