We continue to meet with our new investigator, "Hank". His questions are more sincere every time we meet, and he likes how peaceful our church building is. He's got a really big heart, and although he sometimes looks at us like we're crazy when we teach him a new principle, we explain the reasoning behind it all, and he softens a bit. He has a lot of questions about what God expects of him, and why He lets things happen the way they do. He has some major shyness, though, which makes the thought of coming to church and being surrounded by people a bit terrifying. He has gone from, "I don't think I can" to "Definitely in a couple more weeks", which is an improvement, and he asked US when our next appointment would be as we walked out of the church together! I'd love to see him progress more and feel closer to his Heavenly Father.
We taught another new investigator yesterday in the city center. She's a nursing student from Vietnam. Her background is Budhist, and when we met, she'd never heard of the Bible, or Jesus Christ before, so we had to go back to the very, very basics. She'd visited her friend's church in the past, but it was all in Finnish and she didn't understand, so she was excited to hear that we have a translator in our ward. We told her about the Bible and the Book of Mormon, why Christ is important, and that Heavenly Father loves her very much. She had some particular questions about prayer because it's something that's been very interesting to her. We told her that prayer is just like talking to a friend, and that she can say anything, but especially what she's thankful for, and any questions she wants to ask God. After we prayed to show her how to do it, she said her own prayer without a hesitation! "Heavenly Father, I'm so thankful for books. They make me happy. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." It was one of the sweetest prayers I've ever heard. After our lesson, she walked and chatted with us to the bus, and then rode with us until her stop! She was a miracle in an often slow week.
On Saturday we attended a big service for another nearby church. Tons of people were there, and we got to ask a lot of questions afterward about all the things they do a bit differently than in our services. It's always a good opportunity to learn about other faiths, and to get to know their leaders and members. Although I'm firm in my own beliefs, I respect those of others, and I want to show them that Mormons care about other people. The members were very friendly and helpful, and it was worth it to spend some time over there.
It's warming up in Lahti- SIX degrees (celcius) today! Why did I even put on a coat?? Spring is coming, and hopefully that means more people outside to talk to, and more opportunites to give outdoor service and invite other people to join in. There was a point in Oulu where there was often nobody out on the bike paths, so it'll be a nice change to have more people out and about and in good spirits with the nice weather and sunshine.
I'm looking forward to this week. If you can recall, a few weeks back I talked about the mission-wide "fast" going on right now, and how it was Oulu's turn to be the week's focus. I'm spoiled, in that it's once again my district's turn to be the subject of everyone's prayers, as it's now Lahti's turn. We're asking all the missionaries to pray for us to be brave, loving, and diligent so we can pray always, talk to everyone, and plan more lessons as we follow counsel from our leaders. We saw some miracles in Oulu during our week, so here's hoping the same happens in Lahti.
I want to add a note to say "thank you" for the many emails I've received on my mission. It means a lot to know that people are thinking of me, and praying for me. Sometimes it's a bit overwhelming to try to answer everything, so I can't always get back to people in a quick way, but I will give you a not-so-subtle hint that I don't often get mail, and it's much easier for me to read slowly and think of a good response when I read something on paper! *wink wink nudge nudge mail is awesome* Just in case anyone has some spare time and spare postage, my mission adress is:
Sisar Karlan Hansen
And we're off on another week in the Finland Helsinki mission! Time is flying by, which is pretty bitter-sweet, but hopefully I'm using my time the way the Lord wants me to, and improving myself each day as I try to help others. It's hard work. It's nothing like I thought it would be. But I can't say that I regret one bit coming out here. It's the best decision I could have made, and at the right time.