Monday, December 23, 2013

HYVÄÄ JOULUA From The 'Christmas Goat'!

And I Thought People Were Nice Before Christmas!
Well, it has been a pretty good week here in Finland!  I have to admit that it is a little sad that the snow has now gone away and I will not be having a white Christmas here in Finland after all!  Who would have thought that would be the case?!  There is snow basically everywhere in Finland right now except down south! But I am sure a ton of it is coming and then I will be walking in it all day so it can take its own sweet time!  But I hope that everyone has a MERRY CHRISTMAS or HYVÄÄ JOULUA!!! I have to say that I love the Christmas season!  I mean, I thought people were nice before but now that it is Christmas season and you can talk to people about Christmas they just lighten up and are the nicest people ever to talk to!  So that has been way fun!  Plus, we got to throw a Christmas party this week for some of our investigators!  We were planning on making it really big and having both wards invited and decorating cookies and having them bring friends and then watch Joy to the World.  So that was the plan and we talked to the elders about it and they were all in on it. We talked to the other elders and they were in on it too until randomly they decided to cancel it and not do it after all without telling us!  Oh, elders!  So they cancelled it and told the Zone Leaders it was cancelled and it all went up in flames and we didn't find out until the week before that it was cancelled.  So we decided to just do a small Christmas party ourselves. :) So we kinda threw it together last minute and told the elders that we were going to do it and then once again they were all for it.  I think it was because they were worried they would have to do the work to put it together. I have no idea though.  But we ended up doing it and basically no one could come!  So that was rough. To be honest, we were scared to invite people because we thought it might flop, but it turned out really good and Hai, our recent member, brought his "hard core atheist" roommate to the activity and we got to learn a ton about him and introduce him to the gospel and it was so cool!  He now is wanting to learn more and is one of our investigators and is reading the Book of Mormon and everything!  So that was exciting for us!  We have since been able to meet with him again and teach him the Restoration and we taught him how to pray which he did for his first time.  I have to admit, it is amazing to see people exercise their faith and pray for the first time with us!  It really is amazing!
Learning To Pray
Speaking of having people pray for the first time, we had another new investigator do the same thing.  He has just recently come to Finland, and was actually living in Spain for a few months, but is really from Ghana! His name is Samuel. So yeah, we teach people from all over.  We are currently teaching someone who is Vietnamese, a few Africans (Ama,Bernard, and Victoria), and someone who is Finnish and we are working with some less active members from China!  I had no idea that Finland would be this diverse!  It is amazing!  I have met so many people from all over!  Anyway, so this investigator is actually someone that the elders met and sent to us as a referral because he lives in our area.  And it was so cool because he had actually met with missionaries in Ghana and would go to church with them and loved it!  But he hadn't prayed before (which is kinda weird) so we got to meet with him and get to know him and teach him about the book of Mormon and prayer!  It was so funny because he was really nervous to pray and so I asked him if he would feel better if I said a prayer first and then he said a prayer after me. And he said yes to that.  But I guess I should have been more clear because I started and noticed that he was just copying my words and saying what I was saying right after I said it, but he would get stuck and so I had to stop and tell him that he could say his very own prayer after I said mine.  And so he said that was good.  So when I finished and he said one and he did such a good job and was so nervous!  But he did awesome and it was so cool to see!  We also invited him to church this week and he came and had read the chapter we had given him and he was so excited when we got him a new book of Mormon in his language, Twi!  He is great and really, really wants to learn and says he wants to be a member haha!  So we are getting a date set up for him and we are so excited about him! He is awesome!
Celebrating The Finnish Way
Anyway, This week we also finally got to decorate for Christmas!  I love Christmas and I know that I am saying that a lot, but really who couldn't love Christmas?!  It was so fun!  Sister Fronk finally received her packages from home and her mom had sent her the cutest little Christmas tree so that is what we used to decorate and now all of our presents are all around this little tree on our dinning room table!  Haha, so much fun!  We are now debating if we are going to celebrate Christmas the Finnish way or not, because they open all of their Christmas presents on Christmas Eve when Joulupukki ('Christmas Goat' is the direct translation but means Santa Claus... I am still trying to figure out how that works...) so we don't know if we are going to open presents on Christmas Eve or on Christmas!  I still don't know what they do on Christmas day.  I think it is very similar to England where they have Boxing Day (like Black Friday shopping the day after Christmas.)  But they do all of the fun celebrating the day before Christmas. So that is kinda cool! 
Funny Missionary Lingo
This week we finally have our new district all put together and it is so much fun because I still have two missionaries from my MTC group, Elder Call and Elder Ahlquist, so it is fun to be able to see them!  But we also got a new Baby Finn, Elder Hunter, and he is doing so awesome!  He is in my ward and Elder Waite is training him and he is just trying so hard to speak Finnish and talk to people.  It is such a good example to me!  He is so funny because yesterday he wanted to introduce me to one of their Investigators that they have had for awhile.  So he went to introduce me and ended up telling the guy (in Finnish, of course)  that I am Sister Crofts instead of Sister Knapp.  So Elder Crofts and I, and basically everyone, died over that one but I just helped correct him and say hi to his investigator.  It was so funny.  He is going to be an awesome missionary!  Oh, but I want to explain.  So a Baby Finn is the group that you over lap with in the MTC that comes after you and the missionaries in the group just ahead of me are my Mama and Papa Finns (even though we didn't actually over lap.)  But it is kinda fun!  There are still so many missionary terms that I am getting used to.  The worst when I first got here was when Sister Fronk was talking about a missionary and I asked where they were serving in Finland and she said, " Oh no, they died" and then carried on like nothing happened! I was so confused! But it turns out that when you go home it means that you apparently "die!"  I am glad that I got that one cleared up!
Missionary Work is Friendship Work
Well I have to say that I really am grateful for this opportunity to be here in Finland this Christmas season!  It is so fun to be able to just focus on serving others and going out and just making people happy!  For awhile I thought that missionary work is all about finding people to teach the gospel, which yes, it is partially that and bringing people to Christ.  But a lot of it is just really showing people how the Gospel has affected our lives, by lifting up others and making their day just a little bit better, by serving and loving those around you. Missionary work is friendship work.:) And really that is what Christmas is all about!  It's about remembering Christ and trying to be more like Him and helping someone else feel His love for them!  Well, I love you all and I hope that you have a Merry Christmas! 



Sister Knapp

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