Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014

Kära Familj,

Hello! Thank you again for writing your email in Spanish. It's really helpful. Syster Haynes and I spend our hour of language study working on Spanish now, and we keep our Swedish up by just talking to each other in Swedish. Life with Syster Haynes is awesome. It feels like we have half as long to do twice as much, because we just have so much to do! It makes time fly by even faster than usual.

I'm glad to hear that Dad had a good week. What about everyone else? I got a Valentines package from Katie and Alex full of goodies which may or may not already be halfway gone...and I got four letters from Mom during the week. Thanks Mom! The office didn't send them over transfers so I got them all at once. I think the puppies are faking sick so they can have hot dogs. Obviously nobody's feeding them and they're forced to resort to desperate measures. Just kidding, I hope they both feel better soon!

We've had an absolutely awesome week! President Newell replied to my weekly letter to remind me that the goal to contact 10 people a day is for each companionship, not each missionary. Because we'd contacted 101 people. But this week we contacted 125. PEOPLE ARE EVERYWHERE HERE! And they're so open to talking about God! It's so weird, but I love it!

After I wrote that part all the computers randomly turned off in the library so we took a break and went to a Thai buffet. Newsflash family: I like Thai food. Don't ask me how that happened.

I think I said this last week, but it's really weird to me that we can do stuff in our area without taking a train to it. So on P-Day when we have three hours to proselyte, we can actually do stuff with that time. Crazy. So last week after doing P-Day stuff we had time for a correlation meeting with the ward mission leader, who is AMAZING and it was a great meeting, and we still had time to go and teach a girl named Jessica. She's been investigating for a while but she's never come to church. She's a really cool lady though and she has faith, we're just working on getting her to keep commitments. We were glad to finally get to meet her after she was sick for our last appointment. (She's about 36 years old and she's Swedish.)

On Tuesday I had another first for my mission. We went tracting and someone actually let us into their house. It was an older Finnish couple named Annelie and Vesa. Vesa was on his way out but we sat down and taught Annelie the Restoration, and got a return appointment for this week. She sings in the choir in the Svenska Kyrkan every Thursday. It was a cool experience because Syster Haynes (I just almost typed Syster Sjöblom because I'm so used to that...sorry Syster Haynes!) asked me which building we should tract, and I pointed one the next street over. So we went over there and there were two different buildings. The first one we tried was portcoded so we couldn't get in, but then the second one was where we found Annelie and Vesa. When we came home that night we realized that it was the same building I had pointed to! It's funny how sometimes Heavenly Father closes doors to us even when we think that's where we're supposed to go, but it leads us to going to the right place. After we taught them we went to our appointment with Ida. It turns out she'd investigated the church a few years ago, and she had a baptismal date and everything. But her parents wouldn't give her permission to be baptized, and since then she's "found her own way," as she put it. It was a little heartbreaking because she's the sweetest girl ever (with a cute newborn baby!) but she's no longer interested in hearing about the gospel. We'll have to give her some time to let the Spirit work on her and hope that she misses the feeling she had then. I'm glad we got to meet her though. (Ida is 24 and Swedish) After we taught her we ran into a member who gave us a ride back to Södra Torget (the central bus station) so we'd be there in time to meet up with another member who gave us a ride out to the Baquero family. They live about 45 minutes outside of Borås so it took some careful planning and I'm really glad the member, Gunilla, wanted to come with us so she could do her visiting teaching at the same time. It's really hard for her to visit teach them because she doesn't speak Spanish and they don't speak Swedish. So she wanted to come when we were coming so I could translate... They were happy to have us visit and they made us empanadas that were really yummy. And I managed to converse in Spanish, if not a little haltingly. We had fun together anyway. When we came back from them we went straight home with a lady named Maggie. Syster Haynes met her while she was waiting for me to come into Borås our first day, and she is really positive! We went to her house and taught her the Restoration, and she really liked the Book of Mormon. She's really strong Catholic but I don't think she'll be too tough because she's really receptive to the Spirit. After the lesson she'd prepared some Arabic food for us. (She's from Syria.) It was really good chicken with some of the best rice ever, and a bitter but good salad and flat bread with cheese that looks like hair but still tastes good, and some sort of gingery bread with meat inside. She'd also made Swedish pancakes for us but we were too full and we took them home with us. We have another appointment with Maggie tomorrow night and we're planning on inviting her to be baptized, so please pray for her!

On Wednesday we went and taught Ullrika again. She's a sweetheart with adorable cats. Then we dropped by a less active whose last name was Mohamed. We were a little worried by the last name and had no idea what to expect but a little old lady answered the door, cigarette in hand, and invited us in. We came out smelling like chain smokers, but it was good to get to know her. She still has a strong testimony, but obviously, she smokes. So we're going to start working with her to try and get her back to church. She's learning Arabic and she's studied lots of languages and she had the Book of Mormon in a bunch of different languages, which was cool. And it turns out she's actually divorced from the Mohamed guy so we really had nothing to worry about. It's just cheaper to keep the name. We'll see her again this week as well. Wednesday evening we taught Kristina, who was previously less active but now she's coming back. It was cool because in the morning Ullrika told us some concerns about coming to church, then with Kristina we were inspired to change our lesson at the last minute and talk about bringing back lost sheep instead. She told us the concerns that she'd had before she started coming back to church, and they were the same ones that Ullrika had. We asked if she'd ever be willing to come to a lesson with us to teach Ullrika and she said she'd love to. I think it would be really good for both of them if they could be friends with each other and Kristina could help her come back. After her we taught Jessica again. She was sick again so we just shared a quick scripture. However, she seemed a little more positive after reading a letter that I brought her from Äldste Papenfuss (my last zone leader). He was the first missionary who found her and taught her, so when he heard I was coming to Borås he wrote her a letter. I don't know what it said but he's a really good missionary and we could tell that it was helpful for her.

Thursday we had zone training, which is a lot more of a hassle in this zone because it's a lot more spread out. We all went into Göteborg to meet there as a zone. Twenty minute bus to travel centrum, hour long bus to Göteborg, then a twenty-ish minute spår bana (like a trax train) to Västra Frölunda where the chapel is. It's a lot more of a hassle than the six minute train ride to Västerhaninge. My zone is Göteborg East, so it has Borås, Jönköping, Trollhättan, Karlstad, and Skövde. I like it a lot. There's lots of pretty cool people. We talked about contacting some more, so I was glad I'm with Syster Haynes because we just contact so many people! After zone training we had sister exchanges, so I was with Syster Richins. Before we came back to our areas we all went to Pizza Hut for lunch. We figured we should go to the bathroom before we took the bus back, but the line for the bathroom was going really slowly. While waiting in line, the guy in line behind me asked me about the missionaries. (Not so unusual considering there were a dozen of us in Pizza Hut.) We ended up all sitting around a table in Pizza Hut and teaching him about the Restoration. It was pretty cool. He'll be a referral for the Göteborg missionaries but he was pretty cool. And Syster Richins and I taught really well together even though we'd just met that morning. After we came back we went and taught Merita again. She still wouldn't let us into her apartment, and she still doesn't understand too much Swedish, but she's still really nice. We read some of Alma 34 with her and talked about prayer some more, because she still doesn't understand that she can pray. But when we said the closing prayer, she told us that it made her feel calm and peaceful. Naturally, we were very excited to hear that, and we told her that she could pray on her own and feel the same way. She said she'll pray at our next lesson.

Valentine's Day was pretty good. One random guy that we contacted even told us happy Valentine's Day. We were supposed to have three different McDonalds...because that's the best place we've found to teach so far in the middle of the city. But none of them showed up. We still taught someone in McDonalds though! We were sitting there waiting for someone to show up and we started talking to him and he invited us to share more with him, so we taught him most of the Plan of Salvation. We even had a Book of Mormon in Persian for him. It was also a great day because we got 26 contacts, gave away two Book of Mormons, and got four referrals. One was from the Trollhättan sisters, then Ullrika (we taught her again) gave us the names, numbers, and addresses of her brother and sister who live in Jönköping's area (which is where Syster Richins is serving, so that was especially exciting for her) and then we got one from a lady named Valerie that we contacted on the street. She went from being a no to setting up an appointment with us for next Saturday and saying that she wants to invite her friend for us to meet as well. She's from Vietnam and she said she was Christian but then she became Buddhist when she married a Buddhist, but now she's single again. She changed her mind when we started talking about eternal families. It was a long exchange because there wasn't a good way to switch back before about seven o'clock, but it was really good. We also met this girl named Anna who also really likes languages, and she and I clicked right away. She doesn't believe in God at all, but we're going to teach her later today and see if she's positive at all.

Getting kicked off the computer and running out of time, AAH!

Saturday a guy sat by me on the bus and had actually been to Salt Lake City. He asked me about the Book of Mormon I was holding and I taught him all about it on the bus. That was cool. Then we taught a guy named Mahdi who used to be Muslim but then studied philosophy and realized that Islam didn't answer his questions. He had a lot of questions and a lot to say and it was a hard lesson to get through, but it was good anyway. Then we had a Chili Fest where I spent a lot of time helping the Baqueros communicate with people. I'm glad we could be there to help them. Then we went and visited the Trejos family who is also from Colombia and also only speaks Spanish. They are hilarious and it was so much fun to be with them!

And, of course, Sunday. Stressful as usual. Especially when this guy started trying to talk to us in Albanian. It was weird. This guy named Juan said he'd come to church but we were communicating in Spanish and neither of us was that good at Spanish. He didn't show up. Church was exhausting. I sat by sister Baquero in Relief Society and tried my best to translate. I also played the piano and said the opening prayer. Then we taught Spanish Sunday School for the Baqueros with Brother Trejos there. He was a bishop in Colombia so I was glad he was there to help explain things to them. Syster Haynes and I didn't actually say much. Then I translated Sacrament Meeting into Spanish. I didn't know how to say stake, ward, sustain, or starfish. But I think they at least got the point that we have to do service and help each other. I think they appreciated it anyway. And I definitely had a lot of help and the gift of tongues to be able to think clearly and translate at all. I haven't even translated from Swedish to English before, but here I am translating into Spanish. Syster Haynes said that one time I said a whole sentence in Swedish...oops. Haha. After church we went to our ward mission leader's house for dinner. They are the best family! He and his wife have three adorable kids and I just love them and we had the best quesadillas I've ever had in Sweden. On the bus ride back we taught a guy named Johannes who started out not very interested but by the end he was asking lots of questions and started reading the Book of Mormon right then and there. That was pretty cool. We've had some really quality contacts this week.

I forgot to tell you about Diana. We met her sometime during the week and she had a Book of Mormon with her. She's super positive and she's totally been being prepared by God.

And to top it all off, a member just called us with a referral. I LOVE BORÅS!

I hope you all have a great week and you can enjoy the good weather! Today it might not rain, which would be the first day since I got here. But I love it. There's also a giant lake by our apartment. Say hi to everyone and happy President's Day!

Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney
PS-I can't find my apartment in that picture. I think it's under the cloud. :/