WOW. Everyone deserves a chance to feel this happy
Have you ever ran in a hard race or done something so out of your reach that half way through you thought you were going to die or just collapse on the floor but you pushed through and were so proud and so excited that you made it through the finish line and pushed through the hard times and didn't give up? That’s about exactly how I feel. So basically if you didn't know, Finland can sometimes be a hard country to work in as a missionary, and for the past two months me and my companions have been in the refiners fire. We have been working SOOO hard to follow counsel, to follow PMG, to not be lazy, to try and be cheerful in all things even when we just feel like crying, praying sooo hard, loving soo much, and feeling very little back for our efforts. Our investigators says that they don't jaksaa (feel like) accepting this gift, this light, this joy, because they are too set in their ways, but then complain to us on how hard their lives are but yet pushing us away when we are trying to help them. I’m getting a little bit better picture of what my parents probably felt. Anyways, I have been putting so much faith, so much work into this and yet it has been such a struggle and so much heart break, so many long talks with my Father in Heaven pouring my heart out, asking what more can we do, what are we doing wrong? The answer is that sometimes when we are feeling the refiners fire, it’s the Lords way to say that He is training us for the next level. That if we make it through this with His help and with faith, so much joy and the miracles will come, He has to test us first and see if we are ready for it, if He can trust us with His precious children, the elect from Heaven.
I want to humbly say that the Lord is there with us in all things, when it gets too hard, it’s usually because we tried to put the whole weight on our own shoulder, and ignored the Lord's helping hand.
''Believe in Miracles, Hope is never lost.'' - Elder Holland
The Lord has been giving us miracles left and right. Just last week, my heart was broken, I felt empty of any other option of what more I could give to this people. I knelt down to the Lord and told Him, that I know that all the Tampere Missionaries receive revelation from Him when we asked the number or baptisms and reactivations, the number seemed impossible but I know that the Lord has a better plan then we have and with Him all things are possible. I told him that ''Father, I believe, help thou my unbelief.'' Just this week I have been seeing so many amazing things happening, and the thing is we really haven’t changed anything we have been doing, we just kept pushing on and doing what we have been trained to do. Hope is never lost!
Pieni hetki, I want to give a shout out to the Great Falls ward, I am sending a thank you letter in the mail today! Awesome possum! It was such an awesome package, whoever sent it must have been a missionary or has a missionary out because everything was spot on, and I wore that scarf the next day and we LOVE the music!! Thank you all SO much.
I received a package in the mail from my sister Tasha, it was a mason jar with 365 baby paper cranes. Each crane has an inspirational quote for the day, for the next year of my mission. I was so touched my her kindness and the fact that she has always been my guardian angel since day one, looking out for me, taking me in, making me feel like a million dollars when I felt like 25 cents. Then during personal study in the morning I was looking at the jar and pondering what I really am doing here on a mission, the feeling on when I decided to turn my mission papers in, when I recieved my call, when my family dropped me off at the MTC, my determination, my goals, to not give up, to not let up or slow down, but to love unconditionally. That this 18 months is a mini version of life, I know what I want the outcome to be, its just hard when your stuck in the moment and being yelled at, or doors slammed in the face, or getting laughed at, and remember to stay strong and remember that our message is true and it will bring joy no matter what the world says. I thought of how when I go home I want to tell my big sister Tasha that I tried my hardest, that I didn't let up that I held strong. To give my Mom a hug and say, ''Mom I gave my heart to the people of Finland, I didn’t give up, I was a valiant servant of the Lord.'' I also thought about how much I miss my family and want them to be proud of me, and the work that I am doing. I reflected on our Father in Heaven how that the veil is actually a blessing to us, because we would miss ''Home'' so much if we remembered what it was like, that this life will seem but a moment, and I want to be proud of the work I did here and to know that I kept my eternal perspective. I hope He will say,''Alayna, Thank you for loving my children and well done my faithful daughter.'' Believe in Miracles.
This week we have really been focusing on service and loving the member and training them and bringing them out with us. Focusing in on the little things, really does make a difference.
A week ago I was on the bus, looking for a good question to ask someone and I got up and went to sit next to this guy who looks like a man from the army, about 25ish, awkwardly waited for him to move his bags so I could sit next to him. We started talking and got to the subject of religion. I asked if he believed in God, he got very quiet and said, ''I don’t know, but I hope He is there.'' I committed him to pray and talk to God, and then we could talk more about how it went. Then we set up a time to met and talk about it later. Then a week later, the meeting miraculously went through and he didn't flake out on us, we only had one option to meet at an old couple's house which I thought might be a little awkward for him. But I felt peaceful about it. Then when the day came I messed up so bad and meant to tell him to met at 16 or 4pm but ended up saying 14. We were in a teach with this awesome next door neighboors of our member, who (btw had an awesome family, has relatives who are Mormon and that they would love to learn more, and that they should come to church some time. So sweet) We get out of the teach I see my phone that E. our new investigator has called.......an hour and a half ago. I call him back he says he is there and has been for 1.5 hours. I explain what happened and say he doesn’t have to wait outside anymore but we are on our way. Anywho we finally get to the older couple's house and walk it, trying to call E. and see where He is at, we walk in, and the holy ghost just hits us like a brick wall. We walk in and there the older couple Sisar is sitting there and across the way in E. in a big plush red chair, blanket, juice, gingersnaps, chocolate and a Book of Mormon! They say that they have been talking for the last 2 hours about our religion, prayer, the Book of Mormon and the atonement. Sisar M. can't say enough good about our investigator. We are sooooooo astonished, we are soooo excited, so we start the lesson and he tells us that that night after I met him on the bus he went home and prayed for the first time in a million years, and it was for about an hour and it felt really good, and that when we talked on the bus he just felt this overwhelming amount of peace. We taught more about prayer, restoration, and then the atonement that How much Heavenly Father loves him and cares for him. That through baptisms following the example of Jesus Christ all his mistakes and sins can be washed away. We invited him to be baptized, He said that he wants this so bad to be free of all his mistakes. We had the closing prayer kneeling together and he offered one of the most heart felt prayers I have ever heard. He also said that he had something going on the next day but will change it so that he can come to church. AND he came! This is why I am on a mission, to tell people about their Savior, the cleansing and healing effect the atonement has. Believe in Miracles! The Lord knows His children, he has been preparing them to meet us, He has been working with them. I know this to be true.
I love this gospel with all my heart, I love my mission so much, it has been hard but it has been worth every second of it. At church we had so many shout outs from the members of how great the work we have been doing, and how the spirit is so strong with us. It was so amazing to see the hearts of our members softening, they are getting on board this missionary train, slowly but its happening. Everyone deserves a chance to be this happy.
I love you all. Pray for YOUR own missionary experience. Believe in Miracles, Hope is never lost.
P.s. I was on our way to a teach with Sisar Pack, and our investigator was in the elevator and I went to walk on, and the elevator doors literally slammed shut on me. I decided to take the stairs with Sis. Pack, we were all dying laughing. People, the struggle is real!
Also the picture of my two older Sisters is because I love them and felt like adding a throw back picture!