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 lds.org 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.
syster janessa brink
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.