Monday, January 16, 2012

January 2012

       We have now been on our mission for six months.  On the 18th of January, in three days, we will have the anniversary of our release date, 18th January 2013.  It is amazing that we have completed a third of our mission.  We have learned much about ourselves, about the gospel and about this world in which we live.  One of our leaders has given us advise to memorize scriptures.  He says, "They can become stalwart friends that are not limited by geography or calendar."  I want and need stalwart friends, so I have begun to put it to the test.  This scripture is the one I am working on:

"Wherefore, press forward with a steadfastness in Christ,
having a perfect brightness of hope, a love of God and of all men.  
Wherefore, if you shall press forward, 
feasting upon the word of Christ and endure until the end, 
behold thus saith the Father: ye shall have eternal life.
And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way;
and there is none other way nor name given under heaven
whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God.
And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, 
and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, 
which is one God, without end. Amen"  2 Nephi 31:20-21

Already this new friend speaks to me on a regular basis as I put every word to memory!

The week of Christmas week we were so busy!  We attended and served dinner at three zone conferences at three different locations in Finland.  We feasted upon the holy spirit that was in abundance at each conference.  Each conference was unique, as unique as the young zone leaders who conducted. 

Our trip to Rovaniemi was by night train...that's where we met Santa Claus.

This is the first leg of the trip...we had to drop off our car so it would also be on the train with  us....

Christmas tree in the train station.

Everyone packed and ready to go...


Inside the train...this is our hall.
Grandpa took the top bunk.
A miniature bathroom...

Push a button and look again...A shower!

Our neighbors...

Everyone is headed to the zone conference by train...Two of the north zone marvelous missionaries!
She liked it too...

 I liked the train ride...quiet and too!

When we arrived in Rovaniemi, Santa Claus town, it was snowing, of course!

Picking up the car...

A happy bunch...ready to serve!

The Rovaniemi Ward meets in a rented building and the missionaries apartment is attached.  We served our buffet dinner on the ping pong table and took all the classroom tables into the chapel for the seating for all.  I think we take our big chapels for granted.  We are blessed!

Here are some additional photos we took when we visited Santa Claus village.

 Real reindeer...I think he thinks he's hiding.

This was the only connection to the Savior in the whole village tucked inside this fur teepee.
There are no nativities on display anywhere, not even in Helsinki. 

We went to downtown Rovaniemi where they had a Christmas  Fair set up on their plaza.

Reindeeer Sheds for sale!

There were several ice sculptures in the making...

Our next trip was to Tampere.  From Helsinki it was a two hour trip by car. A beautiful city with an amazingly beautiful chapel! There is a story to be told about their beautiful chapel...a link for you.
                                                               Out of the Ashes a New Chapel Arises

Final Conference on the 23rd was in Helsinki at the Marjoniemi Chapel.

Christmas Eve we had a wonderful evening at the apartment of another senior couple serving in Helsinki in the Center for Young Adults here.  The pork roast and salmon were cooked to perfection.  We played a fun game about Christmas and it was a great way to be together trying not to miss our families to much and anticipating Christmas day Skype to our children and grandchildren.

They served warm Klogi which is a combination
of berrie juices, like we would drink warm cider.

We had a full apartment on Christmas Day after church.  We served spaghetti, salad and garlic bread! Ha...we were hammed out from the three zone conferences.  No one seemed to mind...we had four young people from Tanzania and one from China.  Four new converts and one to be baptized the following weekend.  They sang Tanzanian Christian Christmas songs for us.  We watched the new Bible videos found at Bible Videos which brought such a beautiful spirit to our gathering.

A lovely couple from our ward who attended
the baptism.  He is Swedish, learning Finnish
and English.  She is Finnish, learning Swedish and
English.  This is truly an international country!

These are our new friends from Tanzania who came to dinner Christmas day and then the following Saturday, this young women above was baptized.  Her husband, his brother (who does rap music in videos in Tanzania), and two other convert friends were all there to witness the baptism.  Her brother-in-law who is a recent convert, said the closing prayer in Tanzanian...amazing and very powerful.
It was a good day!  One more joined the army of the Lord.

These are beautiful flowers we bought for Christmas!

A late Christmas gift we received was learning that our youngest daughter was to have another child!  For us this will be grand-baby number twenty!  She is due in July...oh, that will be hard for us not to be there then.  We will  be so very grateful for the technology we enjoy in our world today!

A fun thing that we were able to do was go to the Fazer Chocolate Factory with our Helsinki District.  It was so fun!  We had a lovely guide who taught us all about the history and how the products were made.  We did not know that our favorite bread here in Finland was made by Fazer.  Never noticed!

All the countries Fazer products are shipped to.

 To begin our tour we had a movie presentation telling the history of the Fazer Chocolate Factory.

Our favorite Finnish bread is manufactured at Fazer.

Takes thousands of gallons of milk to make their "milk" chocolate...

Our favorites...they do great dark chocolate!

We sampled so many chocolates Grandma got sick...Awk!

Just kidding...

Big copper pots they used to make
their candies in.

A beautiful mural depicting the gathering of the cacao beans.

We took a Saturday trip to Suomenlinna...not for a tour this time, but took a few photos anyway.

Christmas lights in every window where the King resides when he is in Helsinki.

Notice the fence around the famous church...they made good use of the canons.

Our Finnish sister lives here...used to house the elite soldiers and their families.

This was on display in a small is made of straw.

Time to board the ferry back to Helsinki!  Can you see the moon in the photo below?
We were leaving the island about 3:00pm and it was beginning to get dark already.

We went to do a bit of service for our Finnish sister who works in our office with us.  She moved into a new apartment on the island and the movers just brought things in and just put them wherever.  That was six months ago and she hasn't been able to rearrange it.  So we went and had a fun filled day of rearranging! That same weekend on Sunday we again went to the home of our friends from the Haaga Ward  (who stayed in our Kanab home)  for a great dinner...they are such caring and wonderful friends.   

We now have snow in, now we don't...yes, we have we don't!  That's how it has been.  We get a good snowstorm and it is here for a day or so, then the temperatures rise and we have rain, melting all the snow.  Our temperatures have fluctuated between 15 degrees below celsius to several degrees above zero.  Unusual weather, we are told, for Helsinki...

Here are few photos of the "Cinderella Windows" in downtown Helsinki...our favorite!

We have some events coming up that we are looking forward to.  A Seniors Conference is in the works for all the seniors serving here in the mission...six couples and two senior sisters.  It is going to be another spiritual feast, we are sure!

We are going to go to see the "Together Forever" horse show.  Please follow the link to check it out.  It is with amazing horses...guess who spearheaded that venture?  Also, we are going to attend a hockey game with the sisters and our friends. These diversions are really appreciated...we are still waiting with anticipation to learn if and when the office may move to new space.  Say a prayer, will you?

Love you all so much!  Here's another link that our son-in-law sent us that we thought was exemplifies how it is in the office on some days...thankfully only a few.  Ormie

I asked Grandpa what his scripture was that he was working on memorizing and he said...Daaaa?  I can't remember....(Grandpa needs more fish oil!)

That's your crazy Grandpa! Isn't he the best?!

All kidding aside, he is working on a beautiful scripture...he calls it his birthday scripture.  It is found in Moroni 7 (Grandpa's birthday is on the 7th of June) and it is verse 48 (Grandpa was born in 1948).
That will help him remember...

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart,
that ye may be filled with this love,
which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ;
that ye may become the sons of God;
that when he shall appear we shall be like him, 
for we shall see him as he is; 
that we may have this hope; 
that we may be purified even as he is pure.  Amen."
Moroni 7:48

Until next time...

No comments: