Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thanksgiving Time!

Here it is mid-December, November is long gone, but we are left with fun memories of Thanksgiving.  Still no snow here in Helsinki, but the darkness has come.  It is dark now by 3:00pm!  Daylight begins each day around 9:00am.  It is pretty strange leaving the office each day in the dark.  We have been having lots of rain...

Full bellies and lots of smiles...not one of the 22 wonderful
missionariesforgot to say thank you...most said it over and over!

We had a fun Thanksgiving!  We had to special order our turkeys, not something the Finns have in their groceries on a regular basis.  Chicken is common, but not turkey.  We cooked three 14 lb. turkeys to feed all the missionaries in our Helsinki Zone.  We made our own cranberries.  Even had pumpkin pies which is also not common here.  We played a fun Thanksgiving Alphabet game...telling what we were thankful for with each letter of the alphabet.  We had a delicious time!  Hey, kids guess what is VERY common to the Finnish diet...rutabaga!  Yup, I had my rutabaga with lots of gravy.  They even make casseroles with it.

 One of the new couple missionaries made small napkin rings with turkeys on it for us all.

Here's the work crew!  We are a formidable team!

This is what is done to the those gorgeous pots throughout the city in preparation for winter.
They plant this beautiful gray and purple heather that can withstand the snow and low temperatures.
Beautiful isn't it?

Christmas lights are going up everywhere...

In preparation for Christmas, families visit the cemetery and  lite candles in the lanterns there.
Much like we do, decorating on Memorial Day.  These are special candles and they stay lit throughout the entire Christmas season.  We will go again sometime just after Christmas and there will be wreaths, ribbons, etc.
It is a thoughtful and touching tradition.

There are many Swedes in Finland and one of their Christmas traditions is to  crown a queen for the Independence Day Parade.  This is a picture of this year's beautiful.  And, yes, those are real candles that drip wax!
Here's our little tree...

Lions meet the needs of local communities and the world. The 1.35 million members of our volunteer organization in 206 countries and geographic areas are different in many ways, but share a core belief – community is what we make it. The Lions Club is busy helping people even in Finland. 

We attended our Stake Conference in a large Conference Center. Our
mission president and his wife spoke.  We were challenged by the
Stake President to read the Book of Mormon before our next
Stake Conference in the spring...we accepted the challenge

New guessing games for you...
everyone guess!
What is this?
Can you guess?
I'll give you a clue - Grandpa
took this photo.

This is right in front of our apartment...
a huge backhoe digging a five foot deep hole,
pulling out ten large boulders.  We tried to guess what they were building.
What is your guess?  The hole was five foot deep about 15 foot square.

Also, guess what we did one night for Family Home Evening Activity...yes, we had permission!
It was really fun...first movie we attended in Finland.
We ate our dinner there...they have sandwiches as well as popcorn in their concessions.
The movie was in English with Finnish subtitles...they never dub over an English film.
We all thought it followed the book very well!  Check out the smiles...

We had a language training, birthday party, new seniors arrive, Finnish birthday party on their Independence day (December 5th) and attended a lovely Christmas Ballet Recital. 

Language Training Luncheon
Birthday Party 

A special Christmas song at the birthday party...
three of these dear missionaries were transferred
out of our area.  We will miss them!

Christmas Ballet....made us miss those "good young days" when we were younger and our girls were the ones we watched dance!  They were all so beautiful!

New Senior Couple!

New Senior couple!

Had a very special baptism for the sweet young woman we helped teach.  She inspired us with her testimony of the Book of Mormon, she said, "Reading the Book has made me want to read my Bible and say my prayers again.  I had not been doing that for many years.  It (Book of Mormon) makes the scriptures so much clearer."  She is from Camaroon, Africa, and is here to study in Finland, a truly courageous young woman.  A real highlight for us...

Grandpa has two questions for you all - 

  1. How many straight lines can you draw through a single point on a piece of paper?  What's your answer?
  2. What happens, however, if  on that piece of paper there is a second point?  How many straight lines could you draw between these two reference points?  

Great idea for a missionary's tree!
Mom sent him this with ornaments to attach...just plug in the lights and instant tree.

They put glass in our patio...making a nice enclosed patio...see our Christmas candelabra?
Is that the star of Bethlehem?  Looks like it...

Grandpa and I were able to attend the Nativity Lighting Ceremony at the temple.  There were about 100 people in attendance.  It was bone chilling cold, but hearts were warmed by the wonderful spirit of love that was there.   A few words were spoken by the temple president expressing gratitude for the season coming, the temple, and of course, the life of our Savior Jesus Christ.  These beautiful primary children sang several songs.  

It was a special evening for all...

We hope you are all enjoying preparations for the Christmas Season.  Remember to remember to keep Jesus at the center of all you do! We are grateful to be in a country that celebrates Christmas...we miss you all so much and love you for all eternity!

Guessing game answers:
First photo:  They are building a Trash Building...these are elaborate small buildings with big bins for each recycled item inside.  It will be great to have our trash bin so close by...just a few steps out the front door. We'll post more photos when it is done...we are also suppose to have our building sauna up and running before New Year's Day.  We love to sauna...
Second photo:  This is an advertising urinal...Ha!  Grandpa couldn't believe it when he went into the rest room at the theater.  That's a little LCD screen with advertisements being shown on it!  These clever Finns...

Grandpa's answers:

The answer to question one - An infinite number!
For a moment, suppose that single point is the Bible and that hundreds of those straight lines drawn through that point represent different interpretations of the Bible and that each of those interpretations represents a different church. 

The answer to question two - Only one...think of the two points representing the Bible AND the Book of Mormon.  Only one interpretation of Christ's doctrines survives the testimony of these two witnesses. Check out the link... (Two Witnesses)

Sounds like that was what our young woman convert was trying to say...Cool!

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