Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Monday, December 23, 2013

HOOOOOOOLLLLLYYYYYYYY Cow family. I do not even know where to start. First things first though, if there are like 1,456,734,857 errors in this e mail, its because the keyboards in Finlandia are nuts and I am used to typing pretty speedily so I apologize in advance. But on the other hand I AM TYPING ON A FINNISH KEYBOARD BECAUSE I AM IN FINLAND!!!! Can you even believe it? Honestly, I can´t. Every day I wake up and have to remember where I am! It is so cool!

So a little info before story time. So my companion is Sisar Egan from Corvallis, Oregon. She is so great. She has been in Finland for 10 months so ya, she is kind of a pomo (boss) haha She has trained 4 missionaries and all of her (2 were at the same time, they were in a threesome) but ya she knows what it takes to be a trainer. She is actually related to the Egans in our ward so there ya go! Not Katrina, but Tim and Laura so let them know we are companions! We get along really well, I think. It is always weird trying to figure each other out those first few weeks, but I know that we will be great friends. She told me to start thinking in the mindset of a trainer because everyone she trains is a trainer as soon as their training is over. hahahaha can you imagine? I do not even want to think about training someone in 4 months so we can just focus on the now!

Oh ya....I am serving in Tampere!!! You say it like tom-pear-eh(like how Canadians say eh) Go Google it. It is the cutest place ever. I love it so much. It is pretty south in Finland which I am SO happy about. It is cold, but definitely bearable. The people up in the North have temps of about -30 Celsius right now. I do not envy them in the least but I am pretty much guaranteed to be here for 4 months and I am way excited about that! There are two wards in Tampere...Tampere 1 and Tampere 2. We are the sisters in Tampere 1. We are in the same ward as the zone leaders which is pretty exciting! Oh my...I have so much to tell you all...I am going to save some for Christmas though. I am so happy I get to see you all!! So we are going to skype around 5 or 6 Finland time! I am not sure what that translates to in Utah time, but be expecting me to skype you around then. I think you should just use my skype account because I will call you from the members. 

Oh my...what else to say. So we got to Finland on Tuesday afternoon and the APs picked us up. We had a little problem at funny...but I will tell you about that on Christmas! haha so we went straight to the temple in Helsinki. It is so beautiful!!! We got out of the vans and I just looked up at it all shiny in the darkness of Finland and got SO emotional. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I felt SO much peace and I just knew that I was supposed to be here! It was like Heavenly Father welcomed me to Finland :) 

After that we went to the Rawlings house and had some delicious dinner and then we were so tired and went to bed. We got up the next day, went to the mission office, had orientation, and met our trainers. I was a little sad to see Sisar Thayne go, but I know we will keep in touch. So Sisar Egan and I hopped on a train which was so legit...I have never been on a train before...and we headed to Tampere! Our apartment is way cute. Its really small but its ok because thats not why we are here, right? haha I love it though. So we went contacting that night. Sisar Egan gave me a Book of Mormon and said, k, go give this away....uh, what?? I about died. But I figured hey, I have nothing to lose and everything to give so here it goes. I sat down on the bus and said "terve, mita kuulu?" to this Finnish man and he rambled something off and I smiled and said "siisti" which means cool and then he said, in English, "Do we know each other" and I said "Ei" and then he spouted off in English about how much he hates Finland and what a crappy place it is to live and how everyone is drunk and no one talks to each other and yadda, yadda, yadda :) We actually had a way good English...and I gave him the Book of Mormon and told him that it would bless his life and help him to make the trials and frustrations of life a little easier to bear. He said "Kiitos" and then off he went. Unfortunately I am a NOOB and did not think to ask "oh hey, would you maybe like to meet with the missionaries sometime?" Its ok though guys, he has a Book of Mormon. I have faith that he is going to contact us somehow! But rest assured, I will not make that mistake again!

So this week has been crazy. Sisar Egan has served in Tampere her whole mission, but since there are two sets of Sisters in Tampere, we had to get a new apartment and phone so we had none of our investigators numbers in our phone. We still have not had a real lesson. I am kind of frustrated about that but its ok. Things are going to pick up. They have to. Sisar Egan said that the last time she was in this area, her companion and her did not do a lot of work because her companion had a lot of problems and they could not do real missionary work. So I think she is kind of going through some weird deja vu and is just trying to figure this place out. So it is kind of hard to be a greenie wanting to run and jump and yell the gospel, but I cant speak Finnish and my comp is going through a hard time, but we are working on it together. I have realized this week especially the importance of prayer and of being in tune with the spirit, especially when we are trying to help someone out. People will not always tell you what is wrong with them, but the spirit will.

One person I want you all to pray for is Juhani. He is an extremely old extremely awesome Finnish grandpa. He has a baptismal date for a week from this Saturday but his back hurts him so he does not like coming to Church and sitting for 3 hours. We have not taught him yet, but I met him at our ward Christmas party which I will tell you more about on Christmas. It was so great to see an investigator there. Anyways pray for Him. I know that you all want to and should be a part of this with me! You have such strong faith! Juhani needs you!!! haha

The people here are so great. Honestly. People says Finns are quiet and reserved. Totally true. people say Finland is dark and cold. Totally true. People say Finland is a hard mission. Totally true. But what they do not say is how amazing these people are and how beautiful it is when it is cold outside and how awesome the members in Finland are. I seriously feel so blessed to be here. It is so extremely hard to not understand and to want to help so much and not be able to. I know that it will come though. I know that with the Spirit and hard work, I can learn this language and we can make some serious changes in FInland. That is what I am so excited about. A lot of changes need to be made here. In Tampere especially. I think so many improvements can be made with how missionary work is done here. I am so excited to be able to work with this ward and with these people to build up the kingdom in Finland and make it as strong as it has ever been. I know that it will happen. I really do! Its such a great time for all of us to be missionaries!

Anyways this email is all over the place but I want you all to know how much I love and am grateful for each of you. You are the reason I am here today. You have all been so supportive and so wonderful. I could not do this without you! Pray for Tampere. Pray that these members will catch the missionary fever! Help the missionaries in our ward as much as you can! Seriously being on a mission has changed forever what kind of a member I am going to be. Teach with the missionaries when you can! Feed them when you can! It makes all the difference in the world, I promise!! You are all so wonderful. How did I get so lucky to have a family like you? Merry Christmas and I will talk to you all on Wednesday!!! I love you so much!!


Sisar Bitner 

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