The madness is over! I have survived the preparation of Zone Conference packets! With the sacrifice of a P-Day, all is back in order. The mission is very informed about things in the office, now. For example, I made one Excel file simply labelled "EVERYTHING", that contains all of the languages that Church material is in, and what material is currently available in what language. Looks like a giant set of colored boxes, but it all makes sense! People are already calling into the office with a clearer idea of what to specifically order, rather than the simple, "Whatever you've got in Kekchi" or things like that.
This week was pretty empty of really jarring events, since we've just been working on mission history and finishing it all up for submission. Another cool thing in the packet that I made was a set of instructions for preparing to write and format submissions for the mission history. President wants missionaries to send in stories about recent converts and different experiences with Zone Conferences and mission-events, so I came up with a set of instructions to make sure that precise and specific information is conveyed, but still be in each missionary's distinct voice, instead of a re-telling on my part.
One crazy thing? Driving through Helsinki. Like, Central Helsinki. I hate it. SOOO scary. The roads are cobblestone, which is fun to walk on, fine to drive on, but really scary when you realize that there is literally only JUST enough room for you and the car in the opposite lane. Why didn't the original builders plan for cars to be driven down their streets?!? Yes, yes, I realize that there is quite an absurd assumption going on there, but let my indulge in indignation for a little while...
To the questions!
What did you learn this week?
I learned about different things that are to change our conduct and nature. Yes, I know - almost every e-mail has been about this! But there was a member that we meet with after church and sing hymns with that challenged us to read Mosiah 3-5. I really liked what it said, because it lined up with things that I've been thinking about. Basically, it subdivided in my head to be "here's the natural man, here's what we like to do, and here's what God wants us to do and become instead", followed by "once you've made the decision that you want to change, you need to follow through and do so, and Christ is gonna make that possible!", topped off with some good "aid your fellow man - it will help you keep those things that you've changed. You'll retain those changes, and it will really help you for the rest of your life." Pretty good set of chapters for me right now.
What did you share this week?
We have had quite a few chances to talk with other missionaries about things that they need for their areas, since we are now being involved more in the ordering-process of things. As I talk with other missionaries, I just keep thinking about all of the ways that I have grown from seeing and meeting with different people. I guess what I want to say then about this is, really, I've been shared with a lot this week different things that are happening around the mission. It's really cool to see people doing their all to be able to help people around them and provide them with things that are personally important to the missionaries.
What did you teach this week?
My companion was able to teach someone on splits this last week! We have been allowed 2 sets of splits per change (due to the fact that the change only lasts from 6 pm to 9 pm), and so I dropped off Elder Frey and Elder Grooms at a lesson with a great family in the ward that lives in our area. During that time and a little before, too, I was out contacting and finding with Elder Hansen, the District Leader. He's really tall, that's all I need to say, and that he's really cool, too! When we were walking, the Finns would get a little startled by him trying to talk to them, but it was all good. We actually got to meet a Finnish family walking around that was really interested! They were so interested and thinking that what we were doing was fantastic, I had to wonder if they were they were members just messing with us... I haven't checked, yet, so I really hope that it was genuine! I'm pretty sure that it is, because I asked what their 4-week-old kid's name was, and they said he didn't have one, yet - they receive it when they go and get them baptized and appoint a set of godparents. I actually had just reviewed the words for god-father/mother/son/child earlier that day, which made it perfectly understandable ! Yay for small miracles!
Does Finland "celebrate" Day Light Savings? Here it starts next week, Nov. 1st.
Yup, they do, but it's a little off here. For example, we switch tomorrow, on Sunday. Still falling back and everything, but. Little crazy.
I just learned the Northern Lights are on an 11 year cycle and they are nearing the end, so they won't be back for another 11 years. Or something like that. Have you seen them? Or do you know if that random fact I learned is true?
I have no idea, I haven't seen them, and if they are gone for 11 years, I'm not coming back to Finland for 11 years!!!
My companion just updated me - they come in STRENGTH every 11 years, not HAPPEN 11 years. This last year was the peak of it all, so it will recede in strength for a while, then come back later as really-cool-colors. There was one set of pictures that the visiting missionaries last week had (the ones that were here 'cuz of a broken hand), and they had seen and taken MANY pictures of Northern Lights in their area. They were REALLY strong, 'cuz there was, like, Red, Yellow, and Purple! And then Green and Blue on a different night.
Are you and your companion trading name-tags and ties for Halloween? That was the only costume I could think of for you besides the backwards shirts/ties/jackets. Of course, Halloween is on your P-day, so maybe you can wear a costume for a bit? I wonder if you'll run into Jesus again...
Well, since I pulled the 'backwards-outfit' last Halloween... If we aren't proselyting around, yeah, we might switch ties and nametags! That'd be a pretty fun litle trick...
And if I run into another guy dressed like Jesus, then I'm taking another selfie with him, no exceptions...
Do you know of any Halloween traditions in Finland? Do kids Trick-or-Treat? Is there another goat involved?
Halloween isn't big here. It's starting to get big, now, with this new generation of Americanized-Finnish kids, but there aren't Halloween decorations anywhere. There is a YSA party happening that will be Halloween oriented, but other than that, there's no plans that I know of with Halloween for any kids in this area. No trick-or-treating, I guess... WAIT! I just remembered that a member told me what they said for 'Trick-or-Treat', so it must exist in some places! Someone look this up, or something... If there is another goat, just send a video file of the goat scream... Or a picture of Goat Simulator... See? It isn't just Finland obsessed with goats!
What is something funny that happened this week? Or recently.
Hmm. Well, I've been learning Finnish jokes, lately. So that's been interesting, trying to see which ones Finns find funny or not. There was one great joke that I told and got the whole office laughing, mostly due to the fact that there was all this build-up from me having kept on milking them for different Finnish Idioms, and then finding a joke that used them. Here goes, and I know that it isn't as funny in English, especially since I'll have to explain the last idiom...
"Who can tell me a Finnish idiom?" the teacher asked.
"One crazy (stupid) asks more questions than ten wise men have time to answer."
"Umm, ahem, maybe we should use another instead."
"The dog barks, which the thrown stick hits." (Meaning, roughly, if you react to something general yet negative, it likely applies to you. Like, "If you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that hollers is the one you hit"))
Another for good measure...
"What would you want most, above all else?" the teacher asked.
"A million Euros." the student answered.
"Well, sure, money is important, but why would you not wish for wisdom, or more reason and sense? That's what I would do." the teacher said.
"Hmm, well, each of us wish for that which we have least."
And on that note! I hope that everyone has a good week! Be seeing you next week, or at least writing to you... Be safe!
Vanhin David Milligan