Wow what a week!!! WE HAD A BAPTISM!! Yep, it really happened! Well let me lay out this great last week and all the exciting things that happened!
TIISTAI-- Sister Allen and I had to teach at a Young Single Adult's activity. There were two girls who weren't members of the church there, and they seemed to have really liked our lesson and were touched by it. Then we made American chocolate chip cookies with all of them. The first batch... well didn't turn out so well. We forgot to check it soon enough, and so they were a little more on the dark brown side.. But the next one turned out really well, and everyone LOVED them! Then after the Young Single Adult activity, we decided to drop off a treat at our Family's house. We had made this apple crisp type thing with cornflakes, apples, brown sugar, and butter, but it didn't exactly turn out the way we expected. It was... well... a little squishy, but we decided to take it anyways. They didn't know we were coming, so we wrote a little note and taped it to the Tupperware bowl and then decided for the fun of it, we would leave it, ring the doorbell, run and hide, and watch. I don't actually know if that is legal in Finland, but after some pondering and discussion, we decided that because we knew them, and they knew us, and we weren't doing any harm, that it was probably alright. It was fun to watch them, and we got a text the next day, thanking us for the treats and that they were yummy. SUCCESS!
KESKIVIIKKO-- We had Zone Conference in Tampere which is about an hour and half train ride past lakes and trees and all things beautiful! Oh do I love train rides! Most of our Zone Conference was all about the Sabbath and how we as missionaries can make it a "delight". It was one of the best Zone meetings that I have had so far on my mission. I loved how much we talked about the Sabbath being the Lord's day and that ultimately that means we should give back everything to Him. It means giving up the things we want to do most, for what he would want us to do-- serving and lifting others. It was really great.
TORSTAI-- We did a lot of preparations for the baptism. Then we did some good 'ole tracting for a while. While we were tracting, we passed a door where a Jamaican looking man and his friend were just sitting. We said Moi to them, but didn't stop to talk to them. We got about 20 steps from the door and I turn to Sister Allen and say, we should go back and talk to them. She says, "Yeah I agree I was thinking the same thing." So as dumb as we felt going back after we'd just passed them and said hi, we decided to go back. Well come to find out, the one Jamaican looking guy had actually talked with a lot of missionaries before and even had a Book of Mormon in his mother language. He definitely had some crazy ideas about the Mormon church and it was a hard discussion to get through. I think the hardest thing was that it was in English... now I know that probably sounds crazy, but here is the secret. Sometimes (well most of the time) I can't exactly understand everything that the Finns say to me, so if I don't, I just start telling them about something else. I don't have to be frustrated by their comments or their opinions of the church because I don't exactly understand all of it. But when it was in English, I understood everything and I could also say everything I wanted. It really made me think about how things would be different and also hard if I was in an English speaking mission. Definitely positives to both! So then we went and taught our other investigator. We are just trying to read the Book of Mormon with her and help her to gain a testimony of it for herself first, before we keep teaching everything else. I think it went pretty well! Then we went to the church to practice our musical number for the baptism on Saturday. Let me just say... I did not think I would be singing so much in front of people in my life. It just isn't exactly my favorite thing. Well I am definitely learning to love singing almost alone in front of people now. This is about the 4th or 5th time now I've had the privilege to do this! Yay for new talents! Then our family came to the church and we worked on Baptism papers for a little while, until they had their interview. Everything went well and they passed!! :)
PERJANTAI-- We did some more great tracting and then had weekly planning. It wasn't quite as exciting as past weeks have been because now they are baptized. It's sort of like starting back over at step one. It's a good change though! I am really excited to start teaching them all the lessons again though! After weekly planning and dinner, we went to our family's house, for our last lesson with them as investigators. One of the ward members came with us. He is their new home teacher. The lesson was all about callings in the church and missionary work. It was a super lesson and the husband talked about how he had shared a little bit with one of his friends about their investigation process of the church. Then we gave them two Books of Mormon and committed them to giving them to either a friend or family member and telling them about it and why it was important to them. I am really excited to see who they give it to and what happens.
LAUANTAI--- THE BIG DAY!!!! We went to the church early and got everything ready. The font was a little dirty so we spend about 20 minutes fishing weird things out of the water. That was random. Then everyone came and the baptism happened. While they were being baptized, their older son, almost threw the pooh bear in the baptismal font... that was rather exciting. There were so many members that came and they gave them lots of gifts and were so supportive. We really couldn't have made all of this happen and go so well without all of the members help! I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR THIS WARD!
So then that evening, we dropped by the Luomala's and talked with them about the day and how it had gone. We gave them these two journals with their names on them and had them write about the day and how they had felt and thought. Then on Sunday, after church, we had them do the same thing, but about their confirmations. Hopefully this way they can always have a place to go back to and refer to if they ever need a good reminder of the way they felt that day. I didn't get to read the books, but I know that they were excited to write in them. Then we all took silly pictures with their family and gave them our little present which was a big picture of Christ and bore our testimonies and told them how much we loved them. It was a special evening for sure! A special day in all!
SUNNUNTAI-- Their confirmations in church went SUPER well, and I really just felt the spirit so strongly their. It was definitely a warm fuzzy moment... one where I tried not to cry in front of everyone. I was just so proud of them and so happy to see them so happy! We had a really great experience in Sunday school with the husband and I really wanted to share it too. So in Sunday school, it was just Sister Allen and I, an older lady in our ward who is our teacher, and the husband. We were talking all about praying to our Heavenly Father. Closer to the end of the lesson, the teacher asked Him if he had had any special experiences with prayer before he had met the missionaries, or even after. He began to explain a story that he has never shared with us before. He said that when he was in his 20's (now 38), he realized that life really was going to be a long time. How boring it would be to have practically the same routine day-in-and-day-out. He then began to realize there had to be something missing in his life; there had to be something more. So really that's when he started his search. He attended many churches with his family, talked with multiple priests from various churches, and researched a lot. A few weeks before we came, the Jehovah Witnesses had come to his house. He said he just didn't feel like it was what he had been searching for. So finally about three days before we showed up, he decided to pray and ask Heavenly Father to help him to know what was missing and how he could find or get that. And then... that's when we came. And the rest you know! You can guess that I was crying. The best part of all of this... it was in Finnish. I can't say I've had a super lot of those experiences feeling the spirit when the language is in Finnish, only because I don't always understand a lot. But I understood pretty well his story, and I know that it was a special tender mercy from Heavenly Father, that I could understand it so well, because I know he knew that I needed to hear that.
So then in the evening we went tracting for a while and then went to our favorite old lady's house to visit and have yummy snacks. She is just a hoot and I love her to death!
It was such a special sunday. A delight for sure!
MAANANTAI-- Well I finally got to go visiting teaching for the first time... that was exciting. One of the ladies in the ward had a teaching appointment, but her partner couldn't make it, so she called us to go with her. They talked about ALL kinds of things. It really made me realize how simple life is on a mission. Just us sharing a message about Jesus Christ and bringing others unto him. It's great! Then we also were able to visit our family! They are doing awesome and they just are so happy! At the end of our lesson, we were able to have a family prayer with their kids too. Usually they have never wanted to be in where we are or have any part in the lessons, but they did and it was so great! We talked about family home evening and made a little chart for them. Their home teacher is also coming this week to talk about family home evening. Hopefully next week we can have a really awesome one with them, that helps inspire and motivate them to having it. I AM JUST SO EXCITED FOR THEM!!!
Wow what a week! I am so filled with the Love of God! He is real! He is there! He loves each one of us, imperfections and all. I know He wants each of His children to return and live with Him and I am so grateful that I have this time to dedicate fully my efforts to bringing others closer to Him and His son. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. It changes lives, and it's continually changing mine! I love you all and hope you can feel of God's love for you individually! You are wonderful! Have a super week!
|LOOK WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK !!!!!!!|
|Us and Them!!! The night after their baptism - attempting scary faces!!!|