Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28, 2014

Käre Familj,


(Mom, when Dad calls you to read my email to him in the morning, I want you to yell that in all caps! Well you don't have to yell it, but say it in an all-caps kind of way!)

Hi everyone! I was so excited to hear about all of your adventures. It sounds like this has been the best summer ever-without me! Not fair. But I'm glad you're still managing to have some fun even without me there. I'm so happy you got to meet the one and only Syster Sjöblom! I know she was really excited to meet you because she's heard all about you. I was hoping she'd email me because I realized that I don't have her post-mission email address. :/ 

The temple, garden, mountain biking, and Wicked all sound really great too. I'm slightly jealous that you get to do all of those things. Well, maybe I'm not too jealous of mountain biking. I'm alright missing that. But now that I eat vegetables and things like that, I'm really excited for the garden next year! Of course, you get pretty good produce here in Sweden too. Speaking of things I eat, would you believe that one of my new favorite meals is baked salmon and I've eaten it at least once a week for the last three weeks?

Well I'd better cut to the chase and tell you about this week because it has been the BEST! It started off a little hard (there is still nothing more stressful than transfers) but it's picked up and we've had so much success this week!

The beginning of the week was mostly Syster Miller packing and us getting stuff done and ready for transfers and training. We deep cleaned the apartment, packed, stuff like that. We did go down to Linköping and had Subway with the district. That was about it as far as P-Day activities go. Then we had a member dinner that night and dropped by some people but they weren't home. The member dinner was good though, it was with the Åströms and they are really awesome!
Tuesday was a lot of running around and the same kinds of things. We had an appointment with Francois and another one with Kirsi but they both cancelled. :( We did get to teach Pontus before the YSA activity, and it was cool because afterward he said it was exactly what he needed. We left Tuesday night with all of Syster Miller's stuff and stayed the night in Södertälje. That way Syster Miller didn't have to bring her stuff all the way up to Stockholm and then back. Don't ask me how we caught all the busses, trams, and trains we needed to get there, even managing to say goodbye to basically everyone. At 7:20 we were still at the church, and our train left from central station at 8:25. But we made it. Only missionaries can do that.

Wednesday morning we left Södertälje bright and early and made our way to Täby (part of Stockholm where the mission home is and the mission office) to meet our greenies. We waited in the primary room for a while while they were receiving training from the Beckstrands in the chapel. That was a fun time to catch up with Syster Byrd and Syster Eborn, as well as a few of the elders from my group, Äldste Lundquist, Äldste Ward, and Äldste Cushing. Finally we got to go into the chapel. Each new missionary got a letter saying where they were going and who their senior companion would be, so they read them off one by one. The very first one to go read that she was going to Norrköping with Syster Smith!!! Her name is Syster Austin, and here's the cool thing-we already know each other! I think I mentioned this a few months ago, but back in March I got a letter from my next door neighbor down at BYU, Megan Austin. She'd been called to Sweden and wanted some advice. And she said at the end that she hoped I would be her trainer when she got here! I've been thinking that would be the coolest thing ever, so we've both been hoping to be companions in the field, and now we are! She's from Idaho Falls, Idaho, she's super awesome and way better at Swedish than anyone should be after 6 weeks. She works hard and wants to be obedient and she's a great missionary! I could go on forever! We got back to our apartment by about 3:30 Wednesday afternoon and went to work. We whipped out the contacts (Syster Austin is fearless) and we had a lesson with Olivia that night. Perfect first lesson for a new missionary, because Olivia is so sweet and so prepared!

Thursday we had district meeting in Linköping so Syster Austin got to meet the whole district all at once. It's officially 50% non-American and I am the only Utahn in the whole district. Other than Syster Austin, we have one more new missionary in Norrköping, Äldste Lindquist. He's from Sweden (Handen) and he's got about 3 months left of his mission. So we have one Swede, one Finn, and two Brits, plus one Minnesotan, one Californian, one Idahoan, and me. It's a fun district. We caught our train back to Norrköping after district meeting (we had to run but luckily the train was late-miracles!) then because of the delayed train we missed our spårvagn to go and meet up with Lisabeth. This left us with 15 minutes until the next spårvagn so we walked through the park and talked to this girl on a bench named Linn, and ended up giving her a Book of Mormon and teaching her the whole Restoration. We missed the spårvagn and had to walk to Lisabeth (it was super hot) but it was worth it. Lisabeth was great and then we taught Cecilia who was also doing well, and then we met with Pontus in the church and taught him. Pontus is especially excited that Syster Austin is here because he's really good at English and wants to help her learn Swedish. Pontus will receive the Aaronic Priesthood on Sunday.

Friday was also awesome. We taught Kirsi, who was super nice to Syster Austin. Then the rest of the day was one of those ones where we couldn't get anything set up so it was all swing by's. As we were walking to another one Syster Austin asked if it was usually more like that or like the day before when we had back to back lessons lined up. We're going to do our best to have the ones with lots of lessons. Even with only swing-by's we still managed to teach two different people on the street and give away a Book of Mormon. It was sure hot though!

Saturday was a super amazing day. We had a tentative lesson planned with Mikael and Carola, who we taught last Saturday as well, and an even more tentative lesson scheduled with a less-active woman named Seija. (By tentative I mean I called her and she basically said "I'll probably be gone that day. But I guess you can come by and see. I might be home if it's raining." and it wasn't raining.) But I was trying to have faith and just assuming they'd be there and be expecting us. They both were. Mikael had even read the whole introduction to the Book of Mormon. He doesn't believe in God, which is a setback, but they're going to keep reading. Seija talked really fast and really quietly, and she had a tiny rat dog using me as a chew-toy the whole time. But it was cool that she was actually home and we got to meet her anyway. After that we had our church time where we taught Mona, a woman that Syster Miller and I contacted a few weeks ago. She is amazing! She explained to us that she grew up going to the Swedish Church, but when she was about 8 years old her parents left the church so she stopped going, and she's always wondered how her life would have turned out if she were still in the church because that was right when she was starting to understand what they were teaching her. She thought it was cool that we don't do baptism until the age of 8. She's really excited to read the Book of Mormon and basically she's just amazing. She had to work yesterday but she's off work for the first half of August and she committed to come to church then. We invited her to be baptized and she said she has to read the book first, but she's definitely going to consider it. She's so open and willing to act, I think she will get an answer about the Book of Mormon quickly. After Mona, then Johnson showed up right as we were leaving. He's from Tanzania and he's not the best with time, so he was a few hours late, but we still managed to catch him. We taught him about baptism and he accepted a baptismal date for August 23rd. He had a baptismal date before but he kind of disappeared, so hopefully we can hold on to him this time. Then on Saturday night we taught Olivia again. She had prayed about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and felt that they were true. She's the best.

Yesterday we had Olivia and Johnson and Lisabeth for VIPs. Johnson only caught the closing hymn and prayer in Sacrament Meeting, but he enjoyed Sunday School. The YW lesson was all about baptism and afterward Olivia told me "I'm so excited for my baptism!!" She went to Prossy's house again after church. It was great.

So yes, Syster Austin and I are doing great! We've consistently given away at least one Book of Mormon every day of our companionship, so hopefully we'll be able to keep that up! There are so many people here who are ready and willing to listen! I hope you all have a wonderful week as well! Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney
Delaney and Syster Austin

They match!

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014

Käre familj,


I've gotten updates of when he was about to get his call, and when his farewell was coming up, and everything, but nobody has told me where he's going. Unless you did and I forgot. I think I remember Reed is going to England. But where is Drew going? I actually discovered on that you can see all the missionaries serving from your stake so I updated myself on where the missionaries are. There were some people that I was surprised about because I didn't know they were on missions. Mostly sisters.

It's funny that you thanked me for taking so much P-Day time to write to you because this week we actually aren't going to be able to take so much time. We already spent a few hours cleaning the apartment in preparation for my new companion who's coming on Wednesday. The new missionaries are coming on Wednesday, and Syster Miller and I will both be training! We got the training call on Tuesday morning. It was funny, first President asked to talk to me and he told me I'd be training a new sister. I asked if I'd be training in Norrköping and he said I'll find out later in the week. Then he hung up. The next thirty seconds were the most awkward ones of our companionship, because I'd just been told I was training and I didn't know what to say to Syster Miller who goes home in three months and has always wanted to train. The awkward silence was broken by President's ringtone again, and he informed Syster Miller that she would also be training. He said he's still working on the secretarial stuff. On Saturday we got another call to let us know that I will be staying in Norrköping to train, and Syster Miller will be training in Södertälje. So she's staying in the zone. Syster Christison (who lived with me back in Västerhaninge) is also training as well as Syster Byrd and Syster Eborn from my group. We're all pretty excited. I realized that my greenie will have almost definitely seen Frozen.

The funeral potatoes turned out really good. We used a LOT of cheese, but it was good. It turned out perfectly because the elders threw a Baby Shower for Syster Miller and me, complete with presents and everything. (Junk they had lying around, but it all had something symbolic about it.) At the end of district meeting there was an object lesson to help us "light the fire" in our areas. No flames involved, but we were invited to try a drop of "Da Bomb" hot sauce. It's 400,000 times hotter than a jalapeno. Syster Miller and I both tried it. It was painful! But the funeral potatoes helped a lot to ease the fire in our mouths and throats. It was so hot it made your whole body tingle. This is what missionaries do.
Hot sauce??

Olivia is amazing. She could get baptized this week if she wanted to. She's ready. But she wants to keep coming until September and make sure she's really ready. I'm really excited that my new missionary companion will get to teach her, because she listens, understands, and asks wonderful questions. She was in church yesterday, and after church she went home with Prossy (new convert) to hang out. She's fellowshipped! We also had a guy named Francois in church from Congo. That's all I know about him-he was just in the phone so we called him and he came to church. We're going to meet him again this week. Lisabeth is doing well. She was in church yesterday, as well as another less active who I finally got to meet this week named Maria. She's a single mom with two kids, and she's super awesome! After Sacrament Meeting she came up to me and asked if we could check the temple calendar so she can make sure and get work off for the next ward temple trip. (The next one is in August but she already has work scheduled, so she's going to come in November.)

That's too bad about the addition to the house not turning out the way you thought. I'm sure whatever you decide to do will be great! As my district leader Elder Gray would say, "put some prayer into it!" Except he's transferring on Wednesday to Sundsvall. That's in Norrland which means it's way up north. He will be replaced by Äldste Lindquist, who is Swedish. Between him, the two British elders, and our Finnish friend Äldste Kiikko, our district will only be 50% American. And if my greenie isn't from Utah, then I'll be the only Utahn in the district!

Sorry I don't have time to send pictures this week, but I'll send oodles next week!  {She had a little time later in the day to send some pictures.  Yay!)

I'm so jealous that Peyton and Mom are going to Wicked! Not fair! I hope you all have a wonderful week! And I can't wait for you to meet Syster Sjöblom!!! Say hi to her for me! I'll probably see her in Stockholm because I'll go pick up my greenie and she'll still be there. We'll see anyway. I can't believe she's going home already!

Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney
The Elders in the district gave Delaney and Syster Miller
a baby shower since they will both be new mothers
this week.  (They will both be training new missionaries.)

Birthday party for Elder Gray at the Dolmayas' house

Delaney and Syster Miller.

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014

Käre familj,

Hi! Sounds like you've all had an awesome week. I'm jealous that you got to go to the Newells' homecoming. I miss them already! But aren't they wonderful? It sounds like President Newell's talk was about the same as the one he gave in Göteborg's stake conference a couple months ago about temple work and everything. I heard that Syster Newell's talk was really good too. (Syster Miller's family included more details about it.)

When I read that you'd seen The Fault in Our Stars, I thought you meant Number The Stars, which is a book about the Holocaust, so I understood why Peyton cried buckets but I couldn't figure out how she remembered me reading it back in fourth grade. But then I figured it out. That was a really good book, so I hope the movie was good too! Who was in it? How's Keera doing?

Tell Peyton not to worry, I crashed my bike this week too. But not very badly. Here's what happened. I think I might have mentioned last week that we tried riding our bikes and they were a piece of... well, they needed some work. I rode all the way to our appointment and back with a completely flat tire. We figured this just would not do, and we called the couple in charge of the apartments and bikes, the Tolleys. They assessed the situation, decided they'd tried resurrecting the Norrköping bikes one too many times, and on Wednesday they came down with shiny new three-speed bikes for us! So Elder Tolley got my bike all set up and told me to hop on and test it out to see if the seat was high enough. May I just remind you that up until last week I haven't ridden a bike in a very long time. I don't even remember the last time I rode a bike at home! So I tried to ride the bike, and I was wearing a skirt, and the seat was a little high-long story short, before I could get to the point where I was controlling and RIDING the bike, we were headed straight for a bush. Elder Tolley came to my rescue before I could crash too hard, but it was pretty embarrassing. Then Elder Tolley followed around behind me like I'd just gotten my training wheels taken off. I've improved a lot because we LOVE our new bikes and we take them as much as we can. (It makes it so much faster to get places!) At least, we did, until a few days ago when my spiffy new combination lock (no more bike keys!) broke. So we had to retire them for a few days until the Tolleys were back in town on their way back to Stockholm to replace the bike lock. So it was embarrassing, but mostly funny. Syster Tolley also trimmed mine and Syster Miller's hair at the time.

Good job on your almost-hole-in-one Dad! The picture is pretty awesome. Of course, anyone could have just set the golf ball down right there, but I believe you anyway. Was Cody there to witness it? Good luck in the golf tournament!

You'll never believe what I found this week! We were doing family history in the church and I was looking on a census record for Anna-Christina Petersen when in her household record I saw it... SWEDEN. After a whole year of being a Swedish missionary, I FINALLY FOUND A SWEDE IN OUR FAMILY HISTORY! Of course, I'm not actually a descendant of him, but no matter. I found one. I'm determined to find his family. It's Anna-Christina's daughter Bertha's husband, Edmund Samuel Anderson. So that would be Grandma Wilson's aunt's husband. He was born in Sweden! I haven't been able to find anything about him because he emigrated when he was five years old, but I'm looking for a birth record. Can you ask Grandma Wilson and anyone else who might know if they have any information about him? I'm just so excited to finally have a Swede to work with!

Pontus is doing amazing! He's already an awesome member! And an awesome missionary! During the week he asked us if we could meet with one of his friends, Suzanne, to teach her more about the church and what we do. He set up an appointment for all of us to meet on Wednesday. It was kind of funny because he felt bad that he was taking our time to do this, but we tried to explain that this was exactly what our time is for. So we showed up at her apartment, which was literally right next door to our apartment building. Suzanne was home but she had forgotten and was on her way out. Pontus was so great, trying to get us in for just ten minutes, but she wouldn't let us. So we set up another appointment and Pontus said "Maybe this time you should write it down!" He was the perfect amount of bold! So then he suggested that we stop by his other friend, Mari. He doesn't even understand how much of a missionary he already is! We went by and Mari was home and let us in! It was a little hard to teach her, because she has some severe physical handicaps. She's in a wheelchair and the left side of her body is paralyzed. And she can't talk, so she communicates through facial expressions and through a talking machine that she types in. It was an interesting first lesson, but a good one. Especially with Pontus there. He has such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and God's ability and willingness to answer prayers! He loved sharing his testimony with her and inviting her to read the Book of Mormon. She committed to reading it and she wanted the address to the church. She didn't come, but we'll see her again soon. After we taught her we were waiting for the spårvagn (tram) with Pontus and he was so excited about the lesson he said "I need to say a prayer!" and he looked up and started praying.

Church yesterday was really good. We had three VIPs: Olivia, Awet, and Lisabeth. Olivia is doing really good. She reads the Gospel Principles book all the time and has awesome questions. Like yesterday morning, I was sitting with her before sacrament meeting started and she said "I have a question. What's the difference between gifts of the Spirit and fruits of the Spirit?" What kind of investigator knows either of those terms? Olivia kind. She was making comments in Sunday School and then when we walked her home after church she recounted the entire story of Ammon from Young Women and how it tied in to keeping covenants. The rate she's going she'll be ready for baptism by this time next month, but I think she'll keep her date in September just to be sure of everything.

Awet is another investigator who had been to church a few times before I got here. She's from Eritrea and originally speaks Tagrinian. The church has absolutely nothing published in her language, but she can also understand Amharic (it's like Spanish and Portuguese) so she reads the Book of Mormon in Amharic. It's pretty hard to teach her because her Swedish isn't that great, but she's slowly coming along. She seems to understand about half of what we tell her so we have to take it slow.

Lisabeth is a less active member who's active at heart. She's just lonely so sometimes she doesn't have the umph to get herself to church. But she's a really sweet grandma who always gives us strawberries and ice cream when we go over.

Speaking of ice cream, can you believe it's already been a whole year!?! It's crazy! Time is flying by so fast! On Thursday for my year mark we were in Söderköping (just south of Norrköping) (by the way, Norr means North, Söder means South, and Köping means borough.) and there's this really amazing ice cream restaurant there so I got a big yummy ice cream to celebrate. Then we ran into the bishop (he lives in Söderköping) and they invited us over to share a message and cream. But we're in Sweden, so it was naturally delicious!

Thanks for all the details and info you always include in your emails! I hope you have another wonderful week! Jag älskar er!!

Love, Delaney 
Delaney and Chris (Judy's sister) who did
Delaney's hair and makeup

Celebrating her 1 year mark on July 10th
with ice cream of course

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7, 2014

Kära Familj,

Hello! Thanks for the updates on everyone. It sounds like it was a great July 4th week. There were no fireworks here, which was kind of sad. But we did have our Meet and Greet with the Beckstrands that day and everyone wore red white and blue. Well, a lot of people did anyway. So we sort of celebrated, but not really. I'm loving my new backpack. It's the best. Simply not being a side bag makes it a wonderful backpack. We're also greatly enjoying having our phone again. Dad, I can't even imagine serving with no phone at all. How did you get information from the mission and everything? How did you get in touch with the zone leaders and the mission president? The cool thing about Norrköping is, people here actually answer their phones and make appointments.

It's the best! I think it's funny that you're telling me about FIFA. Sweden cares a lot about it, so it's hard not to know what's going on. We were walking home right after Brazil beat Chile and there were so many disappointed Chileans coming out of Taco Bar. One of them came and asked us if we knew where the ATM was. After he walked away we realized that he had just lost a bet. I've heard that it's crazy to be a missionary in Brazil right now. I think I'm rooting for Netherlands, because Nabil (Judy's dad) is rooting for them and he's really smart. Nabil's family is the best. He was baptized in November after he just walked into the church looking for the truth. Then Judy was just baptized a few weeks ago. They also have another daughter named Chris who's 14 and she's also super awesome. They're one of those families that you go in to try and uplift them but you come out feeling more uplifted yourself.

Pontus' baptism was great! He showed up early so he could just be there and feel the Spirit beforehand. There was about 25 members there, which is pretty good for this ward. So he had a lot of support. The talks were both really good. It was Pia, the institute teacher in the ward, and Henrik, the 2nd councillor in the bishopric who also drives Pontus to church on Sundays. It was great that none of the talks was done by missionaries! That's ward support. The musical number went well even though my music was falling off the piano. I could still read it, thank goodness! Äldste Gray baptized him and when he came up out of the water he started jumping for joy. It was a really spiritual moment. He shared his testimony afterward and he talked about the first time he met the sisters. He heard them on the bus talking about the gospel and went and asked them about it. Then he talked about the night when he prayed about the Book of Mormon. He got three answers: That the book itself is true, that the people who wrote it were true prophets, and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. After the service we had refreshments. We brought carrots and cucumbers and dip and grapes, and the elders made kladkaka and snickerdoodles. Pontus was never without a member to talk to and the ward was all so happy for him! He was confirmed yesterday by David Jonsson, the one who had us and Pontus over to dinner a few weeks ago. Pontus is rock solid and he's already invited his friends to learn about the church. We're meeting one of them on Wednesday!

The next big thing that happened this week was the Meet and Greet with the Beckstrands. They are really cool people! But you already knew that. They introduced themselves and they were really relaxed and funny. We didn't have interviews or anything because it was a pretty short zonference (we had much more total travel time than actual zone conference time) but we all got to shake their hands. When I shook President Beckstrand's hand he said "Syster's Delaney, right?" That was kind of a shock. I heard they've been following all the blogs that missionaries here have had, so they probably know a lot about me. It was cool to get to meet them!

On Saturday we taught Olivia. She is an awesome girl. We sat down and she just said "I didn't understand the Sunday School lesson on Sunday." She follows up with herself before we can even say anything! So we went over the priesthood with her, because that's what Sunday School was about. We gave her a Gospel Principles book a few weeks ago and she's been reading out of it. When we asked what she's been reading about lately she said "baptism." She still wants to be baptized, so she made a goal for September 6th. She came to church yesterday and stayed for all three hours. I went to Young Women with her (I didn't realize this but I miss Young Women!) and she shared her experience with feeling the Holy Ghost in Sacrament Meeting the week before. We read some scriptures in Swedish so she wrote them down to read later in English. She's really spiritual and really receptive to the Spirit, and she's motivated to follow through on the things we ask her to do.

This week we also baked cookies with Prossy and Alex (new converts) and we made Tinga (Mexican food!) with them on Saturday. We helped Cecilia move in to her new apartment by building an Ikea bookshelf with her. I taught a guy on the train the restoration. It was the train back to Stockholm central from zone conference so it was packed with missionaries, but I still ended up by a random guy and taught him. It was scary because all these other missionaries were totally listening to me. But I felt like I did a good job. Lots of other stuff probably happened too, sorry I've just been so bad at including better details... It's been a great week! I hope you all have a wonderful week as well!

Jag älskar er!



                                                      Delaney, Pontus & Sister Miller

Delaney and Kiley


Delaney and Kiley

Prossy, Kiley and Delaney eating Tinga
Chess on P-day
Sis. Sjoblom (Delaney's Trainer) who goes home
at the end of July