Thanks for your uplifting letter. I definitely needed to be reminded that it's better to look up. We experienced some of the highest highs but also some of the lowest lows of my mission in this past week.
I'll start with the highs. We had three teaches with our Angolan family this week, and they all went really really well. We taught them the Word of Wisdom , and they were both committed to living it (the wife said that she already was!) We taught them about the law of tithing , and they really surprised us by saying that they actually already had a tithing slip, and were wondering when we were going to teach it to them. They felt like it was their "velvollisuus" (duty, responsibility, or obligation) to God to pay tithing. Then we watched the movie "The Restoration" with them, and we could all feel the spirit strongly. After watching the movie, they expressed to us that they felt the spirit strongly and that it felt so right, and they were excited to show the movie to their friends! These teaches we had with them were such incredible experiences.
Towards the end of the week, however, Sisar Herde and I were starting to feel like something wasn't right. Our fears were unfortunately confirmed . Our investigators did not show up at church, and we left right after sacrament meeting with a recent convert to go talk to them and encourage them to go forward with their decision to get baptized. Their friend answered the door and said that they weren't home. We asked when they would be home, and she said that she didn't know. Their car was parked outside, and they texted us right after we left their apartment, which led us to believe that they were hiding from us. In the text they said that they had spoken with their father and he said that they couldn't get baptized, so they cancelled their baptism. It was a really weird experience, and needless to say, it was really sad. We had seen this family progress and seen the gospel start to change their lives. Of course we don't know the whole situation, but that's probably why it's so hard. It's been pretty discouraging, but Sisar Herde and I are resolved to work hard over the next couple weeks (her last couple weeks in the country!) and trust that it is all in the Lord's hands.
To answer some of your questions, it has actually not snowed in yet (or at least here in Tampere.) Weird to think that it already has in ! I've been doing pretty well with the language. Granted, it's still difficult, but I had a couple of cool experiences this last week. After I had offered a prayer, a member told me that my R's were "exceptional." It felt good to hear, because when i first started learning Finnish, I didn't think I would ever learn to roll my R's! And then I was having a conversation with another member in church yesterday, and well, that was just it. I had never been able to have a conversation with her before because I could never understand what she was saying, and after a few minutes of talking to her yesterday, I just thought "Hey, wait a minute, I'm actually understanding her!" Always a good feeling. I've still got a ways to go before I'm where I want to be with the language, but I have to remind myself that I've only been in the country for two months, and the Lord really has blessed me to learn this language.
Thank you for the pictures, and thank you for your wonderful examples. Keep doing what's right and following the spirit. The influence of the spirit is real, and we must simplify and sanctify our lives so that we can be in tune with its promptings. Therein lies the challenge, but therein also lies the promise. I'm so grateful for the gospel in my life.
I love you all!