Monday, October 29, 2012

Never been happier

Moikka! [Hi!]

Well, it's felt like a bit of a short week for me this week - I was in Pietarsaari until Thursday, when I got to make that wonderful trip once again, all the way from Pännäinen to Helsinki. I wish I could actually tell you all how strangely attached I am to that route. A nice (very Finnish) chat with the young man next to me, and one of the train conductors, usually a very boring, dull type, actually had the entire car laughing just in the short time it took for him to come through and check tickets. At one point one of the other passengers called out, "isn't it nice when work is a pleasure?" To which he responded, "I know right, I feel the same way."

We are having problems this week trying to just set up consistent appointments with our investigators and set up teaching schedules. In my last area, our investigators had regular schedules that allowed us to essentially set standing appointments. This made planning very simple and easy. Unfortunately, we do not have that luxury here. But, in our weekly planning session, we have adjusted by planning a rough time when we know they have been historically free, in place of a specific one hour block, thus allowing ourselves to be more flexible to conform to their constantly changing schedules. This takes a lot more work in terms of following up and keeping track of everyone, but when have missionaries been afraid of hard work?

Investigators in church is critical to their conversion. We had three investigators in church this week. They all loved it. One came, even though she was incredibly tired, just because she knew it was right. That, and our Ward Mission Leader has become something of a miracle. This week, prior to our appointment with this woman, the Spirit told him to go a little bit ahead of time. He did, and found her waiting outside her apartment. He had never met her before, but again following the Spirit, he walked up and introduced himself. He found out that she was in a bit of a panic trying to figure out how she was going to be able to pick up her children from daycare, and immediately offered his help. We were shocked to see him show up with her and her daughters to her apartment just a little late for the appointment. We honestly couldn't believe it. This is what can happen when the members do missionary work by the Spirit, with love.

Our star investigator in the other ward has also found great friends. When she explained that it might be too expensive to drive all the way to church this week, our member couple along with us piped up and said, "oh, just drive to our home and we'll give you a ride the rest of the way!" This investigator made it to church and had a wonderful experience. She even felt comfortable enough sharing some of her own experiences in our gospel principles class! I am convinced it is simply because she felt that the members around her were motivated by sincerity and love, the way we all want our friends to be.

We had a nice dinner with that one family this week, this time as actual members. They were still just as crazy, though. They bicker like you wouldn't believe, but it's all just in good fun. That's just their humor.
"You made it, huh? I chopped it all up!"
"Yeah, you chopped it up with all the right spices and I just through it in a bowl, right?"
"I'm not talking to you anymore"

Or the slightly more extreme:
"Eat your vegetables"
"I don't want to, they give me gas"
"How would you know, you never eat them."
"Ok, fine I'll eat them, but you'll be paying for it tonight."

I've never been happier in my life. I won't lie, living with two missionaries who are getting ready to go home isn't easy. Nor is having an area the size of ours, nor so many members that I wonder how I will ever get to know them all or be able to work with them effectively. But, I'm going for it. There's work to do, and it's not my job to think about how hard it is. It's my job to keep going until He tells me to stop.


Elder Hansen

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