First of all, thanks for all your emails this week. I love hearing from all of you, even if it's short. Happy birthday to the greatest sister to ever walk the planet. :)
I should probably also explain the subject line. We went and visited the Tuomio Kirkko today, the huge Lutheran church in the center of the city, that was built in around the 1500s. It's beautiful inside. There are a few tombs inside and at one point, while looking at one of them, Elder H goes, "wow. there's a dead guy! Right there!" I thought it was pretty funny.
To be perfectly honest, this week didn't seem like it was going to be a very good week when it began. Monday our baptismal date called and told us that, due to family pressure, she would be forced to cancel her baptism and all of our remaining appointments for the time being. She had made such remarkable progress, but could not hold up when her sister and her daughter were so violently opposed. Very sad. But, in spite of that, we still saw some miracles this week.
Pretty quiet P-Day. Tried to take advantage of some after Christmas sales, but couldn't find anything I liked so we just went home. S. called later and cancelled everything. It really, really hurt. But, we had to keep going, so we did.
We had one bright moment in the middle of the day though. One young woman this week recognized the Savior's name on our nametags and decided to introduce herself to us. As we talked with her, she told us her story of how she had discovered her faith in Jesus Christ by reading and praying about the Bible. She referred to it as "uskon lahja." [a gift] After talking briefly, she agreed to an appointment with us. Since then, we have met with her twice and she is reading the Book of Mormon regularly. We did the Invitation to Prayer with her and received the name of her brother who also lives here in Turku. She wants him to receive the same knowledge she now has of Christ, but unfortunately won't allow us to go visit him yet. She plans on moving to Helsinki next week, but we discussed giving her information to the missionaries in her new area and she readily agreed. I'm convinced she will be baptized very soon after her move.
Lähetystyö. Had a couple of really good DA's. Got super lost at one point though. I don't know this city as well as I thought. It's just too big!
I had my first experience teaching a Lutheran priest. Not a experience I intend to repeat many times on my mission. This man has read the Book of Mormon all the way through twice. He has apparently been attending our ward here regularly as long as we have the afternoon time, which doesn't interfere with his work. And every time we tried to ask him a straight question or focus our lesson on the truths we teach, he would redirect it. We watched his whole countenance change when we asked him those super direct questions about the Book of Mormon and his feelings about it and the church. He's afraid to admit it, unfortunately, and it shows. It was just another testament to me that the presence of the Book of Mormon in someone's life will always bring convincing evidence of the truthfulness of this church. Whether they decide to act on it after that is up to them.
Running out of time, so I'm going to have to skip the rest of the days events. We're having fun and doing a ton of great work. Still way behind the sisters though.
For Thursday - Saturday, see Tuesday.
Saturday night a former investigator called us out of the blue. Here is the story as I told it to President in my email earlier.
We had a former investigator call us out of nowhere and ask to meet. He said he had been reading the Book of Mormon and now has a very solid testimony of it. He said he has been getting the Liahona delivered to his house regularly and has a testimony of the Church's inspired leaders as well. Unfortunately, he lives about an hour away, which, in addition to some Word of Wisdom issues is the reason it has been so difficult for him to progress. In that phone call I committed him to come to church and he accepted. He arrived an hour before church and we had a wonderful meeting in the quiet, empty chapel. We set up a teaching schedule and daily contact, and committed him to prepare again to be baptized! He has a long way to go, and some of our members who have known him in the past need to rend their Veils of Unbelief concerning him, but I firmly believe he is ready and sincerely committed this time to do what he needs to do.
Also, (mom I thought you might appreciate this) after sacrament meeting on Sunday, E tapped me on the shoulder and asked "do you know how to fix this?" pointing to a small tear in the back of my suit. I admitted that I didn't. She goes "all right, give it here, You'll get it back when you come on Wednesday." She's so great. Probably one of my best friends in the world, and I'm getting my suit fixed for free!
I love you all very much. Thank you for all of your great examples and your letters and emails.