So good to hear from you all, and I got your Christmas package this week! Mom, you were right in assuming that Thanksgiving is a North American holiday-- the families that we spent thanksgiving with had some sort of connection to America.
This last week was really really great! Yes, the daylight hours are getting increasingly shorter and the days are getting colder-- but it's actually been surprisingly warmer than I thought it would be. Heavenly Father has definitely been merciful with my first winter in Finland! The first snowfall finally came last night-- but it's honestly about what we experience in Texas. Right now it's just a very thin layer, and it's more ice than anything else. I'm so surprised that it's taken this long! I came here expecting snow in October! But I'm actually excited for the snow to come now. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas :)
So many good things happened this last week. First of all, our investigator from Albania is doing really well! Our teach with her last week was probably the best one we have had with her so far. She spoke of how much peace she feels when she meets with us and how different it feels from anything the world has to offer. She understands that her decision to get baptized will be a life-changing one, but it's sounding more and more like something she wants to do. She came to church yesterday and really enjoyed it! It was fast and testimony meeting, and she really liked how everyone spoke from their heart. She is a really neat lady, and it has been such a blessing to teach her.
Then we had district meeting in Lahti. District meetings are always really great. The theme of this one seemed to be not getting discouraged, which was really good for me to hear. It is a lot easier to get discouraged as a missionary than I realized it would be, so it's always good to step back and look at all of the miracles that I've witnessed and realize that the Lord is with me.
"...let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."
It's so important to remember that I'm not in this alone--that we all are never alone-- and that once we've done our best, we really can just leave the rest in the Lord's hands.
Then on Saturday, I had my first ever splits! It was so much fun! The sisters from Turku-- Sisar Crowther ja Sisar Shreeve-- came here to Tampere for the day. It was a great learning experience working with other missionaries and seeing how they do things. Another highlight from a really great week :)
Before I go, I also wanted to tell you of a Brian Regan experience I had yesterday. As we were leaving our investigator's apartment after one of our teaches, they said goodbye and safe travels, to which I replied "kiitos, samoin!" which is the equivalent of "thanks, you too!" I laughed so hard.
I love you all! Thanks for your continued support.