Hello! Sundsvall is doing great! Every morning we check Riverton and Clearfield (where Syster Jacobs is from) on the weather app and count our blessings for being in nice warm Norrland. Did you know that Norrland is actually the warmest place at this lattitude? It's because the Gulf Stream current brings nice Carribbean (can't spell that word) up to our coast. I'm also very excited to see Sundsvall in June to see what it looks like in the light. There's not much of that around here! Sunset today will be at 15:00 exactly. Hurray!
Bummer that Riverton got beat in football. Did Cody and Peyton go to the game in the same car? That would be funny to see them getting in and out of the car together with their rival team colors. I'm sure everyone was a good sport about it and there was no contention at home.
This week has been a good one. We've had lots of little miracles and successes that made it great. Of course, we're most excited about Ali. He's read halfway through 2 Nephi now, and he loves it. He said 2 Nephi is a little harder to understand...we can thank Isaiah for that. We assured him it will get a little easier as he keeps reading. He wants to read the whole book before he's baptized. At this rate he'll finish in no time. (On a slightly related note, I decided last week that I want to finish the Book of Mormon in Swedish before I go home. Since I was only in 2 Nephi, I have to read at least 10 pages a day. I might end up reading a lot on the airplane...) We started teaching him the Plan of Salvation. And he committed to pray every day. His prayers are really sincere. He was going to come to the Culture Night activity on Saturday night but he ended up having to resolve some problem with Migrations so he couldn't come. Then on Sunday his ride to church showed up without him and we started to get really worried. He'd called but Ali never answered. I was leading the music, so I was sitting up on the stand, watching the member explain that Ali hadn't come. We were so disappointed! But then a few minutes later I looked up and to my surprise, I saw Ali sitting there in the last row. I didn't notice him come in, but there he was. Turns out he was already in Sundsvall so he'd taken the bus, but he got off at the wrong stop and had to walk a ways. He stayed for all three hours again and loved it. The members are so great and they all talk to him, so he loves church. It was an awesome feeling to realize that Ali had come completely on his own. He didn't need a ride, he didn't even need us to pick him up at the bus station. That's how you know they're sincere and they'll keep coming even without you there.
Noe Noe is also doing really well. We went out to Timrå again on Wednesday to teach her, and we realized we'd forgotten to bring examples of herbal tea, so we ran to the grocery store where we ran into her! So we could show her how to tell which tea was okay, it was perfect. Our lesson went really well too. She's still waiting for the November Liahona and she said she's DYING to read the General Conference talks. She invited her family to Culture Night but they weren't able to come. We have yet to meet her parents and convince them that we're not a cult. We also met Lisa (less active) while we were in Timrå. She showed us Book of Mormon scriptures she's read recently and how they apply to today. She couldn't come to church because she was sick.
The highlight of the week was Thursday, when all the sisters in the whole mission went to Stockholm for a Sisters Conference. I got to see Syster Austin and Syster Christison and all my other friends again! It was so much fun to see everyone there! I'm sure you'll see pictures on the Beckstrands' blog and probably the Facebook page too. It was weird to realize that I won't see a lot of those sisters again until they come home from their missions. On the train ride home we sat by two nice ladies who overheard us talking about Swedish, so they asked us where we're from. When we told them we're mormons they said "Cool-will you tell us more about Mormons?" We were happy to oblige. :) It was cool that we were able to teach a lesson even with the whole day taken up by the sisters conference. (We had to take a 5:30 train from Sundsvall to get to Stockholm on time, and we got back to Sundsvall at 20:56.)
I just had to switch computers at the library because my time ran out on the last one, and when I logged in everything was in Russian! It's okay, I got it figured out, thank goodness!
The rest of the week is hardly worth mentioning. We met some people who we called out of the phone only to find out they were investigators who had already been dropped for good reasons. I'm very thankful there were so many numbers in the phone already that we could call, but it's very annoying how none of them were labeled. So we've had a few instances of calling members and embarrassing ourselves thinking they were investigators. This is missionary life!
I almost forgot Culture Night! It was on Saturday night and it was a blast! This ward is super talented. The missionaries did a...well on the program it was called a mime play, so we can go with that. We mimed/lip-synched to first a song called "My Life is In Your Hands" and then to one called "Tomorrow." We wore all black and painted our faces white. I think people enjoyed it. We enjoyed doing it. I'm sorry I can't describe it any better, but there are some videos that I'll show you eventually. I think they're too big to send over email though. Afterwards the members all said we were great dancers. I guess you could have called it dancing. We had a lot of VIPs at culture night, including a less active woman named Ingrid who we haven't been able to meet before, and an investigator couple named Lena and Roland, who we've been trying to meet but also never got to until Culture Night. There were also quite a few other non-members there that came with their member friends. There were refreshments from all the different cultures represented in the branch. (Brownies from America, Rhubarb Pie from Sweden, Carrot-something from Finnland, a Canadian dessert, Iranian candy, and delicious rice and tomato sauce from Nigeria.) The other talents were mostly singing and instruments, and they were all really good.
Church yesterday was also great. Ali was our only VIP. The ward choir sang a musical number. (The EFY Medley, a medley of As Sisters in Zion and Army of Helaman.) I played the piano for it. Next week I'm going to accompany when Elder Stafford and Elder Smith sing Come Thou Fount. We're also practicing for the Christmas program. I've missed ward choir!
We tried to resolve the driving problem by calling the couple in charge. He said "Syster Smith, are you the one going home soon?" "Yes." "Then you CAN'T DRIVE." So I guess I don't get an option. Once you've been in Sweden for a year, your American license isn't valid anymore. So if any of us is driving it will be Syster Jacobs. They haven't gotten back to us yet on if she's legal or not. In the meantime, the elders have been having lots of fun in the car while we've been taking the bus. That's okay, there are people to contact on the bus. I don't know what kind of car it is, but it's blue and looks the same as all the mission cars.
Thanks for sending a picture of the deer! Was Cody happy about his decision to pass up that 4-point? I would have taken any of them. :)
Thanksgiving is next week, right? Our transfers and P-Day are a little thrown off because of Thanksgiving, so we actually are having two P-Days this week and none next week. So I'll be back on Saturday to email again, that's when we're having P-Day. The missionaries go home will go on Monday I think, or maybe Tuesday, and I don't know when the actual transfer will be. Just make sure and write me an email Friday night!
If it ever snows again I'll write you a note in the snow and take a picture. :)
Oh yeah, and the other good news is, I talked to the sisters that are in Norrköping now and they said that Olivia went to the temple for baptisms a few weeks ago! She's a rockstar and she's doing great. They didn't have any other news about Pontus or the Dolmayas, but they're working hard down there.
I hope you all have a wonderful week! Stay warm! (It's weird that I'm saying that to you.) Jag älskar er!