Monday, April 27, 2015

april väder

this week has been up and down with the weather like crazy. it's warm and sunny and we can leave the apartment without coats and then 4 hours later it's pouring rain. It's really fun getting dressed in the morning.

COOL STORIES (or weird experiences...take your pick)
1) this week we had a few appointments with one of our investigators. We had called her to tell her we were on our way but she didn't answer. So we just went over anyway. BAD IDEA. She opens the door wearing nothing (the culture here though.) and gets mad at us and says "jag är upptagen!" (i'm busy) and we're just standing there like, " yeah, we can see that." and we just left. Welcome to the summer months in sweden.
2) last week for pday we went to see a viking burial ground. It's right next to the McDonalds and the military base. Basically it's just a bunch of giant unmarked rocks sticking out of the ground and the bumpiest grass in the world.
3) we went to a member dinner last night at the cutest family's house. They have 5 Little boys and they are so much fun. we got to play games with them all night and eat the greatest food. All the boys are super smart (they can all play the piano, they speak English, they play chess) and they are all really well behaved. Being with them made me so excited to be home with my family in a year and one month :)

1) we went to go visit Martha, we're helping her prepare to go to the temple. She ended up on the phone somehow and we sat there for 30 minutes not knowing what to do. when she finally hung up we didn't have much time left. So we shared a scripture and asked her to say the closing prayer. And when she prayed it was like heaven opened a Little bit. She worries about her kids and she worries about the members, and us missionaries and Everything. But when she talks to God you know she doesn't worry anymore. She has so much faith in Him and she trusts Him with all of her cares. She's a great example to me and I'm so grateful that I get to serve here and get to know her.
2) Diana texted us on tuesday and told us she would be moving back to Croatia. We went over one last time on Tuesday night. We sat in her smokey apartment and shared a final lesson. She is worried about traveling because she doesn't know where they're going to live. But as we said the closing prayer, hugged her goodbye and closed the door, I knew she was going to be okay. After all these months teaching her and worrying about her and her Little family I know I don't have to worry anymore. She's going to make it to Croatia safely, and we taught her how to get missionaries sent to her when she finally settles down. We went by again on Thursday to see if they had made it out okay, and they were gone. Part of me is a Little relieved because it was so difficult to teach them, but also I'm sad. I feel like Diana and I were soul sisters for a Little while there. Even if I don't find and convert some long lost cousin out here, I found Diana, and I know that I was supposed to.
3) While we were at Church the other day, Irene comes up to us with her niece, and tells us that her niece wants to be baptized. Out of nowhere we got a new investigator, so we taught her the restoration. Jenny (Irene's niece) is like 30 years old and has been in sweden for only 3 weeks. She doesn't speak any Swedish so Irene translated for us. Sometimes you have to search for the prepared. Sometimes you have to contact people all day and walk up and down the street to find someone who might be interested. But then sometimes the prepared just show up to Church with limited knowledge about what is happening and they want to be a part of it.

New Place(s): kalmar slott- not really new, but it's different when there's not snow on the ground.
Växjö's Svenska Kyrkan- the architechture is just super cool

take some public transportation. talk to the person sitting next to you. everyone has a story ;)

love you all!
puss puss, syster janessa brink

some fancy art in kalmar

fancy Candle holder at svenska kyrkan

Swedish grafitti (girl Power)

more viking burial grounds

sister austin and i at the viking burial grounds


Monday, April 20, 2015

Walking is fun...

news for all of you: I STILL DON'T HAVE A BUS CARD!!! yeah. So we've had a lot of fun getting around this week. I'm gonna have to just buy myself one because Karlskrona is not an easy place to get around even WITH a bus card. We really just need a car. (which we had for like, 3 Days... but then we gave it back to the ZL's)

I have decided to change up the typical email format that I ususally send. It's exhausting. SO, effective immediately we're gonna do something a little different:

1) Three cool stories
2) Three uplifting moments
3) one new place we discovered
4) a challenge for you, the reader, to complete this week :)

so fun and exciting!

1) There is this new(ish) youth video called "Follow The Prophet" and we watched it as part of our Movie Marathon thing we did for p-day last week. It was so dramatic and twilightish. You all have to see it.
2) We had Sisters Conference this week in Stockholm :) basically it was a big tjej fest (girl party) with a wizard of oz back drop. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. I got to see all of my favorite sister missionaries and listen to the greatest lessons on Knowledge (scarecrow; if i only had a brain), Love (tin man; heart), and Courage (cowardly lion; not really cowardly, just smart). It was a fun reunion with all my past companions and my MTC sisters. I accidentally stole one of their backpacks...oops.. that's what we get for all having the same one
3) Sister Austin and I made an AMERICAN PIZZA with some contraband pepperoni (they don't have them here in sweden.) I forgot how much I love pizza that doesn't have french fries and kebab on it. It was the highlight dinner of the week.

1) Deo came to Church yesterday. He was looking the most Will Smithish I've ever seen. And he told us he knows the Book of Mormon is true and that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet and that the Church is true. He is confused though, because he doesn't understand the need to be baptized if he already was baptized. We are happy about his progress, and we're still working with him on baptism. I LOVE TEACHING DEO.
2) while at sisters conference, Syster Beckstand taught us about being a daughter of God and using all the attributes we learned about in our little classes during the day. We all have power within us to do anything. We have the power to overcome the adversary and return back home. We have been endowed and called to serve by a prophet of God and if we are built on a sure foundation we can't fall.
3) we are helping Irma quit smoking and drinking coffee. When we told her about the Word of Wisdom she kind of freaked out a little and said she didn't want to be baptized anymore and that God doesn't care about her private life. But we explained to her why we have the Word of Wisdom, and that we have time to stop doing things that are against it. Her baptism isn't until June, so to start we asked her not to drink any coffee for 24 hours. I made a deal with her that I'd eat more vegetables this week in order to follow the Word of Wisdom better myself. And we got to promise her things in that lesson that I know will happen according to her faithfulness. We get to follow up with her tonight :)

New Place: Bergkvara Svenska Kyrkan's Bell Tower. We just thought it was a space ship or something at first. It's cool.

send me a picture of you doing some kind of service for someone else. Rescuing them from a lion, helping with groceries, making breakfast, building a house, whatever. The most creative gets a prize :)

That's all for this week!!! I have tons of pictures to send because I forgot to send them last week (oops) so be on the lookout for those! They get posted on the blog for the general public. Have an Amazing week and keep doing great things! I love you guys!

<3 sister janessa brink

From last week:
hanging out with the members and their dog

zone training with the greatest zone ever: MALMÖ!

the greatest thing about having a car

The Bergkvara Svenska Kyrkan's bell Tower

sister giles got some jamaica braids. I KNOW. I forgot how much I loved this girl. She's one of my favorites :)

sometimes train rides take all day long and we just get to be happy about it


Monday, April 13, 2015

public transportation is the worst.

Last week for P-day we had a backflip beach party with the elders. I tried to teach everybody how to do backflips. It didn't really work. So I taught all of them how to do back walk-overs. Forget about how boys don't usually learn those. These ones did. And I was dying. It was so funny! After a while it just turned into us feeding crackers to the ducks but it was still pretty fun. That night we went to dinner at Tony's house with his family. We ate dinner and watched the Sunday Evening Session of Conference IN ENGLISH!!!! I was so relieved. I could actually understand EVERY WORD they said and it was so nice.

Tuesday was probably the worst day for missionary work ever. My bus card expired and I had called the mission office a week earlier to get it taken care of but something got lost in the process so we were basically stranded at the Church. We spent the time there emailing and waiting for an investigator to show up (and he never did. typisk) and planning the week and trying to find mormon messages that would help with our lessons. By about 17:00 I was starting to get some intense cabin fever. So we went out for a walk to try and contact some people. We found a good number of decently prepared people and had good conversations, lessons on the street, and invited them to pingis but they didn't come.

Wednesday was another beautiful day to get blåsted by almost everyone. Three of the four people we had plans with cancelled before 8 am. So we did a bunch of area book work and contacting. Then we decided to do some swing bys. My bus card was still not working so we used the backup card and then walked most of the way. We went to Diana and we didn't even see her. So we just taught her sister in law instead about the plan of salvation. While we were teaching Syster Austin had this creepy little spider crawling on her face but she thought it was a fly. She brushed it off and saw it was a spider and she played it so cool. Like. I'm giving her 1000 Points for living life on the edge.

Later that night we met with Deo at the library. He was almost an hour late. We FINALLY taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ. And he had some good questions about preisthood authority and who can recieve it and stuff. We extended another baptismal date for the 2nd of May. He said he'd try but he wasn't sure. No worries though, we are working on it. I pray for him every night to recognize when he gets an answer to his prayers.

Thursday we had Zone Training. You all know what that means!!! Really long fun train rides to Malmö!!! We had lunch and then started the training. Not lots to comment on, but it was good. Just learning more about being a missionary and how to be better. After the training Syster Austin got to teach one of her old investigators from Malmö with Syster Bateman. He has a baptismal date so they're really excited for him!

After the lesson we got to take the Zone Leader's car back to Karlskrona!!! My bus card was still not having it. I hate public transportation. BUT WE HAD THE CAR!!! Sister Austin drove us back and then we had the fun task of figuring out parking. I forgot how much I love cars.

On Friday we taught Swedish to Susan. This time we just gave her a plan of salvation pamphlet and had her read out loud and we clarified words she didn't understand. It was really good and we were able to talk about doctrine with her too.

We taught Naser and he brought a different friend to translate for him. I don't think this friend really knew English. But it's literally the same story every time we teach him. We start with the restoration (because he still doesn't understand it) and then he gets stuck on prophets and if Jesus Christ was actually the son of God. I don't think I've ever said "We don't worship Joseph Smith" more times in my life. But Naser really does want to know. We just have the problem of translation. I'm not giving up on him, even if he has to be taught for 5 years.

On Saturday we had workovers with the STL's. SOOOOOO, Syster Allred came back and we re-lived the glory days!!!! We took the car up to Kalmar and Nybro to visit all our favorite people up there. We taught Carolina about the atonement and patriarchal blessings. She wants to try to come to Church more often, despite being so far away. She really wants to get her patriarchal blessing. We might be making some more trips up to Nybro to help her prepare for that. We came home and talked with Syster Austin and Syster Powell about how their day went. Apparently Babu and Diana are both going to be moving soon. So. Ugh. BUT. Babu gave us all his info to send to the missionaries in India. He has still been studying the Book of Mormon and praying. He still wants to be baptized! We are so happy and excited for him!

The STL's left early Sunday morning. They drove the car back to Malmö. But it's fine because my bus card was FINALLY working again. Fast and Testimony meeting was SO GOOD. Seriously, the members here are the strongest people I've ever met. Also. The spirit during sacrament. I don't think I've ever felt it that strong! It was amazing!!! Irene and Maria showed up with two of their friends, so it was really fun having them there too :)

Sigrid and Robert made us some pizza. They're the coolest. I'm coming back after the mission and hanging out with them.

We had an appointment with Iveta and Staffan, so we left to go and catch the bus and guess what? No bus card. Literally. We went back to the Church to look for it but it was nowhere to be found. So we're stranded. Again. The elders let me borrow one of theirs for the day.

Iveta and Staffan were fun. They're some old investigators, so we re-introduced the Book of Mormon to them. They wanted us to answer all these questions about when Jesus was coming again and what was going to happen before he came and if he visited more people than just the Lamanites and stuff. We told them that a lot of the answers to the questions they had were in the Book of Mormon, and if they read the questions would be answered. I'm excited to go back! They invited us to their daughter's 5th birthday party (everybody seems to like inviting missionaries to kid's parties) so we'll see how that goes!!

Pray for me and public transportation. There is literally no way to get all the places we need to be without a bus. Biking only gets you so far.

I love you guys! It's been so fun reading all your emails and getting online to see a full inbox every week! If you need anything from me let me know! I hope you all have an amazing week!

love, syster janessa brink

Monday, April 6, 2015

growing up

to answer my parents questions:
- I have no idea where I'm gonna be for mothers day, I think that's either just before transfers or just after. Probably won't be going up to Stockholm though, that's a lot of people to be skyping from the Beckstrand's computer. 
- Syster Megan Austin is from Idaho Falls. Literally everyone she talks to says the words "stor potatis" (big potatoes) after she tells them. She's been out here in sweden for about 9 months, and she just came from Malmö where she was training my good friend Syster Bateman :)
- Mim Ariel is doing GREAT!!! I hadn't heard much about her this past week and I was still very worried, but I walked into the church yesterday and she was here! I ran and gave her a big hug, I'm so happy she's doing alright! We've set up a time to go and visit her on Saturday

Last monday was Syster Allred's last day here in Karlskrona, which was sad cuz we thought she was actually going to be transferring on Wednesday, not Tuesday. But we celebrated by walking around some old churches around centrum (Fredrick's Kyrkan, Amiralitets Kyrkan) and then we went to Glassiären, the icecream shop we've been hearing about all winter. It was as good as everyone said it would be. To wrap up the night we had "The Last Supper" with Deo. We also ran into Christian (whom we haven't seen for the past 3 weeks!) and he was sad to know that Allred was leaving but was happy to know that I was staying. We'll be teaching him :)

Tuesday was hard for me. I had to say goodbye to my "mother" sister Allred. I put her on the train to Lund and gave her a hug goodbye. My heart broke into little pieces. It's mission life though. I picked up Syster Austin with the Elders and then we went right to work. We had an appointment with Tony up in Ronneby but we waited outside the library for him for 15 minutes and then called him and he said he was out of town. SO I took Syster Austin to go meet some other people up in Ronneby and none of them were home. So we went back to Karlskrona and I took her to meet Diana. But at Diana's we just kind of sat there while she skyped her husband and then we had to leave. I hate having appointments that fall through! 

Wednesday we did a whole bunch of swing by's. We really didn't have anything planned because we thought wednesday would be the transfer day. But I introduced Syster Austin to all the people I could and we took busses like crazy. I saw Babu! We thought he moved back to india but he apparently didn't! Gonna get him baptized THIS MONTH just you wait!!!

Thursday was district meeting here in Karlskrona. We got two new elders Demordaunt and Jones. They're both just one transfer older than I am. We actually had stuff planned for today but once again everything fell through. But we did get in contact with one of the less actives so that was good!

Friday we went to Rödeby to teach Rosina but I really don't think she understood much of what we were saying. We need to take a spanish speaker with us next time. Then we met with Deo. Had a good discussion about prophets and committed him to watch conference. He has SO MANY QUESTIONS. I'm hoping something got answered for him during one of the sessions! We then went to an easter concert in one of the swedish churches. It was all in latin so that was cool. I actually understood most of it too! 

Saturday we had conference. We watched it broadcasted live at the church. We watched the women's session (pre-recorded) and then Saturday morning session at 6:00 pm. MARRIAGE AND FAMILY. I don't think they talked about much else. I watched all the sessions in swedish too, so be proud of me cuz it was hard. 

Yesterday we did conference again. MIM ARIEL WAS THERE!!!! After Saturday afternoon session (which we watched at 2) we went to Elin's house, she's pres J's mother in law. We had dinner with her and then went back to the church for the Sunday Morning session at 6. We were all over the place but it was fun!

This has been a really crazy week, and I've been on my knees a lot. And one thing I know is that Heavenly Father is listening. We contacted this atheist guy on the street a few days ago and he just stood there laughing at us as we explained that God exists and answers prayers. But as he listened, I know he felt something. His demeanor changed when we testified and I promised him that if he prayed he'd get answers and he'd feel something different. I know that Heavenly Father knows me personally. He understands the desires of my heart and he is there to help me through it with Jesus Christ. I've never been so happy to be a missionary!!!

I hope you all have an amazing week!!!

Love, Syster Janessa Brink

the only easter egg we got this year 

sitting on the swings because everybody blåsts us

low quality picture of high quality people getting some super high quality enlightenment from the most quality general conference broadcast in swedish.