Monday, June 29, 2015

walking and working

This week has been really good! We have done a lot!

On monday we went way out to a member's house and had lunch with her and I fed her horses and it was really good. Still allergic to horses though...eck. There was a lot of packing for Syster Sandelin. She's got the most stuff I've ever seen (for a missionary).

Tuesday we had appointments with EVERYONE. It was crazy. We taught Shasha in the morning and she decided she didn't want to be baptized but she wants to keep meeting with us and learning from us. She told me that she's been to church for many years and gone to a lot of different sermons, but I'm the only one who seems to know what they're talking about. She says that our church has truth and that it's good and she defends it when her family talks about us. She loves the book of mormon and she knows that it's God's word because it complements the Bible so perfectly. I have a lot of faith that even though right now she doesn't want to get baptized, she will one day. I knew from very early on that she wouldn't accept a baptismal invitation, she'd have to decide for herself. So we're just here to teach her until she feels ready for it :) 
We also met with Dudas and committed him to follow the Word of Wisdom. We're working on weaning him off beer so we committed him to not buying anymore for the next week and only drinking one a day. He says he'll do it. It will be hard but he's going to do it because he wants to be baptized!
We taught Amy too and read the story of the brother of Jared. 
Watched the His Grace: From Gang Member to Good Man with Rikki and told him that Christ is there for us whenever we need him no matter what happens.
Taught Lasse. He's having a hard time keeping commitments. We'll see where he goes. 
Then we had two lessons with member families. 
Tuesday was packed.

Wedenesday was transfer day! I got Syster Demille here straight from Stockholm! She's from Monticello, Utah and has been on her mission for a little over a year. She has 12 siblings and is super super fun! We had a great first day together going by old women and meeting ward members and contacting people. 

Thursday we had district meeting in Borås and we talked about how we can raise the bar as missionaries and work harder to really see the work progress. The bus ride home was SO LONG. Once we were home we went by Ingalill, she's the relief society greeter and she makes my life. She made us some sandwiches and we had a great little chat about cats and the church and I love her so much. That night we worked really hard on the area book. That thing needs a lot of help. So we spent some time going through it and organizing and taking care of things. 

Friday we met with Dudas and he has been keeping the commitment to not buy anymore beer!
Shasha told us that she's going on vacation for like a month but she's still super excited about the church. We watched Come and See (bednars talk october 2014) and gave her the website in chinese to study while on vacation. She'll be ready with lots of questions when she's back!

We also had our friday night activity and played volleyball and I am terrible at volleyball. 

Saturday we got blåsted by Lasse so we're gonna give him some time right now. We went to a surprise birthday party and then we did some more area book work. 

Yesterday we had Dudas come to church but he wasn't in super good shape. He's gotten pretty sick so we're just praying for him to feel better! We went and did dinner with Carolina and Christopher and Seneeca and it was super fun :)

Jönköping is doing really well and we are working super hard! I have walked more in these past 5 days than I have the entire last transfer and I love it! I look forward to all the good things that are and will be happening here! love you all!
- Syster Janessa Brink

last day with sister sandelin! we ran into Sister Stoughton at the train station!

me and sister demille!!!

Sofia Kyrkan!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Midsommar. Funerals. Father's Day.

First of all I love getting all your emails! This week has been full of exciting news from people being transferred, engagements, babies, home renovations, summer parties, and other amazing things! I can tell  you guys have all had a pretty good week. As for me, this week was AMAZING. 

This week has been so much fun I don't even know where I want to start.

We had Midsommar. It's this wonderful holiday they celebrate here in sweden where they put this giant maypole up in the middle of a park and everyone wears flower crowns and we all sing traditional swedish songs and hold hands and dance around the maypole. I'm taking this holiday home for everyone to enjoy. It was so much fun! Our zone got invited to go down to Utby for the celebration and all of us missionaries sang some midsommar songs and handed out ice cream to the children. I even made a flower crown! (I learned some major life skills from this holiday.) Then we had the whole rest of the day to just enjoy midsommar. So we went and walked around Göteborg and got ice cream and went to a zoo. So much fun!

This was also our last week of the transfer. So we had a "funeral" for our friend Elder Cushing who will be going home (dying) this wednesday. Complete with a cheesecake and plenty of singing about America, we read a eulogy and everybody got to drop some dirt on him.

Transfer calls came this week too! We had the Borås sisters stay the night with us for a baptism that happened on Saturday and we all got the call together. I will be staying here in Jönköping. Sister Sandelin will be transferring to Norrköping, and I will be getting Sister Demille who is coming directly from a Sister Training Leader area in Stockholm. I'm so excited! 

We taught Shasha the gospel of Jesus Christ this week and she was so happy about it! She wants to study all of it out and she's doing so good! She wanted to take pictures of the board and pictures with us after the lesson and she's really taking to everything that we've been teaching her. We just need to get her to come to church! We'll get her there someday!

Dudas, our 73 year old guy that always gives us stuff and wears the "dangerous" jacket, is doing well. He wend to the ward Midsommar fest even though he knew we wouldn't be there, and he talked to all these different members. Then he came to the baptism on Saturday and was so happy! He couldn't wait until it was his turn. We also taught him the word of wisdom this week and invited him to start following it. He got a little teary eyed because he understands that the only way he can live in the celestial kingdom with his wife for eternity is by being baptized, and to be baptized he has to follow the word of wisdom. He said he would do it! So we're really happy and excited for him! On sunday he came up to me and said, "Today I don't have any flowers or strawberries or soda or fika bread for you, I've got something else." and then he shook my hand and slipped me a scratch off lottery ticket hahahaha! He's got a good heart :)

I want to say happy father's day to my wonderful father, uncles, grandpa's, and all the other fathers in my life. I am so happy and proud to be related to you guys! It's kind of sad that this is my second father's day in a row away from home, but just know that I love you all so much and look up to you guys! 

Crazy to think, but almost exactly a year ago this whole adventure started. I can't believe how quickly plans change and how soon I found myself in Sweden when a year ago I thought I'd be in school. I am so happy, and so grateful for my Heavenly Father. For answering my prayers, for having big plans for me, for leading me where I needed to go. He knows me better than I even know myself. And He has put me in places that I needed to be. I took some time this fathers day to really think about the relationship that He and I have, and I am so grateful for how close we have gotten and how close we continue to get. 

I hope you all have an amazing week!!!
puss puss,
Syster Janessa Brink

us and shasha!!! She's just the cutest :) 

teaching Shasha the Gospel of Jesus Christ

I made this little baby for the funeral

waiting at the bus stop looks like this 90% of the time

Monday, June 15, 2015

ups and ups and ups... (and up again.)

hej på er! waiting on a family email, but I'm pretty sure you guys are all asleep hahaha :) This week has been exponentially better than last week so things are rolling right along here in Jönköping. Also it was RIDICULOUSLY hot this week. I even got a little sun. 

  • everybody graduated this week. So we were up studying on Friday morning when the noisiest group of graduates started marching down the street. Here in sweden when you graduate the boys wear suits, the girls wear white dresses, and everybody wears these sailor hats. They march down the street playing instruments of all kinds and making TONS of noise and then they all get into these giant trucks (because like none of them have drivers licenses) and they get driven all around the streets completely drunk at like 9 am. And then the whole rest of the day they're out celebrating. It's a sight to see. 
  • I grilled a pineapple.
  • yesterday at church I met a guy that lives in Justin's area in Norway! So we took a picture and like, it was cool. The world is so small in mormon scandinavia.
  • So. That guy. The one that wears the sweatshirt that says dangerous and is like 73 years old and thinks sister sandelin looks like his deceased wife? We taught him again. We decided we would be really clear about why we are here as missionaries. We told him we left our homes to tell people that we really believe in this gospel. That we believe that God is there and he loves us. And we want to help people make that first covenant of baptism with Him. "That's why we stopped you on the street. That's why we are inviting you to church, and that's why we want to keep meeting you. We want you to take the steps to be baptized." and he's like, "Yeah okay. When?" and we're just like; "um. what?" and he's asking us when he can be baptized. He's like, "I feel it. We talk about Jesus and we read the scriptures and we watch these videos about Joseph Smith and my heart gets all excited and I just really want to be baptized." So we set a date for the first of August. Super unexpected, but we'll see where this goes! He's come to church the last two weeks and yesterday he gave us flowers. As he hands them to us he's like, "De är inte vackra men de är billiga" (they're not beautiful but they're cheap) and every time we see them now we just laugh.
  • We have this investigator named Robert. He's about 25ish and we've met with him like 3 times now. He told us that he started reading the book of mormon and that he had a ton of questions. He asked us about the Jaredite nation and what happened to them. He then asked us if we ever want more for ourselves than what God gives us. We told us that God gives us more than we could ever dream for ourselves and showed him the mormon message "The hope of God's light" and Robert talked about how sometimes he doesn't want to follow promptings because he feels like they might be too fast for him to handle so I shared how quickly my life changed. It was literally only a year ago that I got an answer to serve a mission and now suddenly I'm here in sweden teaching lessons to strangers when I had planned to be at school to learn how to be a doctor. Sometimes it is a little fast. But my life is changed. It's more than I could have ever planned for me. It's been crazy, it's been sudden, but it's been so much better than I ever dreamed. At this point he was bought almost to tears after hearing the whole experience and told us that he wants to be baptized. He's going on a trip to romania for the summer, but he promised he would read while he was gone and that he would keep in contact with us. 
  • We decided to change up our contacting technique. So yesterday we did a scavenger hunt. The plan was to contact a tourist, a guy with a ton of piercings, and an old woman with groceries in a walker. It was so crazy how well everything went! We weren't able to find the old woman, but we were able to find the others and have some awesome street lessons with them! We even got some phone numbers! Proof that when you make plans and set goals God provides the way! LOVE IT!
Cool Place: there's this cool little exercise park by our house. my new favorite place. training my vertical jump, maybe one day I'll have high tucks again. 

Hope you all have a great week! 
puss puss,
syster janessa brink

 sorry to send a food picture, but this is one of the first nice places I went to eat and it was super good!


awkward art in centrum. 

wandering around the cities here you just find cool little fountains and parks and I wish we had stuff like this in america!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

wow, I opened my email this week to floods of encouraging letters. thank you all so much! last week was kind of rough and it was so nice getting letters of encouragement from home! Also I got the package from home with everything in it (including those contraband pepperonis hehehe shhhh.. it will be our secret) and I am so so so happy!

This week was really good! We did a lot and went a lot of places and I'm just super excited to tell you all about it :)

  • we started teaching this guy. we contacted him on the street and he was so excited! I have never seen anyone so excited to talk to us. He is like 73 years old, uses a walker and always wears this white sweatshirt with chains on it that says "dangerous." Like I said, he was SO excited to meet. So we set up an appointment with him to meet at the church on wednesday and he rolls in with pizza and sodas for us (so nice!). We sit down, start teaching the restoration and watched the restoration film. He really liked it. He had all these good questions and wanted to hear more. He also kept talking about his wife that passed away like 20 years ago. so we thought the next time we teach him it would be so perfect to teach the plan of salvation. The next time we taught him didn't go so well. Turns out one of the reasons he really likes meeting with us is because he might think sister sandelin is the reincarnation of is late wife (he says she looks just like her) and he has invited us over to his house about 30 times now... we'll see where this one goes. 
  • On thursday/friday we were in Göteborg for zone conference! All of my previous companions were there. That's right. Reunion with Sisters Giles, Adamson, Allred, Austin, and now Sandelin. How excited would you all be if I told you I got a super cute picture of all of us together? ... I would be excited too, cuz that would mean that I got one  BUT. We had a super fun sleepover in Västra Frölunda and I got a couch this time! (no more floor matresses where i have to straddle a creepy table leg, no thank you) I love getting to spend time with other missionaries and just talk about all the great things we get to to. (more on zone conference to come, sit tight)
  • yesterday I didn't get to email you wonderful people. why? I was in Borås on splits with the lovely Syster Giles. We had so much fun walking around that beautiful art city, eating indian food and talking about everything we haven't had the chance to talk about since leaving the MTC. We spent some time contacting and eating natur-godis and enjoying the crazy sweden weather. I love that girl like crazy. 
  • We taught Shasha the plan of salvation. I don't know what it is but whenever we have to teach her I get all nervous and anxious because I just really want her to understand everything. I get this weird sense of urgency with her. So we had it all set up to teach the Plan of Salvation. We skyped in Emily and had her translate into chinese for us, we had marina there to support her, and then Shasha walked in and we were set. The lesson could not have gone better. Shasha asked all these wonderful questions, we were able to show her that the plan of salvation was in the bible and that the three kingdoms of glory and the spirit world were not new concepts, they are simply restored doctrine. She read the scriptures we showed her in the Bible and turned to me and said, (as emily translated) "I really think that this is possible. I think it is real." and she wanted to study it all out. She told us she felt the spirit there and that she wants to know more. 
  • At Zone Conference we were all together in Utby. President and Syster Beckstrand, the assistants to the president, the office elders, the Malmö zone, and the Göteborg zone. Lots of great stuff happening and some exciting news. We talked a lot about obedience to the mission rules, about raising the bar and really magnifying our calling as a missionary. We'll be getting ipads for the mission (not sure when, but they're coming) and missionary work just stepped up like 12 levels here in the sweden stockholm mission because of it. We are so excited for them because they are going to help us SO MUCH. The ways this changes the work is incredible. We also had about 6 missionaries get up and bear their "dying" testimonies. These missionaries have almost reached the end. And as they talked you could see which ones had really BEEN a missionary and those who were just here wearing a name tag. I thought about myself up there in a little less than a year (holy cow!) and how I need to get everything out of this mission that I can. It feels like eternity, and sometimes getting up in the morning and putting on my name tag is a hard thing to do. Sometimes I wish I didn't have to go around talking to a million random people in a different language. But I only have a year left here. One year and then I never get to put on the name tag again. I never get to be a full time missionary in sweden again. This is my one chance. And I am going to get everything out of it. They asked us in the training to think about a time in our mission where we changed. When knew we were no longer the same. It was the morning I left Karlskrona and came to Jönköping. Syster Austin and I got my three suitcases together and stood by the door and I said the prayer before leaving for the last time. And I felt my heart break into thousands of little pieces (one for everyone that I'd met there) as I just said "Himmelske Fader, välsigne dem i deras liv" and I realized how much I had come to love them in those 4½ months I'd been there. I didn't think I could love so many different people so much in such a short time. I keep thinking there's a limit on how much love my heart can possibly give but I keep going over the supposed "maximum" I thought I would have. I have been forever changed. I can't help loving all the people that I get to meet and talk to and teach everyday. I am not the same as I was when I left home. I am so much more than I ever thought I'd be. 
  • We had a really awesome little broadcast from Scotland where Jeffrey R. Holland presided. It was broadcast to Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Ireland, and some other place where they also speak english. Elder Holland got up and gave the closing talk and shared the most AMAZING TESTIMONY OF THE BOOK OF MORMON EVER. I only wish that I could find it on for you people at home and SHOW YOU because I don't even have words for what I felt when he talked. I reflected on my own testimony of the Book of Mormon. I might not know it front to back. I might not remember exact references or who begat who. But I know what I feel. I know what I learn. And I always feel closer to God when I read and ponder. 
COOL PLACE: Borås (see attachment for a super cute picture of sister giles and I)

I just want you guys to know that I love you all. I really appreciate all the support I get from home and the prayers on my behalf. I could feel them lifting me this week. Thanks for those of you that do my little challenges (points to the family for knowing who Abish was!) and reading my emails. This week I just want you guys to try saying morning prayers without saying amen. Carry that prayer with you through the day. Then at the end of the night when you kneel down again you can look back on what you've done, say thank you, and then say amen. I hope you guys have an amazing week. Keep on keeping on. I'll be back on Monday to update you all again.

puss puss,
syster janessa brink

  1 Attached Images
being dramatic next to the construction by our apartment. they are tearing this city apart and building it back up again.

sverige's national dag!
missionaries love mail

an oldie but a goodie

who told you it was okay to send meat in the mail?

we just have so much fun together. it is such a blessing to be in the same district again. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

a little bit of everything and then some

wow, sounds like it was a crazy week back at home! I'm glad to hear everyone is okay! Uncle Pat will be in my prayers with hope for a speedy recovery! Congratulations to Makayla (woop woop sweet 16) and Harrison (graduation!) and Grandma (happiest birthday to you!). 

this week was good here in Jönköping! We have been working hard and doing what we can to keep the work moving forward! I can't even believe it's already June, it's so crazy! 

  • I have played volleyball like 3 times this week. I'm still uncoordinated though :[]
  • Jönköping had their city birthday party (or something like that) so bus routes got changed for the weekend because they set up a giant fair in the middle of centrum. We went and walked around the little booths for a bit and I was hoping to get some cheap swedish street fair stuff but then I saw it. STRAWBERRIES AND CHERRIES. They've had strawberry booths all over the place lately, but these ones were HUGE. So we got a box of strawberries and a box of cherries and I've been having the greatest snacks in the world this week because of them. 
  • A couple of the sisters that served here last year came back to sweden. So while they were here they came to some activities and we had lunch with them and it was really fun :) For one of the activities the YSA created a new dessert called the Pankkakka (or was it pankladka...or kladpanka...or pannikka... i alla fall, whatever.) and it was a Kladkakka inside a swedish pancake. And it was delicious
  • We taught Shasha again. We went through the restoration with her and she liked it. She has already read the Introduction to the Book of Mormon and all the testimonies at the beginning. She really wants to know about everything and she's super cute. I was so worried about the language barrier I went and got myself a Chinese Book of Mormon and highlighted it and underlined different scriptures for her and book marked them. She was so excited when I gave it to her! I am so grateful that we have the resources to teach all sorts of people in their own language, even if we don't speak it ourselves. 
  • We taught this old investigator earlier this week. He told us he only believed in God. Not Jesus, not prophets, not the bible. It was super weird. But he had lots of great questions and I felt a little bit like I was teaching Deo again because of all the questions. Basically what it boiled down to was that he needed to pray and ask God what was true. And then he told us he didn't pray. And I was completely floored, because if you believe in God and you want to know what his will his for you how in the world are you going to get an answer if you don't have a relationship with him? So. We taught him how to pray. Explained that he could only get an answer if he was praying. And then we asked him to say the closing prayer. Oh my goodness the spirit was tangible. He said amen and sat there and was quiet for like a whole minute and then finally said, "I don't even remember the last time I prayed."*
  • Lasse came to all three hours of church yesterday. He is so excited to be baptized on July 4th! We're anxiously getting him ready and all of our people are so happy for him and everything he's doing to be prepared :)
COOL PLACE: The park in Centrum. It was so busy this weekend!

I hope you guys all have a great week! Challenge is daily scripture study :) Learn a new story from the book of mormon. I'll give points to those of you that already know who Abish is. My second request is just to pray for me :) I've been having weird random struggles popping up all over the place. I love you guys and love getting your pictures and emails!!! 

puss puss,
syster janessa brink

syster sandelin and I waiting at the bus stop

 it was raining so Alex let me barrow his coat. He's just a little bit taller than I am....

 street fair!

 I rained a lot this week. So we gathered all the snails on the steps of the church and started a snigel fest. Woop!
 this is my preparation to teach Shasha the plan of salvation. I'm so excited for this lesson!!

this is what the night before pday looks like at our place.