Monday, February 23, 2015

ett hus blir inget hem utan en katt

Hello to my friends in the 801 and all around the world. It's P-Day and it's emailing time and I've got some exciting stories to tell you about Sverige and missionary life :)

Last P-day we decided we wanted to do something really fun. We had a bag of stale old cookies so we went to go and feed some ducks! It lasted about 8 seconds though. Sister Allred threw in a cookie and the ducks ate it. And then she threw in the bag accidentally. So it was over pretty quick. We also went and toured the local battery/artillary fortress thing. It was super cool but also it was really REALLY cold that day so we weren't there for too long!

We went to Diana on Tuesday. Everytime I go over there I get more and more humble. She shared with us that she had just found out she wouldn't be able to have children anymore and my heart broke. She got a facetime call while we were there from her sister in law in Croatia. She said that she had been meeting with mormon missionaries there. And she had been praying that we would be sent to Diana to teach her as well. And then it hit me. We were sent there on a prayer. And not just one prayer but several. From Diana, from her sister in law, from my parents, from Sister Allred's parents, and the list goes on and on. It was literally a miracle that we found her. 

Later that night we had activities at the church, but the elders were gone (Äldste Simonson got transfered to Utby and Äldste Silvennoinen was traveling up to stockholm to get a new greenie) so it was just us, Christian and Tony. It was good though because we got to know Christian better and better! He's the coolest person in the world and he speaks like 6 languages. And he downloaded the Gospel Library app so he could read from the manuel we use on sunday for Gospel Principles class. He is THE COOLEST. 

*CONTACTING TIP: when contacting a group of teenage boys always begin with, "hej, vi kommer ifån USA" and they'll listen to everything you say to them. Swedes like Americans. 

On Wednesday we taught Christian the Plan of Salvation. He had lots of great questions about it and then brought up concerns about our church. He's really been researching and went online and found stuff about polygamy and how we believe we can become our own gods (...?) so we clarified everything for him and he was good. I love that he feels confident in us and will ask us about these things instead of just taking what the internet says as truth. He's so solid. 

We went tracting and met this 7th day Adventist who has read the entire book of mormon and said he really liked our religion but knew it wasn't true because and I quote, "Jesus said the word 'chickens' in the book of mormon and chickens couldn't have possibly lived back then." Ummm. Kay. The prize for the world's saddest excuse goes to this man. His conversion is hinging on chickens. He's a single guy so we can't teach him at his home without a member (missionary rules are fun) so we gave him to the elders. 

We FINALLY went and taught Ereling this week!!! We brought Andreas, a new convert and our branch missionary. We decided we wanted to focus on personal prayers with Ereling because he's still saying the Lord's prayer, and won't get answers unless he starts having a personal relationship with God. Andreas shared his conversion story and then Ereling got into it and started trying to dissect it. Ereling comes off as argumenative but he just really wants to understand every aspect of things. So he's picking apart Andreas's testimony and Sister Allred jumps in and is like, "Ereling. We are talking about prayer. We could sit here all day and give you scriptural evidence as to why this is all true and debate and discuss but the only way you could ever really know for yourself is if you pray. Do you believe you can get answers to your prayers?" and he was like "...yeah." and he calmed down on the personal attacks and we finished reading the chapter. And at the end I got to explain to him that we have our church because of a prayer. Joseph Smith prayed to know the truth. We have the Book of Mormon because Enos prayed in verse 13 that the record would be protected. And it was. And the only reason I was there is because I have prayed and I know. Nobody can know spiritual things without prayer. So we gave him a hard invitation to pray in his own words. And to come to church. 

Andreas wasn't even shaken up after the lesson. He knows this church is true and his testimony can't be shaken. He is the greatest. I love working with Andreas!

We got a text from a random phone number that night. It was Diana borrowing the neighbor's phone. She said that her family was out of money and her son was going to be having surgery and her children had nothing to eat. That's when I felt completely over my head. But we've been able to talk to the Branch about it, and we are going to use some fast offering money to buy them some groceries for the rest of this month. I am so grateful that we have that resource. Genorous fast offering donations CHANGE PEOPLE'S LIVES. What a blessing to be able to help her and her family through faithful member's donations.

At district meeting I got to see Syster Adamson, my old comp from the MTC! She finally got her visa and was able to come here from Chicago. We're now in the same district and I'm so happy!!! I also got to meet my new "half-brother" (mission families are confusing and one day maybe I'll explain it all) Äldste Purkey. He's from Michigan and he's straight from the MTC. Feels good not being the greenest greenie. 

Paulina called us while we were at District meeting and said she needed to meet with us ASAP. Which is weird because she has never had any time for us before. So we get home to Karlskrona and meet her at her apartment and I'm hoping she's finally read the book of mormon and has a testimony and really wants to come to church. But she didn't. Instead she decided to chew us out for having a big empty chapel and not opening it at night for beggars to sleep in. I was kind of floored. Because if she had listened to anything the missionaries have told her these last 5 months she's know that the church is a dedicated chapel and we can't have people living in it. I only said maybe 10 words that whole visit. But I was really mad. I shouldn't have been but I was. And I'm not going to get into my huge whole rant about it but basically that night I read the scriptures to calm myself down and the sermon on the mount is what put it all in perspective for me. Matt 5.44-48 to pray for those who despitefully use you and bless those that curse you because God makes the sun rise on both the good and the bad. We're both daughters of God. And I have no reason to think that I am superior to her in any way. 

The next day we woke up feeling sick. But we went out and did some family history contacting and then went to Diana to teach her about preisthood blessings. We told her that it could give her comfort and peace and we asked her if she would like a blessing from the elders. And she got quiet for a long time. And then she said no. And I was really sad because I didn't understand why she wouldn't want a blessing when she knew it could help her. She texted us later and told us that because her husband is a muslim she couldn't have other men in her house. She wanted the blessing, but couldn't recieve it because of the Muslim beliefs and traditions. While we were there I asked her about the book of mormon and if she'd prayed to know it was true. She just looked at us and said, "I know it's true. It's the word of God. I know when I read it." I love her faith. That's totally one of her spiritual gifts. She has the most incredible faith I've ever seen, and I want to be like her someday. 

On Saturday we were still feeling pretty sick but we got out and went to brunch at Pres. Jusinski's house. We shared D&C 6 with them, one of the last verses that basically says, "fear not little flock, though earth and hell combine against you they cannot succeed." and we talked about how our branch is like a little flock, but we have Christ on our side and we will be okay through whatever happens. 

Yesterday I gave a talk in sacrament meeting. In Swedish. I was pretty nervous but I think it went pretty well. I talked about faith and family history and doing our part to exercise our faith in the best way we can. Christian came to church and so did Paulina. We translated for both of them and then we taught the youth sunday school class about the plan of salvation while the Elders taught Gospel Principles. Apparently that was the best lesson the youth have ever had so I feel pretty cool. After church Sister Allred looked dead. She is much worse than I am. So I decided she needed a sick day (she wants so bad to be super missionary, but if she's not going to stand up for her health someone has to) so we went back to the apartment and she slept for like 3 hours while I did the dishes and cleaned the apartment and talked to ward members and the zone leaders about our investigators. 

We had family phone evening last night with the zone and they asked all of us to come up with a hashtag with the best advice we have from our missions (so trendy. so 21st century). Mine was #chileanwomenarecrazy. Because they are. But it's so much fun working with chilean women. I would take all the crazy in the world from them :)

I have officially been out on my mission for 3 months now. TIME FLIES SO FAST!!! I love being a missionary! I love having investigators that are eager to learn and want to hear what we say and change their lives! I am so excited for everything that will be happening these next few weeks here in Karlskrona. I'll be sure to keep all of you up to date :) Keep it real and ha det så bra!!! Ni är BÄSTA!!! 

Syster Janessa Brink 

my dorky picture from the marina haha

hanging out by the cannons.  BOOM.

not many pictures this week cuz we were sick :(

Monday, February 16, 2015

Alla Hjärtans Dag, Alla kärlek

Starting from last week, our P-day was so boring. But I cleaned the rug in our apartment. So At least that's done. We were going to try and go to a museum but it was closed. And then we were going to try meeting with some of our investigators but they blåsted us (blew us off, rough translation) 

On tuesday we had breakfast with Irene and Maria. I LOVE TEACHING IRENE. She has all these great questions. It's so cool to see her discovering the church and the new world that's opening up for her. She wants to go to the temple and do baptisms on March 21, so I might be heading to Denmark in a month for a temple trip :) I'm so excited for Irene and all the amazing progress she's making. She has the sweetest spirit and you can really feel it when you talk with her. I love how trofast she is and how trevlig she's been with us. We'll be meeting with her agian today for lunch and I'm so excited!!

We tried doing some service tracting ("hey, we're just going around helping people for fun, do you have any service we could do?") It was awkward. Never again. It was warm on tuesday so I tried going without a coat. Warm as in 7 degrees celcius. So like. Not actually warm. But I'm so sick of my coat. I'm done dressing like an arctic explorer in a skirt. I want spring and summer. The protest officially begins now. 

We were out doing some contacting when we remembered we were going to try swinging by Maureen. So we hopped on a bus and went to her apartment. We knocked on the door and there was no answer. So we decided to tract the building. We were going to start from the top and then work our way to the bottom. So we took the creepy swedish elevator up and went and knocked on the first door. And it opened. We start speaking swedish and they're like, "wait, can you speak english instead?" so we say, "we're missionaries from our church, and we have a message about Jesus Christ. Do you have a little time that we could share it with you?" and the two women look at each other. And back at us. And back at each other. And then they say, "yes, come in."

So we walk in and sit down on the couch. They pull up a little coffee table and give us some orange soda. They sat on the floor and looked us and we began the restoration. We told the whole story. They listened intently. One of the women, Diana, asked us if Jesus would be coming again soon. Because two of her children are handicapped, they need medicine and they're trying to get some, but she wants Christ to come and heal them. She and her sister in law are here living with their husbands in this tiny apartment. They've been moving from country to country trying to find medical resources for Diana's children but haven't had any luck. She was just recently given a bible in her own language (CROATIAN. WHERE'S BROOKE?) and she reads it to her children every night. I felt really stronly to share the story about Jesus blessing the nephite children, so I did. And it brought tears to her eyes. We didn't have a Croatian book of mormon with us, or a german one for her sister in law, but we promised to come back later in the week and teach them some more and bring the book so they can read it.

On wednesday we went to visit Mim Ariel. She is so sweet. She's been a member for almost a year now, and wants to get her endowment on March 21. So we're helping her prepare for it. I shared a bunch a scriptures with her to help her understand some of the things that we do in the temple and told her about how I've prepared myself to go. 

After that we went up to Nybro to visit a less active sister named Gilda. She's this tiny old chilean woman who picks us up from the train station and drives us to her apartment while blasting Celine Dion at the world's highest decibel level. She made us a delicious lunch of gluten free bread and potato casserole and then talked non stop for 2 hours in swedish/spanish/english. She was like "si, jag träffade en lady from malmö the andra noche...." and I'm just sitting there trying to match my facial expression to what she's doing with her face because I have like no idea what she's even saying. The only thing I understood from that whole visit was when she looked at me and said in clear swedish, "I'm sorry sister, I know you're blonde but I almost punched out a blonde girl at the bus station the other day." um. Should I be worried? She's an artist too, she likes drawing birds, which is cool cuz I like birds too. She showed us this one picture of this bald eagle (supposed to represent america) with lasers shooting out of it's body and killing people. Interesting. She drove us back to the train station afterwards and blasted some crazy techno music the whole time and made Sister Allred and I sing along (DO YOU BELIEEEEEVE IN LOVE AFTER LOVE????) and then gave us some cough drops while we waited for the train to show up. I got on the train and just had to laugh. That was the craziest visit of my whole life. 

Back in Karlskrona we met with Pres. Juzinski to teach Deo. Deo showed up with his cousin, Christian, and we taught them the full restoration. It was really nice having 5 people there, because it changed it from a lesson into more of a discussion. And then I felt ready to give them the baptismal invitation. We'd already given Deo a soft invitation for March, but today we were going to give them a date. I said, "We are going to have a baptismal service on March 28th, and we believe you can recieve a witness that this church is true. We can have both of you ready for baptism on that date. Would you like to be baptized?" and they were like "yes."


We were on the top of the world the whole rest of the night. We're going around contacting people in centrum with giant smiles and they're all wondering what's up with us. Oh nothing much, just two really positive investigators both just committed to baptism. 

On thursday we had district meeting in Växjö. Hello 2 hour train ride. But it was good to be there with the district. I love being with missionaries. After district meeting we're all walking to lunch and these three guys pop out of a wall or something and are like, "hey, do you guys have any devils you need cast out of you?" Surprise! Born again christians. They took on all 8 of us and jumped right into bible bashing. The elders were talking to them but Sister Allred and I kind of just walked away. But some good did come of it. Elder Hewitt said that he taught one of them the whole restoration and gave him a book of mormon. 

We get back from Växjö at like 5 and I'm feeling all lazy cuz I've spent almost the entire day on the train and I'm mentally complaining to myself that my feet are tired and today was boring because of the train and whatever. And we went to go visit Diana.

She's so sweet. She lets us in and we sit at the table in the kitchen and she relates to us the saddest life story ever. I was instantly humbled. We gave her a book of mormon in Croatian and marked the scripture about Christ blessing the children. Then we shared the Plan of Salvation with her. I told her about Duane's death and being away from family when it happened and how I was able to be okay through it all. I told her that I know he's going to get a body that is restored to it's full capacity and that he will be going to the celestial kingdom. Her children will be going to the celestial kingdom. She cried through my story and I cried with her. She's had such a hard life, and I had just spent the entire bus ride to her apartment complaining about my silly little problems. She has nothing to give us, but as we left she handed us a couple of soft, overripe bananas. 

We got into the elevator and I nearly burst into tears with Sister Allred. I want to give this woman and her family everything I've ever had. I have so much love for them and seeing them go through their hardships is breaking my heart. 

We had another member dinner on Friday night. I ate fish that looked like it had to be killed 3 different times. We recovered by going back to the apartment after dinner and eating a giant oreo marabou bar and dancing to super awkward heritage tours music. 

On Saturday we celebrated Alla Hjärtans Dag. We were supposed to meet with Ereling. But he was sick. So we stopped by Birgitta and did some service for her. We vaccumed the couch and then she let us bake some cookies to deliver to the other members in Karlskrona. We delivered cookies and then went back to the apartment. 

And then we saw that we'd had a missed call from the Zone Leaders. And my stomach dropped because that meant they were calling about transfers. Sister Allred like hit the floor and I sat in the chair and called them back. Both of us were freaking out about leaving Karlskrona. They answered and said they had transfer information for us and my heart is beating 300 mph and then they say "You're staying where you are!!" and I wanted to die. Missionaries shouldn't mess with other missionaries about transfers. I nearly had a heart attack. 

Yesterday we had an investigator in church! Christian came!!!! I tried to translate sacrament meeting into english for him but I was struggling. And then Tony came and translated so like, thanks for bi-lingual people. We had a class with him second hour about prayer and then he went to preisthood with the elders. He stayed the whole time!!! And he loved it! He likes how our church is different than others. He liked how we were able to sit and talk to each other instead of just listening to a preacher. He's excited for baptism and talked to one of the members of the stake presidency about it. 

We taught a woman some swedish yesterday. It was good to know that sometimes I actually know what I'm saying enough to teach somebody else swedish. 

Then we went and contacted a whole bunch of people and it was good. 

That's what happened this week :) 

Ha det så jättebra!!!

Syster Janessa Brink

Me, Lina and Sister Allred

Alla Hjärtans Dag frukost

 sometimes you have to wait at a train station on valentines day. And it's boring. And you get pictures like this. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

vad i sjuton?

Lots of crazy stories to tell and only a little bit of time to do it! I'll jump right in with last monday!
We went to the church for P-day and did some exercise. Nothing like a good run/jump rope/stretch/tumbling. It was way fun :) well, P-day was almost over and sister Allred got on this running high. She was running from one end of the church to the other and then she's like, "I'm gonna go run outside, it's hot in here. Make sure you let me back in the church." So I grabbed my coat and propped the door open so I could watch her run around the parking lot (sight and sound, being a good missionary and stuff.) She finishes her run and comes up the steps and says "wait. Do you have the keys?" and I'm like, "no." and then I realised that the 2nd door, the one to get into the church building, had shut and locked behind me. With our phone inside. And the keys. And our planners with all our back up phone numbers. Needless to say I felt really stupid. So we walked around the church trying to find an open window or something. And then sister allred remembered that she had the phone number for Täby (her old area) memorized. So we ran to the neighbor's house and knocked on the door and called Täby so they could get in contact with the elders in our area to come let us in. THE ELDERS TOOK FOREVER TO GET THERE. But it's fine. We were sitting on the ground by the heater reading pass-along cards. We'd also tried everything we could think of to try and get into the church. Including picking the lock with my nametag. It didn't work.
But. We did get our stuff out of the church. The elders rescued us and we were able to swing by Maureen and drop off a Book of Mormon for her to read.
Tuesday was like a crazy spiritual high. We went by Lars (the dude that was swearing at sister allred on the phone). I was SO NERVOUS to visit him. Part of me was worried he'd pull out a gun or something and kill us but when he opened the door all my worries went away. We took one of the members with us to the lesson and it went SO WELL. Lars was so nice and he and Rolf hit it off. Turns out Lars actually knows the branch president (Pres J is his doctor, small world). We taught him the restoration and he was sooo interested in the Book of Mormon. We gave him a copy and he was like, "oh I'm just going to borrow it and then I'll give it back," but like, it's totally his. He lives in this super awesome old house that was built in the 1600's and he told us there was a human skeleton he dug up in his backyard. He's cool. I think we're gonna be good friends :)
We were out contacting and we met this american dude named Mike. I'm not sure if I said anything about Mike in the last email, but I'll just say he's a pretty cool christian guy from texas and leave it at that. He came to pingis on tuesday and met with a whole bunch of members. He's got a super strong testimony of the atonement and it was so good being able to sit with him and bear my testimony in english.
Tobias, our teenage investigator that just ends up asking super weird questions, was at pingis as well. I was able to talk to him about the pre-earth life a little before he changed the subject to the american grading scale. I'm pretty sure he's been feeling the spirit when he's with us but it freaks him out to know that he'd have to change his life once he starts believing it. And that's why he always changes the subject. It's slow but it's steady. He's definitely interested.
On wednesday we went up to Kalmar. There's not much to report from Kalmar, it's so far away that we aren't able to spend much proselyting time there. But we swung by a less active woman who is notoriously hard to get in contact with. But we got in! We were able to share a message with her and I painted her daughter's nails :)
We also walked by Kalmar Slott (Kalmar castle) and it was so pretty!!! I am in love with sweden.
On thursday we had a Specialized Zone Training Conference with President and Syster Beckstrand and the AP's. We had to wake up at 5:45 to make the train up to Malmö. I LOVED ZONE CONFERENCE. Pres Beckstrand got rid of open church and I am so happy about that I can't even explain. It was such a waste of time, and now that we don't have to do it anymore we can travel out of Karlskrona more often to places like Nybro and Kalmar!
Friday can only be described as celestial. We had a restoration lesson on the bus with a woman who investigated the church a few years ago. We got her name but not her number. We'll definitely be seeing her again though, we take the same bus.
We ran into Babu, who we thought had already traveled back home to India! It was so good to see him and talk to him! He's such an awesome guy! I can't wait for his baptism!
We had a little fika (like a tea party thing) with Gun-Britt, a member, and her sweet friend. We told her about the restoration and gave her a book of mormon. It was so good to have Gun-Britt there because she's a convert herself. She told her friend about the missionaries showing up at her house and telling her about the restoration. She said she thought it sounded a lot like Alladin and the lamp, but once she read and prayed about it she really knew. It was so powerful to have her there!!! I love member present lessons!
From there we went to meet with Deo (will smith, fresh prince of bel-air look alike). We met him with Tony (ward mission leader) and taught him the restoration as well. He had met with missionaries back in 2009 and had just lost contact with the missionaries because the original ones had left the area. He was interested and all ears. He said he was a seeker of truth and wanted to know what we had to say. We said, "when you find out that this church is true, will you be baptised? We believe that we could have you ready by march." and he was like, "Absolutely." It was so great! THIS GUY IS THE BOMB. And he and Tony are friends now!
Then we had dinner with Mike at a kebab place. He said he hadn't started reading from the book of mormon so I pulled mine out and read him what I read in personal study that morning. Ether 12. All about faith and when you center your faith on Christ you can see miracles happen. When you exercise that faith every day things in your life start to change. I really hope he doesn't leave sweden and think of our meetings with him as just part of the vacation. I want him to meet with missionaries in his area. He would be the best seminary teacher.
On saturday we had a lesson in like 5 languages with Sofia and her husband. Allred was speaking swedish to sophia. I was translating it to english for her husband. He was reading the Book of Mormon in French. Sophia was reading it in Swahili. And they were speaking Burundi with eachother. It was nuts. And really confusing. We need burundi speakers here in sweden. Big time.
We finally got in contact with Erling!! We set up an appointment with him for valentines day with one of the new converts Andreas. Andreas has just been called as a ward missionary and he is pumped to get out and teach people. I'm excited for him to come with us! I'm excited for Erling to finally meet someone from the church that's not a missionary!
Birgitta was sick so we weren't able to visit her. But we did go to the store and buy her a semlor (traditional swedish dessert) as a get well present and ditched it on her porch :)
Yesterday we went to church and right after we had a class on family history! It was mostly just going over a computer program, and we could only stay for like 30 minutes, but it was good! I'm gonna set up a time to have Jenny all to myself and then she can help me find people :) We went up to Nybro to visit some less actives. We were only able to visit with Carolina. The folks up in Nybro are only less active because they're so far away from the church. It was like a 3 hour train ride.
Carolina was nuts. And I love her. She's actually german! She lives in the worlds cutest little house and she made us some delicious spaghetti. We were able to talk about so much! She loves church, but it's so hard for her to get there! We were both able to tell her our stories about deciding to serve missions and the whole house was filled with the spirit. We hope we can build up the area out in Nybro in order to create another branch or something there. I want her to be able to get to church! I love her so much!
I had a nightmare this week that I was back at home. It wasn't even a scary nightmare. I was just sitting at home on the couch and I was overcome with this crazy urgancy that I wasn't supposed to be there. I was supposed to be in Sweden. I woke up at like 3 am and had to touch the bed and the wall to make sure it was real. I've been out in sweden for 1 month and it feels like it's only been a week. I love teaching people and helping them feel the spirit for the first time in their lives. I love watching as they come to accept the gospel. The members and converts are so strong in their faith! Our investigators are so eager to learn! People here are changing their lives. They're finding truth! I am so excited to see what happens in these next 16 months! I know there are going to be great things that happen as I walk in the Savior's footsteps.
To end this letter I want to give all of you a challenge:
Go with the missionaries to teach someone.
We have had the greatest expiriences from member-present lessons this week. I didn't even know how much a member could help missionary work until I was a missionary. My goal is to come back home and be the best member missionary ever. I'm gonna go on splits with the missionaries, I'm gonna go on teaching visits. The missionaries in my area will never have to search for a member to come with them cuz I'll always be there. I expect to hear back from you guys on how you completed the challenge next week :)
frid och välsignelser,
Syster Janessa Brink

super old arch in kalmar!  I love old sweden!

spot the sister

day in kalmar!

i think the Scandinavian Pocahontas thing is gonna be happening every week....

Kalmar Slott! Going back here someday! It's so beautiful!

making some swedish pancakes!

Allred and I

I just really like being a missionary :)

lots of snow out here!

loving all this snow!!!!

spot the sister!

Monday, February 2, 2015

I love p days mostly because we have food in the fridge now and I get to email you guys all the crazy stuff happening here in K.Krown. My thoughts are so scattered all the time and I've started spelling everything with k's instead of c's (that's what happens when your swedish mixes with your english) and I hope you guys can understand everything I'm trying to write about haha :)
Last P day we were still feeling a little sick. We basically slept the whole day and then met with and old investigator named Jari. We had a member present lesson with him and that went super good! He's really not super intereted in learning about the church, he just likes having the missionaries over (it's really the spirit he likes, not us. He just doesn't know it yet). We'll be working with Jari. Maybe not as a priority, but we'll be there for him!
We also swung by this woman named viola but ended up having the wrong address for her.. The man that answered the door said that his wife had recently had a stroke and it was sad :( we had cookies for viola, but seeing as we had the wrong address we ended up just leaving them with him. #randomactsofkindness
That night we ate grilled pineapple and bananas. It's like the dessert of champions.
I was able to finish out my journal this last week so it was way fun graduating to a new one! I LOVE FILLING JOURNALS. I'm gonna be bringing home like 20, I write so much every night!
We had to drop our investigator Paulina. She's simply too busy for us. We try and set up times to meet with her and try to help her get ready for baptism and want to get her to church but she just won't. It's come to the point that if we push on her any more she'll be pushed away. I'm super sad about having to drop her, especially since the sisters here before worked so hard with her. But she's just not ready right now. We're gonna keep praying for her and we'll call her about once a month. But visits are probably over. And that's how a missionary "breaks up" with their investigator. It's sad :(
We had pingis on tuesday and I was able to help Ä. Simonson with his swedish which was actually super super helpful for me. Best way to learn is to teach right? Also I'm gonna come home super talented at ping pong. I get to practice every week with swedes and iranians so ya'll better be watching out.
Lots of our appointments fell through this week. They'd call us just before we were supposed to be there and cancel, they'd not be home, they'd drop us. It was super rough. I just wanted to sit down and teach somebody! It's rough having mostly potential investigators or old investigators.
READING IN MOSIAH AND KING BENJAMIN WAS SINGING MY SONG. He was like, "be good to those who are poor because aren't we all beggars? don't we all pray to the same god who givingly blesses us?" It was super good. Reading Elder Holland's talk from this last conference goes right along with it. I've been able to be more mindful of other people's struggles because of reading that, and I've been more able to see everyone I talk with as a child of god.
We had a lesson with this man named Naser. He's from Syria and only speaks arabic. He had his friend there to translate for him, and he only spoke arabic and broken english. HUGE LANGUAGE BARRIER. We taught about the restoration and gave him a book of mormon and a restoration pamphlet in arabic. And then he said something that broke my heart. He explained to us that his wife is still in Syria, and there is a war happening there right now. And because she is a Christian she is a target. He asked if there was anything our church could do to help her. My soul completely shattered. We told him our church probably couldn't do anything to help, but we could pray for her. We told him we could pray right then if he wanted. And he did. So I said the prayer and I was like on the verge of tears the whole time. You get so connected to people on your mission, even those that don't speak your language. They're brothers and sisters, we're all god's children. We continue to pray for Naser and his wife. I really hope she can stay safe.
We taught this woman named Maureen this week. She was on our potential investigator list and we called her and she was totally cool with us coming over. We walked 5 km to get to her apartment and contacted on the way. She let us in and we sit down and start talking and then we're like, "wait. do you speak english?" and she's like, "do you?" turns out english is her first language and it was really funny :) She's from Nigeria and has 3 little kids. Four year old twin boy and girl and a 9 month baby. THEY ARE SO CUTE. They're watching teletubbies as we walk in and it was way fun haha! We start teaching her the restoration and she's like super interested. We tell her about the book of mormon and she's like, "can we read some right now?" We thought she only spoke swedish so we only had a swedish copy of the book of mormon, but we showed her how to pull it up on and read from moroni and alma and gave her some scriptures to read later as well. She's like, gold. I swear. She was contacted way back in 2013 and now we're here telling her the truth. I LOVE MAUREEN.
We were in Kristianstad (they say it like Krih-hwan-staaad) for district meeting. I got Ke-baptised. In other words it was my first experience with kebab. Swedes love their kebab. It was good, but I'm probably not going to eat it for another two months. I think it affected my stomach lining.
Every night we call people from the TU (tänkbara undersökare = potential investigators) list to try and build up our investigator pool. Allred calls this guy and things seem to be going fine, he's asking her how she got his number and she says it was from past missionaries and he's like maybe his dad gave it to them and then suddenly he's like "I don't know how the *cuss* you got my phone number but you don't EVER call me again and you don't EVER talk about my dad. Do you understand?" and she's like pale in the face like, "yes. yes, sorry. we won't call again." the dude like verbally tore her apart. But saying the prayer over the food I was like, "please bless that man on the phone that he'll be able to have a good day". FAST FORWARD TWO DAYS. We're sitting there doing comp study when the phone rings and it's the mission office. Elder Taylor is like, "so sister allred I got a very interesting phone call last night about this guy named lars, do you know him?" and she's like, "the only lars I know is that super rude guy we called the other day." And then Elder Taylor relates this story about how after we hung up the phone this Lars guy felt super bad about everything. And he wanted to apologise. But he didn't know how to get ahold of us. So he went through public affairs and said something to the effect of "I was super rude to this missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ and her name is Sister Allred and I want her to know I'm sorry." and the only phone number public affairs had was the mission office. Turns out Lars actually wants to meet with us. His dad and grandpa had just recently passed away and it was a bad day when we called him. What is this crazy life?
We had lunch with Irene and Maria. I LOVE NEW CONVERTS. Irene is so cool I like die everytime I talk to her. She and her husband are super cute. She made us swedish fish (like actual swedish fish, like the animal not the candy) and it was so good. And then she gave us this traditional swedish dessert called semlour and I like died all over again. I'm gonna roll when I get back home, swedes know dessert.
While we were out contacting we met this american guy named Mike and he's from Texas in sweden on business. He's cool and I think he's really just lonely so we talked to him for a long time out in the street and exchanged numbers and then met with him the next day to teach him the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation over subway sandwiches. He's cool and we're totally referring him to the missionaries in Texas. He like gave us fist bumps and was like, "i'm a believer too! go christians!" super funny!
I was able to go on splits this week and that was interesting. I felt like I was trying so hard the whole day with S. Christisen because all of our original plans fell through because of the snow. We went trackting and contacting and swung by some old investigators. We were supposed to teach sofia but she wasn't home :(
At church I was able to understand like 90% of branch council so woot for that! Thank you Heavenly Father for the interpretation of tongues. Now if only I could speak it better ;) One of our less actives that we visit all the time finally showed up to church!!! I was so happy to see her there! she even got up and shared her testimony!
We swung by Sofia after church and had a super good lesson with her and her husband. When people chase you down in centrum it's gotta be for a reason. I like Sofia :) She like answers the door wearing a blanket and helps me put on my shoes as we're leaving ahaha, she's a funny person!
That's about it for this week! Been working hard and loving life! Feeling healthy and doing the work! I am so blessed to be here and to be teaching the gospel! I'm so blessed to have sister Allred as my companion and be in the branch that I get to serve in! I love you all so much! You're prayers on our behalf are definitely helping us, probably more than we'll ever know! LOVE YOU GUYS LOTS!!!

Syster Janessa Brink

super fun sweden!  this is the fjord  we live close to!

kebab from the day I was ke-baptized

we went on a little walk and found this really cute bridge out in lyckeby

super sketchy little dock out in the middle of the swedish wilderness

I just like the fact the kid is playing with a snail haha :)

Pocahontas or the swedish equivalent?

all the houses have the year they were built!  super cool!

sailboat outside a swedish elementary school.

tanner- thíngs are going great!! I was able to understand everything during grensråd (branch council) yesterday! :) I love you too!! hahaha
thanks jensens!
yes, brothers and sisters are super cute swedish stores. today I had to buy another black skirt cuz the other one i brought was too short and I sent it home with the christmas tree. we are always in lyckeby, we are on kyrkogatan, kronotorp, sjukhuset bergåsa, ronneby, we're planning a day up in nybro. It's fun. OUR AREA IS HUGE.
go seahawks! sad they lost though :(
happy birthday dale!
I have my wash cloths
we only drink floral tea and all of it is disgusting. I will never like tea.
I love you guys!