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

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Here we are in Rovaniemi Finland!

First official blog to all our family and friends and as a record for ourselves.
Tervetuolua means greetings
Where do we start!!  Staying with friends and meeting and making friends old and new while in Utah and in the MTC has been a reminder that we lived with each other before we came to earth and knew and loved one another even then, otherwise how do you explain the love that can be felt for people that you have only just met. We loved staying with the Ottersons in Farmington and getting reacquainted with their lovely family - we will always be family although not by blood.
While there we visited Pres Hess who sends his love.
An extra special event was to meet with Elder Arnold Dance who baptised my parents in Belfast in 1952 and also Alfie Nickels and his sister Maggie Arrington whose parents joined the church at the same time and were our neighbours. Again the joy we all felt at this reunion.
As you can see this is my first time at placing photos and I am nervous and confused but as Matt says make mistakes and you'll learn - just do!!
MTC -what can we say - energizing, exhausting, out of your comfort zone but for good reasons,spiritually revitalizing, made friends galore going to Nauvoo, Palmyra, Hawaii, Fiji, Russia and more and presented the first 2 discussions as a companionship to real people. Firesides devotionals and choirs as well as classes, food, language training and more food.Young missionaries everywhere speaking in different languages and reading scriptures and PMG,s and exercising and laughter.
After 7 days we arrived in Finland where it was COLD with snow everywhere .Stayed in Helsinki and were orientated to our assignment as missionaries in Finland.Visited the Helsinki temple and got to it by bus and train Pres and Sis Brown are great people and have worked wonders with the 60 missionaries that they have. They are sending us north into Kemi as new missionaries but until we get our apartment set up (have just found one but no furniture) we are staying in Rovaniemi 100kms away and have been involved with the 7 YSAs here and the 2 young missionaries as well as attending Zone conf, general conf and a Finnish wedding celebration that went ahead as an engagement party instead because the young mans papers had got lost in transit as he is from Iraq and she is a Finn :)
Our life is full and we are learning to live by the spirit and be directed by it
If anyone is passing this way drop in and stay as we have a spare bedroom and are allowed to have visitors
We walked  for 35mins at 0630 to the train station to catch a train to Kemi to pick up our car and it was-15 so you can see why we need hats gloves and I hope you like my great new coat!
Visited Santas village near here:)
I bore my testimony in Finnish last Sunday as I was invited by the Branch president and although nerve wracking it was a milestone.
Vanhin Soininens Finnish is great and improving every day.
We will write weekly or more frequently if possible