Ah, that's right, I just remembered! Last week was Juhannus and the Summer Solstice! Otherwise none as 'that day that the sun is out for so long in Finland that it is the perfect time to party and make it so that the missionaries aren't allowed to go and proselyte'! Okay, I have a few things to write about, now. Here we go.
So. This last week started out with me reviewing a lot of train schedules. The VR Train System in Finland has changed all of the schedules. Again. So I was tasked to make sure that things are basically alright. I started thinking in my head about all of the places that could experience problems with this. Helsinki Zone got thrown out of my head almost immediately. East Zone came into mind, but it was only necessary to check on three trains for different companionships, as the Zone is quite small. The North Zone was crazy as ever, I'm still working on moving around a good schedule for that. Tampere had this innocent-feel to it, since most of the District companionships either use buses, or are in the same city as one another. As I thought a bit harder in the apartment, though, I realized that Hämeenlinna and Lahti might perhaps experience problems, although to my recollection, they had often-enough trains moving around, and probably wouldn't be stuck at any location for longer than an hour. I made a mental note to check later when I was in front of a computer, and went about the rest of the tasks I had. A bit later I actually got a call from Elder Hastings (MTC buddy!) in Hämeenlinna for supplies, and quickly asked them what the current situation is like. They confirmed what I thought, but brought up that right now, they got up surprisingly early to go to District Meeting in Lahti, due to the fact that train-time-changes had gotten their travel to occur earlier and earlier (which wasn't really the case, just because they could have gone later, but it was always either 'leave 40 minutes earlier or 50 minutes later', and they had taken matters into their own hands a couple of times. I told them that I would look at the times and try to secure better travel for them, and also reminded them that they are only to change the time that District Meeting is held if it is under the direction of the Mission President, at least in this mission. We ended the phone call on a good note, and I made a note (written, this time) to check on the times later.
When I went in to check the times, I got a bit of a surprise. At least for the next week, there were a few trains that left Hämeenlinna in good time to arrive and walk to the church with study-time to spare. The surprising thing was this - I found out that the travel doesn't occur along the same lines that it used to. Getting to was virtually the same, with a layover in Riihimäki in between Hämeenlinna and Lahti. Getting back, though, required either travel to Kerava, then travel to Riihimäki, then travel to Hämeenlinna, or a train to Tikkurila, then over to Hämeenlinna. To give that some perspective, they are going entirely out of their Zone on either option, the later option taking them to the other Elders in our ward. Hmm. Well, I called and informed them that they would need to watch out for that in the future. I told them I would text the schedule to them, and they said that would be fine - they were just in the middle of traveling away from District Meeting, so they could review the travel plans and call President with a proposal later. I started to create a text for them after we hung up.
A few minutes later, though, my phone rang. Upon answering it, I heard the familiar voice of Elder Hastings shout an "apua, apua!" into the phone. "Help, help!" I asked what was wrong.
"Our train home has vanished from the board!"
Jahaa. That is a problem.
Turns out that the changes that I had been viewing for the next week had actually already taken place. They were stuck in Riihimäki waiting for the next train that would leave to Hämeenlinna - about 2 hours or so after they arrived into it. Yeah. They had just moved the Riihimäki → Hämeenlinna train to depart some seven minutes earlier, right before the Lahti → Riihimäki train arrived. Sigh. All is well, though, it's figured out for the future. I just wish that I'd realized the full implications of it the moment that I first looked at the next week on the computer.
Well, I've just got questions left, here we go! TO THE Q'S!
What did you teach this week?
This last week, we had a really good lesson with a foreign person. He speaks very good Finnish, but we just found out that he doesn't really understand much. He's like a missionary that first enters into Finland - capable of speaking, no clue where to begin understanding. However, we got to meet him this last week with his son present, who speaks FANTASTIC Finnish and English, as well as the father's language, of course. We got to have a pretty good lesson where we had full understanding on his part and our part over why we were there, why he was there, what we were expecting from him, and what he should expect from us. We found him to have the purest, brightest reasons for investigating, and it was really cool to all get completely onto the same page over how we will interact while teaching him. It really was a cool experience!
What did you learn this week?
I don't have as cool of a thing to share this week as I did last week. Still, though, I have been just going through Preach My Gospel over and over, trying to get all of the scriptures in it marked up in my little set while still giving the material that it covers ample study time as well. I don't want to blindly mark things - I want to give each scripture the justice it deserves in being read in context of the lesson and surrounding questions. Kind of harder to study and mark versus just mark, but I think that it is going better that way.
What did you share this week?
This last week, as I mentioned, was Juhannus. We finally got to eat at the Roger's home! We had good-old, Oklahoma-style grilled hamburgers and sausages. Wow, it was good. We also got to meet the majority of the family, including the kids that have lived in Oklahoma for some time of their lives! That was cool. It was fun to hear Brother Rogers talk about all of the things he did in Oklahoma, and all of the tricks that he pulled while attending my High School. Maybe that's not the perfect thing to write under 'what did I share', but the other option is that I mention how I've gone and shared more paper-folding activities with the members!
Is most of Finland at sea-level? Or are you at high-altitudes?
I think that most of it is at sea-level, but I honestly don't know. I just know that Finland doesn't really have mountains. It does, but doesn't. Skiing here is mostly just cross-country, not down-hill. You all could probably find the answer to this a little more easily!
Zandi wants to know how it feels to be the same age as her, because you are 19 again, remember? (Zandi is having a quarter-life crisis over your age and her own.)
Ah - for those that haven't heard this yet, my sister stole a year of my life, thus rendering me to 19 years of age, rather than a surprisingly double-decade number. She, too, is 19 now. I feel refreshingly young, at least as long as you take into consideration that I just went through a Princess-Bride-esque time-sucking machine.
Honestly, though, it is weird that I am the age that I am (year-stolen or not), because I keep on hearing of all of these people that I knew as missionaries seriously dating, being engaged, or getting married. That's just weird to me. Good thing that I'm still a missionary, and don't have to deal with that at all.
Did you witness any musical events this week?
Hmmm... I did have a whistling-concert with the district this last week! It wasn't planned or anything, someone was just whistling a hymn and I joined in on a harmony line, followed by the rest of district coming in for the last few lines. It was a fun little ditty, I'm pretty sure it's not in the English hymnal. "Kiitos sulle, Jumalani". That was really it, though.
Well, that's really all that I've got! Hope that everyone is doing well, and that you are all finding ways to be happier each day! I recommend helping people - but then again, I'm always recommending helping people, so don't feel that you have to take my advice. In any case, be safe, all! Here's a picture to close us out.
Here is us with the Rogers in the woods - we went on a hike with them, and we got to go in casual clothes. Such a weird feeling, being in jeans again!
Vanhin David Milligan