Sunday, August 7, 2011
This is a photo of our bus at the MTC taking us to the Salt Lake City airport Monday, 18th July. It was very touching to see the districts of missionary up so early, 4:00am, to see their companions off to their destinations all over the world. Ours was the first bus in line and we had 31 missionaries on our bus. At the departure devotional there were 488 missionaries who left the MTC the same week we did. The devotional was filled with an indescribable energy imminating from all those young missionaries! And, even some energy from the seniors came pouring out...we were all filled with anticipation and the desire to do our best for the Lord!
We had excellent flights from Salt Lake City, Utah all the way to Helsinki, Finland. We worked hard on our bags to have them weigh just what they needed to and were blessed that we were right on. We did have an extra long layover in Washington, D.C., part of it planned and part of it unplanned. The photo you see here is us meeting Gary, our eldest, for lunch. He is in Washington, D.C. on assignment with the FBI. It was a delight to see him and we had a delicious lunch at the Red Robin thus the "thumbs up" over our heads.
Then we returned to the airport and waited to board this big baby! We were asked to check our carry on baggage through to Helsinki and we did so with relief. I hand carried my laptop and purse...no heavy carry-ons to lug on the plane or around the airport in Frankfurt. Our airplane was a 747 and had seats for ten people in one row. We sat right in the middle of the center four seats. What a huge airplane...
We boarded and then we sat on the runaway for one hour...two hours...three hours before we could take off due to thunderstorms. We were the first plane in a long line of planes waiting so there was no going back...but finally we were airborne. The flight was uneventful and no turbulence at all! We had missed the storm. Isn't that like life...if we sometimes wait patiently when we feel angry, upset or in crisis, then when we move forward...no turbulence!
We both slept some on the plane and arrived safely in Frankfurt Tuesday, 19th July, 4:00pm and went through getting our flights rescheduled to Helsinki; we arrived to late to get the original one scheduled. We flew Lufthansa and they treated us magnificently! We waited in Frankfurt for a few hours...our sleepiest time...and then on to Helsinki. We were picked up at the airport by the mission president, his assistants and two office elders. We were driven to the President's home and fed a delicious meal prepared by his wife. Also in attendance at the dinner were the two other local (Finnish) sisters working in the office and another senior sister from Utah. We had good food and good conversation and then were taken to our apartment.
From the photos below you can see how delighted we were. It is a new apartment furnished comfortably, just lovely. I was so happy and relieved to see the apartment was so beautiful! Our apartment is the one on the first floor directly to the right of the front door.
This last photo is what you see out the back of our apartment. It has a trail for walking through this wooded area. Quiet place...we spent much of our evening time and Saturday time buying things needed for our apartment and our groceries. Not so easy to shop when you cannot read anything! We could ask at any time and the store workers were most helpful. 90% of the Finnish people speak some English. See the photo below of the escalator for you AND your cart! I had never seen one before. We ate a sandwich up stairs and just took our full cart with us! Elder France believes that some of the smartest people in the world live in Finland. Check out the dish drainer photo...You wash the dishes in the sink and place them in the cupboard above which can be closed to conceal the drying dishes until you want to put them away. It works amazingly well!
Here is a photo of the office we will be working in. We both have been working hard to learn what we need to but the jet lag has been a detriment. We will be doing just fine and then the tiredness hits you like a ton of bricks. The worst thing about it is your brain stops functioning completely! For us that is not good...regardless, we accomplished some good and learned some. First desk pictured is Elder France's (alias...Grandpa Finland) and mine is the second photo. We are all still in transition without duties clear, but that will come soon. Tomorrow we have our first staff meeting.
The day before leaving the MTC we were introduced to the "I AM A MORMON" series. Here is a link ("I am a mormon.")...they are worth checking out. I also found the Homefront Commercials that I mentioned we had seen during a devotional. (Homefronts ) Hope you enjoy all! We found them at the lds.org media library which has wonderful videos (some are for all Christians to use when teaching the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ). The grandkids will love some of them! (Media Library)
We now have our own car...four passenger purple Volvo. We purchased a Garmin GPS (Love technology!) and we will find our way around now; named her Isabelle...had to leave Henrietta in Kanab; she only knew how to get around in America. We hope to find a swimming pool for exercise and fitness this coming week. It will be a busy week! We have eight missionaries going home from our mission and ten arriving. I hope we can stay awake for the activities! (It is 10:00pm here and still light outside...sunrise at 4:00am.) Love to all...