Sooo. All the snow? Gone. All of it. And we're not getting any more before Christmas. I'm starting to wonder if I'm still living in Santa-Land or not... There's snow up north in Rovaniemi, but not down here in Mikkeli. Santa still has snow - I do not. Sad face.
Things still keep truckin' along out here. Slow week, as normal. This has been both of our longest changes, and it's not 'cuz we hate each other or something! We're having a fair amount of fun, it's just really, REALLY slow going. But we're still going. So that's good.
I'm lost as to what else to write, so I'm just going for the questions!
What did you learn this week?
I've started recording everything that I study in a bit more depth, partially so that I can remember what in the world I specifically studied and answer this question well! The thing that I really studied today was taking counsel from the Lord. It all kinda stemmed from Jacob 4:10, I think, where it's something like, 'Don't try to counsel the Lord - seek counsel from Him'. From there, it had a lot of footnotes, and those footnotes had a lot of different footnotes about the same concept, so I just made a huge list of scriptures that explain it well and invite us to take and seek counsel and correction. I thought a lot about that Hugh B. Brown devotional, "God is the Gardener", as well as that cool Mormon Message about it... cue the link here? I can actually go get it myself!
I really like this one!
What did you share this week?
Well, we got to have a TON of people in church last Sunday - one of the families here just had a missionary come home, and there's Christmas this week, AND the same family also has a daughter getting married next week. Lots of people in church. It was crazy. We got to share, as a branch the size of a ward, a ton of Glögi and gingerbread cookies, and we got to see the Christmas Devotional for this year. It was interesting, because they were only broadcasting it in Finnish, and they didn't have the English words going through any translation devices, so... I watched them speak in English, heard the Finnish translation, and translated it back to English for a couple non-Finnish-speaking people. Phew, hard work. But I'm better at translating, now!
What did you teach this week?
We had another meeting with our youngest, newest investigator. He's really cool, so many good questions. We were with a return missionary (not the one that just got back this last week, the one that's been back for about a month and ½ now), and that helped a lot. It's still a challenge to fully convey my thoughts in Finnish, although I (almost) completely understand and relate to the complexities of the Finnish language when I hear it. It's nice to have members for whom this is normal... We taught the simple thought that he has a loving Heavenly Father, and that He wants us to be happy here on Earth. The guy had quite a few good questions about how Heavenly Father interacts with His children to tell them what is true, and asked what if mankind is just psyching itself out that there is a God, but he really did want just our thoughts on how we know there is a loving Heavenly Father, he believes in God quite strongly himself. Seems we passed the test? He wasn't able to come to church, since he's with his family in Jyväskylä right now, but we'll see after Christmas!
What are your plans for Christmas?
We are spending Christmas Eve with the family that is having all of the visitors (due to return missionary and upcoming marriage), and then we will spend Christmas itself with the family of our Branch President. They each wanted us to stick around the whole day, like, pick us up after 11 AM and keep us 'til bedtime. Much appreciated - we would not be too effective with that day, though! I think they were impressed that we still wanted to try to do missionary work as best as we could those days with the guidelines that President has set, so I'm hoping that is the thing they remember, not that we turned down 10 hours of fun with them...
Do you get to proselyte during the holiday?
In a sense, yes. We can't go tracting - just like the beginning of my mission - but we can go outside and try to contact people on the streets. Not sure who will be outside during Christmas holidays, the normal holidays leave the streets empty enough, but we'll be out there! With no snow...
Do you get to see lanterns in the cemetery again?
I hope so. If we aren't going with a member family, we are still going to a nice little graveyard by the rest home that we visit to do service at.
Zandi wants to know if you are walking on lakes, yet? Do you have lakes in your area?
There are a lot of lakes here in Mikkeli - even one right outside the church window that I'm sitting in front of right now. There is also a distinct lack of ice on it... So, unless I see the waves pounding, tempest raging, and hear a voice telling me to come out onto the water, I think I'm land-bound for now.
That's all, I guess! I'm hoping to do a bit of Christmas baking to thank all of the members for helping us out and reaching out to us. Christmas Peanut-Butter-Brownies... the Finns won't know what hit 'em! Love y'all, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
Vanhin David Milligan