Greetings From Vaasa... March 23, 2014
Sup guys? Hey so guess what...the title of my email is greetings from Vaasa. Vaasa is a city on the west coast of Finland. And guess who is the newest missionary in Vaasa? That's right...Sister Bitner. So I am being transferred! Now I know what you are thinking, it's not supposed to be transfers for another 5 weeks, and you are so right, but I want to tell you the story so sit back, relax, grab some popcorn if you want...this is really exciting! Ok, not exciting...but still...here it goes...
So last Sunday was just a great old regular Sunday here in Tampere. Vincent came to church, the sun was shining, birds were singing...literally...and it was just the best day! Church was really good, as always, and afterwards, someone called my name and said "Bitner, get over here". So I turn around to see who it is and my good old friend Petteri is sitting next to the Elders. So I am sure you remember who Petteri is, but he is the investigator we had to give over to the Elders because he was not being appropriate and it was super uncomfortable and everything so ya, that's him. But anyways I kind of just waved and started to walk away and he said "What are you too scared to come talk to me?" And in my head I said "Ya" but we went over and said Hi! We were standing there and he started saying inappropriate things and it was really uncomfortable. I am sure you would just love to know everything he said, just kidding...but needless to say, what he said wasn't appropriate and I was probably the most scared/disgusted/shaky I have ever been in my life. But, Sister Jones and I left and we just kind of proceeded with our day at church, avoiding Petteri at all cost!
After church was over, we were standing in the foyer talking to Sister Oksi...she is legit and has purple hair! She is great! But we were talking, trying to schedule a time to come meet with her, and someone came up behind me and gave me a hug and kissed my head....ya it was Petteri. So I freaked out and jumped about 20 feet and it was just awful. I was so upset and so embarrassed and it was easily one of the worst experiences of my life. Things with Petteri really haven't been very bad until now, and it has just gone from bad to worse. We were in District Meeting on Wednesday and Petteri showed up and he was drunk and he tried to come and sit next to me with all the other missionaries there and then he was just being really weird and so Sister Jones and I left as the Elders tried to keep him in the room. I was really shaken up and Elder Jefferies and Elder Durrant...the zone leaders...came in and apologized for what happened. They hadn't heard the whole story of what had happened with Petteri, so I told them. I asked Elder Jefferies for a blessing, and in the blessing he said that I needed to call President Rawlings. So I did, and I kind of watered down the truth. I know, not the smartest thing to do, but I knew that I would be leaving if I told him exactly how scared I am of Petteri and everything. Anyways, we got off the phone and nothing had happened, but then I felt prompted to say a prayer. Sister Jones and I prayed and I asked Heavenly Father to help me see things clearly and to understand his will. Afterwards I really felt like I needed to call President back. So I did and I explained the situation, and now I am being emergency transferred to Vaasa and Sister Thayne is replacing me here in Tampere!
I don't have a lot of time to write, and I know it's weird that this is on Sunday, but I wanted to tell you about it. I really could have used the safety and security of home this week. I have never been so scared of someone in my life, but I know that Heavenly Father is watching out for me. I am SO sad to be leaving Tampere. I can't even tell you how many times I have cried this week knowing that I would leave, but all I can do is go to Vaasa with faith. I need to be there. I know I can't stay here. But it is still hard and frustrating. In the blessing Elder Jefferies gave me, he said that all of you were happy and safe which has given me so much comfort this week. I am sorry this email is so lame and short, but I will write from Vaasa next week and fill you in a little bit more! I am so sad to be leaving Sister Jones...we are such great friends! I have grown so close with this ward. I will send all my pictures with them next week. Vincent is getting baptized on April 19th and it is killing me that I won't be here. He is a rockstar and is going to be the first stake president in Tanzania!
I know the church is true. Life is crazy and changes all the time. It never turns out the way we plan, but the most comforting thing to me is that this gospel, the Book of Mormon, our Savior and Father in Heaven will never change. We always have this constant support and strength in our lives. What a blessing! I am so grateful to be a missionary! I love it so much! Tampere will always have a very special place in my heart and I love the people here so much! All the members told me that my family is always welcome if we come and visit, so everyone plan on a trip to Tampere sometime soon! I love you all so much! I am safe and well, but pray that everything this week will work out! I leave to Vaasa tomorrow morning, but I am way pumped because I get to see Sister Thayne!! It's going to be great I hope!! I believe it will be! A lot of Chinese people live in Vaasa...I love Chinese people! :) I am turning back into a greenie! :) Oh man...the greenie life! It's the best! i love you so much!! Have a great week!!!
Oh, P.S. Dad and Lauren HYVÄÄ SYNTYMÄPÄIVÄÄ!!!! I love you both so much and hope your birthdays have been just wonderful! Lauren you are a teenager...uh what? Who said you could grow up! Dad you are turning 35....wow, you look great! :) I love you all with all my heart!!!
Rakaudella, Sisar Bitner