July 5, 2021




Emmalee Larson

Tender Mercies I didn’t see coming

So... Im leaving Vaasa.
Im really sad about it.
I have so many amazing friends here who have been like family to me and I really thought that me and sister Valcarce would stay together for another transfer, but nope. Im leaving and its been a week of goodbyes and vbook entries. We had church and I got to see a ton of members and give hugs which was a big shock to me because Finns are not very touchy people. I have loved loved loved my time here in Vaasa and will be visiting in the future for sure!!! Its crazy when you leave a mission area and the members tell you, sorry we never had you over for dinner because of COVID but we will for sure be having a big feast in heaven together. It makes me so sad that I may never see some of these people again, but I know that God aligned our lives when it was most important.

As for my next area.... I will be leaving tomorrow to HÄMEENLINNA!!! Not going to lie I was scared at first. A new area with a sister who has been serving there for 2 months but I'm technically her trainer for 3 more weeks. We will have to figure out the language together, but my speaking has seriously improved and my understanding. I have been able to communicate with little english the past few weeks and it has been really cool to see the members recognizing my improvement. I have loved getting to experience what its like to truly connect with someone in their native language and it has been really amazing to experience that with the people who knew me from the very start of my mission here.

On the 4th of July, my companions and I had been planning a big celebration because we love America haha and it was made complete when I got to call home and watch the Heber fireworks with my family. The timing worked out perfectly and my companions joined and all was right in the world. Then to make the day even better, I got to talk to my grandparents in finnish and I understood nearly everything they said. They guessed where they thought I would be serving next and after guessing all the big cities, my grandpa guessed Hämeenlinna. I said yes and you could instantly feel the miracle that was just about to happen. I'm tearing up writing this haha. My mummo explained to me that she does not have a special connection with Hämeenlinna but my grandpa served there for 11 months. As he told me about it, he teared up and so did I. The spirit confirmed to me in that moment that I am going exactly where I need to go. My grandpa loves to tell me stories especially about his mission and he reminded me of the time he was an extra in the movie Dr. Zhivago and also when he knocked a whole neighborhood and no one was interested so they decided to pray at every door and try again. They ended up teaching 38 people and needed another set of elders to help with the work. I knew these stories but I hadnt heard of Hämeenlinna till I got to my mission. I had no clue this was the place that my grandpa loves so much. I am beyond excited to experience his old stomping grounds.

We had another amazing moment this week. Our friend who wanted to be baptized asap had not responded to us in a while. We assumed the baptism wasnt going to happen. Then on pday she messaged sister larson and they set up enough meetings for her to learn everything she needed before Saturday. We taught her as often as we could and on Saturday she was baptized. She posted on her facebook that her new life had just begun. We were able to go shopping with her the night before the baptism for a new dress and she was so excited. The timing worked out perfectly. We found out that she has so leave Vaasa on Sunday and that was why she hadnt been responding. She told us, Satan can take my house, but he cant take my faith. She was the first person I had the opportunity to teach in Finnish on my mission other than members and it was such an amazing experience watching her be baptized. Our bishop wanted one of the elders to confirm her, so I dropped the bomb on them last minute and it ended up being a really spiritual experience for me. The elder who offered to confirm her also has finnish ancestry and we have been able to talk about our families alot as we have been in a district together for 4 months. He is also from Arizona and we've gotten to know each other really well. It was very cool for me to listen to him confirm her in finnish and then give her her first priesthood blessing. His words were so perfect and I couldnt help but open my eyes at one point and watch the three priesthood holders standing around her. There was power in the room and I could feel it. Our friend has a wild 4 year old boy who is the cutest thing and it was really amazing to notice him sitting silently during the blessing. I will never forget everything that went into that moment. I am so grateful for the priesthood. I am grateful that I was able to be a witness at our friends baptism alongside another elder who is a really good friend of mine. Life is so good and God is so aware of us.

I have seen so many miracles this week. So many random connections that couldnt be possible without someone greater than me pushing them together. So many perfectly timed experiences. God is aware. He is so aware of each and every one of us. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be doing His work alongside Him here in Finland. Live is good

I love you and God loves you so much more!!

Sis Keeks

Disc golf
The District in Seinäjoki
The baptism
Had to get a picture in front of the Swedish and Finnish signs in Vaasa


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