Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Monday, January 20, 2014

    PIPA - Power in Praying Always...yes I made that up myself!! :)
    Heiiiiiiiii....Moro Perhe? How the heck are you all doing? Man I hope everyone is doing so well! Luke and Caroline and Anne HYVÄÄ SYNTYMÄPÄIVÄ!! That means Happy Birthday! I hope you all have the greatest birthdays on earth! Luke and Caroline you are 10, Anne you are 15...what is going on?? You guys are so dang old! That is awesome! Joce I hope you weren't as fat as me with your wisdom teeth. Lauren, I hope your braces are bringing you joy and happiness...k that's a bit of a stretch but I hope they are good :) Mom cooking is going really well...NOT. I totally ruined your banana bread! In my defense...Finland doesn't measure in cups or teaspoons so I eyeballed just about everything. The bread was edible...I think. I ate it. I'm not dead. was edible! It was way funny though and our house smelled real nice so that was good! Same with the meatloaf...I eyeballed everything...and made my own breadcrumbs, and used real mustard because I don't know the word for dry mustard in Finnish. It was edible too...Man i stink at cooking! Oh well it's part of the experience!! Dad, we have mission debit cards that we use for food and transportation and everything else. I have been using my debit card for all my cold winter gear. I would say I am done buying stuff...but I cannot tell a lie! :) No I am kidding, I have all the big things...a quality coat and boots and some real nice mittens. I am still looking for a nice scarf and hat but the ones I have now are doing just fine! Grandma, you can TOTALLY write Juhani a letter. That would be so wonderful!! I will translate it...and then my companion can fix my translation but we can totally give that to him! Look at you guys...being missionaries with me! This is awesome!! :) I hope that answered all the major concerns!! Man I love you all so much! You are wonderful and i miss you like crazy!!!

    This week was pretty dang incredible! It is so amazing how the longer I am on my mission and the deeper I get into Finnish and the culture of Finland, the more I love it. This really is the greatest place on earth. I was saying my prayers this morning and I just thanked Heavenly Father for Finland and I started bawling. This place will always have my heart. I already love it more than anything and I have been here a month. Man...It's amazing!!

    So I thought I would tell you a little bit about how we do missionary work here in good old Tampere! So...we do SO MUCH bus contacting. We ride the buses everywhere! It's actually way fun and I feel way legit with my bus pass and stuff! haha but I have to tell you, not a huge fan of bus contacting! Street contacting...totally fine. Bus contacting. NO. That is my goal for this week is to try to love bus contacting. It's really stressful cause you start trying to talk to someone and once you start talking about the gospel, Oh look! It's their stop and then they get off and run away. It's really bad but I am working on my "elevator talk" - courtesy of J-bit...Dad I mean! But I hope that will work a little better for me! Anyways, we bus contact in between lessons and just try to talk to EVERYBODY we see. It's kind of funny because people in FInland don't talk to each other. Like EVER. It is unbelievable. Whenever we approach someone or say hi to someone they freak out and jump back like "What the heck, why would you ever say hi to me?" It's really funny! 

    The finns really are so friendly though. They are way quiet and reserved, but once you get them talking, they don't stop. It actually really is a problem for us. We cannot get out of lessons. Our investigators talk FOREVER. It is so great, but it's stressful for us cause then we run to appointments and miss our buses and oh man...the life of a Finnish missionary :) I really think they talk so much because they bottle everything up inside and don't speak all day and then here we come, two american girls who want to sit and listen to their problems and concerns and they just unload EVERYTHING. You learn a lot, that's for sure! :) No but seriously, the people are so great! They are so honest and loyal and I really admire them in so many ways. They are tough too! This Finnish winter is no joke. My hair freezes instantly and you can't even breathe in the air without hurting your lungs. I want to be as cool as the FInns! 

    Send me some questions you all have so I don't ramble on and on about stuff no one wants to hear! haha I am a really good rambler so stop me with questions!! Anyways, I want to tell you about Petteri, Anna, Adam, and Malik. Petteri is the one I told you about last week. He is going to be a bishop one day. There is no doubt in my mind. We taught him this week about prayer. We had the best lesson about always having a prayer in your heart and the role that Heavenly Father plays in our lives. He told us that he believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true...he just doesn't know if it's true for him. COME ON Pettari! No I am just kidding! He seriously already has a testimony, it's insane! He came to church yesterday and we are meeting with him again on Tuesday! There is a lady in our ward named Anni, who is not married and is the same age as Pettari. Sisar Egan and I are convinced that Pettari and Anni are going to get married. It will be great! Pray for Pettari though...he needs to read the Book of Mormon. He says that he doesn't need to read because he already knows what is in it...uh ok :) No but really, your prayers make such a difference! Thank you so much!! :)

    So Anna and Adam are my BFFs. Adam is from Syria. He is a very handsome man, I am not going to lie. All of the girls in our ward love him. It's hilarious. He is muslim which means we argue about Jesus Christ every time we teach him. He has a hard time reading the Book of Mormon but I know when he does, he will be baptized. Anna is so stinking cute. I have told you about her, but she honestly has had the saddest life. I don't want to say too much...Finnish Privacy laws...but just pray that she will feel Heavenly Father's love in her life. We had a great lesson with her this week about prayer. She said she was afraid to pray so we asked her if she would say a prayer after sister egan and I said one as well. We all went around and prayed and her prayer was SO sincere and heartfelt. It honestly made me want to pray like her. She was talking to her Heavenly Father and the spirit was so strong. Aw man, I love them both so much!

    So Malik...oh Malik! Malik is from Pakistan. Malik is hilarious. Malik is my buddy. He talks more than any other person I have ever met in my entire life. On Wednesday we had a lesson with him. I said hey Malik, how has your day been. 1 hour later we were beginning our lesson. He tells us everything about his life. This week we discovered that he wants to get married. He wants a "woman with a kind heart who won't interfere and who understands his heart". I felt like that was a pretty good thing to desire in a wife :) hahaha We talked to him about the plan of salvation and living with our families forever. He seemed very interested in that especially because his dad passed away when he was 17. I have been thinking about having to go through trials like Pettari, Anna, Adam and Malik without the gospel. I want them all to have it SO bad. I just wish I could communicate to them what the gospel and the Atonement can bring to their lives, but I know that the spirit has been in our lessons and they will understand and accept it one day. We just have to love them and give them the best opportunity to receive this gospel. There are so many wonderful people in the world though! I am so grateful to be a missionary!

     Anyways, I hope you all know how much I love you! I have been thinking a lot this week about love, particularly the pure love of Christ. I was really struggling at the beginning of this week because all of our appointments were falling through and we had horrible back up plans and we were just walking down the freezing streets in Finland trying to talk to people who wanted to be in the cold about as much as we did and it wasn't working. Sisar Egan and I had a big old talk about loving the people and loving each other and loving the Lord. The next day as we tried to implement that love and uplift each other, a completely different spirit encompassed our missionary work. We were happy, we were laughing and people wanted to talk to us because they saw that joy that came from us just loving everything. I have made it a goal to acknowledge all the things I love and am grateful for verbally. I think when you do that, something clicks in your mind and you realize how much you really do love a lot about your life. Man...Love really is all you need! Thank you Beatles!! :)

     I am so grateful for my Savior. I am so grateful for his love for me. It blows my mind every day how much he loves each one of us! Never forget that he loves you. Never forget that I love you all so much and pray for you every day! Try to make a difference in someone's life. Just say hi to people. Love them. Tell each other you love each other. You will find more joy in that than anything else. I know this gospel is all about love. It's all about happiness. The Savior really is our perfect example in everything...especially love. He loved us enough to leave his throne in Heaven and rescue us from ourselves. He suffered EVERYTHING any of us will ever go through BECAUSE he loves us! Like that's incredible. He did it because he loves us. I am so grateful for that love and I am so grateful that I have so many wonderful people in my life who I can love! It's so amazing to be a missionary and to be a member of this church! I am grateful for it jokä päiva - each day :) I hope you all have an incredible week! I love you all!!! 


Sisar Bitner 

P.S. Sisar Egan and I are fasting on Tuesday to become more consecrated with the work. You don't have to fast, but we would LOVE your prayers of support for our fast and for this week! Help us become missionaries, not just serve missions! :) I love you all so much!! 

Me and the sun!!!!

The sun!!!

Beautiful Finland!

Finland is beautiful and white!!!

Our bus stop in the Tundra.

What I look like everyday.

Me and my companion who refuses to smile for my pictures...

Us...ya..this is what happens when you spend hours and hours and hours and hours with the same person... you get bored and take selfies! I love Sisar Egan!

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