Tuesday, April 7, 2015

TerveTuloa everybody!!

Hey everybody!! 
Been a super good week with lots of miracles!!  So last week around this time Vanhin Findley and I saw a dwindling investigator pool so we set some goals and went to work. Well now we have 6 new investigators, hopefully a 7th, 8th, and 9th by tommorrow!! The Lord really does bless us when we have faith in him and put to action our faith.  Last Wednesday I got to do splits with Vanhin Stimpson who is a Zone Leader in Oulu. It was super good and he is saw a great missionary and I learned a lot from him. He is such a good teacher with a lot of patience. He knows Hebrew because he studied it from High School and can still speak it super well. He is just a genius with Languages.  We found an investigator that day who is super cool, that we have been meeting with.  The man who walked into our church last week because the Catholic church was closed has been progressing super well. He came to general conference and loved it!  He is such a kind old man who lives out in the Finnish countryside right on the edge of a beautiful lake with an island right in the middle of it. He lives on a farm so Vanhin Findley and I have a ton of serving oppotunities! I really have a lot of faith in him, he is such an amazing guy. I cant understand everything he is saying but I can feel his love.   Another cool thing that happened this week is Vanhin Findlay and I were walking home one night when we ran into a boy who was 14 years old. We started talking to him but found out he was deaf. So we whipped out our notebook and introduced ourselves. He still was a bit confused but we showed him the Book of Mormon and invited him to read it.  He said he started to understand what we wanted him to do.  He was really initially confused and sort of scared at first because he couldnt understand what we were saying.  But by the end of our 20 minute conversation he had a huge smile on his face and he gave us the address of his house. When we were walking away he had a huge smile on his face and he called out to us again to say goodbye. It was just a really heartwarming experience.  A few days ago we went and visited his family and they warmly welcomed us. We had a great lesson with them, and got a return appointment which was great.  So are prayers were definately answered with the investigators.  If you have faith, anything is possible according to the Lords will.  Faith is the bases off which miracles happen. Not the other way around, miracles dont happen and then we get faith. We need faith first and then miracles are wrought.  In Mosiah Chapter 27 Verse 14, and angel visited Alma the Younger to stop him according to the FAITH of his Dad, and other church members prayers.  It is according to our faith.  
So as a missionary I found out that General Conference is bigger then Christmas. There was a Ton of SUPER good talks, with a lot of good notes taken. You know the worlds getting into a sad condition when an Apostle of the Lord has to tell people not to text a each other to go on dates, but to man up and call them or go and talk to them haha. When I first got to Finland I heard a statistic that Finland was the Number 1 phone consumer per person in the world which basically means they have the most people that use phones. I didnt believe this at first, but now I really do. Everybody is on phones here, and sometimes it can be sad because people miss so much in the world around them and talking and meeting to people.  Now that I dont have a phone to use I see how much of an attachment I got to my phone, and how it can become such a habit to check for texts or status updates.  Theres nothing wrong with any of that, but when people spend so much time, so much effort on relationships with people through phones, or people compare other people and how great those peoples lives are compared to theres, then problems arise.  There was a talk by President Uchtdorf that talked about how people make things look much better then they are. He used the analogy of the Queen floating down the river and the people on the bank set up fake towns to make it look like they were productive. Unfortunately that same concept can happen a lot on social media and people make there lives look really good, which makes others jealous and people judge. What we should instead do is focus our efforts into serving the Lord and helping people around us, that is how we have a most successful life.  Not by comparing to other people.  
I was a little concerned I would have to watch Conference in Finnish, but luckily in another room they set up in English so that was good.  One thing Ive learned is Finnish people do not understand american and english sarcasm, because a lot of there vocabulary doesnt use those sarcastic words.  When I was watching President Monsons talk about when he was interviewed by his Stake President I realized how much sarcasm and humor he had and wondered if the Finns were getting any of it haha.  
But im noticing I am able to follow what people are saying a lot more easily now and what they say which is good. Its kind of nice since most Finns know English, if you dont know a word you can ask them what it is, and they understand.  Some people even prefer to talk in english, but we want to speak in finnish, so it ends up with Two American missionaries talking in Finnish, while the person on the street is talking in English haha.  Another cool experience we had is we were tracting at the end of the day and we came to a home with Russians.  They Didnt speak any English or Finnish, so we showed them the Easter video in Russian.  That didnt work, so we ended up on Google Translate going back and forth with them haha.  It was funny.  They were a nice older couple. I just dont know how you would get around in Finland though without knowing English or Finnish, because not that many people here speak Russian, unless they are russian.  
Anyway this week I have been really focusing on the small and simple things in life, and the many blessings which god has given me. I want to share a poem Dave Griffiths back at home shared with me in a Dear Elder he sent me.
The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read, beneath the long, staggly branches of an old willow tree.   Disillusioned by life, with a reason to frown, for the world was intent on getting me down. 
And if that werent enough to ruin my day, a young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play.  He stood right before me with his head tilted down, and said with great excitement, Look what I have found!
In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight, with its petals all worn, not enough rain, or too little light.  Wanting him to take his dead flower, and go off to play, I faked a small smile, and then shifted away
But instead of retreating, he sat next to my side, and placed the flower to his nose and declared with overacted suprise, It sure smells pretty and its beautiful too, thats why I picked it, Here its for you!
Instead of him placing, the flower in my hand, he held it mid-air without reason or plan. It was then that I noticed, for the first time, that weed-toting boy could not see. He was blind.
I heard my voice quiver, tears shone like the sun, as I thanked him for picking, the very best one. Your welcoime he smiled, and then ran off to play, unaware of the impact he had on my day.  I sat there and wondered, how he managed to see,  a self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree. How did he know of my self-indulged plight? Perhaps from his heart, he had been blessed with true sight.
Through the eys of a blind child, at last I could see, the problem was not with the world, the problem was with me.  For all of those times, I myself have been blind, cynical and self centered, I will change my outlook, and keep a clear mind. 
Then I held that wilted flower up to my nose, and breated in the fragrance of a beautiful rose.  And I smiled as I watched that young boy, weed in hand!

Such an amazing poem that sometimes we need to remember when we get down in life, we just need to stop for a second, and look around and see what God has truly given us.  God has given us our families so that we can be happy forever.  Sometimes we get frustrated with other people, because of there imperfections or there actions which can lead to us being hurt. But isnt that the exact same with our Heavenly Father when we sin? He gives us an infinite love and when we sin we turn our backs on him. However, he still loves us and has perfect patience with us. He has given us Jesus Christ Atonement so that all of us can be spiritually healed and feel joy in this life. I know this gospel is true and I promise if you apply the Teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ to your life you will be blessed.  When you stop and think what truly matters in this life, and put an eternal perspective on things, life becomes an adventure and so much fun. You meet so many amazing people, and you get to bless there lives by serving them
Anyway this letter is getting super long. But everybody have a stellar week! Thanks for all the love!
Vanhin Ford.  

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