Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Påsk, Glad Pääsiäistä, and Hyvää Easter!

Unscramble that one. HA!
Happy Easter family!
We're having a wonderful Easter weekend out here. In Finland, Easter extends to Monday which is probably awesome for everyone here, but for the missionaries it's the worst because it's a "Red Day," which means no tracting, no contacting. The only work we can do is teach if we're invited and work in our apartment.
Thank you all for the wonderful package. I love the jacket, and the candy is something I didn't really know I missed until I finally had some. Unfortunately, Elder Linden never eats candy, so all of it goes straight to me. Yeah...I'm at like 86 kilos right now...oops. TIme to start running again in the morning. With all the travel, we haven't been good about our morning exercise, and I definitely felt it this morning when we went out to run. Plus, it was super cold again! We just can't break out of this limbo Finland is apparently trapped in between Winter and Spring. It will feel so nice for a few days, then dump a few inches of snow in a couple nights and send us clear back to the middle of January.
Oh random note. The whole idea of an Easter egg hunt is completely foreign here. I tried explaining it at dinner last night and the members didn't really get it (probably because I did it in Swedish). However, they go trick-or-treating on Easter here (they don't do it on Halloween)! They all dress up as witches or bunnies or chickens and go out on Saturday. Super funny.
I had the wonderful opportunity to go down to Helsinki this week for my six-month language school. Can you believe I've been in Finland for over six months?! Great chance to catch up with my MTC district. They are all such wonderful missionaries and we have so much fun together. I actually think we may have frustrated our language coordinator a little bit, because we spent about twenty minutes laughing about funny memories from the MTC before we could get an opening prayer said. Everyone from my district is doing wonderful. Elder Hoggard is still in Turku, so I got to hear some wonderful news and stories about E and her girls. I miss them so much. It made me feel so good to know they're all still doing so well.
The other great part of Helsinki is that we got to stay with the Assisstants and go play sählyä (floor ball) in the morning. It's really fun, but the way the missionaries play, it might as well be lacrosse. Once, when Elder Linden had a wide open net in front of him, I tried to slide head first and knock the ball away with my stick. It was almost cool. Not only did I NOT make the save, but Elder Linden also ended up falling on top of me and my elbow still hurts a little bit. So much fun.
On the train back from Helsinki a man from Seinäjoki came up and took the seat across the aisle from me. When he saw we were missionaries he got really excited. He has met missionaries before, and actually investigated for a while, and now was curious to hear what our church believes about Easter. I felt a wonderful spirit as I took the chance to share my testimony of the Savior. That He lived, that He died, and that He rose again the third day are truths I cherish. I know that because He lives, we will all live again. He really liked that. He's visited a lot of churches, but none of them really had what he was looking for. He wants a church that deals with the issues we see around us today, not just what happens after this life. Gosh, could I have begged for a greater miracle?! But, before I had the chance to teach him about living prophets, modern scripture, personal revelation, The Gospel of Jesus Christ or any one of the other thousands of things the church teaches about how to deal with the issues of today, a drunk man came and sat down near us. As soon as he heard us talking about Easter and the Savior, he turns his head to the ceiling and just starts shouting the Master's name and saying that he knows he's going to heaven, and then tries to take this poor man I had been talking to by the hand a few times. That effectively ended our conversation. Our stop was coming up and this nice man decided he really didn't want to deal with a man who was so drunk and escaped to the restaraunt car. Oh well, he got spiritually fed and Elder Linden and I have a funny story to tell about a drunk man. Unfortunately there's still a part of me with some slightly unfriendly feelings for the drunk man and his timing.
Saturday was also a Red Day, so we went to help our Branch Mission Leader with some service in his yard. First he had us feed the hens. I picked one up! Way fun. Then, he had decided to take out a few big trees, so while he manned the chainsaw, we hauled everything away. It was a blast. The very last tree was so close to being a disaster. It was so big that we were worried the wind would blow it over onto the chicken coop as soon as we made the cut, but we decided that if we pushed hard enough, we could get it to fall the direction we wanted to. Try as we might, however, the wind was just too strong. Luckily the tree missed the actual hen house and ended up just smashing some of the fencing around their pen. Still bad, but not nearly as bad as it could have been. Definitely one of those slow-motion moments while I watched the tree fall.
One last thing before I go. The Finns have this traditional dessert for Easter they call Mämmi. Go google it and find a picture. I can't say I hate it, but unless you pour tons of cream over it, it's horrible. But, on the other hand, I tried moose tongue for the first time this weekend and loved it! So go figure.

[Click here to learn more about Mämmi]

I love you all so much. Take care of each other for me. Always take time to remember just how good life is.
Elder McKay

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