My dearest family,
I can't even begin tell you how happy I am every week to read your emails. It sounds like you all are experiencing some great blessings from the move-- albeit a very hard thing to do. And I am so thrilled to hear about Tyler's experiences every week as well. It sounds like he's doing amazing things there in etelä-amerika! (south america)
We had such an amazing week last week, I hardly even know where to begin. Seriously. Well, for starters, we picked up our mini-missionary on Tuesday, and the fun began :) It has been the BIGGEST blessing having Sisar Lammintaus here this past week. With there being 4 of us, we were able to do splits all week long-- we switched off companions every other day--which allowed us to do our work a lot more effectively. We were able to teach, help and uplift a lot of people last week. Here's a few of the many miracles that we saw:
First of all, we were all at a lunch appointment when we got a phone call from a recent convert who was telling us that he was being kicked out of his apartment. We hardly knew what to do or who we could ask for help, but as we all sat at the lunch table discussing it, the member we were with finally said "hey, I don't know this guy at all, but I have a car, so we can go help him out after lunch." And so that's what we did. Sisar Shreeve and Sisar Lammintaus went to a teach that we had with an investigator at the church while Sisar Ballif and I went with the member to go help this guy out. We went to his apartment and quickly realized that we had no idea how bad the situation actually was. There was a big group of guys there who were under the influence of alcohol and drugs. But we were able to get the recent convert out of there and his 3 big garbage bags with all of his stuff in it, which was the best thing we could have done. But at that point we didn't really know what to do. We packed all of his stuff into the member's car, and she kept assuring him that everything was going to be ok. We sat around at the church building with all of his stuff while the member who was with us started making phone calls to all sorts of places to see where this guy could go, but we didn't have much luck. Eventually we drove the recent convert to his work (he works during the evening and all through the night), and we still had no place for him to go. To make a long story short, we called the bishop and were able to arrange for a hostel that this recent convert could stay in until he had a permanent place to live in a couple of weeks. There were countless prayers that were said that day, and it was amazing that in the end, everything fell perfectly into place. The following morning, we went back with the member to pick up the recent convert from work to take him to his hostel. After all was said and done, the recent convert spoke of how his testimony had been growing weak, but through this experience has found renewed faith. He said he's "proud to be a mormon." He came to church on Sunday and bore his testimony in sacrament meeting.
On another day, Sisar Lammintaus and I decided to stop in at a member's house while we were in her area. We visited with her for a little bit, shared a spiritual thought, and at the end of it all, the member told us that after she had come home from work, she was feeling lonely and prayed that the Lord would send someone to visit with her that evening. I love the feeling of knowing that we were somehow an answer to someone's prayer, and that we were exactly where the Lord needed us to be at that time.
And we had several great experiences this week of helping a few investigators pray for the first time. In one instance, we assured the investigator, who was a little nervous, that she could look at the pamphlet, which explained how to pray, while she offered it. She closed the pamphlet and said "no, I want to try it without!" and then proceeded to offer a sincere, heartfelt prayer. Just last night we had a teach with a young woman who is from China who is here in Finland for school, and she said her first prayer with us--the first time she's ever prayed in her life! It was such a beautiful experience, and afterwards she told us about how peaceful she felt.
We just had so many experiences like these this past week that were really humbling and reminded me that we really are just tools in the Lord's hands. I am so grateful to be a part of His work. “I know that I am nothing; as to my own strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things” – Alma 26:12
Well, you're right, this week marks exactly one year of being in Finland. I believe it was on August 8th of last year that I hopped on a plane Finland-bound. I cannot believe how fast time flies. After this transfer is over, I will only have 2 left. Of course, that's a very surreal thought, and one that I try not to think about to much :)
I love you all! I am so happy to hear that you are all doing so well.
Hyvää keltaista viikoa teille! (That's a rough Finnish translation for "have a great and yellow week!")