Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

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!!! 

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