Monday, December 27, 2010

December 27, 2010

I figured since I just talked to you all on the phone that I don't need to write too much in this letter.
It was good to hear from you all. I feel like the same person that I was when I left. But then, I talk with all of you, and I just feel and act and sound different. Do I sound different?
It was really exciting talking to you all. I loved hearing all of your voices. Everyone sounds so good. I can't believe it has already been a year. Whoa!
That's so great that Scotty and Ellie got puppies. I'm so excited for them.  I love the pictures. The puppies are so cute! 

Ellie's beanies are great. I would love a cool looking one for when I am home.
It sounds like everyone is happy which is great!   Elder Peck and are off to do some shopping. Probably won't buy anything but we're still going!  Elder Peck wants a new suit so we are going to check them out.
Have fun. I love you all. I will write you again next Monday.
Rakkaudella ja Onnellistä Uutta Vuotta,
Vanhin Behnke
On Christmas morning we had arranged for Brian to be in the Pori Marketplace at this particular spot on Christmas morning for us and the afternoon for him.  I had my eyes peeled on the webcam - it gives stills but updates every 8 seconds.  As soon as I saw them I had everyone come around my computer and they were so excited to see him.  Brian of course was wearing a Santa hat and jumping off of things.  Note there are 3 statues there, one standing on his head so that is NOT Brian!  He is the one jumping off that little ledge.  It was so exciting to see him and then we were able to chat with him that afternoon - what a GREAT Christmas!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

December 20, 2010

Hey Family,
I figured since I am talking to you this weekend, I don't need to write you all a big letter.
Things are going well here. We got 3 new investigators this week and 1 with a baptismal date. The baptismal date isn't so solid. He seemed to be a "can't-say-no" guy and his wife seemed to be in chage and not super interested. They didn't come to church yesterday. Hopefully, we can get something going though.
I hope you enjoy that pictures of me being Joulupukki at our ward Christmas party :) 
Have a Merry Christmas! I will talk to you all on Christmas night at 9:00 pm (MY TIME)!
Enjoy this awesome Christmas week and the end of the Christmas season. I will be there on the next one. I promise!
Love you all,
Vanhin Behnke

Elder Behnke playing Santa or Joulupukki as they call in in Finland!

Joulupukki and Elder Peck
I guess Joulupukki even makes babies cry in Finland!  :)
This is what they ate, thinking some kind of bread pudding?
This looks yummy - must be a traditional Christmas cake.

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13, 2010

Hey family,
I got the absolutely giantic package the other day. WOW! That thing was huge! I'm so excited for Christmas! I sent some pictures in some emails to you all. Hopefully, you can tell which apartment was Kerava and which is Pori. Let me know if you have trouble.
The ward isn't very big here. I'm not sure if there is a Christmas program but there is a Christmas party this Friday. Should be fun. We going to use the peanut butter cookie mix you all gave us to make something sweet.
I haven't gotten any letters from you all. I only got the package. Hopefully, you will get the package I sent in time. It isn't wrapped inside. Just a warning. Also, you should be getting random chocolate bars in the mail too. Postage is ridiclous here. It would be a 42 euro package with the candy bars inside or a 15 euro package and I can 1 stamp the candy home. Juts a heads up if you get just chocolate bars in the mail.

We got a call last week telling us that we are getting the car back. YEAH! But it gets even better! They told us to go pick up the car from Rauma and then take it to Helsinki to pick up a new car. SWEET! So we had a road trip to Helsinki and pick up a brand new navy blue Opel Corsa. A Beaut! I drove it off the lot. It's glorious! So now I have a car in Pori!
Quick heads. On Tuesday, December 21st, we are going to Turku for a disctrict meeting. At around 3:30, we are going caroling in the center. So, if the Emmelkamps or that guy is in the center then, I'll see them.
That's all I have for you all right now. Thank you
I love you,
Vanhin Behnke

The kebabs he loves so much! 
Out tracking......probably noon!  :) 
He says this is the "Tree of Life"
Christmas caroling in Turku

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7, 2010

I have no idea what happened to the letter I sent you all last week. There were no pictures on it. For some reason it wouldn't send. Anyway, here is another letter to you all.
Yes, I'm in Pori now. They took the car away from us. Dang it! :) Pori is pretty big. Decent size city. Abosuluetly HUGE area for us to cover. Small ward (YES!) full of old women. It should be fun. I wasn't disappointed to leave Kerava. It was fun though. I forgot to take pictures like you wanted. But no worries. I can get Elder Baccile to send me pcitures so I can send them to you all. I will take better pictures of Pori. I promise.
H cancelled her baptismal date, as you found out. It was a bummer. The morning of her baptism too. We were getting ready to go clean the font and Elder Hybarger had his white clothes in a bag ready to go. Then the call came. We went and visited her the next day. She really likes us. I have her address so I can write her. I took a picture with her. I'm not sure if you got it. I will send more pictures to you. Hopefully, Elder Baccile and Elder Slade can help her out. I think she will be baptized one day though. She still believes. On a brighter note, H.S.  was baptized yesterday in Lappeenranta. Elder Boyer got me a program and he is sending it to me sometime. Great!
That's a bummer that Dad didn't get to see Elders Hybarger and Butler. I got a letter from him today. He wrote it in Finnish. I will forward it you and you can see some more finnish. I'm glad you got to read Elder Butler's departing message. we haven't gotten the newsletters yet. I'm sure it was hilarious. He is one of the funniest people I have ever met. I loved that change with Elder Butler. He wrote me an email too..... and it was hilarious haha.
HUNTER B HAS GOT SOME HOPS!!! I think I can touch the rim (not saying much though). I forgot that he played basketball. I'm proud of him.
That is the right address. I'm excited for the package. It should be great! How are all the Christmas plans going? We have a tiny tree set up as we blare the Carpenters and Nat King Cole all day. It's nice.
I don't have much else to say. Have a good week. I will talk to you all soon.

I just tired sending pictures but it won't work for some reason. I'll send the card home.

Pictures received last week from his last area.....Kerava!

Would even like a picture of the candy aisle to check out all the  candies, but couldn't get a picture of that either - he is KILLING me!!!
No, this was NOT his car!  :)  Only Brian would deem this necessary to take a picture of and send home - how about the beautiful Finland countryside - nope!
His "area" in Kerava

Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29, 2010

Well, no letter today!  It is sad because transfers came out and I don't know if he is staying in Kerava or had to move on to some other place.  Plus, was so anxious to hear about the baptism.

I guess we will have to wait until next week.

BTW, he did send pictures however - crazy kid!

HOLD ON.........just got an email from Lori Peck and her son, Vanhin Peck, will be Brian's new companion in PORI - it is about 3.5 hours northwest of where he is now.  I guess he is off the hook for stiffing me with a letter today.  THANK YOU LORI!!  So grateful to be connected to the BEST missionary moms.  She also tells me there is a webcam there - woo hoo - we will be doing some spying on him FOR SURE!

So stay tuned, I am sure we will be receiving a letter on Wednesday.

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 2010

Hey Family,

I am absolutely amazed at how fast you got the package here wow. Yah, FedEX is horrible here for me. It was a forty minute quest away today in order to get my package. Well worth it. Thank you so much. Wow! There was a ton of stuff. Don't wory about grabbing anything else. This is great. Thank you. Some of the stuff is a little questionable like the hardcore techno song of the Pirates of the Carribean haha. Thank you though

H's baptism is this Saturday. Elder Hybarger is baptizing her. Elder Baccile is speaking at her baptism about baptism. I am giving her the Holy Ghost on that Sunday. It's pretty exciting. She has her interview with Elder Groberg (baptismal candidates need to be interviewed by either the district leader or zone leader before baptism) on Thursday. She is a sculpture. I know she has done some huge sculpture that is in Rovaniemi. I don't know too much about it.

Christmas. I have been thinking. Shipping will cost me a ton. I'm not too sure if if is worth it to send the gifts to you by mail. Plus, I don't trust the mail service after the last package I tried to send you all. i think it would be best if I just save the money that dad gave me and I can give you twice as much next Christmas and I can be there for it. I am thinking about sending chocolate again though because that is alwasy nice. I'm pretty bummed about it but I think it is best. What do you think?

Everything has gone electric here so no worries about the carbon monoxide. I'm good. That carbon monoxide thing was a pretty big deal when I first got into the country because 2 missionaries died from carbon monoxide poisoning in Romania. Pretty nuts stuff. But I'm safe  so no need to panic

I love the picture of Scot sleeping on the couch. Nothing has changed haha! How is he doing? How's Ellie? How's Gram? How are you two?

Transfers. I want Elder Baccile and I to stay together another change but I'm not sure. If anything, I think I stay and he leaves but I said the same thing about Lappeenranta so I have no idea. We will see. I will find out on Saturday so I can let you know next email. We will see about his jacket after change calls.

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all had an awesome Thanksgiving. What did you eat? We are supposed to be in charge of the meat but I'm not sure what we will do. I will take pictures. It should be fun. I will try and do something fun for a Christmas card picture. I'll keep my eyes open for something really fun. 

I haven't been driving much. It's icy and I don't even trust myself on ice in an automatic. Ask James Breidel to tell you about a little scare that happened to us when we were drving for a basketball game and it was snowy. I may have to start driving though if Elder Baccile leaves and I stay. Should be exciting!

Update. I got a letter from Elder Pond. He wears his Ellie bracelt every single day. He says some people stare at him all the time and they all the members in Kuopio ask him about it. Cool. He seems like he is having fun up there with Elder Gorringe.

That's cool that the Emmelkamps are coming out. Where are they going in Finland? I would love to go to Turku and meet this guy. Hopefully one day I can but I think I iwll be in Kerava for a long time. Keep me posted on there travel situation.

Tell Todd and Abbey that I will write them soon. I haven't had time due to Elder Hyrbarger going home soon and him having to get all kinds of stuff before he leaves.

That's all I have family. I love you all and I will talk to you soon.

Elder Behnke

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15, 2010

Hey Family,

Things are going great. H is coming along great. Her date is pretty solid. We want to try and get her to the baptism in Marjaniemi this upcoming weekend. We just have a few things left to talk about with her. We need to check up with her coffee stopping and go over a couple more commandments but it is going very well. She will be most likely baptised on Nov. 27 like we have planned. Great!

I forgot to tell you about the singing in church. It went well. It is so awesome to sing the same primary songs I sang as a child in english in Finnish. It's really cool. It was father's day here so we had the entire priesthood cookies. We made way too many cookies so we ended up making the entire ward cookies. It was fun. We have also been making banana bread for some of the ward members and they love. Finns have never even heard of banana bread. The ward loves us for our baking talents! :) 

I have been doing tons of service lately. Every other day we have been cutting wood for H so can can have fire wood for the winter. We have been cutting trees down in her backyard and cutting them up. Her tools aren't the best. She only has handaxes and some flimsy saws but we are doing it! My grip on my hand is dead! I'm really pumped about getting to chop wood for service. It's great.

I haven't been taking much pictures but I will try to take some more.

Christmas.  "Dad and I really don't need anything so if you could get by with not getting us anything" Well, nobody NEEDS anything. I'm getting you presents!!!!! I will try to get small things because shipping will destroy me. Thank you very much for the money so I can participate in Christmas this year!

I go the package. SWEET! The chocolates were downed in like 2 days. I looks like you all had some awesome times at the packer games. Awesome! Thank you for the pictures.

I don't have anything else. Thank you. I'm super low on time. I will write you more next week with pictures.

Mother.....You have done a lot for me lately, but I'm asking you if you can do me another thing.

We have a cd player in the car and we are completely burnt out of Enya and the music Elder Hybarger has and he is leaving soon. Can you burn me some cds so we have something to listen to more of in the car. Plus, chances are I will be in Kerava for a long time.

Vanhin Behnke

PS:  that picture of Ryan Kissinger on Halloween was SWEET!  He is a stud, great costume!

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8, 2010

Hei Fam,

I really love the attached pictures I have been getting lately. Looks like Scott and Dad bought some new beanies SWEET!. That's the one thing I have too much of out here is beanies. It looks like they had a good time.

I haven't received any mail recently. I have no idea when I'm going to get this package. They called and said that they would deliver sometime between 11:00 and 6:00. Great. :)

I have learned that I am really good at stalling cars at stoplights. So I got that going on for me :) Why would anyone nowadays by a stick shift. It's way too much work. Driving should be a luxury. But it's going well. Needless to say, I don't drive much. 

We ended up never going to play pool but went shopping (looking around at things we could never afford) in Helsinki instead. Everything is so expensive here. Speaking of that, Do i have permission for shopping for Christmas presents for everyone? I have got the verdict from anyone about that.

Hey! We have a baptismal date. She is around 50. She is a pretty big time artist in Finland. I guess she has done some great projects from what we have heard. Her date is scheduled for Novmeber 27 so hopefully it stays on that day so Elder Hybarger can be here for it. We helped her do service the other day. I GOT TO CHOP WOOD!!! Finally! I have been wanting to do that for service for a long time. It was fun. We got to use this sweet tool called a vesari. I think it is called a bell hook is english. Maybe? That thing was awesome! We would cut the logs mostly and then we would give them to Elder Hybarger and he would lift them over his head and smash them a huge rock. Yes! 

How is everything going there? What's up? What are the Thanksgiving plans? What are the Christmas plans? It's only early November but the Christmas time season started here already. Christmas lights were even going up my last week in Lappeenranta. 

I want to get a Turkey Bowl going on the P-day of Thanksgiving week. I think it would be sweet.

Scott: Yes, there is an October in Finland and Yes, that was a dumb question :) haha. In order to avoid questions like these, this is why I clarified that the coins I sent you all weren't real! hahaha. I love you Scott :)

I love you all. I hope all is well.
Talk to you soon

Vanhin Behnke

p.s. Is Favre and Moss really on the same team?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November 2, 2010

Hey Family
I'm in Kerava. It's crazy that I'm in my fourth city already. Elder Watson is still in Joensuu!

Kerava is ok. It's nothing compared to the beauty of Savonlinna or Lappeenranta. It has a bunch of gold roads. I feel like Dorothy of the Wizard of Oz. I have a car though! So now I'm rolling around in my Opel. I learned how to drive a stick. I stalled twice at a stop light and couldn't get the car going and there was a huge line of cars behind me. Then, the light turned red and I was still there hahaha.

The 3 some is good. Elder Baccile is awesome and Elder Hybarger is way cool too. Elder Hybarger is crazy awesome at Finnish. With Elder Schoof, he said everything pretty simple and never used anything that I didn't know. With Elder Hybarger, I'm like a greenie all over again. He is crazy awesome. I'm going to learn so much! For our threesome, we are going to have a Tri-Wizard Tournamnet like in Harry Potter and compete in something every p-day. the 8th of November is bowling. Today, is pool. It's going down!

On Sunday, I wanted to do something fun going into this dinner appointment. In Finland, they always tell you to take more food if it tastes good and they always keep telling you to take food. So I decided that we were going to have to take more food everytime they offer us. We are NEVER playing this game again. We were dead. I have never eaten so much mashed potatoes in my life. Elder Baccile looked like he was ready to die. It was pretty funny when we would finish our plates and then she would say "take more!""ALRIGHT!!!" haha. Elder Hybarger was laughing the whole time and we were all ready to throw up. We ate so much food. It was pretty sweet that we are all so competetive that we couldn't give up.

Halloween isn't really celebrated here. Stores sell things but there really is no trick o treating. The ward here is pretty big. It's about 60 or members. I like it. They are really nice. We went to primary this Sunday and sang songs. Us 3 are going to be in the primary program the following the Sunday haha. It should be fun.

The thing that Scott set to me in Finnish makes no sense haha. It translates to something like this:

To strike astray you lots (lots= as in the casting of lots in the scripture sense). To make love to you a small amount neighbor.

Thanks Scott! I like it and I think I got the real meaning out of it :)  A little dose of how hard it was adjusting to Finnish that Finns speak.  In the MTC I learned, for example, how to say a statement like this:
I come from the building= Minä tulen talosta
Finns says it in a lot of ways, 1 common one is this: Talost mä tun

It's hard! :)

I love you all. Talk to you soon.

Vanhin Behnke

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 25, 2010

Hye family,

I'm leaving Lappeenranta and going to Kerava. Huge shock to me and Elder Schoof. We thought for sure that I was going to stay. Elder Schoof is training a new missionary in Turku. Kerava is a small town near Helsinki. I haven't heard good things from Elder Slade or really anyone about Kerava but it should all good because it's the Chritsmas season. My new companions are Elder Hybarger and Elder Baccile. So, I'm in another trio. This is Elder Hybarger's last change and I get to be with Elder Baccile which is sweet! Elder Hybarger is amazing at finnish so I'm super stoked to learn from him. He was Elder Gorringe's old companion so you can ask a lot about him from Sister Gorringe. I'm a little bummed that I won't be able to see H's baptism but it's ok. At least he is getting baptized.

A quick recap on the status of what is going on here.

H's date is set fro December 4th and he is ready for it. He is going for it and is keeping all the commitments with no problems. He truly is like the King which Ammon taught. "Yea, I ill believe all the words thou syaest." He will do everything we ask. He gained a pretty solid testimony from following the Word of Wisdom because he just feels great. We have covered all the commandments but just need to explain everything a little more and he is willing to do what it takes. He already refers to the church as "Our church." It's fanatstic.

N and T. They have the baptismal date for November 20th. They cancelled our last teach and we tried to get a hold of them but they never answered. We called her last night and she answered and said "call back later." We called her back later and she rejected our call. It's not looking too good. Hopefully, she is just busy. The new missionararies can hopefully get somethng set up with her.

E is still staying the same. Not progressing too fast but not falling away. Still keeping commitments for the most part but won't be baptized until her daughter accepts it. Maybe the change up of missionaries can help her out.

R.  We couldn't get an appointment scheduled with him but he is still willing to meet and still investigating.

F. New invetsigator. He is from Iraq. He speaks proficient Finnish. His family isn't too interested. He is very curious about the church and willing to learn and do more.

A.  Super busy and could just not get anything set up. It is very hard to get sure appointments with her.

Less actives: 
L - Taught about temples and knows that he needs to follow the Word of Wisdom in order to go. He has taken big steps in his process of getting rid of coffee and smoking. He is making progress.
A - Called us yestereday and wanted to come to church and needed a ride. Set one up and he came and asked for a Book of Mormon. He also gave Elder Schoof a referral for Turku. Cool.
I - Cancelled both of our appointments with him. Texted us and said that he doesn't want to have anymore talks about the church and said that it is easier for him to just stay away from the church. He also told us to not give his number to the new veljet coming in. Well, maybe the new velhet can help him out :)
S - Still sick and can't come.
P - All he needs is a ride to church and he is no longer inactive
V- Wants a big change in his life but not willing to do anything. Hopefully, the new veljet and keep trying to pump him with the gospel and helping him get more healthy activeness in his life.

I don't have a lot of time. So, I'm write you again next week.

Vanhin Behnke

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18, 2010

Hey Fam,

This is what I write to President Brown every week about who I am teaching.

H is coming along great! He has given up alcohol and feels great. He has also given up coffee. Teaching the Word of Wisdom was a breeze after reading DC:89. He understood it and wanted the blessings. He is now obeying the Word of Wisdom. Sweet! Things are going well. We taught him about faith and repentance and he understood pretty well. We are teaching him more about baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost tonight. 

N and T. Our 2 new baptismal dates! N is a gem. She is a referral from about a half a year ago who we just got in contact with. She has read half of the Book of Mormon already and believes that it is true. She is great! She said that she would be coming to church this upcoming Sunday.  We went over the first agenda with them and they both agreed to be baptized on the 20th of November. T doesn't seemed too thilled about it. He seems to be just going along because N is wanting to learn. But, we will take it! He said he would read the Book of Mormon and would come to church also. Perfect! We teach them again on Wednesday. I'm pretty excited.

E.  She just loves church. It's great. She always wants to come. Her daughter doesn't accept it still but E has told us that she will be baptized. Right now, she said she would be baptized on May 7th. At least, she knows baptismal is a goal right now. I want to get more women to her teaches. It will be a lot harder to plan with her place being a 20 minute drive away and no buses to get there. It's going slowly but well with E.

R asks the perfect questions and gives the perfect answers to questions. He understands authority and that you need it. He understands the apostasy and when we talked about the Great Apostasy, he asked if we were still in it. We said, "No," and he said, "That's good news." haha. It's coming well. He is reading. He doesn't want to come to church yet but he told us to keep asking him. Our goal next teach is to really help him understand prayer and how to get an answer and also about what happens at church. He has been to church twice but is really hesitant to come again. His family still isn't interested but it's still going really well with him.

A.  She was a former investigator who the missionaries stopped teaching because she didn't have any time to meet anymore. Very nice woman with 2 young daughters. Her daughters are pretty interested in God and she teaches them a lot about faith and all kinds of great things. She is a pretty amazing parent. We went in our first teach and wanted to do the agenda but we talked just about families and shared the Family: Proclamation to the World pamphlet and she loved it. She wanted two copies. One she wanted to send to her husband in America (they are at least separted from what we can tell). We want to establish more expectations tonight in our teach with her.

So we have 2 new baptismal dates!!! SWEEEEEEET! I'm pretty stoked!  

I got a pretty sweet package on Friday with candy and letters and Lawrence. Did you already send another package? I love the pictures. Scott is ridiculous at taking pictures. They are sweet! Huge improvemtn from the Loch Lowman pictures. haha. That is so awesome the the Packers won too. What a great trip! I have been addcited to the paddle ball in there. The skeleton you sent didn't have a head haha. I wore the orange tie to N and T's teach and got 2 baptismal dates. LUCKY TIE! I love the cereal you sent! I really don't like Finnish cereal. I was very excited to see Count Chocula.Thanks! Next package in the future items: a couple of pens, maybe a couple mechanical pencils, COUGH DROPS, and that's all I can think of.

I haven't heard from the guys yet. I don't know what to do about writing Mckay since he is almost done. 

The temperature isn't 8 degrees nor 45. It's arouand 25 I would say. It was snowed twice but very little. No snow really stuck to the ground. It was raining quite a bit the past couple of weeks but it has died down. My bike broke and I'm pretty upset. I'm going to at least go try and sell it back and maybe get something for it. I'm kind of angry about it. I'm going to try and hold off on buying a bike until I can get a cheaper one, way cheaper.The picture of me by the water is in a place called Kotka. Elder Cassity (picture of him on the bus) and I went there when I was in Kouvola. Kotka is awesome. there is a lot of old buildings and streets and the whole town smells like fresh bread because of the huge bread factory there.

What do I do every day. Honestly, I preach the gospel. I go from appointment to appointment talking to people on the way. I knock doors when I have time but lately, it has been a rush trying to teach everyone so I don't do that so much anymore. I get an hour lunch break and an hour dinner break. I haven't cooked since Savonlinna. Elder Butler and Elder Schoof love to cook and don't trust me. I don't know why they don't trust me :) We eat Kebab every monday after email from Vatan Kebab where my Turkish homies work. 

My year mark was pretty fun I guess. I made bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns. Elders Powell and Balls were there for splits. Elder Balls and I went on splits. I ran into so many Russians. It was ridiculous. I got to pratcice my Russian though. I can say I :"Do you speak Russian?" and "I don't speak Russian." It is pretty fun. You should get in contact with a Vladimir Falk, recent RM, and ask him to give you some simple phrases in Russian with Finnish pronunciation like *Thank you" "Yes" "No" "Hello" "good bye"

I'm out of time. I only get an hour. Until Next week.

I love you all
Vanhin Behnke

Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11, 2010

The new look for Finnish missionaries!  :)
Hei Family,

Here is a rundown of what is going on. 

Were in shape for another big week. We got a "shot at the title!" We are hoping to get 20 teaches this week and reach the world standard of excellence. The only thing that is hurting us is time. We have 5 appointments with potential investigators set up. It should be a huge week.

E. She came to church as usual and loves it which is wonderful. We talked to her again about baptism and she said that she will be baptized. She told us that she will be baptized at the end of next spring. So we have that going on. Her daughter still doesn't accept it and she is still scared. We are just supportive and still continueing to teach her. The pictures are working out great. We are planning on limiting our teaching visits to her. She lives too far away and isn't progressing fast enough to visit so often. 

H came to church! He liked it and said he would try to come every week. He has stopped drinking alcohol and feels great. He has given it up for about a month and he told that he has saved about 80 euros from it. He is pretty excited about it. Giving up coffee may be a big obstacle for him. He told us that he loves us because it gives him that kick in the morning. We plan to teach him about the word of wisdom next because he seems to always ask questions about it right before we leave. His baptismal date is looking a little shaky. He is not sure if he will be ready in time for it. He also thinks that he needs a suit first before he can join. He is coming along just fine. 

R is a new investigator we found this week. He was a former potential investigator from about 5 years ago that we decided to go back and visit. He answered the door and told us that he has met with us before that he isn't interested. We kept talking to him for awhile and got to know him and what he was taught. He then told us that if we were ever in the area, we were welcome to come back. We set up an appointment and went back. We taught him the first agenda during the first teach and his family didn't sit in with us. We read with him a little from the introduction of the Book of Mormon. And he told us that, "So you want me to read this, ponder it, and pray about to know if it's is true." We said, "Yes." He said, "Yah, I can do that." So that is what he is doing. On our next visit, he had been reading the testimonies of the Book of Mormon first beofre he wanted to start reading it. We taught him about families and he loved it. He was really into the fact that he can be with his family forever. We told him about how he can be sealed by the Priesthood with his family eternally in the temple. He was really interested in temples and priesthood. It was a very awesome teach. It's going really well with him.

H (a different H) is our other new investigator who was also a former potential investigator from the area book. He is an older man in a wheelchair. He has MS and is all there mentally but his body is not. Because he has MS, his motor skills are giving out on him. He is nearly impossible for us to understand. We can understand some but whoa is it hard. We brought Piispa Silvennoinen with us and he told us that we should probably not go to his place without a member because it was even pretty hard for him. He is so so interested and it is hard for him to read so we are ordering the Mormonin Kirja Äänikirja for him to listen to it. 

Less actives. Nothing new has happened. We are teaching 5 still but nothing groundbreaking has taken place yet. All are still in there same spots as last time. We are really hoping to get V back into the ward. Piispa is so excited that we are teaching him. Hopefully, we can help him get back. We want to teach Veli laapio about the temple more and how he needs to get there. Lots of work to do. 

Things are happening here. Our district has found 12 new investigators last week and has 5 baptismal dates. This is huge. 

How is everything back home? I'm in second place in the picks!!! SWEET!!! Do we know if Scott got the job yet? How is Ellie's tennis things going along? I promised pictures and I will send them to you. I got a letter from the Logans. Will you please thank them for me?

I hit my year as a missionary mark on Thursday. It's splits so when Elder Balls gets here might go eat somewhere fun. I'm making a big breakfast. BREAKFAST BURRITOS!!! However, my official hump day isn't until November 3rd. That is when I will be home. I was in the mission office when I was down in Helsinki a couple changes back and I saw the list of when everyone leaves and that is mine. So that's when it is. 

Story Alert. After a teach, Elder Schoof and I were riding home to go eat dinner and we saw a Kebab place. So, we decided to eat there instead. Elder Schoof is telling a story and I take a bite of kebab. I started to choke on it and Elder Schoof was telling his story and didn't noticed. I couldn't breathe and I was freaking out. I couldn't even cough. It was a seriously scary moment. I fell on the booth of the restaurant dinner and Elder Schoof started to notice that smoething was happening. I'm kicking all over the place and something tells me to calm down, relax. So I do it that and then something says to swollow and I swollow and big piece and spit the rest of it up. Then I could breathe again. Elder Schoof is wondering what heck happened. It was crazy but I'm alive. This is probably not a story to put on a blog (of course it is says Donna!!). It was pretty cool how I was guided out of it. Just know that despite the bike crashes and choking, you son is still safer than ever out here. Anyway, the kebab was pretty good :)

That's all I have for you. Take care. I'll talk to you all soon. 

Love you all,
Vanhin Behnke

Elder Behnke's apartment - looks rather spacious actually:
Nice kitchen......I like that there are no dishes in the sink, well done Elders!
Elder Schoof
The view from the Elders apartment - Hot Lips Sex Shop - funny!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Occtober 4, 2010

Hei Family,
I hope all is going well and that you enjoyed conference. Elder Schoof and I ended up going to Mikkeli with Elder Powell and Elder Balls. I traveled by bus. It was around a 2 hour bus ride. We got there on Friday night. We had splits the next day leading up to the first session of conference which started at 7:00 p.m. here. We watched it in English. We had ice cream at the end of each session :) The flavors were orange, chocolate nougat, berry, and a blend of chocolate,vanilla, and strawberry. 
Conference. It was a pretty good one. Elder Uchtdorf's talk on pride in the priesthood session was pretty spectactular. That is one you need to watch. It was a really powerful one. I think I loved Elder Uchtdorf's talk on simplicity the most. He talked about Vince Lombardi! I thought it was so good. I really thought it was funny how he opened it with the tree rings. "I know what you are thinking, what in the world does this have to do with flying an airplane." That was really funny.  That talk was so good. I like the quote he brought up from Leonardo Di Vinci which says "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." I liked it. I also liked the story of the astronauts and how their ball point pens wouldn't work and NASA spends millions of dollars to invite an anti-gravity pen. Then he aksed so what did they use then until that time? a pencil" It was great. Those 2 were probably my favorites. But looking back, they were all so good. I like all of the First presidency's talks, Elder Holland's, Elder Christofferson's, Elder David M. McConkie's, Elder Patrick M. Nelson's (maybe becuase of his awesome accent, but the talk was still awesome too) from Priesthood session, Elder Scott's, Elder Packer's, Elder Oaks', Elder Bednar's, Elder Maryn B. Arnold's, and Elder Ballard's. So yah, pretty much all of them I loved. What about you? Tell me more about what you liked.
Does Thunderridge throw all the time?  Tell Hunter that "I'm super-duper of proud of him". I'm sorry about Hunter's collarbone. That super duper sucks (haha) but that seriosuly is a bummer. He is a tosi mies (real man).  I'm  trying to bring back the phrase "super-duper" as well as the thumbs up. I taught Sister Voima the thumbs up haha. It was funny. Do you still talk to Sister Summerhays? 
I think Zach T. is out for the year. Is Justin playing? I haven't heard from Chris in a while. I got a letter from Todd. He wants to join in on the letter forwarding thing that you do. What else is going on?

Sorry about pictures. Next week. I'm still in Mikkeli and leave back to LPR today. I don't know how to really work this computer. Next time, I will send pictures.

Oh ya,
I got sick this past week with the flu that like every one in LPR has. So that sucked. Today, I woke up with pink eye in both eyes. It's an advenure here. haha
Splits with Elder Powell went really well. He is amazing at speaking finnish. I was struck at first. He was so good. I always heard he was good but I didn't think that good. It was a fun splits. We found a new investigator down here and scheduled a couple of appointments with some new people for them. It went really well. Today, we are going to check out the Mikkeli prison gift shop. We thought it was just hilarious that they have a prison gift shop so we are going to check that out.
How are things at home?  Who won conference bingo?
Let me know. I love you all.
Vanhin Behnke 
Well, I love you all
Take care,
Vanhin Behnke
p.s. I would love to hear all about their trip

Monday, September 27, 2010

September 27, 2010

Hei Perheni,

The news is saying that this winter is going to be the coldset winter in a thousand years!!!!........ so I got that going for me :)   

I got a ton of stuff for the winter. I don't need you to send me anykind of clothing. I'm good. If not, it would be best if I brought it from Finland anyway. So do not worry about sending me clothes.

So, this past week I was in a city called Kouvola with Elder Cassity. Elder Cassity is a stud. He reminds a lot of Drew Boettcher but not, if you get what I'm saying. It was a lot of fun. We talked about how much we loved our moms :)   We had a ton of success in that 4 day span. A new investigator, like 4 teaches, a grip of future appointments, and a baptismal date. Kouvola is going really well right now. 
       We had a teach with a Jehovah Witness. Whoa. That was unique. He didn't believe in the Book of Mormon (obviously) and he didn't believe in the Bible we had, so we had nothing he wanted to use. He had his New World Translation Bible which he said was extremely accuurate. haha. We said ok and we tried to use the same references from the regular Bible with his bible and it was ridiculous. Talk about losing plain and precious things. Our scriptures didn't even make sense to him. In short, the New World Translation Bible is not true :) Don't convert to JWism. 
       We taught a man who knows more about the church than we do. He knows it is true and said he will join after he reads more. He has already read the Work and the Glory. Practically a member already. The cool story about him is he was walking down the street and dropped something. He later went back to get it and then came walking "2 angels" as he called them and talked to him about the gospel. He couldn't remember one of the elder's names but he remembers one of them. He said he was stopped by Elder Fuchs and his companion. I was pretty stoked to hear about that. I told them that Elder Fuchs was my good friend and he said with a huge smile on that he was also his good friend. Really cool story. Go Fuchs! What a compliment!
        Elder Cassity also called up a former investigator and she wanted to meet. We go over there and she was completely uninterested. We talked to her for about 45 minutes and we weren't getting anywhere. She said "All you want to do is just baptize, baptize, baptize." We both, at like the same time, said "Well,... yah" haha. It wasn't going far so we tried to leave. She told us we couldn't leave until we ate with some of this bread. She brings out 3 kinds of breads and make us eat it. It was just weird. 2 of them were pretty good. 1 loaf was horrible. Elder Cassity takes one bite and hides behind a box while I'm soaking mine in honey trying to dull the flavor. It was an adventure.

I don't have much else. 

Christmas. IT'S COMING!!! It may not be close to you all, but it feels like it is just around the corner here. I don't want anything excpet, letters, Grandma's fudge, Mom's turtles, and Dad's box of football cards (just get a super cheap box, I just need the feel of it). There is so much cool stuff here. Money would be nice, But I want those first 4 things. Don't buy me any clothes to send me. These things are what I want. Dad, am I allowed to send things or no? I don't know what you all want me to do.

Ellie also told me that she got a passport. I really hope you don't plan to pick me up after the mission. It's going to be cold and I can't do anything as a missionary. I'm also pretty stoked to fly home with my group. I'm just making sure. 

I love you all. Take care. I'm excited for the letters you sent.

Vanhin Behnke

p.s. i talked to Elder Higginson on the phone. He sounded glorious

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

Hei Family,

How is it all going over there? Did Scotty get the job?

The weather. There seems to be a lot of demand to know about the weather here. It rains almost daily. We had an hour long bike ride to an investigator in the pouring rain. It was great. I'm trying to learn all 7 verses of A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief with Elder Schoof on those huge bike rides. The investigator is an older woman and has a lot of troubles comprehending and remembering. We will teach her, and then she won't really remember us visiting the next time we meet with her sometimes. She's great though. She believes it's all true. She's also making me socks which I'm pretty happy to get. :)
The 4 day Leadership Training Meeting is this week. they are taking all the senior companions down for it. So, I am going to Kouvola for this week. I'll be with the Elder Cassity which I'm really super syked for! I really like Elder Cassity. It's going to be to be pretty cool. I got your letter. The package is going to have to wait in Lappeenranta until I get back. I'll just call up the FedEX lady and let her know what's up. We're tight.

Yah. I'm trying to make everything more fun. The 300 idea was mine and Elder Schoof liked it. I'm just trying to spice up a same type routine day. You like to know the fun things I do. I don't think I have many. I have a huge bowl of ice cream for every weekly planning meeting. Sometimes I like pretend my bike is Seabiscuit and ride past Elder Schoof while I narrate it like Tick-Tock McClaughlin; "And it's Seabiscuit, around the outisde. He's passing War Admiral. War Admiral is behind him now. It's Seabiscuit!!! Seabiscuit!!!" And then I cheer as I get up on my pedals and my clutch my "horse whacker thing" like I won. I'm pretty dorky :) Speaking of bikes. I fell off mine hardcore the other day. I ran into a bike a flew off and smacked my head and side. My hands were completely gashed up and covered in blood. Luckily, i was wearing a helmet (Thank you white handbook missionary rules (( obedience ;) ))) and my helmet took the skidding instead of my face. Now, today is Monday, and my hands are completely healed. GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT!!!!

Things are going well though. We have been teaching a lot more effectively. We just need to find more investigators. 

Oh ya. Please say thank you to Deb Holub from me. I really loved and appreciate the card she sent. She is a wonderful wonderful person. The best. As for letters, I haven't had time still to write Drew back and I did get letters from Todd and Abbey. I haven't heard from Chris in a awhile but I'm sure he is doing just fine. 

Things are going. I love you all. Finnish is still hard if you were wondering. Take care and I will talk to you all next week.

Vanhin Behnke

Saturday, September 18, 2010

September 13, 2010

Hei family,

Things are going well here. we leave for Helsinki tomorrow for a specialized training meeting. It should be fun. The weather is nice. It has rained a little bit but I like it. new investigators and our "guy" is in Helsinki for 2 weeks. How is everything over there?

I got the Bailey report. So I know that he is dating some nice young gal. What a stud. I give him before my year mark in the field before he gets engaged. I did hear about Elder Bryant. That's crazy! He was just here. He'll probably be a father before I get home!!! Haven't seen Elder Higginson yet. Dang it. Elder Schoof and I have to go somewhere for General Conference. It's a toss up between Mikkeli and Lahti. I got chance to see him if that's where we go. I'm trying
As for cooking. I haven't cooked since Savonlinna. Elder Butler and Elder Schoof love to cook and don't trust me. :) So I haven't gotten any better at all yet. I

How is Scotty doing? Did he get the job?

I did get he Kozak's treats. I forgot to write about that. They were awesome. They were gone in 2 days. Feel free to always send more. :)

As for not teaching Muslims. In their religion, if you convert to another religion it has a high chance to disgrace their family. By disgracing the family, they are allowed to kill you. In the muslim culture, death is really not something to fear and the radical muslims do some pretty nuts things (terrorism). It isn't so much that we arenät allowed to teach Muslims but if their family is on the radical side, bad things can happen (in example, a missionary gets blown up by a suicide bomber; true story). They are ok to teach if the their family isn't like that. If they were to except the gospel here, they probaböy would except it after this life as well. So we just got to keep our heads on.

I loved the pictures you sent.

Donna Head got her package. Super. I hope they all liked it.

The Less Active LOVED the card dad sent. Dad came up big. I knew he would :) He has a request. He wants to know if he can get the latest edition of the Pro Sporting News NFL Guide or somethinbg like that. I'm sure dad knows what is up.

I have a question. We have been teaching about tithing a little bit. How has tithing helped you all?

That's all i got today.

Love you all

Vanhin Behnke

Monday, September 6, 2010

September 6, 2010

Moi Perheeni,

I hope I didn't scare anyone with the "answer my questions in the next email" thing. That was just a heads up. Everything is just fine:) No worries.

Big News. We have a baptismal date here in Lappeenranta! I'm pretty happy about it. (He is a big finn! He is about 6'5" like 300 pounds. He has long hair and super nice. We met him on the street a couple of weeks ago. He was walking down the street with his headphones on and he just stopped and took of his head phones and just stared at us waiting for us to talk to him. We did and BAM! the date is on November 6th which is prettyfar away but still really awesome. Another investigator is knitting Elder Schoof and I socks. Also, we are now officially "in" with all the kebab guys from Vatan Kebab. YES!

I got a phone call the other day from a Finnish woman telling me she was going to be at our apartment in two minutes. We had no idea who it was or what was going on. We went outside and it was the FedEX lady, YAH!!! So i got your package. At the moment, Elders Schoof, Linn, Slade, Groberg, Gamblin, and Baccile all have Ellie bracelets. Thanks for the socks. Great present. I haven't noticed it until you said something Mom. Dad has always thrown in some random piece of choclate. I'm always like what he does he send me haha. That's funny that it's all been apart of his plan. What a crazy guy :)

We had a special missionary conference yesterday and Elder Rasband and Elder Texiera came and spoke to us. Pretty cool. Elder Rasband is in line to be the next apostle and you can tell. There was such a difference when he spoke than everyone else. Cool. I got to see Elder Christiansen and Lytle again. They're training, together, hahahaa! The greatest possible thing they could of ever wanted just happened to them. That's really awesome. I got to see Elder Falk for the last time. The man.

That's all I have for you at this time. Take care! I love you all!

Vanhin Behnke

Monday, August 30, 2010

August 30, 2010

Hey family
I have a request. I need socks. Everything in Finland is out-of-control expensive and i don't know where to find the gold toes wool socks I got from Mr. Mac. If you could, please, send me a ton of just the black socks (becuase black goes with everything) because I'm getting holes in my other ones. That would be wonderful!

Where does Drew want me to send his letter?

I'm turning my picks in next week. I hope that is what Dad wants.

We got 14 teaches this week. A lot of people are sick and a lot of teaches for us fell through. 14 is still way good though.

Elder Groberg and I on splits went and tried that burger place and it was really good. I really liked it. No In-n-Out but good enough. Quick story. Elder Schoof and I were contacting the streets and this Turkish man outside of his Kebab shop starts talking to us. He is muslim and we can't really preach to muslims so we just starting talking to him. he told us to come back to his shop and eat and he will give us free drinks. So we go back and he makes us this unbelievable kebab! He pulls out this fresh bread and stuffs extra meat in it with this two really good sauces (Kebab is lamb; information). It was awesome and only 5£. I think to really understand the awesomeness of this kebab experience is to have been a missionary in Finland. For you all though, just know that it was awesome. So far, I know the FedEx lady, Kebab lady,and the Bike guy (due to bike purchases and repairs frm Elder Schoof and I). My quest for taking Finland has some new additions to the team. :)

For dad, I had reindeer soup. It was pretty good. Just thought I would let you know

Everyone loves Ellie's braclets. Elder Gamblin and Groberg want one. They are a huge hit in the Finnish mission. 

It is getting colder. Woo! I kind of like the winter here. Everyone is so unhappy because it is dark and cold that it makes missionaries' smiles stand out so much more. :) Should be a colder one this year. Bring it on.

All i got. Love you. 

Nähdään (see you later)