Just so you know… I’m not coming home!!
Guys…. I’m here!!!! I’m actually here!!!! Who would have thought it would actually happen. Later tonight I will have officially been here a week, and needless to say I’m not coming home! Just a heads up ha. This place is incredible, we’ll see if I feel differently when winter comes, but something tells me that even with the cold I’ll love this place! So quick run down of the past week!
Tuesday – I arrived in Helsinki. My mission president, Pres. Watson, was there with his wife and my new companion to meet me. (It was kinda funny when I arrived in Amsterdam and realized I had just jumped on a plane without any knowledge of who was picking me up or anything ha, side-note… Flying into Amsterdam was beautiful. It was a rainy sunny day and everything was bright green with the bright red-orange roofs contrasting against the scenery, super pretty). On our way to the mission home they took me on a quick tour of downtown Helsinki. We drove past the main churches (you know that huge white one) and other various hot spots. It didn’t feel real at all! Finland reminds me a lot of Maine actually. There are definitely a lot of differences but it’s very similar in the sense of all the lakes, and boats, and the temperature. We also stopped by the temple and walked around the grounds really quick. It’s so beautiful and the stone is glossy so that it and the windows reflect the trees around it. Afterward we went to the mission home where we ate and met some of the other missionaries…. there was another girl who was Finnish and started her mission that night, she’s technically supposed to go to Arizona but will be serving in Finland till her visa comes, I feel her pain! So it was a full house and it was fun getting to know a bunch of the other sisters.
Wednesday – We had various oreintation meetings and did a bunch of different things that just had to be done. Then we quickly went to make sure I was registered in the country just fine. If this place wasn’t magical enough guess what was right outside the city buildings, in a business district part of town…. wild berries! Even where you’d least expect it there were berries growing. So we quickly picked some before running to the train station. The station was incredible… I wish I had gotten pictures. It was that classic old-school train feel that you would expect in Europe. I was dying haha, but had to keep my cool ya know;) Couldn’t freak my new companion out too much yet. We arrived in our city, Turku, and went to another set of sister missionaries apartment for the night (the poor elders in preparing for our arrival had dropped our apartment keys down an elevator shaft ha… sad day for them!) But it was fun hanging out with the new sisters and they introduced me to Finnish Chocolate, which is of course divine!
Thursday – We made into our new place… k I wasn’t expecting much especially after seeing the other girl’s place but our place is incredible!! I would choose to live there! There is one main room, a bathroom (with a sauna), and bedroom. The main room has all windows on one side and nearly everything within the apartment looks like it came from Ikea (speaking of Ikea we have to go there today to get a few things for our place since no-one has lived in it for quite some time now and we have to leave soon so I’m going to try and finish this letter quick!). I love it… I’ll send pictures at some point! It’s a block and a half from the town center so we’re right in the middle of everything!
Friday – Most of the days we’ve been inside getting everything good to go/ trying to get our area book in working order. We’re actually shotgunning this area so neither of us are familiar with anything, I’m a newbie, and our area book is a disaster. But we did go bus exploring that night and got off in an area to try our luck with tracting. We went to an apartment building and I got fully initiated into being a missionary. We had a dog experience, door in our face experience, oh and a European mission wouldn’t be complete without the nearly naked man experience haha. It was all hilarious! All in all the people are really cool here! People say that Finns are really cold but everyone so far has been really awesome, even when they’re not interested they’re kind about it.
Saturday – We had our first non-cancelled lesson this day! Annnnnd it was less than conventional. It was on a bus with a man named Morad. He’s the bus driver actually ha. We found him in the area book and he was more than happy to agree to chat with us, only problem was he worked when we were free. So he invited us to teach him while he drove his route. It was pretty cool actually! I loved it. I didn’t understand much at all and I don’t know how incredibly interested he is but he’s really kind (he actually went and bought us coffees which we of course had to kindly decline). He’s Muslim but doesn’t practice any kind of Muslim culture. He’s very passionate about being a kind and decent person and thinks that whether you’re religious or not doesn’t make much of a difference as long as you’re a good person. Which I can understand where he’s coming from. Nonetheless he wants to continue meeting which is exciting.
Sunday – The ward is incredible!!! There haven’t been sisters in this area for a long time so everyone was super thrilled to
meet us. Everyone is really kind and we even had a dinner appointment that very night with an older couple in the ward. Oh the joy of this day was definitely the surprise attack from our Bishop… he thought it would be cool to ask us over the pulpit to bare our testimonies first thing. My heart has never beat soooooo hard! The cool thing was though that even though my Finnish was broken and really REALLY bad, the Spirit was there. I felt so much love for the people there and for the people in Finland in general. It was an incredible experience and I felt lucky to have had that terrifying yet beautiful chance to “very simply” tell my testimony.
Monday – We met with a new investigator of ours… she’s 16 and has been investigating for about a year. She’s super rad and wants to be baptized (she actually was atheist before this and got curious after watching the Book of Mormon play on Broadway). Since she’s underage she won’t be able to get baptized till she’s 18 which I can tell is hard for her, but she’s so rock-solid! She’s definitely an inspiration and it will be really fun to be able to teach/hang out with her every week that we’re here.
All in all this place is beyond perfect for me. I mean it when I say this place fits me like a glove. Everything from how sharp and cool everyone dresses, to the personalities of the people, to the old beautiful buildings, to the modern interiors, to the little things like everyone uses gridded notebooks. EVERYTHING screams me:) I am beyond lucky, and I fully understand why I’m sent here… still scared for the winter (I’m already wearing tights and sweaters everyday) but I’m sure it will still be incredible even with snow up to my head!
Last but not least my companion!!!! Her name is Sisar Lafferty and let’s just say she’s incredible! It’s been so fun getting to know her this past week. Everyday I learn something new about her and I admire the way she teaches/contacts a lot! She’s not pushy and has a lot of the missionary qualities I hope to gain. I am going to learn a lot from her and in the mean-time we’re having a lot of fun trying to figure out this city together. It’s been really funny. My prayers were definitely answered with her. We a couple of 22 and 23 year olds ready to tear up this city;)
I love you all and loved getting to chat with a lot of you last Monday! Hope you all have an incredible day and thanks for all the emails and love this week! Means the world!!!