Date

April 23, 2024

Area

Espoo Finland

Companion

Vanhin Kai Rinne

Winter (part 3)

Hello.
I am quite upset with the weather right now. It keeps snowing. Someone was supposed to turn that off in March, but I think the switch got stuck so we have some maintenance guys on it right now. Hopefully they hurry because all of us in Finland are about to die from cold exposure.

If you have never lived in Finland for an extensive period of time, this is a little description. It is a northern country in Europe commonly referred to as belonging to the Nordic region. The native language is Finnish with a secondary language of Swedish commonly written on many signs and other markers around the country. The population is about 5.5 million and they are rated the happiest people in the world. Finland experiences all seven seasons of the year including Fall, Winter, Winter pt. 2, Winter pt. 3, False Spring, Actual Spring, and Summer. Because of the country's northern location, many often refer to the extremeness of climate and weather conditions. You can experience eternal sunlight in the summer with green dense forests surrounding thousands of beautiful lakes, and eternal darkness with cutting wind and icy landscapes in the winter.

And in my humble opinion, the winter may be a little too long haha
Sorry, I had to just describe accurately my thoughts when it snowed again this week for two days. Being from a literal desert where I don't even see snow most years has not helped my expectations for the weather at this time of year. But in all seriousness, I don't really mind. It's fun to complain haha, but I have loved getting to experience something so vastly different from where I've spent the majority of my life. Winter here is such a cool experience and one you don't really get in many other places. I love this country.

This week we got back into the swing of things with more splits and Mission Leadership Conference (MLC). The excitement and craziness of transfers has seemed to largely be wearing off now, and people are getting to work in their respective areas.

The MLC was a fun time this week. It's always good to see other missionaries, and recently the whole MLC has been getting younger and younger in comparison to my age in the mission, so it has been fun to see people that I have served around a majority of my mission and even some newer younger faces there. We talked about a lot of logistic stuff in the mission, supporting new leaders, and the upcoming Zone Conferences.

After MLC, we had splits with the Jyväskylä Zone Leaders. It was a good time. We did lots of street contacting and had some funny experiences knocking doors haha. And then the next day we had splits with the Vaasa elders down here in Espoo as well. The Elders in Vaasa are my trainer and a new trainee he's now currently training. So it brought a lot of flashbacks to be on splits with them. We also had a funny and disappointing hetki running to catch their train before they left. We went to the wrong track and as we got there, we saw the actual train pull up on the other track so we sprinted to the right one, made it with enough time and one of us stopped to take a picture of the group before they left. And as they snapped the picture the doors locked and the train pulled away. BIIIIIGGG sad. So they had to stay an extra night down south before heading up the next morning.

Sunday, we got a surprise Dinner Appointment from some members, had miniature splits with the Espoo 2 Elders, and had a nice chill evening. Overall, a pretty good sunday. And this next week we are going to be on the road to four different cities, so we will not see too many days in our area. It'll be an adventure!

Spiritual Thought:
One of our friends that we are teaching asked us a pretty deep question the other day about the gospel that I think he was trying to prove a point on. It didn't work, but it did cause me to think quite a bit about how I could answer this question better. He asked, if I am genuinely so happy already, why do I need God to feel happy? What does the gospel offer him that he needs if he is confident that he can overcome his own challenges and feel joy in his life?
First of all, I would like to preface my answer with the fact that everyone in their life will feel pain, heartache, guilt, shame, fear, anger, defeat, trial, and hardship. It doesn't matter who you are, or how good your life is, we just all have to experience hard. And I can boldly testify that with God in my life, I have noticed a difference in the ability and power I receive to overcome challenges, as I rely on God for strength. But that is not what I want to talk about today. Because our friend actually agreed that religion is helpful for those times of trial.
What about when life is good? Does the gospel provide you anything extra? I really liked Elder Uchtdorf's talk from conference about a higher joy. I think I also mentioned this last week but its a good talk so we're gonna use it again. He talks about how this world is full of things that bring people joy. But they are all diminished over time. This world produces things that live but also die. It cannot give us anything eternal. Similarly, the sources we claim to bring us Joy in this life are temporary. But God is eternal. He will not change, and the joy he gives us will stay forever.
Following God and using Christ's atonement gives us more perspective and peace that cannot be felt from other sources. It's hard to put into words, but I know it to be true because I've felt it in my own life. As a missionary it's hard not to be able to fully explain the feelings that come from the message we share and the joy that people can feel, but I guess that's the point. The people we teach just have to actually want it for themselves. We can't give it to them. They have to experience it through their own life. All we can do is invite. So I invite you all to ponder on the joy you've felt from the gospel, and share it with someone or online or whatever. Everyone needs to hear this message of joy!

Rakastan teitä kaikkia!
Vanhin Johnson

Kuvat:
Winter Pt.3
AP graffiti...it wasnt me i swear
Splits
Splits again




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Finland Helsinki Mission
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