Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February 10, 2014

Kära familj,

Welcome to Borås. We don't speak Spanish.

Syster Haynes have said that to each other at least twice a day from the day we met. (Wednesday.) So I was actually hoping you'd email me in Spanish and I read the whole thing in Spanish. I understood most of it except the part about the FAA, so thank you for sending the English version as well.

First of all, let me say that transferring is terrifying. Wednesday was the most stressful non-Sunday of my mission so far, but it's okay because Heavenly Father was taking care of me. Syster Sjöblom and I managed to get everything packed up and cleaned up but we still left the apartment a little tiny bit later than we wanted to. We called the elders in our district to see if they could come on the train and help us get our stuff onto the train in Handen and off in Stockholm, but they had just moved to Tungelsta so they wouldn't have made the train. We were on our own. It's me and Syster Sjöblom with four bags each, literally carrying everything we own. So we stacked carry-ons on top of suitcases and made our way to the train platform. We would have made the train except the elevator took us one story too far down, so we were under the platform as the train came and went. We thought we'd have to wait 30 minutes for the next train but there was another train in 15 minutes instead. This ended up being a miracle because there were two members on the next train who helped us get our bags off at T-Central. Also, remember how just a few weeks ago I bought a new pair of boots? So as we were trying to run to the train with all our bags, I ended up breaking a part of my boot. It was still functioning, but there was a random strap of leather hanging loose. I was really disappointed and thinking I'd just have to cut the straps off of both boots, which would look funny but at least I could still use them. I showed them to Syster Sjöblom and she said "You could sew it back on." I reminded her of my sewing skills and the fact that even though she could sew it easily with no problem, we were only companions for the next hour. Don't underestimate Syster Sjöblom though! She had been inspired to bring her leather needles and thread (from the reindeer bracelets we made with Marie) in the top of her backpack. We had a 24 minute train ride into Stockholm and it was plenty of time for her to sew my boot back together. So we made it to T-Central and we got our stuff off the train, with about 25 minutes to spare before our next trains left. The only casualty beside my boot was my suitcase. I'd stacked a carry-on onto the top of it that was filled with books, and it bent the metal handle you use to drag the suitcase with until it broke off. So you couldn't really drag it. Luckily I had plenty of help from other missionaries waiting for their companions to get all my bags onto my train. From there I had a 3 hour train ride on a SJ "snabbt tåg". They go fast. I made it to Götegorg and got my bags off the train onto the platform. I had 25 minutes before I had to get on a bus into Borås. So naturally I take myself and all of my belongings toward the first bus stops I see. No bus to Borås. After asking around I figured out that there was a giant bus terminal right on the other side of the building, so I made my way there. I missed my bus by literally one minute. I wasn't too worried, because they go every 20 minutes. I borrowed someone's phone and tried to call Syster Haynes, but nobody answered. So I dialed a number that I thought would be the Västerhaninge elders and ended up talking to someone in Karls Krona. I decided I'd just pray that Syster Haynes didn't get too worried when I didn't get off the bus when I should have. Everything turned out fine though, and I finally got here to Borås. We were picked up by a YSA named Lovisa who had our keys and phone, and she drove us to our apartment. It's on the fourth floor and there's no elevator. So it took the efforts from all three of us to get all of our bags up to the top. We figure when it's time to move out we'll just throw our suitcases out the window instead of dealing with the stairs again. We went to dinner with Lovisa's family where Syster Haynes and I taught a lesson even though we'd never even been alone with each other before that. Missionaries are pretty cool that way.

So that's the basic gist of my transfer story. It was scary, not going to lie. But I LOVE Borås! West Coast Sweden is a lot more calm and much less fast-paced than Stockholm. The people here walk slower and they even look happy most of the time. And they're everywhere! There are so many people out all the time, it's way easier to contact people here than in was in Västerhaninge! Another weird thing is, I haven't been on a train since the one that took me to Göteborg. There are busses everywhere and you can take a bus anywhere in the city that you need to go. So we actually do a lot less walking because the busses are so great.

Syster Haynes is really amazing. She's from Salt Lake City, and she's been in Sweden for a little over a year. She likes every sport, especially tennis and triathlons. She's also a golfer, waterskier, surfer... Basically if it's a sport, she does it. She's also an amazing missionary. She's fearless at contacting and has already contacted every bus driver in Borås. (Not really, because there are a lot of them, but it seems like it.) She's also really good at getting peoples' numbers and getting return appointments out of people. Her contacting methods have already led us to teaching a few lessons to people we've met on the street. On Thursday we contacted a guy named Krister in the city who said it was creepy that we started talking to him because he's actually been looking for a church and wanted to come to ours. He had some time right then, so we went into McDonalds and introduced the Book of Mormon to him. After he read a few verses out of 1 Nephi he said "Yeah, it's true." He committed to coming to church on Sunday and he gave us his number. At least, he gave us a number...we called to remind him about church and some random person answered who was definitely NOT Krister and had never heard of him either. Krister was really sincere and humble and we really thought he was interested, so we don't know why he gave us the wrong number. He didn't show up to come to church either. All we can do is pray to be able to find him again now. Thursday night we also contacted and taught a guy named Deda. He's Catholic and he's thought a lot about God. We ended up teaching him the whole Restoration and it made sense to him. He thanked us for the Book of Mormon we gave him and said that we're really messengers from God. It was a pretty cool experience to teach him. Hopefully we'll be able to meet with him during this week as well. So please pray for Krister and Deda!

There were two investigators in this area who we've inherited from the elders, but we haven't met them yet. One is Anna, and she cancelled on us a few days ago so we haven't met her yet. The other is Jessica who has cancelled on us twice but who we're meeting tonight. Hopefully it all goes well. I've heard a little about her and it sounds like she's got a lot of potential. Maybe sister missionaries will be exactly what she needs. We've been doing a lot of swing-by's to random people that we found on a list in our area book. It's not much to go off of, but it's something anyway. Most of them weren't home. We did find a piece of paper in our apartment with a name (Ida) and an address, so we dropped by and met Ida. She was a really nice lady and we think she has a member friend but we're not sure who it is. We don't really know any members yet. But she invited us to come back this week. She has a 4 week old baby who is really adorable and I'm really excited to teach her!

On Saturday we met Ulrika, who is less active and needs a lot of love. When we got there she was studying the Book of Mormon, so that's a good sign. On Saturday night we taught another lesson in McDonalds, this time to a guy named Evan. He's from Serbia and he's moving back on Wednesday, which is too bad because he's really prepared. We gave him a Book of Mormon in Serbian and he said he'd try to come to church if he had time between going to the Orthodox church and the Swedish church. He didn't have time. But we've planted a good seed and now he has the Book of Mormon at least. It's funny because I've never eaten at McDonalds in Sweden but I taught two lessons there in three days. It's a surprisingly spiritual place-I'm lovin it!

Sunday, as usual, was stressful. Doubling in is really hard because neither of us knows anybody. But the ward was really excited to meet us. There are about 130ish members in the Borås ward and about 100 are active-which is pretty good. Just about every conversation went like this-"Syster Haynes...I saw you in the newspaper yesterday! Are you the one who speaks Spanish?" Everyone in the ward knows that one of us is supposed to speak Spanish and we've determined that I know more Spanish than she does at this point, so apparently I'm the Spanish speaker. Syster Haynes was in the newspaper because our first day here some guys came and interviewed us about shrimp. I wasn't in it because I don't like shrimp (except I liked it when I had it on smörgåstårta but I forgot about that). I soon met the Baqueros family from Colombia who speaks only Spanish, and then the Trejos family who also only speaks Spanish. I was talking to them in Spanish (or trying to anyway) and some other member would come up and introduce themselves to me in Swedish so I'd say "Hej, me llama...uh...jag heter hermana...uh...Syster Smith." We went to Relief Society but at first it was no relief, because I was supposed to sit by Patricia Baquero and translate. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I managed to tell her that there was an activity in the usual place. I don't know what kind of activity it was or where the usual place is. Also that it was someone's birthday. I'm not sure whose. And someone moved into the ward. Luckily there's a member in the ward who lived in Spain who knows Spanish who came and translated for her. For Sunday School we were asked to come to the youth class and talk about missionary work because that was what the lesson was about. Borås does have the largest Young Women in Sweden: eighteen girls. They were all really nice but I don't remember any of their names yet. And they have 5 young men. I think usually for Sunday School we're supposed to teach Gospel Doctrine in Spanish...but we couldn't find any of the Spanish speakers so we assumed they must have been taken care of. I talked on the phone to Äldste Sheldon last week, one of the elders we're replacing, and he said "They might ask you to translate Sacrament Meeting. It's probably one of the hardest things you'll do on your mission." Luckily Sarah was there yesterday (the one who lived in Spain and speaks Spanish) so she could translate. But from what I can tell, she and I are the only ones who speak both Spanish and Swedish. So pray that she'll be able to come to church every week and translate... We didn't have any VIPs in church but the ward members were all awesome. Many missionaries say that Borås is one of the best wards in Sweden, and from what I could tell on Sunday it is a really awesome ward. One of the members called us yesterday night to make sure she had our names right so she could pray for us by name. If this is going to be one of those wards, I'm okay with that!

We've had a lot more success tracting here than I ever did in Västerhaninge, and last night we had an appointment with a lady named Merita who we'd tracted into a few days earlier. She's from Cosovo so we brought her a Book of Mormon in Albanian. (A lot of the immigrants here are from Cosovo and Serbia. Those are the most common places so far.) I'm not sure if she remembered our appointment, but she was home and answered the door. She said she was busy and we couldn't come in, but she came out into the hall to talk. We had a really great lesson about the Book of Mormon and we taught her how to pray, and she was really thankful for it and said she would read it. We made another appointment with her for Thursday as well, and I think it will go great!

So that's been Borås. I'm excited for it! It rains a lot but the city is beautiful. It feels a lot like Seattle. I like it. And there are a lot of random statues which I'll be trying to take pictures of in the near future.

Goodness, so much has happened this week! We also had a really awesome lesson with Marie on Tuesday. I think I say this every time, but she REALLY IS on the path to true conversion! Every time we talk to her she's more and more positive about changing her views and changing her life. She has decided that she's going to come to the US next winter (or the next one, we were a little unsure) and visit Syster Sjöblom and me! So you are definitely going to get to meet her, and you're going to love her! She said she wants to come and see what it's like in Utah in our home before she tries coming to church in Västerhaninge. I just love her and I'm so excited for her.

Yeah, so it's been a fantastic week. It's weird to be without Syster Sjöblom-I still kind of feel like I'm on exchanges and I'm going to go back to VH soon. From everything that Syster Haynes says though, Syster Sjöblom should love Lund. Syster Haynes and I are working our tails off here and we go to bed exhausted every night, which is the best feeling. I love it.

You can put my vote in for the hot tub also! That reminds me, my address now is Ekängsgatan 22, Borås, so you can look it up on Google maps. I live on the top floor and it's the only apartment there with a balcony, so when you see one random tiny balcony right on the top, that's mine. The birthday party, Valentines Dance, and biology class all sound fun. Keep me updated on Matt and the FAA, as well as wedding plans!

Oh, and happy Valentine's Day to everyone! In Sweden it's called Alla Hjärtans Dag. I don't think it's quite as big as in America but I have seen some cards and chocolates and such in the stores.

I hope you all have a great week! Jag älskar alla er!

Love, Delaney

PS-Please pray for Krister, Deda, Merita, and Ida. :)