The countdown is now being measured in days. Days. Sixteen of them, to be precise. So much left to learn, to do, to become, and so little time! I'm excited to see how I continue to grow and learn every single day. Tovereni and I had a really insightful chat today about stress, growth, and learning to let things go. We've struggled to find people lately, and we're trying to find peace and enjoyment with full hearts, despite our empty progress records. It's a skill that takes some practice, but I've learned more and more how to relax and be optimistic while on my mission, despite having a way left to go.
We had splits with the sister training leaders this past week. It was wonderful for several reasons:
1) One of them is the one-and-only SISAR NYMAN!!! At interim, the new sisters were all abuzz, chatting with each other at every opportunity, talking about how things are going, crazy stories from teaching and contacting, and families back home. I watched from the sidelines, happy that they were all so excited to see each other and catch up. Thursday was Sisar Mendenhall's turn. My MTC tovereni and I went on and on during morning exercise and breakfast time about how it's been going, and what things we've learned recently. I'll be sad to not give her hugs anymore when we're once again living on opposite sides of the planet.
2) It was a major contacting pick-me-up! Sisar Mendenhall and I both got some really great tips for starting conversations on the street that have dramatically improved our contacting over the past few days. We are a lot more upbeat and positive about the whole thing. We feel like we can do just about anything, and the feeling so far is lingering. We are seeing some serious weaknesses become serious strengths, and it feels oh-so-good!
3) Something about splits is just inherently refreshing, and always makes me feel more excited to get out and do the work.
Although I'm almost at the end of my full-time missionary service in Finland (I packed a few things last night! Ahhhh!!!) I don't feel like it's an end. I feel excited to learn and grown and do my best every day, just as if I had another year to go. Will I be glad to go back to a more sustainable lifestyle? Yes. Will it be good to see and talk to family and friends more often? Kyllä. Will it be nice to be able to go to the bathroom at the church without having to think about whether or not my assigned companion is within proper distance? Of course! But for all of this, I really don't feel so "trunky". With the Lord's call to serve comes the Lord's timing. It's just as inspired as the country or the language. I love still feeling like a full-time representative of the Lord, and I look forward to doing more things that the Lord has in store for me in just o'er a fortnight's time. (Including member missionary work! Gotta practice what I've been preaching, right?)
Kiitos paljon for all the continual love and support over the past year-and-a-half. It sounds like a cliche thing to say, but perhaps it's cliche for a good reason. They say it's impossible to really do this kind of work alone. This is true. We have to rely on the Lord daily. It's absolutely essential. But I also know that the people back home and abroad who love me and keep me in their thoughts and prayers also make this possible.
Kirkko on totta. Rakastan teitä.