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!!

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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.  

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