Terve! (or should I say Hola?)-- ja hyvää syntymäpäivä, Kyle!
So good to hear from you all as usual. Dad, I hope you are loving every second of Colombia. I have a small glimpse of how special that experience must be for you.Finlandand its people already have a very special place in my heart!
This past week was amazing! It started out Monday night, we committed our family to baptism!!! And then we were super sad to leave them and go to Helsinki, but we kept in contact through texts and calling, and we had the elders here in Tampere teach them the Plan of Salvation while we were gone.
Our week in Helsinki was like a vacation. Every day was spent in a room filled with some of my favorite people in the world--namely President and Sister Rawlings, my companion Sisar Herde and my elders from my MTC district (and their trainers.) We were richly fed (both spiritually and temporally.) And then Sister Herde and I were really spoiled and we spent the nights in the mission home with President and Sister Rawlings which meant home-cooked meals, comfy beds, surrogate parents and morning runs by the Baltic Sea! President Rawlings and Sister Rawlings would tell us how nice it was to "have daughters again," but Sister Herde and I were the truly lucky ones. (Oh, and it turns out that I actually worked with one of the Rawlings' daughters in the CTL... small world!) At the end of the week, we all had the privilege of witnessing the baptism of a family that the AP's taught here in Helsinki. It was a beautiful experience.
By the end of the week, I knew it was going to be hard to go back to Tampere, but upon arrival Sisar Herde and I received the best "welcome back" present we could have hoped for! Our family came to church again, and the ward was amazing in really fellowshipping and welcoming them. There was a member waiting outside the church building before they came up to greet them, and another member was sitting in the chapel with seats saved for them. After sacrament meeting, several members asked the family if they would stay for "pyhä koulu" (sunday school.) They didn't end up staying, but they asked us when we could come teach them this week! There was only one day this week that seemed to work with both of our schedules, but the Dad ended up switching one of his evenings around because they really wanted us to come over twice this week. We could not ask for more golden investigators! And then, as if things could not get any better, one of the members overheard when our teaches were with them and offered to come along to one of them! Sometimes it can be a little stressful to try and find a member to come on a teach with you, so it was perfect. Before we left the church building, we talked with the Bishop and thanked him for the wonderful support from the ward. And things got even better! The parents in this family we are teaching actually aren't married to each other, so they will need to get married before they can be baptized (and they expressed a desire to get married in our church.) Anyways, the bishop offered to come along on our other teach with the family this week so that he can offer to marry them and arrange a time for the wedding! We have an exciting transfer ahead of us!!! We already have such a love for this family and a real friendship with them-- which is amazing when I think about how inadequate my language abilities are. But the language continues to get better! I can already see a difference from when I first came to the country till now! I've officially been here for a transfer! Aika rientää! (Time flies!)
I learned a lot from this past week, and I thought a lot about what I wanted to share with you in this email, and one thing that really stuck out to me was the power of language. Language is something that I've thought a lot about as I've embarked on this adventure in Finland. The scriptures speak a lot about the power of words. What we speak is what we are and if we want to be Christ-like, we should speak pretty well. James 3:2.
Well, I'm out of time, I love you all!!!