Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Monday, January 6, 2014

   There Can Be MIRACLES...When You Believe!

    I hope everyone understands my Mariah Carey, Prince of Egypt reference for the subject of this email. If not, then this is awkward! Just kidding!! Hei perhe!! Miten menee? Thank you all so much for your e mails! We are emailing a little bit early today because the grocery store was closed until 12 because it's a holiday in Finland. It's called "Three Kings Day" so that's exciting! haha they have so many holidays here, it's insane! 

    This week I was able to meet a lot of our investigators. I met Anna on Tuesday and she is SO STINKING CUTE!!! Seriously I love her so much! She is 20 years old, has an aethiest twin and lives with her boyfriend. How great is that? Just kidding, that is totally not great. But she is great and we are going to help her. So we went to Anna's house and had a great lesson about prayer and our personal relationship with Heavenly Father. We told her that anything that is important to her is important to Heavenly Father and that she can pray for help with little tiny things in her life. She was so receptive and it was just awesome! It was a little strange teaching her when her boyfriend whom she lives with was sitting right there playing some weird Finnish video game, but it was pretty hilarious. She and I are already such great friends! She loves Jane Austen and Star Wars and everything else that any normal person loves! :) 

    So anyways we invited her to church and she didn't come, but we are meeting with her again tonight and I am way excited! I will keep you posted on her, but she talked about her plans to marry her boyfriend. She really wants to get married and so does he, but for some reason they won't. Sisar Egan told me that Anna loves everything about the gospel, except obviously the Law of Chastity. She says that she can't and won't live it. President Bernards said that I should have you guys pray for my investigators so investigator number 1...pray that Anna and Jonas will want to get married and that she will come to church! I know with our combined faith, we will see miracles happen! :) Anna actually paid me a way nice compliment...well I thought it was nice...she told me that I look like I'm Finnish. How cool is that? I think she meant it as a compliment, I mean Finnish people aren't disgusting or fat or anything so at least I have that going for least for right now! haha but it really meant a lot to me for some reason! She said I have a Finnish face....I feel pretty accomplished right now! :)

    Our next investigator I met this week is Malik. Malik is a bible basher...hardcore. He is from Pakistan and has lived in Helsinki for 7 years and just moved to Tampere. The sisters in Helsinki sent us his teaching record and told us we had to meet with him, but to be ready...we had no idea what that meant but we figured, what the heck? So We went and met with him with a sister in our ward and all he was trying to do was to disprove the Book of Mormon. It was actually really exhausting cause we just sat there for 30 minutes while he attempted to convince us that the Book of Mormon wasn't true. We really didn't say much during the lesson and towards the end, we both just testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. It was really simple but his whole attitude changed. Sisar Egan and I both had the prompting to invite him to church. So we did, and he totally came!! It was incredible. My first investigator at church is a Book of Mormon hater! I love it! haha but he really enjoyed it and we are meeting with him again on Friday. The church is true, that's all I'm going to say! But investigator 2, pray that Malik's heart will be softened and he will pray about the Book of Mormon!! Miracles are on their way folks, I can feel it!! :)

    I wish I had more happy stories to tell about investigators and this week, but overall this week was SOOOOO emotionally draining and hard and other than Malik coming to church, we really had no success. Our spirits were both pretty low. I know that I have never felt so depressed, alone, scared, hopeless, abandoned, and awful in my whole life. I have never struggled with self worth issues or self esteem issues, but I have never felt so crappy about myself as I did this week. I felt like I couldn't do anything right. I was never going to be a good missionary. It was useless for me to try to learn this language. No one here needs or wants me. I wasn't the companion that Sisar Egan needed. I wasn't and couldn't live up to Heavenly Father's expectations of me. It was like every insecurity, doubt, fear, and anything else I have ever had all came at me at once.

    On top of all of that, we were dropped by one of our investigators who the sisters have been teaching for months. He had a baptismal date and everything and then as soon as I show up, he drops us. It was awful. I sat there looking at him (Juhani, the cute old man I told you about on Christmas) and my heart was just breaking. He told us that he wasn't going to become Mormon and he didn't want us to call him anymore. We walked out of that lesson and it about killed me. Plus all of our other lessons we had planned this week totally fell through and nothing was working out and we weren't finding anyone new to teach and no one wanted to talk to us...anywhere and it was cold and dark and was just awful. 

    Sorry to go all "bi polar email" on all of you, but I just have to share this experience with you...Yesterday as you know, was fast sunday so Sisar Egan and I decided to "Fast to Find". We seriously had found NO ONE this week so spirits were pretty low on both sides of our companionship but we knew and had learned that we could not do this alone. We needed the Lord to help us. So we went to church (with Malik...YAY) and afterwards, we planned a route to take to visit some former investigators we found in the area book. We decided that we were going to talk to every single person possible. I had determined that I was going to speak Finnish if it killed me.

    So we set out and the first people we talked to were a couple from Iraq. They didn't speak Finnish or English so we resorted to English/sign language. It was very effective...Not! But it was way funny. They eventually communicated to us that they had two daughters that were our age that spoke Finnish. The husband said "Come" and started walking away. So we figured we had better come. We got to their apartment and their older son actually came to the door and talked to us for a little while. We told him that we were "kirkon edustaja" which means church representatives...apparently they don't like the word missionary here...and that we wanted to talk with them about finding more joy and happiness in life and in our families. He translated to his parents and they both just lit up and said "Oh yes, please come tomorrow". So long story short, we are teaching them tonight. Talk about miracles. Honestly I wish I could just communicate to you how hard this week was and then to be taken to someone's home and practically begged to come over about killed me. I couldn't believe what was going on. I am so excited to write to you next week about how their lesson goes!! Pray for the Ruskum Merza family!!! 

    Day goes on...everybody WANTS to talk to us!!! It seriously was unbelievable. We got on a bus and this guy from Australia comes up and just starts telling us his life story. He is a "motivator" for youth and he travels all over the world helping youth groups. He is married to a Finn and has a 7 month old daughter and we are meeting with him on Wednesday. We get off the bus and are just saying Hi to everyone on the street. Another guys stops us and says he wants to talk to us about our beliefs and that he is looking for direction in his life. Like what the heck? Where have these people been? It was seriously so unbelievable. We had a goal set for 3 new investigators this week and we found 4 one day! Fasting is real! The church is true!! Miracles are real!! I love this gospel!! Heavenly Father is so aware of each of us. He is always there to bless us! I know that he is preparing people for us to bless! We just have to open our mouths and be excited about this gospel we are so blessed to have. Share it with as many people as you can! I love you all so much and am so grateful for you in my life!! Have a wonderful week and remember, there can be MIRACLES when you believe!!! Minä rakastan teitä!!! I love you all so much!!!


Sisar Bitner 

Our awesome New Year's Eve party..we went to a single lady member's house, Anni Lehdi and had salad, lit fireworks, and played a trivia game and were in bed by 10:30p.m. It was awesome!!

My newest investigator.. Batman! Not progressing very well!

This cool path we had to walk through to get to an investigators house. This is what I thought Finland would look like!

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