Monday, January 30, 2012

First Week in Pietarsaari

Meetinghouse for the Pietarsaari Branch

(Yes I decided to start with the one greeting that is neutral across all three languages). I don't even know where to start with everything that's happened this week. I don't think I've ever been so tired in my entire life.

We'll start with the train ride. I got on the train in Turku (actually got to say a quick hello to Elder Hoggard who was arriving from Helsinki to replace me, which was fun), and had two hours of ALONE TIME....super weird. Actually one of the longest, most boring two hour periods of my life. I feel uncomfortable being alone now. Anyway, so I get to Tampere and the Assistants had told me I wouldn't even have to change trains, but when we pulled in, I realized the tickets for the second half of the ride were for a different train! So I scramble to get all my stuff together and just sorta step off the train onto the platform with absolutely no idea where Elder L would be, or which other train to get on. Thankfully he and the zone leaders came walking around the corner at that moment and we got everything all taken care of. Had a really good trip up to Pietarsaari, great talk on the train and set some really good goals for our companionship. Then suddenly the door to our little booth opens and a man walks in saying we're in his seat. We immediately started to move our stuff, until he realizes we're missionaries and he goes, "oh hey, I'm Veli so-and-so from Oulu" so we got to spend the rest of the trip talking with this member about his family and stuff. Pretty cool. What are the odds of that? We even did the invitation to prayer with him and are now praying for his daughter's non-member boyfriend. We get off the train in Pännäinnen (Pietarsaari is too small for a train station) and get in a tiny bus, more like a van, for a quick ride to P-Town. This place is soooo different from Turku, but I think I might already love it even more.

So we had scheduled to have our weekly planning session, but then our Branch President called us and said he needed us to come along to visit a member who lives 40 km away in Munsala. He didn't want to go alone because it the member's husband wouldn't be home. So we agreed...and three hours later we left. We weren't really sure why we were there, but this woman's husband, who isn't a member came home and we had a really good chance to meet with him while the branch president and the wife were talking.

Then things got crazy. They made us dinner, which we really appreciated, but we had less than an hour before we had to get back to P-Town to catch a bus to Kokkola for the night, so that we could catch a train to Seinäjoki for district meeting the next day. So we ate fast and packed up and they drove us to the bus station. Too late. Elder L and I decide we can just bike to Kokkola, but the member wasn't having any of that, she's going to drive us all the way to Kokkola, which is like an hour and half of extra driving for her! The only problem is we can't get a ride without a man in the car. So we start calling members, and finally find someone who can come, so the member goes to meet him at the church and we run home to grab some things for the trip. While we're at home though the member calls and says he can't come. So now we have to run to the church to tell the other member, who doesn't have a phone, that we have to find someone else. As we're running, we call this Chinese investigator who lives really close to the church and he agrees to come. We get to the church and have to run in front of the car to guide it to where this investigator lives, get in the car, drive home, grab a toothbrush and a suit jacket, and run back out. Good news is, we made it to Kokkola on time. It was a really long night. I'm not even sure if that story made sense, but it still doesn't even really make sense to me. It was a crazy night.

Planning meeting. Really spiritual. I can tell Elder L and I are going to have a lot of success together.

My very first teach in Swedish! Ok, well I didn't actually say anything, but I was in the teach and it was all in Swedish so it kinda counts. It was actually really frustrating to not be able to help at all. This couple we're teaching are neighbors to, and really close friends with, the member from Wednesday. Really solid. They actually asked if they could move their baptism up to the 5th instead of the 11th. When we said we needed time to teach them everything, they were like, "well you could just come every day if you want." They're really funny and have two small kids that I'm really good friends with. I love the way young minds work, you don't even have to speak their language to be friends.

I said my first prayer all in Swedish. it was one of the most indescribable experiences of my mission so far. The Spirit just flooded the room. Elder L said he felt the Spirit very very powerfully, even though it was such a rough prayer. No eloquence at all. Really neat. I love learning Swedish.

Church was awesome. Church here is always in two languages (one person speaks and another translates), so I had a translator for my talk. It was a little hankala
[tricky] to get the timing down, but it worked out. I was pretty proud of my talk.

Time to wrap up. Love you all, Mom I promise I'm keeping warm (found a new coat for 30 euros. Score!)


Vanhin/Äldste/Elder Hansen

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