Oulu to Tampere, 8 August 2015

At the beginning of July, Zed was transferred to Tampere, where he’s serving with Elder Shong.

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With Elder Hansen just before leaving Oulu for Tampere.

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Zed’s new companion in Tampere, Elder Shong.

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Happy missionaries!

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View from their back porch in Tampere.

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Zed and Elder Shong on bikes in Tampere.

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From a bridge in Tampere.

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Long days in Oulu

A few pictures from the last couple of weeks.

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Apartment at 6:30 am

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Zed promised to stay up and take photos of the midnight sun at least once. Notice the time stamp: 23:58 or 11:58 pm. The sun is still up but low on the horizon. According to timeanddate.com, the sun set at 12:09 am that night, about 10 minutes later.

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Pretty Oulu.

Oulu, Finland

At the beginning of May, Zed was transferred to Oulu, Finland, where he’s serving with Elder Hansen from Clearfield, Utah. We talked to him via Skype on Mother’s Day and it was great! I usually dislike Skyping with groups of people, but it turned out to be very pleasant and everyone behaved well. Maybe that’s because it was at 7:00 am on a Sunday morning and I had to wake everyone up, so they were still kind of asleep? Anyway, it was so fun to talk to Zed and ask questions and get answers immediately! We’re pretty lucky to be able to have video chats like that, and for free! We have reached the Jetsons reality! At least in some ways.

Oulu is not the most northern city in the Finland mission, but it’s close. During the summer solstice, on June 20, 21, and 22, the sun will be below the horizon for only 1 hour 58 minutes each night, setting at about 12:21 am and rising at 2:19 am. I’m sort of gleefully following the sunrise/sunset times in the cities where Zed is serving, living vicariously through him, I guess. Following mission rules means he’s supposed to sleep through that, but I’m hoping he’ll stay up one night and get some photos of the midnight sun. Just one night!

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Zed in bike helmet on pretty country road.

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Zed: “Weird statue in the park.”

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Elder Hansen and Zed, looking dignified as usual.

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Zed took this to verify with me and Jon that we have books with this character in them. Yes, Richard Scarry is everywhere.

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Kajaani, where he did splits once.

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Zed’s new bike.

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Zed was very proud to get these ties for €2 each.

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He thought Jon would enjoy this sign for Leningrad Street (in Finnish and Swedish).

Last photos from Turku

Zed was transferred in May to Oulu. More on that in the next post. Below find photos from his last few weeks in Turku.

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Last selfie with Elder Strandberg!

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A mökki (in Zed’s words, “basically a little summer cabin thing”) where he and Elder Strandberg spent a Finnish/Swedish holiday called Vappu. On holidays, the missionaries are only allowed to go to pre-arranged appointments, usually with members or investigators. No regular proselyting allowed.

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Elder Strandberg and Elder Jensen roasting sausages at the mökki.

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The district in Turku.

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A great view of Turku from the top of a tall apartment building where they knocked doors.

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Zed’s words: “Definitely the coolest water tank ever.”

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Zed and Elder Strandberg in front of some castle ruins they visited.

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The castle ruins.

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Zed’s MTC district together again at a zone conference. Why do they look so serious?

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In Turku.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Yep, it’s been more than two months since I posted news or pictures from Zed. Better late than never, I guess.

He’s still serving in Turku but is now with a different companion, Elder Strandberg, who is Swedish. He continues to sound upbeat and happy. Pictures below. The only picture of him is at the very bottom and we got it yesterday. It’s great to see him, even if only in a photo!

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A castle they went to on P-day. I can’t find in any email where he said what castle.

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Medieval sheet music. Possibly a replica, Zed says.

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Elder Hyer wearing real armor.

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Courtyard of the castle.

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Courtyard of the castle.

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They saw the Northern Lights! Zed says this photo doesn’t capture them well, but there’s a suggestion of them. It’s uncommon to see the Northern Lights as far south as they are.

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Funny sticker on a door they saw. Presumably it means No Soliciting? Especially by people in tall hats.

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Zed knitted a tie for himself while his companion was sick one day. I’m so proud!

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The Judgment Church (Tuomiokirkko). He’s sent pictures of the inside of this church before.

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Sunset in Turku.

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Flowers! Evidence of Spring!

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The most recent picture: Zed on a nice day, though it may not look like a nice day. He looks good!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Vanhin Jensen is doing well. He knocked on some doors (and said it was “way fun!”), went on splits with other elders (where he and his companion split up with another companionship so they can work with someone else for a few hours or a day), sang at the old folks’ home again, and went to Helsinki for a couple of days for interim training with the elders and sisters he arrived with at the end of December, where they also got to go to the temple. He sounds happy and interested in the work.

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In front of the Helsinki temple. 

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Dinner at a “tourist trap” Viking restaurant in Turku.

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Zed wanted us to see the ridiculous pre-packaged hamburgers they see at Lidl, but it looks to me like they bought the ridiculous pre-packaged hamburgers, so who’s really ridiculous here?

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The Tuomiokirkko (Judgment Church) in Turku.

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The Tuomiokirkko again. Zed said someone was playing the organ when they went in.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Vanhin Jensen sounds happy and busy in his email from today. They had a zone meeting last week in Tampere, about two hours away by train. Here’s a picture he sent of the church in Tampere. He said they got there at about 9:30 am — look how dark it is! According to the all-knowing internet, sunrise on that day was at 9:24 am, sunset at 3:56 pm.

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He was asked by the senior missionary couple (who are Finnish) to play “Be Still, My Soul” on the piano for a Young Single Adult event coming up, so he’s been working on his own arrangement, since he doesn’t have sheet music with him. The tune for the hymn comes from the symphony Finlandia by famous Finnish composer Jean Sibelius and is called “Finlandia Hymn” (though I think it’s usually just referred to as “Finlandia”). As Zed said in his letter, “apparently, that song is really important to the Finnish people.” Indeed. I feel like I failed as a mother that he doesn’t already know that! I guess he has to figure some things out on his own. And I’m glad he can play around with arranging music a little.

Here’s what he said about the clouds in Finland: “… the clouds are always cool if it’s not entirely overcast and even when it is sometimes. Somehow they manage to almost always be mixed shades of red and grey and blue – it’s soooooo cool looking.” Here are a couple of pictures he sent:

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And here are some pictures of his apartment. I like the sticky notes everywhere, which, I assume, are Finnish vocabulary. And there’s a picture of him and his companion at the very bottom, so scroll down for that one even if the apartment pictures are boring.

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Tuesday, 6 January 2014

News from Zed, aka Vanhin Jensen:

Vanhin Jensen arrived safely in Helsinki, Finland, and after spending one night there at the mission home, he was sent off to the city of Turku on the west coast of Finland with his new companion and trainer, Vanhin Johnson from Oregon. He says he’s just understanding bits and pieces of everyone’s Finnish and he has given a couple of short lessons in Finnish. It sounds like he’s hearing a fair amount of English, too, since most Finns speak it pretty flawlessly. He’s met a few investigators and members and had this to say about his first contacting experience: “HOOO is it scary to try and speak Finnish about the Gospel to someone on a bus, but it was kinda fun, haha.”

Below are a few pictures he sent. The mission home address (where all physical mail should be sent) and his email address are at the very bottom, if you want to write to him! He sounds happy and engaged in his work.

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Sunset from Zed’s apartment

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“Extremely neat” bus card, according to Zed

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Vanhin Johnson and Vanhin Jensen

30 December 2014: Safe arrival in Finland!

Nice to know that he’s there:

Hi y’all!

They’re having us send emails home to let you know that we all arrived safely. 🙂 Just had dinner with President Watson and now he’s doing short interviews and we’re filling some stuff out for him. All is well – I’m wiped out but having a blast! Tomorrow we get to meet with our new companions and we’ll be heading out to the field! Tonight we also got to visit the temple, which was cool. President Watson assigned me a temporary companion until tomorrow, who’s a Finn himself! He just got out of the MTC in Preston, England, where he was for just two weeks, since he already knows Finnish. 😛

Gotta go! Can’t wait to write next week! Love you!

Elder Jensen

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Zed’s p-day last week was changed to Wednesday because of Christmas. Here is most of his letter from that day:

Hey all!!

New things this week: GOT OUR FLIGHT PLANS. SO STOKED. WE LEAVE MONDAY THE 29TH. CANNOT WAIT. haha. really though, can’t wait, at all. We’ll be getting there at 4 PM Finland time the next day, the 30th. The jet lag will probably be really terrible, but that’s okay – a missionary schedule is probably the best thing for jet lag, haha.

Gave a talk (in Finnish!) in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday – not exactly too stressful because the topic was Christmas and there were only about 10 people there who could understand me, haha. It went well. …

Got several packages this week – thanks to everyone who sent something! I really loved getting Christmas cards from Gram and Grandad and also from the Roberts – and also thanks to the Roberts for sending me puzzles and a wrapped present that I have yet to open. 🙂

What else – we had a good devotional by the presiding bishop yesterday, during which he pulled out a real sword. Yes, in the middle of the devotional. He was talking about the armor of the Lord, etc. and then he pulled out a sword!!! So that was pretty awesome haha. 

Tomorrow’s devotional should be good – pretty sure it’ll be an Apostle since it’s Christmas, so I’m pretty excited. I’m singing in the choir and we’re singing a really really cool arrangement of Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer, which is actually pretty challenging, and I’m singing tenor, so I get to sing an F# at one point. 🙂 Having a ton of fun in that regard!!

Not much else to report at this point – next time I email i’ll be SUOMESSA OLEN NIIN PALJON INNOSTUNUT JA EN VOI ODOTTAA AGHGHGHGHGHGH sorry haha the Finnish just came right out… can’t wait!

Rakastan teitä niin paljon! Hyvää Joulua!!!

Elder Jensen

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Here’s a pic of my class and our wonderful teacher Jordan Foster, who just got back from Finland in August. Our last class period with her was Monday!