Monday, February 18, 2013

Winter is great, but I've been told Spring looks really nice this time of year

Hey everybody,
So, big news first: T backed out. We got to talking about the baptismal interview questions and she just didn't feel right about them. She didn't really think she was ready to answer a few of them and after talking with her, we feel the same way. Originally she wanted to just stop all the visits and everything, but after stopping by and talking with her a few times, she agreed to let us come back. So we'll see where things go from here.
While waiting for one of those lessons with T, though, Heavenly Father decided to throw us a bone. I saw a woman walk out from the building next door to T's, and we decided to go talk to her. Turns out it's a woman we had been teaching there for a long time, but had dropped off the face of the earth around Christmas and stopped responding to calls or texts. She had been really set on being baptized in January, but when her life got so busy and stressful, she decided she just wasn't ready. But now, she's back! We had a lesson with her this week and talked with her about what's been going on. She came to church this week with her twin two-year olds and had a good time. Well, at least the girls did. The members here love them because they're just so adorable, but I don't think I've ever met such a pair as those two. Take the energizer bunny, duplicate it, then give it a Redbull, and you might get close. They just go crazy! Plus, they're used to hearing English, Finnish, and their african language all the time, so although they understand them all, they have trouble differentiating when they respond, so the words that come out are sometimes in three different languages!
As far as their mother is concerned, though, she just seems tired and depressed. I feel like she really needs to understand how the Atonement really works, because she always talks about getting her life in order before she gets baptized. But that's not really how it works. We may be able to control ourselves with work and discipline. We may be able to change our actions to be in harmony with God's will. But the Savior is the One who changes us. Something I've really come to understand recently is that the Atonement doesn't just help us to put all the pieces of life back together. It gives us new pieces to play with.
And it never guarantees that we won't make silly mistakes again. I had a great chance to go on exchanges with a brand new missionary this week. Only been in the field a week. His Finnish is doing pretty well, considering. However, we were in a bit of a pickle. Our plans required that Elder Manwaring took the car all the way out to Siuntio, leaving me and my new companion to ride the buses all day long. I haven't ridden public transport in the city since I was in Turku. Needless to say, planning  took a lot longer, and unfortuantely, didn't even pay off. See, knowing where all the buses and trains go and at what times doesn't exactly help when you forget that you need money to pay for them....yeah. We took a bus all the way out to the northern reaches of the city of Espoo, only to realize that I had spent all our bus money on the first trip, without enough time to teach the lesson, then get back to the bus before the ticket expired. Oops. So, we started walking. And walked. and walked. (I felt like I was back in primary singing that one song that NEVER ENDS). Along the way, we at least got to talk to a few people and ended up giving away a Book of Mormon. Plus all our lessons for the evening canceled, so we didn't have to worry about being late. But overall, still a really foolish mistake and a really long walk to pay for it.
As with most weeks in this area, Sunday always makes me feel like we had a great week. I think that's the point of church isn't it? When we sat down in sacrament meeting, I noticed a familiar face in the congregation. Turns out one of the members from Jakobstad, the brother of the branch mission leader, had made the trip all the way down to spend the weekend with some friends here in Espoo! We got to have a nice chat after sacrament meeting. My Swedish was rough, but not as bad as I thought it would be, and it started coming back the more I got to speak with him. He told me all about how everyone was doing and brought some great news. A man who is married to a member there and has been coming to church regularly for about ten years or so, has been taught by the missionaries a few times but never wanted to be baptized, has apparently announced that he's going to be baptized soon!!!
Life really is great over here. Elder Manwaring is the type of companion I've always wanted (and fortunately had the opportunity to have all the time here in Finland). I feel like we spend most of our time in the apartment laughing about one thing or another. Have a great week!
Elder Hansen

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