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Monday, September 9, 2013

Praise the Lord

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HI. Thank you for all of your letters in the mail this week! Woohooo! I am one lucky gal.

I could probably use every word in the dictionary to describe this week... this week was truly been the lowest of lows and the highest of highs. At the beginning of the week I was discouraged to say the least. Every lesson fell through which left us to contacting and tracting two days in a row and I was not happy. I just did NOT want to do it. Everyone we went up to said no, I felt like a complete idiot, and my body was so sore and tired and I did not have the energy to take a step forward. And I especially could not step forward in hope; which is my Christ-like attribute for the month of September. I wrote in my journal "I don't know HOW to be more hopeful when I feel like I am not doing anything here and have not seen any success. I feel like I am a strong person and that I have been strong the past four months that I have been here in Sweden... but right now I am DISCOURAGED." On the third day of doing the same thing, I got a letter in the mail from mom that had the scripture Matthew 11:28-30.

"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: And ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." 

I read this and as we prepared to go have lunch with Bo & Birgitta Wennerlund, I thought this would be the perfect scripture to share. We read this scripture to them and then watched the Mormon Message "None were with him." I sat there and just cried as I thought about this perfect message that I am here to share- and I will forever be grateful for that little lesson we had that gave me the strength and determination to keep going as I reflected upon the Savior and His lonely journey. This week I learned that I NEED to come unto Christ. I need to learn of Him so he can help me. When I become discouraged I miss the big picture and I forget why I am here. Neal A Maxwell said:

"Being BLESSED with hope, let us, as disciples, reach out to all who, for whatever reason, have 'moved away from the hope of the gospel' (col. 1:23). Let us reach to lift the hands which helplessly hang down." I am reminded as I read this that I have been blessed with HOPE and that I have the strength to move forward in hope and lift the hands that helplessly hang down.
with Syster Randall
On Thursday we went to Helsingborg for a zone meeting and then I went on splits with Syster Randall! We had a lot of fun together. It was a good to go to Helsingborg and see my zone and other missionaries and realize that they are doing the same thing that I am. After we switched back on Friday, Syster Richins and I decided to go visit our investigator Vera who lives about 20 minutes away and when we got there... she was not home. And she knew we were coming. I was again discouraged. We said a quick prayer and tracted that whole building and not one person was interested so we went over to the building next door and said another prayer.

The first door we knocked on answered- they were two girls from the Congo who immediately invited us in with out us saying anything. Rutha and Rita. We explained a little bit about or message and Rutha stopped us and said "You know- I don’t even live here and I don’t understand everything you are saying (they speak french and swahili)- but I know you are sent from God." She said "I had a dream a couple of weeks ago that I needed to rent this apartment, and that this new apartment would lead me to God and the church that I am supposed to belong to." Syster Richins and I just stared at her with wide eyes as if we were in a dream... a really good dream. We sat there in this little apartment that no one was yet living in and told her that we had just prayed that we could knock on a door that would let us in so we could teach the Restoration of the Gospel. I think there was a reason Vera wasn’t home that night.
After we taught the restoration we sat out at the bus stop for a while and Rutha came running out and said "Read Isaiah 52 and Psalms 66 vs. 18-20... You have answered my prayers." What a sweet and tender moment and mercy this was from the Lord. My heart was and is filled with so much gratitude. Our bus ride home was an interesting one. We were surrounded by 13 and 14 year old kids drinking and drunk Albanian guys behind us. I was a little grossed out and quick to judge all of them and what they are choosing to do with their lives until I remembered something that Emma said in her letter to me this week. "Imagine the people that you see dressed in white temple clothes." I turned to Sister Richins and said the same things and tears came to my eyes as I looked at these people with sadness in my heart because I could see their potential- but also so much love in my heart for them because I could see them as children of God.

Well, to sum up this week... It was a week of lesson learning. A quote that came to my mind after finding out that Vera wasn’t home on Friday night was:

"Don’t you give up. Don’t you quit. You keep on walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead--a lot of it. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come. There is help. There is happiness. There really is light at the end of the tunnel. It is the Bright and Morning Star, the 'light that is endless, that can never be darkened.' It is the Son of God Himself. Hold on. Keep trying. God loves you. Things will improve." -Jeffery R. Holland.
Christensen, Randall, Pieksma, Richins
I can testify that God answers our prayers. He is leading us to the prepared and if we would have given up hope, stopped trying, not pushed ourselves to call one more number or knock on one more door, then we would have not found those who God has placed in our path. Yesterday one by one we had 8 investigators show up in church. All of us were in SHOCK. In our Sunday school lesson we taught a simple lesson on prayer. All 8 of them, Syster Richins, Isam, and me all kneeled down together and one by one went around in a circle and said a prayer. We had French, English, Swedish, Greek, Albanian, Swahili, and Arabic.
 The spirit was so strong and I was so grateful and happy. In Relief Society when they asked Rutha to introduce herself she just said "Praise the Lord!" haha it was the best. Other miracles: Alexandra’s dad has accepted baptism! So we are now just waiting on the mom and Viktor’s family (less actives) have promised to come to church after we helped them move all day Saturday. When we trust in the Lord, are obedient, and work hard- the Lord truly does do the rest.
The Ward house in Kristianstad
One more silly story: During the week we called a lot of numbers from our phone and so I called someone and they were so so nice and so happy to meet with us- I was like... YES! Jackpot! They invited us over for dinner the next day and when I got their address I realized they lived in Malmö... So I explained to them that we have missionaries in Malmö so I will call them and see if they could go and meet with them. I gave their number as a referral to the secretaries and then about ten minutes later the secretaries called back and said "Ya so that referral you gave us... It's the mission leader and his wife in Malmö." HAHAHA So awkward. So I set up an appointment for the missionaries in Malmö to have dinner with their mission leaders haha. Weirdest thing ever.

Be so happy my dear family. I love you. I am so happy to be here.

Adelide louisa

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