Monday, March 28, 2016


Tjena tjena, 

I almost don't even know what to say about this week. It's been super busy and we've been running around like crazy people. There is SO MUCH TO TAKE CARE OF ALL THE TIME.

Monday we went to stockholm cuz I found out that my baby sister Davis was coming down from Norrland for zone conference!!! So we went and spent a few hours with her and sister hong and it was so much fun :) 

That night we had family home evening and actually had a pretty good turn out! We watched the new easter video and shared thoughts and feelings about Christ. Then we decided to play a little get to know you game and this guy literally went off for like 20 minutes about Muslims and how the hijab isn't even religious it's just cultural and half the time I'm trying to make eye contact with the elders and ask them to help me cuz I'd tried to regain control of the situation at least 6 times already and the guy wasn't listening to me. Ohhh, the things that happen when random people come to FHE.

Tuesday I got to go to Västerhaninge to go on UTBYTNINGAR!!!! My comp for the day was sister nielsen (the younger. there are two sister nielsen's here in sweden). We had a good day of swinging by people and working through the area book. Västerhaninge is literally the smallest area in all of Europe. We had a member dinner that night and I nearly exploded because the amount of food given was much more than a normal sized sister missionary has the capacity to eat. 

easter treats!

Wednesday we had our zone conference in the Västerhaninge chapel. It was probably the most emotional conference I've ever had. I don't think I've ever cried so much at a conference before. It's the beginning of the end. They had me stand up and share my departing testimony with the missionaries. (we share departing testimonies at our last zone conference. even though i still have a couple months left this was my last zone conference.) I feel like I just want to keep pushing the reality of going back to utah farther and farther out of my mind. I feel like being a missionary for at least like 9 more months would be prime. 

We talked a lot in the conference about giving everything you've got and not giving up. Finding new energy in christ's atonement and serving with your heart for the right reasons. That conference changed the rest of my mission. 

thursday was more or less a regular day. We had dinner with one of the families that makes up a majority of the branch. They are the COOLEST PEOPLE. The Bergersons. They are from the south of sweden (whoop! SKÅNE!) and they just live the coolest lives of humanitarian work and travel and love. I'm gonna try to get myself somehow added into the family. 

Friday we went to the Wesemeyer's. Try as we might, the wesemeyers always turn into an event of a couple hours. We spent the time chopping down trees, taking part in a Jewish Seder ceremony, decorating the house for easter, and eating lots and lots of candy. I even got to jump on a trampoline for a little while and try a couple of flips that I haven't been able to do since starting the mission :) good fun!

traditional jewish seder.

easter eggs at the wesemeyer's!

decorating with Rahaf, our investigator

Saturday was easter eve. Easter in sweden lasts almost the entire week but nobody celebrates it aside from eating eggs and godis. We've worked really hard to try and get people to notice the meaning behind all the eggs and pastels. It's been actually really good. That evening the elder's investigator was baptized! His name is Fidelis and he is super cool! He had to get baptized like 4 different times because he could just not seem to go all the way under. After the third time they cleared him but us sisters in the back saw that his hand had come out of the water so they had to get him back out of the changing room to do it one last time. Once he was baptized once and for all, we clapped and cheered a little. Probably not the most reverent thing, but that last round totally deserved a cheer. 

sister nielsen and some of the primary kids on easter

Yesterday for easter we got to pretty much run the church building. Missionaries playing piano, giving talks, translating sacrament meeting, teaching sunday school, and then the elders taught priesthood. We had a super good easter. We got invited over the the Schiazzano's, a family from chile. They gave me a cayanne pepper corn and told me it was chilean candy. Whatever. It's like, a rite of passage at their house. So for 15 minutes I sat with my throat on fire and sweating like crazy until the potatoes in the shepherds pie finally extinguished the flames. After lunch at their place we were invited to Elder and Sister Wood's (ysa representative couple in stockholm) for dinner with them. We walked in to a big group of missionaries and ysa's and had american easter food. It was delicious but i don't know if I can handle it all day every day. Oh well, all the more reason to stay here forever right? ;)

just a regular meal at the schiazzano's...

I'm just super grateful that I get to be here as a missionary. I get to serve in the detroit of sweden and it's the coolest thing. I get to talk to people every day about the savior. I get to meet the coolest sisters and learn from their good examples. I am so blessed that I get to have these 18 months to focus so much on others that my nature changes naturally. 

love you guys!!
-syster janessa brink

Monday, March 21, 2016

i think i went a little crazy this week

wow, this week though. I don't even know where to start.

We didn't really have much of a pday last week, we spent the time travelling to and from stockholm to fix our phone. So we'll just skip that.

Tuesday we had some blåsts and some apartment checks and some fika and some dinner. We went over the the Bergerson's for dinner (taco soup. so good.) and they are like, super cool. It's always so much fun to visit the members cuz in small ways it feels like we're back to being members of the family. 

Wednesday we went to Örebro to do workovers. Workovers happen when the area is too far away to meet up and then exchange companions, so we all just stay in one area together. I got to be with Sister Crawford for the day and it was super fun! Örebro is like swedish disneyland. There's a castle right in the middle of the city. We met lots of people too, because there were a few things that fell through. My favorite part of the day was when we were out talking to people in the street. This guy stopped us and tried to tell me that something was wrong with my family (uh. no.) and then this other guy who we'd talked to earlier in the day came up and stood next to us and pulled our card out of his wallet and handed it to "your family is struggling" guy. He was like, "are you with them?" and the card guy was like "no, but check out this website, it will help you figure stuff out." the funniest part of all of it was that we had given the card guy an easter card earlier in the day, and he pulled out a card, so he'd been talked to before hahaha. Then we set something up with the card guy to meet up another day. He's super cool!

we talked a lot about easter this week. LOTS. 

we had a really illogical conversation with a guy who argued that his logic was unparalleled. 

I gave a talk in sacrament yesterday. While I was preparing my talk I told sister nielsen that I kinda hoped they'd forget that I'd be talking. Lo and behold, they totally forgot who was talking. They had no idea who would be talking at all, hahah. The bishop stood up and talked for a second about how sometimes as a bishop you need to take a leap of faith and then said that he had no idea who was speaking. I raised my hand and indicated that I had actually been asked, so that was pretty funny :) I talked about fasting and prayer. 

Another throwdown in sunday school. We'll be working on making sunday school more spiritual. 

that's all for this week though! I'm out of time!
-syster janessa brink

splits in örebro


our life is trains

we found hard liquor in the cupboard at the church.

me and crawford 

Monday, March 14, 2016

our trio's down to two

well. we were really hoping it would last, but the trio has been split up. 
one of the new sisters decided that missionary service just wasn't going to work out for her, so she packed her stuff and so did sister crawford and we sent her off to take this sister's place on wednesday. 

monday we took a trip on up to stockholm to see the city and the sights. at that point we were still a tripan so it was super easy to get there cuz the elders could drive us! we got to check out gamla stan and walk down drottninggatan and all that good stuff! 

tuesday was MLC and i got to eat some riktig mexican food for the first time in forever! we went to the mission home and learned from president and sister beckstrand and the assistants and got to set up some goals for the next transfer. As a new sister training leader I feel a little like I'm looking behind the curtain to see how everything is actually working. it's crazy to see just how much time, prayer, fasting, study, and attention goes into all the work. That night we went to the Nylund's for dinner and their baby is the cutest thing ever. He is 18 months old and eats with a fork and blows his nose and says please and thank you. so cute!

wednesday we dropped off sister crawford at the train station and went home and the apartment felt slightly empty. we had a busy day of fitting Andreas into baptismal clothes, setting up the area with the elders, going to dinner and then getting a snack with a less active named mattias (he thinks he's gonna be buddhist). 

Thursday was a special day :) I called up President Beckstrand and got permission to go to the temple and meet up with Armin and Shirin (from Sundsvall). They were there for Shirin's first time doing baptisms. It was a perfect day. I was so proud of them and their efforts to keep strong in the gospel that they love. It was the greatest to see Shirin, someone I had first met in a tiny little refugee apartment, now at the temple serving others. It was a really sweet reunion :) 

Friday we had zone training and sister nielsen and I got to teach a portion of the training with sister crawford (special situation. even though sister crawford moved, she's still technically a sister training leader. so she's just on a really long five week exchange right now and then she's supposed to be coming back to me in södertälje after sister nielsen travels home). From there we headed off to visit a sweet little investigator named Johanna. She's 18 and life has just been handing her hard things over and over. But she's got lots of faith and set her own baptismal date with us and she's looking forward to an early summer baptism on the 14th of may! 

Saturday was a little crazy but it's okay. We headed off to the church to clean out the baptismal font and then get it filling. Andreas got baptized! It feels weird walking into an area and getting a baptism. Andreas was super excited though. We got to skype in a couple of the other sisters that had taught him over the past few months. It was a really great service too! That night we headed over to this less active sister's home. Her name is Viktoria. We offered to help her with some cleaning to try and ease some of her stress. She opened this cupboard under the stairs and revealed something equivalent to the basement playroom at my house. It would have taken me at least 3 days to do everything and sort things by myself. We did it in a little under 3 hours. I hopped right on into the clutter. Be so proud of me mom and dad. 

Sunday Andreas got confirmed and he was so excited about it! He told me that he just feels light. One of the visitors in sunday school decided they wanted to state all their controversial opinions so I got to be the one to throw down with them. Not super fun, but super needed. After sunday school I got asked to give a talk next week in sacrament meeting. Pray for me? That night we got invited over to dinner and I closed the phone in the car door (oops.) Dinner was great, the Jensen's are super funny and it felt a little like being over at cousin's for those couple hours.  

this week was crazy! but I loved it. here's to next week!

syster janessa brink

Monday, March 7, 2016

city kid

sounds like it's been an exciting week at home! 

this week has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster to be 100% honest. 

Monday was fun, sister davis and I got out and I became the biggest Sundsvall tourist ever and got some souvenirs and took her thrift shopping at our favorite little shop "återkommande mode" and then spent a good chunk of the day packing my life into my suitcases and cleaning the apartment and making it feel almost like I wasn't even there to begin with. at the end of the night we stopped by my girl Lisa Grafström's and had a little goodbye meeting with her. 

Tuesday we had a lot more little goodbyes. While we were out walking down the street we decided to stop a woman and chat with her and she told us that we were shining. She remarked how we walked down the road and had smiles on our faces and light around us and we were very different from the people that she normally sees walking the streets. It was actually super cool to talk with her. From there we took a bus all the way up to Timrå to say goodbye to my friends Noenoe and Saysay. They were some of the first people I taught up in Sundsvall, and I was really sad to say goodbye. We had to keep the conversation going for a while or else I'm pretty sure all of us would have started crying. We were heading back to the city and had an appointment with one of our less active members and just felt like we needed to stop into the library and check out an exhibit (super weird feeling, but we did it) and lo and behold, Armin was there with Shirin and it was actually his brand new art exhibit that he was showing off! I was thinking I wouldn't get the chance to say a last goodbye to them, so it was a real tender mercy that they happened to be there. We invited our less active to come and chat with Armin and Shirin and all of them taught us some more persian words. 

goodbye to noenoe and saysay

some of armin's art

In the middle of the week I finished packing everything up and had a tender moment saying goodbye to the city I've come to love and my companion that became my best friend. We said our last prayer before heading out the door and then gave each other a big hug before my SJ Snabbtåg made it's way down to Stockholm Central. 

I rolled into Södertälje with my three big bags on wednesday evening and my two companions Sister Neilson and Sister Crawford were there to pick me up in the rain. Sister Neilson is from Taylor, Utah and we actually overlapped by about 5 days in the MTC. And Sister Crawford is from Rexburg, Idaho and is only 6 weeks behind me in the mission. All of us graduated in 2014 and all of us are pretty old on the mission. It's been a lot of fun!

the first pic of the tripan

district meeting in Katrineholm

Södertälje is also called the Detroit of Sweden. There isn't a city symbol that I know of (unless you count gang colors as a symbol). We have a lot to do everyday. We spend most of our time in the chapel teaching people and I don't really know how to get anywhere else. I'm back to riding busses full time and trying to memorize city streets. This is a big change from everywhere else that I've ever served, haha. Our investigators are really sweet and I really like the ward. I spent a good portion of my first sunday asking people what their names were, forgetting their names, and then playing with the kids and some stuffed animals. 

a member of the ward, Nina, is a the voice of swedish google maps. She also owns a voice company where they record sounds and voices and send audio files to clients around the world. They needed lots of different voices for a children's toy so that the toy could do voice recognition. SO. Now my voice is inside of a japanese stuffed robot dog. #goingplaces

cool thing about being in a tripan? it's totally allowed for the elders to give us rides! we're in the same area as the zone leaders, elder Larson (from my MTC group) and elder Peterson.

I didn't think that being a sister training leader would be that big of a change, honestly. I was convinced that I could keep being a normal missionary in most ways. But being an STL is a lot more than I really expected. We've had a couple of stressful nights and one of them I didn't really sleep much. On the bright side though, I now know to expect the unexpected. I've spent a lot more time on my knees than I have in the past 6 months. 

All in all though, I'm really enjoying my time here! I look forward to this coming week because we will be very busy again. I already know what I'll be doing for nearly every hour of the next seven days (no spoilers though, you'll have to read again next week!). 

keep eating your vegetables. 

syster janessa brink