Week 26 – Menen Turkuun

Alright, so we got our transfer calls and I’m headed off to Turku! I’ve been serving in Tampere ever since I got to Finland so it’ll be interesting to see another major city here! My companion is going to be Sisar Johns, and she was just companions with Sisar Anderson (my MTC companion) and so I’m excited to go see and hear more about what Sisar Anderson has been up to! And I’ve met Sisar Johns at zone conference and she seems awesome so I’m really excited for that!

As for this last week, it was Juhannus! In some parts of Finland the sun barely goes down on Juhannus but where we are it was for a few hours. But according to the members it’s still really light even without the sun being totally up (we didn’t get to see – we still had to go to bed at 10:30 and get up at 6:30). And so on Friday night they all stay up late and go swimming in the lakes and have bonfires and party. But they also joke around that it’s always colder and windier on Juhannus because God doesn’t want them to be out drinking and partying. And so it rained a little bit and Saturday was super windy and a little stormy, but we got to hang out with members and played board games and ate a lot of food so it was awesome! And almost everybody leaves the city and goes out to their mökki (a small summer home by a lake) for Juhannus so the city was super quiet and empty for a few days. But almost everybody is back now and things have returned to usual.

This week we also learned that our proselyting area is getting a car! And this area really needs it, taking the buses takes so long to get anywhere and this is going to help making meeting with people easier and more possible. I’m so excited for the Tampere 2 area! A little disappointed that I won’t get to enjoy the car…we have buses in Turku…but mostly just happy for the area.

One thing that I’ve been thinking about a lot this week is our agency. A lot of the time the adversary tries to trick us into thinking that we are stuck and can’t do anything because of how we are feeling or the circumstances around us. And there are times when these things are tricky to manage and make it harder for us to be happy or excited or hopeful, but that in no way means that we can’t be! Heavenly Father gave us our agency, our ability to choose, and that’s something that the adversary can’t take, so he tries to make us think that it’s gone more often than it actually is. But at the end of everything, we choose how we act, whether it’s according to our feelings or in spite of them. We can choose to smile even when it’s hard, or we can choose to get up and try again even if we think it won’t work, or we can choose to think about the good things instead of the bad. Yes, it is tricky sometimes, but it’s incredibly more worth it to remember that it’s up to us to choose who we want to become and who we want to be. And the little choices we make add up to help us keep moving forward.

Now for the pictures!

We saw like 3 rainbows next to each other while we were out tracting in Nokia one evening this week.

We found a giant mushroom! My foot is in the picture for a size reference.

Some pizza we tried. Pizza crust in Europe is very different from the states so we’ve been on a hunt for a good one, and so we tried this place and it was pretty good!

Fun fact: Finland’s #1 export is lumber so on our train to district council in Jyväskylä we always see these huge piles of lumber as shown in the picture.

I hope you all have a great week!

Beautiful rainbows - June 2019.jpg

 

Giant mushroom - June 2019.jpg

 

Pizza - June 2019.jpg

 

Lumber - 2019.jpg

 

 

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Week 25 – Kengat ja Puheli Shoes and Phone

It’s funny how you have a whole week of things happen and then as soon as you sit down to write them out you can’t even remember what happened. Hopefully in spite of that I’ll come up with something good to share about this week.

Oh I have a pair of shoes that are starting to break down! I feel pretty accomplished about that. I mean, all I did was walk in them, but you gotta do quite a bit of walking to get shoes to start breaking down and in my head it seems like a rite of passage as a missionary to wear down a pair of shoes. (Don’t worry, I have other shoes to wear, it’s not that big of a deal.)

On Sunday we had a lesson that we thought was going to be a drop lesson (where we tell our friend we can’t meet anymore because they aren’t doing the things we ask them to do and so we have to move on to teach other people) and both Sisar Smith and I were nervous for it. But then we went to the lesson with a less-active member as our third person and it went way better than we expected. He actually said that he would try to pray how we asked and that he would pray and ask about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. He really likes to talk about these things, but before it had been less about him trying to apply the things in his life and see if they work. But he had a different attitude this time and was definitely more willing. It was so awesome! We can’t meet with him very often because of his work schedule, but we’re excited to hear how everything goes the next time we meet!

When we update our mission president every week on how we are doing we let him know about our tender mercies of the week and I really liked my one from this week so I figured I’d include it here. My tender mercy this week happened last Wednesday. We had had a crazy day of trains and buses and a dinner appointment and both of us weren’t feeling well. So we went home in the 8 o’clock hour and I didn’t particularly want to do things but felt like I was capable enough so I did some area book work because I didn’t feel confident enough in my language abilities to call on my own while my companion was sick. But then with 20 minutes left and my other tasks completed I felt like I should try anyway, so I called two people, both of whom answered and I was able to handle the conversations completely on my own, and they both set up lessons with us. It was a miracle! I know that when we are having hard days but still work to do the little we can Heavenly Father will help with the rest and we will see wonderful things come of it.

Also…guess who’s horrible at taking pictures? Yup you guessed right….Sister Cox. So I’ve got a picture of the primary room and a selfie I just took in the library haha someday I’ll remember to take pictures…

Oh and there’s a picture I forgot to send a few weeks ago of part of the view of our bike ride to go get our friend to and from church.

Anyways that was my week, I hope y’all have a great one!

(Note from Grandma Morgan – Faith sent some pictures but I’m having difficulty posting them so I will try to put them into another post…)

 

Week 24 – Puhuminen Bussilla “Speaking by bus”

Alright, so this Saturday we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders who are just on the other side of Tampere. They spent the night with us and then the next day came tracting and contacting with us and we got to talk to them about missionary work and ask them questions and get a lit of great advice about how to better talk to people and be less afraid of it.

One of my favorite things that one of the Sisters told us was how she had a hard time bus contacting (turning around in your seat and talking to a random stranger on a silent bus…yes we do that…) and that it was really awkward and hard at first, and that’s how I feel a lot of the time about it. But in her third transfer she and her companion decided to just go for it and be awkward and try to talk to people on buses and she said that the more awkward contacts they had the more comfortable they became, and now bus contacting is her favorite! And every time she would feel afraid to talk to them she would remember all the times that she had started to talk to people and run out of time because they only had one stop left but were amazing people and then she’d feel more hopeful about it. So I took a leap of faith yesterday and tried pushing out of my comfort zone and started a conversation with a lady on the bus and we talked with her for like 20 minutes and she was just a really interesting and awesome person and we asked if she’d like to meet and take about our church sometime and she said yes so we got her phone number right before we got off the bus! It was awesome. That’s one of the most successful bus contacts I’ve had on my mission and I’m sure that Heavenly Father orchestrated all of this. And now I have a great experience to remember the next time I’m scared to talk to somebody on a bus. So keep doing things that scare you – I promise that Heavenly Father will see what you are doing and do everything he can to help you to grow and learn as you push yourself.

Quick story to explain a picture: I love Snickerdoodles, but we have yet to find any cream of tartar in Finland, and to the best of our knowledge it’s not here. So I Frankensteined a recipe to where you can use just baking powder and baking soda in a certain ratio to get an effect very close to cream of tartar. So I brought some to district council two weeks ago and everybody loved them! Especially our district leader, they are his favorite, and it turns out that because they are he actually has some cream of tartar! And since he goes home in 2 weeks and will therefore have access to all the cream tartar he would ever need he bequeathed his to me!! So tonight I get to make some real snickerdoodles for district council tomorrow as a thank you. So the picture of cookies I included are those. (Also I finally have a picture of George the hedgehog for y’all)

I hope you all have a great week! And feel free to shoot me an email and let me know what’s happening in your life! My email  is faith.cox@missionary.org

Hei hei!

COOKIES June 2019    Electric light monument June 2019 Hedgehog George - June 2019

 

Week 23 – Eventful Week

So it’s been a fairly eventful week. We have a new friend we are teaching, she has a baptismal date, and she came to church on Sunday!

We knocked on her door last Monday, and when she opened it she was facing the other direction. She asked who we were and who told us to come there, and Sisar Smith responded we were church representatives and it was the Holy Ghost. And she told us to come in. We realized that she had been turned around because she was blind. We talked with her for about 15 minutes, gave her a Book of Mormon, and she asked us to come back on Thursday. So then Thursday we went back and read some of the Book of Mormon to her and talked about church. She said she really wanted to go and asked us to come and pick her up and help her get on the bus to get to the church and the same for the way back, and we told her that of course we would. Then we talked a little more and she just asked us out of the blue (in Finnish, translated by Sisar Smith), “So this baptism thing, can I have it?” And we just kinda froze, because nobody really asks us if they can be baptized, let alone in the second meeting. We told her of course she could, and she wanted to be baptized 3 days later this last Sunday but we told her there were a couple other things she would have to learn about first. But her enthusiasm and her love for the Savior and Heavenly Father is refreshing and wonderful. We are incredibly grateful for her.

Then, on Sunday, in order to get our friend on the bus we had to catch a bus at like 7:40 in the morning because they come so infrequently. But it came 5 minutes early…so we missed it. And then our options were walking for an hour and a half and getting her to church late, waiting 20 minutes for a bus to take us for like 10 minutes and then walking for like 45 minutes and still being late, or waiting for a later bus and being late. And then I remembered that we have bikes – but we hadn’t used them yet. So we had a whole ordeal with a tire being flat and the tire pump not being the right size, but thank goodness for district leaders because in a 3 minute call with ours he told us how to get the bike pump working and we were finally on our way. Except that what should have been a 25 minute ride according to google maps was actually like a 35-40 minute ride because according to Sisar Smith it was “the most elevation change (she’s) ever seen in Finland” so we were riding uphill a fair amount of the way. We ended up biking 9 miles total on Sunday, the ride there in the morning and the ride back in the afternoon after bringing our friend home. We were exhausted by the time we finally got home from everything at 3. But the great thing is our friend loved church! She asked us if she can come back! We told her of course she can, and she mentioned she may be able to take a taksi next time so we wouldn’t have to ride bikes and buses all over town again.

What was so crazy about all of this was we didn’t necessarily do anything special to find our friend. She was already ready, she just needed somebody to give her the tools and the opportunity. It was a wonderful evidence to me that missionary work really is all in the Lord’s hands and that he’s watching out for each and every one of his children. So if you know somebody who you think is ready to hear about the gospel, don’t hesitate to share it! You may be the one that the Lord has put in their path to help them on their way.

Pictures:

1) My trying kebab for the first time

Faith eating Kebab, June 2019.jpg

2) Finlayson street view (used to be an old factory, now full of restaurants and stores and museums it’s so cool)

Finlayson Street view - June 2019.jpg

 

3) A picture commemorating our bike rides on Sunday. Have a great week!

Bike Ride Adventure 1 - June 2019.jpg                          Bike Ride Adventure 2 - June 2019

(A note from Grandma and Grandpa Morgan:  Very early this morning,  we had the wonderful opportunity to talk to Faith by the fabulous and powerful technology we are blessed with (in this marvelous day and age) AND we even saw her sweet face!!)

Regarding Missionaries calling home:  Many thanks to her thoughtful Mission President for enlarging his definition of family to include grandparents! We are thrilled to have chatted with Sisar Cox today. This is a short list of our chat:  the yummy food, her bike riding adventure, the friends she and her companion are teaching and working with, her ward and her wonderful Bishop…

Just like you, we love and miss Sisar Faith Cox and we are thrilled with her loving service!

 

 

Week 22 (a bit late) Siili

Guess what we found right outside our apartment?

A siili!!!! (A hedgehog)

We were so excited that we took way too many pictures of him. And named him George. Sadly, we’ve yet to spot George since the day that he was sleeping in the shade outside our apartment, but we’re pretty sure he will come back.

It’s warming up here in Tampere, I’m a little sad to have to say goodbye to my sweaters for a little while, but it definitely is beautiful here. Now when we wake up at 6:30 it looks like it’s the middle of the day, and at 10:30 when we go to bed it looks like it’s the middle of the afternoon. Its the strangest thing. But its also nice and energizing because your body always thinks it’s time to be awake so we are doing our best to capitalize on that.

We’re getting in contact with more people here and trying to set up lessons, and now that it’s starting to warm up and people are getting out of school more people are able to meet with us so hopefully that’ll result in having a new friend we’re teaching soon.

You may or may not already know that as a part of my personal study I had started reading the Bible all the way through. I got through Genesis and Exodus and started reading Leviticus when I realized something really interesting. In all that I had read it felt like I had to pay close attention and search more often for how it showed Heavenly Father’s love for his children and his relationship with the individual. I would sometimes read 10-20 pages in a day and look back and only read lists of names and places and specificities. But then I read a chapter in the book of mormon – Alma 22 – and it was all about a missionary named Aaron teaching King Lamoni’s father about the gospel. And it was only 18 verses, less than two pages, and it told directly how there is a God, what his plan for us is, and what we can do to act in accordance with his will. And it was just right there. I didn’t have to read between the lines or get through pages and pages of a story. And I was talking with my companion about this and we concluded that it makes perfect sense why Heavenly Father gave us the Book of Mormon and not just the Bible. It helps clarify the Bible and together the books bring us closer to Heavenly Father and help us become more like our savior. I am very grateful that we have the Book of Mormon because in reading for only 10 minutes you can get clear answers to your questions and guidance for your life, and I promise that if you spend just 10 minutes a day doing that you’ll see huge blessings come from it.

I hope you all have a great week!!

(No photos)

Week 21 – Pizza

Well this week was a frozen pizza.

Don’t worry, I will explain.

Every Sunday we have call-ins with our district leader. And our current district leader concludes these calls with asking us to describe our week as if it was a thing, and the thing changes every week. Our first Sunday it was  “describe your week as a classical painting” and two days ago it was “describe your week as a pizza” and then we have to explain why. It took us a few minutes of thinking and then i asked sister smith, “what’s a pizza with a lot of potential?” And she replied, “a frozen one?” and that turned out to be incredibly accurate. It’s got a lot of potential, it’s going to taste great once it goes in the oven next week, and we are excited for it, but it’s still frozen. And that’s how our week was. All of our lessons fell through, so we did a lot of tracting and calling, but we met and got in contact with a lot of great people and are meeting with them this week or next week so we’re excited to cook and enjoy the pizza in this upcoming week.

Other than that, I started reading the old testament from the beginning about a week and a half ago and its actually really awesome. I’m trying to get through all the standard works and some other things over the course of my mission so I’m starting with the old testament. And I’m loving it! It’s so fun to read and see how what we teach in our church and things like our temples and other teachings really line up with the Bible. It’s been an awesome testimony builder and I am so grateful that we have scriptures to read and study from. They may be a little hard to get into sometimes, but the more you read them the more they become like good familiar friends and ultimately some of your favorite books. Make sure you take time in your day to read from them!

Also, so far all of the titles have been in Finnish, and I wanna make a disclaimer this one still is because “pizza” in Finnish is “pizza.” Just thought I’d let you all know haha have a great week!!

(No pictures… I miss her pictures!)

Week 20 – Nysse

Alright, so I’m still in Tampere, and life is good! Sister Smith is so awesome!! She’s actually a computer science major at BYU and it turns out she was actually a TA for CS 142 at BYU the semester that I took it! It’s possible she helped me in the lab or graded some of my code. It’s really funny how small this world ends up being sometimes! Anyways, she’s a lot of fun and we get along really well.

We had some fun times with the buses this week (“Nysse” is the name of the bus system in Tampere). Last transfer Sisar Watts took care of getting us places for the majority of the transfer and I didn’t necessarily start figuring out our bus system and whatnot until about 2 weeks ago. And sometimes a bus comes a few minutes early or is like 5 minutes late so we end up waiting at bus stops a lot. And we’ve done quite a bit of walking to and from bus stops. But the good thing is I think I’ve got it figured out now, and two weeks from today we have zone conference where we’re going to set up our smartphones and be able to start using them!! So we’ll be able to check the real times the bus comes rather than the estimate put up on the boards at the stops. And instead of having to figure things out on our map and look at all the individual papers for each bus route we can just click a few buttons and have the same information. Technology is SUCH a blessing. We’re going to actually go buy my smartphone today, so I’m pretty excited!!

We had a pretty good week tracting and lesson wise. We’ve gotten some contact information for some new friends and for some older friends, we taught a first lesson, and we found a huge new tracting building that’s in one of our closer areas so we’re excited to keep meeting people and setting up lessons! It’s been a great start to a great transfer.

Have a great week!! Hei hei!

(No pictures)

Week 19 – Olen Tamparella Vielä!

We got our transfer calls on Friday, so I will be staying in Tampere and getting a new companion, Sisar Smith! So tomorrow we go to the Tampere train station so that I can drop off Sisar Watts and pick up Sisar Smith and then we’ll get right to work! We only travel by bus and walking here so I’ve been trying to get to know the buses better over the last two weeks so that Sisar Smith and I don’t get totally lost this week….I’ll have to let you know how that works out next week!

Yesterday and the day before Sisar Watts was using part of the 8 o’clock hour to pack since she’s leaving Tampere, so I was kinda in charge of making calls and doing follow-up and I realized I’m able to understand more and say more on my own in Finnish than I sometimes think I can. She was always there to help when I got really confused or lost, but because I knew more of it was my responsibility because I was the one holding the phone and talking to multiple people in a row and that I just had to try I actually did and was surprised at the fact that I was handling phone calls in Finnish on my own. Things aren’t as scary as we sometimes think they are in our heads, that’s why we have to go and do instead of sitting around waiting until we feel we are “ready” and the last two evenings have been a great reminder of that. So if you’re nervous about something right now, or hesitating to take action, just go and do and I promise that you’ll see wonderful results!!

One of the members in our ward is so sweet and always comes on lessons with us and teaches us Finnish every week. She does so much to help the missionaries and she loves Moomin (the character on the left, Snufkin, is her favorite) so I made this for her for her birthday on Saturday! I knitted a green rectangle and then embroidered on it with whitish-gray yarn. It took a couple of weeks of using evening time to make but I managed to get it done and it was totally worth it. She was so happy she was speechless. It was awesome!

Sisar Cox and Sisar Watts - April 2019 week of Transfers
Sisar Cox and Sisar Watts – Transfer week April 2019
Faith's stitch pic - April 2019
Moomin (the character on the left, Snufkin, is her favorite) so I made this for her birthday on Saturday!     

Comment from Grandma Morgan : Faith continues to use her handy work talents and no doubt she blesses the lives of those she comes in contact with.

This post is late by a week. (Sorry about that!!) Last week I was sick so I didn’t get her letter posted.  Thank you Uncle Marchane for letting me know you missed Faith’s post! I will post her letters in a timely manner!!

Week 18 – Hyvää Pääsiäista!!

Happy Easter!! What a wonderful week it’s been. What a wonderful Easter it’s been.

Here in Finland, Easter is a much longer holiday. It starts on Pitkäperjantai, or long Friday, which is the day that we commemorate our Savior suffering for our sins on the cross. It’s a holiday in Finland and I believe it’s when their Easter break begins. Then Sunday is Pääsiäispäiva or Easter day when Christ rose up from the grave as a resurrected being. Then Monday is another Easter holiday that commemorates when he appeared to his disciples the following day. So these 3 days are all Easter holidays where families get together to eat and to celebrate. And I felt like it’s such a wonderful time to be a missionary because what better thing is there to do on Easter/for Easter than to go around talking about our Savior Jesus Christ? There isn’t! Because of him we can become better every day and give more to others. We can be forgiven for anything we’ve done wrong and become a new person. So many good things come from him. I’m so grateful to be a missionary and get to tell everyone about him!

They also have these special chocolate eggs for Easter that are a real egg shell filled with a chocolate hazelnut mixture that is delicious! Getting Kinder eggs has also been fun.

 

Hazelnut egg for Easter April 2019
Chocolate Easter Egg
Peeling the egg - Easter April 2019
Cracking Easter Egg
Sisar Cox - nice warm pants - April 2019
Sisar Cox in her nice warm pants.
Trees - April 2019
Beautiful Finland trees.