Sunday, October 28, 2012

Time Flies...

It snowed here on Friday and it is one degree centigrade today.  The summer and fall have passed and we are into winter already.  The days here are shorter and the darkness is coming earlier every night.  Where has the time gone?  This is where we began our mission...I don't remember the fall as much as I remember the winter.

We were chatting and discussing our preparations to finish our mission just this past week.  We have been blessed to have a couple who will replace us in the Mission Office.  They are currently here serving a mission in the Helsinki Temple and were due to finish next May 2013.  They will take a change of assignment this December and an extension to complete another full mission in the mission office.  Valiant people!  We will have an opportunity to train them and that will be so essential to the smooth running of the office.  They have already come in to begin training.

We have had some wonderful experiences this past six weeks.  We had an inspiring Zone Conference with a visiting General Authority.  We traveled to Suomenlinna, Pietarsaari, and Larsmo. We had the special opportunity to speak at two new members baptism. Sister France spoke on baptism and Elder France spoke on the Holy Ghost.  It was a great honor for us!  We visited a local outdoor museum with much Finnish History to see and learn about. We had dinner with friends and said farewell to missionaries we loved.   We visited the home of the famous Finnish composer Sibelius.  Let me share a few photos from each of these experiences.

Preparing meals and providing sustenance for bodies in an important part of our mission.
For this meal we had a baked potato bar with all the fixin's.


The BEST APs ever!
Look at those smiles that can light up a room!  Great sisters!

No dishes for us to do this meal!  We had an energetic wonderful clean up crew while we were able to attend a special sisters meeting with the wife of our general authority and mission president.  It was a highlight for us!
You know how I love the flowers that are everywhere in the city!
Aren't they wonderful?
Vendors selling fresh fruit and vegetables
are on every plaza.
We're off for an excursion to the island of is a beautiful day and we are glad in it!
 Boat venders at the marina marketplace...

Marketplace food...yummmmmy!

THE KING at King's Gate!  Well, he's the king at our house...
 These alcoves were built for the laborers who were constructing the fortress.  They provided shelter for sleeping...They were damp and cold, but it was shelter.                                                            
These walls protected Finland from intruders, usually the Russians.

A long walk all around the top of the Island fortress.
Big cannons all along the way!
Some areas have deteriorated and are scheduled for renovation.
Hmmmm...where are we going?  This is a question we should ask ourselves regularly...

 This little pond had a tragic tale attached to it.  A young couple very much in love wanted to be married, but their parents would not consent.  So they went to this pond and jumped in with the intent to die together.  As the story is told, the young lady's dress was to full and she did not go under, nor did she die.  Her beau, however, did die and she lived with a broken heart for all the rest of her life.

Old horse stables....
Burial Memorial to the Commander who built the Suomenlinna fortress.

This is a big anchor for a BIG ship...Wow!

Grandma's favorite thing on the Island...
The Museum for Dolls!  Only photo I took before
I learned I wasn't to take photos...Fun place!

Dinner with a lovey Haaga ward member!
So kind, generous, and loving.  

Seurasaari in Helsinki was a popular hiking destination in the 1880s. The people came to the island by boat, hung up a hammock on trees, brewed coffee, cooked and ate snacks. Children played games and fed tame squirrels and ducks. Seurasaari bridge was built in 1882. With it began a new era on the island. The restaurant was built in the early 1900s, the island then became a museum. Tenant buildings from out in the Finlands country side were relocated Seurasaari in 1909 which marked the beginning of the entire outdoor museum. Artist Gallen-Kallela and architect Yrjö Blomstedt located many old buildings that were threatened to be destroyed and brought them to the museum to preserve Finland's history. Buildings continued to be rescued by Dr. Axel Olai Heikel, Ph.D., and thus he became the true founder of the open-air museum, and later became its first curator.

This is the bridge that takes us into Suerasaari.
LONNNGGG boats...
Ancient ways of doing things...this is water trough
that brought water to turn a wheel for grinding grain.

Don't you love clear directions?  That's one of the reasons I so love the clear.  

Another LONNNNNNG boat...
This is a beautiful old farmhouse preserved so amazingly!
Old church and churchyard....

Old tenant homes...this is where whole families lived when they were tenant farmers. 

The farmer lived in this building...

Swimmers on this sunny day...cooolllddd water!
Back in Helsinki,  we watched some military exercises in the plaza near our posti or post office box.
Missionaries made us sugar cookies!  Thoughtful and ooohhhh so good!

Another yummy Finnish dinner!  Amazing food and hospitality!

Said farewell to fellow senior missionaries that came 
just before us whom we had come to love and appreciate...

We took a weekend trip to Pietarsaari for a stake conference and a visit to the place where in 1946 President Ezra Taft Benson dedicated the land of Finland for preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ by 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

We rode on a train with compartments and sliding doors...
just like Harry Potter on the Hogwarts Express!
SNOOORREE!  Grandpa can sleep anywhere!

We ate Chinese...and stayed in a delightfully Finnish Inn.

Walking to the monument built to commemorate the dedication in Larsmo.

The angel man who helped us get to the monument...
and then told us the story of the rainy day and the umbrella he was
able to hold for President Benson.  A special treat for us to hear...

Chapel were we attended Stake Conference...

Beautiful matter where you go in the world, it is like coming home every Sunday!

The baptism we were able to participate in...

A lovely young member who often was our translator!

We were able to tour the home of Jean Sibelius which has been preserved by the historical society since his death.
All of the family furniture, dishes, paintings on the walls, piano, etc. are the same that were there when the composer lived there. Photos were not permitted inside...but it was so interesting...especially the kitchen with all its old artifacts and gadgets.
Okay!  This is complete for now...more to come.  Love to all! 

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