Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013

Kära Familj,
Tack själv för en underbar e-post! Jag älskar att höra från er! 
Yeah I still have to think too much about Swedish to be able to type out a whole email, so you're still getting English. I still read the Swedish one from you though, and usually I don't have to check the English one to figure out what you're saying. I still read it anyway in case I missed anything.
Way to go doing missionary work! That's so exciting that our ward had a baptism and is going to have more! Does our ward have its own missionaries? It was pretty weird coming from Utah where you might see the missionaries once in a while, to Sweden where we have four of us just in one ward. I've forgotten that there are more missionaries everywhere, not just here. I hope you don't feed them chicken when they come over. Give them macaroni and cheese, or pizza, or something that nobody in their right mind would feed to guests, because they probably never get it! When you see them make sure and tell them your story about Russ, because they'll love it and they'll probably offer to role-play with you how you can invite your other friends to learn about the church too. Missionaries love role-plays. I've role-played every day of my mission, without fail.
Hunting sounded like fun. I can't believe how many bucks you guys saw! And how big they were. Crazy! I'll give brother Krus your email address next time I see him. You'll love talking to him about hunting. There's a law in Sweden that each adult can only own six firearms, so try not to make him too jealous. And he gets confused about the difference between a shotgun and a rifle in English. I told him we shoot turkeys with a shotgun and he said "couldn't you use something smaller like a rifle?" But they come to the states a lot because one of their daughters lives there, so he is super interested in hunting there!
Your trip to Hawaii idea sounds like it was really cool. I bet it could be really powerful to get people into that situation and then talk about the plan of salvation with them. I bet the youth would love to help with that too. Syster Sjöblom agrees that it sounds cool. I think our biggest problem will be advertising that the church is open and that all these things are going on. But, we did realize that the four of us Västerhaninge sisters are the closest to temple square missionaries you could be here in Sweden! Because we're basically trying to turn the chapel into a visitor center for the temple.
So, this week! Let me tell you, FASTING WORKS! And working hard works! And faith works! And the Gospel is true! I'll start from the beginning and save the best for last.
On Monday we finished our P-day time early so that we could go to the temple Tuesday morning. We scheduled to teach a guy named Abdullah (that's not really his name, but I could never understand what he said his name was, so we're going with Abdullah.). He's 42 and he's from Somalia. We met him at the train station like we usually do, but he wouldn't come to the church like we'd planned for the lesson. Instead he wanted to just stand there and talk. So we stood there for 45 minutes discussing theology. He wasn't very interested in listening, but we explained clearly that we are only here to teach, and not to just discuss. He tried to give us a topic for our next meeting, but we insisted that as the teachers, we would be deciding. Lessons like that are really only good for strengthening our own testimonies, because no matter how much they argue, you still know that what you're saying is true. We set up another meeting with him for Thursday where he agreed that we'd sit down somewhere this time.
On Tuesday morning we got to go to the temple! It was awesome of course. A year ago I would have never imagined myself in a Russian session of the Stockholm temple with a group of Norwegians. It was great to get to go to the temple again! Luckily we had translations to English. Syster Sjöblom hadn't been to the temple since she left the MTC in March, so it was great that we got to go. That morning they only had Norwegian and Russian because there were three people going through for the first time, so they did the session in their own languages. After the temple we went back to the apartment for lunch, and as we were getting ready to go I kept thinking "I'd better bring this Arabic Book of Mormon in case we get to teach Jerry tonight." (Because Jerry had said maybe that night but he wasn't sure.) Then my next thought was always "Wait, Jerry doesn't speak Arabic." It happened five or six times, so I figured it would probably be best if I just brought the Arabic Book of Mormon anyway. We were dropping by some more less active members down in Nynäshamn (we got a new ward list and it had some new names on it) so we also took "reactivation cookies." One of the places we were looking for we couldn't find, so I had one extra bag of cookies in my bag. Then when we got on the train, I saw Monir. I taught him the Restoration on the train a few weeks ago and gave him a Swedish Book of Mormon, promising him an Arabic one the next time we met. He works in Nynäshamn and takes the train for 2 hours to his house, but I've talked to him a couple of times on the train. On Tuesday we were supposed to call him at 5 after he finished working, but we were doing something else and forgot. But then he was on the train, and I had the Arabic Book of Mormon! So I gave it to him, and I also gave him the cookies for his kids, because he's told me about them. It was awesome and I'm so glad I followed the Spirit so I had the book! If we can teach him it will probably just be on the train on his way home from work, but that's better than nothing!
As I'm going through my planner to remember what to say about every day, I'm just realizing that this has been a super awesome week filled with miracles and our faith and hard work is being rewarded. It's been full of Spiritual promptings and amazing people and I love it!
So anyway, Wednesday was great even though our ward council meeting was cancelled. We taught a man named Kamran from Pakistan. He was our tenth contact one night on the platform, and he was super interested and has actually been looking for a congregation to meet with. He's a devout Christian, even though he comes from a primarily Muslim country. We taught him at the church and even managed to get a member there, who was also super awesome in the lesson. Kamran was asking about baptism before we even started-it was great! He was also impressed that we had a Book of Mormon in his language-Urdu. It showed to him that our church is really universal and it's for everyone. He was excited about the Book of Mormon and he's going to start reading it and he said that if he knows it's true (when he knows it's true, because I know that if he reads and prays about it he will) he'll be baptized! And he totally understands the need to pray in faith and have real intent. It's awesome! He lives in Haninge, which is Handen's area, so we'll pass him off to the zone leaders after we teach him one more time, but I'm really excited about him!
We had a weird day on Thursday, because President Newel called in the morning and said he was going to interview each of us and check our apartment. (Let's just say companionship study that morning included a lot of cleaning...) He came to the end of our district meeting and gave us an extra hour there of "specialized instruction" about how many potential investigators there are in our area books and in part member families. Then the interviews took a long time because he interviewed each of us individually and as a companionship, and he did the same with the zone leaders before he came to our apartment to check it. He was very impressed with my planner. :) He said "With a planner like this, you will baptize." Because the ministering angels who are here to help me will know where to focus their efforts since I'm writing it down. I love my ministering angels! Anyway, our district meeting on Thursday ended up being as long as a zone conference but without even having a break for lunch, and we weren't done until 4. And we had dinner at 5. So we ate some snacks and then went to dinner, then we did some contacting. But it was a great day because I got another huge boost of faith from President Newel and heard a lot of cool stories from him. He's good friends with a lot of the Apostles and even with President Monson. So he has really cool stories, obviously.
By Friday I had my testimony all prepared to share in Spanish because we visited Loyola again. But I couldn't get a word in edgewise. She's really lonely and needs someone to talk to, but we don't get much actual teaching done there. She has started reading in El Libro de Mormon though, and she was confused as to why she couldn't find the names Nephi and Lehi in her Bible's index. We started to explain what the Book of Mormon is but she got off on another tangent. She made us rhubarb pie though, and that was good. I'm not sure how to go about teaching her though. Studying the Spanish has really helped though, because we contact a lot of people who only speak Spanish. I'm getting better every day! It still mostly just comes out in Swedish though. After Loyola we taught Abdullah again. He had a book called "choice" and it was opened to a chapter called "combat kit." It was literally an instruction book for bible bashing! Needless to say, we did not let that happen. We testified and we explained that if he only wanted to discuss theology, that's not what we do. He's not willing to actually learn anything from us, so we told him we don't have time for that but let us know when he was willing. We were respectful but firm. It was great. Again, my testimony was strengthened from that. And we're pretty sure there were people listening on the other side of the bookshelf. (We met in the library. When I suggested that we could meet in the church because it's warm there and we could sit down he said "you people are OBSESSED with getting me into that church!" Mostly I just didn't want my toes to freeze off this time.)
On Saturday we were supposed to teach Miriam, a girl who the Hägersten elders contacted who lives in our area, but she didn't show up. It's exciting just to have a potential investigator who actually lives in our area though! We did get to teach Cie-Cie. She's doing so much better this week! When we were doing cookies on Tuesday we left some at her door with a little note, and she called us later thanking us for it. It's amazing how much good one little simple thing can do. We read Alma 32 with her because she feels like she's lost all her faith, and she really liked it. Then she asked us to pray for her to win the lottery. ... We said we always pray for her and left it at that. There was a market going on in Nynäshamn too. It looked like a state fair got put in the middle of the street. We bought roasted almonds on our way back to the train station, and I got some alpaca wool gloves from Peru. So now my hands will stay warm. Anyway, on the train home we had another awesome experience. We sat exactly in the middle of the train, so that in a few stops we could contact someone on either side. (It's hard to contact at Nynäshamn because it's the end of the line so there aren't many people.) When we got to Ösmo, we stood up to go contact someone, but Syster Sjöblom realized she didn't know if she'd turned the phone off of silent from our lesson with Cie-Cie. She pulled out the phone, which was on silent, in time to see that the elders were calling, so we both sat back down. Moments later, Sebastian got on the train and sat by us! If all of that hadn't happened, we would have been further down the train and probably wouldn't have seen him. But instead we got to talk to him some more about the Book of Mormon, and he said he feels the Spirit while he reads it! I'm so glad we got to talk to him! The real miracle will be if we ever get to meet with him again outside of just running into him on the trains.
And the best for last, yesterday was great! It has to be great when you get an extra hour of sleep and the sun is actually coming up when you get out of bed, right? (On the downside, it was already twilight when we finished church at 4...) BUT. We had two investigators in church! One was Cie-Cie. She has a member friend who's really good with her, and she really liked it. She's been to church a few times before, but not since I've been here. Our other investigator in church was Arthur. We found him a month ago on the train platform and he told us about how he'd started praying and seen it help his life improve. We couldn't meet until yesterday, but  IT WAS AWESOME. He's so sweet and amazing and humble and he's so willing to follow Christ! He's from Poland. I told you about my obsession with Polish people, right? Did I tell you about when I prayed to find a Polish Book of Mormon and found the only one left at the church? Well I finally got to give it away!  He's felt the Holy Ghost before and wants to feel it again and he loves reading and is excited about reading the Book of Mormon and he wants to get baptized! He doesn't really have any religious background, so we're taking it kind of slow with him, but we're going to set up a dop date next Sunday when we see him again. He loved church and he said he's coming back every week! We can't take it too slow though because he's probably moving from Sweden in a couple months to be back with his family. Among the many miracles that happened this week, him coming to church and loving it was probably my favorite.
In other news: We haven't been able to contact Familjen Ecuador again, we have a lesson with Miguel this week before we pass him off the the Jakobsberg elders, Therese and Madeleine are still friends with Louise and interested in meeting sometime when they're not busy with work, Loyola talks a lot but has so much faith in God, Cie Cie is doing much better, Peter might be in Sweden this week, Petra probably doesn't have money on her phone to text us back but I'm sure she's still enjoying the Book of Mormon, John may or may not be in France, Jerry went to Italy for a month, Marie has been in Norrland, and the serial hugger Marianne gave me a hug again this week. We've called her a few times but she's really busy. I feel bad for her. She works nights, then she sleeps for a few hours at a time during the day when she's not taking care of her family. We really might just teach her on the train on her way to work. But she still really likes us! 

The Backmans are the less active family in Nynäshamn. The Stora Vika family is the Janas.
It's been a great week and I'm thankful for all of your prayers! Please pray for Arthur especially! Thank you for asking about my investigators, because I love talking about them and it helps me realize the progress they've made too. I hope you all have a fantastic week! Keep up the missionary work! Jag älskar er!
Love, Delaney

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pictures sent 10-21--13

I almost forgot! I made peas, potatoes, and white sauce! And it was yummy!

The pictures are of Louise's party (which became a "become an African" party.) We only got skirt wraps this time but it was fun.
The other one is my peas, potatoes and white sauce! I was wearing an old apron belonging to Syster Francis, who is my mission grandmother. (She trained Syster Sjöblom.) Do you put any spices in that besides salt and pepper? I also made it a little too thick. But it was still good!
I love you!



October 21, 2013

Kära familj,
I would like to say that my Sunday was as good as yours. It was definitely interesting. We had stake conference. Did you know that the First Presidency has announced that effective immediately, the Saturday night adult session of Stake Conference should be dedicated to the Work of Salvation. So the members got another boost of missionary work spirit! I love that. We didn't have any investigators or less actives there. It's especially hard when it's a different time from usual and it's extra far away.
We've been blessed with people to teach this week, at least a few of them. None of them actually live in Nynäshamn, but we're teaching first lessons before we hand them off to the missionaries whose areas they live in. Guess I'll start from the start again.
Monday was P-Day. We emailed and bought food from Ica Maxi, which is like walmart. We don't usually go there because it's not worth the bus ride, but they have better and cheaper produce. They also had some halloween stuff, and Christmas stuff out. And lots of candles. Swedes love their candles. We didn't teach anyone (we were hoping Peter would be back in the area but he's still in Denmark.) But I did run into Thunya, an old investigator who we've tried to meet a few times but had never actually met before. That was cool because I learned that she'd moved to Jordbro, which explains why we couldn't find her house in Nynäshamn. Jordbro is in the Handen area, and the Handen elders love us because we give them a ton of referrals.
Tuesday we had Zone Conference! It was super great. I loved it. The whole thing was focused on Family History, because we're going to make that a focus now in the mission. We're going to use it in finding (people open up more when you talk about family history, and it's one of the top three interests in Sweden, so we invite lots of people to the family history center), and in retention. The temple presidency said that 93% of new converts who go to the temple to do baptisms in the first year stay active in the church. And it's even better if they can take their own family name and do the same ordinance for one of their ancestors. And then they feel the Spirit and remember how it felt at their own baptism. Plus it's the temple-you can't go wrong! One of the new changes they announced is that we're going to start spending one hour a week doing family history work. I found a line (I think it was through Anna-Kristina Petersen's line) of French kings that went all the way back into 450ish BC. Still haven't found anyone from Sweden though. They want us to be able to get the work done for our Scandinavian ancestors in the Stockholm temple. Maybe that means we'll be able to go to the temple more often too. That would be cool. Another change they announced was that we're going to have the chapels open to the public more so they can come in and see. Which means the missionaries have to spend about 6 hours a week in the chapel. Which is not in our area. We don't get down to Nynäshamn too often. But we teach in the church a lot, so it won't be too big of a transition to spend a little more time in the chapel. We've been brainstorming how we can get people there, including members who can bring their friends. We're talking about doing all kinds of things to get people to come-piano lessons, cooking American cupcake lessons, teaching English. Should be fun. If you guys have any ideas for things we could do to get people there, definitely share them!
On Wednesday we went from having nothing planned to having to run to catch the right train in order to get to all our appointments. We called the right people and everyone answered. Well some of them answered. It was Louise's birthday so we went down and took her cookies. We ended up having a member present lesson, because her friend Madeleine was there. (Madeleine is Therese's daughter, and she's 19.) We're working on building up a friendship with Madeleine so we can invite her to institute and other YSA activities. After Louise we came back to Västerhaninge to teach Loyola. She's actually a pretty cool story-I contacted her on the train and found out she'd met with missionaries before and has a member friend. She was super excited to meet when we called. We gave her a Libro De Mormon and she shared her testimony about how much God loves all of us and that He's always with us. She's pretty wary of changing religions because she was already baptized Catholic and she thinks it would be a sin to be baptized again. I'm going to bear my testimony in Spanish to her next time and let the Spirit work on her. (Luckily in zone conference they had that Spanish book for me. Swedish is way more simple than Spanish!) She lives in Västerhaninge but we're going to keep teaching her for now because of the Spanish thing.
Thursday we got to teach Cie-Cie again. I think we're going to start reading scriptures with her over the phone this week to try and get her to cheer up a bit and feel the Spirit more. She used to have a lot of faith but she's had a really hard life and she says she's lost it all but she really wants to believe in God and Christ. We shared in Alma 32 that you just have to have the desire to believe and let that work in you. Hopefully that's what she's doing. It really touched her and I think she felt better. After that we came back to the church to teach Jerry, a potential investigator we contacted on the train. He's from Ghana, in his early 20s, and a member of the Assembly of Christ church (same as Sebastian.) Once we explained that we were not trying to replace the bible he was happy to listen to us, and he's excited to read the Book of Mormon. But he's leaving the country for a few weeks, so we'll have to see if we ever actually hear from him again. But he was really really positive! He lives in Västerhaninge, so we'll have to hand him off to the other sisters after we teach him again, but it's okay because what matters is that someone will teach him.
On Friday we went back to Backmans' house, with an actual appointment this time. She was super sweet and it was really great! She has a strong testimony still and I think she just needs lots of love. She made us apple pie. (It's apple season here, you can tell because we eat so much apple pie! Swedish apple pie is different from American. It's more like cake and it's got less goo and more apple.) It also had homemade vanilla sauce on it. Vanilla sauce is another Swedish thing. It's like chocolate sauce only vanilla. Obviously. And it's super good! After that we went to Louise's birthday party. (When we went over on Wednesday she told us we were coming on Friday to her real party. We didn't get a choice, but we were excited to meet all her potential investigator friends!) We had OTS-Oxtail Soup. Quote of the day from Syster Sjöblom: "I've never had a vertebra floating around in my soup before." It was actually really good though. Closest thing to roast beef I've had in Sweden so far. 
Saturday morning we went to a baptism in Hägersten where Syster Sjöblom accompanied for the musical number. It was so great to see that there really are people who want to be baptized and are excited about it. I just can't wait for those people to be people I taught! With weekly planning, a dinner appointment, and stake conference, we didn't get down to Nynäshamn, but it was still a good day. We ate salmon at dinner. Oh and I forgot to mention that we had tilapia at Louise's. They were both good and not too fishy, the tilapia especially. I make sure and tell you every time I eat fish, so you don't have to wonder.
Yesterday I had dinner with that hunting family (one of them) and he loved the pictures! Cody was right, he didn't know what an antelope was, but he was most impressed with mom's elk and Peyton's five-point. He also thought it was cool that we've all gotten a deer for our twelfth birthday hunt. We saw more pictures of boars, bears, rabbits, and älg. He showed us a spike älg that he shot, and it looked really funny. They call spikes spaghetti noodles because the antlers kind of curve. They also call them bicycle handles. I told him that you wanted to know how one becomes part of a bear hunting team and he said that you have to be invited, and that you're invited. I told him you would take him hunting in the states too. He wanted to know what day the deer hunt started, and he'll be excited to hear about Saturday as well!
Speaking of Saturday, good job Peyton!! I'm a little jealous that you're only 14 and already have as many bucks as I do, including a big old five point! I'm also excited for some deer jerky, and so are the rest of the sisters! (Syster Larson is a hunter and Syster Sjöblom loves venison.)
The weather's getting colder. We've had some thick frost but no snow yet. Not here anyway. 
Miguel-we're going to call him this week like he said and see if he's still too busy.  Marie is in Norland for the moment. Therese was at Louise's birthday party and still thinks we're the bee's knees, and we have a (tentative) appointment with her this week. Familjen Ecuador has not answered the phone since last week. We saw John again on the train platform and he's busy again but he said he'll call us when he has time. So we'll call him. Tarek moved (did I mention that?) and has stopped answering our texts.  Anders has been sick and wasn't even at his mom's birthday party. (He's a punk!)  Did any of them come to stake conference today? no.  Which ones are considered progressing this week? Peter and Petra, since they actually read the Book of Mormon. Hopefully we'll be able to meet with them soon. Any baptismal dates yet? Nope. But I think we'll have some as soon as we can meet Peter and Petra, and maybe even Marianne. (She hasn't answered our calls yet. We're trying to figure out when she's awake since she works nights.)
You would actually say JÄDMIS, because I'm just one person so it's Dig instead of Er. Unless you were talking to Syster Sjöblom too, then you can say JÄEMIS. :)
But anyway, this week will be even better. I know we're doing everything we can and we're going to start having great success! Thank you all for your prayers, your letters, and your support! (I'd write more people back but we don't have so much time to write and we only write on P-Day. But I love you all!)
Jag älskar er! (JÄEMIS!)
Love, Delaney

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14, 2013

Kära Familj,
I'm glad mom had a nice birthday. I was thinking of her and of Costco chocolate cake. Our apartment has implemented a diet plan this week: no desserts unless we're at a member's house, it's zone conference, or weekly planning. It should be pretty easy, we just have to keep Syster Sjöblom out of the kitchen. We're planning on buying salad fixings today. We don't eat that much junk food, just lots and lots of chocolate because it's so good here! When is the Jazz vs. Jimmer game? It sounds like fun.

All the hunting sounds like fun. Tell Taryn don't worry, she's not the first to fall in over her hip boots. I hope she didn't freeze! And how embarrassing that Matty missed some ducks right in front of her! Hopefully you guys get a buck, because I would LOVE some deer jerky. Speaking of which, I got all the pictures in your letters. We have dinner with that family this coming Sunday, so I'm excited to show them. Also, I saw five deer this week. Two from the train (isn't it cool that Sweden is the kind of place where you can look out from the train and see deer frolicking around in the forest?) and three super close, right across the street. They looked like smallish deer. I guess that means they were roe deer. No bucks. I was going to take a picture of the close ones for you but they bolted.
The weather is still great here, but I'm glad I got boots. (Yes, I got boots, for a really good deal.) They're already nice and broken in because I walked five miles in them on Friday. We had no idea that it was going to be that far. Basically, we've been to every single far and distant place in our area this week looking for something to do or somebody to teach. Guess I'll start from the beginning.
Monday for the rest of P-day we got boots and groceries, wrote letters, and even played some Uno. We planned to teach Sebastian and called him, but he didn't answer, so we decided we'd just go to Ösmo where he lives and find him there and teach him anyway. So we got on the train, found Sebastian there, and taught him about the Book of Mormon on the way down to Ösmo. He was really tired from work but we were glad to at least see him. He told us he's very committed to his church, but he still wants to come and visit our services and he's still interested in knowing what we as missionaries are here to do. So not extremely positive, but at least he's not negative. Once we got off the train at Ösmo, we hopped right back on the train North and just rode trains for the rest of the night, talking to people and trying to get numbers. Yes, we're that desperate for someone to teach. We met a guy named Miguel and ended up teaching him a lot about the Plan of Salvation and the Book of Mormon. He's very spiritual and prays to God many times a day, and he had awesome questions and is interested to learn more. We gave him a Book of Mormon and got his number, and called him a few days later of course. He's still interested but he's really busy for the next couple of weeks. (Never heard that one before...but we'll see how it goes.) Miguel is about 21 and he's from Peru, but he's lived in Sweden for most of his life and speaks better Swedish than anything. (But he was impressed that I had a Spanish Book of Mormon if he wanted that one instead. He took Swedish.)
On Tuesday morning we planted the whole huge flowerbed in front of the temple. It looks great! I love the temple! We thought we were going to go tomorrow morning, but now we have zone conference tomorrow, so we can't go until next week. I'm excited for it though! Then Tuesday afternoon we went down to Nynäshamn and said hi to Marie, who hasn't had time to watch conference yet but is still planning on it. She's going to teach us how to make these bracelets she makes from reindeer hide and silver and tin. And the button is made from reindeer antler. Anyway, after that, we had nobody to teach again and nothing else to do, so we rode trains some more. Syster Sjöblom met someone who was really searching and really accepting of the message, but when he got to his stop he left before she had time to get his number. :/ It wasn't a very fruitful day.
Wednesday. This was when our desparation for someone to teach reached the point that we started visiting the far out places in our area to drop by the one or two members who might live there. (Usually when they live that far out there's a good chance that they're not active, so we brought reactivation cookies with us too of course!) So on Wednesday we went to Sorunda, only a 20 ish minute bus from Ösmo. We had a map from the other missionaries, but the addresses weren't actually in Sorunda, so we only really had which road to take in the right direction. Finally when we asked someone on the street where it was, we realized that when it said "way out" on the map pointing along a road, it did not mean that was the way out of Sorunda. It meant the address was way out there. So we got off the bus at one end of Sorunda, walked all the way across the town, contacted two people (one of them was really impressed that we were all the way out in Sorunda) and got on the same bus at the other end of town. The bus driver actually laughed at us, because Syster Sjöblom couldn't find her bus card but he recognized us. He probably thought we were idiots.
On Thursday we went out to Muskö, the island in our area. It was a 25 minute bus ride from Ösmo, and it went through a tunnel under the Baltic Sea to get to the island. So that was cool. We have one active family on Muskö, and one less active member. So we gave a message to the active family (member missionary work-what's your gameplan?) and then left cookies at the less active member's house because he wasn't home. We came back to Ösmo, and then rode more trains and got no numbers or even positive contacts. But we made a good relationship with the member family and committed them to think of friends they could share the gospel with, so maybe we'll get a referral from that. On an unrelated note, I just looked at my planner for how to spell referral, but my planner is in Swedish. It only says Hänvisningar.
Friday was the day that I wore my boots because it looked super cold, and ended up walking five miles in them. They're good and broken in now. The night before we'd planned to visit a less active member who does not live in Ösmo. We thought she did but when we went to the house we thought it should be, it was Körundavägen, but we needed to be on Körunda Sateri. So we found Körunda Sateri on google maps last week and realized that we just needed to follow Körundavägen until it forked into the right street. We knew it was important that we dropped by her, because we'd already planned it and that morning it was revealed to us (via the ward list) that it was her birthday! So we walked. And walked. And walked. We found a really nice golf course and saw some beautiful country views. (Syster Sjöblom said "Who'd have thought I'd never be in the country until I got transferred to Stockholm!") Finally we got to the house, where nobody was home, and left cookies and a birthday card and note. So at least she'll have a nice birthday treat from us and know that we're thinking of her.
Also on Friday we finally got the chance to teach Cie-Cie again! She's doing pretty bad with depression and such, but we read Alma 7 with her. She actually invited us into her apartment, which she's never done with missionaries before, so I think she likes us. And she knows that we help her feel better. I wish she would come to church again so she could feel the Spirit there as well. She has a really good member friend who is trying the best she can, so I think she's slowly and surely coming closer to Christ and feeling His love. She calls us often to ask us to pray for her, and sometimes we even pray with her over the phone.
Saturday was a pretty good day. Of course I wouldn't be able to say we went to all the far-out places in our area without also going to Stora Vika! It was only a 25 minute bus ride from Nynäshamn-I don't know why it took us this long to figure that out. The Janas weren't home, even though she said she would be. But we had fika with a member family who lives out there (the ones we ran into last time when we got off at the wrong bus stop) and we found out that they're our golden ticket to member missionary work down in the Nynäshamn area. They asked about all the less active members we've been working with down there, and they had even done things to try and contact them! Once again, I was so thankful that we've already been working hard so we could have good reports for them about what we've been doing there. They're super awesome and willing to help. So hopefully we'll be able to introduce them to Petra sometime soon and maybe even teach Petra at their house. They gave us Smörgåstårta, which means "sandwich cake". It's like bread cake frosted in mayonnaise (but not as gross as it sounds. It's not really mayonnaise, just something condiment-y like that.) and topped with sandwich stuff. This one had lettuce, salmon (raw), shrimp (also raw), caviar, hard boiled eggs, grapes, and lemon slices. So this weekend I ate raw salmon and shrimp, and caviar. And it was actually pretty good! Maybe not my favorite, but I would eat it again for sure. The caviar wasn't as terrible as other missionaries have made it sound, I think because it was better quality. It tasted like a little bubble of salt water. The caviar here is sold in tubes like toothpaste, and it's orange or black. This smörgåstårta had both colors. Syster Sjöblom said it was a really high quality one and probably pretty expensive, like a few hundred kronor. So that was cool. We thought we were going there to strengthen them, but we got a huge boost of faith and enthusiasm from them. (There were also reindeer antlers hanging outside, but I didn't get a chance to ask about them because we were hurrying off to the bus. It was a weekend so the next bus wouldn't come for another two hours.)
And finally, yesterday. First we had our weekly meeting with our ward mission president. He finally asked what was wrong and why we all seemed so bitter, and we basically laid the smack-down about how we have nobody to teach and it's because we're not getting help from the members. Even though the members are really enthusiastic, we can't work with them most effectively without the ward mission leader's help. As PMG says, the ward mission leader is the bridge between us and the members. There have been quite a few times when I've wished I had somebody who knew the ward members who I could just ask about who would be a good fellowshipper for Petra, or who would be best to invite Familjen Ecuador to church, then realized that that person exists (hypothetically) and is in fact our ward mission leader. It's just that he's hard to get in touch with and then he takes up a lot of our time with talking about other things and doesn't really give us answers to our questions. If we call to ask who would be good to come to a lesson, he says "sorry, I'm busy that day and I can't come." We explain that it doesn't have to be just him, any member would do, but...yeah. It's hard. I know that finding through members is the best way to find investigators, and we're doing the best we can. But we're still searching for those who are prepared. But anyway, Testimony Meeting was great. Lots of people talked about member missionary work. We didn't have any investigators there or even any less active members. We had asked a Spanish speaking woman from the ward to call Familjen Ecuador and make sure they understood where and when church was (since my Spanish needs help. But we did get that book ordered!) but they didn't answer the phone. Maybe next week, but next week is Stake Conference so I think it will be harder to get people there. Petra texted us this week and said sorry she hasn't been answering, but she was out of money on her phone. She asked us whether we have a gudstjänst, a service and we told her yes, every Sunday and she's always welcome, but she wasn't there either. And Therese cancelled on us, so I haven't tried PBS yet.
We got dinner with Linda, one of the members who's always willing (insisting) to have us over for dinner, and then we missed the bus back to the train station by two minutes. So we had to walk back to the station, where we missed our train by four minutes. Since it was Sunday night they only went every half hour, so we waited on the platform with the Zone Leaders, who were also waiting. We sent in our numbers, which were dismal. (We got a grand total of ten lessons this week, and four of them were miracle lessons that we got on the train. Not that I'm complaining about miracle lessons because ten is way better than six!) Since it was the eight o'clock train, I was on the lookout for a certain serial hugger, but didn't see her. We had three contacts left to get, so we got on the train and Syster Sjöblom sat by someone and I kept walking a little further down. I walked down the train until I found Marianne of course! I knew she would be there. She was so happy to see me, almost as happy as I was to see her! She told me she had lost the Book of Mormon she had, which is great news because it means she was looking for it in the first place! I gave her a new one and asked if she still had our number. (She promises to call us every time we see her, but never has.) She said yes, and she's still planning on calling she's just been bad about it. So I suggested that we could call her, and she was all for giving me her number. FINALLY! She wants to meet for coffee sometime (I said "yeah, or something like that!" Sneaky sneaky...) and talk more about it. So we're going to call her and finally be able to meet her for more than the six minutes between Västerhaninge and Handen. And of course I got another hug.
Haven't seen John again. If we don't call at precisely the right time, he's doing things and won't talk to us. Anders has been sick but he thinks we're really cool still so we're still pretty good there. Just got a text from Peter-he's still in Denmark. No luck with Tarek. I think Moris is history. None of our progressing investigators are really progressing, but technically right now we have Peter and Petra. Then Sebastian and Tarek and both kind of halfway. No baptismal dates yet either. But there's nowhere to go but up!
Thank you for your letters and your prayers. We really need them over here. Every time one of these miracles happens I say a little prayer of thanks, and I'm always thankful for all of your faith. I said it last week about Petra, and it's the same this week with Marianne: someone with a lot of faith has been praying for us to find her again! I know that Heavenly Father is taking care of us here and he has lots of great things in store. We're still working hard and being obedient, and the blessings are coming. Can't wait for this week-it's going to be great!

(Jag älskar er mäst, ingen strid! Actually, I'm trying to decide how to translate that. When we say "no battle" are we using the verb or the noun of battle?)   {Note from Patty:  She is referring to us saying "Love You Most No Battle" or "LYMNB"}

Anyway, Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pictures sent October 7, 2013

Syster Smith and Syster Sjoblom waiting for the train

Syster Smith, Therese, Syster Sjoblom
Tiny yellow houses with tiny front yards
Map of Stora Vika
Eating cookies under the umbrella

                                                    Nynashamn harbor at sunset
Bookshelf full of Books of Mormon


October 7, 2013

Kära familj,

DID YOU NOT JUST LOVE GENERAL CONFERENCE?!?! It was like Christmas in October! I still haven't seen the Sunday afternoon session (we'll watch it for personal and companion study sometime this week) but everything so far has been wonderful! Syster Sjöblom and I elbowed each other every time they mentioned member missionary work and now my ribs hurt a little from all that elbowing. I especially liked Elder Ballard's talk. I was giddy and bouncing up and down the whole time. After conference we had a couple members ask us which of our investigators they could pray for, and when I started to explain Petra and how she lives in Stora Vika, one of the members offered to drive us and whichever member we wanted to come to the lesson out there so we could teach her whenever we need to. Isn't that awesome? So who are you all going to reach out to before Christmas?
Syster Sjöblom says whatever Kladdkaka recipe you made, it's not as good as hers. She makes some good kladdkaka but I've actually had some better ones at members' houses. (shh. don't tell.) It's best with vanilla ice cream, or raspberry ice cream. Too bad you can't have it with Swedish ice cream. The weather here has been so nice, we actually went out for ice cream last week. This has been the best summer in 20 years according to the Swedes. I'm not complaining! I've also heard it won't snow until late November or December.
I can't wait to see pictures of Keera! And I'm jealous of both of you for getting to hold her. Good job Cody on swimming and mathing. And Peyton, I've always wanted to do a lyrical to that song! Lucky!

Note from Patty:  Merrill asked Delaney to tell us the age of her investigators so we can get a better mental picture of them.  We tend to think they are all Delaney's age.
So this week. This week was. Well. Yeah. First of all, Syster Sjöblom's birthday was on Tuesday! She's 22! (Yes, I sang a bit of the song for her.) She had many great birthday presents, starting with a text from Erik the Golden saying that he can't be a Mormon and he doesn't want to meet anymore and asking if we want our Book of Mormon back. Next we went to our appointment with Rosa and Adriano (that's the one where we teach in Swedish and he translates to Spanish for her.) He spent the whole time telling us about how the Atonement doesn't even make sense and trying to humanize God. We testified and did our best, but they're not willing to listen so we explained that we don't have time to teach people who aren't willing to do anything about it. Our next appointment never showed up. Then we had an appointment with this Swedish family that actually called us looking for the missionaries, because they have a member friend. You can imagine our excitement, right? And actual family of Swedish people with a member friend that wants to meet. Too good to be true, right? Right. We got to their house and were pretty confused when they started giving us a very un-Swedish tour of every room in the house. Finally we figured out that they thought we were thinking about renting their house or something. So that was awkward. We said "yeah, we'll talk to our mission leaders and see if anyone in the ward is interested or anything..." and got out of there. It was pretty confusing. But funny! We could laugh about it. So for her birthday we got broken up with, broke up with someone, got stood up, and didn't even rent a house. But there were still miracles! On the way to the house we didn't rent, we finally found Ica Maxi. It's like the Wal-Mart of Sweden, and you know how missionaries love their Wal-Mart! We also finally set up a real appointment with Sister Jana. The one who we miraculously find every time we drop by. I'm excited for her to be home and expecting us, and to give her a Libro de Mormon so she can start reading it again! That night we had a little mini birthday party (as much as you can have between 9:30 and 10:30 while still having time to get ready for bed). We ate kladdkaka and Princess Torta, and we played pin-the-nametag-on-the-missionary. (Rosa and Adriano are from Colombia and Venezuela, respectively (or possibly the other way around, I forget) and are probably in their late 30s-40s. And our lesson who didn't show up was an 18 year old from the Middle East. Also Erik is from Colombia but was adopted by Swedish parents so he grew up here, and he's in his 40s.)
Luckily, Syster Sjöblom just got all her birthday presents a day late. Even the ones from home-she got some packages on Wednesday with birthday stuff. Including Reece's! They do have Reece's here on the American aisle, but there aren't so many stores with an American aisle in the first place. We also went by Backmans again and Sister Backman was home again! She really likes us and she invited us back. Let the reactivation begin! We also taught Marie in her cafe. Our plan was to invite her to General Conference, and when I started to tell her about the Relief Society session that was just for the women of the world she blurted out "so how can I watch this!" Unfortunately she couldn't come because her daughter and grandkids were down here for the weekend, but we're going to make sure she watches it (at least President Monson's talk in it) online. The missionaries before us gave her a lot of quotes and such from general authorities, so when we told her that's where all the quotes come from she was really excited that she can watch it too! She said she'll watch it so we can have something to discuss when we meet, which is exactly what we want to do-discuss the gospel! Then we met Syster Christison, Syster Larson's new greenie, and she's really sweet. (She's still a little asleep from jetlag, so we're waiting another few days until we actually feel like we can get to know her...does that make sense?) THEN we had the ward council meeting. We just got a new councilor in the bishopric who is young and super energized for missionary work. Our ward council really loves missionary work and have great ideas! We hardly even have to talk, just have to say that sounds great and yes, we will do that. The best was, on Sunday the Relief Society President gave us a list of the less-active sisters we could visit and jokingly said we could follow up with her about it at Wednesday's ward council meeting. Because Syster Sjöblom and I are awesome (and have nobody else to teach at the moment...) we had already dropped by or at least called all of them. (Sister Jana and Sister Backman were both on the list, for example) So on Wednesday at the meeting we gave her a detailed list of what we'd done with each of the sisters and how it was received. The Relief Society president and all the other auxiliary presidents there were dumbfounded and we were promised many more lists. It's going to be great. (Marie is 55 and Swedish but with really good English because she studied it in America. Sister Jana is 22 from Latin America and Sister Backman just turned 52 or 53 and is Swedish. It was both of their birthdays on Wednesday.)
Thursday we had district meeting. Our district grew with the recent transfer, so now there are the four Västerhaninge sisters and four Hägersten elders. Since we can't have equal numbers of elders and sisters, the zone leaders also have to come to district meeting. It's really fun. We have really funny elders! My previous district leader, Elder Williams, is now one of the zone leaders, and we got a new district leader, Elder Svensson. He's from Sweden. It's pretty cool. After district meeting we went to lunch at a pizza place and I tried my first kebab. In mission lingo, that means that now I've been baptized, I think. Nobody is quite sure what kebab is. I think it might be sheep meat? It's just kebab. And you put it on pizza. And missionaries eat a lot of pizza. Most of the elders order a whole pizza for themselves, and the sisters split one between companionships. Swedish pizza isn't that good. The kebab part was pretty good though
I should explain the leading-up-to-conference bit now. Since Erik the Golden dropped us and was not interested in meeting, we had two investigators who have been to church enough to qualify them for baptism. Cie-Cie and John. Cie-Cie is very hard to get an appointment with, but she called us on Wednesday and actually set up an appointment with us for Thursday. We planned on it with hope, but we've had many appointments with her that don't go through. So when we called on Thursday morning and she still wanted to meet, it was a miracle. She almost never feels good enough to meet-I've only taught her once because the rest of the time she doesn't feel good. We were so excited until she called us just two hours before saying we couldn't meet, she wasn't feeling well enough. At least that meant we could drop by Louise and Siv both, since we weren't sure we'd have time for either. Side note now about Anders-he's Louise's son. (He's 22 years old with a 20 month old son). The miracles around him are just that we've met him three or four times now on trains and one the streets (including on Wednesday) and he likes us more and more each time, and then we had that one random lesson with him at Louise's house last week. When we ran into him on Wednesday he told us to get his number from Louise so we could text him the times for general conference. So we got his number and now he can become an investigator when we start meeting with him! (he didn't come to conference, because his son was sick.) So it was a great visit with Louise, and then we still had time to drop by Siv. She's 82 but really active and really sweet. She was baptized a long time ago but we've realized that she needs the lessons over again because she doesn't know the difference between our church and Pingst Kyrkan, which she used to be a member of. We've been trying to figure out how to start the lessons over with her (our visits have been good but it would be awkward to just launch into the restoration) and we didn't feel like it was right to go into it this time either. But last time we dropped by (she doesn't answer the phone so we just have to drop by and pray that she's home. I'm becoming quite the stalker actually in memorizing peoples' daily schedules so we can catch people at home who won't make appointments) we left her a triple combination in Swedish so she could read in the Doctrine and Covenants. So this week she had perfect questions that led directly into the Restoration and she wants to start learning about it! It was perfect! (Louise and Anders are from Gambia, and Siv is Swedish. So is Cie-Cie.)
Back to John now, our other baptism-before-conference potential. He has some extreme OCD and only wants us to call him at certain times during the day. He told us he was too busy but he would have time to meet again in October. So on Friday before we started weekly planning we called him at the wrong time of day and said "It's October, when are we going to meet?" He could meet that day! So we met him at the chapel in Västerhaninge and we even got a member to come, which was perfect because the members of the ward know John really well by now. He said he would come to general conference. He usually doesn't come to church because the time conflicts with his schedule. We talked about obedience and doing what Heavenly Father wants, and promised him that if he came to church instead of cleaning his apartment for three hours like he normally does (he cleans it for three hours every single day), that God would bless him to still feel at peace about the cleanliness of his apartment. He wants to be baptized in the ocean since the font is too dirty, but it's not cold enough yet. (I almost thought he was going to say he would be baptized Saturday morning if we could do it in the ocean.) He said he would pray about a baptismal date and we could talk about it on Sunday. But he didn't show up. So we'll see what happens there. It was just a miracle that we could teach him in the first place. He's from Singapore and he's probably around 50 years old.
So yeah, we had no investigators there at conference. Petra thought it sounded really interesting, but she already had plans for the weekend. She wants to meet though and we're definitely going to see her sometime this week. I think she'll watch some of conference online too when it's up in Swedish. Petra is Swedish and she's 26. So when you've been imagining everyone around my age, Petra and Anders are the only ones where that's really accurate. Most of them are older.
To answer your questions then, I loved conference! And I watched it in English. They showed it in Swedish in the chapel and English in the cultural hall. The chapel was a little more crowded, but not by much. I have not received the hunting pictures yet. Usually when you send me mail it comes on Tuesday. Except this week I got the letter from mom on Thursday instead. But I'm sure it will come this week. I don't have dinner with that family until a week from Sunday. (This coming Sunday we're going to Therese's again and we're going to make peanut butter soup.)

Min Svenska kommer jättebra. Alla som jag pratar med sägar att jag är "jätte duktig!" Dom aldrig tror att jag har inte läst svenska och att jag har varit i Sverige bara sex veckor. Formodligen pratar jag svenska på tågen och vägen, men i lektioner det är vanligtvis engelska eftersom vi har inte så många undersökare som är svensk. När vi har middag hos medlemmarna, vi pratar svenska.
Translation via Google Translate:  My Swedish is great. Everyone I talk to says that I'm "really good!"  They never think that I have not read Swedish and I have been in Sweden for just six weeks.  Probably I talk Swedish on trains and roads, but the lessons it is usually English because we do not have that many investigators who are Swedish.  When we have dinner with the members we speak Swedish.
This morning I had a conversation in Spanish on the phone though. We have a potential investigator from Ecuador! He said he's only home on the weekends but asked what time church is. I'm going to order a Spanish for Missionaries book this week because of all the Spanish I'm having to use. Thankfully we have many members in the ward who speak spanish, including our ward mission leader and one of the ward missionaries, so we'll be able to teach them. I'll let you know next week about Familjen Ecuador and whether they are at church!
We didn't meet Tarek this week either. I'm not sure how much of our text messages he understands.
We're emailing at the family history center today which has faster computers, so I could finally put on some pictures!
In order (hopefully) they are:

Me and Syster Sjöblom waiting for the train. (the whole picture didn't get saved)
Us with Therese when we made African food. (Don't mind that my African wrap makes me look pregnant...just a bad angle. It's the only good picture we got with the self timer thing, okay?)
The map of Stora Vika and all its' smallness.
Us eating cookies under Syster Sjöblom's umbrella in the rain. We brought the cookies for a less active member, but he didn't live there anymore so we ate them.
Some beautiful views of the harbor in Nynäshamn at sunset.
A little neighborhood full of tiny yellow houses with tiny front yards where I would definitely find my future house if I was going to move to Sweden someday.
And finally, our bookshelf full of Book of Mormons. You can't tell from the picture but we also have a huge stack of Spanish and English versions, and a box of Swedish of course!
Anyway, I hope you all have a great week! Please pray that we can meet Petra and Mary Anne again! (I haven't gotten a hug from her this week. But as soon as we see her again we're going to get her number!) And don't forget that the missionaries need you to fill their planners with people to teach! We say so often, the mission is just like an MTC for being member missionaries for the rest of our lives. Lastly, don't worry about me, because right after emailing we're going boot shopping! :) (I knew mom would be worried about that.)
Jag älskar er! Happy birthday Mom!
Love, Delaney

I forgot to include my favorite conference one liners!
Doubt your doubts, not your faith!
What's your gameplan?
On that note, have a great week! Jag älskar er!