Thanks for the pictures! Everyone looks so great, and congrats to Mallory! Sounds like you had a great trip to California. Things finally seem to be getting settled back in here in Tampere. This last week was a little crazy with all of the changes that were taking place. Tuesday consisted of nothing but driving to and from the train station: dropping off Sisar Herde in the morning, picking up Sisar McBride from Jyväskylä and Sisar Merkley from Helsinki (they were my companions for the day before they headed to Jyvaskylä the following morning); dropping off the old zone leaders and all of their luggage, picking up the new zone leaders and all of their luggage and then finally picking up my new companion Sisar Brailsford at night! I was glad when the day was over!
Sisar Brailsford is really great; still getting adjusted to the new city, but I'm really excited for this new transfer we have together. She is from Pleasant Grove, UT. I also learned this week that she is afraid of dogs. We were out tracting one night and a big dog came up to the door and she just started backing away, so I had to jump in front of her and do the door contact. It was really funny (probably not to her, but she said she was glad to have a companion who wasn't afraid of dogs.) Sisar Herde is now back home in Utah, which is so so weird to think about. Tampere almost feels like a different place with a new set of missionaries here, I don't really know how to describe it. It's just weird because the places and all of the ward members are still the same, but it still just feels different with different missionaries here.
Anyways, the new transfer has gotten off to a really great start. We currently have 3 investigators that are progressing really well. I've also noticed this week that my understanding has increased a lot. It is seriously the best feeling to have a conversation with someone in Finnish! I still can't understand everything, and it can be frustrating sometimes, but the Lord really does help his missionaries! I also have to remind myself that I still have time to learn. Growth is such an interesting thing. We all want to grow in some capacity-- be it our language ability, our faith, our knowledge or whatever-- but rarely do we want to put in all the time and effort that it takes to get there. I know that's how it is for me at least. I've learned a lot about growth as a missionary-- and I know that I still have a lot more to learn about it. There's a really great quote from last April's conference-- I think it was Elder Johnson, but I'm not sure. Anyways, he said:
"Sometimes we want to have growth without challenges and to develop strength without any struggle. But growth cannot come by taking the easy way. We clearly understand that an athlete who resists rigorous training will never become a world-class athlete. We must be careful that we don't resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature."
I love that quote! It really helps me to keep things in perspective when I ask myself "Why is this so hard?"
I love you all, and I hope you all have a great week!