Monday, October 13, 2014

Hullut Päivät [Crazy Days]

It was one of those weeks where you look back, and think, "How did I manage to get through that one??" Not that it was by any means bad- far from it, but "crazy" seems to sum it up fairly well.

It all started on Monday. P-Day! Ours was shortened a bit, since it was the best time for us to meet with a potential investigator. We did manage to do emails, clean, and go to a kirppis (thrift store) with the other sisaret. We had a good lesson with our new investigator (although we'll have to transition her to being taught by the other sisters, since she's in their area. Will we EVER meet anyone who actually lives in our area???) After the short lesson, we jetted off to accompany another potential investigator to the young single adult home evening in central Helsinki. It was a bit awkward, since he had to leave soon and we still had some time before meeting up with the Espoo sisaret to start our exchange day. We got a snack, walked around, talked to people, and then headed out to Espoo. As it turns out, our travel passes don't cover Espoo, and we were shorter on cash than we realized, so when the ticket man came around, I bought a ticket, but dear Sisar S was left without, so we got off the train at the wrong stop, and waited outside in the freezing cold until Sisaret Heggie and Nielsen could arrive to bail us out and take us to their apartment. Turns out, we were stuck in what is a pretty sketchy area of town, but nothing eventful happened, other than realizing that our train was coming to the other side of the tracks, and sprinting in pencil skirts to the other side before it pulled out again. I stayed in Espoo with Sisar Heggie, and the other sisaret headed back to Herttoniemi to do work in our area. This week happened to be interim training, when new missionaries and their trainers get some intensive training all together with the mission president. Sisar Heggie got a phone call, and I could hear her say, "Does Sisar Dayton need to come get our running shoes from us for the week?" and my heart skipped a beat. Sisar WHO??? Coming HERE??? TONIGHT??? The big van pulled up, driven by the assistants, and I could hardly hold in my excitement as I ran out to surprise her. "Splits day!!" we gave each other several HUGE hugs, and took a couple photos. She has been one of the highlights of my mission, and with the exception of our one transfer together as companions, I've always been in a different zone from her, so this was a major treat. :)

Splits on Tuesday with Sisar Heggie was really fun. Like transferring, splits can sometimes give new wind to old sails, and I felt refreshed and renewed by a new area, and a different companion, albeit one I used to live with. We talked to a lot of people on the street and on the commuter trains, and got to do some service. We cleaned windows for a couple in the ward, and they have this really nifty cleaning kit with a window dryer that we had fun playing around with. One of the exterior kitchen windows had to be opened, and it only opened upwards, so I got a good arm workout, holding it up while Sisar Heggie cleaned. The two of us were able to talk a lot about the work, hoe we're each doing, old times, inside jokes, etc. It was a long, busy, lovely day. We finished with a lesson with two outstanding investigators from Taiwan who blew me away with their faith and understanding. It's one of the greatest feelings as a missionary, and one that doesn't come every single day. I returned to Herttoniemi tired, but ready to keep going in my own area with renewed enthusiasm.

Wednesday was the whopper of all crazy days. We did our normal morning routine (we accomplished my goal of reading the entire Book of Mormon in Finnish as we read Moroni 10 during language study! HUZZAH!!) and went out the door, ready to take our leftover P-Day time to do some grocery shopping. As Sisar S closed the door, a panicked look suddenly sprang to her face. "Keys!" I am the key-carrier of the companionship, since we only have one set for our apartment. I'd given them to Sisar S for exchange day, and we'd both forgotten to put them back in my bag, and now the keys to our apartment, as well as the church, were locked safely behind the other side of a door! We knocked on the door of a neighbor who's become a friend of ours, and she let us use her phone. Sisar S remembered the phone number for the Turku sisaret (her previous phone number) and we called them, got the number for the assistants who have our spare key (whose number we of course did not write down in our planners) and called THEM. As previously mentioned, it was interim week, which only happens once every two months. And of course, it is during this time that we lock ourselves out. The elders were participating in the training in Espoo, leaving us without a good backup. Well, we might as well go out and get some protein bars from the sports store. We heard they only cost 50 cents! We go, I break my THIRD umbrella on my mission in the windy rain, and finally get to XXL to grab 5 euros worth of protein-y goodness, all the while trying to figure out some possible way to avoid paying the fee for the man to come unlock our apartment for us. We figured that it was probably just best for us to go home and be accountable (Elder Christofferson would be so proud!). We made our way through Stockmann department store to "save time", but it just so happened that it was the first day of their "Hullut Päivät" sale, and we got lost in a swarm of retail-hungry Finns before we could finally emerge and make our way to the metro. We got home, called the man, payed only 10 euros each for his services, which was a relief (and I had cash this time!) and then went and bought food. Relief, right? Well, this day is not over yet! We were all ready to head out and go knock on the door of a member family to get to know them better, and we realized that we didn't have a treat to give them! Sisar S and Sisar Nielsen made a point of eating all the eggs when I was in Espoo because they know I don't like them, which was a nice thought, although now we were limited as to our treat options. Also, no peanut butter meant no no-bakes. We scanned our missionary cook book for ideas, and we finally found one that just listed cake mix, powdered sugar, milk, and butter. We had ALL of those things!! We started to put it together, and then I read the instructions more closely. "It says we have to MAKE the cake! We have no eggs! What do we do??" We'd already put sugar in the blender to make powdered sugar (neat little trick, huh?), and mixed the other ingredients together. As a desperate I-no-longer-care-just-get-this-done move, we simply added cake mix, put it in the freezer for a couple minutes, and ended up with "fudge". (This has proven to be one of the funniest adventures of my mission!) We head out again, with keys in hand, and end up taking a bus driven by a potential investigator. We chat for a while, and then we get off to try to find our members. They live in an area we haven't explored as much, and it is apparently a wealthy area, since we soon found ourselves surrounded by mansions! I later found out that former presidents of Finland have lived in these places! We nervously approach the right door of the right house, rind the bell, and the family's not home. Their teenage son takes our offering with a slightly questioned look on his face, and that is that. Time to go home for good, unwind by taking some silly photos, and call it a day. FINALLY.

We spent Thursday and Friday with members, doing service and missionary role plays. We made a card with an elderly sister, which we mailed off to a family in the ward. It was a pretty weird card- a dinosaur and some clouds in the front, and random hearts on the inside. But it was fun to do together, and good way to help our friend participate in service. She wrote the note so it would be untraceable, and it was overall a fun time. When we mailed it off, I tried to copy her handwriting, because we realized too late that she should've been the one to address the envelope. Friday night we got to meet with our favorite member family from the ward. They're a couple with grown children, one of whom is serving a mission right now. We've been doing some role play games with them, and we always have fun getting to know them better. It's rewarding to see members open up not just to us more, but to the idea of missionary work, and accept challenges to apply it more in their everyday lives. We're excited to go back in another week or so to see how they did with our challenge of mentioning the gospel in everyday ways.

Saturday was the day that made up for all of the previous craziness. We woke up early to get ready for a lesson with an investigator. As we arrived at the church, we realized that, for the second time in a week, were locked out of our apartment, meaning that we also didn't have our church key. The investigator didn't show up, after all. Well, the other sisters had a baptism that afternoon, and they probably had a lot to do. So we called them, they came over to the church and let us in, and we got to work cleaning, organizing, setting up chairs and tables for refreshments, cutting up vegetables, the works. It was, like such things often are, a bigger task than we'd imagined, and it was a blessing to have been locked out, since it gave us the chance to help our friends in need. The elders came with a spare key for us, so further crisis was averted. We headed off to the metro to meet and walk with a friend who was interested in coming. He's from Morocco, which means his native language is FRENCH! I had so much fun talking with him as we walked along the street to the chapel! His Finnish is top-notch, so Sisar S got to teach as well, which is good because she's so wonderful at it. He couldn't actually stay, but we did a mini church tour and gave him a copy of Le Livre de Mormon and arranged another meeting. Best part, HE LIVES IN OUR AREA!! At last!! We were beaming when he told us. The baptism was incredible. Amazing talks. Strong testimonies from everyone, including the man of honor. I've been blessed to attend 4 baptisms during my mission, and they've all been fantastic. It all reminded me of that time, TWO MONTHS ago, when Sisar N and I were preparing for Joy's big day. I love reliving those moments in my mind. I was all smiles for the service, and the other sisaret couldn't have been more pleased with their friend. After the service, a member asked if we had time to do some service for her at their house. We went shortly after the baptism, and helped around the kitchen. We had the opportunity to talk with their 14-year old daughter, who is smart, insightful, giving, sincere, and every good thing. She's pretty amazing. It was a lot of fun, and she helped us with some language tips. Her dad's sisters live in Oulu, and they were some of my favorite people up there, so that was a fun connection for me. The mother of the family offered to give us a ride home, and we accepted, since it was getting late. She spaced a bit and took us to the other sister's apartment, but we nevertheless felt good about just getting out there and going home on the metro. On our way to the metro, we saw two girls on the street. We walked past, and we both got the strong feeling to go back and talk to them. I almost couldn't keep moving my feet forward, the feeling was so strong. We went back and said hi, but our conversation didn't really go anywhere. Strange. At the metro stop, a man called out, "Hey, Hansen!" It was our bus driver friend from the other night! We was standing and talking to a friend of his from the States, who gave us his business card and told us to call. If we hadn't been dropped off at the wrong place, or took a moment to talk to those girls, or made friends with that bus driver, that wouldn't have happened. A miracle day for us, and a great end to the week.

Sunday we went to church, and watched the last session of conference. I loved conference. I came in with one big question on my mind and in my study journal, and came out with answers from just about every single talk. The emphasis on covenants and obedience really struck me, as well as the emphasis on families. There were a lot of talks I loved, but Elder Christofferson's stuck out quite a bit for me. It was a special moment, watching Elder Bednar give his talk, remembering that so recently, he'd been with us missionaries in a full room, answering our personal questions. I love conference time as a missionary, because it's a natural and easy way to bring up the gospel in conversations, and to encourage members to do just a little bit better tomorrow than they did today (another great theme from conference!). 

This week's entry has been huikea (enormous) and I wasn't able to express a lot of what went on this week, but it was a good one, and I'm excited for this next one. Be good. Review your conference notes. Read Preach My Gospel. Eat your vegetables (and plenty of protein). I love you all.


Sisar Hansen 

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