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!