Monday, April 14, 2014

This Is Me, Following Up

[note from Karlan's mom:  Tuesday, April 22nd is Kar's 25th birthday.   If you would like to send birthday greetings, her email address is]

A rough week it has been in Lahti. Finns tend to be shy people, but the past few days they've been particularly reluctant to talk to us about much of anything, let alone the gospel. I do have to say, however, that despite some of our investigators dropping off the radar a bit (and Reggie unfortunately dropping us as quickly as he was found!) we got THREE new investigators this week! Two of them were referrals from the elders, who we've finally got return appointments with. One of them only speaks English, and in a pinch, his LDS neighbors came with us on our teach, despite having very limited English skills. They quietly sat by as we taught, and we were thankful that, thanks to their presence, we were able to teach in the first place.

Conference candy.  I won't tell you how much I got, or
how sick my stomach was after I'd eaten it all!
This week will be a biggie. Change calls (again!) are this weekend, which will determine what I will be doing on my TWENTY-FIFTH birthday, aka, change day. Easter is this weekend, and Finns celebrate it on three different days, so we'll have to plan extra carefully to have appointments set up on "red" days, where we're limited as to what we can do. We'll likely have our last district meeting as the same six people, which apparently calls for a juice-and-pulla "tea party". We've got more going on than I can possibly keep track of (thankfully, this is why we have planners!)

It's hard serving in a mission, where, despite best effort, there aren't a lot of visible results. It means that we all have to have extra faith that God has a plan and a purpose for the people here. It means that we rejoice over numbers that missionaries in other part of the world would consider failure. It means that we have to work extra hard to build relationships with members, so that they'll trust us to help them bring the gospel to their friends, which is the best way we'll find people to teach and to be baptized, and eventually, go to the temple. It's hard. It's really hard. But I'm doing what the Lord, for whatever reason, wants me to do at this time and in this place. This is not a mission for wimps, and remembering that, and seeing all the excellent missionaries that surround me, I am humbled and strengthened all at the same time.
District P-Day at Hameenlinna's
famous linna ("castle")

As I promised, this week I'm following up on the Preach My Gospel challenge I gave out a week ago, which we also extened to our Relief Society sisters. What did you learn this week? I've been reading a lot from chapter 10, which talks about teaching skills. People grow the most when they have the skills and motivation to learn on their own time. The questions we ask can be particularly important in helping others ponder about the things they've learned on their own time. Our pal Hank has trouble reading, so he asked if he could listen to the Book of Mormon, and while we couldn't find a CD for him, and there's nothing online in Finnish, we did find an old set of cassettes in the church that he took home with him! He listened to the entire book of 1 Nephi in one night! Hopefully we're helping him to seek out his own answers when we're not around. It's something we can work on for sure, but we're seeing progress, which is very gratifying.

Another note- Sometimes Finns are embarrassingly nice. In the past week, a certain sister from our ward has fed us, come to the aforementioned English-language lesson, made pulla with us as an early birthday treat, and insisted that I take home TWO pairs of the socks she'd hand-knitted, and had just sitting in a box, waiting for somebody to claim them. Shy? Sure. But Finns are warm-hearted and loving people. I'm so glad to serve here. :)

This week's goals include working more with members, finding even more investigators, establishing the intent of our current investigators, and wearing only ONE pair of tights outside! Spring is coming, and I look forward to my one warm season in the field!


Sisar Hansen

Making pulla.  My apron appropriately says
"The Diet Starts Tomorrow!"
My Finnish is still improving-for a party
we put together for our investigators, the
chip dip instructions said to use
"kerma viili," and I got some regular
viili from the shelf, thinking, "Hey,
what's the difference?"  Viili is a very
sticky, slimy dairy product that was never
meant for making dip.  Apparently a big
difference!  (It tasted quite good, for
the record.)

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