Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tommorrow is the halfway point in the MTC! Almost a month down!‏

Terve everybody!!

It's weird, this has been the slowest and fastest month. Looking back on it, it was super fast, but in the moment it can be slow. Weeks feel like days here, but days feel like weeks. It's weird. The MTC time is on another level.  This week has been really solid!!  The language is coming even better! If I had a dollar for everytime someone asked me where I'm going and I said finland and they told me that's the hardest language for an english learner, I would have a million dollars haha!  Yea it's hard, but mentally I grow a lot from it, and its progressively coming. Right now i'm trying to memorize the first vision.

"Kutsua miuta tulemaan luikse automalla hieta ottamaan vastaan palatettu evankeliumi uskomalla Jeesuksen Kristukseen ja hanen Sovituksensa. Tekemalla parannus ottamalla vastaan kaste, jahja ja pyhen hengen ja hestamalla loppuun asti."

That's the missionary purpose that I just memorized in Finnish. Finnish is a very literal language, also a very beautiful language. Like you say Mina pyhen hangensta, in english it would be "I have the holy ghost", but in finnish it translates the holy ghost is in me, or on me.  so I have to rewire my brain into thinking weird about how I translate things.   Elder Nissen and I are teaching half hour lessons everyday in pure finnish which is pretty sweet. Both of our investigators have agreed to baptism which is pretty cool even if there fake, but one of them is afraid of water so now we have to figure out how to get around that.    This week the Hungarian district in our district also left to Hungary which was pretty sad cause I became good friends with all of them, but yesterday we got 24 newbies in our district. Estonians, hungarians, latvians, and lithuanians.  So on my floor there is 12 languages being spoken, its crazy.  There's one guy learning Malagasy on the floor who walks around chanting so he can learn his language, and it sounds like some crazy african tribe is walking around outside haha.  

But I'm doing great everyone! I love it here at the MTC! Some days can be hard and long, but just like our Savior Jesus Christ, he had to experience the lowest of lows before reaching the highest of highs. Of course were never going to experience that low, but the lows here help you grow stronger! I have got into the groove of things here, my brain is starting to get use to the explosion of information everyday. I'm still tired though. always tired. I go threw waves of it. Like for example, today I did sealings (I did it as a child because missionaries can't be couples), and I fell asleep and the leader called on me to be a witness and my companion nudged me and I just sleeply walked over to the wrong spot haha.  I'm super excited to just get over to Finland. I just want to teach real people!! But my time will come fast. My workouts have been going great here to, I workout hard every single day. They got a gym and weight room here. The gainz are oli(big).  

Oh btw Jae, "Jae" in finnish means "verse" so thanks for that, cause now I remember the word so when I tell my investigator to find a verse I remember it. But it's more pronounced y-a-(soft) e. Thanks for all the letters and support from everyone!!   

way funny story. So in sacrament meeting this last sunday my branch president was bearing his testimony about the testimony, and it was a really powerful talk. Just as he was getting to the climax of the testimony and tears were streaming, he went to catch his breath and there was pure silence. Just then this hungarian Elder behind me starts snoring wayyyy loud haha. It was soooo hard not to just burst out laughing because he happened to do this way loud snore at the climax of the testimony.

This week we also had a great speaker, his name was Brother Katchum. I just thought of ash catchem from pokemon.  Anyway, he talked about how Satan likes to "push our buttons", or he knows things that if he pushes on us, it will plant a seed in our hearts of worry, and confusion or stuff like that. So just remember if you have stuff in your life that you worry about, don't let satan take it out of hand. God brings peace, and rest!`

Challenge of the week: Read the 4 accounts of Jesus death on the cross from the bible. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Learn about the atonement that took place, and pray to know of it's truth and I promise you'll be blessed!!

My new nickname is elder mantelimassa. That's almond paste in finnish haha.  

tarkoituksemme maan paallaa on valmistautua kohtaamaan jumala.  That sentence said we came to this earth so that we could meet God.  By the way, for anyone trying to translate finnish in google translate. I wouldn't haha. It's awful. There's to many rules in finnish to properly structure a sentence through a computer.  

Anyway, hope everyone's doing swell!!  If you wanna talk just shoot me a message

Mina rakastan kaikki!!  I love everyone!

Vanhin Ford.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Third week, third of the way MTC mark

Terve everybody!!!

Jumula rakistaa meita, ja me olemme lapset.  God loves us and we are his children.  So the language is finally starting to come. I can mostly understand what my teachers are saying to me in Finnish, but trying to say sentences is a whole different ballpark. There's SOO many rules, the only way to really get finnish down is through repetition and trial and error. I guess that's why it takes more hours to get down then Mandarin chinese. Anyway, We teach an investigator everyday now, and our lessons are up to 30 minutes a day now, its pretty cool. I'm really learning the importance of how it's important to learn to speak with the language of the spirit and love, before finnish. Because even if you speak broken finnish if you speak with the spirit, they can feel it.. I've come to this mindset, even if I don't know a lick of finnish when I make it over to Finland, it doesn't matter because I'm going to just serve people. I'll even act it out if I have to, but everybody understands the language of the spirit. If I spoke perfect finnish and didn't have the language of the spirit, the finnish wouldn't even matter.  Also, every thursday we have TRC (which are basically church members who speak finnish, or former missionaries), where we speak with other people besides our teachers in finnish. It's really fun, because sometimes I get tired of talking to my teachers all day.  But we do a lot of SYL, or speak your own language, which can be a bit tough. But a good challenge is always nice. this week has also been solid. Ive had two apostles in a week. M russell ballard, M russell neilson. They were good.  There names always confuse me, there to close. Are investigators lessons are up to a half an hour now which is pretty fun. We played a game with one of our investigators about the word of wisdom to help them. We had a good and bad category . We made a card that was called Manteliimasta, or Almond Paste haha.  And a bacon card, and she put it in the bad category, and then we had to explain that it wasn't against the word of wisdom haha. We also losing the last people in our zone, which our the Hungarians. There leaving this monday which is sad, because they live in the room next to use and are so fun. Then it'll be only the finnish zone. But next week we get 25 new elders. Hungarians, albanians, and estonians. It'll be sweet cause we will be the longest ones here, and i'll rule all the newbies with an iron fist. Just kidding, but sometimes the elders dorms can be a zoo in here haha.. So I restarted the book of mormon, and I was reading in first nephi where Nephi is told to build the ship. I noticed something. It's that the Lord tells nephi how to build the ship, but nephi had to put great efforts to build it, and even faced many trials on the way.  It's the same with our lives. The lord teaches us how to be our very best, but it's up to use if we are to build it as he commands.  There will be trials and tribulations but if we make it through, then we are blessed.  I've also been reading a lot on the atonement. I would recommend Alma 7:11-13. It talks about how Jesus suffered every sin so we wouldn't have to. Lately I've been focused on the atonement, and I've realize this. I will never be able to fully understand it. It's the same as if someone is in a serious car accident where they rollover 10 times. If I wasn't there to experience it, I can only connect it through experiences I've seen. But Jesus's atonement was SO great, that we really just cant comprehend it. We can however feel the love through the atonement, and through that we get a little of its understanding.  This week Vanhin Nissen and I were teaching one of our investigators and trying to invite her to baptism.  We repeated the first vision by memory to her in finnish, and you could really feel the spirit. It was super strong.  I think I said it last week, but if you really need a reasurrance of your testimony, read the first vision. Joseph smith History. But anyway, I'm doing great and it's great to be learning this cool language

  Thanks everyone for the love and support, it means a lot to me!

Also remember this, if your ever having a rough day, just remember what Joseph smith went through in Carthiage Jail. thats What Elder Ballard told us. Its very true, 4 long cold months in a tiny jail cell.

Love everyone!

Vanhin Ford

Friday, January 16, 2015

Week two- God blesses and Finnish is hard

Hey everyone!! So this week has been great.  Not a ton has happened, just studying hard everyday.  The apostle Russell M Neilson came to speak to us and his wife on Sunday, and it was a really good talk about desperation, and how it can be used to draw us closer to the Lord. Interesting topic but really good none the less. Elder Nissen and I teach two Finnish investigators every single day in pure Finnish for about 20 minutes, sometimes a half an hour. My finnish is slowly coming and improving. I can understand mostly what my teachers say now, and I can say a lot of simple phrases and sentences.  The classes can be pretty long though. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I have 3 3.5 hour segments of learning pure finnish. By the end of your day sometimes you have to get a mop and bucket and mop of your exploded mind.  But the lord blesses me so much. Sometimes you have to go threw those hard trials before you are given strength, because he knows it strengthens you. Other then that is was just a normal day in the neighborhood of the MTC. Actually, a chocolate milk exploded in my closet accidently. I woke up and heard a boom in my closet haha.  But my testimony has grown in so many ways!! I read Joseph Smith History which I would challenge anyone to do and its soo good, you really get a reassurance of your faith, and I had a really awesome temple sesh. My District is really fun, we get along all really well and support each other. My branch presidency is also really cool. The two counselors both served in finland in the 1950's. So yea there ancient.  Theres this funny counselor named Brother Leifson that gives the most anti climatic stories ever haha. One story he was like, one time I was at the Mesa Arizona temple and found a grapefruit, and it was the best grapefruit I ever had. Just randomly in the middle of a discussion. And thats all he says haha. Its hilarious.  But I finally feel like Im getting used to the MTC, which is great!! I've been working out real hard which also a great motivator for me.
But i'm figuring out why finnish is soo hard. It has a billion rules. and the 15 syllable words dont help. But it really is a beautiful language, and with the right amount of time I'll get it.

Thanks to everyone who's sending me letters, emails and dear elders. I love them so much and hearing your guys support means a ton to me. I'm going to try personally respond to everyone, but as you know time here is limited. There is no such thing as free time!!  I really do love it here at the MTC. it's very hard work learning finnish but it helps me grow in so many ways.  

Love to everyone
(Mina Rakastamme sinua)

Vanhin Ford

Scripture of the day:  Romans 8:18

Sunday, January 11, 2015

1st Missionary Letter in the MTC!

Hey everybody! I'm on a short note! I got sent off to Finland earlier and I couldnt be more excited!!

Displaying DSCN0030.JPG

Displaying DSCN0039.JPG

Terve everybody!!  (Terve is hello in Finnish) ok. that last email. it was a joke. I'm still stuck at the MTC for another 8 weeks haha.  

Ok, im going to put this here first so I don't forget. Theres a service called you basically are able to send an email and the MTC prints them out the same day and we can pick them up. So if you guys have anything to say, don't be afraid to send it through because there great. I love getting letters, they really brighten your day and I can only check my emails once a week and respond, but I can get a letter same day everyday here.  

Sorry I haven't written sooner, but the first week I was here we didn't get a P-day, and my P-day is Thursday at the MTC, and I think most of you thoughtMonday. But anyway I have done so much this week and there's a lot of questions to be answered. Here's the basics, my companion is Vanhin (which means Elder in Finnish) Nissen. I keep getting him to try to go by Nissan so it would be Nissan and Ford.Ta-ting.  But he's awesome!! Me and him get along so well, and he's a really funny guy. He's from Mesa, Arizona and he's a long distance runner so me and him are very active. We get gym time everyday and I go hard in the paint. They have a ton of weights here for my to workout with so I've been getting it in everyday, and they have a pull up bar in the dorms so I'm going HAM. I have taught four lessons in pure Finnish. The very first day I got here the teacher was speaking pure finnish.  They speak English very very rarely only to clarify words in finnish. So as of now I'm a pro at charades because that's the only thing I could do to make sense of what she's saying. Don't let the four lessons taught in Finnish fool you. It is far from fluent. I can only say very basic sentences/phrases. However I do know how to pray in Finnish now, Rakas Talivaallinen Isa(Dear Heavenly Father).  The first lesson I taught was day 3 here and for anyone learning a language that is pretty nerve racking/daunting. I also heard of a lot of stories where the first time was a disaster (as it should be if it's day 3).  But me and Elder Nissen kicked trash. We did good for the first time. However the lesson we did was scripted, and a lot of it didn't make sense.  But it still went pretty good. Our second lesson went better but it was scripted.  The first two lessons the investigator was our teacher because the guy that we were supposed to investigate was sick. (He's an RM from finland).  When we were preparing for the third lesson when another Elder, named Elder Seger(Elder in my zone) said that it's much better to teach a lesson UNSCRIPTED.  This is day 5.  It took a lot of courage but we decided to focus on the spirit rather then looking down at papers and try to read them. So we said a quick prayer and went in and it went really good! We could only say very basic stuff but you could feel the spirit much more strong!! It's really funny, at the MTC everytime anyone asks where I'm going, I tell them Finland, and there eyes get really big and 90% of the time they say the language is really hard. I got that a lot to before I came on the mission.  Even my mission president and several of the teachers here have said that Finnish is the hardest language taught at the MTC, even harder then Mandarin Chinese and Korean.  There are days where I feel like my head will implode from all the words and confusing rules (finnish has SOOOO many grammar rules). But then I'm starting to come to this conclusion, and it's far from fully realizing it. But through the Lord all things are possible. If I try to learn this language for MYSELF it is going to be SOOO hard. But if I learn this language through and for my Savior Jesus Christ he will bless me. That doesn't mean the road to learning it won't be hard and suck, but I know it's very possible to learn this language.If I try my very best the lord will make up for my shortcomings. I am starting to realize why this language is so hard and the structure of it, so now I know what I need to focus on and study. In class I'm actually starting to pick apart words and phrases my teacher is saying and can understand her decently. But I've been studying the language hard (think 7-10 hours of class everyday in pure Finnish) and its coming more and more gradually. It will take a long time, but as long as I'm heading in the right direction with it and my testimony I will be fine!

A lot of you have been asking about the orange juice. Honestly all it is, is 100% Minute Maid orange juice. I think the bad thing about it is some elders get tons of glasses of it and aren't used to the Fiber haha!! 

So yesterday(Wednesday) I had to get on a plane at 3 am and fly to Los Angelos because I had to go to the Finnish Embassy to get my fingerprints taking. That's right, they flew me out there for fingerprints. I ended up leaving my Finnish Mormanin Kirja (book of mormon) on the table haha!!!   It was a lot of fun though. We got to meet a lot of cool people. We got to visit the Los Angelos Temple. We also got to walk out on Santa Monica pierre which was pretty cool, however my companion had a bad feeling about the pierre so we left it pretty quick. We ended up just getting a bite to eat at a crappy taco truck haha! I really wanted to place an english book of mormon though so I was looking for someone to talk to. I didn't have a english book of mormon with me at the MTC so I had to take one from the dirty japs (the Japanese elders who live right next to us, we all have nicknames. Were the finnishanaries, we have the huns or the hungarians and then the estonians just left us).  Anyway, I picked out a random lady and me and Elder Nissin went and talked to her. I had a good feeling about it so we went up and said Hello, and she just gave us this disgusted glare and said "No Hablo Englas". I kinda laughed in my head and thought danget. We were walking away when we said Hello to this lady sitting on the grass.  She said hi back and wanted to talk to us, so we started talking. She was a pretty hippie lady from colorado on a spiritual journey. ( she was pretty weird, but very knowledgeable with a lot of weird kirky ideas). There was one point where she said the holy ghost found her and me and Elder Nissen thought YES! and then she said that the holy ghost added her on facebook and taught her about magnets haha.  Danget. But we got to give her a Book of Mormon. So that was cool, my first book of mormon placed.  But she did say that she knew our church was true cause she could see the light and truth from us. So yea that was sweet. 

Ok, here are some of your questions answered dad.
1. When do you write your emails? Thursdays. we try to get up at 5 am. but that didn't happen our alarms didnt get to go off. I dont really have a specific time when I'll write them. missionary life easier,harder, or about what you expected at the MTC. ok, so its weird. its both easier and harder. Time can go by REALLY slow when I'm in class (they cram me in this little room learning finnish for 8 hours a day) but looking back it can go really fast.  But its hard in a very good way. It makes me grow a lot.  
3. How many are in your room. There's only 4 elders. theres 6 beds, we got lucky. Elder Nissen, Elder Edwards, and Elder Merrill. There all great. Elder Merrill is a beast. he's a wrestler and did 112 pushups in a row!
4. Sleeping alright? I fall asleep instantly. I swear I'm always tired haha.  The first night on New Years all the Elders were crazy but I fell asleep super quick. 
5. When did you get to go to the temple? I got to go the first time today. We go on P-days

Anyway, this emails getting really long. Loved hearing from you all. I've grown a lot in testimony, and the struggles are real here but they make me grow! At the end of the day I love the MTC, its super fun, there's a lot of cool people here and I'm learning one of the hardest languages here on earth. The lord really blesses me!

Talk to everyone next week!!

Rakastan (Finnish word for love)

Vanhin Ford

PS. You can eat so much food here it's great. I'm trying to gain weight, but its hard for me haha. I eat sooo much.  

Displaying DSCN0005.JPG

Displaying DSCN0012.JPG