Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013

Kära Familj,
I love reading your emails! Especially what you say about my investigators, because you always hit it right on. I'm going to start using your nicknames for them too. Especially Mary Ann the serial hugger. (I've gotten two hugs from her this week, but still no phone number.) I also like hearing about what's happening at home of course. It seems weird to me that you've had snow already and I haven't. I'm the one that's in Sweden! But I'm also at sea level I guess. It's gotten much colder here in the last week. I did buy a coat. Actually two. One big giant winter one and one smaller autumn one. That's the one I've been wearing so far. It's all in crowns so I don't really know exactly how much I spent. But Syster Sjöblom said they were a good deal and I trust her. I still haven't bought boots so it might be a good idea to put another hundred or so dollars on there just in case. (Since you know I'm such a big spender.) (Oh wait I'm actually not sure whether that's sarcasm or not.)
Too bad you missed out on getting a shot at the little buck right in the meadow. Road hunters don't deserve it. Good thing he missed. I'm looking forward to getting those hunting pictures. We have a dinner appointment with one of the hunting families in a couple weeks. Not the one that fed us älg meatballs though. The one that showed us pictures of bears and boars. So I'm excited to show him some pictures too!
The potatoes here are tiny. I just thought I'd mention that since you're going to Rupert. They actually charge more for small potatoes. They're called "delicates". Does that sound like a rip off or what? We just buy the normal ones. I do eat a lot of potatoes here though. There will just be a big pot of boiled potatoes on the table to eat with whatever the meal is. Usually there's brown sauce to put on them. It's like gravy but it tastes more Swedish.
I hadn't heard that they're going to start showing the Priesthood session on the BYU channel. That's pretty cool.
I've started to refer to Brittany Whitmer as "my parents' grandchildrens' mother." Because I just think of Lydia and Brooke (and now Keera!) as your first grandchildren. Syster Sjöblom thinks it's pretty funny, especially because she knows who I'm talking about when I talk about her. Not that I talk about her that much, but it's cool that her cousin married a girl from Västerhaninge. What's her cousin's name? Have you seen Keera yet? You'd better send some pictures!
I feel like a horse a lot, because I eat so many apples and carrots. That's what we take for lunch a lot, and what we eat for snacks. And every meal basically. We either have apples, carrots, or grapes with it. I ate a carrot for breakfast. But for lunch today we went to Subway and it was the most delicious thing ever. So American! This week I also tried Eggplant for the first time. It was okay. I don't understand why Matt loves it so much. Did I tell you we got some cheddar cheese too? Best purchase I've made in my life. I love cheddar cheese. It's so much better than hushål ost. (Household cheese.) Sometimes when the Swedes make us dinner they buy special cheese just for us because they figure we're probably not used to their cheese yet. I really appreciate it!!!! (And I make sure and tell them that.)
About the deer we saw that one night. There were two does. They looked just like the deer in America, but it was dark so I don't know. You know better than I do what kind of deer they probably were. But definitely not moose. They were deer shaped.
On to the many adventures of Syster Smith and Syster Sjöblom, fearless missionaries in the (not-so) dangerous land of Sverige! We had many encounters with the less-active, and not-so-many but still plentiful encounters with investigators. Unfortunately since we switched to a new planner for the new month, I don't have my planner with all the details of last week, but I will tell everything that I can remember.
I'd rather do things in order but I have no idea what day things happened on. Syster Sjöblom and I have been trying to remember (neither of us has our old planner with us) but we're not really sure. I know we did lots of stuff. At least it's all written down in my journal. I'll have to go by person instead. Good thing you asked a lot of questions!
Erik the Golden! He's still golden. He's not baptized yet. But. We taught him on Tuesday and it went great! We did the Plan of Salvation and he agreed with the whole thing and thought it was great. We also showed him the font at the church (we teach a lot more lessons at the church now that it's cold outside and so many of our investigators are men) and he thought it was really cool. He said "so your sins just get left right there?" And we said yes of course! When we asked him to be baptized (thank goodness I memorized the baptismal commitment in Swedish because I was so excited my mind was blank) he said he want to follow Jesus Christ, he just doesn't feel like he's ready for baptism yet. So we decided we'd choose a date at our next meeting. Basically it's a yes though. He just needs to receive an answer about the Book of Mormon, which is totally going to happen! The only reason he hadn't gotten one yet is because he only read one verse because we miscommunicated. But he's so sincere and he's going to read! Unfortunately he was sick and cancelled our next appointment, and then his brother came to town to visit so we haven't been able to meet him again and he wasn't at church yesterday. We're supposed to meet him tonight (in an hour, actually) but he hasn't answered his phone all day so we'll see...PRAY FOR HIM! We're still planning on his baptism Saturday morning before General Conference.
We also taught Tarek again on Saturday. He started reading the Book of Mormon and he really likes it. I think. He's not very good at Swedish so it's hard to tell. But he invited an extra friend over on Saturday just so we'd be able to meet. He's really sweet. We think he was defending the Book of Mormon to his friend at one point during the lesson, but it was in Arabic so I'm not really sure what was going on. His friend let us talk this time and actually seemed more receptive too. When we asked Tarek if he was willing to keep commitments and act on the answers he receives to his prayers he said "okay!" then when his friend translated it into Arabic, he still said Okay! We saw him again on the train last night though and he's moving to somewhere we'd never heard of. It's not too far though, so he might be able to come meet us in Västerhaninge and continue to learn. If not, we'll find out where he is and get the missionaries there to teach him.
You'll never guess who the third progressing investigator we taught this week is. Not Sebastian-he's still African and hard to make appointments with, but he did promise to come to church some time. Not Peter-he is in the States right now on a business trip actually. We told him to check out the Las Vegas temple and promised there would be missionaries there too. He said maybe it would be cool to go to Salt Lake and see the prophet. So maybe he'll go to General Conference or something. That would be really cool. Peter just gets more and more golden every time we talk to him. But no, the other progressing investigator we taught was...Petra!!!!!! We found her! And no, we did not knock on every door in Stora Vika. But we were led by the Spirit to find her. We were in Nynäshamn to drop by a less active sister. It turned out to be port-coded (you can't get into the apartment building without the code, so you can't even knock on the door) so we were pretty bummed. We went to the cafe in Nynäshamn to say hi to our potential investigator there. (She's going to be tough to get through to but she loves missionaries, so at the moment the plan is to stay in good contact until we can come in for the kill...) We sat in the cafe talking to her about non-gospel related things for what we felt was much too long, but for some reason we both still felt okay about it. So we ended on the next train, instead of the one we had planned. And who should be sitting on the train but Petra! She was just riding trains to charge her phone, haha. So we sat by her and found out that she's already read all of First Nephi and she loves it! She wants to meet all the members in Stora Vika (we told her there were only like four) and she thinks it would be really cool if we kept meeting! She FINALLY gave us her number! So we're going to meet her again soon, hopefully, and she already loves us and the Book of Mormon, so I think she'll love the rest of our message too. I'm so excited for her! Unfortunately we didn't get to meet Buster again. He's staying with Petra's parents up in Norrland.
So then when we got off the train in Ösmo, we were like "we need to say a prayer, that was just too perfect!" when we here "girls! Girls!!" and it was Louise, our recent convert who lives in Ösmo! She invited us over for fika (mid-day snack. Usually it means coffee but we have herbal tea and cookies instead) and her son was there who's not a member, so we got a member present lesson out of it. Her son is Anders. I don't remember if I've mentioned the miracles surrounding him before, but we've miraculously met him twice before and he already thinks we're super cool. He's also Erik's roommate, so as soon as we get Erik to actually come to church again, Anders will come too. So that was a great surprise. We asked Louise to say a prayer of thanks for us because she's African and says great prayers.
We finally did get to meet up with Therese again last night! We helped her make Gambian Benachin, which was really good. (That's where I tried eggplant.) She was so excited for us, she dressed up in bright African clothes and she had everything all ready and we wore African clothing wraps while we cooked and we all took a bunch of pictures. And the whole time she talked about "next time you girls come we're going to make..." (Next time we come we're going to make peanut butter soup.) So now I can make African food. Haha. No, I could not repeat it again, but at least I've done it once now. When we got to talking about the Book of Mormon she said "When I started reading the Book of Mormon with the other missionaries, I realized there's a lot about Christ that I don't know that I want to know." Pretty golden, right!? And she loves us. I'm excited for her. And I'm excited to find out what peanut butter soup is.
The rest of the investigators you asked about we haven't been able to meet with yet. We're going to call most of them today and set up appointments though. Hopefully. We've already got quite a bit set up for this coming week. And we managed to teach 22 lessons this week! It's amazing how much it pays off when you take every opportunity you can to teach a lesson.
We've had so many miracles this week. I know I always say that but it's always true. Missionary work is so cool. I know that all of your prayers are helping too. (Someone with a lot of faith has been praying for us to find Petra again, for instance.) I'm so glad that so many people at home care about me and about all the people here in Sweden who we're teaching!

Are you excited for general conference? Syster Sjöblom is basically guaranteeing a talk about member missionary work. We keep saying the mission is basically just preparing all of us to be better member missionaries. I hope you're all taking every opportunity you can to share the gospel as well! And when you're watching the Saturday morning conference session (or listening to it) you can know that I'm watching the exact same thing at the exact same time here at the Västerhaninge chapel! It's cool when we're doing the same thing at the same time.
I hope you have a great week! Jag älskar er!!

Love, Delaney

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013

Kära familj,

Hopefully I can still write a good wonderful email even though my hands are pretty cold. You can definitely tell it's Autumn here too. Remember how I said I hadn't really been rained on yet? I kind of jynxed myself there because the next day it poured. Yippee. I'm going to buy a coat today before it gets too cold. Right now a sweater is still enough but not for long!
Getting twenty lessons last week really was a miracle. Having only a half P-day really helped, because we were able to get four lessons just in that one day. Sometimes it makes me think, why do we even have to have P-day? But then it gets to P-day and I realize I really needed it. :) Especially because I get your emails! They're the best. We didn't quite get to twenty lessons this last week, but we got a nice 15, so that's good. It takes a while to get up there when you're doubling in and we're working hard. It's really hard because people have jobs and don't seem to ever know what their schedule will be like, and they don't want to make appointments. Which makes it really hard to get members to the lessons because we don't actually know when the lesson will happen. We've had some interesting coordination experiences this week.
On Tuesday we taught Rosa again. Her sambo wasn't there so we didn't have to go through the process of teaching in two different languages. She opened up a little more to us, but we want to teach Frälsningsplanen with the whole family there, and a member who can speak Spanish. (My Spanish gets tested every week and it's not really improving, but I might order a Spanish for Missionaries book while I'm here. I should have brought one of the many that were left at the MTC...) On the train on the way home I met a woman from Chile who was really interested though, and since we'd been to Rosa's I had a Libro de Mormon in my bag that I gave her. She was impressed that I had them in English, Swedish, and Spanish, which were all three of the languages she speaks. We've been in good contact with her and hopefully we'll be able to meet her this week. Her name is Carolina. We talked in English.
Wednesday morning we went in to Stockholm to register for my personnummer so I can stay in the country and all that fun stuff. It's basically a Swedish SSN. Then we were blessed to be able to catch all the right trains and busses to make it to Stora Vika. We always see miracles in Stora Vika! It's a great place. I guess the Lord knows that if we're willing to take two hours of busses, we deserve some miracles while we're there. We got off one stop early. (Last time we got off one stop late and had to walk through the forest for twenty minutes. This time I knew exactly which stop we needed and I wasn't about to miss it, but Syster Sjöblom thought this one looked familiar so we got off there instead. Don't worry, it was guided.) So instead of being on the South end of the city we were on the North end. That meant we were able to drop by a member who I didn't think we could get to. She was out in the yard and we found out that it's actually an active family, the one active family in the city. You could tell she hadn't seen missionaries out there for a long time, so it was great that we could show her that the missionaries really do work hard and go the extra mile. We're hoping they'll have a lot of referrals since they have neighbors and such... Then we headed over to familjen Jana, and ran into Syster Jana on the road. She was on her way to the bus stop, and if we'd come from the other direction we would have missed her and never seen her again. She was surprised we would come all the way out there just to see her again, and she said we could come back soon. It was great! I just love showing these people that we really do care and we really do want to see them. We did not actually tract all of Stora Vika to find Petra, but we did pay close attention in case she was out and about. We saw lots of dogs but none of them was Buster. We'll see her again soon though. I was almost disappointed, because I was so sure we could find Petra again if we went out to Stora Vika, but the Lord answers prayers in his own way, and we didn't have to wait too long. That same night on the train platform we saw a woman who looked familiar. This isn't uncommon in Västerhaninge because we've basically contacted every person here. We were trying to figure out why she seemed so important when we both realized at the same time that it was Mary Ann! When I tapped her on the shoulder her face lit up and she gave us both another big hug and we sat with her on the train. She showed us she still had our card and she'd thought about calling us a few times but she wanted to call when things weren't too busy. But she promised again that she would call us soon! I can't wait!
On Thursday we went to Stockholm again for a Sister Training Meeting. President and Syster Newell talked about faith and how we need to have faith in order to reach our goal of baptizing before general conference. We were so pumped by the time we left the meeting! Which we really needed because then the train schedules were off and we were late to our appointment with Erik. Luckily he still came and was happy to meet. It was a really great lesson about the Restoration. Reciting the First Vision brings the Spirit so strong. He said he would read and pray and if he got an answer he would be baptized. Then the sun came out from the clouds and he said "See, God is watching us! He'll answer." Yup. He also said he would come to church without us even asking him. But he wasn't there yesterday. That evening was going to be really stressful originally. Basically everyone who could meet said they could meet on Thursday, but we didn't know when the Sister Training was going to be until Tuesday. So we had a hard time setting things up and we were going to have to take trains back and forth between Ösmo and Nynäshamn in order to get to everyone. But we were willing because it was all three of our progressing investigators. Going into it we had no idea how the evening would turn out and we realized we had to choose between teaching Peter and Sebastian. We ended up going with Peter because he was only going to be here for a few days before he went back to Denmark, and because it's really hard to get contact with Sebastian and you never know if he'll actually show up. So after we taught Erik we were able to drop by Siv, a less active member who lives right by the train station, and have a lesson with her before we had to take the train to see Peter. Peter's lesson went really well too. He asked a lot of questions and it was a little hard because he just wanted to know everything but it wouldn't make sense without starting from the beginning. I recited the first vision twice that day-in Swedish for Erik and in English for Peter. It's easier in Swedish now. Peter wants to come to church but he's not sure if he wants to be taught by missionaries in Denmark or if he'll just stay with us. He said he wants them to be from Utah like us...I'm not sure why. And he wants to be taught in English. We assured him that the missionaries in Denmark can teach in English and are most likely from Utah, but we'll see how that works out. But he said he might be able to stay in Sweden until Sundays so he can come to church with us. I'm not sure what will happen but he's super interested so we'll be sure he doesn't fall through the cracks. We also saw some deer that night.
Friday was one of our less-active members' birthday, so we brought over cookies. (We made a huge batch of cookies and froze them, so we can leave them at less-actives' houses when we drop by.) We've never actually met this family but everyone in the ward is trying to work with them because they were really active until just a few years ago. The wife was finally home this week so we could meet her, and she was super nice and super happy to talk to us! So we finally get to tell all the ward members who ask that we've made contact with them after several calls and "drop-by"s. On the way back we passed a member family's house and they were all out in the yard, so we had a short lesson with them as well. They're so sweet and said that they're going to be the new visiting teachers for sister Backman (the one we'd just barely met) and they're going to make sure she gets visited. They also have a cute 10 month old baby. :) Don't worry dad, missionaries aren't allowed to hold babies so you don't have to be jealous. That night we had dinner with a family from Peru so we were excited to get some Peruvian food. It was really good. Still no cheese though. Their son served his mission in Provo a few years ago and he still has the "missionary fire" so we're excited to bring him to lessons with us.
Saturday was one of those days that we had no idea what to do with. During planning we realized that we had no appointments (even though we called EVERYONE we know...) and nowhere to start. We went to the stake Relief Society activity where we did a musical number (The Olive Tree. In English. They like musical numbers in English. I played the piano.) and got to know some members. During that one of the TUs we'd called (TU=Tank bara undersökare, or "think-about" investigators) texted us back and wanted to meet that night. So we took the train down to Ösmo to meet Tarek. He's from Libya and he's Muslim. His friend was there too. It was a very interesting lesson. We gave Tarek the Arabic Book of Mormon right at the start, said a prayer, then spent twenty minutes hearing from Tarek's friend about the Koran and how he knows it's true. During that time Tarek was reading the introduction and the testimonies of the three witnesses and eight witnesses under the table. He was devouring it. So even though we could hardly get a word in edgewise, I know that Tarek was excited about it. We did manage to testify that the Book of Mormon is true. So we're hoping we can meet with Tarek again soon without his friend there so we can actually talk about it and see what he really thinks. The whole time that the friend was saying he knows that Islam is right and the Koran is true and they can't read other religions' books I wanted to ask Tarek if he felt the same, but it was better just to hold my tongue and let the Spirit work on him. I'm just praying that he'll be able to read the Book of Mormon without his friend stopping him, because they're roommates and his friend seemed pretty adamant that it was definitely not a good idea. Tarek texted us back that night and said thanks, which isn't something that usually happens, so he's got good potential. 
And Sunday! The most stressful day of mission life! We called Erik Sunday morning but he didn't answer. He didn't end up coming. I think because his member friend, Louise, didn't come. (She was in Stockholm with her grandkids.) It was really disappointing because we really think he's going to be our baptism. Luckily he's come to church a few times, so he qualifies for baptism in that regard. We just have to teach him everything still. So he doesn't have a dopdatum yet. At least he doesn't know he has one. We made him a baptismal calendar during weekly planning in which we planned to teach him every day this week and get him baptized this Saturday. It might take a little longer than that if he doesn't start answering his phone, but we've still got two weeks before conference. We still had miracles on Sunday of course. Sunday morning the missionaries in the Jakobsberg area called us and said someone had called them wanting to come to church in Västerhaninge, so they sent us the number. Two minutes later the number called us. It's a Swedish family in Västerhaninge with a member friend and they want to meet. We're pretty excited about that! And we had three less active members in church. One of them we had no idea he was coming, because he said he probably couldn't and we haven't contacted him for a few days. But then he just showed up at church. We were really stressed because we didn't know if he had fellowshippers or anything, but everyone was talking to him and he sat by people and they talked, so it turned out great. 
To answer your questions that I missed: none of our investigators were at church, but we had three less actives. Erik took the "soft commitment" to baptism (as you know these things are true) but we haven't met with him again to set up his date.We haven't been able to work with Theress but our dinner for next Sunday cancelled so we're going to try her then.
So that was my week, back to you. I'm glad Zorro is doing okay. Thanks for starting with the good news before mentioning that putting him down had been a possibility. You'd better be treating him well!
I can't believe Jessica Morrill already had her farewell. I remember when she got her call and it was so far away! That's so weird. Sounds like a fun talk though. I love reading about Justice and Mercy. There was an article about it in the Liahona this month. (I read it in Swedish then English then Swedish again.)
I actually heard about the BYU-Utah game last night from our dinner appointment. We had dinner with a senior missionary couple who live here. He had woken up at 4:30 AM to listen to the game streamed through KSL.
I'm excited to get those hunting pictures and show them to the hunters in the ward. I won't be transferred for at least another two months, because I have to finish the 12 week training program. Probably anyway. President Newell maintains that transfers can happen at any time. (We don't have emergency transfers because transfers can happen at any time. But sometimes transfers happen with really really short notice...) The new missionaries are coming on October first, so I won't be the youngest. Syster Larson who lives in our apartment was supposed to train the girl from my group who went home, so we think she might train someone from this group, which would mean we'll get a new greenie in our apartment. We don't really know though. Transfer rumors are fun. By the way, Syster Larson is a hunter too. She's from Florida.

I got Cody's letter on Tuesday and Mom's on Wednesday. Mail is the best!
They do have some things here that are better than in America. Chocolate of course. The Twix and Snickers here are really yummy. They don't have Reece's though. The peanut butter here is really good so I bet they'd have good Reece's if they had them. The apples taste like jolly-ranchers. And I love Swedish ice cream. Really it's just the cheese.
I just logged into the missionary portal on and it's in Spanish. Maybe it's a sign. Syster Sjöblom said "guess you're getting transferred!"
The hardest part right now is probably trying to get contact with our investigators. Moris hasn't answered us since we said we have rules and can't meet him alone... but the member who came to our first lesson with him talked to him on the train last week and he said he's going to Iraq for a month, so that could be why. He still seemed really interested. Fabio is still interested too, but he doesn't like making appointments. Neither does Sebastian. We try as hard as we can to get them to set something up, but they just never know if they'll be free.
I'm still loving missionary work though! It's weird that I've been in Sweden for a month. It's weird that I'm in Sweden at all. But I love it! I can't wait to tell you next week about either Erik's baptism, or at least his baptismal date for the week before Conference! Keep praying for him especially!
Have a great week! Jag älskar er!
Love, Delaney

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sept. 16, 2013

Kära familj,

I'm glad you liked my email! I liked yours too. Except the part about Zorro. Tell him to feel better. After I got home last Monday there were five letters for me! So thank you! (The other sisters weren't very happy with me...) I got letters from Mom, Peyton, Grandma Wilson, Rich, and Darien. I haven't gotten Cody's yet but it will probably be there when I get home today. The ones from Rich and Darien were really old, back when I was still in the MTC. Rich's actually went to Provo first, then was forwarded here.
Yes, all the people in Nynäshamn have to come up to Västerhaninge for church. There used to be a branch in Nynäshamn but then something happened and there weren't enough priesthood holders anymore or something. We didn't get to help Theress last night like we thought. Turns out every other Sunday there's a meeting somewhere for the Gambians here or something? And she was going to that. So maybe next Saturday. We've got good contact with her so I'm sure it will happen sometime soon. I still don't know when we're going to get to go to the temple. Since Syster Sjöblom has been here 6 months, we'll for sure get to go sometime. I think we're going to go with a recent convert from Jönköping (her last area) that she worked with the whole time she was there. She taught him temple prep for three months and was originally going to go with him when he went through for the first time, but then stuff happened and she didn't get to. So I believe we're going to go whenever he comes up here, which will be in the near future.
Church was great! Erik came to sacrament meeting! We called him on Saturday, and Saturday night, then again Sunday morning to make sure he came, and it paid off. It was a great sacrament meeting too. The talks were about love (I think) and Syster Sjöblom did a musical number that really helped bring the Spirit. (They called her Saturday night and asked her to play. They don't know that I play the piano too...yet...) Unfortunately he left after Sacrament meeting. I think because his member friend had to go. If she had stayed, I think he would have stayed as well. So we weren't able to really talk to him at church or commit him to baptism, but we'll see him again soon.
I can't believe that rain you're getting! I've had an uncanny lack of rain since coming to Sweden. It was pouring this morning, but it was sunny again by the time we left the apartment. I've only really been rained on once. I hope it calms down soon and everything's okay! Has it affected ya'll much?
This week has been really great again! The biggest miracle is that we got 20 lessons! We've been promised that if we get at least 20 lessons a week, we'll have double the baptisms. I'm still just hoping for one before conference, but I don't mind doubling it soon after. :) I guess it's pretty amazing that we got 20 lessons so soon after doubling into the area, but we worked our tails off for them. And gave up some P-Day time. But you already heard about how great last Monday was because we taught four lessons before I even had a chance to email. I wish I could say the same about today. We've already finished all of our proselyting time. We moved it to the morning because an old investigator, Thunga, said she could meet this morning. We went all the way down to Nynäsgård, but we could never find the address. Even with our map. We think she told us the wrong street name or something. And then she never answered her phone. So no lessons today, and we don't have a dinner either. Luckily, the rest of the week will be better.
Tuesday we taught another four lessons, so we had as many lessons in the first two days as we got in the whole week before. That was the day we taught our most disappointing lesson too though. It was kind of hard, because the woman speaks Spanish and English, the sambo (boyfriend. When you live with somebody here but you're not married it's called sambo.) speaks Spanish and Swedish, and we speak English and Swedish. My Spanish is not good enough to teach a whole lesson, obviously. So we taught in Swedish and he translated into Spanish to her. It was disappointing because she basically said she doesn't care to know whether her beliefs are true or not, she likes them and she's not changing them. Even her sambo was taken aback by that, a little. It's just a little devastating when people don't even care. But I'm not too worried because I found a part of the Dedication of Sweden prayer that says that the people will have the desire to find the truth. So I know those people who want to find it are out there. We just have to find them.
I actually ate älg this week! On Wednesday we ate at a member of the bishopric's house before ward council, and the whole bishopric are on the same hunting team, and they fed us Swedish meatballs made with älg. They thought it was funny when I told them you always ask about it. Then the next day I saw two älg from the train. A mom and her calf, just frolicking around in the forest. I figured you'd all be excited about that. Ward council was really great. The ward is so excited about missionary work and they just want to know how they can all be involved. It's kind of hard for us because we don't know the ward members yet so we don't know who to ask for what, but I'm glad they're so excited.  {Note from Patty:  alg is moose}
We had a miracle on Thursday evening. Well we have them everyday, but this one was bigger and easier to tell. Anyway. So we taught Sebastian about the Restoration on Thursday evening, and it was going really well. The Spirit was really strong, especially after reciting the First Vision (which is becoming super hard in English). But right then, he got a phone call and had to dash because of some emergency. We were really disappointed because it was going so well and we didn't get to finish. But we decided we'd better go catch our train since we had nothing to do in Ösmo anymore. While we were waiting on the platform, Sebastian showed up again! He was taking the same train as us, so we all sat together and finished our lesson. The Spirit didn't get back up to the same point in the second half-it's hard on the train-but at least we got to finish it. I'm really glad we got to finish it, because he had a lot of questions and we found out that he thought the Book of Mormon was going to try and teach a whole different gospel from the Bible. So I'm glad we got to clarify that they both teach the Gospel of Christ and that they go hand in hand. I think he's more likely to read it and pray about it because of that.
In case you haven't noticed, we have some crazy things happen when our lessons cancel on us. I've learned not to be too disappointed when a lesson cancels, because it usually means there's someone else who needs spiritual nourishment, and Heavenly Father is making sure they get it. That's what happened on Saturday. We had set up an appointment with Erik, but he didn't show up and his phone was turned off. So we sat at the picnic table where we had planned to meet him, and started calling people to try and set up some more appointments and such. Not five minutes later, one of the less active members that we've been working with showed up and sat down. We started talking and were able to share a lot about prayer and receiving answers. She needs a lot of support from the ward and I think she really needed to see us right then. So I'm glad we were there for her!
We haven't heard from Petra or Mary Anne yet, but we will. I told Syster Sjöblom I'll track all of Stora Vika if we have to. It's only like one block total, so it won't be so hard. The real problem is, what would we say if we found her? You know, missionaries are pretty creepy people. It takes a creep to keep detailed records of encounters with people, their phone numbers and addresses and best times to catch them at home. And then to pass them along to other missionaries. It's kind of weird calling the old numbers in the area book because they want to know how you got their number and it's awkward to say that we've been holding on to it. But we're here to be awkward! That's what we have to tell ourselves before awkward street contacts. It's worth it for their salvation.
Unfortunately we haven't been able to meet Moris or Fabio again either. Moris cancelled his appointment because he had to go to the doctor. And Fabio works a lot. He did call us on Saturday night and ask if we could meet right then. That doesn't work quite so well for us, but at least we know he still wants to meet. He called just now and said he'll call when he isn't working. But he called while he was working. I'm not quite sure, but we'll hear from him soon anyway.
How's Sister Whitmer doing with her baby? You'd better send me pictures when she's born! I can't believe it's already time for her to have her baby. Also, how are Ryan and Lezli faring now that Quinn's gone? (He left on the eleventh, right?) In Grandma's letter she said that Crystal is planning a huge birthday party for Kinley. I can't believe she's already going to be two! Make sure I hear about that too because I'm sure it will be the party of the century.
Sweden doesn't have Cream of Chicken Soup, and it's hard to find normal cheese. In other words, I don't know how to make any food. And I miss salsa so bad. Last week we made homemade pizza, and we used a "pizza blend" of cheese that we found. But it still tasted weird. The normal cheese here kind of tastes like...gourmet string cheese maybe. But Syster Sjöblom and I are both skeptical about whether it would be good melted. It made an okay grilled cheese sandwich though. I don't know what I'll do when I have a new companion who isn't a five star chef like Syster Sjöblom. 

Mom, how was Las Vegas? Did you meet up with Taryn? See lots of quilting stuff? Have fun? How are things going with wedding preparations?
Is school going well? Are Penny and Bo and Marshy happy? Are the trees changing colors yet? They are here, and a lot of leaves fell this week.
Thank you for your prayers and support! They are really helpful. They got Erik to church yesterday! I love that you all want to hear about how our investigators are doing. It just makes it easier to work hard because I know everyone at home is rooting for me! I love you! Jag älskar er!
Love, Delaney
Prayer list: Erik and Sebastian to have a baptismal date, Moris and Fabio to set up another appointment, and Petra and Mary Anne that we can contact them again. :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sept. 9, 2013

Hej hej!
Did you freak out when you didn't have an email when you woke up? Sorry. We only get half a P-day today because we spent such a big chunk of Saturday on the race. So we've been teaching lessons and such this morning and just got to emailing. It's actually a crazy story and I don't even know where to start. Guess I'll start at the beginning of the week so I don't forget anything.
Monday-nothing happened. It was P-day. We didn't have time to go to our area or anything. We did a "ringstund" where we just called a bunch of people and tried to set up appointments for the week. Lots of people answered so that was good. But we didn't get to teach any lessons that day. It's hard when you only have a few hours of the day.
Tuesday-crazy day! We had three different appointments in Nynashamn, but all three fell through. But it was worth it because we were found by one of our potential investigators, Erik, and taught him the Plan of Salvation on the street. He said we could teach him again and that he'd come to church (he's come a couple of times before). But our teaching appointment fell and he didn't show up at church. We also talked to a guy on the train who was interested and gave us his number and everything. We set up an appointment, but he never showed up or answered our calls...I'm not sure about him, but we'll keep trying. It was pretty cool just to meet him though.
Wednesday-SO MANY MIRACLES! It was amazing! First, we met Petra again. She was the girl who we met on the bus coming home from Stora Vika. (Yes, it is in the middle of the forest. We walked through that forest for 20 minutes after we got off the bus. Maybe look up Marsta on Google Maps.) But anyway, we went down to the train station and she was standing there on the platform! It was amazing! She said maybe that was a sign, and we were all for it. We were able to give her a Mormons Bok and I'm pretty sure she started reading it right there on the train as soon as we got off. She promised us she'd come to church sometime too! She wasn't there this week, but next week hopefully! I'm sure she'll come next week. She is so nice and I love her! (Her dog's name is Buster by the way. I'm not sure if I already told you that.) Then that night we went down to Nynashamn to teach Mr. Denmark. His real name is Peter. We were a little late because we talk to everyone on the street, and the three people we talked to before we got to the station to meet him were all interested. We could have sat down and taught them all lessons right there if we'd had time. Unfortunately we had to leave them with pamphlets and promises. When I apologized to Peter and told him that part of the reason we were late was because we got a little lost (story of my life) he said "I've been lost too. From God." Can you get more golden? He had inspired questions and he was really excited that we could give him a Mormons Bog. (Danish). He only works here in Sweden every other week or so, so we'll be referring him to the Danish missionaries soon, but I'm glad we get to work with him a little. We'll probably meet him at least one more time.
Thursday we had zone training so I met the rest of our zone. There are us four sisters and then eight elders. They're all pretty nice. Then after zone training we had sister exchanges. Syster Sjöblom went off to Gubbängen and I was put with Syster McCollaum. She's one of the sister training leaders here. She was in the MTC when they made the big announcement in General Conference. By the way, can you believe that was almost a whole year ago? It feels like it just barely happened! Life is so weird! But anyway, I was with Syster McCollaum and we contacted a lot of people and then that night we taught Sebastian (Mr. Nigeria). He's such a nice guy! He has really strong faith in Christ and in God, and he said that the thing he wants most in his life is to come closer to God. We gave him a Book of Mormon and promised to get him one in Igbo also. He said the prayer at the end of the lesson. I think once we teach him about God's authority he'll have no problem with the restored gospel and he'll be baptized right away. He didn't come to church yesterday because he went to services at another church. We were supposed to meet him again last night but I think he forgot because we called him beforehand and he had somewhere to be, but we set up another appointment with him this week and I'm really excited!
The only thing that happened on Friday was we worked really hard and called a lot of people and dropped by one old investigator who said she didn't have time right now but she was still interested. BUT, on Saturday evening I saw her again on the train-she sat right across from me! We got to talking and I learned that she works a lot every week day so she makes all the meals for the week on Saturday and Sunday. I offered that we could come over and help with all that cooking and she thought that would be a great idea! So next Sunday we're going to go over and help her and learn how to make African food! (She's from Gambia.) And we get to teach her even though she doesn't think she has time. I asked and she said of course we could share a message. She's so sweet! And I'm so glad that I could meet her again so we could get that set up! The only reason I was on that train was to get to our appointment with Erik which fell through, which is why it's still okay that the appointment fell through because we needed to meet Theress. (That's her name.)
Saturday was the race! I can't believe you missed my first 10K. I can't believe I came all the way to Sweden for it. It's called the "tjejmilen", "Womens' mile", so it's only women that run it. Syster Newell ran it last year and she's been so excited to get all us sisters involved in it. I'm glad you got to see some of the pictures. One of the best parts of it was that Syster Dawson and Syster Guinn came down from Norrland for it, so I got to see them again! I haven't seen anyone from my MTC district since the day I came out to Västerhaninge, so I was so excited to see them! They're both doing really well. Syster Sjöblom and I walked/ran most of the race with Syster Newell, which was fun because I got to learn a lot about her. She's a really cool person. We walked most of it but we ran all the downhill parts and some other short parts. One of the funniest things that happened was at about the 7th kilometer, they gave us a square of sugar, but it didn't look like sugar. We didn't see anyone putting them in their mouths so we weren't sure what it was. They thought it was chalk so they were trying to rub it on their hands like it would help with sweat, but it wasn't chalky. We finally asked someone what it was and were embarrassed to find out we'd been rubbing sugar all over our hands. It tasted good though. The hardest part was when I RAN the last 2.5 kilometers. (I know that doesn't sound hard but that's the furthest I've run since sophomore year gym class.) Syster Newell lied and said there was only one mile to go so we started running, but then we passed the 8 kilometer sign. Then I didn't know where the last mile started, so I couldn't stop running because I didn't want to not be running when I got there. And the last stretch you keep thinking the finish line is right there, but it's not. It was a long last stretch. But I ran it! We made it! My time was 80 minutes. New PR! ,And if I can do a 10K, we can definitely baptize someone before General Conference. We prayed over it yesterday and we're focusing on Petra, Erik, and Sebastian this week. It's kind of hard because we had planned on seeing all three of them at church...but we've got time.
Even though we didn't have anyone in Sacrament meeting yesterday like we'd planned, we did have one really great miracle last night. We were finishing up our contacting (ten people every day! Sundays are hard.) around Västerhaninge Centrum. We were prompted to take a left turn and we started talking to a lady. She said some elders had given her a Mormons Bok a year ago, and she reads it during hard times because it helps her feel better. But her phone was stolen and she lost their number, so we gave her ours. We taught her to pray and promised that she could pray to know it was true and feel God's love. She promised to read it and to call us. Then she asked if she could give us a hug! We got a hug from a street contact! That kind of thing just doesn't happen! Her name is Mary Anne and she's really really sweet and I think she really needs to be loved. She'll call us sometime this week, and I'm really excited to get to teach her! It was such a great experience meeting her!
Especially because this week is off to a great start! This whole "only half a P-day" thing is working out great for us, because we've already taught four lessons! (That's already half as many as we taught all of last week.) First we taught Moris, who Syster Sjöblom contacted on the train. He's a devout Christian with very strong faith in Christ. We gave him a Book of Mormon in Arabic and he took a look at it and said "I need to read this many times." We thought that was great, but we also assured him that he can receive and answer even if he hasn't read the whole thing. The cool thing about Moris is, HE called US yesterday to confirm our appointment. That doesn't usually happen. He was so excited about it and he's the nicest guy. I wouldn't be surprised if he'd read the whole Book of Mormon before the next time we see him. It's hard because he works a lot, but I know we'll be able to meet again soon. After his lesson we taught Ulla, the member who came with us to the lesson, and Louise, the recent convert in our ward. (Did I tell you about her before? She's great.) Then we came back here to Västerhaninge and had a crazy experience teaching Fabio. Let me explain:
I met Fabio last Thursday, a week and a half ago, on the train. We only talked for 2 minutes or so because he was getting off at the next stop, but I still managed to testify that God exists and He loves us. I gave him a pass along card with our number and he was super excited for it and promised to call. I didn't have time to actually ask his name. We got off at the next station and the phone rings, unknown number. Syster Sjöblom had just hung up from talking to someone else, so she answered even though I was motioning for it because I was sure it was him. He asked if the church was open any other day besides Sunday and we said not usually but we'd be happy to be there to show him around. He was in a hurry or something but at least we got that his name was Fabio. I was pretty sure it was the same person but we had no way of really knowing because we give those cards to everyone. So anyway, we set up to meet with him this afternoon at three o'clock. We called him this morning and he said he would call us back-it sounded like he'd been sleeping. I called him at 1:30 and he asked where we were. I said we weren't there yet but we were still planning on meeting at three. So at three we're at the station where we were supposed to meet and I don't see him. Keep in mind that we're not entirely sure who exactly we came to see. We don't see the guy we're looking for, but as we walk by another guy who neither of us thought we recognized asked us if we were the ones who'd called him. We call a lot of people so we were like "uh..." and he said he was sorry he was asleep. Then he dashed off to catch a train. We were so confused. And then we didn't want to call Fabio again because what if that WAS Fabio! We talked about for a minute then decided we could call and vaguely ask "when can we meet?" so if it was him it could be an appointment some other time, but if it was someone else he would tell us whether he was coming or not. But then he didn't answer. So we came back to the church to start emailing, but then he called back and said he was on the train. I made sure to ask if he'd be here at the station soon and if we'd see him and he said yes, see you soon. So we went back to the station. Wasn't there. Waited for twenty minutes. Nothing. So we went back to the church and started emailing (I forwarded you those pictures and as I'm writing this you're probably thinking that's all you're going to get...sorry.) and then Fabio called us again! He said he was at the station. About this time I told Syster Sjöblom "It's a good thing God knows what's going on, because I sure don't." We found him though and he WAS the guy I met on the train that one time! I knew it all along of course. So we came back to the church and gave him a tour. He has absolutely no religious background. He didn't know who Jesus was or even what the Bible was really. But he's really interested and he's definitely going to read the Book of Mormon (in Turkish) and he said he's going to pray about it and find out whether God really exists. I'm so excited for him too! I think the Spirit must have just spoken to him strongly that day I met him on the train, and that he's really lonely here, because he was SO EXCITED when I told him that God loves him, and he called us back right away. That doesn't usually happen.
In case you couldn't tell, this week was great! You might think it was disappointing, but I haven't felt disappointed at all. Well, maybe in Sacrament Meeting yesterday when none of our investigators showed up even though they had promised, but by the end of every day there were just so many miracles that I know God is looking out for us and providing for us. We are so blessed here in Sweden. And we have so many really promising new investigators, I know one of them will be our baptism. 
Now for your questions: the temple opened on Tuesday. We haven't been able to go yet. The policy that Syster Sjöblom heard is that you get to go once every 6 months, but the other sisters here said that it's different if you're in the area. We'll have to ask President about that one, but we'll definitely get to go soon. Not on P-day since it's closed on Mondays, so we'll have another P-day like today where we do more work during the day so we can take P-day time the next day to go to the temple. I heard they show the new film (in English) once a day at ten o'clock, but I'd rather see it in Swedish. I think Syster Sjöblom wants to see the new film though. So we'll just have to see. The race was fun. I don't know exactly what the purpose was but I believe it's the biggest womens' race in Europe. The purpose of the missionaries being there was to contact people of course. And I believe I answered the rest of your questions already.
Oh, another cool thing is that I've used Chinese and Spanish this week. Not very well, but still. On the train on the way to Stockholm for the race we sat across from a Chinese guy. We tried Swedish, and he didn't understand. He didn't speak English either. Finally I asked "ni shuo zhang wen ma?" and you should have seen his face light up! I couldn't say much, but I managed to hand him a card and say "this has...good. This is very good." and point to the website. Syster Sjöblom was impressed if nothing else. And I use lots of Spanish on the trains. Today I even talked to some people from Ecuador! This week I've met people from: Bosnia, Serbia, Colombia (Erik), Gambia (Theress), Spain, Turkey (Fabio), Iran, Brazil, Poland (we've met a lot of Polish people and we're out of Polish Book of Mormons in our apartment.), Sri Lanka, Chile, China, Gambia, Estonia, Somalia, Uzbekistan, and Iraq (Moris). It's pretty crazy! It's kind of funny because Syster Sjöblom almost always ends up talking to Swedes, while I end up talking to mostly immigrants.
I'm glad you appreciate my long and detailed emails! It's good for me too because I realize again just how blessed I am every week and how many miracles happen. I haven't even told you about the half of them! Just know that there are many and I can tell that you're all praying for me back home because we are definitely seeing success, even if it's hard to tell by our numbers! This week is going to be so awesome!
Jag älskar er!
Love, Delaney
PS: Prayer list for this week: Sebastian and Moris to have baptism dates, Erik, Petra, and Mary Anne that we can meet with them, and all of them plus Peter and Fabio that they can gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Those are who we're focusing on this week, and of course we'll keep talking to everyone and their dog!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 2, 2013

Käre familj,

Hello! I love getting your email too. I was almost afraid I wasn't going to get to email today, because the internet has been down at the church, but it's working again. Thank goodness! When I was writing last week I was hoping you would look up a map so you could see how much of a hassle it is for us to actually get down to our area. We spend quite a bit of time in Ösmo also, which is a little closer. I believe the temple is supposed to open tomorrow, so we'll probably get to go sometime this month. Hoppas. We did get to go help clean a couple times last week. We wiped out all the lockers in the mens locker room, and vacuumed the chairs and altar in one of the sealing rooms. I can't wait to actually get to do a session there though!

Tell Peyton, Zorro, the cat, and Coonie that I love them too. And make sure Matty's being nice to Coonie. They don't get along too well.

Syster Sjöblom is from North Ogden. I believe we're doing a musical number at some Relief Society thing sometime. I don't really know because the other sisters set it up. I don't know where I'll get a violin from so we'll probably all just sing. There is a member who's learning how to make violins, but he hasn't finished any yet. (They make good soup though! Actually, that was one of my favorite dinner appointments because it was soup, which I ate with a spoon. I'm terrible at using forks here because you have to use it with you left hand and like...upside down... it's hard. So the soup was a welcome relief from trying to figure out how to get rice on the back of my fork in my left hand.)

We still don't know who exactly we're going to baptize, but we're getting more and more options. If they ever answer their phones... we talked to a guy from Nigeria last night who was interested. He didn't even have a dog. And we're going to meet with someone from Denmark that we talked to a couple of weeks ago, because he'll finally be in Sweden again. This week has been better as far as meeting and teaching investigators. We even got a new one! Her name is Rosa, and she's from Venezuela. She was in the area book but she'd moved, but she moved back. Her family is Catholic but they like the Book of Mormon. When we asked her about it she had one that looked like it was being used recently, so that's good. She said she agrees with most of the stuff in it, so we're hoping to teach her again this week so we can learn what parts she has a problem with and address them. I got to practice my Spanish with her and read some of El Libro De Mormon. It was interesting because I wanted to pronounce it like Swedish, but she was impressed by my Spanish pronunciation still. Yay!

We also met with and taught Cie-Cie, one of the investigators from the area. She has a strong testimony of Joseph Smith, but she's really interested in this New Age religion that's popular around here. She's quite a character, but she's really sweet and she's just looking for peace in life. Hopefully she can realize that the gospel of Christ is how to find it.

We've also been working with a bunch of less active members. On Tuesday we took a 2½ hour bus trip out to one of the little cities in our area (it had about three roads total) to find a less active family that the bishop asked us to visit. We got off one bus stop too late (the Stora Vika stop isn't actually IN Stora Vika apparently) and we had to walk around the city like three times before we decided that the road didn't exist, but we found the building that was most likely to be the right one. And there were no listings for who lived in which apartment. We had to catch the bus again in 45 minutes and we were about to give up, but we thought (AKA were inspired) to ask the people in the laundry room if they knew the family. Of course the laundry room was locked BUT you know me and my stalkerish instincts. The back door was unlocked, so we went in and asked the girl in there if she knew the Jana family. She said she did and we should follow her, and on the way up the stairs she's like "that's my family." She just let us in and we taught a great lesson about the Book of Mormon. They hadn't had contact with the church for 4 years, so I'm so glad we found them! Then on the bus ride home (which was only one hour because we learned there was a direct route instead of the convoluted connections we'd taken to get there) we met a girl who was really interested and basically taught her all about the restoration and she posted about us on facebook and everything. But she wouldn't give us her number. :( She said she'd probably come to church sometime though so maybe next week.

It's too bad hunting didn't go so well this year. We had dinner with a member of the bishopric last night and I learned that the whole bishopric is in the same hunting "team". They hunt wild boars and bears. He was very impressed to learn that I'm a hunter, and I got to see lots of pictures of boars and bears. It was pretty cool. I told Syster Sjöblom that once I told you about that (dad) that you'd be in Sweden in no time to make friends with them and get on the team. We were also part of a moose hunt. We were headed to a member's apartment for dinner and she met us on the edge of the complex and told us to be careful because there was a huge moose in the middle of the complex. Sure enough, there was a cow moose mosying around, eating the flowers. I'm not sure what it was doing there. But there were a lot of people taking pictures. Later, during dinner, we heard a shot, and the lady's husband called her and said there was a dead moose on the road. I didn't think it sounded like that big of a gun though, so I think they might have just tranquilized it. We didn't see it again in any case. But the hunting is going well here I guess. (The member (Linda. She's really sweet and loves missionaries. We're all on the growth wall with the rest of her kids. I'll send you a picture sometime) didn't know the difference between an elk and a moose. She called them both älg.

I haven't used my debit card here yet but I think I'll be buying boots soon. We've heard we can get some warm ones right around where we live, and they're only like 500 crowns, so that would be great. I'll probably use it on that or something. 

Did you do anything today for Labor Day? Some of the missionaries in this area are having a barbeque. I don't know if we'll go because it already started. Our plans got thrown off because of internet problems. It's been a rainy day here too. Yesterday you could tell that summer was over and it was time for Fall. It was rainy and blustery and there are leaves on the ground and everything. 

We've been trying to visit lots of members and less active members. Actually we've been trying to visit everyone on the ward list in our area. It's hard because most people here live in apartments, and most apartments have a portcode. So even if we know the address, we can't find out which floor they live on, and even if we do, we can't knock on their door or even leave a note. Kind of frustrating. But the times that it's really important, like the Jana family in Stora Vika, God makes sure we still get in contact. The same kind of thing happened on Thursday night too. We went to a different area in the zone that needed a lot of help with contacting less active families. They gave each companionship a few addresses with less active families to contact. We went to the first two, and they were both portcoded. We found the apartments that the last one belonged to, but we couldn't find the building right away. They were all portcoded, so we thought for sure the one we were looking for would be no different, but we felt like we had to find it anyway. When we finally found the building, it was portcoded. We lingered there for a minute, despairing over the cruelty of portcodes, when a woman in front of the building came over and asked if we were from the church. She was the one we were looking for! I'm so glad we didn't give up! I've learned that a few times in the last two weeks, with her and the Jana family and some of the contacts we've made on the streets. The ones that pay off are the ones where you give 100% effort and don't give up. A lot of times it really is just a trial of our faith, to see if we have the faith to push forward and find that one last person.

Yesterday in fast and testimony meeting I bore my testimony. It was scary because it was Swedish, but I could still do it and I was so glad. I felt a lot of support from the ward members after that too, which is good because we need their help if we're going to have success in this area. The Second Harvest prophecy talks about that too-"When the membership of the Church unites with the missionary force, then all things become possible to them, and the growth of the Kingdom of God shall be assured." We talk about that with all the members we have dinners with, because we really need their help! Member missionary work is the best! (And I hope you all are doing it!)

Things are going great! I'm excited for this week, it's looking really promising. Oh, and I'm doing a 10K on Saturday. At a brisk walk. All the sister missionaries around are doing it, so it should be fun. I'll try and send some pictures.

Jag älskar er!!

Love, Delaney

PS-Yes, I have received two letters from mom now. One she wrote while I was in the MTC, and one more.

PPS-I will ask the elders if they know about that knot. I agree that it is pretty cool. (Yes, I have heard of it.) There are lots of cool tie knots on Pinterest.

PPPS-This might be kind of early, but when you send my Christmas package (or any package) send some deer jerky! (Please!) 

PPPPS-I'm making Kladkaka for ya'll when I come home. And Flying Jacob. You'll love it.

PPPPPS-I can say ya'll now because I speak Swedish and they have a special word for that (er). Also because Syster Larson, who lives in the same apartment with me, grew up in Florida and it's rubbing off on me.