For starters, we got change calls! And Sisar Heggie and I are up for ROUND 2 SISTER TRAINING LEADERS IN ESPOO, the land of the temple! It's so amazing to be here and we are way stoked for this coming change. Also, we said goodbye to our dear Sisar Cribbs who is now the most recent awkward returned missionary back in the real world. Yikes, I don't even wanna think about the day when that will be me! But it's coming quickly so I've just got to make every moment of these next couple months count.
Also, the magazine came out! And we may or may not be 4 FULL PAGES in a very popular magazine here that is in EVERY STORE. It is an amazing article! Very positive and a good portrayal. One of our members said "you're all over Facebook! even my friend from Canada liked the picture of you three!" so that was exciting. Apparently one of the pics from it was posted on the church page (the Finnish one... I think just search Myöhempien Aikojen Pyhien Kirkko) on Facebook so look it up :). But it's really exciting how much publicity our church is getting and how positive it has been here. And they are just amazed by the sisters. We've had sisters in newspaper articles, on prime time television, and now one of the top stories in a major magazine. It's been so cool to see how positive all of it has been! And how people recognize us when we talk with them on the public transportation. I LOVE being a representative of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Heavenly Father answers prayers. He knows the secret desires of our hearts. He reaffirmed to me this week just how true this really is. Soo as many of you know, my dad served his mission in Sapporo, Japan. It has kinda been my secret dream to meet somebody from Sapporo and share the gospel with them. I just thought it would be way cool and special if I could share the gospel with the people that my dad loves so much. Well, I had never told anybody that but Heavenly Father, and let's get for real, He is the only person I needed to tell. Last Monday we went shopping and eating in Helsinki (way fun!). We then traveled to another part of Helsinki to go to a Marimekko outlet (look it up! it's a suuuuper popular Finnish brand). While on the metro, this Asian couple comes and sits down in front of me. I wanted to talk to them so I looked for clues as to how to start a conversation. Well, I noticed that on the woman's lap was a map leading them to this Marimekko outlet. So I asked "are you going there right now?" and they responded "yes we are!" and I was like "Yay! I've never been there before and we don't really know where to go, can we walk with you?" to which they readily agreed. We got off the metro and got on a bus and meanwhile I'm chatting with them the whole time. Turns out they were from JAPAN and so I asked "what part??" and they said "Tokyo" so I thought "ah that's cool.. it's not Sapporo but still cool." I then explained to them how my dad had lived in Japan and how he loved it! How I grew up eating sticky white rice and how he always spoke so fondly of it, but I said that he actually lived in Sapporo. Both of their eyes got huge and they both said super excitedly "WE ARE ACTUALLY FROM SAPPORO!!!!!" I was like "WHAT, NO WAY!" And they thought it was SOOO COOL that my dad had lived there. We got off the bus and went inside the outlet and lost each other. I was so grateful that I met them but was silently praying that Heavenly Father would let me somehow share the gospel with them. Well, right before they left they came and found me and said that it was nice to meet me. I then bore my testimony as to why I am here. That I am here for the same reason that my dad went to Japan - because this is the most important thing to me and that it will bless everybody's lives. I bore my testimony of the gospel to them and said that because they were so nice, this is something that I wanted to share with them. I gave them a mormon.org card and she graciously took it and was so sweet and said she will definitely look it up. She then asked "can I get a picture with you?" to which of course I responded "YES" and she gave me a big hug before she left. It was the sweetest thing. As we stood there posing for the picture and as she hugged me, I felt the spirit so strongly. It was incredible. I felt the most amazing warm feeling come over me like Heavenly Father was giving me a hug. I felt Him say "see, I do care. I do care about the little things. I love you." God is our FATHER. He is the perfect Father. He loves us so much and He cares about us individually. He knows the desires of our hearts and He blesses us in more ways than we can even understand. I'm so grateful for the tiny moments when I can see His hand and His witness to me that He is there and that He loves me. And this is the joyful news that I am taking to the world. What an amazing opportunity this really is!
D is doing soo well! We had some great lessons with him this week. After somebody is baptized, we go through and reteach all of the lessons again, just this time in more detail. We taught the Restoration. We got this new idea and thought "well, why not. let's just try it and see what happens"- so we did. It went amazingly! We were all sitting down and we started the lesson. We talked about how Christ organized His true church on the earth and what it contained. Then Sisar Heggie and I stood up and we walked over to the windows as we continued talking and we started saying things like "but people didn't want the truth. They rejected it. They stoned and killed the prophets..." and as we spoke, we started closing all of the blinds until they were all closed. Then I went over to the light switch and I said "and they even killed Christ" and I turned off the light and we were plunged into darkness. It was really powerful. We went and sat back down on the couches and continued to teach, in the dark. We talked about the apostasy and how the world was in darkness. How people searched and searched for truth but couldn't find it. We read a scripture from the Bible that foretells about this apostasy, or time when God's true church was not found on the earth. We asked D how it would feel to be on the earth at that time. He said that that's exactly how he felt before he joined the church. That he just kinda did whatever he wanted but that he wasn't truly happy and he felt he was missing something. He said now he has "God as his close friend" and he is so much happier. Our member then got out her iphone and we shared this video: http://www.
mormonchannel.org/come-follow- me-the-apostasy-and-the- restoration?v=1101418645001. As the video played, we slowly started opening the curtains and at the end, we turned the light back on. Oh how glorious the Restoration was! It brought light back to this world! The Spirit was so strong as we taught the lesson it reaffirmed to me how NECESSARY and IMPORTANT the Restoration really is. I am so grateful that I can enjoy the blessings of it in my life and share them with others. We also taught D the Plan of Salvation again. At the end he prayed (he always says the MOST AMAZING prayers) and he said "I am excited to meet you and talk with you and stay in your kingdom with you forever." It was so simple, but so incredibly powerful. That is truly what our goal is. To meet God and rejoice with Him forever with our family and loved ones. This life is a time for us to prepare to meet Him. So we must make every moment count. Also, he is suuuuuper excited to go to the temple. He met with the Bishop yesterday for his recommend and he walked out and raised it in the air like a trophy. We will be going to the temple with him . I'm so excited to go :)
We also had lots of other miracles this week, including setting 2 baptismal dates with people and both of them came to church! One is the sweetest woman ever and she and her daughter came to church and her daughter (6 years old) told her mom she wants to get baptized and be with her family forever. It was the sweetest thing! "And a little child shall lead them."
It has been raining like CRAZY this week. ugh fall is here. And it's cold! Sisar Heggie and I were on strike and refused to wear coats until September. Well I'm kinda grateful that it's finally September so we can finally wear coats because we could see our breath this morning outside! I had to make an emergency purchase and buy rain boots because my other shoes are literally falling apart! We seriously walk sooo much! But really, the stereotype of missionaries walking so much their shoes fall apart is true. I can testify of it :)
The church is true. Heavenly Father knows us and loves us! I am so grateful for the knowledge it has brought to my life. Pray to help and bring others to it. Live everyday so that others can see Jesus Christ in YOU. You are His agent and YOU represent Him. So represent Him well for all the world to see. He lives. I love Him.
and I love you!
ps one of the exciting moments of the week: so Finland has a lot of INCREDIBLE food, but there are definitely some things that I really miss from back home like a real American BBQ, good Mexican food, real peanut butter, and peanut butter with chocolate, my mom's waffles, chocolate chips, Costco muffins.... etc and the other day we were walking on the street and I turned to Sisar Heggie and I said "I really really want a root beer float right now" and then we mourned the fact that root beer is not found in Finland and then we bucked up and continued with our lives. Weeeellll, yesterday we were at a member's house for dinner. It was amazing food! homemade rolls, delicious salmon, a green salad, sweet potatoes, and plum pie for dessert. Ahhh my mouth is watering just thinking about it all. So they brought out a pitcher of a dark drink that they made with the sodastream (they are suuuper popular here). And Sisar Heggie asked what it was and they said "just try it" so we poured a little sip and it was ROOT BEER! WE ABOUT DIED! And the whole family was laughing soooo hard at our reactions. I got super excited and was telling them how I was just saying that I really wanted a root beer float and that this is the first time I've had root beer since I came to Finland! The mom got up and came back and brought me ice cream! And so we got to eat ROOT BEER FLOATS IN FINLAND. I don't know if you guys understand the MAGNITUDE of this! It was incredible! One of the teenage daughters said through her laughter "I've never seen missionaries be so happy in my life" hahaaha it really is the little things folks. So eat a root beer float, remember that God loves you, and know that He cares about the little things that we care about and that He really does like to just help us smile :) Church is true friends!