Sunday, November 30, 2014

So, It Has Come to This...

I saw a silly web comic one time that said that you can use the phrase "So, it has come to this...." in any situation to spice things up a bit. I've shared this thought with tovereni in passing before, and so when the snow finally hit Helsinki and I was less-than-enthused, I heard her utter those words as we trekked slowly and carefully out to the bus stop, and burst out laughing. I'd hate to have to try to make it through a full-time mission without a sense of humor.

Several of our investigators let us know this week (on the same day, actually) that right now isn't the best time, and our teaching pool was suddenly reduced to about half its size. These things are a part of missionary life, and although it's sad, we decided to just go forward and focus on the things left for us to do. The next day we received TWO referrals and set up appointments with both of them! One of the women actually lives just across the Espoo 2nd ward border, so we had to re-refer her to other missionaries, but the other one is a very prepared woman who is looking for the right church, and who seems to have been prepared for this time. Some elders found her teaching records from way back in 2008 and decided to give her a call. She was surprised, but agreed to meet with us (she'd moved into our area) and we had one of the most spiritual first lessons I've had my entire mission. Lessons like this do not happen every transfer, even. While I hate to count chickens before they hatch, especially as a missionary, we know that we need to take special care of Lynne as she seeks for answers.

A while back, the Marjaniemi sisaret called us to let us know that they met a French man on the street, and gave him our number. Street contacts rarely go anywhere without a set return appointment or an exchange of phone numbers on both sides. I've never received a call from a pass-along card, although it happens sometimes for other missionaries. Last night I was excited to get a phone call en francais from said man, hoping that we can meet at our church and help him with his English a bit. We're planning to meet later this week. Sometimes I dread the thought of Sisar Schellenberg leaving so soon, because (among other reasons) we seem to have so many magical contacting moments together, and I want it to last!!!

Saturday was our once-per-change chance to go to the temple. Aside from being quite possibly the most uplifting and revelatory experience I've had in the temple, Sisar S. was able to see some of her friends from a former area, one of whom was there for the first time. We saw a recent convert from Marjaniemi sitting next to them in the baptistry. As we went to change our clothes, I saw a familiar face from my finnish hometown- In fact, there were FOUR members of the Lappeenranta ward at the temple that day, and I had a wonderful time hearing how excited they were to tell me about the missionary work in that neck of the woods.

I called President Watson about the fatigue issues I mentioned in my last post. I wasn't sure what he could do or say, since we've discussed this topic many times over. I'd had the thought that beyond diet and exercise, it might just be an issue with the quality of my sleep. President suggested reading a couple verses from the Book of Mormon between my nightly prayer and getting into bed. Since tweaking my routine, I've taken a half-hour lunchtime nap one day, and that is it. I feel more rested and relaxed all day long. It's amazing how the Book of Mormon helps with so many practical things in addition to the spiritual, and often in ways I'd never think of.

This blog post reads a bit like an overview of the area book, but time is particularly short this week, and I just want to testify of the miracles I've seen and the Love I've felt from the Lord this week. As winter rolls in, I'm grateful to know that I am here for a great purpose, and that the Lord is with me in every phase of the work, including the runny-nosed, red-cheeked, abundantly-bundled phases. I've got just over a dozen weeks left. I look forward to working hard and seeing many more miracles in that time.


Sisar Hansen

Monday, November 17, 2014


It was the best of times, it wasn't the worst of times, but there were a few downers along the way. I don't know how much I've mentioned in my blogs the ever-present fatigue issues I've been having on my mission, but even though they sometimes seem to go away, they always seem to resurface. This week, they came back with a vengeance. It wears me out to be so worn out. Sisar Schellenberg and I have agreed that my physical and emotional needs brought about by my exhaustion may be one good reason why we're still together this transfer. She's a blessing-and-a-half, that one. I've tried everything that I, my mission president, and doctors can think of, and I still drop off more than anyone would like me to. I don't know why this challenge has been handed to me as part of my mission, but I'm learning from it, or at least, I hope I am. I realized that even though I try to get through it alright, I really do need to be more patient a lot of the time, especially with myself, and to recognize God's hand more. He let this be a part of my experiences in Finland, and so I need to realize that it will only be for my good if I handle it well. It's only because He loves me that I've been given not only my gifts, but my challenges, and I can still be grateful to Him even when my eyelids weigh 30 lbs each.

We did have some great opportunities this week. Our amazing-tastic ward mission leader recruited us for a school presentation last week with 17-year old students from a nearby school. They were all close enough that they came to the church, where we did a short building tour, and ended up in the chapel. Our technological difficulties prevented us from showing the prepared presentation we all have on our flashdrives around Finland, so we tried to think of interesting things to say/do when the students didn't have enough questions. This was not an issue, as there were too many questions to even answer, all of them honest and sincere. We had a lot of fun with them. I love school presentations. I just hope that we were able to leave something of a good impression on them, and that they understand a bit better that religion is a relevant lifestyle, not just a bland Sunday behavior.

We had a combined Helsinki/Tampere zone conference with Europe area president Elder Texeira and his wife. They talked a lot about ways for us to be better at contacting and being productive with limited time and means. It was the answer to many a Haaga sister's prayers, as we've been trying to focus on this for quite some time. Our contacting has been more bold, direct, and positive as a result. I got to see some familiar faces from the Tampere zone, including Sisar Ross (If I had to pick a sisar to serve with, who I hadn't already served with, it just might be her), Sisar Dayton, and the Lahti sisaret, who gave me an update on how things are moving in their neck of the woods. Even though everybody knows that Lahti was not my favorite of all areas, I'm so grateful to the sisaret who are taking such good care of the people there, and who saw Lahti's first convert baptism in years, the daughter of a lovely woman who we taught a few times back in the day. Funny how even when we get time at lunch to chit-chat with our mission friends, it always comes back to how the work is doing, and how people are progressing.

Tony continues to do well. He looks brighter and happier every time we see him. We taught him the Plan of Salvation this week, using pictures that we'd drawn and covered in contact paper. He wore his shirt and tie to stake conference, and got to chat with President Watson for a few minutes. We were all invited to our ward mission leader's house post-conference, where he met some new people, and excitedly told everyone what he'd learned about the Plan, as well as tell everyone about his tentative baptismal date, "It's my choice, of course, but this is our goal!" He took the initiative to set up our next appointment with us. As always, we look forward to seeing him on Tuesday.

On Sunday I finished reading the LAST PAGE of the Bible! After about a year, I've read the ENTIRE thing, cover to cover! I started on the Doctrine and Covenants today, so that I can finish my goal of reading the standard works on my mission. A certain word popped out at me as I read in section 1. "Willing". It was a revelation to the Lord about His being "willing" to make His gospel known throughout all the world. As a native English speaker, I've often used that word a bit casually. "Yes, I'm willing to take out the trash, but if somebody else could do it, that would be great." But I don't think that God feels that way about us. If we think about it, a person's will is the thing that they want, the thing that drives them, the think they shall be accomplished, if they have anything to do with it. I think I'm going to read that word a lot differently from now on in the scriptures. It relates not only to God's purposed for me, but also to the promised I made to Him at baptism, the promises we urge our investigators to make and keep. Will I keep the commandments and bear others' burdens if I feel like it, or am I truly WILLING to do so? There's a big difference there.

I've realized that I have grown more and more willing to be a missionary throughout my time in Suomi. Last night after we returned home from our afternoon's activities, my exhaustion kicked in worse than it had been in a long time. I couldn't even sit and plan with tovereni. We tried to think of something we could do, so that I didn't feel like I was wasting time being tired, although Sisar S pointed out that I'd be justified in going to bed extra early. I agreed to go to bed early, but only after we'd done something else productive, and I'd written in my journal a bit. We decided to take President Watson's recent challenge to us to action, and recognize our gifts in ourselves, and in each other. We are both artistic, and love to leave notes for our loved ones. We like the idea of making Christmas cards, but we don't want to go through the trouble and expense of printing photos of ourselves. We got out a piece of printer paper and drew up 4 Christmas card templates, each with an artistic interpretation of our likenesses and a border, so we can copy, cut, paste, and easily/economically send cards to those who need to know that we care. We had fun, I had just enough energy for the task, and we'll hopefully be able to bless a few lives as a result. I'm thankful for a companion who inspires me to good outside the box. Missionary work is so much fun with Sisar Schellenberg.

Dearest readers, please go out and do good this week. Find a way to serve a friend or a neighbor. Develop a Christlike attribute from Preach My Gospel chapter 6. Look for the specific good qualities that God has given to you, and to those around you. Do these things, and find joy basking in the glow of the Spirit, which testifies of truth and righteousness. Your willingness to come unto Him will increase, and He will be able to demonstrate His willingness to bless you.


Sisar Hansen

Getting dressed:


Monday, November 10, 2014

The Postman Cometh

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm not sure how, but it appears that I am nearing the home stretch of my mission. During this, the penultimate transfer of my missionary service, I have never felt more upbeat or capable as a missionary. I have never felt a stronger love for those I serve, as well as a desire to do all that I can to put them and the Lord first above myself. When I received my first "trunky letter" in the mail the other day, I calmly filled out the information needed to get me a plan ticket back to Washington in March, and sent it on its merry way without thinking too much about it. Although I love being a missionary and I'm serving in a fantastic area, I've known from the start that this has been a temporary calling, and that the Lord has great plans for me beyond my short time wearing the name tag. I've been blessed to serve at a time in my life when I've already experienced many changes, comings, and goings. I've learned to rejoice in the present, while still honoring the lessons of the past, and looking towards the future with hope. As strange as it may sometimes seem, I've received very comforting reassurance from the Spirit concerning the many vast unknowns of my post-mission future while absorbing myself the most in the work I've been assigned to do for the present time. I'm thankful that I can always trust in the Lord to make sure that everything is okay.

We've had a great week of teaching, planning, and of course, occasionally getting lost. We've done a lot of service for those we love, which has been an especially rewarding aspect of my missionary service. We have a friend, Keith, who is rather fond of Pepsi. We noticed that he had quite a collection of empty bottles piled up at his house, and asked if we could take them in to be recycled for him. He gave us 3 large bags full of empty bottles for us to do with what we would. During our conversation with him that evening, he, as always, waxed philosophical about an array of topics, including helping the poor. "I life a life of relative luxury" he said, "Many people do not have what I have. I sometimes go to the store and feel bad for spending 2 euros on chips, when 200 euros can save a person's life in another country. But I really want the chips!" We walked out of that lesson, bulging bags in arms, wondering how we would spend the spoils of our bottle return. The next day, our prayers on this topic were answered, as another friend of ours humbly stated that although he enjoys church, he read in the Restoration pamphlet that men wear button-up shirts and ties, and that he feels a little out of place in his tshirt and jeans. I wrote a quick note down in my planner about the first thought that came to my head, and I was glad to hear that Sisar Schellenberg was on the same wavelength. After hauling all the empty Pepsi bottles to the mall and turning in the receipt for cash, we headed off to a nearby Kirpis and within a few minutes, found a light-blue button-up shirt that looked to be just his size. We commandeered a couple of ties from the elders, added a warm cap and some herbal tea (his throat had been sore last week) and wrapped it up in some makeshift wrapping paper, with a "Onnellista Isänpäivää" note, just in time for Finnish father's day. The look on (Tony's) face when we gave him our package at the door made everything worth it. We're excited to tell Keith about how we spent the bottle money (and give him a bag of chips we bought with the left-overs) and to continue to work with Tony along his journey towards baptism (hopefully on the 20th of December!)

We have another investigator who is on vacation for a week or so. Wanting to let her know how much we care, even though we haven't met with her much, we wrote her a note and set out one night to drop it into her door's mail slot. Our bus wasn't coming for a while, but another bus soon arrived, which would take us fairly close to our desired destination. Sometimes, fairly close isn't close enough at all, and we were lost for 3 hours or so, wandering around the wintery darkness of Vantaa, trying to find any recognizable sign of her area. Long story short, we were blessed to find people to chat with along the way, and we delivered the mail just in time to arrive home at curfew. This was the second time this week that we were hopelessly lost, but we are now very good at finding our way back, should we venture too far out in the Elielinaukio direction.

This week was a blast from the past in a couple different ways. We had splits with the sister training leaders, and I was able to chat with Sisar Nielsen about her recent exchange in Lappeenranta. I'd heard from Joy that there had been three baptisms a couple weeks past, and at first I wondered whose children had possibly turned 8. I couldn't think of anyone, but how could there have been so many convert baptism in such a short amount of time? Sisar Nielsen confirmed one of my guesses, a young girl Sisar N and I had begun teaching together. I got emotional when she told me about the other two. The husband of one of the sisaret from the ward had long investigated the church, even posted church links on his facebook page and invited others to learn more, but never been baptized. While we visited them, we boldly asked him how we could help him prepare for baptism, and eventually, the temple. He finally decided to take the leap of faith and was baptized! I teared up, knowing how much this means to his wife and to their lives together. Now they can prepare to go to the temple as a family to perform more ordinances there. I was again thrilled to hear that the woman's daughter has a boyfriend who accepted everything the sisaret taught, and was eagerly baptized. How wonderful to hear about the work going forward in a beloved area, with beloved people! Even though I'm sad to not have been able to attend, I am overjoyed to have been a part of these peoples' lives for a small moment.

I was also pleasantly surprised to receive a large envelope in the mail the other day. When I looked at the return address and the stamp labeled, "La Suisse" I excitedly opened the package to see a bundle of letters written to me by Geneva stake young women. A few weeks ago there seemed to have been a mini-MTC activity, and some of my favorite youth from my old ward wrote me letters. Some of them expressed doubt as to whether or not I would remember them. OF COURSE I remember! How could I forget? The best experiences I had in France were often related to my church service there. I'm excited to write replies (in my somewhat rusty French) expressing my love and appreciation, and encouraging these young people to be strong disciples of the Lord and to prepare for a lifetime of missionary service, with or without a name tag. (My toveri, who has visited family members in Switzerland, also enjoyed sharing some of her favorite Swiss chocolate.)

Each day I've been given opportunities to see how far I've come on my mission. It's an enormous blessing, and testifies to me of my Savior's love for me, and the effects of His Atonement. I've long felt that giving service has been a weak spot in my gospel activities, and looking back at this week, we've spent much of our time between appointments serving those around us. When did the Lord help me turn this weakness into a strength? I never perceived it happening, and yet now it's a cherished activity to bring a treat to someone in need, or deliver a surprise Father's Day bundle. I recently read over a page in Preach My Gospel (what have you learned from this inspired manual lately, by the way?) which had absolutely no markings, and covered it with insights and highlights. I've just finished the dreaded Isaiah chapters in my Book of Mormon reading, feeling that I've understood them much better than I ever have. My journey into the Book of Revelations has similarly been extra insightful. I want to testify that these things are possible because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, who gives us abilities beyond what we can manage on our own. He magnifies what we cannot see, lifts what we cannot lift, and inspires our minds to do the will of the Father. It comes with faith and diligence, but to those who seek, the unparalleled power of the Lord is offered all because Heavenly Father loves us that much. What a joy it is to learn and grow in the service of others, and ultimately, the Lord!

This church is true. I feel the power of the gospel every day in my life as I try to serve the Lord to my best ability. May you feel similarly as you take time to examine yourselves and see how the Lord has "(made) weak things strong" (Ether 12:27).


Sisar Hansen 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Cabbage Tilanne [Cabbage Situation]

Once again, another first-email-from-a-new-area! I probably wrote 6 months ago about my feelings entering Lappeenranta. It instantly felt like home. I KNEW that it was MY kind of place. I'm glad to report that Haaga feels the same. We were shuttled in by the assistants (nice to not transfer by train this time- it's much more convenient and less stressful!) to our new apartment in our new area. The other sisaret were still there, waiting for their departures. (One of them is going to Marjaniemi, and the other, who we also replaced in Marjaniemi, is headed to Lahti, where Sisar S and I have both served! Craziness!) They did a masterful job of preparing the area for us. Charts, records, maps, helpful hints, you name it! The first thing I heard as I walked through the door, "Are you ready for the craziest day ever? No, seriously. Are you ready?" We were booked SOLID with appointments for the day, with barely time to breathe or eat. Investigators from all corners of our area were included, and members to come along with us. We scrambled to study the teaching records and ask as many questions as possible before we were left to our own. It turned out to be one of the busiest days I've ever had on my mission, and miraculously, we arrived at all of our appointments on time (or maybe just a couple of minutes late, but still- new area) and taught great lessons by the Spirit. I'm the kind of person who usually needs to warm up to new people. I don't often click right away with somebody, which is always a concern for me with new investigators. I felt right at home with each and every one of them. They come from different countries and have different backgrounds. Single, divorced, married with children, Christian background, atheist, Finnish, Asian, Dutch, Estonian, men, women, you name it. They each have something very particular to offer, and it's fun planning for each of them as individuals.

This area is much more urban than Herttoniemi, and very vibrant. I've met a fair amount of French students, to my excitement. The area book is crammed full of potential, and there should be no excuse for boredom in this place. We inherited NINE invesitgators, which is the most I've ever had at one single time. They each have a lot of promise and potential. One of them in particular is one of the most humble and prepared people I've ever taught. The ward has been welcoming and we've never lacked a member on a lesson. This is a blessed place. How have I been so lucky to serve in such great places with wonderful people? 

The title of this entry refers to the aforementioned previous Haaga sisaret. They had a food theme each week, it turns out. One week was food only the pioneers would have eaten. One week they went vegan, another week was gluten-free. The week before our arrival was cabbage soup week. Cabbage soup got a bit dull pretty quickly, and aside from investigators, we inherited 2 1/2 GINORMOUS heads of cabbage of different varieties. We eat, and eat, and eat the stuff, and it never seems to lessen! We need to find some good recipes, because borscht just isn't cutting it! Whenever I feel down, I can think about the preposterous quantity of leafiness just lounging around, minding its own business in the fridge, and get a good chuckle.

We're having fun getting to know our new area. We've gotten lost and tramped around forests and hills. We've gotten off the train at the wrong stop, as well as gotten stuck on the train at our correct stop. We've also literally jumped onto the train at the last possible second before the doors closed! We've put our map skills to the test, started conversations by asking for directions, studied the ward list, and best of all, just plain gone out and preached the gospel. That busy first day was the best first day I've ever ahd in an area, and we learned a lot just by going out and doing our job. We've relied on the Lord every day for guidance and help in accomplishing our goals and overcoming our weaknesses. It's been an intense and rewarding week. Since we're now so busy, we're trying to use Preach My Gospel chapter 8 more on using time wisely. As we plan efficiently and schedule according to needs, we'll find success in Haaga.

I'll introduce our friend more throughout future emails. For now, just know that this area looks bright despite the limited sunshine, and that I am getting regular doses of whatever vitamins are contained in cabbage.

The gospel is true! It really is the best thing ever!


Sisar Hansen

Sunday, November 2, 2014


How did missionaries do work before cell phones? We're living in a time of, "Text me later to make sure I'm free at that time" and "Which phone calls do we need to make on the go, so that we don't have to resort to knocking doors?" and it's nearly impossible to plan without a phone handy. You may be wondering why I address the topic of phones/the lack thereof at this time. I'll just say it- Sisar Schellenberg and I lost our phone this week. We had some business at the chapel, and then we headed off to do some service for a member in our ward. She lives in a locked building, and we usually just call, and she'll come out to get us. As we searched our pockets, we realized that this would be impossible, as the phone was not with us at all! Luckily, we were able to knock on her living room window, but that relieved only a small portion of our distress. After our appointments, we made time to dash over to the church and search ever nook, cranny, and pew for the lost puhelin. Nowhere. It was absolutely nowhere to be found. Voi, että, we had a problem on our hands! The other sisters just happened to show up to prepare for a lesson, and we were confident that, after calling our phone with theirs, we'd hear the ring and know where to go. To our dismay, Sisar Knapp had grim news for us. "Your phone is off. It went straight to voicemail." OFF??!! We NEVER turn our phone off!! 

Sometimes in life, we must come face-to-face with dreaded realities. Some are major, some are relatively minor, as was our situation. Nonetheless, it is not a pleasant experience. We were thankful that the next day's plans were all ready and set in stone, and that we'd made a few necessary calls that morning during our planning. We gave it a few minutes of careful thought, and then decided on the best course of action for the time being, not knowing when we'd be once again in the communication loop. The I had an appointment in central Helsinki for later that week, and it was the perfect opportunity to stop by the lost-and-found office on the way. That was at least convenient. We'd have to keep our lessons fairly short to make it out before the office closed, but Sisar Schellenberg's excellent organizational skills would serve us well there. (The office didn't have our phone, by the way, but we did talk to a really nice American student while there, so bonus!) One of our appointments for the next day required us to once again enter a locked building, and we weren't sure how that one would work, other than just arriving at the door, and praying really hard. Well what do you know, it worked! Our friend figured that maybe we weren't coming after a few minutes of silence from our end, and came outside to run an errand. We went with her, and taught her a fine lesson about the Book of Mormon! In the midst of triumphal feelings over our good door fortune, it hit us that my appointment in the Helsinki center would prevent us from meeting with a member, who we had actually run into earlier in the day! We forgot to bring it up! Good thing we had no absolutely set plans for the evening- We ended up hiking out to her house, as the buses were taking their sweet time. We arrived just as she got home with her boys from the store, and we were able to inform her that we'd need to change the time of our next appointment. She was a bit amazed that we would take the trouble to come all the way out just to tell her in person, but a sisar's gotta do what a sisar's gotta do. Even with no phone we were able to make things work out a lot better than we would have anticipated. It was an experience that stretched us, and made us rely more on the Lord. A blessing, but also an experience I'll try not to repeat.

Another concern was that, as you know if you've followed my posts, change calls were imminent. We spent the day on Friday wondering how the next day would unfold. How would we get our call from President Watson? Would we have to go to a member's house? Would we have to receive ours as a tag-on to another companionship's call? Luckily, the office elders were able to set up a time for us to go get a new phone with a temporary phone number, so that we could receive our change news as scheduled. We'd also be able to take the oral portion of the language test, which we'd missed in our phone's absence. HUGE relief, I must say.

The next day was change calls day, as well as a baptism for the friend of the Porvoo area elders. We were relieved to have a phone in our pocket as we walked into the church. As we did last-minute work cutting vegetables for the post-service refreshments, our bishop poked his head through the door. "Excuse me, did you sisters lose this?" he asked, waving OUR OLD PHONE in his hand. "Somebody found it in the chapel and put in it my desk in my office." We were stunned. WE JUST BOUGHT A NEW PHONE!! Rejoicing over the relief of less office debt, and perplexed as to how we could have possibly missed it through our thorough search of the building a few days earlier, we called the office and walked into the baptism with lighter hearts and gratitude for our blessings.

The baptism was wonderful, of course. The newest member of the ward was emotional over his new life milestone, and it was a joy to be there with him, even though he was a bit surprised that there would actually be other people WATCHING his immersion under the water in the baptismal font. Afterwards we went into the gym to eat some snacks, congratulate the man of the hour, and chat with members and friends. Distracted by a glass of delicious juice, and unfamiliar with dulcet tones of our still-in-use temporary phone in my own pocket, I was the last person to realize that we were receiving a call. "Uh, Sisar! The phone!" "Ahhh!! You're right!" With no numbers saved, we could only guess at the identity of the voice on the other end, but ours was a very educated guess, considering the date and time. "Hello Sisters, this is President Watson speaking." The change call had come. (Dun-dun-duuuuun!) Sisar Schellenberg and I had discussed briefly our predictions for how this one would go. She had a strong feeling that we might stay together for another transfer. I thought it was fairly likely, but ever since my arrival in Helsinki, I'd felt that my stay in this ward would be very short. President Watson's next words confirmed one of our predictions, "We're going to keep you two together." 10 points for Sisar Schellenberg, and a gazillion bonus points for me, for getting to stay with her another transfer. "But" he continued, "We're going to move you both to Haaga." 10 points for me, too! That makes a gazillion-and-ten, which is fairly impressive. In a bit of a rare move (literally), we are both transferring together! We'll still be in Helsinki, but in a different ward and a different district. Our area is being commandeered by an elder and his trainee, and I am once again involved in a everyone-is-new-here transfer situation, which I love. I was wondering if I'd have another chance to do this on my mission, since I'm down to just 2 more transfers, and onneksi olkoon to me, because this is where I feel that I thrive. Keeping us together to do exactly what we just did either means that we've done well over the past two months, or that we have a lot to learn and need to try again!

We've been frantically making calls (because we can do that now), making visits, informing the masses, and preparing detailed notes and lists for the two new missionaries who will soon inhabit our living space. Planning for elders can actually be quite a departure from planning for sisters. No more women members on our planned visits with women. Also, more possibilities for members when meeting with men. We tried contacting some less-active men in our area to fill out the elders' schedule for the next few days. Neither my companion nor I are overly fond of calling people, and after many experiences with irritated or even angry less-actives and former investigators, I sometimes need to prep myself a bit for making those calls. Like I said earlier, we sometimes must face uncomfortable tasks, and as it was my phone day, I punched in the first man's number. We had a nice chat, and arranged for the elders to call back when they've arrived. Piece of cake. Our next phone call was not so pleasant. Have you ever talked to somebody so angry, that you couldn't so much as eke out a complete sentence? I recently have. I couldn't help myself, and I ended up crying. I've made a lot of such calls on my mission, and I've never responded so strongly before, but I was filled with so much sorrow for this man's anger, and hopelessness that I could not say anything to make it better. I wondered why this keeps happening, and why there is so much bitterness in the world. It gave tovereni and I a good opportunity to talk about duty, and how sometimes those tough phone calls simply need to be made. It's not our job to do only those things that are pleasant, but also those things that bring temporary sorrow or discomfort. As long as we're making the calls, we're doing our part, no matter the response on the other end. A valuable experience, after all.

Yesterday was our last Sunday in the ward. This is my second time leaving an area after just 2 months, and Sisar Schellenberg's first. She was in her last area for 8 months, so it's a bit of a shift, but I know we'll be just fine, because we've been in the exact same boat before and done just swimmingly. (Not sorry about such an awful pun, otherwise I wouldn't have included it.) All this transfer we've tried hard and put ourselves out there, but have had limited success in terms of finding people in our area to teach, and helping them come to church meetings. We were thrilled when our friend Ben showed up on time at our meeting place (or rather, he waited for us quite a while, forgetting that the clocks had just turned back an hour!) We walked to church together, and got to know him and his concerns more. He's just moved to a new apartment that can accommodate his fresh-from-Morocco family. He's stressed about finding enough furnishings and taking care of his children and wife who don't speak Finnish. His face lit up when we told him that the boys that would soon arrive could help him around the house if he'd like. "I have so much to do at my house! Can they get in contact with me?" Of course! He met the bishop, got a peek at the baptismal font, and although he could only stay through the sacrament, as we escorted him to the door, he said that church was really fantastic, and that he should bring his family sometime. He also asked us to give his phone number to a member in our ward who speaks Arabic, Ben's native language, as well as his family's language. An excellent closing to our service here in Herttoniemi. A sign that we've really tried, and have done well. Luckily, Heavenly Father doesn't rely on phones to communicate His love and appreciation for us.

Next week will of course bring a host of new adventures. New place, new faces, new ward, although same city. I have no idea what to expect, which is part of what will make it fun. I'm thankful for revelation from Heavenly Father, which guides us to those places where we most need to be, and at which points in our life. I know that every time we get that long-anticipated phone call from our mission president, that he acts as the channel through which we receive God's will for us.

Until next week.


Sisar Hansen