This time next week I will be in the FINE LAND OF FINLAND. CRAZAAAAY. We got our travel plans this week! I was so excited I cried (shocker!). Guess where we're going?! CHICAGO! I can't wait to show my district my home town! (well only the airport but still.......). After that we head to London and then we finally make it to Finland! In total it'll be 29 hours of travel time so pretty much I'm gonna wanna just lay down and die. But because I have this name badge on my chest, I'll be standing as a witness of Christ EVERYWHERE I go - which means even when I'm so exhausted I wanna fall over, I'm tired of sitting on an airplane with no phone, music, or movies, I'm sick of being in a skirt, I'm hungry, I'm tired of children kicking my chair, and I look like a train wreck, I still have to smile and act like I'm having the time of my life. I really am excited to talk to everyone I meet in the airport though. Having this tag on is like having a "you can be BOLD" card. It gives me more confidence and courage than anything I've experienced before.
This week was interesting having our Mahtava Viikko (only Finnish week). I'm gonna be honest, it was hard. It was frustrating. Sometimes my brain felt like it was about to explode. But I'm a pro at charades now so that's pretty cool - and it was awesome being able to witness the power of the Lord. I am able to speak Finnish. I am able to speak FINNISH! The girl that barely pulled a B in high school French could speak non stop Finnish for a week! It is truly a miracle. I know that I am not learning this alone. The Lord is helping me and He truly is the greatest teacher. Obviously, my Finnish still isn't very good to say the least, but I'm doing it. We FINALLY learned our last Finnish grammar principle yesterday. We've been learning them nonstop since we got here, which is why Finnish is considered one of the hardest languages in the world. The grammar principles are ridiculous. And to make things more exciting, when we get to Finland we have to learn spoken Finnish. Right now we've been learning written because if we don't learn written first, we don't stand a chance of learning spoken. So basically I'll have to learn another language built off of the language I still don't understand. What does this mean? It means I need lots and lots of prayers :)
On Tuesday we had the amazing opportunity to have an Apostle of the Lord, Richard G. Scott, come and address us. It truly was amazing and I feel like it was for me. I sang in the choir which was pretty cool because this was the first MTC devotional that was viewed Live by most of the other MTCs and shown later to the other MTC's. It was translated into multiple different languages and it was awesome. Richard G. Scott talked about prayer. He said our prayers are answered in 3 different ways: 1. Peace and Assurance, a good feeling that your answer is right, 2. A stupor of thought or unsettling feeling that your choice is wrong, or 3. nothing. He asked "Why would the Lord do this? To help us grow". I thought this was so interesting. He said sometimes that Lord lets His children struggle for a little while before giving them answers so their character can be built and their faith can strengthen. But He said God will always answer our prayers, it's all just in His timing and not ours. He later said something that caused tears to spring to my eyes. He said "with an Apostolic authority, I invoke a blessing upon you who are learning a new language" that through our faith we will be able to do it. He said "[God] knows your strengths. He knows where you need to be strengthened." I know that this is true. I know that God answers our prayers and that He cares about us because we are His. We are His children. And He is our Father. And I'm so grateful that I have this knowledge.
Today we had the opportunity to go to the temple! WHOOOHOO! I love the temple! It's been closed since our first week coming here. It was awesome being able to go our first week here and our last week here. It truly is the house of God and I want to always live my life in such a way that I will be worthy to enter it.
One of the reasons I am on a mission is because I want to be the kind of mom my children need. I told this to my teacher Sisar Christofferson and she shared this quote with me. Now I'm not saying in order to be a good mom you have to be an RM, heck I have the best mom in the whole world and she didn't serve a mission, (this is Jenessa's mom - just wanted to say thanks for the shout out Baby Girl! now back to her letter....) but I know that I needed this mission in order to be the mom I need to be. The quote is by President Gordon B. Hinckley and it says:
"Many young women are serving missions. Many are preparing to serve. Not because they aren't married or have nothing else to do; but because they have a desire to serve and therefore are being called to the work. The reason so many are going is because in the next generation, Heavenly Father will be sending His priesthood army to the Earth and wants to send them to mothers who have been properly trained and taught in the gospel. What better training can a young woman have than that of serving a mission"
I believe this is true and I'm grateful for this training period I get the next 18 months of my life so I can let the Lord shape me into who I am destined to become.
This week we said good-bye to a sister from Finland going to Greece. She is seriously one of the cutest people ever and was always so kind to us. I still remember she came up to me my first day in the MTC and she gave me a big hug when she found out I was going to Finland. It's crazy because her district was two elders, one from Scotland and one from England, she is from Finland, and her companion was from Italy because they can't send American missionaries to Greece. I can only imagine how hard it would be trying to learn a new language when some of them didn't know English all that well (the Italian Sister barely knew any before she came so she ended up learning English while learning Greek). Basically only through the Lord are we able to do this.
I love you all. I'll see ya soon. Can't believe that next time I write you, I'll be across the world. KIRKKO ON TOTTA.
"There is absolutely nothing in this world that will provide more comfort and happiness than a testimony of the truth" -President Thomas S. Monson