As my companion reminds me almost daily, Lahti is a weird place, and we seem to be weirdness magnets. The other day we were out walking through the city center, and an old man started talking to us, and asked us if we were Americans. We said yes, and then he proceeded to speak nothing but German at us for about 5 straight minutes. We kept trying to tell him that we don't speak German, and when he finally asked us if we speak Finnish (which we'd been speaking the entire time), our answer in the affirmative seemed to throw him off a bit. He said he's not American at all, but rather, he's European, and then we said our goodbyes and kept going. Another man approached us and said (In Finnish), "So, it's the Mormoooooons. Where does God liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive? If it's in Heaven, where is Heaveeeeeeeeeeeen? It's the Mormoooooooooons from Amercaaaaaaaaaaaa, here to teach the religion of the Mormooooooooooon." That's not to mention the apparently-high young man who showed up at church yesterday (The elders had no idea who he was) who had previously shown up at stake conference in a tutu. AND we went to contact an old potential who wasn't home anymore, and the old lady who lives there invited us in to talk for a bit, and even pulled out a scarf from her closet for me to have, since she thought I looked cold! Oh, Toto, I don't think we're in Oulu anymore!
Finding is a bit slow, but we're really trying to be better at contacting as we go. Sisar Dayton is a great example to me of being normal and natural, and although I still don't always look forward to talking to strangers on the street or the bus, I feel much more confident about it, and I was even able to talk to a new potential investigator the other day on the bus without any sign of nerves. Missionary work is very hard for an introvert, but this time is about me being the person the Lord wants me to be, isn't it? I can't share the gospel with people if I don't ever open my mouth. We also have a lot of un-contacted potentials in our area book, so we're working our way through those, one area at a time. So far, there's always something to do, even if it's delivering cookies to people that need a visit.
We got a new investigator this week, and he's a very sincere and humble man. His life has been very hard, and he has a lot of questions. He has a natural tendency to believe in God, but it's hard for him to reconcile that with a lot of the bad things he's seen happen. We're working with him to see how he can use the Book of Mormon to answer his questions and help him find peace. We had a church tour with him last night, and we're hoping it will help him feel more comfortable about coming to church with us (he's painfully shy.) He's warming up to us more each time we visit, and things seem to make sense to him, so hopefully we can continue to see him progress.
I've been thinking a lot about obedience lately, and how obedience isn't something a person blindly does for the sake of having something to do, but rather, it's something that's done out of love for Heavenly Father, and out of the ability to see how much He gives us, and how much He will continue to give us as we are true to Him. It comes from a love of others, and their well-being. On the mission there are a lot of rules, and it's easy to feel trapped or limited without the right perspective. But as Sisar Dayton and I have tried to follow counsel from President Rawlings' emails each week as well as what's in the white handbook, we're blessed to see improvement in ourselves, and to see little miracles. Last week was very long, and we didn't find many new people, but we were able to see who has the right intent, and who we need to help the most. How can you be more true to the person you want to be? What little changes can you make to bring about big blessings?
|This literally means "Little House on the Prairie"|
|The gang from Oulu just before we go our separate ways.|
|Sister Dayton and me. Lahti doesn't know what's hit it.|
|Sister Dayton: "That looks like a fun forest path home. Let's try it!" Me: "Okay!" |
One icy uphill And downhill climb later...