In other news - I am now a billionaire. Also makes sense at the end of the email.
Also, the way and method to make someone live in a false sense of suspense - it's at the end of the email.
One last note before questions - Due to the change that will happen this week, I will be back to emailing on Tuesdays. But I won't be able to email this next Tuesday. Which means, much like when I first came to the office, I will go 1½ weeks before emailing. Which also means I get gypped a P-Day. But I don't mind...
To the questions! Let the suspense commence...
What did you teach this week?
Today, we will get to meet with someone that some members in our area have referred to us. They seem pretty interested, and they are open to meeting and talking. So! It's going to likely be a 'get-to-know-each-other' sort of teaching appointment. Which I like doing! Sadly, I won't be here for the actual teaching process. (Observe how I have now heightened the suspense of the change call I got by bringing it up again. You're welcome to take notes.)
What did you share this week?
I had one final "hoo-rah" of gluten-free cooking and made the family-favorite, super-famous Peanut Butter Brownie recipe, with a few changes to account for the whole gluten-free dealeo. And boy, did it become a hit. I got a lot of praise from around the office for these ones, and even the people that have always taken only one treat (because they don't like sugar too much, but still want to be polite and all that) came back for multiple servings. I shocked a lot of the Finns - they hadn't tried stuff like that before! They all wanted the recipe, but I demurred. I'd rather leave it a Milligan-specialty! Although I might go back on that, now that I know I'm not staying... (Again, tension is risen, but the pace of the email is going well. That's key for writing. You can't have people feeling like there is no progress towards the goal.)
What did you learn this week?
My change call. But more on that later. (This is a risky one - it outright holds the lack of information of the reader over their heads, and might get some 'rage-quitters' from your book / blog post. However, if twisted right, it can be a touchstone of humor. For example, this question has been asked every email, and I just broke the regular structure of my answer. This is funny. Laugh. Laugh. Laugh.)
I have gone a lot over how reading the scriptures can help me to change, specifically how I can apply what is in the scriptures. It's funny how you can learn this lesson from both a) groups of people that change after they get the gospel and b) groups of people who don't change. Generally, people that don't let the gospel and the scriptures change their life don't have a firm testimony in a lot. It's like having a seed that managed to grow in rocky soil, and then not bothering to clear out the rocks to help the plant grow. Assuming the plant will just continue in its growth is rather foolish, isn't it? The rocks obviously hinder whatever amount of nutrient the seed and plant get. Just because it managed to work up the energy to commit to being a plant doesn't mean the plant will do well how it is currently living. Just food for thought.
What are your plans for Thanksgiving?
I was hoping to go to the one family from Oklahoma living here. It would've been awesome. As it is, I will hopefully get to say good-bye to them tomorrow! If I have my way, there will be a Thanksgiving feast, even if I need the recipes for Sweet Potatoes sent over express-email and some cans for making Pumpkin Pie sent in a package, 'cuz I haven't seen any out here. But that last bit can be solved by just making Apple Pie, which is a classic too.
When is the next transfer date? When will you know if you are staying in the office?
The next transfer date is this Tuesday. I am NOT staying in the office. Elder Karttunen, the Swede with leg problems of a similar strain to my companion (no pun intended on the amount of STRAIN it puts on him... laugh...laugh...) will be staying here. It's been fun being in a Tripe (missionary slang for a triple-person-companionship), but I am moving away now. I'm going to... Mikkeli! It is in the East Zone, the one that was created a little under a year ago. Oh, and one thing - Mikkeli is where the Zone Leaders serve. I'm a Zone Leader for the East this change. SOOOO not ready for that. I'm a little stressed, and a lot-not-excited about that prospect, but if I've been called to serve there, looks like I'm going... Pray for me! My companion will be Elder Smith (there are 4 Elder Smiths in the mission right now, 3 missionaries and 1 Office Senior), and he will be going home this next change. I will be spending Christmas EXACTLY like last year, with a "dying" missionary as my companion. Should be interesting - I hope that we can do some great work! I've only met him once, during the Extended MLC we had last week. But he seemed cool enough. Fingers are crossed for fun times.
Have you seen any Finnish traditions that you love?
There's a kind of cool one, not so much a tradition as a habit whenever this happens. If you go walking around Finnish nature pathways, or even next to busy streets, you might perchance see a glove, mitten, scarf, or hat hung on a tree, bush, or shrubbery branch. Any time that a Finn sees an article of clothing on the ground, especially if it is raining or snowing, they put it in the tree so that when the owner comes along looking for it, it is easily spotted and accessible, and in significantly better condition than it might be otherwise. This leads to some paths and streets being strewn with little-kid gloves and hats. It's kinda fun to see, and almost literally EVERY Finn will stop whatever they are doing to help out and put it on the branch for the owner.
How is the weather?
It got strangely warm again... It went up to, like, 10 degrees C for a while this week. It's going down again, though. In Helsinki area, it is forecasted to be raining with just-above-freezing temperatures. It's the same in Mikkeli, too, but just a little colder. Probably no snow, though.
Are you back to wearing all your layers to keep warm?
Not yet - but I'm hoping that the need will arise soon!
How much snow do you have?
None... I'll make a snowman and send lots of pictures as soon as it happens!
Before I close out - yes, I'm a billionaire.
This is mine! Elder Smith (in the Office) gave it to me. I think it's my MSF fund increase for the office work that I did... I'm set for life, now! (BTW - the chocolate inside is very expired - so this is strictly a souvenir. But I like it like that!)
The man and his money.
Well, that's all, then. Thanks, everyone, for the inspiring thoughts that you send me, and the small acts of kindness that you do for others! You never know just how far your little acts can travel. I mean, they've already come all the way to Finland and back! Stay safe, enjoy the upcoming holidays!
Vanhin David Milligan
P.S. I've been listening to Christmas music starting, oh, 1 month ago, because there haven't been any American-shared holidays between then and Christmas. No Thanksgiving... more food for me!