Yup, I'm really happy that I was able to watch General Conference out here. I still haven't seen the last part of Sunday Morning or the whole of Sunday Afternoon due to not enough time / satellite problems. But it's cool. I think there was a lot of Family/Marriage related talks... Not sure how that applies too much to me as a missionary beyond teaching and goal-setting... :)
Did you get your package?
Afraid not. Finns really like their holidays, so the Friday-to-Monday time this last week, Posti was closed. It is normally closed and not delivered on weekends, but Friday and Monday got thrown in due to the normal Friday holiday and to the Finns' 2nd Easter on Monday. Yes, they have more than one day for most holidays, like the 3 days of Christmas. Everything shuts down. I'm not sure I like it. I'm looking forward to receiving it sometime this week, then!
Did you meet anyone new this week?
Although we have managed to better our street contacting to hand out with commitments more copies of the Book of Mormon and more pass-along cards, we have not had any success in being able to visit any of these people. It's too bad, but we walk on. We are walking for SOO LONG all of the time. Yesterday was a strictly contacting day. We couldn't even tract if we wanted to, because it was 2nd Easter and door-knocking is not allowed. Porvoo is going a bit slowly, but we are working our best to see it pick up. Elder Saunders and I had a long talk yesterday while walking (with no one in sight, since, you know, holiday) about the importance of not losing faith in an area. Our recent convert is what's keeping me faithful right now that there is still something to do and people to teach.
How are the members treating you?
It has been alright. There's still involvement from the members in Porvoo, and we even have had some members from the Marjaniemi Ward that we attend to reach out to us. We got to have a dinner appointment this last week with an American family! The Humphries (that is soo not a Finnish last name, it's great) invited us over, and we had traditional Passover-style food. But a little more yummy than it would have been for them. And, I got to try out a Finnish Easter delicacy there. It is called Mämi, or something like that. It is essentially pure rye. It looks like a chocolate cake/fudge mix, but tastes very different. I actually really liked it, so I think that threw off the family and my companion. Apparently missionaries react badly to it, normally, especially if you think you are eating chocolate goop.
Our recent convert has been getting people at work interested, has even given out an Estonian Book of Mormon that he got from us to an interested coworker. He is so excited to share the Gospel, it really encourages me.
What did you learn this week?
I spent a lot of time preparing for General Conference by studying the various ways that prophets make known the word of God. It was really insightful to listen again to a BYU Devotional that Elder Saunders had by Hugh B. Brown, called, Profile of a Prophet. I like it a lot, and it inspired some scripture searching along the lines of "how can people righteously receive the word of God as told to them?" I thought it was a good prep for General Conference.
Small note: In General Conference, Elder Nielsen spoke about the Prodigal Son, and the lessons from that parable. He is coming to the Zone Conference in Tampere on April 18th. I'm trying my best to prepare for that, as well.
What did you share this week?
Not too much teaching was done this week to anyone besides members, but they were still good lessons regardless. To the Humphries, we talked a bit about Agency using their favorite superhero, Spiderman. They are really young kids, so that was important to keep them entertained enough to listen. We talked about how Spiderman had to repeatedly make one good choice after another to become a superhero. It was really good, because at first they said how Spiderman tried to make money off of his powers, and his uncle got hurt. (I didn't have the heart to tell them that he died...) Once he learned from that, he did one good thing after another, and eventually, at the end of the day, realized that he was a "good guy". We said that it is important to in each small action, make a right choice. Enough right choices will eventually make people trust you, and you will find out that you are being called a "good guy" by those that see you. It went well, all together.
What was your favorite talk from General Conference?
There are a few that I really liked , so pardon me while I get all my favorites out in a list of appearance! Appearance by Finnish broadcasting, that is.
L. Whitney Clayton's talk about Light and Belief was good, with the story of Sailor.
Elder Ballard's talk on Missionaries felt rather direct, even if most of the time was talking about prep leading up to and then continuing lessons learned afterwards.
Pres. Utchdorf's was awesome, since I knew about the Potempkin Village myth from AP Euro, and seeing how it can be a metaphor for avoiding Facades in our life was great.
Wilford W. Anderson's over the differences between going through the motions and knowing the reasons for our actions through the comparison of Dancing the Steps vs Hearing the Music was quite fun!
The little that I saw of Elder Holland's talk was really good. I liked the story of the rock climbing and where the metaphor was going with respect to the Fall and Christ's role within the Plan of Salvation.
I think of those, though, Pres. Utchdorf's was the one I most needed to hear, not so much for my own actions right now, but for trying to make sure that I never decide to just fake things and not have the right attitude. In that sense, Wilford Anderson's was probably my favorite when it came to a metaphor that I see me using in the future, and I think that it can give us all a good way to see if we are teaching things correctly to those under our stead.
What is your favorite Finnish hymn?
Okay, this is new! Let me grab a hymnal really quick so I spell this right... "Maa on niin kaunis". In Finland, this is a Christmas song and has a little different of a message, but the tune is very familiar to me from the days I sung in the Christmas Cantata back home. The English song with the same tune is "Fair Is the Sunlight", or at least it starts that way... Mother, feel free to put in the right title now... (Beautiful Savior)
Well, that's it! I'm glad to have been around to see General Conference, and that we can still access it out here, even under very different time windows.
I hope that all of you will continue to be safe!
Vanhin David Milligan