Monday, April 28, 2014

OULU! It's Like I Am Really Living In Finland!

With my new bike!
Wow!  Did I Get What I Asked For!
This week has been absolutely crazy but I have loved it!  I am finally up in Oulu!!! I have to say that saying goodbye to everyone in Espoo was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do. I love the people there and Espoo really did become my home.  I was super excited to have a chance to serve somewhere else though so that I could see more of Finland and be in a location where I could learn Finnish more.  In Espoo it was so hard to learn Finnish since all our investigators were always foreign students and spoke English.   But wow.... did I get what I asked for!  I am practically only speaking Finnish!  Talk about finally getting some immersion into the language!  It is like I am really living in Finland.   I am finally getting the big shock of not really being able to say much but at least now I will have to chance to really, really learn the language which I am really excited for. :) 
The Long, LONELY Train Ride
my sleeping compartment on the train to Oulu
The trip to Oulu had quite the dramatic experience that Sister Egan and I had desperately been trying to avoid.  We had been so worried that I would end up leaving with the phone that we made sure it was in Sister Egan's bag, but while we were on our way to the train station the phone started ringing and her bag was in the trunk and I was the only one that could reach it.  So I got the phone and answered it and then slipped it into my bag without thinking about it.... yeah.  I didn't notice until the zone leaders called 2 minutes after the train pulled away from Helsinki!  Oh no!!!  I had stolen the phone and I was headed up to Oulu!!!! We ended up calling everyone under the sun to find elders that could run out to the next train stop in Haaga.  But it was too late.  I had the phone and I was going to Oulu.  It was way bad.  So I just had to mail it back to Espoo.. Looks like I am taking after my Mama Sister Fronk (my trainer) after all!!! I am just praying that the phone actually got there! The train ride up to Oulu was interesting.  I was completely alone and had my own little compartment to sleep in.  It was the longest I had been by myself since before my mission and it was really so lonely.  I think I am going to die when I get home.  I can't be alone anymore!  But it was nice and I was just attempted to sleep the whole time.  It didn't work too well and I have been exhausted all week but I am finally unpacked and settling in and sorta catching up on sleep? 
The Further North You Go The Nicer People Are
Oulu is really wonderful though.  I absolutely love it up here.  I had heard that the further north you go in Finland the nicer the people are.  I don't know if that is because there are just fewer people, but it is SO true!!!  The people up here are SO nice and just about anyone will talk with us. So that is a big change from down south where most people don't really want to talk to you. The first day here we needed to go and get groceries and this lady came up and started talking to us and telling us what milk we should buy because it is cheapest and best, haha.  She then insisted on carrying our baskets all throughout the store and talking to us.  It was so funny.  She was such a nice lady but it was hard to get everything we needed with her carrying around our stuff!  
The Lord Really Blesses You So You Can Get Through Any Obstacle
with my new companion, Sister Nyman, who I lived with in the MTC
Oulu is having so many miracles happen though.  It really is amazing to see the people here and how open they are. I love it.  Plus, we had a miracle happen this past week!  We had this guy that was from China on our ward list but absolutely no one knew who he was! So we went to find out who he was. The only problem was that this building he lives in is like a fortress and has 2 locked doors that you have to go through before you can get to his front door.  So we knew we would have to be praying a lot to get through. But right when we came to the first door someone came out the the building!  Then we got in the elevator, went to the 4th floor and you will never believe it!  The door was completely open!  I love being a missionary.  The Lord really blesses you so that you can get through any obstacle.  This person actually ended up not being a member and so we still have no idea how he got on the list.  He had only met the missionaries once or twice.  So we got to talk to him and teach him, get his number and now we have a return appointment with him and his roommate!  It really was a miracle!  

Well, I love all of you!!! Thanks for your love and support!! 

Sister Knapp

Here's all the answers to your other questions about my new area:
How was your train ride?  Did you have your own room?  Was it scary? Were you able to sleep?  
I already wrote about this in my letter but I was in a cabin with a locked door and everything :) I am fine mom really hahaha  Finland is SO safe!!! 
Tell us about your zone and your district and zone.  I feel like I don't know as much about the northern zone.
I have a good size district.  There are 4 sisters. 9 elders and 4 senior missionaries.  It includes Rovanemi, Kaijani, Kemi and Oulu.  Distric meeting is every week.  People just take like 2-4 hour train rides to get here. Crazy. The zone is everything north of Jvuskayla, which is huge!  I am with the Zone leaders and the Sister Training Leaders. They are all really nice and I like them all!  I definitely miss the missionaries down south, though.  I feel like I have just been sent to military school! hahaha. 
The reason that you haven't heard a ton about the north zone is there really isn't a ton of sisters up here.  Two of the zone leaders are new.  There are senior couples in Oulu and Kemi (but I just had the temple missionaries but no senior missionaries in Helsinki really.)  The Senior couple is really nice and are actually Sister Nyman's aunt and uncle.  Elder Hugie, Elder Stegeby, and Elder McMaster from my MTC group are in our zone :)
How are things with Sister Nyman?
It has been really good and we are doing so well!  I absolutely love her so much and I am so happy to be companions with her!!!  She is amazing and such a great missionary and is teaching me so much!!!!  We were both so happy to see each other!!!
Last picture at the Helsinki Temple before transfer
How is Oulu different than Espoo?  What are your favorite differences?  What do you miss most about Espoo? 
Oulu is smaller that Espoo and it smells funny, haha  It has a paper factory that just makes the whole city smell weird but I really love Oulu already.  The people up here are sooo nice and so much more willing to talk to us.  We are absolutely SO busy it is crazy.  Oulu really is beautiful!!!  I think the things that I miss about Espoo the most are the members, missionaries, being so close to all the missionaries, and the temple.  Really, I miss it a lot.  Funny thing is I can see myself loving Oulu but Espoo will always be my home :) 
What has the weather been like?  Is there still snow on the ground?  It looks like its 5-10 degrees colder on average than Helsinki (at least right now).
It is definitely a lot colder here than it was back in Espoo but there is no snow and it is still pretty nice. 
What is the ward like? 
It is good. They were pretty welcoming but  I was super homesick for my Espoo ward at church.  It is actually a branch.  I liked it though! 
Do you have investigators? 
Yeah we have a lot of investigators!  Three with baptismal dates though we have to change 2 to help them get more prepared.
Are you speaking more Finnish there?
I speak SO SO SO much more Finnish it is insane!!!! But it will be good for me. I didn't realize just how bad my Finnish is until I got here!
Did you buy a bike?  What is that like?  How else do you get around?  Do you ever go outside the city?
Yeah I did get a bike.  It is so fun to bike EVERYWHERE but it is so hard to be modest.........  we just give up on that fact usually. But we are wearing tights soooo, its ok. Summer will be interesting though!  We always stay in OULU but it is pretty spread out.   And we occasionally take buses.  We never ride trains.  So weird
Has the transition to a new area been hard?  Or fun?  Or a little of both?
It has been fun and exciting.  We are so busy I don't get to think about it much but I am definitely homesick for Espoo too.
What is your apartment like? Is it as nice as your apartment in Espoo?
 Its the oldest apartment in the mission but I really like it :)  I'll send pictures.

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