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