Monday, January 11, 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!  Our new year has started out very happy and freezing. We watched the city fireworks on New Year's Eve from our apartment complex area.  Many people watched in the freezing temperature all bundled up. That is the only way to keep warm for a few more months. Around here the fireworks are permitted from 6 pm onNew Year's Eve to
2 am.  We saw many other fireworks, both near and far, all around us.  It was fun to watch.

This year we are teaching institute.  The class will start on Wednesday evening.  We will be studying the Restoration.  We are starting out with a few students.  Some of our students have graduated in December so our numbers are few right now.

In our Branch we are studying the Book of Mormon for Sunday School.  We have about 58 members in this small branch. Attendance varies because of the freezing cold.  We drive across the bridge over the frozen river from our home to get to church.  It takes about 10 minutes.  We have two young Elder missionaries that we work with.  They are very hard working and dedicated to their work.  They are very brilliant and know and speak the language well.  One of our Elders is a Fin.  We truly admire them and are very proud of them.  We travel to Kuopio, a city about 100 miles to the west, every Wednesday for district meeting.  We drive our mission car.  It is very helpful to have a car. We have to hook it up every night so it will start the next day.  Soon we will have a zone conference. We will be headed for Mikkeli, a city about 200 miles to the west and south, for that meeting.  We are getting to know other missionaries and we look forward to getting to know more. There are new missionaries coming into the mission regularly from the Missionary Training Center in Provo and we are very happy for them.  They are very smart and already know Finnish level I from their MTC training.

Our schedule for now is to continue to work with the Elders and assist with teaching families, teach institute, hold Family Home Evening, visit members and work on Family Search.  Because it is so cold outdoors we try to do fun things indoors with our Branch members, investigators, missionaries, or just the two of us.  When it's just the two of us we usually watch church videos on and pop popcorn.

Sister Hunt has been learning how to cook familiar foods at sea level using Finnish ingredients.  Our cooking stove is also new technology (digital, temp sensors, & computerized) and she has been cooking on it successfully.  She has not tried making new recipes.  She does not want to be disappointed if one fails.  She is still learning the names of the ingredients in Finnish.  Also measurements are not what she is used to.  So for now we will continue to make grilled cheese, beef stew, and scrambled eggs. The breads are so good that we buy from the bakery and have no need to bake bread like we used to in America.  Cheeses are also a favorite.  The butter is so rich and fresh.  There is a very wide variety of cheeses.  We love the whole fruit juices--real juices, year round, NOT from concentrate.

We have been invited to dinner to several homes.  We have been served some traditional foods such as riisii purro (it translates to rice porridge but to me its rice puding), karelian piirakka (small open-faced pies that originated in the region of Karelia), pannukakku (made from a runny batter poured into a large pan and baked--about 1/2 inch think when done), and other delicious foods and drink.  We really enjoy the meals and truly appreciate the love and generosity of the kindhearted and loving Finns who serve us.

We want to share some memorable photos of events from Christmas up to the present. The two by the train are our mission president and his wife, President and Sister Watson.  They had been to visit Joensuu and we were just taking them back to the train for their return trip to Helsinki.

We hope your Christmas and New Year has been a blessing.  We are being blessed daily with good health and positive learning experiences.  We wish you a wonderful year of success and happiness. Thank you very much for your love, prayers and support.  We love you all.  Happy New Year!


1 comment:

  1. Mahtava. Minulla on tytareni J:kylassa nyt. Ihanat valokuvat. Kiitoksia!