It's been a wonderful week. Elder Linden had one of the greatest moments of his mission. Let me tell you about it:
When I arrived in Espoo, Elder Linden and Elder Esplin were talking up the most incredible family they had met and were so exited to meet again. In fact, this family wanted to invite us over to eat with them and talk more about the Book of Mormon, but they were having trouble getting a hold of them. Finally, we managed to stop by their home and set up an appointment. We were stoked! They warned me this couple might be a little bit crazy, maybe partiers, but hey, I've seen people change before. We show up for the appointment, and all my suspicions were confirmed. He answered the door in just his underwear (actually a fairly common thing in Finland, at least while we're tracting and people aren't expecting us). We walk in, and on the fridge I see a magnet that says, "The first fifty years of marriage are the hardest." Great.
Sitting down, she offers to say the opening prayer. She was a member of another faith, one that I know prays VERY differently from the way we do, but we love it when they volunteer to pray with us so we said sure. She starts of by shouting, "Kiitos, KIITOS, KIITOS!" and, as she takes a breath to continue, he shouts, just as loud, "AMEN!" ending the prayer completely, as he, Linden, and Esplin erupt into a fit of laughter. Great. I was shocked. I mean, yeah it was kinda funny, but still. Not respectful. But it gets better. We then proceed through him telling us his dream of how three famous athletes came to his door, and so when he found out we were now three instead of two, he took it as a sign that he had to call us back. He asked us questions about Mitt Romney, to which we tried tactfully to respond that we don't really know much about it anyway, and it's not our place to talk about that kind of thing. When Elder Esplin started to cough, he offered him whiskey to help his throat. Explain Word of Wisdom. He asked about the church's stance on homosexuality, abortion, the gift of tongues, Rustafarians, etc. This entire time, as we try in vain to bring the lesson back to the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, Esplin and Linden cannot stop laughing. In fact, at one point, he was laughing so hard that he ended up on the floor! Finally, as we tried to invite them just to read the Book of Mormon and come back another time, Esplin is fighting back another fit of laughter. He says, "I can't do this anymore!!" The man stands up and says, "Hi, I'm Brother (Smith) and, uh, you just got punk'd."
Fake. The whole thing. These were two very active members, and two very good actors. She works in the temple, he's studying business. Elder Linden had been planning this for weeks. I was actually so impressed by the amount of preparation it took to set that up that I had to just sit back and take it in for a few moments. Easily the best prank that's ever been pulled on me. And it ended up being very good practice in dealing with difficult to answer questions.
As for the rest of the week, I'm really becoming a fan of Family Home Evening. We held one with one of our recent converts just a few nights ago, to which she invited her parents and a friend. We had a wonderful evening together playing games and eating and talking about the Book of Mormon. This was the first time her parents found out she was a member of the church, and she was so nervous! But in an environment like that, where the Spirit can reside, especially so focused around families, it was one of the most fun evenings I've had as a missionary. It set our recent convert at ease, her mother accepted the Book of Mormon, and her friend promised to come to church!
Saturday I got back on the train to Pietarsaari to come back and wrap up some unfinished business. It felt great to be back, even though I haven't really been gone very long.
So, I know this one is a little short, again, and I'm sorry, but more details to come in next week's email, I promise.
Love you all.
Love you all.