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.
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!