Sunday, April 24, 2016

April 9, 2016 - Calm After the Storm

...I think we made it. It's peaceful now. Wow.

This week had almost none of the crazy that last week did. We focused mostly on doctor appointments and identifying just what is going on with my companion's leg situation. Everyone is kind of baffled. We are going to another set of doctors soon to test out one more set of possibilities.

Well, with that in mind, understand, this has also been an uneventful, and ergo boring, week. Oh, well. I'll think of something to say. I pulled out the normal questions, plus added in that one that I skipped over last week. I remembered! Yay!

To the Q's!

What did you teach this week?

Well, this week, we didn't get to teach too much. Even in the Office, there weren't very many of us. Just 4, altogether - Elder Frey and I, as well as Senior Sisters Wade and Airto. President gave us permission to be alone in the office with them, thank goodness. 😜

I did get to have our ½-day set of exchanges with our District Leader, Elder Baker. That was fun. President has said that our exchanges will just occur for the evening block after the office, and there won't be a switch of companions as there normally is halfway through the day. So, I got to have about 3 hours with Elder Baker by my side - he's a really cool Elder! He's the one that broke his hand when I was here in the office the first time around. He's pretty fun, and we'll likely hang out together after the mission. He goes home this next month or so. He's great at Finnish - it's really fun to just banter back and forth with little oddities of the Finnish language!

Anyways, we did get to teach together. The first part of the day was following up with people here that have given us their addresses, but not phone numbers. Elder Frey is generally not capable of up-and-visiting on a whim, so this was a concentrated effort on meeting with people. Sadly, no one was home, except for one person that we did have the number of, and we just dropped by the door to try to set up a lesson in the future. After that, we had a lesson with a less-active member here who is REALLY funny! He has an interesting sense of humor - maybe a little dark, but in a surprisingly funny way. We have been going through the lessons with him, and we taught the Plan of Salvation up until Our Life on Earth. It was cool to talk about his insights on what he's experienced in life to grow, and how it is that all of us have developed and grown in some way from trying our best throughout life.

What did you share this week?

Well, the Todistus Pallo has been working wonders over here, too. I think I just keep listing that as either the "teach" moment or the "share" moment... Oh, well. I got to share it with a newly-wed couple here in Haaga area. Last time I was here, this guy wasn't married. Now he is. Odd. It was a nice little lesson - we phrased it a little bit differently, to talk about how their testimonies are going to fit together and complement each other as time goes on. I think it went well!

What did you learn this week?

I started really looking at D&C Section 4 this week. It is the scripture-of-the-transfer that we have right now, and we have one person read it aloud every District Meeting. This last week, it was my turn. It's a little lengthy, but I already have it memorized, since I had quoted it every Sunday from ages 14-18 or so, at the beginning of every young men's class I had. So, I thought rather than spending the time to memorize it that I would normally take, I used that time to look at and learn from it, following as many scripture-reference-paths as I could (where you read a verse, follow the reference points, follow those verses' reference points, etc. until you want to go to the next verse in the original section). It was insightful, all of the different things that it led me to about missionary work, and why it is important, or how we are enabled to do it. That was a good lesson for me!

What did you study this week?

I ended up studying out a lot of the 50 scriptures already submitted for memorization, as well as the next 70 or so pitched ones (we will be narrowing those down to an additional 50 soon, so that we have a 2-year supply of one-scripture-a-week sections). I did the scripture-reference-path approach on about ½ of the original 50, and maybe one-fourth of the 70 pitched ones. It's cool to find a path that leads to another verse I wanted to study!

Also, not so much a study-topic, but a cool thing nonetheless, is that in the office, I have been tasked with transcribing lots of phone calls that Elder Frey made to the mission when I was in Mikkeli. These phone calls have Elder Frey asking a set of questions to missionaries about the different conversion stories they have of people that they've helped find the church and get baptized. It's been pretty fun to listen to - I'm just hearing cool experience after cool experience! I have to do it for 100 different converts, most of the converts having 2 missionary phone calls attached. (There are also a few with just 1, a few with 3 or more, so it averages out to about 2 sets of similar stories for 1 convert.) This Recent Convert Stories compilation will hopefully be included in the Mission Histories that we are still working on. It should be fun to do this to the end! I'm glad that I get to contribute my part in this!

What is something weird that happened recently?

Okay, let me think... Well, here's the end to the story of the train-and-bike-mishap. Here we go...

{When we last left our heroes, the Office Elders, they had been trying to figure out how to get a bike to Hämeenlinna, since it got left behind in the necessary run-and-rush of Friday.}

I'm making this dramatic, but it wasn't too bad. We bought a ticket for the bike to be brought (which also meant we had to buy a ticket for a person, since you can't just send a bike on a train alone); Elder Hastings paid for it, altogether about 20€ for a free, good bike; and we sent it up from the Helsinki Central Station. The endeavor of getting and transporting the bike was a bit difficult, but no worries. We had to figure out how to get the bike to fit into the small car we have. We got that. The back tire was locked solid (just to itself, not to a post or anything), and Elder Hastings had the key. A bit cumbersome, but in the end, we just hoisted it along instead of rolling it. We had to leave the bike unattended in a sketchy metal train car as it journeyed up to Hämeenlinna, unguarded by anything or anyone. But this is Finland, so no one stole it. Elder Hastings received his bike, and the Office Elders high-five-d in victory. Yay!

{Fade to black as a victorious rendition of the theme song plays.}

Now I'm just wondering what sort of theme song the Office Elders have... Hmm. "There is Chaos All Around - the Office is Our Home"? Sung to the tune of "Love at Home", of course. Someone please make this real. I want a theme song!

That's all I've got! Oh, I meant to say this last week - I gave my mandolin away. I wasn't planning on getting it home at all, and Elder Baker really wants to try to get it home as part of his carry-on, so I've given it to him and said 'bon voyage' and 'hyvästi' to my little Soviet Russian mandolin. I might get to see it again, though, so that makes it worth it! He's planning on restoring it a bit, maybe getting new strings on it. It won't have my special-tuning anymore, but that's okay - it's got a better future ahead of it.

I'm so happy to be out here, and back in the office, too! It's great to be in a place where so many people want me to help them. Be safe, do the best you all can this week.

Vanhin David Milligan

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