Things didn't seem so pink at first when, despite a profoundly spiritual previous lesson with Dave, he told us that he doesn't want to waste our time, and needs to look for his own answers in his own way. I love Dave. He is one of my favorite people that I have worked with during my mission. He also has a lot to work out, and a lot to think through. He's investigated several times since 2010 and gets a little bit further each time. So hopefully this means that he can find the peace of truth that he's looking for within the next 2-3 times he investigates. :p
We've been trying to be more consistently active with the YSA here in Lappeenranta. We have activities every Tuesday, and we're trying to get a good group to play sähly, aka floor ball with us on Fridays. We had several investigators come to make nachos, play games, and share a spiritual message with us on Tuesday. We were able to normally and naturally teach everyone in the room, and invite the Spirit in an everyday scenario. After we washed all the dishes and were standing around the kitchen, we started an impromptu testimony meeting. We shared what had been on our minds lately, and how we've felt the Spirit in our lives recently. Joy, who never ceases to amaze us with her understanding and willingness to act, shared some impressive insights on the Plan of Salvation, and she actually taught our other investigator a few points on the topic! Joy accepts all of our commitments, and even does her own following up ("By the way, guys- about the Law of Chastity- I know we're supposed to stay away from explicit movies and TV shows, and now it saves me a lot of time!") She's been a wonderful addition to our little group, and we look forward to seeing her every time. We also had a good floor ball turnout, and we have some fierce investigators! It was an intense game, and we all got a good workout, followed, of course, by some more spiritual edification by the sisaret. Friday's impromptu element was s'mores and rootbeer floats (or, as close as we could get in Finland!) Funny that the lone American sisar would forget American Independence Day among all the other hustle-and-bustle of being a missionary- Sisar N reminded me several times throughout the day. We're really praying to find young people who can replace those about to leave on missions, and serve their own missions when those two get back. We want to breathe new life into a country where too many young church members get married to Americans and move to the States. We need strong, young families here in Suomi, and if we can find, teach, and baptize young adults, there will be less need to seek an eternal companion elsewhere, and more children will be born into eternal families in a place where their faith would put them well into the minority. As a result of our efforts with the YSA last week, we got a very high, one might say very pink, number of lessons taught with a member present.
Another pink experience last week happened after our meet-your-new-mission-president meeting in Helsinki on Wednesday. Missionaries serving in the Helsinki zone have the privilege of attending the temple once per transfer period. We poor folk in the Kouvola district are too far away to make the trip in the alotted time, and so it never seemed like a possibility anyway. I was excited to hear, upon emerging from the shower, that a certain former companion of mine who is now a sister training leader in Espoo, had called with a proposal- Since we were going to be in Helsinki for our meeting anyway, why didn't we take the afternoon to hop over to the temple afterwards? AAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! I hadn't been to the temple in 8 months, since the MTC!! I'd longed to go to the temple for months, not knowing when or how it would be possible. After we got to know our new mission president and his wife for a couple hours, we headed over to Espoo and did a session at the Helsinki temple. The building itself is gorgeous, and very Finnish. A lot of straight lines and simple, but elegant designs. It felt so good to be there- I wish we could have stayed for a week straight. While we were there we saw a woman from Oulu, another woman from Lahti, the elders from Mikkeli who were also taking advantage of their brief proximity to the temple, and a missionary couple who were on their last week of dedicated service in the mission office before heading home to the States. Even as an introvert, I'll say it- the temple is best when you are there with people who you love.
We're on another week now, where we hope to find, as Preach My Gospel describes, those who are not only willing to hear us, but to act on those things that they hear. These are the ones who, like Joy has done so far, feel the peace and happiness that the world may try to imitate, but that only those who are followers of Christ will find in this lifetime. Those people are in Lappeenranta, and in places all over the world, waiting for the opportunity to learn how to make full use of Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness. May we all look out for opportunities to help those around us see "la vie en rose" as we share the message of the restored gospel.
|Sister Nabatnikova and I in Imatra. We live in such a beautiful area!!|
|We went to the Russian border! I thought I was so cool, with my sign|
that says "Hi" in Russian, until my companion from Moscow pointed
out that I used a regular "N" instead of the backward one they use in Russia
|TEMPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got to go for the first time since arriving in Finland.|
It's a gorgeous place, and a wonderful treat to be able to attend.
|Proof that I'm privileged to serve in one of the |
greatest places in Finland!