Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Kaunis Kerava (beautiful Kerava)

I'm officially here...in 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

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