Monday, May 16, 2016

The End.

So you know how I sent out this epic email last week serenading my mission and basically making myself sound like it was my last P-day?? 

well it wasn't. 

Turns out I actually had one here we go! 

This week was just a great big cherry to top off the ice cream sundae of my missionary life.  A certain investigator we had been working with had his baptismal service on SATURDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

It was one of the most multicultural ones I've ever seen (and that is saying a lot considering how many people I've taught from foreign countries) there were bits and pieces of the service done in English, Finnish, Swedish and even Icelandic. I remember just feeling so content with life, I have truly learned how to savor the simple things in life as I've been out here, can you imagine it folks? Finns have taught me how to be quiet and to savor the YKSINKERTAISTA things, I am grateful that I've had the opportunity come to learn of their culture and lifestyle. Remember how I compared Finnish to Elvish at the beginning of my mission? I honestly think that is the perfect way to describe the Finnish people, they're all just elves! 

We also ate a lot of CAKE during this baptism, which made Sister Kwok way happy!  🍰🍰 
All in all, it was an amazing day to celebrate a wonderful child of God into the fold.

But happy moments also mean bittersweet endings, I don't think I've cried this much in a long time (and that is saying a lot!) it's painful whenever ward members ask you where you are heading for the next transfer and you have to mouth the word "home" to them. Especially because they get these huge eyes and gasp, "EI OIKEASTI, MITÄ??

I will truly, truly miss the people that I have met here, every single one.  

To close off my final email, I would like to just quote a couple scriptures from Alma 26 (because Ammon is a lot better with words than I am) 

 11 But Ammon said unto him: do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joyand will rejoice in my God.

 12 Yea, know that am nothingas to my strength am weak; therefore will not boast of myself, but will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all thingsyea,behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

16 Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord;yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercyand of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, say unto you, cannot say the smallest part which feel.

I never knew how much my mission would change me when I first opened my mission call, or even when I stepped into the MTC two Octobers ago, I had absolutely no idea of all of the amazing things that were going to happen and all of the doors that it would open in my life. But I do know that miracles happen, and I know that I will never stop being a disciple of our Savior. 

Thank you so much for being a part of my conversion and adventures in Finland. 

Until we meet again, 
Sisar Kwok 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The best 18 months.

Dear Family and Friends, 

Things are really wrapping down to a close now, I never thought I would say this, but this is my last full week of full-time missionary work. How can that be, since I feel like I still have so much to learn? Although I have a life-time to progress, I thought I would write down in this email the things I DID learn. 

So here they are...1 for every month :) 

1.  So far, I've learned to... pray always.
2.  and then pray again.
3.  never forget to be charitable
4. The Savior is ALWAYS there, and He knows what to do.
5.  Never give up. 
6.  Smile, you never know who will be watching :)
7.  Love your companion, even if they are weird and will only eat oatmeal for all meals. (I love you!) 
8.  Miracles do and will happen! 
9.  Don't go into sketchy apartment buildings if you feel like you shouldn't. No, it's not worth it. And no, I'm pretty sure no one will be sober enough to understand what you are saying. 
10. Do the right thing, even when it's hard.
11. Get out on time, you'll regret it later. 
12.FINNISH, this one's a given though... (also, thought I would add that I am officially now trying to learn Pigeon from a recent convert. It's real, look it up!) 
13. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not break. (Or in other words, I've had to learn how to let things go
14. How to read a MAP!!! I AM SO PROUD OF MYSELF. 
15. How to make any type of baked dessert while cooking a meal within an hour. 
17. I love being a missionary.
18. I know the gospel is true

In reality, there are so many things that I could add to this list, but the most important thing that I learned from being here in Finland, serving the Lord, is that the gospel is true. I know that the church has been restored. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. 

I've seen his hand in my life too many times to ever deny that. 

So here we's to the best 18 months! I'll talk to you all next week :) 

Sisar Kwok 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Blue skies and song birds. Finnish spring is the best spring ;)

Folks, the days are ticking down... 

It's crazy to believe that time moves so quickly and yet so slowly! On the mission they have this saying that goes like this, "The days are weeks and the weeks are days." I couldn't say it better myself. (I've probably shared that like 10 times by now)

Something that I have loved this past week is the WEATHER. OH MAN. Finnish springs are the perfect mix of breezy and warm. Not to mention all the flowers that are blooming now, I wish I could take them home with me, but then I'd probably end up being tackled by the massive TSA guy at the airport.

Wouldn't want that now would we! 

This week Sister Roberts and I had the magnificent opportunity to help our investigator unpack from moving. This investigator had a baptismal date for the 7th but because of difficulties, we won't really know when she will be baptized. Despite all the setbacks, I know for a sure that the Lord loves this investigator and that He will not allow them to fall or to struggle for longer than they have to before things become clear again, that is how He has always worked. 

We've also seen many miracles as a result of the hectic Vappu weekend, Vappu is a holiday where all Finns celebrate by wearing their graduation sailor caps, and party pants. No joke, they actually have real legit party pants here. They usually have a huge summer market and parties and parades. It's a lot like the fourth of July in the States, except it's just a lot more quieter here ;) 

While we were outside contacting, we see this dad quickly walking across the street with his daughters in the cart. We stop him and the contact goes from basic to pretty sour in a couple seconds. He looks at us with a bored look on his face and then proceeds to tell us how the Book of Mormon is a sick journal with all types of wars and sin in it. I honestly didn't expect this type of reaction and my mind starts to churn thinking of ways we can say to invite the spirit back into the conversation. I receive the thought, "Say something that will lead to his love for his family." 
After the man stops speaking, I ask him, "Sir, may I ask you, where have you found joy in your life?" He points to his two daughters in the stroller, and then I go on to say, "I KNOW, that the love you feel for your daughters is the exact same love that our Father in Heaven has for you. I don't know the answers to all things, and yes there are many wars in this book, but I know that God exists and he loves us so much he has given us the opportunity to act and choose for ourselves." We later went on to teach him the principle of agency, and at the end he took the Book of Mormon and gave his contact information. He lives in the elders area so we won't be able to see him, but whatever happens to him, I know that he felt something as we talked to him that day. 

I am so thankful for the holy spirit and for the wonderful people of this world, it is such a HUGE blessing to talk to people every day and learn more about who they are. I feel like the more I talk to people, the more I understand how God feels toward them. 

I guess that is it for this week, until next time! 
Love you all! 
Sisar Kwok 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Road trip!!!


Rakkaat family and friends, 

This past week has been way intense, and I mean intense as in...

1.We were at the mission home for FOUR days receiving awesome training.
All of the new missionaries and trainers gathered together to go over things mentioned in the 12 week training program, it was such a cool experience to be sitting in President Watson's living room and looking around while thinking "Man, what a solid group of youth...and I'm a part of it!" Honestly though, being a missionary is like hands down the coolest thing I've ever down. Still gets me even though I've been here for more than a year. I learned so much on what it means to lose myself in the work. There was something that President Watson said that left an impression on my mind. It was something along the lines of, "Elders and Sisters, just work. Just work every day. Do it for the rest of your life. Do your best in all things and trust in Him." I'm sure his actual words were a lot more eloquent, but the core message was that faith is a verb. We cannot reap the fruit of our actions without first exercising our agency. 

2.We visited the Helsinki Temple....(-_-) best thing ever.  

3. We went to Pietarsaari, which is literally the smallest area in Finland, and also the most beautiful place I have ever seen. We had District Conference (pretty much Stake Conference) with Elder Dryden in the Area 70, we got to talk to him after and he told us how much we are needed to strengthen the members in their missionary work. I felt so grateful that we have amazing leaders who preside and watch over our work. There are no sister missionaries in Pietarsaari, so we ended up staying the night in A HOTEL. Now, I've seen some pretty cool things on my mission so far, but this just takes the cake. The place was this remodeled old brick factory/cottage. Super cool! 
Since we had some extra time there, we also contacted around, we had to learn some Swedish from one of the Swedish elders, so now I can officially say, "Hi, we are missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, this is the Book of Mormon." In really bad American sounding Swedish. Gift of tongues folks! 

4. We have another investigator with a baptismal date for May 7! She was a referral from the elders, we are super stoked to be teaching her! 

I will send some pictures in another email :) 

I love this land, I love this work! I love waking up every morning and hearing the birds chirping. 
I love speaking to the people, in whatever language they speak, and I love the Book of Mormon. I know that it is a testament of our Savior Jesus Christ. 

Love you all too! :) 
Sisar Kwok 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Of him, I am a witness.

Dear friends and families, 

This weekend was an amazing one, I love general conference. I love listening to the words of the prophets and apostles, they know who we are, what we go through, and they feel our needs. 
I felt that so deeply as I listened to what they said, every single speaker had a sense of urgency, and confidence in their message. 

This past week, Sisar Roberts and I saw a lot of unplanned miracles, we were able to set a baptismal date with one of our young investigators for May 14, he is doing so well! We are really excited to see him progress in the gospel! 

Other than that, we had a great lesson with a new investigator, he isn't Christian, has no Christian background, and yet, when we invited him to say the closing prayer at the end of our lesson, he did it so willingly and humbly. I guided him through all the steps, and it basically was him repeating all the words I said, while looking down at his folded hands. It was so precious, I've mentioned so many times how an investigator's prayer is my favorite part of being a missionary, and this one really touched my heart and helped me feel the spirit. If we would truly pray like a child does everyday, I know our hearts would grow closer to our Father in Heaven every time. 

I cannot believe how fast time is passing, I don't know what I am going to do when I leave! 
Next week, we will be having an early p-day since we will be heading to Helsinki for additional training. If you would like to email me anything make sure to send it before monday! As in, Sunday or Saturday night!

Funny story of the week:
My awesome new missionary keeps mistaking Isäntä (father of the house) for Emäntä (mother of the house) whenever we go tracting, it's resulted in a lot of awkward stare downs until I finally decide to say " do you live here??" 

Haha we've laughed over it a lot, it reminds me so much of how Elder Calhoun make the mistake of saying Meneer instead of Mufrau when he meets Kyle Harrison in the Best Two Years. Classic. 

Sisar Kwok 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The final countdown.

Minun rakat veljet, sisaret, perheni, ja ystävät.....

Sister Kwok is going to be getting her last change call this week, holy schnapinschteiners. 

So...where is Sister Kwok going to go??? To be honest, I would love to stay in Vaasa, this city is BLESSED, the saints here are truly incredible and we are working with such wonderful people. Seeing that my companion has been here for such a long period of time means that we might be parting ways, which is very very sad, I love Sisar Cardon! She is such a great example of diligence and love for others! 

But after all that has been said, I will go and do whatever the Lord wants me to do :) 

This week has been a good one, the sun has been out, the snow is slowly, slowly starting to melt, birds are flying in the sky, and my socks are getting soaked. I think my favorite seasons in Finland are spring and summer. EVERYTHING comes to life in the summer, there are flowers everywhere and it smells so good to just be outside. I really really hope that summer comes early this year. 

Yesterday we taught a man that we had contacted on the street, we had begun to teach him about a month ago, but because of his busy busy schedule he hadn't been able to continue meeting. 

We started to teach him the message of the restoration, and I remember just praying in my heart beforehand that I would be able to say what I felt in understandable Finnish and that I would be able to understand his needs. As we went throughout the whole lesson, I felt so relaxed and at peace. I realized in my heart that although I have taught this lesson to countless people, in several different ways and scenarios, that the message is true. That Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that everything, EVERYTHING has been restored. 

I am so grateful for the message of the restoration and for Joseph Smith's humble prayers. 

Other fun things:
  • Sister Cardon and I ate dinner on a swing set next to a portion of the Baltic Sea the other day. While we were eating we saw a bunch of people skiing on the frozen sea. So we got the awesome idea of biking across the frozen water to get to our next appointment. WE BIKED ON THE FROZEN BALTIC!!!! 
  • We calculated that on Friday we...biked 20 kilometers, played intensive Sähly for an hour, and walked another 5 kilometers to get to and from places. crazy.
Anyway, I love you all!!! Enjoy every day! 
Sisar Kwok 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Manna from Heaven.

The most interesting things happen to people on missions. I wish that before I received my mission call, there would've been a disclaimer on the envelope saying something like...

"Caution: Use of this invitation might result in miraculous miracles, meeting interesting people with strange notions about how to dispose old rice and bread in an environmentally friendly way, and occasional slipping on streets made entirely out of ice." 

If I had read that before I left, I would have probably been a lot more prepared for what happened yesterday.

To start off though...President and Sister Watson came to Vaasa on Sunday! yayyy!!!! There is nothing better than seeing your mission president and his wife pull up to meet you, and then give you all the dining room chairs and drying racks that are needed in your apartment. 

After sacrament meeting, usually both us, the elders and our recent converts attend a gospel principles class that is taught by a member of the ward. This time Sister Watson joined us, and we were glad to see that our recent convert had brought his friend to church that day. We had a good discussion about the pre-mortal life and mentioned the Book of Mormon to him as another book of holy scripture. He seemed interested in the discussion and we all just assumed that he was being nice and listening to what we had to say. 
But. Miracle of miracles people. 

After we say the closing prayer, and we start packing our bags. Our recent convert's friend raises his hand and says loudly, "I know this sounds weird and I don't even know if you all do this, but do you think that there are some people from your church that could come visit me at my home during my free time to help me learn more about that book that the man over there is holding?" He points to Elder Parsons. "I don't know what it is, but you say that it is another book of scripture, I am willing to read it and apply it into my life."

We were so shocked, we just looked at him until Sister Watson laughed and says, "Of course! That's why we're all here!" 

Haha it was so cool! He lives in our area, so we'll be teaching him this week!

Funny story of the week: Sister Cardon and I were walking around yesterday trying to find a non-existent address. We had been walking in the cold for more than three hours, our socks were soaking wet from the puddles and ice. We were trying to navigate our way around a building that was built on an incline, to get to a road that would lead us back to where we wanted to go. The WHOLE HILL was just completely covered with layer of wet ice. I ended up having to slide down the hill on my butt because it would've been faster than trying to walk down it. NOT ONLY THAT, but when get to the bottom, we realize there is fence that separates the hill from the road, so we decide to walk through this mini forest to go around the building. We are walking in the forest, when we realize that all around us are patches of rice, and slices of moldy bread just EVERYWHERE. Literally, Manna from Heaven.

I'll send you some pictures of the moldy bread next week, I forgot my camera today :(  
Anyway, I hope you all have a great week! 
Don't eat moldy bread! 

Sisar Kwok