Wow, so much has happened this week that I actually can't talk about. Whoa. It's been fun, though. I've been in meetings for the last 3 days, and we weren't going to have a P-Day today due to continued meetings, but we got excused from them.
To say what I can, there was a set of people coming from Utah and a few from the Europe Area offices, and we had a set of meetings with them where Elder Frey and I were President's representatives, due to him having other responsibilities. (To pop one rumor bubble about this - no, it wasn't about iPads. Goodness.) Fun to here all of these people that speak very American-English. Elder Frey and I did a lot of Finnish-translation and explanation for these people, so that they could understand different papers and things that were given to them. Woo-hoo, my Finnish is sufficient!
In addition, we did a lot of running around Helsinki this week, too. This "woo-hoo" is a little sarcastic. One of the errands that we ran was dropping off lots of 3-step ladders at different apartments in Helsinki. Why? Because it's an item that is required on the apartment-inspection paper. And no one here has it. Hmm. So, we were tasked with dispersing purchased ladders throughout Finland. We are still trying to figure out how to get them out beyond Helsinki.
Also, just got a message from my father - Marimekko is in America? Marimekko is a Finnish designer brand - very expensive, very well-liked out here, very much not my taste. I guess that America is carrying it through Target, now. Hmm. Weird that it is spreading outside of Finland.
There's not much to say more... I'll hop over to questions and figure out if there's anything else in my head!
What did you teach this week?
We actually did get to meet with an investigator this week! An awesome member couple here in our area invited our investigator over for dinner and invited us along, too. (Fun fact - the husband is the son of a fantastic family in Mikkeli! I met him and his wife there 3 or 4 times before moving here to where they now live.) Well, sure enough, in order to go through how a knowledge of the gospel comes in many small and simple points of faith and belief... I brought out the Testimony Ball. Yay! Seriously, I don't think you all realize how fun this is for people that see it the first time. I'll try to send a picture of it and the pieces next week. It went well - we hope to see the investigator come to church this Sunday!
What did you share this week?
This week, I shared... yikes. This question gets harder every week. I will actually send over a little video in the next e-mail that I wanted to share - it's a nice one! It's in Finnish, of course, but it's just a little "veme" of sorts. So, what did I share this week? This video. With you all! It's called, "Savior, Friend."
What did you learn this week?
You know, I didn't really get a Personal Study this last half of the week, due to all of the meetings starting at 8 AM. However, in the beginning, I was studying quite a bit from True to the Faith, and then in Language study going over to the Finnish translation and following along. It was a fun thing to do, and I got to see how to effectively teach a point in English, and then re-express it in Finnish!
Are you enjoying the office?
Yup. I enjoy it, probably the same way that people enjoy roller coasters - it's an insane, crazy ride in which you're not quite sure whether or not you'll survive. It's great to have Elder Frey here - he knows the right ways to address different bumps in the track we're on. We know how to work together really well!
What is the craziest thing you have seen in the office?
Hoo, boy - you're in for some nightmare material right now... I'll keep it a little more tame so that the kiddies can get to sleep tonight.
I think that the craziest thing that I have seen is an Excel sheet that Elder Frey and I put together. Think that's not crazy or nightmarish? Just wait - the Excel sheet was filled with the prices of tickets for people to get to various Zone Trainings, Conferences, District Meetings, Interims, MLC's, Extended MLC's, Exchanges, you name it. Let me say this, and this alone - if the amount of money spent on my tickets just as a Zone Leader in the smallest-companionship-size Zone were to be totaled up (and I could very well do that - I kept all of my travel receipts), I would be holding the purchased-total of the cost of me being out here on a mission. And that's just for 1 change - not even the 2 changes that I was a Zone Leader. In other words, my travel in 2 months is price-wise equal to the amount that I am paying over the 2 years I am here. Now, did I travel a lot as a Zone Leader? Yes. But does it cost a lot to get people shifted all around the country? Even more so. So I say I am blessed for serving here as a volunteer and church representative, rather than a tourist. Phew. But, that's the craziest thing that I've recently seen - a totaled up sheet of all of these prices for the mission for the space of 2 months.
Are you still a zone leader? (not sure how that all works)
No, I'm not - I am 'just' an Office Elder. The way it works is that each of the 4 Zones in Finland, decided upon by President Watson, has 2 Elders in it that are tasked with putting together meetings, answering questions from District Leaders (a single Elder that is in charge of teaching a small group in the Zone on a weekly basis and receiving and answering questions they pose about all sorts of stuff), and attending meetings where President talks about what he wants to make sure that missionaries are being instructed on - whether it be rules, procedures, things to emphasize teaching, whatever. That means that there are 4 sets of Zone Leaders, each living in the biggest and/or most central cities in their Zones. It isn't just one Zone Leader per Zone, here, which I have heard of in other areas. But, while I grew to like my time as a Zone Leader, I'm quite alright, thank you! I like the Office chaos more.
What was your favorite General Conference talk?
Hmm, my favorite General Conference talk might have been Elder Holland's, of course - I also really liked that Saturday Morning talk about our identity as a child of God. That was a good talk! The Sunday morning session had a lot of good ones, too - Bonnie Oscarson's talk was perfect for the investigator we had there. Very simple way of teaching that which we believe. Very good!
That's all I've got. Sorry I'm so boring, but I'm honestly just a bit brain-dead from meetings. Can't wait until I can get back to the normal Office insanity. Phew. You know it's been crazy when the Office work is a break from whatever you're doing.
You all are awesome - thanks SO MUCH for helping those around you! I love to hear the stories of people finding a way to help someone smile. Be safe, keep on keeping on!
Vanhin David Milligan