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!)