Monday, January 14, 2013

The Mark of the Sun

So, mostly I was just having trouble coming up with a good subject line. The only story behind it is that I now have a mark I draw on every page of my planner if I saw the sun that day. This week's count: 1. It was glorious.
Hey everybody!
But seriously, I was on exchanges with our beloved district leader on Saturday, in Kerava, and their apartment actually has a window that faces the sun when it comes up. When (around the middle of our second hour of study in the morning) the sun finally came up, I just stared. More distracting than anything else I've experienced as a missionary.
The rest of that day was about as strange as that story probably was to those of you in warm climates that still have no idea what I'm talking about even though I mention it mostly every email. Kerava's been having some interesting problems with their car, namely that the driver's side door doesn't open, and the passenger side door doesn't close. Driving became quite the adventure to say the least. We both had to climb in my side, then I was forced to hold the door closed while we drove, until we built up enough speed for the air outside to force it to stay at least mostly closed. Once I slipped and forgot to hold on, and as we went around the corner, my door went flying open! Felt a bit like some rollercoasters I've been on. Despite all the excitement, though, we ended up having a really good day. It was -16 outside and we didn't have any appointments, so we were out tracting. I forgot my gloves and my hat. My toes were about to fall off, too. But we kept at it. About the point where my feet were about to fall off, we decided we weren't in the right spot and we needed to find somewhere else to go. So we said a prayer. The thought came to our minds to find a couple. So we thought about it for a while. Unfortuantely, I couldn't be much more help than that, becuase it wasn't my area. Then Elder Lloyd remembered a family that had been taught by missionaries many years ago, but had never really progressed towards baptism. We drove to their area, knocked on their door, and were immediately invited in. Their little 3 year old ran around the whole time pretending to be a ninja, making faces at me and jumping on and off a stack of mattresses in the corner of the room. Through his racket we managed to teach this family (Mom, Dad and 12 year old son) about the Book of Mormon and how to pray. We went out for kebab to celebrate. Such a fun day.
T, the woman who had been disturbed by some anti material last week, and her son K, are doing wonderfully. This week, while we were trying to figure out how we help them get to church on Sunday, Elder Lemoine pointed out that it probably depended on K and whether or not he wanted to come. So, for that lesson we played a game about prayer, comparing it to fishing and teaching the steps of prayer while they fish for candy in a big box labelled "Taivas" (heaven), something Elder Christiansen and I cooked up together in Turku (now over a year ago!). It worked like a charm. As soon as K saw that there was candy to be found, he loved praying! They both gave it a couple tries, and then we moved on with another part of  the lesson. We told K all about primary and the fun they have there (he only stayed for sacrament meeting last week), and he ended up being the one to commit both himself and his mom to come to church! He said our closing prayer, too! Well, sort of. His mom walked him through each step while he prayed, and he may or may not have been playing with the dog even as we was speaking the words of his prayer so....yeah, maybe there's room for improvement there, but he still prayed!
When they came to church on Sunday, K was all ready to have a great time. In fact, he was so restless during sacrament meeting, Elder Lemoine ended up playing the "dot game" with him to keep him entertained. The only problem with that was that he got so attached to LeMoine that he didn't want to go to primary without him! So, while I went with a member to gospel principles, my companions got to go back to primary for a day. And they had a blast, lucky dogs. I need to be cooler so the kids will like me too!
Things just keep rolling forward here. There's an African family we've started teaching that just keeps growing! Every time we go, there's a father or a brother or a cousin living in the home that wasn't there the first time that wants to join in on the conversation! Unfortuantely, we've gotten so busy that I've ended up being away, either in Helsinki or Kerava, for each time we've taught them. Still, being busy is one of the last things I can complain about! Somewhere, between everything else we have to do, I find some time to study Swedish, Elder LeMoine is learning to knit, and Elder Manwaring, well, he just keeps us all from going insane. I love this companionship.
The Assistants also had a baptism this weekend, the first of the year for the mission. President has been calling this year "The Year of the Harvest" and it looks like we're off to a pretty good start.
Love you all so much,
Elder Hansen

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