Eugene Cordell Vail
Helsinki, Finland Temple Dedication Trip
Day 1 - 17 Oct 2006

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be sure to hit REFRESH on each page each time you come again
because if you don't, you will only see what was here before,
and I am adding things daily!


This is the business card that I made that I handed out in Finland. I made about 60 of these cards to hand out to people in Finland. But I ran out of cards after the first week.... Should have made a lot more. Did not realize it would be so easy to talk to people. The pictures were on one side and the address on the other side. I laminated the cards. It made it so easy to talk to people about why I was in Finland and why I could speak Finnish and then I was able to share with them information about the beautiful LDS Helsinki Temple.


Flying to Finland we went up over the top through Greenland and then over Scotland.
The sun was just coming up as we were above Scotland and was one of the most beautiful
sun rises I have ever seen. This picture does not do justice to the deep red colors that were displayed.

As soon as you get to the airport you start noticing signs have Finnish, Swedish, and English.
Further out in the country it is just Finnish and Swedish. Swedish is still a national language in
Finland but almost every one in Helsinki speaks English too.
Sometimes when it is only Finnish and Swedish, if you don't know the Finnish the Swedish is
close enough to English to know what it is. Other times not....


This is the Helsinki Finland Temple from the air (picture taken by Hannu Hakkinen).
It is located in the town of Espoo, a western suburb of Helsinki

Here are 3 pictures of the temple at night (pretty hard to hold the camera still in freezing weather with no tripod)

President and Sister Anderson, my first mission president are temple workers there now. I had the
wonderful privilege of meeting them again. They were a wonderful mission president and mission mother.

My second mission president, Malcolm and Pat Asplund were there too but I never got to see them.
This picture of them was printed in the Meridian Magazine articles about the Helsinki Finland Temple.

The missionary Elder Richard Smith, was my language training elder when I arrived in Finland.
He and his wife are also a temple worker there now. He and his wife Elisa are on a mission.
I knew her parents in my first city KOTKA but she had already
moved away before I came so I never knew her then.


This statue is called the 3 Smith's. It has been there for a very very long time.
It is right in the middle of down town Helsinki by the famous department store called Stockmann's
This is where I was standing when I heard that President Kennedy had been shot.
So I wanted a picture of it with me standing there again.

This was on of those many many times I asked someone to take my picture
or asked them where something was just so I could talk to them. This was taken by a girl from Russia.
Really fun to talk to her. Her husband came later. He was from Israel so I took their picture.
Wish I would have taken a picture of them so you could have seen them. Really nice people.

(notice there are bullet holes all over in it from the war years).


Stopped another lady on the street and asked her to take my picture so I could talk to her. Finnish people are so fun to talk to.
She was very nice and took my card. This is the statue of C.G.E. Mannerheim. He was the Finnish Military Field Marshal that helped Finland win independence from Russia and expel the Germans during the World War. He was president of Finland from 1944 to 1946.
You cant go to Helsinki without seeing this statue by the train station.

Stopped another man on the street to talk to him. Well I knew where Neitsytpolku street is.
I guess I just wanted to know if he did so I could talk to him. Fun conversation about the Church with him.
And in Finnish too. This is the street where the LDS Helsinki Mission Office is and where I spent many an hour 43 years ago.
Who could ever forget the address Neitsutpolku 3 A 4 ?

This is the locked gate at the LDS mission home. YIKES. Why would they lock the gate?. Have to really want to be converted to get in this place ....
I had to wait until a lady who lived there came by and then I talked her into letting me go inside
to even ring the door bell to get inside (Thank goodness I can speak Finnish)... She was a really fun person to talk to.

But before she left I asked her to take a picture of me ringing the door bell. I rang it, and the mission office secretary
buzzed me in with out even asking who I was. She smiled. Came in with me and got in the elevator and went up to her home.
I went up the steps to the 2nd floor to the mission office....
(sorry about the picture not showing the bell. I think she was just a little nervous about letting me in...
Or maybe it was my BAD Finnish... Who can say. But she let me in.

The mission office door was just open so at least that time I did not have to BUZZ....
Looks just like it did 43 years ago.
That is the LDS Church name on the door.

They have rearranged the inside of the mission office a little since 1963, but it looks exactly the same on the outside as it did 43 years ago.
This is me with the current Mission President, President Estees. He came to Finland as a missionary about a month before I went home in 1965.
Didn't make much headway asking him or the missionary who took the picture about wanting to know more... Ummmm

Below the mission office, on the first floor, is a chapel where we held church. I talked the mission secretary
into going down with me and letting me take a picture of it. It has not changed one bit.
I spent many hours in this chapel interpreting Finnish into English for visitors. Lots of memories here.

The whole of Finland is pretty much underlying gannet rock. So much of the shore line is just rock.
Rock beach is not that bad you know (at lest not when the water is 50 degrees).
This beach is right down the street from the mission office.
It took me a couple of tries to convince this older man who took my picture that I really could speak Finnish.
But finally he talked to me and then took my picture. Lots of people walk in the park along the beach.

You seldom see a road or a building being built that you don't see these drilling hole marks on the rock
and blasting going on. Finland is pretty much one big rock down under. The Helsinki Temple was built
from this gray and red gannet rock.

The most famous thing in Helsinki is the huge Lutheran Cathedral Church. I could not find it.
I asked 5 people where it was (in Finnish of course). I did not remember the words for Cathedral so I
said, "You know that huge big white Lutheran church that is the head church of Finland that has a green
roof and a gold cross and a huge set of steps in front." 4 of the 5 people I asked said they did not know where it was.
Finally one lady said, "Oh you mean the Cathedral Church". It is 4 blocks the other way. (Shows how good
my Finnish was the first day I guess. But here it is. I finally found it.
Got some Finnish kids to take the picture for me. They were really fun to talk to about Finland. (English of course)
All the kids speak English and want to practice. But they took my card when we were done. Clean cut kids.

Since I had been used to knocking on doors 70 hours a week while I was a Mormon Finnish Missionary
I decided to just go ahead and knock on the door of the church and see if they would be interested now.
No one answered. Then I realized it was not me being rejected again.
The sign says the church is closed for remodeling. I will have to come back later.
Took me a couple of tries to convince the lady going past that I really did only want to take a picture of me
knocking on the door. Then she warmed up and we had a really fun talk. Took my card. Said she would look at my web page.

But life as a missionary 43 years ago was not all that bad. I mean I could have gotten the job of this guy
instead. He was there 43 years ago too and is still there. And the birds still use him every day for the same thing
they were using him for 43 years ago... YUCK! I am glad I got the missionary job and not the statue job.

I don't know if you remember the movie Dr. Zhivago but it was filmed in Finland just before I got there.
Lots of the Russian soldiers in the movies were just Finnish people they paid to be actors. But lots of them were not Finns.
They were Mormon Missionaries who spoke Finnish and they needed them to help with the language.
They used them so the directors could call out in English what to do and then the missionaries who spoke
Finnish would tell the Finnish stand in actors (acting as Russian soldiers in the movie) what to do.
If you remember right at the end he was on a trolley car and saw Laura (was that her name?) walking along the street.
This is where that was filmed. I looked around for them but guess they went home 43 years ago too. (I tried
to get some one to take my picture as the trolley came by. Ever tried to stop some one on the street and say, "Hay, would
you mind waiting here for 4 or 5 minutes with me and take my picture just as the trolley comes by.. ha ha ha) and in Finnish."
So I just took the picture my self. This was the 4th try...

I have broken up the pictures into days so it is a smaller file and easier to open
for friends with older computers. That is the only reason for breaking the pictures up into different days.
I will have to add the captions a few at a time over the next few weeks
Sorry if that is inconvenient for you.

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