Monday, August 26, 2013

1st Letter from Finland

Moi Perhe ja ystavia!

So much to write and so little time. But I will try and get everything that I can in the short amount of time.

So I’m IN FINLAND! Wow its crazy, well the plane ride over was pretty long but I gave away a couple pass-along cards and talked to this lady who was crying in the airport and testified to her. Then we got to Finland we got picked up by the APs and then they took us to the Helsinki, Temple and it was amazing and we had time to wander around and pray and ponder about what we want to accomplish in the next 16 months.

Then we went back to the President's house, we had delicious Finnish food made by his wife and then we were interviewed by the President and went to bed. I have been sick and coughing a lot so I didn’t sleep too well, but I don't/ haven’t had jetlag yet so that is nice! 

The next day we got our Visa's figured out and while we were waiting we tracted on the street for the first time and people in Helsinki were so rude and like no one would stop and talk to us, and it was kind of nerve racking. (We found out later that we should not use the word missionary when describing ourself lähetyssaarnaajia, we are church representative and people actually listen to us if we say that instead of missionary, good to know)

Then we had orientation and got assigned to our spots. I am in a trio with Sisar Nielson (she was from my district at the MTC) and Sisar Egan (who is basically the most amazing trainer in the world). And were assigned to serve in Tampere! Such an amazing place. Actually Finland is just amazingly breath taking! It is all forest and lakes and its still warm, and I love it so much! So basically my life is amazing, we are in Finland we live in this really nice apartment, my companions are amazing we have so much fun and talk to basically everyone and anyone, and I’m a church representative, pretty kiva (great)! 

So Sisar Egan just had an appendicitis 2 weeks ago and it had gotten infected so our poor trainer was out for a while but she’s back and doing great, she works so hard and she try and slow her down sometimes because we want to make sure she can still recover. We actually have a lot of investigators, and we always talk to people that we meet on the streets to get new investigators. Because Sisar Egan is still recovering we ride the buses everywhere, (we normally ride bikes) so that will be interesting. But the first day we had to ride the bus we walked on and she goes, "Alright go find someone to sit next to and preach the gospel", mahtava (I actually got my first new investigator) and gave her the Book of Mormon (Mormonin Kirja) and she said we could meet later and talk about it, and she lives by us. 

The language is crazy, they speak spoke Finnish which is completely different then written Finnish which is what we just learned, so we are pretty lost. But we still speak as much as we can, we can’t understand much but they always compliment me on how good my Finnish is. So that is always nice. 

I love this work, its pretty awkward at times to sit next to someone on a bus when there are plenty of seats open, but this is what we are here to do, and some of the Fins seem so sad and lonely and they don’t talk to each other on the buses or on the streets that much and are really surprised when we smile at them and talk to them, but at the end of every conversation even if they rejected us to meet again or come to church they always seems so much more happier and have a smile on their face. That is what we are here to do too. Help them receive a little bit of the light and happiness of this gospel even if they aren’t going to join now. 

So the standard of excellence here for total teaches a week is 20, and for new investigators is 3. Because we got here Thursday we only had 4 days to get our numbers in and we got 30 for this week and 5 new investigators! Ya way crazy and that is not even a full week's worth, so we are crunching those numbers, teaching and testifying all day long, and it’s the best thing in the world. 

I wish I had more time, there is so much more to tell, but I must go. Hopefully I’ll have more time next week, but I love you all. Stay safe where ever you are, and seriously ask the missionaries what you can do to help (esp. give them Food!!)

Minä rakastan teitä!! 
pitää suoja! (stay safe)

Sisar Hubner

P.S. the sisters from the other ward in Tampere got send home for medical reasons so we have to cover 2 wards, and 2 areas! It’s crazy and we have 7 hours of church! 1 hour of meetings in between! Mom if you thought church in Germany was bad in a different language and 3 hours longs try 7 every week and having to talk in sacrament meeting and teach lessons in a crazy language! But I love the wards and the members, we are going to strengthen the youth and get more people coming to church!

Friday, August 16, 2013

On to Finland!!

Rakas Ystaviani ja Perheni!

Well here is the last email from me in the United States, next email will be in Finland!!!! I am so ready and so excited! No, I do not know all Finnish, nor do I know the best approach when talking to people on the street but I do know that I have been called of God literally by a Prophet and I have a testimony of our message even though it is in broken Finnish and very simple. I love this gospel!!! Cant I tell you how much I have learned at the MTC? Some people here complain and I feel sad for them because they cant see how much this opportunity can bless them and help them grow! I pray for the young elder missionaries, that they will be able to learn and learn fast that this mission is not about them, this is about the Lord's work and we are merely instruments in his hands. 

So we got our travel plans this week! We leave the MTC on Monday to the airport, fly out of the SLC airport 11, go to Chicago, then to London, then to SUOMI (Finland). Its actually happening! Some days it feels like we are going to spend our whole missions here because we see people come and go and come and go, and we just stay here. I cant imagine what the missionaries that had to stay here 12 weeks felt like! 

If you have been reading my emails, then you know that this last week was consecration week, which means no English, only Finnish, and you sacrifice other things and try and consecrate your life and thoughts to the Lord. It was a very good spiritual experience and the language part was not as hard as I thought it would be. I realize I know a lot more Finnish then I thought I did! It was hard though because other people didn't have the same focus(most did) but it was hard being around English when I was trying so hard not to speak it. I woke up every morning at 6 made it a goal to get out of my top bunk and say my prayers on my knees in Finnish (took twice as long to congregate and then formulate the sentence then fix the mistakes I knew we wrong) and then start off with my own personal scriptures study! It was really nice and I felt the spirit. Sometimes on a mission it is hard to do your own personal scriptures study because when you have "personal study" it should be focused fully on your investigator (that way you get so much more out of it with others in mind) but sometimes its hard to find time to read through the whole book of Mormon your own way. 

So this week we also focused on the Christ like attributes section in PMG (Preach My Gospel) and when we learned about Hope I realized and it hit me so hard how different we are from any other people or religion. It is because we have hope, we have message of Hope. We go on missions because we have hope that we will find the people who need this, hope that they will accept this life changing gospel, and hope that we will one day be able to return to our Lord and savior and he will say, "well done my good and faithful Servant." Without hope we have nothing, there is no will to go on or try harder because there is nowhere you are trying to get. The light of Christ that shines from us is HOPE. And that is why discouragement is something terrible to have on a mission, because it dims down your hope. 

I love the way this gospel has changed me! I love the happiness I feel- its out of this world, and I don't even understand some days why or how I can be so happy when life is pushing down on me and telling me I can't get back up. But because I have this knowledge of my Savior and that this life doesn't end at death that there is so much more and that I can contribute and help others. It helps me bounce back up every time the adversary tries to trip me up. Some days I just feel like shouting from the rooftops, that this is the Restored gospel, that we have a loving heavenly father!

Its crazy some days when I think on what I'm doing, I gave up 18 months of my life to learn a REALLY hard language, to go to a really Cold place (I don't really like the cold), to teach this gospel to a people that will probably reject it alot, and yet I have hope because there are people counting on me to bring it to them, and I wont let fear, rejection, or pride get in my way of finding those people. I wish I could show every person that I met how their life could be if they had this gospel! I wish they could feel what I feel, see what I see, and know what I know. I know without a shadow of a doubt that this world would be x3490839 times better if that could happen! 

This week we had our last devotional and one of the 12 apostle came (the Lord really does love us) Richard G. Scott, and its not every day that you hear from a General Authority! He talked about prayer and the power of prayer and how much we need it, he also said, "The Lord knows our capability and wont give us more then we can handle." Also that sometimes when we ask for things in our prayers and we feel like we aren't getting an answer it is because he wants the Lord us to learn and grow. My dad once said, "During the test the teacher is silent, but not absent." Then at the end of Richard G. Scott's talk when he was walking away he was almost out the door, stopped and turned back and said, "Be Good." I just loved it, he has such a strong spirit and you could feel the Love of God coming from him. 

Well I am out of time, but I love you all and want to share a quote that Sarah Chilson sent me (congrats on your mission call by the way!!) 
Neal A. Maxwell " God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only our availability, and if we then prove our dependability he will increase our capability"

~Sisar Hubner

P.s. "Be good" and help the missionaries out! They need the love and support of the ward!

Our Argentinian friends

Our Finnish friend who is going to Greece

Our Finnish friend

British friends

The district

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Only 9 Days Left in the USA!

Moi Ystavia ja Perhe!

The weeks keep getting faster and faster, I have learned so much here at the MTC, and am so grateful for this experience! Can’t believe we only have 9 more days left in the USA! Time flies when your working hard, that is for sure! Shout out to my cousins Elder Poyfair and Sister Hubner who are already in the field now I am so excited for them and all the lives that they are going to touch! I don’t have very much time to write so this will probably be a shorter email. Thank you to the Poyfair family for sending the donuts again! I actually met a sister missionary from your ward the other day who knows Dallin. Also I hope Dad is feeling better, and I'm excited to hear from Grandma Snyder’s update on their calling!

SO just a couple things from this week! On Monday or so CMS (coaching missionary study) was going on and me and our district while one of the sister's was getting the CMS, we were talking and I said a joke right as one of the sisters in our district took a drink, and she was laughing so hard she was about to spit it out on the floor then she started choking, and ran to the trashcan because the bathroom was occupied and she started throwing up, but she couldn’t breath still, and her body was heaving and making the scariest noise every because she was gasping for air but nothing was coming, and her face was turning blue and some of the sisters ran to get help, and there was seriously nothing we could do and it was the scariest moment. Finally after what felt like forever she was able to gasp some air and eventually return back to normal but it was such a scary moment for all of us, and then help came about 15 minutes later, and when I talked to her she was crying because it scared her so much too and she said it felt like she was drowning. This moment made me realize once again how fragile life is. How I need to always treat people like this could be the last time I see them and I don’t want to say, do or think anything I regret later. This event really made us all reflect back onto how important life is and how quickly it can be taken away from us. Our message of this gospel is so important, and I pray so hard everyday that I will be able to find those people who are struggling and hurting and are ready to hear and except this message. This gospel can heal the wounded soul, I know that with all my heart, because is has healed me time and time again.

Yesterday we started our Pyhitys Viikko, which is consecration week were we only speak Finnish for the whole week, no English what so ever unless we are talking to our Branch Presidency. This is also a time of self-reflection and a time to think about our goals and the people we want to become, to consecrate our lives, our thoughts and our actions to the Lord. I have been praying and fasting very hard that everyone in our district will take this seriously and try their hardest to speak Finnish. We started with the other district and had a testimony meeting and I felt the spirit so strongly as each of us Finnish missionaries stood up and spoke from their heart. Then one of the Elders offered a prayer in English for the last time until next Wednesday night and the spirit again was so intensely there, as he said " Please help us to leave what ever has been keeping us from becoming better, and that through this consecration week we can have the faith and courage to let go of our past selves and become who thou wilt have us become and align our will with thine." I love our districts so much and I am so grateful for all the work everyone has put in to get where we are now. I know that the Lord listens to our prayers and answers them; he has helped me time and time again.

I pray that I will be able to become the missionary that my Lord and Savior wants me to be, and that I will never forget whose name I wear next to mine! One last thought I want to share from the Devotional this week from Jay E. Jensen quoting David O. McKay,
"We are leading others to see what we see, feel what we feel, and know what we know."

That is why our testimony is todella tärkeä koske se kutsuen pyhan henki (so important because it invites the holy spirit), which can testify to their hearts and help them understand why they need this gospel in their lives so much!

I love you all so much and hope everything is going well wherever you are. Never forget who you are and what you stand for, and what type of impact you can have when you think no one is watching!

Paljon Rakkaudella,

Sisar Hübner

P.S. Have fun in the Lord's Purpose! KIRKKO ON TOTTA (the church is true!)

Hübner Cousin's Last Visit Before Parting for Different Countries!

Sisar Nielson & Hübner

Sisar Hübner & Hermanos Van Hoven

Friday, August 2, 2013

Week 6

Hei minun Perhelle ya ystavalle!

I just want to let you all know how much I LOVE being a missionary! I feel like I am so spiritually fed every week, and even though its like an emotional rollercoaster someday with the language and stuff, overall its more happiness and strength that I feel from the spirit everyday more then I have ever felt in my life. So there have been some really great spiritually moments, hard moments, and extremely hilarious moments with my district!

First off thank you so much for that awesome package, I also loved all the food and the cute little minion and otter, I miss my real minions though (Aria, Saige, Camilla, and Gerrit). But I put them up in our classroom and they are our mascots now! Also every week at devotionals there has been at least one reference to Finland it is so amazing, and so inspiring especially when they talk about the missionaries there! It is definitely a happening place from what I hear!

So I guess I have started this saying in our district of "oko, hyvä, kiitos" which means okay, good, thanks and literally everyone say it after every statement now, so if you want to sound like our amazing district you might want to start saying that! Hahaa, kidding but its is funny the random stuff we come up with in the Finnish language. Its like every SYL (speak your own language) päivä (day) is extremely hilarious because if we don’t know how to say it in Finnish we try and use all our limited words and act out what we are trying to say so everything seems way more funny then it is. We also adopted Sister Christina Hubner's game where on SYL day we draw to see who has the "mahtava poika" (awesome man) don’t ask why we named it that, well actually we name everything that because when we do something awesome we call it Mahtava poika because it sounds funny to say, anways some one draws that person and it is in secret and then when we have SYL day the "mahtava poika" tries to speak as much as they can in Finnish and at the end of the day we vote to see who had the mahtava poika, and if you didn’t have it but you spoke a lot of Finnish and made people think you had it you get more points which adds up to a prize at the end, so it makes SYL a lot more fun because we are trying to win the prize, and it helps us speak more Finnish.

This week we taught our investigator who is preparing to get baptized this Saturday and he asked us in Finnish is there is anything he needs to bring, and I was trying to say "No, we will have your white clothes for you to wear for your baptism" but instead I mixed up the words valkoinen (white) with the word keltainen (yellow), and told him "We got him a yellow suit for his baptism" its was really funny after I realized what I had actually said and he was trying really hard not to laugh. Gotta have fun in the MTC and not stress out about this language or else it will be a miserable couple of weeks learning the language!

On a more spiritual note at Sunday devotional this woman told us about this missionary.
 So there was this young man who had put his papers in for his mission and his father, his uncles, and his grandfather had all gone to Japan on their missions and he was half Japanese and spoke the language and he was so excited to get his call to Japan as well. He finally got his mission call and he was called English speaking to California, and he was so disappointed and was even considering not going because he felt like he had been called to the wrong mission. Anyways, after long talks with his parents they had told him that the Lord knew what he was doing when he called their son to California. So he begrudgingly went still feeling like he was in the wrong mission. One day him and his companion walked past a Asian Market so he went in and started talking to the guy who worked there in Japanese, and the store worker got so excited talking to him and said that he had a Book of Mormon, but was at home and he wanted to get it and show it to them. So they waited for him to run home and get it, and he came back with the Book of Mormon and said that when he was younger he lived in Japan and the missionaries had given it to him but he had lost contact with them. So this Elder took the Book of Mormon and opened it to the front where he read a testimony that was written in the front, was actually written by his Grandfather, and had been given to this Japanese man many many years ago. The Elder was so touched and knew at that moment that he had been called to that mission for this specific reason. The Japanese man that they had met invited the Missionaries over to their house because they had been waiting so many years to hear this message, when the missionaries finally came over the walked in to the Japanese family's house and there was 30 people in there that had been reading the Book of Mormon all these years from when the Elder's grandfather introduced the Book of Mormon and were waiting many many years for the missionaries to come and teach them the rest and baptize them.

What an amazing story, we all have been called to the mission for a specific reason and somewhere along the way it will be made known, that someone specific has been waiting for me to tell them about this amazing gospel.

Also this Sunday we sang in the choir again the song "How Great Thou Art" and they choir director shared with us the story of this song, I don’t have enough time to tell it but it is definitely worth looking up, especially about the 2nd verse! Also at choir the Choir director shared with us this story and it just hit me so hard about how much the Atonement means and how much the Lord has done for us in a different way then I have ever thought about it before. I hope you can all feel the same spirit that I felt from when I heard this; I hope my story does it justice.

So our choir director was a seminary teacher and there was one really rebellious kid that the only reason he was at seminary was because his parents had made him. One day the kid said, "why should I ever care about the Atonement Christ already did it, and I can do whatever I want because I can repent whenever" and this really bugged the seminary teacher and he wanted to come up with a story that would make the kid realize how much the Atonement has affected him and how much the Lord has done for us, so he thought about it a couple days and then told this hypothetical story to the kid to help him understand better.
He said "imagine that you go on a trip with your friends to a different country and are touring around for a month and are having the time of your life and right before you leave all your friends want to spray paint their names on this wall that supposedly every tourist does, but the punishment is pretty severe if you get caught, so originally you decide you wont do it, but then your friends finally pressure you into doing it because Its a once in a life time sort of thing. So right after you spray paint your name on the wall, you get caught the big lights come on and the police of this country catch you, and only you. And you just feel guilty because you knew from the beginning that you should not have done this but you did anyways. So the police that catch you say, hey we are so tired of this keep happening so we are going to make an example of you and nail you and your hand to this wall and it will show everyone else to stop doing this, we will feed you food but you have to stay here with you hand nailed to the wall the rest of your life. This point you just want to shrivel up in a whole because you knew you shouldn’t have done this and now you have to pay the price. But then our country and their country talk and work something out that you can go free, if someone in your family comes and takes your place and has to get their hand painfully nailed to the wall, but they can rip it off after that and you get off the hook and they wont have to stay there their whole life. But they still have to get their hands painful nailed to the wall. Then you really start feeling extremely terrible, because now this not only affects you but someone in your family. Then your older brother calls you and says " I will go and do this for you because you mean that much to me", how bad would you feel seeing him walk off the plane knowing that because of your dumb decision he has to sacrifice his hands for you and right when you go to apologize to him of how bad you feel he says, "It is okay, I will take care of you."  Your brother pays the debt, makes the sacrifice, how will you think of your brother the rest of your life? Would you have his picture up in your room? Would you worship the ground he walks on, never stop saying how sorry you are and how thankful you are to him. Then what if your friends started using his name as cuss word, how mad would you be, this man saved your LIFE, and they are trashing his name (Our Lord and Savior's name is the number 1 most common cuss word today), how would you react, how much would you defend your beloved brother who gave up so much for you? I know I would be livid if anyone talked about him that way. Then think about how much our savior has done for us. He not only gave up his hands, he gave up his own life for us and much more, and how much do we stand up for him now, when people mock his very name?

I dare say this story has changed my life, and yesterday I was reading in the Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 28:32 and it says., "For not withstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts"
He knew that he would be rejected, yet he still came to this earth and gave up his life, and love the people even the ones he knew that he would be betrayed by, and still his gives them a second chance to repent and come unto him.

I have so much more I want to write to you all, but I am running out of time. Sorry I couldn’t get the pictures to work this week, but there will be more next week! One last thing at devotional this week it was so amazing, and I felt the spirit so strongly! We watched a little video clip from Holland (such an inspired man!) and he said:
"The Atonement will help you maybe more then your investigators, when we are cast out, doors slammed in our faces, spat at, and mocked at, know that someone much greater went through even more, we have reason to stand tall, because we can stand close to the Best example that ever lived, be proud to know that you stood up for your Lord and Savior, and you proudly wear his name on your name tag."

Then at devotional review our 1st counselor to the Branch President said this, " You have made commitments to people before this life that you would find them and give them this message of the gospel. Don't waste any time."

Such a powerful week! I am out of time but I hope these messages that have touched my heart so much will touch your hearts as well. Challenge for this week read Alma 36, what an amazing chapter, we used it this week to help teach our investigator about becoming free from our sins and guilt through repentance and the Atonement!

Minä rakastan teitä! (I love you all!)

Sisar Alayna Hubner

P.s. Saige remind me to tell you the story of the 12-year-old boy who was a missionary!

Finnish Missionaries in the New Cafeteria