More about the specifics of the title later. We found a lot of people this last week!
There's a lot of snow-slush coming down. It was solid ice, the snow came and covered it, the rain came and is killing it all. But it also keeps snowing with the rain. Typical Finnish weather - looks pretty, then dreary, then pretty dreary. And then winter comes again. Yay! I do love it, though!
My companion is a big car-expert. He knows just about everything about cars, and this is an area in which I am very lacking. I know the big names of companies, but my knowledge both begins and ends there. But I'm learning, now! My companion points out things on cars, ways they've been changed, ways that they are better and worse than each other, stuff like that. Fun to see what people see as "cool" out here. Generally includes cutting off or removing the muffler so that we can hear them a mile away...
I don't really know what else to talk about - the bulk of what we did this week was finding... So! I will go to the questions!
What did you teach this week?
We unfortunately had every lesson drop. We had something like 8 specific lesson plans with investigators and members both being present, and a few potential "come-back-sometime-this-day" lessons, and everything flopped out during the course of the week. It was a little disheartening, but that's what happens, I guess. We did everything we could - I feel like we did good, in that case. We did get to have a fun little moment with a member family this week, though! We did a lesson (not really a lesson, it was just a fun activity with a spiritual thought behind it) about the importance of good communication, where I made a picture that a person would see and try to explain to their teammate-family member. It was fun - it was something like a rectangle under a circle that has a line through it with a triangle making it look like a bicycle flag. The circle also had a smiley-face. Trying to describe how to draw this specifically was rather difficult - the drawer and describer couldn't see each other's pictures, and the drawer could only ask clarification questions that were "yes-no" answers. The circle tends to be the wrong size, connected with the rectangle in a weird way (or not connected at all) with the line being vertical instead of horizontal - oh, and by the way, the drawing has, like, a 30 second time limit to do. So people get hasty, loud, irritated, and try to explain what is soooo clear to THEM to someone who is now having no clue what they're talking about. It's fun to them pull out scriptures that talk about how we need to be uplifting in our speech - that we need to know that the words used can be more powerful than almost anything else. It's a great little lesson - they just can't get too competitive, because then people sit on opposite ends of the room and don't talk to each other any more... Yikes. Hasn't happened to me, yet!
What did you share this week?
This week, we had 2 sets of Elders coming over for splits. I seem to remember talking a bit about one set coming, the Assistants, to do Weekly Planning with us. We impressed them. We also had our District Leader in the area. Because of having to coordinate these two events and not being able to get in contact with potentials and investigators, we decided that we would go through what I have now deemed the Crazy Week of Finding. To put a bit of an indicator on what we did out here - we surpassed in that one week contacting and talking in-depth about the gospel to what any one district normally achieves in a week. We did the work of 4-5 missionaries when it came to finding and getting potentials. We feel pretty good about our finding this week, and we got several copies of the Book of Mormon given out with commitments to read and people that are interested in us coming back. I should probably add in, though - these didn't directly aid the key indicators that we have as missionaries. Contacting someone on the street is just that - a contact. It's not a lesson, it doesn't start with a prayer, and despite whatever amount of teaching you do, it really is more like a conversation. Those aren't lessons, despite whatever some missionaries may say. Stepping off of the soap box now...
What did you learn this week?
Hmm, I was going through the Fundamentals of Preach My Gospel that I learned back in training. I think I talked about this before - the study is ongoing! There's a lot to focus on when it comes to trying to be able to teach effectively and help find people to teach. I feel that this mission doesn't get as many teaching opportunities as other areas - I haven't taught in a change as many people as some missionaries around the world teach in a week - but I feel that the strong suit of what we have in this mission is obedience. I hear about all kinds of crazy stuff from missionaries every week - and I just get shocked! I don't know - it's like I said last week, though. I want to be able to recount 100% of the actions that I did here to my family and friends without keeping back little or big things that were inappropriate. I hope that I keep to that goal, and that the other missionaries that I encounter know that obedience really does keep you happier. No guilt, no concerns over being 'found out', no worries! Hakuna Matata.
What is something funny you saw recently?
Something funny... Well, my companion has suggested the time this week that we saw a really junky car that was lowered and had a duct-taped-on Plexiglas sunroof. I was, surprisingly enough, the one that pointed it out. I saw it on the other side of the street and quickly asked, "okay, car fashion check - does that look good, or laughable? Because I'm thinking the latter." He looked to where I was pointing, and answered my question by laughter at seeing it. I'm proud - I'm starting to recognize when to mock cars! ...Hmm, that sounded better in my head...
What is something fun you have done recently?
Okay, I think that I'm running dry on fun/funny things... Elder Hyer has this funny little trick that he does on ice and snow. His philosophy is that he can either slip and slide on accident without control, or on purpose with control. This generally results in him having his traction-less shoes (we are too old as missionaries... no traction left on high-duty shoes...) and him sliding down the entire length of a hill, looking like a snowboarder / skateboarder / guy having way too much fun in the snow. It's fun to see, though! I haven't done it, yet, mostly because I've been wearing my boots. But my shoes do have, like, no traction on them anymore... I'll be switching to my second pair soon!
Oh, we also got our apartment name switched! We requested a name-change on the door, since it still said the names of missionaries from 2012 or 2010, I forget which. Today the guy came by to put on the change! It was great!
What is something strange you have seen/done recently?
This question is a little easier! Let's see... Okay, maybe it's not. Oh, wait, YUUUCK, I just figured out what to write about. Warning for all squeamish people - SKIP THIS QUESTION. So. Here we go. Elder Hyer and I decided, "you know what, our kitchen drain is doing really poorly, despite the giant bottle that Elder Milligan bought in order to clear it out." (Occasionally, Elder Hyer and Elder Milligan refer to themselves in the third person.) So what did we decide? Deep clean time! 9:30 PM, we started piece-by-piece to dismantle the sink's drains. And, oh, what horrors did we find. It's all just PVC piping, but it was entirely full with mold, gunk, hair, all sorts of just disgusting things. Like, ENTIRELY FULL. I'm surprised any water was getting through at all. We deep cleaned it, put it all back together, felt super proud - and then turned the sink on. All of our work? Didn't help. Oh, we put it back together correctly - but something just is out of our control in the piping below. Sigh. Well, I might try round-two of the drain cleaner and see if that doesn't help. But, I'm not sure if it's a cloggage-problem any more - because when we decided to figure out, "what's the limiting element of this, our pipe design, the sink drain, or the apartment piping" by taking out one piece right at the bottom of the twisty mess of pipes and have the water just waterfall down the bottom pipe that we can't clean (connection to the apartment stuff below our floors), there was no problem. As in, the pipes didn't back up at all, the bottom pipe didn't start overflowing, and there was no backing up anywhere. When the piece went back on, the sink started not draining well again. Meaning that there's a problem because it's all vacuum sealed? I don't know. If you know, tell me! I want to have good drains, especially after all of this work...
Well, that's the end. I don't have anything else to say - we worked hard, we hope to have our finding efforts lead to other investigators, and we are looking forward to how we can help more people, too! I love being out here - it's definitely the best place for me to be right now. Hope everyone is well and safe - y'all are awesome!
Vanhin David Milligan