Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Missionary Times Can Be Awkward Times, Too!

It seems like we've had an unusual amount of awkwardness in the past week or so. We've been helping a woman with two small children prepare for her move to Germany (her husband is there already, and they're just waiting for him to find a good place to live.) Her older daughter is 2, and when I pretended to eat her, she decided to return the favor- not an inherently awkward situation, except when you realize that my poor bum is exactly face-level to a toddler! Ahhh!! One of our recent converts, "Brigitte", aka the one who gives us TONS to eat every week, was gone this week, but told us to go visit her friend nearby. Well, we couldn't find her based off the information we had, and knocked doors trying to figure out where she actually lives. More than a couple scantily-clad folks answered the door in this process. Awkward. Reading through Mormonin Kirja, I found a new verb, "takata", which means "to cease, to give up, to quit". It has an alternate meaning, which is (I'd ask you to guess, but there's no way you'd get this one. Way too random.) "to varnish". So the same word you'd use to say that you stop doing something, is also the word you'd use to say that you've painted your nails. Finnish is awkward. We've had even more people tell us to leave them alone forever and remove all traces of them from the ward list this week. That's at least 6 since we've gotten here, at an average of almost 1.5 per week. Awkward. BUT we've come super close to coming in contact with everyone in our entire ward, which is pretty good. And it feels really good to know that we're trying. Other awkward highlights include playing the piano at district meeting with President and Sisar Rawlings in attendance. Nobody in our district plays so well, so Sisar Heggie and I practiced playing together- she does the right hand, I do the left. We're a pretty good team, although still a bit shaky at times. (We've found a simplified hymn book in our apartment, so that should take care of that from now on.) Also, my saying "aiki" which isn't a word to my knowledge, instead of "aika" in several prayers throughout this week, which is weird, since I've never done it before. SIGH.

Our friend Diana is amazing. She's caring, smart, energetic, and she has a very special light about her. Something else she has, is a summer job in a far-away town, an hour from the nearest missionaries. So she left last weekend, but we were able to stop by and say goodbye, and give her the challenge to read Mormonin Kirjaa each day. She accepted, and we'll keep in touch from time to time via texts, so that whoever is here in the Fall can pick right back up with her when she gets back. We've got 2 new investigators we're excited to work with- one we met on a bus, who is a language translator, which was an instant topic of conversation. (I'm pretty sure at this point that my post-mission career choice will be something along the lines of interpreting/translating/something with languages.) Another is a former investigator who had been too busy to meet in the past with the elders, but is finished writing his book, and can now meet with us from time to time. "Dave" has a lot of questions and is willing to ponder, so we hope that he can take some time to really think with his heart and let the Spirit testify of truth, and not rely solely on his brain. It's a rare investigator who, when you're about to explain a piece of art at the church depicting Christ's visit to Latin America, tell you he already read that part in Mormonin Kirja and can tell you all about it.

As we've prayerfully gone through our list of formers and potentials, we decided to give "Joe" a call to see if he'd like to resume meeting with the missionaries. As it turns out, "Joe" is awfully close to "Jon" in the phone's address book, and we set up, unbeknownst to us at first, an appointment with the 3-year boyfriend of one of our local young single adults. He's investigated several times and has come to church, but says he won't join. We've been wondering how to approach his situation, and we only realized it was him because we were at the YSA's sister's house, and she said that the man on the phone sounded just like Jon. Awkward. But also a miracle. An awkward miracle. (We have yet to get a hold of Joe.)

Also awkward- an investigator with whom the elders before us worked quite a bit showed up to church yesterday. You may wonder how this is awkward. We'e heard many good things about "Harvey", but he's never answered his calls, his house does not appear to exist (we've tried to find it and have no idea where it could possibly be) and he's convinced that we can't understand Finnish (despite our fairly high fluency) and only speaks to us in English. We heard that "that man in the blue shirt" wasn't a member after sacrament meeting, and when we went to talk to him, it slowly dawned on us that here was the man we'd been looking for! We tried explaining him that in light of his understandable concerns about meeting with young women as a married man, our bishop would be more than happy to have us all meet with his family, but he'd rather talk it out with just our bishop, and our quest to actually teach him has hit another obstacle. Awkward.

You know what's not awkward? PREACH MY GOSPEL! This week, I'm reading about virtue, and why it's so important for us to learn to control our thoughts. Our minds have been compared to a stage, whereon only one thing can be front-and-center. We have the choice to crowd out the bad my focusing on the good. For somebody who's done some study of theater such as myself, it was an immediate impulse to write in the margins, "Control your inner monologue!" What's your favorite Christ-like attribute from chapter 6? What can you do this week to better understand any apply it to your life?
I love you all. The church is true.


Sisar Hansen

Bonus awkward moment of the week- We helped a lady here on a shopping trip from Russia (a fairly common occurrence) and Sisar Heggie gave me a "you know what to do" kind of look, and with a few notes scribbled on a sticky note, I sloppily explained who we are and what we do, and that we'd love to give her a copy of the Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ, as a gift. I didn't have the know-how to get her info to send as a referral to St Petersburg, but better a Book of Mormon than nothing. Plus, HEY! I placed a Book of Mormon in RUSSIAN! From small and simple things, are great things brought to pass. :)

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