Sunday, August 28, 2011


      Our previous blog entry was delayed due to internet service problems.  Hope all were able to see our last entry!  Here is a photo of the library I spoke of...lots of hard work.  When we first arrived you could not walk in the room; it was so congested with boxes and "stuff". Now there is a place for everything.

      On the left you can see the Book of Mormons in about 60 of the 82 world languages it is printed in.  It had its 181st Anniversary in March and the 150th millionth copy was printed then.  Amazing!

      On Sunday we had a birthday party for one of the sisters who works in the office with us. She is from northern Utah and is a very hard working lady. Ready and willing to serve doing whatever is asked of her. The sister missionaries also joined us.  The senior missionary second photo below right is from Finland. She has a wonderful sense of humor and we love her already.  She is still learning English and very ready to help us learn Finnish.  When we were here only one week and suffering miserably with jet lag, we told her that we could not sleep when we were supposed to be sleeping.  Her reply was, "Study will work to put you to sleep!"

      It has been a bit stressful in the office this week.  The new budget for 2012 had to be submitted and therefore a lot of study had to be done to figure that out.  Also, there has been apartments to close and furniture to move.  Thank goodness Elders can help with that.  Seems the more we understand about the workings of the office, the more there is to learn.  We are hoping over time that we can get a handle on things!

      Grandpa Finland wanted you to see how close we are to the sea! This picture is from our office balcony.

      The picture below shows how many boats are in the marinas.  Grandpa was told there are about 500,000 people living in Helsinki and about 700,000 boats!

      We have begun to drive home on different routes to try to get home sooner, avoiding as much traffic as possible.  Of course, the first time we tried, we became lost.  Ended up in a beautiful area with luxury apartments right on the sea.  I forgot to take a photo, but I did take a photo from our moving car of these amazing huge flower planters along the road side.  They are everywhere...beautifying the city.

      Every six months while on their missions a few Elders and Sisters come into the office for Keili Koulou or Language Training.  We also had staff meeting so the President and his wife were also there.  We provided lunch for all! White bean chicken chili was on the menu.  It was delicious!  It was a busy fun day and we loved seeing the missionaries.  They are a valiant bunch!

      When Friday came it found us in the office late with the President pouring over the budget.  We left about 7:30pm and decided to stop and eat in a Finnish restaurant.  We stopped at the "Lehtovaara" or in english translates, sort of, to 'dangerous grove'.  The food was absolutely fabulous, but the bill for eating there was 'dangerous' to our wallet!  We had fun and called it our one month anniversary celebration.  Lehtovaara

Here is a photo of the church building we attend each Sunday.  It is the Haaga Ward.  

We love you and pray for you while we are sojourning here in Finland! 
May the Lord keep you and bless you! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Underwater Rugby World Championships!

      We had our one month anniversary this week...18th of August. Time has flown by.  The office is settling down some...although the amount to learn is still tremendous. We are trying to take one day at a time, prioritize what needs to be learned and put out fires along the way.  We are confident that the Lord will help us and guide us. "For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake, lead me and guide me." Psalms 31:3

      I wanted to show you some photos of the streets of Helsinki...last blog entry I mentioned it was like Pittsburgh.  Now you can see what I mean.

Crazy!  Very narrow city streets and Grandpa Finland manages without hesitation!  I bet he could even do it with a bus...

       We took a drive down from our office and saw some big cruise ships.

      We had a picnic for one of the sister's birthdays.  Attended the temple again on Friday night, but got caught in traffic due to a bus breaking down.  We made it in time to do sealings for eternal families...mostly all in Finnish. Eternal Marriage One of the most beautiful temples inside we have ever been in.  Went shopping after and took these photos so you could see how these clever Finnish people make sure everyone returns the grocery cart.

You put the money in to unlock your cart from the other carts in the row.
                                 Go shopping and when you come back put the lock back.

                                                        Take your coin...cart returned!

      Saturday was a great day!  We went looking for a swimming pool closer to our apartment and found much more than we expected.  It was a huge Sports Park with ice hockey, swimming and basketball.  The grounds are acres of trails and tennis courts.  We were able to catch a hockey scrimmage with young men in their twenties.  We were unable to swim because the pool was closed due to the UNDERWATER RUGBY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!  We stayed and watched and were amazed! We had never even heard of the demanding physically.

                                                                Referees wear scuba gear.

Italy won the match!  Both teams link arms and Italy sings their song...with great fun and vigor!

Women played too!

This is what they did before the match began...they clapped really loud (pictured above) while a swimmer from each team swam across carrying a small flag from their country...exchanging them in the center of the pool.  Swam back and the match began!  (pictured below) They are congratulating each other after the game.

Here's the hockey! There were two rinks this large...the other one had little guys playing.  Hockey is VERY BIG in Finland!

Also visited a beautiful cemetary...every headstone is granite!  

Of course, then in the afternoon we were able to find a great golf course.  How long did it take Grandpa Finland to find his favorite sport?...only two weeks.  

Notice where the golf club is pointing...YES, IKEA!  It was three stories high...we went there and ended our day with shopping.  What a fun day!  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

First Train Ride!

      This was a busy week.  On Tuesday we said "Goodbye!" to five Elders and  welcomed seven new missionaries to our mission.  It was a day filled with activity which kept us fully awake!  It was "change" day and therefore, missionaries were transferred around the mission, including those who had been keeping things running in the office until we arrived to take over.  We only knew these young men for a week, but they became our heroes for what they had done when asked to.  There are five of us now in the office who will work hard to keep up with those two Elders accomplished. Their testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ are on fire and they were anxious to return to the field to spread His word.  Here is a cool photo of them that they had hanging on the door welcoming all to the office!

      We worked hard for the remainder of the week to learn and glean needed information to perform our duties.  We also found that we were organizing and cleaning.  The library was in need of work so lots of filing and rearranging is being done.  Finland is a country of many diverse languages thus the library is also very diverse in languages, a formidable task to keep it in order.
      We took the opportunity then on Friday to attend the temple in Espoo, a suburb of Helsinki.  It is located in a beautifully forested area.  Finland is known for its lumber production and cultivation of their beautiful forests. They know how to live "green" and save the trees!

      The temple is built out of lovely white, shiny granite.  This photo does not do it justice.  We attended in the evening and the light was almost gone.  Much of Finland is made of ancient granite bedrock , which has been shaped and fractured by several ice ages.  The temple is surrounded by tall evergreens and the gardens are planted with lots of flowers. I especially liked these purple daisies!
      Saturday, our personal day, we decided to travel by train, for the first time, to Helsinki and go to their premier shopping store, Stockmanns.  It is eight stories of store...with everything you would want.  It is like one of our sprawling malls but built "UP"!  It was a fun day... here are photos of our trip.

      In the background of this photo are buildings very close to our apartment building.  We live a stone's throw from the train stop.  The glass walkway you see takes us over the tracks so we can get on the train.  The first photo is our train coming; the second photo is one returning from Helsinki, like the one we road to end our trip. 

      The trains were very comfortable, smooth and fast!  It cost us about 2.5 Euros...or $3.50 each one way. It is less to buy a month's pass. Our money is not valued at its face value.  This is the train station...lots of flowers hanging in gorgeous pots all over the city.  The Finns love their flowers...the second photo is the back door of the train station and the third photo is the amazing front door.

      As we walked through the train station I took a few photos of what we saw.  Inside the train station was fine architecture.  There are several levels with lots of escalators, up-down and cross-wise.  As we entered one escalator I spied something really American.  Can you spot it?  No, it's not the donuts.  No, not the flower shop.  As we left the train station we saw many entertainers trying to earn a coin or two. The little girl was eight years old playing the accordion at a skill level far above her age.

       Inside we found anything a heart could desire...the basement floor was the biggest grocery market we ever saw with foods from all over the world.  We bought salmon for about $4.50 a pound (I cook it for our dinner today and it was yummy!) See the floors...

      Of course, one of our favorite floors was the toy floor.  Look at the amazing "Star Wars" Lego figure and the Lego city!  "Star Wars" is loved by kids all over the world...

      We went to the 7th floor, chose from several restaurants and had a delicious lunch! I was caught with my mouth full...opps!

      Our trip home on the train was quick and comfortable.  Did you see what was truly American in the train station photos?  Here's a hint...look for the "golden arches"!
      We ended our Saturday by driving to a pool nearby to get some exercise.  It was a modern, clean facility and we hope to attend a few times a week.  While there Elder France (Grandpa Finland) had to take this photo of the ingenuity of the Finnish people again.

 Notice how the chairs are up so they can be swept under...pretty smart, right?  Do we have these in America?
      Bye for now...