Saturday, December 28, 2013

December 27, 2013

Kära familj,
Hello! Merry Christmas!
Skyping was great, of course! I loved it! I couldn't see your expressions very well because it was a little fuzzy sometimes, but I'm glad you enjoyed mine I guess. I'm still laughing at your pronunciations of Västerhaninge and Nynäshamn. And Ösmo.

I loved the pictures you sent! Gingerbread houses are really big here, but you buy a whole gingerbread house kit and they kind of all just look the same. I liked yours much better. I can't believe that all three of my siblings got smart phones! Will there still be one for me when I get home? I miss my smart phone a lot here, because I can't just google translate something or just look up an address. It would have saved us quite a few long walks if we'd known how far away some of these places were. I'm really excited about the pedometer you sent me. I put it on my coat so it starts counting the moment I leave the apartment until I come back home. I found out that my apartment is less than half a mile from the train station. I'm going to write it all down in my planner at the end of every day. I'm not trunky, but I am REALLY looking forward to crunching numbers when I get home and doing a few statistical analyses of things like how many steps I walk and what I spend my money on. It will be exciting!

Sorry I didn't email yesterday. Syster Sjöblom stayed in the apartment all day because she's still pretty sick. Luckily Syster Christison is awesome and volunteered to stay home yesterday so that Syster Larson and I could go to Stockholm for Sweden's Black Friday. Did you know there's an intersection in Stockholm with an H&M on every corner? There are lots of H&Ms in Stockholm. And they had some really good deals! I saved a lot of money by spending a lot of money...but you probably know more about that than I do... I also had my first milkshake since my mission and it was a huge disappointment. It must have been cheap soft serve stuff, because real Swedish ice cream would never let me down like that.

I forgot to tell you about a funny story on Christmas Eve. So we were eating dinner with the Krus family and I was trying all the different things, and I got to some potatoes that were basically like Dog Rotten {this is what we call au graten potatoes} potatoes only they were cooked with anchovies in them. I admit, I was really nervous about trying them. But I took a few bites and they were delicious and not fishy at all! I asked if it really had anchovies and they said yes, and I said I couldn't taste anything the least bit fishy. They have an American son in law and when I said that he blurted out "are you on crack?!?" Apparently they're really fishy to other people but I couldn't tell after eating the herring and salmon. We played charades with them, which is really hard in Swedish. Lots of times I would know what it was, but I didn't know how to say it in Swedish. Like earwig. But I had to charade "En skägglig bankrånare", a bearded bank robber. So I learned how to say bearded, in case I ever need it. Yippee.

While we were skyping I told you that Cie-Cie had been invited to Christmas dinner. When I logged off and came back out into the living room, she was there! She came to dinner and she was really comfortable with everyone and had a good time. It was awesome. After skyping we played a trivia game (they translated to English for us) and a card game that was like speed Skipbo. (They have Skipbo in Sweden!) Then we had more rice porridge stuff, this time with oranges in it and black currant syrup. It was really yummy.

We didn't leave the apartment at all today until we came to email since we couldn't do it yesterday. After this we're going to a member's for dinner. We couldn't cancel on her because she's a single lady so the elders can't go alone, and she only speaks Danish so we don't think the elders will really be able to communicate with her very well. (It was really hard to confirm the appointment with her this morning. The gift of tongues works with Swedish, Spanish, and now apparently Danish. I'm still waiting for it to work on old person Swedish though-that one's a tough language to figure out.)

I was so excited to be able to tell you all about teaching Yahaira yesterday, but unfortunately we had to cancel on her due to Syster Sjöblom's sickness. I puzzled out every way I could think of to coordinate with the other sisters to be able to go on exchanges so I could still teach her with one of them, but their schedule for the evening was already too full. She still wants to meet though, so keep praying for her!

Don't worry, you're not the only ones praying for my investigators even if we're not really meeting them at the moment. We still pray for everyone we even have the possibility of meeting again. And it turns out! It worked with Erik, Sebastian, and Petra even after we thought maybe we would never see them again. And it never hurts to pray for someone. Right now our progressing investigators are still Bash and Yahaira, and we're hoping that a lot more people will be able to meet now that Christmas is over. I've heard that missionary work doesn't really pick back up until we get into the new year, but we'll make the best out of it!

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! (God Jul och gott nytt år!) Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney

PS-Mom, I'd still like a jump rope if you can send me one. I'm not sure where to find one here and it's my favorite thing to do for exercise in the mornings.

PPS-There's a transfer on Monday and transfer calls are tomorrow! So by the time I email again I could be in a whole new area! Our prediction is that Syster Sjöblom is more likely to leave though. We're pretty sure one of us will leave because we've both been here more than four months.

PPPS-Did you know that Kpkpka (Kelsi from orchestra) is going on a mission in a couple weeks!?!
Delaney and Syster Sjoblom with the Krus's bear

Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16, 2013

Kära familj,

Merry early Christmas! This will be the last email you get from me before we Skype on Christmas! This is the last P-Day before Christmas! Christmas is so close!

I've never heard of Karrtorp, so I think I'm probably safe. Sounds scary though. Not much goes on in Västerhaninge, it's pretty tame. We saw a drunk guy pass out once. That was about the most exciting thing that's happened in that regard. It snowed again on Saturday but it hasn't stuck. It rained yesterday during church. Mostly it's just misty a lot. The rain doesn't fall, it just sits there in the air waiting to hit you in the face. We don't have ice or even slush right now, just puddles and gravel. They cover all the sidewalks with gravel to make the ice grippy, then the ice melts and there's just a TON of gravel everywhere.

I love how home teaching solves everything that new converts and members returning to activity need. Friend in the church-check, got a home teacher. Calling-check, you become a home (or visiting) teacher. Nourishment by the good word of God-check, you have and are a home teacher. What an inspired program! It's especially inspiring when people do it so it works the way it's supposed to. I'm so glad that you get to be a part of all the missionary work around the Purdys too! What a great opportunity!

I can't wait to hear you all try to pronounce Västerhaninge and Nynäshamn and everything over Skype. I'll save my comments until then... heehee...

Yes, I did get to see the Christmas devotional! I watched it last night at the church. I looked for you in the congregation but I didn't see you. I didn't even see Laurent in the choir this time. But I loved the devotional, it was great! It made me even more excited that I'm on a mission. I was thinking about in Miss Congeniality when they all want world peace, and I was like "Whoa...I'm here to help us achieve world peace!" It was cool. What did Russell M. Nelson do when they were showing the video clips during his talk? Just stand there? I really liked his talk. And all of the talks of course.

The Christmas tree does look very nice. I like the red ribbon on it. We have a red bow on our front door. I would send a picture but I forgot to take a picture of it. But I did send the picture of our little Christmas corner. Most of the presents are for Syster Christison. Her mom sent a TON of boxes. Then there are quite a few for me, and a couple for Syster Sjöblom. Syster Larson already got her Christmas present but it wasn't wrapped so it's not under the tree.

Yes, we did meet with Miriam this week. I didn't do so well at Spanish as I did last weekend with Yahaira. I'm pretty sure I said "Yo se que puedes hacerlo." At least 8 times. (I know that she can read the Book of Mormon to strengthen her faith!) She wants to be baptized but her husband isn't really thrilled about the idea, so she's praying for help with him. We'll meet her again tomorrow and see how reading the Book of Mormon every day and praying every day went. And we'll see if I ever figure out how to pronounce sacerdocio. I say it wrong every time. Unfortunately my update on Yahaira and Luis is not so great. Here's the story: on Saturday we were doing our two hour church time, so Syster Sjöblom was practicing the songs she'll be playing next Sunday (I'm so excited to play the violin!) and I was preparing for our lesson with them, which would be at four. We planned to teach the Plan of Salvation, so I had Preach my Gospel, El Plan de Salvacion pamphlet, and my planner, and I was translating the points from the lesson plan in PMG into Spanish in order to hopefully be able to teach it. At three we get a call from an unknown number, so I answer it and someone starts speaking really fast Spanish. I got that it was Luis, and something about Yahaira and bad. The only other thing I could understand was Caido (fall). My brain is trying to translate and the only thing I came up with right off the bat was that Yahaira had read something about the fall of Adam in the Book of Mormon that made her feel bad and she was not interested and hated us and didn't want to meet us. I recognize I was being a little dramatic in the moment. Finally I stuttered out "no comprendo." Luis knows some Swedish so he switched to Swedish to explain that Yahaira doesn't feel good, and she feels really bad for cancelling on us at the last minute. The good news is that she still wants to meet and hopes we can meet this week. So we haven't seen them but we will be meeting them again shortly. And hopefully get them to church on Sunday. (One of the best parts about playing in church is we can use that to get investigators and less actives there.) Keep praying hard for Yahaira and Luis, because they are so prepared and ready to receive the gospel! Thank you for telling me how to extend the baptismal commitment in Spanish, because I am planning on using it with them this week!

I ate an egg for lunch yesterday actually. No mayo this time, just cheese on it. Syster Sjöblom made it for me. This morning we had no bread (almost), no milk, no eggs, and basically nothing. I cooked up some bacon and we had toast on the bread heels, and sliced up the last apple. Breakfast on P-Day is hard because you only have whatever food you made last. We took the recycling out this morning and we eat a lot of eggs, milk, and cereal.

Arthur has not answered his phone, so we assume he went back to Poland. But we're still thinking of him and praying for him and we're going to make sure he gets in contact with the Polish missionaries. He's such a great guy.

We had no VIPs at church today. It's been a rough week. Lots of cancellations. But Saturday was cool. Erik broke up with his girlfriend so he's investigating the church again. We met him on Saturday morning. He has so much faith in Christ and we taught him about the Gospel of Christ, and he agreed with everything we said. We invited him again to be baptized and he said he will if he gets an answer that it's right for him. So we invited him to pray about it and he knows that God answers prayers. It was really great and the Spirit was strong and I remembered again how prepared he really is. He's coming to church on Sunday. Bash couldn't come to church and hasn't been able to meet because his brother died last week. So we're just praying for him and giving him some time. He wanted to come to church though because he knew it would help him feel better (he's great!) but he got called in to work. At least he called us and let us know though. We're hoping to be able to meet him again this week. Back to Saturday. We were headed over to Linda's to do some service, and on the way we got a call from Sebastian. He was on his way back from Stockholm and wanted to meet. We weren't about to give up that opportunity, so we picked him up at the train station and brought him back to the church. We had a long lesson where we explained the whole Plan of Salvation and Gospel of Christ. He had a lot of questions and a few concerns, mostly because he has REALLY STRONG faith of the Bible and he REALLY knows the Bible. Unfortunately since we'd only planned to teach in Swedish, neither of us had our quad, so we couldn't show him how the scriptures in the Bible supported the Book of Mormon scriptures we were using. He ended up saying that he feels like he should do some more research now that we've explained the plan. I'm really glad that Heavenly Father knows what He's doing so I don't have to worry about there being some discrepancy between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Sebastian has promised to come to church one of these days but he's really active in his own church on Sundays so he hasn't made it yet.
As I'm sure you've heard, Friday was Luciadagen. Syster Sjöblom and I went to a Lucia festival at 7:00 that morning in St. Eskils Kyrkan, which is about a ten minute walk from our apartment. It was a good program and some of the youth from our ward were in it, so we got to support them too. They held candles and sang Christmas songs. You'll have to look up "Swedish Lucia for Dummies," one of the members tried to show it to us but it didn't work. But I think it explains where it came from and what they do.

So about our plans for Christmas. In Sweden the big day is Christmas Eve. So for Christmas Eve we'll be starting the day off with the Krylborn family (the place where we ate älg meatballs. They have a stuffed bear in the basement which I haven't seen yet). They have two missionaries out (both in different missions in England) and two daughters at home. (Caroline who's preparing for her own mission, and Michelle who is the Swedish version of Peyton.) Then we'll go over to the Krus family (the other hunting family) where we'll watch Kalle Anka (Donald Duck Christmas, that's been a tradition in Sweden for forever.) And we'll play games and stuff. They have a new grandbaby that was just born a few months ago, so it will be fun! Then on Christmas day we'll be at Rolf and Annya's house. In the course of our emailing we realized that they're currently in Turkey so we're not sure when we'll be skyping. So I lied-you'll get another email from me about exact times and everything. I think we'll skype around four or five here, which would be eight or nine there? Maybe earlier, I'm not sure. I'll let you know. In the meantime, I'm not sure if I can even log in to skype anymore because I don't know what my username is. Could you either find out my username or set up a skype account for me and send me the details? I'm not too worried, I'm sure everything will work out alright.

So yeah. It's been a rough week but things are going. I can't wait to talk to you next week! Merry Christmas to everyone, and don't forget that the Spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ!
Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney
They found this Christmas tree in the closet of their apartment. 
These are the presents for all 4 missionaries so far.

These are the presents from 2 of the 3 boxes we sent. 
Thankfully, the 3rd box has now arrived in Sweden.

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 9, 2013

Querida Familia,

Did I ever tell you about the dream I had where I got called to speak Spanish and Chinese? I got the Spanish half right apparently. There's basically a whole Peruvian community in Västerhaninge. It's great!

First though, it sounds like your week was fun and cold. Oh, speaking of cold, we finally got snow this week! It snowed here on Thursday. We got on the train in the rain and got off in the snow and frolicked to the church for District Meeting. It's snowed quite a bit since then and the sidewalks are relatively icy, but not as icy as it sounds like it's been in the USA. I haven't slipped and fallen on anything except mud yet. Knock on wood. How does the Christmas tree look? By the way, MOM IS THE BEST! My Christmas tree looks great and I always brush my teeth standing in front of it looking at all the ornaments. Thanks Mom!! Why didn't they ever put Jimmer in the game? Lame. I'm jealous that you got to go to the Christmas Devotional too. I think we'll be watching that next Sunday.
So this week has been great of course, and full of miracles and inspiration from the Spirit. And Peruvians. Like on Monday. Did I mention last week that one of our investigators called during emailing and set up an appointment for a few hours later in Stockholm? We were going to Stockholm anyway to see the lights (nothing compared to Temple Square) so we took an hour out to teach him. His name is Miguel and he's from Peru, but he grew up in Sweden. The lesson was super awesome and he's been prepared and led by the Spirit to calling us and meeting with us. We passed him off to the elders who are actually in his area (Jakobsberg, about 1½ hours North of us) and they hit it off right from the start, so I'm excited for them to take care of him. We saw some Christmas lights in Gamla Stan ("Old Town") and spent a bit of time at the Christmas market there. Then that night we talked to a cool guy named Victor, from Ghana. His brother is a member so he's heard a lot about it and wants to know more about it. He's not from our area so we referred him to the missionaries closer to him. So we gave two super awesome referrals on Monday, and it felt great!

We were supposed to meet an investigator named Miriam on Tuesday. She lives in Västerhaninge and the other sisters were teaching her, but they got transferred to Handen. Since she's a woman, we took over teaching her instead of the Elders. Also, she's from Peru and doesn't know Swedish or English. I'm not sure how the other sisters were teaching her. She has a great fellowshipper who probably translated. I haven't actually met Miriam yet because she rescheduled the lesson for this week instead. So we should be meeting her tomorrow. Should be fun. We did teach Marie on Tuesday. She hasn't started reading the Book of Mormon yet but she plans to when she has extra time over the holidays. We're going to visit her tomorrow before she goes to Luleå (clear up North) to visit her daughter, and encourage her to start reading. She's great because we meet her in the cafe where she works, and every time someone walks in she introduces us as "Mormon girls from America" so we get lots of contacts that way. On the train back from Nynäshamn we met Allie (from Sierra Leone) who we've met quite a few times before on trains. He really wants to meet with us some time so hopefully we can schedule a time with him this week. He works a lot. Everyone works a lot.

I'm eating M&Ms from Fran. They are delicious. I haven't have M&Ms since the MTC or before. Elder Markus and Elder Papenfuss also enjoyed a couple. And everyone who lives with me of course. Thanks Fran!
Wednesday was good. We worked with the ladies in charge of the Christmas program on the 22nd and one of them has a violin! So I'm playing in it! SO EXCITED!
On Thursday we had zone training, then we had sisters exchanges. So I was with Syster McCalloum all day. It was good. We taught Siv. It was a down day for her but we bore testimony and hopefully she'll come on the 22nd since we're both playing. (I love that excuse!)
On Friday I ate fried eggs and enjoyed them. With mayonnaise on them. Missions change you. We had fried eggs with Louise, who is awesome. We gave her some invitations to last night's Christmas concert so she could invite Anders, Therese, and anyone else she meets on the train. She's great. Then the Tolleys (couple missionaries in charge of housing) came to fix our shower. It wasn't draining very well. I'm sure you can imagine when Syster Sjöblom has the shortest hair of the four of us. The Tolleys were in the MTC with me and Elder Tolley told us all that by Christmas we'd have a conversation with him in Swedish. So we did. He pulled a nasty hairball the size of a rat out of the drain pipe. They're coming later today and Syster Tolley is going to trim our hair and Elder Tolley is going to de-squeak the bunk bed. Hooray!
Now for the weekend. Saturday was great. My first thought when the alarm went off was "YAY! This is going to be a great day!" First we met Nema, an investigator who Syster Sjöblom taught in Jönköping. She's going to get baptized the 19th of January. She came up to Stockholm because her husband went to the temple. (He was baptized just over a year ago and got his endowment in July. They got married a month or two ago.) Nema is really awesome and I've heard so much about her, so it was awesome to meet her and teach her and help answer her questions about baptism. After Nema we taught Eskinder. He lives in Skogås so he'll be a referral for Gubbängen. He's super awesome! He's from Ethiopia and about 25ish years old I think. He's in the perfect situation to meet us because he's Christian but doesn't really know what he believes and wants to strengthen his faith. He's great and the lesson went great! Oh I was wrong, the Tolleys came on Saturday because it was during weekly planning. So after that, we left to go teach Yahaira. She texted and rescheduled for Saturday because and said that her husband would be able to be there as well. She wants him to hear this message too. When we got there she started off by saying "I didn't have much time to read, so I only read seven chapters." I was amazed. I asked what she thought about what she read and she really liked that Nephi was so faithful even though he was the youngest brother. She also said that Lehi's story reminded her of her own family having to leave their home in Peru and come live in Sweden. I was like "She's actually reading and applying it and liking it!" It was GREAT. We were planning on teaching her the Restoration. So all week I was studying from the Spanish Restoration pamphlet in order to prepare for her lesson, and I decided that one thing I could do was memorize the First Vision in Spanish. I worked on it on trains and during meals so I could learn it and recite it in Spanish to her. When we left the apartment the day of her lesson, I tried reciting it to Syster Sjöblom and I didn't have it down yet, despite that I'd been working on it.I needed a little more time. When that point came in the lesson, Blanca left off explaining Joseph Smith's circumstances for me to continue-she literally said "I'll let you take it from here." Then there's Syster Sjöblom sitting next to me whispering "Vision! Vision!" under her breath. The Spirit was like "Delaney, just do the First Vision!" and so I'm like "Heavenly me...please..." And then I'm sure you can guess what came next. The funny thing is I don't even know how to say "First Vision" in Spanish, but I recited it for them and the Spirit was just SO STRONG! Yahaira had tears in her eyes from this point on. Then her husband cut in with the whole "I respect you, but..." which is never comforting. But luckily Blanca had had the same doubts he had about switching from Catholicism and was able to allay his doubts with pure, strong, powerful testimony. We clarified and testified that we don't want him to just believe us but that he can ask God whether what we're claiming about having His restored authority is true or not. He agreed to do that. And Yahaira agreed to be baptized if it's true. It was just the best lesson! I love Yahaira and her family! She has three sons and they're really sweet. They all ran and gave us a hug when we got there. I just love all of them! I taught in Spanish and Syster Sjöblom kept smiling and praying hard. I butchered the word for Priesthood (sacerdocio?) and I kept saying profet instead of profeta. And now when I try to speak Swedish I keep saying "pero." But it's all good. The gift of tongues is a real thing and I couldn't have done any of that without the Spirit. Now for translations-how do you say, "When you know this is true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone who holds God's Priesthood authority?" Oh, that's another detail I almost left off. We started talking about the differences between the Catholic church and the Mormons because that's what Luis's doubts were about. And Yahaira said "Oh that's right, you guys baptize all the way just like Jesus was. In the Catholic church they just sprinkle you with water." So when I invited her to be baptized I said "all the way, just like Jesus was." Looking back, I have no idea how to say that in Spanish, but that is what I said. PRAY FOR YAHAIRA AND LUIS AND THEIR FAMILY! They're the greatest!

And now for Sunday. It wasn't so stressful. We went to two sacrament meetings because Handen's ward was having a special one where everyone was supposed to invite a friend so they wanted a lot of missionaries there. It was pretty much a waste of time. Then our phone went off right behind President Newell...but it was Arthur calling to say he was at the train station waiting for us! Arthur is doing great as well, but he hasn't been able to meet us often enough to be prepared to be baptized on Tuesday. (He didn't get work off so we didn't get to meet him at all until Sunday). But I know he'll be baptized soon because he is so prepared and he wants it. We got his information to make sure the missionaries in Poland get hold of him. Yesterday we taught him the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. When we started talking about the Word of Wisdom, we only got as far as "God created our bodies" when he said "I smoke." We know Arthur, we can definitely smell it. But he continued, "But when I read in the Book of Mormon, I feel like I shouldn't. So I stopped for five days. I think I should stop permanently." I was a little dumbfounded but we're just like "yeah! That's great! We know that it might be hard but God will help you get through when you show faith." Then we moved on to alcohol and he told us how stupid it is to drink alcohol because it takes away your agency. He hates it when his friends drink vodka. He agreed to not drink beer anymore when he watches football. Next we brought up coffee. "I drink too much coffee, and it's making problems with my sleeping and my muscles, so I think I should stop that too." Basically he's been being prepared and he is close to the Spirit and recognizes how he can change his life and be a better person through Christ. He agreed to keep the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. I really wish we could keep teaching him and I could be there for his baptism. But you never know-he's coming back in two months. So we'll see what happens! 

Sunday evening there was a Christmas concert at our church for the whole stake, and Erik came! Hopefully we can meet him again this week too. He said he'll come on the 22nd since Syster Sjöblom and I are playing. We're playing "Every Valley" from The Messiah (Handel). Syster Sjöblom is playing the piano, Äldste Lambson and I will play the violins, and a guy from Handen's ward is singing. It will be great!

So to answer your questions, no Arthur's not still on track to be baptized tomorrow, but he is on track to be baptized. And yes, he has been on the Veckoskörden (weekly harvest) with the names of all the investigators with a baptismal date, so all the missionaries have been praying for him. BUT we're still praying for a baptism this week. I'm thinking it will be Bash-did I ever tell you about him? He's been to church twice and he's willing to be baptized and he actually sets appointments and he's a great guy. We haven't seen him this week because he's been working, but we'll see him soon!
Oh, and President Newell gave us the go-ahead to plan on playing on the 22nd since there are no plans for either of us to be transferred. So I'll be in VH for Christmas! We'll be at the Krus's house on Christmas Eve (hunting family, I love them!) and then Rolf and Annya Hägglunds on Christmas day (super great member missionary family.) I'm sure we'll probably be seeing a lot of members those days. So the plans are to skype on Christmas, probably in the afternoon-evening for me, Christmas morning for you. Should be great!!!
Have a great week! Remember the reason for the season! Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney
The Books of Mormon Delaney took carolling

Delaney, Syster Larson, Syster Christison, Syster Sjoblom

Delaney and Aldste Markuss (Zone Leader)

First snow

Previous District

Delaney, Aldste Williams, Syster Christison
Ornaments for the Christmas tree
Decorated Christmas tree

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2, 2013

Querida familia,
I did real missionary work this week! I know what you're thinking-don't you do that every week? Yes. But this week we did missionary work the way it's meant to be done. In other words, we got a referral. WE GOT A REFERRAL! This is how missionary work is done. When members pray for missionary opportunities, then invite their friends out of love to meet the missionaries, that is when we have real success. THAT is missionary work. Let me tell you about Blanca. She's from Lima, Peru (but she's excited for Hermana Brito and says Chiclayo is a very beautiful city) and she's lived in Sweden for quite a while. Enough that her Swedish is pretty much fluent. Last week she was studying the scriptures and reading the Bible, when she felt that she needed to share the Gospel with someone. So she prayed about it and decided to get to know her neighbor in the same apartment building a little bit better. She went to the door, said a prayer, and knocked. No answer. She tried again the next day, prayed in front of the door, and knocked again. This time Yahaira answered, and they talked and got to know each other. Blanca told her that she has some friends who are sharing a Christmas message and asked if we could come by Friday night, and she said yes. So Friday morning, Blanca called us to let us know that after dinner we'd be sharing a Christmas message with her neighbor after dinner. Blanca loves the Gospel and she shows it by being a member missionary. So tell those Deacons (and everyone else) that the best way to prepare for a mission is to start sharing the Gospel now! Because when you're on your mission and you try to get members to do missionary work, they WILL ask whether you did missionary work before your mission. And you want to be able to testify of it. So do it! The rest of the story to come.

So, since I know you're dying to hear about my week, let's start with Monday. We ate BLTs and they were good. Then we taught Arthur the Plan of Salvation. For an hour and a half. It's actually a pretty simple plan when you look at it, it's just a matter of staying on subject with him. He has some interesting ideas but he really wants to change and we know the Gospel can help him, so we'll see how it goes. Then Monday night we ran into Joe, who was in church two weeks ago with Louise. We gave him a Book of Mormon and followed up on church and invited him to keep coming. That was cool to see him. He's a great guy.

On Tuesday during personal study I was reading in Preach My Gospel and I started to despair because I realized I have no idea how to work with members. Really I was despairing over the fact that I have no idea how to motivate the members to do their part in the Work of Salvation. We can get all the Africans and Muslims we want to church, but the Swedes want to bring more Swedes into their ward. But Swedes don't just talk to missionaries on the street. If they want their friends to come to church, they have to invite their friends to church. So I was despairing and praying over how to help the members understand that and I set some goals and made some plans of course. Then we had lunch with the Höglund family. Without us even asking, they told us that their neighbors had just visited Salt Lake and met some missionaries there, and now would probably be a good time for us to meet them. WE GOT A REFERRAL! That same day I was in our apartment and I noticed on the wall the name of one of our less active members who we hadn't been able to meet yet because he'd moved. His dad had told us that the son wasn't really interested in coming back, but he thought the wife might be really interested. This was a referral, but we needed their new address from the dad. It was on the wall! There was a list from previous missionaries with his name and his new address. So we didn't exactly get that referral right then, but we got the means to contact that referral! Naturally, we made cookies to bring to these people because we couldn't go empty-handed. We met the family who'd been to Salt Lake, the Söderqvists. They were super happy to see us and they really liked Salt Lake. They were busy then but they invited us back and we're going to visit them on Wednesday.

We were so excited about the Silfverbergs, the family who had moved whose address we found, when we dropped by on Wednesday. They weren't home so we left cookies. When we were on the train back, the wife called us to say thank you so much for the cookies, and that they would love if we came by for a visit. Usually people don't call us even when we leave cookies, so we were excited about this. Then that night Arthur called and asked if it was okay if he brought a friend with him to church on Sunday. This is when Syster Sjöblom said maybe I should despair about referrals more often.

Thanksgiving was great. We had district meeting (our district only has two elders and two sisters now, all in Västerhaninge), and we ate turkey (turkey sandwiches at the church), and we watched football (a Mormon Message called Same Jersey). We taught Bash who we met last week. He came to Handen's ward last week but didn't like it as much because they don't translate to English. That was actually perfect because we were trying to figure out how to transition him to Västerhaninge's ward instead, and since our ward translates to English, it works. (Usually it's the Sunday School teacher who translates during Sacrament. There are enough people in the ward who speak really good English that the missionaries don't have to translate. A few people in our ward translate for General Conference.) We did family history (still no Swedish blood in me) and studied Swedish. Then we had a member dinner where we ate yummy pasta and cream sauce. I believe it was the first time I've had pasta on Thanksgiving. So that was kind of a slow day but we got stuff done anyway.

Slow Thursday was made up for by Friday. You'll remember that our morning started off with Blanca calling us and telling us she had a referral for us after dinner, basically. We should have been more excited about that except we were just so excited for the Silfverbergs who we were going to visit Friday night. We did our language study in the morning where I felt like maybe I should study some Spanish. I opted for catching up on my BoM reading in Swedish instead. (I'm in Alma 24). Luckily after that I started listening to the Spirit prompting me. He helped me remember that since Blanca is from Peru, her friend is probably from South America as well. So I grabbed El Libro de Mormon. We went and taught Juan Carlos, who is originally from Chile but has been here since he was 18 so he speaks fluent Swedish. We teach him in English. But since he's from Chile I was thinking about Spanish during his lesson. I bet you can see where this is going. It was a good lesson. He asked if we've heard anything from Elder Riley. We said no. Then we went to the Silfverbergs. It was intimidating because we were like "This is a part-member family who are really positive, how do we go about this?!?" But we were SO EXCITED because it was a part-member family that was super positive! So we thought. We had fika-saffron buns and pepperkakor (ginger snaps) and got to know them. The "non-member" wife started telling us about her brothers' missions. Finally we're like...wait, are you a member? Yes. And she really wants to be an active member, she has a really strong testimony. We thought she wasn't a member because her records just haven't been moved to our ward so she wasn't on any of our lists. We were still so glad that we could visit because we're going to start working with the husband on his testimony. Now they're a super positive less active family instead! But I have to admit, we were a little disappointed we didn't get the member present lesson or the new investigator we had planned on. Wait for it. Then we went to dinner! And we had yummy Swedish-Peruvian food (Peruvian food with Swedish influence. In other words, it looked a lot spicier than it tasted.) Then Syster Sjöblom and I went with Blanca to meet Yahaira. Turns out Yahaira only speaks Spanish. But she was really interested and we gave her an introduction to the Book of Mormon. I was SO GLAD I had brought it in Spanish for her! It was pretty terrifying because I was trying to teach in Spanish, but luckily this time there was a member who was a Spanish speaker there as well, and she was so helpful! She has a really strong testimony and she shared her conversion story and testified so powerfully of the Book of Mormon. All I could say was basically "I know that's true too, and I know that the Book of Mormon helps us know Jesus Christ and helps us in our lives." Syster Sjöblom smiled big, and helped me remember some points not to forget (like, no reemplazamos la Biblia. Wish I'd known how to say that before, but luckily it's explained in the introduccion too.) Yahaira is from Lima also, by the way. She took the book and said she'd read it, and invited us back this Friday! So God still gave us the lesson and the new investigator we were praying for. Then at the end of the lesson was exactly what I had dreaded but started to suspect would happen- Blanca asked me to say the closing prayer. I'd been thinking about Spanish randomly all day (Holy Ghost, gotta love him) and during Juan Carlos's lesson I had the thought, "How would I pray in Spanish?" So I said a humble little prayer and since then I've been studying a little more Spanish during Språk study because we now have three investigators from Peru.

Oh, I'm almost out of time! Saturday we went carolling in Handen centrum and gave away two Book of Mormons and got some guy in pink boxer shorts with a really nice voice joining in from his balcony. Then we taught Mohammed who was super interested and understands the Holy Ghost and is going to read the Book of Mormon. He was impressed that we had it in Arabic (our last one...) and he said he already believes it's true because he believes in all holy books. Can't wait to teach him again, because I think he will be progressing soon. Then we had Thanksgiving dinner number one with a less active family. They could only get their hands on one turkey, because we are in Sweden, but it was still super yummy and American and kind of like home!

Church was great! Bash came and he liked it much better translated into English. He stayed all three hours! Cie-Cie was also there. She went to nursery the second hour because she's friends with the nursery leader. Then in Relief Society she sat with the RS President! I was so proud of the ward members for taking care of both of our investigators so well. Arthur got called into work again but he should have two days off this week when we can meet him. So we didn't get to see him or his friend yesterday. But keep praying for him, because he's prepared and he wants to be baptized still! Thanksgiving dinner number two was SUPER AMAZING! It was put on by the temple couples who are American, and it was so yummy and great. It was especially fun to be eating Thanksgiving with all the Swedes and explaining that you just eat as much turkey and stuff as you can, and all the different kinds of pies. There was American pie and Swedish ice cream, SO GOOD! 

We're going to Stockholm again to see the lights and apparently to teach this potential investigator we've had for like three weeks. He called during emailing and said he could meet today. Good thing we were already planning on going to Stockholm because that's where he can meet! On the way here we also ran into a lady we contacted on the train last week. She's going to Ethiopia today but she wanted a tour of the church. So maybe she'll become an investigator as well!

Everyone's doing great and this week is going to be great! Jag älskar alla er!

Love, Delaney

Monday, November 25, 2013

November 25, 2013

Kära familj,

This week has been so crazy and awesome and jam-packed that I'm not sure how to even write about it at all but I'll try. Hopefully I can make sense of it all for you. I'll probably leave out a lot of details so if something doesn't make sense just use your imagination. :)
The miracles and craziness began on Monday. Of course, I already mentioned that Anders called us during the emailing time and we decided to meet with him the next day. We had dinner with the hunting family-it was a roast of the roe deer they'd shot last week or something. We got to see pictures of it before we ate it. It was a nice little deer and it tasted really yummy! We had a great lesson with them and got more great ideas to do missionary work, and we challenged them to invite someone before Christmas. They have a cute grandbaby who is getting blessed on December first, so they're going to invite friends and neighbors to come to that. After dinner we just had contacting. We talked to a man named Leif in Västerhaninge. He already had a Book of Mormon and had read a lot of it. He had questions-we had answers. He wanted to Bible bash-we testified instead. It was great. Then we took the train to Jordbro and got off there, and contacted Mohammed from Lebanon. He was Muslim but "not that kind of Muslim" (AKA he didn't try to convert us to Islam) and actually thanked us for talking to him about God, because Swedes don't like to. He gave us his number and wants to know more. We got back on the train to Handen, and on the train platform we contacted Diana. She's from Peru, and she doesn't speak Swedish. Or English. But guess who was prompted to grab El Libro De Mormon as we were headed out? This girl right here. Did I explain the Book of Mormon, share some favorite verses and the introduction, and testify of it in Spanish? Yes, yes I did. Is the gift of tongues real? ABSOLUTELY. She asked us where the church is so we gave her the address and our number and said she's always welcome. (By the way, how do you say "we're not trying to replace the Bible" in Spanish?) By this point we figured we must look like we'd fallen in a vat of radioactive waste, because we could feel that we were glowing. We were so happy and everything was just so awesome. We smiled and said hi to everyone, and people started smiling and saying hi back. Even the Swedes! We made them smile! Lastly we stopped and talked to Mercy from Ghana. She has so much faith and she was excited for the Book of Mormon to read with her family and strengthen her faith in Christ. She thanked us for stopping and talking with her. She strengthened our faith. I could have hugged her. Syster Sjöblom actually said "I love you!" I was thinking it too. It was the best. We called the Krus family (where we'd just had dinner) to tell them about all of our success and promise them that they could have the same kind of success.
Tuesday-the trains were weird so we took some extra trains, got some more numbers, and found more interested people. It was great. We had delicious tacos with a member from Honduras (I wrote her a thank-you card in Spanish!) and then we went down to Ösmo to meet Anders and Louise. We ended up teaching Louise but she had to leave for work before Anders was free. So we couldn't go into Anders's apartment but we still invited him to read the Book of Mormon and to hear the missionary lessons. He said yeah of course! Of course, we haven't been able to contact him again for the rest of the week, but we're still pretty excited about him. Oh. And while we were at Louise's we found out that sometimes when she's at work cleaning the hospital in Nynäshamn, she prays with the patients. If that doesn't sound familiar it's because I haven't told you about Arthur's near death experience where the hospital worker started praying with him. But I think I have told you that story. We realized that it's most likely Louise who prayed with Arthur at the hospital and helped him decide to follow God. The next day when we were on the phone with Arthur he said that yes, it was an African lady who prayed with him. There's no way it wasn't Louise! We were jumping up and down in the grocery store when we heard this. It's just too perfect.
Wednesday. For three days in a row, Tuesday through Thursday, our planning session the night before went something like this: "What do you think we should do tomorrow?" (blank planner) "Drop by Siv?" "Sounds good." So on Wednesday we went down to Ösmo again to find Siv not home again. We decided to go to the grocery store and surprise Louise with some new tea since we had to tell her that the big new box she just bought was black tea and she couldn't drink it. (She was fine with that, she's really committed to the gospel. In case I haven't already mentioned this, Louise was baptized in February so she's a new convert.) At the store we found that the tea that the other sisters had found for her that was supposedly herbal tea that we've been drinking with her for the last three months is also black tea. Ick. We were glad we were there to get her new tea in that case, and we found her some nice peppermint and chamomile teas. That's when we were at the grocery store jumping up and down for Arthur. Louise wasn't home so we left the goods on her door, praying that nobody else would take it.
When we dropped by Siv on Thursday she was finally home! She is doing great and she started telling us everything she thought about church on Sunday before we even asked her about it. She decided she's going to try Pingst Kyrkan one more time before she decides which one she wants to go we're praying for her. Luckily she had a really good experience last Sunday. Then we taught Loyola who spoke Spanish to me and mostly just talked a ton. It was exhausting to be with her, and Syster Sjöblom was literally falling asleep. (She's getting sick and she was exhausted and half of it was in Spanish and the other half was how much Loyola hates men. I don't blame Syster Sjöblom for falling asleep at all. In fact I was a little jealous.) Then we went over to the temple couple's (the Johnsons) apartment for dinner. Fajitas from the crock pot. It was the first time I've seen a crock-pot since I went to the MTC. Sweden hasn't discovered them yet. It tasted just like mom's chicken tacos in the crockpot and it was so yummy. Elder Johnson said in passing "Did you know that Trevor(?) Riley from the U served his mission in Sweden?" We both sat up and said in unison "Elder Riley!?!" We've heard a lot about Elder Riley from Juan Carlos, because he was Juan Carlos's missionary and has since lost contact. We've been trying to find Elder Riley for him this whole time, and he just goes and shows up in the news! Elder Johnson printed off the article for us to give to Juan Carlos. But if anyone knows how to get in contact with Elder Riley from the U...that would be super awesome because Juan Carlos really misses him and wants to hear from him! Back to Sweden though-on Thursday night we contacted this guy in Västerhaninge named John. (Different John.) Let's just say John who was once knows as the crazy John has been replaced by this John. When we said we were Mormons he said "You guys don't smoke or drink, right? I want to do that too!" We told him God could help him with that and gave him a card. He texted us five minutes later and wanted to meet the next day.
On Friday morning Syster Sjöblom woke up sick, so we sent her back to bed and I promised to have lots of fun with the phone and set up lessons for the afternoon and for Saturday. I called everyone. And texted everyone. We already had Juan Carlos set up for that afternoon like usual, and Cie-Cie could meet after him like usual, and we set up John for that day as well. As far as Saturday, Mohammad said maybe he could come at three and Sanan (potential investigator) said maybe he could come between ten and six. Very helpful. Me and the other sisters made Syster Sjöblom's famous Greek Soup (we eat it every Friday) for her and it turned out great! I can cook! Well, I can follow a recipe. So after an interesting morning we went out to teach John. He talks really loud. And he gets off subject a lot. Before we went into the church we explained to him the need to use reverent, respectful language, and he actually did check himself and stop swearing while we were in the church, so that was good. He listened and seemed to be taking in aout 75% of what we said, but sometimes he would just burst out laughing at something we said. Then he had a meltdown and started sobbing that he could feel God's love in that's good. He was visibly calmer in the church and I know he felt something at least. He kept trying to convince us to do Primal Therapy. I think he wanted to lie on the floor and reenact his birth? We said no. But he thought the Primary Room would be the best place for it. Once that lesson was finished we went down to Nynäshamn for our usual Friday night. Taught Juan Carlos and he was so thankful for the news about Elder Riley! We had a great lesson with him. Cie-Cie cancelled on us but that was okay because we needed to get home and get Syster Sjöblom out of the cold anyway.

We volunteered to help prepare meals on Saturday morning for "Soul Nite", a huge young single adult activity. I chopped a bunch of onions and peeled a bunch of carrots. It felt like one of our big family parties, I had fun. Then we taught John again. He invited himself to church. He asked good questions about the prophet. And he had another moment. I have no idea what to do with him. On the way back to our apartment for lunch and weekly planning we met Bash, who was interested in going to church. But he wanted to go to the 9:30 ward instead of our ward. Luckily we knew the other sisters were already planning on going to that ward so we told him we'd have friends there who could help him with that. I also met a lot of the YSAs that Syster Sjöblom knew in Jönköping because they were here for Soul Nite. One of them was one of the people that Syster Dawson and I skyped in the MTC. (The one who finally stopped us and said "WHAT are you trying to SAY?") YSAs are so cool! We don't hardly see them in our ward!

And Sunday. The best day of the week! The most stressful day of the week. Saturday night I was seriously making myself sick with worry over what Sunday would bring. We had four investigators who confirmed they were coming, all of them men of course because women don't listen to us, and Syster Sjöblom was going to be playing the hymns for sacrament so she couldn't sit in the congregation. Our ward mission leader is not a legend of any sort and none of these investigators have fellowshippers so we had no idea who was going to sit with who or what was going to happen. But it was still great! You know the principle of risk and reward? I feel like it's the same with stress and rewards. The more stressed we are coming into Sunday, the better it turns out to be. Like this week! We didn't dare call Arthur until we were on our way to the train station to pick him up, because he's cancelled on us the last three weeks. So I called him and he said "I'm waiting at the station for you!" We jumped for joy and skipped most of the way. His lesson went AMAZING and he is so committed to following Christ! We invited him to be baptized before he moves back from Poland. So he's going to be baptized on December tenth, and then he'll leave Sweden on the eleventh. ARTHUR GOT A DOP DATE! We're not cutting it close or anything....he works ten hours a day six days a week, so we can only teach him for the next two Sundays before his baptism. It's pretty exciting. Can't wait to see how that all goes down. The good thing is, even if he doesn't get baptized here I know that he will eventually wherever he is. PRAY FOR HIM!

That was the easy part of church. Then we had sacrament meeting. First of all, the other sisters had an investigator who had an emergency on Saturday night and got kicked out of her place, so she called the missionaries of course. They stored her stuff in the church overnight and hadn't had time to remove it yet. Moral of the story: there's whiskey hidden in the Primary Room. Don't worry, they got it out before primary. So anyway, Sacrament meeting starts in fifteen minutes. Arthur is sitting in the chapel reading his pamphlet, Syster Sjöblom is playing prelude music. I initiate a companionship exchange with Syster Christison so she can stay in the chapel and Syster Larson and I (they're the two other Västerhaninge sisters) can go out to the foyer and look for our other investigators. I call Jakob-the line is busy. I call Chika-he's still in Jordbro. So I tell Chika to just come in and sit down when he gets here because it will already be started. The meeting starts and I'm sitting by Arthur. Halfway throught the opening song I spot John walking down the hall. (John is a new investigator of ours. He's in love with Syster Sjöblom, like most of our investigators, and has some mental problems and is really into Primal Therapy. We actually didn't invite him to church because we wanted an extra week to prep him for it and let him know that things like yelling are not okay during the meeting but he invited himself anyway and showed up). Using my excellent tracking skills I watch John come in and sit in the back. I text the ward mission leader to go sit by him. He can't find John. I answer that he's the one who looks homeless, you can't miss him. Luckily the other sisters had it covered and sat with him long enough for him to invite Syster Larson to end her mission and be his girlfriend instead. (Syster Sjöblom already turned down his marriage proposal). He ends up talking with one of the ward members for most of Sacrament meeting. Anyway, so I'm still up there sitting with Arthur. Halfway through the Sacrament song, Chika comes in and sits on the other side of me. Three for four-not bad. Then halfway through the sacrament Arthur gets a bloody nose and rushes out. The other sisters were kind enough to help him find the bathroom to take care of it (meanwhile they're conducting therapy sessions with their investigator, waiting for President Newell to show up for who-knows-what-reason other than he just announced he was coming, and relocating the whiskey to the Family History Center). So now I'm sitting with Chika who I realize does not speak Swedish and I don't have translation headphones for him. I motion to Syster Sjöblom the problem so that after the sacrament is over she can bring some down from the stand for him. Halfway through the first talk I began to wonder whether Arthur was ever coming back, because he was gone for quite a while and he took his headphones and left his pamphlet. John is nowhere to be seen now. Arthur comes back and everything turned out fine. Right after Sacrament meeting the other sisters informed us that we would be teaching the investigator class again during Sunday School. I asked which of their investigators was coming, because we were down to just Chika, and then we watched their last investigator leave. So it was just Chika, which was nice because we'd never had a one-on-one lesson with him yet. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and it went really well. Finally we sat down in Relief Society and breathed a huge sigh of relief that we'd taken care of all of our investigators without too much hassle. (Syster Larson spent the last two hours typing the whole story, so I'll send that as well so maybe you can get all the hilarious details.)

To top it all off, we found out that the other two sisters are being transferred to Handen. It's not really a big deal because we live in Handen. It just means that we're getting elders in Västerhaninge. I'm not sure how the ward feels about that. But maybe the elders will find us some women to teach and we can hand off all these creepy men. We've had at least four investigators this week tell Syster Sjöblom that they're in love with her. It's kind of annoying.

This week was awesome. It was exhausting. It was worth it. I love being a missionary. Good job on everything, can't wait to get Christmas packages. I've heard that it is expensive to send boxes to Sweden-thanks for sending them anyway! I gave Brother Krus your email so hopefully he emails you soon. Have a great thanksgiving. Keep up the great missionary work! Invite someone before Christmas!

Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013

Kära familj,

Isn't it crazy that it's November? And that Thanksgiving is this week? This week marks the third month I've been in Sweden. It's kind of ridiculous.
We're actually planning on not just one but two of our investigators being baptized before the end of the year. One of them is getting baptized by the end of November. We're not sure which one, but we've got about 10 possibilities. The mission goal is (and has always been) that each companionship baptizes monthly. We had zone training this week to help us raise our sights and increase our faith so that we can make it happen. So it's happening! Can't wait to tell you all about it.
I can't believe Naomi's already going to the MTC. That's cool that you guys went to her farewell. It seems like it was so far away when she got her call. I think I said that about Jessica Morrill too. All these people going on missions, it's crazy! Not as crazy as all the member missionary work you guys are doing though! I just told Syster Sjöblom all about it because I think it's so cool that a new convert can ask the bishop for help with something, and that the bishop asked the WML to ask you, and that it's happening! That's the greatest! As President Hinckley said, there's no point in doing missionary work if we don't hold on to the fruit of our labors! Members seriously make all the difference in the work.
Hunting sounds like it Good thing Doug is such a great shot. Speaking of hunting, we're going to the hunting family tonight for dinner. We planned our lesson to be a hunting analogy. I'll let you know how it goes.
Good job swimming, dancing, pianoing, missionarying, praying, and family home evening-ing! And thank you for the pictures!!!!!!!!!!
It's funny that you say thanks for keeping track of what happens each day so I can write about it. I just pull out my planner and flip through it page by page. On an unrelated note, we always get miracles during emailing! One of our potential investigators, Anders (Louise's son) just called us. He wanted to make sure we have his new number. He likes us enough to make sure we have his new number! So I asked him when we're going to meet, and he said we can meet at his mom's house tomorrow! The miracles happen so fast I can't even write about them before we get new ones! But I'll do my best.
Monday-we went into Stockholm again and got Pizza Hut with our district since our district leader Äldste Svensson was moving down to Malmö. Now we have a relief society district with six sisters and three elders. Stockholm was fun, if not a bit colder than last time. Pizza Hut here is like fine dining. Pizza buffet, salad bar, table cloths, and bendy straws included. So that was fun. Then we had planned to go down to Ösmo and drop by Siv (less active member). She never answers her phone, so we were going in faith that she would be home. When we got there she let us in and told us about her sad life story and how she blames herself for the problems in her family. She said she'd had our number out to call us and tell us to take back all the scriptures and church materials she had, and that she had decided to just sit at home alone and be nothing. We taught and testified about God's love for each of us, and the Spirit was so strong in the room! We tried to watch President Monson's talk from the General Relief Society session but the internet was being too slow, so we left it open on her tablet so she can read it. Her whole countenance had changed by the end, and she was so much happier! She even said she was thinking of coming to church on Sunday, and she told us that we were always welcome to come over. She's such a sweet lady! And we were so glad we'd followed the Spirit during planning so we could drop by right when she needed us most. We also taught a guy from Egypt on the train platform named Hany. We found out that his friend had investigated the church, so we asked him if he wanted to know more and he just said "yes." Those people are my favorite! We got his number and taught him about the Holy Ghost and how everyone can know for themselves that this is the true church.
Tuesday we went down to Nynäshamn where Marie helped us a little bit with our reindeer bracelets (I finished mine!) and we taught her about eternal families. We're going to give her President Uchtdorf's talk from conference next time we see her and formally invite her to actually learn more instead of the messages and quotes she's been getting up to this point. On the train back we talked to a cool guy named Jesse from Nigeria. We told him about the Book of Mormon and gave him an English one. He was very impressed with my Swedish after only three months. He had some questions about the Book of Mormon and he was pretty interested in it. Unfortunately we couldn't get his number because we ran out of time and had to get off the train. But we gave him a card, and sometimes people actually call us from those!
Wednesday was one of those days when you have so much administerial work that you don't get in very much ministerial work. We had to be temple visitor center missionaries for three hours, and with ward council that night it wasn't worth our time to go to our area, especially when we had nothing planned there. Instead we went back through the area book and called many many people. We almost set up an appointment with one old investigator, until we found out he lives up in Norland. So we gave his records to some missionaries who live closer to him. We did manage to teach a guy named Johannes on the train platform (it's actually a great teaching place because people have to wait for their train so they're willing to stop and listen for a bit.) He was really interested and wants to meet again! So we're excited about him.
Remember how I said we had zone training on Thursday. We also had a three hour "specialized training" by Syster Newell about stress management. Half the mission came to Stockholm for it-about a hundred missionaries, everyone in the North half of Sweden. (Basically the mission is divided into Stockholm and Göteborg). So all the missionaries from Norland came down Wednesday night. They stayed with other missionaries around Stockholm, so we got to have a slumber party with none other than Syster Dawson and her companion, Syster Swenson! It was so great to see her and talk to her again! Anyway, zone training and specialized training took up most of Thursday, but we got a lot of spiritual feeding and a pump of energy to finish out the year strong! They talked about praying specifically to fulfil our vision, which is to baptize monthly. The stress management part was really good too, and Syster Newell did a great job with it.
We basically have a standing appointment with Juan Carlos on Friday nights now, so we went to Nynäshamn for that. We called Cie-Cie that morning to see if she would be able to meet while we were down there and she didn't think so but said she'd call us if she could. We saw her in the library while we were waiting for Juan Carlos, and we knew the library closes at five, so we called her right after Juan Carlos's lesson (which went really well!) to see if she could meet right then. She was all for it! We read Mosiah 18 with her and asked her about baptism again. We found out that she has some misunderstandings about it, so we're going to address those and help her understand so she can receive the blessings that it will give her. She said she was planning on coming to church before we even invited her, as did Juan Carlos!
Saturday we were confined to stay between Handen and Västerhaninge again because we had three hours at the church, an hour of family history (I found a story about an ancestor getting ran over by a train while he was bringing the cows in) and a member dinner at 4:30. While we were waiting for the train down to Västerhaninge, John showed up on the platform. We said hi and asked him if he's been thinking about his baptismal date. He's been thinking about it but he needs to clear up his mind first. We promised that coming to church would help with that and he said he'd try and see if he could come.
So Sunday. Sunday. If I come home from my mission with gray hair it will be because of Sundays. No amount of stress management training from Syster Newell could sufficiently prepare us for Sundays in the mission field. But they're AWESOME so it's worth it! First, Arthur called. He was so disappointed, but he was still being called in to work, even after his boss had promised. He's moving back to Poland in two months or so, but he made us promise to help him find the missionaries there so he can keep learning about Christ. I'm sure he'll be baptized, whether it's here in Sweden or by other missionaries somewhere else when he's got more time to meet, but he has such a desire and willingness to follow Christ. We're still planning on baptizing him here before he goes, but it will take some miracles that we can meet him more. While we were still on the phone with Arthur, Jakob texted us to say that he couldn't come to church this week either because his uncle died and he had to be with his family. But he's still reading the Book of Mormon and trying to understand it. So we were in the church foyer, greeting other people but not our investigators, when we got a call from an unknown number. It was a guy named Chica who I gave a card to last week. (I told you people call us from those sometimes!) He wanted to come to church so he wanted to know when and where. We told him to take the next train to Västerhaninge and we'd meet him at the station. On our way out, we saw Louise and found out that she was going to meet her friend Joe, who was also coming to church. This was very interesting because when we met Chica, he was with a friend named Joe. Crazily enough they both came to church separately. Chica with us, and Joe with Louise. But we all came together. We were late for the meeting but we'd saved seats, so Chica sat in the pews with Syster Sjöblom while Joe went back and sat with Louise. I brought them both headsets so they could listen to the English translation, and when I took Joe's back to him I noticed Siv sitting all by herself. So I went and sat with her. Shortly afterward, Cie-Cie walked in so I beckoned her over to sit with us since her member friend was hard to reach. We were stretched super thin, but the members stepped in a lot to help. They all did so good saying hi to Siv and sitting with her (once they knew she was there. I made a lot of SOS faces to ladies in the ward to get them to come over and start talking to her) so we left her in their hands during Sunday School. We were planning on teaching Chica an introduction lesson during that time, so we walked into the font room that doubles as a classroom, and found that our two investigators Chica and Cie-Cie (Joe went home right after Sacrament meeting), the other two sisters and their investigator, the WML, a newly returned missionary, and Cie-Cie's fellowshipper, were all gathered in the classroom. They handed us a marker and told us to go ahead and begin. So we taught an impromptu investigators class. It was quite interesting because there were so many strong personalities and three very different investigators who had been investigating for varying amounts of time. (One day for Chica, six-ish months for Cie-Cie, many years for the other sisters' investigator.) So that was fun. We wanted to ask Chica about baptism but the situation just wasn't right. He's coming to church again next week though. Too bad we'll have to pass him off to the elders. We also had two other less active members in church, so there were six VIPs total for us. Talk about stressful! But I wasn't surprised. Even if people fall through, God never does, and He led others to church to fill the seats we'd saved for Arthur and Jakob. So I'm thankful.

Thank you for all of your prayers for us and our investigators. I know that God hears our prayers and that He answers according to our faith. We receive so many miracles here, every single day. Even just during these two hours of emailing, there have been quite a few miracles! And I love being able to share it with you too! Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney
PS-I really need to know how much money I have on my card...because I have no idea...
PPS-Anders wants to meet tomorrow, and he's been to church before, so he just became another candidate to be baptized this month. I think he's a good one too! In case you were wondering, our other positive candidates are Cie-Cie, John, Jakob, Therese, and now Chica and Joe.

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013

Käre familj,

Honestly I've been a little scared to write this email because there's no way I can do this week justice. First of all, Happy Farsdag, Dad! All the men in our ward got a chocolate bar in church for father's day. That's all we did to celebrate since it was Ward Conference. I'm glad you had fun with the missionaries. When we come over we usually have to remind them that there are only two of us coming and not all four. We haven't had so many dinners in the last couple weeks but next week is jam packed with member dinners. And most of them are the Spanish speakers so hopefully we'll get some good Mexicanish food! 
Tell Peyton my violin's name is Bree and that I'm super jealous that she gets to go to the SYTYCD tour! I mean, I'd rather be in Sweden, but still. That's pretty sweet! Also, I'm not really surprised about Zorro. It's hard to not fall off when he transitions into a gallop. It's by far the least smooth transition possible. I think it would be a smoother ride if he just started trying to buck you off.
So this week. Stockholm was super fun. We went to Gamla Stan, ("Old Town") which is where the King's Palace is. It's mostly a lot of touristy stuff. Souvenir shops and such. They had really yummy ice cream though! It was great! We might go in to Stockholm again today for lunch. Syster Sjöblom says there's a really good steakhouse that we need to try, and we need to take a district picture before transfers tomorrow. Speaking of transfers. We were all on edge Saturday when transfer calls happened, but no called for us-we're all staying! Our district is getting two more sisters, so it will be six sisters and two elders. (It's what we call a "Relief Society District".) Also, Elder Markus is going to be our new zone leader. I haven't seen him yet but I will this week now that he's coming down here. Anyway so we didn't get any lessons on Monday because we had a member dinner with all four sisters (kind of another birthday party for Syster Larson) and they taught the lesson. The week is a little harder when you start out with zero lessons. But if you can get a lot done on Monday night, the week goes super great!
On Tuesday I learned to make a reindeer bracelet with Marie. We're going back this week to learn how to finish, and to follow up on the Book of Mormon we gave her. We gave Dong a call that day but he didn't know enough English for us to communicate why we were calling. So I've spent this week figuring out how to say "Wo men shi Ye Su Ji Du lao shi. Ni yao xue Ye Su Ji Du ma?" ("We're Jesus teachers. Do you want to study Jesus?") Good thing I went to BYU so I know how to say Jesus Christ in Chinese. We're going to call him this week and try it out. Our lesson count by the end of Tuesday was two: the member we had lunch with (in a bar, it was interesting) and then Marie.
On Wednesday we went down to Ösmo to drop by Siv but she wasn't home, so we dropped by Louise and got to teach her about commandments. We're going to start the new member lessons with her soon since we don't think she got them right after her baptism. We were supposed to have dinner at three at the church, but it turned out they just left food in the fridge for us. That was good because we didn't actually want to eat at three, but we didn't get to teach them because they weren't there. We spent the rest of the time in the chapel because it was Wednesday and we're Temple Visitor Center missionaries on Wednesday. It would help if the temple had a visitor center or if people knew that they could just walk into the church and ask about the temple and the Mormons. We're working on that. Luckily Syster Sjöblom got to teach a miracle lesson on the train down to Ösmo, so by the end of Wednesday we were at four for the week. This would be a good time to note that we set a goal in faith of teaching twenty lessons this week. It wasn't looking so good at this point, but we still had faith and we take every opportunity we can to teach the Restored Gospel and invite others to come unto Christ!
So Thursday the miracles begin. We went to Nynäshamn to drop by a member who had just moved into our area. On the train down there, we saw none other than the Erik Formerly Known as Golden. He'd stopped investigating because his girlfriend said she'd dump him if he became Mormon. We testified that we just wanted him to be the happiest he could be and that's why we invite him to read the Book of Mormon and come to church. It was funny because just a few days before I'd commented how it was weird that we hadn't even seen him recently. It was great that we got to see him again though since he doesn't answer when we call. We went over to the member's house but it was portcoded so we couldn't even leave them cookies. Same with the other member we tried to drop by. But then on our way back to the train station we saw her, gave her the cookies, followed up on the commitment we gave her last time, and even found out that she was going to meet a non-member friend on Saturday and bring up the Gospel. Score! We kept walking back to the train station and stopped a guy on the street who was very spiritual and asked us questions that led into the Plan of Salvation. We missed the train but we taught him the Plan of Salvation and helped him strengthen his faith. That night we helped Louise out with the ...I think in Utah it's called Enrichment Night, right? They had that, and Louise was in charge because they were having an "African Night." We helped her bring all the food into the church-it was yummy! She did a great job and there was a really good turn out. I was really worried there would only be a few women and that Louise would be disappointed but there were 30 or 40 people there, so it was great! On the way home we kept contacting of course, and our tenth contact was another searcher. He had a ton of questions and totally agreed with everything we told him. After he left to get on the train we tried to figure out if we'd just taught him the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, or the Gospel of Christ, and the answer was simply "yes." I also had a ten minute conversation in Spanish with a guy from Nicaragua on Thursday. So in that one day we more than doubled our lessons, getting five including three unplanned ones with street contacts.
Friday we actually had lessons scheduled-who would have guessed! That seems to never happen to us because nobody wants to schedule anything. First we taught John, who wants to be baptized before he leaves the country at the end of December. He just has some scheduling issues with coming to church-it coincides with his lunchtime. We keep trying to help him understand that God will prepare a way for him to come to church if he just has faith. We committed him to come to as much of church as he could after lunch. Then we went down and taught Juan Carlos and Cie-Cie. Unfortunately we didn't have very good teaching locations for either of them so we felt like we couldn't teach a really good lesson, but we still helped them strengthen their faith in any case. We got four lessons (the fourth was the member who came to John's lesson) and started to realize it was becoming more and more possible to hit 20 lessons.
Saturday was looking like an effective but not-so-effective day. We had weekly planning, our three hours in the "Visitor Center," and an hour of family history to do. We took the morning shift at the chapel and talked to one of the bishopric members who asked us to make a list of the members in our area and what we've done with them. Many such lists exist already, since I've been keeping track in pencil on our ward list, but we took our church time to type it up and make it look nice. Three months of work adds up to a nice big Excel spreadsheet! It was pretty cool to see the progress that we've made in our area among the less active members. We then went to the Family History center where I still did not find any Swedish ancestors. The family history missionaries got talking to us and we couldn't escape for quite a while. On our way home we taught another lesson on the street. Another searcher. He had actually been trying to research the church and had thought of questions over the summer, so it was perfect. We made it home at three, not having eaten any lunch or anything. We snarffed down sandwiches (I put tomato on mine. Weird huh?) then headed out again to contact eight more people. We had a full night of stuff to do at home because we still hadn't done any weekly planning, so I was hoping it wouldn't take more than an hour to contact those eight people. We rode the train one stop, to Jordbro, and back to Handen, and got eight contacts. Fifteen minutes total. It was a miracle. And we even got to teach that one lesson during our full day of work.
And of course, Sunday. Sunday is the best. It's definitely the most stressful day of the week, but it's SO rewarding! Petra couldn't come to church because she didn't have anyone to take care of her dog. I was almost annoyed because Buster has been the reason she couldn't come to church every time we thought she would come, but then I remember that Buster is the reason I had the courage to contact her my first or second week here. So I'm thankful for Buster and I'm glad he's being taken care of. She's going to try and come soon though. We called Arthur to see if he wanted us to pick him up at the station again, and it turned out he got called in to work again. Bummer. But we got to teach Ulf, one of our less actives who's becoming very active as of recently. We're working on motivating him to get back to the temple, so maybe next month we can even go with him! That would be super cool. We went upstairs and found Hayder, another of our less actives. So we had two less actives at church! Then Jakob, someone that Syster Sjöblom contacted on the train a few weeks ago, texted to say that he was at the station waiting, so we went to pick him up. I forgot to mention that we called him this week to see if he could meet and he could only meet on Sunday so I invited him to church and he said he could probably come, but lots of people say that. But he actually came! We picked him up, brought him to church, and got him an Arabic Book of Mormon. It was ward conference, so Sacrament meeting was two hours long. (Honestly I was thankful Petra couldn't come this week, because I don't want to scare her off, and we had our hands full with Jakob.) I gave him 3 Nephi 18 to read during the Sacrament, and also the sacrament prayers. He was impressed that I knew the numbers so I could find the chapters! (At least, I hope I gave him the right chapters...) He was a little uncomfortable with so many people, but he definitely felt something and he's going to come back! After we'd given him a brief introduction to the Book of Mormon lesson, we came back into the chapel just in time to see John. He came! He found the other sisters first and sat with them, but he was there for the last half of the meeting-good thing it was two hours long! We taught him again but he was in a hurry to leave, so we didn't set a baptismal date yet. (By the way, John has had many baptismal dates. But he prayed this week that he could be baptized before the end of the year!) The ward had fika after church so we got food there instead of having a member dinner, then we had a couple hours left to contact. We found Oskar, who Syster Sjöblom contacted a few days ago. He's Catholic but he's interested in learning more. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and we're going to get one for him in Arabic. (We'll be putting in an order for more Arabic Book of Mormons soon.) Then we talked to Kristina. She believes in God and had a lot of questions about life after death so we taught her the Plan of Salvation on the train platform. We kept walking along our favorite little contacting path, and got rejected by our tenth contact. There Syster Sjöblom and I found ourselves with a problem. We had 19 lessons. We had things to do. It was dinner time and we hadn't done our hour of language study either. It wouldn't be effective to stay out just looking for one more person to teach, and we didn't feel right about that anyway. I mean it's one thing to teach people who are interested as you find them, but we didn't want to go looking just for that one lesson. We decided to use the Lord's time wisely and head home. But of course, we talk to everyone, so when someone was walking by we stopped and talked. At first I thought he was flat out rejecting us, because he walked right on by, but then he stopped and took out his headphones to listen. His name is Walter, and he is a searcher if there ever was one. He grew up Catholic but he's been trying to find the real truth, and to have the experiences to know it's true. I loved teaching him about the Holy Ghost and the Light of Christ, and testifying that he could have those experiences, and he could know for himself that it was true. He said himself, there were so many similarities between the things he'd come to believe and the things we believe. He's excited to start reading the Book of Mormon. He's going to gain a testimony-he already knows what he needs to experience for it. His name is Walter, he's originally from Mexico but basically grew up here, and he's probably in his early twenties.
So we got twenty lessons this week, and I know it's because of our faith and our hard work! Our fasting didn't hurt either. We had a fast yesterday for Arthur, because we were planning on getting a baptismal date with him. When he couldn't come to church again, we still didn't lose hope-we knew our fasting would pay off! On our way home last night, he called us. He was still at work, but he talked to his boss and asked for Sundays off so he can come to church. His boss said yes! We didn't even suggest to Arthur to do that, he did it of his own accord. And he's excited to come to church again and meet again! God is making the way for him, and there's no denying the miracles he's had.
Pretty crazy week, right? I've loved it though. This area is going to explode soon-we've already made a ton of progress and things are set up for a great five weeks! (The transfers are weird with Christmas coming up. Basically one of us will probably be transferred the week before Christmas.) Thank you for your letters, your prayers, and your thoughts! And especially for doing member missionary work at home! It's super important! Remember that Elder Ballard promised President Monson for you that you would invite someone before Christmas!
Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney