5 September, 2013
What-the-week-three??! It's amazing that it's been this long, but it's also weird that I haven't been here for years! I've gotten pretty used to the routine now, although I do tend to get really sleepy right after lunch, so I'll have to find a way to stay alert in the afternoons.
Finnish is going really well. I know more that I possibly thought I could, but at the same time, there's always some nasty little grammar principle hiding behind the corner, waiting to pounce. We fin(n)ished (see what I did there?) our lessons with "Maria" and have two new "investigators"- Petri and Esko, played by two of our teachers. Petri is all Finnish, right off the bat, but we get our first week of lessons with Esko in English. You'd think that it would be easier in English, and it is in some ways, but Finnish has been a blessing in disguise because it makes us speak simply and rely on the Spirit just to know how to say the right words! Also, when we teach in English, it feels weird going back to Finnish. We had a somewhat disastrous first lesson with Petri, so we're hoping to make up for it tomorrow night. Things with Esko are going really well, and Sisar Nyman and I continue to feel guided towards the same ideas when we teach. We're learning a lot about meeting the investigator's needs, rather than just giving a lesson, and I need to learn to be more humble and give my companion more time to talk. She's nothing but patient and loving, so it's been really easy working with her.
The other Finnish missionaries are such a fun group! I say that we're going to the best mission, at the best possible time, with the best people. There have been prophecies made about Finland becoming a country where people will be open to the Gospel message and the work will prosper there, and those things are just starting to come true. I can't express enough how blessed I am go to to Finland, even if it means conjugating nouns and braving the arctic. Veli Boyer (veli=brother) is one of our teachers, who served in Finland until about a year ago. He shared a thought that really touched me. He said that many people talk about how hard a Finnish mission must be, and how we shouldn't expect to see baptisms while we're there. I'll admit, that's been my thinking. But then he reminded us that the Nephites thought that Ammon and his brothers were a bit insane for choosing to serve among the Lamanites. But then look what happened- They had great success and brought thousands and thousands of people to a knowledge of the gospel, and it was a HUGE success! It's true, I probably won't see every person I teach accept the Gospel while I'm out serving, but this will be the best work I can possibly do. It's already the best thing I've ever done.
As far as language goes, I'm having fun finding weird ways to make word association work in my favor. "Ateria" is meal, because you eat meals in a caf"ateria". That one's a pretty normal example, but they're usually more of a stretch, like "kokemuus" is "experience" because drinking a Coke with a moose would probably be a memorable experience. "Luopumuus" is "apostasty" because it's like a wolf (the French word for wolf is "loup") hunting down a moose. The moose is taken from off the face of the earth, and thus begins the Great Moose Apostasy! It works pretty well! Sisar Nymand and I try to make learning Finnish fun.
The two of us have been called as our branch music directors, and since Sisar Nyman grew up in Norway, she's not familiar with a lot of the English hymns. She has a lot of fun discovering new songs. Can I just take a moment to talk about how wonderful minun toverini (my companion) is? My big fear going into the mission was to have a silly 19-year old companion that I couldn't relate to. I have the best companion I could possibly hope for! She's incredibly patient, humble, kind, loving, spiritual, just about every good thing. We work well together and understand each other easily. She's always concerned about me and how I'm doing, and I try to be as good to her as she is to me, although I'm sure she teaches me more than I could teach her. We're even moving around a lot more at gym time, because we just naturally want to help each other improve and be more obedient! So I get to serve my mission in Finland AND I get a wonderful MTC companion?? Heavenly Father loves to spoil me, doesn't He?
I still love my life here, and I'm excited to develop more as a missionary and prepare to get out into the field! I have a lot of time left, but the days are getting shorter, so it'll be over before I know it! I wish I had the time (and patience) to write down every little wonderful thing that happens, but hopefully I get the most important stuff.
Mina rakastan minun Vapahtajani ja Hanen tyo! Mina rakastan minum elamani MTC-lle! Mina rakstan teita!