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!!