Monday, December 15, 2014

Missionary Work Is Friendship Work

Small Simple Acts of Kindness
P-day Christmas shopping
This week was a good week though not that much actually happened.  Everyone has gotten busy with the normal craziness of Christmas so it makes it really hard to be able to talk to people on the street because they are rushing from one place to another and it has gotten hard to meet with members too. So we decided that we just needed to do our best to show people that we love and care about them. We decided that one way that we wanted to do that was to send Christmas cards to members we have served with in the past and people we have taught. It is so nice that both Sister Raphael and I served in Oulu at the same time!  We are able to send them a picture of the both of us and write them a short Christmas letter. It has been super fun and feels so good to be able to express at least in a small way what these people have meant to me and how much they have influenced my mission and my life. I have really come to love so many people in this country and feel so blessed by it.  
"Snowflaking" doors!
The Biggest Part of Missionary Work
We are also snow-flaking members and less-actives doors and leaving them a small Christmas card as well to thank them for all they have been doing for us. It has been super fun and really rewarding to do small simple acts of kindness for people.  It has helped me to realize that the biggest part of missionary work is really just showing people how much you love and care about them.  It is amazing the change people can experience when they really do feel loved and cared about and that there is someone there that appreciates them and wants what is best for them.  When it really all comes down to it... missionary work is friendship work. Its about loving and caring and reaching out to people.  Its about making new friends and new life-long relationships  It really doesn't get better than that!  I have noticed that so many people think that missionary work means knocking on doors and talking to strangers in the street and inviting people to church--which inviting is a huge part of missionary work and is a super important part--but also it really come down to making friends then loving and serving them.  I have been able to see so many people's lives changed and blessed by becoming friends with people.  I get to talk and laugh and have fun with them and also get to share something that is so important and means so much to me. Of course they are never surprised when I do that... I do wear a nametag around telling the world that I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. The difference is that people are so much more willing to listen and receive it from you when they first know that you really care about them.  Missionary work is also just strengthening and caring for those around us and it is the best thing that I could be doing this Christmas! 
Can you tell that I love the snow?
He Is The Gift
I am sure that you have already heard or seen the video "He is the Gift"  on christmas.mormon.org.  It is something that is really big in missionary work right now.  We are trying to share it with everyone because Christ really is the true meaning of Christmas and sometimes it is so easy to forget that.  So Sister Raphael and I have made a lot of cute pass along cards with the address and chocolate attached to it.  It makes it so much easier for us to hand them out.  It is a really great video and if you haven't seen it, then I definitely suggest watching it!  There really is no better gift in the world then that of God's son, Jesus Christ.  
Investigator Updates
This week was a little rough with investigators.  We were able to meet with our sweet Chinese investigator, Wu Keer, but sadly she doesn't want to meet with is right now. She is preparing to take a Finnish test so that she can possibly get a full-time or at least longer visa to stay here in Finland. So, she wants and needs to study. :( She does want to meet with us after her test though so hopefully we will be able to do that and that I will still be here in Marjaniemi!  We also were able to meet with another one of our investigators. She is expected to have her baby any day now so we aren't able to teach her but we are super excited for her and her family. Then we got to teach Fai's step-dad.  It was a good lesson.  We are just really trying to help him see why this is important for his life and for his family, but we think that he is starting to think about it more and more so that is a really good thing. Other than that we don't have many we are teaching. Christmas time is always hard but hopefully we can find more people that we can teach that are prepared!  Mac is doing incredible and is SO happy!  It makes us both so happy just to be able to see Mac as happy as he has been. So that has been really good.
Getting ready to sing at ward
Christmas party
Ward Christmas Party Finland Style
Friday night we had the Christmas party.  It was good.  They gave us the traditional Christmas porridge and then they had a bunch of little performances by the Primary kids and Young Women and things.  We missionaries did this cup thing to the song "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"  It kinda... well.... didn't go as well as we planned.  Fortunately, no one will probably ever remember anyway. They also did their traditional Finnish skit about King Herod and not sure what else.... I didn't completely understand what was going on and neither did Mac, who was trying to help explain whatever I didn't get.  I think it is something to do with King Herod and the 3 kings along with the order to kill all the babies.  Kinda weird, I know.  Apparently there was also a desert contest that I didn't know was happening.  Not many members brought things and I just brought good ole' American Peanut Butter Bars out of obligation of being a missionary. Guess what?  I won!  You gotta love America. :)  I think that is all to report!  Thanks for all your love and support!  I love you! 

Ward Christmas party
Ward Christmas 
Elders McKnight and Wilson

Our attempted "cup song"

Sister Knapp
Christmas markets!

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