Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014

Käre Familj,

Dad guessed it right: I'm going to Norrland! Not quite as far north as Luleå¨, though. I will be training a new sister in Sundsvall!  (That one is actually pronounced just like it's spelled.) We'll be doubling in, which most of the trainers this round are going to have to do because everyone's been in their area so long already. Nearly every sister companionship is affected by the transfer this week. I think there are only two companionships who escaped. I'm so excited to go to Norrland and experience a real cold Swedish winter and Christmas! In the meantime, Syster Austin is also transferring! She's going as south as you can, all the way down to Malmö. So odds are I'll probably never see her again for the rest of my mission. :( She's really sad to leave Norrköping so soon, and especially with such short notice. But she's going to love Malmö! She'll be in a tripanionship with Syster Carlson and Syster Fawcett. They are also whitewashing the area. (Because of all the sisters who went home a few weeks ago, there are many sister areas that were just sitting there for the last three weeks that are all being whitewashed now.) That also means we're doubling out for Norrköping to be whitewashed by Syster Maxwell (same one who took my place in Borås, funny enough) and a greenie. So we've got a lot of work to do to get the area book and apartment and everything else in good shape for two new sisters! We're both sad to be leaving, especially because we won't get to see some people before we go. We've been able to see most of the members, but our investigators who we love are a little trickier. We won't be able to say goodbye to Kobra and Soran, or Mayda because she's in Norway right now. :( And Mona hasn't answered her phone either.

It's been a good week. Monday was a good P-Day. I learned to play ping-pong and I'm now better at ping-pong than I am at bowling. Do we have a ping-pong table? We should get one. Not a lot really happened on Monday or Tuesday, so I'm going to skip to Wednesday when the week started to get really interesting.

Let it be noted that on Wednesday morning I prayed for help to see God's hand in my life. I wasn't expecting the answer to come in quite this way.

It all started with a jar of jam. During lunch time on Wednesday we were preparing PB&J sandwiches for dinner (I eat those now. But only with jam, not with jelly.) because we were going out to Motala to teach Kobra and Soran. We had a brand new jar of raspberry jam. And we could not open it for the life of us. We tried every trick in the book. We almost even called in the Priesthood to open the jar, but they weren't close. Finally we settled for PB&PB. Not as good, but it's edible and that's all a missionary requires. Anyway, we got our sandwiches made and were on our way, barely catching our train out to Motala. The train ride passed without incident and we made sure we had a Persian translator all ready to go for the lesson. As we were walking up to their house, literally right outside their apartment, I was being careful to watch my step so I wouldn't step on the terrible-smelling berries all over the ground. I remember thinking "This drain hole cover looks like a good place to step on." Or something to that effect. I was wrong. The cover was loose, and it slipped completely off the drain hole (I'm actually not sure what kind of hole it is) so I stepped/fell right into the hole. As Syster Austin describes it, one moment I was there and the next I was gone. 
The "offending" hole

The wound

The ghetto bandage of gauze and princess bandaids
Now, there are many miracles surrounding this experience. For example, it was only big enough for one leg so I didn't fall all the way in. And while my leg got very scratched, bruised, and burned, I was able to make it through the Persian Plan of Salvation lesson just fine and the Spirit was still strong. (Kobra and Soran are truly amazing people. I'm sad that I won't be here to see Kobra progress and realize how much she needs Christ in her life.) Luckily I was wearing boots so I didn't lose a shoe, and a red patterned skirt so nobody noticed the blood on it. There was surprisingly only a tiny bit of blood on my skirt, considering the amount of blood that was on my leg, and despite that I fell in the mud, there wasn't a speck of dirt on my skirt. I also have no idea how the cover came completely off by me stepping on it, instead of wedging halfway in the hole and breaking my ankle or something. It was a miracle. 

The biggest miracle of all was later that night. We got back to the train and made it back to Norrköping to meet up with Pontus. He told Syster Austin he wanted to meet at Söder Tull (in town) at 7:45 that night. She repeated it back to him (her Swedish being amazing but not necessarily fluent yet), 7:45 at Söder Tull. He said yes. We got to Söder Tull right at 7:45 and he was nowhere to be seen. We waited around for a while until we finally decided to see if he was at the church. (Of course we tried calling but we knew it was futile because he never brings his phone with him.) He was waiting at the church with a friend. Great, we thought. He asked where we'd been. We told him we were waiting at Söder Tull like he said. He asserts that he'd told Syster Austin to meet him at the church. I wasn't there for the phone conversation but I believe what Syster Austin said. So she was really mad. We go into the church where Pontus explains why his other church "Hageby Kyrkan" (Hageby is the area where we live. Kyrkan is church.) is so much better than ours. It's more fun. It's easier to get there because they have "services" on Thursdays so he doesn't have to deal with Sunday bus schedules (they don't run very often on Sundays). The rules here are too hard. He wants to drink coffee. I listened with all the patience and understanding I have (which has increased 100 fold since I started working with Pontus) and asked him some questions as directed by the Spirit. The whole time, his friend was backing him up and encouraging him about why Hageby Kyrkan is so much better. Finally all that was left to do was bear sincere testimony and invite him to do what he knows is the right thing. I was surprised to find myself saying in the middle of my testimony "Pontus, we don't keep the commandments and come to church because it's easy. I fell into a DRAIN HOLE today, doing the service of God. That wasn't EASY. But it doesn't make the church not true, and I know it's true and so do you." The Spirit was so strong. And his friend's face was priceless. If that helped Pontus realize that he needs to be strong in the church whether it's easy or not, then I'm glad I fell in that hole. It's our experiences that add validity and depth to our testimonies, so I'm thankful for that experience and the opportunity I had to share it with Pontus to strengthen him. No matter what happens with Pontus, I know that I have given it my best shot and done everything I could for him.

It was as we were walking-well, limping-into the apartment that night that President called to let me know I'll be training a new sister. He was really nice and said it's because I did such a good job with Syster Austin. I'm excited I can end my mission passing all my knowledge and wisdom on to another new sister. I can't wait to meet her on Wednesday! When he called on Wednesday I asked the same thing I asked him when I got the call the first time I'd be training: "Will I be training in Norrköping?" This time he said no, that I'd be doubling in somewhere, but didn't give me any more information at the time.

Thursday, in honor of Mom's birthday, all of our lessons cancelled by 11:00 AM. So after district meeting in Linköping, we came back to Norrköping and tried to find all the less active members on the list that we could. Nobody was home and a few had moved. We finally got so desperate we tried going by this lady named Pim, who is usually home but never answers the door. Before we knocked we said a prayer, and Syster Austin prayed that Heavenly Father would help her open the door. As soon as we rang the doorbell, the door came flying open, and there was Pim. She thought we were the people who were coming to pick her up. So we actually met her, and she gave us her (correct) phone number and said we could come back next week! Which we won't, because we're both leaving, but the new sisters will. So that was a pretty cool miracle and answered prayer!

Friday we started going by members so I could say goodbye to people, and on Saturday too. It was hard to say goodbye to Lisabeth on Saturday. She said she'd been praying for me to go to Norrland. That was before we got the call. We also went to the Dolmayas to say goodbye, but they convinced us that we can go back one more time on Tuesday night. We got home a little confused because President still hadn't called, but the zone leaders had and asked us to call them back. We called them and they gave us our transfer call. I was very excited to go to Sundsvall, but it was hard on Syster Austin to hear that she was leaving as well.

So yesterday we went back to Lisabeth's for Syster Austin to say goodbye. We also had dinner with the Ståhlbergs (and as we were leaving, the dad, Leif, said "I'll never forget the story of your dad and his guns. I'd told them about when dad got all the guns out for Rich to take me to Prom.), and visited Ann-Sofi. Our VIPs in church were Olivia and Nabil. Everyone seems sad that we're leaving and Bishop said "What did we do wrong?" So it's good to know that the ward will miss us!

Mom's birthday celebrations sounded fun! Happy birthday again mom! I'm especially glad my present got there right in time!

Have a wonderful week everyone! Thanks for your updates and your prayers! Jag älskar er!

Love, Delaney
Delaney and Lisabeth

Delaney, Ann-Sofi, Syster Austin

The Jonsson Family

Olivia, Delaney, Tiziana (member from Italy) and Syster Austin

Stahlberg Family (She is the "Old Vuorinen's" daughter)

The Young Vuorinen Family (He is the "Old Vuorinen's son")

The "Old Vuorinens"