Tuesday, July 28, 2015

thought i forgot about you?

surprise! I'm still here, yesterday we were in Trollhättan so emailing was a little out of the picture haha :) Happy to hear about all the fun things happening at home and how the summer is wrapping up! 

We have been busy here in Jönköping meeting with people and getting things ready for a baptism (yes that's right!) Our weeks seem to fill themselves and things have been falling right into place. Sometimes it's a little overwhelming how busy we get but I love it so much! It's been nice to be blessed with full planners hahaha​

On monday we had lunch with the Strömberg's and I just got to sit there and listen to their soothing british accents. We had a great conversation about mission life and the culture difference between america and sweden. They are so much fun to be around! From their house we went to use the rest of our p-day playing this crazy board game called "Zombicide" with another member family, the Salos. Think of like dungeons and dragons but with zombies. It was crazy. The game lasted almost 5 hours and we actually won!


 We had to run down the side of the mountain (if you can call it a mountain) to catch our bus home, but we had a super good day!

Tuesday was awesome as well. We met with Dudas, talked with him about temples and family history and eternal marriage. He loved the temples! We had a little slideshow of all the temples going while we taught him and he asked for some pictures to keep in his home.

​^this is Dudas, so entertained by the temple pictures, also he brought us Fanta^ 

After teaching Dudas we went to teach Dinv and Nani, some old investigators. Long story short they weren't super interested in the gospel, but it was a good visit. They needed some company and they gave us some ice cream! 

We went and talked to 60 people in the rain. I ended up looking a little like a drowned cat but hey, it's mission life. Besides, I didn't care too much because we were meeting with Nestory!!!!

Mcdonalds was the only place that we could sit, so we went and taught Nestory the restoration there. We talked all about the Book of Mormon and how we can get answers to our prayers. We mentioned that the Book of Mormon was the keystone of our religion and if he came to know that was true he'd know that Joseph Smith was a prophet too. We asked him if he was willing to take the challenge and pray about the Book of Mormon with an open heart. We told him that he had to be willing to act on the answer that he got otherwise he wouldn't get an answer. He asked what people usually do when they get their answer. And I told him baptism is pretty much the first step. I said, "So, if and when you get an answer that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, will you be baptized?" and he said, "yeah, I can do that!" (hallelujah, I was so excited!) The only thing that might be hard with him is that he lives clear out in Aneby. So pray for him :)

That night we taught both Rikki and Saneeka and I just love being able to work with YSA's and help the strengthen the faith they already have. I love being able to help them seen deeper into their own testimonies. 


On Wednesday Dudas had his baptismal interview!! We are just so excited for him! He will be baptized on August 1, 2015! Be sure to put it on your calendars :) 

We also visited like, half the old women that live in Jönköping area (we visited the other half on Saturday haha). I love visiting old women. They have some great stories!

From there we had what was probably the craziest dinner appointment I've had on my mission so far. We went to Kristina's and had hamburgers and just laughed and talked the whole time. It was a little like being home just because I feel like all of us became so close. 

On Thursday we had every appointment cancel on us so we ended up hosting a quick little YSA dinner and movie night. We watched Meet the Mormons and had spaghetti.

We visited more old women on Friday and taught lots of other people before having our YSA activity at the beach. We played some volleyball, I stood in Vättern, Elder Farnworh put a TON of sand in my hair. The usual. 

Saturday was just a day with all the senior sisters. There was this one woman that we went by named Sonja. We sang a hymn for her and then she was like, "can I play some music for you guys?" so she starts playing these church songs in english. I asked if she knew english and she said not really, but she can pick out different words. So I translated a little of the Army of Helaman song for her. Then the next song came on and it was a pop song with a slow enough tempo that it could have maybe passed as an efy arrangement or something. We just sat and listened to it and I didn't have the heart to tell her it was a breakup song. What you don't know can't hurt you.

​{this day was so cold. summer is officially over} 

At church we announced Dudas' baptism and started getting the program all taken care of! We also ran into this american family from Malibu, just visiting for a couple weeks and passing through Jönköping. It was so much fun to talk with them! Oh, I love americans. 

​{building towers with the member's kids!} 

The Hegyessy's invited us over for dinner and we played some card games. It's always fun being with them and laughing together :) 

Finally, President and Sister Beckstrand announced a big zone volleyball tournament. So we packed everything up on sunday night and headed off to Trollhättan for p-day. For some reason unknown I was chosen as team captain. My team was so good! We definitely had the most energy haha, and we were very close to winning it all. But then we got beat out by the team with really tall elders on it. 

This week has been so much fun! It's been crazy too! and I can't even wait to see how next week works out! I have a couple surprises in store for all of you, so you'll have to keep reading and writing me to find out more! Next week is transfers, so it's about to get a little mixed up in here :) I love you guys and hope you all have a great week!

med kärlek,
syster janessa brink

sometimes it feels like puzzle pieces are being put right into place

bus pictures!

Monday, July 20, 2015

walking the streets alone

Thanks for the emails this week! I've been so busy it's insane and I can't wait to tell you guys some awesome stories :)

We've been all around the country theses past two weeks and it's been way fun seeing different places and learning different things. We took a trip up to Stockholm last week to renew Sister Demille's visa and I fell in love with the city. I just want to serve there so bad! We also went to Göteborg this week for a Specialized Zone Training with President and Sister Beckstrand and the AP's. They really stressed the Book of Mormon and we are doing a re-emphasis on using it in all aspects of missionary work. 

(an evening in Göteborg) 

Because we've been so busy meeting with people and riding trains all over the country we haven't had much time to contact people. So a couple days ago Sister Demille and I went to the city center and split up. I took one side of the road and she took the other and we just walked up and down it talking to people. As I was walking down the road I saw this man and I knew I had to stop and talk to him. A couple weeks ago I was saying my nightly prayers and asking Heavenly Father to just bless us with a new investigator. As I was praying I had a "vision" (for lack of a better word) and I saw a tall black man with the biggest smile. When I was out contacting this is the man I stopped. We start talking and he asks me why there are so many different churches so I teach him the restoration. Then he asks me about why I'm on a mission and I just explained to him that the gospel is something that has made me so happy I want to be able to share it with everyone I can. That's why I came all the way from America and that's why I'm out here talking to strangers. He was interested in learning more, so I took his phone number and asked for his name, Nestory. I am so SO excited to start working with him! Even if he doesn't get baptized, this man was an answer to my prayers.  When you're on as many trains as we were these past two weeks you get a little bored. There's not much to do on a train. So. We decided to make some "I'm a Mormon" videos. The entire district has gotten in on it and we are in the process of compiling them. I might be able to send it home to you guys :) 

Yesterday morning we were sitting in our apartment studying and getting ready for church when we got a text from the ward mission leader that he wouldn't be there to teach the investigator/new convert sunday school class. So it fell on us. We spent about 30 minutes in a spastic rush to throw together a good lesson for everyone. When you get to 8 months as a missionary you get decently good at throwing together a lesson out of thin air and making it sound good. So we taught the class about faith. We went along with Alma 32 and examined the whole seed analogy. We explained that your faith is a seed and when you plant it you need to nourish it. So we talked about different ways to nourish our faith. Bearing testimony, reading our scriptures, saying our prayers, etc. Then we talked about how the seed takes root and went into where our faith is rooted. Finally we get to Alma 32:41 where they talk about the tree growing and looking forward to the fruit thereof. And we got into this awesome discussion about the fruit of our faith. When we believe so deeply, what are the rewards that Heavenly Father will bless us with? It's an interesting conversation to have, and I don't remember most of what I said, but I know that we were all able to walk out of that lesson learning something about ourselves that we hadn't known before. I definitely feel guided when doing the Lord's work. I'm a little worried for future callings where I'll have to throw things together like this because I don't know if I'll ever be so lucky again, hahaha I love my district. We have so much fun together. 

I found out my secret talent for playing soccer this week. Usually for YSA activities we play volleyball (och jag är ju hemsk med volleyboll.) But this week we played soccer. I was pretty sure I'd get wrecked playing soccer because Swedes LOVE soccer. It's ridiculous. All of them have their own cleats and everything. They've all been on teams since they were like 5. It's in their blood. And lack of coordination is in mine. However, I was able to score two whole goals during our little activity and I only fell over twice. I'm super proud of myself. 

Random Facts about Sweden:
  • "Semester" is a paid vacation that nearly the whole country takes at the same time. Cities shut down and people leave to go to spain or something. Streets are empty, stores are closed, and buses run slower. 
(empty street in Göteborg) 
  • There are almost more immigrants than there are swedes living here
  • There are more different accents than all those that exist in the United States and this country is about the size of California. 
I love you guys so much! Have a great week!

puss och kram,
syster janessa brink



Monday, July 13, 2015

No letter...Just pictures :)

I don't have a whole lot of time to email! probably just gonna send a bunch of pictures!
This week has been super super great! I'd love to fill you all in on everything but I can't type that fast :/ I just hope you all know I love you and want you to have a great week!

we picked strawberries last p-day!

the strawberry haul

looking over Jönköping!

smultron (wild strawberries)

we took a quick trip up to stockholm this week

me and the cutest baby ever

all the flowers Dudas has ever given us (he's doing really well and progressing awesomely!)

cave exploration this morning with the district!

my cave picture! 2 degrees celcius down in there

the top of the tallest mountain in småland

that's all for this week! next week I'll probably have more time but until then, hej då!

puss puss
-syster janessa brink

Monday, July 6, 2015

busy as a bee

I am so happy to see all the pictures and videos from grandpa's birthday! I'm so happy that it went so well and everybody was able to have a good 4th of July! Sounds like it's been crazy hot back home! It's been pretty hot here too. I guess I can't complain when you guys are in triple digits, but I have not sweat so much before. 

On monday we went to Dumme Mosse and hiked through the swamp for a while. I got eaten alive by every mosquito in that swamp and my shoes got covered in muddy water. But we had a campfire and made s'mores and then went to a dinner at the 2nd councilor's house with the elders. We tried to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ lesson with the egg in a bottle thing (I'll have to explain it when I'm home). It has always worked for sister Demille, but this time it wouldn't go into the bottle. I just kept thinking of mom and her webelos and I have a feeling that the bad luck runs in the family. The eggs never go into the bottle...

Tuesday we were all over the place. We taught Dudas and he said he hadn't had beer in 3 days but he also hadn't eaten in 3 days either. I was worried he'd taken our fasting lesson a little too seriously. So we encouraged him to eat something. We did a lot of contacting. Almost all of our investigators are on semester (vacation) right now so we're in the business of finding new people to teach. On the way to teach one of our other investigators she calls us up and tells us she never wants us to come by again and wouldn't explain. So we just sat on the grass and called a whole bunch of people and then went to dinner at the 1st councilor's house with the elders. We had a super good dinner with the tastiest sourdough bread I have had since coming out here. I'm not sure if they made it themselves or not, but I need to find it or make it or something.

Wednesday was a day full of member visits. We had lunch with the Robayos and they barbecued for us and I was so full of that amazing food. Then we went to visit this super sweet woman who is the relief society greeter. Her name is Ingalill and we watched "Together Forever" with her and had a really good time sitting together and sharing our testimonies. After that we went to the De Lima's and tried the egg thing again. IT WORKED THIS TIME! The kids were so surprised and excited by it! What a hit :) Then we all had fun and got to know each other. I've never met children with so much energy, it was a lot of fun playing with them. 

On Thursday we taught Dudas and he told me that he loved me.... And then he also said he wouldn't stop drinking beer. But then he said he would. And then he gave us flowers and lottery tickets and strawberries. I think he might have been drunk during the lesson. After that we taught Rikki and talked about the temple and asked him to make it a goal to get there. We're excited for him. It's fun teaching Rikki because we can have complete open conversation and trust each other. It's super good that he has that relationship with the missionaries. That night we had dinner with the Bishop and his wife. We got around to the entire bishopric this week! Right after dinner we got on a bus to Borås and stayed the night with Sister Giles and Sister Lund for our Zone Training the next day. We had some interesting sleeping arrangements because the Borås apartment is so small, but we made it work :)

Friday was zone training! It was all focused on the Book of Mormon and I learned a lot about how I use it and how I can use it more. I was asked to share a testimony of how the Book of Mormon has brought me closer to God. We've been challenged to read 2 Nephi 9 or Enos every single day this transfer so I'm already off to a good start! After zone training we came home and just before going to our YSA activity Sister Demille and I went to the international street fair and bought some burgers from the Australian booth. I ate both crocodile and kangaroo burgers. Yes. And they were delicious. Sister Demille got this giant puncture wound in her leg from the bus so we went to the instacare and she probably should have gotten stitches but the woman there was just a volunteer so she got some steristrips and a bandaid instead. 

Saturday we celebrated the 4th of July with and American family (the Hegyessy's) and a British family (the Strömberg's) and a bunch of friends from the ward. We had barbecue and american potato salad and a couple of different american cakes. We sang the national anthem and had some US history trivia. It was so much fun to celebrate the 4th of July all the way out here on the other side of the world!

Yesterday was pretty relaxed. Both Dudas and Lasse came to church and we had a testimony meeting. We went and contacted and then did some weekly planning. 

This week has been a LOT of member work because all of our investigators are gone. But it's been so much fun! I love having the opportunity to get to know all the members here and they've all opened up so much in the last two weeks!

Sorry this email is kind of short! Gotta go pick some strawberries!

love you all!!!
-syster janessa brink

hiking through the swamp. Gotta keep the bugs away somehow
campfire and smores!

this is what it's like to hike through a swamp
more of the swamp hike. It's super pretty!
we just got dropped! also it was really really hot this day. and i wore tights. bad decisions. 

 kangaroo and crocodile burgers!

fourth of july celebration!

the missionaries and Alex celebrating the 4th!