Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

 Reunited and it felt SOOOOOO good!!!!
    HEYYYYYY guys! What's up! Man I hope you are all doing so great! Sorry about not writing last week! We had Interim training, which I will explain later, and no one told us that we wouldn't have a p-day so that was a major bummer but it's all good in the Finnish hood! There is no hood in Finland! I promise! So Dad, thank you so much for Pres. Uchtdorf's talk. I love him so much and that talk is SO good. Thanks for all your notes from the talk too. It really helps so much to get advice from you! Mom, I have been CRAVING your delicious chocolate cake for weeks. Honestly, we eat more chocolate here than any other time in my life. It is incredible! Don't worry though, I am not too fat yet. Once the clothes stop fitting, we have a serious problem. Psych...I work out every morning! haha I do some interpretive jump roping to MoTab. Nothing like "I Feel My Savior's Love" to get the blood flowing in the morning! :) I am so glad everyone's birthdays went so well! January is always party time at the Bitner house! I am so proud of you all for being missionaries! Especially you mom. During Interim, President Rawlings talked about Zion and how it is built "one by one". Don't ever feel like what you are doing is something small. If you are helping one person, you are building the kingdom! Man I am smiling just writing this! I am so proud of all of you! Keep up the good work!! 

    Grandma, I will have to look for coconut oil! I love grocery shopping so much and particularly in Finland. I don't know what anything says but I will look up coconut oil in advance and see if it is on the baking aisle! Good work with the goals as well! We as missionaries set goals ALL THE TIME. Sometimes it feels like that is all we do, but I have such a strong testimony of goal setting by the Spirit. We do that so much as missionaries, but that principle can be applied to every day life. Involve Heavenly Father in every aspect of your life. Goal setting really is an act of faith and he wants to help us in everything we do...not just the spiritual stuff! Doce, ANne, Lauren, Luke and Caroline...thank you SO much for your Valentine's letters. I am working on writing you all back! Keep sending pics though! Mom and Dad, get in some pics too! I love to see you all! YOu are all so beautiful! Speaking of which, I showed BFF a picture of you and she could not get over how beautiful and handsome all of you are! I was just beaming with pride showing her your picture! I am so lucky and blessed to have you all FOREVER!!! Man, the church is true!! 

    So...let me first start off with last week...the week before Interim. So we had a pretty fantastic week. Miracles were flying at us from all over the place and our missionary work and the overall spirit of our companionship was just AWESOME! We were definitely on cloud 9. Then, on Wednesday night, Sisar Egan was brushing her teeth and she called me into the bathroom and told me to bring a flashlight. Long story short, I looked in her throat and one of her tonsils was like the size of a golf ball. It was HUGE! And it had white and purple spots on it. Like no lie, I felt like I was looking at an illustration from a Dr. Suess book. It was so gross! So ya...I am sure you wanted to know that! :) Anyways we were on the phone with Sisar Rawlings for like an hour and at the end of the conversation, we had an appointment to go to the hospital on Thursday!

    So longer story short, we were in the hospital for about 4.5 hours on Thursday. It was awful for so many reasons...Sisar Egan felt like crap and she was dizzy and laying all over my shoulder and was rough. Plus the song "What does the fox say?" Was on the tv the whole time...actually that part was way funny! I thought of all my little cousins singing that song and it made me smile :) Anyways they did some tests on her throat and told us we would have the result Monday. On Monday, we were in Helsinki for Interim and the doctors wouldn't release her info because they said the numbers weren't high enough or something psycho like that. So President Rawlings went HAM on the Finnish doctors and basically chewed them out. Longer Longer story short, Sisar Egan got some serious antibiotics, she has slept basically this whole past week and she is doing a lot better now! Thanks for all the prayers on her behalf. I was SO worried about her for so long but she is doing so well! Prayer works people! :)

    Ok now onto the happy stuff...Interim was so great! You probably don't know what Interim is but it is this 4 week training that Finnish missionaries go to after we have been in the country for 6 weeks! We got to stay with some Sisars in Helsinki and we were able to go on splits with them in the evenings which was super fun!! But anyways at Interim we learn about skin care, laundry, shoe shining techniques, finnish culture, oh ya and the gospel too! :) Plus the best part is that I got to see all my MTC friends again...particularly Sisar Thayne! Oh my goodness, we cried for like 5 minutes when we saw each other! It was the best day of my life! We talked and laughed and cried and laughed and talked about all our success and frustrations and oh man, it was awesome! I am praying with all my strength that we are companions again! My life would be complete! It was so great to see all my other friends from the MTC! It seriously felt like seeing my family! We are always going to be so close and I was blessed with such a great group! It was so fun to hear about all their crazy experiences with the language and the people. I really do love them all so much!!

     I want to tell you all I learned from Interim, but you're just going to have to wait until next April for that...sorry, bad joke :) But the one thing I loved more than anything was what President Rawlings said about being a missionary in Finland and for the rest of our lives. He said that being a missionary is all about making friends, sharing love, relaxing, and being yourself. I loved that so much! When he taught that he said, "Think about how big a role the gospel plays in our lives. It encompasses everything we do. It is not normal for us to not talk about the gospel. Most people talk about their religion all the time, but for some reason, LDS members feel like we can't share what we believe. Share the gospel. Bring it up all the time. Make friends, share the Savior's love, relax, and be yourself. That's how you become a lifetime missionary." Truer words have never been spoken. We can all be missionaries starting now and for the rest of our lives and the best part is, it doesn't have to be hard. It's the most natural thing we could ever do and Heavenly Father will always strengthen us! That's another thing I loved from Interim, President said, "As we try our best, He changes us so we become equal to the task that we are willing to do!" I love that he didn't say, the task that we are called to do, but the task that we are willing to do. He isn't going to do everything for us but we can do anything we are WILLING to do with his help! I love Him with all my heart!

    So a little shpeel about our investigators real quick...ok so Anna is doing so great!  We had a great lesson with her this week about the Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and the HOly Ghost. We talked about how the gospel is like the ladder we need to climb to get to heaven, but we have to take all of the steps. She was so involved and had so many great questions and insights, but at the end she said, do you think that if I drink alcohol occassionally and have tea in the morning that I won't get to heaven. Uhhhh...that was a really awkward moment but thankfully the spirit saved our lesson and she came to church on Sunday and we had another great lesson! Man she is progressing so great! We are trying to set a baptismal date with her this week so pray for that! She is so awesome and I love her so much!!

    So Virpi has been investigating the church for five years. Anna, Nawhnee....she is JUST LIKE YOU!! I love her so much and i want you two to be friends! You would love her! ANyways, she has quite the story, but I don't have time to tell it all. SHort version. She married a member, they had a son together, they got divorced, she is still investigating the church and basically has the strongest testimony I know, but she just won't get baptized. It's really been killing me cause I'm like Virpi, here's the basically are already a member of the church....she just isn't receiving the blessings of the Holy Ghost and of just being a member. I asked her in our last lesson "What if this really is all true? How would that change your life?" THen she responded by saying, "I am really scared that it is all true because then I have to change my life?" OH MY GOODNESS SOMETIMES FINNS ARE SO FRUSTRATING BUT I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!!! We just have to help her realize what this gospel will do for her. She's going to be baptized...I know it!!

    I have to tell you about yesterday at church and I really don't want to because my heart breaks every time I think about it, but I want you to know so you can pray for him. So yesterday morning, I called Petteri and made sure that he was still planning on coming to church. He seemed kind of weird, but he said he would be there. Me and Sisar Egan had to go get Anna before church, so we told the Elders to watch for Petteri when he came and to talk with him until we got there. So we come strolling into church with Anna and Petteri was sitting in a chair, surrounded by four elders. I kind of looked over and thought that was kind of weird, but didn't really think anything of it. Then, I walked over and said Hi to him and it was pretty apparent that he was completely drunk. Now I know everyone will make fun of me, but I lived a pretty sheltered life and I have never seen someone I know, drunk. It was the scariest thing of my life. He tried to give me a hug and I had to like dodge behind the door in the church. The Elders were so great and kind of kept him under control but he was swearing so English... and was just a mess. I have kind of been getting the feeling recently when we taught him that he liked me more than he should and it has made me way uncomfortable, and yesterday he asked me to marry him and said a lot of other things that don't need to be repeated. Honestly, I can't even explain to you how I felt. My heart was broken. He is such a great guy! He has had such a hard life and he is so depressed now. He thinks the only place he has to turn is to alcohol and it is ruining his life. I hate it so much!

    We aren't teaching Petteri anymore. The Elders are going to take him as their investigator, but I just want you all to know how grateful I am for the commandments and for this gospel. Everything we are asked to do is to keep us safe. All the commandments have been given to us by a loving Heavenly Father because He KNOWS what we need to do to be truly happy in this life. Satan is so real and the world is so evil. We have to stand up for what we believe in because the world is getting worse and worse every day. Up to this point in my mission, I never realized how important this gospel is for the entire world. People are looking for something. They are looking for relief and peace, but they don't know where to find it. That is why I am here freezing in Finland. That is why missionaries leave their families and go to random parts of the world. We go because we can't stay. We can't sit by and watch while Satan ruins our brother's and sister's lives. Honestly, this gospel is so true! I love it so much and I can't even express in words how grateful I am for it. Please pray for Petteri. I know that he will join the church one day and that he will raise a righteous family! There is hope for everyone! I know that is true!!

    I love you all so much! Don't worry about me...I am doing really well and loving being a missionary! Please do all you can to help the missionaries in our ward or stake! Be missionaries wherever you go! We all need to help and if we try our best, Heavenly Father will give us the courage and strength we need to share this truth! I love you all so much and hope you have a fantastic week! The church is true and the Book is blue!!!

Sisar Bitner 

Me and SISAR THAYNE reunited at Interim training!! It was SOOOOO good to see her!!

My attempt at a semi-artistic photo...its kind of cool I guess

Me and minun toveri in Helsinki!

Our first whiteout day...this is what we looked like after

This is our new investigator Zheng!! She is my BEST FRIEND!!! I love her so much!!! 

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