“Susanna Ståhle of Turku, Finland,” Friend, Feb. 2004, 16
Susanna Ståhle, age 11, of Turku, Finland, has a lot of courage. She has been riding horses since she was five years old and likes to jump them over obstacles. She says good balance and the ability to estimate the horse’s steps are important. But most important is having the courage to urge the horse over the jump. When a rider feels afraid, the horse senses fear and may refuse to jump.
Susanna has courage in other areas of her life, too. A good friend taught her to jump horses. The friend wanted Susanna to compete in jumping competitions that were held on Sunday, but Susanna told her friend she wouldn’t.
As the oldest daughter in the Ståhle family, Susanna knows she needs to set a good example for her younger brother, Daniel, age 2, and younger sisters Sofia, age 8, and Emilia, age 6. One of the ways she sets an example is by helping her mother prepare dinner. But to Susanna it’s not a chore. She likes cooking!
“I learn more and more every week,” Susanna says. “Lasagna is one of my favorites.” Susanna says she feels good when she is helping her family. “When you are serving, you see how good it makes others feel. It makes you happy and eager to do more.”
Susanna also helps out by taking care of her brother Daniel. She says he can make a big mess very quickly. One day Daniel decided to “wash” all the mirrors in the house and even his own head with foot cream! Susanna helped clean up, and it took almost an hour.
But Daniel isn’t always making messes. “Daniel also likes listening to stories, and sometimes he falls asleep in my arms when I’m reading,” Susanna says.
Next to jumping horses, Susanna’s favorite thing to do is curl up on the couch and read a good book. She especially likes adventure books. And when she was only two years old, she would sit for long periods of time and listen to Book of Mormon stories. Now Susanna writes her own stories. Some of her stories are so touching they make her mom cry. She likes to write about ponies and horses.
Susanna’s sister Sofia likes to paint and hopes to become an artist someday. She wants to have her work exhibited in the local library. She also enjoys swimming and biking. Although her activities keep her busy, she still finds time to play with Daniel and Emilia.
Singing and playing the piano are Emilia’s favorite things to do. She wanders around the garden and up the hill behind her house, singing the whole way. She makes up many of the songs she sings—songs about Heavenly Father and Jesus.
The Ståhle family attends the Turku Second Ward in the Tampere Finland Stake. The closest temple to their house is in Sweden, a 12-hour trip by car and boat.
But in 2000, the First Presidency announced that a temple would be built in Helsinki, Finland. The Ståhles are excited to see it completed! It will be only three hours from their home, and they know it will be beautiful. “We have pictures of our eternal family at the Sweden temple,” Susanna says. “I want to get married in the temple. Our Primary teacher told us about temples and how we can serve there.”
When Susanna’s parents go to the temple in Sweden, they often bring back Church videos that the family watches together for family home evening. The Ståhle family also likes to spend time together snow skiing, ice skating, or swimming in the lake by their house. They enjoy cooking meals as a family, and Susanna’s older brother, Mikael, age 17, makes a special dessert—chocolate cake with whipped cream.
Susanna’s favorite hymn is “Called to Serve” (Hymns, no. 249), which she learned in Primary. She looks up to Mikael, who will be serving a mission when he finishes his service in the army.
Susanna’s mother, Eeva, joined the Church in 1989, before Susanna was born. Sister Ståhle had a good friend who was a member of the Church, but they never talked about religion until Sister Ståhle’s sister was in a bad car accident. Soon after that, Sister Ståhle went with her friend to church. Immediately she felt that she had come home. She was baptized a month later, and Susanna’s father, Sven, was baptized a few years later.
Now Susanna and her family are helping Sofia prepare for baptism. One of the ways the family is helping Sofia is by inviting the missionaries to their home. Sofia is also preparing by reading the Book of Mormon, a goal she set for herself.
Susanna can still remember the good feelings she had when she was baptized. A week before her baptism she had a dream she remembers very clearly. In the dream she saw a huge mountain in front of her and a path that went straight to the top of the mountain. She saw another path that went sideways up the mountain, but it seemed well lit. She chose the sideways path and soon found herself in deep darkness. She had a sad feeling and turned around.
“Sometimes we choose the wrong path,” she says, “but we can always turn around and find the way to Heavenly Father.” Susanna is courageous enough to always find her way!