Hi everyone, it has been months since I have last posted and there has been good reason for that. On July 13th, 2016 I was sent home for medical complications from my mission. I have suffered depression all of my life and my Mission President received revelation that I needed to come home because of it. It still wasn’t easy for me though, it was probably one of the hardest things in my life. For me, I felt like I had somehow failed God. I wondered for days after my mission president told me while waiting to come home if it was a mistake. I felt like I had failed, that it was my fault and not the circumstances that I had no control over. But during this waiting period, the Lord gave me revelation. He told me that this needed to happen and that he needed Ricky Warner more than he needed Elder Warner right now. And everything began to bear testimony of this fact, everything began to fit perfectly. I was given a short flight and all of my last concerns were almost immediately resolved without any part on me. Now that I have returned home I now see why I needed to come home, there were people that I have been able to help and I know that I was brought back to help them. I don’t know all the reasons why I have had to return but I know that everything will be made manifest to me.
I want to finish my blog with my testimony. I know Jesus is my Savior and that we have a loving Heavenly Father and that He has a plan for each and every one of us. It can be scary but that is what faith is: handing over yourself to the Lord when you don’t even know what will happen. I hope one day I can return to the mission field, but if there is one thing I have learned from this is always go where the Lord wants you to go. I promise you all that if you do, you will be rewarded in this life and the life to come. So while the adventures of Elder Warner might be over for a while, the adventures of Ricky Warner are yet to come.
Well, it has been a wonderful week in Helsinki! It feels weird being here instead of small town Kokkola. But I really love this place! It was pretty sad saying goodbye to everyone in the north. All the missionaries were really cool and we had a lot of good memories there. But Helsinki is actually really nice! One of the weird things is that this place is so much more intregrated than Kokkola was, we are always taking the trains, and buses to get where we need to go. But my first week we had this thing called interim. Interim is when we get training that can help us for the rest of our missions. It was cool because I got to be with all of my old MTC buddies! Everyone has grown a lot and have had a lot of cool experiences. But that was really fun!
On another hand, our experience so far in Finland has been interesting. Last week was Johannes and that usually means that everyone either has left or is super super drunk so we havent had too much success then. But yeah, we have been having with some investigators. We dont have as much yet as we did in Kokkola but we are getting there!
Also my new companion is Elder Johnson, he is this really cool guy from Arizona and he is me if I left on my mission right after high school which is really weird because he is my age but he has reached the half way point on his mission. But we have been having some pretty fun adventures so far and the best is yet to come!
Also I have a lot more pictures now.
Also ps I am sorry I dont have a picture of my companion yet. We have been having problems with taking a decent picture of each other so until that happens….. sorry.
Quick announcement next week if you want to email me you need to send in your emails on Sunday because the day I can read them has been moved up next week THIS IS ONLY FOR NEXT WEEK. IT will go back to normal the week after next week.
Well, it has been another amazing week in Finland and we have been blessed with a lot of success and I pray that we can continue to bring forth the gospel to more and more people. Starting off where I left off last p day, we finally checked out the mall. There is this one store that I believe only has one store in the US, but is amazing called Dressmann. It’s this amazing suit store. There is one that is better and that is the Tiger of Sweden, but that is like 600 euros, and I would never buy that nice of a suit unless I was a billionaire. However, it was really cool to see the local mall. That is one of the weird things about Scandanavia. I am in one of the smallest cities missionaries can serve in, but we still have a ton of nice stores and a mall which is really nice. My companion wanted to buy a homecoming suit, but all of the good suits have been bought out because this is graduation week. (More on that later). Later that day we got our first persecution, the nice things about Finns is that even when they want to rip on you they are still very nice. But there was this one lady that followed us to our apartment to tell us to accept Jesus Christ. We simply bore her our testimonies and then we left and she left without much of a problem. She was pretty nice. Some of the people we have met have been very interesting though. We tried contacting a former, and we called him from the outside of our apartment to see if he was interested. He said he was and that he would send someone down to get the door and show us the way to his apartment. A little while later we were answered by this one guy in his mid twenties, and he showed us in. We met the guy and he was from the Congo and I learned an important lesson that day. A lot of people from the congo hate americans. He pretty much baited us into coming in and telling us how evil america was and how he knows it brainwashes its citizens and feeds us corporate lies. He then tried to show us how we got the Bible from African folk tales and that is how we got Christianity, so that was a really fun visit. Also,as missionaries, we have to contact every referral we get even if it is really out of the way, and holy cow one was out of the way. It took us 40 minutes by bike to finally find it and it was out in the middle of nowhere. But we get to the door and to our surprise, he doesnt even really speak Finnish. He had to learn it because he is in Finland, but he was a swedish finn which is actually pretty common on the west coast of Finland. Also, this week and probably was the last main thing is that this was graduation week and graduation in Finland is a lot bigger than it is in America. It is HUGE! All grades finish school at the same time which means all graduations happen at the same time. They cut off the entire park in the middle of the city to throw a massive graduation concert. It was cool to hear music again but it was awkward because everyone around us was really not interested in our message. To end on a spiritual note, I just want to testify of how blessed I am for having had the gospel my entire life and the blessings it has given me. I have met people who have literally nothing and I have met people who have tried to find happiness through worldly methods and it has left them with nothing but sadness and trying to put together their lives in the best way they can with what they have left. I know the gospel has given me these things that these people want and I want to share with them so badly. If you are ever in this position, the best advice I can give you is from one of the members I have met in Finland told me. Start counting your blessings and rely on God.
I would like to leave these things with all of you in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.
Pitcures from this week
I got my final dear elder this week! You are supposed to stop doing them when you leave the MTC, but one got printed after I left so they had to send it to me. But normally they cancel the account after a week, so there goes a way of still receiving mail.
Sorry I haven’t sent more pictures so far. I am planning to see some big things, so don’t worry the pictures will come.
Hello everyone! Sorry this is a lot shorter but there have been some complications with the computers we use. It has been a really good week here in Kokkola. We have found many great investigators and we are working as hard as we can because we have found that the harder we work the more we are blessed. So we keep the hustle going. But this week we have had many interesting experiences. We have for the most part tried to contact in the city center, but because our city is so tiny we have started to bump into more and more people we have met before, so we have started to branch out more and more. We now do a lot of work in the further areas of Kokkola in the far our distance. We have met a lot of interesting people. Some are really cool and some are not so cool. However, one interesting thing before I get into a story is that Finland has a high concentration of people who only can speak Swedish and not Finnish, so sometimes we bump into people who don’t know Finnish well or at all. But one day we were tracting and we bumped into someone who didnt know finnish but could speak amazing english. She had a british accent and everything. (Also most people in europe when they try to learn english they try to do a british accent). But she could speak amazing English and we had a conversation about what we were doing here and her adventures through america when her family was there. Also, her grandfather was one of the first mormon converts and helped to build the first ward in Finland. That was pretty cool. Additionally, we met probably one of the most interesting people I have ever met in my life. He wanted to practice his english with us and was telling us how Lutherans weren’t Christian and that he knew the Book of Mormon wasnt true because he could “smell the spirit and that it wasn’t there” normally I would have been offended, but it was just so weird that I didn’t know what to say back ,so naturally we just said goodbye and left. But final interesting story, we were trying to find someone who wanted to meet with us and they were really far out. We decided to take a short cut and it ended up as us mountain biking in our suits and we ended up in a huge open field. It was really cool, but we believed it to be private property, so we just left. If there has been one thing I have learned during this week, it is that God is looking out for all of us. He knows our needs and wants to reach out to us. Keep on believing and do what is right.
Well everyone, I FINALLY MADE TO FINLAND! It is so amazing here, the people here are really amazing and I just cant say how amazing everything is. It was a very long and boring flight. Since you can’t use media as a missionary, it was me staring at a seat in front of me for 21 hours. England was really weird. I was looking out of the window of the plane and I saw Buckingham palace and I was just like “That place is actually real? I thought it was only in the movies!” We had a quick layover in the airport and we checked out the duty free mall. I mean everything was still really expensive, but hey at least you dont have to pay taxes. England was the first time I had two horrendous realizations 1. I dont use american money anymore 2. EUROPE DOESNT HAVE DRINKING FOUNTAINS AND IT MAKES ME SO ANGRY. Why for all that is good and holy would people not having drinking fountains? What do people do when they are thirsty? Die? But anyway that is besides the point. Then, when we got to Finland we were met by our mission president President Wattson and he sort of reminds me of that grandfather figure everyone points to as the person who changed their lives. He took us all across Espoo and we got to see the outside of the temple. It is weird how small it is but it means so much more for them. They have people come from as far as Russia to do work at the temple. For them it means so much more than for most people in the United States does. But finally I got a new companion. It feels really weird not being with Vanhin Jaccard anymore. It feels that a part of me is gone. When you are with someone for 24/7 you really feel weird without them. My new companion is Vanhin Nelson. Hes a really cool guy from Alpine Utah and this is his last transfer. Hes been having those realizations such as I am his last companion and his last area and so on and so forth. He is really dedicated to this work and because of him we have been able to do extremely well here. The area we got sent to was Kokkola. A really cute town in the middle of Finland. It is really nice here. It has that small but big town feel ya feel? But we have been grinding at the work. We have several new investigators and they are all super pumped to hear about the gospel. It feels weird to finally be doing this work and being able to help people accept the gospel. The branch here is also amazing. IT is really tiny but it has so much faith. We had a dinner appointment where we shared a lesson about the fruit from the tree of life and how we want to share that with our friends and family. You could feel the spirit so strong that night that I almost cried because of how strong it was. But we could only have done the work we have done because of the members and for that I am eternally grateful that they are willing to help so much. One of the best parts about being in Finland is the rejection. I know that sounds really weird to say but everyone here is so polite. They simply say no thank you and then they move on their way. I mean we have had a few people who were a little rude but nothing unbearable. Worst I have heard so far is “I dont want to hear your crap” which as a missionary that isnt that bad. The drunk people are interesting. Whenever there is a serious hockey game such as the finland vs russia game everyone hits the streets wasted. We had one guy who wanted to fight us but he was too far away and we just walked away. Also during this week we had district meeting and that is held in Vaasa which is one of the more northern parts of Finland. But there I finally met the man and the legend. Vanhin V! (I dont think I can give specifics on everyones names. The privacy laws here are really strict and while I dont think it would be that big of a deal, I dont want to risk it. I am going to find out more about this later because I need to talk about people. But Vanhin V is one of Vanhin Farkas´ best friends growing up and he would always talk about him and now I finally meet the legend himself! Its so cool that I can be in the same district that he is in, and I think we will have a lot of adventures together!
But one last story.
We take trains a lot and that is the main form of transportation in Finland. We take it for transfers and from getting from one place to another. My companion needed to get his bike from a train and we went in to get it and the moment we were about to get to the door it closed, and the train started to move. It was really bad becuase the train is really costly , like the return trip would cost us over 100 euros. Luckily we talked to the conducter and hes like “amerikkalainen” (americans) as he shakes his head and we got off for free which was really nice.
But I can tell that a lot is going to go on here and I am really excited to be part of this work and I know that this is a good work.
pic 1: It is tradition that people who leave take a photo with their flag. It feels weird to be finaly doing that.