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