Monday, May 27, 2013

The lowest of lows, the highest of highs

Dear Family,

This week has been one that has seemed to hit the lowest of lows, when I think, am I going to seriously be able to wake up and do this for another 16 months? And also the highest of highs when I think, how can this only be for a year and a half! That is sooo short! This week was hard and included a lot of crying in the mornings, feeling homesick and a lot of sadness in my heart for some of the people we are teaching. The high points of the week came more than the lows and I felt Heavenly Fathers hand in my work and my words as we taught this week.
A Swedish Doggie like Rosie and Duke!
Each week I choose a "Christ Attribute" to work on. This week I chose patience and it is truly one that I need to work hard at. Patience with myself, my companion, the people, and the Lord and His timing. We plan each night and each day and by the end of the day everything has changed- either fallen through or something else has come up. We try our best to get lessons and to contact, but it's hard when no one seems to have the time to talk to you or meet with you.. . Patience. One of our lessons got cancelled last Tuesday so we decided we would go contacting on the streets. We prayed and we walked on the cobble stone roads and we prayed some more. There seemed to be no one on the streets and the people that were there, all seemed in too big of a hurry to talk to us. It is hard. It is frustrating. I sometimes feel like I am wasting the Lord's time, but you just keep pushing forward. You keep smiling at the people. You keep walking and walking and walking with a prayer and a song in your heart. Nothing great did come from that day but I did feel myself becoming more patient. My companion and I talked a lot and laughed even more. We tried to make the best of this beautiful, rainy, and long night. We both felt Heavenly Father's patience with us as we tried to figure out how we could better reach out to His lost children.
Adelide's friend in the ward 张健
A low came this week when one of our investigators, Thorsten, decided that he was maybe not ready to be baptized by the 7th of June. We have been working with him for a while and it was so sad to me to hear those words. The whole mission is trying to get a baptism before Thomas S Monson comes to speak to us on the 9th, and Sister Swenson and I really felt that the 7th was the perfect date for Thorsten. I have faith that it will all work out though and that Thorsten will be baptized when he is prepared and it will be the timing of the Lord and not ours. After we taught Thorsten, we went over to a couple's house, Leonard and Sabrina. They came from Slavakia and they live with Sabrina's parents who got baptized a couple months ago. They are so ready and excited to get baptized but they cannot because they aren't technically married... Anyways long story short... They are AMAZING. None of them speak English or Swedish except for Leonard so he does all of the translating, and yet they all come to church every week. They sit, and they smile, and they are so happy. They hardly have any money and it is expensive to get to church and will be super expensive to get Leonard and Sabrina married... They can't understand anything in church- and yet they still come. My heart is filled with joy when we meet with them and see their enthusiasm and when I see them walk in to church.
Sunset May 2013 Kristianstad
Just like Meisha has said, there are no comfort zones on the mission. We got a call on Friday morning saying that Sister Swenson and I will be speaking in church on Sunday for 10 minutes each, in Swedish... I wrote my talk and transferred it on my own from English to Swedish, and cute Sara Sandelin corrected it for me. I was stressed Sunday morning because I had to practice my talk and prepare a lesson for sunday school (I teach every week in English) While I was waiting to speak in Sacrament, I said a prayer asking Heavenly Father to PLEASE bless me so that my choppy Swedish would reach the hearts of the people I am speaking to. I stood up and with confidence, gave a ten minute talk in Swedish.

Biking by the lake in Krisianstad
 Afterwards I sat down and I pulled out a letter that mom had written to me a while ago that was in my journal. (This happened to me with a letter of dad's the day before...) That I had read it and it seemed to speak to me in a completely different way than when I had read it the first time- as if it was a completely different letter. But this one was about the work of the pioneers and how they walked and walked and walked and no only did they walk, but they sang as the walked and walked and walked. Tears filled my eyes as I realized that so far on my mission I have sort of just been walking. Yes, I have given myself some breaks and have had a lot of fun with my companions, but I have not sang while I have walked. Or rather, I have not done my missionary work with a complete joyful and happy heart. A lot of the time I feel too stressed or too tired without realizing the stress and the tiredness or all of the people around me that I have been sent to, to help them find joy and happiness.

These words were exactly what I needed to hear and after the meeting, many people thanked me and said they could understand it all! That was only possible because of a humble and needed prayer to my Father in Heaven, pleading with him to help me walk and walk and walk with love and joy and a song in my heart. And he did just that. He truly loves and blessed his children.
Gluten free Knaka Bread! Delicious!
Here are some funny random things:
EVERYONE wears converse and has the same backpack... Not kidding. Everyone and their dog wears Red, White, and Blue... Not kidding. We eat fish, potatoes, and ice cream at almost every meal. We take the bus and train to get anywhere, and occasionally ride our bikes to the store or to church. So MANY people smoke. There are BEAUTIFUL yellow fields right now in the spring ( I LOVE THEM ). It doesn't get dark here until tenish in the spring and summer. One day will be super hot and the next day will be POURING rain- i love it. All of the stores have random english words hahaha. There are no preservatives on any of the foods :). Their are old buildings and churches on almost every corner. You can walk right out into the street and cars will stop-- One time we were about to walk out into the street, but didn't and the car slammed on its breaks and was like "go in front of my car! I always wait for the people!" hahaha ok? so we walked in front of his car just so he could get on with his day. hahaha. The houses are all different bright colors and look like cottages. All of the roofs are red or orange. There is a TON of graffiti. There are no drinking fountains anywhere, but they do have cups in all of the bathrooms to drink out of the sinks--- k thanks? no. All of the public bathrooms cost money. Everyone is silent on the busses and trains and no one talks to each other ( except for us of course). There are NO chocolate chips!- Lillie would be so sad! hahaha- but their chocolate here is AMAZING. If you ask ANYONE how many states there are in the US- they will say 52 hahaha. Everyone has little cars- no trucks or minivans etc. Everyone breaths in and makes a sound to say "yes". Its funny and fun. There are no billboards. They all listen to english music. And last but not least, there is literally an H&M on every corner and there are at least 3 different ones in all of the malls. Well! There is some of Sweden for you!

It is beautiful, I am happy, the work is great. Have an amazing week! Your prayers and love are seriously blessing me! I CAN FEEL IT!

Love from Kristianstad!

(Sent a little later that day . . . )
SEND my love to Hannah, Henry and Lillie! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! I miss all of you and think and talk about you all every single day!

Hannah- I want to hear about the wedding! You are beautiful and I can't believe you are getting married still! So crazy. I am so sad I won't be there but I can't wait to hear about the process etc.

Henry- HAPPY BIRTHDAY in two days!!! I hope you got my little gift! It's not much but I want you to know I am thinking of you! You would love the style here in Sweden. All of the guys remind me of you with the tall blonde hair. There are the coolest short swimming trunks at this store but I sadly can't afford to buy them here and then send them to you... hahaha love you!

Lillie!!! Thank you for your letter a couple weeks ago! Sweden is so awesome! They have the best ice cream and chocolate ever- you would be in HEAVEN! Hopefully you will get to try it some day. I eat way too much of it and need to go on a diet like you are on right now! I hope the diet and school is going good! You are almost done with JUNIOR HIGH!! YIPEE!!! xoxoxo

Dear mommy,
I don't even know where to begin. This week has been really hard. I have cried every morning thinking about you. I keep having dreams that I am at home with you and then I wake up and see that I am not and it has really been hard. I want you to know that I do want to be here and as much as I miss you and dad, I don't want to be home- the thought of going home scares me more than being away from you- but the homesickness is still pretty hard right now.
I am so grateful for you and for the mother that you are to me. I need you as my mommy. I have felt sad almost every morning but as soon as the day gets going and I forget about myself- everythings is good. I can definately feel your prayers and love.
Yesterday was awesome. After church the cutest couple invited us over for dinner. We drive up to their house and it was the CUTEST house I have ever seen. You would have loved it! We went in and they had a duke\Rosie dog! He was so cute. I just held him and played with him on the floor because he reminded me of my doggies. Also the man builds furniture and was so happy to show me all of his furniture when I told him that my dad builds furniture! He looks and reminds me a lot of Reid Brinton- papa's brother. They made delicious food and made us feel SO at home. It was very comforting and fun and it was the first time I really felt confidednt to speak Swedish with them and understand their Swedish. It was pretty cool. Anyways I love you so so so much and I miss you more than you know- but I am so happy to be working hard and to be here. HAVE THE BEST WEEK EVER! And tell me how the John Gorka concert went! Also... Did Henry get his birthday present from me in the mail? XO
All my love,
Lidey lou

Monday, May 20, 2013

"Feel good about yourself so you can forget yourself"

Sara Sandelin (a member in Kristianstad) and Adelide

Hello my dearest family,

This week has been L O N G but incredible. And I have been loving every minute of it. From waking up at 6 am and running or biking down by the beautiful lake to losing myself in my scriptures. From running from bus to bus to sitting in a lesson and not knowing what anyone is talking about to being able to bear my testimony and give a short part of the lesson in Swedish.
Sister Swenson and Sister Christensen

My testimony has been strengthened in many ways and I am so grateful for that. On my hardest day this week, I woke up and remembered that I had gotten a dear elder from my momma that I had not read yet. I read about Lillie waking up every morning at five am to get ready eat breakfast and pack a lunch all by herself to get ready for dance practice and school. How she never complains she just gets up every morning and keeps pushing forward. Even when she is being teased at school. Even though she is lonely at school. She really does have a tremendous amount of courage and that is EXACTLY what I needed to hear this week. I sat there and cried and then I opened up my scriptures and read D&C 10:4. It says "Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate. But be diligent unto the end."
 Reading both your letter and this scripture was an answer to my prayers. Reading of my little autistic sister, getting up each morning, never complaining, ready and excited to face the day, and reading this scripture that tells us to not wear ourselves out but just be diligent unto the end. That is what a mission is all about. Being diligent. If I work as hard as I can without wearing myself out, then I will have the strength and energy to keep going. I am so grateful for this promise.

Sister Swenson and I are really good at having fun together while also working hard. Last Pday we went on a "date" and got sushi and gelato. We also remind ourselves that it is okay to take breaks and not wear ourselves out... And we have had the best times. Some mornings we wake up and meditate about our investigators while listening to Michael Ethington Hymns. We have found that Sister Newell's advice truly works. to "Feel good about yourself so you can forget yourself". We planned out a schedule to run four miles twice a week, bike twice a week, and do p90x twice a week. And once you feel good about yourself then the rest of the day it truly is so much easier to forget yourself and get to work. To focus all of your attention on your investigators and their needs. Although, it is hard to forget about yourself when you get fed delicious dinners by your members every night and get fed a desert every night and can't say no! Ha ha ha we really have the best members. They all have gone out of their way to make gluten free and vegetarian food and they are so happy to do it. I feel bad but I am also so grateful.
This was taken in Lund when we slept over at sister Young's and sister Faux's. Taken at 10:00 pm....
We have had amazing teaching experiences this week, but we are off to catch a train to go explore Helsingbörg. Just so you know.... the peanut butter here is actually AMAZING. So that's good cause its like the only thing I eat when we are home hahaha. Also the three stamp letter did get to me!!! I have loved all of the letters and I am so so happy. xoxoxo
The lake that we walk by everyday!

(later that day. . . )ahhh there are so many pictures i dont know what ones to send! But the first one is at the beach and the last two are on the top of the castle!!

Today we went to Helsingborg and met up with our zone leaders. We went to the beach and grilled some salmon that the elders brought and marinated and everything! It was so funny. We went and put our feet in the water. AND you can see DENMARK from the beach! We went to the castle in Helsingborg and paid to go up so we could see everything from the top- It was so awesome and BEAUTIFUL. It was definitely what all p-days should be like.

I haven't gotten to read your emails yet and I still wanted to add more to my letter maybe so I will possibly write again tonight! SORRY!! THere is so much more to say but we have to go! I have some pretty hilarious stories to tell and so much other stuff and ahhhhhH!!!!!!!!! hahahaha hopefully i will get to get on again in some point in the day. xoxoxoxoxooxoxo YOU DON"T EVEN KNOW HOW MUCH YOUR LETTERS HAVE MEANT TO ME THIS WEEK!!!!! holy cow. But it really has been the greatest week. LOVE YOU

OH YA that's what i meant. I knew you were 8 hours behind duhhhh adelide... hahaha i told one of our members that your name was doug and they were like hund??? HAHAHAHAHA they were dying cause they thought your name was DOG. dougie the dog

Also mom will you please tell julie ethington to email me so i have her email? Will you tell her that i wear my black shoes every day and my bag AND my head bands! Everyone is so jealous of the headbands. I am still so grateful for all that she gave me. Also everyone is LOVING the Michael Ethington CD's. I feel so grateful for Julie and what she does for me.

LOVE this letter and loved the poem. I needed to hear these words today. Thanks for always knowing just what will get me through the day. I miss you guys so so so much. The work is busy which is good because it keeps me from thinking to hard about everything. I am grateful that I have been able to look out the window at the beautiful country when times are stressful. It so easily reminds me that Heavenly Father loves me because of this beautiful world and country that i get to live in.. that he created. I see his hand in my life every day. I sometimes picture you walking down cobble stone road in Portugal on your mission doing the same work and dad doing his here. It gives me comfort. Talk to you next week. All my love, prayers, and happiness

ADELIDE your baby girl

Monday, May 13, 2013

First Area = Kristianstad!


Sister Christensen and Sister Swenson are going to Kristianstad II
This is going to be short and sweet because I talked to you guys yesterday (which was the best), and also because we are leaving soon... But I just want to say, I LOVE SWEDEN. This is seriously the best mission ever! I love my mission president and his sweet wife. They are so inspiring and I can't wait to get to know them better. 
My cute companion is Sister Swensen and she has been training for two months and is now my trainer and she is doing AWESOME. She knows what she is doing and I feel like a puppy just copying her every move. We love working together. She went to Weber State and played soccer there. Our ward branch is amazing- all of the members want to help with missionary work and are so kind to us. We are in the Wennerlunds ward and he was so excited to tell me stories of grandpa. We are having lunch with him tomorrow so he will probably tell me more- haha. We have a lot of investigators right now and have so far in the past 3 days, taught 15 lessons. We were teaching an older couple, and after I bore my testimony in Swedish, the guy smiled and said very slowly, "You are happy, and you know for sure." 

My first day of waking up I thought "wait, what am I doing here??" And then as we got going on our day and started teaching these people, I was reminded quickly of what I am doing here and of why I want to be here. I love this little city that I am living in and I love the people so much already. We have a baptism on June 8th which is the day right before we get to go hear President Monson speak! I am doing great and I am grateful to be down here in the warm South! I am happy and I know that for sure. XOXO Love you all. 
Waiting for the train

Our cute little kitchen

Tour of Stockholm on our first day!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Branch at the MTC
HOW ARE ALL OF YOU!? You sound great from the letters and I am stoked that you found a new house! Everyone's schedules got changed here at the MTC so that is why our p-day is on Tuesday now! Except for its my last p-day till I get to the field so I guess it's only different for this week. We head out to Sweden a week from today at 3 am! 
Our flight plans came! We leave May 7th!
 We heard through a lot of different sources that our visa's are here but we won't find out until Friday, so... hopefully it's TRUE! I just got back from the temple which was an amazing experience that I won't forget. I was eating breakfast and I turned around to see Gram smiling at me. I didn't know when I would get to see her and so it took me a little off guard and I jumped up and cried a little. I talked to gram and grandpa for a while which was so awesome and I am so grateful it worked out to see them. I felt like I was home.
I don't have a lot to say because I just wrote not too long ago but I will tell you about our last Sunday. The Young Woman President, Bonnie L. Oscarson came and spoke to us. She was 25 and her husband was 29 when they got called to be mission presidents in Sweden. They had four little kids and she told us of her scary and hard experience but also the most amazing journey she has been on. She said, "I am not saying that I have a favorite mission... but, could I have all those that are going to Sweden stand up?" So all of us got to stand up and then we got to meet her afterwards.
Also that night at our devotional, my district got to be ushers so we got to guide people to their seats and then sit at the front, and one of the sisters in my district said the closing prayer and then two of the missionaries in the other Sweden district did the musical number. So Sunday we were REPRESENTING! It was a lot of fun. At the devotional, Stephen B. Alley spoke and he focused mainly on Alma 26:27. He said there is a growing period in every new experience. The savior stands with open hands, so be joyous, even in your afflictions. He said, "Conform your will to His. Change your heart and do His will, not your will." I know I can be better at this along with many other things, but that is what I love about learning and growing... we get to keep trying, to start over when we need to, and keep working to perfect ourselves by constantly turning towards Christ. I am doing His will, and I love it.
Elder Lambson is Hilarious!
Me and Sister Young
 Random thought: Last night we heard this loud yelling so we looked outside our window and about 15 Tongans were doing the Hakka hahaha- what the? None of them had shirts on and they were all barefoot and had those skirt things on- It was hilarious. Well! We are getting all packed up and ready to go this next week! Can't wait to call home next Tuesday and hear your voices. Love you all. I am so grateful for everyone's support. I feel it everyday.
Me and Sister Randall
these elders are going to FINLAND!

Sister D is going to the Netherlands! (She is in our Branch)