I LOVE THE CITY OF HELSINKI. So Sisar Woods and I hopped on a train and rode 5 hours to Helsinki. It is so beautiful. We then spent the next 3 days being edified and taught by President Rawlings and most importantly, by the Spirit. It was sooo fun seeing my old comps, Sisar Hubner and Sisar Egan! It felt like just yesterday we were there for our interim training! And now our little babies are growing up and saving China (or Finland, whichever the case may be)! Time is just flying by. I love meeting with other missionaries because it gives me a chance to see the other people that are fighting in God's army with me. I met some awesome missionaries (and some really great Elders that ended up being lifesavers.... but we'll get to that in a minute).
On Thursday I had the opportunity to go to the Helsinki Temple with the other trainers while our companions were in a language school. It was sooo amazing. I haven't gone to the temple in so long! and it was my first time going inside the Helsinki Temple. For those of you who don't know, in our church we have church buildings (that we go to every Sunday, have activities at, etc) and then we have temples, special buildings built for the Lord. Here is where we perform special covenants (promises) with Heavenly Father. One includes eternal marriage, meaning we can be with those we love after we die. Obviously, that is not what I was there to do because I'm kinda not in that chapter of my life right now. Anyway, it was so amazing to go there and feel the Spirit. It was so peaceful and beautiful. As I sat in the celestial room, I was overcome by the extreme peace that I felt. It went into every corner of my body, and filled my heart until it was overflowing. I can't even fully describe the feeling that washed over me. The veil felt so thin and I felt so close to heaven. As I sat there and just pondered, I thought of all the people I wanted there with me - that if I weren't allowed to leave this room ever again, who I would want to join me in it. Of course I thought of my mom and dad and my brothers. And then I thought of all of my extended family, my best friends, other missionaries, the prophets and apostles, my investigators, all of my friends, my acquaintances, the people of Finland... the list just kept growing and growing. I want all of these people to have what I have. I felt peace and the overwhelming love of my Heavenly Father and my Savior. As I sat next to Sisar Hubner and Sisar Egan, we all just started to cry. We never wanted to leave. We didn't want to go back to the World. But eventually, we knew that we needed to go (after all of the other missionaries had already left haha). As we came out of the temple, the sun was shining low in the sky and reflected off the snow. It was so beautiful. I felt my Heavenly Father's love for me so strongly. I felt the overwhelming assurance that this gospel really is true. That God really does live, that Christ really is our Savior, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints truly is Christ's kingdom upon the earth, helping to prepare the earth for Christ's second coming. I'm so grateful for the knowledge that I have. Nothing in this world can compare to the light, happiness, peace, and joy that I have found in this gospel. My hope is that everyone I love will eventually come to it and feel what I have felt.
Well, we got back from the temple and realized that we were in quite the rush. Sisar Woods and I had about an hour to make it to our train to return home to Kuopio. All of us trainers had to buy our return tickets home at the station. I either had the choice to choose the 5:12 train or the 7:12 train. The later one would get us home at midnight, so I opted for the earlier one thinking that of course we could make it. We then hopped on the tram and rode for 20 minutes back to the church building to pick up our companions. The language school wasn't out yet, and the time was ticking away. Soon it reached the point where I realized if we didn't leave that very second, there was no way we could make it back to the train station in time. So another missionary and I crashed the language school and grabbed our comps. Sisar Woods and I took off with 2 elders who also wanted to make the same train. We both had suitcases, our personal bags, and 4 others bags full of supplies (like planners and scriptures and stuff) and a big package for Elder Hugie, an Elder in Kuopio. So our little group made it to the tram stop and the tram wasn't there! We realized it wouldn't come for 13 minutes! At this point, my stress level started rising. When we miss our trains, the church gets fined and it causes quite the hassle. All of the other missionaries started arriving at the tram stop and were like "why are you still here?! You need to leave!" I was just like "uhhh... ya think??" The tram finally came and I was really starting to get antsy. We had 17 minutes to get back to the train station and the tram usually takes 20. Plus, once we got to the stop we would have to get off the tram, cross the street, go into the train station, and try and find our train. As we rode, I was just praying the whole time that Heavenly Father would help us - that somehow, someway, we would make our train. Well miraculously, we got to the train station 2 minutes before our train was supposed to leave. One of the Elders grabbed my suitcase, another grabbed Elder Hugie's package, and another grabbed Sisar Wood's suitcase. The Elder who was also trying to make our train said he would run ahead to stop it. Well the tram doors opened, and we were off! We tore out of the tram, crossed the street, and took off sprinting through a crowded train station. Elder Golling and I were in the lead, but my pencil skirt, heavy boots, and arms full of bags slowed me down (ugh!!!). At this point there was only one thing going through my mind- we need to make this train!!! I got to the tracks and lost Elder Golling. I followed his companion, Elder McKnight, along with my companion to a train saying that it was going to Kuopio. We ran to it and arrived there, but realized it was the wrong train! And we were missing the two elders- Elder Golling and Elder Jefferies- who actually knew what was going on! Elder Stimpson (Elder Jefferies comp) was with us too. We were all like "where is your companion?!?!?" and he was like "I don't even know!!!" We were literally out of time. The adrenaline was insane. All of a sudden, Elder Jefferies came running around the corner yelling "it's over here!" Then we 4 missionaries took off running again. We got to our train just in time! The elders had already loaded my suitcase and everything on the train for me. We got on, the doors closed, and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief as the train pulled out. It was the craziest running to a train story of my life. And I hope to never have one again. Literally, without those elders, we would not have made it. My life is one crazy adventure.
We got back to Kuopio, and it fully hit me that I am back in the world again. Things have been hard. People use their agency to walk away from Christ. It's so heartbreaking for me to watch people I know who have felt the Spirit, who have felt the truthfulness of this message, just decide that they don't want it anymore. That it's not worth it. I have felt some deep sorrow these past couple days, as we have lost investigators and as I think back to the beauty of the temple and what I want for these people!
I will stand and fight for my Savior all the days of my life, because during those times that I feel like I can't rely on anyone else I know I can always rely on Him. He is my strength. He is my guide. He is my friend. He is my Redeemer. He truly has saved me. I would be lost without Him. He is my anchor in the storms of life. He is everything.
I love the Temple and have missed it so much. Don’t take it for granted people! Go to the house of the Lord. Go to the temple now. If you're not worthy or able to go, make changes in your life so you can.
May we all do a little better each day to come unto Christ.
I love you!