Okay, first of all: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PACKAGE!!! It made my whole week :) I got the package on Tuesday, and couldn't wait till Saturday to open it, so my wonderful companion took out all the insides and wrapped them up individually. That way, I was able to open one present each night leading up to the big day :)
So Tuesday night I opened the altoids and burts bees chapstick (you all know me too well :)) as well as the notebook of letters from Kyle's mission. I have really enjoyed reading from that. I have been poring through it like a good novel :) Kyle's passion and enthusiasm for missionary work was (and is) so inspiring! Another cool thing that happened on Tuesday: we were walking along the street, and I was talking on the phone with one of the members. After I hung up, this lady who was walking in front of us turned around and said "by the way, you speak Finnish really well!" She seemed surprised that an American could speak Finnish. It really threw me off guard, but I managed to say "Kiitos!"
Then Wednesday night I opened the package of scarfs. It was good timing because it started getting colder again this week and dipped back down into the negatives. The first half of the week was actually pretty warm-- it got all the way up to +9, and the snow had pretty much melted everywhere. But, in true April Fool's fashion, we woke up to several inches of snow on the ground this morning.
Thursday night I opened my package of Take 5 candy bars. I forgot how good those things are! Thursday was a very fun day. To close our month of gratitude, our district held a "manksgiving" (march+thanksgiving) feast. Later on in the day, we had our first teach with a new investigator who I will call Sini (which is my favorite Finnish girl's name.) Anyways, Sini was actually baptized about 8 years ago, but shortly thereafter removed her records from the church. One day, her husband told her "Minä rakastan sinua ikuisesti" (I love you forever), and Sini remembered that they could be together forever! So she decided to come back to church and contacted the missionaries. She is so ready this time around. It is such a blessing to see the light of the gospel in her eyes. Teaching her has reminded me that the gospel really is a joyful thing. She is so excited to be baptized! After the teach, the sun came out after what was otherwise a very gray day. It was such a beautiful moment :) One of the happiest of my mission.
Friday night I opened the package of toothbrush heads (thank you dental student and family :)) It was also a day that every single one of our teaches fell through. Disappointing days like that happen, and more often than I would like. But the blessings that come from serving a mission more than compensate for all the hard stuff. And the weekend that followed this day more than compensated for it :)
Saturday morning we spent our morning exercise time opening the rest of my presents :) I want to take this time now to say that I HAVE THE BEST COMPANION EVER! Haha, she really is the coolest. I woke up that morning to a decorated apartment, and she gave me a couple presents (and somehow managed to get them without me noticing!) She got me a Marimekko bag (this really cute Finnish brand that I love) and a Muumi journal (this really cool Finnish cartoon character that I love :)) This birthday weekend really increased my gratitude for a wonderful companion! And now i want to take the time to say that I HAVE THE COOLEST FAMILY EVER! I was SO happy to see that you had gotten me that CD that I really wanted (which i have been listening to as often as i can), and not only that but SIGNED by the group! You guys are the coolest. And thanks for all your letters :) There really is nothing better than to hear from my family. Saturday day we had a pizza party with the senior missionaries, all of whom I love so much. It was so great to spend my birthday with them. They said that they felt like they were jipping me by just serving frozen pizzas, but I assured them that it was my favorite food. And then Saturday night I received another great birthday present: a session of general conference! We watch the saturday and sunday morning sessions live--which is 7 p.m. Finnish time. So, I had a really really good birthday. I'm convinced that they get better every year. And now I'm 22! Holy COW! When did this happen?
On sunday we watched the saturday afternoon session (rebroadcast on sunday afternoon). Before that session started, we had another teach with Sini where she committed to be baptized on the 5th of May. She is so excited! Her enthusiasm is so infectious. Of course our committing her to be baptized was more of a formality, but it still felt really good to hear her say "kyllä." It was such a beautiful moment, and she couldn't stop smiling afterwards! So this weekend was really wonderful, possibly the best of my mission so far! But it's hard to go wrong with general conference weekend (and your birthday :). Haha, I've been looking forward to this for so long, and now I'm sad that it's over. It was also really fun because all of the missionaries in the Helsinki area come to our chapel to watch the broadcast-- so there were about 14 of us there or so. Love being a missionary, and love the missionaries I get to serve here with :)
And, wasn't conference AWESOME!? I loved it so much. It seems to have a different meaning as a missionary--I don't think I've ever loved conference as much as I do now, but I also hope that I never lose that. I love this gospel. And... I love you ALL!