Sunday, January 31, 2010


About 1 1/2 hours north of Espoo is a little town called Hämeenlinna. There is a big beautiful castle there. Wayne and I visited there last July with the Gee's before they finished their mission and headed back to Utah. We decided (as has been encouraged of us by our Temple President) it was time for a visit to this little branch!
So on this snowy, kaunis suomalainen talvi day the Zaretskij's (Russian temple missionary couple in the back of the van) and the Peciulis (Lithuanian temple missionary couple in the middle) and Wayne and I headed north.

This is the Hämeenlinna Chapel.....the very FIRST LDS chapel in all of Finland. It dates back to 1959. Quite a few chapels built after this have the same design. It was the beginning of the 'building era' in Finland.
The 3 temple missionary girls just had to have their picture taken in front of the Church sign.

This is Jenny Massinen playing the piano. She is the daughter of the elder Sisar Massinen of Savonlinna Branch.......where Wayne served as a young missionary 45 years ago. Jenny is the Branch Pianist. She, unfortunately, will only be in the branch a few more weeks. At that time she will graduate from college (with a textile design degree) and will be getting a job....doesn't know where or when yet. But probably not the area...therefore, she will be moving.
Inside of the chapel. As it turned out, I (Vicki) was asked to bear my testimony in Sacrament Meeting along with Veli Zaretskij and Veli Kelley (a visiting missionary from the Lathi area). Wayne translated for me. I was not prepared with a written Finnish talk so I had to improvise.
We had our picture taken in front of the chapel before we left.
Because the Hämeenlinna Castle is only about one kilometer away, we decided we would drive past it and let the others see it. This is the three stooges 'missionaries'! Great guys!
Wayne took a picture of all of us at the entrance of the castle....which we actually came OUT of instead of going INTO! We just reversed our little 'tour' a bit.
When we arrived back at the asuntola we noticed that the snow had really done a number on the steps leading up to the temple. Wayne and Veli Peciulis take great pride in having the cleanest steps for the patrons to use! That will be quite the work load on Monday...P-Day.
Boys will be boys.....because Wayne fell once on the slippery snow back at the castle and slipped several other times (including once more when we got out of the van back at the asuntola, Veli Pecilius told him to get on the shovel and he would give him a ride back up to the front door. That was probably the safest way for him to get there since he had trouble staying on his feet! (The guys had put the shovel in the back 'just in case' we got stuck in a snowdrift somewhere and needed to be shoveled out! Now, that was a brilliant idea they had!)
It was a wonderful day. All three of us couples have a 'return' invitation to speak in another Sacrament Meeting in Hä on March 21st, Pecilius on March 27th and Zaretskij's in April. By then I will have a Finnish talk prepared! It was a WONDERFUL Sabbath day.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

IMPORTANT RED-LETTER DAY AT THE TEMPLE!! what does a basket of Easter eggs have to do with the temple!? Absolutely NOTHING!

I needed to put a picture on the blog and couldn't put one from the inside of the temple, so I decided to put this, my most recent 'project' I am working on! I will tell you about the eggs in a minute. First.....the important stuff!!

I have been studying RUSSIAN so I can say temple work in RUSSIAN!! It has been very intimidating for me!! I suppose that would be an understatement.

Well, 3 days ago I had Wayne and Veli Zaretskij (Russian Temple Missionary) help me with what I needed to learn and just kept practicing and practicing and practicing! Today was the day that I put all of that practice to work! I actually did temple work in RUSSIAN!!! I felt fairly good about what I had can be improved upon but it was a beginning! I am so relieved and ready for the saints from Novosibirsk, Russia to arrive on Monday! Can't wait to help them.

And.....a red-letter day for Wayne. He was able to use his newly found language of ESTONIAN to work. And he did that very well. The Lord is blessing both of us to be able to meet the challenges that we face.

Now.....for the Easter eggs.....this is more of the NEEDLE-FELTING! I have learned to love doing this. I decided I wanted to make a basket full of Easter eggs. This is the beginning of my little 'gathering'! We will see how it all turns out.

Friday, January 29, 2010


The snow continues to fall and Wayne continues to shovel...several times today in fact. I told him to 'leave it alone' because he can't go out and shovel all night. It will be there in the morning!

I have to bring you up to date with how my RUSSIAN LANGUAGE LESSONS are coming! According to Veli Zaretskkij (Russian Temple Missionary) they are HARASHO.......good!! That made me feel really good. I am on target work with the Russians from Novosibirsk next week!!

We had a 'special' young lady come to the temple today. Her name is Marja Sankala and she is from Oulu. That is a 7 hour drive from her home to the temple! Today was Marja's 12th birthday and what she wanted to do was come to the temple. Her parents came with her and she was able to perform baptisms for deceased ancestors! One thing we have noticed about the Finns is just how dedicated they are to the temple......AS FAMILIES! That is wonderful.

Marja said we could take her picture! And we sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY to her. I made her a cross stitch round framed picture of the temple. I will give that to her tomorrow when she comes back to the temple again!

This afternoon we had some errands to do at Sello. While there I needed to go to Antiila, it is a dime store of sorts. In the midst of all of these Finnish products was this sign! Go figure. I think it has to be an LDS person who has been instrumental in getting this here! And in English no less! It really stood out!

Then, back at the apartment, we got a letter today from Diane Alger (our hairdresser in America) and her mother, Helen. They are so missing us! Bless their little pea-pickin hearts! Diane sent us the 2010 calendar with a couple of 'sticky' notes attached on every single month of the year! Have a look at a couple of them!

"11 months to go .... can't wait"!!

"Dec 1.....On Plane, YAH!
Dec 6 - Vicki & Doc Hair Appointments"
We have her calendar on the fridge, right along with the temple schedule......we can see everything at-a-glance!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


So.....let me start with the WEATHER and get that out of the way. That seems to be the HOT TOPIC these days because of the cold temps. AND today the wind decided to blow! It hasn't been doing that. BUT.....that being said, it has made it almost unbearably cold! We find ourselves walking quite quickly up the steps to the temple. And our faces are red from the cold temps when we get there. This afternoon when we got home from the temple, the wind had blown the snow into our little corner where our thermometer is mounted. It IS cold....we just don't know quite how cold it is. And it is snowing again and suppose to be for the next 4 days or so. Hunker down time.
You may recall our purchasing a SEIMI set at the Christmas Torri in downtown Helsinki back before Christmas. (That would be a nativity). This one is beautiful and made completely out of wool felt. The lady on the left is the one who makes them! Her name is Sikka-Liisa Korhunen. We absolutely LOVE ours. And to date, we have had 7 other people purchase them from her as well. They see ours and want one of their own. Here Sisar Haikkola (temple matron) purchased hers. And the Groberg's got one and another missionary! She is not a member of the church and was very interested in the Temple on that hill!! We gave her information. I am sure we will be ordering more Seimi's!
And lastly is the Russian language coming?? Well, Veli Zaretskij is a temple missionary from St. Petersburg, Russia. He wanted his picture taken with Emsley and Chelsea when they were here visiting for Christmas. This is my 'personal' teacher. He helps me (and Wayne is always with me to pick up pointers and support me in my learning curve) and we in turn help him with his English!! That is what I call a great deal. Vel Zaretskij says I am doing "bashaalosta"....very, very good. I will give it a whirl next week in some of the ordinances when the Russians are here from Novosibirsk. In the meantime, I will just keep practicing and practicing and practicing!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

KESKIVIIKKO.....and a very, very cold one at that!

Keskiviiko seems to come around so quickly every week. Don't know how that happens. You can see from our thermometer (mounted on the outside of our window) just how cold it got last night. But the amazing thing just doesn't feel like it is that cold.
Until, of course, we walk up to the temple. Our nostrils actually stick to each other (the inside that is) as we breath in and out. Kind of weird!
There were two very special sisters we met last week from the Moscow Russia group. I wanted to make them a bookmark but just ran out of time to get them completed before they left. I had Pavel (in the temple office) handwrite a mailing 'label' I could use on the envelope to mail the bookmarks to them. I could not have written these myself! No way!! I think you can see why.
And speaking of RUSSIAN.......I 'practiced' some of the ordinances in Russian today!! We have Tampere Stake here this week and basically no Russians visiting. This has given me some 'free' time to work on the Russian! I am very excited because I think I might be able to do that next week. Between Wayne helping me and Veli ja Sisar Zaretskij (from St. Petersburg, Russia) helping has been a huge help! Will keep you posted!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


We were hoping to see some familiar faces this week with folks from the Tampere Stake. One of the first sisars I saw when I walked in the Sisar's locker room today was Sisar Järvinen.

That would be exactly who I wanted to see!! We saw her in September 2008 when we were here on our Baltic Cruise with the Reams....well, actually after the cruise when we came back to Finland and spent a week touring around to the cities where Wayne had served as a young missionary. In fact, the picture below if from that trip. Sisar Järvinen is the only sisar in the picture. She was a young missionary while Wayne was here. It was fun for Wayne to catch up with her after all of these years. How lives take such different paths that we don't think of at the moment!

We have seen Sisar Järvinen several times since we have been here on our mission. The last time was back in December when we visited the Kouvola Branch (and spoke in their Sacrament Meeting). I told her then I had made something for her. I would give it to her at the temple when I next see her.
This is the bookmark! I will give that to her tomorrow when I see her again.

Monday, January 25, 2010


And a perfect day for P-Day!! It was a 'stay-at-home-and-get-things-done' kind of day! We love those day. Catching up on lots of things....including sleeping in till 8:00 a.m.!! :-)

I decided it was time for a decent breakfast too!! Fried eggs, crispy bacon, hashbrowns, toast, juice ad milk! You know....the 'usual'!! It tasted oh so good.....even if I did cook it!
After a morning of laundry, writing notes to folks back home, a little cleaning and Wayne doing some 'snow-work' outside, it was time for our usual walk to Lidl's!
This is one of the little neighborhoods we walk through to get there. No special reason for the picture.....just because it was so pretty. The snow fell softly and pretty steady over night giving us a fresh coat of 'white' on top of white.
This is the second neighborhood we walk through to get to the Posti. We had to go there to mail our notes to folks back home. The Posti system here in Finland is definitely a bit different than back home. You don't find posti boxes on every corner! In fact, you find very, very few of them. And the little Posti-man (or woman in some cases) are not allowed to pick up any mail from homes or businesses to take back and be mailed. You have to 'take it in' to the Posti yourself! Bummer!
The blue skies and sun were a BONUS today because we were not suppose to have that. We will take it when we can get it. This was at 1:30 p.m. That was as high as the sun got today. Just KAUNIS!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010



And to prove it......take a look at my iphone temperature! Granted this particular weather 'report' was from a couple of weeks ago BUT that is exactly what it was today again! OR, if you want it to sound even was a -25 C!! And we are expecting snow Wed, Thurs, and Fri of this week too! A beautiful light snow has been falling most of the day.

Wayne went outside to 'plug' the cars in so the batteries would get a little bit warm before we had to leave for church. In the process, he ran into Veli Zaretskij brining his car battery in the apartment to warm up! Now that is creative. Better to bring it in rather than plugging it in outside where it is so horribly cold! Being from Russia, he is used to doing things like that. The Finns do the same thing here......bring the car batteries inside to warm up!

AND ....... I CAN'T BELIEVE OUR 'BABY' is 32 years old today! Happy Birthday Andy! Working hard there!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


It has been a challenging week for several reasons: Absolutely NO temple workers were in this group, not many of the saints spoke ANY English at all and they did not have a 'group leader' to speak of. All of those things add up to more work for us Temple Missionaries. That is not all bad, just a challenge because we have to spread ourselves so thin to accomplish as much as possible for them. And they have come some 2500 miles. Nothing to sneeze at! We wanted ALL of them to have a good experience while there were here. As usual, we met some adorable people and made some good friends. We hope we will get to see some of them again......not likely but we can always hope!
Above are two folks that were so sweet. The guy is a convert of about 3 months. He came because he wants to start doing temple work for his family. The sister is also a recent convert of about 4 months. She has two daughters who are back home. They were not able to come. Her husband passed away 10 years ago! What a sweetheart!! Wayne is so good with doing family history. He was able to go in the Family History Library (1st floor of the asuntola) and help them put together information so they could do the work for family members.....especially the sister who was able to have her husband's work done! She was absolutely THRILLED. I think that just might be an understatement! I can in the library on Thursday night just to say hi. She came up to me and gave me the biggest hug and pointed to my husband and said something I couldn't understand (because it was in Russian). I knew she was thankful for Wayne and all he had done for her in preparing this paperwork!
She took this beautiful ring off of her hand (pictured above) and put it on my finger! Before I could even say anything she was saying nyet, nyet,, no, no.....she would not take 'no' for an answer from me. She insisted I have it. I had also made her a cross stitch bookmark earlier in the week. She was just so grateful for all we had done. We just hate to see these great people go home but we know they have to. We hope see will be able to come back when she has been a member a year and do her own temple work and be sealed to her husband! What a joy that will be for her!
I just can not part today without a picture of our beautiful (KAUNIS) TEMPLE! What a great week.........OH, and I was asked to be 'Acting Matron' today because Sisar Haikkola had to be out of town! And it was a great day when some of those 'tender mercies' happen! I have reported all to Sisar Haikkola and she was also thrilled for a great day at the temple! :-)
IS THAT FOR REAL????..........

Meet Veli Enlund! He is a Finn. He looks like he could be a Russian! Yes, this is his 'normal' winter attire! Wayne just couldn't believe it. Just had to get a picture to prove it! He looks like a 'mountain man' just out of the mountains! And he is on the TALL side as well. This picture was taken last night as we left the temple.
CAN YOU SEE IT NOW..........

progress being made on my mission cross stitch picture. I Wanted you to see that there really were 'words' being created on my fabric. I will keep you posted as I go along! :-) I have little miracles today as well!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

P A R T Y ..........

Sorry........I just have to add a few more comments about last nights impromptu party with the Russians!

We have learned that these people of just a lot of fun! They can make a party out of almost any occasion! And that they did last night.

After their weekly testimony meeting, they moved from the conference room (where the meeting was held) to the kitchen area for some refreshments.
We were invited! We tried politely to turned that invitation down.....not wanting to interfere with 'their' event! They would NOT take NO for an answer.......hands on hips and they pointed for us to go to the kitchen! So cute!
Just watching them interact with each other.....listening to their jabber away with each other. It was just a lot of fun to sit and watch.....even though we could understand virtually nothing that was being said. We didn't let that stop us.
The two temple missionary couples also joined in the festivities....the Peciulis and the Zaretskij's.
We had ice cream and 'apple pie' which was not really apple pie as we American's know apple pie. was the company and the festivities that were fun! Then they served some kind of hot drink they called herbal. It did not have any sugar in it....probably would have been better if it had some. It was something like 'blackberry' or some kind of berry.
Toward the end of the refreshments, this guy started singing and within about 2 notes everyone was singing Russian songs!! Sooooo cool!!! And this guy is Finnish! Don't know how he got involved with all of this. I think he may also be staying in the asuntola! I have seen him at the temple this week. At any rate, he had a beautiful voice. I could have listened to him all night. He has a son serving a mission in the far reaches of Siberia! He just fit right in.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010



A great group of members here this week. Just real down to earth folks and loving being here at the temple. There are absolutely NO temple workers from this group. Usually there are some who have been workers in the Swedish Temple that are now workers here. That is a big help with accomplishing all that needs to be done. So we are a little 'tight' with getting everything done that needs to be done......but that is okay. We are managing! What sweet folks.
Wayne thought it would be nice for me to make a bookmark for Svetlana Hanukai. Which I was very happy to do. She was just SO THRILLED!!! She is from Almaty, Russia. She is a fairly new convert and has not received her own endowment yet. She is having a wonderful week!
And then this cute little couple! They were sealed this morning!! They could not have been happier. I made a cross stitch framed picture for them. They were also very, very excited! Their names are Irina and Anatoli Korobejikov.
While we were taking the individual pictures, others saw what we were doing and came rushing over. The Russians don't like to be left out of ANY pictures that are being taken. So we had a small group picture.
And they insisted that we join them for ice cream and 'apple pie' and some type of hot herbal drink. The 'apple pie' was not what we are used to as 'apple pie' and the hot herbal drink could have used some sugar in it. But they won't take NO for an answer! They were just so fun. They started singing fun songs at one point. And the song leader was a Finn!!! Go Figure!

These types of experiences are just not easily explained or described. They just have to be experienced in person to really get a good feel for them. And, oh my goodness, have I said a hundred times yet how sweet these people are!! :-)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

CAN YOU SEE IT YET............


Before I tell you about that, let me just throw in another picture taken this morning, Tiistai. We are on the afternoon shift this week. We needed to walk to Lidl's to get some bread and milk.....not because we are expecting snow again, but just because we needed it! As we were walking there, Wayne noticed the drain was iced over! Well, yes, it would be because it is in the single digits during the night and teens during the days. He was concerned that IF it started thawing, the water would have NO where to go because of the ice. Bless his little heart....he got a hammer and screwdriver from Maati (at the asuntola desk) and started chiseling away! We did make it to Lidl's and back in plenty of time to get up to the temple!
I wanted to make a 'special' cross stitch picture to represent our Finnish Temple Mission. I looked and looked until I found just the right thing. I hope it turns out okay.
The TITLE (located in the center of the design) says:

Can you see it yet? Keep watching this site!

I thought that would be appropriate for our mission. We do expect a miracle each day. We count on those miracles because of all of the challenges we have.

Today's miracle..........This morning Wayne was trying to communicate with one of the Russians from Moscow West that arrived yesterday afternoon. He did NOT speak any English. However, he speaks GERMAN!!! Go figure!! And so Wayne and this Brother from Russia were communicating in German! That has to be a miracle in and of itself.....especially since Wayne feels he can't communicate that well in German. Wayne just laughs each time he thinks about how that whole conversation went and how they communicated with each other! :-)

Monday, January 18, 2010

We decided we had not been to downtown for several weeks now and it was TIME to go again! We didn't know what the day would bring as far as weather but we didn't care!

We decided to take a 2-digit bus that would take us to Sello where we could catch a train. When we got to the train station, we found the damage still being repaired from the train wreck several weeks ago. It occurred on the unlucky train #13! This guard had a really COLD job of just standing there and making sure no one got hurt or tried anything funny!

Interesting thing about the snow that we noticed today....on the top it looked like a sandy beach. But of course under that was a couple of layers of snow and ice. It was just as hard to walk on as a sandy beach too.

One of stops today included walked to the torri to see if there were any vendors selling their wares. Can you believe there were a couple of people!

We noticed that the Bay of Finland was frozen solid. This boat looked permanently 'anchored' until the spring thaw! I guess any ferry's that go to Talliin, Estonia now are accompanied by an icebreaker to get through!

One of my favorite stores is TIIMARI! It would be comparable to A.C. Moore or JoAnn's at home. They have some really cool stuff in there. I like to go to the one in Helsinki because I can always find things there that I can't find at the one in Sello. This store still have the Christmas Tree Display up. Why still looks and feels like Christmas.

On the train ride back home, Wayne noticed the snow 'dripping' off the roof this building. It wasn't really dripping because it was too cold but it looked very precarious hanging there!

Once the train got back to Sello, we caught a two-digit bus back to the asuntola. 'Slick' public transportation system here......things usually just flow with making connections. The Finns have everything very well thought out!

And as we walked from the bus stop to the asuntola, of course we have to walk past the temple. A very pretty shot......the sun starting to set (about 2:30 p.m.). And the sun was actually a bit higher on the horizon today that it has been. Can SPRING be far off! A fun P-Day......and I even had a chance to get a couple of loads of laundry done too!