Well. This week is shaping up to be very interesting. We essentially don't get a P-Day this week. There is an MLC being planned for tomorrow and Wednesday. We will be gone all day, both days. We leave early Tuesday morning and get back late Wednesday night. After that, we have a day to work, a day to plan and visit a semi-far-away part of our Branch to visit less-active members with our Branch President, another day to work, and then a day of church and travel to Joensuu. We were supposed to go there this week on Thursday, but the amount of time to get there did not match up with our schedule to actually be there in all phases of the work, like planning, studying, and proselyting. So we will head up there on Sunday, special permission of our Mission President. Wow. Busy week.
I've got another Post-It note for this week! I have quite a few things to mention, and then some of it files down into the questions that I will be answering later.
We got to go to Savonlinna on exchanges this week. It was a lot of fun, and the "share" section is over a cool little spontaneous-service project we got to do there! Here's a picture (kinda dark, sorry) of the last time I went on splits there and saw the castle, Olavin Linna.
The semi-far-away part of our Branch that I mentioned above is Mäntyharju. It's a bit of a really dark drive away from Mikkeli (very few streetlights along the fairly-icy highway). We got to go there this last week since our Branch President lives there, and he told us about quite a few people that live in that area that are people that have investigated the church, but wasn't ever written down anywhere for future missionaries to try to go and visit. We visited a few people, got a return appointment, and are going to meet with a nice family there this Friday! We had the testimony-paper-craft lesson that I talked about last week, we did it with the Branch President's family and helped them craft their own together. That was really fun!
So. I found out the origin of the name of the town Mikkeli. Here is a picture of a signpost with the traditional crest or something, as well as the distances to various destinations. Pretty cool!
The origin of the name "Mikkeli" becomes a little more obvious from the Swedish name of the town, St. Michel. Apparently, Michael the Archangel from the Bible is the inspiration for this town's name. How do you like that! Pretty neat, I thought.
I'm likely going to be e-mailing in the library for the rest of my time here in Mikkeli... Oh, well!
We just finished Zone Training today, and it went well, I feel. At least, I hope. We spoke about teaching the commandments and working with members. I also had experimented in making mini-heart-shaped cheesecakes using a rubber mold, and they turned out well. I ended up bringing them to Zone Training, since I had just enough to feed everyone there! 'Twas fun.
Well, let's do the expected and head over to the questions! To the Q's!
What did you teach this week?
We had two lessons this week to two different people about Repentance. One was here in Mikkeli, the other one was in Savonlinna with an investigator of theirs. Both of them had the similar opinion that repentance is merely the confession of wrongs done to God - that after repenting, you are clean up until you do the same sin again, at which point you "repent" again. But that's not the purpose or point! If we are only confessing to wash away sins, and aren't truly willing and wanting to CHANGE to the point where that temptation of that sin is no longer a problem, it's just an acknowledgement of weakness and a refusal to do anything about it besides admit to it. They hadn't considered that side of repentance - that true repentance represents a turning away of our will to sin, and instead turning to God's will to be better. The pamphlet that we had about the Gospel of Jesus Christ helped a lot in teaching this.
A funny follow-up - the investigator in Savonlinna thought that I was a really nice missionary, and was impressed by my attitude and teaching. Elders Allen and Piggott told me that in their last lesson with him (he showed up to church!), he talked about me for a while, and then ended with the comment, "he's a good fisherman". They were a bit confused, until the investigator started sharing that bit in the Bible where Christ calls his apostles to be "fishers of men", at which point he said, "yeah, that Elder Milligan was a good fisher of man - he put the hook right were I could see it, right where it mattered. I just think I tried to tug him into the water before he got me!" Really funny, I hope he continues to do well!
What did you share this week?
Here we go - service in Savonlinna! So, we decided to eat out at a Chinese buffet for lunch. We met up there after proselyting a little bit, and went in to go eat. There wasn't too much variety, just some rice and vegetable sauce, and some chicken that we found a bit later. We were regretting eating there a bit, but started to dig in. After about 10 minutes, tops, the owner came up and motioned for us to follow her with these 2 guys in manual-labor outfits. We thought maybe that she needed help with us translating, but we quickly found out the problem once we stepped outside - there were two pallets full of rice, chicken, and all sorts of different foods and seasonings. The pallets were about 50 feet or more from the door to the restaurant, and a bit further away from the doors to their kitchen. The pallets couldn't be brought any further, as it was too heavy a load for the pulley with that much ice on the ground (there wasn't enough traction). The workers were speaking English, actually, and she couldn't understand them. When they explained to us the specifics of the problem and said they needed to leave on their next delivery right now, we translated to the woman and her husband, shrugged to each other, and volunteered our services in getting all of the materials to their kitchen. They couldn't believe the last part, but then we asked if they had a car to throw these bags into, to help with the journey's speed. They pulled out their car, the workers left, and we got to service work! It was a lot of fun to see, I'm sure - 4 suited Elders (no winter coats, we forgot them indoors, not knowing the extent of the project) making 5 total rounds of filling up a car with bags of food product and emptying it into their kitchen. They kept wanting us to stop after a load and go eat instead, but there was no halting the work! They were very grateful for the help - it was a lot of fun for us, too!
What did you learn this week?
Well, this week was mostly spent studying for the Zone Training that we just had. I think the best thing that I've done lately to study (I really hope I haven't talked about this already) is that I've been filling out a pocket-set of the standard works - Old and New Testaments, Book of Mormon, so forth - and filling them out by following along Preach My Gospel. As I read through, if it references a scripture, I highlight it, and mark which chapter it's from. If it suggests an activity for better learning a principle, I do it in a special study journal. I hope that once I'm done with my mission, I'll have a good example set of how Preach My Gospel has affected my studies. Yay!
What is your favorite Finnish word or phrase?
Favorite word is still a toss-up between "höpö höpö", "nonsense" (the first Finnish word I ever learned - don't ask me how to pronounce it, it needs to sound like you're getting punched in the gut for the letter ö) and "aiheuttaa", "to cause", because of the MTC. When I kept getting bloody noses every day, I realized that Utah's dryness was causing it. If you have MTC emphasis on that word (which is to say, the wrong emphasis on saying a Finnish word), it sounds like " I hate Utah". Lots of fun, but just 'cuz of context.
My favorite Finnish phrase is likely "Suu söis, vatsa vetäis, mutta ei kanna heikot jalat" - essentially meaning "The mouth would eat, and the stomach would pull it in, but my weak legs couldn't carry/support me". A little off, I'm certain, but that's the principle of the thing. You say it when you're too full to want to eat more.
What color is your toothbrush? (Nathan's Q)
Orange grip, white and blue brushes.
Have you met anyone interesting lately?
Umm, not really... Wait, I've got one! We met a really cool guy and his girlfriend that knew who we were and invited us to come talk to them. The guy used to be quite skinny, but got tired of being teased about it and decided to buff up. He's on a 3000 calorie diet, and he is quite fit. His friend has gone on a mission for our church to London, and he's interested in learning about what we have to say and we we are so driven to do what we do. He thinks it's awesome that we care so much about people to give up 2 years of our lives to help others learn about God and how he loves us. He and his girlfriend are great, I hope they learn and progress!
What songs have you learned on the mandolin? (do you still have it?)
Oh, I still have the mandolin... It's awesome. I don't know, I'll give a quick run-down of the songs, but I play by ear, so technically I could play anything that I know. I know: the 4 chords, Village Dance (Tangled), Still Alive (Portal), Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring, the main theme of Zelda: Wind Waker, Pachabel's Canon, Hoedown (Who's Line Is It, Anyways), Animal Crossing Theme (3DS version, New Leaf), and a couple other things. That's all I really remember right now!
Will you be able to bring the mandolin home, or will it be passed along to another missionary?
Could I bring it home? Yeah. Would it take space, weight, and caution in transportation that I don't wish to expend, largely due to the likelihood of it still getting busted from air pressure or something? Also yes. So it will likely be passed on to some musically-oriented person. Or, if I stay in Mikkeli for the rest of my mission, I'll give it to the Multamäki family! They already have a working-order mandolin, but since mine is tuned far differently, it's really it's own instrument! Made in the USSR. I'll miss that mandolin.
That's all! I've got nothing else! I love you all, and I hope that everything is going well! Be safe, be happy!
"Life is a cheesy metaphor - Get inspired by it!" 😊 -Vanhin David Milligan
Vanhin David Milligan