The Lord rewards those who do what he asks! We miraculously fulfilled all of our responsibilities this week and it was better than ever before!
Hello friends and family! This week has been about as eventful as it gets! Here goes nothing!
Last Friday Sisar Jones and I accomplished our goal of teaching a lesson with a “member” present. It’s helpful for investigators to meet someone who has accepted the gospel and hear their testimony. Since we’re still in the MTC, those members were Vanhin Bowden and Vanhin Vennerholm from our district. Vanhin Vennerholm assumed the name “Pekka” (just like my cousin in Finland!) and Vanhin Vennerholm (excited about learning the new Finnish word “erilainen” or “different”) named himself “Eddy Lainen.” Ha ha 🙂 He’s a goof ball. Well, the lesson went very well! When we first appeared at the door, Karina was a bit surprised asking, “Juhlat?” “Party?” We laughed and told her we just had some friends we wanted her to meet. It was a completely different dynamic having the two “members” there. We taught about the Restoration of Jesus Christ’s church and that Joseph Smith had his prayer answered by our Heavenly Father. When we asked the Elders to bear their testimonies Vanhin Vennerholm (Pekka) started, “I know President Monson is a true prophet of God.” Immediately Karina looked confused. We took the opportunity to explain and bear testimony that because Jesus Christ restored his church on earth through Joseph Smith, we know that God still speaks to us today! And we still have a prophet of God on earth who tells us God’s will for us! His name is President Thomas S. Monson. Vanhin Vennerholm looked embarrassed for a moment but after the lesson we reassured him that his testimony was perfect and inspired. It was a perfect lead into inviting her to watch a session of General Conference this past weekend to hear from President Monson. She did!
General Conference was amazing! We missionaries got to watch all four general sessions together via live broadcast. It was amazingly apparent to me that the Lord really does answer our prayers and questions through living prophets and apostles. This time around I decided to really focus on searching for answers to my questions. I wrote them down in my journal before conference and listened for answers. I got them! But it took really intently listening! The coolest experience was during President Henry B. Eyring’s talk (I think it was on Sunday). I couldn’t tell you what he spoke about, but the Holy Ghost was giving me personal answers to my life questions the entire time. I wrote my impressions down as fast as I could and my mind would be directed back to President Eyring the moment he said something especially powerful that I needed to know. Then, just as fast before, I was getting more answers. I know God wants to help us so much in our personal lives!
This week I concluded that I am the energetic puppy of our companionship. Although Sister Jones and I have insanely similar Finnish backgrounds, we are night and day different people in opinion and personality. The two things that join us together are the gospel of Jesus Christ and Finland. This became evident as we were walking back from gym time last week. I still had tons of energy to burn and knew I wouldn’t be able to sit still the rest of the day if I didn’t do something to get it out! Well, I vocalized this to Sister Jones and she instantly became my personal trainer, directing me where to run. “Sprint to the red car! Run back! Circle the tree twice! Run back! Faster! Around the car!” I think everyone we passed thought we were crazy! She just kept directing me, I ran around laughing the whole time! It was thoroughly entertaining and invigorating.
Brothers! BYU Vocal Point came to sing for our Sunday night devotional! It was crazy! They shared great testimonies with us. 🙂
Two quick experiences:
Wednesday was literally insane. The night before we got a new companion from Serbia. Her name is Vasica Nover (Nover is Sister in Hungarian). Two days before we sadly said goodbye to the old Huns, and the MTC front desk informed us that they would call in the middle of the night to have us get up and pick our new companion up! Sister Jones slept with the Sister Training Leader phone by her ear all night long (I can sleep through a thunderstorm) and kept waking up in the middle of the night with bad dreams that our new sister didn’t speak English. Well, the next morning we still hadn’t received the call and Sister Jones was really worried. Ironically, I was peaceful about it the whole time. Somehow I just knew she would be okay and she was!
Directing MTC Drop Off Traffic
Well, Wednesday our district of Finns was asked to direct traffic for the weekly incoming missionaries. This process entailed wearing large neon yellow vests, and using HUGE arm movements to direct teary eyed parents where to quickly stop, unload, and part with their children who they wouldn’t see for 18-24 months. It was a happy and sad experience to say the least! While directing I ran into my old neighbor, Sister Wallace, from when I lived in Provo as a nine year old! She was dropping off her granddaughter, Sister Ashby. She gave me a BIG hug.
About 20 minutes later I was directing a car to their unloading spot and as I looked up the girl in the passenger’s seat looked at me with eyes widening quickly in disbelief. I did a double take and realized I was directing my good friend, Lily N., from ballroom dance at BYU! She’s headed to Milwaukee. Tender mercies! The MTC security guard texted a picture of us in our professional garb to my Mom! Perks of the job, she said. I think my Mom posted it on Facebook if anyone is interested. 🙂 Then!
Greeting Friends in the MTC
We got recruited to host new missionaries and take them to them new classrooms. It was great fun to show them around, but because of our assignments, we lost all of our preparation and study time and we were teaching the Plan of Salvation in Finnish for the first time that night!
This leads into the second experience:
We took advantage of our gym time, using it to watch the Elders play soccer and plan out how to teach Karina about Why we are here? Where we came from? and Where we are going? We started saying a lot of prayers, asking Heavenly Father to enable us to figure out what we needed to say and how to say it. We got our brief outline of the lesson done and said a quick prayer of gratitude. When we got back to class we had about 40 minutes to figure out how to say everything in Finnish, anticipate her questions for us, and plan a “Get to Know You” game for the new Hungarians we were welcoming that night. We went into our preparation with faith, said another prayer and went into the lesson. Well, this is the first time I had really struggled for words in a lesson. We didn’t get through nearly as much. Unfortunately I had been banking on the idea that Karina would know the story of Adam and Eve (Catholic background) but she didn’t, so on the spot I tried to figure out how to relay it in Finnish. I struggled to figure out what to say, and then just as I needed the words they suddenly came to my mind. I had completely forgotten that I had studied “plan of salvation” vocabulary a few days previously and because I had studied and was opening my mouth to the best of my ability, the Spirit brought all those things to my remembrance and words like forbidden fruit, and innocence came out of my mouth unexpectedly. I relied on the Lord and while they lesson was choppy, and we didn’t answer all of her questions, the Spirit was there and I just told her that we loved her. She really appreciated it! God helps you when you’re doing his will and helping his children!
I love all of you so much!