Monday, January 26, 2015

Sjukdom, Svenska, Tomte, Undervisningar. Den här är liksom min tidning.

This week has been an adventure to say the least :)

Last P-day we went out and explored this giant rock in the ocean. We walked out on a bridge to get to it and walked around on it and sweden is so pretty at night. We were able to look out at the city and see the lights reflecting off the ocean and it was so beautiful! 

We had snow this week! 

For study I've been reading from Our Search for Happiness by Russel M. Ballard and it's like my new favorite book. Go read it. Give it to your member friends. Give it to your non-member friends. It's simply the greatest. It's written so clearly and has helped me better understand the gospel and our church. I finished it this week and started reading Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage (i think) and holy cow that is some thick reading. I have to take a mental breather every 3 sentences but it's really good :) 

Sofia, the african girl that chased us down in centrum last week insisted we meet with her. We looked her up in the area book and she's been taught before, so we swung by to go teach her but she wasn't home. We decided to walk back instead of taking the bus (like, we never walk so this was some sort of secret spiritual prompting) and we ran into her on the way back home! We were able to set up another appointment to meet with her and it was awesome. Like, thank you Heavenly Father for the direction we sometimes don't realize we're recieving. 

We had pingis again tuesday night and Hasam (the iranian guy from last week) brought a friend! He's like bros with Pres. J now and he's cool. So we were playing pingis and I was working up a sweat (swedes love intense pingis tournaments. its nuts) and suddenly in walks Babu, one of our investigators that had a baptismal date when we got here but then fell off the face of the earth. We had never met with him before so we ran up and introduced ourselves. We sat down and started talking to him about stuff and he's decided he will be baptized in India when he returns home. He's like done his homework and knows the closest temple to him, knows about wards and stakes in his area, I'm not even worried. So we talked with him and got to know him and I'm so happy we were able to meet him before he left back to India!

On Wednesday we went clear out to Bergkvara to go visit one of our new converts Mim-Ariel. She made us lunch and it was really swedish. Fish, bread, gravy, potatoes, tea. She's the sweetest person in the world and we talked about church and favorite scriptures and mini miracles we're been able to see in our lives. She has a cat and I'm secretly the mission cat lady and we talked about cats for like 20 minutes. I love Mim-Ariel. We're soul sisters or something. 

Then we swung by one of the member's houses, Madeline, and she fed us lunch too (two lunches. I was full to bursting.) I had a hard time understanding her because her Blekingska was so strong but she's really cute and uses her hands to talk :)

We went back to Karlskrona and then walked to Sofia for our appointment and contacted along the way. We contacted this dude that looked just like Will Smith and the whole time I was thinking, "Holy cow, I'm telling the fresh prince of Bel-Air about the gospel in swedish." and it turns out he already knows about the church! He had met with elders in another city and now he lives here! We got his number and we're gonna try to start meeting with him! Sofia blåsted us (wasn't home) when we went by so we have yet another appointment with her this friday. It's fine though, walking to and from her apartment has been the coolest thing ever. We call the path the sacred sidewalk because we meet all these solid people on it. Like Will Smith.

On Thursday we had district meeting and it was awesome. I LOVE meeting with other missionaries. When you go the whole week just you and your companion and a whole city of people that know nothing about the gospel it's super comforting to know that there are a bunch of other people out there doing the same thing you are. After district meeting we went to (you guessed it) an asian buffet. What is it with elders and asian buffets? 

We had planned to have 4 lessons on Thursday and we were only scheduled with one. We were determined to achive the 4 lessons. So we went through the area book and found this guy and called him and he seemed interested enough so we asked if he could meet with us. That day. In 15 minutes. And he was like, "yeah! I'll totally do that!" So we met with him and talked about why our church was different from other churches and gave him a bit of a watered down restoration lesson and his first language is Turkish so we told him we'd get him a Book of Mormon in Turkish and it was super awesome. We walk back to the apartment basically floating on air. AND THEN we got a text from him that says "thanks so much, you guys were nice!" and we're like "no problem! we'll be sure to get you that book the next time we meet!" and he says "do you guys wanna go get a drink sometime?" and it was like all my happiness died. COULDN'T SOMEONE BE INTERESTED IN THE GOSPEL FOR ONCE? It's so rough having such positive contacts and then having literally 80% of them text us and ask us out or ask us to marry them and I'm sick of it. Elders don't really have this problem. But we pressed forward because we still had 3 more lessons to teach before we reached our goal of 4. We walked down the sacred sidewalk and on the way gave out 2 Books of Mormon and taught 4 more lessons. And then we went to our appointment and taught that lesson. SIX LESSONS IN ALL. Setting goals works.

On Friday we woke up really tired. Syster Allred was nauseous and I was exhausted. We taught one of our new converts, Irene. She's from El Salvador and she's beyond strong in the faith. They fed us typical swedish breakfast (smörgåsar. I'm in love. I'll be eating them everyday when I get back) and we talked about Uchtdorf's talk "Lord, Is it I?" and it was awesome. Friday was supposed to be Paulina's baptismal date but she wasn't able to be baptized because she wasn't at church. So we stopped by and asked about her general feelings on things and decided that we'd keep meeting with her and prepare her for baptism in March. 

Poor Syster Allred was really not good on Friday. We went home after open church and I made her some soup. We tried to go out contacting but everybody was so rude and no one would stop for even 2 minutes. The worst was this one girl who was like, "what do you people want?!" and rolled her eyes when she saw our name tags and said, "Pfft. I know what I know." and walked away. I wanted to throw her in the ocean. Here we were, out on the street in the middle of swedish winter, thousands of miles from our homes, Syster Allred sick to her stomach, trying to talk to people in their own language, and all we want to do is help people. Friday night was hard. And then both of us got this sudden prompting that we needed to be in. So we basically ran back to the apartment. We still don't know what that was about. But at least we were inside. 

On Saturday we taught Ereleng. He's awesome. Our lesson on the plan of salvation went super well and he had questions like, "wait, after everyone's been ressurected how are we all going to fit on the earth?" and "what do people in your church do if someone doesn't come one day?" and it was super awesome. He's got great questions that I love answering and he is super open to commitments. I really enjoy teaching Ereleng. I think he's golden. 

Then we taught Tobias, the guy we had the member present lesson with last week at pingis. We tried talking about church but he kept asking weird questions like "are there more sharks in Hawaii than California?" and "have you ever seen Las Vegas?" and everytime we tried to say something to him he's pick apart our swedish. So the spirit wasn't there. I didn't understand his norweigan accent. He kept correcting us even when we said things right. We invited him to church but he said he didn't believe that one church can have the whole truth so he needs to research all these other churches in order to figure it out. In my mind I'm like, "Oh my goodness, stop complicating things and just pray about it." I think if we ever meet with him again I'm just going to speak english because he understands it perfectly. 

We went to Birgitta's house (the less active sister that knows about lehi and highland) and I brought my picture book :) we had a great time talking about the mountains and places around town. She looked at the picture of mom and dad and was like, "they're so cute! your parents look so young!" and we talked about family and temples and left her with a prayer. I LOVE HER. 

On Sunday we had church. None of our investigators showed up. It's sad. We'll just keep inviting them. We met with this african man named Nebie. He's a super devout Christian and loves everything about Jesus. We gave him a lesson on the restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon. As I was saying the closing prayer he was like, "yes, thank you Jeses, amen Jesus, hallelujah, amen" the whole time and it totally made my day. He met with the sisters here before because he found one of their name tags on the ground and returned it. He said he just wouldn't feel right if he had held on to it. He's one of my new favorites. 

random stories:
- in branch council this week they asked me a question and I hadn't understood a single thing they'd been saying. So I just kind of blinked at them and said, "...uhhhh... jag förstod ingenting." and they laughed and looked back at me like, "well, answer the question." and  it was super embarassing. 
- we were in Ronneby and this guy is so drunk he can't even walk straight and he comes up to us and says "Ni ser ut tomte." and I've been laughing about it all weekend. He said we looked like tomte. A tomte is a little swedish troll dwarf thing. I can't even handle how funny that encounter was.
- We contacted this adorable old swedish lady. She's a professor of religion and says she thinks we represent our church in the greatest way and invited us over. 
- We contacted this swedish kid that was maybe 18 on the same day Tobias dissected our svenska and he came up to us about 5 minutes after we contacted him and told us we had very good swedish. I'm so thankful for those people.
- we found the cutest park near our apartment in Karlskrona. 
- Sometimes we sprint after buses and bus drivers laugh at us
- Syster Allred accidenally lit one of our dish towels on fire yesterday hahaha

As always I love being a missionary. Sister Allred and I have been sick this weekend but we can see the blessings of strength throughout the day. We know that we have family and friends praying for us and feel uplifted when we work. We have been so blessed to be in this area serving with the people that we serve with. I love this branch. There are few members here but they are spiritual giants. I learn and grown so much from them and their examples. I love helping people and talking to people and sometimes I remember "Oh my goodness I'm living in sweden, speaking swedish, telling people about the greatest news to ever hit the earth" and I feel like it's not even real sometimes. I love being a missionary. I LOVE IT. I'm so grateful I have these next 16 months to continue serving! 

Have an amazing week!
Love, Syster Janessa Brink
sometimes I make houses of cards

standing on the peir with this fish woman statue.  Red eye like crazy.

snow in Karlskrona! standing on the sacred sidewalk!

burnt dish towel.

this is how we're going to get all our potential investigators to stop asking us out

on the bus, super tired

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