WE ARE HAVING A BAPTISM THIS WEEK! I'm so excited! Our investigator is even more excited than I am, if you can imagine that. He's going around inviting EVERYONE to his baptism, and talks to people about how he's also highly considering a mission. He is surprising me in almost every way, and he is just SO prepared that I feel like I just kinda was there to watch him progress, not so much to teach him.
Other than that, nothing new. Lots of walking, lots of rain, still lots of story-telling as we walk. Although I'm running out of stories now...
Something I forgot to send a while back: A member family gave the last set of companions in Marjar Area a mandolin, and I found out a while back that Pres. Watson is fine with instruments so long as your companion is as well. So, as the only person that could even attempt to tune the mandolin, I inherited it! It's been pretty fun to pluck away on. I of course figured out the 4-chords that everyone knows I'm crazy about, so that's been fun to jam out on. And I'm also just messing around with little jaunty tunes.
Well, that's it. To the Q's!
What did you do for your birthday?
Went to church. Saw our investigator. Was even more blown away. Talked with some members. Went home. Studied. Did missionary work. Ate dinner (just some leftover Homemade Mac&Cheese). Went to bed.
Mission-Field B-Days are potentially the worst. Especially when they are on Sundays, and you can't do anything.
Okay, so the next day was sort of incidentally more fun, but not really birthday-oriented, I'm just pretending like all the events were a late-fate-birthday-gift. We found a famous Chocolate Factory in our area that we knew about, but didn't know existed in Porvoo. Bruneberg is the name, it's Swedish, and when you go in ('cuz of course if there are big red arrows leading to the entrance, you follow them regardless) there are FREE SAMPLES EVERYWHERE. With the express instruction to take enough until you like it so much you want to buy it. Well, since you insist...
It was great. We also had Pizza/Kebab for dinner that day, so it was good to remember why I am trying to avoid it in the future.
Did you have snow for your birthday?
Technically, yes. It was on the ground. But it was just rain. So, I had foggy mist and rain for my birthday. But that's Finland!
What did you share this week?
We talked a bit this week about callings and the ways that we as members grow from teaching and learning. It was pretty good, I felt, and it showed also the whole no-paid-ministry thing that everyone in Finland freaks out about. They ask how much we get paid to do this stuff, and I laugh at their reactions when I say that I'm actually paying to do this myself!
I think it's interesting how it is sort of our responsibility to share our testimonies with everyone, members and nonmembers alike. Just a little reminder to me about how I need to step up my game once I get home and become just a normal "member missionary"!
What did you learn this week?
One of the things I reread this week was Our Search for Happiness, by M. Russel Ballard. I just love how familiar his language is with the reader, and how simply he fleshes out things that seem really complex to people that haven't grown up hearing the Gospel like we have.
How is your friend progressing?
Fantastically well! He is very excited for this Saturday! The 14th is his date, everyone get excited!
He has also assigned himself as well to be our Missionary Technology Tech guy, he fixed the SD card that Sister Seegmiller broke and changed my MP4 music sent from y'all into MP3. He is just really good at everything!
Has he set a date for baptism?
Oh, whoops, I thought that I had sent out his date! It used to be the 21st, but when the Relief Society group scheduled something on top of it, he volunteered to move it up a week! He's so cool. He has invited people from all over, including almost everyone that was at a baptism we visited in Haaga with him to show what it'll be like.
What is your favorite thing you have learned from him?
I think the favorite thing that I've learned so far (because I still have time to be with him and see him grow even more!) is that although sometimes the Gospel in its entirety may seem hard to accept, especially when you consider that a lot of our message is that God speaks to His children still through His servants the prophets, in approximately our investigators own words, "Once you make that initial step - accepting that perhaps, God still talks today through the representatives that He established in the Bible - you start to see how it is that the questions you have are given not only answers, but the ways to figure out if the answers are true for yourself." At this point, when he bore testimony of that (like, our 3rd meeting with him), he then said that he firmly believed that such was possible: that Joseph Smith had translated the Book of Mormon, and was God's representative to restore the Church to the Earth. As we continued in teaching him in the weeks to come, his initial faith turned into testimony, and I believe that he has progressed further into conversion, insomuch that he will not fall away, if we are to define conversion like how it was for those Lamanite converts!
In closing, I invite everyone, member of the church or not, to go watch a cool little video my companion just pulled up in preparation for District meeting tomorrow. It's on LDS.org, and the video is called "Book of Mormon Testimonies", with the first little title of the clip saying "The Book of Mormon: A Divine Gift". It was pretty good!
I love y'all, even if I'm probably getting old enough to forget you all slowly now... Be safe, everyone!
Vanhin David Milligan