Monday, February 27, 2012

They're Swedish...they don't believe in chairs

Ten bucks if you get the subject line. (Hopefully at least Maren and Reese remember).

Hei hei,

So, actually completely messing up jokes has kinda been the theme of this week. Elder L speaks great English, but sometimes I can still throw him without really thinking about it. Like this morning, I tried to say I agree by saying, "me dos" (me too, just using the wrong translation of too/two in Spanish), and yeah, it went about as well as that sentence did...At home people would understand, but some things just don't translate. Another prime example is now Elder L's favorite thing to talk about. I tried cracking a joke in my talk on Sunday, only to find out that my brand of American humor doesn't really translate as well as I thought into Finnish, and it gets even worse when they have to translate that awfulness into Swedish. Kinda killed the mood in sacrament meeting. Luckily it was at the end of my talk so I could just close and sit down without embarrassing myself, but my wonderful, supportive, loving companion was laughing his head off. Gosh dang language barriers....

I seriously doubt anyone even remembers it by now though, because the woman who spoke after me was a convert of about two years, who was moving with her husband and children to Tampere. They have such an incredible story. They moved here from Angola for work and she was trying to find a church to go to on Sundays. The first one they spotted was our little church building, but when she came to it, it ws locked. So, they decided to watch from their balcony every Sunday to see when all the cars showed up. As soon as she saw all the cars, she hurried and got dressed and ran over. Unfortunately, the first thing she noticed when she came in was that she wsa literally the only black person in sight. Our branch mission leader, who is a pretty huge man, walked over to her to greet her, but her first thought was that he was going to throw her out. At this point in her story, she started to cry. She talked about how everyone had loved her right from the start, finding someone who spoke Spanish who could translate for her (She speaks Portuguese), and inviting her to all their activities. She and her husband were baptized a few weeks later and their sons a couple months after that. Think of that! She just wanted to go to a church for Sunday and they just happen to be able to see our church from where they live. There just happens to be someone who speaks Spanish in this tiny branch so she can actually participate while speaking no Finnish or Swedish. That cannot be coincidence. Awesome story.

It becomes even more amazing when you consider the other recent converts in this branch. One, an Iraqi christian who runs up to my companion and asks for a copy of the Book of Mormon, then in the first teach asks what he has to do to be baptized, and the others brought to us and loved into the church by their neighbor. We hardly felt like we did anything for A and T, we just had to be there to teach them. Elder L and I are really starting to feel like we aren't needed here. The people seem to be finding the church just fine without us.

In other news, I'm pretty sure we are teaching all or most of the Bulgarian Mafia here in P-Town right now. No just kidding, but there are tons of them here and they're really big on family. Monday we stopped by K, the patriarch basically, but he wasn't home. We ended up talking to his daughter and her husband though, and we set up a teach with them for Tuesday. On Tuesday A (the husband) calls, and says his wife will be having a party at their place so is it ok if we have it at another place. We said fine so he came and picked us up. As we're driving, he says something like, "yeah, the others are waiting for us" Others? What others? He takes us to a gas station where five other Bulgarians are waiting at a table. They sit us down in a booth and circle us in so we can't leave. So...we teach them about the church!  We got a bunch of new investigators that night and they all committed to come to church on Sunday! None of them showed up, and they're kinda hard to get a hold of so far, but we haven't really had a good chance to sit down and explain ourselves and really set the whole teaching process up yet, so we'll see. Basically, I just told that story because the whole thing felt like a scene from a movie. Our whole branch loves it. They actually started making the mafia jokes before we did.

I love you family, can't wait to hear from you next week.

Elder Hansen

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