Monday, August 20, 2012

Transfer surprise

Good morning everyone,

Transfer calls came this week, with a little surprise for both me and Elder Oberhansley. We had run through a lot of possible scenarios, ending up with the only two likely options being me leaving or both of us staying. Unfortunately, President has a way of doing things no one expects him to do. I think he does it to make sure no one ever thinks they know too much. Anyway, I will be staying in P-Town for at least six more weeks, Elder Oberhansley will be heading off to downtown Helsinki (from the smallest city in the mission to the largest), and Vanhin Kääriä, Oberhansley's MTC companion, will be coming from Turku to spend the next change with me. Really looking forward to having a Swedish companion again, although it will be sad to see Elder Oberhansley leave. I feel like a Master watching his Padawan run off to face the trials and become a Jedi Knight. He'll do great.

This week was another great one, although we did still face some opposition, mostly from my bike. I had to buy yet another new tube for it this week. If this one doesn't work out for some reason, I'll walk. The saddest moment of this week was getting dropped by one of our new investigators. He's a rather old Finnish man who spends a lot of his time working. He's faced a lot of hardship in his life and never saw any help from God, so he doesn't believe in Him at all. He has everything that the Gospel can and will help him to overcome through the power of the Atonement, and yet he decided to turn away from it because he doesn't really care if it's true or not anymore. I can remember just feeling so sad as we walked away from that appointment.

Other than that, this week was packed with miracles and teaching again. We taught Kevin a lot and we've seen so much growth in him as he prepares for his baptism. This week when we showed up at his door to walk with him to church, he had ditched his typical blue jeans and plaid blue shirt (pretty much the only clothes he owns) and instead had on a nice pair of slacks and a white shirt. Turns out Mormon missionaries aren't the only ones who take advantage of blow out sales at men's stores. I wish I could describe to you all the joy I feel. The light of the gospel just shines from his face. He seemed so happy! And when we had our meeting with our Branch Mission Leader before church, the branch just took care of him. Before we knew what had happened, they had whisked him away into Priesthood meeting. They even found someone else to translate for him. They've just accepted him as one of their own. I really hope all goes well and we can help a lot of them to attend his baptism on Saturday.

We taught M and his wife N again this week, covering the whole Plan of Salvation. They had a lot of questions that tipped me off to the fact that they've done research about the church before, and when I asked M about it he said missionaries had been there before, but it was many years ago. N asked a lot of questions that seemed a bit too deep. I can tell they really think about the things we're telling them. She asked about things like at what point of the human development the Spirit enters the body and if the Book of Mormon reveals the time of the second coming. Her questions at least really helped us bring up attending sacrament meeting more effectively. We talked about church as a place where we all go to receive revelation and guidance and promised her that if she came, she would receive the answers God wanted her to receive. The Spirit was strong and it ended up being a great bonding experience that built our relationship with this couple. They gave a weak commitment right then, but lo and behold, on Sunday there they were! They came a little late, and were a little embarrassed, but we brought them in and found them a seat. After the meeting they didn't make it out of their seats before this branch engulfed them. It took them about half an hour to leave the chapel because so many people wanted to say hi to them. Quite a few members of our branch knew them as well. One the best and worst parts of a small town. Everyone knows everyone.

Sunday after church, we also had the opporutnity to go and dedicate A's new home. She and her husband are splitting up and they've moved away from Munsala. As sad as this whole story has been, she seems very happy with the new place and is adjusting well. Her kids are, as always, my favorite part of the week. Her little one year old ran up to me at church and half hugged, half tackled my legs. Left a nice little drool bomb all over my pants too, but that's ok. Dedicating the house was a very special experience for me. Felt a lot of inspiration for what to say. I've had so many sacred experiences with that family.

Other highlights from this week include a wedding party, splits with Elder Hunt, Elder Oberhansley dueling invisible foes with a bike pump, and reorganizing all the furniture in the apartment. But those are stories for another day.

I love you all. Have a wonderful week.


Elder Hansen

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