Monday, January 7, 2013

The First Full Week of the New Year!

Sort of. I guess Sunday and Monday just...uh....don't count.
Happy Monday everyone!!
This week was....different. Lots of meetings and lots of sitting, but also a lot of time with other missionaries, which is always fun. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we were in the mission home from 10-5 for leadership training meeting for all the new missionaries, their trainers, the assistants, and all the "special invitees" (oh yeah, that's us.) The Assistants called us on Saturday and told us we would have to sleep in our apartment so that the Pori elders (also special invites) could stay with us and we could just drive them down in the morning and go on exchanges in the evening. Well, I wasn't too pleased about that, because that meant we would be left out of the sähly party that takes place every morning when tons of missionaries stay with the assistants. So, I talked with President and Sister Rawlings and got us a spot at the best hotel in the country - the mission home. So, we still got to play. We had a lot of fun, I got a tad bit competitive (but kept it largely under control). LTM itself was a lot of fun, and lunch from Sister Rawlings every day is always appreciated. In the evenings on those days, we managed to get back to our areas to teach our investigators, and one of those lessons ended up being a really remarkable one, at least for me. It was with the woman I mentioned last week, the one who ran into some "anti" material, and wanted to stop investigating.
First, we opened the Book of Mormon. We asked her what she had read and what she had felt about it as she read. She expressed wonderful feelings and thoughts. She even explained how she was starting to truly love reading the Book of Mormon because it didn't just answer her questions, it also gave her more things to think about! After that discussion, we opened up to Galatians and talked about the fruits of the Spirit. We helped her connect these fruits with the same feelings she had just described a few moments before as having come from the Book of Mormon. We then talked with her seriously about baptism and invited her to be baptized, all before even mentioning the "anti." Only when she found it difficult to commit to being baptized did we finally bring up the material she had found and the effect it had had on her. We quickly resolved her concerns on the idea of plural marriage and the doctrine and covenants. Her desire was sincere. Once she realized that her fears were unfounded because plural marriage no longer existed and the doctrine and covenants is simply the same as all other scripture that has been revealed through prophets, she forgot all about it. It was no longer an issue. It also gave us great insight into her need to find out whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet. She committed to pray about it. After that, we pulled out a teaching record and showed it to her, asking her what interested her. She selected one topic: Tithing. So we opened the Book of Mormon and taught what the Savior taught about tithing and the blessings it brings. It also reinforced her need to find out for herself if the Book of Mormon was true. By the end, there was no question that she was still willing to learn and that she was coming to church.

I realize that not all of that will mean quite as much to all of you as it did to me in the moment, but just try to imagine how strong the Spirit was as she bore her own testimony without even realizing it! I'm so excited to continue working with her!
Thursday was my first Language School run all by myself. I loved it! Started with a thought about the gift of tongues and our need to involve the Savior, even in something like learning a language. Then we talked about language study plans and how they can improve those. Next, we played a game, where we recited D&C 4 in Finnish, each of us only saying one word at a time. It was really hard! We timed ourselves and got 3:04. Then we tried it again, with quite a bit of tension in the room. The drama built, and most of us started forgetting the words. We ended up at 4:09 the second time. Bummer. But, I decided we had time for one more round before lunch, so we busted it out. The intensity was even higher until the final "Aamen" 3:03! High fives were in order. Yes, missionary dorks, but very fun. After lunch we had some interviews and the assistants played a version of Deal or No Deal, with the missionaries required to answer a question before they could open a case. They were all good sports, even when one of them got all the way to the end, decided to stick with his case and ended up with only one dollar....bummer.
Well, my companions are waiting for me, but I love you all. You're the best. Take care of yourselves this week!

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