Family, friends, fellow missionaries, I need to talk to y'all.
Now, I love you all. I really do. But there are a TON of you that have requested that I write or that I can't imagine not writing. And, after only READING everything I was sent and sending 2 very short emails to people, it has been ½ hour. That is not enough time. SO.
I have decided that I am going to be taking the email questions that you all send me and then compile it all into the SAME email, and then widely distribute it to the masses. Hope we're all cool with this.
Don't think I'm being personal enough? I agree. So, in addition to the widespread e-mail, you'll hopefully get a paragraph or to from me directly to you. Can't promise it, but if you ask (real family, you don't need to ask, I'm doing it anyways) I will do my best to individually address you.
Rules sound good? Acceptable? Any counter offers? Great. Love y'all, and so starts this weeks email.
Also (I lied about starting, sorry) this email will be going on my blog. Just so all of the missionaries know. If you want to know my blog page after the mission, just shoot me an email! A copy of every email I've sent about my time here will be there. It's like a journal. It's great.
Location: Tampere, Finland.
Attitude: Super enthused.
Stardate: NOW. (Thank you, Vanhin Hastings for that)
Finland has been AWESOME. Any of the Vanhimmat and Sisaret (well, one Sisar) can tell you that it is pretty sick here. I love it so much. Now, the Q's will take care of most of my new experiences, but I have created a list of things I want to share that WILL be on this email. Like, they HAVE to be.
What is your address?
That's a good question! I forgot to say last time what it was. Here it is:
Kyttälän Katu 4 A 4
What is your apartment like? What do you call it in Finnish?
Okay, this apartment is awesome too. We know that there is a word for it, but we don't call it that. It's just our apartment, or "home". Gets kinda confusing when you're referencing your actual home (e.g. Oklahoma) and then talk about "home" right after. The Finnish word is asunto. Well, the apartment is pretty nice: it has a main room, with the kitchen as part of it; the bedroom, which is small but plenty of room and a set of closet cabinets for us; and of course the bathroom. They have given us the horrible temptation of a Sauna in the bathroom. It's actually never been a temptation, but we joke about it all the time. That's where we put our luggage.
Where do you go to send us email?
We go to the Family History Center, which is part of the Ward Building. We never really have a set time, we just conference with the other 3 sets of missionaries to figure out about when everyone wants to go.
Were you able to teach anyone this week?
We were, we taught quite a few lessons. The members are really good at bearing their testimonies, so we try to get them out with us. We've had relative success with getting members to teach with us, mostly cuz we've invited the friends/fellowshippers of our investigators and the returned missionary in our area. The investigators we have are so much fun, I feel like we're already good friends.
Did you have any funny experiences with people?
Hey, one of our investigators lived in Oklahoma! She went there as a teen and graduated from college at OU. She's a Finn, but she loves to speak English to us. She knows a ton about things that I call *Mormon culture* (like, having tons of kids, debating over caffeine being in the Word of Wisdom guidelines or not, no wine in the sacrament, etc.) and has made some really funny jokes. She's really sarcastic in her humor, but is so funny all of the time. Surprisingly, when she read the wrong chapter before my first lesson with her, she got a TON out of reading about the chapter with the 3 Nephites. Kinda weird sounding, but it was like, everyone has their own calling and responsibility, and we can feel like we're called to different areas of responsibility. It was cool, I just wish she got the same amount out of what we bear testimony on!
Any funny language barrier moments?
Not so much... I didn't know the word for Calender when I was talking in the Priesthood Meeting part of Sunday before class, cuz I was trying to say that we have a calender about fasting out in the hall that we want people to sign up on, and while I was explaining what a calender is, saying stuff like, "It's like an aikataulu (schedule) but with weeks and days and it only shows one month," someone in the crowd spoke up and said, "Calenderi?" Yes, the word for calender is calenderi. I have discovered that most words that are really long, intelligent, and with a Latin base go into Finnish by adding an "-i" at the end. It's been fun to sound like I have an "akademiki" vocabulary.
What is something new you learned/experienced this week?
We gave 2 church tours to people that literally walked up to the church when we happened to be in meetings. They felt "guided" to come at those times, and it was probably because the best people possible to tell them about it were there at the time! It's been fun, one is likely becoming a new investigator of ours. We'll see today.
What was the hardest part of your week?
Getting out of bed every day. Elder Nemelka is sick right now, so we have been given instructions for him to sleep in instead of exercising for the next while, which means I need to try to wake up quietly and without the benefit of exercise to keep me awake.
What was the easiest part of your week?
We did a language study in the library, and (this might not be with the rules, so I'm not doing it again) I cracked open a Charlie Brown Classic comic book (you know, the one that is literally the first few strips he made?) and was surprised to recognize a ton of what was being said. There were a few things that I didn't know, and when I asked about them later, it was cuz it's conversational Finnish, like *voi etta* and stuff. Don't worry, I went right back to my own work after!
What is something unexpected you have learned about missionary work?
Sometimes, the testimonies of a single righteously living member that cares about the investigator does more good than all of our talking at. (Our talking with is pretty exceptional, though!)
Have you eaten anything strange?
I have eaten KEBAB. It is the most delicious thing so far. Meat, French Fries, and a sauce on top. Beautiful.
What is the name of your ward?
Do you share your ward with sister missionaries, or the other elders?
We share it with a set of Sisaret, so both wards have a Sister and Elder companionship set.
How much daylight do you currently have?
It's dark around 7:30 PM, it gets light around 6:45 or so. So, 11 hours? Give it time, it'll shrink, my companion says.
What is your favorite thing about Finland so far?
All of the FOG. The fog in the morning (because of all the lakes and rivers and such) makes such an eerie, awesome-ly pretty sight as it rolls through. Also, NO ONE is on the streets out after around 6 or 6:30, and it is DEAD. Doesn't feel like a city, even though it looks like one.
Is there rootbeer in Finland? (I heard there isn't!)
There is not. It apparently tastes like the Finnish cough-syrup. Their sodas are also pretty low quality, in my opinion... I just have been having water everywhere, it's healthier.
You'll notice: all of the last entries are really short. I'm actually in overtime with this email! There's no time left! Sorry everyone, no pictures this time, but I love you all. Stay cool!
Vanhin David Milligan