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

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