Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012

Terve Terve,


Still so wierd for me to think that Tyler is on his mission, but I'm loving reading his emails every week. It's reminding me of how excited I was at the beginning of my mission as well. It sounds like you're already having some awesome experiences. I'm so excited for you. And I think I'm getting a taste of how you all must feel reading about my experiences here in Finland-- it's really fun to experience things vicariously through someone else :)


I was actually thinking earlier today about how Tyler hadn't even received his mission call when I had first arrived here in Haaga, but I've been here long enough that you're already on your mission! I'm not sure why I keep sticking in places for so long. I can feel a little stir-crazy at times, but it's been really nice to really get to know an area well--the places, the ward members, the investigators.


That being said, I still love it here in Haaga. I couldn't ask for a better area to be serving in at this time. Also couldn't ask for better companions :) It's been really neat to see my mission unfold up to this point and see how the places I've been in and the people I've been with really have been tailor-fitted to me. I know that the Lord knows what experiences we need that will be the best for us. Thank goodness that his plans are better than our own :)


This past week was a slower one. I am constantly reminded that dissapontments are a reccurring part of missionary work and of life. But for every disappontment we encounter, we receive even more blessings--which sometimes don't come till later. So it can be hard to still remain optimistic in the face of disappointments, but sometimes it's not so hard at all! In spite of a slower week last week, I have complete confidence that this next week is going to be a great one. Among other reasons, we are going to be getting a mini-missionary tomorrow! Every year at the beginning of august, Finland does a "mini-mission" where church members (around YSA age) from around the country spend a week as a missionary with the full-time missionaries :). I arrived in the country just after the mini-mission last year, so this will be my first time to experience it, and I'm excited! Our mini-missionary is actually going to be someone that I knew while I was serving in Tampere! So that should be fun.


And last week certainly came with its highlights as well. On Wednesday we did splits with the Tampere sisters--which meant Sisar Shreeve went up to Tampere for the day and Sisar Nelson came down to Haaga for the day to be with me and Sisar Ballif. It was a lot of fun, and for me it was really cool to spend the day with my two "babies." (Sisar Nelson was the new missionary that Sisar Brailsford and I trained together in Tampere.) Crazy how fast time flies by. For me it was also really humbling to think that somehow i was trusted to be Sisar Nelson and Sisar Ballif's trainer--they are both amazing missionaries, in spite of me :) haha. And even when teaches seemed to fall through left and right last week, we sincerely tried to figure out what it was that the Lord wanted us to do instead. On one instance, we decided to just stop by the house of one of our investigators--a family that we just started teaching a couple weeks ago. We had a GREAT teach with them, and they both committed to come to church (which they didn't actually end up coming, but said they would next week. Keep them in your prayers :))


In other news, Sini and Kai continue to do really well. It has been such a blessing to see them to continue growing in the gospel every week at church. Last sunday, Kai came to church decked out in a white shirt and tie, dress slacks and shoes (and a new haircut). It was the first time he had come dressed that way, and he looked great! He was really embarrased about it as people would make comments to him. He's a good kid though. He was very excited and eager to give his tithing slip to the bishop on sunday. It is still humbling to me that I was blessed with the opportunity to teach them. They are forever a part of my life :)


I love you all, and I love hearing from you all.

And just remember that missionaries love getting mail :)


Rakkaudella,

Sisar Shaw

July 23, 2012

Terve!


Wow, I can't believe how many changes have happened in our family in the past year... none of them were I expecting when I left on my mission over a year ago. New babies, new workplace, new house, new state, and to top all of this craziness off, you're all now getting adjusted to having 2 missionaries out in the field. (How is that adjustment going, by the way?) I can just feel how hectic your lives are right now everytime I read your emails. But it's still something I always look forward to, and i continue to pray that everything goes well. And it sounds like things are working out just fine :)


And things continue to go well here on the Haaga front as well. Sisar Shreeve and Ballif and I are all having a blast here together. It's so funny how it all worked out-- in all honesty, I wasn't looking forward to training in a threesome again, but it has turned out to be the biggest blessing. I honestly forget that Sisar Ballif is still a new missionary sometimes, cause she's already a pro! I hardly view myself as her trainer at all. She's teaching me a lot. And somehow we all balance eachother out really well--I think we all work better together than any two of us put together would. Funny. But the sad thing is we already know that we're only going to be a threesome for 6 weeks because at the end of this transfer, the number of sisters in Finland will even out again. But that's still several weeks away, so we'll just see what happens. In the mean time, we're all just enjoying our time together.


We're seeing a lot of really cool things happen. We're teaching more, and we're finding more, and we're becoming more and more involved with the ward members here. We're continuing the pattern of going on splits with the ward members here a few times a week, and it is proving to be the biggest blessing in so many aspects. We cover more ground, we are able to get a lot more teaching appointments, we get a little more variety in the work that we do, and then the members get to participate in the work that we do as well, which in turn I think is making the ward members more excited about missionary work.


This last week we also had district meeting with President Rawlings and his wife at their house-- always a good experience, I always learn so much from them. We had interviews with president afterwards--which I always wish were longer. He definitely has the gift of discernment. As he and I were talking, he asked me seemingly out of the blue "have you been feeling tired lately?" to which I replied: "I'm exhausted!" And it's true, the past several months I've been feeling really tired a lot of the time, but President Rawlings and I were able to discuss a few things that could help, and it's been making a big difference. I'm now taking iron pills, and I'm doubling up on the amount of vitamin-d that I normally take and then I always try to be in bed by 10:00 every night. I had a LOT more energy this past week, which has also been a really huge blessing. (Anyways, not sure why I just told you that, but I thought it might be something that maybe mom might want to know.)


Anyways, thank you for your continued prayers and support. I love you all so so much!


Till next week!


Rakkaudella,

Sisar Shaw

July 16, 2012

Terve Terve!


So wonderful to hear from you all. It is SO SURREAL to hear from Tyler in the MTC. I am so happy that you're there and just enjoying it and soaking it all in-- it is such a special place and it sounds like you're doing wonderfully and learning a lot. I just can't believe that you're there! Wierd!


Now that we have a new missionary here with us (her name is Sisar Ballif, and she's from San Diego) it's reminded me a lot of the MTC. She's been talking a lot about her experiences there, and I've been reminiscing a little bit about my experience as well-- but that was SO LONG ago! I cannot BELIEVE how fast time flies by. Seriously, a whole stinking year ago.


So this last week was an exciting one. We went to downtown Helsinki on Wednesday for a trainer's meeting, we all met the new missionaries that we would be training, and then it was back out into the field that night! Having Sisar Ballif here has been so awesome! She is seriously so wonderful. It's just funny the differences i notice in her from when I was a new missionary, or the differences in this companionship from the last time that I trained in a threesome-- not good or bad, just different! But Sisar Ballif's enthusiasm is so infectious! As hard as it is to believe, Sisar Shreeve and I are both becoming "old missionaries" and I think sometimes it's easy to lose sight of why exactly it is we're here or lose our fire and zeal for the work that we do. But I think that's why having Sisar Ballif here is the hugest blessing. It has definitely renewed my enthusiasm for the work that we do. This past week has been a blast. We're having a lot of fun, and seeing a lot of miracles!


One really cool thing that we get to do now as a threesome--and President Rawlings has asked us to do--is to go on splits with the members. It's really cool cause we can use our time more effectively and get twice as much work done! It takes a lot of coordination on our part, but I think it's really great. It helps get the ward members excited about missionary work, it provides us with a little variety in teaching situations (adventures, I might say :)), and it also helps that we know that we're only going to be in a threesome for 6 weeks--the number of sisters in the field will even out again next change. So we know that we're only going to have this opportunity for this short time, and we're trying to make the most of it!


So on Saturday I went on splits with a really neat ward member who served her mission in Greece while Sisar Shreeve and Sisar Ballif went to go contact a referral. We taught one of our investigators together about the sacrament and the importance of church attendance. Honestly, the teach didn't go super well, but at the same time, it was such an amazing experience for me. I learned a ton from the member, she taught really well, and after the teach we were walking home and she was telling me about how good it was for her to be involved in missionary work. That made it all worth it. And then she started spouting off all these ideas of things she could do to help this investigator come to church! It was amazing! I think a lot of good is going to come from it.


Well, I love you all! I hope you all have a great and yellow week!


Rakkaudella,

Sisar Shaw

Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9th


Terve!
 
Thanks for the email. I started crying when I read about Tyler leaving on his mission. I really don't know why, but maybe the reality is just setting in that we really won't see each other for (over) 3 years. I completely understand how he feels-- I can still remember entering the mtc and just feeling so uncertain of everything that lay ahead--and one things for sure, Tyler, you have NO idea what you've gotten yourself into, haha! But I do know that this is the best thing you can be doing right now :) I love you bro! Welcome to the mission!
 
Well this last week was an exciting one (just like yours!) I'll start out with the news that we received at the end of the week though: I will be staying in Haaga for at least 6 more weeks. And so will Sisar Shreeve. And so will the new missionary that we get on Wednesday. That's right, round 2 for me training in a threesome. I kind of laughed and wondered what I must have missed the first time around that the Lord still wants me to learn. But it's a different situation, different area, different companions. We've got an exciting transfer ahead of us. I'm going on my 9th transfer in Finland. And still in my second area :) Haha. I wouldn't have it any other way, though.
 
Anyways, Maanantai was a really fun day. Kai came and played sähly (floor hockey) with us and the elders in our district, and he had a blast. Didn't even bother him that he was up against people twice his age :) Then that night we had a really really great teach with Päivi (remember the recent convert's daughter?) She really wants to get baptized, so now it's just a matter of getting permission from her mother, which she's really nervous about. Keep her in your prayers :)
 
Then Tiistai and Keskiviiko were really fun days too. Sisar Shreeve and I were invited to attend a leadership training meeting with President and several other missionaries. You'd think that it might have given me a hint that we would be training, but honestly I did NOT expect it at all, haha! Wednesday was the 4th of July, which we celebrated by singing patriotic hymns at our training meeting. And attempted to assemble an American flag--the sisters all wore blue T-shirts and the elders all wore white shirts with red ties. I'll send a picture :)
 
Torstai was a full day with a lot of teaches. I love days like that :) I really do just love teaching, it was one reason that I wanted to serve a mission. It's always nice to teach people and really feel like you are helping them and strengthening them and making a difference in their life for the better.
 
Perjantai we had a great district meeting-- last one of the change. I realized this morning that next change, I will be the only person that was here in the Helsinki district when I first arrived here back in March. Kind of wierd! Then that night Sisar Shreeve and I were on a train TAMPERE-BOUND! We did splits with the sisters in Tampere on Saturday. Change calls were supposed to come Friday night, and I sat anxiously by the phone for about 2 hours or so. Finally 10:30 came around (our bed-time) and I called President and said "President, I'm dying!!!" He started laughing really hard and said that he had stopped calling missionaries that night because it was getting too late and he was going to call the rest in the morning. But since he had me on the phone anyways, he went ahead and told us the change call.
 
So then Lauantai we were in Tampere, like I said. It was so nice to be back there because I just love that city. But at the same time, it felt really wierd. It was such a great day-- I was able to see the two people that I really was hoping to. We met with a less-active for lunch who I had met with pretty regularly while I was there. She started freaking out when she saw me. it was a lot of fun :) And then I was also able to see my Albanian investigator :) I think it was really good for her, and it felt good that maybe I was able to strengthen her in a way. She didn't get baptized on her planned date because she has an issue with tithing. But as we talked about it a little bit, she said that although she doesn't feel ready yet, she feels that God will help her to understand tithing and clear things up for her.
 
Suununtai was a great day as well. We helped a less-active mom with 3 small kids come to church. It was an adventure, to say the least, but it turned out really well. her 5-year-old son is now our best friend :)
 
Well, life keeps rolling right along. Time is such a wierd thing. I only have 3 transfers left. It is going to fly by, I know it. But it's still enough time to enjoy this beautiful country and the wonderful work that I get to do here!
 
I love you all so much :)
 
Any pictures you want to send this way would be greatly appreciated!
 
Rakkaudella,
Sisar Shaw

July 2nd

No Terve!

Is it really the beginning of another week again? I seriously cannot believe how fast time is flying by. Change calls come again this week, and really anything can happen. (Holy cow, this change flew by.) I have a feeling that Sisar Shreeve and I might not be together next change, even though we've only been companions for one change together. But three new sisters will be coming into the country next week, which is the first time we've gotten new sisters in about 6 months...crazy! Pretty exciting.

I can't believe that you're in Utah. All of the elders in my district are giving me a super hard time about it--they tell me that I need to start telling everyone that I'm from Utah now. But although Utah is a great place, Texas will always be home to me. How is everyone adjusting? What's been going on with the move?

And by the time I write next week, Tyler will be in the MTC! I think that's the craziest news I've ever heard. All I have to say is to just enjoy the mtc. It is such a cool place, and you will never have that experience again. I loved loved loved my mtc experience (and I do miss it sometimes!) Such a great place. And Tyler, you are going to make a great missionary. I know that the Lord has great things in store for you in Bolivia. I think it's a great blessing that we will both be out at the same time for a few months. I'm excited for you to come join me in the mission field :)

Well, like I said, this past week flew by. It was kind of a discouraging week in some senses-- lots of teaches fell through. Wasn't our best week numbers-wise. But I've come to learn that the numbers really don't matter all that much :) And they're usually a lot better than we make them out to be anyways. And we had a lot of experiences this week that weren't reflected in our numbers but still led me to believe that we were exactly where the Lord needed us to be, and when he needed us to be there. On one particular night, we were trying to set up some more teaches for the week, and I felt like we should call a particular member, although I didn't really know why. So we called to find out that they were actually in the middle of moving! So we offered to go help, and it was a great service opportunity for us. As we were thinking about a spiritual thought that we might share with them, Sisar Shreeve really felt like we should share a thought about the power of scriptures, and then give them a copy of the Book of Mormon that they could give to one of their friends. As we were there helping them clean their apartment out, the mom asked us something along the lines of "hey, do you know where I could get my hands on a Book of Mormon that I could give to one of my friends?" Well, as a matter of fact we do! It was such a neat experience where we were able to look back and see that the spirit really was leading us every step of the way. I've come to see that that's usually how it works. We just go about our lives, trying to do what's best, and as we look taakse-päin (sorry, sometimes Finnish phrases just make so much more sense... it basically just means that as we look behind us) we notice that our steps were guided.

Well, that's all I've got for you this week. I'll try sending a few pictures.

I love you all :)

Rakkaudella,

Sisar Shaw

June 25th

Terve!

Last week in Texas? That is sad news indeed. Also sad to hear that the Hobrooks are moving--before you know it, I'll have no reasons to go back and visit! (I think that's the saddest part of it all.)

Well, we had a GREAT week last week here in Haaga. One of our best teaching experiences was when we had a lunch appointment with a member. We've probably had lunch appointments with her about twice a month or so since I've been here in Haaga. She is one of my favorite people. She is the only member in her family, and after several years of inactivity, she is now one of the strongest members that I know. (And you'll be interested to know that although she is a Finn, she spent most of her childhood in South America--she was born in Argentina, and I believe that she spent some time in Colombia as well.) She has an adopted daughter from Colombia who is my age who she has been trying to get to come to lunch with us for a long time--but it's never worked out. It looked like it wasn't going to work out again this week, but she actually showed up after a while! We all had a great time getting to know her and just talking. We read some in the Book of Mormon together and before we left, we asked if she would say the prayer--to which she replied that she didn't know how. So my companion said the prayer. Once she finished, the daughter asked "is it my turn now?" and she proceeded to say a genuine, simple and beautiful prayer where she thanked Heavenly Father for the courage to come and for her mother. By this point, the mother was in tears and you could just tell that her prayers on her daughters behalf were being answered. She then told the daughter that I had studied singing, to which the daughter replied "well, sing for us then!" So I sang my favorite hymn-- "Sua Kohti Herrani" (Nearer My God to Thee). The mother was in tears again, and she asked her daughter if she would come to church with her and if she would let us teach her. She didn't seem opposed to the idea. We're hoping that we will be able to teach her again soon. It was such a neat experience for everyone involved.

Then later in the week we had a mission-wide SISTERS CONFERENCE!!! It was so much fun. I had asked President a couple months ago how he felt about doing a sisters conference--I was half joking, and i don't think he even said a word in response to me--but I've come to learn that that actually means that he's thinking. I was in disbelief when i heard that we were actually going to do it, but also very excited. We had half of the sisters over at our place Wednesday night and we did companion exchanges the next day--lots of fun. Then thursday night we went over to President and Sister Rawling's house for dinner and spent the night there. Friday morning we all went to the temple together (I think that's the fifth time I've been to the temple here in Finland? I'm super lucky.) and we spent most of the conference in a more laid-back setting with President in his living room--discussing a lot of the issues that we face as sisters. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had to sit at the feet of our mission president and learn from him-- He and his wife have influenced my life is so many ways for the better. And then President surprised us all by taking us MINI-GOLFING! It was actually a bit surreal, but lots of fun. (And I tied for first place with Sisar Braegger.)

We spent the night again on Friday night and all left to go home Saturday morning. I woke up at about 1:00 in the morning with an extremely sharp pain in my arms and chest (don't ask me why, I have absolutely no idea). I took some painkillers, tried icing it, but nothing seemed to be working. I couldn't fall back asleep because laying down just made it hurt even worse. Finally by about 4:00 in the morning, one of the other sisters heard me and sat beside me for a little while before going upstairs to get sister Rawlings. She was a great nurse, gave me some Tiger balm and a hot pad which was able to calm me down and then she asked if I wanted a priesthood blessing. I told her yes, and a little while later president Rawlings came down to give me a blessing (by this point it was almost 5:00 in the morning.) Afterwards I was able to fall asleep and woke up with virtually no pain in the morning. I thought about that experience a little bit-- why the Lord didn't just take my pain away as I sat there crying and praying about it for hours, or why I needed to wait that long before I finally got the relief that I needed. I'm not entirely sure why, but I know that if it hadn't been the case, then I wouldn't have been able to have that sweet experience with Sisar Mäki and President and Sisar Rawlings, and it's one that I'm very grateful for. I'm also grateful that on a night that I was in so much pain, I was in the home of a priesthood holder--a rare opportunity for these 18 months, at least. Our trials in this life are no fun at all--and they are really hard to keep in perspective while we are going through them. But they can turn out to be some of the biggest blessings in retrospect.

I love you all. It was so great to hear about everyone from back home. I honestly hardly even think about it at all anymore--except for this hour on mondays. But I still keep you all in my prayers :)

Rakkaudella,

Sisar Shaw