Monday, July 18, 2016

July 18, 2016 - Not Yet Sinking In...

Still can't believe that I will be on a plane in three days to go back home. Crazy.

This e-mail will be rather short. Sorry. I'm trying to get all of these things that I'm not quite thinking about prepared. It's hard to prepare for something that you don't really think is going to happen.

We went and did a lot of shopping at IKEA this week, and built a lot of stuff for the new Office Sister's apartment. That was fun, actually - we have done a pretty good job with interior design, I feel!

We had to map out and plan for transfer travels this week. I believe that I am one of the people that has prepared for this the most in our mission, due to the fact that I've been around for 4 transfer times in the Office. (I got emergency-transferred in a week early, so despite only 3 transfers here, I've experienced 4 sets of utter chaos from the Office perspective.)

The craziest thing about trying to plan for transfers was that the Office building itself got electronically shut down - none of the locks would work, and we couldn't get into the main building, let alone the Mission Office itself. I don't know why they chose to do that, but it was poor timing on their part. Since it was Saturday, there were no supervisors around, and no one could get us in anywhere. Everyone that belongs to that building couldn't get in. We went to the Temple Visiting Center instead and used computers there. Only difficult bit was that we didn't have any sort of format for the documents of travel that we wanted to make, and they only had LibreOffice on those computers, not Microsoft Office. Thankfully, though, I am well acquainted with LibreOffice (due to not having Microsoft on my computer for the majority of my first transfer), and I've done a ton of transfer documents before (as explained), so I was able to recreate a working substitute in a matter of minutes. Whew! All is well with transfer travels!

As I am typing this, the Office staff has cornered Elder Hoggard in an attempt to get him and his new companion running all sorts of tasks for them these next few weeks. Glad that I'm not a part of any of that... Oh, hey, I should mention who Elder Hoggard's new companion will be in the Office! It will be... Elder Edwards, the Elder that Elder Frey trained in Vaasa before coming here! I wonder if that had any bearing on his being transferred to here... Anyways. Should be good - the other Elders in Haaga/Vantaa have been temporarily moved out of their area (due to 8 Elders leaving now, 1 Elder coming in to be trained, and 3 Elders leaving mid-transfer for schooling), so the proselyting area is about twice as big as it was before, including the fact that they just got granted an area about 20 minutes north of us that has many members living in it. I'm excited to hear about the missionary work that takes place!

The questions are short this week, so that I can prepare appropriately for departure. Hope that no one feels that I am slighting them an entry!

For the last time, TO THE Q'S!

What did you teach this week?

We got to teach 3 member-present lessons this week, despite the insanity of everything going on in the Office as I prepare to leave! Everyone in the Office has been getting in their farewells and last requests for information/shortcuts/recipes, and there is not a down-moment in the Office. It has been great!

The lesson that I most liked teaching was to a person that has been investigating the church for a while - I interacted with them when I first came to the Office area. This person has gone through a lot of crazy stuff lately, but they are just so cool at being able to be happy regardless! We got to meet them at a dinner appointment with cool members this last week, and they really are eager to learn about the gospel. We confirmed the planned baptismal date with them, and everything is looking great for them to get baptized this next month! Blessings for continual effort on their part! :)

What did you learn this week?

We had my last Zone Training this week. I had a fun part in it - they got me to stand up and deliver a 1-minute, very-complex lesson over the importance of and tactics for Teaching for Understanding. Most people said they got lost after I gave my equivalent for 'understanding' (cognitive, comprehensive cohesion). I had a TON of fun making the speech, and it was great to give the 8-second summary afterwards and see the difference in impact. Really taught (at least to me) that the things that we say need to actually be towards the audience that we are dealing with, not just something we understand or think sounds cool. I guess that's not really a lesson learned so much as a principle re-emphasized, but regardless, I learned!

What did you share this week?

Hmm. I've mostly just been shared with this last week. Specifically in meal appointments. People keep on inviting us over for food, which is AWESOME. I am super-grateful for how much they show appreciation for us doing missionary work. Makes me really want to pay it forward back at home!

However, I did get to share my voice again with the ward. We got a text this last week asking if I would prefer to give a testimony or sing for my last Sunday. Seeing as that alternative hasn't been offered at all before to my companions homeward-bound, I assumed that they wanted me to sing, so I volunteered myself to do so. It was great - I sung "Niin suuri oot" ("How Great Thou Art") with another missionary going home, and with a great member playing at the piano. It turned out really well!

Well, that's all I've really got to say this week. Glad that I had one last time to write something, I only wish that I could have said something more profound here. I just don't have the processing-power or ability to just say something cool... Thank you, all, though, for the support that you've shown me in one way or another throughout my mission! I am going to miss Finland, but I hope that I'm taking enough of it home to keep it a constant part of my life! I will learn to sing every Disney song in Finnish!!! ;)

For one last time, be safe and happy, all! It's been a great run, and I'm gonna miss doing this! Happy to be moving on, sad to be moving on - it's a very complex set of emotions. Sigh. I'll just have to figure out a way to visit here again. I hope that all of you have some place just as important to you all! Love it to your fullest! Bye, all!

We enjoyed Hot Pot from our recent convert and his roommate!
So spicy, so delicious!

P.S. After these last few transfers, I am now a master of chopsticks. Be forewarned. ;)

Vanhin David Milligan

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