Monday, February 3, 2014

Not What I Was Looking For

First of all, I would like to start this one off by saying that I looked out the window the other day, to see a man skiing past our apartment on the sidewalk. You know you're in northern Finland, when people use for transportation, what Americans use primarily as recreation. (This includes parents dragging their kids along in a sled, because sometimes it's easier than a stroller.)

The Finland Helsinki Mission has been doing a "12-week fast" for about a month now. Mission-wide, we all think of ways we can consecrate ourselves more to the work, "fasting" from those habits and attitudes that may hold us back from being better missionaries. Every day at 7:50am and 9:50pm, we all pray at the same time for strength to do this, for the gospel to grow in Finland, for our new mission president who will begin his service in July, and for the specific goals of one district each week. (A district is usually 3-4 companionships, although in the north we're so spread out, we have SIX companionships, and two senior couples!) We have 11 districts, so one each week for 11 weeks, and then the 12th week, we all pray for everybody. This past week was Oulu's turn to take center stage! Like many other districts, we've had trouble lately with finding. Our goals were to find people to become future church leaders, and for people who can help us accomplish our goal of establishing a stake in the north.

I will say right now, we did not have the week we were expecting. Sisar Vath and I had an abnormally hard time finding. We actually had to let most of our investigators go due to lack of interest or progression. There weren't a lot of people out on the streets because the weather was a bit crazy. We talked about this, and then we noted that for the first time since I've been here, we have a very solid, progressing investigator. We found her when we visited her sister, who's a member of our branch. She said we could come visit and talk about some concerns she has in her life about some of her loved ones. We ended up teaching a very powerful lesson on faith (powerful mainly because she was so ready to listen!) and we had two more appointments with her last week. She came to church, which is something we have a hard time getting our investigators to do (and it was her birthday!). She's even bought some cocoa for next time, because her sister told her she needs to give us something Word-of-Wisdom-approved to drink! She says she feels the Spirit really strongly when we come, and when we asked her to look up one of the scriptures related to the "Questions of the Soul" we put in the cover on each copy of Mormonin Kirja, she looked up FOUR! Ahhhh!!! So we didn't get the flood of new investigators an potentials we were hoping for, but we got Nancy (name changed), and she's more than a miracle for us!

I'm refining my scripture and language study skills a lot lately. I'm trying to keep a better scripture study journal, although I don't always feel like I have something so amazing to write down, and I'm finding ways to help me learn new vocab and have it stick. I feel like I'm using my time more wisely, and that I'm getting more out of it. Before my mission, scripture study was always something that was a weakness for me. I couldn't imagine spending an ENTIRE HOUR reading just the scriptures! But now, I wish we had two hours each morning for personal study! Instead of being something I kind of put off until the end of the day, I am excited to get into the scriptures/Preach My Gospel/Liahona/etc. every morning. It's really exciting to see how my mission is shaping me in ways that will bless me for the rest of my life, although I must say, this amount of improvement also means a lot of time spent recognizing my weaknesses and humbling myself. I wish I could've been diligent enough to learn some of these skills earlier on in my life, but better now that never, right?

And with that, my computer time is up, and it's time to head out for another busy P-Day (seriously, people think it's the easiest day of the week, but it's probably the most hectic!) I hope you all have a great week, and that you can see the ways that you are being blessed, even when it's not in the way you would've expected.


Sisar Hansen

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