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!