Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Land of the Midnight Sun - Juhannus Celebrations

The evening of the 24 June is Juhannus and is the day where the sun never sets(although it lasts for a few weeks)
We have gotten used to this neverending sunlight and use blockout curtains to enable us to sleep at night but at first it amazed us at the intensity of the light at 2am in the morning or even 2230 as we were going to bed
We celebreted at Lahdenperas home with all of the branch and a few friendsat their summer home by the river

 This water is FREEZING!

I will just post a load of photos where we are playing volleyball eating Lohi salmon smoked in ftront of the open fire  and the fun the children were having. It was a lovely evening

Dads 65 Birthday

Monday, July 18, 2011

Visit to Helsinki Temple and Turku


Met with Kirsti and Heikki in Turku and renewed our friendship.
We spoke of the changing world and the disintegration of the family

Had a great opportunity to introduce them to our new Mission Pres and his wife The Rawlings who just happened to be in Turku that day and already he speaks fantastic Finnish.

Its great to be serving a mission!!

They are such a great family

We visited with Satu for about 2 hours but sh is not well  so we will keep in touch


We drove down to Helsinki to see our young man Tim Helske off on his mission to London and to attend the temple with him .Darla and Matti his parents were also there as were his aunt and uncle Anna Marie and Esa. Will post a better photo as ours didn't turn out too well

We did temple work each day  and loved the temple setting
We drove the 8 hour drive from Kemi with our little car and stayed at the Mission home for 3 nights

 Elder Helske is on the right and the other young man is going to London South but they are both going to the Manchester MTC for 3 weeks

Visited the Helsinki museum, Cathedral and waterfrontfor a few hours
It's a beautiful city and left Adelaide for dead.
The roads and freeways and buildings were magnificent
Ofcourse the tourist industry is big here

Have struggled uploading and downloading and have taken way too much time so will say love to you all and keep in touch

Thursday, June 16, 2011

KESA is Here - That Means SUMMER

Sorry to have taken so long to get another post away but we have been very busy and the computer upload for photos has taken forever so here goes.
We are happy and feel blessed to be here in Kemi amongst such wonderful people who exemplify service, and caring for their neighbour is just a natural part of their makeup.They involve us in their lives and we are feeling very comfortable getting around now as we explore all the streets and roads on our morning or evening walk and as we drive.
I am able to walk in 5 minutes to and from church which is great and we are about 10 min from the shopping centre in town.
WeWe have had a heat wave of 4 days recently with heat of 33 degrees and no aircon so nights have been hot but it has felt like home. Everything is green and flowers are being planted and blossoming everywhere. Daylight is on most of the time and on 24 June, Juhannus day, the sun will not set so we are having a branch party at the Ladenperas mokki (holiday house by the lake or sea).Fortunately I have put up blockout curtains in our bedroom so we get some sleep.

We have been involved with the members in a special fast Sunday first Sunday in June requested by our European Area Presidency to fast and invite friends to Sacrament.
We visited all of our families and reviewed with them the principles of fasting. It was a good experience and we got to be involved with the children more.
We are teaching temple prep class to Tim Helske who leaves on his mission mid July for London .
We have been involved in painting an apartment, helping pack up a house, clean a yard, and so the list goes but we are not on our own and are enjoying serving.
We were invited to a small funeral and Jouni was a pall bearer.
5 of our youth went to EFY in Tampere and loved it and next week 7 of them and 3 leaders are off to the temple for 5 days. We are planning a Branch temple trip to Helsinki in October

Our missionary group visited with Santa for a photo after last district conference.They're great missionaries!!

Its summer holidays here and people everywhere are going on holidays to make the most of the Kesa (summer) before the snow comes.
We spotted 4 deers eating close to the edge of the road while driving to Rovaniemi last week. They are beautiful and came up onto the road and ran in front of us for quite a distance.
Ellen sent me a beautiful silver necklace with the word Siunaus imprinted onto it meaning "blessed " in Finnish - it was a special surprise.It has an amethyst chrystal and a pearl.
We love you all and you are ever in our thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Missionary Work Brought Jouni Back To His Roots"

"Missionary Work Brought Jouni Back to his Roots"
Thats the heading in the Kemi Pohjolan Sanomat. The newspaper article went into the Kemi daily newspaper last Wednesday and was almost a full page. The reporter and photographer spent 11/2 hours interviewing Jouni on the previous Friday. We were extremely happy with it as it was a very balanced article reflecting very positively on the family and church while telling the story of our return to Finland after Jouni being away for 52 years. The photo was taken inside the chapel of our Kemi church which is beautiful  - it is only 7 years old.
Winter has gone and the buds are on the trees but the grass is still patchy and it turned cold today after rain yesterday so we got the gloves and scarves out again - they are never far away!:)
"Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints"
Try saying it in Finnish
I conducted my first relief society meeting in Finnish last Sunday with English written on one line and  Finnish on the line below in my notebook and it worked well.
Try saying Relief Society -Apuyhdistys !!!

We have visited all of the branch members, some who live out in the countryside allowing us to see the beautiful Finnish countryside.

We travelled to a District meeting to Kajaani about 3 hours drive away 2 weeks ago and last week we met with Pres and Sis Brown in Oulu with about 26 other missionaries and they are the best young men and women (we have 2 Sisters and 2 Couples as well).One of their presentations was on Becoming - that is what we are all doing. It is in doing and being that we become who we are.(I will choose something that I want to Be and then I will Do things in my life to bring that about) They also talked about becoming clean using a clean and a dirty cup in the analogy.Their questions and insights were amazing for young men of that age
Pres Brown taught the Plan of Salvation with power and many quotes and insights and Sis Brown taught from the scriptures on how to have peace in your life as a missionary -- very uplifting

We are working with Branch members and are in the process of having them set goals for the year at branch council meeting and planning all of the activities that will take place to make them happen.
Will keep you posted..We are going to help a sister who has been very ill clean up their strawberry patch ready for the summer on Friday. Dad has been playing a little soccer with the boys here(that means men as well - they're all mad on it here)
The young woman that we were teaching has decided tonight that she won't be baptised and although we feel sad for her it is her choice and we respect it. You have got to have the desire to change your life and for some it is too hard or thy don't see the importance of it and the eternal consequences.

This old Finnish church was built in 1540 and they still use it in summer.
Aren't the colour of the wooden buildings beautiful?     

Here is the Moomins book Rebecca sent  to me for Mothers Day. They are Finnish storybook characters and are on mugs, aprons, everything! The book is in English so it will be well used
So good to see all my family on skype on Mothers Day - spent it very quietly -very different!!

Finland beat Sweden in the  WORLD ICE HOCKEY FINALS  on Sunday night (we didn't see it!) and that has been very very sweet for them .
Any win over Sweden in anything is enjoyed by the Finns and they got the last 5 goals in the last session of the game. 6-1!!!!!

Beautiful old stone castle that Jouni couldn't resist

The rivers are flowing again and the ice has melted

Our love to you all in Australia especially our family and to our friends throughout the world.
The Gospel is true and it has been restored to the earth. We are so grateful for the knowledge that we have a Saviour Jesus Christ who gave his life for us each individually so that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father who loves each and everyone of his children. That is our message to the world.  XOXO

Monday, May 2, 2011

Meet Our New Kemi Branch President

Two Sundays ago at a special meeting called for the District, we all travelled to Oulu and there there was a new District Pres called and 3 new Branch Pres sustained.
Vanhin Soininen was called to Kemi and so it has been a busy time for us visiting all of the families at their homes to get to know them and them us. On Sunday all of the auxillaries were rearranged and I have been called as a counselor in Relief Society. A number of the members speak English or understand it but a lot of translating goes on too. I am becoming more familiar with the Finnish language and am picking out more words that I understand as I listen to people. Even the children help - anka is duck! I read out loud to whoever will listen from the Book of Mormon or childrens books just to get my tongue used to saying the long and torturous words.
We are now settled in Kemi for the rest of our mission and it is only a small branch with about 40 members attending at most Sacrament meetings but we have a lot of young men and children. They are warm and friendly people and have made us feel very welcome
We have found the perfect little apartment just 5 minutes walk from the chapel and have settled in with most of our furniture being donated by our members. It is only one bedroom but it has a sauna !
We did buy a new bed and washing machine and we found our lights at Ikea which is about 20 minutes north of Kemi in Sweden. Yes we have Ikea and it is much cheaper than at home!

Jouni trying out our new bed.


This is our carport and the car which we are driving at the moment was lent to us by a generous Kemi family. Don't know how we would have managed without it. We are the red one at the end

Our loungeroom looking out to the balcony through the door on the right.

We are looking forward to the summer and using the glass enclosed balcony with windows that can be opened wide. We have a beautiful kitchen with a dish washer which we haven,t used yet but I have made pulla and baked many other dishes already as we have had people over to eat and I have taken goodies as we have visited

We are finding our feet and handing out passalong cards as we go . Jouni has been to see the local press and is hopeful of them doing a profile on him as "Finn returns after 52 yeaes in Australia" but we will see.
Love you all and pray for you daily

Last Days in Rovaniemi With YSA and Zone Conference

Went with the YSA,s and a young man from Hungary in red out icefishing. The sun was shining and there were quite a few locals out on the ice. I think they take every opportunity to get a bit of sunshine. We all drilled holes through the half metre thick ice and dropped in our lines with a live maggot attached. Then we waited and waited and waited!
 Needless to say we didn't catch anything but had fun anyway .
Gave up and lit a fire and roasted makkara for lunch


President and Sis Brown are the best Mission Pres -very charismatic, loving, extremely complimentary and exemplary in all things. We love them.
Zone Conference was in Rovaniemi and so 14 of us attended. We picked the Browns up from the airport and the missionaries from Kaajani from the train station and we had a great training day together

This wonderful couple have been our greatest support since arriving in the north. Elder and Sister Call have run the YSA program from scratch and are leaving to go home end of this month. They are CES missionaries. we get their car when they go.

The Force!!
How can you not love them. They are such a force for good . Fun loving but driven and determined to teach the Gospel. These are the missionaries in our Zone and come from Kemi, Oulu, Kaajani and Rovaniemi

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Still in Rovaniemi

We have found a small 2 bedroom unit, colour yellow in Keminmaa just a few kms outside of Kemi at Jokisuu but are waiting for actual confirmation that it is ours so patience is a virtue (one which I lack but am learning).The saints are wonderful and welcoming and we have visited with them in their homes and at meals and Vanhin Soininen served a RS dinner to all of us sisters with the other men of the Branch. We had Lohi (salmon) with pineapple and potatoes and/or curried chicken salad and caramel and banana pie with a heavy 700 year old rye bread recipe - delicious! We have cooked tacos for our YSA group, 7 in total here after institute last week and kebabs tonight. I will cook Lasagne and salad for our district Conference on Friday for14 people and Sis Call the other Missionary couple in our district will do dessert and bread rolls.We picked up a young Hungarian student who is interested in the Gospel and took him to our FHE where Elmo taught about agency and we were able to teach him about the preexistence and the body and spirit using a glove-went down well . He is joining with us on Saturday to go ice fishing where we will each cut a hole  into the ice and try to lure a fish. Makkara (sausages ) incase we dont catch enough for lunch :)  Jouni is teaching the Missionary prep class Thursday evening on the prophets and apostasy and we have learned what an amazing man William Tyndall was - one of the reformers.
Some of the girls here are great cooks as you can see by the photo which I cant show until I get their permission as there are very strict privacy laws here in Finland
Visited this old Finnish Lutheran church with an amazing fresco of Christs 2nd coming at the alter

This one of the members homes typically Finnish and Vanhin Soininen showing off as usual shovelling snow which is fast disappearing. We are driving 3 hours on Sunday to Oulu for a special conference so life is full .
Our little Grace has arrived safely and we have enjoyed her on Skype - one of the perks of being an old couple:)!More news to come Love to you all