Oh man what a week! We celebrated Sisar Lafferty’s year mark, went to a really good art museum, had some Halloween fun, met some incredible people, made raw food with our friend….. just all sorts of good things!
First off I have to tell you all about Halloween… Finland style. It’s magical. I think it’s actually called Pyhäinpäivää… or Saint’s Day I believe it translates to? Anyway it’s a pretty large holiday over here but it has a different focus. You can see the American Halloween slowly bleeding over into the culture here but the day is more set aside for showing your respect for those who have passed away. All the shops close for the day and it’s time to be with family and friends, have a party if you wish, etc. We actually spent the day with a member of our ward and his family. We’ve been able to hang out with this family a few other times (we actually went to the museum with them this week) and I just absolutely adore them all. They’re really cool and it always feels nice when you can be in an actual home rather than an apartment. She made incredible smoked salmon and pork (yeah, I’m a true carnivore now!) and then we polished it all off with cocoa. No complaints. Then later that night we went out tracting/contacting… with a little pit-stop to the church/cemetery in Raisio:) This is where Halloween in Finland gets good! The biggest part of the holiday is that when it gets dark (which is at like 4:30 pm now) people go and light candles/lanterns and put them on the graves of their family members. When I first heard about this weeks ago I couldn’t wait to see and wondered if people actually still did it or if it was a dying tradition. Well as the bus pulled up to the stop and we got off I was welcomed by such a beautiful, humbling, sacred sight of hundreds of of lights scattered across the graveyard. Practically every stone had at least one light on it. I was blown away. Walking through the grounds you could feel so much love there. Each one of those candles signified someone being remembered. It was truly one of my favorite moments here in Finland so far. We were able to go to an area of the cemetery that was a little higher than the rest and it was simply majestic to look across and see all the lights flickering across the ground. There was something heavenly about it all. It really put a new meaning on Halloween for me. I don’t know… it was just a really special moment. Definitely something I hope to continue when I come home if not on Halloween then on Christmas cause apparently they do the same thing then as well.
All of our investigators are doing well. I get really excited when I get asked questions I don’t really know how to respond to. Not only does it show that they really are curious but it gives us a chance to learn and grow together. Which I think is pretty cool. It makes the whole process really real to me and gives a chance for me to really lean on the Spirit for guidance. I think (as missions probably do for most people) my mission is truly teaching me humility. I’m being humbled in so many ways, ways that I wouldn’t have or didn’t even know I needed pre-mission.
Another thought I had this week was as I was studying hope. Hope in Christ, hope in this whole process, hope in the gospel… I’ve always thought of hope as being a very “light” word, something that is used when you want to be optimistic or want to be sweet. But as I studied I ran across some very strong and bold words that were used to describe hope… things like assurance, expecting, perseverance and a few others. Those words really struck me because they are very confident words. As I thought about that my perspective on “hope” began to shift. Hope may outwardly seem kind of silly and possibly an “out-there” concept, but it’s not. It takes a lot of vulnerability and faith to be able to be hopeful in something. It’s actually quite a courageous act to hope for things… and I love that. I don’t think I’ve given the idea of “having hope” the credit it deserves. I don’t know…. just my thoughts for the week:).
I loved seeing all the Halloween fun you all had this past week. Missing holidays can make it hard not to miss you all but I love seeing and hearing what everyone is doing! Happy November and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Kohleo and Brooke!! Love you two so much and hope you have incredible birthdays! Till next week (which may be in a new city!! Transfer week this week!).
Oh yeah…. explanation for the subject line… so let me describe one of my days. First we thought we had a lesson, then we’re trying to coordinate rides for him, then we’re invited to go with this person’s mom and mom’s friend to a museum, then we have to change time for the lesson, then have to switch plans completely because rides didn’t work out, then ask the senior couple to drive you across town, then go through a museum (which was awesome), then jump into their car not really knowing or understanding where you’re going, then finally after picking up and dropping off people being dropped off at home haha…. needless to say I had no idea what was going on (one of those figure it out as you go moments) and I loved every second of it!! haha It was an awesome night, but it’s always a party whenever we go out with those ladies. They keep things spontaneous and fun!