Tuesday, November 24, 2015

11/24/15 BELIEVE God Will Provide a Way... All You Have to Do is OBEY

Hopefully this week I can fill you all in more on what's been going on these past few weeks.  It's been a whirlwind for sure, but a definite good one.  I decided instead of outlining my whole week for you this time, I just wanted to mention some of the most important things and things that I learned.  We'll see if I like it better and what not.
So FIRST... wanted to talk about our recent convert family.  GUESS WHAT??  We have a new member of the family.  They had their baby this week.  It was a little girl.  Definitely having a baby on the way so soon has made it difficult to meet and have the new recent convert lessons, but this has given the ward a good chance to step in and help-- and they most definitely have done so.  This ward is seriously so great! We were able to squeeze in a lesson with them last tuesday (she had the baby on friday).  So it was pretty soon before she had it.  They actually taught the restoration lesson to us, and they did such a great job.  The husband bore his testimony at the end.  It was so AWESOME!  I am so grateful for them, and that Sister Allen and I knocked on their door 4 months ago.  As we walked away from their house on tuesday night, we got about 20 steps out the door and I just had this overwhelming feeling come.  So I stopped and said Sister Adams this is right where I stood the very first time we knocked on their door and walked away after talking with the husband about the Book of Mormon.  I remember looking back and seeing him still standing their on the doorstep just watching us walk away, as if his life had just completely changed.  Little did he know, that it really would.  Definitely a tender moment for me and I'm just so happy I've been able to stay here in Jyväskylä for as long as I have and to continue to see, teach, and visit them, and be apart of their lives.
SECOND... We finally were able to talk with a less active that Sister Allen and I had been trying several times to reach.  We had gone to her house probable a hand full of times, but no one was ever home, and we had called and texted a bunch too.  Well I just had the thought to try one more time with Sister Adams, and what do you know?  She was just walking up the apartment steps when we got there.  We set up a return appointment and we're going to visit her this week.  It's so amazing to see the small miracles that happen each day and how much we are blessed.  I'm so grateful for Heavenly Father's direction and that His timing is perfect.
THIRD... we taught our one and only investigator at the moment, this week too.  We changed up a little bit our approach for lessons that we've been using and started talking about the Holy Ghost and promptings we receive in our lives.  This week we really want to talk about the Gift of the Holy Ghost and that we can really have Him in our lives constantly.  Our hope is to invite her to baptism, so we'll see how it goes.  (We've invited about 5 times now).  We're hoping the timing will be right this week, but katsotaan.  
FOURTH...Even amidst the craziness of having a baby and two crazy little boys to take care of, the husband of our recent convert family made it to church with both little boys this week.  I was so proud!! :)  Definitely a happy moment.  He hasn't missed a sunday yet since their baptism. It was a pretty wild Sacrament meeting, but we made it through alright.  It was kind of funny-- I get too stressed out I guess, because one of the ward members was watching the whole time we were trying to help keep the kids under control the whole time (obviously hard for us as missionaries because of the guidelines we have regarding kids).  He came up to us after the meeting and said "Sister Jordan, don't get so stressed out about the kids... kids will be kids.  It's alright."  It definitely reminded me that I just needed to realize that everything wouldn't be perfect and it's not worth it to stress about.  A good lesson to learn!
FIFTH... IT SNOWED!!!! Finally!!! It finally snowed a good 5 inches or more here.  It's seriously like a winter wonderland.  The snow sticks to the trees here like none other.  It's like snow snow everywhere!!!  The snow sticks really well together too, so I've seen quite a few impressive snowmen.  It's so fun!  I never knew I loved snow quite so much.  On the other hand though--- it's been rather cold.  I made an oath that I wasn't getting my winter coat and boots out though until December, so i'm trudging it through the cold this week.  We'll see if I can make it.  I thought my toes were going to about freeze off yesterday when we were out tracting for 3 and half hours.  I think the temperature was about 20ish degrees Fahrenheit, which really isn't too bad, but it was pretty cold.  I'm afraid when winter really comes (a.k.a really cold temperatures) that i'm going to turn into a loyd and harry from Dumb and Dumber and i'll have snot icicles hanging from my nose. It gets so cold when you're out for so long in it, that you just can't tell anymore if you're nose is running or not.  (sorry...but it's true). Oh the joys of winter in Finland as a missionary.  Gotta love it!! I sure do!

So a few other fun facts for the week.  The sun doesn't ever really completely come out, at least not lately anymore.  It's just kind of like this gray sky everywhere.  It's rather dreary looking, but eventually the sun will come back out.  It's about as light as it's going to get by about 9:30am and it starts to get dark about 3-3:30ish in the afternoon.  It's a weird feeling to have it be dark so early, but I just have to remember how light it is in the Summer and that gives me hope.  :)

The ice is slick here.... Sister Adams slipped twice yesterday while we were tracting.  So we're really trying our best to be careful.

Well in closing I just wanted to share about my amazing trainee and companion Sister Adams.  She is from Rexburg, Idaho.  She studied Finnish for a year of college and a lot of family and friends live here in Finland.  So all of the "new" things in Finland are already a normal thing for her.  It's really cool, because she already knows so much about Finland and about the language that really we can just go out and do work.  It hardly feels like a trainer/trainee companionship, it's great!  But most of all I really just wanted to talk about how much of an answer to prayer she was and has been to me.  This is something I really haven't shared with probably many of you, but I felt that it was a good time and it's really meant so much to me these last two weeks that I want to share.  So probably for my entire mission, I have had the hardest time finding the motivation, courage, faith, and determination to talk to people-- be it on the street, on the buses or trains or metros, or at their doors. One I just felt for so long that I completely had no idea what they were saying and I couldn't speak their language hardly at all (or at least anything understandable), and two when I started to understand what they would say, I just felt like I never had anything profound or very interesting to say to them, even if I bore my testimony.  There's probably honestly a whole list of things I could write of why it really was so hard for me, but simply put-- it was really hard and it frustrated me and I have prayed and prayed and prayed for help.  It never has been something I didn't want to do, but rather something I really really wanted to be good at and love doing and that's why it's been so frustrating. It has definitely gotten better throughout my mission, but I just never have felt like I completely reached the point of being comfortable and liking it like I should and like I wanted to.  Well then... Sister Adams came, and it has completely changed my life, my mission, and a lot of my fears and frustrations.  She is fearless, and brave.  She is full of faith and hope and ideas and energy. It's so invigorating and motivating.  She has what I like and probably many others to call "greenie power", except I truly believe hers is just who she is.  She carries a special light with her, and it feels me everyday.  She inspires me to talk to so many and to share the Gospel with everyone.  When I'm with her, I feel like I can talk to and discuss with anyone.  And when we do, I realize that I'm saying more than I ever used to.  I bear my testimony more powerfully, and I realize that Finnish is just coming out, and next thing I know, I'm just telling them all about the Godhead and the history of the Book of Mormon and all these great things.  We gave out 13 Books of Mormon this past week, and 12 potential investigators.  It was crazy and so neat!  I cannot tell you how much I love her.  It really has been an answer to my prayers.  She is teaching me more than i'll probably ever be able to teach her.  She is training me and I love her so much!

I am so grateful to be here, to be serving in such a beautiful place! I know I say it all the time, but seriously Finland is so special and it's so beautiful no matter what season it is.  I am filled with so much gratitude this week in particular for all that God has given me.  It reminds me of one of my favorite hymns.  The words that come to my mind are these

"Because I have been given much, I too must give."

 I pray that I can do this especially this coming week.  I really truly have been given so much, and I too must share this amazing Gospel with others.  We are so blessed as members of this church.  I have such a strong conviction that this truly is the one true church-- Christ's church, restored on the earth today.  What a blessing to have that assurance.  I love you all, and hope you can each take time to ponder all the many blessings that are in your life this week and offer a prayer of gratitude to our Heavenly Father, for all that He has given you individually.  You all are wonderful!  Have a great week!

Sisar Jordan
Sisar Adams and I    

Alright so I had to! It was just so pretty,
and I love the Mormonin Kirja

My Winter Wonderland!!! I LOVE THE SNOW!! 

We are pretty wet from the snow!!! 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

11/17/15 Lots of Change

Hey everyone... didn't have time to write a big one this week.  Want everyone to know how grateful I am for all of you.  I am so loved and so supported.  I'm grateful for opportunities to grow and to change.  This... is definitely one of them.  But it's an important thing.  Here is a picture of me and my new companion (eli) the trainee Sisar Adams.  She is great!

Quote for the day:

"Much more important than speaking, is listening" (Elder Holland)  

Make yourselves a great week! Love you all lots!

Sisar Jordan
Schyler and new comp - Sis Adams is from Idaho - studied finnish a year at BYU and a drama/forensics girl.

Three Generations -  My Trainer, Me, and my Trainee !!!!!!

Monday, November 9, 2015

11/10/15 Best Christmas Present Ever!!!!!!

So transfer calls were on Friday and (drum roll please)............ I AM TRAINING!!  Ahh... I am so excited!  And to top that off, I even got my wish of staying here in Jyväskylä for the next transfer (Christmas, New Years, and Mission Conference).  Seriously it really was like the best early Christmas present ever.  I definitely am really sad that Sister Allen and I won't be companions anymore, or even in the same zone, but it has been so great to serve with her.  She too is really excited about transfer calls.  She'll be going to Kuopio, which is a little north east of here to be with one of her MTC companions.  It will be great!

So as for the rest of the week though...

TIISTAI-- We went and got Sister Allen's hair cut.  It definitely is interesting when the Finns who cut your hair don't speak a lot of English.  You just have to kind of hope that they understand "not too much"  and "just a trim" haha, or you use the words you think are right in Finnish and pray you aren't wrong.  Luckily though, it turned out alright and they cut her hair really well.  Did I mention... Haircuts here are like 40 £.  It's crazy that I used to get my hair cut for $12 or less.  They do a good job though and they sure are serious about their haircuts and hairstyles here.  So then that evening we had another lesson with one of our investigators.  We brought a member along and we read with her in the Book of Mormon again.  I think that it's helping, but I just am not really sure.  I'm kinda stuck at the moment with what to do to help her to progress.  I don't feel like this is not helping, but I'm not exactly seeing any super big progress either.  Any suggestions??

KESKIVIIKKO-- We had our very last District Meeting with this same District.  Then we ended up spending most of the rest of the day in an area pretty far out with member families that don't get visited very often.  IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!  We ate lots of yummy food and shared spiritual messages left and right.  They were all so eager to see us and shuffle us from one house to the next, so everyone could have some time with the missionaries.  The one family we went to, they practically live on a (farm) zoo.  Kind of like Pam does.  They have horses, cows, goats, a HUGE dog, chickens, and I think pigs too.  Then they grow all these vegetables and all kinds of things.  It's really cool.  They even have their own webpage where you can schedule times to come out and do workshops and have sleigh rides in the winter.  It was like I was right at home, when we got out of the car and this big 'ol dog just comes running at me.  Definitely the highlight of my day.  I sure miss the dogs at home.  But it was a really great day!

TORSTAI-- We tracted quite a bit and went to do service for the one less actives wife that we go to each week.  I love their family and she always gives us such yummy treats before we leave.  We had pannukakku again this week! YUM!!

PERJANTAI--MOST NERVE RACKING THING EVER.  We got to give a school presentation to about 30 high school kids (15-18 yrs old).  That was pretty scary to say the least.  I can't say I understood everything and the members that were there helped us on some of the questions that we didn't understand them ask us, but other than that, I would say we did a pretty good job.  Definitely isn't something I'll be praying to do in the near future, but it was a good experience.  We also had weekly planning and found out that one of the Elder's investigators is now ours.  She is the one that we taught for them a few times, a couple of weeks ago when they had to go to Interim training.  She might be having to go back to Spain at the end of this month and she's been investigating since July I think.  She has a baptismal date set for close to the end of the month, but it's hard to communicate even in English with her.  So we are finding ways to be creative to help her understand better and hope that we can continue to teach her, and possibly even baptism before she goes back to Spain.  That would be really awesome!   We also practiced a song with the Young Women that they will be singing in church sometime soon.  It's really great to be able to play the piano to help so many people!  If you're thinking about quitting... DON'T!  Then we also had a chance to visit our recent converts house.  They are doing great and we had to tell them that Sister Allen will be leaving.  We all had a family prayer together and it's just awesome to see how much they continue to progress.  The home teachers have already been over there, and the ward is doing such a great job to stay involved and help them feel welcomed!  It's awesome!

LAUANTAI-- So for times sake, I'll just tell you about the evening.  The Elder's had planned a lesson with this investigator who now would be ours, for this night.  So we took a bus and headed all the way over into their area and to her house.  Well when we got there, no one was home.  We knocked about 5 times, but still no answer.  All the lights were on, but no one home.  So then we decided to wait a bit, and then even walked around the  back side of the apartment to look in the back windows.  I was scared out of my wit.  It's a really sketchy area and I've never felt so scared in Finland before as I was being in that area.  We never got to have a lesson with her which was a bummer, but hopefully we can meet lots this coming week.

SUNNUNTAI-- We had Stake Conference.  It was broadcasted to our church.  President Watson and his wife spoke and I am just so impressed with how well they do.  They gave their whole talks in Finnish.  They are amazing!!  Sister Watson is always so happy and is the kindest, sweetest person I know.  I love them!  Then we practiced with the ward choir and Sister Allen said all of her goodbyes.  It reminded me of leaving my first area and I sure was sad. I love Marjaniemi so much! So then in the evening we were able to visit our cute old lady again.  She talked all about how much it means to her that we come and visit and how lonely she is. It has been such a huge blessing for her to have us come once in a while.  Her testimony is so strong and she is always so willing to share the gospel and make it known to others how much she has been blessed.  She pretty much does missionary work just like we do.  She has her own stack of pass along cards and pamphlets, and everyday on her walks she talks to people and passes them out.  It's so great!

Well that's about it for the week!  I can't tell you all how excited I am!  I feel so privileged to be able to train.  Sister Wunderli, one of my MTC companions is training the other sister that is coming in, and so we'll get to see each other quite a bit in the next few months.  I haven't seen her since we both first got in the country.  I can't wait!  It will be lots of fun!  We also have a mission conference in December which means the whole mission will get to be together.  It only happens once a year and it's so exciting.  I CAN'T WAIT!

As I walk the streets of Finland or get emails from friends or family hearing about their trials or those around them, I am just so impressed with all the people in the world who can do hard things-- whether it be having a physical or mental disability, or illness, or whatever it may be, I am so impressed with their determination to move forward and upward, to be happy and to love life despite challenges.  I just wanted to end with this quote that I really like:

"The best paths in life are rarely the easiest." (Elder Carlos A. Godoy)

Remember that trials, if handled right, make us stronger, more wiser, more understanding, more charitable, more loving.  They help us become more like our Heavenly Father-- the beautiful amazing people we are capable of becoming.  I like you have to remind myself of this often too.  I love you all and I am so bless to be here!  Have a wonderful week!

Sisar Jordan
Last Picture of these two wonderful sisters before transfers !!!!

11/3/15 "Do you have the keys?"

Hello Hello everyone!  What a great week it was!  Jyväskylä is such a great city and I am so grateful I've been able to serve here for 4 months already.  Speaking of time and what not, this week will be transfer calls unfortunately.  I am excited for sure, but also having a feeling that Sister Allen and I won't be together anymore.  We've been together now 4 months and she's been here in Jyväskylä 6, so the odds aren't exactly in her favor for staying here.  We'll see where Heavenly Father needs us to go though and do so with gratefulness.  My own feelings towards transfer calls-- I WANT TO STAY HERE!! If I could stay here with Sister Allen I would, but I guess a new companion is alright too.  Change is good.  Change is important (from the wise Sister Forrest)!  Katsotaan mitä tapahtuu! (We'll see what happens..)

So for the low down of the week-- here it goes:

TIISTAI-- most exciting thing after preparation day was over is that we went tracting.   Nothing too exciting happened.

KESKIVIIKKO-- We had District Meeting.  Then that evening we were headed to an older single lady's house who is in the ward.  We had decided to try a referral that we had received clear back in August and tried to contact then like 4 times, but had never been home.  Well we figured we would try one more time, and guess what?? She was home and we set up a return appointment for the next day.  It was so cool to see how we really are led and guided by the spirit each day.

TORSTAI-- We went to go to that referrals house for our lesson, but as we were walking up the stairs in the apartment complex, she was walking down with her dog in a hurry and just said, we are going to the doctor right now and walked out the door.  Sister Allen and I just stood there looking dumb and looked at each other and just said, "What just happened?"  It was the weirdest thing.  So we are going to try and go to her house another night this week hopefully, and see if maybe she has time now.  Then we went to go to the bathroom at K City Market while we were in that area and we saw a Less Active who really hasn't been to church for a long long time, so probably would be considered in-active, but kuitenkin, we saw him and then decided to go back and find him in the store and invite him to the Ward Halloween party at the church the next night.  He seemed really happy we had invited him, but honestly I didn't really think he would come.  Then later in the afternoon, we got to go to one of the member's house for dinner and to work on this School presentation that we are doing with him on Friday this week for a bunch of High School Kids-- Can I just say, one of the scariest things I think I'll have to do on my mission.  Give an hour long school presentation about our church in Finnish to High School Students.  But hopefully it will go well.  Then we went tracting in the rain and dark for about 2 hours.  I was pretty cold let's just say that.  Then we headed to the wife of the less active's house that we always clean each week.  After we got done cleaning, she made Pannukakku (pretty much like thick crapes) for us with this yummy jam and whipped cream.  MMMmm.... yummiest thing ever!  We also had invited her and her husband and their kids to the Halloween party and that night her husband said he was probably going to bring their son and come.  SO EXCITING! He hasn't been to church in about 10 years. I'd say a ward halloween party is a good start!

PERJANTAI-- We had cleaning inspections with one of the Senior couple missionaries.  They are the best.  They took us out to lunch afterwards and it was so much fun.  It was nice to be with some Americans for a while and just be with them.  Senior Missionaries are the best!!!!! Then that night we had the ward Halloween Party that they had asked us to help with.  We definitely had a lot of fun there!  It was weird to see the Finns so out of their element with costumes and loud music.  It's almost always so quite and they are so reserved.  It was lots of fun!!!  And guess what??  Both of the less actives we invited came!!!!! And the recent convert family all came.  It was SUPER GREAT!!!!!  SUCCESS!!!

LAUANTAI-- We did service for about 3 hours helping an older lady (probably in her late 70s) unpack all of her stuff.  She was moving from a different apartment.  Seriously I am just so impressed with the elderly people here.  Everyone rides their bikes and that lady was in there screwing these big book shelves together.  I want to be as fit and in shape as the Elderly people are here in Finland.  It's amazing.  Then we had a lesson with our other investigator.  We brought a member along and read in the Book of Mormon.  It's always so great when members come on lessons.  They really add to the lesson and help us with our teaching--- especially the Finnish part of it all!

SUNNUNTAI-- Recent Converts came to church, and so did our other investigator!!!  YAY!!!!  We ate lunch with a bunch of the members at the church and it was lots of fun!  They are so great about feeding us here!  Then we did studies and tracting and visiting our cute little old lady!  Was another special sunday for sure!

MAANANTAI-- Well this is where our week gets pretty crazy.  This is a story I'll definitely have to retell one day, but for the short version here goes.  So usually every morning when we go out to run, I always ask Sister Allen if she has the keys, because she is the one who usually has them.   Well I guess we both were just half asleep when we walked out the door, because we didn't have the cell phone, or the keys and neither one of us bothered to check and ask the other one if they had them.  Well we get about 10 steps past the bottom door of our apartment and Sister Allen stops and say, "Uh... I don't have the keys."  Well long story short, about two hours later after some amazing nearby members helped us, we were able to get into our apartment after having the police come and the door opener guy.  It was an ordeal for sure and I'm just so glad that it turned out alright.  Definitely gave us a good reminder to be more responsible and to make sure we have everything when we leave the apartment-- even at 6:30am.  Well then that night we had a Family Home evening with our recent convert family and another couple in the ward.  It went pretty well and I think it got them excited about teaching their kids and holding family home evening on their own.  They are so great!

Well that was about the week!  It has been pretty warm here actually these last couple of days!  It's dark by a little before 5pm which is weird, and dark still usually when we start personal study in the mornings at 8am.  The dark is going to take some getting used to, but it will be over before I know it.  I am just so grateful to be serving in such a beautiful place and to have such wonderful members here who are eager and ready to help with Missionary Work.  I am grateful to have supportive family members and friends who pray for me and all the missionaries!  And most of all, I am grateful for this Gospel and the blessing it is in my life!  I am blessed each day by the knowledge I have of a Heavenly Father who loves me and cares about me.  His plan is perfect and He truly is good.  I love being apart of this work and the blessings it brings to my life.  I hope you all know how much I love you and care about you!  You are amazing!  Make today a great day!  Love you all lots!

Sisar Jordan
Our trick or treating room at the Ward Halloween party.  It was the best we could do with our resources.  haha