Monday, October 10, 2011

October 10, 2011

Things are going really really well with our family from Angola. I'm just so uplifted every time we meet with them. It's been harder to meet with them because they're both really busy, and there's hardly any time when they're home together. They didn't come to church yesterday, and it was the first time they hadn't come since we started teaching them. We called them to see if they were coming, and the mom said she was sick. We were way bummed because we were planning on teaching them during the sunday school hour since we weren't really able to teach them last week. So, we drove out to their house and dropped off a dessert that we had made. If nothing else, it was just really good to see them, and we were able to set up a teach with them for tonight! They are seriously the coolest. When we set up the teach the dad said that they really wanted to learn more and hear what they missed at church! Things are still looking good for their baptism on the 22nd!

We had a couple other pretty cool experiences this week. We've had this investigator, I'll call her Marja, who we've been teaching since we got here and a couple weeks ago we had a teach with her where she basically told us that she didn't want to waste our time anymore because she doesn't want to get baptized. We were pretty sad about that, but things honestly ended about as well as they could have. Then, Sister Herde and I were invited to the Zone Leader/District Leader meeting in Helsinki this week and I was talking with one of the elders who is serving in Helsinki right now and he said "Hey, I heard you're teaching Marja right now!" (Marja's mom is a recent convert in Helsinki, so that's probably how he found out.) I kind of smiled and said "Well, not anymore, she dropped us last week." He looked really surprised and said that he had heard that Marja and her little sister were planning on going to general conference, but Marja fell and hit her head and ended up in the hospital! We were really worried about her, so we called her the next day to see how she was doing and she sounded a lot better. It was hard to hear her voice on the phone because we realized how much we missed her! So we made some dessert and took it over to her apartment that night. She was really excited to see us and said that she had been really wanting something sweet, but wasn't able to go to the store. She then asked us when we could meet with her this week! We were shocked to hear that, but really happy nonetheless! So we have a teach set up with her for tomorrow!

Okay, story number 3: We didn't have anything planned for Saturday which, as a missionary usually means a day full of tracting. So, we started tracting for a few hours, but nothing was happening. We took a little break to pray and we felt good about traveling across town to go check up on a potential investigator. At the bus stop, a man approached us and started talking to us before we could approach him! We talked for a little bit, got on the bus, and continued talking on the bus. He even handed us his phone number before we could ask for it! We then had to switch busses to get where we wanted to go and we started talking to a girl who was probably in her 20's. We started talking about the Book of Mormon and asked when she had time for us to explain it more. Her reply was "now." So, we gave a lesson about the Book of Mormon right there on the bus! She said that she already had a copy of the Book of Mormon, but now she really wanted to read it. By the time we got to our potential investigator's apartment, she wasn't even home, but it was just cool to see the Lord place people in our path that day.

Have a great week and remember-- it's better to look up!

Rakkaudella,

Sisar Shaw

Fun Pictures

My district in front of a Finnish castle



Me, Sisar Herde and Sisar McBride infront of the Helsinki temple

A typical P-Day activity--jumping in fields, of course!

More reasons to love the Finnish fall





October 3, 2011

Terve!

It was great to hear about your adventures in Colombia and see some pictures (and yes dad, I was very proud of you for talking with the taxi drivers!) We had another great week here in Tampere. Wasn't conference awesome? We watched the Relief Society and Saturday Afternoon sessions rebroadcast in the afternoons Saturday and Sunday, but we did watch the morning sessions live (at 7 at night... and it was so dark outside! the days keep getting darker and darker.) We have yet to see the Sunday afternoon session. And actually, they showed the broadcasts in english in the institute room at the church, which was a huge blessing, BUT for whatever reason, the english broadcast wasn't working during the relief society broadcast, so I had to watch that one in Finnish. And actually, I was able to understand quite a bit. I think it's because the translators speak really clearly and use proper Finnish-- listening to native speakers at church is a lot more difficult for sure.

And our investigators came to conference!!! (The couple we are teaching who are from Angola.) They make us so happy. It's been really neat to see them and their faith grow as we've taught them-- and they've certainly helped us and our faith to grow as well. I know i share bits and pieces of their story with you in each email--and the story's still in progress, but I want to share some of the miracles we've been able to witness with them over the past several weeks. We were super excited when we first committed them to baptism, but later found out they weren't married. Our mission president called us and told us to get started with wedding papers right away because it can sometimes take months to process when they're from out of the country. So we were bummed about that, but we got them started on their wedding papers and they were happy to do so. Then we later found out that they actually had been married, but it was a tribal marriage in Angola (meaning no paperwork) so our mission president told us that they could actually get baptized before their wedding, but they still needed to get married by Finnish law. So now we are looking forward to a baptism later in October and a wedding in December!!! The family has shared with us a little bit more about their story and how they came to be interested in the church. Basically, the dad didn't like that their family wasn't going to church every week and they really wanted to find a church to go to. They were really impressed with their friend's church in Pietaarsari (and their friend was a recent convert there), so they decided to check it out. They thought "I'm sure they have a church like that here in Tampere!" They've expressed how much they enjoy coming to church, and they already fit in so well with the ward here. Recently they shared with us about how just a few days after meeting us for the first time, the dad was able to find employment. They are so good about recognizing the Lord's hand in their life. They've also shared with us about how now their little 3-year-old son reminds them they need to pray every night before they go to bed! Just today the dad was talking with us about some of the talks that he really enjoyed from conference. This family is simply amazing! They are always expressing their thanks to us, but we're often like "No, you don't understand! You are AWESOME!" As I think about this family, I think about how little work I seem to have done. They really are just prepared for this message, and it's almost like being a bystander and witnessing a miracle occur. I am always so uplifted whenever I'm around them. I just love them so much!

In other news, we had a great zone conference this week. I was able to see both of my old companions from the MTC, Sisar Christofferson and Sisar Shreeve. Love them both! We received a lot of really great direction and counsel. My mission president shared the words of Oliver Cowdery, when he spoke of how amazing the days were that he was able to spend at the feet of the prophet Joseph Smith. I feel he same way about the days I am able to spend with my mission president and his wife. They are some of the most amazing people I've ever met. I always learn so much from them. One thought that they shared that I really liked was that to become perfected in Christ means to be perfectly loving. And it's true, the most Christ-like people I know are the most loving people I know--people who just have that gift to make you feel like the most important person in the world whenever you talk to them. Those are the people I want to emulate! I'm so far from that point, but that's why the Lord has given us this life. We can look forward to a lifetime of growth!

I love you all, make it a great week!

Sisar Shaw

September 26, 2011

Terve Terve!

This last week was really great. It got off to a really slow start because Sister Herde was sick for the first couple days. I had my first experience staying inside the apartment all day with nothing to do but study! Hauska! But things started to pick up towards the end of the week. We had a great district meeting in Jyväskylä on Thursday. I always have a lot of fun and learn alot from my district, they're really great. We also had some really great teaches with our investigators this week.

Our family is continuing to progress well, and the ward continues to be really great in fellowshipping them. They're practically part of the ward already :) We taught them the law of chastity this week, which we were a little nervous to do, but they always put us at ease whenever we're with them. They're just awesome. And they want to get married! And since the ward here is AWESOME, one of the members took the intiative to get us some wedding papers before our teach. So we went to the teach with wedding papers in hand and the bishop came along too! I couldn't have planned the teach to go any better. We talked some more about their kaste (baptism) and the mom brought up her concern that she's already been baptized before, and she thought that we were only supposed to be baptized once. It turns out that the bishop is a convert, and he replied "Well, I've been baptized twice, but only once by the right authority," and  that really helped to resolve her concern. The teach was just a lot of fun as we tried to involve their little 3-year-old son too. He helped us with our "Gospel of Jesus Christ" visual aid and during the teach he sat right in between his dad and the bishop with fake reading glasses on and the Mormonin Kirja open in his lap. It was pretty adorable. After our teach the bishop stayed to help them fill out all the wedding papers. Before we left, they asked us if we were coming to church on Sunday, which  was a good sign. When I asked if they were coming too, the mom replied "of course! My skirt's  all ready!"  And then church on Sunday was really great. They were a little late, so we were worried that they weren't going to show up, but they did! It was fast and testimony meeting, and it was really great to sit next to the mom because everytime somebody said something in their testimony that she really liked,  she would nod her head.  So cool. And they stayed for all three hours of church, which they haven't done before. Sisar Herde and I taught gospel principles with them, and it was really great. Then in relief society we were sitting with the mom and we didn't have any hymn books nearby, she obviously wasn't familiar with the songs and Sister Herde and I don't know the Finnish words, but she had a really great attitude and just started putting her own words to the melody :) It made me laugh, and Sisar Herde and I followed suit. After church, they met with the bishop in his office, probably to work some more on wedding papers and stuff, but it just made me really happy that they already have a great relationship with the bishop, and that the bishop is so willing to be involved with them. I just love this family so much, and each week continues to get better! They've already made friends with some of the members in the ward, and I just leave church every week feeling happy! (Even though we attend 5 hours of church and I'm usually super hungry.)

Today we had an awesome P-day. One of the members here works at Särkäniemi, which is an amusement park right next door to our apartment, and he got us in for free! We got to go to the aquarium, plantarium and a dolphin show there. There's also this really high tower you can go up and see all of Tampere-- it's actually the highest tower in all of Scandinavia! Anyways, it was a lot of fun and I wanted to send you all pictures but I forgot to bring my camera with me to email, so you'll all just have to wait till next week!

Well, we have an exciting week ahead of us. We have a zone conference on Thursday, and then we have the amazing opportunity to listen to a prophet's voice at general conference this weekend. (fun fact-- we will actually be watching the morning sessions of conference at the exact same time! It will be 7:00 at night in Finland, however.) I always love general conference. We can feel uplifted and receive answers to questions. I'm not sure I've ever met anyone as excited about general conference as Sister Herde-- she is just like a little kid at Christmas! Which really, is how we all should be.

I love you all. Thank you for your continued support. I really am blessed with a great family :)

Rakkaudella,

Sisar Shaw