Elders Hansen, Edwards, and Ingersoll at the Kolme Seppää" statue in downtown Helsinki.
Life is still good here in downtown Helsinki. The winter is still hanging around, I'm still stressed and very busy, the work still needs to be going better, but the sun is still shining, my companions are still great, and we keep on working hard. So, all in all, I can't really complain.
Most of this week really flew by and got caught up in a lot of things that really aren't that important or interesting...which is why I can't remember what they were. Poor Elder Clegg has been stuck in the office with me late a couple evenings while I type up reports, send emails, etc. And he either writes progress reports for meetings that...never happen. But, at least we're getting to know the office staff very well.
Thursday we got to go meet one of the older high priests in the ward. He's one of our favorite members though, because he almost always makes the effort to come on lessons with us. We wanted to do something nice for him, so we went to visit to just try to bring the Spirit to his home, one of the few things missionaries can really offer. We were the ones who ended up getting the treat! He fed us some pulla and chocolate, told us stories about the "bald institute" (what they call the old man club that gets together every Friday night to have apparently very eccentric and intense doctrinal discussions), and about all his opportunities to preach the gospel to the Jehovah's Witnesses that come over every Tuesday and try to convert him.
Thursday we also had a great meeting with the bishop to talk about the ward and how everything's going to change now that we have three companionships in the same ward. This is something that doesn't exist anywhere else in the country yet, so we seem to just be running around with no idea what we're doing, but there really is some method to the madness. I just hope we get something more settled before June when Ingersoll, the real powerhouse of the ward, goes home and two sisters come in to make it eight in the ward!
Sunday was by far my favorite day of the week, again. We had some great talks from Elder Dastrup (my old companion, now serving in this ward) and his new companion, fresh from the MTC, Elder Lym. Did a great job, even though Lym's only been in the country for a week or so now. After that, Elder Ingersoll and I got to visit PRIMARY again. This time our topic was the Gold Plates. I was really impressed by how well all the kids knew the story. They kept pointing out all the details that we thought we could just skip over because they wouldn't care anyway. Not so fast my friend. What added to the general chaos was that a few of them showed up in superhero costumes (Superman slightly over represented), and none of them could sit still for two seconds. The singing time leader had to keep doing "head, shoulders. knees, and toes" over and over to see if it would help them just get all the excess energy out, but it still didn't work. I will have it known though, that Elder Ingersoll and I know "head, shoulders, knees, and toes" really well in Finnish now.
After church we didn't have much going on, so we went tracting. The first door we knock on is a young girl around twelve who runs to get her dad. We started off just talking to him about family and how much our message has blessed our family. We talked about prayer and having a gospel centered home. I kept waiting for us to say something that would turn him off so he would close the door, but he just kept listening! It was weird! Eventually, we had the Book of Mormon out and we asked him to read Moroni 10:3-5. And when we asked if he would have some time to meet, he said he'd be open almost the whole week to hear more about this. I love talking about how the gospel has blessed my family. It's the thing I feel the most confident about when I talk to people, and I really feel like it's been something that's worked. I'm grateful for the home I was raised in, and in the chance I have to say that I know how much having this kind of gospel in the home has brought me something I can always rely on. Something that brings lasting joy and happiness in my life.
On the other hand, the next man, who actually let us in, was a completely different story. His wife had died about a year previous, and he had spent most of the past year dealing with paperwork, police, and lawyers because he felt there was something wrong done or that his wife had somehow been neglected during her time in the hospital and that that had resulted in her death. My heart truly went out to this man. I couldn't comprehend the bitterness and anger that was inside him. He and his wife had looked forward to a long, happy retirement together, but all of a sudden, that was taken away from him. But, when we told him that we knew of a way that he could release all that bitterness and just let it go, he couldn't accept it. The thought of just leaving it all behind, regardless of what happened or didn't happen in the hospital, was just not something he could comprehend. It was so sad. That is exactly why Christ did what he did for us. I can't blame this man, I don't know what he's going through by any stretch of the imagination. But Christ does. Christ has already felt it. And even when people tortured him and slew him, he forgave them. That is the power of the Atonement. And I'm grateful for it.
Love you everybody! Hope you have a great week!