Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 30, 2012

Kara familj,
I would love to write you a whole email in Swedish, but unfortunately I don't have access to Google Translate and we don't have Swedish dictionaries yet. But you'll be happy to know that I could read your whole email. I didn't have to look down at the translation until I got to alpaca burgers. How were those? This keyboard is set for Russian, so I have to use the on-screen keyboard in order to type a question mark...so I disregard my poor punctuation if I get sick of that.
THANK YOU FOR THE PACKAGE!!!!!! It was like Christmas morning, really! I got to wear new clothes to church on Sunday! And the candy is yummy! Did you happen to find my glasses? I'm really missing them right now...I had a dream that they were on the bottom shelf of the big bookshelf in my room, so maybe look there? That would be great if you could send them to me because I'm having to wear contacts right now even though it's P-day! Blech! Oh, and you might have noticed the attached pictures. The bookstore finally had those cords, so I bought one yesterday. So you can just return the one that you forgot to send me. (More on the pics later)
This week has been a crazy week since I last wrote home. Syster Guinn went to the ER last Tuesday night because of some severe flu symptoms that escalated into an anxiety attack. Then we had an elder break his ankle (I guess it was never healed from a break a few years ago and he tweaked it). He went home this morning because he's been struggling with really severe depression and anxiety. Syster Dawson and I caught him just in time to say goodbye this morning, but most of our district didn't even get to do that. It'll be some tough sailing from this point forward in our district. In the last week, at least one member of each companionship in our district has talked with their family, besides Syster Dawson and me. I guess we're next, but hopefully you won't have to get a call from me for any reason. They haven't all been emergencies, don't worry. That would be really crazy.
Our investigators are doing mycket bra! Jonatan committed to keeping the Word of Wisdom. He's come so far since we started teaching him, and we love him so much! His baptism is scheduled for August 23, which is his birthday. (I think I already mentioned that.) Adam is also doing great! Yesterday we had an amazing lesson with him. We shared 2 Nephi 9:21-23, which talks about how the atonement is for ADAM and his family. Syster Dawson stopped him after that part and said "Wait, for who?" And he got so excited when he realized it really was for him! Then we pulled out some chocolate and he was REALLY interested from that point on. We used the chocolate to explain the Atonement: Sometimes you want to buy some candy at the store but you don't have enough money. Since your mom loves you, she helps you pay for it, but you still have to give her what money you do have. Once we gave him chocolate he was eager to do anything we asked. He said he and his mom will come to church on Sunday. It's going so great! We also set his baptism date for August 17.
To answer some of Mom's Dear Elder questions: Weekends do kind of feel like weekends. The only day of the week that stays true to itself is Sunday. Then Monday feels like Friday, Tuesday is Saturday, and Wednesday through Saturday are Monday through Thursday. So we go Thursday, Sunday, Friday, Saturday, Monday. On Saturday nights we have an hour and a half of computer time where we can watch Mormon Messages and listen to conference talks and such. So that's kind of the start of the weekend. Then Sunday is just amazing. The devotional speaker on Sunday was Cheryl Lant, who used to be the general primary president. Monday is sandwiched between Sunday and P-Day, so it's always good. On Monday nights we get done with classes early, and we have an hour for exercise in the evening. So that feels like our Friday night and helps us cool down into P-Day.
Sounds like you guys had a fun 24th of July! The only thing we did to really celebrate it was have a lot of devotionals about pioneers. Syster Dawson did say she wished she had a bonnet. I always feel like a pioneer on P-Day because I always put my hair in two braids, since I'm too lazy to blow-dry it. I think I DID teach Sister Knecht and her son in TRC! They were very nice and patient with our Swedish. TRC is kind of like doing a visiting teaching appointment in Swedish. The volunteers don't pretend to be investigators or anything, they're all members, and we just share a message and discuss the gospel. It's a completely different experience than teaching a lesson because they talk faster and we don't have to explain everything we're talking about.
Time is definitely flying for me! The saying here is "Days feel like weeks and weeks feel like days." It's so true. I can't believe how long I've already been here, how much I've learned, and how much I've grown. Syster Dawson pointed out this morning that we're as close to Sweden as we are to when we got here. Is that crazy or what?
So I'm not sure if you could tell, but I'm in most of those pictures that I attached. Hopefully you can also tell that the one who's always standing next to me is Syster Dawson. She's amazing. And the group standing in front of the temple is my district. From left to right, the elders are Elder Christensen, Elder Hansen, Elder Demke, Elder Schram, Elder Ward, and Elder Lundquist. (I don't think anyone has a picture of Elder Lundquist just looking at the camera and smiling...) Then the sisters are Syster Byrd, Syster Guinn, Syster Dawson, and me. Sorry my eyes are closed, it was a really bright day. That's the only one I have of my whole district so far because it's really hard to get everyone together on those temple walks. And the last picture is to show how FAT my journal is with all the letters I've gotten in the last three weeks. I am so loved! I'll probably be sending some of them home before I leave because there are just so many of them. Also, I reached page 40 in my journal this morning...so it might not last me 18 months...
I love hearing from everyone! Good luck with everything! Jag alskar er!
Love, Syster Smith
PS-Your Swedish was pretty good. There were a couple of interesting things. Like I'm pretty sure when you said the weeds looked better, you said it in a way that meant they have better vision now... Oh, and we did the same thing that Elder Neu did in the MTC! This week in our lesson with Jonatan we sat down and said "We'd like to talk about life after we kill." Instead of after we die. ... He thought it was pretty funny.