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.