Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Onnellista Uutta Vuotta!! (Happy New Year!)

Hey Fam! I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas gift; seeing you and hearing your voices was so fun! I hope the rest of your Christmas went well and I hope you enjoyed the snow for me. Sisar Hales and I are laughing a little because right after we got done telling our families all about how it has been so warm etc. and how ridiciulous it is, it finally started to cool down a little more. Still no snow, but atleast we are getting the cold.
So a little info on Finnish Christmas. Joulupukki (Santa Claus....or direct translation Christmas goat) comes to the door on Christmas Eve. (He lives in Finland btw...not the north pole). Christmas is a three day event: Christmas Eve, Christmas day, and Boxing day. All three days are practically like Thanksgiving in America. You eat, sleep, and then eat some more. It was wonderful to experience a little piece of Finnish Christmas :) 
This week we shared Helaman 14:2-5 with a lot of people, discussing how Christ physically and spiritually brings light into the world. I love also how in verse five we read about the star that they had never before seen. I know there have been many times in my life, especially on my mission, were I am able to see a "new star" that I hadn't seen before as I study the scriptures and pray. That has helped me find understanding and peace when I feel anxious, worried, and burdened. I love that Christ's light is continually shining; we can always find more light. I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ.
I hope you all have an exciting new year :) I love you! Thank you for your examples in my life!
-Sisar Clark 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hyvää Joulua ja Ihme Bussissa (Merry Christmas and Miracle on the Bus!!)

Merry Christmas everyone!! :) I have received a few Christmas letters from people (thank you...so fun to see everything!!) and Sisar Hales and I have thoroughly enjoyed our Holiday time in Lappeenranta sharing about Jesus Christ. (Sisar Hales is such an awesome comp!) The ward here has been incredible and we have so many dinner appointments this Christmas. We are looking forward to seeing more and more of the Finnish Christmas traditions.
This week my ponderizing scripture is D&C 43:15-16 and I love how at the end it reminds us that all the power that is promised and the things taught from on high are all so that we can GIVE. We are here to give and serve.
This week we had a miracle on a bus that I will always remember and be so grateful for. We started talking to the man next to us with just our normal approach of wanting to share the Christmas video with him etc. and it continued till we realized he had a ton of connections to Carson City, NV (where my comp Sisar Hales is from!! What?!). The more we talked the more I felt like I knew this man. I later realized he was a man I met in Kerava. When I met him there he told us of how he had just returned from fighting in Iraq and he seemed to be having some very heavy post traumatic depression effects (obviously hadn't slept in days, blood-shot eyes, shaking, unable to make decisions). He approached us recognizing that we were church representatives and gave us his number, basically pleading for help and then walked away. We tried to give him a Book of Mormon and any help we could offer, but he wouldn't take it. We tried to call throughout the following week, but we were never able to get a hold of him and eventually had to move on. But now here he was right in front of us on the bus in Lappeenranta! He was in a much better mental state and also recognized the connection when I pointed it out. He went quiet and took the Book of Mormon with tears running down his cheeks. The spirit was so strong, and I am so grateful for this special tender moment when I could see so clearly the Lord's hand. This was a memorable reminder to me of how we are just tools in his hands. He couldn't meet because he was returning to Iraq before Christmas, but was so grateful for the Book of Mormon and talked of what a miracles this was.
I hope to remember the joy and peace it brought this man to just receive the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ! I hope especially this week we can all ponder what the Book of Mormon means to us and our understanding of our Savior. I hope the peace of Christ's birth fills your homes this week as well. I love you and am looking forward to skyping with you! :)
Merry Christmas!
-Sisar Clark

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Vanhin Dyches kävi Oulussa (Elder Dyches visited Oulu)

Hi everyone I hope all is going well this week! All your beautiful, beautiful snow is making me so jealous!! We enjoyed some snow in Oulu, but are feeling quite left out here without some good snow....but at least it is getting a little colder. I am looking forward to talking to you on Christmas and I hope you are all safe and doing well. This week was exciting for many reasons. We enjoyed greatly the spirit and instruction from the meeting with Elder Dyches of the Seventy in Oulu. I learned a lot about how to be a master teacher and help our investigators understand clearly. I have a lot to apply, but I am grateful for the opportunity to practice and improve in teaching daily. We also are very excited about our "golden" investigator from last week (young man met street contacting) working towards a baptismal date in January! He came to church (wearing a white shirt, suit, and tie might I add) and is sincerely praying and reading! It has been a complete joy to teach him and hear about how he has found more "suunta" (direction) in his life By meeting with us, reading, praying, and coming to church.
Some fun ihan suomilainen (completely finnish) Christmas things: telling everyone "Hyvää Joulun Odutusta!!" (Good Christmas waiting! :)) and then these fun little things called pikku joulu. They are just little Christmas partys before Christmas that everyone has. Fun stuff....Hope all goes well with work, school, life etc and Hyvää Joulun odutusta teille!!
-Sisar Clark
ps no pics this week because random circumstances made it so we are emailing at the library and Ive heard that library Computers will wipe out your pics from your memory card ....so maybe next week 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Hyvää Itsenäisyyspäivää!! (Happy Independence Day!)

Hey everyone! You have all been so great at writing, so good that I haven't been able to keep up with responding! I appreciate your emails so much! Thank you! I'm working on responding faster :) I hope that you are all doing well at home. This week was a very exciting week with celebrating Itenäisyyspäivä (all Finns watch this presidential speech/party....most say they just watch it to see all the famous people's beautiful dresses etc. ha) (as missionaries we celebrated it by sharing the gospel! What better way to celebrate!) and today is the most beautiful blue sky day to celebrate John Sibeliuksen päivä (the composer of Be still my Soul). 
We found a new (one might say) "golden" investigator this week from street contacting. He is a young Finnish man studying right now and he seems to have just pure sincere desire to find truth. We are very excited about teaching him more and seeing his progress. The members here have been just stupendous: the Relief Society organized a calendar thing where every day of Dec. someone tries to do something thoughtful for us....we have just been blown away with how kind and loving they are. 
Sisar Hales and I are jumping out of our seats with excitement about a big mission conference with Elder Dyches visiting the mission. To attend this meeting, Sisar Hales and I are practically taking a tour of Finland (get a map and check this out haha): We take a train from Lappeenranta to Kouvola from Kouvola to Kuopio from Kuopio to Oulu (woo hoo visiting the most north Sisters can serve in Finland!), then to get home we take a train from Oulu to Seinäjoki from Seinäjoki to Jyväskylä from Jyväskylä to Tampere from Tampere to Tikkurilla then finally to Lappeenranta again. Wow crazy! We are pretty humbled that the church can make meetings like these possible. They help us feel the spirit and be excited to share the gospel again and again.
I love you all and am looking forward to skyping home soon! :)
-Sisar Clark
pics - an absolutely gorgeous day and view of the harbor (days like these are so sweet and rare :))
- and what is an itsenäisyyspäivää without a good flag picture :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Kaksikymmentäviisi Mormonin Kirjat!! (25 Book of Mormons)

Hey fam! This week was great! Missing you tons, but feeling so so blessed here in Lappeenranta. This week Sisar Hales and I were amazed to see so many fruits of our labors. We had an incredible week where so many street contacts wanted the Book of Mormon (we gave out 25! woo that feels good!...flooding Lappeenranta) and we found a lot of solid potential investigators with return appointments! We are feeling the spirit, happy, and ready to continue working hard (a great companion makes hard times so much brighter and better). Here are some things that have been big focuses in the mission (pretty much ever since I came in country....just haven't really told you much about it yet sorry ha):
- Tracting! and we have found so many successes from that. It just happens to be very successful in Finland.
- Church Videos! We have been doing a ton of our contacting with a focus on church videos such as "Because he lives" and the new christmas video "A Savior is Born". They have been really successful as well. One struggle is we have to ask if we can watch it on their phone or something (because we don't have Ipads) and it is very common for Finns to not bring their phones places etc. Nonetheless, we have really enjoyed working with these focuses
Also, this week Sisar Hales and I ended up teaching/finding a lot of Muslims. We have been asked many times "why do we need a Savior?" We have studied and pondered about this a lot recently and I have found a lot of insight, clarity, and comfort in what the Book of Mormon teaches in Alma 42:11-15; 23-25. Our Heavenly Father's plan is perfect and full of happiness because of Jesus Christ. I'm looking forward to this time of year where we can remember him even more.
A scripture that I pondered a lot this last week was D&C 88:67. It talks about having an eye single to the glory of God, and if we have that we will be filled with light and be blessed to comprehend all things. That is something I'm focusing on more as I teach and find; having the pure motive of serving our Heavenly Father.
I love you all! Have a good week :)
-Sisar Clark
-classic finland street (aka running out of pics to send home)
-enjoying lunch in the Mikkeli young womens room :)