Lots of little things this week to talk about! I actually made a list, here we go...
Salmiakki Cheesecake - A Daring Run-In
This is a simple little story. We were doing service for a family, and they brought out Cheesecake that they had made. They started to laugh as they did so, and when I saw it, I knew why - the thing was FILLED with Salmiakki. It had a Salmiakki base, salmiakki running in veins through it - it looked like it could kill. But I tried some anyways, with all of them grinning at me, as if it was going to come shooting back out of my mouth, which I half expected. But then. I found that I REALLY liked the taste. O.o I can't believe it. Is Finland growing on me?!? I actually helped FINNISH off the cake in the end. I'm pretending like none of you saw that coming... (Salmiakki is a very salty black licorice. Anyone who wants to try it is welcome to a piece. David sent it to us with the message that we should offer it to people and get videos of their reactions. Thank you to those of you who were our unsuspecting victims! ~Mom)
Canadian Geese Vacation to Finland
So, we were walking along a lake-side. Most of our area is lake-side. And we were looking at the ducks. I like ducks. And then, a miraculous, unexpected piece of America showed up. Around a bend in the forest (the other ½ of our area, sometimes occuring alongside the lake-side), I saw 2 Canadian Geese just standing around, looking at the lake. Sort of with this, "Honey, where are we? I told you we should have asked for directions" look to them. And I started to laugh a little. My companion hadn't seen them yet, but when he did, he exclaimed, "What ARE those things?!" I looked at him, and then realized that Canadian Geese probably don't really visit Spain... So I told him about Canadian Geese. I've had to do weirder to get our cultures to make sense to each other. I haven't even started on the Virginian Vultures... (Turkey Vultures. A large flock of them roosted on the roof of David's school in Virginia. He was 8 when we moved and he still talks about the creepy things! ~Mom)
Following the Spirit Pays Off
This was quite a surprise to me when this happened. Two Sundays ago, I was talking to President Watson after the Stake Conference we had. He gave me some direction on a good family to follow up with and start teaching and visiting. They seemed really nice from his description, but I had already tried to contact the family earlier, in my "call-every-member" quest during the first week being there. I said we'd renew our efforts to get in contact.
This last week, we were returning from being in a new area, and I felt really impressed to turn down a street. I knew there was no way it was going to bring us back home, and it was getting to that time, so I questioned it at first, but made the turn the next second. My companion doesn't really know how to orient himself in this new area (he's exactly like how I normally am, just following and praying we get to where we need to go), so he didn't question it. As I kept walking, I only managed to get a couple feet or so down the road before I felt, STOP. So I did. And I was really confused, because there were no people or houses in our immediate vicinity. My companion stopped, and asked where we were. Before I could answer, "Hold up, I don't really know why we're supposed to be here", a car pulled up from around a corner and slowed down right by us. The windows rolled down, and the driver called out, "Veljet!" Which is what the Church Finns call us. I looked at him, and asked in Finnish, "Sorry - Who are you again?" Because I hadn't ever met the guy. To which he answered that he was a Brother So-and-so: The same So-and-so that we had been trying to get in contact with. We actually were just a little bit further away from his house, and he too had made a wrong turn, and was going to turn around EXACTLY where we were standing - the only reason he slowed down and stopped to see us. Crazy!
We talked to him, then set up times to meet, and now we have set up Badmitton-playing with a less-active, had a dinner appointment at his house, taught with him an investigator of ours that he knows, and are going to go play Tennis with him soon. Wow - all out of following the Spirit in turning down what I knew was the wrong road. Cool.
Well, now to the Questions!
How's the weather in Finland? (this had to be asked since we are having crazy weather!)
Super Sunny! I have a lot of REALLY nice pictures of Lake and Forest scenes. They will come when I am not in a library that tends to delete SD card information when you plug in things. Just got warned by some people who were just here. Both of their things got deleted from these computers. Yikes.
What do you most want to have happen in the next week or month?
I want to find an investigator! Only 2 times have I ever "found" someone out here in Finland, and in both of those, it was just that I felt I needed to talk to them about a certain thing, and we exchange info right there and they want to talk with us later and it's just a great feeling. All of the other people that I have taught have self-referred themselves in one way or another - showing up at church, getting members to get us to them, or actually submitting info to the referral page as a self-referral. So I want to FIND. But I'll take referrals, too!
What is something you learned this week?
I studied a lot from the Finding People section of Preach My Gospel in an effort to achieve my goal. It has been interesting to note that almost every point it brings up is made possible through the joint efforts of Members being there that want to help - and guess what Lohja has a surplus of? Yay!
What is something you taught this week?
We got to teach an investigator this week - we went with the Brother So-and-so from earlier - about the expectations that both sides of us have. We really stressed that the things that we teach remain only that - things taught and perhaps retained - until he decides to act on them. It really spoke to him that we weren't trying to force him to see our way on things, that this wasn't a debate - this was a time for him to be taught by the Spirit and by seeing his actions achieve things beyond himself. We are now going to be meeting with him and his girlfriend regularly - fingers crossed that all sides feel the Spirit!
What is something strange that happened this week?
Meeting Brother So-and-so out of nowhere falls under this category, nothing else really crazy happened...
We found out that there will be some people in Espoo giving us Dinner Appointments, that was pretty fun! I think the Espoo missionaries are getting jealous that we are getting fed even more than the Sisters...
What is something funny that happened this week?
Seeing Canadian Geese. Also, we have been recording our Language Studies when we read the Book of Mormon in Finnish, and there was a verse where the English is roughly "Woe, woe, woe unto these people", and in Finnish, it is quite hilarious, since "Woe" roughly equal "Voi", which means a TON of things besides woe. One of which is Butter. Also, Voi Voi is a way to go "oh well". So it was funny to see Voi, voi, voi.
Since you are still in a Swedish speaking area, are you feeling inspired to learn any Swedish?
I'm considering it, now... But, I really want to get my Finnish Grammar stuff down before I venture into the wild world of Swedish. So, ei vielä. Not yet.
How is your health? Are you still feeling run-down?
Well, I am always tired, but I am assured this is standard procedure as a missionary. But, I am staying healthy, yes! No worries on that, the members are doing well at fattening me up.
What is your companion like?
My companion is pretty fun, I'd say. The fastest bonding that I've had with a companion happened with him, (sorry, Elder Saunders!) so we're on a good start. He is fairly nerdy, although he hasn't gone overboard with it like some have, so that's good. He is interested in writing stories, so I am also getting re-interested in that again. It's been fun to talk about stories we know to each other - that one thing hasn't changed from these last 2 companions! All in all, he's a really fun guy, and we're probably going to stick in touch after the mission.
Are there any Finnish holidays that we need to celebrate here?
Hmm, other than starting to celebrate Christmas, Easter, and Labor Day for multiple days and get work off for them all... I can't think of anything! There is a day called Juhannus or the like coming up that will be a Hard-Red, don't-go-outside day, but I don't really know what it celebrates. I'll get back to y'all!
Well, that's it! Thanks for everything y'all are doing to give me support. It means a lot when I hear someone has liked a certain part of my blog, or, even better, when someone emails me personally! Thanks for the support, again.
Be safe, everyone!
Vanhin David Milligan