Monday, June 30, 2014

The Oulu Dream!

I'M IN OULU!!! Ah, where do I start with this week it has been so crazy. Running place to place everyday trying to figure things out and just loving every moment. Sisar Lund keep looking at each other and asking, ‘’Is this real life?’’ I keep feeling like this is too good to be true. I am going to wake up one morning and it will be back to normal missionary work. This is missionary work on steroids! 

We, Sisar Lund and I were just shot-gunned into Oulu. So both of us are new here, and it was an amazing week. We saw a lot of tiny miracles, and also big miracles happened. We were able to set a baptismal date with a new investigator who then came to church with us. We were able to find a couple potentials, that we are going to try stopping by this coming week. Also this other investigator that we haven't met showed up to church on his own because his kids wanted to come back to church (Sisar Lund actually didn’t know what he looked like and thought he was another member and asked him in Finnish when institute was……..he was clueless, then turns out he is actually our investigator!)! It was such a cool welcome to Oulu. Such an amazing place to be!

Also the Sisaret that were before us made amazing plans and had a planner which almost a month of ideas, of who we could visit and the important stuff we needed to know about the area, it was incredibly cool! Also funny story, they even made some cookie dough that we were ready and able to make cookies for district meeting when the district leader jokingly said we should bring some. Talk about amazing and prepared missionaries. 

So I came up to Oulu on Tuesday, Sisar Lund came on Wednesday so I was able to spend some good bonding time with the other Oulu Sisaret who are just angels. Then Sisar Lund came, and on Thursday we planned met some investigators, cool experiences of following the spirit and being on the same page with SIsar Lund, for example we both felt like we need to turn back a couple times and go talk to someone that turned out to be a really cool gospel discussion! Then Thursday night we had literally 5 minutes to pack, jumped in car with the Oulu Zone leaders, then took a night train down to Helsinki, for our temple trip and Mission Leadership training meeting with President Rawlings for the last time before President Watson comes. It was amazing and I was able to see Sisar Nielsen (also called as STL this change, which another sisar from our MTC group!) It was so amazing to be back in the temple. Then that night we jumped on another night train and boom, back in Oulu. The members here are amazing! Its incredible they are so willing to help us out! It so refreshing! 

This week we are having a focus on getting all the people that we find to do church tours right away with a member friend for the first lesson. We are also looking for our replacement missionary, and a replacement for the Johnson couple that just left, that speak good English and can help the recent young converts feel welcome in the area. For the zone meetings we are going to be focusing on the type of missionary we expected to be before we came into the field, and trying to do what we can to meet those expectations.

Love you all! Take care (=
Sisar Hubner

P.S. Because we are so far north up here, it is so much brighter and warmer…also a lot more mosquitoes! 

Sorry no picture we are at the library and it doesn’t have a spot to connect my chip in....hopefully next week though!

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Birdie is Leaving the Nest. Over and Out.

Yes Folks, you got that right. This birdie is leaving the nest. It is about time! So on Friday we got changes called from President Rawlings, and I will be moving to Oulu next Tuesday as the Sister Training Leader for the North Zone!!!!!! My new companion will be Sisar Lund as the other Sister Training Leader, she is literally one of the sweetest people I have met on my mission I am so excited. We will be shot-gunning the area which means that they are completely taking out the two sisters that are up there now and replacing them for two new sisters! Wow, so excited, and slightly nervous, feeling very inadequate to be a sister training leader, but I have faith that the Lord knows what He is doing. (side note, ever one of Sisar Thayne's companions have become Sister training leaders! Hahaha cool stuff)

10 months. I have been in my cute little hometown of Tampere for 10 months. I learned how to speak Finnish here, I have learned how to be a missionary here, I have learned how to love beyond my own capacity here, I have fallen in love with Finland here, I have learned how to trust in the Lord. I am so sad to say goodbye to the place that has taught me so much, to some of the best friends I have ever made, to the sweet members who supported us through thick and thin. This is my home. This is where a piece of my heart will always remain. So many priceless lessons have I learned in this blessed land of Tampere. But it is time to move on, to be tried and tested in new ways, to revive some more of the energy and excitement that comes from being in a new place with a new beginning.
By the way Oulu is the most northern City in Finland that Sister missionaries serve! Get ready for frozen eyelashes, and dark days! But for now at least we should have a little bit of summer left, even though someone told me that it might be snowing up north. Katsotaan! Also it is a biking city so it is looking like I am going to need to buy a bike! (P.S. This week while riding our bikes to a member my pedal and screw completely popped off. Uskomaton, never seen that happen!)

Also this week was Juhannus, which means Midsummer’s Night eve and Midsummer’s day, the longest day of the year where the sun never sets. We decided to arrange a nice dinner to make for an elderly couple in our ward. So we bought all this food and biked in the rain to get to their house in Nokia, it was super awkward because we were riding with all the food bags hanging on our handlebars. So finally we get to their house and Veli S. Informs us that he totally forgot and they already ate dinner......)= so much for that and the other elderly lady that was going to come over, called the Sisar S. Who has Alzheimer’s and said she had no idea that we were coming over, so the other lady canceled. It was a mess but super funny, so we sang hymns with them and shared a powerful message about the atonement. It is so cool to see how peoples' hearts can literally be changed and turn into new people from the past. Vel. S. When younger was a lot of problems with alcohol and for a while had a hard time accepting the message of this gospel from the missionaries, but then once his wife joined the church, he started really investigating. He was baptized and they were sealed in the Swiss temple for time and all eternity. Though they have difficulties in their old age, they have this glow and joy that comes out of them. This gospel changes lives.

 This week was a slower week, we had 2 members scheduled to come out with us but after all our plans, back up plans, and literally 2 more back up plans all fell through we talked to our member and she said she would like to wait until we have something planned before she came out. It was slightly frustrating because we were trying literally so hard, and making so many phone calls, and praying super hard. The other member though did come out with us, and we tried so hard to have stuff for her and it all fell through, and so we tried potentials and all that fell through and we did the ten doors and nothing happened. It was ganz very hard, but we did have a special moment in her car at the end when we said she understands now how hard this work is for us, especially in today's world and it would be so hard not to get depressed, but we are always so bright and happy she never realized how hard that must be. It was a special moment, making me realize how much of a different it makes to the ward to have happy, smiling missionaries that don't give up. 

We have three things that set us apart from this world. Our testimonies, our hope, and our smiles. These are the things that matter, if we lose that we have nothing.

We have starting a new project here in Tampere; we have realized the word game isn't really working here because the members aren't even talking to people! So we started a little something called ''Project Moi.'' The goal is to smile and say moi (hello), moro, morensta, hei, tai whatever else to every single person they come across to brighten their day. We have been practicing with them how to keep smiling and doing it even through rejection. They LOVE this plan. So next step with be to really keep following up and getting and sharing their success stories, and slowly onto the next step. The Members here are going to be known for their outward kindness here, and not just by not drinking alcohol or smoking. We need a good rep. for this great gospel that we are apart of! 
I love you all and hope you had a great Midsummer’s day. Jump on the Moi train and try for a week to just say hi to people that cross your path. A new light and happiness will come from it. That’s a promise!

Love your guts,

Sisar Hubner

P.S. So I am IN LOVE with these Finnish flowers, I collected a bouquet (harder than it seems) and gave it to a former investigator who ended up coming to church to here my talk! I related scuba diving to the gospel and shared how I received my own testimony of the Book of Mormon. Also our Chinese friends even came and gave Sisar Thayne and me these hand made clay figurines! Sooooooo cute!

P.S.S For Juhannus we set our alarm clocks to wake up at midnight to see the sky, we were so insanely tired that we both just looked out the window ''cool'' and went back to bed. But to celebrate the next morning we took out the sparklers and had a little fun!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Purple Flowers

As some of you know I love the color Purple. You have never seen purple beauty in nature till you come to Finland. Its unreal how amaziing it is. The colors in Finland that you see the most are vibrant green and deep, rich purple all over the place in many different shapes and forms in flowers. Its breath taking, eli hengensalpava!

This week was our zone conference with our Mission President, Pres. Rawlings. It was bittersweet. I have learned so much from him, and come to understand better the healing and enabling power of the Holy ghost through him. The whole mission and I are very excited to welcome our new mission president at the end of the month but goodbyes are always hard to say. The theme of this zone conference was involving the Lord more. How we are working so hard to do His work, but forgetting the small things like always asking the Lord for guidance and help to Who specifically, and What they need at the moment that will help them understand how much this gospel will mean and help in their lives. Because of this, I have been working so hard to constantly have a prayer in my heart, to being constantly lead, and recieving more courage to do bold things. It has made me realize the small blessing, because I am searching for them more. 

President said that it is when we mess up that we normally have gotten distracted and stopped praying, when we get on the bus and if we arent praying for courage and discernment to know who is ready, we might end up sitting by ourselves, or by someone who isn't ready at this moment. Thats when we let discouragement set in. It is so true, I ask for courage, but sometimes stop praying for it, because I assume it is a one time gift I will recieve. The courage come as the prayers continue, the extra love comes as we plead for it. Its not a one prayer, reiceve the courage/love package. It comes when we contiually ask for it and qualify for it. 

We went on splits the next day, I was finally able to get out of my tampere side that I have been in for 10 months....ya Im getting old! We were doing our studies and had planned to just do language and eat and then go out, but in the back of my mind I had a thought that we should go out now for a little and pray to find the one. So we left on that prompting, walked around for a good 30 minutes not finding anyone who had time or wanted to talk, but as we are about to turn back home to get food, I see this cute Mom holding her adorable son. We stopped and talked with them and were able to apply the gospel in a way that we set up a return appointment to come back next week and talk about the movie we had given her, Finding Happiness. It was way cool, because if we had stayed in to eat, we would have missed her and the opportunity to give her this inspiring message. 

At church the second counselor from Sweden, gave a talk and I just loved it. It was about the Karate Kid, how after practicing wiping the floors, painting the fence, fixing the cars, Daniel-san got frustrated thinking that he was there to learn how to fight. Finally as he is about to quit, because he cant see how this is helping him become a karate master. Then Master Miagi, showes him that the waxing on and off of the floor was helping him fight and combat the hits Miagi, threw at him, and the painting the fencing had helped him learn how to block, and so forth. Sometimes in life we are waiting for the traing to become a fighter, or a karate genius, and get frustrated that the Lord gives us challenges that seem to be stopping us from becoming the person we want to become. Little do we understand how the Lord is actually preparing us even better than we could to become the people the characters that we truly have always wanted to be. It about seeing the big picture and trusting that the Lord knows best for us. Instead of just enduring the hard times, learning to love them because we know how strong we will become at the end. 

There is this couple from church that have such an amazing story that I just found out, that has inspired me. They seem like your normal happy young mormon couple with an adorable baby girl. I just learned that both were barely members and hated coming to church and were drinking and smoking and doing all that stuff. One day they met eachother, neither knowing that the other was actually a member of the church. Sis. H said that if she ahd known veli. H was a member she would have never started dating him. But they started dating and slowly found out that both were members. As time went on, they realized they wanted to get married in the temple to be sealed for time and eternity, they wanted the happiness from the gospel. So they both worked hard to get worthy, Sis. H sent veli. H on a mission, and when he came back they were sealed together in the Beautiful temple, and now they have the strongest testimonies of this gospel, and are a eternal family. This gospel is the key for deep abiding joy and security. Their story touched me deeply. 

I love you all and hope you have a great week! Next week is Juhannus, the longest day in the year! so excited, the sun never sets!! 


Sisar Hubner

P.S. On splits a drunk man came up to us and invited us over to his place, when I said sorry we dont have time he slapped me on the bum! It was the weirest thing, good thiing I am tall and he mostly got just my legs! Man, drunk people these days!

Another funny story, there is a member from our ward that was wearing a leather vest, and I tried to ask him if it was leather (naka) but I ended up askin him if it was naki (sausage). Are you wearing a sausage vest? hahah this language still trips me up sometimes!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

True Conversion = Setting Fire

9 June 2014

This quote has been running through my head all week long:

True Conversion
''Men captained by Christ will be consumed in Christ. They set fires in others because they are on fire. Their will is swallowed up in His will. They do always those things that please the Lord. Not only would they die for the Lord, but more important they want to live for Him. 
Enter their homes, and the pictures on their wall, the books on their shelves, the music in the air, their words and their acts reveal them as Christians. They stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places.''
-Ezra Taft Benson

This week was a truly amazing week. I want to thank all of you who are working hard at home to share this love and light with those around you and help the missionaries. I feel like a lot of what has happened this week was blessings from the Lord from you guys, niin Kiitos paljon(thank you).

We read through Presdient's email last week prayerfully, and really wanted to figure out this summer thing because we had no plans for summer. He had promised that if we worked hard to get our members out with us, and make plans to help them do missionary work then this summer the work would pick up. So we prayed about it and got to work making calendars and phone call and we arranged it so that almost everyday we had a about 30 min-1 hour plan out just for phone calling and making summer plans. In the beginning like usually we were getting rejected by our members a lot, but we switched our technique and focused on the ones we have been working with. For almost the whole month of June we have 2-3 members coming out with us every week, and people's summer plans down and one less active who will be in Turku already switched over the missionaries where her möki (summer cabin) is at, so that she can reach her goal to get to the temple by the end of July!

That doesn’t even start to say how incredible this week was. The Lord promised that the work in our area would pick up not slow down. Well it has already jumped up. Mainly through following council and inquiring of the Lord where we should go and what to say. Also studying about praying always has also helped my understanding of how prayer works a little bit better. I want to share some stories that have come from praying always.

This week I have really been contemplating how to get to the next level of contacting because lately I feel like a robot and am bored with conversations from the start, which means something is wrong. So I have been consulting with the Lord about this and studying in the scriptures. I was on the bus and tried talking to this lady who was polite but not open. I felt frustrated trying to come up with a lame question that would probably go about nowhere. So instead I said a little prayer of what I could ask to open this woman up. This thought came to ask her if her family lived in Tampere. Then I started doubting if that was a good question, but though, no miksei? I asked her and a huge smile came on her face and we had a great discussion about families, which lead to sukuhistoria (family history).

Second story, I was feeling frustrated again not knowing what question to ask the sunglasses wearing, earphones in, tattoo covered, staring out the window type girl. I contemplated it and then asked the Lord what question He wanted me to ask, that would get her to feel the spirit. This random thought of asking her if she played music came to my head. But then I started thinking this is going to be so weird if she doesn't and she will probably shut me down. Then I remembered I get shut down all the time and it hasn't stopped me yet. So I get her attention and ask her, and she seems so surprised and says.... (What for it), um no, why do you ask? But it got this really cool conversation going and the spirit was soo strong. We ended up not even getting to the gospel before she had to get off, but it was cool to see that in some situations while following the spirit, the gospel isn't the first thing that comes out. But because the spirit was so strong, I can't help but think that the next time she sees the missionaries she will be excited to talk to them.

Third story, we were on the bus and I saw something out the window that caught my eye. So we jump off the bus, but we weren't particularly feeling anything. So before I started to second-guess myself, we said a prayer and felt like we need to call our investigator that had been too busy to meet. She told us to come over and we had a powerful teach about receiving answers to prayer and at the end she broke down and opened her heart to us. Afterwards I was just thinking how miraculously the Lord works, that every small decision lead up to us being able to help one of His precious children.

This week a member came out with us for a teach, nothing out of the ordinary but I have been trying to keep my mind open to the prompting of the Lord, and for some reason I started thinking about this member a lot and I felt like I needed to prayer for her, while I was praying I had this strong prompting to tell her at church on Sunday that the her Father loves her so much and will take care of her family. For some reason I got so nervous to do this, and realized that it meant even more how important this was to do. We had a crazy day at church and we missed her and I was so bummed because I promised the Lord I would talk to her. So I called her up and testified about her Father's love and got super emotional about it, and She told me how much this meant to her that I went out of my way to call her. I'm not sure what is going on in her life but I realized these following promptings also can direct us in how to help our ward members more, and feel that Love that they too need. Sis. Thayne gave me a big hug after I got off the phone with her, with tears in my eyes and told me how proud she was of me for following the spirit. I was wondering in my head if I would ever not get emotional while testifying about our Fathers love. I realized that no, I wouldn't because when I am truly testifying about His love, I feel it so strongly for them and remember the love that I have felt from Him that I have never deserved, and yet it has always been there for me, picking me back up when I fall, healing my broke heart, and drying my tears when the world seemed so hard on the ones I love the most. This is the message we carry. If nothing else we can testify and help them understand it better

This Sunday was way crazy, our recent convert came to the early ward so we went too, this lady I guess I forgot I contacted her on the bus, came strolling into church 3 months later on her own. Loved church stayed for all of it, was fellowshipped beautifully, and we are meeting with her in a couple of hours. Then we went to go pick up our two investigators from the center to ride to church together. While waiting a less active from the other ward come up to us and starts chatting, he said he didn’t want to come to church when we invited him, but then his Jewish friend come up and asks where we are going, and he decided that he wants to come to church, so then the less active says that he might as well go to church. Then we pick up our 2 investigators, now with 2 new friends hop a bus over to church. They all loved church and want to come back next week. It was truly incredibly, 2 new investigators that were literally dropped in our laps and 4 investigators at church and 2 less actives there as well! The gospel is the good news (= It catching like wild fire).
Love you all!
Sisar Alayna Hubner

P.S. We got a surprise visit from my twin, Sisar Nielsen and her baby companion. I don’t know how the Lord swung that but it was exactly what I needed. We stayed up way too long talking about eternity and how amazing it is to be a little part of the Lord's army fighting for the souls of men. It was so great, to step back and remember how far we have come, and the path we are on for eternity the habits that we have created, that I want to further not just let go at the end of my mission. The next day I was talking to Sisar Thayne and she was saying, "I want to be on fire. You are on fire, Sisar Nielsen is on fire and I am determined to become like that." It was really humbling to hear that. I’m definitely not a convert being baptized into the gospel at an older age, but I feel like I’ve got that convert fire for this gospel, I just want to tell everyone about it. 

P.P.S. Sis. Thayne and I are not the best cooks in the world but we definitely try super duper hard and we are getting better. But when Sis Nielsen and her comp were here (after a quick run down to the lake, see picture below! so beautiful, cant believe I live in this dream land!) we decided to try and make gourmet breakfast burritos. Just to find out her comp is deathly allergic to eggs.... and sis Thayne found this massive egg shell that I accidently didn’t catch before I scrambled the eggs...super fail haha but onward, ever onward. One day I'll make my mom proud of my cooking skills...but sadly today is not that day, yet!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Bike Trippin

So basically I may or may not be an extremely awkward missionary and very accident-prone. Just like we had fun times bike dancing for every bodies fav time, there is also the tragic bike tripping of the week. Let me explain. So being in Tampere we have the privilege to ride bikes everywhere. The ward has given us bikes so we don't have to pay for it, which is reallynice. I have my own claimed pink ghetto bike that I use but Sisar Thayne kept saying that her bike was hurting her knees, out of the kindness of my heart I decided I would swap with her till we got the seat raised.

So now I am riding on this dinky bike that has a way super low seat, mutta ei se mitään, even though I definitely have longer legs then Sis. Thayne. I can handle this. So far it has been going okay, but this week my luck finally dropped. So we decided to go far out to Lielahti (in the Elders area) but over there were some Less-active Women members or in other words church members who haven't been seen in church or other places for a while. We decide to try and go about doing good and make some yummy banana bread and see if we can't make their day a little bit better.

Also I just so happen to always seem to wear my glasses on the day that is rains a ton, while biking in the cold isn't the funniest thing out there...Any ways we have tried about 3 of the less actives and nothing is happening, but Sisar Thayne and I are trying to keep our spirits up and stay happy. I mean after all anything is possible with the Spirit right? Wrong, personal stupidity will not always be buffered by the spirit. So I'm feeling pretty invincible and we are biking along the street and need to get onto the sidewalk. So everything is pretty slick with the rain, and there is a decently high curb. But just like when I was learning to drive, faster is always better than slower, right? So I speed up and try to jump the curb, turn out I was going at the wrong angle too, I hit the curb, bike goes flying in the opposite direction and some how I end up landing on both my knees at the same time (all of this is going super slow motion too) and the slow whip lash to a face meets side walk smack. Hahahaa wow, it was actually super funny, and the pic I attached does not do it justice whatsoever. I get home and take my thick leggings off and my knees are still bleeding 3 hours later and have huge 2 massive goose eggs! Battle wounds from the mission life.

To end the biking story of the week, then we will get onto the spiritual highlights. So after we were done teaching our family from the Congo, we had a little bit of time before our next sopimus (teach), and sometimes when we have extra time we go out praying always to find ''the one'' that the Lord has prepared. This week our focus has been a younger woman around her 20s that can build the ward here in Tampere and get the young women here excited. So we jump on our bikes and see this 20ish looking lady walking her dog (have I mentioned that everyone and their dog has a dog... its insane I’m pretty sure this country has more dogs per people than any other country, mutta kuitenkin. At this point I have switched bikes to a slightly higher raised bike that is a little more difficult to ride on. So we try to casually come next to this lady and start talking. We pull up and its me, Sis. Thayne, then the dog walking lady and we ask Miten Mene, (how is it going) she’s not too interested but we are trying to just talk with her, and slowly bike at the same time. Not the best at multi-tasking and trying to speak Finnish... and I slowly start losing my balance, and try to stop myself, but I just slowly fall into Sisar Thayne who pulls back and I just start progressively tipping over, too high on the seat to stop myself. The Dog walking lady jumps out of the way and starts laughing hysterically. Hahah, well we weren’t able to give her the gospel but at least we were able to give her a huge laugh of the day (=

Onto the spiritual side, this week was a harder week, but we have really been praying always to know who we can help each day, to let them understand that they really do have a loving Heavenly Father who cares so much about them. This one day we were walking down to the bus and normally we take the 18 but I see the 1 come and I feel like we need to jump on for some reason, so we get on it, and I see this lady from Sinegal that we have talked to before. So we start talking and she explains that she has had such a hard time in Finland and is so happy that I got on the bus and talked to her. She explained more about how much her son means to her and she wishes he could stay at home forever. I had the opportunity to testify to her that there is a way to be with her son for eternity. I started talking about the Mormonin Kirja, the Book of Mormon and how is has changed my life to know that through this restored gospel, and living prophets we know that Heavenly Father has a plan and has made a WAY for us to be sealed in the temple for time and all eternity with our spouse and our husband. She said that she would love to receive one in French, and we set up a meeting for later that week.

 Later on that day it was raining and cold, and we kept getting rejected and felt like we just weren't finding anyone. Then I turned to Sisar Thayne and suggested that we should pray for more love and then jump our attitudes up. She agreed and we prayed and starting trying to talk to people with a smile and
 It was incredible, so many people stopped and we were able to either make them laugh or smile. It makes such a difference when we let the light of this gospel shine through our eyes. It literally is my light that gives me so much happiness and fires me up to talk with and love every person we come across. While we were walking we caught up to this man, who was walking the same direction as us, and we cheerfully said, ''MOI!'' and he was so caught off guard and got super excited and asked if we wanted to walk with him, we said sure but we were headed to our church if he wanted to come take a look. He said Sure! So we walked all the way through the center and learn more about E. who is from Cuba and lived in Florida for a while and is married to a Finn now, so he lives here. He was explaining how depressing life is here in Finland. When we got to the church we invited him in, and gave him a church tour, and his whole countenance changed. He got so quiet and kept saying Wow, this building is so beautiful I have never been in such a beautiful building, he asked if he could pay us for a Book of Mormon in Spanish, and was so surprised when we gave it to him for free, he asked if he could come to church on Sunday.

It was incredible to see how our day changed my a fervant prayer asking the Lord for more love. This gospel is my light. I have seen it change so many lives from being depressed and empty to seeing this light come on in their eyes and countenance, and through their smile. It is the most satisfying feeling to pray to help that ''one'' for the day, and come home at night and look back and see how the Lord placed that person on our path. It’s worth it to try and get out of your comfort zone to lift some one's hand that hangs low.

Love you all stay gucci and Hyvää Kesää teille!


Sisar Hubner