Monday, September 30, 2013

Cold toes. Tired legs. And smiling faces.

Sunrise in Kristianstad
This week has been quite the week. New investigators. Awesome member dinners. Passed the six month mark. Beautiful sunrises that can only be seen for those who are awake and running at 6:30 am. Fall colors. Cold toes. Tired legs. And smiling faces.

On Wednesday morning we were having companionship study and the phone rang. I looked at it and saw: President Newell, and tried making Syster Richins answer (as she was shoving a hard boiled egg in her mouth) because I knew that it was going to be for her about training. I answered and President Newell said, "Please put the phone on speaker." He said "Syster Richins and Syster Christensen, I am calling to tell you both that you will be training next Tuesday." My mouth dropped. Within 1 minute I had a million thoughts running through my head. There are only four systers coming, why would I be training? Am I staying here in Kristianstad? Am I leaving? Why am I training out of all of the sisters that came in my group!? I was literally in shock. He then said "Syster Richins you will of course be staying in Kristianstad and Syster Christensen, you will be serving in Göteborg." WHAT?? This was honestly the LAST thing that I thought of happening. For the next two days I thought I would be serving in Göteborg and training. Göteborg is one of the biggest cities in Sweden and it also has one of the biggest wards in Sweden so I was really looking forward to this change. On Friday I got another call saying "You will be serving in Halmstad instead."
Halmstad, Sweden
So here is the big change. I am leaving my greenie area. My home here in Sweden where I have been serving for the past five months with people that I love and know so well. I am training one out of the four sisters coming -along with Syster Richins, Syster Randall, and Syster Larsson (who came in Sister Swenson's group). It is my first time training. I am going to Halmstad which has never had sisters before. For several months there were no missionaries there because they were not having any success. There are about 100 members, but I have heard that the ward has on average 10-20 people that come every week. So lots of less active work to be done. And we will be starting from scratch with NO investigators. It is going to be very different than what Göteborg would have been and different than the comfort I have here in Kristianstad. And yet it feels like the perfect place to go. It is going to be an adventure. I am nervous but more than nervous, I am excited. And I am grateful that the Lord trusts me and that my Mission President trusts me to do this work.

When I called the Elders in the area to have them tell me a little bit about it- they said to me, "just prepare to do a lot of finding." I know its going to be a lot of work. I know it will be hard. Right now Syster Richins and I have 17 progressing investigators. Now we (my new comp and I) will have 0. I sometimes wish that I was in Syster Richins position or Syster Randalls where I could bring a new missionary fresh from the MTC into a wonderful city with awesome members, where I know the streets so well and already have a lot of success with investigators... I feel bad that we wont have any lessons set up or member dinners to welcome her. But I know that my next companion is going to be one strong sister because it will kind of be the blind leading the blind. I wont know the streets or the people, and all that we will be doing is contacting and tracting. And at the same time- what a wonderful opportunity this is going to be to solely rely on the Lord. To let the spirit guide us one hundred percent of the way. To have someone come straight from the MTC and see what miracles can happen from having faith in finding. And there isn't a more wonderful way to welcome someone into missionary work than to actually do missionary work. Hard missionary work. Which work, no one can understand or comprehend unless they serve a mission. The let downs and the heart aches. But also the joys and the love.
Fall in Kristianstad
My heart ached this week as we walked into Alexandra's house with faith of setting a baptismal date. Her parents have both accepted and we have prayed countless times for this day to come. We talked with her and told her how excited we were for her. We bore our testimonies and said a prayer together and Alexandra said "I think I am going to stay catholic." My heart sank. I know she is ready and more than that I know what a blessing this would be to her as she grows up here in Sweden among kids who start smoking and drinking when they are 14 years old. But I also know how much courage Alexandra has and how hard it would be for her to be the only one in her family at age twelve to not be catholic. I feel like her parents have allowed her to be baptized but have also made her feel bad about the decision. Satan really works hard on the prepared. And surprisingly she came to church on Sunday with Saga so maybe the timing just isn't right, right now. :)
alexandra, saga, and solie
One of our investigators is Julius, a Swede. Has really stopped using snus and smoking since he has met with us. Snus is like tabacco that they have here in Sweden and they stick it up under their top lip. Its nasty. It has fiber glass in it or something. Ew. Haha but he is so awesome. And my favorite investigators are Alda and Aurton. They come from Albania and have only been here for a couple of months and have no job, no money, and no residency. And they are probably the most humble, grateful people I know. They find a way each week to take the long bus ride to church. They are amazing people and I am blessed to know them and work with them. Last night they had us over for dinner and said our last goodbyes. But I think that if they were to be getting baptized soon, I would find a way to come down. Some of our other investigators in Hässleholm said that we are famous and that everyone is talking about the missionary sisters walkin' around preachin' the gospel. Hahahaha.
Julius holding up the word of wisdom pamphlet
Well! Here I go. Another adventure. Another new mountain to start climbing. Thank you for your prayers this week. I'm going to need them. Thank you for the pez and fun letters. I am going to be packing all day today so I won't have time to write letters home, so I will just say... Lillie's drawings of ponies have seriously improved. And Henry's letter was awesome esp. his debate paper he sent me. Only problem is that I probably understood four words that he used in the whole thing. He is one smart boy. I will get to see Emi Christison up in Stockholm! And thank you mom for buying me a coat!! I still have five hundred things I want to write about but I have no time. LOVE YOU ALL. Have a beautiful and peaceful week. thank you for your support and letters and candy and love. Lets just say it SAVES ME. And general conference this weekend is going to save me as well hahah xoxoxo
Tomato soup on a cold day
Syster Christensen

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