Monday, February 29, 2016

hej då sundsvall


bara tänkte skriva lite nånting till er och säga hej. Livet är kul i Norrland men jag kommer inte stannar här i Sundsvall mycket längre. 

it's been an eventful week on my part but unfortunately I have literally no desire to write about any of it hahaa. We have lots and lots to do today. 

Getting right down to business I got a phone call from President Beckstrand on Friday night and he told me he had some interesting transfer information for me.... a day early. I figured it couldn't be really that crazy but I was wrong. Oh, President Beckstrand, you never know what to expect from him. He told me that he'd like me to be a sister training leader in Södertälje (suh-der-tell-yeh...good luck haha) which was pretty exciting and kind of unexpected until he dropped the bomb and told me that I would be in ANOTHER tripan! Third time's the charm right? It's going to be as exciting as every tripan is, and I'm looking forward to my two new companions down there! I'm going to run out of lines to write my companions names in my preach my gospel.

Sister Davis and I already knew that I'd be getting the boot (it was super unlikely that I'd be here for another transfer) so this week was full of goodbye meetings and hugs. Instead of writing about all of it I think it would just be easier to send some pictures (especially considering I have to finish putting the last 6 months back in my suitcases!)

the cute lady that plays the organ invited us over to make semlor, a traditional swedish treat. It only took about 4 hours to make them, so we used a good chunk of pday last week over at her place and making everything from scratch :)

we went on splits with the Uppsala stls and sister Johanson actually served here last year. She'll be heading home in about 3 days so she wanted to say some last goodbyes to some people, Celine and Cassi

goodbye to these cute little primary girls that have gone up and shared their testimonies all 6 fast sundays that I got to serve here!

we had a fun dinner and game night with the YW and their friends on friday! it made me want to be back in young womens again!

overall, my time here has been a blast. I can't believe that it's been a half a year since I left Jönköping. I can't believe I braved a swedish winter with my cute little baby (sister davis) and lived to keep all my toes. I got to learn a lot here in Sundsvall. I got to lead the music for 20+ sacrament meetings in a row. I got to see three of my best friends get baptized. I got to train a new missionary. I got to see the northern lights. I got to walk on a frozen lake. I got to make so many new friendships. I got to see lives change and be a part of all of it. And now I get to leave it here in Sister Davis' hands (super capable hands, might I add) and go learn more from Södertälje. 

hej då sundsvall! I'll be back again someday!

Monday, February 22, 2016


It's time for the highlight of your week ;) 

well friends, it's been a week. This week felt kind of long, but that's not a bad thing! I will take the long weeks as they come! 

we walked across the giant sundsvall bridge this week. really windy, really cold, really worth it though

Monday we took a train up to Umeå and got to spend the night up there with my favorite Umeå sister, Sister Wirtala :) This was my 4th and final time I got to spend the night with her and it was fun to sit and talk with her like old friends. As my time winds down up here in Norrland, I'm beginning to say goodbyes to all the people that I have loved so much these past 6 months. 

Tuesday we had a great specialized zone training with President and Sister Beckstrand and the assistants. We talked about teaching repentance and baptizing converts and it was so much fun to be up there with them! 

we found the elders while contacting!

Sam, our new investigator I wrote about last week, set up another appointment with us :) We were sitting in the library waiting for him when another guy walks up to us and tells us that Sam will be there shortly. It took me a moment to put two and two together but I realized this guy was David, Sam's brother who had told us he wasn't interested! Sam showed up and we sat down at a table and started chatting. I was like, "so David, did Sam invite you to come along or did you become interested yourself?" and he confessed that it was a little bit of both. We had a great lesson and taught a good portion of the plan of salvation. We weren't able to get through all of it, because they had so many great questions. We invited them to come to the movie night we'd be having later in the week and they both seemed excited to come!

We had a dinner with the District President and his family. It was so good and after the dinner I felt like I had to apologize to sister davis that we eat only cereal and bananas all day everyday. We really like the Stegeby family, and I'm super glad that I get to be around them all the time!

that night we got a package. our car was in the shop getting some repair work done, so sister davis and I walked down to the gas station to pick up the box. We walked home carrying this heavy box and put it on the floor in our apartment and just stared at it for a little while. After saying a silent prayer that this wouldn't be a(nother) shipment of swedish books we cut the tape and opened it up. Inside we found 20 beautiful hardcover fully translated persian books of mormon. I felt like I had opened a treasure chest. I can't even wait to get them out in the hands of persian speaking members and investigators!!! #miracle

We had a lesson with a less active sister named Lisa, and she told us about the spirits that she had the elders cast out on tuesday night. ha. ha. at least they were cast out when we got there. We taught her about repentance and showed her how to use the gospel library app and play MoTab in her home when she's alone and starts hearing things. We like Lisa :) 

friday was an adventure. As our car was still in the shop we have been fully dependent on public transportation this week. Friday, we got a notice on our phone that something was up with the busses but we didn't quite realize the full extent of what that meant until we were told we couldn't ride a certain bus and there wouldn't be any other busses coming for another 45 minutes. We had an appointment to be to at the church in half an hour so we decided to start walking. Long story short we got lost in a forest. One moment we're in a totally residential area and the next we are surrounded by thick trees. Whoops. So we call up Murre, to tell him that we're gonna be a little late and he tells us he's actually at work. So we ask him when he'll be off and he's like "I'm in Stöde." Stöde is a quarter of the way to Norway. There was no way he'd be making it for a lesson with us. So we wandered through the forest for a little while longer and then finally made it to the road. We found a grocery store, bought a rotisserie chicken and some bread and sat down to eat some food after our long journey. We had a correlation meeting at the church and our mission leader gave us some kinder eggs. We were planning on going home right after the meeting but the bus schedules were still insane and we stayed to talk with some of the young women after their activity. We went down to the bus stop to catch the bus that should have come but never did. Finally we got a ride home with a member that felt sorry for us when they saw us standing out in the cold. 

Patrik was in town from Lund so we met up with him. I told him that this would probably be the last time I would be able to meet with him and he wanted to do something nice so he took Sister Davis and I out for lunch. Once again, I had to apologize to sister davis for only ever eating cereal hahaha. We had a great lesson with Patrik and felt the spirit with him. It's been super cool to see how much he has changed and grown over the past 6 months that I've been teaching him. 

lunch with Patrik! Now you understand why I keep apologizing to sister Davis ;)

That night we had a movie night at the church and watched Meet the Mormons. President and Sister Beckstrand were there and we even had Sam, David and Patrik there too! It was a lot of fun and I want to try and persuade the branch to have movie nights every week. 

Yesterday we had branch conference and we sang in the choir. I sang in Swedish, English, french and Finnish. Be impressed because it was super hard. We had a great meeting and talked a lot about coming unto Christ and keeping the Sabbath day holy. After church we set up appointments with some of my favorite members and Farhad and Bakhtiar came up to us and told us they had a surprise. We followed them into the kitchen and found that they had made us a big lunch of delicious Persian food. I almost wanted to cry. They are the sweetest people ever! We decided that if we all pray hard enough and it's God's will, I'll be transferred to Stockholm and then I can go to the temple when they do baptisms for the dead. 

this is the text we got from Farhad. Also for your information the NO stands for Ny Omvänd (new convert)

this has been a long week, but it's been very fun :) I'm excited to see what my last week here brings. We'll be getting transfer calls on saturday (so maybe you guys should also pray that i get sent to stockholm, haha) and it's crazy how quickly the time flies. I never want to say goodbye to Sundsvall or my sweet little greenie. 

my favorites :)

I hope all of you have a great week! Keep praying, keep studying the scriptures, and keep helping others. 
I love you!
syster janessa brink

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

every heart day

this week has been great! it got cold again here, so I'm back to wearing 3 layers of tights at any given time.

on monday we got yet another two shipments of swedish books of mormon. that's a lot. we now have over 100 copies of the book of mormon in swedish. just for the fun of it we built ourselves a tower. no worries though, we're putting the books to good use. we're giving them out to people :)

tuesday we met with this guy named samuel. we met his brother in centrum, and he said that he wasn't interested, but gave us sam's number and said that he might be. We taught Sam at the library and he was super nice! He's about 65 and he's eager to learn. 

wednesday was a day that we just couldn't seem to get anything set up. So we had plans to be knocking on doors and talking to people on the street all day long. we had cleaning checks that morning and we were doing studies when we got a call from a sweet branch member named Karin. She asked us if we'd be able to come with her to do visiting teaching because her usual companion was sick. So we went with Karin all day long! We visited with 3 different sisters from the branch and got to know them a little better. It felt like it was definitely what we should have been doing that day, so it was perfect that we couldn't get anything else planned. 

we went through the rest of the week teaching less active members and new converts, contacting and tracting and loving missionary life. 

we experienced a small miracle this week in receiving 3 copies of newly translated, beautiful, hard cover books of mormon in persian. The worst part about getting only 3 was deciding who of our 7 persian speaking members would get them. We ended up wrapping up one copy in gift paper to give to Armin and Shirin to share and then giving a copy to Farhad and a copy to Bakhtiar. We decided to give them to those members that weren't able to speak english or swedish. 

Valentines day was great :) we got cute little valentines from some of the primary kids and the young women. Church was great and we got some pictures with some of the cute primary kids! 

love you all! have a great week!
-syster janessa brink

we decided to make a fun little valentine video
don't worry, this song is approved. Sister Beckstrand gave it to us to work out to in the morning haha
the audio is off, oops haha

valentines from the young women

me, salome and nauvoo

us we celine and nauvoo

i wish all the houses were different colours in america

the sky was beautiful yesterday! this is the street we catch the bus on

Monday, February 8, 2016



life is wonderful here in sundsvall (ya'll will never hear the end of my time in sundsvall, haha, i've been here so long!) and sister davis and i just LOVE being companions :)

on pday last week we went on a hike with the district and made korv on top of the mountain. I love district activities. and i love wearing pants. and eating korv. so this pday was quite the winner in my book. as stated in last weeks letter, we wanted to focus really hard on being patient this week. so we had lots of patience activities planned. 

to start off patience week we got blåsted (not planned, but we were patient about it) so we went contacting instead. We tried really hard to listen to those who we were talking to and not just spew doctrine on them. It was really good, and we ended up talking to this one guy for quite some time. He was from afghanistan and really nice. But he wasn't interested in learning more about god, just interested in talking to some people who were actually willing to listen to him.

the next day we decided to avoid saying the word "tired." which was decently easy actually. I wasn't tired at all on tuesday. We had to go pick up a package from this company that should have dropped it off to us so we went out of our way to get it and then ended up driving around their building for like 20 minutes trying to find a door and a place to park. I was convinced that the building was a mystery box or something like that and there was no way to get in or out of it (patience.) and then when we finally found somewhere to park the car and get into the building we were really eager to get our shipment of brand new fully translated persian books of mormon. i walked up to the lady who then disappeared into the belly of this mystery box building to retrieve our package. she came back hauling a big box and placed it on the counter and i read the side of the box. To my dismay it said "Book of Mormon - SWEDISH". Our THIRD SHIPMENT OF SWEDISH BOOKS OF MORMON. (patience) We now have over 60 copies of swedish books of mormon. I could probably build a house out of them hahaha. we got in the car and drove off to a day of knocking on doors because everyone we normally meet with has decided they don't like us anymore. We knocked on a lot of doors, and found an AMAZING area to tract. I was certain we would never run out of things to do there. Until we rearranged areas later in the week and gave our amazing tracting find to the elders. hahaha. patience. 

the day after that our patience day activity was making a new contacting goal of 30 people. we decided to talk to 30 of gods wonderful children about the restored gospel. we got blåsted by our schizophrenic investigator, and then she called us later that night to tell us she didn't want to meet with us anymore. It's okay though, we were busy knocking on some more doors. We went by a less active woman (whom I have been trying to get ahold of for my full six months in this area) and sat down and watched a REALLY outdated movie about Christ's last week on earth. It went through the atonement, the trial, the crucifixion, and the resurrection. It actually ended up being perfect for her. She loved the movie and at the end of our visit she gave us a full cake, a carton of milk and a scarf because we needed something to eat on the road and we looked cold to her hahah :) after visiting with her we went by Armin and Shirin bearing gifts of cake and a carton of milk and some banana bread we'd baked the day before. We took some time to look at the temples of the world, shirin taught us some more persian words and then we shared this talk with them from April 1971 called Great Experiences.  We talked about how there are SO many great experiences in life and that there are so many that will be coming in the future. It was a really great night with them!

Thursday our goal was to speak only swedish with each other the entire day. I ended up dreaming in swedish the whole night before, so waking up the first thing I said to sister davis was "hade du några kul drömmar igår kväll?" swedish all day long wasn't hard for me to do. We had studies and district meeting in swedish and then met with a couple of potential investigators. One of them, Simon, was supposed to come at 1:30 but didn't show up until 2:30 (patience.) we'd even called him that morning to make sure he'd be on time. so we ended up sitting at the church with Karin, our sweet member that told us she'd be willing to help us teach him, doing a scripture study with her. When he finally showed up, we only had enough time to introduce the book of mormon to him, bear our testimonies, and invite him to come to church. we then had another lesson with a different member, Mona, set up. Our new guy was named Tobjörn and I think he's actually going to become an investigator. He'd read all of Ether 12 since the first time we met him. He was interested, had good questions. We had a good time teaching him.

the next day we decided to go the entire day without complaining. this one was hard. as you guys know, missionary life has it's ups and downs and Friday was a down day. After the frustration of an entire week and not being able to get contact with our regular investigators we were feeling relatively complain-y. But that's nothing a preisthood blessing can't fix. After that we had a great lesson with Farhad and Bakhtiar about the gospel of jesus christ. They are such a light for us. I don't know what I'd do without our amazing persian speaking members. 

Saturday we taught patrik, our friend who moved to Lund, about fasting and fast offerings. His work allows him to live in lund but come back to sundsvall every two weeks. He meets with the missionaries down there too. At the end of the lesson we committed him to continue with his monthly fast (because he's already been doing it) and then to pay fast offerings. He kinda had this look in his eye and I was like, "wait.... have you paid fast offerings before?" and he was like, "yeah, I've done it twice already. I plan to continue." And I felt like a proud parent after catching their child sharing their toys without being asked. 

Then we went by a less active sister named Ingrid. We chatted with her about making the sabbath a delight. She said she'd be at church (and then she didn't come. patience.) and invited us back to dinner sometime in the future. We spent the rest of the day knocking on doors and ran into (what a coincidence) Ingrid's sister! it was cool to chat with her and we gave her reference to the church and what her sister believes in. it was fun :) that evening we had to catch the bus home but couldn't find our way to the bus stop. So I pulled up google maps and it directed us to the bus stop. The route there however, went through the freakiest pitch black forest ever. we used the camera flash on the phone as the flashlight and I watched as the battery dropped from 30% to 2% in a matter of seconds. We were worried we'd be stranded in that forest, but no worries, we made it out alive. 

Sunday has never felt like more of a restful day. After a week of consciously testing my patience I really needed the sacrament. We spent the rest of the day after church inviting people to come unto Christ and finished the night off by comforting a drunk guy who's girlfriend lives in Russia. 

This week has been quite the challenge. With an area that decided to go belly up over night we have been working so hard to turn it back over again. I have learned that I have next to no patience this week hahaha. But that's what's cool about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. This week we actively showed off our weaknesses. "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." Ether 12:27

That being said, next week is Faith Week for us :) 
stay tuned
syster janessa brink

pday hike, this is the album picture for our new band. please send this to my manager.

we love tracting!
found a winged rabbit


Monday, February 1, 2016

me vs. the natural man

its a beautiful day. the sun is actually kind of up right now, which is a big change from a couple weeks ago. I remember when the sun used to shine 17 hours a day, we'll be getting back to that point pretty soon :) 

semlor! the swedish february food 

we were busy this week, they usual missionary stuff. we met up with farhad and bakhtiar to start teaching them about the preisthood and get them ready to go to the temple. we taught peter about the plan of salvation and introduced him to the elders too. he showed up a little early for his lesson so he caught us playing scum (card games) and we invited him to play with us. he had a good time :) we had a healthy dose of blåsts and swingbys that fell through and then took a train ride up to Umeå for zone training. 

teaching the priesthood in persian

while on the way to Umeå our train died a couple kilometers north of Örnskoldsvik. we sat on the tracks in a standstill for about 40 minutes, when they finally got our train up and moving we had all but missed our chance to eat lunch. but we still made it to the training! Training was great and we talked a lot about repentance. We talked about how as missionaries we are in a perfect position to make laziness a sin. Every minute of the day is a battle between me and the natural man. So this next week, sister davis and i have decided to try and battle the natural man with some christlike attributes. We're gonna be doing "Patience Week" and we've planned all sorts of activities for each day to help us develop patience. I looked at my calendar after weekly planning and kind of had the epiphany that we are willingly putting ourselves into positions to test our patience hahaha. We'll be speaking only swedish with each other for a couple of days, other days we're going to avoid saying the word "tired". We'll both be coming out of this week with more patience (hopefully!) and then next week we'll try and tackle another christlike attribute :)

I ordered some nametags for sister davis. they got here and had my name on them.

We got invited over to a couple of member dinners this week (unusual for here in sundsvall) and Sister Davis and I literally haven't been hungry for the last two days. Saturday evening we got invited over to this really sweet couple's house and when we sat down I looked at the silverware and realized "oh my goodness. this is going to be a three course meal." It was. And it was all delicious. I felt like I was at a 5 star restaurant or something, everything was so perfect. We also got to know these sweet members a little better, and after being here for six months I was a little embarrassed about my lack of attentiveness. They were hilarious too! we spent the evening laughing and chatting and just having a good ol time

Yesterday we had another member dinner with the cute lady that plays the organ here. Once again, so much food. I might have to go into hibernation if this keeps up. 

We found a giant frozen lake this week. At first we weren't sure if it was actually frozen or not, so we stepped carefully down onto it and inched our way along. Sister davis went out in front of me and I was ready to yank her back to solid ground if she started to sink haha, but the whole thing was iced over so thick you probably could have driven a car on it. I love swedish winter!

frozen lake

love you all!
syster janessa brink