Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Good week down here in the good ol land of the Finns

Vanhin Merrill and me pulling the sweet pic on our last temple walk in the MTC!!!

Minun Toverani
My companion Vanhin Findlay

Terve everybody!!
Man, sometimes days can feel like weeks here, but the weeks fly by!! It just felt like it was pday!!  Ok, first off I want to clarify something. In my letters, especially since my letters are posted on a blog, you wont see many names other then the names of missionaries and people I get approval from. You may see a first name here and there, but never a last name. This is because Finland has VERY strict privacy laws.  They dont allow people to post names of other people on websites if they dont have that persons permission. So missionaries have to be very careful in what they write.  So usually if you see me refer to a family, it will be like there first initial or something like that.  
But this week has been really good! When I first got here 2 weeks ago the sun wasnt out that often and it rained or was dark and was pretty cold. But spring is definately coming and the sun has been out a ton more and its been a lot warmer! Ive noticed that everyones moods on the street really pickup haha.  Heres a thing about the Finns. They are very reserved and quiet upfront. For example, the other day I was in the train station getting new Bus passes. I dont have a bike or a car, because I use the bus. Anyway I was getting it renewed and I looked around the bus station and there were tons of people in there, but it was like dead quiet.  It was super weird. And in the people that were talking to each other, finns can be very quiet sometimes. Its really weird. Also, the Finns have the highest percentage of phone usage per capita in the World. Sometimes it can be kind of sad, because youi get on a bus and EVERYONE is looking down at there cellphone not acknowledging anyone around them. They got what you called Text necks, Dad. haha Its because there looking down at there phones SO much.  They also have headphones in all the time. Not everyone, but a TON of people. But you could say that with pretty much any first world country now a days. Its sad sometimes because people miss a lot of genuine human interaction because of technology and always being glued to there screen. But, now that I have ranted about them, Im here to tell you that the Finns are super cool and super nice once you get to know them! They are really reserved and quiet upfront but once you get inside there home and get to know them there really friendly! 
So a really cool experience happened last monday I forgot to mention.  So Vanhin Findley and I were coming back from an appoitment and we had about an hour to go and contact people on the street but we didnt know where to go. So we decided to say a prayer on where to go. We got done praying and decided to go a certain way, and when we were walking into town we spotted this guy we had been talking to the day previous. We just picked him to talk on the street the day before, and my companion then recognized him as a previous investigator. This guy has to be the most shy person I have ever met. He will just stand there and make grunting noises with an awkward smile on his face while we talk to him haha. He doesnt say much at all. I was told when he was being taught that he wouldnt say anything either because hes super shy. I heard this way funny story about this Elder who couldnt get any answers out of him when he asked him if he would accept the commitment to be baptized.  So then the elder said "Dont say anything if you want to be baptised" haha..  Then the guy said he mabye. But it never progressed to much.  Anyway back to the main story.  We started saying hi to this guy again, but he wasnt saying anything, Just standing there awkwardly. Just then my companion gets this hard tap on the back from this guy and they start hugging. This was a previous investigator that he hadnt seen since december! Hes from south africa and speaks english.  Hes a really cool guy, ill just refer to him as R.  But he said he had been thinking about us the day previous, and we started teaching him again, and he said he got a really good feeling when we showed him the Joseph Smith movie. But he goes back and forth between Helsinki so that can be a downer cause hes not always here, but I have high hopes for him.
Oh yea, another weird experience this week. We were checking out one of our investigators whos name is Jen. While we were talking to her she just passed out in front of us at the door haha. We got one of her roomates and she said that happen sometimes to her. But basically she just woke up after a few minutes and all was well.
Right now we have a couple of solid investigators that I have high hopes for. One is this family of 4, the 5th one is on the way.   There kids go CRAZY when we teach there, it can sometimes be hard to teach. But the mom is really interested in going to church which is super cool.  
Right now my finnish is progressively getting better slowly. The way I see finnish is this massive rock wall that you have to slowly chip away at.  But you cant chip away at a whole massive rock, so you work at drilling several holes at pressure spots in the rock, and eventually the whole rock collapses. I see that in finnish by you work on key areas of the language and slowly you just start picking up here and there.  Eventually you start understanding things, things just start to click.  
Yesterday we had zone conference which was super cool. It was awesome seeing my former companion Vanhin Nissen, and I got to see all the missionaries in my zone.  At the end we saw meet the mormons. That is literally like my 8th or 9th time seeing that movie haha. But none the less its a good movie.
Anyway, thats all for this week! I promise you the gospel is true and the Atonement is real! One quick message, is I was reading this talk about the atonement from Elder Bednar. He described how the atonement has two parts. To heal and overcome sins, which is what most of us think about in the atonement. But we can also use the atonement to better ourselves and make Good people better.  We receive strength and mercy through his atonement because Jesus Christ has experienced everything.  Dont pray to god to remove the circumstances, but pray to god to give you the strength and ability to overcome our circumstance and trial. That is how we become stronger. Sometimes he gives us trials not because he wants us to struggle, but because he loves us so much that he knows we grow from it. Its the same with working out, you have to apply force to the muscles which can be hard, but they eventually grow. 
Anyway it was wonderful hearing from everyone, have a fantastic week!
Vanhin Ford

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