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!