Monday, April 25, 2016

the restoration

hej på er!

this week though. 

we taught the restoration to everyone in this whole entire city.

I am exhausted. I don't think I've ever been so tired. 

Good things usually come from weeks like this though, so we've been looking for the good in every moment of every day. 

We went to stockholm last week (and we'll be doing that again today! woop!) and saw the vasa with the Clouses. They are the sweetest people (and apparently sister clouse is mom's best friend! ;) i hear you guys talk pretty often?) the vasa is this huge 17th century war ship they brought up from the bottom of the harbor after it sat there for over 300 years. it was super cool! 

what did we do the rest of the week?


we saw a lot of the inside of our chapel. and the inside of our area book. and we taught the restoration. doesn't make for a very exciting email, or for very many pictures (sorry!) 

We got to help with zone training this week and talked about teaching the commandments simply and clearly. We also talked about being unified as a zone because we feel like it's about time for something huge to happen here and we're gonna be ready for it! Lots of spiritual highs and impressions happening in the preparation and presentation of this zone training. I'm super glad that sister crawford and i got to be a part of all of it! 

remember that cute little syrian family i talked about last week? we met with the woman (would have met with both of them, but he had swedish class) and it went super well! she said she's not really ever been the "church-going" type, but when she met us she felt like she wanted to come to church. She even looked up mormons on wikipedia to find out what we were all about (she obviously didn't find anything too crazy, cuz she still came and met with us). We taught her the restoration (you guessed it!) and she really enjoyed all of it. I'm gonna need to learn arabic though. they'll be coming to family home evening tonight :)

yesterday it snowed here. yes. in the middle of april. i do live in sweden don't i?
also, yesterday I was able to really take it easy in sacrament meeting and actually feel the spirit. I let myself stop stressing about who is sitting with who and which investigator i need to talk with and how many members still need callings or whatever. It felt so good to just have a few minutes that I could be alone with the savior. and i really needed those minutes because if I didn't get them this week I might have fallen apart before next week. it's so good to be a part of a church where we can do that. where we can give everything over to the savior and recommit every week to be a little better and cleanse ourselves from those things holding us down and holding us back. 

this next week looks like it's gonna be another crazy one. but never fear, this week i will be taking more pictures! so you guys can be a part of the craziness all the way on the other side of the world :) 

craziness happens. you get busy. sometimes it feels like life moves too fast for you to keep up with. but just for the record: i don't think i would ever trade this craziness at this time for anything else. I know why I'm here. I know where I'm going. 

i love you guys!
vi hörs nästa vecka!
-syster janessa brink

Vasa Skeppet!

prep for teaching

it was sunny this week!

it also snowed ;)

dear parents: I think I'm gonna move to stockholm. We'll set up the plans and everything over skype on mother's day :)

Monday, April 18, 2016

living up

guys. i love you.

starting things off, this week has been crazy. I think I write that literally every week but I keep expecting my weeks to calm down and then they don't haha. 

On monday we traveled up to stockholm and we were going to be playing volleyball but then when we got there they didn't have any nets on the volleyball courts. So we sat on the grass and grilled some korv instead and some of the elders played frisbee and fotball. It was a nice relaxed pday and we had a good time :) 

tuesday was super busy and by the end of the day i was pretty sure I'd gotten blisters on each of my toes. We walked SO. MUCH. We visited basically everyone in Södertälje. It was a big goodbye day for sister nielsen and we got to chat with this sweet member named Linda, who just had a baby. We got to play with her son while the baby slept and talk with her a little bit. Mother life is crazy, and I think I'd be fine putting it off for a little while haha! We also met with Roba (who is a genious) and Rahaf (who is my best friend) and said goodbyes to them. After that we had dinner at the Schiazzano's. During the whole dinner they took pictures and put them on facebook (so I apologize if I looked exhausted that day). We had a giant chilean dinner. With cheesecake and kebabs and fruit. I think I ate like 10 kebabs. 

dinner with the schiazzanos

helping sister nielsen pack and make the weight requirements

The next morning I helped sister nielsen finish packing up and the elders came and picked up the luggage. We said our last little morning prayer and cried like children nearly the whole time. I got to take her all the way up to t-centralen and see her off with the assistants and the office elders. I stood there at the ring in the center and realized that for me this marked the beginning of the end.

Being aware of the time is the biggest curse/blessing that ever was. From here on out I can literally count on my fingers how much of everything I have left. It hurts but it's motivating. I'm going to try to refrain from counting things though, at least consciously. 

After dropping off sister nielsen (and crying again that such a fun companionship was over) I got to go with sister giles back to Hägersten. Neither of our companions would be getting in until later that evening. I helped her clean up the Hägersten apartment. She's actually been serving in Gubbängen for the past week because her last companion got the visa she was waiting for to go to her actual mission in the states (same mission as brooke young! small world, ja?) So we picked everything up, I broke her mop, and we picked some flowers on our way to the train station. 

flowers with sister giles!

A little bit of freaking out happened when sister crawford wasn't on the train she was supposed to be on, but soon I found her being helped by a stranger and we taught him about the restoration before heading off to our apartment. 

we had dinner at the wesemeyers the next day with rahaf and the elders and they asked us for help cutting down a tree. We cut down the tree, and it almost fell right on top of all of us. It was a lot bigger than we thought it was. Rahaf got a video, but her phone died before she could send it to us! 

Friday was awesome. We went to the mission home for our mission leadership council and I got to see some of my friends from around the mission! I even got to see elder payne, who was on his very first transfer in the mission during my last month in jönköping. The training was awesome and we talked about the commandments and how we can help those that we teach to accept them more readily and start living them in preparation for baptism. We are super excited to start this transfer!

that night we met with a guy that investigated the church last year and called us randomly in the middle of MLC. His name is per and he wanted to thank the past sisters that served here for their prayers while he was going through surgery. Such a nice guy! we committed him to give the church another shot and to start reading and praying about the book of mormon again. 

Saturday we woke up and took the craziest travel ever to eskilstuna for district meeting. normally district meeting would be on a week day, but because it was transfer week and we randomly had MLC on a friday instead of a tuesday we had to change everything around. District meeting was great though! Long travel back to södertälje left me exhausted and dizzy from trains and busses. We did get to meet with a new convert named Mathias though, and went over the plan of salvation with him. It was a great lesson, and Mathias is super cool! 

flen, a teeny tiny town that you only go to if you take 4 and 2 trains busses to get to and from eskilstuna on a saturday

yesterday was a stresser. sunday is not the day of rest for missionaries. I felt spread very very thin yesterday. we got here early to set up chairs and sister crawford played the piano and spoke in sacrament meeting. Then we taught the sunday school class in both english and swedish at the same time. From there we were going to teach young womens but there weren't any young women there so sister crawford and i went to primary so she could be the primary pianist. I love being a missionary, and I love helping. yesterday felt like a little much though. Is it bad to admit that I am a little excited to take a couple selfish sundays once I'm home to just enjoy the sabbath and have it all to myself?

we did get to talk to some super cool people on the street yesterday. We even found a family, refugees from the middle east, that just had a baby and were out walking with him. They were like my little shining light. I am so excited to meet them again! 

sunday morning walks

today we will be going to the Vasa Museum in Stockholm (you guys can read about it in the newest ensign or liahona. Elder Renlund wrote an article about it) with the Clouses, the office couple. We are gonna have a nice day of traveling, since södertälje is like, BARELY in the stockholm area it takes us like an hour to get there. It's super worth it though, there is so much to see and do in stockholm! 

you guys sound like you had a busy week! back from canada, up to idaho, helping people move and fixing shelving and such. And thanks to grandma for the sweet email of advice!!! 

ni är de bästa som finns. 

i look forward to hearing from you guys next week!!!
love, syster janessa brink

saw this this morning on our way to the chapel to email, crazy huh?

Monday, April 11, 2016


hey guys! not much time today pga we're having volleyball in stockholm and we are in charge of it! 

transfer news? 
I'm sticking around here *surprise surprise* and getting sister Crawford! I'll be here until the end of the mission :) 

speaking of the end of the mission and everything: Mom, when you do get travel plans and such, you don't need to let me know when I'll be getting in hahaha, I'll be fine planning for that the week before it happens.

we did a lot this week with sister nielsen saying her final goodbyes before she heads back to the states and us finishing out a little bucket list of items she wanted to do before she left. We taught a lot of people this week and unfortunately I just don't have the time to write about any of it! It's okay though, next week I'll have more time, I promise! 

we went to stockholm last pday and this is like, the only good picture we got haha

dinner at a real sit down restaurant with menus and a waiter and everything. it was the beginning of the month, so we splurged a little bit. 

gott moss! its pretty much a hot dog with mashed potatoes on it and who knew it would be so good??

we had a jewish guy on the subway tell us we were idol worshippers because he visited the salt lake visitors center and they said a prayer in front of the kristus statue. part of that train ride i sat like this. 

with sister nielsen "dying" (going home) this week, the district had a small little funeral for her. 

last but not least, this is from this morning. 

have a happy monday!!
syster janessa brink

Monday, April 4, 2016

lift the torch, continue the rescue

My week started pretty good, on monday evening I found myself in Hägersten because I got to go on splits with the one and only Sister Giles :) The whole day was so much fun and we just laughed so hard the whole time. She and I went tracting (for her first time!) and got yelled at by a couple different guys that weren't wearing pants. *eyes up.. EYES UP* and they weren't super happy that we were knocking on their doors. Oops. Happens sometimes. Near the end of the split poor sister giles was feeling a little sick so we went back to the apartment and got this prime picture: 

don't you worry though, I healed her with some home made chicken noodle soup for dinner :) 

wednesday was probably the most productive day of my whole life. It was super well balanced with visiting less active members, investigators, swinging by people and contacting. A busy missionary is a happy missionary. We met this cute little boy with a puppy and got his permission to both pet the dog and take pictures. Rahaf was with us and she was just so excited that she got to touch the puppy, she was almost on the ground. 

We got to teach Rahaf about the restoration this week, and for the first time I feel like she totally understood what it means to have authority in the church. She's one of my favorites. She might not notice it, but she has been super prepared for the gospel. I wish I could stay here forever and just be her friend. 

we had district meeting in Katrineholm and got some pictures of the cute little city. 

dinner with the Bautista's this week and their 7 year old daughter asked elder larson if he was single. She also guessed that i was only 15 years old. AND on the way there, the elders drove by and shot sister nielsen in the head with a nerf gun. I had to photograph the crime scene. 

we were going to be watching the women's session of conference on saturday afternoon, just before the live saturday morning session (which would be showing at 6:00 here) and we borrowed the elder's car to go and pick up Solene, one of our friends and bring her to the conference. Well. The GPS routed us to completely the wrong place. Some horse trail in the middle of nowhere. No worries though, after some navigation we were able to find her house and made it back to the church just in time to miss half of the women's broadcast. BUT we did see all of the saturday morning session and it was fantastic. 

Yesterday we went to Västerhaninge to watch conference. We finished watching womens session while the me watched preisthood session. Then we watched saturday afternoon session and then sunday morning session live at 6:00. 

During the sunday morning session I felt super impressed to make temple attendance a bigger thing when I get back home. At least weekly. So mom, looks like I might be joining you in volunteer work when I get back. 

I've learned this week that God puts us where we are for a reason. He'll change our surroundings if they need to be changed. He needs us to be his hands here on the earth. But if we aren't willing to do the things he needs us to, He will find another. This is His work. He knows what he is doing. I read a really old conference talk this week from the October 1983 general conference (old conference talks are my guilty pleasure.) and the area 70, Vaughn J. Featherstone, shared a poem at the end of his remarks that really hit me. 

"The God of the great endeavor gave me a torch to bear.
I lifted it high above me in the dark and murky air.
Straightway with loud hosannas the crowd acclaimed its light,
And followed me as I carried my torch through the dark and starless night.
Til mad with peoples’ praises and drunken with vanity,
I forgot it was the torch that drew them and fancied they followed me.
And my arm grew sore and weary upholding the shining load,
And my tired feet went stumbling over the hilly road.
I fell with the torch beneath me, in a moment the flame was out.
But lo, from the throng a stripling sprang forth with a mighty shout,
Caught up the torch as it smouldered and lifted it high again,
Til fanned by the winds of heaven it fired the souls of men.
As I lay alone in the darkness, the feet of the trampling crowd,
Passed over and far beyond me, their praises proclaimed aloud.
And I learned in the deepening shadow this glorious verity,
‘Tis the torch the people follow, who ere the bearer be."

It's 150% not about me. I am simply the torch bearer. I am one of those that Heavenly Father has trusted with this message. If I'm not doing it right, if I get distracted and unable to accomplish the task, he will replace me. Which is both comforting and slightly worrisome at the same time. But I know that he will help and qualify those he calls. So long as we keep an eye single to his glory and focused on the light. 

I'm excited for another week as a torch bearer. Continuing the rescue of those here in Södertälje. 

jag älskar er
syster janessa brink