Mission Map

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


March 25, 2015
Spring Break 2015

Oulu Service

Winter-  staying for awhile
Well I've got some sad news first. Often times in Finland right as it's finally starting to get a little warmer and the snow is starting to melt, there is what's called takatalvi. Which just means winter comes back. And that's what happened this week :( It's been below zero for days and we got like 12 centimeters of snow last night so it's looking exactly like it looked in January. It's pretty depressing. But they say that this should be the last flurry of winter and then it should get warmer in a week or so. But still, it hurts the soul a little bit. I'm way jealous that you guys are in full on Spring. It feels like we're living on opposite sides of the hemisphere haha but it will probably only be miserable for another month or so. So I think I will make it.
On a lighter note though, we had a pretty good week! We had some fun stuff going on. We had zone conference on Friday which was really good, we got to watch Meet the Mormons during zone conference so that was sweet! That's my second time seeing it now. We watched it at MLC like a month ago as well. But it's way good and it's going to be coming to Finland! They'll probably show it in some theatres in some of the bigger cities here so all of the members are pretty excited about that. We're going to try to use it as a big missionary tool, to invite investigators and members invite friends to the theatre to watch it, so should be fun! We also got to do some service this week for a family here which was fun. We just chopped and sawed wood, all sorts of manly stuff like that. There was also this pretty weird phenomena going on this week where when it's below 0 but the sun's shining and there's lots of snow the snow gets super hard. So even though it's all powdery and not packed down at all it's hard enough to walk on and your foot doesn't sink in at all, and you can ride bikes on it and stuff so it was pretty trippy. We were walking on giant heaps of powder like it was just dry ground, pretty weird. O! Also, I saw the northern lights this week!!! Super cool! On wednesday a member told us that they were going to be really strong and we saw them here in Oulu! They weren't very brightly colored but just blue and a little green but they were super clear, it was an awesome sight. They were really powerful ones, apparently people could see them all over Finland.
The investigators are doing well though, especially our Chinese college student that almost got baptized a while ago. He is progressing super well and getting very strong answers to his prayers and we set a new baptismal date with him so we're way excited for him. Also a pretty funny story, we tracted in to this older african couple this week and they let us in so we started talking to them and it turns out that the man did a study exchange in America a long time ago and was a graduate student at USC. So I told him I went to UCLA and it was just a really funny coincidence. A pretty small world. But all the other investigators are doing well though and we found 4 new ones this week so the works going well!
That's pretty much all of the excitement from the week though, but I've got some great pictures to send this week. by the way I just remembered Mom I loved that picture of you at Bentley's wedding. That is so weird and cool haha I can't believe he's married! Wow pretty crazy how life just keeps going on. Well I love you guys so much! Have a great week! 

Goodbye to Snowflake

March 17, 2015

Well it's been another good week. First off, I have some exciting but also sad news. This morning I sold my sweet blue snow flake bike to a newer missionary. I trust you guys remember the pictures of the bike I bought in Seinäjoki. Well I haven't really used that bike in over a year, I've been carrying it around with me ever since I left Seinäjoki and I kind of think I won't really need it the rest of my mission. This morning the other Oulu elders called asking if they could use our car to go buy a new bike and I said that I would just sell them my bike instead. So I sold it for 50 euros. Elder Greciano (who I sold it too) said that he felt bad taking such a sweet bike for so cheap but I told him that I physically would not take more than 50 euros for it since it's a 12 year old girl bike. So now I no longer have a bike, it's way nice. 
Our week was good though, it was a bit slower than usual but still really good. We had a lot of investigators out of town but everyone should be back to normal this week so I think we'll bounce back pretty well. We had some way sweet lessons though. We have this one African family that we've been teaching for a couple of weeks and they are super funny to teach. It's a family of a mom and then like 7 kids. They don't all speak english but the oldest daughters speak pretty good english so we teach them and they teach their little siblings what we say. So we went over to their house on Sunday and it was just way crazy as always with little babies running around everywhere, it's hilarious. They also had a friend there who was like a 30 year old guy and we were able to teach him as well. They're all adventist though and the 30 year old guy was trying to give us a hard time about the sabbath being on Sunday (because they worship on Saturday) but we pointed out in the new Testament that the Apostle Paul talks about changing the Sabbath and howthe apostles took the sacrament from Jesus on a Sunday. So the 30 year old guy was still trying to bash a bit but all of the girls were totally on our side and they were all ike You just have to ask God. We have to do what God says. And we totally won so it was awesome! They are way funny to teach though. And they all committed to pray and ask God if Joseph smith was a true prophet, so they're doing well. We had another really awesome lesson with this Finnish guy who is about 30 and is atheist. He said that his family was religious when he was young but he has such bad memories of church and some really bad stuff happened to him when he was younger so it just made him believe that there is no God. So we read a bit from Enos with him and told him that all he has to do to really find out once and for all if God is real is to read the Book of Mormon and pour out his heart to God every day. We invited him to try this out and to be baptized once he had his answer. So he thought about it for a while, then said that he's willing to try it out. So he's going to read and pray and think it out for a while on his own and then he will let us come in 2 weeks to finish teaching him the lessons. Usually when people say they need time to themselves to think it out it's not good because they don't do it. But this guy was really sincere and we think he's really going to give it a shot. We felt really good about it. It was a sweet lesson. 
We also had the chance to do some splits in a city called kajaani this week. Kajaani is like 2 hours east of Oulu, it's a tiny little town. So it was pretty fun to spend a day there. A lot of walking and contacting but we found a bunch of good potentials with the elders there and it was a fun day! I was with an elder named elder Hunter for splits and it was super funny, he said that his sister lives in Orem and she met someone at a target a few weeks ago who's last name was wilson who has a little brother on a mission in finland as well. I don't know if it was Brittanie or Mandy or Chloe or something but there is another elder wilson in the mission as well so it could've been his family but I thought odds are it was probably one of the girls haha 
Well this week we have a zone conference here in Oulu so that should be fun. Other than that though it's just a normal week. Well I love you all so much! thanks for the emails and the love! 

I love my ward and serving here

March 10, 2015

Hey! Well we're full blown deep in to March but it's still snowy and kind of wintery up here in Finland. But that's all part of it. They say the snow stays in Oulu usually through April and in to May a little bit so I'm sure it'll still be like this for quite some time. But at least it's warmer now. It's been above 0 every day for the last week and it feels super warm and nice. I just rock the fleece jacket and I'm good. The main bad part about this time of year is that every road and side walk is covered in ice and slush and snow and mud so it's way gross. I've had some pretty good falls on the ice which is always entertaining. Yesterday actually we were trying to hop over this small fence and the snow bank that elder Ahlquist was using to step over this little fence collapsed under his feet and resulted in him rolling over this little waist high fence and falling completely on his back on the other side and it was hilarious. 
Serving in Oulu
Well our week here was way good. It was transfer week so last p day we helped out with some missionaries moving around and got all of that done. But the rest of our week was just normal. We had a good finding week though and taught a lot of member present lessons which was great! Unfortunately it was ski break here so a lot of our investigators were out of town, including the Russian woman but she got back yesterday so we're going to try to meet up with her tomorrow! All of our other investigators are doing pretty well though, just slowly and surely progressing. We brought our Chinese investigator to family night yesterday and it was super fun! We taught him how to play Uno and he had a great time! We had three people in church and found some sweet new investigators. O I also talked to this guy in my ward about the woman that sister Rascon's brother asked me about. He says that his mom knows her and would ask his mom more about her and try to set up some way so that we could meet her so hopefully that works out, I'll keep you posted on that though. We have some really exciting stuff set up for this week though. There's a man that has been coming to church here in Oulu every week for the last two years who is not a member and we've tried to meet with him several times but he's never let missionaries come over before. (I think he's just scared of committing to being baptized or something) but on Sunday a member came up to us and said that they invited this man over to their home and that we can come too and he agreed to let us teach him the lessons! So we are going over to their house tonight to teach this man and we're just going to challenge him to stop being scared and accept a baptismal date. I feel like this guy could be baptized in the next couple of weeks really easily but he just has to get over his fear and go for it. 

We also got to do some fun service this week for this elderly woman in our ward, she had us carry all of her mats out of her apartment and hit them with a duster stick thing, it was pretty fun. At the end she gave us a little bag of a freezer pizza and a bottle of juice it was so sweet haha there's also this other elderly lady in our ward who knows how to sew stuff and she took my shoulder bag for me (I broke the strap on it like 3 months ago) and she's going to fix it so that was super sweet! She also made us a giant pot of hot dog soup this week (just like warm water with cut up hot dogs and potatoes and carrots) it was so sweet !!We have such a nice ward here it's a ton of fun to serve in it. 

Alright I think that's all for the week, I love you all! 

Staying in Oulu

March 3, 2015
Elder Durrant & Elder Ahlquist
Alright sorry about the confusion with the p day situation. So Tuesday's will always be on Tuesdays but there's just an exception with transfer weeks. If the companionship has some sort of change, like one of them leaves, then the companionship's p day is on Monday. But for elder Ahlquist and I we had no change so we still had normal Tuesday P day. But I'm super excited to still be in Oulu with elder Ahlquist! It's been a ton of fun and we get another 9 weeks of it so it'll be sweet! We had a great week though, we flew down to Helsinki on Thursday night and slept over at the mission home then had our MLC meeting on Friday. We just talked about the next change and what we would all focus on in district meetings and stuff like that. Then we got to go to the Temple which is always awesome! Then Friday night we hopped on a night train and came back up to Oulu. Today were just helping some people move stuff back and forth from the train station for people getting transferred so it's been a busy week but way good. Oh mom ps I did get the slip in the mail yesterday saying that I have a package so I will go pick that up tomorrow! Thank you so much!

Well our investigators are doing well. Our super cool Russian woman investigator is in Russia for the next week on vacation so that's a bummer but she said that we can meet up when she get's back for sure so she's still doing really well! We have some other investigators that are progressing though, we had 6 people in church on Sunday so that was awesome! One lady came that we've been teaching for a while and she is an elderly finnish lady and is just super sweet. She gives us these home knit socks to wear every time that we're in her house because she doesn't want our feet to get cold and she's just so nice and she came to church and we introduced her to all of the elderly ladies in our ward so she made tons of friends. It was hilarious. We had another finnish guy in church and 3 siblings from an African family and then the American girl we've been teaching! So super cool! It was a great week of church. We also found a way cool family yesterday as well and we're super excited about them! We knocked on this door thinking that it was this Indian guy that we talked to on the street last week but turned out to be the wrong address. But we started talking to the Finnish guy that answered and he said he wasn't interested but maybe his brother would be. So his brother started talking to us and was definitely a little drunk but super interested in what we had to say. Then the guys mom came out and was like Come inside come inside! So we sat down with this whole tipsy finnish family and taught them about the Book of Mormon and they were really interested and said we can come over again tomorrow to give them their own copies! It was hilarious but actually a pretty cool experience. This week should just be normal though. We've got some new people in the district and our zone is doing well so life's good. 

Well that's all the excitement from the week I think. We're losing a bunch of good elders this change though, lots of mission buddies are going home this week so it's pretty weird to see. The sisters that were with me in the MTC also all go home so it's super weird! But I love you all so much! Thanks for everything! I'll talk to you next week! 


February 24, 2015

Hello! Mom the weather here is alright, it's just hanging right around 0 degrees celsius and it's snowing today. The snow here last till like april or June so it won't leave any time soon haha but at least it's not that cold anymore. The worst part is that it just get's super slushy and icy everywhere and it's way gross. But the sun shines much more now and it's pretty nice. 
Well mom that was way cool to hear about Patti's brother's convert here. Tell him that we appreciate the info and we will try to find her and contact her. Well all of the baptisms that we had scheduled for this week won't happen this week. But it's ok, we're still teaching all of the investigators and I still think that they will be baptized but they just need a little more time. The Finnish couple that was going to be baptized are still doing really well. We asked both of them how they felt about baptism. The wife said she feels totally ready and wants to be baptized, but then the husband said he's just still not sure about things and he is pretty hesitant to belong to a set organization like so they just need more time. The husband said himself though that he likes the church and book of mormon, and that he could very well be baptized in the future but right now he's not ready to make the changes. The wife however is still considering being baptized pretty soon. She got a little scared that the husband doesn't want to be baptized right now so she's nervous and she is still struggling to quit drinking coffee. But I think that she can do it and that she'll will be baptized in the next few weeks. So even though the week was sad and rough in some ways, it was still really good and a rewarding week. Our other investigator who is the 30 year old mom from Russia is just awesome. She is the most prepared investigator I've ever taught. We taught her a great lesson at her house this week and then the next day we met her at the church for a church tour. We showed her the chapel and explained what happens in church and taught a little lesson and she just loved it. She was feeling the spirit super strong and she told us that for a while before she met us she had been going through a rough time. Her kid was being pretty difficult and had a bit of a temper and nothing was going right for her and so she prayed every day and asked God to just help her out. She felt like she had done something wrong and just wanted help. Then a few days later we talked to her outside of her house. She said if she had not been praying for guidance she would have shut us down and not talked to us at all but she felt like maybe we were the answer to her prayers. So now, about a month later she told us that she believes that it really was a sign from God that this is what she needs to do. It was probably the coolest lesson I've ever taught. She said that she would come to church but then unfortunately her husband had work and she had to stay with the baby so she wasn't able to make it to church. That was sad. But she's great and I'm sure that she'll figure out how to make it next week. 
Well this week we have our transfer calls coming. We'll probably get called on Saturday and find out what's happening. I guess that I'll stay here and I'll probably get a new companion. But you never know. I've been getting thrown all over the place. But I really really want to stay here in Oulu I love this place. O this week there was a huge YSA event in Oulu so YSAs from all over finland came up here and came to church on Sunday. So I saw a ton of people that I knew from Helsinki and Espoo and all my friends from Turku!! It was awesome! It was like all the people that I love in Finland all together it was so much fun to see them all. I sat with a bunch of the people from Turku who are all waiting on mission calls and have exciting stuff going on so it was awesome. Overall a great week. Well I love you all! I'll talk to you next week!