Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hello From Finland

Dear Family and Friends,

We have decided that the best way to start our mission in Finland is write our blog as a letter.  We hope you are all well and happy.  We are learning many new things and happy to be here.

We arrived in Helsinki on the morning of November 17th.  It was raining but not too cold.  We were greeted by our mission president, President Watson and his wonderful wife, Sister Watson.  They told us that they have been waiting for us and were happy that we were finally in Finland.  That made us feel good.  Some of the things we did on the day we arrived was to tour the mission office, the mission home, and had dinner with the mission president and office missionaries.  Then we watched a live broadcast from the European Mission Regional General Authority.  We were so tired but we were glad to call it our first day in Finland and went to bed and slept good.

The next morning, Wednesday, we had breakfast with President and Sister Watson.  They are such wonderful people and leaders.  We love them already.  We received our training and orientation.  We were given a mission car to drive to our new home in Joensuu, (which means rivers mouth).  One of the mission staff elders took us around to get all the necessary equipment that we would be using in our new area.  Then we closed out the day with a dinner at a local restaurant.  Everything around us is in a language that we will soon be speaking or trying to speak.  The Finnish language is a beautiful language and the common national language that is spoken by all.  All the signs are in Finnish.

Wednesday was also the Helsinki Zone meeting which we attended.  We were so impressed with the level of maturity and intelligence of the young elders and sisters.  There were 30 of them.  They conducted and carried the whole affairs of the meeting and training from beginning to end.  President Watson and Sister Watson were present.  President Watson gave the closing remarks.  We were blessed to have had our first zone meeting sample.

On Thursday morning we had another breakfast with President and Sister Watson.  Again it was so nutritious and delicious.  Sister Watson packed us sack lunches.  By noon our suitcases and other necessary mission materials were packed and off we drove to our new home in Joensuu.
It was raining and cold and we only had a few hours of day light to travel in.  It is six hours from Helsinki to Joensuu.  We didn't know the town and were very happy that the two elders assigned there were able to meet us and guide us to our new home.  They met us at the church and because our car, a Toyota Yaris, is so small we had to leave a couple of our suitcases at the church so the Elders could ride with us.  They are really neat missionaries.
Elder Kontinen, is a native Finn and the other, Elder Bekmezian, is from Utah.  They both speak Finnish well.  It was fun and amazing to listen to them conversing with each other.  Elder Hunt says that the language has changed somewhat from the time he was a young missionary 50 years ago.  Sister Hunt feels that her job is to observe and absorb for the time being.  We arrived in the dark at our apartment.  It is the same apartment that the couple missionaries had four months before we came.  It is a nice apartment with a view of the river and a lighted walkway bridge over the river.
There is a beautiful old Lutheran Church that must have been built in the early times.  It is lighted as soon as it gets dark which is around four o'clock.  We can watch the beautiful scenery from our living room window.  We appreciate nature and what God has created for us to enjoy.  The motion of the river is very soothing. The trees are so tall, straight and alive reaching into heaven for sunlight.

Last Wednesday we traveled on the bus to Kuopio which is a part of our district for district meeting.  It is a 25 minute walk from the bus stop to the chapel so the elders called the couple missionaries to pick us up.  That was very thoughtful of them and we were glad they did.  There is a senior couple, like us, serving as missionaries, a set of sister missionaries and a set of elders because it is a bigger city than Joensuu.  These missionaries were wonderful.  The church that we met in was a nice one.  It is one of the newest chapels.  The sister missionaries have a baptism scheduled in December.
Our Finnish missionary is the district leader.  Since we have a car we will be taking the elders to the district meeting every Wednesday.  In all the cities the streets are difficult to follow but their driving rules are the same as United States.  It was a very long trip on the bus and it will take less time to travel by car.  We won't be making frequent stops like the bus.

We are getting to know our town and finding new routes to get to our destinations.  We had to clean the apartment again because it hasn't been lived in for four months.  We are very happy that the couple before us left lots of useful things for us.  We will tell you about all the strange things we had to learn how to use on our next blog.  We go to a very small branch but the members have lots of  faith and have strong testimonies.  We are happy to work and help out in our branch.  Every member that we met have told us that they have been praying for us to come.  Some of the work we will be doing are Family Home Evening in our home, teach Institute for college students at the church, Finnish language class at the church, district meeting every Wednesday in Kuopio, and helping with the branch in what ever they need our help in.  It has been difficult to finally get here because of our visa problems.  But now that we are here we are excited and happy to go to work for our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ.  Thank you very much for your love and prayers.  We love you very much and you are in our prayers.  We are happy to be serving in Joensuu, Finland.

Love, Elder & Sister Hunt


  1. Sure love and miss you. I really loved reading the post and seeing the pictures! Love, Jude

  2. So happy to discover your blog! Oh, my goodness, what an adventure. I'm jealous! You're in my prayers. Love you both tons and tons. Lou