Dearest family and friends!
This week I discovered that I am living in Southern Karjala! (The home of my ancestors!) what a tender mercy to find out after transfers that Lappeenranta, my new home, is just about 40 kilometers from where my grandmother was born in Viipuri! (Mom, did you know that? ) 🙂
Well, it’s been a crazy week as I moved once again! But I already feel at home here in Lappeenranta, which is such a blessing! Sister Willoughby is a wonderful companion from Alberta, Canada. She has such a strong desire to do what is right and do the work of the Lord here in Finland. It’s always a blessing to have a little bit of “greenie fire” (the enthusiasm that missionaries in training have for the work). But her fire is so strong I don’t think it will ever go out! 🙂
Here are just a few adventures we had together:
Our first night together we went and contacted around a beautiful harbor and Sister Willoughby was so determined to work hard that we broke her daily contacting goal By two contacts! Wahoo!
A few days later after District Meeting we were on the train home and the woman across from us was speaking on the phone, crying. We both felt like we should share the gospel with her in her time of need, but we had to wait until our lunch was at a stopping point and she was off the phone. Just then a group of people came saying that we were all in their seats (our tickets said free seating, but t heir’s didn’t) so we had to pack it all up and move. It was a crowded train and we ended up going the opposite direction of the crying woman who also had to relocate. About halfway through the restaurant car I turned back to Sister Willoughby and said, “Do you think we should go back and talk to that woman?” She immediately exclaimed, “Let’s do it! I felt like we should talk to her, but then in the move around we ended up going the other way!”
So, with a willing companion By my side, we went to find the woman in need. We spotted her standing a few cars ahead, seemingly having abandoned all attempts to find an empty seat in the crowded train. When we asked her if she had found a place, she said no a bit sadly, but then took on the challenge of helping others in need and said courageously, “Tulkaa kanssani!” “Come with me!” Once we finally found a place we quickly finished our lunch and pulled out a Book of Mormon. It was a bit awkward seating as Sister Willoughby and the woman were on one side of the aisle, and I had ended up on the other. But, courageously, we started to talk to her in the midst of the other people. She said that her suffering was personal, so we didn’t pry, but we asked her if we could share a passage of scripture with her. It was Alma 7:11-13 which talks about Jesus Christ’s Atonement and how He knows how to succor us in our pains and sorrows because He suffered for all of us. The passage touched her heart, and although she wasn’t meeting with the missionaries where she lives at this point, I could tell she felt comforted and she took the Book of Mormon after we promised her it could bring peace into her life.
Wow! How grateful I am for a Heavenly Father who placed us (unbeknownst to us) right next to a woman who needed to feel God’s love for her that day in that exact moment. I am also grateful for the Holy Ghost who guides us in what to say to people. And I’m so grateful for a companion who, despite the awkwardness of the situation and the Limited Finnish vocabulary she has, was willing to turn all the way around to find that woman and to tel her God loves her.
This has been one of the most impactful moments of my mission thus far.’
In other amazing news!
The Kotka Elders in Finland gave us a referral this week for a man who wanted to learn about family history. We invited him to church, which he declined the first time saying he would come after the meeting to talk to our Bishop about the family history that our church has available. Just then one of the councilors in the bishopric texted asking me to speak briefly the next morning in church and said he would be the third speaker. His topic would be family history and temple work. I was allowed to choose mine. We quicking texted the referral telling him we had discovered the meeting would have a family history theme (I spoke on that, tying it into missionary work) and that he was welcome. To our delighted surprise, he came! So many blessings!
And last, but definitely not least! Sister Miisa Saarinen, my former Suomalainen (Finnish) companion, called us Sunday night from the St. George Temple Visitor’s Center to give us a referral for a woman who referred herself to the missionaries via mormonit.fi. Imagine my surpirse when I said ” Tässä on sisaret Lappeenrannassa.” And she said, “Moi! Tässä on Sisar Saarinen St. Georgeissa!” Wow. I almost cried tears of happiness and hearing her cheerful voice! And what added to my joy? She is still my sister in the Lord! Doing the work with me!
Wow! It has really been an amazing week! So many blessings are apparent and next Monday Sister Willoughby and I will receive a “mini missionary” for the week from somewhere here in Finland. We are excited to show here the ropes of missionary work. Please pray that it will be wonderful experience for her!
I love you all and I know that Heavenly Father is always blessing us! Sometimes we just need to take a moment and recognize all the ways He truly is. Jesus Christ lives and because of Him we can repent and become clean from our sins. Repentance not only makes us clean, but through it because of Jesus Christ’s Atonement, we are strengthened from morally weak people to people who have the strength to resist sin. I know this is true!
I hope you all had a great Pioneer’s Day this Sunday!
Lots of love from Finland!
Sisar Adams 🙂