Hei! Moi! Terve!
(couldn't decide which one I wanted to use... :))
So good to hear from you all :) I know that P-days are inspired. We really do need that one day a week after a hard week's work to recharge for another week ahead of us!
We're definitely keeping busy--and constantly trying to find ways to be even better and more effective. At the end of the day though, I'm grateful for how simple it really is. It's not complicated. There's really not a secret "trick" to doing missionary work. The Lord simply asks for our heart, might, mind and strength. So whenever I get stressed about details, I always have to remind myself of that. Keep things simple by simply loving. We try different things out, we make mistakes along the way, but if I can say that I loved at the end of the day, then I know that I'm a successful missionary. So, I'm just trying my best to love all those around me.
Highlights from this week:
Something that our mission president has counseled us to do is to "not forget about the less-active." Helping these people to return to church is JUST as important as new convert baptisms. We realized that we had been perhaps neglecting this area recently, so we decided to focus back on it again. We went to go visit this lady who hasn't come to church in at least the amount of time that I've been here (over 7 months now...) and then she came to church on Sunday! It was as simple as that! All she needed to know is that her presence was missed, and to be reminded that her Heavenly Father loves her. Ihme.
We had zone conference this week. SO GOOD! Haha, I guess I realize that reading about our meetings and conferences has got to be boring for you--but they are just so exciting to me. I love them so much. And it never ceases to amaze me that our questions really are answered when we come prepared! The conference ended on a really cool note-- President played a slide show set to beautiful music with pictures of all the baptisms from the last year-- which I had no idea he was planning, so I'm not sure how he got all the pictures with me in it. It was really humbling to see. Humbling because I know that I have very little, if anything, to do with these people's conversions. The Lord has simply let me enjoy the ride. Afterwards I had an interview with president, and we talked about all of the really cool things that I've witnessed in this area, to which I said "I don't know why we're so blessed!" He kind of laughed and replied "sometimes there's not a reason." Haha, and it's true. A lot of times, we're not "worthy of the least of all the mercies" (Gen. 32:10). We simply need to be humble and grateful for them.
We FINALLY got to meet the mom of that young woman ("Päivi") that we're teaching. We went and had a teach at her place right in the heart of downtown Helsinki, and it went really well. She was incredibly nice. So now I'm just hoping and praying that her heart has softened, and that she will allow her children to be baptized. I think if I can still see one more thing happen before I go home, I want to see Päivi get baptized. Of course I know that everything happens according to the Lord's timetable, but it would just be really cool to see.
Mary and her husband continue to do well. They're both facing their fair share of hardships and trials at the moment, which is hard to see, but I can't do anything more than encourage them to turn to the Lord when things get tough. We all know that no one is exempt from adversity in this life-- but these trials can either draw us closer to the Lord or further away from him--but the choice is ours. I LOVED what was spoken about the trials of our faith in general conference. I can't wait to go back and read the talks again.
So anyways-- Mary and her husband and James could all use your prayers. It looks like we're going to have to push Mary's husband's baptismal date back a couple of weeks, but it will happen. Their faith is still strong though. It's been such a blessing to see them all face hard things and arise victorious--with strengthened faith in Christ. Some REALLY exciting news about them though, is they have this other friend, "Jim", who has been along for a lot of their teaches and his family from Greece just arrived here in Finland last week! We were able to meet them and share a message with them. I think they will be very receptive. They live in a neighboring ward's area, so the elders there will be teaching them. I'm excited for them!
Anyways, that's our life here in Haaga at the moment. Good things are happening. The weather is getting colder, which always reminds me "oh yeah, I'm in Finland." haha. So for those of you who are worried about your cold weather there in Utah--just remember that the trick is how you dress! Something to keep your hands, ears and feet warm is key :) Haha, my mission has taught me several things.
I LOVE YOU ALL!