Wow, what a crazy week! Transfer week is always crazy. Last Monday seems like it was forever ago. I finally bought a suitcase. The lady in the store was like "Wow, you knew exactly what you wanted. Are you going on a long trip?" I didn't bother trying to explain to her that I'm in the middle of one. We didn't get much time to pack because we had to catch the train out to the Karlssons' house for dinner, family home evening, and our correlation meeting. The Karlssons are one of my favorite families in Sweden. They're super nice and every time we got to go out and visit their house it felt like we were at home. I already miss them a lot.
Tuesday was a pretty amazing last day in Borås. Even though I ate way too much food. We spent from 11 to 5 just eating meals with members. First we went by Margarita, the new convert from Uruguay. We didn't know she was going to feed us but we couldn't say no! She had made this nice salad of potatoes, noodles, shrimp, and mystery meat. I said "Oh, is this chicken?" And she said "No. I can't tell you what it is until you try it. Otherwise you won't eat it." So I prayed hard and tried it. Then she told us it was lamb tongue. It was interesting. Weird but manageable. I liked the shrimp better and I might even eat the shrimp again, but not the tongue. Ick. After Margarita we went straight over to the Trejos family for lunch. I was looking forward to some really good (but not tongue) South American food. They made curry. It was also really good though. And we had really yummy banana cake too. I'm going to miss the Trejos a lot as well. Directly after that we ran to catch the bus to the Murrays' for dinner. We had fajitas and they were delicious. Third time's a charm to get some good Latino food! The Murrays are another amazing family. Brother Murray was the bishop up until December and he knows every single less active in the ward because he personally made it a point to meet them and get to know them. And he's awesome coming on lessons and he brings investigators and new members who need rides to church every week. Basically the Borås ward is the best ward in Sweden and I miss all of them so much!!!!
After we finished eating (and eating and eating) we had about an hour to kill before meeting a Chinese girl named Cristina who I met on the bus a few months ago and couldn't meet until now. So we contacted a guy who was a strong believer and he actually asked us if we could sit down and talk about our message. That doesn't usually happen. So we taught him the restoration in the park and he thought it was really interesting. Unfortunately he didn't want to meet because he's the pastor in his own church. Then we taught Cristina who also wasn't very positive because she's Buddhist and not looking to change. But she was really cute and sweet. Then we had an appointment with Anna and we taught her the beginning of the Plan of Salvation. She's amazing and has a lot of good insights about things, but I feel like it will be hard to get her to church. She's one of those "spiritual but not religious" people. Still, it was a really great lesson and an awesome ending to my time in Borås and my time with Syster Byrd.
On Wednesday the real craziness began. We got up, did the last minute packing and cleaning, and got me and my suitcases to the bus. My new suitcase is really nice and works well. I still have one less suitcase than most missionaries. When we met up with the elders at Rese Centrum they said "I thought you bought a new suitcase!" And I said I did and showed them. They couldn't believe that I could fit all of my stuff. But I did! The only thing is I forgot my winter coat (oops!) but I shouldn't need that for a while and Syster Byrd promised to get it to me through the missionary grapevine. I think she'll bring it to zone conference today where she'll give it to Äldste Mangum (he's now one of the assistants to the President) so he can bring it to our zone conference in a few weeks and give it to me there. We took the bus to Göteborg where we met up with Syster Larson and Syster Ryan. Syster Larson transferred to Uppsala (north of Stockholm) so she and Äldste Mangum were on the train with me. We all said goodbye to our companions and got on the train. I got off at Katrineholm where the sisters there met me and helped me get my stuff across the train station and onto my next train to Norrköping. Syster Eborn was waiting there. She got her last companion (Syster Anderson) onto her train, then looked around and saw my train approaching and met me as I arrived. It was pretty good timing! We took my stuff home and I ate some food, and Syster Eborn updated me about the area. Norrköping is on fire! Our white board is filled with investigators and progressing investigators and baptismal dates. We're probably going to have a baptism tomorrow. And two more before July. I was speechless. We went back out (by this point it was about 3:30) and visited a woman named Siw who lives behind the church. They had contacted her a few days ago and she said we could just come by. Then we visited a recently reactivated member named Ann-Sofi. (They're both older Swedish women.) Then we were on our way to teach Olivia (who is going to be baptized in a few weeks) when we contacted a guy sitting on a bench. He was really interested and had a lot of questions so we sat down and taught him about the Book of Mormon and made a return appointment with him for the next day. That was cool. His name's Rikard. Then we taught Olivia. She's 14 or 16 and she's from Uganda. I think. (I've got a lot of new information in my brain I'm trying to process still.) She is awesome! Our next lesson cancelled so we did some tracting and taught a family from Syria. There are a lot of people here from Syria. About 2 out of 3 people we talk to. Syster Eborn can contact in Arabic now and she's teaching me how.
On Thursday morning we had district meeting so I got to meet everyone in my district. Syster Eborn and I are the only sisters. Then there are the 2 Norrköping elders (Äldste Gray and Äldste Stoeltzin) and 4 elders from Linköping (Äldste Farnworth and Äldste Hewitt, and Äldste Kikko and Äldste Miller). It's a pretty young district. Äldste Gray and Äldste Miller have both been out about 17 months, but the rest of them came out after I did. It's weird being an old missionary... They're all really friendly and really funny. District meeting was fun. After District Meeting Syster Eborn and I had weekly planning-which is so much more fun when you have so many people to work with-and then we taught Rikard again. He'd read the introduction to the Book of Mormon plus all the different testimonies, so that was cool. And he actually said "I want to investigate this and see if it's anything for me!" This was especially cool because Syster Byrd and I recently had a conversation about our investigators not knowing that they're actually investigating something. After Rikard we went on splits with two women from the ward who are our visiting teaching companions so we could get our visiting teaching done. All five people we had set up forgot. But Emma and I still got to teach two people. First we would teach Maria but she wasn't there. Then we went to Prossy (a new convert) but she wasn't home. So we tried to call Jasmine to see if we could come earlier but she didn't answer. Then as we were trying to figure it out, Prossy showed up so we got to teach her anyway. Then we went out to Jasmine and even though she'd forgotten she let us in and we taught her as well. Then I got back together with Syster Eborn and we ran into a previous investigator and taught him on the street. It was a pretty good day.
On Friday I got to meet the Dolmayas. They're also from Syria. They are a wonderful family. The dad, Nabil, was baptized in November. Their daughter Judy is 18. She's the one that is probably going to be baptized tomorrow. She's called off her baptism a few times before now but this time it's been completely 100% her choice with no missionaries or anyone else pushing her. So I think it will actually happen. They also have another daughter named Chris who's 14 and likes David Archuleta and hip-hop dancing. I told her I'd try to remember the one hip-hop dance I once knew and teach it to her. I'm her new best friend. Chris and Judy taught me a cool dance from Syria-folk dance for the win!
Saturday afternoon we went to Linköping (about 45ish minutes away by train) for their baptism. All the missionaries sang a musical number (Beautiful Savior, a capella.) The investigator Sofie was really nervous but prepared. She was baptized in a lake. It was beautiful with the sun setting behind it. Well not really setting-it doesn't do that until 11:30 ish (I know this because I wasn't done packing by that time Tuesday night...) but it was going down.
And yesterday was great! The first Sunday in a new area is always stressful. Norrköping's ward has about 60 active members. They have 2 young women. (Soon to be 3 when Olivia is baptized!) It's mostly Swedish with a few new converts from Uganda. We had 4 VIPs in church: Judy, Johnson (who has a baptism date for June 28), and Cie-Cie (from China. She's adorable!), and a less active member named Kirsi. We walked with Kirsi to church. After church we had some lunch and then we went and taught a less active woman named Mikaela and her non-member daughter Tuva. They were super sweet and gave us each a huge thing of strawberries. We've eaten almost all of them by now.
Syster Eborn is amazing. We work really well and REALLY hard together and get a lot done. It's fun to tell people that we met even before the MTC. We already have a picture of the two of us on facebook from a year ago when we went to lunch. I'm pretty sure I posted it and said "Future companions!" Who'da thunk?
Friday is a non-proselyting day because of midsommars afton. We're going to do something with the members but I was too busy trying to figure out their names that I'm not sure exactly where we're going. It should be fun. I'm kind of sad I don't get to celebrate midsummer with all my Borås friends but this will be a good opportunity to make good friendships with these members as well.
Sounds like it's been a pretty crazy week for you guys as well! Happy late father's day dad! And happy late birthday Peyton! I'm glad you got the chocolate. Oreos are better with marabou chocolate. Thanks for the updates on everything! I hope you have another great week! Jag älskar er!
Margarita (Recent convert from Uruguay)
Bro. & Sis. Murray
The Karlsson Family
Packing letters from home