McKay just sent this picture from a few months ago
"This is our Super Bowl," said one Finn, speaking of the Ice Hockey World Championships that concluded yesterday with Sweden taking gold on their own turf. I'm inclined to agree, trying to do missionary work while the game is on is just laughable. I was shocked when one family invited us over to eat while Finland was playing, then turned the game off until we left! To his credit, he was still pulling a McKay-in-priesthood-session style move by checking the score on his phone the entire time we were there, but still, that meant a lot that they would still invite us over. The US beat Finland in the third place match, and we actually got some comments on the street from people about it. Pretty gracious, the Finns, they try not to be too bitter. I almost feel bad that we beat them. I mean, we just show up for these games because we can, but for them, it's, well, the Super Bowl.
This week started with President interrupting our P-Day game of Monopoly by suggesting that I get the language tests done and graded by the end of the week. That put a lot of stress on me, but thanks to Elder Murray getting sick and being stuck inside for two full days, I'm making really good progress. I'm also learning more about Microsoft Excel than I ever thought I would as a missionary. But, that's the boring part of my life right now.
Monday night we had a lesson with a woman we were really excited for. She had been found by Elder Ingersoll a few months ago, but after a few tries and no answer at the door, he decided just to hand her off to us. As we sat down, she started off with one of those things investigators say that always make me cringe. "Hey, I just want to say right now, that I'm not necessarily going to want to do anything about this, I'm just kind of interested." That usually means we don't get a return appointment, that they've already decided against it from the beginning. So we talked with her and found out more about her life, her background, her family. Our member along talked a bit about his conversion experience, which was hilarious. Not so much the story as the way he came to tell it. She figured out he had not always been a member and that he had changed religions as a middle-aged man. She tried to find a polite way to ask, but after stumbling over her words a couple times just eventually asked, "Well, why?" By the end of the lesson, she said, almost out of nowhere, "So, guys, I think I really do want to know more about this. Where do you want me to start?" She's such a nice, honest lady, and I'm really excited to work with her. Almost all the questions she asks in lessons are like softball, just open the Book of Mormon and there's the answer. Plus, when we went back to the second lesson, she apologized for only having read nine chapters of the book and said that next time, she'd try to do better. Unbelievable.
Thursday morning we had a lesson at the chapel with a man Elder Clegg had found while on exchanges. He was an older man, about sixty, who met missionaries about ten years ago at work. He worked at a shipping company that did a lot of business with the church and, in particular, with missionary packages. He told us a couple stories of helping missionaries avoid paying huge customs duties on winter clothes and homemade cookies. Yes, mothers, they are worth more than gold, but that doesn't mean you have to write that much as the worth on the customs declaration. Anyway, he always remembered what wonderful young men they were. Always polite, always kind, always ready to help. And now, finally, so many years later he's beaten alcohol, gotten his life in order and is ready for retirement, and is meeting with those same missionaries to find out more about this church.
He had such a powerful experience at the church. He said he felt peace there that he hadn't felt in a very long time. Peace he's been trying to find again. Although he's beaten alcoholism, he told us he's not truly happy, just not unhappy. And he came close to feeling that kind of happiness again in the church. He also came close to feeling it when Elder Clegg had the courage to simply ask him, a complete stranger standing at a tram stop, how he was doing that day. When we talked with him about baptism, he said, "Well, I'd better talk to my wife about it first." I'm really excited for him. He's such a good man.
And, to top it all off, our investigator who lives, breathes, and sleeps ice hockey has elected not to be bitter about the game and is still letting us come over this week despite the fact the the US beat Finland. All is right in the world.
Take luck this week everybody!
P.S. Elder Edwards and Elder Bishop are both here to visit and they're staying with us for the whole week. Gonna be a blast.
P.P.S Elder Ingersoll may or may not be teaching me to wrestle. And may or may not have nearly broken my nose last night doing so. I shouldn't have told you that....