Hyvää päivää kaikille [Good day to all],
That's right, we finally got snow here. Well, sort of. It snowed a little last night, but it had all melted by the time we got outside. Still, it means winter is finally coming. It gets dark here around 4:30 now so most of our best work happens in the dark. Yeah, how's that for irony? It's definitely getting cold, we had -2 last night while we were getting home. [Celsius, not Fahrenheit]
Thanks for all your emails about taking time off and not having anything to do for five days this weekend. It's nice to remember what the real world is like sometimes. Ha! No, just kidding. But Thanksgiving doesn't exist here in any form, so there's nothing to get excited about this time of year except that Christmas is coming soon-ish...sorta. Wheeee.....
There's plenty for missionaries to be excited about though!! There's one baptismal date left in our district and if it works out, that'll mean three baptisms in three weeks in this district. As Elder C put it last night, "Yeah, the devil's kinda upset with Finland right now" Here's how the week went:
Had some fun shopping with Elder C. We found this awesome gelato shop and we're going to go there every week so we can try all the flavors before he goes home. Also had two really awesome, spiritual teaches and set a new baptismal date!
Went on Splits up in Rauma. Elder C served there for quite a while, so I know it was fun for him to be back up there and see all the places he used to go to. I worked with the junior companion of, which meant I was senior companion for a day. This Elder was in the district right behind me in the MTC, so it was fun to see him again and work with him. We, unfortunately, didn't have much success. We even got the police called on us when one woman was really upset that we had gotten into her locked building. But hey, someone held the door open for us, so technically we didn't do anything wrong. We hightailed it out of there before the cops showed up. Who knows if she even called?
We stayed the night in Rauma Tuesday night, so we didn't get back to Turku until about 2 in the afternoon. We had four teaches planned for that night, but two of them cancelled, which was a bummer. Still ended up being a great night and M's baptismal interview went great. Everything was all set up for Friday.
District Meeting with President and Sister R. SOO GOOOOOD!!! It was all day (9-6), but it was really inspiring. We talked a lot about some technical, practical things (like keeping better records in our area books) that can help our mission work way more effectively as a unit. That's one thing I love about President R. He has a great vision of getting this mission to all work together as a single unit to move forward. It's so great. He talks a lot about "Rending the veil of unbelief" [Ether 4:15] meaning that it's time to tear down the idea that the church just isn't going anywhere in Finland, or in Europe in general. He was pretty blunt about it. He said, essentially, when people believe that the church just can't go anywhere, that people aren't prepared or interested or they won't change, they deny the power of the Atonement. The time for being "realistic" is over. What is actually realistic is far beyond anything we can imagine. I know that sounds like one of those grand, optimistic, cheesy missionary slogans, but hey I'm a missionary so it works.
M's baptism. Best day of my life. I think it was the best day of hers too. All her family came (I think they may have even outnumbered the ward members in attendance) which was great. There's so much love in that family. Our new baptismal date also came, even though she felt sick earlier that day. I felt so much peace while I got to watch Elder C baptize M. This is someone whose life has actually changed as a result of the gospel, and we've gotten to see it from the beginning, all the way to now. (I won't say till the end, because the end will never really come). This is someone who was really to receive, and ready to give. She's going to be a future leader in this ward. Her faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ exceeds anything I've ever seen. She just looked so happy the whole night. So great to see.
Nothing really big happened. We had some miracle members pull through and come to teaches, but other than that, we just worked hard. Good day.
Stake Conference in Tampere. President and Sister R spoke, gave some really great talks. All our teaches in the evening fell through though, including the one with our new baptismal date. Her sister apparently told her "It's me or the church" and she couldn't choose the church over her family. It really hurts to see people you have taught and come to love make wrong choices, but hopefully, in the Lord's time, she will have another opportunity to accept all the blessings of this gospel. Hard to end the week on such a sour note, but we'll keep moving forward.
Love you all so much, keep doing what's right. And don't worry about what other people around you are doing. Comparing yourselves to others doesn't get you anywhere. If someone does something that you like, try to emulate them. Try to take what they do and apply it to you, but don't get caught in the trap of trying to keep up or one-up. That's a lesson I had to learn really fast out here.
Have a great week.