Friday, November 4, 2011

October 24

So good to hear from you all as usual. Yes, it is super weird to think that Adam Buys and Bill Kemsley both have their mission calls-- but congrats to them and I know they will be great missionaries! Maddy, thanks for being so thoughtful as to send me a package :) That should be sent to the mission office, yes. Letters can be sent to either the mission office or to our apartment in Tampere, but I would suggest sending them to the office-- that way they get forwarded to me if I ever get transferred or something. (and on the subject of packages-- I've been missing my Jericho Road CD that I got for christmas-- so if you want to send that to me, it would be appreciated. But if not, that's okay too :))
What an exciting event you all had on Saturday! It really is such a beautiful thing to see someone accept the restored gospel of Christ and enter the waters of baptism. Shirley sounds like a really special lady :) Needless to say, we were very dissappointed that our convert baptism didn't happen on Saturday. This past week has been rather difficult. One particular day we were feeling especially discouraged, ate some chocolate ice cream and asked ourselves "what can we do to get out of this rut?" Quite frankly, we didn't know the answer (or at least recognize it right away) but we knew we needed to get to work. We went out that evening to go visit a family in the ward-- the Dad is less active and the Mom isn't a member-- and we could not have planned it better. We got there and the grandma was out in the yard playing with the kids, and I asked if their parents were home. The parents came out a few minutes later and we asked when we could come back and visit with them, and they agreed that we could come back next Thursday. We then asked if we could help them out at all, and as it turns out they were about to rake their yard. They asked if we were busy and we jumped at the opportunity! It was the best way we could have spent our evening. I know it sounds cliche, but it really is so true that when you lose yourself in the service of others, you really are just happy! Sisar Herde and I left their house that night just beaming. We are praying that the mom becomes an investigator!
We talked with our mission president this week about our disappointment, and he told us that he has been praying for our Angolan family, and although he didn't know how, he just felt like things were going to work out. I really wanted to trust him, but I didn't see how it would be possible. He encouraged us to have our district pray for them-- we asked our entire zone to do so :) I've been praying for them every night, but I always seem to add the disclaimer "I just don't know how it's possible, Heavenly Father!" Well, shame on me. I learned a powerful lesson this week. We learn in Matthew 19:26 "with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." I may not be able to see things clearly with my limited vision, but that's why it is so important to develop faith and trust in the Lord. It's hard, but it's important. We received some news on Sunday that lifted a huge weight off my chest and gave me hope that things really will work out. Although they have not responded to our attempts to contact them, our Angolan family has spoken with the Bishop and apparently in their culture, what the patriarch of the family says goes, and he said that they couldn't get baptized, and from what we can piece together, he probably forbid them from meeting or talking with us as well. This family is going to their Dad's soon to have a big family-council type thing to discuss the matter and they asked that the ward pray for them. They know it's true. They know it's true! It felt so good to hear that. So we will continue to pray that the dad's heart will be softened-- the situation sounds a lot like King Lamoni's father in the Book of Mormon. While we still don't know how things will all work out, I have such hope that it will happen for this family. I don't know when, but I am sure that it will.
Indeed, it has been getting colder and colder and darker and darker-- I'll have to send you a picture soon of me in my Finnish winter gear! Still hasn't snowed yet, but I have a feeling it will happen any day now. I'm really okay with the fact that the snow seems to be taking its time :) On a sad note, my trainer will be going home in a week. I feel like we have been through so much together these past two changes-- we've laughed together, cried together and grown so much together. She will be missed! By this time next week, I will know who my new companion is! Time is just flying by here. My 6-month mark is fast approaching. Can you believe it?
Well, I love you all! Trust in the Lord and make it a great week!
Sisar Shaw

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