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