This was a good week. It was tiring, but it was good! Every week we set goals that we want to achieve (example: number of teaches we want, number of investigators at church, number of referrals from members of their friends that we can teach, etc). By setting goals, we are able to put our trust and faith in the Lord. Well this week, we all felt really strongly that we needed to set some pretty high goals. Even though most of the numbers were higher than we have ever reached, we decided to follow the Spirit and trust in the Lord. Then we went to work.
We taught this teenage girl who is the friend of one of the young women. We had a great meal with them before and then we taught about the Restoration. From the moment we started talking it reminded me of when Kimmy took the missionary discussions. (Jenessa's high school friend who was baptized 2 1/2 years ago.) The lesson went great and the Spirit was strong. At the end I was bearing my testimony and I just started crying. Through my tears and broken Finnish, I testified to this girl that she is a daughter of her Heavenly Father. That He loves her and that He knows her. That she is special and that she is worth it. I told her that Jesus Christ is her Savior and Redeemer and that He loves her perfectly. I could feel the love Heavenly Father has for this precious daughter of His as I was speaking. She started tearing up (okay actually everybody did) and at the end we invited her to pray. She said a simple but beautiful prayer. Her friend had to help her say "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen" at the end. When she finished, her friend threw her arms around her and they both had tears in her eyes while they hugged. This is why I'm here. Because everybody needs this gospel. Everybody needs more happiness, purpose, and hope in their lives. I love my life!
We also had a great teach with the most adorable girl ever! She's 20 and I met her on the bus. She's super outgoing and friendly, likes practicing her English with us, and is genuinely interested in learning about the church. She's come to FHE (Family Home Evening) with the young adults twice (they have a lesson, a meal, and then an activity. it's really fun). This past week, she came a little early and we were able to give her a tour of the church building. When we were in the Relief Society room, I bore my testimony of the power of the Relief Society. As we were talking about this amazing women's organization, she said "I have chills as you're speaking. This is truly amazing". We finished in the room with the baptismal font. We talked about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. We explained to her that the feeling she had felt when we were upstairs in the relief society room is the Holy Ghost. We explained to her what the role of the Holy Ghost is-that one of His main roles is to testify of truth-and that through the Holy Ghost she can know the truthfulness of our message. After Perhe Ilta (FHE), I felt that we should show her this video. http://www.lds.org/
pages/mormon-messages# daughters-of-god. As we watched it, the Spirit was so strong. She even pointed out that she could feel it. We met with her again on Wednesday at a cafe and it went so well. She said that when she's with us, she feels an incredible peace and feels warm in her heart. It is obvious that the Spirit is working on her. Our invitation to everyone is to not just take our word for it. We invite everyone everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ask God in the name of Jesus Christ if it is true, and by the power of the Holy Ghost we can know the truth of all things. I know for MYSELF that this is God's one true church on the earth. No mortal man could've just made it up. I'm sorry, Joseph Smith was smart but he wasn't that smart. This is obviously the work of the Lord.
So anyway, our goals that we had set were going fine, but we weren't quite reaching them. The majority of our investigators weren't able to come to church on Sunday which was sad. There's a one hour break between the two wards that we attend. During that hour, we went to the center of the city to pick up one of our new investigators and bring her to church. When we got to church, we had to practice a song that we were singing in Sacrament Meeting (in front of everybody... in FINNISH. okay I know that makes sense but still, sometimes I freak out when I think about the fact that I'm singing/speaking/thinking in Finnish!). She's 17 so we introduced her to some of the young women so they could talk to her while we practiced. When we got back, we saw that they had brought her into the chapel and had all sat down and surrounded her. There wasn't even room for us! It was amazing! And she looked so happy! One of our other investigators came who we taught for the first time this week after a member referred her to us saying that she needed help cleaning her house. Before we left her house, we ended up giving her a spiritual thought and committing her to be BAPTIZED. When we later told the member, she was shocked! PEOPLE ARE READY FOR THIS GOSPEL. The Lord knows who is ready. We need to help His work by inviting our friends and praying for ways that we can share the gospel. A simple act of service is enough to provide the perfect gateway to lasting happiness and salvation people! This is important! :)) so that was really exciting! Then we were talking with the young woman about the lesson we had with her friend earlier that week (the one in the story above) and the other young women heard us and one of them said "wait! I have a friend I want you to teach too!!. Then before church started, Sarah (our recent convert) shows up to church with her children and another woman and her son. This other woman is not a member of the church, but she absolutely loved it! When she saw a flier for a Relief Society activity, she turned to Sarah and said "Sarah, we should go to this! She asked me if she could buy a Liahona (church magazine) and I told her she could have it for free. She gave us her number and said she wants to learn more. AND GET THIS. SARAH HAD MET HER ONLY 2 DAYS EARLIER IN THE TOWN CENTER. WHAAAAAAT?! She had just started talking to her and ended up inviting her to church! And she's totally interested and wants to learn more and now she and Sarah are friends! This is what missionary work is about people. Inviting EVERYBODY. So basically, KIRKKO ON TOTTA AND GOD LIVES. Through all of these amazing miracles (and more) we met almost all of our goals (which was UNBELIEVABLE). I know that when the Lord asks us to do something, He provides us a way so that we can do it. I love being able to witness His hand in all that we do.
OKAY, so here's a list of some more "Finnishisms" (things that reflect my life here/Finnish culture)
1. everybody wears crocs
2. when teenagers learn to drive here, they all have to drive these little cars that look like smart cars that can only fit 2 people in them and have a big orange triangle on the back of them
3. they eat rye bread like candy
4. and we eat candy like candy. they especially like salted black licorice (which i'm trying reaaally hard to like... it's a bit of an acquired taste)
5. everybody's a "member" of the Lutheran church but most people don't attend
6. so many people wear American athletic wear (but then when I try to use it to strike up a conversation, they don't even know anything about the teams...)
7. as soon as you walk into pretty much any house or apartment, you walk right into a mudroom. it doesn't matter how big your house is or how small your apartment is, essentially everybody has a mudroom as their entry room... if that doesn't show you how wet and muddy and snowy this place gets, i don't know what does....
8. you haven't seen pine trees until you've seen Finnish pine trees
9. you flush toilets by pushing a button on the top of them
10. and everybody's legit scared for winter (you'd think they'd be used to it by now).... and apparently we're supposed to get actual snow this week. wish me luck. :)