I had a bit of a freak out moment this morning when I realized that I leave for Finland THIS MONTH! It's so crazy! Where has the time gone??
This week was a good week. It had its ups and downs, as every week does. The language is still killer. They're really trying to hurry and teach us a lot because we have such limited time left. Well Saturday I had a bit of a rough day. I got sick. Yep, not cool. And we were taught another crazy grammatical concept in Finnish. Finnish is considered the hardest language in the world because of its grammar. And what's even more crazy is that when we get to Finland we have to learn spoken Finnish because that's what they actually use. We have to learn written Finnish first because if we don't we won't stand even the slightest chance of learning the language. So basically you'll still get a lot of "the language is kicking my butt but the church is still true" emails for a while. Well Saturday was hard because I was sick and I just wasn't able to focus and understand what we were talking about in class. That night, I had to do my nightly runs of telling all of the sisters in our zone goodnight. Well two of the sisters could tell I wasn't feeling well, asked me my symptoms, and ran back to their rooms. They came back with medicine and cough drops, gave them to me, and said to take care of myself and if I need anything else they'd be right there to help me. The gospel truly is amazing. It brings us all together and we truly see everybody as our brothers and sisters. I love it. The next day we went to relief society. Relief Society is different at the MTC than at regular church. All of the sisters meet together and we have a guest speaker address us. They had a lady talk to us and she said EXACTLY what I needed to hear. She talked on the power of prayer and hope. She also talked about FINLAND! WHAT??? WE ALL FREAKED. They showed pics of her living in Finland on the screen (she played professional volleyball there) and she talked about how missions are hard, but they are worth it. I just started crying. All of us Finnish sisters started crying. We were feeling so discouraged by the language and the fact that the talk was all on the importance of missionary work and Finland was not a coincidence. I am so grateful for the many amazing tender mercies in my life. I know the Lord knows me.
This past Tuesday, we had our Tuesday devotional in the Marriott Center. H. Bryan Richards spoke. It was amazing. He said something that I really liked. He said "You can't just wear the name tag, you have to brand it to your heart". Not all of us get to be missionaries, and one day (a day I pray won't come fast) I'll have to take my name tag off. We should all have the name of Jesus Christ branded on our hearts. I love my Savior. And I'm so humbled that He trusts me to take the gospel to the amazing people in Finland. "The Lord hasn't asked you to go and just hold the line. He's asked you to charge with all your heart, mind, might, and strength" (Richards). It is up to us to take a stand. We all have a reason to stand. We must charge with all our heart, mind, might, and strength to fight for what is right. To defend and proclaim what we know is good and right, no matter the consequence.
As I said, this week was interesting with the language. One of our teachers finally came back! He went to Finland for 2 weeks. He brought us back Finnish chocolate. Okay, I loved it! It was aaaaaahhhhmazing. My companion and I were teaching our "investigator" this week on the importance of temples. I was saying how I'm grateful for temples because we are able to be sealed together with our families forever. That death is not the end and that this gives me so much hope and comfort. I talked to him about how I can't wait to get married one day in the temple and how important it is to me. Well as I was wrapping up my testimony, I said with as much conviction as I could muster "Minä tiedän että temppeli on todella hullu" as soon as I said it I hurried and said "EI HULLU EI HULLU" but it was too late. My teacher and my companion lost it. I had tried to say "I know that the temple is very good". But instead I said, "I know that the temple is very crazy". It was pretty hilarious. And usually my teacher is really good at staying in his "investigator" character when we make mistakes, but the way I said it with so much conviction just made it that much more hilarious and he couldn't help it. He even started laughing a couple minutes later. It was bad. Oh well, hopefully the Finns have a good sense of humor. They're gonna need it in order to deal with me.
Most of my friends headed off this week for the mission field. It truly is amazing that we all come here for a couple weeks, learn as much as we can, then go out all over the world proclaiming what we know is true. It's amazing that we're all so young, but so dedicated to this gospel. I'm so blessed to be able to call so many amazing people my friends. Today we went to Great Harvest for lunch (because it's our p-day we're allowed to go there for lunch). A lady came up to us and said "I have a daughter in the army. Whenever I see anybody in the army, I always go up to them and say 'thank you for serving our country'. To you, I want to say 'thank you for serving our church'". As she spoke these words, tears sprung to my eyes. I am fighting with the greatest army that has ever walked this earth. We are fighting for a cause that will echo through the eternities. We are battling for the souls of our brothers and sisters. We are fighting for our God. It truly is amazing if you just stop and think about it.
I almost died this week. In gym I played a game of basketball with some elders (and a sister obviously. sisters must guard other sisters). It was a super intense game. One of the elders who just happens to be 6'7" drove with the ball towards the basket and I was right there. I think the game plan going through his mind was to just jump over me. Mid jump, he realized I was a sister and twisted his body to miss me. He brushed me but didn't really hit me. All of the Elders started yelling at him as soon as he hit the ground "Elder, that's a SISTER. what are you doing?!?!" he was like "I know I know! I didn't realize who she was until it was almost too late!" Needless to say, I saw my life flash before my eyes. Good thing the church is true and I didn't die. A couple days later, we were playing basketball again and it started pouring out of nowhere. It felt so good just standing out in the pouring rain. Guess I better get used to that, since I'm going to the "Swamp Land".
The new cafeteria opened this week! It's super exciting. Since we're best buds with Bishop Justice who manages all of the food at the west campus, he took us on a tour before it opened. It's beautiful. We ate breakfast there for the first time today and I got Frosted Mini Wheats! I about cried. I've been eating bagels everyday since I got here. It's amazing how you come to appreciate the little things. I told him if he has any missionaries complain about the food, send 'em my way. I'll talk some sense into them.
Every night my district of 6 sisters gather together to share a spiritual thought and share a scripture that we read that day. Afterwards, we all kneel in a circle and do NIELSEN CROSS HAND HOLD and say our prayer in Finnish. It's so cool. It makes me feel like I'm home again for just a minute.
I miss and love you all! Minä rakastan teitä. (I love you all) KIRKKO ON TOTTA!!!
p.s. I dropped my tray in front of everybody and my food went flying and I screamed. Haha!
p.p.s. Please continue to pray that I'll learn the language :)