Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February 6th, 2012


I am just feeling so so happy today. I don't know if it's because the days are finally getting longer and brighter or the fact that it's a warm day today (-6 degrees celsius!) or what. Or maybe it's the email you sent me. I don't know. But at any rate, life is good.

This past week was unbearably cold, which is probably why -6 seems so warm to me right now. Most days this week it's been hovering around -20. Cold enough that the fact that you're wearing 6 layers of clothing doesn't seem to make a difference. Although I finally remembered those hand-warmers that you sent me with and they saved me on one of the especially cold days. So thank you.

I received the package with Steven's letters from his mission, thank you so much for sending those. I spent several lunch hours this past week reading through them. I loved reading about Steven's experiences as a misssionary in Argentina. One thing's for sure-- I'm serving in a very different mission than he did. But it's all part of the same great work. I would love to read some of Kyle's as well (if and when you can get around to it :)) And thank you so much for your letter as well Madeline, it made me smile. I kind of rolled my eyes as you talked about the new boy band that you're obsessed with, but you sound probably a lot like I did when I was your age.

My mind is so all over the place right now, I don't even know what to say. This past week was actually pretty difficult in that not a lot seemed to happen. Those weeks are the hardest. But it still had its highlights, like our teach with our Albanian investigator. Our teaches with her are always the highlight of my week, I think she keeps me sane more than anything else sometimes! We watched "The Restoration" DVD with her and she really enjoyed it. She shared with us how she's stopped drinking coffee ever since we told her about the word of wisdom! She is amazing. Hopefully she will be willing to commit to baptism soon.

And our week actually ended on a really miraculous note. I think I've told you before about our mission-wide goal of 15 teaches per week. This past week we were disappointed when we only got 6. But, by the time we left church on Sunday, we already had 12 teaches set up for this coming week--with members, less-actives, investigators and potential investigators. We haven't even attempted to contact most of the people we wanted to this week yet. I really think the Lord is blessing us for our efforts here. As a companionship, we're all working hard to implement counsel we've received and continually improve. We have a very exciting week ahead of us!

Okay, so here's something that happened yesterday that I'm really really excited to tell you about (especially you, dad!) As I was sitting in relief society yesterday, I had the impression come to me that I need to learn spanish after my mission, and I envisioned myself doing humanitarian work in central america. Kind of crazy! I dismissed the thought at first, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense, and the more I felt like it's something I need to do. I don't know how yet--I'll worry about that once my mission is over--but it's something I'm really excited about!

Well, I love you all! I'll leave you this week with a quote from Winston Churchill:

"The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

Make it a great week!

Sisar Shaw

January 30th, 2012


So someone in Men's Chorus got his mission call to Helsinki? You should let him know that he's coming to the best mission in the world! What a lucky guy! And congrats to Bill! I can't believe that Tyler's friends are all going on missions now--and soon Tyler! I remember when I thought missionaries were so old. Now I can't believe how young they are!

Well, this last week was pretty good. We had some great teaches with our investigators--my favorite was probably when we gave a church tour to this older couple--probably in their 60's. Anyways, we've been teaching them for a while now, and honestly we haven't seen much progress with them. But the church tour was really great because it showed some sort of dedication on their part-- they had to drive out all the way to the church building on a day that was one of those "so cold I would rather stay inside" days. But they came! Seeing them walk up to the church building was a very, very good feeling. I was filled with a lot of love. We showed them around the building and we ended in the chapel where we sang "Oon Lapsi Jumalan" ("I am a child of God") to them as they sat in the pews. It was a great experience.

We also had an experience this week that made me think of you all. We helped a couple in our ward move, which was actually a lot of fun. But it was still a very time-consuming and energy-consuming activity--and we were only helping two people move just across the town. I really don't envy the move that you are all making right now, but my sympathies go out to you all and I hope you are receiving lots and lots of help.

Time continues to roll right along as I am soon approaching the half-way mark of my mission in just a few weeks. Can you believe it? These past 9 months have flown by as I look back on all of the growth I've made and lessons I've learned and miracles I've seen. I'm really excited to see what the next 9 months bring! I hope you are all excited as well. Many changes will take place in our family in that same amount of time-- 2 new babies will be welcomed into the world, a new start will begin as you move to Utah and we'll soon have another missionary in the family! (Tyler, I seriously cannot wait for you to get your call!) The future is very bright. I love that quote from President Monson--something along the lines of "Remember, the future is as bright as your faith."

I hope you all have a bright and shining week :)


Sisar Shaw

January 23rd, 2012


Dad, it was so crazy to hear about your new adventures in Utah! I still can't believe that this is all happening. I hope you are all doing well and aren't stressing out too much :) I'm sure you are all experiencing blessings in spite of all the hardships. It is a little difficult to be away right now. I really wish I could be there to help out. But I'm sure that what I am doing right now in Finland is the best thing I could be doing for my family-- both present and future! I love you all :)

This past week was very fun and exciting. It all started with a 7:00 a.m. train ride to Helsinki on Tuesday. Do you want to know something really nerdy about me? I love the Finnish train system. I can't explain why, but every train ride I take fills me with joy :) haha. So we arrived in Helsinki Tuesday morning for a 2-day leadership training meeting. It was so great to be around President and Sister Rawlings and several of the other missionaries I am so privileged to serve with here in Finland. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun. We spent the nights in Haaga (the sister missionaries' apartment in Helsinki). 7 sisters all sharing the same apartment was quite the experience, but we all had a great time.

Then on Thursday, while the new missionaries had "kieli koulu" (language school), their trainers were blessed with the opportunity to attend the Helsinki temple. This was my first time to attend the temple here in Finland, and I loved it. I realized how much I missed the temple-- kind of a bummer after 12 weeks in the MTC of attending the temple every week and then rarely having the opportunity to go in the field. But it was a really beautiful experience, and we are so blessed to have a temple here in Finland! Words can't do the experience justice. The Helsinki temple is just beautiful, and the Finnish language is just beautiful. So wonderful.

It's always hard after such amazing experiences to go back "home"-- but it is good to be back in Tampere, and after receiving change calls on Friday, I found out that I will still be in Tampere for at least 6 more weeks! I have a feeling that this might be my last transfer in Tampere, but we'll see.

Oh, here's a random story that illustrates just how awesome Finland and the Finnish people are. I left a bag of my stuff on the train between the mission office at Neitsytpolku and the apartment in Haaga where we were staying the night. It was a little stressful, but I came to experience for myself the honesty that this country has a reputation for! We went to this "lost and found" place that was just filled with bags and umbrellas and all sorts of stuff that people had left in public transportation places, and sure enough, my bag was there!

Well, I love you all. Have a great and yellow week :)


Sisar Shaw

7 Sisters 1 Apartment

CTR - Valitse Oikea
At The Temple

January 16th, 2012


My goodness, I'm pretty sure everytime I check my email, my entire life changes. There is so much going on right now! So, what are all the plans with the move? Is dad just staying in an apartment until you all get there? Have you looked at houses yet? Robin--thanks so much for sharing your cute story :) I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE PREGNANT! (again!) I'm so excited for you though! But I'm also really selfish, and I'm mainly excited for myself because I not only get one but TWO adorable new little nieces or nephews when I get home :)

This last week was pretty good--nothing too out of the ordinary, but thats how most weeks in missionary work are. I've come to learn that you really need to celebrate the little successes or you will just end up disappointed. Like when I was able to give a Book of Mormon away on a bus--the lady wasn't interested in meeting with us, but she took the book gladly and started reading through it right there on the bus! It was a little miracle, and it's the little things like that that keep me going.

We weren't able to meet with any of our investigators this week, which was of course a disappointment, but we've had a mission-wide goal of 15 lessons per week, which meant that we had to find some other ways to get all our teaches in. We met with several less actives, part-member families and other ward members. One of my favorite parts of it all was when we would sing to the people we visited. I love singing, and from the beginning of my mission I knew that it was a talent that I wanted to put to use as a missionary, although I wasn't sure how. I've really come to love the ward members here. Tampere has come to be "home" for me.

Mom, recently you shared something from an old conference talk by Uchtdorf, and we happened to have that copy of the ensign in our apartment, so I read the entire talk, and I LOVED it. And then I went back through and read all of the other talks in there! I'm not sure if it's because conference talks are the closest thing we get to "entertainment" as missionaries, but I have gained a love for conference talks on my mission. But they really are a great blessing we have from God, and I already can't wait for the next general conference!

Well, we have an exciting week ahead of us. It seems like yesterday when I was packing up and headed to Helsinki for the training meeting as a new missionary, and now I'm packing up and headed there as a trainer! This next week should be a great one; can't wait to tell you all about it!


Sisar Shaw

 What is this car doing in Finland?

 Yes, that's the moon at 4 PM

Winter Sunrise