Peace Out 'Merica!!!
Terve minun perhe...so I don't know if you have heard but I AM LEAVING TO HELSINKI, FINLAND IN 4 DAYS!!!! I have been pinching myself for the past week. This is real life. I am leaving :) Holy cow. What is going on? Is this serious? My brain is running at like 79,756 miles per hour. I am so excited to be in Finland! :)
Ok, now that that's out of the way...how are you all doing? We get to talk on the phone on Monday!! Talk about BDE...Best Day Ever! I am so excited to talk to you! Let's get some of the logistics out of the way. Ok so we are leaving the MTC at 4:30 on Monday morning. Our plane leaves at 8:30 and we fly to Dallas. We have a four hour layover so I will probably call you around 12-1ish or something. Pretty vague, I know! But plan on that! Joce, Anne, Lauren, Luke, and Caroline, you guys will probably be at school, but maybe if you ask really nice, mom will let you come home. If not, I get to skype you all next week so that's AWESOME too! :) I am planning on calling our home phone so if that's not ok, send me a dear.elder within the next few days and let me know if that doesn't work. But Anyways after Dallas, we fly to London and then onto Helsinki! This is so nuts. I honestly can't believe this day is finally here! AHHHH!! It's gonna be great!
So this last week in the MTC has been an even bigger emotional roller coaster than the week before I left on my mission. I am so excited, but also SOOO nervous. Anxious is definitely the best way to describe how I'm feeling. I feel so prepared, but I know that setting foot in Finland and trying to understand a Finn speaking Finnish is going to be a nice little wake up call! haha I am really excited though because our teachers have said that it's so much easier to pick up all the crazy Finnish grammar rules just by listening to how they talk. I can honestly say I never thought this day would come. The MTC still kind of feels like limbo life but now I am going to be in Finland, speaking Finnish and serving the Finns. Seriously, it's kind of hilarious when you think about it! Definitely an out of body, amazing experience! I have changed so much. Honestly, the MTC has changed my life. I am so grateful for it! :)
DAD!!! I met President and Sister Snow this week. I gave the prayer in the new sisters meeting on Sunday and afterwards, Sister Snow came up to me and said, "Sister Bitner, I am your mission grandma. I was your dad's mission mom" I was SO excited to see her and I got to talk to both of them for about 15 minutes. They told me that you were such an amazing missionary and the koreans loved you so much! I was so proud to be able to stand there, knowing that someone else knows how amazing both of my parents are. They love you both so much and I hope to be half as good of a missionary as both of you are! :) Definitely a tender mercy to meet them!!
This week we had a great Tuesday night devo. Our last tuesday night devo...how sad? NOT! JK they really are so great. But Elder Cook from the Quorum of the Twelve was the speaker. It was so great. I am in the choir, you know...how hilarious is that? haha but anyways we sang my favorite Christmas hymn, "The First Noel". It was so beautiful. I have grown to love that song just by being on my mission. That first Christmas is the most important day in the history of everything! Christmas is just such a happy time! I love it so much! But Elder Cook's talk was really good but the thing that stuck out to me the most was what his wife said. She told this story about a little girl who had a Christmas program at school. She was so excited for her mom to come see her because she had the most important part in the play. Her mom thought that her part would be like Mary or the Angel, but when her daughter came out on the stage, she was holding a big tin foil star and smiling just as big as she could! I thought that was so cute and so true! All of us that are fortunate enough to have the gospel in our lives can be that star and light that brings people closer to Christ. I read this quote that says something to the effect of, "When you introduce someone to Jesus Christ, you come to find out how much he loves you and how much he loves them!" What a great opportunity and responsibility for us. It is the most wonderful blessing to already have the gospel in our lives, and now we get to share it with other people. Even the smallest things make the biggest difference! I love Christmas and more than anything, I hope that all of us will strive to be that light and to bring as many people as we can unto Christ! Let's make every day Christmas this year! :)
So I can't believe that I will get to hear your voices before I send my next e-mail and my next e-mail will be sent on a Finnish computer. Holy cow! I am so excited to share this amazing experience with all of you. Thank you all so much for your support and love. I am so grateful that we know that we can be together forever because of Jesus Christ. I want the people in Finland to have that same blessing! I hope I covered everything in this letter "logistics" wise. I had Hannah bring home a Christmas present for you guys...it's nothing great but I wanted to give you a little something something! I am working on writing you all personal letters before I leave and Mom, I am sending my testimony home for Monica. I think that is such a great idea! She would be such a great member :) I am so thankful for all of you! The church is true. Christ lives. He loves us so much. I love you all so much! Hyvää Joulua!! Merry Christmas!!