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

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