The other crazy thing that happened is actually in the questions, sooo... Here we go!
Did you get transferred?
YES. Against almost all of my theories. I thought for certain I was sticking around in Porvoo,since I've only been here 4 months and Elder Saunders has been here for 6. But, no.
I will be moving to Lohja. It is another close-ish-to-Helsinki area, about 40 minutes north of Espoo. So, I'm going to be experiencing roughly the same amounts of weather and sunshine that I would in Porvoo. I will be the Senior Companion in this transfer, also something I didn't expect. I am "shot-gunning" or "white-washing" the area, meaning that I am coming into the area with my new companion, the first time for both of us. It should be crazy, trying to orient around a completely unknown area!
As for the reputation of Lohja. It is a lot like Porvoo - not too much activity normally in the way of investigators - but there is one HUGE difference - the number of members. Apparently, there are a TON of members that absolutely LOVE the missionaries, and it reflects in the amount of Dinner Appointments received. The last set of Elders there were talking about how recently, they've been getting 3 A DAY. That is VERY different from Porvoo, where in the first 2 months, I had gotten 2 DA's. It's expected for me to gain quite a bit of weight there. Woah. Lots of capital-letter exclamations there.
That also means that I am leaving a lot of good people behind. I am going to miss a lot of the people I've come into contact with out here! I got a lot of emails from people, so I will be staying in touch. That'll be fun!
The little red dot is Lohja
You can see Porvoo and Tampere, his previous areas, on this one.
He is definitely staying in Southern Finland!
Did your companion get transferred?
No. That was another spurt of craziness. He is staying in Porvoo. By the end of this next change, he will have been in Porvoo for 8 months. That's long. He will be serving with a newer missionary, Elder Hyer, who has been in Finland since January. Best of luck to him... It's mostly due to his teeth operations, President said.
Who is your new companion?
This is another crazy moment. When I was in the MTC, I had that weird 1-week extension that made it so I got to see my "baby Finns", or the people in the next group. One Elder came a day earlier than the rest, due to him not being from America, and I got to talk to him for quite a bit. Guess why I am talking about him?!
I will be companions with Elder Greciano, from Spain. He is actually ½ Spanish, ½ Finnish. His mother is Finnish, which makes the second part of his surname (I've just forgotten what it is exactly, it is close to Raskilla, or something like that...) since Spaniards have 2 last names, he said. Wow! This will be fun! I hope he's better at the language than I am, or this might get a little rough...
Do you need to buy a bike, yet?
Nope. It is... another Car area. WOW. 3/3 on that area count. And, since Elder Greciano doesn't have a driver's license, guess who's driving it? Yup. Minä. Me. I think this is a bit crazy, too. There's not that many car areas here... And after 1 year in a biking mission, I will have spent 0% of it with a bike...
What did you learn this week?
I spent quite a bit of time on the study of Fasting and Prayer. Basically, I have been finding all of the different ways that it is able to confirm, strengthen, and resolve the testimonies that we have or will soon have. It has been pretty cool to see all of the prophets that talk about the importance of it. I think there's a good lesson to be learned from the consecration of effort and time to receiving a witness of the truth. It doesn't just come passively! The Gospel is full of action. Faith in its fullness inspires so much. It isn't so much actions are what matter, in the end, but rather that the conversion that we should have inspires us to do things the Lord desires us to do, for our own benefit. I think that's an interesting concept on Grace that our church is rather unique in having: that yes, we are completely, fully, thankfully saved by Grace, like most others believe, but that we also should be changed by Grace, not just passively letting God's help to us be and not taking it on yourself! There was a reason that the Atonement was performed - to help us repent and return to Him. Acknowledging He exists isn't enough - you still need to actually take the steps that He has asked of us!
For a good talk that kinda defines Grace as our church believes it, look for a Brad Wilcox talk at the BYU Devotionals website. It is called "His Grace is Sufficient", and I've liked to listen to it!
(You can watch, listen, or read it at this link ~Mom)
What did you teach this week?
Not really much of anything... We got to talk about the importance of the Book of Mormon to a less-active member, and I think it really meant a lot to her that we cared enough to talk about it. She is confined to her house because of age, but she has been getting the sacrament each week from us. It is sad to be leaving so many people!
What is something strange that has happened to you in Finland?
Hmm. There's been a lot of strange stuff... Probably the strangest things that happen also coincide with meeting drunk people walking around. Finns love to drink. Oh, I've figured out the strangest thing! Being offered alcohol by a member. In keeping with Finnish culture, even some of the members drink. Crazy, right? There's a traditional, Finnish, "non-alcoholic" drink that you have to add yeast to and let it sit for a couple weeks. Mmm-hmm... Not alcoholic... They claim the % is virtually 0, so... Thankfully, a lot of the members are willing to actually follow the Word of Wisdom, but there are one or two exceptions.
Yeah, that's the end of the questions! I am looking forward to going to Lohja, but I'll be sad to leave Elder Saunders and all of Porvoo. Hope that I can visit again! And Lohja seems like it will be a lot of fun, so, there's that, too! Be safe, everyone.
Vanhin David Milligan