Saturday, December 28, 2013

December 27, 2013

Kära familj,
Hello! Merry Christmas!
Skyping was great, of course! I loved it! I couldn't see your expressions very well because it was a little fuzzy sometimes, but I'm glad you enjoyed mine I guess. I'm still laughing at your pronunciations of Västerhaninge and Nynäshamn. And Ösmo.

I loved the pictures you sent! Gingerbread houses are really big here, but you buy a whole gingerbread house kit and they kind of all just look the same. I liked yours much better. I can't believe that all three of my siblings got smart phones! Will there still be one for me when I get home? I miss my smart phone a lot here, because I can't just google translate something or just look up an address. It would have saved us quite a few long walks if we'd known how far away some of these places were. I'm really excited about the pedometer you sent me. I put it on my coat so it starts counting the moment I leave the apartment until I come back home. I found out that my apartment is less than half a mile from the train station. I'm going to write it all down in my planner at the end of every day. I'm not trunky, but I am REALLY looking forward to crunching numbers when I get home and doing a few statistical analyses of things like how many steps I walk and what I spend my money on. It will be exciting!

Sorry I didn't email yesterday. Syster Sjöblom stayed in the apartment all day because she's still pretty sick. Luckily Syster Christison is awesome and volunteered to stay home yesterday so that Syster Larson and I could go to Stockholm for Sweden's Black Friday. Did you know there's an intersection in Stockholm with an H&M on every corner? There are lots of H&Ms in Stockholm. And they had some really good deals! I saved a lot of money by spending a lot of money...but you probably know more about that than I do... I also had my first milkshake since my mission and it was a huge disappointment. It must have been cheap soft serve stuff, because real Swedish ice cream would never let me down like that.

I forgot to tell you about a funny story on Christmas Eve. So we were eating dinner with the Krus family and I was trying all the different things, and I got to some potatoes that were basically like Dog Rotten {this is what we call au graten potatoes} potatoes only they were cooked with anchovies in them. I admit, I was really nervous about trying them. But I took a few bites and they were delicious and not fishy at all! I asked if it really had anchovies and they said yes, and I said I couldn't taste anything the least bit fishy. They have an American son in law and when I said that he blurted out "are you on crack?!?" Apparently they're really fishy to other people but I couldn't tell after eating the herring and salmon. We played charades with them, which is really hard in Swedish. Lots of times I would know what it was, but I didn't know how to say it in Swedish. Like earwig. But I had to charade "En skägglig bankrånare", a bearded bank robber. So I learned how to say bearded, in case I ever need it. Yippee.

While we were skyping I told you that Cie-Cie had been invited to Christmas dinner. When I logged off and came back out into the living room, she was there! She came to dinner and she was really comfortable with everyone and had a good time. It was awesome. After skyping we played a trivia game (they translated to English for us) and a card game that was like speed Skipbo. (They have Skipbo in Sweden!) Then we had more rice porridge stuff, this time with oranges in it and black currant syrup. It was really yummy.

We didn't leave the apartment at all today until we came to email since we couldn't do it yesterday. After this we're going to a member's for dinner. We couldn't cancel on her because she's a single lady so the elders can't go alone, and she only speaks Danish so we don't think the elders will really be able to communicate with her very well. (It was really hard to confirm the appointment with her this morning. The gift of tongues works with Swedish, Spanish, and now apparently Danish. I'm still waiting for it to work on old person Swedish though-that one's a tough language to figure out.)

I was so excited to be able to tell you all about teaching Yahaira yesterday, but unfortunately we had to cancel on her due to Syster Sjöblom's sickness. I puzzled out every way I could think of to coordinate with the other sisters to be able to go on exchanges so I could still teach her with one of them, but their schedule for the evening was already too full. She still wants to meet though, so keep praying for her!

Don't worry, you're not the only ones praying for my investigators even if we're not really meeting them at the moment. We still pray for everyone we even have the possibility of meeting again. And it turns out! It worked with Erik, Sebastian, and Petra even after we thought maybe we would never see them again. And it never hurts to pray for someone. Right now our progressing investigators are still Bash and Yahaira, and we're hoping that a lot more people will be able to meet now that Christmas is over. I've heard that missionary work doesn't really pick back up until we get into the new year, but we'll make the best out of it!

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! (God Jul och gott nytt år!) Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney

PS-Mom, I'd still like a jump rope if you can send me one. I'm not sure where to find one here and it's my favorite thing to do for exercise in the mornings.

PPS-There's a transfer on Monday and transfer calls are tomorrow! So by the time I email again I could be in a whole new area! Our prediction is that Syster Sjöblom is more likely to leave though. We're pretty sure one of us will leave because we've both been here more than four months.

PPPS-Did you know that Kpkpka (Kelsi from orchestra) is going on a mission in a couple weeks!?!
Delaney and Syster Sjoblom with the Krus's bear

Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16, 2013

Kära familj,

Merry early Christmas! This will be the last email you get from me before we Skype on Christmas! This is the last P-Day before Christmas! Christmas is so close!

I've never heard of Karrtorp, so I think I'm probably safe. Sounds scary though. Not much goes on in Västerhaninge, it's pretty tame. We saw a drunk guy pass out once. That was about the most exciting thing that's happened in that regard. It snowed again on Saturday but it hasn't stuck. It rained yesterday during church. Mostly it's just misty a lot. The rain doesn't fall, it just sits there in the air waiting to hit you in the face. We don't have ice or even slush right now, just puddles and gravel. They cover all the sidewalks with gravel to make the ice grippy, then the ice melts and there's just a TON of gravel everywhere.

I love how home teaching solves everything that new converts and members returning to activity need. Friend in the church-check, got a home teacher. Calling-check, you become a home (or visiting) teacher. Nourishment by the good word of God-check, you have and are a home teacher. What an inspired program! It's especially inspiring when people do it so it works the way it's supposed to. I'm so glad that you get to be a part of all the missionary work around the Purdys too! What a great opportunity!

I can't wait to hear you all try to pronounce Västerhaninge and Nynäshamn and everything over Skype. I'll save my comments until then... heehee...

Yes, I did get to see the Christmas devotional! I watched it last night at the church. I looked for you in the congregation but I didn't see you. I didn't even see Laurent in the choir this time. But I loved the devotional, it was great! It made me even more excited that I'm on a mission. I was thinking about in Miss Congeniality when they all want world peace, and I was like "Whoa...I'm here to help us achieve world peace!" It was cool. What did Russell M. Nelson do when they were showing the video clips during his talk? Just stand there? I really liked his talk. And all of the talks of course.

The Christmas tree does look very nice. I like the red ribbon on it. We have a red bow on our front door. I would send a picture but I forgot to take a picture of it. But I did send the picture of our little Christmas corner. Most of the presents are for Syster Christison. Her mom sent a TON of boxes. Then there are quite a few for me, and a couple for Syster Sjöblom. Syster Larson already got her Christmas present but it wasn't wrapped so it's not under the tree.

Yes, we did meet with Miriam this week. I didn't do so well at Spanish as I did last weekend with Yahaira. I'm pretty sure I said "Yo se que puedes hacerlo." At least 8 times. (I know that she can read the Book of Mormon to strengthen her faith!) She wants to be baptized but her husband isn't really thrilled about the idea, so she's praying for help with him. We'll meet her again tomorrow and see how reading the Book of Mormon every day and praying every day went. And we'll see if I ever figure out how to pronounce sacerdocio. I say it wrong every time. Unfortunately my update on Yahaira and Luis is not so great. Here's the story: on Saturday we were doing our two hour church time, so Syster Sjöblom was practicing the songs she'll be playing next Sunday (I'm so excited to play the violin!) and I was preparing for our lesson with them, which would be at four. We planned to teach the Plan of Salvation, so I had Preach my Gospel, El Plan de Salvacion pamphlet, and my planner, and I was translating the points from the lesson plan in PMG into Spanish in order to hopefully be able to teach it. At three we get a call from an unknown number, so I answer it and someone starts speaking really fast Spanish. I got that it was Luis, and something about Yahaira and bad. The only other thing I could understand was Caido (fall). My brain is trying to translate and the only thing I came up with right off the bat was that Yahaira had read something about the fall of Adam in the Book of Mormon that made her feel bad and she was not interested and hated us and didn't want to meet us. I recognize I was being a little dramatic in the moment. Finally I stuttered out "no comprendo." Luis knows some Swedish so he switched to Swedish to explain that Yahaira doesn't feel good, and she feels really bad for cancelling on us at the last minute. The good news is that she still wants to meet and hopes we can meet this week. So we haven't seen them but we will be meeting them again shortly. And hopefully get them to church on Sunday. (One of the best parts about playing in church is we can use that to get investigators and less actives there.) Keep praying hard for Yahaira and Luis, because they are so prepared and ready to receive the gospel! Thank you for telling me how to extend the baptismal commitment in Spanish, because I am planning on using it with them this week!

I ate an egg for lunch yesterday actually. No mayo this time, just cheese on it. Syster Sjöblom made it for me. This morning we had no bread (almost), no milk, no eggs, and basically nothing. I cooked up some bacon and we had toast on the bread heels, and sliced up the last apple. Breakfast on P-Day is hard because you only have whatever food you made last. We took the recycling out this morning and we eat a lot of eggs, milk, and cereal.

Arthur has not answered his phone, so we assume he went back to Poland. But we're still thinking of him and praying for him and we're going to make sure he gets in contact with the Polish missionaries. He's such a great guy.

We had no VIPs at church today. It's been a rough week. Lots of cancellations. But Saturday was cool. Erik broke up with his girlfriend so he's investigating the church again. We met him on Saturday morning. He has so much faith in Christ and we taught him about the Gospel of Christ, and he agreed with everything we said. We invited him again to be baptized and he said he will if he gets an answer that it's right for him. So we invited him to pray about it and he knows that God answers prayers. It was really great and the Spirit was strong and I remembered again how prepared he really is. He's coming to church on Sunday. Bash couldn't come to church and hasn't been able to meet because his brother died last week. So we're just praying for him and giving him some time. He wanted to come to church though because he knew it would help him feel better (he's great!) but he got called in to work. At least he called us and let us know though. We're hoping to be able to meet him again this week. Back to Saturday. We were headed over to Linda's to do some service, and on the way we got a call from Sebastian. He was on his way back from Stockholm and wanted to meet. We weren't about to give up that opportunity, so we picked him up at the train station and brought him back to the church. We had a long lesson where we explained the whole Plan of Salvation and Gospel of Christ. He had a lot of questions and a few concerns, mostly because he has REALLY STRONG faith of the Bible and he REALLY knows the Bible. Unfortunately since we'd only planned to teach in Swedish, neither of us had our quad, so we couldn't show him how the scriptures in the Bible supported the Book of Mormon scriptures we were using. He ended up saying that he feels like he should do some more research now that we've explained the plan. I'm really glad that Heavenly Father knows what He's doing so I don't have to worry about there being some discrepancy between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Sebastian has promised to come to church one of these days but he's really active in his own church on Sundays so he hasn't made it yet.
As I'm sure you've heard, Friday was Luciadagen. Syster Sjöblom and I went to a Lucia festival at 7:00 that morning in St. Eskils Kyrkan, which is about a ten minute walk from our apartment. It was a good program and some of the youth from our ward were in it, so we got to support them too. They held candles and sang Christmas songs. You'll have to look up "Swedish Lucia for Dummies," one of the members tried to show it to us but it didn't work. But I think it explains where it came from and what they do.

So about our plans for Christmas. In Sweden the big day is Christmas Eve. So for Christmas Eve we'll be starting the day off with the Krylborn family (the place where we ate älg meatballs. They have a stuffed bear in the basement which I haven't seen yet). They have two missionaries out (both in different missions in England) and two daughters at home. (Caroline who's preparing for her own mission, and Michelle who is the Swedish version of Peyton.) Then we'll go over to the Krus family (the other hunting family) where we'll watch Kalle Anka (Donald Duck Christmas, that's been a tradition in Sweden for forever.) And we'll play games and stuff. They have a new grandbaby that was just born a few months ago, so it will be fun! Then on Christmas day we'll be at Rolf and Annya's house. In the course of our emailing we realized that they're currently in Turkey so we're not sure when we'll be skyping. So I lied-you'll get another email from me about exact times and everything. I think we'll skype around four or five here, which would be eight or nine there? Maybe earlier, I'm not sure. I'll let you know. In the meantime, I'm not sure if I can even log in to skype anymore because I don't know what my username is. Could you either find out my username or set up a skype account for me and send me the details? I'm not too worried, I'm sure everything will work out alright.

So yeah. It's been a rough week but things are going. I can't wait to talk to you next week! Merry Christmas to everyone, and don't forget that the Spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ!
Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney
They found this Christmas tree in the closet of their apartment. 
These are the presents for all 4 missionaries so far.

These are the presents from 2 of the 3 boxes we sent. 
Thankfully, the 3rd box has now arrived in Sweden.

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 9, 2013

Querida Familia,

Did I ever tell you about the dream I had where I got called to speak Spanish and Chinese? I got the Spanish half right apparently. There's basically a whole Peruvian community in Västerhaninge. It's great!

First though, it sounds like your week was fun and cold. Oh, speaking of cold, we finally got snow this week! It snowed here on Thursday. We got on the train in the rain and got off in the snow and frolicked to the church for District Meeting. It's snowed quite a bit since then and the sidewalks are relatively icy, but not as icy as it sounds like it's been in the USA. I haven't slipped and fallen on anything except mud yet. Knock on wood. How does the Christmas tree look? By the way, MOM IS THE BEST! My Christmas tree looks great and I always brush my teeth standing in front of it looking at all the ornaments. Thanks Mom!! Why didn't they ever put Jimmer in the game? Lame. I'm jealous that you got to go to the Christmas Devotional too. I think we'll be watching that next Sunday.
So this week has been great of course, and full of miracles and inspiration from the Spirit. And Peruvians. Like on Monday. Did I mention last week that one of our investigators called during emailing and set up an appointment for a few hours later in Stockholm? We were going to Stockholm anyway to see the lights (nothing compared to Temple Square) so we took an hour out to teach him. His name is Miguel and he's from Peru, but he grew up in Sweden. The lesson was super awesome and he's been prepared and led by the Spirit to calling us and meeting with us. We passed him off to the elders who are actually in his area (Jakobsberg, about 1½ hours North of us) and they hit it off right from the start, so I'm excited for them to take care of him. We saw some Christmas lights in Gamla Stan ("Old Town") and spent a bit of time at the Christmas market there. Then that night we talked to a cool guy named Victor, from Ghana. His brother is a member so he's heard a lot about it and wants to know more about it. He's not from our area so we referred him to the missionaries closer to him. So we gave two super awesome referrals on Monday, and it felt great!

We were supposed to meet an investigator named Miriam on Tuesday. She lives in Västerhaninge and the other sisters were teaching her, but they got transferred to Handen. Since she's a woman, we took over teaching her instead of the Elders. Also, she's from Peru and doesn't know Swedish or English. I'm not sure how the other sisters were teaching her. She has a great fellowshipper who probably translated. I haven't actually met Miriam yet because she rescheduled the lesson for this week instead. So we should be meeting her tomorrow. Should be fun. We did teach Marie on Tuesday. She hasn't started reading the Book of Mormon yet but she plans to when she has extra time over the holidays. We're going to visit her tomorrow before she goes to Luleå (clear up North) to visit her daughter, and encourage her to start reading. She's great because we meet her in the cafe where she works, and every time someone walks in she introduces us as "Mormon girls from America" so we get lots of contacts that way. On the train back from Nynäshamn we met Allie (from Sierra Leone) who we've met quite a few times before on trains. He really wants to meet with us some time so hopefully we can schedule a time with him this week. He works a lot. Everyone works a lot.

I'm eating M&Ms from Fran. They are delicious. I haven't have M&Ms since the MTC or before. Elder Markus and Elder Papenfuss also enjoyed a couple. And everyone who lives with me of course. Thanks Fran!
Wednesday was good. We worked with the ladies in charge of the Christmas program on the 22nd and one of them has a violin! So I'm playing in it! SO EXCITED!
On Thursday we had zone training, then we had sisters exchanges. So I was with Syster McCalloum all day. It was good. We taught Siv. It was a down day for her but we bore testimony and hopefully she'll come on the 22nd since we're both playing. (I love that excuse!)
On Friday I ate fried eggs and enjoyed them. With mayonnaise on them. Missions change you. We had fried eggs with Louise, who is awesome. We gave her some invitations to last night's Christmas concert so she could invite Anders, Therese, and anyone else she meets on the train. She's great. Then the Tolleys (couple missionaries in charge of housing) came to fix our shower. It wasn't draining very well. I'm sure you can imagine when Syster Sjöblom has the shortest hair of the four of us. The Tolleys were in the MTC with me and Elder Tolley told us all that by Christmas we'd have a conversation with him in Swedish. So we did. He pulled a nasty hairball the size of a rat out of the drain pipe. They're coming later today and Syster Tolley is going to trim our hair and Elder Tolley is going to de-squeak the bunk bed. Hooray!
Now for the weekend. Saturday was great. My first thought when the alarm went off was "YAY! This is going to be a great day!" First we met Nema, an investigator who Syster Sjöblom taught in Jönköping. She's going to get baptized the 19th of January. She came up to Stockholm because her husband went to the temple. (He was baptized just over a year ago and got his endowment in July. They got married a month or two ago.) Nema is really awesome and I've heard so much about her, so it was awesome to meet her and teach her and help answer her questions about baptism. After Nema we taught Eskinder. He lives in Skogås so he'll be a referral for Gubbängen. He's super awesome! He's from Ethiopia and about 25ish years old I think. He's in the perfect situation to meet us because he's Christian but doesn't really know what he believes and wants to strengthen his faith. He's great and the lesson went great! Oh I was wrong, the Tolleys came on Saturday because it was during weekly planning. So after that, we left to go teach Yahaira. She texted and rescheduled for Saturday because and said that her husband would be able to be there as well. She wants him to hear this message too. When we got there she started off by saying "I didn't have much time to read, so I only read seven chapters." I was amazed. I asked what she thought about what she read and she really liked that Nephi was so faithful even though he was the youngest brother. She also said that Lehi's story reminded her of her own family having to leave their home in Peru and come live in Sweden. I was like "She's actually reading and applying it and liking it!" It was GREAT. We were planning on teaching her the Restoration. So all week I was studying from the Spanish Restoration pamphlet in order to prepare for her lesson, and I decided that one thing I could do was memorize the First Vision in Spanish. I worked on it on trains and during meals so I could learn it and recite it in Spanish to her. When we left the apartment the day of her lesson, I tried reciting it to Syster Sjöblom and I didn't have it down yet, despite that I'd been working on it.I needed a little more time. When that point came in the lesson, Blanca left off explaining Joseph Smith's circumstances for me to continue-she literally said "I'll let you take it from here." Then there's Syster Sjöblom sitting next to me whispering "Vision! Vision!" under her breath. The Spirit was like "Delaney, just do the First Vision!" and so I'm like "Heavenly me...please..." And then I'm sure you can guess what came next. The funny thing is I don't even know how to say "First Vision" in Spanish, but I recited it for them and the Spirit was just SO STRONG! Yahaira had tears in her eyes from this point on. Then her husband cut in with the whole "I respect you, but..." which is never comforting. But luckily Blanca had had the same doubts he had about switching from Catholicism and was able to allay his doubts with pure, strong, powerful testimony. We clarified and testified that we don't want him to just believe us but that he can ask God whether what we're claiming about having His restored authority is true or not. He agreed to do that. And Yahaira agreed to be baptized if it's true. It was just the best lesson! I love Yahaira and her family! She has three sons and they're really sweet. They all ran and gave us a hug when we got there. I just love all of them! I taught in Spanish and Syster Sjöblom kept smiling and praying hard. I butchered the word for Priesthood (sacerdocio?) and I kept saying profet instead of profeta. And now when I try to speak Swedish I keep saying "pero." But it's all good. The gift of tongues is a real thing and I couldn't have done any of that without the Spirit. Now for translations-how do you say, "When you know this is true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone who holds God's Priesthood authority?" Oh, that's another detail I almost left off. We started talking about the differences between the Catholic church and the Mormons because that's what Luis's doubts were about. And Yahaira said "Oh that's right, you guys baptize all the way just like Jesus was. In the Catholic church they just sprinkle you with water." So when I invited her to be baptized I said "all the way, just like Jesus was." Looking back, I have no idea how to say that in Spanish, but that is what I said. PRAY FOR YAHAIRA AND LUIS AND THEIR FAMILY! They're the greatest!

And now for Sunday. It wasn't so stressful. We went to two sacrament meetings because Handen's ward was having a special one where everyone was supposed to invite a friend so they wanted a lot of missionaries there. It was pretty much a waste of time. Then our phone went off right behind President Newell...but it was Arthur calling to say he was at the train station waiting for us! Arthur is doing great as well, but he hasn't been able to meet us often enough to be prepared to be baptized on Tuesday. (He didn't get work off so we didn't get to meet him at all until Sunday). But I know he'll be baptized soon because he is so prepared and he wants it. We got his information to make sure the missionaries in Poland get hold of him. Yesterday we taught him the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. When we started talking about the Word of Wisdom, we only got as far as "God created our bodies" when he said "I smoke." We know Arthur, we can definitely smell it. But he continued, "But when I read in the Book of Mormon, I feel like I shouldn't. So I stopped for five days. I think I should stop permanently." I was a little dumbfounded but we're just like "yeah! That's great! We know that it might be hard but God will help you get through when you show faith." Then we moved on to alcohol and he told us how stupid it is to drink alcohol because it takes away your agency. He hates it when his friends drink vodka. He agreed to not drink beer anymore when he watches football. Next we brought up coffee. "I drink too much coffee, and it's making problems with my sleeping and my muscles, so I think I should stop that too." Basically he's been being prepared and he is close to the Spirit and recognizes how he can change his life and be a better person through Christ. He agreed to keep the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. I really wish we could keep teaching him and I could be there for his baptism. But you never know-he's coming back in two months. So we'll see what happens! 

Sunday evening there was a Christmas concert at our church for the whole stake, and Erik came! Hopefully we can meet him again this week too. He said he'll come on the 22nd since Syster Sjöblom and I are playing. We're playing "Every Valley" from The Messiah (Handel). Syster Sjöblom is playing the piano, Äldste Lambson and I will play the violins, and a guy from Handen's ward is singing. It will be great!

So to answer your questions, no Arthur's not still on track to be baptized tomorrow, but he is on track to be baptized. And yes, he has been on the Veckoskörden (weekly harvest) with the names of all the investigators with a baptismal date, so all the missionaries have been praying for him. BUT we're still praying for a baptism this week. I'm thinking it will be Bash-did I ever tell you about him? He's been to church twice and he's willing to be baptized and he actually sets appointments and he's a great guy. We haven't seen him this week because he's been working, but we'll see him soon!
Oh, and President Newell gave us the go-ahead to plan on playing on the 22nd since there are no plans for either of us to be transferred. So I'll be in VH for Christmas! We'll be at the Krus's house on Christmas Eve (hunting family, I love them!) and then Rolf and Annya Hägglunds on Christmas day (super great member missionary family.) I'm sure we'll probably be seeing a lot of members those days. So the plans are to skype on Christmas, probably in the afternoon-evening for me, Christmas morning for you. Should be great!!!
Have a great week! Remember the reason for the season! Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney
The Books of Mormon Delaney took carolling

Delaney, Syster Larson, Syster Christison, Syster Sjoblom

Delaney and Aldste Markuss (Zone Leader)

First snow

Previous District

Delaney, Aldste Williams, Syster Christison
Ornaments for the Christmas tree
Decorated Christmas tree

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2, 2013

Querida familia,
I did real missionary work this week! I know what you're thinking-don't you do that every week? Yes. But this week we did missionary work the way it's meant to be done. In other words, we got a referral. WE GOT A REFERRAL! This is how missionary work is done. When members pray for missionary opportunities, then invite their friends out of love to meet the missionaries, that is when we have real success. THAT is missionary work. Let me tell you about Blanca. She's from Lima, Peru (but she's excited for Hermana Brito and says Chiclayo is a very beautiful city) and she's lived in Sweden for quite a while. Enough that her Swedish is pretty much fluent. Last week she was studying the scriptures and reading the Bible, when she felt that she needed to share the Gospel with someone. So she prayed about it and decided to get to know her neighbor in the same apartment building a little bit better. She went to the door, said a prayer, and knocked. No answer. She tried again the next day, prayed in front of the door, and knocked again. This time Yahaira answered, and they talked and got to know each other. Blanca told her that she has some friends who are sharing a Christmas message and asked if we could come by Friday night, and she said yes. So Friday morning, Blanca called us to let us know that after dinner we'd be sharing a Christmas message with her neighbor after dinner. Blanca loves the Gospel and she shows it by being a member missionary. So tell those Deacons (and everyone else) that the best way to prepare for a mission is to start sharing the Gospel now! Because when you're on your mission and you try to get members to do missionary work, they WILL ask whether you did missionary work before your mission. And you want to be able to testify of it. So do it! The rest of the story to come.

So, since I know you're dying to hear about my week, let's start with Monday. We ate BLTs and they were good. Then we taught Arthur the Plan of Salvation. For an hour and a half. It's actually a pretty simple plan when you look at it, it's just a matter of staying on subject with him. He has some interesting ideas but he really wants to change and we know the Gospel can help him, so we'll see how it goes. Then Monday night we ran into Joe, who was in church two weeks ago with Louise. We gave him a Book of Mormon and followed up on church and invited him to keep coming. That was cool to see him. He's a great guy.

On Tuesday during personal study I was reading in Preach My Gospel and I started to despair because I realized I have no idea how to work with members. Really I was despairing over the fact that I have no idea how to motivate the members to do their part in the Work of Salvation. We can get all the Africans and Muslims we want to church, but the Swedes want to bring more Swedes into their ward. But Swedes don't just talk to missionaries on the street. If they want their friends to come to church, they have to invite their friends to church. So I was despairing and praying over how to help the members understand that and I set some goals and made some plans of course. Then we had lunch with the Höglund family. Without us even asking, they told us that their neighbors had just visited Salt Lake and met some missionaries there, and now would probably be a good time for us to meet them. WE GOT A REFERRAL! That same day I was in our apartment and I noticed on the wall the name of one of our less active members who we hadn't been able to meet yet because he'd moved. His dad had told us that the son wasn't really interested in coming back, but he thought the wife might be really interested. This was a referral, but we needed their new address from the dad. It was on the wall! There was a list from previous missionaries with his name and his new address. So we didn't exactly get that referral right then, but we got the means to contact that referral! Naturally, we made cookies to bring to these people because we couldn't go empty-handed. We met the family who'd been to Salt Lake, the Söderqvists. They were super happy to see us and they really liked Salt Lake. They were busy then but they invited us back and we're going to visit them on Wednesday.

We were so excited about the Silfverbergs, the family who had moved whose address we found, when we dropped by on Wednesday. They weren't home so we left cookies. When we were on the train back, the wife called us to say thank you so much for the cookies, and that they would love if we came by for a visit. Usually people don't call us even when we leave cookies, so we were excited about this. Then that night Arthur called and asked if it was okay if he brought a friend with him to church on Sunday. This is when Syster Sjöblom said maybe I should despair about referrals more often.

Thanksgiving was great. We had district meeting (our district only has two elders and two sisters now, all in Västerhaninge), and we ate turkey (turkey sandwiches at the church), and we watched football (a Mormon Message called Same Jersey). We taught Bash who we met last week. He came to Handen's ward last week but didn't like it as much because they don't translate to English. That was actually perfect because we were trying to figure out how to transition him to Västerhaninge's ward instead, and since our ward translates to English, it works. (Usually it's the Sunday School teacher who translates during Sacrament. There are enough people in the ward who speak really good English that the missionaries don't have to translate. A few people in our ward translate for General Conference.) We did family history (still no Swedish blood in me) and studied Swedish. Then we had a member dinner where we ate yummy pasta and cream sauce. I believe it was the first time I've had pasta on Thanksgiving. So that was kind of a slow day but we got stuff done anyway.

Slow Thursday was made up for by Friday. You'll remember that our morning started off with Blanca calling us and telling us she had a referral for us after dinner, basically. We should have been more excited about that except we were just so excited for the Silfverbergs who we were going to visit Friday night. We did our language study in the morning where I felt like maybe I should study some Spanish. I opted for catching up on my BoM reading in Swedish instead. (I'm in Alma 24). Luckily after that I started listening to the Spirit prompting me. He helped me remember that since Blanca is from Peru, her friend is probably from South America as well. So I grabbed El Libro de Mormon. We went and taught Juan Carlos, who is originally from Chile but has been here since he was 18 so he speaks fluent Swedish. We teach him in English. But since he's from Chile I was thinking about Spanish during his lesson. I bet you can see where this is going. It was a good lesson. He asked if we've heard anything from Elder Riley. We said no. Then we went to the Silfverbergs. It was intimidating because we were like "This is a part-member family who are really positive, how do we go about this?!?" But we were SO EXCITED because it was a part-member family that was super positive! So we thought. We had fika-saffron buns and pepperkakor (ginger snaps) and got to know them. The "non-member" wife started telling us about her brothers' missions. Finally we're like...wait, are you a member? Yes. And she really wants to be an active member, she has a really strong testimony. We thought she wasn't a member because her records just haven't been moved to our ward so she wasn't on any of our lists. We were still so glad that we could visit because we're going to start working with the husband on his testimony. Now they're a super positive less active family instead! But I have to admit, we were a little disappointed we didn't get the member present lesson or the new investigator we had planned on. Wait for it. Then we went to dinner! And we had yummy Swedish-Peruvian food (Peruvian food with Swedish influence. In other words, it looked a lot spicier than it tasted.) Then Syster Sjöblom and I went with Blanca to meet Yahaira. Turns out Yahaira only speaks Spanish. But she was really interested and we gave her an introduction to the Book of Mormon. I was SO GLAD I had brought it in Spanish for her! It was pretty terrifying because I was trying to teach in Spanish, but luckily this time there was a member who was a Spanish speaker there as well, and she was so helpful! She has a really strong testimony and she shared her conversion story and testified so powerfully of the Book of Mormon. All I could say was basically "I know that's true too, and I know that the Book of Mormon helps us know Jesus Christ and helps us in our lives." Syster Sjöblom smiled big, and helped me remember some points not to forget (like, no reemplazamos la Biblia. Wish I'd known how to say that before, but luckily it's explained in the introduccion too.) Yahaira is from Lima also, by the way. She took the book and said she'd read it, and invited us back this Friday! So God still gave us the lesson and the new investigator we were praying for. Then at the end of the lesson was exactly what I had dreaded but started to suspect would happen- Blanca asked me to say the closing prayer. I'd been thinking about Spanish randomly all day (Holy Ghost, gotta love him) and during Juan Carlos's lesson I had the thought, "How would I pray in Spanish?" So I said a humble little prayer and since then I've been studying a little more Spanish during Språk study because we now have three investigators from Peru.

Oh, I'm almost out of time! Saturday we went carolling in Handen centrum and gave away two Book of Mormons and got some guy in pink boxer shorts with a really nice voice joining in from his balcony. Then we taught Mohammed who was super interested and understands the Holy Ghost and is going to read the Book of Mormon. He was impressed that we had it in Arabic (our last one...) and he said he already believes it's true because he believes in all holy books. Can't wait to teach him again, because I think he will be progressing soon. Then we had Thanksgiving dinner number one with a less active family. They could only get their hands on one turkey, because we are in Sweden, but it was still super yummy and American and kind of like home!

Church was great! Bash came and he liked it much better translated into English. He stayed all three hours! Cie-Cie was also there. She went to nursery the second hour because she's friends with the nursery leader. Then in Relief Society she sat with the RS President! I was so proud of the ward members for taking care of both of our investigators so well. Arthur got called into work again but he should have two days off this week when we can meet him. So we didn't get to see him or his friend yesterday. But keep praying for him, because he's prepared and he wants to be baptized still! Thanksgiving dinner number two was SUPER AMAZING! It was put on by the temple couples who are American, and it was so yummy and great. It was especially fun to be eating Thanksgiving with all the Swedes and explaining that you just eat as much turkey and stuff as you can, and all the different kinds of pies. There was American pie and Swedish ice cream, SO GOOD! 

We're going to Stockholm again to see the lights and apparently to teach this potential investigator we've had for like three weeks. He called during emailing and said he could meet today. Good thing we were already planning on going to Stockholm because that's where he can meet! On the way here we also ran into a lady we contacted on the train last week. She's going to Ethiopia today but she wanted a tour of the church. So maybe she'll become an investigator as well!

Everyone's doing great and this week is going to be great! Jag älskar alla er!

Love, Delaney