We had a lesson with Joy on Tuesday. We've talked about baptism consistently, and we knew we had to bring it up once more this time, but Sisar N and I both had a fear that if Joy didn't accept a solid date in July or August, then she might end our meetings out of feelings of pressure. We were late coming from our previous appointment (Our beloved 18-year old YSA helper valiantly used Google Maps to find us at a bus stop and give us a ride over to our lesson. She was rewarded with chocolate.) We were hungry, and got a pizza from the nearby pizzeria, and took it with us as a sorry-we're-so-late offering/dinner for us. We'd given Joy Alma 32 to read and ponder, hoping that she would connect with the analogy of the seed of faith growing into a tree, and that she would realize that the fruit it produces isn't really of any use unless eaten (aka, baptism). She told us about how much she enjoyed her reading assignment, and how much it helped her in her intense summer school classes. We moved our way to baptism, and the initial response was in favor of a November baptismal date. In a move I would never pull unless strongly prompted by the Spirit to do so, I shared shared my testimony that the adversary is real, and that he wants to make her precious fruit of faith moldy if he possible can. We talked about how well he knows her and wants to bring her down for all the good she's doing, and told her that we want her to have the Gift of the Holy Ghost as soon as she can, for a protection. She agreed to an August 9th date, and we're so excited to work out the details with her later this week, and do everything we can to help her prepare for her big day! She has been, without a doubt, one of the biggest blessings of my missionary service. If I had served when I was 21, I would've missed out on Joy, partly from the fact that sisters hadn't served in my area for years until just 3 months ago. She has incredible faith, and without exception, amazes us with her insights, wisdom, and dedication each time we meet.
Friday night we play sähly (floor hockey) in the church gym. Friends and members are all invited, and we generally have a pretty good time. It's a good workout, and gives typically quiet Finns a chance to show a very different side of themselves. It's an intense game, and if somebody doesn't walk away with so much as a bruise on their leg, then it probably wasn't played properly. Last week's game started out fairly uneventfully. We had only 5 of us, so I was on a team with one other player, our YSA friend with a mission call to Greece (we'll call him Gabe), pitted against Joy, Sisar N, and our Russian friend Karl. Just as I was about to attempt to get the ball past goalie Joy, I hear a cry from my teammate. I turned around to see him holding his nose, hands covered in blood. "I'm pretty sure it's broken!" he said through the pain. Sisar N and I hurried to get paper towels to clean up all the blood on his face and on the gym floor. When we came back, Karl had made sure that Gabe's nose wasn't actually broken, just bloodied up a bit. Turns out, Karl's elbow and Gabe's nose had some fierce competition for the same space, causing damage to both. Karl and Gabe headed off to the emergency room, and Sisar N, Joy, and I went off on a secret mission to get him a good snack and some of his favorite ice cream for when he returned to the church afterwards. We had a good opportunity to have some more one-on-one time with Joy, and Karl and Gabe had some good bonding time as they waited for a doctor to fix our poor friend right up. In the end, we all had a good snack together at the church, and Gabe told us that he'd received a minor concussion, although his nose was just fine.
We've been teaching a lot, and seeing some good results. Karl, Joy, and Veli McGee all came to church on Sunday, and we're always looking out for opportunities to serve others and bring them the joy of the gospel. We'd met a young man, a student, on the bus a little while back. He told us he was atheist, but gave us his number so we could tell him about our YSA activities. On the way home from a fun evening with Brigitte (who showed us old photos, and let us paint her nails for a "name day" present) we saw him once again on the bus! We gave him some of the extra pastries Brigitte had sent home with us, and talked a little bit more about church stuff. When we explained that we're neither Catholic nor Lutheran, he was intrigued, and even more so when we said that we have another book to compliment the Bible. He asked if we had a copy for him to read, and I pulled one out of my bag to give to him. He said thanks, and told us that it would make some interesting bus reading. Another day on our way to the train station for district meeting, our bus was full of students on a tour of Finland, all the way from RANSKA! (Which, being interpreted, means France!) On the way back from the same meeting, we met a woman from Congo on the bus- I got to speak more French in one day than I usually do in a month! We got in contact with a young woman we'd met on the train to Helsinki a few weeks back, and had a church tour and gave her a copy of Mormonin Kirja. She's often gone for work, but hopefully we can meet again when she's back in town.
It was a good, full week. We taught a lot of lessons. I've started taking a multivitamin and iron supplements per a doctor's suggestion (although the results of my blood test will be mine in after another week of waiting) and I feel a lot more energized- I didn't fall asleep during language study all week! We've got some good potential for this week as well- YSA activities, dinner appointments, and a surprise last-minute trip with Karl and some ward members to see a musical production put on by Finnish YSA all about the Plan of Salvation in Helsinki. Preach My Gospel admonishes us to search out many different finding opportunities, and we've really tried to do that to the best of our ability here in Lappeenranta. Hopefully nobody else's nose is sacrificed as a result.
The church is true! Heavenly Father loves you!