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

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