Thursday, August 25, 2016

Learning Has Been Fun

We love serving in Finland.
Thinking of our grandchildren and others who are returning to school at this time year, where they will be learning so many new things, we want to share with you some of the things we have learned to do (and love to do) while serving here in Joensuu, Finland.

Learning is fun and rewarding. It is a lot of work but it can also be enjoyable to learn new things.  We have learned that the Finnish language is very hard to learn, but we still keep at it. Elder Hunt does communicate quite well with the Finnish people in their language.
We have learned to shop at the grocery store without fear. First, we must have a .50 or 1 euro coin to deposit it in the slot of the shopping cart to detach it from the rest of the carts. Then when we are finished shopping and return the cart we get our coin back by pushing the end of the chain into the slot. That pushes the coin back out. We think that is a a really good idea. In that way all the shopping carts are returned to their areas and not scattered thourgh out the parking lot. We had to learn that in the produce area we bag, weigh the items we want.  As it is weighed the scale prints out the price on a sticky label.  We then put labels on the bagged items. We also learned that each item of produce has its own number that you enter into the scales so they know the item placed there.  It sounds like a long process but it becomes so automatic after doing it several times. It is a good system and makes it easier and faster at check out.  Also, at the check out you put a divider after putting your items to be purchased so the next person doesn't have to do it. At the end of grocery shopping when you have paid for your groceries you bag your own groceries in your  own shopping bag that you have brought or you can buy grocery sacks or bags at the checkout as you checkout. All these grocery shopping steps have become automatic to us. So learning all that was at first frustrating but now we just do without thinking.

Washing our clothes in the washing machine takes at least two hours.  That is because it is a very high-tech washing machine and washes clothes very gently.  Because of that it makes a lot of loud clinging, banging, and whining noises. It reminds Elder Hunt of the the jet engines on the airplanes that he used to work on. Then after two hours we put our clothes in the dryer.  There is no vent to the outside so the moisture taken from the clothes during the drying process is condensed and saved in a long white container. The container is emptied before running each new load. The dryer does not do well with dryer sheets, it plugs the lint trap so we use liquid fabric softner in the wash cycle of the washing machine. It is quite a chore and a long process to do laundry. But in the end our laundry is clean and smells good.
Our glass top & digital stove.
Cooking on a glass-top electric stove is very different from the gas stove we were used to cooking our meals on in back home in America. First, you activate the stove by touching the touch ON button on the stove top panel, then choose the burner, then touch the "+" or "-" sign and choose what heat number you want, 1-9. If you touch both it turns off the burner. That's the basics. It has other touch buttons for other burner and heat functions. We have learned to cook all kinds of foods on our glass top touch button stove. It is normally easy to clean but it can also be very difficult to clean when food spills on it while cooking.
Pizza dough at sea level.
 Sister Hunt has learned to cook many different foods that she has never cooked before. She likes cooking at sea level. She made cookies for the first time that turned out so good and delicious. Other foods that she has always cooked have also turned out really good.
Most of all, we have truly learned to love and serve the people. We have made many friends, eternal friends, that we will cherish and hold close to our hearts. We know that the gospel is a learning process. It is an action we have treasured all our lives since our conversion. We love sharing the gospel. The Lord has said in the scriptures: "Love one another as I have loved you."

Thank you all for your love, prayers and support in every way. We love you very much and you are in our prayers. May the Lord bless you in all you do and keep you safe.
Finland has trees everywhere.
Finland is beautiful.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Time Flew In July

Many times we have said that Finland is just like a national park where everything is so beautiful and green. There are so many activities and events happening all around. It all happens with summer tourists, summer birds, summer sports on the river, summer open market, school children enjoying summer activities, missionary transfers, referrals for the missinaries, missionaray dinner appointments and in the midst of all of this the missionaries get to contact many people who are visiting from around the world. We are grateful for God's creation in this part of the world. We love Finland and the Finnish people.

Just 50 miles due east of here by sea is Sweden.


Seldom do you see the old traditional hay stacks drying in the fields any more.
It's been fun to watch these baby seagulls, Ashley & Harry, grow into adults and fly away.
Elder Allen transferring out at 5:45 AM
Every nine weeks we help one of our missionaries transfer out and another one transfers in. We love every one who has come to Joensuu and worked so diligently with the people here. We are always sad to see them go but happy to have known them. It is a joy to work with each of them. This time it was Elder Allen who transferred out and Elder Hyer transferred in. Elder Farkus has truly been blessed being companions with both of these two choice Elders. There are also other new missionaries in our Kuopio District that we get to meet with every week. Then once a month we get to meet with our East Zone where there are more new missionaries. No matter where they are or who they are we truly love them. We are grateful to the parents of these wonderful and hard working missionaries who have the full support of their families. They have been trained so well at home. These young missionaries love the Finnish people. They teach the gospel in the Finnish language, which is one of the hardest languages in the world. We are very blessed to work with them.

Elder Hyer transferring in at 4:40 PM           
Sister Christensen, Sister Hunt, & Sister Bradbury
Elder Allen & Elder Farkas

Elder & Sister Hunt with the Branch President and his wife, Jarmo & Tarja Kinnunen


We have truly enjoyed the summer season. The month of July has given us some very warm days but mostly rainy days. Lightening and thunder are very gentle here. We try to keep healthy by watching what we eat. The Finnish ice cream is so good and creamy. It is almost always served as the dessert at the dinner appointments we get invited to. 

Thank you family and friends for your support in every way. We feel your prayers. It gives us strength and energy to do the Lord's work. We love you. You are in our prayers. May the Lord bless you in all you do.