So wonderful to hear from you all, as usual! (Does that ever sound redundant? Cause it's true. I always look forward to hearing from you all.) And I'll especially be looking forward to next week's email-- hopefully Tyler will have gotten his mission call by then! Goodness, that is so hard to believe. But I'm excited for you, Tyler! Really wish I could be there.
We had a really amazing week last week. It started with a wonderful district meeting on Tuesday. Of course, they're always good, and I always learn a lot, but here's something that was pretty special about this one: At the beginning of the meeting, President Rawlings had us write on a piece of paper 2 questions: "What 3 things will I change about who Iam as a result of this meeting?" and "What 3 things will I change about what I do as an emissary of the Lord Jesus Christ?" (or something along those lines) Then throughout the meeting, he gave us time to reflect and to pray-- alone and as a companionship--about changes that we needed to make. I ended up going home from that meeting with a lot of ideas for improvement--and plans on how to do it. Often I go to meetings like that and I learn a lot, but hardly ever do anything as a result of what I learn. I might make some notes, but then those get put to the side and never looked at again. So this time was different. We went home and immediately started making some changes.
One of the biggest differences I've noticed this week is the amount of people we talk to on the street. We've had a mission-wide goal of talking to 20 "in-betweeners" every day. It's a pretty lofty goal, and one that has always been difficult to reach. But we received some counsel at district meeting to plan during our nightly planning session exactly when we will talk to 20 people the next day. (For example: we'll talk to 4 people right as we walk out in the morning, we'll talk to 3 people while traveling from this appointment to this appointment, etc.) It has made the hugest difference, and it's amazing how much easier it is to reach that goal with a little planning. Now we're not left at the end of the day thinking "shoot, we've only talked to 10 people today, and we only have an hour left..." I don't know why I've never thought of this before, but I've been able to notice a big difference in our work this week. We've gotten a lot more potential investigators-- a lot of people who we probably would have missed otherwise. It was actually kind of funny, the day after our district meeting when we first tried doing this, we experienced what was probably one of the most successful days of my mission--nearly every person that we talked to was interested and gave us their phone number, or at the very least took a pass-a-long card. It's amazing what will happen when you follow counsel :)
Our mission-wide goal of total teaches during the week has now been upped from 15 to 20. We were really blessed this week in that regard as well. We had several teaches fall through, but by Sunday night, we ended up with exactly 20. We're very blessed here, and we're definitely keeping busy.
Helsinki is slowly becoming more and more familiar to me, which is also a huge blessing. I am coming to love the ward here, our investigators, the people we meet everyday. One thing that my mission has taught me so far is to love people from all walks of life. I really do feel an increased capacity to love as a missionary. We have so many wonderful investigators here, but I'll just tell you about a couple for now: One is a really nice man who came to church yesterday. He has been reading the Book of Mormon consistently, and I always love meeting with him. He's a really funny guy, and we always have good discussions when we teach him. His problem, though, is smoking. We pray for him every day that he will be able to quit, but he has a very strong addiction. It's very sad. But I have such hope for him. He's a great guy. Another great investigator we have is one that we picked up just this last week-- a sweet girl who is actually Madeline's age. Her dad is a recent convert, and they actually don't live in our area, but she really wanted to be taught by sister missionaries, so they always travel to our chapel so we can teach her there. It means a lot to me that they trust us that much :) So those are a couple of investigators that are on my mind right now that could use your prayers.
I've actually been reflecting a little bit lately over the past year with my birthday coming up-- it's hard to believe that it's been a full year already. So much has happened, and sometimes it feels like yesterday that mom flew up to Utah to spend my birthday with me. It really meant a lot to me, and it was a birthday present that I will always treasure :) Time is such a funny thing. It sounds like mom and dad have been able to fly back and forth quite frequently, which is good to hear. Hope you enjoy your next trip :)
Dad, I hope you have a great birthday this week! I sent you a little present in the mail last week-- hopefully it makes it to you safely! Erica, it was good to hear that you had a great experience on Trek. I can understand how exhausted you must have felt-- I feel like that a lot on my mission! But hard is good :) Thanks for sending me your list of things you're grateful for :)
Well, I love you all! Have a great week!