Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21, 2012

No moi!

Well, I've been doing this for a year now... can you believe it? I am doing wonderfully, and I'm sure a large part of it has to do with the good weather and sunshine :) Hopefully it's to stay this time.

This past week was great, and the work continues to move forward. Kai continues to do really well. Sisar Braegger and I are racking our brains trying to make our teaches with him interesting. I think we did a pretty good job with our last one--we made a card game to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. The cards turned out pretty well, and I thought that we should laminate them... turns out that it was probably a prompting of the spirit that I ignored :) Sure enough, Kai's juice spilt all over the cards during the teach. But we dried them off as best we could and were able to finish the game. He decided to push his baptismal date back a couple of weeks because June 2nd is the last day of school here in Finland, and he wanted to make sure that all his friends could be there. It works out well for us--we don't have to teach everything as quickly anymore.

And the runner from Kenya that we're teaching is doing really well as well! We got an interesting phone call from him on Saturday. He called to say that he had made a decision and asked if he could get baptized. THAT DAY. We were so thrilled to hear it, but he seemed a little disappointed when we told him that he had to wait at least a week. So, who knows? We might have a baptism this weekend!

The one downside to all these amazing things that have been happening lately is that change calls come this Friday. I do NOT want to leave Haaga. I really hope that Sisar Braegger and I can both stay here together for at least one more change... but we'll see.

Sisar Braegger and I got to sing with a group of ladies from our ward in our stake spring concert last night. It was really great--there is a lot of talent in our stake! And Sini came with her husband!!! That's the first time he's been inside our church building. A huge step in the right direction :)

Some other fun things that happened last week: on P-day, we went to the zoo with our district. Lots of fun. And we also had a wonderful zone conference as well. Sure enough, Sisar Braegger and I were recruited for the musical number. The theme for the conference was our attitude--being optimistic and cheerful as we go about the work. The zone leaders shared a really cool thought from the Book of Mormon in the story of Ammon and the other servants of King Lamoni. We read together the account in Alma chapter 17, and they pointed out that the difference between Ammon and the other servants was his attitude (verse 29). It seems a lot easier to be optimistic when it's so bright and sunny all the time now--but it's also good to remember that we have the light of Christ with us always. So let your light shine!

Sisar Shaw

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Mother's Day


It was so wonderful to see and talk to you all yesterday... It seems a little weird to be writing you now since we just spoke. But it was a good week. So many good things are happening here in Haaga.

I don't think I've ever told you about this one investigator that we have--he's a runner from Kenya. (I thought Steven and Kyle might appreciate that.) He's the coolest, and we've actually been teaching him ever since I got here (a little over 2 months ago now...) He is really amazing, and probably one of my favorite investigators that I've ever taught. We've pretty much taught him everything now, and he wants to get baptized, but still is shying away from committing to a date yet. But I'm sure it will happen soon :) We had a couple of really great teaches with him this week.

And we also had a couple of really great teaches with "Kai" as well. He is so excited to get baptized! It's really cute to see, and really incredible. Before Sini got baptized, she asked me what I thought she should do to teach Kai about the gospel. I didn't have a good answer for her--but she apparently has done a wonderful job. Kai is doing really really well. We were invited to do a little presentation in primary yesterday, so we got to go to primary with him, so that worked out really well. This was his first sunday in our ward--he usually attends in Hyvinkää, and he's really taken a liking to that ward. But I think that he really enjoyed church in Haaga. The topic of the primary lesson was baptism, and Aleksi was raising his hand to answer all the questions :) Teaching him has been really interesting. He has a lot of good questions--and he's definitely an 11 year old boy--but it's been a huge blessing. We have to teach him everything pretty fast so that he'll be ready to get baptized on June 2nd--but he's really determined to get baptized on that day.

Saturday was a really fun day-- we rode a ferry to Suomenlinnä-- this cool castle just outside Helsinki where one of the senior sisters in the office lives. We spent a few hours there cleaning her windows and vacuuming and ironing. We had a blast with her :) (Okay, so she doesn't exactly live inside the castle, but castles here in Finland are a little different from most places--it's more like a fortress that surrounds the island, so she pretty much lives in a castle. Pretty cool!)

And then sunday I got to call you guys :) It was so great to see you. I can't believe how much has changed in a year--I don't even want to think about going home. But luckily that's not for 6 more months :) After I hung up with you guys, and Sisar Braegger had finished talking to her family, there was a ring at Sister Hirst and Horning's door-- it was President Rawlings and his wife with the AP's. They came to sing a mother's day song to Sisar Hirst and Horning--so we got to sing along. It was a really fun night. We just sat around talking... and stayed past our curfew, but we were there with our mission president, so I figured it was ok :)

Well, I love you all :) Especially you, mom! I hope you had a wonderful mother's day. I am blessed with a really incredible mother who has influenced my life more than she will ever know :) I suspect that motherhood is a lot like my experience so far on my mission. One of the most rewarding things I will ever do, but also one of the most difficult. I have so many moments that make want to cry with gratitude and wonder why I ever considered not going on a mission. And yet others that make me wonder why I chose this in the first place. But at the end of the day, I am always so grateful to be here doing what I'm doing. I love the gospel. I love Finland. I love my mom :)

Sisar Shaw

May 7, 2012

Hei family,

Wow, this week was amazing. Sini's baptism on Saturday could not have gone any more perfectly. Word's don't do it justice, but the day really was perfect. I think now I have a glimpse of how a mother must feel the night before Christmas-- putting all the details together at the last minute trying to make sure that everything is just right. But it's all worth it when you see their faces, right? :) We went to Hyvinkää by train in the morning. It was really cool to see another city here in Finland. Their chapel is really cute. Sini was so excited and just beaming. She was so ready. We hugged her before she went into the font, and watched from the "sidelines." The actual ordinance was so beautiful. She really came out of the water a new person.

We sang a musical number with the elders in Hyvinkää-- "Be Still My Soul"--sung at Sini's request. It went really well, and Sini's husband (who isn't a member) even shed a few tears. It was such a special day! I couldn't stop smiling the whole time. And I really felt like it was being recorded in heaven.

As if that didn't make our week good enough, we received a text from Sini earlier in the week that her son, who I will call Kai (my favorite Finnish boy's name :)), wants to be baptized! So miraculous. He's 11 years old, and we could never convince him to sit in on a lesson while we were teaching Sini. We taught him for the first time last week, and he is SO eager to learn. He picked his own baptismal date-- June 2nd. And he even started saving money for his own mission!

Such a good week. Sisar Braegger and I were also invited to attend Zone Leader Council last week. So much fun. We got to attend the temple in the morning, and spend the rest of the day at the mission home with President and Sister Rawlings, the AP's and all of the Zone Leaders.

Life is good :)

Sisar Shaw

April 30, 2012

Rakas perheeni, (My dear family,)

I know that the Lord is mindful of us. He knows us each individually and perfectly, and loves us with a perfect love. I have come to experience these sort of feelings several times throughout my mission--the most memorable ones have always been during sacrament meeting--which has taught me the importance of attending church. Anyways, that testimony of the Lord's love for me was reaffirmed yesterday during sacrament meeting as well.

Right after the opening prayer, a large group of visitors walked in. I couldn't help but look at everyone as they filed in, and I'm sure my jaw just about fell to the floor when I saw my old roommate Claire! I could hardly believe it. Especially since the day before, Sisar Braegger and I were just waiting at a train stop (story of our lives) and I said: "Hey, wouldn't that be weird if we saw someone from back home just walking around here in Finland?" But I brushed the thought aside. After all, what the heck would they be doing in Finland? There was randomly (or maybe not so randomly?) an empty chair between me and my companion, so Claire sat there. And I asked her: "What the heck are you doing in Finland?" (Or something along those lines...) And we both started crying. I just knew in that moment that Heavenly Father loved us both so much. I really felt like this was an answer to prayer.

So anyways, she's in Finland for a nursing trip. What are the odds that I would be serving in Helsinki, and that her nursing group would visit our ward on Sunday? Of course I could brush it off and say that it was just a coincidence. But I like to believe that God is in the details.

I hit my 11 month mark this past week! Time is flying by. My year-mark is sneaking up! What the heck!? As I think about this past week, I am so grateful for the people I've met on my mission. My life would be alot emptier without them-- fellow missionaries, companions, church-members, my mission-president, investigators, even the people we meet every day on the street. Finland is a really beautiful land, but it really is the people that have made my mission. Wow. Time is a funny thing.

Well, we have SUCH an exciting week ahead of us. To end an amazing week, SINI IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!! It will be such a special day. Can't wait to tell you all about it :)
I love you all. Congrats on your YW recognition Erica! That's awesome.

Sorry for the short email-- all the elders in our district are waiting while I finish this to go play sähly! (Finnish version of floor hockey...we'll see how it goes.)

Sisar Shaw