Monday, March 17, 2014

....Jos Maistuu

This week was the Lahti district's week to be the focus of our mission-wide "fast", so of course, it was one of the slowest weeks I've had in the field. Finding was rough, appointments were constantly being cancelled/switched around, and I got sick with a nasty could that kept us inside for a day-and-a-half. (On the bright side, we got some much-needed time to work on organization of our records, which are a bit scattered at the moment.) BUT we asked people to pray for us to develop specific qualities that would help us in the work, and I feel like Sisar Dayton and I really tried our best to do that. We've really stepped up on talking to everyone. Sometimes I can't think of what I want to say, so I hesitate, and then that person gets off the bus before our conversation can go anywhere, so I've been working specifically on not hesitating. I don't see myself as the most socially graceful person, especially when it comes to talking with strangers, and sometimes the conversation really does take a turn for the awkward, but I'm getting much better at talking to people about the things that matter most to them, and finding ways to introduce the gospel becomes much, much easier with practice. I'm working on feeling increased love for everyone around me, which helps me speak to them "normally and naturally", as our mission president would say.

We also had a zone conference in Tampere on Tuesday. It's a bit of a switch from Oulu, where I basically stayed put all the time. It was fun to see some of the people I was in the MTC with, and we got extra time together because after our meetings we had our 6-month (!) language school. One of the big focuses of our meeting was using family history to connect with people and to help them see how the gospel can bring them closer to their families. It's not something I've ever put much thought into before, so I haven't been using it much in finding/teaching. Hopefully this week I can use it more, and see how it can help me be a more effective missionary.

One thing I have been slow to learn is proper "dinner appointment" technique. In Finland, the people here can eat a surprising amount of food! There's always more than enough at our appointments, and there's no taking just one serving. Perhaps one of the most dreaded situations in a Finland Helsinki missionary's service is to have loaded up on food the first time around, only to hear the host/hostess utter the dreaded words, "Otakaa lisää...jos maistuu." "Take more...if it tastes good." Sister Dayton has it down. She takes a small amount for her first serving, and eats slowly. She makes sure that by the time she's finished her portion, everyone else has taken enough food that there's not too much left for herself, and she can get away with eating an only slightly uncofortable amount. Meanwhile, I plug away at serving number one, thinking that I'm so hungry and it's all okay, and then the aforementioned phrase is spoken, and I'm faced with another full plate of food, an even fuller stomach, and dessert hasn't even been served. I've heard it said that there are many skills to be learned while on the mission, but eating was not one that I ever anticipated.

Well, this one might be a bit short this week. I'm still not feeling my best, but I hate to sit inside again, especially when my poor companion has to stay cooped up all day if I'm not doing well. (Today when I got some extra sleep, she cleaned the entire apartment! But I'm hanging in there, and I was doing well enough to teach a lesson to a man on the bus, so hopefully I'll be able to fully participate in the work tomorrow, no naps needed.

I hope you all have a fantastic week, and that you are able to think about those things that you can do to be more effective at whatever it is that you do! The point of this life really comes down to constant improvement and change, and hopefully you can find ways to make changes for the better every day, and feel the joy that comes from doing so.


Sisar Hansen

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