Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Decade of Decision

    Wow! What's up guys? How are you all doing? I hope you had the best week ever cause you all deserve it because you're wonderful and I love you! :) I have been thinking a lot about my little sister Joce's first experience in a singles ward....hahahahaha man, I hope it was so great and I want to hear all about it! Anne, I hope soccer went well...have  you played Davis yet? Try and get the cup back for us...we haven't had it for awhile! :) Lauren I hope tennis and 8th grade is just the best thing ever and Luke and the heck are you two? I miss you all so much! Mom and Dad, you are both wonderful! I am so grateful for you and for all you both have taught me...I printed off the picture you sent me of your side of the family, mom, at the temple last week and I put it up on my are all just so wonderful! I have the best family in the world! Speaking of family...I think it is my Birthday Buddy's birthday this Friday so Will, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I am so sorry I can't be there to share it with you this year, but have the best 9th birthday ever and know how much I LOVE YOU!!! Also shout out to by BFF Abby-G during 20 this week! Dang girl, you are so old! :) The title of my email is the decade of decision....cause that's what we are about to enter woman!! How scary is that? I am super excited to not be a teenager though! I know this probably sounds way stupid, but I love my birthday so much. I really don't even care if anyone gives me anything or says happy birthday, although that is great, but just think, a whole day dedicated to the fact that you were born. Literally, we have done absolutely nothing to merit any sort of recognition or celebration, and yet, it it like the BEST DAY EVER! I think we really should celebrate our mothers...that makes more sense! But anyways, I just love birthdays and am super excited to be in Finland for my 20th!! YIPPEE!! But Mom, I have been CRAVING sweet and sour chicken and oriental rice...real bad! Could you send me that next week? Also, I really don't remember what my favorite foods are anymore...probably cause I love all food, but if you see any recipes that remind you of me that I could make...remember, I am a beginner....send them on over! I am kind of getting sick of the food I make! Time to shake it up! But anyways, I love you all so much! Thanks for all your prayers on my behalf. I feel them ALL THE TIME!!! You are the best!!

    Well Fall is on it's way in good old Finland. I FLIPPING LOVE FALL!! I love when the weather is just a little bit cold, to the point where you can't decide whether to wear a jacket or not...I love that boots are once again practical...YAY...and that scarfs and coats and jackets and sweaters are all coming, I guess I just like that all I think about? Absolutely....not! But anyways, Fall in Finland is just as beautiful as winter, spring, and summer have been! This seriously is the most beautiful place. I know I talked about the clouds already, but MY GOODNESS!! The clouds here would blow your mind! They are gorgeous! If you all want to just move here, that would be fine with me and then I could stay forever! I was thinking about it the other day and the only thing I will be happy about when I leave Finland is seeing you guys. Everything else is going to rip my heart out, but we can worry about that later...right now I am just going to enjoy all the good things and hopefully share it with my wonderful family! Finland is beautiful and I love it here! That is my "Something Finnish" for the week...Finns love Finland SOOOO much and I really love that about them. They build their cities and homes AROUND nature...ok, calm down...I am not going tree hugger on anyone, but it's super funny cause we will be walking down the street and all the sudden this GINORMOUS boulder is just sitting right in someone's front yard. We always just stop and laugh and shake our heads and say "Oh, the Finns!" They would rather leave things the way they are than disrupt nature. It's really a way good thing and is one of the reasons their country is so beautiful! Yay for Finland!

    I realized last night that I haven't really written anything about our BOMB AWESOME new mission president and his wonderful wife! So the Watsons are great! Seriously, I love them so much! It was so good to be down at Interim with them. I actually talked to them for a way long time during lunch one day! They are from Heber City, UT and Dad, we talked all about Bitner Ranch and President said that he is absolutely sure that his dad or grandpa or someone knew the Bitners...small world! Pays to have a sheep ranch! :) Anyways, it is just so easy to talk to them. Each time I have talked to President and Sister Watson, I know that they love me for who I am and want the best for me! They really are so great. Sister Watson misses her family and was telling me about all of her grandkids. She is seriously the sweetest person I know and you can just tell she is and always has been a really good person. President is super funny and is SOOOO nice and He is really good at simplifying the gospel and focusing on the basics. He just really makes you feel so good about yourself. They are wonderful people and I am so grateful for them! 

    I think I have told you about soccer. We play every Saturday and it's really turned into this HUGE thing. We have these 5 turkish men that come and are pretty crazy! They are really good and go a little too hard...some people just take things so seriously! :) But anyways it's so much fun to play and it makes me feel so good! I love soccer so much and Sister Pace is a champ to play with me. She doesn't really like it...but she still plays. I really appreciate that! Anyways, I scored a sick header goal and won the friendship of the turks! My life is complete! :) Transfer calls are on my birthday! I am not going to lie, I am pretty nervous, but I am trying not to borrow problems from tomorrow. No point in doing that #parkinsonworrybunch #iworryallthetime but I might be staying or leaving Vaasa! We will see what happens!! 

    So this week, I didn't feel very well on Thursday. I woke up had the worst headache I have had in a long time. I was super dizzy and exhausted and knew it wouldn't be a good idea to hop on a bike and try to talk to least not with my nametag on...#drunkmissionary. Anyways, I went back to bed and slept for 5 hours straight. I didn't even move. But I woke up and felt better, so we just took it easy that day...didn't bike at all, and just walked around and talked to all the people. Talking to people in Finland is super interesting. Finns are reserved...yes all the stereotypes are true, but that's not the real issue. The real issue is they care A LOT about what other people think of them so when we talk to them on the street, they are always looking around kind of nervous like, making sure that no one they know is passing by. It's kind of frustrating/funny/awkward/awesome, but just one of those things. Usually when we say hi, people say hi back and keep walking. We talked about that in district meeting how we need to stop our feet and expect that the people are going to stop and talk to us. Not going to's SUPER awkward, especially when they keep walking by. Sitting here writing this, I can't help but's going to be so funny to watch this part of my life again up in heaven, but we really just do our best to shake it off and laugh. Usually I say something like "Ok, well have a wonderful day" and other times I just say "Merbaderp". That is my favorite thing to say. I think it's finnish...just kidding its not, but It kind of sums up how I feel when people don't stop :) The thing is, we have the greatest thing in the world to give these people, they just don't know it. Sometimes I just want to run up to them and say, "I know this is really weird, but just hear me out for like 5 minutes and I promise you won't regret it." That would be even weirder though. I don't know if I will ever master the art of contacting, but I am trying and it's always more fun when we just laugh and have a good time while doing it. I know I wouldn't want to talk to some sour faced I really try hard to smile and be friendly! Heck, it's what Jesus would do, I guess I better do it too! :) 

    We had a lesson with Milla this week...she is flipping awesome! I love her so much! She and Sisar Pace really have a special connection...I think they were friends in the pre-existence. It's actually really fun to watch them talk. It's like Sister Pace is talking to herself. But she really has such a desire to learn. We knew we wanted to teach her about the Restoration, but we both felt super strongly that we should focus on Christ and his earthly ministry and atonement. Sister Pace laminated this awesome picture of Christ and wrote some scriptures on the back for Milla. When we gave Milla the picture, her whole face lit up and she just kept saying "Oh thank you, oh thank you". It's amazing how having a picture of Christ changes the entire spirit of a room or home. That is one thing I want everyone to have...if you don't have a picture of Christ somewhere where you can see it all the time, get one! It's what changes a regular home to the home of a member or better yet, the home of a disciple of Christ! We need to remember Him always!

    So we have been trying super hard to not be frustrated with Caius and Tuulia lately. Their kids are wonderful and need and want the gospel SO BAD it's insane. It's just super hard to work with the parents. Sister Pace and I have talked about it a lot, and we really don't want to just baptize these kids and throw them back to the sharks. That wouldn't do them any good. But when we try to work with the parents, they don't want to cooperate. Anyways, This week during weekly planning, Sister Pace and I both felt that we just needed to give them to the Lord for a few weeks and see what happened. We felt good about it especially since we are trying to do missionary work by the "Lean Machine" method. The Lean Machine means we focus on 3-4 solid investigators, 3-4 less actives/recent converts, and 2 member families. That way, we can focus on daily contact with investigators and really really helping them progress as opposed to having like 238734 investigators that we see once a month and never go anywhere. Boy has it been working well...

    So Saturday night comes around and Sister Pace and I had worked so hard to get Milla to church. We had a member invite her and offer to give her a ride and Milla totally said she would come! We were so excited! And then, as we were sitting at dinner, I looked at Sister Pace and said, "You know, I think we should try one more time to get those kids to church." She agreed and we called a member in our ward, asked if he would be willing to pick them up, then called Tuulia and she was SO NICE and totally said we could come get the kids for church. What the heck? I have been trying for months to get these kids to church and the second I turn it over the the Lord...BOOM....miracle! Literally it's a miracle! I don't think anyone really understands the magnitude of what just happened! :)

    Anyways, long story short, BEST SUNDAY IN CHURCH EVER!!! We had 4 investigators there, Milla and the kids, 1 less active, and my boy CHAU PASSED THE SACRAMENT IN A WHITE SHIRT AND TIE! Seriously, I was so happy sitting there looking around at all the people I have been praying for and working with and was just the best! Granted, our happiness shouldn't depend on numbers or "success" in life, but I learned a valuable lesson this week. This transfer has been super hard, for a number of reasons, but every single trial, tear, hardship, frustration, pain, and everything else was nothing compared to the joy I felt yesterday in church. As a matter of fact, they all went away. I literally couldn't remember any of the hard things that have happened these past 10 weeks! Heavenly Father gives us trials because He loves us. How does that make sense? I don't know. But I know every time we are frustrated or wonder, "Why me, Heavenly Father?" he is just sitting up there looking at us just pleading for us to keep going and to trust him. Plus, we wouldn't be half as grateful for our blessings if we didn't have to go through some trials as well. Like it says in my favorite song, "You can never know the good if you never know the bad, you can never be happy if you've never been's called opposition my friends, opposition" (Yes, i did just forget the rest of the words to that song) but man, My Turn on Earth knows what's up! :) Thanks mom for introducing us to that!

     But seriously, trials bring us closer to our Father in Heaven. I think that is the case for two reason, A, we are humbled by them which in turn gives us the opportunity to ask our loving Heavenly Father for help and B, we literally are strengthened and refined EVERY SINGLE DAY we go through something hard which makes us more like our Savior. Wading through the muck is awful. It's not fun. No one wants it, but I think we are all grateful for it in the end. I have that picture you sent me, mom, of you and dad and I the day you dropped me off at the MTC #wasthatreallife but I was looking at that picture the other day and I realized, I don't even know that person anymore...myself I mean! :) I just looked at myself and thought, "Man, I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has done more with my life than I could myself." I thought I was doing pretty well before my mission and I was doing alright. It's not like I was evil... Not like I lived perfectly...obviously, but man, it scares me to think that my pride almost kept me from trusting in my Father in Heaven. He knew what I needed before I even came here. He knew I needed Finland. He knew I needed to leave my family. He knew I needed my trainer and all my companions and all the hard things that have come on my mission, but he also knew that the joy and everything else I would experience in Finland would give me experience and would be for my good. We just have to believe that is true. There is no other option, but I can promise each of you, because I have experienced it, that as we turn it over to the Lord, we will be amazed at what he can do with each of our lives. We will look at what we have and what we have accomplished and think, "Wow, there is NO WAY I could have done all of that on my own." It really is such a happy, peaceful way to live. Not to be all "Miss America/meditation man, but that really is how we find inner peace. WE LET GO. Give it all up. It's so much better. 

    One of my FAVORITE talks is "Swallowed up in the will of the Father" by Neal A. Maxwell. I think I have talked about this before, but it's brilliant...seriously...go read it! But a couple of things he says really highlight CRUCIAL truths about "Consecration" and trusting in the Lord. He says:

    So many of us are kept from eventual consecration because we mistakenly think that, somehow, by letting our will be swallowed up in the will of God, we lose our individuality (see Mosiah 15:7). What we are really worried about, of course, is not giving up self, but selfish things—like our roles, our time, our preeminence, and our possessions. No wonder we are instructed by the Savior to lose ourselves (see Luke 9:24). He is only asking us to lose the old self in order to find the new self. It is not a question of one’s losing identity but of finding his true identity! Ironically, so many people already lose themselves anyway in their consuming hobbies and preoccupations but with far, far lesser things.

    I love that..."finding our TRUE identity"...ok keep reading...

    Thus, brothers and sisters, consecration is not resignation or a mindless caving in. Rather, it is a deliberate expanding outward, making us more honest when we sing, “More used would I be” (“More Holiness Give Me,”1985, Hymns, no. 131). Consecration, likewise, is not shoulder-shrugging acceptance, but, instead, shoulder-squaring to better bear the yoke.

    Mom, this is your favorite song and I love it too...but think about that...turning outward when it's easy to turn inward is what it means to be consecrated...interesting thought...

    Along this pathway leading to consecration, stern and unsought challenges sometimes hasten this jettisoning, which is needed to achieve increased consecration (see Hel. 12:3). If we have grown soft, hard times may be necessary. If we are too contented, a dose of divine discontent may come. A relevant insight may be contained in reproof. A new calling beckons us away from comfortable routines wherein the needed competencies have already been developed. One may be stripped of accustomed luxury so that the malignant mole of materialism may be removed. One may be scorched by humiliation so pride can be melted away. Whatever we lack will get attention, one way or another.

    How many of us have felt that way? I think everyone...

    Consecration is thus both a principle and a process, and it is not tied to a single moment. Instead, it is freely given, drop by drop, until the cup of consecration brims and finally runs over.

    Thus, acknowledging God’s hand includes, in the words of the Prophet Joseph, trusting that God has made “ample provision” beforehand to achieve all His purposes, including His purposes in our lives (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 220). Sometimes He clearly directs; other times it seems He merely permits some things to happen. Therefore, we will not always understand the role of God’s hand, but we know enough of his heart and mind to be submissive. Thus when we are perplexed and stressed, explanatory help is not always immediately forthcoming, but compensatory help will be. Thus our process of cognition gives way to our personal submission, as we experience those moments when we learn to “be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).

    Then, the more one’s will is thus “swallowed up,” the more his afflictions, rather than necessarily being removed, will be “swallowed up in the joy of Christ” (Alma 31:38).

    The Joy of Christ...I think that is what it means when we can't remember our pains anymore...they are literally washed away through Christ....

    In conclusion, the submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we “give,” brothers and sisters, are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!

    Consecration thus constitutes the only unconditional surrender which is also a total victory!

    Isn't that the most brilliant thing? Granted, this whole consecration thing is probably the greatest process we could ever find ourselves in, but man...I just feel like sometimes when we get a little taste of that "joy of Christ" nothing else really matters! As we really let our will be swallowed up in the will of the father, we will experience greater joy than we can ever imagine! Helaman 3:35 and Mosiah 2:41 are two of my favorite scriptures for that reason! I am just so grateful for Heavenly Father and his plan and what he has in store for each of us. It's so exciting to think about all the changes and big things that are coming in our lives. I got a blessing a few weeks ago, and in it is said, "More great and wonderful things are ahead." I was like YAAAAAAHHHH!!! I can't wait to see what is coming next and the greatest thing is that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will always be with us. Nothing will ever take that away! It's awesome! We can have TOTAL VICTORY as we give our will to the Father! It's so cool! 

    Anyways, I love you all so much and am so grateful for you! I hope you always remember that I am in Finland, praying my heart out for you! You are all so wonderful and I know Heavenly Father loves each and every one of you so much! Thank you so much for all you have done for me! I really don't feel worthy enough to call you my family, but for some reason, I am the luckiest person in the world! Have the best week ever! :) I love you so much!!


    Sisar Olivia Bitner 

My boy Chau passed the sacrament on Sunday!! YIPPPPPPPPEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014


    Oh my oh man...where have you been all my life? Seriously, no more lack of P-day weeks...I missed you all way too much! How the heck are you all doing? Geez...can I just tell you how much I love every single picture and letter I get? I get so PUMPED every Monday to see all your beautiful faces! BTW, HAPPY WEDDING SHOUTOUT TO MY COUSIN HANNAH BANANA!! Man Hannah, I am so happy for you! You looked SOOOO beautiful, but mostly you looked so happy! I am so grateful for your example to me of being married in the temple! I am so happy for you and Brandon and just so happy, period! You two are so wonderful and I love you both! But anyways, thank you all so much for your love and support. Really, it lifts me up all the time and helps me keep moving forward on the tough days! You are all the best and I love you so much!!

     Mom thank you so much for the package and for the other package and for just being awesome!! I love your idea about the group message and scripture study! BRILLIANT!!! I hope that goes well!! Dad, I heard about your garage and am SO EXCITED to see it. Are all the deer heads still alive and well? I mean....dead and well? I told Sister Pace you have deer heads in the garage and she about died....she really loves animals! hahaha anyways Joce....HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY!!! Holy cow...I think I had some sort of a mid-life crisis with my little sis turning 18. That is insanity! But I am so happy for you and so excited for you to go tear up Utah State! Just keep the house clean...haha just kidding! But seriously! Anne, you MADE THE LAYTON HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER TEAM!!! YAYAYAYAY!!! You get to have that quality Layton High School coaching! Yeah! :) I am so proud of you though and am so excited to watch you play next year! Send lots of pictures and good luck with your first games! Remember, don't get in the way of the seniors, but definitely show them what's've got skill! :) I really do miss those days a is fun to play for your school! Wear the Lancer blue well!! I am way happy for you! You will love it!! La-La, BB I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! You are starting 8th grade??? MY GOODNESS!! Why are you so old? I didn't even recognize you in the pictures! You are so gorgeous and I am so excited that tennis is going well! You have to teach me when I get home! Promise?? Ok good!! :) Luke and shweeda shweeda....5th grade!! two are so old too! I heard you are both already better than me at soccer...dang it! Oh well, I will have to get back in shape before we play again...but I am way proud of both of you! I can't wait to watch you play again!! Man, why are you all growing up? You're making mom sad...and me! But I am so happy for all of you and hope school and everything is going well!! I love and miss you all so much!!!

    Well, I don't even know where to begin with this e-mail!! SO MUCH has happened these past two weeks! It's been crazy! Speaking of which, we only have 2 weeks left in this transfer. Sister Pace and I could stay together or we could be getting split up! Also, we just found out that on September 12, we are having a mission conference which means all the missionaries in Finland are going to Helsinki because ELDER BEDNAR IS COMING TO SEE US!!! Did you know his son served in Finland and particularly in Vaasa? REPRESENT! Anyways, we are all super excited! Just some good news from up north!!

    Our investigators are doing really well...well the investigators are...the parents aren't. Ronja, Tinja, and Caspian can't get baptized on the 30th because they haven't been to church yet. We have tried so hard to arrange rides and to make it as easy as possible, but it's just not happening. I talked to President Watson about it and he said that we need to approach it from a different angle. I am not tired of trying different angles, I just wish we knew what to do with them. But Milla, our other investigator is doing great. We had such a good lesson with her COMPLETELY by the spirit. It was the best lesson I have been in in a long time. We just testified of the importance of the Book of Mormon and how it has blessed our lives and at the end of the lesson she said, "Ok, I am in. I am going to do this." Bank on the Book of Mormon man. It's the sword of missionary work! Oh my goodness, funny story, so we were walking down the street one day, and this lady walks out of a building and her shirt said in big red letters, "Virginia". Well that's something you don't see every day, so I asked her, "Excuse me, have you been to Virginia before?" She proceeded to tell me that she was born in Vaasa but moved to America when she was 15. Just as she is explaining that, this Santa Claus look-a-like man jumps out of a car and says, "Ok, I need to get in on this, I know who you guys are" in perfect American english. I was like Woah, that's something you really don't see everyday. Anyways, we proceed to talk to them and come to find out, they are from Virginia, met each other in California and are here in Finland for the next 4 months. Their names are Harry and Liisa and Liisa's father passed away a few months ago, so they are living in his möki or summer home here in Vaasa. As we continued to talk to them, both of them at the same time said, "Hey can we give you our number? We would love for you to come to our home and talk to us more about your message." Uh...mer....ya....sure? haha that really really was something you don't see every day. Anyways, we have an appointment with Harry and Liisa on Thursday, so pray all goes well with them! They are awesome!!

     Anyways, two weeks that feels like 23478932798 years ago, we had our mini missionary, Sisar Koivisto from Turku! She is awesome! We had such a great time with her and she taught us so much! We didn't really do anything different other than normal missionary work, we just had a fluent companion. It was wonderful and she answered SO MANY of my finnish questions. I wonder if I will ever not have questions about finnish. Some days I feel really good about it and other days when someone starts talking to me I feel like Elder Calhoun on the Best Two Years when he tries to order bread from that bakery! I hope my siblings all appreciate that reference! :) But she is 18 and is planning on serving her mission next summer. She was so cute and wrote Sister Pace and I notes all the time. She was way too nice to me, but really just made us feel so good about ourselves. Honestly, I have to brag about the finns for awhile....they are the best people in the world. I have conversed with them, gotten to know them, and been in their homes for 8 months, but man, having one as a companion really shed a lot of light on their goodness and their desire to serve our Heavenly Father. Not to mention they are like the sweetest people and the best friends you could ever have in the world. Sisar Koivisto would always mention how this was just the beginning of our lifelong friendship. We spoke in English in the apartment and then Finnish outside...or at least we tried, but she was super patient and helped us out a lot! She told me that before I leave my mission, if my family comes to get me, we have to go to Turku and stay with the Koivistos so plan on that! :) Anyways, I just love her a lot and was so grateful that we had the chance to be with her. She taught me that sometimes the littlest things make the biggest difference and that it's so important that we share our testimony at every opportunity we are given. Man, it was just a wonderful week with her!!

    So we dropped her off at the train station on Saturday night and then on Sunday, Sisar Pace and I headed down to Helsinki. Oh my goodness...I have to tell you about the train...hahahaha ok so we get on the train and head to our seats and these WAY SKETCHY looking guys were already sitting there. When I say sketchy, I'm not kidding. Probably super judgmental, but these guys had no shirts on, were COVERED in tattoos, too many piercings to count, no shoes, and two big glasses of beer in each hand. I walked into the car on the train, looked at the seat numbers they were sitting in, had a heart attack...and then I, being the senior companion said in my wonderful finnish...NOT...."Uh excuse me, I think you are sitting in our seats." One of the guys looks up at me with a beer foam mustache and busts up laughing and mutters his buddy. They looked at us and both just busted up laughing. Needless to say, they didn't move.

     Anyways, Sisar Pace and I found other seats, but we came to find out real fast that it was a full train. No extra seats. So we proceed back to our dear shirtless friends and I said, in English this time..."Excuse me, these are our seats." The same mustache guy looked at me with bloodshot eyes and stood up and staggered off down the aisle. His friend stood up and moved out of the way...I sat down...and then he sat down right next to me with his beer sloshing all around in his cup. So if you can picture this...Sister Pace and I are sitting across from each other....this guy is sitting next to me with his bare feet up on the seat next to Sister Pace just slurping his beer and burping right in my face. I was pretty terrified, but at the same time, it really motivated me. I thought about talking to the guy, but he was so hammered he couldn't even hear what I said. Anyways, it just made me so sad to see what horrible things alcohol does to people. That guy was completely out of his mind, practically naked on a public train. What kind of a life is that? I felt so awful. It's just sad how Satan gets people. We have to do the little things every day to stay safe. We had a lesson on Sunday about being in the world but not of the world. It's so true. We have all this junk around us all the time, but we have to stay strong. We have to stand up for our beliefs. We will all be called upon at one point or another to do it. We need to be prepared for that. Anyways, I will hop off the "Missionaries against Alcohol" soap box, but it was a pretty interesting train ride, to say the least.

    So we made it to Helsinki! I really enjoy Helsinki. I would bet 5 million dollars that there is at least one person from each nationality in Helsinki. It's awesome!! We stayed with Sister Owen and Sister Venz while we were there! They are so wonderful and we had such a good time with them! Oh wait, maybe I can kind of explain what happens at Interim. Ok, so when a trainee gets to 6 weeks, or 7 weeks in our case, in the country, we have Interim training. All the trainers and trainees go to Helsinki for 3 days. On Monday and Tuesday, we have training in the mission home with the AP's and President and Sister Watson and then on Wednesday we have language school in the morning and then go to the temple in the afternoon. Well needless to say, Monday morning I was STOKED!! I was so excited to see Sister Thayne and Sister Woods and all the other wonderful missionaries that I know and love. We walked in and Sister Thayne had saved me a seat...she is just the greatest thing in the world. I love her so much! But anyways it was just so good to see everyone!

    President Watson and Sister Watson are incredible. We learned so many wonderful things about doing missionary work and I really had been praying that I would be able to know what to do to help my companion. Sister Pace has really been struggling with everything. She is pretty hard on herself and was just super discouraged about everything. I have tried every way I know how to help her and nothing was working. I tried to talk to her, she definitely didn't want that. I tried to leave her alone and just work as usual, but then it got worse. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty heavy-hearted, discouraged, and tired heading down to Interim. President Watson really did say so many wonderful things that I needed to hear. In my mind, when I heard I was training, I was so excited and thought to myself, "Ok, I am going to do everything right. I am going to help my trainee be independent, I am going to help her do hard things, I am going to lift her up and support her, yadda yadda yadda!" Well, I got my idealist situation into my idealist brain and it all came back and blew up in my face. My trainee didn't want any of the things I had anticipated fact, those things made her angry. She wanted to be left alone. Man, I hope this doesn't sound whiny, cause I don't want to whine, but I have just had the hardest time these past few months knowing how to work with Sister Pace. I know I need to listen and love her, but even that isn't enough. I felt like I wasn't enough. I wasn't what she needed. Even right now writing this, I still don't think I am. I know we are together for a reason...God doesn't make mistakes....and I know I really don't even need to know why, but sometimes I wonder, "Why? Why are we together Heavenly Father?" I just don't understand it. She thinks I am crazy because I love to talk and to share my feelings and to really have strong relationships. She doesn't do that. Never has. It's like we are friends, but we are both always walking on egg shells because we just don't understand the other one. I don't know...I was just feeling pretty exhausted at Interim and was hoping and praying pretty hard for some answers.

    We learned so much about missionary work and being disciples of Christ. I wish I could just type up all my notes and send them to you, but I will show you them someday! On Wednesday we started heading to the temple and I still just felt so heavy-hearted. That really was the best way to describe it. I didn't expect Interim to solve my problems, but I expected some answers. I got answers to other prayers, but not to this "big prayer" I had been praying about for 7 weeks! Anyways, we drive up to the temple and I just looked at it and I couldn't stop myself from crying. It was literally the light at the end of my tunnel. We walked in and it was BEAUTIFUL!!! Literally, I can't even explain it and probably shouldn't. It was so Finnish. It was gorgeous. My favorite part was that we took off our shoes...just like in every Finnish home...they had a mud room!! WHAT?? It was awesome! Anyways, I really wish I could just tell you everything about how I felt and what I experienced, but after the session, I was just sitting in the most beautiful room I have ever seen and I felt like I was home. I felt so warm. I felt so peaceful and so happy. I hadn't felt that way for a long time. I just sat there and all of a sudden, my entire mission just came rushing into my brain. It started off on October 16, 2013 when I said goodbye to my family. I went through the MTC...the hardest and most wonderful 9 weeks of my life, I went to Tampere with Sister Egan and Sister Jones and then went to Vaasa with Sister Foster, Sister Fronk and now Sister Pace and I was just overcome with gratitude and love for my Father in Heaven. He loves us. Isn't that incredible? It just blows my mind.

     Dad, you always say how retrospect is an interesting thing and you are right. As I was looking back at my mission and all these different images were popping into my head, I was just overcome. Literally Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ have been with me every single step of the way. There have been so many times...too many to count where I have felt alone. Times when I have been in darkness and have been confused and frustrated and tired. He never left. He was always there. He has sent me help in so many ways. I know there are people working here with me every day.  Heavenly Father has allowed them to be with me and I am so beyond grateful for that. I love my family. I love you all so much. I can't even tell you how important you all are to me. I want you all to be happy. I want you to be safe. But mostly I want you to feel how much Heavenly Father loves each of you. I love you so much, but He loves you perfectly. We can't even begin to understand the love he has for each of us. The times in our lives when we feel the spirit so strongly are just glimpses of that eternal joy we can feel when we are with Him again, as families.

    Remember when we were in Nauvoo and on our very last night, we all sat on the stage and sang "God Be with you til we meet again?" That is one of the times in my life when I can say I was pretty dang close to perfectly happy. The temple on Wednesday was another of those times and I have had SO many of those times on my mission. This is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I am so humbled and grateful to my Heavenly Father that he helped me get here, even when I didn't want to be. He knew better than I. He always does and everything we are given in life...trials and challenges included...are because he loves us. He wants us to grow, but he is not here to punish us. The first thing we teach people is "God is our LOVING Heavenly Father." There comes a time in all of our lives, I think, when our relationship with Him changes from God to Father. I think about my earthly father and how much I love Him and how much I wish I could just see him for minute. Then I think about my Heavenly Father and I miss him too. He wants us all back so badly. I know he does. That's why us 80,000 plus missionaries are out here....He wants us to get all his children back. I think sometimes in life, we are afraid of what Heavenly Father has in store for us. I know I am. Think about it, every person on this earth has been SAVED for this time. Not just sent, but we were all SAVED to come here. Right now. Right where we are! Have you ever really thought about that? "Have you ever really pondered that?" to quote President Watson. This isn't a coincidence. Nothing is. Heavenly Father is in control and He will not let us fail. I know He won't. The greatest evidence we have of God's love for us is that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior.

     During interim, Elder Tippetts, one of the APs told us a story about his great-grandpa. So his grandpa...I think his name was Tom lived on a farm when he was a kid. On their farm, when you turned 8, you were able of course to get baptized, but also to drive the tractor and plow the fields. Well, one day, Tom received the assignment from his father to go and plow the fields. In farming, you have to stick to the schedule so that you can harvest your crops at the right time. It was pretty critical that the field was plowed and ready for the next day of planting. Anyways, Tom sets out, gets about halfway down with the first field and then he sees a jackrabbit. Now Tom, being an 8 year old little boy stops the tractor, jumps out and chases after the rabbit into the woods. He gets into the woods and become Paul Bunyon. He is playing with all the animals and just having a great old time being a little kid. Well, Tom loses track of time and before he knows it, the sun is starting to set. He remembers in his cute little 8 year old brain, "Oh no, I have to plow the fields." So he runs back to the tractor and starts working. Before long, the sun completely sets and before he knows it, it is completely dark. To top it all off, the light on his tractor burns out. Not only can he not finish plowing, but now he can't even get home. He starts crying as would be expected. Just then, he hears another tractor coming in the distance. He looks up and sees the light of his older brother's tractor shining on him. Tom explains to his brother what happened during the day. His brother looks at him and smiles and says, "Come with me, let's go home." Tom climbs in with his brother and as they are driving back, he notices that every single one of the other fields he was supposed to plow have already been plowed. His brother had done it all for him. They get to the house and the Father asks, "Have all the fields been plowed." Tom's older brother looks down at Tom and then back at their Father and says, "Yes. The work is done." Then, the father welcomes both sons into the house and sends them to bed.

     Man, that story just about killed me. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the end, our older brother is going to be the one who saves us from ourselves. He is the difference between us being out alone in the dark to being nice and warm in bed. He has already paid the price, now we just have to do our part to serve and follow him. I know He is our Savior. I know he loves us and that no matter how far we feel we have fallen or how far off the path we are, we can always come back. It is never too late! I just love you all so much and am so grateful for all you do for me. The gospel is true. It's all real. God loves us and has a plan for us! Now it's our turn to trust Him. He won't leave us alone! Thank you all so much for everything! Good luck with school and work and soccer and tennis and everything else this week! You are all wonderful and I love you so much!


    Sisar Olivia Bitner

    P.S. Something Finnish....The temple...there are only 5,000 members here and they have a about foreshadowing! :) I love you!!!

Me and Sisar Susanna Koivisto...our mini missionary

My comps

Me and my comps...and Vaasa

Of course we bought her McDonalds for her last night with the Amerikkalaiset! :)

Me and Sisar Pace heading to Helsinki


Our hosts for the week, Sisaret Owen ja Venz


this place is my home

oh mom, I finally saw the moon! FOLLOW ME MR: MOON!!

Finnish clouds....Nothing better

We love driving....Sisar Pace drives SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO under the speed oh's way....funny....sort of :) then again, I am the one who got the speeding ticket....maybe I should learn from her....

Monday, August 4, 2014

Remember that one time...

    Hey guys!!! Remember that one time last p-day when I flipping DELETED MY WHOLE EMAIL I MEANT TO SEND HOME. Man, I can't even tell you how devastated I was. I know...way to be dramatic, but for real, I pour my heart and soul into these emails and to see it all taken away was a big old steak knife to the heart! Speaking of steak...I am seriously craving some Steak Diane right about now...can you send that in my birthday package? haha EW! That would be gross! But anyways,  Hopefully we have all come out alright...I can't promise it won't happen again...but I am saving this about every other sentence so hopefully, it all works out! You are all so wonderful! Thanks for being patient with me! :)

    So first off...BEST PACKAGE EVER!! You guys are too sweet to me! I literally about ate the whole box of Jared Munchies #foreverafatty and tears came to my eyes at the sight of White Cheddar Cheez-its and Sour Punch Straws. You know the way to my heart, that's for sure! :) Thank you so much for the raha dad...that means money...and for all the wonderful letters and other stuff as well!! :) You are all way too good to me but I appreciate it and all of you so much!!!!

    I hope you all had the best week ever! It sounds like Bear Lake was a huge success and that the Bitners still know how to party! :) I heard about the sprinklers....HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA It wouldn't be a camping trip without everything getting completely soaked. You thought you could escape it in Bear Lake and than SHAPOW!! Sprinklers! Heavenly Father has a sense of humor! :) Just kidding...that wasn't his doing, but still, way funny! I love hearing the same story from all your different perspectives! It's way too hilarious and I can just hear you guys each telling me about it! I love you all! Thank you all for being you! You deserve to be told that every single day!!

    Well...I just have so much to say this week...2 whole weeks of not writing...I am about to explode...but we had a really good week this week! A lot of traveling...again...but such is the life of a Vaasa sister! I love it so much! I have to tell you about Monday night. So I kind of have told you a little bit about how Sister Pace has told me "You can be yourself around me, you just cant' do this or this or that or that...oh it also bugs me when you do this and that and..." blah blah blah. Kind of hard to be yourself when someone is putting restrictions on it. Anyways, last LAST week, I really tried to not step on her toes. I know she doesn't like to listen, so I just didn't talk about anything. I wasn't resentful or spiteful or jerky to her, I just didn't say anything about how I was feeling. I know as you are reading this, especially you, family, you are probably thinking, "Oh boy...SHE'S GONNA BLOW". And you are right. I blew up. But was in the sauna in our apartment...did I tell you we have a sauna? We obviously don't use it #lame but it's a great place to pray and to not be alone sometimes. Anyways, I went in the sauna and I just cried. I haven't cried that hard in a LONG time. I know...I probably sound like a baby...but honestly I just told Heavenly Father everything. I prayed for like 1 1/2 hours. Don't worry, it was P-day! :) As I was sitting there, I looked over at my suitcase (unused saunas are great storage spaces) and I had the feeling to look in the front pocket. I looked in there and I had saved a note from my wonderful mother that she sent to me when I was in the MTC. It was so wonderful to see it again...and the one line that stuck out to me was "Thank you for being you." Mom, you said that to me and I needed to hear it SO BADLY on Monday. I am sure you didn't know you would be answering a prayer when you wrote that, but you totally did! I the this sounds way pathetic, but I have thought so much this week about being ourselves. After I read that, I realized that is probably exactly what Heavenly Father would say to each of us if He were standing right next to us. I realized that I am who I am and Heavenly Father loves me for that. What anyone else thinks really doesn't matter. In the end, He will always love us. It's like President Monson said in a Relief Society Meeting a couple years ago, "God's love is simply always there whether we deserve it or not." Thanks mom for being an answer to my prayer...again! I love you!!

    Anyways, after I prayed, Sister Pace and I had a great talk. She really is such a great person. I love her a lot. I think I wrote this in my letter last week but....hahaha....none of you received it....but anyways, I have been praying SO HARD to know how to help her and what I could do so that we could have a good relationship. Two words came to my mind as I prayed....LISTEN and LOVE. I just sat there praying, thinking, "Ok Heavenly Father, it can't be that easy." But I told him I would try it. It has been miraculous! This week she has really opened up to me. She has told me a lot about her life and why she does the things that she does. Granted, it still hurts when she says things sometimes, but I have a greater understanding of the "Why". I know that Heavenly Father is blessing me with love and patience for her and the great thing is, I really do love her so much. She really is a crack up! She always is talking in this voice that sounds like a chipmunk and I always catch her staring at me. Seriously, it's hilarious. I will be eating or driving or talking to someone or reading my scriptures or getting ready and she just comes and stands next to/behind me and stares...and stares...and stares...I usually just let it slide, but this week I said, "Sister Pace, is there something I can do for you?" and she didn't even hear me...she just kept staring. It's an interesting thing being with someone 24/7. Gotta love it. Let's just say the song "I always feel like somebody's watching me" has taken on a whole new meaning for me! I love my greenie! :)

    This week we had splits with the Sister Training Leaders on Tuesday, Sister Hubner and Sister Lund. Sister Hubner trained my BFF from Logan, UT Sisar Pack and Sisar Lund was trained by my best friend Sisar Fronk. Needless to say, I love them both a lot. Sister Lund and I were so fortunate as to be chosen to work in Seinäjoki for the day. Party!! :) It was so wonderful to talk with her and especially to talk about our favorite, Sister Fronk. Sister Fronk, if you are reading this...I love you so much and miss you like crazy! But anyways, we decided together that morning that we were going to follow every little thought we had for the entire day...if it was good. We studied in Preach My Gospel about following the spirit and this is what we read:

    In answer to the question, “How do we recognize the promptings of the Spirit?” President Gordon B. Hinckley read Moroni 7:13, 16–17 and then said: “That’s the test, when all is said and done. Does it persuade one to do good, to rise, to stand tall, to do the right thing, to be kind, to be generous? Then it is of the Spirit of God. …

    “If it invites to do good, it is of God. If it inviteth to do evil, it is of the devil. … And if you are doing the right thing and if you are living the right way, you will know in your heart what the Spirit is saying to you.

    “You recognize the promptings of the Spirit by the fruits of the Spirit—that which enlighteneth, that which buildeth up, that which is positive and affirmative and uplifting and leads us to better thoughts and better words and better deeds is of the Spirit of God” 

    I love that so much! Following the spirit isn't always easy. Sometimes it's easy to think, "Well that was probably just me thinking that," or "We really don't have time" or "Would God really tell me to do that?" The problem with those thoughts is that if we think that way, the opportunity to act is already gone. Later on in Chapter 4 of PMG, it says,

    Your task is to live worthily, pray fervently, and learn to recognize and follow courageously the Spirit’s guidance.

    That little sentence right there is the kind of missionary and person I want to be. That is our only task. To live worthily, pray with all our heart, and then follow the promptings we receive. I love lists and this list is not only applicable and attainable, but it works! It works really well! Tuesday was evidence of that. We didn't have a whole lot planned, but we had some different names to visit and we just said, "Ok, we are following all our good thoughts today." I know you are probably expecting some miraculous story but nothing particularly miraculous happened except I have never been so happy doing missionary work in my whole life. I was so happy! We had the best day ever and were just laughing and talking to all the people and teaching and testifying, but most importantly, sharing our testimonies. I realized this week that is what missionary work is. It's about living worthily, praying fervantly, and learning to recognize and follow courageously the Spirit's guidance to share our testimonies. We do that in so many different ways. We do it by our example. We do it by smiling. We do it by saying "Hey" or "Moi" in my case. We do it by listening. We do it by loving. We do it by treating others as the Savior would and we do that by actually telling others what we know to be true. The spirit does the converting, it's just our job to open our mouths!

    While Sisar Lund and I were in Seinäjoki, Sisar Pace and Sisar Hubner found this BOMB AWESOME INVESTIGATOR, Milla. Milla is a finn, 23, red hair, english major, and is probably the sweetest person in the world! Sisar Pace was so excited to tell me the story when I got home that night...I wish she could tell it to you, but I will do my best. So they were sitting in the of town...waiting for this semi-interested investigator to come and meet them there. As luck would have it, he called and cancelled, but they both felt they should stay at the bench they were at for awhile. Apparently, this man came over to them and started yelling about why the church isn't true and how stupid we are for being here and how we should go back to America...honestly people aren't very original...but Sisar Pace said, "We just sat there and politely testified and secretly wanted to punch him in the nose." Anyways, this guy left and Sisar Hubner starts talking to this little old lady about the weather when Milla turns around and just butts into the conversation and says, "Ya, it looks like rain today". They all did a double take and were like "Ok, thank you random woman." But the older woman left and then Milla pops up and comes and sits next to them and says, "I am really sorry, I didn't mean to butt it, but I think what you guys were saying to that man is true and is really interesting. Would you mind telling me a little more about it?" Sisar Pace was practically bouncing off the walls...she is so stinking funny...but anyways, Milla became a new investigator!! It was awesome!!

    We had a church tour with her this week and the whole time she was just asking question after question after question and just wasn't satisfied until she knew basically everything we believe. She is the first investigator I have had that actually genuinely wants to believe the same way we do right at the beginning. She would say, "How do you guys feel about infant baptism?" and we would explain and she would follow up with "Phew, Ok, me too." Then she said, "I hear you guys don't drink coffee, but how do you feel about tea?" We explained, then she said "Well I guess it wouldn't be too hard for me to give up coffee or tea. I mean...I don't really NEED it." In my head I was like, dang girl, you planning on joining so soon? Hopefully YES. But she got sick and couldn't come to church. Oddly enough, I really believe she was sick. She wanted to come and she will next week, but anyways, pray for Milla and a baptismal date!!! She needs this and wants it so bad! I love MIlla!!

    Tuulia's kids are doing well. It's been a really frustrating week...Tuulia wouldn't answer her phone or answer the kids didn't come to church...again. Man...Satan is working hard on this family and it's ticking me off. He is a punk and needs to go away! #millenium But anyways, we got in to their house last night and wrote down all of our appointments for the month of August so that they could know exactly when we were coming. Sisar Kronqvist said she would pick them up at 9:30 every Sunday for church so we are just hoping and praying it goes well! These kids are awesome! Tinja is 11 and she has already read the Book of Mormon to 2's been a week and a half. Caspian is 8 and is trying hard to read, but we gave him that little Book of Mormon stories book and he likes that better. Ronja is also reading and praying every day. It is seriously the greatest feeling in the world to teach these kids! I loved teaching primary and I love teaching it again...sort of! Kids are so sincere and they really love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. No wonder we are commanded to become as little children. They are great examples to me!

     I don't know if I have told you this yet, but we play soccer for 1 hour each week with our ward. It's so stinking fun! Seriously...I LOVE SOCCER!! This week we had so many non-members there, it was awesome! Our team totally dominated...I scored some felt pretty good! Sometimes when I feel like I still don't speak Finnish and I can't be a missionary, I go play soccer and it reminds me that I did know how to do something once! :) Anyways, the saddest thing happened at soccer...I probably shouldn't even tell you but oh well, the cat's out of the bag now...there was this little kid at the game. His dad wouldn't let him play because he is like 2 and there were a lot of big scary finnish men playing. He was sitting on the sideline, but towards the end of the game, he decided he wanted to come play. He jumped up and ran in the middle of the field. Meanwhile, I was dribbling the ball up the sideline, trying to get away from this Turkish man who just started playing with us from off the street #alwaysfinding but anyways, I get past him and cross the ball as hard as I can and BOOM!!! I drilled the little kid right in the head. He dropped like a sack of dirt. It was awful and I was horrified. I felt so awful and he was just crying and screaming his head off. Worst thing is, his dad isn't a member so now what he thinks about mormon missionaries is that they hit kids in the head with stuff...really hard. Man, I still feel horrible about it, but everyone else was laughing. I didn't think it was funny at all. The worst thing is that yesterday at church, everyone thought it was still everyone knows about it! I am surprised that someone didn't mention it in their testimony! But hey...the kid is fine, I learned my lesson....don't let Turkish men tick you off! Anyways, it really is a good way to find investigators...three teenage boys just showed up that we don't even know! They said they want to come play again this week! I think it's so good for people to see that we are normal people and we do stupid stuff like hit kids in the head with a ball! I love this ward though! They are so great!!

    This week has been incredible with our members! For the last 6 weeks, we have done nothing but LOVE LOVE LOVE them and really tried to build them up and help them see how awesome they are! They Finns, in general are a bunch of perfectionists and are SUPER critical of themselves. They HATE being complimented. I thought before it was just because they were awkward, but the more i get to know them, the more I realize that they genuinely don't believe they are good people. When we tell them they are...they feel like a bunch of frauds. They really are the best people I know. I hope some Finnish goodness rubs off on me, because they really amaze me every day. Their faith and hope and love for God and others is inspiring. Anyways, this week we had 4 dinner appointments, 2 unscheduled "Hey Sisters, do you want to stop by for like 20 minutes and give our family a lesson" meetings and 1 really solid referral from this family who "never" gives referrals. Honestly...LOVE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!!! It is changing the world in Vaasa. There is a different feeling in the ward as we have just tried to help them love each other and serve each other and also to love themselves. To realize how proud Heavenly Father is of them and how much he loves them! I just love being in Vaasa! I have almost been here for half of my mission...I never want to leave...dangerous thing to say, but it really is the promised land!

     This week, I was thinking a lot about Christ. I was thinking about the Atonement. I was thinking about why Christ did what he did for us. I just finished reading Mark in the Bible and each time I read about Gethsemane and Golgotha and the crucifixion, I just sit there and shake my head and think, "Why?" Why did the most wonderful, glorious being in existence come to this earth and allow himself to be mocked, humiliated, judged, smitten, and eventually killed. Why did He do it? Honestly, I still don't know. I know He loves us and I know He loves His father. That kind of love though...I don't know if I will ever understand it. I know I have said this before, but the song, "I Stand All Amazed" just expressed my feelings about the Atonement. 

I Stand All Amazed at the love Jesus offers me
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
that for me a sinner, he suffered, he bled, and died

I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
to rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine
that he should extend his great love unto such as I
sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify

I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt,
Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
No, no I will praise and adore at the mercy seat
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet

Oh it is wonderful that he should care for me, enough to die for me.
Oh it is wonderful, wonderful to me. 

    What a beautiful song! I love it so much! Jesus Christ can literally help us become something better than we were before! My favorite song, since being a missionary is "Lead, Kindly Light." I am really bad at explaining how I feel...hahaha....not really....but songs just say it better than I ever could. Sorry for all the lyrics...feel free to skip over these if you're busy...haha anyways, it says:

Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark and I am far from home,
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet, I do not ask to see
The distant scene, one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will, remember not past years.

So long thy pow'r hath blest me, sure it still
will lead me on.
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent till
The night is gone
And with the morn, those angel faces smile,
When I have loved, long since and lost, awhile!

    The MoTab sang that song in the Saturday Morning Session of the last General Conference and I literally bawl everytime I listen to it...which happens quite often. This song is "Sister Olivia Bitner's Mission". That should be the title. The night is dark...well at least it was. I was far from home. I didn't care to see the next week, I just needed to see the next day, the next minute at the beginning of my mission. Never before in my life had I thought I needed help. Wow. I was so prideful. I had never asked for help, but man, this mission has taught me, literally every day, that "Yea, I know that I am nothing, as to my strength I am weak, therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength, I can do all things, yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." Alma 26...just read the whole thing! It's incredible! You all are those "angel faces" and every morning, I look at your picture hanging next to my desk and am so grateful that we are going to be together forever. It is so wonderful! I love you all so much and am so grateful for your support! Knowing you are all praying for me motivates me so much! i just want everyone in Finland, and in the world in general to be able to have what we have. This truth, this gospel is the most wonderful thing in the world. We are so blessed! 

    I just love being a missionary. I love waking up every day and everyone who talks to me knows me as "Sister Bitner". I think I am going to wear my nametag under my clothes for the rest of my life. I never want to take it off. It's the best thing in the world! I hope you all have the most wonderful week! Oh boy, little sidenote: Something Finnish for the week. I actually don't know if this is Finnish but I have never heard of it in Utah...we are getting a "mini missionary" this week....a 18 year old girl from Turku...south of coming to live with us and be a missionary for a week! Only 7 companionships get to have a mini missionary and we are SUPER excited. Sister Pace is terrified! We pick her up tonight at 19! Hopefully all goes well! Also, next week is Interim! I will probably get to print off your emails, but probably not write one...we don't have p-day next week! We are in Helsinki from Sunday to Wednesday. But we GET TO GO TO THE TEMPLE!!!! Oh my goodness, I am like dying to go to the temple! I finally get to go!! Oh my goodness I am so excited! But just know how much I love you! I am so grateful for all of you! Have the best week and always remember to be yourselves! Thank you all for being exactly who you are!! You really are the best!!

    Minä rakastan teitä todella kovasti!!! Minä kaipaan teitä, mutta mä tiedän ette olen tekemassa Jumalan tyotä täällä Suomessa ja on suurin siunaus mun elämässäni! 
Jumala rakastaa teitä!! Muistakaa!!!


    Sisar Bitner

My companion for the day..Sisar Lund she is lovely!


Vaasa missionaries!!