I can't believe Meisha is home! She is so amazing. I remember last year at this time just sitting by my laptop every Tuesday morning waiting for her blog to be updated with more news and stories from the Philippines. She prepared me for my mission with her words of enthusiasm for the work and her love for the gospel. I am so grateful for her missionary service.
|we made over 80 sugar cookies this week for our christmas ward party #momstatus|
At this time last year I was also thinking "next year at this time, I am going to be living in a winter wonderland!" Which has actually turned out to be quite the opposite. I was definitely expecting my only Christmas here in Sweden to be waist high with snow. But I have enjoyed the dark windy days :) Saturday was the first official day of winter and it is also the darkest day of the year here in Sweden! Now it will slowly start getting lighter every day until midsommar in June.
The other night I woke up at one in the morning to Syster Hosenfeld jumping out of bed and running over to the bedroom door. She was trying to get out but I guess, in her sleep, she couldn't get around our fan (yes. I make her sleep to the noise of a fan.) She was getting so frustrated and was moving around so fast. hahaha. I sat up and being half asleep yelled "vad gör du?!" She didn't answer me so I said it again "VAD GÖR DU!?" And then I think the fact that I was yelling in Swedish woke me up so I said "I MEAN WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?" Hahaha she answered: "I don't know! I had a bad dream I guess!" and then she ran back and jumped in her bed and was dead asleep within seconds. I just layed there re-playing what had happened and quietly laughed to myself. In the morning I asked her about it and she said: "what are you talking about?" She was definately sleep walking.
I love the Book of Mormon. This week while visiting our favorite old ladies, Aina and Isa, the first thing Aina said to us when we opened the door was "I LOVE THE BOOK!" and then while we were teaching Isa, after bearing our testimonies, she said "I have got to find that book!" (she already had one from years ago). The Book of Mormon is truly what converts. And I am so grateful for it.
|Maria and her husband Mickey|
I think Alma 28:8 perfectly explains the journey of life as well as the journey of a mission. It says that they had many afflictions and sorrows and also incomprehensible joys. This was a week of incomprehensible joy. Last preparation day, we decided to teach a couple of lessons and one of them was to our investigator Erik who is 14 from Russia. We invited him to be baptized on January 18th and he accepted! He had so many questions but he has a strong desire to be baptized and we are so excited for him.
We also met with Morgan this week and before we started teaching him, we honestly had no idea what we were going to teach. All that we knew was that we wanted to ask him if he would be baptized. We read Mosiah 18:8-10 together, following the spirit, and asked him what he thought about these scriptures. He answered and said "I think I need to quit smoking first before I am baptized." WHAT?! So we taught him the Word of Wisdom and he gladly accepted. He drinks around 7 cups of coffee a day and also goes through about a pack of cigerettes a day. He said that he has tried quitting many times before but he has never had a reason besides that it is bad for him. He told us that his goal is to be completely done with smoking by New Years Eve and he is going from 7 cups of coffee every day to two. We set a baptismal date for him to be baptized at the beginning of February. He is so prepared and in fact he said that he feels like he has been meeting with the Jehovas Witnesses for the past year to prepare himself to meet us. He learned a lot about the bible from them but now he says that he feels like he has actually found people and a church who believe what he believes. I can't even describe our joy and the spirit that was there. Within a week, Morgan has decided to make this huge change in his life, which I know will bless him for the rest of his life.
Earlier that day, we had been in Göteborg for a conference and I had an interview with President Newell and he asked me if I was happy or satisfied with the success that I am having on my mission. I answered by saying "yes, I am. Because I am giving this work my all, knowing that the Lord will do the rest." He said that is exactly right. We are asked to give our ALL. I have figured out that a missionaries' success has nothing to do with the amount of baptisms one has but on whether or not they gave this work their all. Because when we give it our all, we will find those who are waiting and are prepared to accept the gospel- and those experiences are wonderful to be a part of.
I am grateful for Syster Richins who taught me to give this work my all in Kristianstad. We went from three progressing investigators to 17 and a baptism with Nana. How? Because we gave it our all. And we did that by opening our mouths to everyone and giving them the chance to accept it through love and our testimonies. Those experiences prepared me to be ready and able to train and to do the same thing here in Halmstad with Syster Hosenfeld. We came to a smaller area and started out with nothing. It was hard but we kept going and for the past three months, we have been giving it our all. Inviting ALL to come unto Christ- which through doing, we have found the prepared and we now have two baptismal dates. It is not the fact that it is ME or it was Syster Richins, or Syster Hosenfeld... It is the fact that we are missionaries- set a part to do this work. Doing what the Lord has asked us to do. Knowing that the spirit will guide us and that the Lord will do the rest when we give it our ALL.
I am so excited for Christmas here. We have a full week planned. Christmas here in Sweden is celebrated a little differently. Their "Christmas Day" is on our "Christmas Eve" and instead of Santa they have Tomte who is a mythological creature who is associated with the winter solstice. He is little, has a long white beard and is the gift bearer. The gift bearer used to be a goat but now it is the little elf gnome. We will be eating lots and lots of swedish food and I can't wait! I also CANNOT WAIT TO SEE YOUR FACES TOMORROW ON SKYPE!!! Holy cow. Here are my expectations for skyping:
I love you all! God Jul!! Puss o Kram.
create. smile. breathe.
listen. walk. slow down.
imagine. work. trust. wait. love.
contemplate. talk. look. open. enjoy.
give. pray. smell. learn. forgive. grow. rely.
p.s. a cool thing happened this week. One of the women that we met on the street texted us and asked us what our names were- I told her first and last- I didn't know why, but then she texted back a while later and said I just read your letters online about your experiences here in Sweden and I want to meet right after christmas. So cool! I CANT WAIT FOR TOMORROW. LOVE YOU ALL! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!