Date

March 2, 2022

Area

Tampere

Companion

Paige Huntsman

Sorry I’m late

So im sure you've heard about the chaos going on over here in eastern europe. We boarder Russia up here in Finland and we are doing good and we havent heard anything concerning. My friends serving in Ukraine were all sent home or to reassignment a while before the conflict happened. We heard news from missionaries in the surrounding countries that they have been moved away from the boarder of Ukraine. Our mission president told us something very interesting at zone conference. We all know his 2nd counselor but very few of us have ever met his 1st counselor. Turns out he is at the head of security in Finland and if anyone knows what is about to happen its him. He has been on the news this past week giving reports. God is aware of his missionaries. We are being taken care of.

I'll start with my sunday observations this week. I got to witness the cutest scene as I talked to our good friend. His wife came over to leave and he got her coat. He held it out to help her and instead of turning around she stuck both arms in and gave him a hug and we continued our conversation. I love love.
I got to have a long talk with my old lady friend in a wheelchair before church. Like always the Alzheimers was very much taking over her brain but also like always her angel spirit came out. I like to think that she is still there and every once in a while she is allowed by heaven to give us little bits of angel love. This week she looked me in the eyes and said, "You are good. I can just feel that you are so good." Then she'd go off on a tangent about wondering when everyone would show up or who that woman over there was but then she would be still again and clasp her hands and say, "I just love being in this room" She spoke to me in english this week. I love that woman with all my heart.
My good friend Vanhin Reijonen who was my district leader a few transfers back and is a finn here on reassignment finally got the green light to head to LA this week. (I promised him I'd bring him cookies when I got home) His grandma is in our ward and has been in Arizona visiting her grandkids since my first week in Tampere. Ive only met her once but when she walked into church this sunday with Vanhin Reijonen's sisters she walked right up to us 4 sisters and asked which one of you is Sisar Johnson? She came over to me a ball of smiles and said shes back and someone from Arizona told her to say hi to me (I couldnt catch who exactly because she was talking so fast out of excitement) We chatted like old friends and I asked her all about her trip. She is the funniest lady and it was the coolest experience to just talk with her and understand and love her. Being a seasoned missionary has two benefits, love comes easy no matter how many times you've met someone and the language does come more natural almost like second nature sometimes.
Speaking of this gosh darn beautifully difficult language... I had the lucky opportunity to translate twice this week. The first was for a younger missionary in zone conference. The second was in our ward. We had a member move from the Phillipines to Finland this last week and he doesnt speak the language. The other sisters also brought their friend from France to our meeting. I have never translated a meeting before and I will say that it did not go as well as I would have hoped but I tried and Im proud of myself for not asking our ward mission leader to step in. (He's from England and offered to help if needed) I didnt catch everything and I didnt catch most of the second talk because our good friend I mentioned earlier speaks so fast but it was okay. I felt a lot better afterwards when the member from the Phillipines was brought to me by another member and he said "Thank you it really helped me." Our french friend also thanked me. If you have ever wondered what translating in church looks like, basically I sat at the front of the chapel in a row by myself with a headset on and whispered into a microphone the whole meeting while the listeners sat with headsets on throughout the room. It was preceeded by lots and lots of prayers for them to understand what they needed to hear and I guess it worked because the french man took a Book of Mormon after church and said he is excited to show it to his family. God magnifies our efforts through the spirit.

I also had a very special opportunity to attend a Europe wide zoom call of 271 people on Sunday night to pray together for the situation in Ukraine. It was a very spiritual experience and I'm grateful I got to be a part of it.

We had dinner with a member lady Sunday night and she told us a very special story about how when she was 3 there was a war between Finland and Russia. Her dad had to fight in it and she didnt understand why he was gone. She said when he finally came home she gave him the biggest hug and she remembers a similar hug the day she attended the temple to have his temple work done. She said she could feel his hug so tightly around her. I remembered how much she loves family history so I asked her if she had a name that I could take to the temple this Thursday when I do an endowment session for the first time in Finland. She was so excited. This poor lady can hardly hear, her second husband died 11 years ago, her first kicked her out for joining the church, her only daughter and grandsons have left the church. She's had a hard life but she lit up as she gave me a stack of names to look through. There was only one endowment name so it was meant to be. I love paying special attention to the names of the people I perform ordinances for in the temple so if you wanna think of Maria Ivanove Haukka on Thursday I'm sure she'd love the support on her special day. After sharing a tear-filled spiritual thought about the Prince of Peace (Rauhan ruhtinas) we asked what other plans she had that night. She told us shes so old so she'll be doing family history work because that means she doesnt have to run around the apartment and she can just sit. We call her a sisukas nainen (a women with sisu) Sisu is a finnish word without an english translation but it basically means grit or tenacity. Shes a strong soul.

Then to make my sunday even better, we chased God's pink painting in the sky on a drive up the hill to overlook the lake.

And back at home looking out the window, I saw a shooting star.

We had zone conference earlier in the week and it went really well. Our presentation as zone leadership didnt go as planned and that is exactly what God intended. It was so spiritually off course and tears were shed and we all learned so much. Im gonna miss being a missionary.

I love you and God loves you more!
Love,
Sisar Keeks Johnson

Pictures
Moving mattresses, ping pong gang, my birthday twin, a man from ukraine, a bunch of missionaries, sis sanders is the only person i would wear a thrift store hat for 🤢I last 2 seconds with that afro looking hat on




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