Monday, October 28, 2013

"The Bitter Winds Are Blowing In, And I'm Already Missing The Summer"

 Hej san!
It's getting pretty chilly here and all week I have been singing "Halmstad's cold
 but I've been told
 I was born to endure this kind of weather." 
Haha and unfortunately I know that this isn't even that cold compared to winter. -- Which I am actually really excited for esp. with my new coat. We have had some major rain storms and today is supposed to be hurricane winds and power outage but we have been lucky here at the library. I guess the news has been saying to stay in-doors this afternoon and tonight! Its kind of fun haha.

Well, after more than two years of not eating meat... I ATE MEAT. We were eating at the Källbergs- one of my favorite families ever- and she was so cute and said "I made this gluten free!" So I couldn't say "oh too bad I don't eat meat either"... hahaha. The Elders were dying. But that doesn't mean I am not vegetarian anymore ha.

So I think I told you about the weird texts we have been getting telling us to go home and that we are racist etc. Well this week, that number called us and it was a man and he started asking me all of these weird questions so I told him it would just be easier if we met and talked. So a couple of days later we planned on meeting him at the library and the Elders were getting super into it. They wanted to act like spies and went full out on it. Haha it was pretty funny. My heart was beating as we were standing in the front of the library staring at every person that walked in because I didn't know what to expect at all! He finally called and said "I'm here". Me: so are we... Him: I am in the Library by McDonald's and H&M. Me: We are at the library that is glass over the river. Him: I hope we are in the same city! I am in Stockholm. Me: (Are you kidding)... We are in Halmstad. Haha and then I said "stop sending us rude texts." It was a pretty dramatic scene and the Elders were pretty bummed haha.

         I have come to love training. It has been hard but it has been a humbling experience. I am so grateful for the companions that I have been given and for what each of them teach me. We have not had too much success this week but it has still been a wonderful week. One night we went tracting and knocked on a mans door about 65 and ended up talking to him for an hour on his door step. It was an amazing experience with the gift of tongues. Sometimes he would use really big words and I kind of lost tract of what he was saying but then I would open my mouth and words were just coming to me. It was incredible. He had actually read the bible and the book of mormon and he knew a lot about our religion so it was fun to discuss it. I feel like on my mission, I have really been able to connect to older people. I want and desire to listen to them and hear about their lives and what they have gone through and learned. I feel a strong love for them. And even though it's hard because most of them don't want to change, I feel like my testimony really connects to them. It reminds me of my relationships with my grandparents. Especially Papa. I always loved going into his office and reading journal after journal about his life and what he has learned.
This is my favorite Maria. She is a member and I love her.
      As I was talking to this man, I thought of the hymn Lead Kindly Light- the hymn that Michael Ethington played at my farewell. Those lyrics are so beautiful.

"Lead, kindly light, amidst the encircling gloom; Lead thou me on! 
The night is dark and I am far from home, Lead thou me on. 
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see the distant scene- one step enough for me. 
I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that thou shouldst lead me on. 
I loved to choose and see my path but now, lead thou me on." 

The man was talking about how we choose our paths and we don't need Christ or God to tell us what to do. I looked into his eyes and smiled and said, "that is EXACTLY WHY we need God and Christ." Because we have agency, we make mistakes. We need someone to lead us on. To be a light for us. To show us a path that we can follow. I said to him "I have always loved the fact that I get to choose my path because of agency, but I love it even more because I have an example, a savior who walked a perfect path and I have a goal to become like him." His eyes filled with tears. I offered a prayer and then we left. In a letter I got this week from mom, she said this about agency "Agency is a hard thing. Even God can't change free will. He can touch their hearts but he can't change their minds." It is very true. And I feel strongly that the hearts that are touched will one day accept because of Gods love, grace, and mercy.
we made pumpkinds in district meeting
       For a service idea, we have gone around to different Old Folks Homes and one of them was SO excited about our ideas. They want us to come and sing hymns and talk to the people and sometimes just sit next to one of them and hold their hand. They could not believe that we would want to do this and were so interested about why we are here. I feel like this is going to be a great opportunity, not only to serve but to put a good face on the church to the people who love the oldies at the old folks home- like workers and family. So thanks for the idea daddy.

I received so many packages and letters this week. THANK YOU. I loved the poem that you included that President Monson quoted in General Conference.

"Good timber does not grow with ease. The stronger the wind the stronger the trees. The further the sky, the greater the length: The more the storm, the more the strength."

In Nana and Papas letter they said "When we suffer, we begin to KNOW God." I love this. It is in those times of despair and heartache that we become strong and gain a stronger relationship with our Heavenly Father. Julie Ethington sent me the CUTEST package this week with an epic waterbottle. She knows me so well :) I have actually gone through 5 different water bottles so far because I keep loosing them and breaking them. She also sent me Michael's new Christmas CD- it is amazing. I listen to it every second that I can.
we taught primary and made them missionary tags... haha they are huge
Mom, I loved how you said that you look at the beautiful mountains everyday and that you look at them extra carefully on my behalf because you know how much I love them. I really do and I miss them. I was floored with Dad's letter this week that I got in the mail. His talk was of course incredible and I learned so much from it. I will write home about it today in a hand written letter. Thank you for the coat and the candy and letters! I want to see pictures of Henry at homecoming! And congrats to Will and Olivia! I want to see pics of them as well. Sorry I'm so demanding but I miss the fam. As for other investigators: We are still meeting with Julia but we have had to drop all other investigators or put them on hold as President Newell would say :). Oh and funny story: All of the bikes here say YOSEMITE on them and I just die laughing every time. You can guess how I am saying that word. (Yo-Si-Mite). But at least I don't say Yo-Sammity-Sam.  I love you all. XOXO


P.s. Happy Halloween! Dad asked if Halloween is the same here- its not. They want to respect the dead so they party more during the day and then everyone stays in at night. Which means no trick or treating. But that doesn't mean no tracting. Haha

Monday, October 21, 2013

Autumn in Halmstad

Adelide in Halmstad Sweden!
Min Familj,

I am very humbled and full of gratitude this morning as I read very inspiring letters from my friends and family. I am so grateful for everyone’s love and support and encouraging words. This week has been a week of pondering for me. Every morning we take a long bus ride from Tylösand into town. It’s about 35 minutes and there is usually no one on the bus to talk to, so I have a lot of time to look out the window and think. 

Yesterday on the bus to church I reflected a lot about the past week and read through my journal entries to remind myself of the little things that happened. I think it was the little things this week that made me realize a lot of the joys that come through not only being a missionary but being able to have this adventure here in Sweden. On Monday we called an Old Investigator who said she had actually been thinking about coming to church on Sunday. On Tuesday we spent a lot of time at the library which is glass and is hanging out over the river- it is the coolest library and I loved being able to look outside at the beautiful colors and appreciate this time of year in Sweden. 
On Wednesday we took our garbage up a hill to throw it away- Sweden is amazing with recycling. I am beginning to think that dad’s recycling obsession started here- haha. But as we were walking up the hill, I looked over to the right of me and saw the beautiful ocean and then looked over to the left and saw two HUGE animals in the forest right across the street from us. At first I thought they were statues, but they were definitely real. Two huge moose. I am grateful for nature and the beauties of this Earth that God has blessed us with. 

On Thursday I received a letter in the mail from Amy (Cox) saying "Remember that serving in Sweden was your dream and it came true so LIVE IT!" It was a good reminder that this is all that I wanted to do a year ago and now I am actually doing it. On Friday we called a girl that we met on the street to see if she could meet and she said yes! She met us at the Library and we taught the Restoration. She is 25 and is a Swede and was so receptive and said "I can’t wait to hear more! Can we meet next week?" It was an awesome lesson and I have been so much more appreciative of having lessons here in Halmstad than I was in Kristianstad. After that lesson I was on cloud 9. It was definitely an experience that made me grateful for being able to share the message of the restoration and I really saw and felt Heavenly Fathers love for me. 

On Saturday we raked all of the leaves at our ward building and it took about 5 hours. I had a lot of time to count my blessings and became overwhelmed again and again with the spirit as I thought of how blessed I am.

 After reading through these experiences on the bus to church on Sunday, I was reminded of the way that God shows his love for us as children. How he very quietly answers our prayers and gives us a little tap on the back to help us feel like we are enough and we can keep going. As I was thinking, a line from Diane Adair about missionary work came into my head. I don’t remember what she said exactly but she was talking about her experiences as a missionary in the Netherlands, knocking door after door in the pouring rain and watching people turn off the lights and pretend like they weren’t home. And she said "It was the happiest time of my life." 

I know that this time for us as missionaries isn’t intended to be easy. In fact I know that we can only learn by going through hard things. And I too can say that I am so happy. I know that without a doubt that Christ’s work was filled with love and service. He never complained. It was never too hard. He was alone on his journey and he kept loving and serving. And I am learning again and again through humility and diligence how to love and serve more like my Savior, Jesus Christ. 

This week I read through my setting apart blessing and the advise that my parents and grandparents gave to me and I decided to really apply all of that into my missionary work. The two words that stood out to me the most- that were stated in different ways and repeated again and again was to love and to serve. I know that if I love and serve then I will always be happy.

 Because of those promptings about love and service kept coming to me through out this week, my companion and I took dad’s advice from his letter last week about different ways to serve in the Swedish Community and we are excited and hopeful to get those things started this next week. I am excited to see how it all goes. I know my birthday is coming up- PLEASE don’t send me packages. I don’t need anything. Just letters. :) Thank you for your prayers and love and concern. I am so so blessed with amazing friends and family. Thank you for the reminder to "be love man!" hahahaha great movie. Don’t forget to drink some Htothe2totheO.

Sister Christensen

Monday, October 14, 2013


 Hello my dearest familj.

This week has been an   a  d  v  e  n  t  u  r  e.
We spent a whole day going through the area book with the Elders trying to get everything sorted out and split up and we ended up with a lot of papers of people who don’t live where it says they live. So that was discouraging. But through it all, I have become an expert map reader. I am grateful for Dad’s advice on missionary work, especially with Sweden. Knocking on doors is truly NOT the way to go about doing missionary work. My mind was exhausted this week and the best thing we could come up with was to go by 10 of the less actives that live near the city, contact along the way, and tract all of the apartments also. Not ONE of the less actives was home, so we did a lot of walking, contacting and tracting. By a lot, I mean, that is ALL we did. From 12 until 7. We received no numbers. Not one. I am shocked with the amount of Atheists that are in this area. I asked a lady what the meaning of life was to her and she just looked at me and said "no." and then just sat there and I was like... okayyyy... hahaha.
A lot of others responses were exactly what Grandpa Reed said in his email to me last week about the responses he received when he served in Sweden, "The government takes care of me, I don’t need anything else." In an apartment we tracted, a lady answered who was with her daughter (the daughter was about 30) and the mom started freaking out and hit her daughter way hard in the back and slammed the door on us and then we could hear them screaming at each other for the next 10 minutes while we tried knocking on other doors. On the same day we received texts from an unknown number in Swedish going on about how we are racists and that we are wasting our time and to go home. I think the only thing that got me through this day was singing camp songs with my comp who was a camp counselor.

I am not meaning to say only the hard things about this area, because when it all comes down to it, I am good. I am doing OK. I am learning a lot and physically, I am well taken care of. But I can’t help but feel like all of this work we are putting forth isn’t enough. I don’t understand why we can't get one person to meet with us. I don’t understand why no one will give us a chance. This has been the hardest week on my mission. When I got my call to Sweden I heard countless of times that this was going to be a hard mission, and I was going to see how long I could go with out saying that "this is harder than I expected." But... This is harder than I expected. I don’t think my prayers have been more sincere and real this week than they have been in my whole life. It is hard knowing if we are being led by the spirit or if it is just me and my own thoughts because the people who I feel inspired to talk to all say no. I just feel like there's so much more we could be doing and I don’t know what that is! I just don’t know exactly what the Lord has planned for this area but I guess that is why we are told many times to rely on the Lord and trust in his timing... One thing I seem to struggle with.

On the day that we went by 10 less actives, we went by three of them again later that night and they were all home. One of them said she was not interested. Another one said I don’t have time right now and the other invited us to come back the next day to have breakfast and help her clean her house. She is AWESOME. Her name is Lena and she is OBSESSED with cats. She only has one but she has cat everything. It's hilarious. I think she might have autism because she reminds me of Lillie. Our breakfast consisted of bread with hard boiled egg cut up, sil (packaged herring), and then she had liver paste and about 5 different kinds of meat. I brought my own g-free bread and only had the egg and the packaged herring #vegetarianprobs. It was definitely one of the more interesting breakfasts I’ve had. :) haha.

On another day of lots of walking, we passed an old man (in his 80s) holding a rake, shaking, and looking at lawn filled with leaves. My first thought was to ask if we could help him but then I thought, no one accepts help here and their favorite word to say is “no” so we might as well keep walking. But then I thought of dad’s advice to find unique ways to serve people, so we asked him and he gladly accepted! We raked and loaded bag after bag of leaves while the old man and his wife held the bags open. Afterwards the lady tried paying us, literally tried shoving money in our coat pockets and we tried to explain that we just wanted to help. They both could NOT believe that 19 year old girls would help them do their yard work, and I couldn’t believe that they let us! I was so grateful that we were able to do SOMETHING that day.
We had a zone conference this week that was much needed. We left at five in the morning to get there on time and after the meeting we headed back to the train station to see hundreds of people waiting for busses instead of trains. There had been an accident from Malmö to Lund so long story short we were stuck there from 5-9:30! That was a long day. We didn’t get back home to our apartment until 11:30 but we had so much fun with the missionaries and it was so fun to see all of them. They are hilarious people. Elder Ricker made hats for Syster Pikesma, Richins, and me. Haha and our APs were with us all night at the train station- it was fun. President Newell’s advice to us all was to "Raise your level of effectiveness!" It was a much needed reminder for me.
Sorry this is the longest email of my life! I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week. We had the funnest night last night at the Bishop house. They fed us dinner and then we played giant jenga. I got everyone to play Big Boody and it reminded me of playing that at Nana and Papa’s with the whole extended family haha. I don’t think I have laughed as hard as I did last night since I got here to Halmstad. Good reminder to have more fun with the work- I have forgotten to do that this week and it really makes a difference.
I can’t believe it is fall again. It feels like yesterday that we were at the farmers market getting a call about the mission age change. That was a crazy week. I am grateful for my decision to serve a mission one year ago. I had no idea what was in store but I knew it would be wonderful and it truly has been.
Love, Adelide Louisa

Monday, October 7, 2013


     This week I said my goodbyes to the beautiful city and people of Kristianstad. Bo Wennerlund gave both Syster Richins and me a blessing and Hans Strandberg took my two big suit cases up to Halmstad for me so that I didn’t have to bring them to Stockholm. So nice.
Emi, Adelide and Caleb ~ Oly Titans
       In Stockholm we were treated with a wonderful meeting from President and Syster Newell and I got to see cute Emi Christison and Caleb Farley. I then received my little greeny companion who was actually McCall Frampton’s comp in the MTC. Small world. Syster Hosenfeld is darling, asks lots of questions and is a hard worker. She's great.
New Companion, Syster Hosenfeld!
       We got settled into our brand new apartment on Wednesday night - and you will not even believe where we are living. We are living about 20 minutes from Halmstad in an area called Tylösand. It is the nicest apartment in the whole mission. We live in a resort, three minutes away from the beach, and we have our own washer, dryer, and dishwasher. The people who live in this area own big name brands in Sweden and we live close to the lead singer in a famous rock band.

       Everything in the apartment is new and the beach by our house is said to be the nicest beach in all of Sweden. So no need to worry about me and my living conditions because I am WELL taken care of. One morning this week we ran right along the water on the beach and then the next day we took our towels out to the beach and did yoga. We are pretty lucky.

      Halmstad is B E A U T I F U L. It is an artsy city and a lot of color. I love it. There are hardly any immigrants in this area from what I have seen. Pretty much everyone is a Swede -which is different coming from Kristianstad where, for the most part, all of our investigators came from another Country. Its going to be a lot of work to get this place going, but I know the Lord has something wonderful planned for putting four missionaries in this area. Training is hard and has made me be more appreciative of Syster Swenson and her patience and love with me when I first came here and knew absolutely nothing. It is amazing to see the missionaries come straight from the MTC and see how far you can go within a couple of months of living in the Country. There really is no other way it would be possible to learn a foreign language so fast without God.
     We have spent a lot of time with the Elders here the past couple of days because we had NO idea where anything was. They are awesome missionaries and are very patient with me. The bishops cute wife picked us up on Thursday morning and took us to the store to do some grocery shopping- she is a sweetheart. We were welcomed in with open hands and the ward is so excited to not only have 4 missionaries in the area, but to have sisters. And we are excited to be here as well.

Ward House in Halmstad
      On Thursday we were waiting for the Elders to get us the ward list out of their apartment and we waited outside and did some contacting. We talked to a guy named Tim, who gave us his number but was kind of laughing at us so I didn’t think anything would come out of it. A couple hours later he called us and said he wanted to meet. We met up with him that night and he said that he noticed what it said on our tags, so he went home and looked it up on the computer. He read about missionaries and was interested in what we had to say. He also said that there are two ways he normally walks home but he rarely walks home the way he did- so it was cool that we met. I just smiled because I knew the Lord prepared it to happen that way. While we were walking we ran into one of Tim’s friends, Tibias and taught both of them the plan of salvation. It was hard because it was the first time I had to teach everything without another companion to back me up or help me if I forgot something- which I am sure I did. It was not perfect but the spirit was there and my companion bore a sweet, sincere, simple testimony. And these two guys- both swedes, about 23 years old, came to conference yesterday.

      We have done a lot of contacting and tracting and I know that is what we will be doing for the next couple months. When I think of the work and how we really don’t have anything right now, it stresses me out. But then I am reminded to take it day by day. To enjoy it. And to learn from this experience. I received very uplifting letters in the mail this week and on my email today. We weren’t able to watch the second session of Sunday conference but the other sessions were encouraging and were answers to my prayers. I know that God talks through those that speak at conference. The message that I heard over and over is that of Christ’s mercy and love and that I AM WEAK. Without Him I am truly nothing.

A lot of times on my mission I feel like I need to be so strong. Sometimes too strong to cry, too strong to say sincere prayers and ask for God's help, too strong to fully rely on the spirit- because I can do it on my own. But that is far from the truth. The truth is that I am so so weak. I cannot do anything on my own. I know that it is not me who speaks this language, who finds, who has strength to keep going, to have courage to talk to everyone I see. This is the Lord's work. I am merely an instrument in His hands. He helps me speak, find, have patience and courage. He lifts my chin, he comforts my nervous and scared soul. He opens my eyes to the hearts of the people so that I can love them with an indescribable love. He teaches me by example. He gives me hope. I know that the successes that I will see on my mission will not come from me trying to do everything on my own, but they will come from walking hand in hand with the Lord.
I am full of gratitude and love for this work. I love you all. You are in my prayers.
Adelide Louisa