If only over Skype.
If you're wondering about the kind of depressing subject line this week, it's actually not depressing at all. I got my release date this week. I basically will be home for Christmas because it will still be the Christmas season. Maybe you already found out from the mission office or Facebook or something, but my release date is December 30th! I think school starts the next week, so you might not see me much. I guess it's getting to that time where we have to start figuring all that out. It's been so weird all week knowing when I'm going home, but don't worry, I'm focusing on the work.
The week has been really good. We've had a lot of people cancel or not even show up, but that's missionary work. At least the good parts have been really good. Our Family History hour on Tuesday was super great because I was finding Launa's family and there were actually things to find! It was super cool. It was one of the best Family History hours of my mission and I can't wait to do more tomorrow!
Pontus wanted to get more involved so we asked him to help us teach the YSA institute night on Tuesday night. He shared a personal experience about conversion and then we read Paul's conversion story in Acts 9. It's just been Pontus and Judy for the last month or so, but I think the other YSAs will start coming again after summer. They're just all on vacation right now.
On Wednesday we went down to scenic Söderköping where Syster Austin had her first run-in with less-friendly evangelists from...well, they never actually told us which group they were representing. They saw us at the Söderköping bus station, came over to us, and said "Do you know who Jesus is?" and as soon as they saw our Mormons Bok they said "Oh, Mormons!" and immediately started rattling off Bible verses to bash. We weren't bashing back of course, partly because we couldn't get a word in edgewise. They kept asserting that they just wanted to hear our opinions about it, but then they wouldn't let us speak. FINALLY our bus came so as we were running to catch our bus they shouted after us "I strongly encourage you to read the Bible!" That was quite the flustering experience and we got some laughs on the bus ride back to Norrköping about how ridiculous they were and how we couldn't even figure out what point they were trying to prove.
The next day, Thursday, we ducked into the mall next to our house on our way home to get a candy bar for Cecilia who we were going to "Heart attack" later that evening. (We've had a hard time getting in contact with her and chocolate always softens people up!) All of a sudden we see the same two guys, and they come straight for us and ask, again, if we know who Jesus is. We didn't want to stop and talk but they said "Don't worry, we're not here to argue today." So they realize that the day before that's exactly what they were trying to do. I think we must not have been very good at hiding our distress at seeing them again, and the one guy said "We're not trying to hunt you down or anything." Then his friend piped in, "But we could." There was an awkward silence as we tried to figure out how on earth you respond to that, so the first guy broke it by asking us "Do you have any pain in your body?" I don't know about you but I thought it was a bit of a non sequitur. Turns out they were in the mall praying for people who had pain. Any thought we had of "Maybe they're just nice guys who are prepared for the truth as soon as we share it with them" fled and we just wanted to get out of there. Later we decided we should have said "Only a pain in the neck!" But we're too polite for that of course. Anyway, so then their third friend showed up and introduced himself to us. He's friends with the Stake President of the Stockholm Stake and asked if we knew him. They were all appalled that we hadn't met the PRESIDENT. We explained that we're in the Stockholm South Stake. Anyway, then the newcomer asked what parish we were with so we said the Church of Jesus Christ but he said "No, I mean...what mission?" I think he was trying to ask what ward. Before we could respond the other one said "No, they're not missionaries, they're just...Wait, why are you in Sweden?" (We'd said the day before that we were from America.) So we told him we were missionaries and he was shocked. "Wait, you don't have to have the priesthood to be a missionary?" Instead of going all Dallin H. Oaks on him and explaining Priesthood keys and authority, we just said no. He was speechless. I was satisfied to have thwarted him. And we took the opportunity to take our leave. Later that evening on our way to drop by the less active, we saw them AGAIN waiting for the spårvagn. Luckily they didn't see us this time and there was no incident. All in all it was pretty hilarious and a huge testimony builder for me because of how quickly the Spirit left as soon as they opened their mouths. We haven't seen them since, thank goodness.
On Wednesday night Olivia came over to Prossy's house and we taught her there, along with Prossy and Prossy's friend Justine. Justine has met a lot of missionaries at Prossy's house, but this time we gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her to start reading it. She was really excited about it. She lives in Motalla, which is a ways away from Linköping (Linköping's area) but the elders go there sometimes and she said she would like to meet with them and learn more. So that was cool. We watched President Monson's conference talk (Love, the Essence of the Gospel) with them and they all loved it. Olivia literally jumps for joy whenever you so much as say the word baptism and she studies about it like every day. She could probably quote that chapter in the Gospel Principles book from memory. We taught her again on Saturday and we were supposed to talk to her mom about getting permission for Olivia to be baptized in September, but her mom was sleeping. We're going to talk to her on Wednesday instead. On Saturday when we taught Olivia we had her write for herself a list of the reasons why she wants to be baptized. I think it will help her if her mom asks her about it. It's just weird because her mom doesn't have any problem with the baptism itself, in fact she wants Olivia to be baptized. She just wants her to wait. Whatever happens, I know it will be God's will and God's timing. But we'll do our best to help her understand on Wednesday.
Olivia was our only VIP in church yesterday. Pontus couldn't come, which is too bad because the whole meeting was all about the Priesthood. I think both times he's missed church, they've talked about the Priesthood in Sacrament Meeting. Maria and Lisabeth were both feeling sick. Johnson is MIA. After church we had yummy dinner with the Klungseths (Lisabeth's son and his family).
Sounds like it's been another great week for you guys as well. I'm especially jealous that you all got to go to Wicked. Not fair. The garden sounds really yummy all around. I think I'd like summer squash now. Also, tell Harrison congratulations on getting his mission call! That's super exciting! Do you know if Savannah or Cassidy or anyone else is thinking of going on a mission?
I hope you are currently having fun at the cabin! Send pictures and let me know how it was! Is this Taryn's first time at the cabin? I hope she doesn't get locked in the outhouse...that's not a fun experience.
Well, have another wonderful week! I really appreciate your emails and letters too, probably even more than you appreciate mine, if you can believe it. End this summer with a bang!
Jag älskar er!
PS-My other ideas for subject lines this week were "America in 2014?!?!" and "The hunter becomes the hunted."
Eating ice cream in Soderkoping
Line to get into the ice cream restaurant. Luckily you can get
normal cones and stuff without having to wait in line.