Saturday, November 7, 2015

October 31, 2015 - Happy Halloween!

I love it when holidays give me a subject line, it really is hard to come up with them every week...

Lots of CRAZY this week! We got invited to go to the extended MLC, or Mission Leadership Training, where all of the District Leaders, Zone Leaders, and Sister Training Leaders show up for a day and 2 nights at the Mission Home in order to meet and talk about things that President wants their help on getting throughout the mission. Rules, expectations, lesson plans for District Meetings, it's all talked about in this quarterly-event. I haven't ever been to one - haven't had leadership, trying my best to avoid getting it. My companion has been to one, since he was a District Leader when they started up. So. Imagine a room, filled with leaders of various callings and areas in the mission, throw them into the same room, and then put the one Elder who is the LEAST qualified to be sitting in that room, and place him in the middle of all of them. That is literally what happened, my companion and I had to sit in the middle of the circle of these people, due to there not being enough chairs. I felt very out of my element, but the meeting was nice. Felt like there wasn't much that I could just go out and apply, though... Since it was all leadership-based... Kinda like learning how to clean desktops, and then being told to go back to sweep floors. Nice information, maybe can find one or two applied uses, but beyond that, the only thing they both have in common is that you're still cleaning stuff, or, still doing missionary work. Not too much to change in my conduct as a missionary after that. Oh, well, I got to see everyone from my group, bar one Elder! That was pretty cool!

Another crazy thing - I have a Swedish companion now. No, changes haven't taken place - I'm serving in a companionship of 3 Elders in the Office. Woah. Elder Karttunen has joined us here, since he has leg and knee problems. Not exactly the same as Elder Frey, because the initial diagnosis is that he might just need R&R, Rest and Relaxation, which would hurt Elder Frey's recovery. But still. The cripple-home grows... He is technically here for an indeterminate amount of time, but since changes are in 2 weeks, my theory (since we will have an even number of Elders next change, accounting for arriving-and-departing numbers) is that I will be moved out of the Office to normal missionary work somewhere else. Maybe in Turku, if they have a car area. I don't know! They probably won't have 3 Elder companionships next change, 'cuz then they'd have to have 2 of them, which needlessly closes an area of missionary labor. So. I'm likely gone. Which is too bad, because I can really help out here, but I'm excited to get back to normal missionary work, if that is where I'm going next!

So. Now I've served with a Spaniard and a Swede. Let's hope that I can get a Finn, in the end!

To the questions!

Are the little Finnish girls as obsessed with Frozen as the little American girls are? (Apparently Elsa and Anna are the "must have" costumes for Halloween)

Oh, let me tell you a fun little set of stories - One day, 2 Office Elders decided to try to go to the church for their P-Day. They wanted to practice playing the piano and mandolin together. When they showed up, they found a GIANT party set up in the gym, which was FILLED with Frozen-themed things. Including several life-size cutouts of the main characters. And a Frozen backdrop for picture taking. The Office Elders quickly made their escape before they would start to hear the song "Let It Go" begin.

A few weeks later, 2 Office Elders were in the mall, having just finished emailing and now shopping for gluten-free bread, not available at your local convenience stores. They instantly recognized the song that they heard - guess what? There was a giant stage in the middle - decorated with, again, large Frozen cutouts of people, and a Karaoke system set up. Many languages of Frozen being sung were heard in the following 15 minutes of shopping.

So. Are they obsessed still? Yes. Very much so.

Can you get Peanut Butter in Finland?

Yeah, I actually made Peanut Butter Brownies! I need to clarify, though - Finns have not often tasted or tried Peanut Butter. I have surprised many a Finn with my recipe. I think I'll try making it again this week. Elder Karttunen LOVES to bake, and me right alongside him, so we might go a little crazy with recipes.

What did you learn this week?

I did a lot of studying about how to apply the scriptures this week. I'm trying to pick one or two different things to study and seek to apply, now that I have gone and studied so much about how to apply these things with a lasting impression! President asked us at the MLC to try to emphasize with missionaries the importance of sharing scriptures with people, members and investigators alike, so I thought this would be a good first try.

What did you share this week?

Well, I got to share my presence at a meeting that I didn't feel that I belonged in... So I think I'll leave it there! I also shared some of my privileges with the trash can - President asked for everyone there to try going with less emailing time, to see how concentrated of an effort we can put into using only 1 hour for emailing into the Zone Conference discussions. So we are on a speed run for a while. Which is why the answers are so scattered right now.

What did you teach this week? 

We taught a member-family here with Elder Karttunen last night. We mostly focused on the love that God has for all of His children, and that went pretty well. We are trying to start teaching the members in the same format as investigators, and work with them on different, more member-emphasized commitments. Work with them, as in, do the commitment all together, and then come back next week to share what all of us have learned. I think that's pretty nice!

What American food do you miss? Or at least something you ate at home, but not in Finland.

Hmm... I do miss Root Beer. I don't often miss soda - byproduct of working in a movie theater, getting free soda every day, and seeing the blood-bag pulleys being used for the bags of soda - but Root Beer has a special place in my heart. Or belly. Finns (and most Europeans, for that matter) think that it tastes like medicine. So it's not here. Sigh.

What is something you want to see or do in Finland?

I want to find a proper lighthouse. And look off of the top. And get some fun pictures. But there isn't one that I've found yet. Sigh. I have heard of only 2 lighthouses here - one that Elder Hastings got a picture of (just a little one on a rock-cropping in the middle of a coastal area), and one that apparently is on an island accessible only by ferry from Turku. Which I think would disqualify me from getting to it. So sad.

Well, that's all! Thanks, everyone, for all that you do in your part of the world. It really can make a difference, so I hope that whatever you're doing makes a positive impact on things around you! Be safe!

Vanhin David Milligan

#Selfie, since it's been a while since people have seen what I look like... It's the same, I promise! I haven't changed, like, at all!

I got a GREAT shirt for, like, 2 € at Dressmanns, because it's a size XS. I have found out that anything XS fits me well, even if it's just a little too big. Surprising, I know - but that's the way it works! I'm just glad that they actually make something close to my size. I'm keeping an eye out for cheap XS vests... Hope that I find some! I just can't wear this outside, though... sigh.

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