Monday, July 16, 2012

Pietarsaari has exploded

But seriously, almost literally. They have a big event called "Jakobs Dagar" going on right now - huge party and stands all over the center, etc. and it's the most crowded I've ever seen this city. I'm pretty sure the population has doubled for this week-long party.

No hej,

Our work also exploded this week. We taught more, and more different people, than I have ever before taught in a single week here in Jakobstad. It was also the first week in a long time that we spent our full time HERE. So nice to be home for a while. I'm so grateful for Elder Oberhansley - for his friendship and willingness to serve and do what's right. His absolute mastery of The Office and other Steve Carrell related productions also continues to keep our mood light.

Elder Oberhansley taught me a lot of lessons this week about following the Spirit and having patience. One key example of this was picking up a former investigator this week, an African from Nigeria. I had taught him with my last companion, but he started to be a little too busy and wouldn't show up for appointments he had set even just a few hours prior. I was frustrated with him and didn't want to bother wasting our time going back. However, while we were in his area this week, my companion felt impressed to go visit him. I gave him a bit of an incredulous look and asked, "Really? Are you positive you want to do that?" He insisted, so we went. The man was home, we taught him, and taught him again later in the week. We have another appointment with him today and he has committed to try to come to church on Sunday. I've since repented for that look I gave my companion. I love the faith of young missionaries.

Another example. One finding activity that has begun to bear fruit here is former investigator hunting. We typically knock 20 doors in their area after the appointment as well. This week it worked perfectly. We went to a former who was taught around a year ago, and who has always been willing to let the missionaries come to visit, but never progressed. When we met with him, the discussion seemed to be leading back down the road of "chatting" rather than teaching and progressing. I was about to give up and just try to get out when I felt myself remembering what we had learned at leadership training about listening with love. As I began to listen more closely, my love for this man and his struggles grew. We were able to find ways the gospel could bless his life. He readily accepted the invitation to be taught again, has been taught twice more since then, and has committed to be baptized! He even committed himself to pay tithing already (apparently he was taught that before or researched it himself) because he says that the way he feels when we are around or when he reads the Book of Mormon is more than worth than 10%. I'm grateful for the patience I've learned through this process, and I'm hoping it makes me a better parent someday.

We also had one of those miracles that, at least in my opinion, is Heavenly Father's way of saying, "I am able to do mine own work" before we start getting proud. An American couple who has been visiting for the past couple of weeks came up to us before Sacrament Meeting on Sunday and handed us the name and information for a man they met here together. They have met with this man and taken him to lunch every time they have visited Pietarsaari over the past couple of years, and have sent him a copy of the Book of Mormon in Finnish. The husband said, "we just feel like the time is right, would you please contact this man?" I felt so humbled and grateful for the faithfulness of those two wonderful saints and their willingness to share the gospel.

In other news, our bikes have turned into servants of the devil. Every time we go down to get them, one has a flat tire, or the other one has a hole in the tire completely and needs to be replaced, or the gear shift isn't working right, etc. Last week I had to buy a new tire, this week is Elder Oberhansley's turn. Poor guy, he was stuck on Linden's old contraption for a few days this week. Saturday we had to spend an hour trying to repair three different bikes. Major frustration and really threw off our whole plan for the rest of the day. Fortunately, we still got to go visit B later that evening, so it's all good.

B is doing great. We met with him again on Sunday and taught him about the Priesthood. Most of it went clear over his head, except for when we talked about him being able to bless his family, and eventually baptize his own children. I wish you could have all seen the way his face beamed while we talked about that. Pure joy. That's what families built on the gospel will experience.

We had dinner with our Branch Mission Leader, his family, and his mom the other day. His little one-year old daughter was so adorable. When we sat down, we all sat in the wrong spot! She started grunting and calling out everyone's names and pointing them to their "correct" spot, where grandma always sits, where Mom always sits, etc. Our BML just looked at us and said, "You'll learn when you get kids, they're in charge." I love kids. Things are just so much more simple. I wish I could go back to being five my whole life. That would be great.

But for now, I guess I'll stick around here. Have a great week everybody.


Elder Hansen

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