Yep, that is right! Valmistautumispäivä is the Finnish word for P-Day! "Valmis" means "ready", and "Vasmistaa" is the verb for "to prepare", so it actually makes a lot of sense. Finnish is wonderful that way. If you learn the right words, you can guess the meaning of a lot of bigger words, because words are often related. Sisar Nyman and my favorite word this week has been "hankala", which means "awkward", as in "hankala katkarapu" (awkward shrimp). Veli Arnesen has a little poem he taught us, which goes, "Kokko kokosi kokko, koko kokon. Kokoko kokko? Koko Kokon." It means, "Kokko (boy's name) organised a bonfire, the whole bonfire. The whole bonfire? The whole bonfire." It's actually more complicated than it looks, because "kokko" and "kokon" are the same word, but the latter is that word with a case attached to it, which adds the N and gets rid of a K. It's amazing anyone can just speak this language without thinking it through every time! I will say that things are finally starting to click for me. There's a particularly difficult noun case called partitive that is also the most commonly used case. It's different for plural or singular nouns (or adjectives), and I just wasn't getting it for a long time. I ended up just making my own rules chart and color coding it to recognize patterns, and now it's a piece of cake! There's a lot about Finnish that doesn't make much sense to me, like why many of these noun cases even exist, but I love seeing the miracle of taking on such an enormous project and seeing growth every day! They say that only babies and missionaries learn Finnish, and I know that's because this would be absolutely impossible without the Lord's help.
As I'm writing this, there's a group of brand new missionaries coming in for class. They're headed off to Tacoma in another couple weeks! Ahhhhhh!! So cool! They are headed for the (second) best mission every! (Because seriously- Tacoma is fantastic, but can it really beat Finland?) Their teacher just told me that he's from the Seattle area, and he's friends with the Perkins family, from Chimmacum! I'm borderline giddy.
This week has gone by so fast, it's hard to say what's happened. We had a freak storm the other day that cut gym time short (too bad, right?) but it only lasted about half an hour or so. WEIRD.
The Sisaret are all trying to come up with a special musical number for sacrament meeting. Sisar Ross bought a childrens' song book in Finnish, so we're trying to decide which one we want to sing. We've been going to choir before devotionals, although this last week was the last week in the Marriott Center before it gets moved over to the main campus for the fall/winter. We sang an arrangement of "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" that was in itself an incredibly spiritual experience. I feel so blessed to have been a part of that. The choir director asked if anyone could recite his story in a difficult language, and a Finnish elder (going to Russia) came up and did it suomeksi! He spoke really softly (which I've heard is typical) and really quickly, but I was so excited to be able to identify words like "valo" (light), "Jumala" (God), "Poikasi" (my Son). Pretty cool!
Our lessons are pretty mixed. We have on "investigator" who's particularly difficult, since he's so quiet and private, but we finally got to him, and hopefully he can see improvements in his family life. We've also split up companionships and started teaching each other, playing characters. I'm with Vanhin McMaster, and we teach Vanhin Call and Sisar Nyman. It's so weird teaching with an elder, and having to teach two people at once! They have such different needs, so it'll take a lot of careful planning to get both of them the help they need. Our newest investigator is played by Sisar Christoffersen, and she's a different person for each companionship. For Sisar Nyman and I, she's Ilkari. We only had 12 minutes to knock on her door, convince her to invite us in, and give her a first lesson. We learned a lot about teaching simply and effectively, mostly because that's not how it went for the two of us. Next time we'll focus more on her needs, and less on trying to get a lesson out. We'll have much more success that way.
I'm learning a lot lately about how humility and confidence go together. I'm constantly humbled by all I'm asked to do, and who I'm asked to become. I know I am far from the person I hope to be by the end of my service, but as I pray and study and try my hardest to learn and improve, I feel the confidence of the Lord telling me that I will be that person, that I can do it with His help. I know that Finland is only a month away, and my language skills still won't be enough for me to say everything I want to say by the time I get there, but I'm not scared or worried. The Lord called me to Finland because somehow, that country needs me (and I might even need Finland!), and if it were too difficult, I'd go someplace else. I am growing in confidence every day, and I do have my prideful moments, but I'm always striving to do better and I feel the rewards of the Spirit for my efforts. I've said this before, but despite the hardships of the work so far, this is the best decision I could've made.
Mina rakastan teita!