Ed. note: McKay mentions the Juhannus celebration - according to Wikipedia, it is the Finnish midsummer celebration. Bonfires (Finnish kokko) are very common and are burnt at lakesides and by the sea.Often two young birch trees (koivu) are placed on either side of the front door to welcome visitors. Most Finns spend the holiday at their cottages in the countryside. Here's McKay's email from this week:
This week was another rough one, not much happened. We did set a baptismal date with one of our investigators, though! It's super loose, one of those "if i come to know..." types of commitments, but we're at least excited that he's taking this seriously now. that was actually a great story. That morning, I knew I was going to be teaching him all by myself, because he's a Swedish speaker and we hadn't been able to find a member who could come along. I was really nervous about it, because, honestly, after having been in Jakobstad for so long now, I really feel like my Swedish should be better than it is. I was feeling a little discouraged, so I said a short prayer to ask Heavenly Father to make me equal to the task that day. We had arranged to fix his broken porch first, and then teach him afterwards, so we got right to work when we arrived. Elder Oberhansley was a beast on the drill, so we got it done really quick. Our investigator was so grateful. He's handicapped and in a wheelchair, so for him to do this himself would take a couple of weeks. But we got it done in just a couple hours. As we were finishing the project, I started to transition into teaching. I asked him how his reading in the Book of Mormon had been going. Just at that moment it began to rain, just a little bit. He looked up, then back at the little of the porch remaining to be fixed and said, "well, if it's going to rain we'd better stop for today." So we began to teach. Then the real miracle came. I was able to take and understand all of his questions and concerns. I understood the stories he told about his life and was able to respond with my own, as well as testify of the Restoration and how he had been prepared to receive it. I helped him to understand why he would need to be baptized, and invited him to be baptized. Everything I said felt guided by the Spirit. The language was no longer a barrier because I loved this man and desired his salvation. The Spirit made up the difference. I'm very grateful to know that Heavenly Father answers prayers. This weekend was Juhannus (Mid-Summer), the longest day of the year. It also means no tracting or contacting Friday or Saturday, so we decided to do the best missionary work we can do in that situation - service. We had a blast doing it, too. We helped this couple in our branch move three cedar trees to a different part of their yard. This brother had designed a little device for moving them too. We started by digging in around the base of the tree, then sliding boards underneath to act as levers. As we pried up the tree, one of us shoved a large piece of plywood underneath everything, kicked it into place, and then the whole tree could just slide around wherever we wanted to pull it. He was so happy when it worked, that he had his son come out and videotape the whole thing start to finish. It was so much fun.
On our p-day last week Elder Oberhansley and I played this ridiculously Mormon version of Monopoly. It was awesome. It's called Free Agency, which is ironic because in the game all you do is roll dice and do what it tells you. No agency involved. Well, I think that's all from this week. We have two teaches set up for today, which could really end up being a miracle that gets our area going again. Love you all so much. have a wonderful week. Love, McKay