This has been a busy week in Finland and the work of the Lord! My number one lesson of the week is that the Spirit of God is the real teacher. We are just missionaries and we need to be worthy vessels to carry the Spirit into the homes of investigators so the Spirit can carry the message to the hearts of the people we teach.
A couple of interesting experiences include the following:
A few weeks ago we were carrying a few English copies of the Book of Mormon with us (pretty rare occurrence) and we were walking back home for dinner, but realized we had some extra time and decided to turn around and contact a few more people. The first one we met spoke English! sister Jordan and I were overjoyed! Sister Saarinen not quite so much. (She has nearly perfect English though! 😉 ) He told us he was here studying until May when he would return to Asia. We invited him to church and gave him a Book of Mormon and decided to follow up in a week if he didn’t show up. (No Finnish telephone number.)
When we came back he had read to Alma in the Book of Mormon! That’s half way! Wow! Unfortunately, he thought we were coming to scold him for not coming to church and he said he couldn’t meet with us because he wasn’t prepared as he hadn’t read all 531 pages of the Book of Mormon yet. In our minds we were thinking, Wow! this guy is really serious about this!
The only thing we could get him to semi-commit to was meeting us the next night at a member’s house, but we weren’t sure he was going to show up.
The next night we waited for awhile and then gave a great lesson on obedience to the couple whose house were waiting in. Just as we were about to leave an hour later the doorbell rang and there he was! It turns out he had gotten lost and walked all the way to the church (30 minute walk away from the house) to try to find us. He apologized profusely, but we were just glad he was there and sat down to teach him immediately.
The lesson went fairly well although a bit hilarious to watch as the members would chime in in Finnish and we would then translate for them. Well, in the end he said that he didn’t want to meet with us because he wasn’t ready, but he said he can always come to our church and that he’s very grateful for our time, the Book of Mormon, and our willingness to teach him! He just needs the love of God in his life so badly! We’re praying that he keeps reading and comes to church. Please pray for him too!
The second story will have to be brief, but yesterday we taught a lesson (or tried) which was as close to Bible bashing as I ever want to get. We knew it might be like this and had decided before we would have to take control of the situation kindly and tell him we were here to share the message of Christ that we know is true but that we didn’t want to fight or argue. He agreed to the terms, but it went a little sour when we actually got there. To make the story more interesting, we had attempted to teach this middle-aged man last week, but couldn’t find a female member to go along and his girlfriend wasn’t home as we had hoped. In the end, the kind-hearted brother in our ward ended up going inside on his own (we would have had to have another woman with us) and talked to him for who knows how long! We felt like we had just fed him to the dogs, but he was willing to go!
Whew! Anyway, we felt awful and afterwards we called. The member told us he had just talked to him about beliefs and his life and had left the teaching part for us because that’s the missionaries’ job. We were so thankful for him!
Well, when we started to teach yesterday, he started to argue with us and ask rhetorical questions before we could even get the prayer started. Eventually we prayed and he quieted down a bit.
Sister Jordan testified about the restoration of the church of Jesus Christ and the Spirit blessed us to each be able to testify calmly and collectedly as long as he would listen.
After about 25 minutes, we could tell it wasn’t going anywhere good, and we got up to leave.
Sister Saarinen in the goodness of her heart made sure we left on a good note by thanking him for his time and asked him to pray about the Book of Mormon.
He gave us ice cream cones and we were on our way. Quite the experience.
Well, I’ve got to go, but I love you all and I’m praying for you! Thanks for your prayers! I need them!
P.S. We went the Scan Burger for reaching a companionship goal!