Monday, November 12, 2012

Katie's Homecoming information

Katie flies home on November 15th to Dallas, TX.  She and her family will spend the week of Thanksgiving with her brother's family in Dallas.
 Katie will be speaking in Texas, in her old McKinney 5th Ward, on Nov. 18th at 9am at
1020 N.  Lake Forest Dr. in McKinney, TX.  Also speaking with Katie will be her friend Loryanne Williams who recently returned from the Billings, Montana mission. 
Katie will also speak on Nov. 25th at 9am at her family's new ward in Herriman, Utah (13375 S. 6000 W.) If you have any questions, you can contact her Mother, Julie Shaw at 214-864-9087.

November 12, 2012 - Last email from Finland

Well, for the last time: Terve!

I'm still in denial about this all. I can't believe I'm going home. I am so incredibly sad to be leaving this beautiful land and all of the beautiful people here. My mission has really come to mean so much to me. My life would be so empty without this.
What else can I possibly say? Words don't do any of this justice. How could I possibly hope to give justice to all of the tears shed, the miracles witnessed, the laughs, the lives touched, the people who have influenced me, the frustrating moments, the humbling moments, the moments that have drawn me to my knees, the moments that have cause me to rejoice, the lessons learned. I think I've caught just a taste of how the sons of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon felt. And I think I can honestly say that I am a different person now than I was 18 months ago.

This past week was a good way to go out. I was still sick at the beginning of the week. The test results came back from the doctor-- I didn't have strep, but I still felt awful, so the doctor said that I probably had a virus. I asked if there was anything I could do about it. She replied that no, not really, except wait... Frustrating, but I guess I've learned a thing or two in 18 months, cause I was able to have the entire conversation in Finnish.

Well, now that I've learned the language, I'm going home!

This entire change has been kind of slow and disappointing, but we were miraculously able to reach our goal of 20 teaches this week--the first time all change! It was amazing cause I could really see the Lord's hand in how it all played out. The week went really well.

We went to Zone Leader Council at the end of the week--as is usually custom for the oldest sister in the missoin to attend just before she goes home. It was really great. We went to the temple in the morning--it was Russian week at the temple--so it was really neat to see all of the Russian saints there--most of whom I couldn't even hope to communicate with, but it just made me so grateful for the gospel that unites us all! And when else will I be able to go through the temple in Russian? Probably not ever. The meeting afterwards went well. I was put on the spot a couple of times-- once to sing an impromptu duet with one of the other elders there-- and then I was asked to "share a few words" at the very end. I smiled and asked President Rawlings "a few words... about whatever I want?" He smiled and said "as the spirit directs." I paused for a moment and then started to tell everyone in the room how incredibly jealous I was of them all that they all get to stay here in Finland. As excited as I am for the next chapter of my life, my mission is an experience that I'm never going to get back. I know that I have a lifetime of discipleship to look forward to, but it's going to be different. So what you said is so right, mom and dad. Missions are so unique. I've never learned so much, never grown so much, never laughed so much and certainly never loved this much.

But, I don't cry because it's over.
I smile because it happened :)

I love you all, and I promise that I'm excited to see you, even though I'm really sad to be leaving :)
Sisar Shaw

                                               One of my favorite members in Tampere.
                                                                 Happy Halloween 2012
                                                                 from the Espoo District

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012

[Katie flys home on November 15th.  She and her family will spend the week of Thanksgiving with her brother's family in Dallas, TX.  Katie will be speaking in Texas, in her old McKinney 5th Ward, on Nov. 18th at 9am at the building on Lake Forest Dr. in McKinney, TX.  She will also speak on Nov. 25th at 9am at her family's new ward in Herriman, Utah (13375 S. 6000 W.)  If you have any questions, you can contact her Mother, Julie Shaw at 214-864-9087.]
From Katie:
Confession-- when I opened my email, I was bombarded with emails from friends who were all expressing how excited they were that I was coming home. And I started to cry. It's the first time I cried about any of this--cause it just doesn't feel real. Finland is my home now, and the fact that I'm leaving still hasn't hit me. My heart really is torn between 2 continents at the moment. Bittersweet doesn't even begin to describe it.

This past week was good. We had emergency splits in the middle of the week, so at the last minute, I found myself on a train Tampere-bound. Good on so many levels-- I got to experience the long-distance train ride one more time before I leave (the Lord really is mindful of us! I'm sure He had a hand in all this :))-- and I got to see my beloved city of Tampere one more time before I leave-- and I spent the day with Sisar Nelson, who was my companion while I was there! It was such a wierd experience being back there with her. It really just felt like we were companions again and I was just back in Tampere.

I arrived back in Helsinki Thursday night with a sore throat that still hasn't gone away. The timing is TERRIBLE! I seriously haven't really gotten sick my entire mission, and being sick my last week is not exactly how I imagine the end of my mission being. We were still able to have a few really great teaches--not as many as I would have liked, but we also had to cancel a lot of our appointments because I didn't want to get other people sick... :(

So things were kind of in a bit of a downer with my being sick, but remember what I said earlier about the Lord being mindful of us? We had a dinner appointment yesterday with Sini and her family--her husband, Kai and her husband's oldest son was also there visiting from out of town. In the middle of dinner, Sini turned to me and said "I know why you've been in this area for so long." I was like "Really? How do you know?" She smiled and said, "Well, when I tell you the reason, you'll know how I know." And so she told me that the reason that I've stayed here for so long is that the last time the missionary who taught her left, she left the church. And then she started to cry. Now, I have no doubt in my mind that even if I had gotten transferred that Sini would still be a strong and active member, but I also have no doubt that at least one of the reasons that I've just been "stuck" here for so long is that the Lord wanted to assure her that He is mindful of her. And as she shared that with me last night, I was reminded that the Lord is mindful of me too.

After dinner, we shared a thought with them about the Book of Mormon--and we didn't find this out till later, but Sini's husband's son asked to take a copy home with him!!! Such exciting news. So many good things are happening. We've got an exciting week ahead of us-- I just hope that my body will start cooperating with me!

I love you all!

Sisar Shaw