AHHHH!!! NELJÄ PÄIVÄÄ until I leave for Suomi!!! Can this be real??! I've gotten to used to things in the MTC, it's almost weird to think that I'll ever be anywhere else. And yet, I feel so ready to go! I'm excited to get out there are do the work I've been called to do! I'm excited to meet new people in my mission and learn from them. I'm excited to be tested in new ways, although I know there will be rough times ahead as I adjust to a new way of applying everything I've been learning to do in the MTC.
Consecration Week is officially over, and it went by so fast! It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be! My companion is so disciplined, and eager to be obedient, that I can't help but be a better, harder-working person because of her. We still try to speak Finnish to each other and the other Finns at the MTC, but we no longer feel the need to do the awkward, "Oh, I do speak English, but it's our Consecration Week, and I only speak Finnish. My companion can translate for me, though!" game (all translated from Finnish, of course.) I had to change the "No English" tag on my name badge from pink to bright yellow, since for some reason, people kept mistaking it for the orange dots brand new missionaries get on their badges their first day, and we were welcomed to the MTC by people who got here as late as our 6th week. A lot of people thought that I couldn't actually speak English at all, and one cute sister spoke to me in Chinese since she thought it meant no English, either coming or going. It's been a wonderful week to shape my confidence and help me realize how prepared I actually am to go to Finland at long last. The Lord works miracles through me every single day, and reminds me over and over again how much He trusts me to do His work. I can only do so much, but He fills in the gaps so beautifully. This was supposed to be the most dreaded week of my MTC experience, and in many ways, it was the best yet!
Devotional on Tuesday was very special. First off, we all went to main campus early to participate in the choir, where we sang a Mack Wilburg arrangement of "Praise to the Man" that I know I've heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing before. Sisar Nyman and I seemed surrounded by sisters going to Japan- a couple of them going to Sendai! I told them how much my dad loved his mission there. Some other sisters behind us were still in their first week, and wondering if this was all really possible. The great thing about serving Finnish-speaking is that when we tell people that it's doable, they believe it! The legacy of the Finnish language is known far and wide around these parts, even to people learning tough Asian languages! I hope that they find the strength in themselves and in the Lord to know that they can do a great job. Anyway, we started to sing our prelude music as we always do, and suddenly the people in the front rows started to stand up. After a few moments, I saw a man walk through the door with a very distinctive bald head, and it became very apparent that our speaker was Dallin H. Oaks from the quorum of the 12 apostles! He spoke to us about why it's so important that this church is different from other churches. If it weren't, why should anyone join it? We have so much to offer the people of the world because of our view of who Heavenly Father is, and His relationship to us. Never forget this. I've felt for a long time that everything in our church goes back to God being our loving Heavenly Father, and his talk really confirmed that in me. I loved listening to him speak, because he is so unapologetic about his beliefs, and about his devotion to God and Jesus Christ. At the same time, there's so much love in what he says. I can learn a lot from that. Sometimes it's necessary to be bold, but not harsh, and it's a delicate balance that he has down.
After devotional as we were walking back, I was really sad to notice that there were some missionaries being really silly and irreverent, just moments after being in the presence of an apostle of the Lord. I don't say this to demean them, or to make myself seem so much more grown up and mature, but it's stuck with me every since. They of course, were asked to be more reverent, but it's so sad to me that some missionaries treat this time like EFY, and it's so much more than that. I thought about the people going to Finland, and they are all exceptional missionaries. The Lord knows us all so well, because He's sending people to Finland who are strong and serious about their work, which I think Finland really needs. It gives me strength to know that Heavenly Father has put me in this group of amazing young people, because He knows that I am capable of working alongside them. I'm so determined not to let anyone's opportunity to receive this message pass by because I'm not behaving like the adult that I am. I know I'm not perfect. My mom sent me the comment on my last blog about missionaries not always being perfect in things. It's true, we don't become that model servant of the Lord right away. But I need to work hard to make sure that from my first moments in Suomi, I am being the servant He needs me to be. Everything will come to me as I do my best to always improve.
Yesterday we hosted again, and we got to welcome the new Finnish missionaries! YAY!!! They were all the mature, wonderful, spiritual people I'd expect them to be. You could just tell that there was something special about them that just radiated "Finnish mission call". But I'm pretty biased. They're learning surprisingly fast already, and it was so great to speak Finnish around them to let them know that they can do hard things. I'm excited to see them later on in the field, and see how they've grown. I feel love for them already. That's one of the miracles of the MTC.
One minute left of email time! No time for any linguistic silliness, but I'll probably have quite a bit of that after my first few days overseas! I love all of you, and I hope you are able to feel my love for this work through my writings. This is the best decision I've ever made.