WOW, what a fun deer hunt! Thank you for your very detailed description! It's ALMOST as good as seeing pictures of the deer! I'm glad you had so much fun and got some deer! I especially liked how Cole's deer was tagged similarly to my most recent deer-shoot it til it drops. I'm very impressed by your Saturday hike too. Cody will be in good shape to go on a mission for sure! Tell Peyton I got her letter and good job on her concerto.
This week there's good news and bad news. The good news is, we got a car in Sundsvall! Which is good because our area goes all the way to Norway and there are lots of people out there where we can't really reach them by public transportation. The bad news is, since I've been in Sweden over a year now, my license doesn't work here until I get it renewed, which I haven't yet. And Syster Jacobs didn't turn in everything to be able to drive. But the good news is one or the other or both of those things should be easy to fix! So I'll be cruising around Sweden before you know it!
Even without being able to drive the car, we've had a great week here! On Tuesday we went to Timrå and taught Noe Noe and Ci Ci again. They're the best! We taught them about the Word of Wisdom and they already follow it. Like everyone else in Sweden, they were confused about why coffee and tea were in there, but they agreed (very enthusiastically) that coffee is addictive and committed to keep the word of wisdom. We invited them and their parents to the culture night activity we're having at the church this Saturday, so hopefully we can start teaching the whole family soon. It snowed all day on Tuesday and was very dark and cold.
On Wednesday we met one of our investigators named Erimas. He's from Ethiopia and was meeting with the sisters before we got here, but we hadn't been able to get in contact with him before then. We also taught another woman named Maria who met with sisters before we got here. They were both really interesting but I'm not sure if they're really interested... We're going to teach Maria again tonight though. She's a really nice Swedish woman who is Christian, but her husband is Muslim, so she's trying to figure out what to believe. We also taught Ingegerd again Wednesday night. Still no pants, but still really spiritual. She told us she has a goal to come to church before January. I love it when people have goals for themselves BEFORE the missionaries come and invite them to make goals and take steps.
Thursday we met three old ladies. They were all really sweet and really different, which made it very interesting to teach them all on the same day. First we met Lottis, an old investigator. She has been taught quite a bit and has read some of the Book of Mormon, but she doesn't want to let go of her old church. By the end of the lesson we found out she's had a really tough life and feels incredibly alone in life. We invited her to come be a part of the church family but she doesn't want to because she doesn't have the energy to be around other people. Sometimes people here just break your heart. The next woman we met was a polar opposite and probably the most inspiring woman in Sweden. Her name is Margit and she's 93. She's been a member for 40 years and is still active, even though she misses church occasionally when she's sick. The first thing she told us when we got there was "Att ha en tro är den dyrbaraste gåvan man kan få. Du kan älska en människa, men att ha en tro är den dyrbaraste gåvan man kan få!" ("To have a faith is the most priceless gift you can have. You can love a person, but to have faith is the most priceless gift you can have!") She told us all about her life and her family, how she met the missionaries (tracting! It works on some people!) and things she's learned during her life. She loves music and was really excited to hear that there will be musical numbers from now until Christmas. She was the coolest person ever! She even let us take a selfie with her! The third woman we visited was Eva. She's a member who has been through a lot recently doesn't always feel well enough to come to church. But she loved having us over and was really fun. She remembered seeing videos of me playing the violin last Christmas. (It was her grandson who sang the song from the Messiah.) In between Margit and Eva we were supposed to meet a guy named Kuba at the church for a church tour, but he didn't come. We've had a lot of people not show up to their church tours and Syster Jacobs said in frustration, "We're never going to give anyone a tour of the church!" I said "Of course we will! And they're going to be baptized in this font!" Then we went tracting and while we were there the ice cream truck came by. Since it's always been my dream to get ice cream from the ice cream truck, we bought some popsicles and ate them in the freezing cold. It was actually really nice because the popsicles weren't melting away while we ate them!
Friday was a pretty awesome day. We gave our first church tour! It was to a guy named Ali. He's a 25 year old guy from Syria who's been in Sweden about 6 months. We contacted him on Wednesday and he said he could meet on Friday, so we met him at the bus station and took the bus with him to the church. We showed him around and when we showed him the font he said "Can I be baptized here?" We told him we can help. So we taught him the Restoration and he had a lot of really good questions. You can tell he's thought a lot about it. His parents are Muslim but he told us he knows that's not the right religion. So we invited him to be baptized on December 6th. When we gave him a Book of Mormon in Arabic he looked at it and said "Which chapters should I read in order to be prepared for baptism on December 6th?" Then he said the closing prayer. It was really awesome. After Ali left, we taught Matilda over skype. We've heard all about how awesome Matilda is but this is the first time we were able to actually meet her and teach her. She has a testimony that it's true and wants to be baptized, the only problem is that she lives in Östersund (halfway to Norway) so she can't come to church very easily. She said she does have a goal to come before Christmas though!
Saturday everybody cancelled on us, but we totally smashed the zone leaders in a contacting contest-we got 57. Fifty-five rejections, but two positive contacts. It's all worth it for those positive ones though.
Yesterday was really great! Ali came to church with a member family. He lives in Torpshammar, which is about 60 kilometers away, but luckily that's where the Karttunens live and they were more than willing to give him a ride. Elder Gray translated for him during sacrament because I was leading the music. All the members were super nice and talked to him. It's great, because everyone here speaks English! Every time we asked him how he enjoyed something, he always said "It was amazing." Sacrament meeting, Sunday school, and Priesthood were all amazing. He read the first 12 chapters of 1 Nephi and they were also amazing. He even got cake because yesterday was Father's Day, so they gave cake to all the men. That was amazing too. He's one amazing guy! Our other VIPs were Lisa and Mahshid. After choir practice things got a little crazy. President Stegeby, the branch president (not to be confused with his father, President Stegeby, the District President) asked us if we had a dinner appointment. We said no, but we had a lesson at 5. He looked at his watch. 3:30. "We can do that." They took their 7 kids home, then came back to pick us up. It was super fun trying to not let all the kids steal our nametags. In the end I was the only one who still had mine. I also tried to teach the 4 year old to count to 10 in Spanish. She was pretty good at it. We ate super good spagghetti and then took our cookies on the go as they drove Syster Jacobs and I to our 5:00 appointment. It was a girl named Joy, another number from the phone who we've never actually met. Even after confirming our appointment two hours earlier, she wasn't home. So we made our way to the Ekeke family's house (the same family where we ate African food last week) to practice our act for the talent show on Saturday. They had dinner prepared. Luckily I served in Västerhaninge, so I can handle back to back member dinners. My answer to "are you hungry" by now is "I am if I need to be." We ate, we practiced, and we left. The elders got to take the car home while we had to wait for the bus. We were supposed to teach a girl named Julia (our 57th contact from Saturday night) but she cancelled. So everything we had set up beforehand fell through, but we were busy anyway.
Today we're going to hike up the "mountain." It should take about 15 minutes. Some mountain. But the elders said there's a playground on top so it should be fun. It's really warm today and all the ice finally melted. It's been super slippery all week.
Thanks for letters and a great email again! I hope you all have a great week! Jag älskar er!
Selfie in the snow
French hot dogs - buns are baguettes
Writing Mormon.org in the frost at the bus stop
Ice cream from the ice cream truck
NoeNoe and CiCi with Delaney & Syster Jacobs
Mirta, Delaney & Syster Jacobs