Happy New Year! The Persian New Year started this week, either on Wednesday or Thursday, I didn't quite figure it out. They celebrate it for 18 days, so on Saturday Syster Haynes and I celebrated (sort of) with two different families. First, we went to visit Masoume, where we first learned about the holiday. For the new year you set out seven things that start with S, which is the first letter in the Persian alphabet. Masoume's table had an apple, grass, coins, some spice, some eggs...I don't remember what else. You leave it out the whole 18 days. She also had this nut mix with peanuts, almonds, walnuts, corn nuts, pistachios, and pumpkin seeds all mixed together to snack on. We were planning on teaching her the rest of the Plan of Salvation that we didn't finish on Sunday, but while we were there we were prompted to teach her the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Syster Haynes had used the iPhone (love that thing) to translate the words Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, and Endure to the End into Persian and drew them all out, so we pulled that out and used it to help explain. When we got to baptism, Masoume said "I want to do that!" We were a little shocked because it usually isn't quite so easy, but she pulled out her Persian-Swedish dictionary and pointed to the word "Christlike" and said "I want to be that!" So we invited her to prepare to be baptized on April 19th. She's really excited for it and she's already been reading and praying about it.
So then on Saturday night we went to visit Mohamed and Hlimah and their family, who are also Persian. They had the same things set out for the new year. We taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well, and Mohamed was so sweet and translated the whole thing for Hlimah. We were planning on getting help from a member in Stockholm who speaks Persian, she was going to be on the phone for the lesson to help explain and find out their questions, but she didn't answer the phone when we called her. It turned out to actually be really good though, because we could teach the Gospel of Christ so simply and clearly. They also had questions about baptism-who has the authority? Where can we get baptized? They've actually wanted to be baptized for a while I think because they converted to Christianity many years ago, but Mohamed said they weren't able to before. But now the Lord has brought them to Sweden where they have to freedom to be baptized, and He's led us to them so we can help them find the true church! Mohamed and Hlimah committed to be baptized on April 19th as well. We had some time before our bus came because they only come once every hour on Saturdays, so we played with the girls some more. Then Mojgan, the Persian speaking member, called back. She explained what we taught and bore her testimony to them. The whole time they just kept saying "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!" We had to rush then to catch the bus (we missed it) but they asked if we could send them her number so they can keep in contact with her. We were talking at the bus stop while we waited and we realized it was perfect timing that we could teach the whole lesson clearly and then Mojgan came and bore her testimony of it all. It was one of the most if not the most spiritual lesson I've had and I am so excited for their family! I think Zahra and Sitareh will be baptized on that day as well, but they weren't there for the actual commitment this time. Mohamed said he would come to church even though with the bus times he'd have to leave two hours early and wait at Södra Torget (in the middle of town) for 40 minutes before the bus left to the church. But then he texted us yesterday morning and said he'd forgotten that he had guests coming to his house for lunch at that time so he couldn't come. They have to come next week! But I think they will.
So yeah, we got three baptismal dates on Saturday. No big deal. It was pretty fun to report to the zone leaders and to President Newell. I know that the Lord has been blessing us for all of our hard work.
The rest of the week has been alright, but we've had a LOT of people not show up to their lessons. We were supposed to teach Moses on Monday while we were in Göteborg, but he didn't come. Good thing we had other things to do in Göteborg, like get kebab pizza! Our other lesson on Monday also cancelled, but we were able to do some service for Irma, the member who referred Robert.
Tuesday we had district meeting in Jönköping so I got to see a new part of Sweden! Jönköping is right underneath the big lake in the middle of Sweden. It was really beautiful. I was especially excited to go there because that was Syster Sjöblom's first area and I've heard all about how awesome it is. It was certainly a pretty city. When we got back we went out to Fritsla and taught David. He's doing pretty good. Unfortunately he wasn't able to come to church on Sunday because he had to go to Göteborg to talk to a friend about getting a job. After him we taught Farhad from Afghanistan. When we told him about the prophet he said "Where can I read about him?!?" It was cool. Then we taught Lamech. I love Lamech! He's awesome. It was a really good lesson about obedience and we started to teach the commandments. He even started to tell us about praying to know if it was true and what happened. He got distracted and never finished the story, so we were left hanging as to what happened, but whatever it was it was really good because he's really looking forward to his baptism. After the lesson we were walking back to Södra Torget and he told me "Ever since I met you two I've just been happy all the time!" Then after him we went to the church and taught Ahmed. He really wants to know if it's true and he really felt the Spirit during the lesson, and it went great!
Wednesday we taught Ulrika again and then had lunch with the Murrays. He's from Utah and they lived there until they retired and came to Sweden. We had lasagna and blue kool-aid, and talked about how much we miss kraft mac 'n cheese, and American fast food chains. He was the bishop until December, so he knows EVERYTHING about the less active members in the ward, and he REALLY wants to help them come back, so he's been awesome at missionary work with the less active members. Everyone else cancelled on us on Wednesday, which was kind of discouraging, but we tried to find people to teach anyway. Our efforts were rewarded on Saturday, like I already mentioned.
Thursday we helped an investigator named May clean her house. She really likes us and likes talking about Christ but she doesn't seem to want to change much. We're working on helping her understand that there's only one true church and you have to have the authority. After that we went out to Tranemo and taught the Baqueros in Spanish. It was really hard. But they said to tell you hi! So hola from the Baqueros!
On Friday we helped clean the church and had lunch with some members. We were planning a pizza night with this part member family but they cancelled. None of our investigators were home so we dropped by another member who lives in our area. She really needed us then so I was glad we went over there. Then on Friday night we taught Lamech again at the Engelbrektsson family's house. It went really well. He already called his friends in Africa to tell them he's getting baptized. He wanted to know all about what's going to happen on that day, because he thinks about it all the time. So we started to make his baptismal program. We're going to sing Amazing Grace and Syster Haynes is doing the talk about baptism. The Engelbrektssons had a violin that they let me play so hopefully I'll be able to play in a musical number for it as well! There's nothing I'd rather do between sessions of General Conference!
I told you about Saturday. We also taught Jessica on Saturday. She's still been having a pretty rough time, and she's also lost her Book of Mormon. We had a member with us for her lesson this time and it made a huge difference. She committed to come to church, although hesitantly. It was a really good lesson though.
So then yesterday. We were planning on at least ten investigators coming to church: Lamech, Moses, Jessica, Mohamed, Hlimah, Zahra, Sitareh, Masoume, Helia (her daughter), and Ahmed. It was also our turn to teach Spanish Sunday School. So Syster Haynes prepared a Persian sunday school lesson while I prepared the Spanish one for the Baqueros. We figured Lamech, Moses, and Jessica could go to regular Sunday School, and we'd let the elders take over Ahmed since he lives in their area. The morning was a pretty stressful and anxious morning. First Jessica texted saying that she wasn't coming. Then Mohamed texted to let us know he and his family couldn't come either. Moses was in Göteborg so we sent him the addresses to the churches there. We haven't heard from him since so we still don't know if he made it to church, but we're thinking he probably won't be ready to be baptized this Saturday. We went to Södra Torget where we were supposed to meet Lamech and he wasn't there. This is when I started to get worried. The bus from where he lives came and he wasn't on it. The bus to the church was leaving in two minutes. I said "I am not getting on that bus without Lamech!" We called him and he showed up from around the corner just in time to get on the bus with us. He'd slept in Göteborg Saturday night and had just gotten back that morning, and didn't even have time to go home in between, but he still came to church! He was the only one who came, but it was all worth it because Lamech is amazing. He really liked it. I didn't see him most of the time because the first hour I was translating Primary (not sure why, because the kids are pretty good at coloring no matter the language) and then the second hour I was teaching Spanish Sunday School. We went on splits with women from the ward to be our companions. While Syster Trejos was my companion for Sunday School, Syster Haynes and Sara Olofson were teaching Lamech. It sounded like it went really well. My Sunday School lesson went well too, but it's really hard to teach for 45 minutes all by yourself in Spanish! Luckily the Trejos were there to answer questions that the Baqueros had. Finally we got to Sacrament meeting and it was awesome.
I can't believe you're going on a cruise for Spring Break without me! I mean, I'd still rather be here, but that sounds like a lot of fun! Take lots of pictures and send me something cool! When is Spring break anyway? Good job everyone with dancing, golfing, stock investments, and serving!
I hope you all have another wonderful week! Jag älskar er! Thank you for your love and prayers!
PS- So the prayer list this week is Lamech, Moses, Mohamed, Hlimah, Zahra, Sitareh, Masoume, and Helia. Sorry it's long...actually no I'm not! They need prayers!
Delaney & Syster Haynes in Goteborg
Back row left to right: Delaney, Hlimah, Zahra, Mohamed
Front row: Sitareh on the left and Sonia on the right.
Waiting at the bus stop for an hour
after just missing the bus
iphones - Delaney now has a smart phone
like the rest of the family