I promise - I'm not depressed when I say that! Normally, I'm just laughing over how INSANE everything can get in a matter of seconds.
For example - there is a missionary pamphlet that the mission releases called the Suomen Valo (Finnish Light). It's now our responsibility to start making it. How it normally goes is that we finish the outline for it a week before the new month that we want to release it in, and then we wait long periods of time for all of the contents to be given to us - new changes in location across the mission, the President's message to missionaries, the pictures of baptisms for the previous month, the message from the Assistants, the numbers that we hit as a mission for the previous month - there's a lot. So it's mostly a waiting game on our part.
Now for the chaos. President told us that he wants it done by the end of the first week. We informed him that he could get everything on his side done, and we would urge others to get their part to us, and all would be good. President got his stuff to us rather quickly, and eventually, the other parts came in, too - like the new missionaries and their pictures, for instance. Everything was ready on time - and then the printer ran out of yellow ink. And then we found out that the whole of Finland doesn't have any of the specific ink cartridges in stock for Yellow. So we had to order it. It came in a week later, yesterday. We got everyone to look at a sample, approve it, and then rushed off the rest and put them into envelopes. Only at this point did one of the people notice that we had a misprint of an incoming missionary's name. Yikes! We reprinted hers and her companion's alone, and then sent them all off. There was SOOO much chaos about it, though!
Phew, that might have been rather therapeutic. I'm ready for the questions, now!
What did you learn this week?
I learned quite a bit about how I have changed in my perception of people around me. I made this thing to talk to Nathan, my brother, about, but then it was just too interesting to not share as this for this week, because it made me really think.
As a missionary, I have started looking at people that pass by quite a bit differently. You know, we try to talk to each one, right? So, I have gotten quite a few conversations that go to show just how different and yet the same we can approach things. It has gotten to the point that I'll look out over a crowd in, say, a store, and realize that everyone, EVERYONE, has a purpose to being there. It doesn't have to even be seen as a religious purpose - just, 'hey, I need food', which them stems into that one chance-encounter that you have with someone that you may never see again because their situations are TOTALLY not aligned with yours.
It's a bit vague and abstract of a comment, but it's cool to think that you can even just stare at a row of cars and realize that likely, all of those people have a different destination and intention behind it that makes sense in their own little world. Just being open to the person that you only get to see for two seconds can really make you think!
What did you share this week?
These next 2 sections are gonna be a bit of a shocker section.
Crazy stuff happens - the church is true!
Last Sunday, I was assigned to give a talk in church. No topic attached, just told to say what I wanted to say. I made a plan based off of what Elder Bednar said when he visited us last year - make plans and study a topic, but don't write up the whole paper and just read it off. Bear testimony about it at the stand, and let your studies and the Spirit work to the opening of your mouth. When I got to the pulpit to start my talk, I realized that no matter what, I had to do that - the little paper that I had planned as a cheat-sheet with little Finnish phrases to direct my topic was left at home. So, I did my best. I think it was mostly understandable, although I did notice a few grammar mistakes on my part. Whoops. But Finnish.
After the talk, a member that I hadn't met yet came up to me and started speaking in very American English. He highly complimented me, saying that after his mission in Finland, he wasn't as good as I had been. I'm sure he was exaggerating, but I accepted the praise with gratitude. At least a few people understood me, right?
What did you teach this week?
Continuing the story - I get to go in the English class on Sundays (first time I've attended the English class of church in FOREVER) and actually was also delegated to give the lesson about Eternal Families last week. As I was talking about everything and then started to give a personal story in the lesson, I briefly mentioned Oklahoma. At that point, the member that complimented me and talked with me for some time interrupted. He asked if I was from Oklahoma. I pulled out my little OU keychain, and said yup. He asked what area, and before I could say anything, he added in that he first encountered the church in Oklahoma, and that it was where he joined. In my dumbfounded shock, he said, "I went to Edmond 1st Ward." So, imagine my gleeful yell, "THAT'S MY HOME WARD!!!" With a slight amendment, "or, was, they changed the boundaries" followed by him mentioning "oh yeah, I saw the new Stake President and recognized him. I'm pretty sure he'd recognize me." We paused so that we could finish the lesson, but afterwards he and his wife came up to me and we had a LONG talk about Edmond.
His name is Ed Rogers. (Edward, but he flinches at that!) He got baptized in 1986, I think he was about 22 then. He knows SOOO many of the older families in the Edmond area, and they are in our area, so we are gonna get to have a dinner with them sometime so we can talk even more.
How awesome is that! Finding a fellow Okie in Finland from your home ward! He has an awesome conversion story, I can't wait to talk with him about every part in even greater detail!
What is your favorite Finnish restaurant?
I both love and hate Kebab restaurants. I put Kebab itself comparative to the Stuffed-Crust Pizza at Scout Camp. It tastes fantastic when you're eating it, and you feel so happy that it's so meaty. Then, about an hour later, the stomach reacts to it. Ugghh... The best Kebab deal I've gotten was the one in Tampere, which had a buffet for just 7 Euros.
What is your favorite Finnish food?
NOT Kebab. It's not even technically Finnish, I just haven't eaten at any restaurants that are really Finnish...
I think that it might be Riisipirakka. I totally spelled that wrong... Riisipiirakka. There. That's the good thing about Finnish - the double vowels are said, and I can remember how to spell it so long as I say it right. It's a really cheap dish - available with almost every meal - but it is really good! Rice porridge baked into a bread pastry. Soooo good.
What is a popular Finnish toy?
Hmm, you've got me with this one... I don't think I've seen a Finnish toy, really! There isn't anything that I can think of right now that would fit the Finnish label. I'll keep an eye out in church, though - I'm bound to see something!
Here's a good substitute - instead of teething rings, some Finns give their babies ruisleipä, or rye bread. Really dark stuff. Pretty good.
How many pairs of shoes have you gone through?
I haven't even killed off my first pair! I haven't bought Finnish shoes, yet - I still have another missionary set that we bought before I can even think about it.
How many pants and shirts do you need to replace?
Umm... It would be nice to have a few more Sunday shirts, but I'm planning on getting them here during the Stockmann/Dressmann sales. As for pants - there are some pants that I haven't even pulled out yet! I'm fine on those!
Yeah, I've been really lucky with clothes in general.
Did you get a car this week?
...Yes... How did you know?... President has determined that we would benefit from a car in this area. Do you know what that means? 100% Car-Area-Mission. Yeah, it's been something that has been deemed necessary, but still. Weird to see it actually happening.
Well, that's all! I have a good picture of me and my companion, so I'll close out with that. Be safe, all!
(Hmmmm...No, he didn't tell that story! Maybe next time...~Mom)
Vanhin David Milligan