Saturday, December 3, 2016

November Highlights

We rejoice in knowing that we were called to Finland by
our Prophet through inspiration.
We can't believe that the month of November is over and we are now in the Christmas month. There are so many good events and activities going on. We are working harder than ever and we are hardly ever home any more. There is so much to do and so many places to go in being an example and in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. We love every minute of it!

Every month we travel to Mikkeli for our missionary Zone Training. It is always an uplifting meeting. We enjoy visiting with all of our zone missionaries. They are all super and bright young missionaries. Their parents, especially their mothers, would be so proud of them to be serving with such dignity and honor.
On the way to Zone Conference.
Our District is a part of the East Zone.

Elder Hyer enjoying the Branch Father's Day refreshment.
Elder Hyer received a Mission Accomplished cake
from the Sisters.
Good-bye to Elder Hyer at the train station. He traveled with
his two companions.
Of all the missionaries that we have worked with here in Joensuu, Elder Hyer is the first to end his two year service here. He fit right in with the natives. His Finnish language was excellent. We said our farewell to our wonderful missionary, Elder Hyer, that we love so much. He is truly a "Mission accomplished" and a "returned home with honor" missionary. He has touched many lives all over Finland, where ever he served, lived and taught. He has served as our zone leader and district leader and trainer to our new young missionary, Elder Leetham, who had just come out of the MTC a couple of months ago. We all miss him. But we also know that he has a good life ahead of him in his homeland of America.

Elder Bowden and Elder Leetham returning from a
missionary transfer.
Eternal friendships are formed in doing the Lord's work.
After Elder Hyer left our new elder, Elder Bowden, came in on the train with Elder Leetham.  We welcomed him to his new home and area of missionary work in Joensuu. We are happy that he is here. We already love him. He speaks the Finnish language very well. We look forward to working with him.

We enjoy traveling to other cities to inspect missionary apartments. We check for many things to keep their homes a place where they can return each evening to a comfortable and spiritual place after their day out teaching. Some of the things we inspect is that each apartment has a fire extingusiher, a fire blanket, smoke alarms, CO alarms, that appliances and drains are working properly, and to make sure they have tools to fix things if they should break and have enough dishes other kitchen things. We help them with repairs and show them how to maintain their appliances in their apartments. All the missionaries are wonderful to work with.

Back in Joensuu we had fun making Karjalan Piriakkas as a Family Home Evening activity with a family. After making them we ate them for dinner.

Karjalan Piirakka-Finnish
flatbread with rice filling.
Elder Hunt & Elder Leetham,
the expert piirakka makers.
Elder Hyer, Sister Hunt, and Elder Reeder helping out, as well.

Father's Day Table

Father's Day comes in Finland in November. It is a very special day honoring fathers and it is celebrated like Mother's Day in America. Our Branch members honored all the fathers in our Branch by making and serving beautiful and delicious cakes. The main cake is decorated with berries and mint. The brown cake is called the Hunter's cake. It is a delicious fruit cake with carmel in all shapes representing horns and antelers of reindeer and moose. Then there were two other cakes. The one with hearts and roses represent young and new fathers. Then there is the fun cake for busy fathers who like to eat and run. Fathers are special. We see them pushing strollers with their infants and/or walking with their young children. We see them shopping with their children while the mothers are at work. Often while the mother is at work the father is home taking care of the children, then when the mother comes home and the father goes to work. It is heart warming to see families working together taking care of their children.


Elder and Sister Hunt were invited to Kouvola Branch annual Thanksgiving dinner as they would be inspecting missionary apartments in the area. Sister Hunt was asked to talk for 15 minutes on Navajo culture, traditions and customs and also a little bit about Native American Indians. It was a short program but she was able to make it fun, interesting, informative, and spiritual for the Kouvola Branch. The meal was very delicious with turkey, salads, good Finnish breads and lots of desserts. Thanksgiving, which, of course, is not a Finnish holiday, is usually put on by the missionaries in their various loactions.

We also went to another Thanksgiving dinner in Helsinki during the two day 2016 Senior Couple Missionary Confernce and temple visit. There the dinner was Thanksgiving dinner American style that had lots of creativity. The conference was for all senior couples serving in the Helsinki Temple and all of the Finland Mission. It was a lot of fun to see and visit with them. We ended our conference with a visit to the temple.

A turkey made with sweet potato, pineapple, grapes and
fresh cranberries.
Senior couple missionaries enjoying Thankgiving dinner.

The beautiful Helsinki Finland Temple

President & Sister Watson facing the temple.

Other activities and places we experienced this November include driving on snowy and icy roads, viewing the Super Moon from our balcony window and one more Thansgiving dinner with our beloved branch member family in Joensuu. We certainly have been very busy with our missionary assignments and studies. With all that still going on Sister Hunt plans to bake Christmas treats to give as gifts to our friends, neighbors, members and missionaries. We truly love our mission. Thank you very much for your support in every way. We feel your prayers and love for us. We could not do it without you. We love you all very much. May the Lord bless you and protect you. 

Every day is a beautiful drive. All vehicles are
required to have studded snow tires, front & rear.

Because of clouds, it was a miracle that we were able to see
and take pictures of  the special Super Moon.

We love the temple and are very happy
to visit it when we go to
Helsinki. 😊😊

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