Monday, November 25, 2013

November 25, 2013

Kära familj,

This week has been so crazy and awesome and jam-packed that I'm not sure how to even write about it at all but I'll try. Hopefully I can make sense of it all for you. I'll probably leave out a lot of details so if something doesn't make sense just use your imagination. :)
The miracles and craziness began on Monday. Of course, I already mentioned that Anders called us during the emailing time and we decided to meet with him the next day. We had dinner with the hunting family-it was a roast of the roe deer they'd shot last week or something. We got to see pictures of it before we ate it. It was a nice little deer and it tasted really yummy! We had a great lesson with them and got more great ideas to do missionary work, and we challenged them to invite someone before Christmas. They have a cute grandbaby who is getting blessed on December first, so they're going to invite friends and neighbors to come to that. After dinner we just had contacting. We talked to a man named Leif in Västerhaninge. He already had a Book of Mormon and had read a lot of it. He had questions-we had answers. He wanted to Bible bash-we testified instead. It was great. Then we took the train to Jordbro and got off there, and contacted Mohammed from Lebanon. He was Muslim but "not that kind of Muslim" (AKA he didn't try to convert us to Islam) and actually thanked us for talking to him about God, because Swedes don't like to. He gave us his number and wants to know more. We got back on the train to Handen, and on the train platform we contacted Diana. She's from Peru, and she doesn't speak Swedish. Or English. But guess who was prompted to grab El Libro De Mormon as we were headed out? This girl right here. Did I explain the Book of Mormon, share some favorite verses and the introduction, and testify of it in Spanish? Yes, yes I did. Is the gift of tongues real? ABSOLUTELY. She asked us where the church is so we gave her the address and our number and said she's always welcome. (By the way, how do you say "we're not trying to replace the Bible" in Spanish?) By this point we figured we must look like we'd fallen in a vat of radioactive waste, because we could feel that we were glowing. We were so happy and everything was just so awesome. We smiled and said hi to everyone, and people started smiling and saying hi back. Even the Swedes! We made them smile! Lastly we stopped and talked to Mercy from Ghana. She has so much faith and she was excited for the Book of Mormon to read with her family and strengthen her faith in Christ. She thanked us for stopping and talking with her. She strengthened our faith. I could have hugged her. Syster Sjöblom actually said "I love you!" I was thinking it too. It was the best. We called the Krus family (where we'd just had dinner) to tell them about all of our success and promise them that they could have the same kind of success.
Tuesday-the trains were weird so we took some extra trains, got some more numbers, and found more interested people. It was great. We had delicious tacos with a member from Honduras (I wrote her a thank-you card in Spanish!) and then we went down to Ösmo to meet Anders and Louise. We ended up teaching Louise but she had to leave for work before Anders was free. So we couldn't go into Anders's apartment but we still invited him to read the Book of Mormon and to hear the missionary lessons. He said yeah of course! Of course, we haven't been able to contact him again for the rest of the week, but we're still pretty excited about him. Oh. And while we were at Louise's we found out that sometimes when she's at work cleaning the hospital in Nynäshamn, she prays with the patients. If that doesn't sound familiar it's because I haven't told you about Arthur's near death experience where the hospital worker started praying with him. But I think I have told you that story. We realized that it's most likely Louise who prayed with Arthur at the hospital and helped him decide to follow God. The next day when we were on the phone with Arthur he said that yes, it was an African lady who prayed with him. There's no way it wasn't Louise! We were jumping up and down in the grocery store when we heard this. It's just too perfect.
Wednesday. For three days in a row, Tuesday through Thursday, our planning session the night before went something like this: "What do you think we should do tomorrow?" (blank planner) "Drop by Siv?" "Sounds good." So on Wednesday we went down to Ösmo again to find Siv not home again. We decided to go to the grocery store and surprise Louise with some new tea since we had to tell her that the big new box she just bought was black tea and she couldn't drink it. (She was fine with that, she's really committed to the gospel. In case I haven't already mentioned this, Louise was baptized in February so she's a new convert.) At the store we found that the tea that the other sisters had found for her that was supposedly herbal tea that we've been drinking with her for the last three months is also black tea. Ick. We were glad we were there to get her new tea in that case, and we found her some nice peppermint and chamomile teas. That's when we were at the grocery store jumping up and down for Arthur. Louise wasn't home so we left the goods on her door, praying that nobody else would take it.
When we dropped by Siv on Thursday she was finally home! She is doing great and she started telling us everything she thought about church on Sunday before we even asked her about it. She decided she's going to try Pingst Kyrkan one more time before she decides which one she wants to go we're praying for her. Luckily she had a really good experience last Sunday. Then we taught Loyola who spoke Spanish to me and mostly just talked a ton. It was exhausting to be with her, and Syster Sjöblom was literally falling asleep. (She's getting sick and she was exhausted and half of it was in Spanish and the other half was how much Loyola hates men. I don't blame Syster Sjöblom for falling asleep at all. In fact I was a little jealous.) Then we went over to the temple couple's (the Johnsons) apartment for dinner. Fajitas from the crock pot. It was the first time I've seen a crock-pot since I went to the MTC. Sweden hasn't discovered them yet. It tasted just like mom's chicken tacos in the crockpot and it was so yummy. Elder Johnson said in passing "Did you know that Trevor(?) Riley from the U served his mission in Sweden?" We both sat up and said in unison "Elder Riley!?!" We've heard a lot about Elder Riley from Juan Carlos, because he was Juan Carlos's missionary and has since lost contact. We've been trying to find Elder Riley for him this whole time, and he just goes and shows up in the news! Elder Johnson printed off the article for us to give to Juan Carlos. But if anyone knows how to get in contact with Elder Riley from the U...that would be super awesome because Juan Carlos really misses him and wants to hear from him! Back to Sweden though-on Thursday night we contacted this guy in Västerhaninge named John. (Different John.) Let's just say John who was once knows as the crazy John has been replaced by this John. When we said we were Mormons he said "You guys don't smoke or drink, right? I want to do that too!" We told him God could help him with that and gave him a card. He texted us five minutes later and wanted to meet the next day.
On Friday morning Syster Sjöblom woke up sick, so we sent her back to bed and I promised to have lots of fun with the phone and set up lessons for the afternoon and for Saturday. I called everyone. And texted everyone. We already had Juan Carlos set up for that afternoon like usual, and Cie-Cie could meet after him like usual, and we set up John for that day as well. As far as Saturday, Mohammad said maybe he could come at three and Sanan (potential investigator) said maybe he could come between ten and six. Very helpful. Me and the other sisters made Syster Sjöblom's famous Greek Soup (we eat it every Friday) for her and it turned out great! I can cook! Well, I can follow a recipe. So after an interesting morning we went out to teach John. He talks really loud. And he gets off subject a lot. Before we went into the church we explained to him the need to use reverent, respectful language, and he actually did check himself and stop swearing while we were in the church, so that was good. He listened and seemed to be taking in aout 75% of what we said, but sometimes he would just burst out laughing at something we said. Then he had a meltdown and started sobbing that he could feel God's love in that's good. He was visibly calmer in the church and I know he felt something at least. He kept trying to convince us to do Primal Therapy. I think he wanted to lie on the floor and reenact his birth? We said no. But he thought the Primary Room would be the best place for it. Once that lesson was finished we went down to Nynäshamn for our usual Friday night. Taught Juan Carlos and he was so thankful for the news about Elder Riley! We had a great lesson with him. Cie-Cie cancelled on us but that was okay because we needed to get home and get Syster Sjöblom out of the cold anyway.

We volunteered to help prepare meals on Saturday morning for "Soul Nite", a huge young single adult activity. I chopped a bunch of onions and peeled a bunch of carrots. It felt like one of our big family parties, I had fun. Then we taught John again. He invited himself to church. He asked good questions about the prophet. And he had another moment. I have no idea what to do with him. On the way back to our apartment for lunch and weekly planning we met Bash, who was interested in going to church. But he wanted to go to the 9:30 ward instead of our ward. Luckily we knew the other sisters were already planning on going to that ward so we told him we'd have friends there who could help him with that. I also met a lot of the YSAs that Syster Sjöblom knew in Jönköping because they were here for Soul Nite. One of them was one of the people that Syster Dawson and I skyped in the MTC. (The one who finally stopped us and said "WHAT are you trying to SAY?") YSAs are so cool! We don't hardly see them in our ward!

And Sunday. The best day of the week! The most stressful day of the week. Saturday night I was seriously making myself sick with worry over what Sunday would bring. We had four investigators who confirmed they were coming, all of them men of course because women don't listen to us, and Syster Sjöblom was going to be playing the hymns for sacrament so she couldn't sit in the congregation. Our ward mission leader is not a legend of any sort and none of these investigators have fellowshippers so we had no idea who was going to sit with who or what was going to happen. But it was still great! You know the principle of risk and reward? I feel like it's the same with stress and rewards. The more stressed we are coming into Sunday, the better it turns out to be. Like this week! We didn't dare call Arthur until we were on our way to the train station to pick him up, because he's cancelled on us the last three weeks. So I called him and he said "I'm waiting at the station for you!" We jumped for joy and skipped most of the way. His lesson went AMAZING and he is so committed to following Christ! We invited him to be baptized before he moves back from Poland. So he's going to be baptized on December tenth, and then he'll leave Sweden on the eleventh. ARTHUR GOT A DOP DATE! We're not cutting it close or anything....he works ten hours a day six days a week, so we can only teach him for the next two Sundays before his baptism. It's pretty exciting. Can't wait to see how that all goes down. The good thing is, even if he doesn't get baptized here I know that he will eventually wherever he is. PRAY FOR HIM!

That was the easy part of church. Then we had sacrament meeting. First of all, the other sisters had an investigator who had an emergency on Saturday night and got kicked out of her place, so she called the missionaries of course. They stored her stuff in the church overnight and hadn't had time to remove it yet. Moral of the story: there's whiskey hidden in the Primary Room. Don't worry, they got it out before primary. So anyway, Sacrament meeting starts in fifteen minutes. Arthur is sitting in the chapel reading his pamphlet, Syster Sjöblom is playing prelude music. I initiate a companionship exchange with Syster Christison so she can stay in the chapel and Syster Larson and I (they're the two other Västerhaninge sisters) can go out to the foyer and look for our other investigators. I call Jakob-the line is busy. I call Chika-he's still in Jordbro. So I tell Chika to just come in and sit down when he gets here because it will already be started. The meeting starts and I'm sitting by Arthur. Halfway throught the opening song I spot John walking down the hall. (John is a new investigator of ours. He's in love with Syster Sjöblom, like most of our investigators, and has some mental problems and is really into Primal Therapy. We actually didn't invite him to church because we wanted an extra week to prep him for it and let him know that things like yelling are not okay during the meeting but he invited himself anyway and showed up). Using my excellent tracking skills I watch John come in and sit in the back. I text the ward mission leader to go sit by him. He can't find John. I answer that he's the one who looks homeless, you can't miss him. Luckily the other sisters had it covered and sat with him long enough for him to invite Syster Larson to end her mission and be his girlfriend instead. (Syster Sjöblom already turned down his marriage proposal). He ends up talking with one of the ward members for most of Sacrament meeting. Anyway, so I'm still up there sitting with Arthur. Halfway through the Sacrament song, Chika comes in and sits on the other side of me. Three for four-not bad. Then halfway through the sacrament Arthur gets a bloody nose and rushes out. The other sisters were kind enough to help him find the bathroom to take care of it (meanwhile they're conducting therapy sessions with their investigator, waiting for President Newell to show up for who-knows-what-reason other than he just announced he was coming, and relocating the whiskey to the Family History Center). So now I'm sitting with Chika who I realize does not speak Swedish and I don't have translation headphones for him. I motion to Syster Sjöblom the problem so that after the sacrament is over she can bring some down from the stand for him. Halfway through the first talk I began to wonder whether Arthur was ever coming back, because he was gone for quite a while and he took his headphones and left his pamphlet. John is nowhere to be seen now. Arthur comes back and everything turned out fine. Right after Sacrament meeting the other sisters informed us that we would be teaching the investigator class again during Sunday School. I asked which of their investigators was coming, because we were down to just Chika, and then we watched their last investigator leave. So it was just Chika, which was nice because we'd never had a one-on-one lesson with him yet. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and it went really well. Finally we sat down in Relief Society and breathed a huge sigh of relief that we'd taken care of all of our investigators without too much hassle. (Syster Larson spent the last two hours typing the whole story, so I'll send that as well so maybe you can get all the hilarious details.)

To top it all off, we found out that the other two sisters are being transferred to Handen. It's not really a big deal because we live in Handen. It just means that we're getting elders in Västerhaninge. I'm not sure how the ward feels about that. But maybe the elders will find us some women to teach and we can hand off all these creepy men. We've had at least four investigators this week tell Syster Sjöblom that they're in love with her. It's kind of annoying.

This week was awesome. It was exhausting. It was worth it. I love being a missionary. Good job on everything, can't wait to get Christmas packages. I've heard that it is expensive to send boxes to Sweden-thanks for sending them anyway! I gave Brother Krus your email so hopefully he emails you soon. Have a great thanksgiving. Keep up the great missionary work! Invite someone before Christmas!

Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013

Kära familj,

Isn't it crazy that it's November? And that Thanksgiving is this week? This week marks the third month I've been in Sweden. It's kind of ridiculous.
We're actually planning on not just one but two of our investigators being baptized before the end of the year. One of them is getting baptized by the end of November. We're not sure which one, but we've got about 10 possibilities. The mission goal is (and has always been) that each companionship baptizes monthly. We had zone training this week to help us raise our sights and increase our faith so that we can make it happen. So it's happening! Can't wait to tell you all about it.
I can't believe Naomi's already going to the MTC. That's cool that you guys went to her farewell. It seems like it was so far away when she got her call. I think I said that about Jessica Morrill too. All these people going on missions, it's crazy! Not as crazy as all the member missionary work you guys are doing though! I just told Syster Sjöblom all about it because I think it's so cool that a new convert can ask the bishop for help with something, and that the bishop asked the WML to ask you, and that it's happening! That's the greatest! As President Hinckley said, there's no point in doing missionary work if we don't hold on to the fruit of our labors! Members seriously make all the difference in the work.
Hunting sounds like it Good thing Doug is such a great shot. Speaking of hunting, we're going to the hunting family tonight for dinner. We planned our lesson to be a hunting analogy. I'll let you know how it goes.
Good job swimming, dancing, pianoing, missionarying, praying, and family home evening-ing! And thank you for the pictures!!!!!!!!!!
It's funny that you say thanks for keeping track of what happens each day so I can write about it. I just pull out my planner and flip through it page by page. On an unrelated note, we always get miracles during emailing! One of our potential investigators, Anders (Louise's son) just called us. He wanted to make sure we have his new number. He likes us enough to make sure we have his new number! So I asked him when we're going to meet, and he said we can meet at his mom's house tomorrow! The miracles happen so fast I can't even write about them before we get new ones! But I'll do my best.
Monday-we went into Stockholm again and got Pizza Hut with our district since our district leader Äldste Svensson was moving down to Malmö. Now we have a relief society district with six sisters and three elders. Stockholm was fun, if not a bit colder than last time. Pizza Hut here is like fine dining. Pizza buffet, salad bar, table cloths, and bendy straws included. So that was fun. Then we had planned to go down to Ösmo and drop by Siv (less active member). She never answers her phone, so we were going in faith that she would be home. When we got there she let us in and told us about her sad life story and how she blames herself for the problems in her family. She said she'd had our number out to call us and tell us to take back all the scriptures and church materials she had, and that she had decided to just sit at home alone and be nothing. We taught and testified about God's love for each of us, and the Spirit was so strong in the room! We tried to watch President Monson's talk from the General Relief Society session but the internet was being too slow, so we left it open on her tablet so she can read it. Her whole countenance had changed by the end, and she was so much happier! She even said she was thinking of coming to church on Sunday, and she told us that we were always welcome to come over. She's such a sweet lady! And we were so glad we'd followed the Spirit during planning so we could drop by right when she needed us most. We also taught a guy from Egypt on the train platform named Hany. We found out that his friend had investigated the church, so we asked him if he wanted to know more and he just said "yes." Those people are my favorite! We got his number and taught him about the Holy Ghost and how everyone can know for themselves that this is the true church.
Tuesday we went down to Nynäshamn where Marie helped us a little bit with our reindeer bracelets (I finished mine!) and we taught her about eternal families. We're going to give her President Uchtdorf's talk from conference next time we see her and formally invite her to actually learn more instead of the messages and quotes she's been getting up to this point. On the train back we talked to a cool guy named Jesse from Nigeria. We told him about the Book of Mormon and gave him an English one. He was very impressed with my Swedish after only three months. He had some questions about the Book of Mormon and he was pretty interested in it. Unfortunately we couldn't get his number because we ran out of time and had to get off the train. But we gave him a card, and sometimes people actually call us from those!
Wednesday was one of those days when you have so much administerial work that you don't get in very much ministerial work. We had to be temple visitor center missionaries for three hours, and with ward council that night it wasn't worth our time to go to our area, especially when we had nothing planned there. Instead we went back through the area book and called many many people. We almost set up an appointment with one old investigator, until we found out he lives up in Norland. So we gave his records to some missionaries who live closer to him. We did manage to teach a guy named Johannes on the train platform (it's actually a great teaching place because people have to wait for their train so they're willing to stop and listen for a bit.) He was really interested and wants to meet again! So we're excited about him.
Remember how I said we had zone training on Thursday. We also had a three hour "specialized training" by Syster Newell about stress management. Half the mission came to Stockholm for it-about a hundred missionaries, everyone in the North half of Sweden. (Basically the mission is divided into Stockholm and Göteborg). So all the missionaries from Norland came down Wednesday night. They stayed with other missionaries around Stockholm, so we got to have a slumber party with none other than Syster Dawson and her companion, Syster Swenson! It was so great to see her and talk to her again! Anyway, zone training and specialized training took up most of Thursday, but we got a lot of spiritual feeding and a pump of energy to finish out the year strong! They talked about praying specifically to fulfil our vision, which is to baptize monthly. The stress management part was really good too, and Syster Newell did a great job with it.
We basically have a standing appointment with Juan Carlos on Friday nights now, so we went to Nynäshamn for that. We called Cie-Cie that morning to see if she would be able to meet while we were down there and she didn't think so but said she'd call us if she could. We saw her in the library while we were waiting for Juan Carlos, and we knew the library closes at five, so we called her right after Juan Carlos's lesson (which went really well!) to see if she could meet right then. She was all for it! We read Mosiah 18 with her and asked her about baptism again. We found out that she has some misunderstandings about it, so we're going to address those and help her understand so she can receive the blessings that it will give her. She said she was planning on coming to church before we even invited her, as did Juan Carlos!
Saturday we were confined to stay between Handen and Västerhaninge again because we had three hours at the church, an hour of family history (I found a story about an ancestor getting ran over by a train while he was bringing the cows in) and a member dinner at 4:30. While we were waiting for the train down to Västerhaninge, John showed up on the platform. We said hi and asked him if he's been thinking about his baptismal date. He's been thinking about it but he needs to clear up his mind first. We promised that coming to church would help with that and he said he'd try and see if he could come.
So Sunday. Sunday. If I come home from my mission with gray hair it will be because of Sundays. No amount of stress management training from Syster Newell could sufficiently prepare us for Sundays in the mission field. But they're AWESOME so it's worth it! First, Arthur called. He was so disappointed, but he was still being called in to work, even after his boss had promised. He's moving back to Poland in two months or so, but he made us promise to help him find the missionaries there so he can keep learning about Christ. I'm sure he'll be baptized, whether it's here in Sweden or by other missionaries somewhere else when he's got more time to meet, but he has such a desire and willingness to follow Christ. We're still planning on baptizing him here before he goes, but it will take some miracles that we can meet him more. While we were still on the phone with Arthur, Jakob texted us to say that he couldn't come to church this week either because his uncle died and he had to be with his family. But he's still reading the Book of Mormon and trying to understand it. So we were in the church foyer, greeting other people but not our investigators, when we got a call from an unknown number. It was a guy named Chica who I gave a card to last week. (I told you people call us from those sometimes!) He wanted to come to church so he wanted to know when and where. We told him to take the next train to Västerhaninge and we'd meet him at the station. On our way out, we saw Louise and found out that she was going to meet her friend Joe, who was also coming to church. This was very interesting because when we met Chica, he was with a friend named Joe. Crazily enough they both came to church separately. Chica with us, and Joe with Louise. But we all came together. We were late for the meeting but we'd saved seats, so Chica sat in the pews with Syster Sjöblom while Joe went back and sat with Louise. I brought them both headsets so they could listen to the English translation, and when I took Joe's back to him I noticed Siv sitting all by herself. So I went and sat with her. Shortly afterward, Cie-Cie walked in so I beckoned her over to sit with us since her member friend was hard to reach. We were stretched super thin, but the members stepped in a lot to help. They all did so good saying hi to Siv and sitting with her (once they knew she was there. I made a lot of SOS faces to ladies in the ward to get them to come over and start talking to her) so we left her in their hands during Sunday School. We were planning on teaching Chica an introduction lesson during that time, so we walked into the font room that doubles as a classroom, and found that our two investigators Chica and Cie-Cie (Joe went home right after Sacrament meeting), the other two sisters and their investigator, the WML, a newly returned missionary, and Cie-Cie's fellowshipper, were all gathered in the classroom. They handed us a marker and told us to go ahead and begin. So we taught an impromptu investigators class. It was quite interesting because there were so many strong personalities and three very different investigators who had been investigating for varying amounts of time. (One day for Chica, six-ish months for Cie-Cie, many years for the other sisters' investigator.) So that was fun. We wanted to ask Chica about baptism but the situation just wasn't right. He's coming to church again next week though. Too bad we'll have to pass him off to the elders. We also had two other less active members in church, so there were six VIPs total for us. Talk about stressful! But I wasn't surprised. Even if people fall through, God never does, and He led others to church to fill the seats we'd saved for Arthur and Jakob. So I'm thankful.

Thank you for all of your prayers for us and our investigators. I know that God hears our prayers and that He answers according to our faith. We receive so many miracles here, every single day. Even just during these two hours of emailing, there have been quite a few miracles! And I love being able to share it with you too! Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney
PS-I really need to know how much money I have on my card...because I have no idea...
PPS-Anders wants to meet tomorrow, and he's been to church before, so he just became another candidate to be baptized this month. I think he's a good one too! In case you were wondering, our other positive candidates are Cie-Cie, John, Jakob, Therese, and now Chica and Joe.

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013

Käre familj,

Honestly I've been a little scared to write this email because there's no way I can do this week justice. First of all, Happy Farsdag, Dad! All the men in our ward got a chocolate bar in church for father's day. That's all we did to celebrate since it was Ward Conference. I'm glad you had fun with the missionaries. When we come over we usually have to remind them that there are only two of us coming and not all four. We haven't had so many dinners in the last couple weeks but next week is jam packed with member dinners. And most of them are the Spanish speakers so hopefully we'll get some good Mexicanish food! 
Tell Peyton my violin's name is Bree and that I'm super jealous that she gets to go to the SYTYCD tour! I mean, I'd rather be in Sweden, but still. That's pretty sweet! Also, I'm not really surprised about Zorro. It's hard to not fall off when he transitions into a gallop. It's by far the least smooth transition possible. I think it would be a smoother ride if he just started trying to buck you off.
So this week. Stockholm was super fun. We went to Gamla Stan, ("Old Town") which is where the King's Palace is. It's mostly a lot of touristy stuff. Souvenir shops and such. They had really yummy ice cream though! It was great! We might go in to Stockholm again today for lunch. Syster Sjöblom says there's a really good steakhouse that we need to try, and we need to take a district picture before transfers tomorrow. Speaking of transfers. We were all on edge Saturday when transfer calls happened, but no called for us-we're all staying! Our district is getting two more sisters, so it will be six sisters and two elders. (It's what we call a "Relief Society District".) Also, Elder Markus is going to be our new zone leader. I haven't seen him yet but I will this week now that he's coming down here. Anyway so we didn't get any lessons on Monday because we had a member dinner with all four sisters (kind of another birthday party for Syster Larson) and they taught the lesson. The week is a little harder when you start out with zero lessons. But if you can get a lot done on Monday night, the week goes super great!
On Tuesday I learned to make a reindeer bracelet with Marie. We're going back this week to learn how to finish, and to follow up on the Book of Mormon we gave her. We gave Dong a call that day but he didn't know enough English for us to communicate why we were calling. So I've spent this week figuring out how to say "Wo men shi Ye Su Ji Du lao shi. Ni yao xue Ye Su Ji Du ma?" ("We're Jesus teachers. Do you want to study Jesus?") Good thing I went to BYU so I know how to say Jesus Christ in Chinese. We're going to call him this week and try it out. Our lesson count by the end of Tuesday was two: the member we had lunch with (in a bar, it was interesting) and then Marie.
On Wednesday we went down to Ösmo to drop by Siv but she wasn't home, so we dropped by Louise and got to teach her about commandments. We're going to start the new member lessons with her soon since we don't think she got them right after her baptism. We were supposed to have dinner at three at the church, but it turned out they just left food in the fridge for us. That was good because we didn't actually want to eat at three, but we didn't get to teach them because they weren't there. We spent the rest of the time in the chapel because it was Wednesday and we're Temple Visitor Center missionaries on Wednesday. It would help if the temple had a visitor center or if people knew that they could just walk into the church and ask about the temple and the Mormons. We're working on that. Luckily Syster Sjöblom got to teach a miracle lesson on the train down to Ösmo, so by the end of Wednesday we were at four for the week. This would be a good time to note that we set a goal in faith of teaching twenty lessons this week. It wasn't looking so good at this point, but we still had faith and we take every opportunity we can to teach the Restored Gospel and invite others to come unto Christ!
So Thursday the miracles begin. We went to Nynäshamn to drop by a member who had just moved into our area. On the train down there, we saw none other than the Erik Formerly Known as Golden. He'd stopped investigating because his girlfriend said she'd dump him if he became Mormon. We testified that we just wanted him to be the happiest he could be and that's why we invite him to read the Book of Mormon and come to church. It was funny because just a few days before I'd commented how it was weird that we hadn't even seen him recently. It was great that we got to see him again though since he doesn't answer when we call. We went over to the member's house but it was portcoded so we couldn't even leave them cookies. Same with the other member we tried to drop by. But then on our way back to the train station we saw her, gave her the cookies, followed up on the commitment we gave her last time, and even found out that she was going to meet a non-member friend on Saturday and bring up the Gospel. Score! We kept walking back to the train station and stopped a guy on the street who was very spiritual and asked us questions that led into the Plan of Salvation. We missed the train but we taught him the Plan of Salvation and helped him strengthen his faith. That night we helped Louise out with the ...I think in Utah it's called Enrichment Night, right? They had that, and Louise was in charge because they were having an "African Night." We helped her bring all the food into the church-it was yummy! She did a great job and there was a really good turn out. I was really worried there would only be a few women and that Louise would be disappointed but there were 30 or 40 people there, so it was great! On the way home we kept contacting of course, and our tenth contact was another searcher. He had a ton of questions and totally agreed with everything we told him. After he left to get on the train we tried to figure out if we'd just taught him the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, or the Gospel of Christ, and the answer was simply "yes." I also had a ten minute conversation in Spanish with a guy from Nicaragua on Thursday. So in that one day we more than doubled our lessons, getting five including three unplanned ones with street contacts.
Friday we actually had lessons scheduled-who would have guessed! That seems to never happen to us because nobody wants to schedule anything. First we taught John, who wants to be baptized before he leaves the country at the end of December. He just has some scheduling issues with coming to church-it coincides with his lunchtime. We keep trying to help him understand that God will prepare a way for him to come to church if he just has faith. We committed him to come to as much of church as he could after lunch. Then we went down and taught Juan Carlos and Cie-Cie. Unfortunately we didn't have very good teaching locations for either of them so we felt like we couldn't teach a really good lesson, but we still helped them strengthen their faith in any case. We got four lessons (the fourth was the member who came to John's lesson) and started to realize it was becoming more and more possible to hit 20 lessons.
Saturday was looking like an effective but not-so-effective day. We had weekly planning, our three hours in the "Visitor Center," and an hour of family history to do. We took the morning shift at the chapel and talked to one of the bishopric members who asked us to make a list of the members in our area and what we've done with them. Many such lists exist already, since I've been keeping track in pencil on our ward list, but we took our church time to type it up and make it look nice. Three months of work adds up to a nice big Excel spreadsheet! It was pretty cool to see the progress that we've made in our area among the less active members. We then went to the Family History center where I still did not find any Swedish ancestors. The family history missionaries got talking to us and we couldn't escape for quite a while. On our way home we taught another lesson on the street. Another searcher. He had actually been trying to research the church and had thought of questions over the summer, so it was perfect. We made it home at three, not having eaten any lunch or anything. We snarffed down sandwiches (I put tomato on mine. Weird huh?) then headed out again to contact eight more people. We had a full night of stuff to do at home because we still hadn't done any weekly planning, so I was hoping it wouldn't take more than an hour to contact those eight people. We rode the train one stop, to Jordbro, and back to Handen, and got eight contacts. Fifteen minutes total. It was a miracle. And we even got to teach that one lesson during our full day of work.
And of course, Sunday. Sunday is the best. It's definitely the most stressful day of the week, but it's SO rewarding! Petra couldn't come to church because she didn't have anyone to take care of her dog. I was almost annoyed because Buster has been the reason she couldn't come to church every time we thought she would come, but then I remember that Buster is the reason I had the courage to contact her my first or second week here. So I'm thankful for Buster and I'm glad he's being taken care of. She's going to try and come soon though. We called Arthur to see if he wanted us to pick him up at the station again, and it turned out he got called in to work again. Bummer. But we got to teach Ulf, one of our less actives who's becoming very active as of recently. We're working on motivating him to get back to the temple, so maybe next month we can even go with him! That would be super cool. We went upstairs and found Hayder, another of our less actives. So we had two less actives at church! Then Jakob, someone that Syster Sjöblom contacted on the train a few weeks ago, texted to say that he was at the station waiting, so we went to pick him up. I forgot to mention that we called him this week to see if he could meet and he could only meet on Sunday so I invited him to church and he said he could probably come, but lots of people say that. But he actually came! We picked him up, brought him to church, and got him an Arabic Book of Mormon. It was ward conference, so Sacrament meeting was two hours long. (Honestly I was thankful Petra couldn't come this week, because I don't want to scare her off, and we had our hands full with Jakob.) I gave him 3 Nephi 18 to read during the Sacrament, and also the sacrament prayers. He was impressed that I knew the numbers so I could find the chapters! (At least, I hope I gave him the right chapters...) He was a little uncomfortable with so many people, but he definitely felt something and he's going to come back! After we'd given him a brief introduction to the Book of Mormon lesson, we came back into the chapel just in time to see John. He came! He found the other sisters first and sat with them, but he was there for the last half of the meeting-good thing it was two hours long! We taught him again but he was in a hurry to leave, so we didn't set a baptismal date yet. (By the way, John has had many baptismal dates. But he prayed this week that he could be baptized before the end of the year!) The ward had fika after church so we got food there instead of having a member dinner, then we had a couple hours left to contact. We found Oskar, who Syster Sjöblom contacted a few days ago. He's Catholic but he's interested in learning more. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and we're going to get one for him in Arabic. (We'll be putting in an order for more Arabic Book of Mormons soon.) Then we talked to Kristina. She believes in God and had a lot of questions about life after death so we taught her the Plan of Salvation on the train platform. We kept walking along our favorite little contacting path, and got rejected by our tenth contact. There Syster Sjöblom and I found ourselves with a problem. We had 19 lessons. We had things to do. It was dinner time and we hadn't done our hour of language study either. It wouldn't be effective to stay out just looking for one more person to teach, and we didn't feel right about that anyway. I mean it's one thing to teach people who are interested as you find them, but we didn't want to go looking just for that one lesson. We decided to use the Lord's time wisely and head home. But of course, we talk to everyone, so when someone was walking by we stopped and talked. At first I thought he was flat out rejecting us, because he walked right on by, but then he stopped and took out his headphones to listen. His name is Walter, and he is a searcher if there ever was one. He grew up Catholic but he's been trying to find the real truth, and to have the experiences to know it's true. I loved teaching him about the Holy Ghost and the Light of Christ, and testifying that he could have those experiences, and he could know for himself that it was true. He said himself, there were so many similarities between the things he'd come to believe and the things we believe. He's excited to start reading the Book of Mormon. He's going to gain a testimony-he already knows what he needs to experience for it. His name is Walter, he's originally from Mexico but basically grew up here, and he's probably in his early twenties.
So we got twenty lessons this week, and I know it's because of our faith and our hard work! Our fasting didn't hurt either. We had a fast yesterday for Arthur, because we were planning on getting a baptismal date with him. When he couldn't come to church again, we still didn't lose hope-we knew our fasting would pay off! On our way home last night, he called us. He was still at work, but he talked to his boss and asked for Sundays off so he can come to church. His boss said yes! We didn't even suggest to Arthur to do that, he did it of his own accord. And he's excited to come to church again and meet again! God is making the way for him, and there's no denying the miracles he's had.
Pretty crazy week, right? I've loved it though. This area is going to explode soon-we've already made a ton of progress and things are set up for a great five weeks! (The transfers are weird with Christmas coming up. Basically one of us will probably be transferred the week before Christmas.) Thank you for your letters, your prayers, and your thoughts! And especially for doing member missionary work at home! It's super important! Remember that Elder Ballard promised President Monson for you that you would invite someone before Christmas!
Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November 4, 2013

Kara familj,

Sounds like it's been a great week! I was especially thrilled to hear about the convert baptism in our ward! Lori shared with me that they're planning on having one in their ward soon as well. Or maybe this last weekend. I love hearing about how the work is going at home as well, and about you all doing member missionary work! We say all the time that the mission feels like the MTC for being a member missionary for the rest of your life. Because members are the most important part!

Good job getting the garden done! And tell Peyton good job on her concerto! And tell Cody good job on sticking to the book, because Ender's Game is a super great book and I was afraid the movie would ruin it. Did ya'll do anything for Halloween? I realized that nobody told me if anybody was going to dress up or anything. Did anything Halloween-ish even happen? Syster Sjöblom and I bought Halloween candy for ourselves (chocolate covered almonds, and some cashews!) and then we saw a kid dressed up like Batman on the train platform so we tried to get him to trick-or-treat with us. But he was too shy. Even when I asked in Spanish. (No, I don't know how to say anything about trick or treating in Spanish.) So that was kind of funny. We all dressed like elders for Halloween, but none of the elders at district meeting could really figure it out. One of them asked where we all got suit coats. None of us was wearing a suit coat. We had kladkaka balls and donuts at district meeting to celebrate the holiday. President Newell didn't show up this time.

Hamburgers with the fixings is perfect to feed the missionaries. I think our ward felt bad that we got no dinners last week, because a lot of people signed up when we passed the list around this week. Good thing, we were completely out of food by Saturday night. 

Naturally, it's been another amazing week here in Västerhaninge and Nynäshamn. I found out that Nynäshamn means "new nose harbor." Västerhaninge just means West Haninge. Nynäshamn is much cooler. So. 

Monday after sending you another wonderful email we bought groceries and went home and did some cleaning and then wrote some letters. Then we went down to Ösmo to teach Leif, a less active member. On the train down there I sat by a really nice lady and we got to talking about family history. She was really excited to find out that the center in Västerhaninge is free and that she can come and do more family history research there. I told her I would be able to help her, which means I need to actually know more about using Family Search than just how to look at all the people and find nobody from Sweden. But she gave me her number so we can meet at the center! She was going to come on Saturday but she had something that day, but she said we can reschedule for this coming Saturday. And she wants to bring her adult daughter too! Her name is Margita. Best of all, she lives in Stora Vika! She was impressed that I've been there. Our lesson with Leif went well too. He really needs home teachers.

Side note-did I tell you about when I invented home and visiting teaching a few weeks ago? I was thinking about how we're trying to visit every member in our area whether they're active or not. And I thought, wouldn't that be cool if the members all just visited each other, and helped each other be spiritually fed, and made them all feel welcome, and made sure they knew about general conference and daylight savings and ward activities? I thought more and more about it and how cool that would be and how the ward would benefit from that. Finally after thinking about this for about five minutes or so, I realized that it already existed and it's home and visiting teachers. Sweden's still got a lot to work on when it comes to that, but I'm really glad that you guys are such good examples to me of being great home and visiting teachers. Like they say, home and visiting teaching is missionary work for the members. It's true! And it would save the missionaries a lot of trouble if everyone did their home and visiting teaching every month.

Oh, also on Monday we got poured on. It rained so hard! Luckily the other sisters had some umbrellas that some nice guy had loaned them, and they got home right as we were leaving so we got to borrow them too. The best thing about borrowing things is, you can go give them back and invite them to learn more about the church!

We've been in a tight spot with Siv this week, because last week when we called to try and set up an appointment she said she didn't want to keep learning about the church. We didn't really know what to say, but we had to go back sometime to pick up the triple combination we'd let her borrow from the church. We dropped by a few times after that but she wasn't home. Then on Tuesday we were in Ösmo and we decided to drop by even though we hadn't thought about it earlier. She was home and invited us in, and we couldn't figure out at first what her feelings were about us being there. But it seems she forgot about deciding not to keep learning, because she's still been reading and she had some great questions about temple work. She had also found her picture of the missionaries who baptized her and showed it to us. And she still had all the things we've given her. She had even been talking about us to a neighbor boy who was there! ("Felix, it's the American girls I told you about. Come and see what they look like!") So she's still positive toward the church, but just like Leif, she needs a friend in the church besides just the missionaries! We're really trying to motivate our ward council to get on that.

We also had the confusing experience on Tuesday of dropping by a less active member whose mother was a non-member, and having the mom invite us in and start talking about her mission in California. It took us a bit to figure out that she'd asked for her name to be removed from the church. It was cool to talk to her though. She still has a testimony and everything, and all her friends are members, I think she'd just decided that she didn't want to come to church on Sunday anymore.

Wednesday we taught familjen Urtubia. The dad was baptized when he was eight but the rest of the family are non-members. They didn't have a Book of Mormon last time we were there, so we left them one, and on Wednesday we followed up on it. He'd meant to read a chapter before we came but didn't have time, so we're going to remind him between our next appointment. They weren't very positive last time, but this time they seemed really positive and we felt the Spirit more in the lesson. We're excited to go back again and see what difference reading the Book of Mormon has made.

Thursday was Halloween of course, and it actually felt like one of the more Halloween-ish days we've had. It was another of those days where we walked and walked and walked through the middle of nowhere just to find one less active member's house. We got to the end of the dirt road before we got to the right number, so we just left the cookies at that house and added "or whoever lives here" to our note. It was dark as we were walking back and we got to the bus stop just in time to watch our bus leave. So we had an hour to sit in the bus stop in the cold dark. We started singing Christmas carols. Now that I write it out it doesn't sound as Halloween-ish as it felt, but it felt more like Halloween than it sounds.

The weekend was much more eventful than the rest of the week. On Friday night there was going to be a music fireside of sorts, we weren't really sure what because we hadn't heard too much about it, but we were determined to get someone there so we could go. We spent an hour calling everyone we could think of, but nobody could or wanted to come. We went down to Nynäshamn to teach Cie-Cie, and we had a great lesson about the Restoration. (I did have one minor Swedish mistake where I said that anyone can just decide to be a prophet, but luckily Syster Sjöblom caught it and corrected it.) She agreed with everything we said and committed to reading from the Book of Mormon every day. She already believes Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is inspired, but she doesn't really understand how much it can help her yet. She said she was planning on coming to church and hopefully she would be there, so that was exciting too. Then we taught Juan Carlos right after that. Halfway through the lesson, we got kicked out of the library because they were closing. Juan Carlos stood up and said "so there's an activity tonight right?" He came to Västerhaninge with us to go to the fireside! And it turned out to be a bagpipe concert. I was a little worried when the bagpipe started and there were only the three of us and two old ladies there. But a few more people showed up and it was really good for him, because it was just a nice, friendly, small group of people. Nothing too overwhelming for him. He's a really sweet guy and he's trying to help other people find the truth too. He's actually the one who originally referred Cie-Cie, and he had invited a friend to our lesson too. But his friend didn't want to listen, but Juan Carlos told us how much he really wants to help people find God. It was great! The bagpiper was pretty cool too. He played If You Could Hie to Kolob. That was my favorite part. Just another typical Friday night in the mission, right?

On Saturday we had two appointments set up, but they were both with Africans. (Alex and Sebastian.) So we figured we'd be on an African time schedule, meaning we left our schedule pretty negotiable. Alex didn't show up-I think he actually lives pretty far away. His English isn't so great so we can't figure out where he actually lives. We called Sebastian and convinced him to get on the train from Ösmo early, get off in Västerhaninge and talk with us for 15 minutes before he took the next train to the city for his choir rehearsal. So we taught him for 15 minutes in between trains. But he had his Book of Mormon with him and we committed him to read 3 Nephi 11 while he was on the train, so hopefully he did that. He promised to come visit our church sometime after he's not so busy with his own congregation. (one of the leaders is on vacation so he has to run some things for a few weeks, but after that he'll be more open to come.) He likes how much the Book of Mormon references the Bible.

We also did our hour of family history on Saturday. I got to work on patience with old ladies who don't know how to use a computer trying to help me. In Swedish. I learned a lot about patience. But while we were there, Petra texted us to say that she's thinking of coming to church next week! Obviously we were thrilled. It's hard to get ahold of Petra because I think she uses up the money on her phone at the beginning of the month, so she only texts us like once a month in the first few days and we feel bad about texting her too much. But she knows where church is and wants to come, so we'll be meeting her soon.

And the moment you've all been waiting for: Sunday. First let me say that on our Progress Record that we filled out Saturday night, we faithfully put Arthur in the very first slot, with all his information, leaving the space blank for what we taught him, since we were planning on teaching him before church on Sunday. When we called on Thursday to remind him we asked how he was doing and his answer was "great! Can we still meet at twelve on Sunday by the temple and then go to church!" We had a member ready to come to his lesson, and we were super excited to teach him! A few hours before church, he called to say that he couldn't come because his boss called him in to work and he was the only one with the experience to do what they needed done. He was really disappointed and he really wanted to come, but he'd be there next week. It was hard not to get discouraged, but we focused on what we were thankful for. At least he called and let us know. At least he wanted to come at all. We didn't know what to do with our progress record so we just left it as it was. (We didn't have the chance to copy it anyway so we couldn't give it to anyone.) We went out contacting instead, and talked to one of the other sisters' investigators who was going to try and come to church. He didn't show up. Then we contacted Dong. He's from China, so he doesn't really have any religious background, but he wants to know more about God and about Christ! We asked for his number when he said that, and he was struggling, so I told him he could give it to me in Chinese instead. He was impressed of course. So was I. But we got his number and I'm excited for him! As if that wasn't enough, I ended up going to the Spanish Sunday School class with David. He's from Peru and he's (hopefully) getting baptized on Saturday. The other sisters are teaching him, but they had two investigators there and they wanted to have at least one of them with each investigator, so we went on exchanges during Sunday School. The Spanish class was fun though, and I could pretty much tell what they were saying. Luckily I know the numbers so I could look the scriptures up in English and figure things out. I even had a comment prepared in Spanish but I didn't have the guts to share it. ("En el mission hacemos geneologi una hora cada semana." Don't judge.) None of our investigators came, but we had a great meeting and got to help the other sisters out anyway. I was just watching for the miracle, because I knew we'd worked hard enough and shown enough faith to expect it. It came when we got onto the train to go home, and there we found Arthur. I was so shocked I started speaking to him in Swedish and forgot he speaks English. But it was amazing! He was there! We got to teach him after all. We wrote about his lesson in the teaching record, right where we'd left place for it. Sure, he may or may not have been drunk. BUT he told me that he felt the Spirit when he was reading the Book of Mormon and meeting with us, but the Spirit had left when he was drinking. And that he wanted to apologize to Jesus. We can work with it. I even brought up baptism again and he wants it. Didn't get to set up a date since it's only a six minute train ride between Västerhaninge and Handen, but it doesn't matter because we got to see him. He's planning on coming to church this Sunday but he still needs lots of prayers!

Yeah, so it's been a great week. The updates you requested‘Abdullah’ the basher is in our "old investigators" file with a sticky note that says "SUPER NOT POSITIVE!" but we'll try again in a while when maybe he's more ready, Jerry is actually in Italy I think should be home in a few weeks, Kamran is really busy this month but should be free in December and is still really interested, Sebastian likes that we also fast once a month, Cie Cie is much happier than she's been, John is the one in France, Marianne the serial hugger is super busy and tired, Petra better be at church on Sunday, Therese and Madeleine will hopefully have time this week, Peter the Dutch is actually Danish, and never knows when he'll be back in Sweden, Arthur the Pole-we love him, Loyola is making sure I learn Spanish, Miguel had an appointment that we had to cancel because the center in Stockholm was closed, but still wants to meet, Miriam's phone has been turned off, familjen Ecuador haven't answered since that one time I told you about, and Marie in Norrland is back but she's been sick, and the less active families Jana and Backman are still focus families and hopefully we can meet with them soon. If they ever answer the phone.

We're going to Stockholm today for Syster Larson's birthday. (She's 20 today!) So next week I'll have some fun pictures I hope. I dressed extra Swedish so I'll fit in in Stockholm. It should be fun!

Have a great week and keep being awesome! Thank you for your emails and letters and everything! And especially for your prayers! Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney