Oh what a week... what a wonderful wonderful week! So... last tuesday, we were able to go to the house of the family that we just found and teach them for the first time and then we were able to go again last night. Let me preface all of this though-- Most people we talk to or I have taught thus far on my mission either aren't even from Finland so they speak English, or they are Finnish and they speak quite a bit of English, so what I'm not able to say, I can say in English... or at least most of the time. Well, this family, doesn't speak a lick of English-- whatsoever! Only Finnish. So me and Sister Allen being fairly new and not knowing Finnish super well were hoping that maybe, just maybe, they would speak a little English too. Well first lesson, we find out: NOPE they do not speak English. We were really nervous going into our first lesson, but had role played A LOT. I prayed and prayed in my heart that it would go well. We have worked so hard just to find someone that is willing to actually meet and listen. I want so badly someone who really cares about what we are teaching them and wants to go somewhere with it. Well this is how the first lesson went-- the Dad was the one who we had talked to in the very first place, so we sat down at the table with him, and then asked if his wife wanted to come in and join too. So she came in and sat down. She listened, but didn't say a lot. The dad had read almost all of the chapters of the "Questions of the Soul" that we had used to talk with him at the door. It was crazy. That means he had read at least 10 chapters of the Book of Mormon. He said he really likes it because it is so much simpler to understand than the bible. We were able to talk all about families and the blessings that we can receive through the gospel. We felt like it would be a really good thing to talk about with them since they have two little boys-- one that is 10 and one that is 3. We talked about God's love for his children and that he has prepared a plan for all of us to return to live with him after this life. They listened really well and I could tell that they were really thinking about what we said to them. We explained a little about the Family Proclamation and then committed them both to reading it before we met again. The best thing was that we said a prayer at the end of the lesson and I just felt the spirit so strongly. They agreed to meeting again and it was just so great!
So then our second lesson, the Dad had read more of the Book of Mormon, and they had both read the Proclamation. We talked more about what they had liked from the Proclamation. I talked about one of my favorite parts-- that we can be together with our families forever through these sacred ordinances and covenants we make in the temple. We were then able to tell them just a little about temples. They said that that was a great promise. We then did just a basic low down of why we are here and what our hope for them is. The dad talked about attending many churches before hand. So I asked him well does learning about our church feel the same or different. He took a few moments to answer and then he looked at us and said, "it feels different." It was such a defining moment in the lesson. I was just so happy inside. We were able to talk to them about church and they committed to coming to church this Sunday with their WHOLE family!!! What?! We also tried to get one of them to pray at the end of the lesson. It was a struggle for a while because the Dad wanted the mom to pray, but she felt embarrassed about doing it, so finally one of us, said we would say it, but we made them promise to pray out loud together that night. They said that they would.
I can't tell you how full of happiness and love my heart is today. WE ARE TEACHING A FINNISH FAMILY!! It's such a wonderful feeling inside. I walked away from their lesson last night, almost speechless because I knew that Heavenly Father had directed every single part of that lesson-- he had helped me to speak Finnish enough that they could understand and had helped me to understand more of what they said. We had taught them so much more than we had even planned and I had felt the spirit while we were there. It was amazing!!!
Another great story that happened yesterday as well--
As we were sitting on a bench trying to role play our lesson for that family that we would teach in an hour, a man who we had passed earlier on the street that day and said hi to, stopped and started to talk to ask us a question. He had a really bad stutter and he didn't speak Finnish hardly at all. Well, long story short, despite the HUGE language barrier, we talked to him for a while and ended up walking with him to his house and met his wife and we were invited in and given orange juice and some yummy cinnamon bread and cookies. We were able to download the Book of Mormon on their phone and give them a pass along card to show them where they could look up our website and learn more. They are from Iraq and moved to Finland because there were so many problems happening there. They don't speak any English, but they really try to speak Finnish. They haven't ever taken a class or anything, they just have learned by listening and talking with people. It's so crazy to me how kind they were and willing to just let us into their home and feed us. The husband even told us if we are ever close by and we are tired, we can come and take a nap if we ever need too. They even offered us dinner, but we had to go for our appointment. Seriously, here are these people who don't even know us AT ALL. None of us speak Finnish very well, but we are able to communicate and figure out what the other one is saying. I felt of their love and I know they felt the same way. I started to cry as we left their house, because I couldn't believe how kind they had been. That doesn't just happen everyday. EVER. Especially not with a language barrier like that one. It is a testimony to me that it doesn't matter what language you speak, or even how well you speak it-- actions speak much much louder than words, and when the spirit is present, all things are possible. I think we will try and go back to visit them sometime, we just will probably have to get permission because they may be Muslim.
My heart is ever full of love! SO SO SO MUCH LOVE! God loves all of us! He is watching over us. He has created a plan for us centered on the life and Atonement of Jesus Christ to make it possible for us to return and live with him. This life truly is a time to grow and learn and become more like our Savior Jesus Christ. Lift up your hearts, lift up your eyes, and speak what is in your heart be it happiness or sorrow-- He is always listening, He is always watching, and He is always there to lift and love you. I know this is the true church of Jesus Christ. He is leading and guiding it and He loves each one of us! I know these things are true in the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Have the most wonderful week ever!!