Monday, November 11, 2013


As I reflect on this past week, I can't pick out any tremendous successes that occurred. In fact, as we retired home each night, I thought back on the day not really knowing what kind of impact we had or if we had done or changed anything from the day before. Lots of lessons fell through and most of our investigators are not too excited or anxious to meet with us- but I cannot describe to you the joy and gratitude that I have in my heart. I just absolutely LOVE being here. I have loved this week, walking in the pouring, freezing rain singing the same three songs over and over again with my companion as we went by old investigators who are not interested or shall I say they are not "interesting". (They get confused with interested and interesting and think that they need to answer us in English so we REALLY understand. haha). I have also loved the small opportunities that I have had this week to prepare lessons, study the scriptures in depth, and learn more about this wonderful and beautiful life. I loved loading wood piles last Tuesday for 4 hours in the rain with the Elders and our 73 year old ward mission leader from Finland who can't speak English and only speaks a little Swedish. He is seriously one of the coolest people I have met here in Sweden. 
Nana is the one that got baptized and he is the one on the left next to me.

And I also   l o v e d   receiving a call from one of our investigators in Kristianstad inviting me to his baptism this past Saturday. His name is Nana and he is from Africa. I think I mentioned him in past emails, but he is so incredible and I got the biggest tears in my eyes when he called me to come. I am so happy for his decision. We can't leave our areas so I was unable to go but I know that he made the right decision and I know it will bless him the rest of his life.
the library at night
This City is beautiful. It is so artsy and the people here are all very down to earth and very cool. There are a lot of dreadys (people with dreads) and I love them. As Christmas approaches, they have begun to put Christmas lights on the trees around the center of the city and I have heard that this is one of the only cities that does this. I just smiled and stared at them for a good ten minutes the other night because they reminded me of temple square. The weather is pretty cold, but we have not received snow yet! It usually rains a lot in November and December here and they don't get snow until the end of December- March. But it is very windy over here by the ocean. I am very grateful for my warm coat, tights, hats, and gloves. :). It gets dark around 4:00 pm. here but it will slowly start getting dark around 2 or 3. And at 5:00 pm it feels like 9:00 and that we should be in bed, but the night is just getting started! It's definitely a great experience.
This is a statue in the park to represent the poor children in the world.
I guess I have been made the new Relief Society teacher- not really, but I taught last week and this week! For an hour. In Swedish. On topics that are not a part of the main missionary lessons where I have the vocab down. It's hard for me because I have so many thoughts that I want to express in my own way but I can't fully express myself in Swedish. But it has also been good for me. Yesterday I gave a lesson on putting God before all other things. I began by sharing the story that I shared in my farewell talk about the huge mirror that dad made and gave to me for Christmas a couple years ago. I shared how dad related the mirror to sometimes being in relationship to vanity and how another word for vanity means meaningless. I then asked what are some things that everyone does that are "meaningless" and we talked about the "vain things of the world." Then I asked how we could better prioritize our time and put God first in everything that we do. The women had great feedback and it was interesting to really think about all of the things we do in our day to day lives that don't necessarily invite God or his spirit to be with us. Or maybe they are just things that are not the most important for us to do. I switched gears a little and read a poem that dad had sent me in a letter earlier in the week called "the lanyard" by Billy Collins. He talks about the Love of a mother and how we as children can never repay our mothers for everything they do for us except for by the small and simple things like being grateful. I then used dad's idea to tie this into God's love for us and how we will always be indebted to God for all that he has done, as King Benjamin talks about in Mosiah 2. We read Mosiah 2 vs. 21&40; Where King Benjamin says that God has given us breath and our lives and even if we served him our whole lives we could still not fully pay him back. I liked these two contrats (scriptures?) because once we understand God's infinite love for us, we understand why it is so important to set him before all things. If we love God, we will serve him. And we will serve him by doing small things. And all that God wants from us in return is to be good and to be grateful.

As I focus on gratitude in this beautiful month of November, I have reflected on my gratitude book where I have written one thing that I have been grateful for, for everyday of my mission. I have loved being able to notice the smallest of things on my mission- the things that I am so grateful for on a daily basis. Gratitude lifts me up and helps me to see my life as a wonderful and glorious adventure- which it is. I love my life. And of course as I bring my attention to what I am most grateful for, the obvious ones stand out while I am here: The gospel, my family, the lessons and experiences I am having- and especially today, my mother.
This is my picture collage for you this year since I can't do one on instagram hahaha

Happy birthday to my beautiful mother and best friend. In dad's letter to me he wrote: "I am filled with gratitude for you and your mother as the official month of gratitude inches closer- my two November babies. There is so much that draws you and I together: Language- love of words and writing, trees and mountains, adventure, hiking and exercise, gospel ideas and meaningfulness, trying to be contemplative, music, and now Sweden and Swedish. There will be new bridges between us in the future. But the very most important thing you and I have in common is an uncanny, deep, abiding love for your mother. And it has been one of my greatest joys to watch her care for you and love you." How true that is. And this November- this month of gratitude, I am more grateful for my mommy than I have been in all my life. For her constant service to me. For her funny and loving personality. For her example and testimony. For her humility. I am even grateful and love that she is so touchy. Dad said "I think the reason your mom is so touchy and loves everyone so freely is because she thinks 'hey we are all in this together!'" She just wants to help people out and be their third arm. It used to really embarrass me- especially when she pulled out Scott Long's diabetic insulin thinking it was a tag. Or how she tucks in anyone's tag that is sticking out no matter who it is- but now I see the beauty of it. She truly does so openly and freely invite herself into others lives and make them feel important and loved. She is in other words- the opposite of a Swede and I miss that. She doesn't care what the world thinks of her. She lives a beautiful and graceful life. She easily laughs at her mistakes and continues to be better. She is ready to serve and help anyone at any time of the day. I am so grateful for the person you are and I love and miss you.

Have a wonderful week! I got gram's birthday package and letter! She is so sweet. Also- the Bishop asked me if I would start teaching a yoga class every Friday from 6-7 when we normally play innebandi and then we will play innebandi from 7-9! Hahaha. I'M STOKED. I am also so sad for the Philipines. I am glad to hear Meisha is doing okay. --Prayers going her way. Also Congratulations to Sarah Christensen for getting her call to England! So cool. I love you all! I am happy and healthy. 

Sorry I don't have a lot of pictures this week. LOVE YOU!

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