Firstly, please wish my AMAZING MOTHER a Happy Birthday this week! It’s on October 6! 🙂 😀 And give her a few hugs for me. 😉
I’m excited for General Conference this weekend on Saturday and Sunday 10-2 and 2-4 MDT! Check it out at http://www.lds.org
This week has been great! Family, my district LOVED your letters to them. It was hilarious because it was the first day I didn’t get a letter and all of them got one. It made for a good contrasting effect. 🙂 Kiitos! Vanhin Bowden said, “Wow! This Matthew kid is sweet!” And they loved the stories from Dad, Mom, Andrew, and David too!
Provo Temple w Companion
I had a great defining moment with my district this week (the 10 other missionaries who are headed to Finland with me). I was getting pretty nervous to teach one of our investigators. Her name is Renee and she is very shy–completely opposite of my personality altogether. I seemed calm on the outside, but I felt like a stupor of thought came over me. I didn’t know I I was supposed to connect with her, much less teach her about how much Heavenly Father loves her. I forgot what I knew for a moment and worried that she would think we were weird and send us packing. Well, right before we taught I had a strong feeling–a prompting from the Holy Ghost–that I needed to ask my teacher how to make a good situation when someone thinks that God isn’t there or doesn’t love them. How do you react when you want so badly to tell them that they are loved by the greatest being in the universe? My whole district gave my good answers. I really appreciated them, but I felt I needed to dig a little deeper.
I asked another question, and Vanhin Reeder emphasized the need to listen to what the investigator has to say. I loved that advice! I just needed to be reminded of it. Well, Sister Johnson (my teacher) asked (in Finnish, of course) if I felt better about the situation. Since one of my biggest pet peeves is to inconvenience people I almost said, “Yes! I’m totally great!” But, the Spirit urged me to ask one last question. I looked up at her and with tears in my eyes that came out of nowhere, I said “Wow. This is my moment of vulnerability.” You could have heard a pin drop in the classroom as my district full of elders all looked at me, probably wondering what to do about the sister who they thought knew more Finnish than them and didn’t have a worry in the world. I continued, “I know this sounds really dumb, but I’m just so scared to teach people in Finland because so many of them are reserved and I am not. I just don’t know how I’ll ever connect with them.” Sister Johnson looked at me lovingly, and said “It’s okay.” Quietly she flipped through her scriptures as the class sat silently, thinking about how to help me reach my answer. When she reached Moroni chapter 7 in the Book of Mormon she had us read it together as a class. The main message from the passage is that “Charity is the pure love of Christ and it endureth forever.” “Charity suffereth long and is kind.” As we read, a beautiful peace washed over me. I suddenly felt like the Savior had wrapped his arms around me and said, “I love you, and I love the people in Finland.” Sister Johnson looked kindly into my eyes and said, “It’s all about love. That’s why you’re here.” Wow. In that instant, all my worries went away. I stopped thinking about all the things preventing me from loving and just focused on the love itself. Vanhin Vennerholm (a native of Sweden who is speaking English all the time and now learning Finnish, said “I think the universal language is love.”
I completely agree. In that moment I suddenly remembered who I am! I am a daughter of God sent here to show other people the unconditional love God has for them. I know he has called me to my specific mission for a reason because I DO know how to love people and connect with people and become their friends. That’s one of my favorite parts of life!
In other news, Sisar Jones and I have now been called to serve as Sister Training Leaders in our zone. This means we have responsibility to check up on the other sisters: make sure they are doing well, see how companionships are getting along together, and reporting to our Branch President (he leads our church services every week) how we can better help other missionaries. We have a fantastic support system that way!
Huns and Finns
The Hungarians sisters (“Huns”) leave this Monday to Hungary. I’m so excited for them! But also very sad to see them go. They played spike ball with us yesterday and Sister Jones and I crushed them! Ha ha, we weren’t that competitive, but we did win. 🙂 Sister Jones has a good serve. And! Next week the new Huns come in! We get to be their welcoming committee. We’re also welcoming a district going to Malaysia or somewhere else cool.
Cool teaching things:
We taught at the Teaching Resource Center for the first time last week. Finnish speakers came and we prepared a 20 minute lesson for two of them. They are already members of the church so our goal was to teach something uplifting about Jesus Christ. We sang a hymn with them in Finnish, got to know them, and taught about God’s plan of happiness for us. When I laughed and said something about how I had studied Finnish for a year before my mission, the member we were teaching just laughed and said (in Finnish) “I was going to ask! Your Finnish is really good!” Haha, so that was nice to hear. 🙂 I still have a long way to go, but I can talk!
There are 3 Finns in the MTC right now! Sister Leppänen is going to Japan, Elder Murtonen is going to Sweden, and Elder Laine is going to Pennsylvania (he served in Finland with President Watson for 2 months waiting for his visa). They’re all great!!
I love you all! Make it a great week!