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 was...fun... 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 mormon.org 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 mormon.org 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!
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.