Saturday, October 31, 2009

ALL SAINTS DAY in Finland.......NOT Halloween

We decided we were going to go to several of the cemeteries around the ares to see all of the candles that are put on the graves for this holiday. Halloween is NOT celebrated here, but this instead. The candles are quite impressive!

The Lutheran Church here in Espoo dates back to the 1500's when it was originally a Catholic Church. The beautiful walls are still in very good shape.

We went with the Jakko's (a Finnish Couple serving in the temple and living in the asuntola), the Pechiulis couple (a missionary couple from Lithuania that arrived this week) and the Johnson's

Wayne is standing outside the church looking at some of the candles lit.

The temperature was a crisp 25 degrees! You might be able to see my breathe if you look hard!


After a very busy day at the temple, we decided we needed to
mak a little Hesburger Run! Yes, no cooking today!
On our way to the car, we decided to take a picture of the
"no gate" entrance to the temple property. The temporary
fence is ALL GONE! YEAH! Love the new look!
We will see what the new gate will look like!

And Wayne posed where the old temporary gate used to be!

And still on our way to the car, Wayne saw Veli Multimaki and
wanted to talk to him for a minute. We have been invited
back up to the Mekkeli Ward.....and I have to speak this time
with Wayne!! Oh my....better start now to prepare!

We finally made it to Hesburger! I love their Arizona burgers.
We went with the Groberg's this time.....again! Dick and Ronda.

And we had to have some ice cream for dessert, of course.
The ice cream here is so good......

Now we are going to go 'grave hunting' to see what we can find. This is, afterall, All Saints Day (they don't celebrate Halloween here but it is basically the same!).

Happy Halloween everyone!

Friday, October 30, 2009


What a great group of Saints this week from Moscow. We met this family the first day they arrived. They came into the Distribution Center (where I work on those Monday's, along with the other Sister Missionaries). They were just so sweet and really loved them from the minute we met them. I knew right then I would be making a bookmark for IRINA KALENOVA!

I gave it to her today, Friday afternoon. They will be leaving for St. Petersburg at 6:00 on Saturday morning so they can catch their train at 5:00 p.m. back to Moscow. She was absolutely thrilled to get the handmade gift! We in turn got a family picture with the two sons who came with she and her husband. The boys participated in baptisms this week. They have an older married son back in Russia. What a great couple. Mina rakastan sinua!!

Wayne took both mission vans yesterday to have the snow tired mounted on. I guess that means winter is coming!

Don't know that I like that, but......ready or not!

AND, another 'sign of the times' was watching President and Sisar Luthy walk up to the temple for the last time! The 'torch' has been passed and President and Sisar Haikkola have taken the helm! Just like that....smooth as silk! We will definitely miss the Luthy's. We wish them well in their new endeavors, whatever that may be!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


We decided we needed to come up with a FALL PICTURE. We have a sweet young Russian guy take the first picture of us today.

Then tonight when we left the temple, we had Pavel's wife take the last two pictures.

Not sure which one we like the best! Any suggestions?

Oh, but is NOT the end of the day. It is only 10:30 a.m. It only feels like the end of the day!
Thought we would show that the 3-year-in-the-making-fence is still a work in progress! Maybe by the time we finish it will be completed!

As you well know, one of Wayne's responsibilities is taking care of the two Temple Mission vans. He took advantage of the morning we have off to clean them up a bit....vacuuming them out and removing a few fingerprints!

Tomorrow (Thursday) he will take them over to a local place to have the snow tires put on! That is mandatory for all vehicles by the end of November. President Luthy wanted them on by the end of October! He will make that deadline.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


How to communicate with both Russian and Finnish Sisars while I am speaking English!!! AND have both of them understand me!

Answer: It can't be done!! But we had fun trying! Smiles can go a long way but doesn't solve all of the questions!

As training coordinator for new sister workers in the temple, it can be a bit overwhelming at times. This was one of 'those' days! A brand new missionary couple from Lithuania that speak Russian. YEAH....that is a great thing, especially since this is Moscow West week! I am still 'going to learn Russian' ordinances but have not gotten there yet. Haven't had time to study! Not only am I training this new worker, but I am also still training a new Finnish Missionary worker that has been here a couple of weeks. She does not speak a lick of English. At least this new Lithuanian sister speaks a couple of English words! Somehow we manage and somehow it 'happens'!

This picture was taken of us as we headed up to the temple to work our afternoon shift today. A senior missionary couple took it for us. They are from the US but serving in Russia. We remember them from several months ago when they came to renew their visas, which those missionaries have to do every few months. We just love the 'fall' colors right now. Soon that will be replaced with the fluffy white stuff!! :-(

Monday, October 26, 2009


Saturday night was the BIG FAREWELL DINNER for the
Luthy's. It was held at the Asuntola dining room.

This was a beautiful night shot of the temple at
about 7:30 p.m. Thank goodness we started daylight
savings time tonight. We needed the extra 1 hour!

A nice picture of the current Temple Presidency.....
Left to right.....

President Alakoski
President Luthy
President Vorimo

A nice picture of the current Matron and her assistants.....

Sisar Vorimo
Sisar Luthy
Sisar Alakoski

A very nice hand-painted picture of the Helsinki Temple.
This was a gift to the Luthy's from the Jakko's daughter.
She is pictured with Sisar Luthy

Couldn't resist......President Alakoski wearing an American
flag tie and Wayne wearing a Finnish tie.

On Monday, our P-Day, we headed to the Dentist office
again in downtown Helsinki. Wayne had a filling that
had to be replaced! It ended up being about 100 euros
cheaper than we thought! Yeah for that!! :-)

We got the cutest pictures from Steven and Elinn of our
sweet pets at home!! They are being well taken care of
by Steven and Elinn and their family.
Here is Madi acting just like the true Princess that she is!

And Punkin loving her comfy bed!!! And she loves that
blanket. S & E tried to buy her a new one but she always took it out of her bed and put it in the floor. She just didn't want anything to do with it!! Cutie-patuties!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


While it looks beautiful outside, it is very dreary at the same time. I can totally see why bears like to hibernate in the wintertime! Dreary......dreary!!!!!

The above picture was taken from the 2nd floor landing of the asuntola.
The 'winter flowers' are really pretty and add a bit of color!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I certainly don't feel that old!! When did he get that old! No fair J-bird!! You were suppose to slow down and smell the roses and let me enjoy your growing up a bit more!! :-)

Dad and I are so proud of each of our children!! Jonathan was blessed as a baby (in his blessing) to be a good example to his younger brothers and sisters. He has been just that....a great example. KIITOS PALJON for that!!
We only wish we could have been there to celebrate with you. We will have to take a rain check for that next year when we return from our mission here to Finland!

These fun decorations were waiting for him when he got to the office on Friday! Cute!! :-)

Friday, October 23, 2009

F I N A L L Y ! ! !

Can you believe I FINALLY got my birthday present that J & T sent me!!! Only took 1 1/2 weeks to get it AFTER it arrived in Finland. Sat in the UPS office (being held up by the customs office!!) all this time! They wouldn't let me have it because Customs had to decide whether I needed to pay import fees!!! Oh, give me a break.....come on people, it is a Birthday Present.
BEFORE Customs could decide whether to charge the import tax or not, they had to open the package!! Bless their hearts. They sure taped it back good! Used a whole roll on the package I do believe. When all was said and done, they finally let me have it with NO IMPORT TAX! Okay, they made up for the frustration!!
Kiitos Paljon J & T!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


After almost 2 weeks since my camera was 'broken' on my birthday, I have MY NEW ONE!!! It arrived in the Posti today. The amazing thing was, we were NOT charged any tariff import tax!! The Finns certainly could have done that when we picked it up because of the value, but I think they took pity on us. For what I am not sure! The lady was very nice and said.....go ahead, just take it!!! :-) Bless their little hearts. This was the FIRST picture I took once the battery was charged and ready to roll!! I immediately put the wrist strap on 'just in case'!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Publish Post
The best daughter any set of parents could ask for!! Hope your day is as wonderful as you are Becky!! We love you!! :-) Send pictures!!

(The above picture was taken at the MTC on June 1, 2009)

We found out last night who the counselors will be for the next Temple Presidency! We have been waiting for several months to find out.....President Haikkola got permission from Salt Lake to make the announcement!

Drum roll, please.........THEY ARE........

1st Counselor & Assistant to the Matron.....President & Sisar Vorimo (they have been serving as 2nd Counselor and Assistant to the Matron). We met the Vorimo's September 2008 when we came here to Finland on our Baltic Cruise with the Ream's. The Ream's daughter married the Vorimo's son. Small world.

2nd Counselor & Assistant to the Matron.......President & Sisar Roto. Doctor and Sisar Roto we met several months ago (actually not long after we arrived in Finland). He is not completely retired and continues to work (more on the business side of medicine). Actually Sisar Roto is also a physician. Wayne works with both of them when he needs to prescribe medicine for any for any of the missionaries that he sees. Now we will see them on a regular basis and he won't be as hard to 'find' when that occasional prescription is needed!

The above picture is candidly taken at the Gee's 'farewell' event that was held last August. President Luthy and the to-be-president were even then discussing 'things'! We have come to love the Haikkola's. They seemingly have sought advice from both Wayne and I the entire time we have been here. It was at their request we have been called to the Instructor Coordinators in the temple. We have hit things off really well with them. We already know we are going to miss them when we have to leave!
This picture was taken with the Vorimo's the very first Sunday we arrived. It was stake conference and we got to chance to get reacquainted with them. It will be fun to continue our work with them.....they are over the instructing and we, therefore, will work directly with them.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


SUNDAY was a lay-low day. I was still sick and Wayne decided to stay home and take care of me! I so much appreciated that. Not that there was anything he could do......I just basically stayed in bed and slept most of the day. But just knowing he was close by was peaceful and reassuring for me.

We did manage to read a chapter in the Book of Mormon......I like reading at least one chapter day so I can keep my reading skills with the Finnish language! Maybe someday I will be able to to understand what I am reading!! :-)
On MONDAY NIGHT we had a special 'meeting' with President and Sister Luthy to 'discuss some pressing issues for us missionaries! President Luthy said he did not have an 'agenda' when I called in the afternoon to remind him of the meeting. I told him....NO WORRIES! We missionaries had our own 'agenda'! I could tell he was a bit nervous! And he should be!
We have the 'meeting' in the asuntola meeting room on the first floor. We had it nicely decorated. Lots of delicious food!!
After we had a bit of a program where President and Sister Luthy talked about their 4 different experiences here in Finland and ate, it was 'gift' time!
As a group we bought the Luthy's a beautiful silver reindeer candelabra and candles. They loved it and did not previously have one.
We also made a little memory book and gave to them. They especially liked the pictures of some of the folks! I also cross stitched a Logan Temple picture with their wedding date and names on it. They were very pleased with that. It was a great evening and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time......especially the Luthy's! As they should have. THEY WILL BE MISSED!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Held at the Sello Hotelli Restaurant, Saturday, October 17th, 5:00 P.M.

And yet another FAREWELL DINNER amongst our missionaries here at the Finland Temple! This is our Russian Missionary Couple. They leave on Friday morning, October 23rd and head back to Russia. Brother Valilijev is the ONLY Russian sealer in the church as far. They have been here two years!

Part of the 'group' joining in the festivities! Ojala, Jakko (two dots over the 'a' and 'o') and the Johnson's.
More of the group.....Veli Scott to far left, President Vorimo next to him, Grober's on the same side I am on. Wayne is taking the picture.
Head table would be: President & Sisar Luthy, Pavel and his wife (Pavel does NOT like having his picture taken) and the Vasilijev's. Pavel translates for them.
And President Luthy saying a few words.
It was a GREAT evening and they will be missed. The Luthy's leave on Friday, October 30th. They will definitely be missed. Their BIG parties begin this coming week......several of them! Wayne and I are the NEXT AMERICAN MISSIONARIES to be released.....and that is December 2010! Nice to have a 'steady' group of workers for a minute or two!! :-)

Saturday, October 17, 2009


The picture below is not the best, BUT if you look carefully you can see Wayne walking up the stairs to go to the temple. He is the bottom one of the 3 pictured. I did not get to go work today because I woke up with a really, really sore throat and a really, really 'goopy' right eye! It was a real mess....all matted up! Not a pretty sight. Wayne felt it best that I stay home and not contaminate anyone else. Probably a good suggestion. I miss being there though. I think a virus settled in my eye.....maybe even the cold a little bit. But, what do I know.....I am not the doctor, only a mother and grandmother!! I will follow doctor's orders though. Being out in this cold weather certainly won't help anything right now. I just need to lay low and get better!

It has been a challenging week with so many deaf patrons (and even a blind-deaf and a deaf-mute). We have learned a lot about how to communicate with them! That has been a very special experience in and of itself. And we have learned to love them....just like all of the other saints who come here. They leave this afternoon. We may or may not see some of them again during our next 14 months here. We hope they will be able to return soon.
Here is one sweet young lady. She came up to us in the asuntola when we got home from the temple on Friday night. She asked if she could take her picture with us......of course, only IF we can take a picture with our camera with her!! :-) As I was talking with her I just felt I needed to give her a cross stitch temple picture. I just happened to have one I recently completed (up in the apartment). When dad went up to get the camera he also picked this up. And I didn't even have to ask him.....he just knew! He snuck it into my hand when he came back down. He just knew from the direction of our conversation! I love how the spirit guides us to do things. All we have to do is listen!
Here is a picture of my giving the little gift to her. We exchanged e-mail address and mailing addresses. She wants to send us a Christmas Card....we will do the same with her.
In the course of talking with her we found out that she is 24 yrs. old. She came to the temple to do baptisms and to pray whether she should go on a mission or not. She and her family joined the church about 10 years ago. Her mom was on this trip with her. The entire family are very active....Branch President, Relief Society Councilor, Young Single Adult Leader for the District, and on and on and on!! So heartwarming to hear about the church in her area. She also told me she loves to do cross stitch!!! Warmed my heart right up. She said she knew what it took to make gifts for others. She loves to do that as well. She speaks very good English and helped us a lot with translating at the temple. She will be a great wife some day....we need to find just the perfect husband for her!! :-) Her name is Katya and she is from Volgograd, Russia
This sweet little lady was just so cute. She reminded me so much of Annie and Pearla!! Can never remember which was which......she even wore her long hair twisted and pinned to the back of her head like Annie and Pearla did! She is here with her son.
We were able to get a few of the folks together for a picture before they headed in for their testimony meeting, a tradition to hold the last night they are here.

What a wonderful week. How can it get any better? Next week.....TAMPERE FINLAND WEEK!

My goal this week was to learn some of the Russian ordinances! NO....didn't get that done because I didn't have time to study and learn. Maybe this week with Finns here I will have a little bit of time to study! :-)