Well, this was a very weird week for me and my companion. The first thing I have to say is that my companion and I have been sick for the last half of this last week, with different symptoms that make it really fun to to be together... But, amazingly, the amount of mission work completed was quite astounding!
We have SO many cool investigators right now! They are all very eager to learn the gospel and have it better their lives. 4 have accepted baptismal invitations. 4. And 3 of them are definitely going to be baptized. I'm very excited! We are working hard with all of them, but they are making the choices all by themselves, and we are just kind of along for the ride, it seems! The 3 that have baptismal dates that I am certain are going to be baptized all searched out the church by themselves, and came to love everything that they are hearing. All of the baptisms will probably happen late November, early December.
Well, there are a few things I want to say, but I hope that you all understand if it's a bit scatter-brained. I'm still sick/recovering. I'm avoiding all greasy food, which means no kebab or pizza...
Charity and Love in Finnish
Interesting fact! (More for the people back home than those on a mission in Finland, 'cuz you should already know this...) The word (yes, singular, word) for both Charity and Love is Rakkaus. Isn't that interesting, that they mean exactly the same thing here? In the scriptures, it differentiates them sometimes by saying something like, "the Rakkaus which inspires action", or, "the Rakkaus which inspires feelings", but not always. You just have to read context, but they make very little difference.
My name isn't just hard to pronounce in the MTC...
So, in the MTC, it was very hard for some people (not going to name names, but all of the MTC missionaries know people I'm talking about) to say the word "Milligan". It is the same here in the field. Missionaries and investigators alike do not know how it is that my name is pronounced, or if they do, they can't EVER remember it.They say Mulligan, McMilligan, McGilligan, or just throw the name into the wind and see what happens. Among most of Tampere missionaries, I am known as McGiggles, and among our investigators, they all heard when I was telling my "real" name to someone, and now all refer to me as "David" when they can't see my nametag in front of them... Not too appropriate, but I figure they'll learn eventually!
One investigator's story
So, there is an investigator which I talked about in a letter to my parents. (Should come about 10 days or so from Thursday, when the people took it out of the mailbox.) Long story short, she referred herself after hearing about our church, met with us, and started having a dream repeatedly that was her in the baptismal font with us and a member that she met too. She had that dream 4 times and, after coming to church 2 Sundays ago, she sent us a text that I only knew how to read because it was saying stuff that I've always wanted to hear: "Uskon että Mormonin Kirja on totta." She also sent a bunch of other stuff, saying that she wants to be baptized and that she wants to meet with us again! She has gone to church twice now, has a baptismal date which she is set on, and is very excited right along with us.
More of a funny story than an inspiring one
Another person that has a baptismal date, but isn't too sure if he wants to be baptized, has met with us a few times. He brought a Jehovah's Witness person the first lesson (just to see how we would react to them) and I extended the invitation to be baptized in front of all of them. It was kind of a fun reaction from all parties. Well, he's met with us since, and has even committed to coming to church, but it's very interesting to talk to him. He speaks Finnish, but tries to learn English from us, and uses little words and phrases in English in the midst of all of his Finnish, which throws me off sometimes. Especially because he has the Finnish accent which destroys most consonant sounds in the English language. For example, he was talking about how me need to try to be good in life, and not be Bad Men, Bad Women, or Bad People. He kept on referring to Bad Men/Women throughout the lesson, saying just those words in English amidst all of these Finnish sentences. I was trying to not burst out laughing during the whole lesson, because his accent turned Bad Men/Women into Batman and Batwoman. Very funny!
1. How goes the language? (#1 asked question from all my followers)
The language goes well! I can speak to people and be understood, and even have been complimented on my grasp of the language after only 2 months in the country. The really sticky part about the language is hearing the people speak when it's not about gospel things! If they say where they are going when I ask them, I cannot understand, which means almost every bus contacting situation either turns into asking about if I know this or that part of the language, and wow, you know that much after only this long, or it becomes stare-out-the-window time instead. ¤Sigh¤
2. How are you doing? (Second most asked question from my followers)
Other than being sick, I'm doing well! I'm not stressing out about anything in the field, and I've been eating healthily. I also am learning a lot from this culture and set-aside study time that I have!
3. How's the weather? (Mom: I am hoping for the SNOW answer!!)
Cold. Dark. No snow. Frowny Face. :-(
4. How much daylight do you have now? (Mom: I'm going to keep asking this every week until I have to start asking the question, "Did you have ANY daylight today?!)
Interesting fact: They have daylight savings time in Finland. Kinda weird to see that elsewhere too. But, we have about 5-6 hours of sunshine right now, meaning 7-8 hours of actual light, and it's getting less every day. I'll make a note of these things from now on, I keep forgetting!
5. What is your main mode of transportation? (walking, bus, car... sled?!)
Bus. Sometimes car, if we're going out to Valkeakoski, which is a 40 minute trip and no buses go out there. I pray that we will bring out the dog sled soon. ;-)
6. What kind of sauce is on kebab?
Kebab sauce... It's a lot of tomato sauce, I really have no idea what else is in it! I'll ask a Finn that knows English.
7. What is something that challenged you this week?
Being really sick. But, we did a lot of work and still got some rest (under the direction of Sisar Watson), so I think I'll be justified in that challenge.
8. What is one way your testimony grew this week?
The Lord works without the direct influence of missionaries. That increased my testimony because although I've heard it before that the Spirit is the teacher, not us, I actually have seen it start working in our investigators, where they are learning on their own and making choices and improving their testimonies without our urging or committing.
9. Did you survive Transfers, or are you on your way to somewhere new?!!!!
I am still in Tampere 1! I still get to be with these wonderful people.
10. Did your companion survive Transfers?
Yes, he's still with me. Every other companionship besides Pori's in our district changed. Also, we are going to be getting a fresh MTC trainee in Rauma, so I'll get to see someone in our district that I saw for a week in the MTC! They'll have also seen all the Huns, Albanians, and Estonians leave, so I need to get that from him.
One more interesting thing about transfers. My companion's father has apparently been petitioning President Watson to let him go home early, not for school, but because his grandparents are ailing and this may be their last Christmas time. If that happens, I don't know what'll happen to me! Maybe I'll just be with Tampere 2 Elders for a bit.
Supposing that nothing goes weird, I will likely be staying in Tampere 1 for quite some time, a minimum of 18 weeks from today. (9 weeks in this transfer, 9 weeks in the next to get someone else used to the area.) I will be looking even harder for people that I can help, because I can stay in close contact with them! Not too much more that needs to be said here, I'm gonna send some pictures to everyone!
You're all awesome, stay strong!
You're all awesome, stay strong!
Vanhin David Milligan
Pictures!Mom: Sorry, you don't get any creative captions today. He remembered to fill us in!
This is my district, before we get all broken up Tuesday...
So, sometime this week was a Flag Day of some kind. So, all the flags were out and there were fireworks that night! It was a lot of fun to see, kind of made it hard to go contacting though...