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