Monday, August 22, 2011

Week Two In Finland


This past week went by very quickly. It was so good to hear from you all. It's so weird to think that school is starting back up again-- you were all still in school when I went to the MTC; now I've only been in Finland a couple weeks, and school's starting back up again! Time flies for sure.

Yes, you should all be very jealous that I get to enjoy such things as amazing weather and strolls to the baltic sea, but soon enough that will all change and I will be wondering how I can possibly survive the Finnish winter... definitely not looking forward to that! For now, I'm trying to enjoy the weather while I can. Tampere is a nice area,  and I can just imagine you all looking it up on google maps. You should see if the new church is there. Its address is pelleruonkatu 1.

To answer some of your questions, Sisar Herde and I are pretty much building our teaching pool from scratch. The elders here are keeping themselves busy with people to teach, and unfortunately we did not inherit any investigators from them. There is one girl here they taught a couple times that they gave to us; she apparently lived as a foreign exchange student with an LDS family in Canada and would like to be baptized-- her parents said that she needs to wait until she is 18 and everytime we try to get a hold of her, she says she is too busy. It's a little sad. But, we did get a new investigator this week, and she has been a great blessing to us. She is definitely a tender mercy from the Lord. Her name is Inga, and Sisar Herde met her while she was serving in Oulu. Inga's grandma was baptized in Oulu, and Sis. Herde met Inga while she was visiting her. She said she wasn't interested in meeting with the missionaries then, but when Sisar Herde got the call to come to Tampere, she thought to call Inga. I am so glad she did! We gave her a tour of the church on Tuesday and had another teach with her Thursday morning. She has a lot of questions, which is great. She is a genuine seeker of truth. She came to church on sunday, and the members have been great in fellowshipping her. I already care about her so much, and I can definitely see her getting baptized. Hopefully she has the same vision for herself!

Well, the highlight of this past week (besides Inga, of course) was district meeting on Thursday. It was in Hämeenlinna, which is a quaint little Finnish town (but then again, I think all Finnish towns are quaint). I think "quaint" is the right word I want to use anyways, I guess I'm not entirely sure what it means. Anyways, my district is awesome. It was a bomb meeting for sure. Afterwards, we went to the local castle. It was way cool. It made me really grateful to be serving in such a historically and culturally rich place. Pictures will hopefully follow shortly!

Well, I love you family! I am so grateful for your wonderful examples and continued support. In closing, I want to leave you with a plug for member missionary work. I never realized how important it was until I came on my mission, but I know that missionary work cannot move forward without the help of the members! There were a couple really great quotes about this in the last general conference. The first is from Elder Ballard:
"Another way we can serve Heavenly Father’s children is through missionary service—not only as full-time missionaries but also as friends and neighbors. The future growth of the Church will not happen through just knocking on strangers’ doors. It will happen when the members, along with our missionaries, filled with the love of God and Christ discern needs and respond to those needs in the spirit of charitable service.
When we do this, brothers and sisters, the honest in heart will feel our sincerity and our love. Many will want to know more about us. Then and only then will the Church expand to fill all of the earth. This cannot be accomplished by missionaries alone but requires the interest and service of every member."
And the second is from President Uchtdorf:
"There are times when the Lord reveals to us things that are intended only for us. Nevertheless, in many, many cases He entrusts a testimony of the truth to those who will share it with others. This has been the case with every prophet since the days of Adam. Even more, the Lord expects the members of His Church to “open [their mouths] at all times, declaring [His] gospel with the sound of rejoicing.
This is not always easy. Some would rather pull a handcart across the prairie than bring up the subject of faith and religion to their friends and co-workers. They worry about how they might be perceived or how it might harm their relationship. It doesn’t need to be that way because we have a glad message to share, and we have a message of joy."
We have been sharing these quotes with the members here when we meet with them, and I thought that y'all might enjoy hearing them as well. I know you are all great member missionaries, and such an example to me! If you ever have any missionary experiences, I would love to hear about them!

Sisar Shaw

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