Today marks the beginning of the long-awaited, much anticipated "Consecration Week". This morning we went to the temple, and when we came out, no more English for a week! Of course, if we need to communicate with a non-Finn, one person can translate as the other speaks. But my companion and I are trying to translate literally, so we have to think extra hard about what we say. For example, if my companion says, "Minä pidän sinun paitaa" instead of, "Minä pidän sinun paitasta" I will have to say, "I will keep your shirt", instead of, "I like your shirt." We'll speak much more carefully this way! We put little tags on our badges that say "No English" as a warning to all those who dare converse with us. We took a walk over to Brigham's Landing for lunch, and it's amazing how hard it is to order a hot chocolate when you don't remember the word for hot! The girl at the counter was super patient, though, so we wrote her a thank-you note in English. Then we headed over to Jamba Juice, where a generous return sister missionary paid our tab for us! My companion's first every Jamba, and it was free! I love how nice people are to missionaries, not because I benefit, but because they're living out Mosiah 2:17, which states that when we're in the service of our fellow being, we're only in the service of our God. I can feel the love these people have for their Heavenly Father and His gospel through their kindness to us, and at the risk of sounding cheesy, it's even better than a free smoothie.
The big highlight of the week was, of course, Yleiskonferenssi! If you didn't watch it, go to LDS.org and get to it! I loved Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk, because it spoke so clearly to me as a missionary. Why would anyone want to join a church that expects so much of its members? Because the benefits far outweigh the costs, of course! Because nothing else will bring greater happiness or fulfillment in this life or the next! I also loved it when Thomas S. Monson, our prophet, asked, "Shall I falter, or shall I Finnish?" Okay, not exactly like THAT, but I like to think that's what he meant. Every since I got my call to serve in Finland, the word "finish" has never been the same. It's never not a pun anymore. But as the language gets more demanding and the weather gets colder, sometimes it can be hard to find the energy to keep going and do my best. Sometimes I wonder if I'm really up to the task put in front of me. That extra "n" gives me the strength I need to remind myself to keep going on those tough days. It reminds me that I was called to Finland because Heavenly Father needs me there, and not only can I "finish" my mission, but I'm also determined to "Finnish" it, and do it well. It's amazing how, like it says in Alma 37:6, "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass." By a silly little pun, does one missionary renew her sense of purpose.
Unfortunately, conference weekend also marked the starting point of Sisar Hansen feeling sick. I'm pretty amazed that, with all the people around me, I held out as long as I did! I was fine to watch all of the sessions of conference, but partway through Monday morning class, it became apparent to both my companion and I that I needed sleep badly. Judging by the fact that I slept like a rock for about 5 hours that afternoon, I really did need it! I tried to practice language and read the scriptures when I was awake, and I feel like I figured out how to use my time wisely, even in a not-so-ideal situation. My amazing toveri spent all afternoon pouring over books while I was konked out. One of the hardest things about the mission has been not being able to take naps, so I learned to be careful what I wish for- I just might get that nap, but not for the reason I'd hoped for. I'm doing much better already, and should be fully recovered by Monday or so.
Yesterday was the day for new missionaries to arrive, and we Finns had the opportunity to host them! We unloaded their luggage from a big truck, then helped them get settled in their apartments and find their classrooms. West Campus is transitioning to all-Spanish soon, so we only had Spanish-speaking, and stateside missionaries (statesides only stay for about 10 or 11 days, so they'll filter out soon and make room for more Spanish speakers.) I met a couple sisters going to South Carolina- I wonder if they'll meet Sister Makin? I love seeing the new missionaries because they are so nervous and excited. Their excitement helps renew my excitement, and their nervousness reminds me of how far I've come, and how many miracles they'll soon see as they begin their service. It's hard to even remember my first day here, even though it was just a few weeks ago! And just ELEVEN DAYS until I finally touch down on Finnish soil! I might see some of the sisters I hosted on the way to the airport!
I've been trying to get more out of my scripture study. Some days personal study seems to drag on a bit, and I need to make sure that it always flies by because that means I'm working hard and being immersed in the scriptures. Fortunately, it's more often the latter lately. I've re-discovered how amazing the New Testament is. I read Paul's letters to the Philippians and to the Thessalonians, which I haven't read very in-depth in some time. Usually when I read from the NT, it's from Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. And I've been depriving myself, because Paul's letters are so amazing! Thessalonians is basically all about how fantastic it is to be a missionary! Talk about inspiration from the scriptures! The love he has for the converts he taught is so profound- I hope that I can receive that much joy from my service.
Those are the main points for this week (oh- I saw Elder Basden at devotional Tuesday night! So weird to see somebody I used to babysit at the MTC! I haven't seen Sister Bayart, and I think she might be leaving soon, but my thoughts and prayers are with her.) I hope you all have a wonderful week! Don't let General Conference disappear from your hearts and minds! Actively apply those things you learned so you can be a better person and find more joy. I had an institute teacher who liked to say that we have a weekend to get into conference, and then 6 months to get conference into us. Wise words.