Monday, August 31, 2015

miracles? yes.

i am so happy to see that everybody has been doing good! happy to hear that grandpa's operation went well and that his recovery is easy. you guys sound busy with all the family reunions and get togethers and home installations and ward parties and dental work and stake dances and decisions to help people in need (super proud of you makayla).

we've been busy here in jönköping too, meeting with people and talking to people on the street and being missionaries. there are so many things to write about that i'm just gonna have to choose like 3 and write about those (don't worry family, I have them all written down in my journal, the memories will not be lost!) so here are three awesome stories from this last week :)

we had a little time on tuesday and so we went and ate dinner with saneeka and marina. they are just the cutest ever :) after the food we had an awesome lesson about the law of chastity. like, usually chastity lessons are a little uncomfortable for people, but this one went really really well. we listened to this talk by elder holland from like the 80's called "of souls, symbols, and sacraments" and it was really clear about laying out the why's of the law of chastity. it was so so good. best chastity lesson i've ever been a part of, hands down. 

friday we went by this super sweet widow. she's actually elder malm (of the 70's) mother and she was just the sweetest woman i've ever met in my life. we had a lesson based off ether 12:27 and talked about weaknesses becoming strengths. she told us that when her husband had passed away (early in their marriage) she felt like she wasn't enough sometimes. But through it all she always felt that someone was there helping her. She bore testimony that she knew that she'd see her husband again and i am so grateful for the amazing strong women we have the opportunity to visit here in jönköping. We asked her the secret to a happy marriage and she just said; "Älskar din man!" (love your husband) and i think that's all that needs to be said ;) 

saturday we went tracting and sister carrington came up with the idea to ask if we could sing to the people who opened the door. So we chose 'families can be together forever' and started knocking on the doors. it was amazing. we got into so many different homes and sang to them. we found this sweet family that was so excited to hear us sing! the girl recorded us and the mother cried and they told us they would love to see us again and learn about our faith. 

yesterday we had a perfect day with ward conference. we got a new bishop and had 3 investigators come to church and i got to sit with rikki and he taught me how to say "i don't speak chinese" in chinese and it was really fun :) i also taught three different people out on the street and got another guy who said he wanted to learn more and read the book of mormon. 

miracles are happening here in jönköping. and I am so happy that i get to be here to see them all unfold. I'm praying to have another transfer here, so we'll see if the lord decides that :) 

have a super good week! thanks for everything you people do!
-syster janessa brink

samuri hats!

cold, rainy weather. it's back!

some weeks you get a lot of member dinners, some weeks you don't. and then sometimes you become a tripan and don't get invited over and all you have to eat is hard bread and margarine. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Triple Threat: Foster Child

Well, this week was an awesome to say the least. I'd like to announce that I have become a foster parent...sorta. We got a new companion this week! Her name is sister Carrington and she's from New York state. She's been living in sweden for about a year as a nanny and she decided to come on a short term mission (10 weeks) :) So we're training her and showing her what it's like to be a missionary and teaching her swedish. I called her my foster child because usually when you start a mission we call it being "born" and your trainer is your "mother" but it's a little different with her being a short term and sister DeMille and I can't both be her mother, so we decided foster parents was a good title. Mission culture. So I'm back to being in a tri-pan! It's really really fun and I just love it, it's like having a sleepover party every single night and it's been really cool helping her learn about missionary work and swedish. 

To start the week off we did p-day out on Visingsö and Gränna. The candy cane was like, invented in Gränna or something, so we stopped by and went in like 10 of the 30 candy cane shops they have there and it was amazing! Crazy how a little town like that can support so many candy cane businesses. Then we took the ferry out to the island and climbed around in the castle and I almost got stuck in a little crawl space but don't even worry, I totally got out. From there we came back to J-köp and had a little dinner with the YSA's here and it was good fun :) 

On tuesday we had a traditional columbian dinner with the Robayos and it was really heavy but super delicious. I thought I would never be hungry again. They are the greatest people. Seriously. I just love them so so much. We finished off the meal with an english lesson about our interests and hobbies and they are getting the greatest vocabulary ;) they're actually getting pretty good with the english. 

I went on splits with Sister King in Västra Frölunda this week and it was way fun! She is just amazing at swedish and she's super smart. We went and did a swing by at a less active woman's house and it turned into cleaning up the kid's bedroom while they ate dinner. Hey, whatever we can do to get on good terms, right? We also talked to these Iranian guys on the spårvagn for like 45 minutes (that's what happens when you have electrical problems) and one of them gave us his number. So the next day we swung by his shoemaker's shop and taught him the restoration and gave him a book of mormon. It was awesome! Also I officially hit my 9 month mark on wednesday. As a gift for making it halfway, I got the news that we would be a tri-pan! Doesn't get better than that! That night Rikki made us dinner and we ate at the church together. It was really good too! Ways to get meals from people? Invite yourself over, or tell them you're reaching your half point on your mission. 

For district meeting we had an awesome lesson. Elder Stoeltzing shared this story about the Michigan State Football team and how they went from being the worst team in the country to being undefeated for the next three years. And it's because on the his first day, the new coach had the team in the locker room and had them take off their pads and jerseys and wrote one word on the board and told them they couldn't play for his team or put on their jerseys until they understood that word. And the word was "love." We talked about how with missionary work if you don't love the investigators, if you don't love the people, if you don't love your companion or the gospel then why are we even here? We talked about how love changes everything and when understood it gives you a drive to never give up. That night we went to the Salo's and had a little activity night with them. I got to play a board game with the little boys and it was great :) they are just the cutest ever. 

We got sister Carrington on friday! We were so excited for her to get here!!! We went and picked her up from the train station and then the three of us had our first appointment with Anna Lisa. From there we had dinner and then played some beach volleyball with the YSA. While we were playing I saw a guy just standing by the side watching us so I invited him to play too. By the end of it we found out his name was Kassa and he wanted to come play basketball with us the next morning! 

Saturday morning the three of us got up and went to the church to play basketball and Kassa and his friends came...super late. We were just finishing up the game. So we invited them to church the next day and they said they'd be there! We had dinner with the Hegyessy's that night and talked and laughed and ate lasagna :) then we just weekly planned the rest of the day. 

Sunday was crazy! we had SIX investigators in church. I think that's a record. Hello miracles, God really blessed us with that. We set up appointments to meet with all of them next week and we're really excited! Kassa and his two friends came too! So we gave them all arabic book of mormons. After church we went out contacting and I went with Sister Carrington (contacting with three people is intimidating, so we have to split up a little and take different sides of the street) lemme tell you, that girl has got the energy I lack. She just bounced right up to all these different people and started talking with them about the meaning of life and telling them about the book of mormon. She's just the cutest. We had tons of fun :)

Funny contacting story: we're walking down the street and I tell sister carrington I'm gonna stop this one woman and so i stop her and suddenly this giant bread roll falls from the sky and hits her in the head. She turns around and looks for where it came from and she see's sister carrington standing there and thinks she threw it at her or something. Then we see the bird that flew over with the other half of the roll in it's beak and try to explain that it was the bird but the woman just walked away. we laughed about it for like 5 minutes straight, it was so funny! 

that's all for this week! thanks for the updates on life and family and friends! and thanks for the prayers on my behalf :) we've definitely seen a change in the work this last week so it means a lot that you guys are praying for us! 

kärlek till ni alla!
-syster janessa brink

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


It's never a boring week in sweden. We've been busy and there's so much to do it's crazy that we get it all done! 

p-day this week was super fun, we made a fire by the cliffs (probably my favorite place in Jönköping) and had a little barbecue. We got to know some visiting YSA's and just had a good time talking about dreams and eating korv. From there we went with the elders and the Ulvemos to Viste Kulle and picked some wild blueberries, raspberries and cherries. We took lots of really cool pictures and it was so much fun to be with them!

 everybody say "OST!"

We were supposed to meet with Andreas on tuesday but he didn't show up, sadly. So we ate lunch instead and then taught Dudas. He's been doing well, we're gonna try and get him ready to go to the temple (and even if he can't make the trip all the way to Stockholm at least he'd have a recommend) so we've been working with him a lot. We also went and visited some old women, and on our way to Sonja's this van took the roundabout super fast and lost these huge heavy boxes out the back. DeMille and I ran out into traffic and went to go and pick them up so nobody would get in an accident. They were ridiculously heavy. Probably not the greatest idea to be in the middle of the road, but all the cars stopped and I felt like a superhero. 

President and Sister Beckstrand showed up for a little surprise visit in Jönköping on wednesday! We had interviews with President and chatted with Sister Beckstrand and it's always so much fun to be with them! 

We also taught Shasha again this week. We talked about following the prophet and the lesson included tears and a testimony from Shasha. She isn't ready to be baptized, but she's getting there. 

Zone Training was on Friday so we took a day trip to Gothenburg. This zone training was so much fun, it's been a while since we've had a fun zone training! And there were so many greenies! It's always good to get to know new people! Friday night we had our volleyball activity, and while we were waiting for everyone to show up Elder Dickson and Elder Payne made this giant sandcastle. We've decided we need to make sandcastles a new contacting method. We got one guy to come over with his son and talk to us and it was so cool! 

translation: what is zarahemla?

Saturday morning sister DeMille and I were both down for the count. My stomach wasn't happy with me from lunch the day before and DeMille had a pinched nerve in her back. We were finally able to get up and moving in time for lunch. We went out with the Elders and some YSA's. We have a super cute new YSA from DC here! She's teaching at the international english school and her name is Sam. It's been really fun to have another American around and she's expecting a mission call! So we're really excited, she's really excited, and it's gonna be so fun to have her here :)

lunch with the elders, Alex, and Sam!

We had dinner with the Rönndahl's yesterday and I just love them! I can't even explain it, their kids are the cutest ever, Carolina and Christoffer are hilarious, and it's just always so much fun to be with them. 

Funny contacting story: yesterday we were on the way home and there were these teenage boys standing over by the river and one of them yells "JESUS CHRIST!" (probably to make us angry or something) and I just shouted back "YEAH! He's the best!" and ran over to give them a contact card. Oh, swedes. They never know exactly what to expect with Americans.

sofia kyrkan med min kompis

I can't believe my mission is halfway over! In some ways it feels like I've always been a missionary and in some ways it feels like I've only just started. On the 19th I will have had my mission call for an entire year, and I will have been on my mission for 9 months. It sneaks up on you. I've decided that for the rest of my mission I'm gonna live it up. No boring days. No zero days. No wasted time. No regrets. I only have nine months left, after all! It's been an exciting adventure, and I've got lots to do ahead of me :)

frid och välsignelser, syster janessa brink

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


well. I guess it's time to confirm the rumors. I cut my hair. I love it! By the time I get home it should be to my collarbones but we'll see haha :) the goal was to shock all of you, so I'm kinda hoping it worked. None of the pictures were supposed to go out until this week so like curse on swedish missionary moms for ruining the surprise! 

I'm doing great! this week felt super long though! For p-day we just kind of took it easy and had a little goodbye party for elder farnworth. then on tuesday we had our final district meeting for the transfer. It's so crazy how close we've gotten as a district, even though we only see each other like once a week. I just love this district! we had a little funeral and then a testimony meeting. it was kind of an emotional day. 

wednesday felt like it lasted longer than the entire last transfer. the day just seemed to drag on and on and on. at 3:00 we felt like we should have turned in for the day and gone to sleep. We taught so many lessons on wednesday it was crazy.  

thursday we taught a lot of different people too, lots of old women. elder dickson got a greenie, so we took him to his first kebab. we also got a new investigator on thursday, so there was celebration all around! Our investigator's name is Andreas and he's from romania. He's super nice and we're way excited to work with him!

this was in one of the old people's homes we visited. It says "love me for what i am"

guess who's back from vacation??? My favorite person ever: SHASHA! Oh gosh do I love her. we taught her about the commandments and she loved it. She also almost got eaten by the bishop's dog on her way into the church but that's another story for another day ;)

for our friday night activity we played volleyball on the beach. and for a little while it was just us and the elders and i was feeling super sad that nobody else was there. but then markus and isabell and anton showed up and the game picked up a LOT. thank goodness for YSAs. there was also this giant street fair happening downtown so we went and got some italian food and some ice cream and they were even doing a concert (crazy business). 

we got challenged to a basketball game by one of the member families, the Salos. So we showed up to church and warmed up and waited for them to show. Turns out they were sick (or they were scared) so we won by forfeit and will be holding another match this week. I'm terrible at basketball so they'll probably win this time 

we had dinner with the Schelins and i got to play with their 3 little boys. it's always an exciting time over there because they have SO MUCH ENERGY. 

"kämpa tillsammans" translation: fight together

yesterday at church we had tons of visitors for a baby blessing and people just in the area. we went to the Robayos after church and had dinner with them. They are just the cutest family ever. Also I realized how good my swedish has gotten and it's so nice to notice the progress. 

today we're going to be building a fire to burn the suit farnworth left behind and roasting smores and chicken over it. it should be exciting :) Also i get to wear jeans so like, double plus! 

I hope you all have a super fun week! good luck with your dental problems, work, school, family gatherings and home renovations. I love you guys so much! 

i love this country so much! 

med kärlek, syster janessa brink

Monday, August 3, 2015

baptisms and boats

Oh my goodness. I was super shocked to see those pictures of grandpa. Definitely not something you think you'll be opening on p-day. Hope he's doing well! 

This week has been really good! Lots of hard work came to a climax and we've seen success :) Tuesday we went and did dinner with Erik and Eevie Salo's. Their family is super cute! They have like four little boys and we just had so much fun talking with all of them and playing with story cubes. It was so nice being able to just sit and have an actual conversation with them, you don't get that very often with swedes because they don't really try to carry conversations. The Salos are just the greatest though, I love them lots. 
​{sometimes lessons happen over the phone} 

We've been on lots of trains this week! Sister DeMille and I have been helping the elders out a little with some of their new converts and less actives so we've traveled a couple of places we don't normally go. On thursday we took a train down to Värnamo to meet with Carina and then on friday we all went up to Visingsö. We had a great time on the ferry ride there and even got to climb around in a castle a little. 
​{scaling the walls of the castle} 

Saturday was a big day! We had a baptism! Dudas was so happy and excited :) He showed up in a suit and tie and then changed into his white baptismal clothes. He looked so great in white! The program went so well and everything fell right into place. We had Dudas bear his testimony at the end and he said he felt so happy and that he would never forget this day. He told everybody that his life has changed and he feels very close to the savior. 

​{just before the baptismal service!} 

Yesterday was another great big day! Dudas was confirmed in sacrament meeting and we had testimonies too. One of the visitors was a sister who recently returned from her mission in Hungary. She got up and bore her testimony and at the end she turned to Dudas and said, in Hungarian, "Congratulations my friend, I know that God is proud of you." Dudas is from Hungary originally and it has been YEARS since he's heard his native language. After the meeting he asked if he could go and talk with her, so I showed him where she was sitting and they just hit it off! What a little miracle! 

We got transfer calls on Saturday morning and Sister DeMille and I will be staying together for another round here in Jönköping! We are super excited and look forward to even more success next transfer. Other news: Elder Dickson will be training here, so we will be getting a brand new missionary on wedenesday! We're all really excited for the next 6 weeks we get to spend together. Finally, Elder Farnworth will be going home. He's finished his two years! It's going to be weird saying goodbye to him because we've gotten to be such good friends. 
​{3/4 of the Jönköping crew: Farnworth, Me, DeMille} 

I love you all so much!!! Thanks for all the info and the funny stories and the updates about home. With the summer wrapping up and all the family get togethers and celebrations you guys have been really busy! Keep me updated on everything! 


Puss och Kram
Syster Janessa Brink