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!
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!