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

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