Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Sisar Herrmann, katso!!" (Sister Herrmann, look!)

I'm so jealous of how much fun you are all going to have this week with everyone at home together!! You have to send me pictures!! I love picturing the funny jokes and crazy stories being told around the dinner table ha. So tell a good one for me :) and then email it to me too ha. 

This week's exciting spotting was seeing a boy about ten or eleven wearing a BYU hat! Mitä!?! ha we were riding out bikes through Korso and I suddenly just call out "Sisar Herrmann, Katso!!" ha. We had a good time trying to figure that one out. Sadly we didn't have time to stop and ask, but BYU has a fan all the way out here in Finland! One funny thing that continues to happen is people asking if Sisar Herrmann and I are twins or sisters (even before they see the Sisar on our nametag). We both laugh and then hop on the beautiful opportunity to explain who we are and about this true church!

This week was great. We really felt the Holy Ghost guiding us and met wonderful potential investigators. One elderly man was found while tracting, we talked on his front porch for about twenty minutes, he cried and shared the challenges he has had in his life, and we gave him a Book of Mormon and testified of how it truly blesses lives and brings happiness. We are going to go back with a member soon and I look forward to meeting with him more. The spirit was really strong while we promised him that Heavenly Father knows him and cares for him. It was a big blessing in my week. We also almost passed a man that just almost seemed to stand out like we needed to talk to him before I said "Mitä kuuluu?" over my shoulder and he cheerfully turned around and answered. He didn't have time to talk right then, but he gave us his address and told us what time we can come back. He was very kind and seemed excited to hear about this message. I know these don't sound like anything specially, they were huge blessings in our week along with a few others. It is very humbling to see the Lord's hand in this work. We are meeting with an investigator tonight and we are hoping to set a baptismal date with her. She has been investigating for a long time, and has a testimony of the Book of Mormon. We are praying that she will desire to follow Jesus Christ's example. Great blessings and tender mercies were scattered all throughout this week. We miraculously found a less active part member family at home this week, when our main plans fell through and they now want to have family home evening and we asked them to have family prayer. That was a huge blessing! oh and one more funny story. One night while walking home, Sisar Herrmann recieved a beautiful handful and wild flowers from a drunk man. ha Friday and Saturday nights are always full of fun adventures.

The language was a little more of a struggle for me this week. I feel like I have been here long enough to understand more than I do, but I know it just takes time. I'm happy for the many things I've learned and am still learning from these struggles. In my personal studies this week I was reading in Mosiah 18:30 where it talks about the place of Mormon and waters of Mormon. It was such a beautiful place to Alma and his people because that is where they came to know their Redeemer. It made me think back on all the places where I have come closer to my Savior and what speciall places those are. It was a really good reminder of how all the things we are experiencing help us learn and grow and become huge blessings in our lives.
I hope all is going well. I'm so grateful all your emails and if I don't respond right away, I'm sorry I only have so much time, but I'm working on it and hopefully will get all caught up next week. I love you and am praying for you. Have a great week!

- Sisar Clark

ps the random picture with the electric box....that is greg (we just named him)...his picture is all over kerava...we have no idea why....but there you go ha

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Taika Lähistö (the magic neighborhood)

Oh boy! I hope your weeks have been as exhilarating as mine have been. It sounds like Savy is going to be walking any day! How exciting! I love hearing about everyone and Katie!! CONGRATS!! You finished school!! WOO HOO go for a long awesome celebratory run for me! I love hearing about how every one is doing. Thanks for the updates :) Before I begin, just know that I have had some difficult times and everything isn't just a skip in the park. There were definitely some trying times this week, but there is so much good stuff to say that there is no reason to even talk about those things at all. Just know that I'm not trying to hide weaknesses or the difficultly of a mission. 

Now on to the wonderful blessings and miracles this week.  We somehow keep running into all of our former and current investigators everywhere. Trust me, Kerava is not too small for this to be just a coincidence. Heavenly Father has definitely led us into many people's path. Yesterday we went tracting in what Sisar Herrmann and I now call the taika lähistö (magic neighborhood). We prayed before for guidance and felt good about this area, so the next day we went. It had the biggest and nicest houses we have seen in Finland (I know its only my second week...but trust me they were huge ha), which is actually very intimidating and usually means a lot of people that don't have huge open hearts towards other ways of life, but we felt like we needed to continue anyways. We met a lady outside moving a big pile of rocks and asked if we could help. She didn't let us help (like all finnish people...they never accept help...just such sweet indepent people), but we asked if we could come and teach her family and she happily said yes! She gave us the day they would return from their vacation and gave us a big smile. Wow! So cool! That never happens! (I'll keep you updated on that). Then like four houses later we had a fifteen to twenty minute conversation about Jesus Christ with this woman whose husband is very against religion. She just sat there and talked to us, and cried at times; it seemed as though she hasn't had anybody to express her testimony, beliefs, and love with for a very long time. We gave her a book of mormon and invited her to read and pray about it and she seemed very excited....and needless to say we were very excited as well. (again...keep you updated on that). We continually see the truth of the statement that you never know who your next investigator will be unfold in front of our faces. Just so many miraculous contacts throughout the week. Even though all of our investigators canceled appointments and didn't respond to calls or texts this week, we were just in awe of all sincerely searching people we met. Also, our ward is incredible. I never dreamed of eating so much at members homes (and they have all been really great cooks double blessing!) One day it was raining like crazy! (random rain storms everywhere...never leaving without my umbrella ever again) We crossed paths with this lady with suitcases walked about a mile and a half from the bus stop to a big school where all these gymnasts are staying the night (ya kind of weird, but not enough time to explain more) so we walked with her and held our umbrella over her head and just let her talk and vent. She had a lot of really hard stuff going on in her life right now. But we ended up giving her a book of mormon and I just felt so grateful for the rain that day. I was grateful for the opportunity to truly help someone and feel Heavenly Father's love for her. 

I have felt to grateful for Heavenly Father's help in helping me feel much more comfortable with my surroundings, the language, and the people. Even though I don't understand everything, I'm slowly able to say more and more and go out of my comfort zone more and more. I studied a lot this week about charity and was very grateful for the insight I found. I read that charity is the bond of perfectness and peace. What a comfort this was to find. I am striving to have this true love expressed in a peaceful and happy way to these people. Even though I pretty awkward with everything still, I can see heavenly help with this. Also, I have definitely felt blessed when I just opened my mouth. I usually say something weird or wrong, but I feel and see growth each time. I see people understanding when I simply (very simply) testify and it is exhilarating.

Some funny quirks about Finland I noticed: American baseball teams are like a big thing over here. I'm pretty sure its just like a brand thing and they don't actually watch it, but hey it is really fun to see new york yankee hats everywhere ha. The clouds are gorgeous here. They move a lot faster and just seem so much closer to you. (more to come...sorry don't have tons of time)

One fun p-day adventure we had today was strawberry picking! It was a blast! Some wonderful members took us and we had such a joyful time. In Finland, you can go pick strawberries and eat as many as you want for free. So cool.

One funny language mess up this week was at a members home when they asked about my family. I was trying to say I am the youngest (olen nuorin) but I accidentally said I am the humblest (olen nöyrin) ....pronunciation is important...haha ya we got some laughs from that one.

Anyways, I'm very very happy and grateful. Thank you for your love and support. I pray for you all every night and am so grateful for your prayers. They do not go unanswered. Sorry don't have to much time to write everything, but know that I love you!

- Sisar Clark

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Kaunis Kerava (beautiful Kerava)

I'm officially Finland!! Mitä tämä on!? (What is this!?) I'm so excited to be here, a little overhwelmed, but just happy to finally be teaching really people. Finland is incredible. I feel right at home here and can all ready tell it is exactly where I'm supposed to be. So my first area is Kerava! It is about a 45 min train ride north east of Helsinki. My trainer is Sisar Herrmann, a soccer player from Idaho Falls and fellow pre-mission BYU attendi (?). She is awesome! She has only been in the field for four months so we are both learning a lot still, but I'm so grateful for her and can see the Lord blessing me so much through her. Also, she is a wonderful first companion because...she likes to run!! woo hoo! Running in Finland is magical! (taika) The first person that we contacted in Kerava actually turned out to be from Iraq, didn't speak Finnish and he said yes that he wanted to learn more! That was not what I was expecting my first conversation in Finland to be like, but hey! What a great way to start, right ha! The weather right now is literally perfect. It rains once in a while, and is cloudy enough that it doesn't get to hot, but warm enough that I don't need a jacket ever (like I said....literally perfect). The wild flowers are in bloom everywhere right now (Mom you would love it. It is like what we saw in Alaska, but even better). Also, there are trees everywhere, even in down town Helsinki. They are very respectful to the nature here and try to leave as much of it as they can.
Surprisingly, I have actually understand a lot more Finnish then I thought I would. There are definitely still times I have no idea what is going on, but I can follow most lessons and conversations and I was able to follow most everything during church meetings (a huge blessing from Heavenly Father). However, speaking is a little more of a struggle ha. I realized I was pronouncing so many things wrong in the MTC and I realized how important double letters in words actually make. Holy cow! I have so far to go still with the language ha, but that is ok :) Speaking of our church meeting and Sunday, the Kerava ward is full of people with powerful testimonies. I'm so grateful to be serving in this area. The bishop asked me to share my testimony during sacrament meeting like ten minutes before the meeting, and I know I said many things wrong, but I was grateful for the opportunity. It was a good experience and I'm always reminded or the strength Heavenly Father gives us when we go out of our comfort zone. We actually have a pretty good amount of investigators, but the struggle is that it is loma (summer break) right now in Finland and so many are on vacation and not easy to get a hold of. But it is also a good thing because many come back relaxed and more willing to listen (or feel like they have more time to listen or read the BOM etc.). I can tell you more specifics later, but that brings up another interesting thing about Finland. They have very strict privacy laws (like we have to get special permission to even start teaching records and show them exactly what we are writing down etc.) and this includes what we email home. So, for that sake, I'm going to not be very specific about our investigators etc. (I'll still tell you stories etc. but maybe just leave out names or identiying details). (Just so you don't think I'm really bad at making up investigators or something ha.)
One thing that I'm still getting used to and fully enjoy are the questioning looks the finnish people give you when you say hi walking past or on the train. He he it is really fun. But also it confuses me because I actually think they have a question sometimes...then I just feel awkward ha. (nothing new....still awkward...don't worry) So that is something I'm still working on. My least favorite thing is trying to ride bikes in a skirt. Oh my goodness, that is going to take some getting use to. (Callie, have any suggestions?) I haven't had any food that I didn't like so far. It has all been delicious (with a slice of rye bread to go along with it).
Anyways, I don't have tons of time, but I'm so grateful to actually be here and have real lessons. It is humbling to see people have such a strong desire to find the truth. I have a lot to improve on and learn, but I know that everything will work out and there is a reason I'm here. That is the only reason I am able to do this. It brings so much joy and peace :). Love you all and praying for you. Thank you for your emails and support. It means so much.
- Sisar Clark

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Onko tämä todellinen? (Is this real?)

This is nuts! I can't believe we are actually going to be leaving for Finland in like three and a half days! I'm so so so excited and like just a little scared dashed somewhere in there. We got our flight plans on Friday and we will be leaving SLC airport at 8:45 am on the 6th, arrive in Dallas/Fortworth airport at 12:28 pm, (I'll call during this layover and I already have a call card thank you for checking though) depart from dallas at 3:35 pm, arrive at London airport at 6:55 am on the 7th, depart from London at10:20 am and arrive in Finland at 3:15 pm! We are all pretty pumped. 

This week was just jam-packed full of excitement ha. First off, yes dad, the rumor is true. The week after they moved all the sister missionaries into the newly renovated residence, the friendly bat decided to move in bhaha. So yes every single one of the sisters moved back to the old residence in one night. Boy was that a fiasco. All the elders kept trying to be "gentlemanly and manly" and help us move our luggage and all the sisters were hating all the attention haha. Too much fun for one night I'd say. A ton of new missionaries came in these last two weeks that I know which was fun! Like Coby Ploeger and yes Vanhin Craft is one of the new fins! The new Finnish missionaries came in this week! 8 elders and 1 (awesome) sister! They are great! We normally wouldn't over lap with them, but there is a special meeting or something that required they come a week earlier so woo hoo here they are!  The Albanians in our district left this last week so now we only have Fins and Huns in our district so we have declared ourselves the FUNS! I think its a pretty great and accurate name for our district. We really do have a great time hanging out and making the most of this experience together. One cool scripture I found when studying this week was D&C 20:7 and how commandments can be inspiration. Its a short but powerful one I thought. Our skype lesson went awesome this week! We could understand her, she could understand us, and we could feel the spirit and everything! It was such a blessing Sisar Hayter and I needed that day. I'm so grateful for this experience and can't wait to be emailing you from Finland! Can you believe it? Well I love you and I am praying for you! Hope your weeks have been as great as mine!

- Sisar Clark