December 30, 2014

Finland Helsinki Mission

Free resources about the Finland Helsinki Mission:

Finland Helsinki Mission Address

Here’s a recent address for the Helsinki Mission. We try to keep this information up to date, but it’s a good idea to check the address with several sources, including your mission packet or the mission office.

Mission Office: (as of June 20, 2015)
Upseerinkatu 3 C
02600 Espoo
Finland

Phone Number: 358-9-696-2750
Mission President: President Wayne T. Watson

Finland Helsinki Mission Map

Here’s a link to the mission map for the Helsinki Mission (LDS). To access the official, up-to-date LDS.org map for the Helsinki Mission:

  1. Log into your LDS account here.
  2. Click here.

Videos with Finland RMs

Here are in-depth YouTube video interviews with returned missionaries from the Finland Helsinki Mission.  We interview hundreds of returned missionaries each year, so check back regularly to see new RM interviews.

mission interview  mission interview  mission interview  mission interview  mission interview  mission interview

LDS-Friendly Videos about Finland

Here are LDS-friendly educational videos about Finland. We scoured YouTube to find the best quality videos about Finland, that are free from inappropriate music, immodesty and profanity.

LDS Church  history  food  nature  mission calls  time lapses

Finland Helsinki Missionary Blogs

Here’s a list of LDS missionary blogs for the Finland Helsinki Mission. This list includes the missionary’s name, URL and when their blog was updated.

*Send your missionary a gift (mission-specific shirts, ties, Christmas stockings/ornaments, pillowcases, etc.)

Elder Bryce Naylor elderbrycenaylor.blogspot.com 2017
Sister Jessica Carter sistercarterfinland.blogspot.com 2017
Sister Anna Wilson sisterannawilson.wordpress.com 2017
Sister Karissa Carter trustyergut.wordpress.com 2016
Sister Rebecca Clark sisarrebeccaclark.blogspot.com 2016
Sister Chelsea Roberts sisarroberts.blogspot.com 2016
Sister Schyler Jordan finnishingthegloriouswork.blogspot.com 2016
Elder & Sister Brasher brasherfinland.blogspot.com 2016
Elder & Sister Hunt thehuntsmission.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Kyle Robison elderkylerobison.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Richard Warner tohelsinkiandback.wordpress.com 2016
Elder Weston Ford amifinnishyet.blogspot.com 2016
Sister Emily Kwok finnishingthework.blogspot.com 2016
Elder David Milligan elderdavidmilligan.blogspot.com 2016
Sister Hayley Knapp hayleyinhelsinki.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Olivia Bitner sisteroliviabitner.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Karlan Hansen sisterkarlanlhansen.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Zedekiah Jensen zedinfinland.wordpress.com 2015
Elder Gregory Wilson eldergregorywilson.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Kathryn Crandall kathryncrandall.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Alayna Hübner finnishsunshine.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Jenessa Nielsen jenessanielsen.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Chelsie Heggie chelsiefinland.blogspot.com 2014
Elder Travis Chapman travischapman.org 2014
Elder Joshua Cummings elderjc.weebly.com 2014
Elder Greg Waite elderwaitefinland.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Merinda Dayton sisarmerinda.blogspot.com 2014
Elder William Perry elderwilliamperry.blogspot.com 2013
Elder McKay Hansen eldermckayhansen.blogspot.com 2013
Elder & Sister France theralphandfreddieshow.blogspot.com 2013
Missionary Couple soininens.blogspot.com 2011
Missionary Couple ourfinnishmission.blogspot.com 2011
Elder Austin Hamner elderhamner.blogspot.com 2011
Elder Brian Behnke brianbehnkefinland.blogspot.com 2011
Elder Thomas Nielsen elderthomasnielsen.blogspot.com 2011

Finland Helsinki Mission Groups

Here are Finland Helsinki Mission Groups- for LDS missionary moms, returned missionaries, mission presidents and other alumni of the Helsinki Mission.

  1. Finland Helsinki Mission Facebook Group (667 members)
  2. Finland Helsinki East Mission Facebook Group (46 members)
  3. Called to Serve in the Finland Helsinki Mission Group (26 members)
  4. Finland Helsinki Mission Facebook Group (17 members)

Finland Helsinki Mission T-Shirts

Here are T-shirts for the Finland Helsinki Mission!

Shirt designs include Finland Helsinki Mission logo/emblem shirts and Called to Serve shirts. The shirts make great gifts for pre-missionaries, returned missionaries and missionaries currently serving. LDS Mission shirts come in all sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, up to 4XL.  The mission designs are printed on white shirts and are shipped to you.

*Simply click on a shirt design to view the details and submit an order. The designs on mission t-shirts may also be printed on other LDS mission gifts, including: Finland Helsinki missionary aprons, Christmas stockings, ties, pillow cases, teddy bears and Christmas ornaments.

*Click here to browse Finland Mission gifts

finland-helsinki-lds-mission-shirt-1 finland-helsinki-lds-mission-shirt-2 finland-helsinki-lds-mission-shirt-3 finland-helsinki-lds-mission-shirt-4 finland-helsinki-lds-mission-shirt-5 finland-helsinki-lds-mission-shirt-6

Finland Helsinki Mission Presidents

Here’s a list of current and past Mission Presidents of the Helsinki LDS Mission.

  1. 2017-2020, Ilkka Aura
  2. 2014-2017, Wayne T. Watson
  3. 2011-2014, Douglas M. Rawlings
  4. 2008-2011, David Blaine Brown
  5. 2005-2008, Phillip Estes
  6. 1999-2002, Kim M. Johnson
  7. 1996-1999, P, Lyn Thompson
  8. 1993-1996, Roger T. Fuller
  9. 1990-1993, J. Lewis Taylor
  10. 1987-1990, Steven Mecham
  11. 1984-1987, Melvin J. Luthy
  12. 1981-1984, E. Arnold Isaacson
  13. 1978-1981, James M. Parker
  14. 1975-1978, Stephen B. Mahoney
  15. 1972-1975, Robert Wade
  16. 1969-1972, Orval Nelson
  17. 1966-1969, Udell Poulsen
  18. 1964-1966, J. Malcolm Asplund
  19. 1961-1964, Mark E. Anderson
  20. 1958-1961, John Ruby Warner
  21. 1955-1958, Phileon B. Robinson
  22. 1947-1954, Henry A. Matis

Finland LDS Statistics (2015)

  • Church Membership: 4,902
  • Missions: 1
  • Temples: 1
  • Congregations: 30
  • Family History Centers: 26

Helpful Articles about Finland

Coming soon..

Finland Helsinki Missionary Survey

Here are survey responses from Finland Helsinki RMs, to give you a snapshot into what it’s like to live in the mission.

When did you serve?

  • 1968-1970 (Piret)
  • 1990-1991 (Matt)
  • 1987-1989 (Paul)
  • 1990-1992 (George)
  • 1983-1985 (Ron)
  • 2001-2003 (Katrina)
  • 1998-2000 (David)
  • 2005-2007 (Jennifer)
  • August 2013-March 2015 (Tora)
  • April 2013-May 2015 (Daniel)

What were some favorite foods?

  • Korvapuustit, new potatoes with pickled herring, viili; maammi, anything served at the Lozzi (except maksapaisti) at Jyvaskyla university (do missionaries still eat there?), icecream, karajalanpiiraka, koyhatrittarit, OK everything!!!! (except as above) (Piret)
  • PannuKakku, Chunt, Oltermanni Cheese (PLEASE SOMEONE FIND THIS CHEESE IN THE USA) (Matt)
  • Rye Bread, Makkara, Ice Cream, Reindeer, Meat Pies and Musli. (Paul)
  • Makkara. (George)
  • Makkara, Atomi Piiraka, Grape Jaffa (grapefruit flavored soft drink), chocolate. (Ron)
  • Rahka, berries, kiisseli, bread and edam cheese, elk/reindeer and potatoes, riisipiirakka, egg butter, salmon. (Katrina)
  • Jogurtti keksit, jogurtti, riisipiirakka, pannukakku, ruisleipä, hernekeitto, kylmäsavustettu lohi, mustikkapiirakka, kalakeitto, perunalaatikko, kiisseli, makara, korvapuusti, vispipuuro, makaronilaatikko, kanttarellikeitto, Fazer Suklaa, salmiakki, Sima, poronkäristys, glögi. (David)
  • Rye bread, strawberries, ice cream, chocolate, cheese and yogurt. (Jennifer)
  • Karjalan piirakka (rice mush packed in rye dough- okay, it sounds weird, but it’s delicious!), kermarahka (a dessert and/or side-dish, dairy product mixed with whipped cream and often they add some fruit or berries- fresh and wonderful summer dessert, but really good anytime of the year!). Salmon soup! They make the BEST salmon soup! Be prepared! Pulla! Again, dessert. We have it in Norway too, but they are really good at making different kinds! Tons of butter and way good! not too sweet. Rye bread. Healthy and delicious! (Tora)
  • Karjalanpiirakoita, glögi, makaronilaatikko, ruisleipä. (Daniel)

What was a funny experience?

  • Watching my companion bite into a chocolate while I was teaching a lesson and seeing his face turn into this horrific look as he started gagging and coughing and ultimately racing around and finding a garbage can and spitting and coughing. He’d bit into a liquor filled chocolate and it gushed out in his mouth. Neither of us had even heard of those yet. The investigator thought he was dying, I was dying after I saw the look on his face. You always had to be careful biting into chocolates after that. (Matt)
  • Seeing people answer their doors without putting clothes on. (Paul)
  • We went to pick up the outgoing mission president from the hotel he was staying at until they flew home. They were late, so we went to a local bakery to grab a pastry. When we returned, we discovered that he had driven the car back to the office–leaving us on the other side of town. We had to walk about five miles back to the office. (Ron)
  • My greenie tried to talk to a drunk man and he tried to kiss her. (Katrina)
  • Any time I slipped and fell on the ice. It happened a lot! It was funnier when it was my companion who fell. (Jennifer)
  • Running for SO many buses! It was a really good workout! Biking in rainstorms, icy roads, heavy snow and steaming sunshine! All the bike skills you learn! Seeing different people’s reactions to you stopping your bike to talk to them about the Gospel! I wish I had used the advantage more- if you’re on a bike, use it well! When they see you stop your bike, they know you’ve got something for them, so use it well! One specific experience was meeting a guy down at the harbor. We had seen him stand basically on the exact same spot about three hours earlier. It turned out he was waiting for a girl he knew would have to pass that area sometime that night. In the middle of the conversations he sprints off after a biking girl. He stops her, talks with her and comes back. It wasn’t her. We talk a little bit, and mid-conversation he takes off again, this time he doesn’t come back and we move on. Some week or so later we meet him again, on the opposite side of town this time, still looking for the girl, this time following a tip he’s gotten that she might live close by to the area we’re currently in and he still takes of mid-sentence to chase down biking girls that pass us by! We still don’t know if he ever found his girl! (Tora)
  • On the way to District meeting during the winter, my companion and I forgot the train tickets. So we ran as fast as we could back home to get the tickets.  On the way back, I slipped on some ice hard core and it looked just like the Charlie Brown slip. (Daniel)

What was a crazy/dangerous experience?

  • Riding a bike (hated it). (Piret)
  • We (allegedly) climbed over a fence and climbed to the very top of the Lahti Olympic Ski lift to get some awesome pictures. I’m scared of heights and being arrested, so I was scared. We got some good pictures though. Avanto seemed crazy and dangerous, but fun. We also got super tired of eating only macaroni, so we may have allegedly grabbed a couple of ducks from the park and had duck for thanksgiving instead of Makkarra. (Matt)
  • I was never in danger. Drunks sometimes would shout funny things at us. (Paul)
  • Avanto. (George)
  • Some drunk kids threw their beer bottles at us as we rode by them on our bikes. Riding bikes on frozen bike paths (even with our steel studded tires) is very hazardous! (Ron)
  • My companion started to enter an apartment when a man extended us an obscene invitation to come in, because she didn’t understand it. (Katrina)
  • Any time I slipped and fell on the ice. I never got seriously injured, but you never know. Otherwise, Finland is extremely safe. Even as a sister missionary walking a night, I felt very safe. Nothing untoward ever happened. (Jennifer)
  • A drunk guy almost kissed us! He held back our bikes and came really close up and kept touching our nametag and shoulders. In the end, I half-way yelled out, “YEAH, WE TALK ABOUT CHRIST A LOT!” He staggers backwards in shock and we get on our bikes in a hurry while yelling at him to come to church on Sunday! (Tora)
  • Finland wasn’t too dangerous.  (Daniel)

What was a spiritual experience?

  • Teaching an entire family who has so many questions; my tov wasn’t good at Finnish and I’d only been out 8-9 months (before MTC) , but somehow the spirit helped me answer their questions. When we left my tov asked what I’d been telling them and I said “I don’t know”. (Piret)
  • Tracting into an old woman and having her deny us at the door after spending almost a full minute getting to the door, barely able to stand. We left the talo but had a strong feeling to go back. We debated it a long time but finally decided to go back. We knocked on the door, knowing how agonizingly hard it was for her to get up and come across the room. She answered the door and instead of our normal pitch we just said we felt like the Lord had sent us and we could bless her and help her with her sickness. She broke down crying and asked us to come in, and we gave her a blessing. (Matt)
  • Baptizing and Zone Conferences. (Paul)
  • Mission President J. Lewis Taylor’s love exemplified in his teaching. (George)
  • Teaching. Seeing the beautiful countryside! (Ron)
  • I was always terrified to talk to people, but one time the spirit was so strong at a man’s door that I snatched The Book of Mormon out of my companion’s hands and took over by bearing my testimony of it. I know he felt it too. (Katrina)
  • The dedication of the Helsinki Temple. Just the pinnacle of my entire mission. (Jennifer)
  • Maybe one of the most beautiful experiences was with a Chinese girl going by the name Cecilie. She came for a church tour and LOVED it! She said the prayer at the end, felt the spirit so strongly and admitted to it. She was glowing! Then she “fell off the planet”- she wouldn’t answer calls, texts, nothing. After a couple of weeks we got a call from another former Chinese investigator (with whom we also had very special experiences, and we found her in a very special way! We went trying to find a really old former investigator, and she had moved in instead. At first she thought we wanted to buy her apartment, as she was moving out soon, but then when she heard about Christ she wanted to learn more. We watched her bloom and grow in faith! Unfortunately she became content with the progress she had made and cancelled her baptism, but she remained a good friend, and one day, she will feel a need for more! (Anyway, back to Cecilie’s story) So this former investigator called us, and told us Cecilie wanted to talk to us, and that we had to all her, because her phone doesn’t work properly. Turns out she had travelled to Denmark and been accused for being a terrorist and interrogated for 10 days before she could come back to Finland! She had come back just the day before, and was moving out of the country the day after. She had been praying SO hard that they would let her go, so that she would have time and reach her flight to move, and she did! And she was so grateful for prayer! We gave her all the pamphlets in Chinese, and she hugged them saying, I REALLY need this!! What a beautiful day! (Tora)
  • Too many to say but one was when I invited my second investigator to be baptized. (Daniel)

What are some interesting facts about the Helsinki mission?

  • I was the first Australian and first Estonian called to serve in Finland. We didn’t get ANY language instruction before arriving. Most of the sisters were Finnish or from Idaho. (Piret)
  • I only served in four cities, I only had five companions. I tended to be with companions for a very long time. Poor companions. I got in a terrible bike accident, and whacked my head pretty good. The next appointment we went to was with an Estonian member. She had Estonian news on the TV and I spent a solid 10 minutes terrified I’d lost my Finnish because Estonian sounds exactly like Finnish but it’s not. I thought I was back to ground zero. She laughed and laughed. (Matt)
  • We probably had the most difficult mission, yet most missionaries are raising strong families and are still strong in the Gospel and miss the country immensely. (Paul)
  • I tore the ligaments in my ankle playing basketball on P-day. I was hospitalized and operated on. My hospital “room” housed 18 beds and I got to be there with 17 other men. It kept me from getting lonely. They offered to pay me for my lost wages. I had to explain to them that I didn’t get paid to be a missionary–rather, I was there on my own time and own money. That astounded them! (Ron)
  • We used to be allowed to sauna with members and investigators, and do cool things afterwards like avanto (jumping in a hole in the ice), swimming three strokes in the ocean, and rolling in the snow. The area authorities put a stop to it halfway through my mission. (Katrina)
  • Helsinki is on the same latitude as Anchorage, Alaska. So you get the similar endless summer days, where the sun seems to never set. And the very short winter ones. (Jennifer)
  • It’s growing SO STRONG! There’s a promise that there will be a period of the second harvest for this country, and that is NOW! It progressed immensely while I was there, and now it’s taking off! The emails I get are so full of miracles, people coming to church and baptismal dates being set! There is a whole new level of faith and commitment among members and missionaries! (Tora)
  • Finland goes above the artic circle, was the only country to pay off all war reparations after WWII, and angry birds comes from Finland.  (Daniel)

What was the weather like?

  • From about 25C in the summer (and humid) to -25 to -40C in the winter. Snow began in September and stayed on the ground until March/April. (Piret)
  • Dark and cold. Then light and warm. I was very far north a lot so- so. many. bugs. It’s not as cold as you think it’s going to be, but the humidity makes it seem colder than it is. Especially in cities like Pori close to the gulf. The dark is hard on you mentally. We’d go into a teach and miss the sun sometimes and it would wreck your day. (Matt)
  • Cold and humid, sunny and warm. (Paul)
  • Arctic cold. (George)
  • I arrived in October. It drizzled rain, it got cold, it snowed a lot, it eventually melted. Summer was wonderful! It repeated itself again–although the second year the winter was bitterly cold! (Ron)
  • There are two seasons- Spring and Winter. It is cold and snowy from October through April. It’s not as dark during the day as you’d think, because the snow is so white it reflects any light there might be. The summer feels more like spring – blue skies and sunshine, but whenever it is overcast you need a jacket. You don’t see dark for months, because you are in bed before the sun sets and get up long after it rises. (Katrina)
  • The summers are things of magic. Perfect temperatures, beautiful scenery. The winters are a snow lovers dream. Lot’s of snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. My eyelashes froze more than once. Which made for an interesting makeup choice when they later thawed, and my mascara ran. (Jennifer)
  • Beautiful and so moody! Haha! I’ve had snow in June and 30 degrees Celcius for a month straight in July. Our winters were abnormally mild, but we’ve been told (as I live only two countries away, it’s basically the same here as there) that winter 2015-2016 will be really cold again! So how cold or warm it is varies from year to year. (This last summer for example was not warm really at all, except for a couple of days.) (Tora)
  • Cold and rainy during the fall and spring, cold and snowy during the winter, and relatively warm during the summer. (Daniel)

Any things you really like about the area/people?

  • I liked the modern furniture. SAUNA!!!!! (You poor sods these days- I longed for the sauna every Saturday night). (Piret)
  • My companions were all amazing, I miss my trainer, Devin Taylor a ton. He was a great guy and just disappeared. Terttu Inget in Oulu is still an amazing member from what I am told. The entire country is full of beautiful and awesome people and I consider myself partially Finnish both from living there, and from adopting a lot of Finnish traits due to being there during formative years. (Matt)
  • They were loving and brutally honest. Finland’s a very safe country. (Paul)
  • Places were beautiful. People were intelligent. (George)
  • The Finns are super honest people! Most are reserved. The beauties of Finland are magnificent! (Ron)
  • The people are genuine – compliments are sincere, criticism is too. People say what they mean. (Katrina)
  • I loved Finland. It really is a beautiful country. The people can be a bit introverted, which as a missionary is tough. But I greatly respect them and their values. (Jennifer)
  • Oh dear! Too much to tell!! Every ward, every member has a special place in my heart! From the Grannies that taught me Finnish and served us I-don’t-know-how-old-cake-but-it-still-tasted-delicious, to the small kids telling you they’ll miss you, to the awesome member missionaries showing you an example, to the crazy investigator that serves you I-don’t-want-to-know-what’s-in-this food, or to the people whose heart you get to see be touched by the Spirit, to your companion and you bonding on a deeper level. It’s all so beautiful! The places that become special because you contacted someone really special there, or when you and your companion just had a deep moment of love and care, or pure fun. And the places that are just special because of their immense beauty and calmness. The small ”sacred groves”. The Christmas lights and the stars that accompany you all throughout winter, and the midnight sun! It’s all so beautiful! (Tora)
  • Finns are some of the most honest people I know. (Daniel)

Any packing/clothing advice?

  • Pack light and buy there. Swap with your companions going home (I got a whole wardrobe from 2 Idaho Sisters, including Italian boots and a fur coat). When you put on weight (Sisters) or lose it (Elders- can’t cook) you will find it handy to swap clothes. (Piret)
  • Pack more pants than you think you need. Do not take a trench coat, that was a terrible purchase. Buy your bedding sheets there (pocket sheets and comforters rule over normal American bedding). Take three pairs of shoes- not two. You don’t need heavy boots get good solid leader shoes with a sole, not slicks or leather soles, but more like Dr Martens or Rockports, etc. Make sure you can waterproof them. Buy your coat there, and if you’re small you can probably just find one in an apartment once you arrive. There’s a lot of community clothing floating around. (Matt)
  • Layers. Buy everything you can over there. (Paul)
  • Buy your heavy coat and gloves in Finland. Pant leg protectors will really help keep your pants from getting covered with slushy mud that comes up while riding your bike. (Ron)
  • Thermal garments are a must. For sisters, leg warmers and thick tights are important – pantyhose are useless in the winter. Otherwise, nothing will prepare you for the winter weather. Buy it in Finland, if you can. More expensive, but you will know what you need- your senior companion can help you. Plus, departing missionaries leave a lot behind that can be useful. Don’t get boots that lace up – you will take off your shoes indoors, and it takes forever to get them off and on. (Katrina)
  • Warm, waterproof coat and boots. For sisters, think multiple layers. Thermals, thick tights and wool socks. If you leave your boots slightly larger you can tuck hand-warmers in the toes. Many a nights I came home to white, frozen toes. If you have access to good winter clothing where you live, it would be cheaper to purchase. The same things can be more expensive in Finland. But of course they have an amazing selection of clothing made perfectly for the climate and conditions. Also, if money is not as much of the issue, I would consider purchasing in Finland to save suitcase space. Space is a precious commodity, since you really aren’t allowed a lot of weight. Boots and coat can take up a fair amount of space on their own. (Jennifer)
  • Layers! For winter, you don’t need the thickest coat there is, just make sure it has a thick lining (preferably with some air trapped between the lining and the outer layer, and room for a thick sweater underneath, and still leaving a layer of air so it doesn’t all squeeze against your skin. Also layer your hands. Bring some thin gloves, some slightly bigger gloves or mittens (I prefer mittens, as it’s easier to find smaller, yet thicker mittens) that can fit over, and some really tick mittens that can fit over that again (especially if you’re biking!). Layer your feet! Make sure your winter boots are big enough to fit two layers of socks or more! One thicker and one thinner! Bring thermal tights, and thin thermal socks and thick woolen socks! Thermal garments aren’t the best option, as you’ll want to take most of your warm clothes OFF coming inside! If you wear thick clothes inside, you’ll sweat, and you’ll be super cold coming out. Also, take of your shoes coming inside! Even in the church, if you have appropriate socks! Winter boots insolate your feet from the climate outside- both hot and cold- meaning outside they’ll keep heat from your feet in and the chilly outside temperature out, but being INSIDE, they will keep the warmth on the outside from coming in, and keep the chill that found it’s way into your boots, trapped there, making your feet cold! Also! Although winter is the big topic, bring nice and comfortable summer tops too! 😀 You can still use them in the winter if you just have warm cardigans or jackets to put over and an extra t-shirt to put under 🙂 (Tora)
  • Have enough money but buy your coat in Finland. It saves space. Bring plenty of socks. (Daniel)

What blessings did you receive from serving a mission?

  • I learned Finnish AND was able to begin speaking Estonian, which I had stopped when I was about 10. I was allowed to travel to Estonia & meet my relatives, and also relatives in Switzerland and the US. I was able to go to BYU AND I met the greatest friends a person could ever have, at BYU, in Utah and Idaho. I met the prophet and I went to General Conference. (Piret)
  • Languages, confidence, humility, happiness, strength, perseverance, faith, love of others. (Paul)
  • Exponential spiritual growth and an unshakable testimony. Roots and foundation in the Restored Gospel. (George)
  • Good friends, a wonderful experience of teaching people and testifying of Jesus Christ and the Restoration. (Ron)
  • Other than getting to learn a weird and wonderful language and travel to an awesome land? I had a strong testimony when I left, and a strong testimony when I came home. I did hard things- very hard things. The blessings I received were more subtle. I get to teach my children about the importance of serving a mission- essential for my family, since my husband didn’t serve. (Katrina)
  • My testimony of Christ and of the organization of the Church worldwide was greatly strengthened. The memories and experiences I had, I greatly treasure. It was my own personal adventure. Taking those things into marriage, and then motherhood, have helped me in every aspect. (Jennifer)
  • Oh my. It changed my life. It changed me- my heart, my understanding of the Gospel, my testimony, my feeling of self-worth, my confidence in God. Yes, I still have SO much- SO much to learn, to find answers to, to improve! But I would never have gotten to where I am today, EVER in my life, I would NOT have the desire I have to get better, if not for my mission! I changed. I learned to trust God. Or, I started to learn. I’m still in training. 🙂 But it changed my life. I gained a lot more than I could ever give. But still, being as unworthy as I was, through the Atonement my offering was consecrated and accepted, I got strength I didn’t have, and my actions were perfected as the Spirit took over in contacting and teaching. I had the privilege of seeing four people be baptized, and I’m still in touch with all of them one way or the other. (Tora)
  • More than I can even comprehend. I still feel like the Lord is still blessing me. One huge blessing is my ability to talk to random people and get to know them almost like a friend quickly. (Daniel)

What are some skills you gained?

  • Speaking Finnish fluently (still do), speaking Estonian fluently (still do), learned how to cope with American over-enthusiasm! (Piret)
  • Perseverance, tolerance, the ability to work with many types of people, the ability to not care too much what other people think. (Matt)
  • Organization, planning, studying, learning, being disciplined. (Paul)
  • Finnish. Estonian. (George)
  • Communication skills, getting-along-with others skills. (Ron)
  • I learned Finnish and how to dress for cold weather. I learned how to tolerate annoying behavior from peers, and how to be more kind in my speech and actions. (Katrina)
  • Confidence. (David)
  • Communication skills, study skills, marriage skills. Being with one companion 24/7, especially if there is one you don’t particularly share a lot of the same characteristics with, is a great lesson on love and service. (Jennifer)
  • Talking with people! I was extremely shy before! And now, knowing who I am, and whom I can trust in, I have come to love talking with people! Because I more clearly see them, I love them more! I also learned to keep a study journal, and it has become one of my more prized possessions! It keeps my thoughts and spiritual development more in order, and it just…is wonderful! I gain so much more, and I also feel like I’m writing valuable history for my descendants! (Tora)
  • Social skills. (Daniel)

What do you wish you knew/did at the beginning of your mission?

  • Worked HARDER!!! (Piret)
  • I wish I spoke Finnish better. Finnish is rough. (Matt)
  • I could have been able to do more service in the schools teaching English. (Paul)
  • How to manage/control stress, anxiety, and depression. (George)
  • Don’t allow the outgoing missionary to “stick you” with a bike in exchange for paying for his long-distance phone calls home! Finland has a lot of hills–get a multi-speed bike–and a good lock. Always lock your bike and never leave it at the train station overnight–ours were vandalized when we did that. (Ron)
  • I wish I was more humble and brave. I was terrified to talk to anyone, and had trouble taking my companion’s advice. (Katrina)
  • I wish I realized how soon it would be over. While I don’t have many regrets, there are a few things I wished I would have done. I wish I had spoken to one more person, taught one more lesson, knocked one more door. Things I will never get to do again. (Jennifer)
  • That my mission president doesn’t judge me! That I can trust him fully, and I don’t need to feel performance anxiety. That I can ask for help from him, and for blessings. That he, though he is busy, has time for YOU. That no one knows what they’re doing. That we’re all just trying our best to follow Christ and follow the spirit, and that you can and should suggest every idea that comes to your mind! That following the Spirit brings immensely more happiness, no matter what the outcome, than any disappointment you’ll face! (Tora)
  • Worried less and relied more on God. (Daniel)

Any advice/testimony for pre-missionaries going to Finland?

  • Keep warm, smile, don’t be loud outdoors and don’t sneer at unusual foods. (Piret)
  • Be humble, work hard, enjoy the time- it’s amazing. Take bug spray and watch out for saskia. (Matt)
  • Dress like the locals. (Paul)
  • The Spirit is the key – without you will fail quickly. Have several talks prepared to give in Finnish. (George)
  • Memorize the “scripture mastery” scriptures. Read at least the first two volumes of The Comprehensive History of the Church by B.H. Roberts. It will help you understand Joseph Smith’s history and easily refute objections. Learn to cook from scratch! The ingredients you are used to in the US are not in Finland. But, with the old Betty Crocker Cookbook (take recipes with you), you can do quite well. Take plastic measuring cups with you! Finland uses the metric system and it is nearly impossible to guess how much of an ingredient to add. Learn to clean at home! It will make things a lot better for you while you are out there! Tell your parents not to send you chocolate bars! Finnish chocolate is exceptionally good! My Mom sent me some chocolate and I sent her a Finnish chocolate bar and told her to try it–she agreed that it was way better–and didn’t bother to send me any more chocolate. She just sent me some money to have me buy my own (and some for her too, of course)! (Ron)
  • It is hard- very, very hard! But it is possible, and worth it, if you are obedient and diligent. Don’t obsess about “success.” Toward the end of my mission, I obsessed about what I had to report back to the stake high council, since I didn’t think I had made any impact. I saw no baptisms. But a few months before I went home, I received a letter from a young man from my first area, where I only served for two months. He never thought he could serve a mission because he was too shy, but then he saw how shy I was and how hard it was for me to talk to people, but that I was still trying to do it, and he thought maybe he could do it to. My example, along with a couple personal experiences he had over the next year, inspired him to serve a mission. Six weeks before I went home, he returned from three weeks in the Preston Mission Training Center to serve in my mission. His first day he attended a genealogy event at which I delivered a presentation on the church. We had both changed so much. And then the six of us missionaries present left the chapel and held a street meeting where we both stopped strangers and tried to share the gospel. It was amazing. Despite all my efforts, it was my weaknesses that inspired someone else! (Katrina)
  • Study the gospel. Serving in Finland you will have to spend most of your study time on the language. Not being able to teach a lesson in your native tongue will take up precious study time. (Jennifer)
  • Read Preach my Gospel! Go contacting with the missionaries. Ask them for advice. Talk to your Bishop or Stake President or Mission President for advice! Don’t worry about everything you don’t know, just build a relationship with Heavenly Father. Learn to communicate with Him, to take the time to LISTEN to him. And gain a testimony of The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. If that is the ONLY thing you know, that’s ALL you need! Everything else will follow! And that’s ALL the investigators need to start with too! (Tora)
  • Finland is a blessed land prepared for many to hear the gospel. Let the Lord guide you, have faith and hope, and you will without a doubt have success and learn to love the people. (Daniel)

What was a funny language mistake?

  • Well, a lot of the Elders, having memorized a blessing on the food would get it mixed up with prayer suitable for a discussion beginning or ending (eg “bless this family to our health and strength’). My last companion, who had language training, and was a convert, told one woman at the door who said she was a Lutheran ” I am a Lutheran too”. I had to tell her that ‘olen’ and ‘olin ‘ are not interchangeable! I used a swear word during a discussion on The Book of Mormon because the Estonian word for ‘hell’ is similar to a Finnish swear word. Luckily the investigator didn’t even blink! (Piret)
  • Someone asked if I had seen one of the sister missionaries. I was trying to say I’d seen her yesterday, I said “naen häntä” which is apparently slang for doing something bad with her, versus “näen häntä” which was “had seen her”. They got this shocked look on their face and then started laughing. It was really embarrassing. We had a senior couple in our ward, the Veli was on his second trip to Finland as a Senior, but with a second wife. His first wife had passed away. His second wife was quite a bit larger than his first wife. He happened to serve in the same city twice, once with each wife. One day in church a member came up and started talking with her. In the traditional Finnish brutally honest way said something like “you have gained a lot of weight since last time, are you ok?” Not speaking a lick of English she relied on me to translate. I could not bear to tell her what the member had said, so I translated it as “I like your dress” She smiled and said “Kiitos” over and over, the member got confused, so I translated back to the member that she had a medical problem. I then got embroiled in two very, very separate conversations between these two sisters, both of whom thought they were on the same page. Of course with my poor Finnish skills, and now knowing I was in over my head, I got confused fast and had a hard time tracking details. My companion pulled the cord and ejected and walked away, just laughing at me trying to pull these very weird conversations to a close. It was funny, both women sort of avoided each other a bit after that, both thinking the other one was a bit off, based on the conversation I’d had to manufacture on the fly. (Matt)
  • Instead of “I am here to meet you” it was “I am here to kill you”. (Paul)
  • I asked for seconds of the rutabaga casserole (Lanttulaatiko) but pronounced it “lantalaatiko” (manure casserole). (Ron)
  • There is no Finnish word for “please,” but there are polite ways to ask for things. One of my MTC companions was at her first dinner appointment, on her first day in the field, at the ward mission leader’s house. Instead of asking him to pass the bread, she demanded, “Give me bread!” For a brief moment, everyone was stunned that she was so rude, and then chuckled because she didn’t know any better. They taught her how to ask nicely. She was so embarrassed! (Katrina)
  • When leaving, I meant to tell a friend “Don’t die!” (as a joke). Instead, I said “Don’t drool!” (David)
  • In my last talk in my second area, I want to say, you are irreplaceable: “te olette korvaamattomia”, but instead I said, “te olette korvattomia”, meaning, you have no ears… 🙂 Also, my companion once yelled after a guy we had just talked to, to ask for his name, but made it sound like she was yelling “WHAT IS MY NAME?”. (Tora)
  • Minä tapaan sinut perjantaina. I will meet you this Friday. Minä tapan sinut perjantaina. I will kill you this Friday. (Daniel)