I’m currently sitting on our couch bundled up in a sweater and a blanket while listening to church music. It really is the little things and the little moments that just make you so happy and content.
Now, onto the email! We’ve had such an amazing two weeks here in Turku! I absolutely love Sisar Jensen. She’s in her second transfer so I’m finish-trainung her. We get along super well and she’s such a fun, smart, good, hard-worker. We’ve got a great transfer in store for us!
This last week we got two new friends we are teaching, one is a Finn who was a referral from temple square that has been researching our church for a few weeks and really interested to know more, and the other is from Uganda and he’s so far so amazing. We were tracting last sunday evening in student housing, and after an hour of nobody answering my companion turns to me and says, “that just means that at the very last door we knock on, someone is going to open and invite us in.” And sure enough, 10 minutes before we have to catch our bus, this friend from Uganda opens his door and just says, “come in!” To which my companion says, “we have a message about Jesus Christ.” And he says, “I know, come in!” Well, we couldn’t come in because we didn’t have a third man with us but he took a book of mormon and then said to us, “well you can come back next Sunday and check on how my reading is going.” So we went to see him on sunday with our ward mission leader’s wife, and it was honestly the best first lesson I’ve ever had. After we taught about priesthood authority I asked why he thought that authority was important, and he went on to talk about how there are so many different churches where he’s from because everybody keeps breaking off from the mainstream church and nobody has authority and it’s not all unified. He then said that it was a big problem that the authority isn’t there. And we just sat there in shock that he got that so quickly, it was amazing!
(I also haven’t had a restoration lesson in English in at least four months so I got a little tongue tied, but gratefully my companion is an amazing teacher and led our restoration lesson rather beautifully.)
We also had exchanges this week in Tampere and I went to a lesson with a less-active member there and was part of a school presentation/church tour (my first one) and they both went surprisingly well! I was pretty nervous because talking to a class of Finnish teenagers about the church was something I hadn’t done before, but there were a few other missionaries there and I found that my Finnish came so well and I
was able to just talk when it was my turn! The gift of tongues is so real! There’s no way I’d be able to speak this language so well on my own, that ability very much comes from Heavenly Father, and I am so grateful for it.
Oh, and a few weeks ago we got a phone call from a random number, and when I answered it was a friend Sisar Johns and I had met that we thought had blocked our number, but it turned out she had just gotten a new number! So we went over there and did some service, helping her to clean the cupboards in her kitchen (she is a gypsy and they have a very particular way of cleaning and like it to be very tidy so it was cool to learn more about their culture and how they do things). Well, her adult daughter, sister, and aunt were all there so while we were cleaning they all asked us about the church and why we are here in Finland and I basically got to teach the four of them a short restoration lesson in Finnish and give this woman’s sister a book of mormon and the number of the missionaries where she lives. And this week we helped them again to clean their dad’s place. And they just kept calling us angels and the sister said that the next time she’s here in Turku (she lives in another city) she’ll come to church with us! It’s been so amazing to see how service blesses the lives of those we meet and helps them to see the light of the gospel. We are going to see this friend on Sunday, she wants to make dinner for us and we’ll talk more to her about learning about the restored gospel. We are so excited for that!
Also, I finished knitting my first pair of socks! They’re super warm and I love them so much. And now I’m onto making some christmas/winter themed ones!! And I’ll be teaching Sisar Jensen how to knit this week! Man, so many exciting things happening here in Turku.
And we went out last monday to go running and found everything covered in a light layer of snow! It melted within a few hours, but it’s definitely starting to be winter here and I love it, that means Christmas is coming!!
We also celebrated Pyhäinpäivä Saturday, Saints Day, with a recent convert and member of the ward. On Saints Day all the Finns go to the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and clean off the graves and light candles to remember them. And if you can’t make it to the cemetary of your loved one, you can light a candle in another spot in the cemetary with a ton of other people who have lit candles for their loved ones. I lit one for my mom and that was really special. It was beautiful to see the “kynttilänmeri” (sea of candles). I love that I know that my mom is still “around” and able to appreciate that candle as she does her own missionary work on the other side of the veil. I’m so grateful for the knowledge I have of the plan of salvation and the comfort that it brings.
Okay, this email turned out way longer than I thought it would be but I just keep coming up with things to say! Hopefully it wasn’t too long and y’all enjoy the pictures. Have a wonderful week, and feel free to shoot me an email any time to let me know how you’re doing or ask any questions!
– the famous socks
– SNOW ❄
– us and our candles on Pyhäinpäivä
– the dinner that we brought to the Elders serving in our ward when we heard they were sick 🍛
– enjoying some snickerdoodle cookie dough (our first baking adventure together!)