Saturday, May 28, 2016

May 28, 2016 - Back to the - Back to the - Back to the Office!

Elder Frey loves saying that every time that we hop into the car at an absurdly early time to travel to the Mission Office. I've gotten into the habit, too. It's a fun way of laughing in the face of chaos. Or giving in by small degrees to the insanity. Either - or.

This week was pretty calm, actually. On Sunday, because of the musical number that Elder Frey and I did, we were asked to plan another musical number for the ward. We are considering doing "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul". (Rob Gardner's version, it's a good one!) It's just hard to find time to practice the piece - the Office demands quite a bit of time, and the piece is pretty complex. Oh, well. We'll make it work somehow.

On Monday, we moved Elders out of the apartment in Pasila, a place close to Central Helsinki. We moved them a short distance away, so that they will actually live in their area boundaries. That's always preferable. They did a fantastic job of cleaning and packing the apartment - this was by far the easiest apartment to close down in the Office, or so I've been told. I didn't have to do any of the other 7 or so. Although I might be doing another soon for a former Senior Couple apartment in Kuopio. I don't know about that, though.

Wednesday, we had to switch out 2 more phones in the Marjaniemi district. Porvoo is a part of that district, so I've been there earlier in my mission. I got to see the church again, switch phones and SIM cards around, give a bike to the Porvoo Elders (not that they'll need it there), and took a desk from the storage in the Sisters' apartment nearby so that the Savonlinna companionship with three Elders can have a desk to each of them. We also arranged to get a third bed to them. I think they'll appreciate that.

Oh, that same day, we found out that the Waste Toner Box was full on the printer that we have. So we need to wait for a part before the printer can be used again. That's a bit of a bump in the Office... Thankfully, for smaller needs, we set up another slow, black-and-white printer that uses expensive ink. So there's that to save us temporarily.

The Mission History is nearly done. We are format-checking everything for, like, the fifth time, just to make sure that the Mission Histories are consistent within themselves and between each other. Wow, we've worked so hard on these things! President and Sister Watson will also be adding things of their own in shortly, so we should be well practiced at re-formatting things to fit by that point. I am definitely finding a way to take these things home, since we've poured our souls into these things... Probably just copy the electronic file. One less thing for the luggage bag. Yikes. Moving past that...

Well, TO THE Q's!

What did you learn this week?

This last District Meeting that we had, we talked a lot about two concepts/principles - Obedience, and Through Christ, we can be cleansed of sin. That was a very insightful District Meeting, I felt! We referenced quite a few other talks and Mormon Messages, although we of course didn't actually watch / read any of them during the meeting itself. The two that I remember are the parable of the Mediator (where the concepts of Justice and Mercy are explained) and the talk/video God is the Gardner. I love both of the messages in those.

What did you share this week?

I seriously struggle with this question every single time it pops up... I think this week, the thing that I was most relied upon for sharing was my computer knowledge. It's kinda funny - it's not really that I do anything more complex than what I did back at home. I'm pretty sure almost anyone that is familiar with a computer could have "solved" the problems that I did this week. Still, though, I am praised in this Office for knowing how to fix every problem under the sun. It helps, I guess, that their problems are generally not giant coding errors or anything like that - it's, "The text is too small, and I can't change it, since this program only keeps one size of text throughout", and so I change the Zoom back to its default setting instead of 25% size. Things like that. All it takes is sitting down at the monitor and thinking, "what button accidentally got pressed that could be pressed again to solve this?" The solution generally comes quickly. It's still fun, though, especially since it utterly baffles the onlooker that I bend over, scan the screen, press a single button, and the problem resolves itself (like the Zoom example above).

The one feat that I was proud of myself for this week was figuring out how to print off a Car Periodic Inspection form. Since the previous Automobile Secretary has gone home, the task has been switched to another Office member. She promptly has switched the task over to her husband, even though it's still technically her task. He just does it for her. Anyways, no one could find the default form for a periodic inspection anywhere. I remembered the format of it (you know - 100% car areas and all that), and so knew that the information was directly printed onto the page, which made me doubt the existence of a "blank page", since there was a lot of specific information that probably wasn't filled in manually. So, I opened up the electronic manual, saw the word "Inspection", read a little more, and proceeded to use the Car Program that I've never touched before to print off specific inspections for each car. The program makes them for you - you just have to select the car and press the right button, and it prints it right out. No problem. That process took about 3 minutes or so, as compared to the 3 days that they had been trying to find this thing before they came to me. Gotta love the manuals!

What did you teach this week?

This week, we taught about how Faith in Jesus Christ can orient a lot of our efforts, and bless us in a ton of different ways. The person we were teaching had a couple very honest concerns/statements, and I feel that our testifying about the importance of Faith really helped to solidify things with this person that he does have a loving Heavenly Father that has enabled him to find happiness through Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

Did anything funny/strange happen this week?
Hmm. This is a hard question. Well, I started to story-tell to Elder Frey again! I hadn't story-told at all this last transfer we had together, mostly because we had a lot of things on our plate that we had to discuss about Mission History and other tasks. It was better then to just focus our discussions on those things. Now, though, most of those tasks are completed or at the point where we don't need to discuss more, we just need to sit down and edit our work. So, that has left a lot of driving time where we no longer have a topic of discussion. Enter stories back into the picture... It's a lot of fun! I'm generally telling books that I know, occasionally a movie or two that I've seen, or describing how one story that he knows could have gone better. I hope that I haven't made him cynical of stories - just aware of what they need to accomplish for me to be happy. :)

So, the something funny that has repeatedly been happening is that because Elder Frey and I get along so well, he knows that if he asks clarification questions either seriously or jokingly, I'll answer, generally in the same way in which he asked. This has led to a lot of funny off-shoots of conversation. For one example, I was talking about how it's always scary when I hear about some story that I love getting a sequel, especially when it was not intended to receive a sequel initially. (Had this conversation after someone talking nearby very loudly ruined a tragedy in the new Star Wars movie for me...) He asked why you have to worry about sequels like that. I explained that sometimes, they take characters that you love and have to change them in some way. If the book or movie ended with a character resolution between two people, they'll generally break them apart the next book or movie, if the sequel wasn't originally planned. If the book or movie ended with a personal character resolution, like coming to understand how to treat people better or something, the next book or movie will magnify either the same character flaw popping up again or a different one that wasn't a problem earlier. That always scares me, that the character that I like could become a character that I inherently don't like anymore, if the habit or trait that gets emphasized is something that I don't agree with (for example, they start swearing when they've never sworn before). Elder Frey asked, this time almost in jest, for an example from a story that he would know. To that, I quickly painted the plot to the unexpected Harry Potter 8, told from 10 years or so after the epilogue in book 7. Ginny and Harry are divorced, Hermione is dead, and Ron has a serious drug and alcohol problem. All of these problems are possible - the characters could easily be cast as having progressed to these points - BUT YOU SHOULDN'T WRITE THAT BOOK. It destroys the original 7. It was kinda fun and strange to talk about.

Oh, here's another fun incident - I was storytelling some story very quickly, and I hit a part where I didn't explain the setting of the new conflict at all. I essentially said that the two main characters entered into a castle and thereafter proceeded to have a conflict with a knight. I didn't explain any more than that, since it wasn't the most important of scenes. The most important part was the conversation that they had with the guy after disabling him, and they convince the guy that he's on the wrong side. At this point, Elder Frey gave a clarification statement, mostly for fun. He said that the image in his head had been them in an empty, white room, they twirled around their swords, and then they all sat down at a picnic table and started to discuss how the knight was in the wrong. I nodded, explained that I should have described the setting more, but said as well, "You're not far off from the point of this, though. I'm just gonna make one change to the mental image in your head. The picnic table is upside-down, on top of the knight, and the main characters are pushing down while explaining this to him." Elder Frey started to laugh a lot, and so did I. It was a fun moment. I love story-telling!

Well, I managed to make this into a longer e-mail, despite not much happening. Yay, me!

I hope that everyone is doing well. Be safe, all!

Oh, and here's the new district -

Vanhin David Milligan

May 21, 2016 - Same Song, Second Verse

Seems that I have the same things to report every week. That is to say, virtually nothing. I've heard that this happens, that as time goes, your e-mails just get shorter and shorter, but I never thought that it could happen due to actual lack of content. Seems that's happening, though. Wow.

Well, phooey. I'm just about tapped out of topics. We helped with a TON of travel on Tuesday and Wednesday to get missionaries throughout the mission. I drove down to Central Helsinki Train Station more times that day than I'd care to do so in my lifetime. Driving through Helsinki is kinda weird and a bit scary, seeing as you've got magically disappearing lanes and trolley cars that also take the same lane as you and buses that I'm pretty sure are hired to thin the population of drivers. I survive each time, of course, but it's almost never a pleasurable experience. Except for one trip. There was no one on the roads and I hit around 15 green lights in a row. Shortened the travel time significantly. That was fun. But. That was my Tuesday and Wednesday.

We also have nearly finished off with the Mission Histories. There have been a lot of things requested to be added in, and a number of problems that we've had to fix with the formatting (I'm a Microsoft Office Master at this point), and so there has been a bit of a delay. Plus those dozens of recent-convert stories that we've been typing up and putting into the Mission Histories. That's slowed down our progress by a bit. BUT THEY ARE ALMOST DONE. Yay! Just need a few more items from President, and then we can send them off with our signatures on them. Phew. I'm glad I get to see the completion of this project.

Yeah, that's all I've got. TO THE Q'S!
What did you learn this week?

I studied chapters 2 and 10 of Preach My Gospel quite thoroughly this week. Unfortunately, I only have had 2 days so far this week to have studies. So I only have gotten to study those. Every day, there has been some early-morning demand that shifts studies away. I generally try to make it up in the evenings, but it's still a battle to get to have time to study. I love studying - I just can't get to it with the Office schedule of insanity! Oh, well. Semi-ironically, chapters 2 and 10 are about studying and teaching more effectively. I'm just glad that I didn't include chapter 8, planning time more wisely. I feel that we are fantastic planners here - everything that we are aware of gets considered, planned, and scheduled in a place that we can access and constantly turn to and reference. Then the crazy, unforeseeable stuff comes in and destroys all of that. But never mind.

What did you share this week?

I mentioned going to share a musical number with the other Elders in Haaga on Saturday after we planned all of the travel (which took FOREVER to do). Yeah, there were quite a few complications that arose with that one. First off, we had to do a "rehearsal" of sorts on Friday as per request by the audio manager for the Saturday Conference in Haaga. He made it sound as though it would take about 5 minutes with us and the other Haaga Elders. Turns out that he planned to have us help with all of the video and audio management for 3 microphones and 4 cameras, including a sound system's setting up. That took a long time. Then, the travel planning took so long. We finished around 5:30 PM with the Stake Conference at 7 PM, the time of which had been told to us by several people and an email, too. We left to get Elder Frey some food before the Conference and texted a member asking him to come early so that we could practice page-turns with him, since I had been the only one doing it up until then. He then texted back and said that he was already there - the Conference starts at 6 PM. Yikes. Thankfully, we were rather close to the church. We hopped in the car and arrived at 5:55. During the drive, Elder Frey called the Haaga Elders. The Haaga Elders did not know the correct time either. They arrived at 6:20 or so. The musical number took place at about 6:15. It became a solo on my side. Everyone loved it, though, and kept coming up during the two-day conference to compliment me. There were people from the whole Helsinki Stake there, meaning that I got to see people from Lohja, Espoo, Porvoo, Marjaniemi, Haaga, and Mikkeli there! That was fun to get to see so many recognizable faces.

What did you teach this week?

We didn't get a chance to teach to anyone this week. We did receive a new District, though, for this transfer, and the District Meeting was very well done! Elder Jensen is our District Leader this transfer, and we have a new Sister missionary from America being trained here. Yay!

What time of year are the prettiest sunsets/sunrises in Finland?

Wow, that is such a hard question - the answer really depends on what sort of frame you want around your sunset/sunrise. The sun coming up and going down is always beautiful, but it depends on if you want lush, green forests and a lake around it (summer) or the snowy, icy forest and a frozen lake around it (winter). The fall generally is only beautiful for about a week, but is gorgeous during that time, and the springtime has beautiful clouds with pretty good scenery. So. I prefer the winter, I think.

What was your latest Office adventure?

Well, this one's a fun little puzzle. Elder Frey and I have almost entirely eliminated a particular brand of phone from the Mission. It has been referred to as the "Red Phone" by us and the "Red Devil" by the majority of people that own it. I personally had been using a "Red Phone" for over 8 months of my mission before my plea to kill this phone was addressed. It is really an ineffective phone model - it only holds about 30 received texts and 6 sent ones. The sent ones will delete automatically, and the received ones will sometimes delete themselves, although normally, you need to delete a few manually in order to receive more text messages. The text function is all broken on it, it won't keep texts in a "Conversation" view, but rather an "Inbox" and "Sent" view, you miss incoming calls if you are on the phone with someone else (it doesn't record that anyone tried to call you, nor gives any indication during the call itself), and the problems go on and on.

Finally, about 2 months ago, we got permission to eliminate this phone and replace it with old phones here in the Office. Let me explain where these old phones came from. Missionaries hear that there is a "new phone" in the Mission Office. Missionaries get excited. They call the Office and report their phone as "broken". They receive a new phone, put in the time to switch over contacts - and realize the horror of what they've done. Worst of all, generally they've already sent back the "broken" phone to the Office before they realize just how bad of a decision it was to try to get this "new" "Red Phone". Sad what missionaries will do when they think that they can get 'technology' they don't have.

So, here's the puzzle bit - we finally got almost all of the "Red Phones" replaced with the phones that were sent to us in fine condition by those attempting to receive new technology they thought was better. Those phones work well, especially since they haven't been being used for the last year or so. So, the magical question - what do we do with the phones that now start breaking? Because we don't have any more of those old phones left - they're all gone. What happens when a missionary companion drops their phone and it breaks, either with the screen or the electronics inside? What happens when the phone stops receiving satellite signals altogether and quits doing anything? I'd like to know the answer, because that's what I've been trying to deal with for, like, seven different companionships these last few weeks. You all heard about a few from me, but it just keeps happening, and the stock of phones is most definitely depleted now. Get more phones, you say? There is only one model "dumb" enough for missionaries to use (since we can't use smart phones that can connect to Wi-Fi) - the upgrade to the "Red Phone". It looks very similar to it, and admittedly fixes a lot of the problems that the "Red Phone" posed - but I can tell you what will happen, despite missionaries really needing to have learned better from the last time. We buy the upgrade to the "Red Phone". Missionaries hear that there is a "new phone" in the Mission Office. Missionaries get excited. Repeat scenario of the above, with no old phones to go back to after the tragedy has begun, due to the fact that they will finally go kaput one of these days. I really hope that some phone company decides to go against their better judgement and make a really good "dumb phone" that is actually usable by the missionary force, because right now, we are hitting an inevitable wall...

So. That has been my latest Office adventure. Journeying all over Helsinki in an attempt to resurrect dead phones and finding the phone just outright broken to the point of no repair. Sigh.

What is your favorite activity in the Office?

Hmm, I think that my favorite activity is lunch. We still get lunch given to us every Monday when President visits. Yum. :)

Okay, okay, my favorite WORK activity is Zone Meeting travel. I like to organize how all of the missionaries will go to a Zone Training or Conference, and how they can all get back effectively. We had to plan for some big stuff in the future (like, after I'm gone, in the future), and that was pretty fun to plan how I could get missionaries arriving into locations in time for meetings and away in time to get back to proselyting. It was a mission-wide scheduling nightmare - and I LOVED it! So much fun to do!

I'm done. There are no questions left, nor anything that I have left to say. I hope that everything is going well with everyone everywhere! How's that for a vague statement?

Be safe, be happy, I'll try to do something report-worthy this next week, so that there's something to actually report on! :)

Vanhin David Milligan

Saturday, May 14, 2016

May 14, 2016 - And The Results Are In!

Well, the only thing that I can think of to talk about is... Transfers! I just got my call about 30 minutes ago, but I had to do some office work over the Orientation Book and Language Study Plans that I have been tasked with creating. So I didn't get to type this as fast as I could have. But I am still excited to share!


Did you get transferred? Where?

Nope - still in the Office in Myyrmäki area! Didn't really expect it to happen - but it did!

New Companion?

Nope - still with Elder Frey! They need us to finish up a couple of projects, as well as get orientations put together for future Office Elders. Looks like I'm here 'til I'm not here!

What did you share this week?

Well, this week, I'm going to report what I will share soon. This Saturday, we have a musical number in the Helsinki Stake Conference, during the Saturday session. Should be a lot of fun - Elder Frey is playing the piano, I will be singing with Elders Jensen and Minson, and we are singing that arrangement I have of "Lead Kindly Light" with "I Need Thee Every Hour". I didn't think that you could get three people singing - but it worked! So, we are sharing our talents. Look at that. Yay!

What did you teach this week?
We got to have a lesson this week with the person that will be moving to Utah and getting baptized there. It was a good lesson - we taught a lot about prophets, and how we can know that the scriptures are true. She had a few questions, and next time we meet, we will mostly be talking about the actual process and meaning of baptism. We've promised more than enough blessings, she says - she wants a little more in-depth explanation of why it is needed, more than just 'to get blessings'. Fair enough! That was what we wanted to speak about, anyways. It's been fun!

What did you learn this week?

This week contained more going over Preach My Gospel and the Personal/Companion Study activities. I've really liked going over these things - I hope that we aren't so busy in the Office this time around that we lose good study time to go over these things!

Do they have Tornadoes in Finland? We have had several already this season.

Nope, not that I've heard of. The concept of a tornado freaks out a lot of Finnish people. Kinda weird to think about - everyone asks me why I would live in such a dangerous place. I can only shrug - I love Oklahoma! Besides, there are worse places to be if an environmental disaster happens...

What are some interesting places you have seen in Finland?

Hmm, I love all of the lakes and forests. Which means I love how about 99% of Finland looks! The other 1% is city. I'm fine with that.

But, an interesting place that I've seen... There's not too many really 'interesting' sites... Just beautiful picture locations... which you'll find almost anywhere in Finland... Sorry, I guess I can't answer this question!

When you go back to Finland to visit, what is the first thing you want to do?

Maybe Sauna. Just to be able to say that I've experienced it. It's not something I'm super-eager to do (example - I will not build my own sauna back at home), but I do want to be able to tell a Finnish person, yes, I've sauna'd - I've experienced the thing that every Finnish doctor recommends as a cure. To everything. Sigh.

But, if not sauna, I think that the first thing that I would want to do would be find a store of Finnish goods (books, DVDs, games, etc.) and buy the place out. I just want as much of the Finnish culture and language to come home with me as possible! I know that I won't stay, so I'll just abduct half of the country and bring it to America. That's my goal.

Well, that's all I've got! This e-mail is a bit shorter than the others, since we've got a lot of tasks to do and go through. Never a restful moment... not even on Preparation Day... but I LOVE IT HERE! :D

May everyone experience a wonderful week. I'll e-mail everyone next Saturday! Be safe, be happy! Pictures incoming!
Me with my companion! It's gonna be fun!

Oh, and 3000 copies of the Book of Mormon in Finnish came in this week. That's two near-identical walls you see there. That was fun to make.

At the Temple with someone he baptized last year!

A Sister in our District drew this picture of us all. Kinda humorous how much in pain our district has been in... We're almost all suffering somehow!

Left to Right - Sister with no health problems (but good drawing skills), Sister that has broken her toe just recently, Elder with hip problems, Elder that broke his hand (back in my first round of the office), Elder Frey, Me, Elder that had his appendix removed recently, Elder with no health problems (but great hair). That's us!

Vanhin David Milligan

Saturday, May 7, 2016

May 7, 2016 - Hmmm, I Seem To Have Misplaced My Calendar...

The subject this week comes for many different reasons. One of which is that I am not quite certain what we did this week. Another is that people keep on referencing a certain date as to when I cease, shall we say, working in this capacity. I was told by several different members of the Office staff this week that a specific set of itinerary plans for travel home just came in. I was almost shown mine as one of them asked me to confirm my final destination (they forgot that I was an Oklahoman for a bit). Yikes. So, in an effort to throw away all these thoughts and comments, I have thrown my calendar off of the 4th-floor balcony. Okay, not really, but I'm half considering it.

Well, I do remember now a bit of what we did this week - a lot of Office work. We finished a set of Mission History for good. Yay! Finally going to sign it and send it away! We will soon be finishing up 2 other sets. I am excited - my name will go on the final one for 2015, because of how much I've written in and for it. Woo-hoo!

Other than that, there's not been too much crazy this week. I really am boring, now, when it comes to recounting things to tell. To the Q's!

What did you share this week?

Oh, this week, I shared some American candy with the Mission President. Root Beer Barrels. Yum. If anyone wants to send a little letter with something to make me smile inside, send Root Beer Barrels. Missionaries will pay a pretty penny to get that American taste out here.

What did you teach this week?

We got to teach a few times, actually. The lessons this week were centered mostly on why it is that God has given us our families. I know that I spoke a bit last week about the role of God as a loving Heavenly Father, and this just tends to go hand-in-hand with that. God loves us, so he has given us families to help us learn and grow, especially in being able to feel His love with greater capacity. Simple as that! It reminds me, though, that what I've learned about teaching the gospel very simply is going to have direct relevance when I have a family of my own, and I start having to teach my children those basic principles. I hope that my example to them shows that I know that our Heavenly Father loves us, and that I want them to learn how to greater feel His love. If I can even just get that across, I know that the people I meet out here and the children that I have in the future will find comfort even without me being by them.

What did you learn this week?

I am trying very hard to go through my mini-scripture set and mark all of the references in Preach My Gospel, as well as do all of the activities in my mini-study journal. I went through a lot of Chapter 2 of Preach My Gospel this week, which gives quite a bit of instruction over how to study more effectively. The things that it suggests are pretty good - I'm surprised by how often the scriptures can teach something in a way that I had never considered before! If I learn how to study them better, I think I can learn how to get even more out of studying them, so it isn't just a rote read-through of stuff that I don't see as too applicable. Almost everything in the scriptures applies in some way to our lives today - that's why they are called God's words through prophets to us!

What are your goals for next week?

The number one thing that I have as a recurring goal is "work on my PmG study journal". Next to that, I have written "Scripture Memorization and 1 Hymn". There are those weekly-scriptures, now, and I'm trying hard to find time to memorize them in Finnish and English alike. Honestly, though, due to us serving in the office, our studies seem to get sacrificed so often by tasks that we need to do. It's not even us putting aside our studies willingly ('cuz you couldn't get me to do that) - it's that people like President call us and need things done RIGHT THEN. Sigh. I am trying still, though, and I also want to memorize a few hymns in Finnish. I can pretty much get along through the first verses and the choruses, but it would be nice to have a few hymns in their entirety memorized.

Have you seen your travel itinerary for July? It arrived at our house on Monday! (Don't think too much about it! It was just fun to see the plans for returning you to America!)

ACK! Even my family is bringing it up now! No, I haven't seen it, although if I wanted to, I would just open up a file on the computer here. But I won't do that. Because I would have nowhere to mark it all down. My calendar has been thrown off of the balcony, remember.

When is the next transfer?

Don't need my calendar for this one - we get our next change call (for some of us, our last one...) this next Friday. Next Saturday, we will have to do all of the travel plans. That means that you all are likely getting a VERY short e-mail, because there will be a lot to do, and then we have Stake Conference after that. I also am doing a musical number on Saturday there with Elder Frey - the same one that I did for the ward 6 months ago! Fun!

Would it be weird for you to end up in the North for the first time?

As an actual transfer call? A bit, yeah - I'm not certain where I would go up there... Plus, it would just be so sunny up there, I think I would die... It was bright and sunny, looking like the middle of the day, at 6 AM today. Wow, that's early. At 10 PM, it is still very, VERY bright outside. I think we have hit the "eternal day" side of the calendar... And it's not even the Summer Solstice yet!

Any new recipes for us?

Well, I think that I can finally spill the Cheesecake Basic recipe, although I can't promise that you can find all of the ingredients in an American store... I have faith.

200 g digestive cookies, or just graham crackers!
75 g butter (I generally do 100 g, though, if I'm doing gluten-free)
Crush the cookies/crackers, melt the butter, add all together, press to bottom of cheesecake pan. Put in fridge (to both cool the butter and make sure you have room to keep cheesecake in the fridge!)

200g Cream Cheese (the Philadelphia kind! America!)
2dL sugar
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract (if I remember my conversion from vanilla sugar right)
2dL Whipped Cream (can probably just buy in America as pre-whipped cream - here you need to beat it)
Optional - 2 Tablespoons of a juice concentrate (if you want a light flavor to it)
3 Gelatin Leaves
2 Tablespoons of boiling water
Add the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and juice all together, mix until blended. Whip the cream (unless already done). Put the 3 Gelatin leaves into a plate of COLD water for 5 minutes. (Probably at the 3 minute point, put a mug of hot water into the microwave and start to boil it there.) After the 5 minutes, squeeze the gelatin leaves free of water (squeeze well, otherwise the consistency will be weird) and put into a small bowl. Add the boiling water it, prod the mass of gelatin with a butter knife and aid the dissolving of it completely. Add the gelatin liquid to the cream cheese and sugar bowl, mix well. (Don't mix too fast, or the gelatin will just bond to itself!) After mixing well, put in the Whipped cream, mix well. Once it all looks to be the same, pour into the cheesecake pan over the crust. Even out, put into fridge for at least 1½ hours. (I just like to put it in overnight.)

2 Gelatin leaves
2 Tablespoons of boiling water
2dL of mashed berries (quicker option - use baby food. Yes, yes, I know - gross - but it will taste fine!)
Do the same gelatin process, just with 2 leaves. Add liquid mixture to bowl of berries / baby food. Spread over cheesecake, let set in fridge for 1 hour.


I like it. It tastes good.

Well, that's all I've got! I love you all - I hope that you don't mind getting a short e-mail next week! I should know then where I'll be going to finish my mission (there, I said it), since I'll be arranging my own travel away... Yay!

Hope that you all will be safe and happy these coming weeks! Closing out with a picture of my latest District - my District Leader is in the top right corner, glowing... It's been fun!

Vanhin David Milligan

Thursday, May 5, 2016

April 30, 2016 - Whoa, I think I remember you all...

Well, I had a little bit of a shock this morning. Elder Frey and I attended a baptismal service taking place in our chapel as a part of our P-Day (since we can't really do anything else on P-Day besides write to family and shop), and there were a few people that I didn't expect to see there. Since I'm not certain if I can drop names, nor am I certain that they want the fact that they are here broadcast to the far lands of everywhere, I will just say that they are former Finnish missionaries that left home a loooong time ago. At least, a long time ago by my standards. It was cool to reconnect with these people - they were both present during my first 2 transfers in the country, so it brought back some interesting memories. I hope that I seemed a little better than I did then... I believe in the personal progression and maturing of missionaries!

That's all, really. I'm not fantastic at writing about my weeks anymore. I still feel like it is only the second, maybe third week of this transfer, and there are less than 2 weeks until I figure out my final fate... the transfer companion to kill me off... We don't talk about that time.

To break away from those thoughts - To the Q's!

What did you teach this week?

This week, we got to continue teaching an investigator that Elder Frey has met with a handful of times. I was in contact with them when I first came to this area, but only met them once. They haven't been an investigator for much of the time - they only recently had availability in their schedule to meet with us more often. It's been good, and they are looking forward to being baptized - in Utah. You see, this person is moving off to Utah, and will likely get baptized there. It's still great to teach them, though - I actually might be in a position to attend their baptism, if the current schedule of baptism holds true... Yikes.

But, we taught very simply about how God is a loving Heavenly Father. I love to teach this, which is why I almost always seem to talk about teaching it! Really, though, God's identity as a loving Heavenly Father directs all of what He has done for us. Why did he send his Son, Jesus Christ, to go through so much on our behalf? So we could all return to live with Him again. Why does God command that we pray to Him? Because He wants to reach out and strengthen us, which can only happen if we are opening our hearts up to His guidance. Really, most of what He asks us to do are commandments for us to receive blessings from Him. As in, He commands us to receive blessings! How amazing is that? As we keep in mind that our Heavenly Father acts as a loving Father, not as some faceless punisher for our falling short, we reach out to Him a lot more. It's such a fantastic way to gain happiness in life.

What did you learn this week?

I've been going through Preach My Gospel a LOT this week. My goal is to have all of the scripture references in it all marked up based off of chapter and content inside my little pocket-edition of scriptures. I also want to do all of the Personal and Companionship activities over again inside a little study-journal that I have, so that once I'm done, I can put down my mini-PmG, mini scriptures, and mini study journal, and say that the entirety of the Preach My Gospel actions and references are contained in those. Not as a way to brag - just as a way for me to be accountable to myself in actually studying Preach My Gospel to the fullest!

What did you share this week?

Yeah, I'm gonna say it - I shared the Todistus Pallo again. This week, I gave a family 12 pieces of paper squares and told them to each write down a few things. The next lesson we have together, I will construct the Todistus Pallo, and it will go onto their fireplace. Yay! It really is a fun lesson to share, especially since the kids go crazy when they see a paper ball explode into pieces! We just have to hope that they keep their ball intact for a while - I might consider taping it shut... But that would kinda ruin the purpose of it... Oh, well!

Did anything fun or exciting happen in the office this week?

Well, just now, in the middle of e-mailing, the door to the office opened, and President and Sister Watson walked in with one of their sons, his wife, and a whole lot of grandchildren that looked really tired. They have family visiting, and they're going to go see most of the castles throughout all of Finland! They've seen the Turku castle and the Hämeenlinna one so far, and are going up to Savonlinna tomorrow for that castle, too, then up to Rovaniemi in the far north. They'll probably visit Santa's village - how fun is that!

The weirdest thing was hearing very small children speak English - I was expecting Finnish out of them the whole time... Wow, I've been here a while!

Have you had any funny language barrier moments recently?

Hmm, I don't think so... I'm pretty solid on the language now... Yeah, I can't think of any sort of language barrier things that I've encountered, lately. It's actually at the point where I criticize the Language "tests" being handed out every Zone Meeting for using incorrect English or Finnish in an attempt to get more than one language principle across to the missionaries in just 1 question. Like, when they don't use parallel structure in a sentence, which just sounds odd how they are doing it - saying something that contains present and past tense verbs without any indication of switching by referencing time or completed actions. As an example would be "I am not going to the store because I had not eaten the food yet." That's just wrong. You're just trying to quiz them over too many things at the same time. Plus, the Finnish translations did not have correct grammar (commas missing; a day like Monday was capitalized, which you don't do in Finnish; using numbers and their subjects incorrectly, due to us Americans putting plural endings on numbers greater than 1; etc.). Oh, well - I'm not in charge of the language. Nor really is anyone. But, I have been in charge lately of arranging the transfer's District Meeting schedule when it comes to what portion of the Finnish Language they cover for 5 or so minutes! I can fix the mission's problems ever-so-slowly...

Do you arrange travel for missionaries finishing their missions or just going around Finland?

Just going around Finland, thank goodness - if I had to arrange missionary travel home, I would be ordering my own ticket, soon! Yikes! I couldn't handle that! Yeah, I just take care of train travel for all over Finland. I like that - it's actually kind of fun to schedule out!

Have you seen any hints that Zandi is coming to Finland? Her application has changed to "Ready for Assignment" !!!!!!!!

Nope, and now I know that we won't be alerted until a few weeks after the person has received their call, so, no early revelation on my part! I'm excited, though!

Tell us something weird about Finland!

Hmm... Something weird about Finland... Finns LOVE their holidays. I'm calling that weird because it will close the stores down on random days for holidays they don't even celebrate. Sometimes in destructive ways, to those not-prepared missionaries just wanting to buy food on preparation day. For example, (and I might have already shared this,) last Halloween in the office, we had a newly-formed Tripe of Elders Karttunen, Frey, and me. We needed food, and Halloween was on Saturday. Finns don't celebrate Halloween, so no problem, right? Very wrong. All of the stores were closed, which doesn't even make SENSE. Sigh. We got very expensive food from a kiosk instead, but thank goodness that the next day was Fast Sunday, and we didn't eat food then, anyways! Well, today is Vappu Eve. Think of May Day combined with Graduation. Throw in lots of parades and drinking and celebration. Okay, now make it sunny for about 20 hours. Yep, that's Vappu and Vappu Eve. Quite the event. Thankfully, there was a new law passed recently, I guess, that lets stores decide when they are open, rather than the government declaring what days they are closed. So, stores are still open today. Yay, we can eat food next week!

Okay, I'm out of stuff to say. I love being out here - I'm glad that I have this time to be a missionary! There's good being done out here, both by me and to me. I hope that I retain these wonderful refinements! I love being who I am, now. I know that I am a better person, and I want to help other people recognize the same ways to become better, just by a little bit, each day. Be safe, all - and happy May Day! (Oh, and to skip ahead a bit, Happy Star Wars Day, and May the 4th be with you.)

Vanhin David Milligan

PS: OH, almost forgot - I had a very large shipment of Finnish copies of the Book of Mormon sent out this week to missionaries all over Finland. Somewhere around 900 copies in one go. The postal people that pick up our stuff were a little shocked. :) Total this week, we sent out 1400 copies. Woo-hoo! The Book of Mormon (or Mormonin Kirja) is flooding Finland!