FINLAND WAS SO AMAZING! It was SOOO nice to have time with some of my good friends in Moscow and Finland. We were able to spend an entire day in the temple, and then we had fun finding things to do in Helsinki. We visited “the church of the rock”– a famous piece of architecture in Helsinki– which was very impressive. I loved it. Then we went walking around trying to find something else in Helsinki that is open past 6 on a saturday night (everything closes super early on the weekends). We wandered accidently into a Chinese New Year’s celebration, which was pretty cool, and then we went ice skating for the rest of the night.
While we didn’t have the most eventful or lengthy trip, I was able to simply talk to people that I have grown close to over the mission and discuss problems on eachothers minds about missionary work, life, the Russian language, etc.
I feel refreshed and excited– it’s such a blessing to have this time to step back and look at what you’ve done and see how you can do better.
Also an elder from Moscow came to see us in the airport– Elder Anderson– and he called up all the other elders who I knew from the MTC (who were at a zone conference) and we were all able to talk with them for a few minutes, which was really cool (Elder Hansen, Mecham, and Larsen).
I also snagged a couple bags of corn tortillas from helsinki, mom, so I’m planning on cooking some of those enchilladas soon 🙂
And now things are finally normal (for the most part) and my companion and I can get down to work without any crazy travel things getting in the way. My companion is a great guy and we’re getting along quite well. He’s really cool and easy to live with. He’s especially great at putting himself on the line. Even though he’s still pretty new at the Russian language, if I tell him to talk about something in a lesson, he talks about it. He’s a great help for keeping lessons on track and he has great determination for doing the Lord’s work.
Today I read a great article from the Jan Liahona by Elder Holland about our future. It’s amazing how many members here in Russia let some small thing take them away from the church here. It feels like listening to a broken record when someone explains to you how they were offended by someone else and therefore, they don’t plan to come back to church ever again. Elder Holland said that our past is important, but only for certain reasons. We need to look back on our past to learn for the future, and the Lord blesses us with special memories– but they are only meant to aim us towards the future. We should not live in the yesterdays. Faith is something that always points towards the future. And further, if we dwell on the past enough to persuade ourselves to think that we can never change (a habbit or mindset, or lifestyle), or if we constantly bring up others’ past mistakes and decisions, we are in effect, denying the Atonement. Christ died for us so that we can move on and have a better future– so that we can change and so that others can change.
Thanks to all of you I’ve been blessed with some amazing past experiences, so sometimes for me it’s difficult to focus enough attention on the present and future. But I know that as we all try to focus on the present and the future with faith in Christ, we will only be further blessed with happiness. God sent us to this Earth, so if there’s anyone who is interested in us being happy it is Him– a great person to have on our side as far as power and ability to make us happy goes.
Well, thank you again for the emails! I’ve been having problems with memory cards and these computers at this net cafe, so it’ll probably still be a few weeks until I figure out how to send pictures 😦 But I’ll get some sent as soon as I can. Thanks for the pictures that were sent to me this week. And I think that’s about all i’ve got!
Happy Birthday, Grandma Harlan!
Andrew– that story was excellent! I love it! Wow, way to go! 🙂