I always get so excited getting your emails! Especially with a subject line like that. I say 100% yes to Sweden in 2015. But you probably knew that. June would be the perfect time to be here because it will be warm and light. Even if that means we might have to give up a lake powell trip... And you can count all the money saved by not buying me a meal when you eat out and put that toward the trip too. We do have to eat out a few times before then because I need to go to Cafe Rio and La Casita. And Five Guys.
Syster Austin is from the Ammon 18 ward in IF. She said she doesn't think she knows Kurt. I just almost typed Syster Awesome because she is awesome! We're having a blast together!
Dad, I knew you would be excited for my new salmon tastes. Doesn't Matt like salmon as well? We can definitely put one on the grill next time we BBQ.
I would definitely LOVE to help Nicole (and anyone else) find Swedish lines in family history! It's easier to find Swedish people in Sweden because we have access to the church books, which has basically everybody recorded. So yeah, just let me know who to look for and where and I'm on it! It's all the same redemptive work, regardless of which side of the veil it's on!
The work's been a bit slower here this week, but it's going. We've had a lot of people cancel on us, or worse just not show up without saying anything, but that's to be expected. Monday for P-Day we went to Linköping where we visited domkyrkan, the second largest church in Sweden. There were a lot of cool murals and stuff. We also had some kebab pizza so Syster Austin could try her first kebab. She liked it. And it's not even that good of kebab this far north. Kebab gets better the further south you go. So it's best in Malmö. Then we played frisbee. Team America was beating Team Europe when Syster Austin and I had to leave to catch our train back. We went by Prossy so she could meet Syster Austin before going to a week-long camp. Prossy is the best! She told us that Olivia had been there helping her with her laundry. Olivia is also the best. Then after that we had dinner with the Åström family, who are super awesome. We're working with their daughter, Jasmine, who's recently started coming back into activity.
Tuesday was pretty good. We spent a good deal of our church time calling people and trying to get things set up. We got a lot set up, but not a lot of it actually happened. We met with Pontus at the church before the YSA activity. He was pretty upset about things and worried about whether he was ready to receive the Priesthood. The elders were there and they gave him a blessing. Then we had our activity where Judy shared a story about repentance. It went pretty well.
On Wednesday we met with a previous investigator named Svevim. She's from Turkey and she already has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, even though she prefers the Bible. The sisters decided she needed a break shortly before I got here, so I'd never heard of her. But since our phone was lost and replaced, some things weren't updated so she was listed in there as an investigator. So we'll see if some new faces will be what she needs to start progressing. Then that afternoon we taught Judy and Chris at the church. We went through the Plan of Salvation-literally. We started in the nursery where we talked about pre-mortal life, then we walked through other rooms for all the other parts of the plan, ending in the chapel for the Celestial Kingdom. Judy is super solid and she was explaining to Chris all about the need for Joseph Smith and the restoration of the Priesthood. When Chris asked about infant baptism, Judy said "We can read about it in Moroni 8, right?" She's the bomb. Then we got to teach Olivia that evening, making it a great day! Olivia is so ready for baptism, we just have to get her mom on board. Her mom wants her to be baptized, but she wants Olivia to wait until the rest of her siblings can come here from Uganda. Please pray for Olivia and for her mom! Because Olivia really wants to be baptized, and because of immigration we really have no idea when her siblings can come here.
Speaking of immigration, I got the information for renewing my visa this week. I can't believe I've been in Sweden almost a year now! That's crazy.
Thursday we went by Anne-Sofi since she hadn't been in church. She was so cute and happy to see us. I asked if she could help me find Edmund Samuel Anderson and she's super excited to be able to help me! Yesterday she let me know she'd been through all the church books in A and B (whatever that means) but hadn't found him yet. Twenty-seven letters to go! Thursday night we taught Pontus and he was feeling much better. (That's how the week usually seems to go I've noticed.) He'd found the parable in 1 Corinthians 12 where it talks about us all being part of the same body and that we need all the parts. It was exactly what he needed. Thank goodness.
Friday we taught Awet again where she said that she will not leave the Orthodox church. At least I think that's what she meant. She doesn't have the best Swedish. She didn't show up at church yesterday so we're thinking we'll give her a break for a bit. Then we taught Kirsi, who you would never know was less active because she has the best insights and thinks about the gospel all the time. She took us to lunch right after. She's a super sweet lady.
Saturday was pretty hard because we had four different lessons scheduled during our three hour church block and not a single one of them showed up. Judy came to help translate with an Arabic speaker so at least we got to teach Judy. So that was a hard point. Especially because it's so hot in the church (Sweden doesn't believe in air conditioning because they usually don't need it.) and since it was so hot, the alarm was going off. So we were there for three hours just listening to it beep and there was nothing to be done about it. At least we got to teach Olivia on Saturday night. It was all worth it for that. I just can't tell you enough how amazing Olivia is.
She's so amazing that she was in church yesterday, even though her parents wanted to go to the lake. She told them she had to go to church, so they didn't leave until after church. I was so proud of her. And she was fasting about her baptism. She told us "I've been fasting and I don't feel anything." At first this was worrisome until we realized that she meant she didn't feel hunger. We asked and double checked that she was feeling the Spirit and she was. Sunday school was held in Swenglish because it was the missionaries, Olivia, Pontus, and Kirsi. It was a little annoying but manageable. Pontus and Kirsi were perfect to be sitting next to each other because Kirsi could look up the scriptures for Pontus, and therefore feel like she was needed there. Kirsi also had a lot of awesome insights to share in Relief Society.
One of the best parts of the week was right after church when Pontus received the Priesthood and was ordained to a Priest! He was beaming and he's so excited to contribute even more to the growth of the ward.
We also had Anne-Sofi (recently reactivated) and Maria Kojo (still a little less-active) there yesterday. Johnson is in Stockholm and we haven't heard from him. He doesn't really have a permanent address I think. The missionaries in Stockholm haven't been able to get ahold of him either. So we'll see how his baptismal plans come along. More than likely it will be postponed, but you never know.
We had dinner with the Vuorinen family after church, and it was the best. They are the cutest little family with four little kids, all with a ton of energy. And they love to play with the missionaries. The younger girl, Nelly, (I think she's like...four or five) was being a monster and trying to eat me. There was nothing I could to do dissuade her. "I taste like dirt!" "I like dirt!" "Don't eat me, I taste bad! Eat Äldste Stoeltzing, he tastes like candy!" "I like bad!" Then she told me I was eaten so I was dead for a while until she came back to eat me again. You know how fast Sunday is.
Yeah, so it's been a good week. We contacted A LOT of people. Broke my previous contacting record with 145 contacts, an average of over 20 per day. We were determined to meet at least one of our goals! We talked to many unfriendly, rude, and generally unpleasant people, but also a few nice ones and gave away some Book of Mormons and got some new potential investigators. So that was good.
Also, if you get a chance will you say thank-you to Diane & family, Lori, Grandma Wilson, and Butch & Karen for their recent letters! I wish I had time to write back to all of them!
Thanks for the updates on how your week has been! I love hearing about biking, book-cliffsing, dancing, gardening, serving, and especially missionary-ing! (To missionary is actually a verb in Swedish. It's one of my favorites.) Keep up the great work! Jag älskar er!
I forgot to say, you might have noticed my watch tan-line in that picture, and thus my lack of a watch. I woke up on Sunday morning and it was 6:15 so I was happy to get another 15 minutes of sleep. Then I woke up again and it was still 6:15 so I figured I'd read it wrong the first time and went back to sleep. When it was still 6:15 the next time I woke up I figured something was up and finally checked the phone. So...we might have slept in on Sunday. But I always count it as a tender mercy from the Lord when it wasn't our fault. My watch battery died. But since I've worn that watch every day for the last year, it's really dirty so I decided to just get a new watch. So don't worry, I got a new one today. It was killing me all day yesterday to not know what time it was!
At the Interactive Science Park - dressed as scientists
Judy wrote their names in Arabic
Sis. Austin's first kabob pizza
Finding out her greenie will be Sis. Austin