Monday, July 14, 2014

Mysterious Ways

It was a bit of a mix-up this week. We went once again to Helsinki, this time for our monthly zone meeting. I've almost forgotten what my district looks like. While we were there, we took the opportunity to double dip and do exchanges with the sister training leaders in Espoo, since we live so far out and train tickets can get pricey. It's a bit surreal to see Sisar Heggie with other companions, in another area, but I do love to see her. I went with Sisar Cribbs, who was also my sister training leader when I served in Lahti, so it was our third exchange together. She's bright and sunny, and draws people to her. We gave a church tour to a young man, and although the thought of baptism seemed big and impossible to him, he softened up when we told him that all we want to do is take things one step at a time- how about church on Sunday? Baptism is a big commitment, and living the commandments can seem like a huge task, but Heavenly Father only expects us to do the one step at a time. And then, pretty soon, people find that after taking steps for a period of time, that they've already made the gospel a part of who they are, and it no longer feels so daunting.

I haven't made much mention of this in past emails, but I am tired. And not just I'm-on-a-mission-tired, but I've-followed-counsel-from-experts-and-leaders-to-slow-things-down-and-I'm-still-constantly-exhausted-tired. Despite my desires to stay focused on the work, I've sometimes wished that I could have one day to just stay home and sleep and relax and try to regain some lost strength. Before we left from Helsinki, I visited a doctor and got clearance for some blood tests to try to figure out what's making my body feel so slow. The Espoo sisaret showed us a nice little restaurant nearby that serves American-style Mexican food, and offers missionaries a generous discount. We enjoyed a scrumptious meal together, and then went home, everything fairly uneventful. Until about 3:15 in the morning, when my burrito came back in a not-so-delicious way, waking up my poor toveri in the process. 

When I woke up later that morning, we made an emergency plan for the day- When the time came for our lessons with investigators, Sisar N would head out with one of the YSA from our ward, and another, newly-arrived-from-Helsinki YSA would come stay with me as my babysitter so I could stay home and get some rest. I had a major nap, read the entire July Liahona cover-to-cover, and drank more liquids than I thought possible in such a short time. My "babysitter" member is a return missionary, and we spent some time talking about Sisar N and my vision for Lappeenranta. She excitedly got our her phone to record a list of specific types of people we're looking for, to build up the church in this small city. She added her own ideas, and then asked if we could kneel to pray together for help to find these people! Ahhh!! Amazing!! The Lord knows how tired I am, and how difficult it's been some days just to get out of the door. He knows that I need rest, but that I'm hesitant to take time out of normal missionary activities if I'm not feeling sick-sick. So if a morning of throwing up is what it takes for me to get that day of total rest I've secretly hoped for, and to feel renewed and refreshed for future missionary work, then so be it. A lot of prayers were answered that day, albeit in unexpected ways.

For one reason or another, we are given trials and setbacks in life. It would be easy to think of the bad moments and wonder why, or to rue the day that they ever happened. But sometimes these trials are unexpected blessings in disguise, or even answers to our own prayers. The Lord provides for us in these times as we continue in our desires to follow Him and do what is right, despite our temporary obstacles. 

It's a true blessing to serve here in Finland. It's still surreal at times, and I'm not sure if the magnitude of what I'm doing here, and the opportunities that God has given me will every 100% sink in. I hope they don't, so that I'll always be in awe and wonder of what He does for me in my life. He lives. His church is restored on the earth, and somehow I'm blessed enough to be a part of it.


Sisar Hansen

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