Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March 1, 2016 - Mikkeli Just Went Frozen

Why is that the title? We just got some really awesome ice sculptures here in the Kirkkopuisto, right outside our window. They hired some guys from Russia to come and make them, and it was the 1st Annual Ice Festival of Mikkeli. So cool - we're part of history! They really are amazing statues - as the festival was going on into the night outside our window, they got a brass band to come and play music. They did really well - lots of fun to hear! We got some pictures of the sculptures, I'll attach my 2 favorites.

Kalakello - Fish-Clock. Quite literal. Quite cool. No pun intended on its state of frozen expression... Okay, I meant a pun on that one.

Tuulensielu - Spirit of the Wind. Quite beautiful. I wish you could see it from all angles - it's just so pretty!

We also got to see a rally-car race start here in Mikkeli. My companion was very, VERY excited for that. He pointed out a lot of cool cars as they joined the line-up. I am proud to say that I've learned more about cars from this event. I have no pictures, though, because neither of us thought to bring our cameras outside proselyting at that time. Whoops. Oh, well.

There were a few other cool things, but I'll address them in the questions! ...To the Q's!

What did you teach this week?

I'm cheating a bit on this one, but it was a great teaching opportunity, regardless! I got to give a talk in church this Sunday, and as the week progressed with us using "hey, I'm giving a talk in church, would you like to come watch" to invite potential investigators and less-active members to sacrament meeting, the crowd of people saying "I'll be there" got bigger and bigger, until I was really worrying about my talk! I planned it well, though, and chose to mostly speak about the importance of Heavenly Father sending a Savior, Jesus Christ, into the world, and how we can receive blessings in our lives. It actually went really well - even if only 2 of the invited people ended up showing up. BUT! One of those two was a really awesome potential investigator who has friends that are church members in Kemi. He and his girlfriend are awesome people - they are really excited to have us over to teach about the gospel!

What did you share this week?

Hmm, what did I share... Okay, cheating again - switching the question a bit! This last week was Zone Training, MLC, and a day of exchanges yesterday, followed by a day of exchanges tomorrow. Am I fretting out about time a bit? Yes. But that's why what's gonna be talked about in the next section is so awesome, seeing as we have only something like 2 full days in our area this current week. But enough foreshadowing - I shared and partook in a great spiritual message yesterday with a member family in Joensuu, at the Senior Missionaries' place during Family Home Evening. That was a lot of fun, especially because it was the same family that I got to have Family Home Evening with the last time I came! We had smoked salmon, then - possibly the best Dinner Appointment of my life. Yum. Well, this FHE was about agency, the freedom of choice (but not consequence). I got to share a cool little thought about how if we didn't have choice, we wouldn't be responsible for, nor grow from, our actions in life. That was a fun little lesson to share.

What did you learn this week?

This week, I was thinking back on something that President said in an interview with me about how missionaries could best utilize their time. He said that often, we really do have more time to do things for our area than we think we do - for example, while traveling to Helsinki for conferences of one kind or another, or while enjoying one of the breaks in a meeting, we could take the opportunity to try to arrange a meeting with a potential or former investigator. We decided to try really hard at using our time a little bit better, and this week, we have what looks like 5 new investigators planned, so long as the lessons go through and they want to keep on meeting! That's a big leap from what we've been getting lately, and I accredit it to a wiser use of time, and most definitely following the Spirit on a few calls to formers. I won't go into details, but we called a former investigator at exactly the right time for him. I'm so glad that blessings like that happen - it's not only for our testimony, it's for their comfort and happiness, too.

What is a stereotypical trait of Finns? (they are all really happy, energetic, healthy?)

QUIET. They are all quiet. Americans are very, VERY loud, especially when compared to Finns. I think if you ever hear a Finn talking from across the street, they're drunk. That's the loudest a Finn will ever get, though, and only in that situation. But, they are almost all also healthier and more able to engage in physical activity. Something about riding bikes everywhere as a priority to cars. They're an awesome people - I really love them!

How many snowballs have you thrown while on your mission?

... None that haven't been directed back at someone who struck first... ๐Ÿ˜œ I've thrown a few, but always in post-self-defense. Is that even a viable argument - "post-self-defense"? I'm taking it and running with it, at least...

Have you made any snow angels lately?

Nope, I don't want to have my pants wet for the rest of the day. I've got too much walking around to do to worry about hypothermia and pneumonia kicking in, too! But, if I have a good chance, I'll try it right before we go inside. I'll do it in the backyard, so I can then take a picture from the 4th-floor kitchen looking down at it.

Does the tread on the bottom of your boots make interesting patterns in the snow?

I guess they do, yeah - it's very jigsaw-puzzle looking. When I wear my shoes, though, there's no tread on those - I'm waiting until the slush isn't a viable concern before I break out my last and new shoes.

Do you still like snow?

YES. And I will continue to like it throughout the rest of my life. So long as no one puts it down my coat. Not funny.

Are there any hymns you prefer in Finnish? Any that seem to convey gospel truths more powerfully to the soul, or that have a slightly different connotation that means more to you?

"Lead Kindly Light", or "Sรค Johdat Mua". I really like that one. Maybe it's just that before, I've always looked at the English version very abstractly - okay, there's a light leading me, cool. But in Finnish, there are two big things I really like about it - first, that the translation is essentially, "You Lead Me". Second, the verses always end with, "Vain Askel Kerrallan" (Which I most undoubtedly spelled wrong in some way). "Just One Step at a Time". It makes it seem like I am taking constant, directed steps. Never am I quite finished with the journey, and never do I hit a point where I am "done" traveling. Even if I feel the journey is at an end - through stubbornness, pride, lack of faith, whatever - there's always Jesus Christ, encouraging me to take it, surely, just one step at a time. Wow. I love that. And "I Need Thee Every Hour", "Sua Tarvitsen Mรค Aina", is just as good in Finnish as English.

Well, that's all! I love you all, I hope all is well and everyone is safe. Thanks for all you all do!

Oh - and my birthday is next Tuesday. Having a P-Day Birthday - couldn't ask for much better. ๐Ÿ˜๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ†

Vanhin David Milligan

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