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