Yeah, we actually had one of the most successful weeks that this area has ever seen. It was crazy, and we would have actually gotten more had we not planned on attending a baptism on Saturday that we ended up not going to. We canceled lessons to do it, and then the people we were going with couldn't come, so we decided it was best not to attend alone!
Well, other than the fact that we have been teaching a lot, especially to families and couples, there's not much else to say! We are having great interactions with them all, and hope that they will be accepting baptismal invitations soon. They all want to learn a lot before making that big of a committing step, even though we explain it is like a goal that shows you want to know for certain and get His help in finding the truth. They all agree - but want to know more first. So, we'll see what this week brings!
New Mission Home Address for sending letters and packages is listed in the blog title area! It goes into effect on June 22, 2015.
To the questions!
How many missionaries are in your mission?
104. I just checked and double-checked the numbers. There are a LOT - 36 in the Helsinki Zone alone!
How many missionaries serve in the ward you are in? Is that typical?
In the ward I'm in, we've got the 2-soon-to-be-3 AP's (long story short, one left after a week to temporarily train, but is coming back this Thursday) and the 2 Sister-Training-Leaders plus their 1 trainee. So, there are 7-almost-8 in my ward alone. No, that's not typical. I'd spitball at saying that most areas have 2 sets of missionaries in their ward, so around 4. We've got twice that, with only 3 companionships! Weird.
Are all the mission areas as big as yours? (same long distance to church)
Short answer? Not in Helsinki. Long answer? In the North areas, they sometimes extend even further, and are still only a branch, but the area where the missionaries are stationed is where the branch is. So, no one really has to commit investigators to driving long distances, unless they find an investigator in the flung-out areas of their area.
What mission Zone are you in? There are 5, right?
There were 3 when I first got here - the Tampere, Helsinki, and North Zones. With the switch of P-days that came out, there was a simultaneous creation of another Zone going on - the East Zone, called the Savo Zone then. So, when I moved down to Porvoo, they got Zone Leaders officially called for that Zone. So, there are 4 Zones, and I'm in the Helsinki one, although we are almost in the Turku one. It is actually faster for some of our area parts to travel to Turku for church than Helsinki. Weird. (I just got totally confused. Is Turku a Zone? Mom)
What mission Zones have you been in?
I have served in Tampere Zone and Helsinki Zone only. Don't think I'm gonna get banished to the North, but who knows?
What have you taught this week?
One of the biggest things that we have been teaching this week is the Restoration. Since we have so many first-time investigators and a few gone-through-almost-everything ones too, this has been a common starting point for many of our lessons this week. I love how the lesson of the Restoration starts with very simple, yet key teachings: God is our loving Heavenly Father, and He has given us families to help us learn and grow. That simple phrase establishes so much of what our church believes in, and gives us the central reasoning behind why things happen in this life. Why did Jesus need to come and die? Because God loves us, and wants us and our families to return to Him so we can all be families forever. Why do I go through trials? Because God loves you, and wants you to grow to understand his love more profoundly, and to be able to endure all things with His help. Everything goes into perspective. Prayer is easier - it's not to an unknown God that will smite us should we not pay lip-service once a day - it is a natural, loving conversation with our Heavenly Father, where sometimes we feel the answers, and sometimes we read them in the scriptures. It just all makes sense to people!
What have you learned this week?
Well, I have been going through the scriptures and selecting my favorite ones that strike me - there are a lot - and then putting them all on little Post-It notes, but written in Finnish. It helps with Language Study by giving me interesting ways to phrase familiar things, and it also inspires me to remember why I have liked certain scriptures. It's a good review and lesson rolled into one.
What is something you are grateful for this week?
I'm grateful for a family in which the Gospel has been a central part. Immediately, I was able to start learning from my parents about God's love, not so much by what they told me to believe in, but by the fact that they lived in such a way, always showing love, that gave me the ability to look at a concept and say, "Well, if God has even greater love than my parents do for me, he must really care, huh?" That knowledge has given such hope in times of trials and despair, because I know that there are always at least 2 groups rooting and pulling for me - my earthly family, and my Heavenly Father. It's a great comfort!
That's all, folks. Thanks for all of the support you give - I got a lot of emails from people this week asking about things! It was great to see that people care enough to write to someone halfway-across-the-world (although to one person, right next door - what are you doing in Europe, Landon Hester?!). I love you all - I hope that your weeks go well!
Vanhin David Milligan