Monday, August 26, 2013

The Streets Of Kristianstad

This week has been an amazing one to say the least. On Tuesday morning I called Syster Anderson to see what time she would be coming in to Kristianstad and she said "I got a call yesterday that I am going up to Sundsvall instead!" WHAT? I had no idea who my new companion was going to be! Sister Swenson remembered that she had gotten an email with Syster Richins tickets on it but she didn't think anything of it and then I realized that my mom wrote me in her email that Syster Richins mom told her that we were going to be companions. So long story short... mom knew who my companion was before I did!
Goodbye Party for Swenson
It was a pretty sad goodbye with Syster Swenson. Right after she got on the train to leave, I thought "Wait! I don't know how to do this without her!"
I thought it would be very hard adjusting to a new companion and doing things differently than what I have been doing for the past three months... But I can't even tell you enough how much I LOVE Syster Richins. She has been a HUGE example to me and even though we got out here at the same time, I have already learned so much from her. I can't believe I keep getting so blessed with such amazing companions!
Adelide's new companion, Sister Richins
We speak Swedish 24/7 and during the day there is never a time to rest! We talk to everyone that passes by us and return home exhausted. But I absolutely love it. I would never take back the time I spent with Swenson and the relationships we made with the ward and the work that we did together. I learned so much from her and now I am learning from my new companion. Speaking the language 24/7 has been hard but both Syster Richins and I know that our success of being able to talk so easily with people on the streets has come from that. I have realized that I can ACTUALLY communicate in another language! Our lessons this week went from 19/20ish (what I normally have) To 27 lessons. We got about 17 numbers this week from people on the streets and got back in contact with some less actives and previous investigators whom we are meeting with next week.
The first miracle that happened this week was on Tuesday night. All of our lessons got cancelled and I had no idea what we should do- so we went back to the apartment and decided to call some of the Less Actives in our ward. We called three numbers and none of them picked up. We then had the bright idea to say a prayer to Heavenly Father to help guide us. I opened back up the area book and called the first number I saw. A man answered. His name is Viktor and he immediately invited us to come over. We went over to his house and talked to him and his mother who have both been inactive for 8 years and havent had contact with the missionaries for 2. We had an amazing lesson about Christ and Faith. The spirit was there and we were truly being led to know what to say to Viktor. He invited us to come back next week and said "I have been thinking about church recently and have been wanting to go back- I just dont know when." The Lord answers prayers.

On Wednesday we taught Alexandra and talked about her baptism. Her mom is still not accepting. Alexandra said she doesn't feel ready and that she is a little scared right now to be baptized because of what her parents think. We asked her what she likes about our church. She paused... and then bore the sweetest testimony. She knows it's true. I felt the spirit bear testimony to me that Alexandra is ready and that she will be baptized. I don't know when- its going to take a lot of faith and prayer from Alexandra. We asked the young kids in our branch to pray for Alexandra's parents to soften their hearts and because I know that the Lord answers prayers in his own timing and in his own way- Alexandra will be able to be baptized.

After teaching Alexandra we decided to track the whole building that we were in. After four floors, we were not having much success. We prayed again and then Syster Richins said "Watch, its going to be the last door we knock on." After 5 more floors, we reached the tenth floor. Knocked on all of the doors and then on the last one two little kids answered. Their mom came to the door and started speaking to us in broken Swedish (She is from Iraq) with a huge smile on her face. We explained a little bit about our gospel and she told us she needed to call her husband but that we could come back next week. After we left the building we went out to the parking lot and I felt so impressed to talk to a man who was getting out of his car. We talked to him and he gave us each a candy bar. We asked if we could come by and teach him next week and he said "Well yes! You've already spoken to my wife!" His wife was the lady we talked to in the apartment building. It was not a coincidence.

One more story... haha I have so many :) But while we were contacting, we talked to a guy named Julius who is about 27 and is a Swede. He said "this is actually great timing because I just recently started becoming interested in God." We gave him a Book of Mormon yesterday and then met with him yesterday and he had already read to chapter 25 in 1 Nephi!

Yesterday I spoke again in sacrament meeting and I didn't have anything prepared until relief society when I came across D&C 50:40-46. I am sure I have read this a million times and I already had it marked in my scriptures, but this time it just made so much sense to me. It made so much sense to me of WHY missionary work is so important. Of why we are sent all over the world to spread this gospel and why we are asked to share the gospel with our friends and family at home.

"Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in GRACE and in the KNOWLEDGE of TRUTH. Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and ye are of them that my Father hath given me; And NONE of them that my father hath given me shall be LOST. And the Father and I are one. I am in the Father and the Father in me; and inasmuch as ye have received me, ye are in me and I IN YOU. Wherefore, I am in your midst, and I am the good shepherd, and the stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall NEVER fall. And the day cometh that you shall HEAR my voice and SEE me and KNOW that I am. Watch therefore, that ye may be ready."

NONE of His children will be lost. I have such a strong testimony of this scripture. We must be ready, be examples, and do missionary work so that ALL of Gods children can make it home to live with Him again. So beautiful and so comforting.

Sorry this is so long, but I am so happy to be here right now. I know I need to be here. I am grateful for what I am learning and the people I am meeting. I am grateful for your support. I happy to be talking to people on the streets so that they have the opportunity to hear of this message- even though the next day we found one of our pass along cards torn up on the street haha.
I have really had to humble myself this week and just learn from my companion, but I am grateful for what I have learned and that I am having these incredible experiences. Have a wonderful week in school! I love y'all.

S.A.L.C.   (Syster Adelide Louisa Christensen)

Monday, August 19, 2013

good bye swensie (Sister Swenson)

By last Monday Sister Swenson and I were convinced that we were going to be together for one more month because we had received no word about transfers- but... Swenson is headed up to NORRLAND! I am staying here and my new companion will be Syster Anderson.  Swenson and I have until Tuesday before she heads from the very South to the very North. Syster Anderson came in the same MTC group as me but I don't know her very well because she is a BOSS at Swedish and was in the advanced program- so she was only in the MTC for 2 weeks. She will be awesome for me to help me with the language because we will probably speak it a lot more. That was too hard for Swenson and I because we are too good of friends and we always just had so much to talk about haha. I don't think there is one topic that we have not covered.
The past couple of days have been pretty tender- knowing that we will be leaving each other soon. We truly have become so close but we both know that it is time for a change with a companion when you wake up in the morning and feel like you are rooming with a friend from home and not a companion on a mission haha. But we really have worked so well together in this area for the past three months and it will be weird to have a change.
 On Saturday we went over to Bonnie's house for lunch and she helped us make matching necklaces to wear throughout our missions. She is the absolute sweetest. So many people in this branch have told us that we are one of the best companionships they have seen work together- we have been blessed.
At one in the morning last night I got up and hung signs all over our kitchen for Sister Swenson's birthday today and set the table for breakfast- its really hard to do any kind of suprises for someone when you are with them 24/7. We had french toast with Nutella and smoothies for breakfast. (We have wanted to eat nutella for so long together but we have been eating so healthy that we haven't had the opportunity to, so I surprised her & bought it for her the other day:))) For her present I got an old bottle that used to hold my vitamins and I decorated the front which says her name, raw food, totally natural, peace signs etc. and I filled it with nuts and dried fruit for her to take around with her. I also got her some new pens because we are obsessed with pens and Isam is throwing a party for her tonight!

Well, this week did not go exactly as planned... After talking to the Branch President and Mission President, we were sure that all would be well with Alexandra but of course something always goes wrong! Alexandra said that she talked to her mom about it last night and her mom said this is too stressful right now and that she needs to wait another YEAR. We were pretty discouraged but I still have faith that we can get something worked out before her real baptismal date on August 31st if we talk to her mom about it and make it not so stressful for her.

This week I am so grateful for the atonement. I am grateful for it every week and every day but this week as I read Alma 42, it made so much sense to me of why we need the atonement every single day, how we can apply it to ourselves, and what a beautiful thing it is that we can be forgiven of our sins. Our flaws. Our imperfections. The wrong things we say and the way we react to certain situations. It can all be washed away. We have been given a second chance. I love verses 14 & 15- in my scriptures (I had written in my scriptures that mom said to me that these are some of the best scriptures on the atonement). It says

"And thus wee see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice, yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence. And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made, therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the PLAN OF MERCY, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also." 

We all need the plan of mercy. It is the perfect plan to give us the only hope of becoming better people and becoming the person that we want to become.
Bonnie made us some homemade vanilla
I LOVE YOU MY DEAR FAMILY! Dad go vegetarian! Seriously I was so happy to read that!! haha You were supposed to go vegetarian with me two years ago so its about time! haha. Please tell the kiddos to write me! I miss them! And mom thank you so much for the stories you shared with me from your mission. I already can't wait to tell you how things go with my new companion next week!

love adelide

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week Twenty!

You two are seriously inspired writers. I have been struggling a little bit this week with what both of you (mom & dad) talked about: why I am here on a mission. I know why I am here - it is obvious that I am here because I want to bring others to Christ and because of what I believe to be true, but just like every day life YOU GET TESTED. It is hard to be one hundred percent sure when things don't seem to going well - but just like Papa said, "When times are the most challenging that is when you should be the happiest" so that is what I am trying to do.
I love what mom said to me (and I am sorry that most of my emails consist of what my parents send to me in their emails but what can I say? I have awesome parents.) She said:

"You do not want to find people to teach so you can say “I baptized ___people on my mission,” or as a bragging right. You do not want to find people so you can move up in the mission leadership and be important. You want to find people who are honestly searching for God in their lives -- who really want a personal relationship with Him. You have no other reason for wanting to share the gospel than for this, He will lead you. He will guide you. He will walk beside you."

I think the most challenging part of my mission right now is that we have not had any baptisms and I feel like I am not important in the mission... that I am just another missionary in the Sweden Stockholm Mission - just rolling through the motions. But that is NOT why I chose to leave my family for 18 months. I didn't come here to look good and to be the most important missionary here. I came here exactly because of what mom said... to love the people here and because I want to help them find joy and hope - the joy and hope that I have found in my life. Which goes right a long with what dad said in his letter to me...

"Your missionary message is not about getting people to sign on to a program that will make their lives really great, rather, it is about helping them maximize the meaningfulness in their lives. To change our hearts to be motivated by Christ is to simply try to do everything with love and charity in our hearts. It is a message worth leaving hearth and home for if any message is. It is a message worth dying for if any message is" (he wrote this in the context of his letter about people who have survived incredible odds and people, like the pioneers who survived in a similar way but for a deeper purpose than just survival).

And to go along with that, it is a message worth leaving home for only 18 short months even if you are just planting seeds, which may be what I am doing but I am doing it because I know how important this message will be for maybe one person here in Sweden.
Updates in the mission:
1.) Transfers have not come yet they are actually this Saturday. I can't believe Sister Swenson and I have been together for THREE months! We, and two other companionships are the only ones that have not had a change yet- so we are blessed that we work together so well and have so much fun together. We are not sure what will be happening with transfers but we will be sad to be leaving each other soon. 
2.) I bought a 50$ blender this week... SRY. I really needed to make smoothies so I hope you understand :))).  
 3.) This is Alexandra, (If you zoom in on the picture, her nails are the yellow minions on Despicable Me hahaha) she is 12 and has a baptismal date for August 31st! Or so we thought... She thought we said the 21st so she is actually getting baptized in a week from Wednesday!! She is a sweetheart and wants to be baptized more than anything- the only issue is that her dad will not let her but he doesn't live with her so we are praying that either he doesn't have any rights over her or that he will soften his heart.
these are the girls in our branch
4.) Yesterday we started a 40 day fast in our Branch. We had a sign up sheet and everyone took a different day. We will be fasting from 5:00 pm until 5:00 pm the next day- a full 24 hours for 40 days STRAIGHT just for missionary work. It will be cool to see the whole branch coming together to show the Lord how important missionary work is to us here in Kristianstad. 
A couple weeks ago we were standing at a bus stop talking English and I was dancing around pointing my feet etc. And I noticed that a guy behind me picked up his phone and randomly started speaking in English but I could tell he wasn't talking to anyone- almost like he just wanted us to notice that he also spoke English... So I started talking to him and he asked me if I was a ballet dancer hahaha.  Anyways, we got his number and we taught him a couple days later and have been teaching him the past three weeks. His name is Poul and he is from Uganda. He speaks Swahili which is cool because that is what Fianesi spoke (the girl i taught English to in 9th grade) and she taught me a swahilian song that I have always remembered so I sang it to him and he loved it! He said it was a beautiful song. He has come to church every week and gave us a referral of a family who are his next door neighbors from Nigeria who we have also been teaching (a mom and three little kids). 
 At first he didn't understand why we wanted to meet with him- like the first two lessons haha but now he loves meeting with us. Yesterday in church everyone was speaking about missionary work and he leaned over and said "what do I have to do to become a missionary?" Us: you have to become a member first. Poul: Ok, and then what? Us: uhhh you have to be worthy Poul: Ok, and then what? hahaha it was so funny. And then the other day on the bus I said: have you finished reading Moroni 10 yet?? Poul: Not yet but I read it when I have time Us: Come on! You need to hurry and read it so you can read other chapters! Poul: If the book is mine why do I have to read it so fast? I mean, Im gonna have it for a long time so why do I have to hurry? HAHAHA byeeeee. He is great. 
Hannah´s engagements look beautiful, Henry sounds like he is living the life of a teenage boy, and Lillie AMAZES ME. I can't believe she did Trek and did not complain once! Actually I can believe it because she is so awesome and "sheth got the ethathize." hahaha I miss that girl so so much. 
Love you all. You sound so busy but happy which is good to hear. Thanks for working so hard on the house- I bet it looks great. Today we are going on a road trip with a family in our ward until 6! And my fast starts at 5. I am happy, the sun is shining and I love you all. Have a great week!
xoxoxo a l c
I wasn't kidding when i said Inge sent us home with her whole fridge.
yoga rampage

Monday, August 5, 2013

We Found Our Luggage!

Holy stressssss. This morning's emailing reminded me of the stressful one hour in the MTC to email home when our computers had timers on them counting down the seconds... The church didn't have internet service so we went to the library and only had 40 minutes... But besides that- the good news is that we received a letter in the mail this week from the Denmark Police saying that OUR LUGGAGE HAD BEEN FOUND! And the sweet Malmö Sisters picked it up for us this last week while they were at the temple in Denmark, so today we went down to Malmö to pick it up. SO after one month I got my red shoes back and everything else! Heavenly Father is seriously answering our prayers.
Malmo Sweden
It was fun to read about your trek experience and think about my experience when I was there at age 14. Dads talk that he sent me about our old ward made me tear up a bit as I thought about all of the amazing people and friendships we have made in that neighborhood. It hasn't hit me that I won't be returning home to all of those familiar faces.

This week our mission leader told us that Kristianstad City has the most gangs and drug use and we definitely experienced that this week. We met up with one of our investigators and two of his friends outside of a grocery store in the parking lot and we were sitting down on the ground with all of the plan of salvation pictures laid out and there were a lot of kids and people running around. All of a sudden Muhammed looks over and turns back to us and says ¨You guys should probably go¨- so we hurried and stood up and turned around and EVERYONE was gone out of the parking lot besides a huge group of guys that were all smoking and drinking... So we started walking away and the men started yelling to us but we kept walking and one guy ran up to me and got way close to my face and said ¨love me¨ and I just smiled and kept walking and he was literally two centimeters from my face and almost took my name tag off. And I won't tell you all that he said to me but it was pretty sketchy. I was like you have got to be kidding me hahaha. ANYWAYS After that we ended up giving that investigator to the Elders.
In a letter I got from dad in the mail, he talks about ¨slowing down¨ and the importance of taking walks, preparing food, listening to others, setting aside our work, vacationing etc. He said that in a book he has read called ¨In Praise of Slowness¨ it talks about all of these things and argues that Europeans are good at slowness where as Americans are not. Europeans know how to work hard and how to rest- to enjoy life... He said that all of those features remind him of me and that Sweden is my soul mate because the ethos here matches my ethos- haha. (It is true but also funny because Lillie's favorite thing to tell me is that I am the most IMPATIENT person in the world haha.) He said, ¨ethos is a life- a vibe, an ethic, a world view.¨ I think that I got my ¨ethos¨ from dad because he too is this way. But while I have been in Sweden, that is one thing that I have really noticed... The pace at which life seems to move - as well as all of the people. At times I feel like I lose track of my ethos- my vibe or ethic. I want time to pick up, things to move faster... my impatience sets in a little. But when I stop and look at where I am, realize that I am happy to be here, and see the beauty around me-- then I am truly able to enjoy myself and enjoy life... I love life. I always want to enjoy it. I don't want it to move fast- I just want to live life and live well. I want to work hard but breathe deeply- meaning I want to take time to breathe, time to be grateful, and time to understand.
I especially love living in Sweden at this time. I love the Swedes and their culture and what I am learning from them, but I also love how I can be living in one country and be meeting people from all over the world and seeing the way they live life. Our lessons in one day go from teaching in Swedish, to  English, to us speaking Swedish and having it translated to Slovakian and then teaching in English and having it be translated to Spanish. I feel like God has placed people from all over the world here in Sweden so that they could learn about the gospel where they wouldn't have been able to in the Countries they are from. Like Jian from China and Isam from Syria and many of our investigators from Africa. It truly is such a wonderful and beautiful thing.
Hadi and Claudia
I am so grateful to be with these amazing people. I am grateful for time and for the patience I am learning. I am grateful for the pace at which life moves and that we are given enough time to learn and enjoy life and enough time to keep trying to become more like Christ.
Frisbee Golf with the Gustavsson
I got in a little bit of trouble from dad saying that my last letter was too short so I hope this letter was a little better and longer. Haha. Also I loved the poem that you wrote in your talk dad- I think you have written that to me in a letter before.

One of my wishes is that those dark trees,

So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,

Were not, as ’twere, the merest mask of gloom,

But stretched away unto the edge of doom.

I should not be withheld but that some day
Into their vastness I should steal away,

Fearless of ever finding open land,

Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

I do not see why I should e’er turn back,

Or those should not set forth upon my track
To overtake me, who should miss me here

And long to know if still I held them dear.

They would not find me changed from him they knew—

Only more sure of all I thought was true.

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

Isam just said to Sister Swenson, ¨I like how Sister Christensen drinks Herbal Tea, is natural, does Yoga and is a vegetarian- shes not like normal Mormons.¨ Hahahahahahahahahahaha. I blame my hippy parents for that.