What a special day it has been.....we woke up (and it seems like the day has begun getting lighter earlier starting TODAY) to a beautiful day. Some sun, Some snow....after all, this is FINLAND.....land of cold and snow and beauty.
This was the view from our Hotel balcony.......overlooking one of the many LAKES surrounding Savonlinna.
Don't let the 'no coats' fool you!! It was about a -8c outside. We had already taken our coats off and hung them inside when Wayne said we needed to have our picture taken out front. Didn't feel energetic enough to put my coat back on so we braved the C-O-L-D!!
The Savonlinna Branch is small branch.....but oh so MIGHTY! Such wonderful people here. Sisar Niiranen is so wonderful....faithful temple attendee and was just at the temple this week. Her daughter and husband and grandchildren were visiting from the Miikkeli Branch today as well. "Small world story" with them is that they are related to Sisar Roslöf. She has become very important to us over the past 6 months. I had no idea until the last couple of days that they are related! Sisar Niiranen got a bookmark on Friday and her daughter got a picture today.
After church we were invited over to Sisar Massinen's home. She and her family have a special place in our hearts. Our history goes back about 47 years ago with her when Wayne was a young missionary here in Finland. She was one of three women in the branch at the time. What a stalwart in the church!
I have always loved this picture hanging in their home.....a painting of the CASTLE here in Savonlinna....... the OLIVANLINNA CASTLE. We will visit there with 'Flat Stanley' tomorrow for a foto op!
IDA is one of Sisar Massinen's grandchildren. She made the sweetest little pictures for me. We told her about 'Flat Stanley'. SO....another picture with all of us.
What a delicious meal....as always! Sisar Massinen is a GREAT cook. We had REINDEER MEAT and mashed potatoes today. This was my first time eating Reindeer. If it is always this good I am hooked!
A visit is never complete without a family picture......L to R: Sisar Massinen's sister (Sisar Halmetoja), husband, Sisar Massinen, and her daughter Jenni with granddaughter, Ida, in front. Sisar Halmetoja is the 2nd of the 'original sisters who were stalwarts in the Savonlinna Branch way back when. We will so very, very much miss them!! We are going to miss EVERYONE in Finland. Can we just take the whole country home with us!!?? PLEASE!
It was over to visit Sisar Voima as our last stop for today. She is the 3rd of the 3 faithful sisters in those early days of the branch. This is also Outi's mother. My or My.......another stalwart in the church.
Our talks (in Finnish, of course) went well today. I have to share one word with you that is especially difficult to say.......YLEISAUKTORITEETEILTA!!! Say that 3 times really, really fast! Well, how about just once! It means 'General Authority'. Apparently when I said that in my talk today the Branch President looked over at my husband, gave him a thumbs up and smiled. He, apparently, thought I have said it perfectly!! That made me feel good.
Tomorrow morning, after a little shopping and looking around, we will head back to Espoo. This has been a wonderful trip (our last weekend trip before we go home)!