Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Olivia Bitner
To Me

Nov 29 at 6:08 PM
Terve minun perhe!!!! How are all of you doing? I hope everything is going so great and I am sure you all just had the greatest Thanksgiving ever! Of course I was a tad bit homesick, ok scratch that I missed you guys like crazy...even more than normal, but we made the most of our Thanksgiving and it really was a great day!! Guys, I LOVED your jared munchies and Thanksgiving cards! You have no idea how much it means to hear from family and friends! Seriously I know I sound desperate and I never thought I would get this way, but every time you get a letter or package or something it's like Christmas and all of a sudden Finnish doesn't seem so hard and I'm not as tired as I was before! It's a major morale booster so Mom and everyone else...thanks so much for thinking of me! It means more than you know! :)

So I hope Thanksgiving was great! I want to tell you about our day here! It was pretty crazy!! So we woke up and had breakfast and the whole MTC ate together so it was pretty nuts. Usually we eat in shifts so the cafeteria isn't as packed but yesterday morning it was. Then we had choir practice because you know, I love singing now :) and then we had a general authority devotional. Guess who the general authority was? Russell M. Nelson! Ya it was pretty sick. Definitely not going to forget that Thanksgiving morning. He and his wife spoke to us. I loved his wife's talk. She talked a lot about putting aside childish things and becoming a missionary. I think that was much needed. The age change for missionaries is AMAZING and totally inspired, but it is pretty apparent that some of these elders have been out of high school for 5 months. They are great, but I think it was good for all of us to hear! Time to grow up and learn to rely on the Savior. Ahhh man I just loved it!

Elder Nelson spoke about family history and missionary work. It was so great! He said that we need to pray as missionaries to be led to those people whose ancestors have accepted the gospel and are ready for their work to be done. He talked a lot about the spirit of Elijah and said that more and more people are becoming interested in family history. I never really thought how much of a missionary tool family history work is. He commented on how, as missionaries, our best friend should be the ward mission leader (which totally made me think of you Dad :) and how our second best friend should be the family history consultant. It was so crazy because I love families and I love history and yesterday as I was listening to his talk, I really had an impression that there is a reason I love both of those things so much! I have never really been gung ho about family history, but I am excited to learn more about it on my mish! Another cool thing he said was that the ancestors of some of these people I will teach are praying for me and for their posterity who I will be teaching. How awesome is that? They have waited so long for their work to be done and I am so grateful to be a part of it!

So after the devotional we had our Thanksgiving feast. It was actually really good. Coming from the food snob, that means a lot :) Mom, they didn't have banana cream pie so I was bummed, but I had some cookie dough pie which was pretty good...I don't know, you have spoiled us so much I don't think anything will compare to your pies! :) After lunch we walked to the temple, wrote letters, and just kind of hung out. Then we got to do this way cool service project for the Utah Food Bank. We made 350,000 soup kits for kids in Utah. It was so fun to participate in something like that. We had some sick hair nets....I wanted to take pics, but they didn't want cameras in the room so you'll just have to envision me in a bright red hair net. Ya, it was awesome! :)

So we just had sandwiches for dinner and then we got to watch Ephraim's Rescue. If you haven't seen it yet, get it for family night and watch it. It is so great! I love the pioneers. Ever since Nauvoo, I have felt such a love for them. They were more brave than I could ever hope to be. I love them and am so grateful for our ancestors who made this life possible for us!

The rest of this week has been good. I am so excited to go to Finland!! I would be lying if I told you I wasn't scared! I am scared out of my mind. At the beginning of my MTC stay, I kept saying that I didn't want to speak the language wrong until I had more Finnish under my belt. Sadly, that was not the right way to go about it. I totally had the wrong mindset as far as that is concerned. I am really trying to catch up on my SYL(Speak Your Language) and I am working as hard as I can, but it's just hard to learn a language! That's all I can say! Haha I knew Finnish would be hard, but I didn't know it would be this hard. I really do love the language though and during the hard times, I always repeat over and over in my mind, "Focus on the Finns, Focus on the Finns" because that's why I am here learning this. It's for them. It's to help them. I just can't wait for the day when I can walk up to a Finn and talk to them like it's NBD. That day will come. I know it will. I just have to keep trying! Pray for my Finnish! We start our consecration week next Thursday which means we can only speak Finnish all week. I have an odd feeling it's going to be super quiet, but it will be good! haha I really feel if I take that week very seriously, I will progress a lot. It's crunch time messin' around!

I have been thinking a lot this week about why I am serving a mission. Now, don't freak out and think I am second guessing myself, but I have just been thinking about my reasons for serving. In the beginning (like last December) the only reason I was thinking about serving a mission because I felt like I had to. I didn't know why and I didn't want to go. Mom and Dad, you definitely know how I felt about serving a mission :) I have to admit, when I got to the MTC, my motives were the same. I was doing it out of duty. Young women don't have a duty to serve, but I knew without a doubt that it was what Heavenly Father wanted me to do, so I came because I was obedient, not because I wanted to.

I think that held me back for a long time. I felt like this was a punishment or a test of my faithfulness or something else of a negative nature. It was like I was fighting against Heavenly Father and my Savior instead of fighting with them. This week has been one of the most incredible of my life. Honestly I don't even know how to describe the feelings that are in my heart right now. This is the hardest thing I have ever done. Being away from you guys is SO hard, but I am so beyond grateful to my Heavenly Father and my Savior for helping me to get on this mission. I have been shocked, like literally shocked at how much I personally need this mission. I have been thinking about my life over just this past year and I am absolutely certain in my heart that all my decisions in life have geared me towards this mission. I thought my testimony was strong, but being here has taught me that it was not strong enough! Sorry, I don't mean to go all "grim reaper and ya'll need Jesus" on everybody, but if nothing else, being on a mission has taught me who the Savior is. He is everything to me.

 Honestly, I wish I could describe my feelings of love for Him. All that I guys, my testimony, everything I owe to Him. There is a mormon message called "Wise Men still seek Him" and at the end, there is a quote by President Monson that says something like "Christ doesn't ask us to bring gold, frankincense, or myrrh, but of all the treasures we possess, he asks that we give of ourselves." I could never express my thanks to the Savior for getting me to this point in my life. My love for Him and relationship with Him is what is keeping me here now. He loved me enough to get me here, and I love Him enough to stay. I think that goes for everything in life. He loves us each enough to take us where we need to go, and then He stays with us. He helps us if we let him. He will NEVER leave us. Life is so full of change and uncertainty, but the one thing we can ALWAYS count on is our Savior's love. He will never leave us alone. He is our best friend. I have such a strong testimony of Him. I have so much more to learn, but I am working on it every day! It gives me such hope everyday to be able to wake up and learn about my Savior. And for the next month, we get to think about Him and his birth and His life and His Atonement. That is why Christmas is so great! I LOVE JOULU!!!

 Anyways, sorry to ramble on and on, but I have wanted to share this with you guys all week! Mom and Dad, thank you so much for raising me in this gospel. I have never appreciated it as much as I do now! This Thanksgiving I have realized that all we need in life is the gospel of Jesus Christ and our families! They are the two greatest blessings in my life and I wouldn't trade my relationships with you guys or my Savior for anything in the world! I love this gospel so much and I am so excited to share it with the Finnish people. I may not be able to speak their language, but I can love them and I can do my best. That's all God asks of us. That we love each other and try every day to get better! I know we can all do that!! 

So now that I am off my soap box, I will try and write to each of you as soon as I can! I cannot wait to talk to you guys on the 16th and then again on the 25th! Talk about Best Christmas Present EVER!!!! We will have to figure out the details later. Mom and Dad, are you still planning on sending me a phone to use or do I need to buy some phone cards? Also, we need like boatloads of money for our bags. I should have enough in my bank account but I didn't know if Dad had been borrowing money from me or something :) hahahaha totally kidding dad. Don't worry guys, I still have my sense of humor! hahah Mom I would love a green cardigan and a purplish one. Those colors will work best I think. Oh and I don't need it right now, but it might be easier to send me with some Tonya makeup now so I don't have to have it shipped to Finlandia! Write me when you can! I love you all with all of my heart! I pray for you all everyday! Have a fantastic week and keep reading the Book of Mormon and saying your prayers. They are the primary answers, but we learn them in primary for a reason! He ovat tosi tarkea!! They are so important!! Mina rakastan teita!!! Talk to you soon!!

All my love, Sisar Bitner 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My wonderful family!!! How are all of you doing? Honestly I miss all of you so much! I never really understood how important mail is to a missionary, but getting your guys' letters makes me want to run up and down the halls of the MTC doing a skirt....:)  Family support is what keeps me going! Lauren I can't believe you got BRACES! Holy cow! I bet you look so cute! Please send me pictures! I want to see all of you! Luke I am so glad you are playing with Quinton now! Keep it up! and Caroline I loved your card and your poem! All of my friends from my district thought it was so cute! And my companion is really nice. She has a little sister that is 9 too and we think that you two should be best friends! She is funny just like you! :)

Mom thank you SO much for the cookies and letter! Oh and the skirts! There are times throughout the day when I get frustrated with Finnish or anything else and then I think about you all and your letters and how much I love you and then I keep working on my verb conjugations and noun and adjective stems! :) So basically what I am trying to say is...KEEP SENDING ME LETTERS. I'm not desperate or anything....Hahahahaha did that sound creepy or what? no but for real! It's so great to hear from you all! I just love you more than I can say!

So the subject of my letter this week is Go time because IT'S GO TIME!! My teacher, Veli Stewart, looked at us the other day and said, "So how do you feel about going to Finland in less than a month?" We all just stared at each other and about threw up. I can't believe I will be in Finland in a month. There is still so much to do! I can't wait to get there though. It's the weirdest emotion because I am like scared and nervous and I feel so inadequate with the language and my testimony, but I was called to serve a mission...not to stay in the MTC for 18 months! :) Thank heaven that is true! The MTC is great, but I can't wait to meet real people! It's going to be great! Plus we get to talk on the phone in less than a month and then we get to skype over Christmas!! HOLY CRAP I am so excited for that I can't even stand it!! We will have to figure that out more in a few weeks but just know, I am pumped!!

So today was our last day at the Provo temple until 2015! They are closing the temple to earthquake proof it so we all had a nice session this morning and then we had brunch at the temple! It was so delicious. The MTC food is good, but I had waffles with strawberries and whipped cream at the temple and it was so great! Reminded me of Valentine's day with the fam :) It wasn't as good as yours though mom so don't worry, but it was still way fun! I am sad that it's our last time in the temple...that is always the best part about P-day but the next time I go to the temple it will be in Helsinki. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? I still don't feel like this is real life! I am going to Finland. Holy cow!!

We had a devotional on Sunday and the lady that came was the funniest person I have ever heard. Her name is Mary Allen Edmunds and she seriously had the whole MTC crying we were laughing so hard. She talked a lot about being happy and how Heavenly Father makes up for what we can't do. Some of my favorite one liners she said were "A might change of heart = a mighty change of mind", "All you can do is the best you can do", "What do you know about what you can do? You don't know you as well as Heavenly Father and Jesus do. Let them have you." "Have an attitude of happiness and a spirit of optimism" "Let Them Love You" "Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have wonderful plans for me." Needless to say, she definitely has inspired me to work on being optimistic and happy. I didn't know that was a weakness of mine, but I know it has been brought to my attention so I can work on it. That's the great thing and the hard thing about life. There is always something to work on but Heavenly Father and Jesus will always help us! I have no doubt in my mind about that! 

Thanksgiving is coming up! I'm not going to lie, it's hard not to be homesick right now with the holiday season coming up, but I am excited for our Thanksgiving schedule here at the MTC. We have some big shot GA coming...they won't tell us who...and then we get a two hour Thanksgiving lunch and we are doing a huge humanitarian service project later in the afternoon. Plus we don't have any class so that will be nice! All of us decided that we are so glad that we are in the MTC on Thanksgiving cause apparently they don't celebrate it in Finland...what the heck? I hope you know I'm being sarcastic right now :) My brain is fried, but not that bad! It's going to be good though! I will probably be e-mailing you next week on Wednesday because our P-day is on Thanksgiving so expect an e-mail then!

So Finnish is coming along really well. I had some "personal study" with my teacher Veli Stewart yesterday and he really helped me. I would tell you what I am going to work on, but I think it would bore you so just know that I am getting better every day :) We have started playing name that tune on our chalkboard in class. You get to go up and write lyrics to songs in Finnish and then whoever guesses the translation first gets to write the next one. It's actually way funny and it helps us learn a lot of vocab and grammar surprisingly! 

I don't know if I have told you about how we sing a hymn in Finnish before every class or not, but let me tell you it is AWESOME! I have grown to love singing so much here in the MTC. I can't sing, but I love to sing! I sing all the time! In the morning, at meals, in class...I'm pretty sure I drive everyone crazy but it's so easy to be happy when you're singing! I mostly stick with musicals and hymns...trying to keep the spirit, but occasionally "I'm Yours" or "Feeling Good" or "Good Time" pop in there. What can I say? It's sometimes nice to remember that normal life is going on somewhere! :) I love singing the hymns in Finnish though. Music really does bring the spirit so much! I love it!

So this week I have decided to focus on humility as my Christlike attribute. It's still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I am serving a mission. I wake up some days and I'm like "Is this real life? What the heck am I doing here?" I think that has been holding me back a lot. I was thinking about which attribute I could work on and humility kept popping into my head and I was like, "Ya, ya whatever...I don't need humility, I need diligence or charity or something." Then I realized that just the fact that I thought I didn't need humility just proves how much I need humility. hahaha I think a lot of times in our church we just say, "Be humble" but I never really understood what that meant. I don't think I do now, but as I was studying last night, I came up with my own definition of humility. Let me know what you think about it. K so it goes "To be humble is to submit to the will of the Lord with a happy heart, having faith that He will be with me wherever I go." Now that is totally not doctrine or anything, but it works for me!

I found this quote in Preach My Gospel that says, "I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work - there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work." I want this more than anything and I am really working on it everyday! I don't want you to think your letters make me sad or distract me because they don't. They strengthen me so much! If I can forget myself and go to work...and still have your support, I know that I can learn Finnish and survive the Finnish winter and do anything else Heavenly Father will ask me to do. Please pray that I will be able to lose myself in this work. I never realized how selfish I was until I came to the MTC but I am trying to stop thinking about myself. Each day gets better and I know that the more I get into this work, the happier I will be. I think that is true for all of us! The more we lose ourselves, the happier we will be! Isn't that funny how that works? Who would have thought? :)

Well Dad, Mom, Jocelyn, Anne, Lauren, Luke, and Caroline I love you with all of my heart. There is nothing I am more grateful for this year than my Savior Jesus Christ, his gospel and all of you! We have all been so blessed. Seriously it blows my mind everyday when I think about it. I love you all so much and think about and pray for you everyday! Pray for the gift of tongues! It might come in handy at some point! Have a great week and know that mina rakastan sinua!! 

All my love, 

Sisar Bitner 

P.S. So Mom, you asked about Christmas....I think what I want most and will have room for is slippers...A Ross special are fine, I just need something warm! regular socks, like to wear with sweats and stuff. Not ankle socks, just cool, cute, warm, socks! :) Oh and I would LOVE another cardigan or two! I want to wear them like everyday but I only have three! Oh and some more tights. If you could send the tights before Christmas that would be great! I have a run in my black ones so black solid tights would be great! I love you so much lady!! Thanks for all you do!! Thanks for loving me so much all of you! You're the best!!! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pictures From Weeks 4 & 5

Thanks for the mustaches Rae! Pulling an Uncle Dave! :)

Thanks for the mustaches Rae! Pulling an Uncle Dave! :)

Thanks for the mustaches Rae! Pulling and Uncle Dave! :)

Vanhin Coffey

Vanhin Hunter

Vanhin Stimson

My beauty...NOT :)

I am converting Sisar Thayne to be an Aggie!

Where the magic happens aka our classroom

My desk

Me after a hard day of Finnish :) I love selfies!

Our Purpose as missionaries :)

Vanhin Coffey and Vanhin Hunter playing "Name That Tune". I'll explain later :)

I've converted to the nun life!

Sisaret at the temple...again!!! Sorry I send this pic so many times, but really all we do is sit in class, eat, and go to the temple haha!

We love temple walks!!!

We love temple walks!!!

Sunday devotional


P-day Eve party....aka we found  vending machines in our basements

Our last time at the temple... the Provo Temple is closing until the beginning of the year so we did a session and a breakfast there this morning! So FUN!
Doing laundry.
Another temple pic.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Terve perhe!! Holy cow one month of my mission is already gone. K, that's kind of gross. I can't believe it's been a month. Ok scratch that...I feel like it's been years since I left but then I look back and I'm like wait How long have I been here? It's kind of hard to believe that I actually did anything other than be at the MTC! It's great though! I have learned SO much. I think that's why missionaries get so tired...a lot of knowledge coming at you from every angle! 

I am so sorry about my lack of letter writing. You are all so great to send me dearelders and letters. I am trying to write back as fast as I can. Just know that I am so grateful for your support and love. It means the world to me and literally is what keeps me going. You are all in my prayers everyday. I have honestly been blessed with the greatest family and friends in the world. I don't know what I would do without you!

So this week has been pretty good! Sisar Thayne and I have reevaluated our language study plan and our Finnish is coming along a lot better. We finally figured out a system of taking notes that works really well. It's so easy to get overwhelmed when you are learning a language, but we are focusing on learning 15 words a day and trying to implement as much Finnish into our conversations as we can. I really can testify that the gift of tongues is real. People always say that the only ones who can learn Finnish are Finnish babies and mormon missionaries and it's SO true. I've probably already said that in one of my letters, but it's all good, right? :) I am working really hard though on the language and I know that one day I will be able to speak it....preferably sooner than later but hey, I guess we'll see :) 

We have decided that the language we can speak right now is called "Spenglinnish" a combo of Spanish, English, and Finnish. Occasionally we will be teaching a lesson and I will throw a "Si" or a "muy bien" in there. The other day we were teaching our "Investigator" (our teacher, Sisar Shaw) and I said Minä tiedän että Mormonin kirja on muy bien kirja" which means "I know the Book of Mormon is a "muy bien" book. Ya she laughed for like 20 minutes. I didn't think it was that funny...idk maybe I'm losing my sense of humor :) Just kidding, I'm not. But it is funny how your language brain just puts together every language you have ever heard. I love Finnish though. I am so grateful that I get to learn a language and especially one not a lot of people know. It's so stinking cool!

So our teachers taught us a funny Finnish phrase this week that apparently all the "cool kids" say in Finland. So you know how we say, "What's up dawg" in America? Well in Finland they say "Morro Porro" which means "What's up Reindeer?" Ya they are kind of legit :) Isn't that funny? I can't wait to see a reindeer. I will definitely take pics!! So you should all walk around saying Morro Porro and you willl be as cool as the sick kids in Finland! :)

L. Tom Perry came and spoke to us on Tuesday which was pretty legit. He talked about companionships which wasn't what any of us were expecting, but it was still good and apparently needed to be addressed. I love Sisar Thayne, but we have been talking this week about how being with someone for 24 hours, 7 days a week kind of sets your teeth on edge a little bit. It's like having a shadow that talks back to you. We talked through some of our probs and decided that it's great that we are learning to be with someone 24/7 now cause when we get married, we're going to be so excited to get any time with our husbands! So it's definitely a good thing...we think :)

So I have been thinking this week a lot about the Savior...I know, shocker huh? :) But an Elder in my district shared this quote with me and I wanted to share it with all of you. It's by Bruce C. Hafen and it says, "Some church members feel weighed down with discouragement about the circumstances of their personal lives, even when they are making sustained and admirable efforts. Frequently these feelings of self-disappointment come not from wrongdoing, but from stresses and troubles for which we may not be fully to blame. The Atonement of Jesus Christ applies to all these experiences because it applies to all of life. The Savior can wipe away all of our tears after all that we can do. The Savior's atonement is the healing power not only for sin, but also for carelessness, inadequacy, and all mortal bitterness. The Atonement is not just for sinners." 

I love that quote so much! I have to tell you, being at the MTC has broken down my thick, stubborn shell. All my doubts and inadequacies and weaknesses have been brought to my attention. I know, it sounds bad, but it has made me realize how I literally need my Savior in every single aspect of my life. I have always had a rock of a family to help me through all my trials, and I still do, but I only get to talk with you once a week. Who are we supposed to turn to to help us get through every day life? We are supposed to rely on the Savior. He is always there to help us. He knows every little tiny thing we feel. I have realized that my first convert on my mission is me. I have always had a testimony, but there is always room to improve and to increase our faith in Jesus Christ. He is our best friend. He will not fail us, nor forsake us. NBD I came up with that on my own. JK I stole it from President Monson but I know that is true. Anything is possible when we rely on the Savior!

I want you all to know how much I love you and how much I love this gospel. It is the greatest thing that any of us have. It is our responsibility to share it. I am grateful for the MTC but I cannot wait to get to Finland. Every day Sisar Thayne and I wake up and look at each other and say "Finlandia for Life", then we laugh, and get to work :) It's such a strange thing being on a mission. You experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows but all you remember at the end of the day are the highs! It's so wonderful! I am so grateful for each of you and I appreciate your love and support more than you could ever know! One cool thing I have started doing with my scripture study is writing a question down from the day. It can literally be anything, but when you read your scriptures, try and look for answers to that question. I promise that you will find answers even if your question is "Why are my friends rude to me?" and you are reading about Ammon cutting of the arms of the Lamanites....for real though :) you will get answers and then the Book of Mormon will become a tool for you to use in your life instead of just something we do at the end of the day. I love the Book of Mormon. It is my favorite part of the day when I can sit and study that book. It's amazing!! Hey guys, did I mention I love the Book of Mormon? Ok, I'm done now :) I hope you all have a fantastic week! Please be safe and look out for each other. I love you with all my heart!

Minä luvatan että Mormonin Kirja siunataa sinun elämä. Luket Mormonin Kirja aina!!!!

Haha Finnish is so great! :)

I love you guys! Rakastan sinua!!

Love, Sisar Bitner 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Week 3 baby!! We made it. Honestly the MTC time warp is the WEIRDEST thing I have ever experienced. I decided this week that my favorite day at the MTC is Wednesday A, because it's P-day eve, but B, because all the new missionaries come in on Wednesdays. It is so nice to see new people. It's great not being the noobs anymore :)

So this week has been great. We teach "investigators" in Finnish every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. It's like the scariest thing in the world, but it's amazing how the spirit can be there even when I'm saying "God loves you" and "I know the Book of Mormon is true and will bring you peace." Translation: "Jumala rakastaa sinua" and "Minä tiedän että Mormonin Kirja on totta ja tuot sinua rauha." NBD, I speak Finnish. Totally kidding. Finnish is a struggle. But we're working on it. Whenever our teachers teach us a new grammar concept, and don't worry, there is a new one every class, we always yell at them and say "Brain dart". That's what the Finnish grammar makes you feel like. Someone is throwing a dart at your head. But it's great and I love it! When our teachers speak it, it is so beautiful. Honestly it sounds like they are singing. I can't wait until I get to that point! I have little love bursts for Finnish. Very few and far between but I know that I will eventually love it! :)

So I was talking to my teacher Sisar Shaw this week and she shared me our mission president's family motto and I wanted to share it with all of you. It goes:

"Life is an adventure. It will be good for your character. Rejoice in all things"

I love that so much. It is so great to remember that everything we go through in life is there to help us grow and progress. If we can just remember that life is meant to be an adventure and to be happy whenever we can, we will get far in life. The Finnish sisters are basically best friends now. Sisar Pack, Sisar Woods, and Sisar Dixon are all so amazing. We are in different districts, but we hang out all the time. It is so great to have them here and we all get along so well. Sisar Pack is our masseuse. Like seriously, she gives us back massages. It's the greatest thing ever. I am definitely spoiled here at the MTC. There are ups and downs for sure, but I have learned that when we enjoy the highs and try our best to push through the lows with a positive attitude, the lows come less often and the highs last a lot longer!

Our zone plays volleyball during gym time. I never liked volleyball but now it is my favorite thing in the world. Probably cause it's not in Finnish, but it's way fun just the same. Our zone leaders are leaving to Hungary this week and we are all SO sad. We have grown so close and they really are some of my best friends. Me and Sisar Thayne were talking about how hard it is going to be to say goodbye to each other. We have known our zone leaders for 3 weeks and I am probably going to cry when they leave. I don't even want to think about not being with Sisar Thayne. Oh well...we are enjoying the time we have with each other :)

So there are a lot of missionaries here from Finland. Ok, not a lot, but since all of us have met about zero Finnish people in our lives, meeting one person from Finland is like the best thing ever. I think they are kind of scared of us because whenever we see them, we all run and yell "Terve, mita kuulu" which means "Hi, How are you". Finnish people are pretty quiet and reserved so I think all the attention is a bit much, but they are good sports and always talk to us. They all look Finnish. Mom, I think Finnish people do have a look, although I don't think you match it like that lady in Macy's thought. Haha That was so funny. But they are all blonde, blue eyed, and Scandinavian. It's great. It's so hard not to want to be in Finland right now. But then I remember that I can't speak the language so it's a good thing I have 6 more weeks. :)

This week I have been thinking a lot about how to become more like Jesus Christ. There are so many places to improve, but that train of thought kind of got me thinking about who Jesus Christ really is and what he did for each of us. The Atonement is the ultimate expression of love. He literally sacrificed himself for us. He is our advocate with the Father. He is pleading to the Father on our behalf. Everyone should go and read D&C 45:3-5. It made me cry this week as I was studying. We are his friends. He wants us to return to live with Him again. All he asks is that we have faith in him, repent, always remember him, and do what he asks with a cheerful and happy heart, and we get eternal life in return. Talk about unprofitable servants! I love my Savior. Everything that I am and have I owe to him!  

I am so grateful for each of you. Seriously I have been thinking how I am going to stand being away from you all for 18 months, but then I realized that I can be gone for 18 months because I have all of you. You are such a strength to me. All of the packages and letters boost my spirits so much. I am so beyond grateful for the temple which allows us to be together as families forever. It is honestly the most unbelievable blessing and I want everyone in Finland and in the world to have that blessing as well. We are so blessed to be members of this church. To have this direction and peace in our lives is SO amazing. AHHHH I love this gospel and this church so much! I am feeling the love today! :)

So this week we get to hear from L. TOM PERRY on Tuesday night. I am freaking out! I am so excited!!! I will let you know the highlights of his talk for sure. It's going to be so great! Mom and Dad I also want to say HAPPY ANNIVERSARY this week! I don't even know how to express how much I love you two. You are everything I hope to be! Thank you so much for everything! I love all of you so much and am so grateful for the support I receive. I couldn't do this without you! Pray for the gift of tongues! It will probably come in handy for me one day :) I love you all more than you could ever know! Have a mahtava week...Awesome...mahtava means awesome! :) 

Kirkko on totta!
Moi Moi!

Love, Sisar Bitner

District walk on Sunday to the temple.

District walk on Sunday to the temple.

Me and Sisar Thayne by Provo Temple.

Sisar Thayne and I in class.

Sisar Thayne and I in class.

Sisar Thayne and I in class.

Sisar Thayne and I in class.

My face after Finnish class...woof!

Lunch in cafeteria.

'I love you' in Finnish.

Bored in class.

Me and Sister McCleary... what a small world.

Sisar Thayne looking for her retainer... long story :)

My desk.

Famous Map pic.

Map Pic.

More map pics.

Our zone after gym time.

Me and Sisar Thayne.

The Finnish districts.

Our zone by the temple.

Temple Thursday.

Love you all

Sunday, November 3, 2013