[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.]
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!