Monday, February 24, 2014

No... we are not Jehovah Witnesses.

Hej på er,

Spring is in the air. On Thursday it snowed, Friday it rained, and Sunday was sunny. We have green grass and beautiful skies... Every once in a while the sun comes out from behind the clouds and it is wonderful. This morning we went running and it was so light! It made a huge difference. Although our winter was very mild, I am always so excited for the sun to come. I think the darkness was the biggest difference because the weather was pretty much the same as Utah except for you guys might have had it a little worse. 

Since the Swedes are so ECO FRIENDLY, they use gravel instead of salt to keep us from slipping on ice... Which means one thing *gravel in shoes all day everyday*. One missionary told us that the best part of them starting to clean up the gravel is that it means WINTER IS OVER! That hasn't happened yet but I wouldn't be surprised if it happens soon. (And yes... they clean up the gravel and save it and reuse it for the next winter ahhahaha. love it.) 
our apartment in the snow
I could not sleep almost every night this past week because I was so excited to hear about Henry's mission call! So after laying in bed on Wednesday night, I finally grabbed the phone around 4 or 5 am. just waiting to get a text from Isam and then I finally fell asleep holding the phone hahaha. I had a weird dream that he COULD NOT get called to Sweden for some reason- it was impossible for him to come here and it was so sad! When I woke up I had a strong feeling that it isn't to Sweden... :(.
A flag that we made with our comp slogan

When I woke up I hurried and looked at the phone when the alarm went off and there was no text-- so I did p90x at 6:30 alone in the dark because Sister LaFontaine was sick and then as soon as I finished, I called Isam and he said that he stayed up until 3:30 am. waiting and still didn't hear anything so he went to bed. (HE IS THE BEST! I am so grateful for his friendship.) He then checked and said that it didn’t come... This night was on repeat for the next couple of days. So needless to say, I think I have been more anxious than Henry is! It is definitely a repeat of what happened to me last year... not fun! But it will come and once you know, it really won't matter that you had to wait. :) 
a cow farm
We taught Anicet again this week and it was very... frustrating. We try to be very patient but it is SO hard to communicate! We just keep typing back and forth on google translate and it takes so long for him to type and its so hard to get the spirit there. His family is really struggling in Africa so he is pretty depressed. We have been praying about it and we think we should give him over to the Elders because they might be able to have new ideas of teaching him and more patience. I am grateful that we have such awesome Elders here- we really work well at making the work about those we are teaching and not about us. 
our church building- we only have the bottom floor
In my past areas, the missionaries make it almost like a competition to see who can get the most investigators or teaches etc. and that is not how it should be. I have gained a testimony of how important it is to make this work ONLY about the people. When you do that, your desire for the individual person to learn and grow in the gospel, becomes so much stronger. 
bomb shelter
There is the funniest member here. Her name is Birgitta and she is a total "get to the point" person. We went over to her house this past week to share a message and talk to her and this is how it went:
-Birgitta answers door- "Hi come in"
-We go upstairs and try to talk to her and get to know her.
-She cuts us off- "do you have a message?"
-"oh ya! We wanted to watch the restoration video with you."
-*watch video*
-*try talking to her about it after*
-she cuts us off again- "I'll say the closing prayer."
We try asking her more questions about her job etc- she says: "Can you find your way out on your own?"

HAHAHAHA. It was hilarious. One of the faster lessons we have had.

There is also another member, Cat, who I have told you about. She is the 66 year old world of warcraft gamer and her favorite movie is the Lord of the Rings. I love her. And she loves the missionaries. We went over to her house last week to drop off some cookies and she answered the door- looking like she just woke up- and immediately turned the lights on and invited us in to come and talk even though we didn't call and she had been asleep. haha. It was pretty cute.  
We have been blessed this week in our finding efforts. We met with new investigators almost everyday. That's actually a lie because we had practically no lessons until Thursday and then we taught 4-5 almost everyday after that. But two of the investigators we contacted into are from Eritrea- They speak a language that we don't have a Book of Mormon for and it is also not one of the choices on google translate... 

But one of them can speak Arabic so we had Isam teach him how to pray over the phone. We want to try and get the two investigators together so we can have a translator from English or Swedish to Arabic and then the one investigator can translate to the Eritrean language for the other. --confusing-- It might be a stretch but it would be awesome! The one that doesn't speak Arabic, came to church yesterday and just sat there quietly the whole time because he doesn't understand anything and we can't translate to him... Its so hard but the spirit was there and I am sure he could feel it. In fact... we hit a record yesterday!! 53 people came to church! (hehe i counted). And 3 of them were our investigators and 2 were less actives that we are working with!! It was awesome. All of the Yasavolians (the new converts) came which was very happy because Bezad, just got out of jail this past week and was able to come! He was in jail for immigration issues... But he is free! *i'm free, i'm free..... dangit*- Hunchback of Noter dame. (tthanankkkyouuuadelide.)
We actually had a really funny thing happen at the Yasavolians. We had noticed a pack of cigarettes on their table the past two times that we went there so we decided to bring it up with them today. It was only the mom and dad and they don't speak swedish or english so we used google translate again (my new best friend) and we taught them the restoration. Afterwards we typed in "How is not smoking going?" and they both read it and burst out laughing because they knew exactly what we were talking about and they went over and picked up the pack of cigarettes and opened it and it was a deck of cards. hahahaha hillllarious. 
This week I read advice from Grandpa Reed for my mission that he gave me before I left and he said: "Learn the Book of Mormon in the Swedish language." I have read from my Swedish BoM here and there and I have tried in the past reading it from the beginning in our language study, but after re-reading the message from Grandpa, I decided to really commit myself to reading and studying and learning the Book of Mormon in Swedish... and I have loved it! 
It is so amazing that I can understand this language. I compared what I had underlined in Swedish to my English and I got completely different things from the same chapters. I love how some Swedish words describe something differently than in English and if you put both words together- it perfectly describes what the scripture really means. In Swedish the word "bli"- "to become"- is used a lot more than the word "be." That we are BECOMING like Christ instead of that we must BE like Him. Both are true, but I love the differences. 
Me, Syster Newell, Syster Swensons other baby (so my "sister") and Sister Bybee.
I am turning into a total cry baby. I hardly cried at all at the beginning of my mission except for if I was a little homesick here and there and now I cry almost EVERY TIME I feel the spirit. Hahaha. Goll. We had a Sister Training in Stockholm with Sister Newell and Sister Bybee and it was amazing. Sister Newell talked about how we need to balance our lives physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially. Having a balanced life truly is the way to happiness. It keeps us well and away from stress- so that we are able to give our time and energy to the most important things in life. Under spiritual, Syster Newell outlined the most basic things that we should be doing. Scriptures, prayer, temple, and service. I took some of her ideas and gave a talk in church yesterday about the small and simple things that we should be doing everyday. These things are so simple and easy... but are we doing them? Sometimes these "primary answers" seem so easy that we mistake them for being unimportant. When really, these are the things that are going to get us home to our Heavenly Father. 
Thank you for sending me Grace's letters. She sounds like a happy- hard worker! Happy birthday to Hannah and Emma on the 26th! My two favorite girlies. I love you both!! And I will hold my thumbs for Henry's call to come this week. :). Love you all! ENJOY life!

puss och kram

Syster C.

We spent our Pday today taking these pictures with these signs of answers to the questions people ask us every day hahahaha. Are you Jehovah Witnesses? How many moms do you have? Do you live in the church? come on ppl....

Monday, February 17, 2014

Alla Hjärtans Dag

HI. First of all.... I GOT THE BEST LETTER IN THE MAIL FROM HENRY AND I AM SOOOO EXCITED FOR HIM TO GET HIS CALL ON WEDNESDAY!!! #joiningthearmy. (I know that mom told me that hashtags are going out of style but they are still in style with all of the missionaries here because we aren’t really included on the whole "being in style" thing.) Anyways... my guesses are: Sweden (det är min önskan\desire) or Japan because I can totally see him going somewhere ASIAN with his Asian eyes. ;)
I also got the BEST valentines package. THANKS MOM. My tongue hurts so good from all of the candy and I was dying like on the floor laughing when I saw the ugly troll faces. . . hahahahahhahahhaha that was the best surprise. It brought me right back to a year or so ago when we were in that store in gateway on the floor laughing so hard at those faces because they are so ugly and we were making those videos ha.ha.ha. good good times. But really... thank you for the letters and the little presents. I loved it all. I am the LUCKIEST.

We have a couple investigators that we were able to teach but this area is a little on the downward slope so we are going to be finding a lot within the next month or so to get it going again. One of our investigators is Grace. She is from China and it is so fun and interesting to teach her because it is literally like teaching a child. She has no knowledge of God or Christ so we are starting with the very basics. She loves meeting and learning more but she also views everything as a "nice story" instead of real life, which is understandable. But we love her and we are excited to continue working with her. 

Our other investigator is Anicet. He is from Africa and ONLY speaks french. It is pretty difficult to teach him. We have had some translators but mostly we just type everything in on google translate back and forth which takes a lot of time and a lot of patience... but its worth it! He has a strong belief in the Bible which is good, but it's also hard to get him to understand the Book of Mormon. 
We had a fun valentines day or Alla Hjärtans Dag! We made lots of cookies and delivered them to members and less actives and I also went on sister splits to Södertälje. (Hahahaha- I am imagining you trying to pronounce that). I have always loved Valentine's day because mom has always made it a day to show our love to everyone around us not just to someone we are interested in hahaha.  We should of course show our love to others everyday but it is a fun holiday to celebrate LOVE! The first and greatest commandment.

Syster LaFontaine and I have so much fun together. She is so funny and we work hard together. I am sooo blessed with my companions! Every time there is a transfer I feel prepared to get a hard companion but I just love 'em all.

We have some amazing members. The Forsman family is from Utah and they are Awesome. The dad, Mike, was born and raised in Sweden as a little boy so he speaks Swedish and they live here now with their three little kids and literally run the Katrineholm Branch. They do everything and nothing starts (like Sacrament meeting) until they are there. BUT yesterday they all spoke in sacrament meeting and announced that they are moving to Stockholm in two weeks. All of the missionaries looked at each other like "crap." hahaha We and the active members are really going to have to step it up. #eek.

Seven of the members were just baptized a month or so ago. The mom, the dad, their three daughters and two of the daughters boy friends. They are from Iran and only speak Persian... 

*so many language barriers* 
but they are so humble and sweet and I love them. I was watching the mom yesterday in sacrament meeting as Amber Forsman was speaking and tears were running down her face the entire time. It was cool because everyone in that room that saw her crying knew that she couldn't understand Amber, and yet she could because the spirit was so strong. It brought me to tears.

Another member, E......, is from Africa and only speaks English. She got baptized in Nigeria three years ago and left to get away from her husband. I can't say much more about her except she is a SAINT. She has her baby O..... here in Sweden and her other baby is still in Africa with her sister. She has no money and her life is not easy but she comes to church each week with a smile on her face. She is so humble and honest and kind. I just sat on her little couch this past week holding little O..... she was playing with my rings and bracelets and necklaces... and E....... was telling us about her life and of how much she loves the gospel and I had tears in my eyes for her. I just want to give her all that I have. She needs more (clothes, food, the simple things) and yet she is content with what she has and the situation that she is in.

This morning I read some talks that mom sent me in the mail from Elder Holland and as I was reading "The Miracle of a Mission". . . I just started BAWLING. I got onto my knees and just sobbed and prayed to tell Heavenly Father about how grateful I am for my mission. I AM SO GRATEFUL TO BE HERE. I love every second of it. I love everything that I am learning, all of the opportunities I have to teach and share this message, and I love this land that I am in. I know I say this a lot but I cannot imagine my life without these experiences. And I am happy to say that I have CHOSEN to love it. Not everyday is sunny or warm. Not every person smiles back or listens. Not every lesson is perfect. Not everyday ends with feeling like we had success. In fact those things hardly every happen but IT'S OKAY! Because this is God's work and He knows what he is doing. I am just an instrument in His hands... and that is an amazing opportunity.

I am so grateful for choice. I think you (mom) and I must have had the same thoughts this week because she taught her young women’s class on choice. I started thinking a lot about the agency we have to choose after I read the scripture Alma 26:41 "But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of war between the nephites and the lamanites, many had become hardened because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and MANY WERE SOFTENED because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility." IT IS ALL ABOUT ATTITUDE. We GET to choose. I choose happiness and light and love and joy and peace and hard work. I am still working on humility... but everyday I am humbled by my weaknesses and I try so hard to overcome them because I know that through God, I can.

Thank you for the letters and talks and packages. I got a letter from Olivia this week with wedding pictures. They were beautiful! And CONGRATS to little David Brinton for getting baptized! I got the cutest picture of him with his scriptures in the mail and I hung it up in my room :). I can't wait to hear about Henry and I hope you all have the best week ever!

BYE!! love me

p.s. You should have seen me trying to lead the music yesterday in church. . . I should have listened when you tried teaching me... i know... but it was pretty pitiful. I just swung my hand back and forth. 4/4 is easy but 3/4?!?! didn’t quite work the same. he he he.

(This is a note from Adelide's mission President:)
Syster Christensen, What a great beginning you and Syster LaFontaine have experienced in Katrineholm! I am so grateful for your faith, diligence and love for the people. Everywhere you go there is sunshine and goodness. The smiles of Maria are surely repeated over and over, as others see and feel of the hope there can be in the message you are called to share. We send our love and confidence for and in you and your companion,

President Newell

Monday, February 10, 2014


Last dinner at the Lindhals
 If I would have been writing this letter on Thursday, I probably would have titled it: "Homesick for Halmstad." For some reason this was a weird transfer to me and I felt a little out of place. Maybe it was because I am in a new zone for the first time and out of the South for the first time with all new missionaries that I have never met before. 
The first couple of days I just kept thinking about the members in Halmstad and about how beautiful that city is and I missed it sooooo hard- (as Lillie would say). But I decided to look at this area as a new opportunity for new growths, friendships, and miracles. And of course, as soon as we started meeting with the members and the people here, I realized that I would be able to love it here just as much as I have loved my past two areas. 
bye halmstad elders
I also realized that as a missionary or at least for me, you don't love the area because of how beautiful it is or because of the success that you have there, but because of the amazing people that are there. It seems as if a new part of my heart opens up with more love that I didn't think I had for the people and their situations and my desire for them to grab hold of the gospel and never let it go. 
Maria from transylvania
My new companion is Sister LaFontaine. She is the CUTEST. We are going to have fun together. She came to Sweden in August so she is only three months behind me. She has only been in this area for a month so we are both pretty new, but luckily it's not too hard of an area to get down haha. AND she likes running! So we have been running every morning which has been nice. Its been a good four months since I have ran so I am a little slow but it feels good to get out. And its about time I take a break from Tony- p90x. 
Sultans is what KATRINEHOLM is famous for so we got a little treat :)
This area is very different than Halmstad, but it reminds me of Kristianstad in a way. All of the cities that I have served in are small, but this one is especially small. It is kind of fun. We walk everywhere because we are close and the buses don't run very often. The weather is colder here than in Halmstad but it's pretty warm. I can't believe its already February. I definately didn't experience the "Sweden Winter" that I heard so much about. I really was looking forward to it but I think it has also been a blessing.
soaking up the sun
There was one day this week that the sun was shining and there were no clouds so we just stood there and soaked it up. It made me excited for Spring and SUMMER. But I'm trying not to get too ahead of myself here. . .  :) The area is also different because we actually have investigators to meet with! It is a weird change going from finding everyday all day to having people to teach or swing by. But I learned A LOT about missionary work in Halmstad so I would never take back those experiences. 
syster lafontaine
So our apartment is the smallest apartment in the whole mission. I am not making that up. It really is. Our bathroom is tiny and the shower has mold all over the ceiling and corners. The shower is also either stabbing me with needles (when it is on high pressure) or screaming at me (when it is on low). We have one room with our beds and closet, and a big table for studying and it is also the only table we have so it is also our kitchen table. The Kitchen is TINY. Only one of us can be in there at a time and everything is crammed together. Its pretty hilarious. But in all its a good apartment. We have warm water, beds, heat, and food so I can't complain.
This week we helped a member move. Her name is Cat and she is 66 years old and is a GAMER. #worldofwarcraft all day everyday. She also didnt get any boxes so we had to throw everything into plastic bags. . . We were there all night Friday night packing and all morning on Saturday moving it. When we were packing I was about to do her dishes and I looked into a cup and saw her teeth floating in some dirty water. HAHAHA. We were dying. Sister LaFontaine tried picking it up with a spatula to take a picture and she dropped it on the ground! mmm
our bedroom
Our ward building is just a part of a business building and our meetings are only two hours long! Yesterday I bore my testimony and shared the scripture Mosiah 5:2. It is an awesome scripture because it illustrates the beauty of repentance. That the people had a change in their hearts and they had no more desire to do bad but to do good continually. I have seen this change take place in so many lives as I have been here. But the most important change that I have seen has been in my own life. I finally get it. I understand what it means to be a member of the church. I understand what a blessing and privilege it has been to grow up with the gospel and be taught by wonderful parents who have strong beliefs and good morals.
I have been thing a lot about the word change recently. I love how life is always changing. We as people are always changing and developing. Some changes are big- some are hard to adapt to. Sometimes they are uncomfortable. Some changes make us take a few steps back on our progression and some push us forward. And through all of this change, we are given something that will always be the same. And that is the gospel. It is God's love. It is Christ's grace. It is mercy and hope. It is always there. 
So while the world is changing and while we are changing and learning and growing, we are always given the promise that the gospel is there- it is always there to help us along. And the gospel also helps us understand that change is good. So on my mission, as I go through these changes with areas, companions, new hardships, new joys, new testimony builders, and new people... I have seen that these are the things that have changed my heart. These are the things that have helped me to fully understand the gospel. Change is the root of daily repentance and of becoming better... of becoming more like him. Which is what we came to earth for. 
my new addition to my backpack.  hosie gave me bracelet string as a going away present so I did that while I was on the four hour train hahaha
I love you all. I am happy in K-holm and I am happy to be a missionary. I am GRATEFUL for your love and support and examples. Thank you for your prayers- They lift me up.

me with all of my baggage and trying to get out of the sun nhahah
Thank you for fasting for me and praying for me. I really felt your prayers strengthening me. I know that I have had many ups and downs on my mission but I really feel like I am changing into the person Heavenly Father wants me to become. I am grateful for all that I am experiencing here. I am grateful that I have 7 months more to give this work my very all. I love serving my Lord and Savior. 
Love Adelide

Monday, February 3, 2014

Don’t flatter yourself.

The title of this post is dedicated to my dearly beloved companion, Syster Hosenfeld. I will be leaving her this week! We have had a good four months together. The blog title comes from our first week together in Halmstad. I was standing in the kitchen and I turned around and she was just standing there staring at me. And this was not the first time I caught her staring at me which was kind of creepy... so I said "why are you always staring at me?" and she replied "Oh don't flatter yourself." HAHAHAHAHA 
the darling Hosie
It wasn't very funny then because we both didn't understand each other’s humor so I was like, "Its not flattering, its creepy!" Hahaha. We say that phrase almost on a daily basis now and have a good laugh about it. (she approved of this story so you can post it on the blog) :)
It snowed!!
SO HERE IS THE NEWS: I am not going to Luleå, dad, but I am slowly moving up on the map so I think I might one day make it there! I am going to KATRINEHOLM. It is just below Stockholm and it is the smallest area, or so I have heard, and we also have the smallest apartment in the whole mission! I haven't seen it yet, obviously, but I am excited! It is also a branch with about 15-20 active members- so kind of like how it is here except for Halmstad is a ward. I ready to get going on another adventure.
family history expertz
 But... I am also so so sad to be leaving Halmstad. It has been an amazing area with many miracles, blessings and friendships and it is sad to say good bye. I will miss dinner at Senja's, games at the Källbergs, fika with our investigator David, teaching Maria in her kitchen while she sits on the floor and plays with crumbs, singing with Syster Hosenfeld, seeing the same people everyday while contacting because we have already contacted EVERYONE! hahaha. 
maria on the floor jjajhahah
I will also miss the artwork, the ocean, getting sushi once a week, seeing Morgan progress as a member, teaching Relief Society and Sunday School, teaching yoga to the moms, helping the Young Women with personal progress, eating fruit and singing at Ingvor’s, playing with Matilda, getting hot chocolate at Robert's Coffee, and going to the library. It has been wonderful. I love Halmstad.
the Källbergs
 Senja bore the sweetest testimony yesterday about how she was sad when she got the text that I would be transfered because we have become so close. She talked about how much she looked up to Sister Hosenfeld and I for coming here and starting out with nothing and how we kept going and worked hard. She was crying. I was bawling. And then she looked at me and we both started crying even more. :) 
Goodbye to Morgan
It was tender for me because I feel SO close to the people here and I will forever be grateful for the love and support they gave to me while I have been here. We were welcomed with open arms and have been well taken care of by the members... we have been blessed. I remember the first day we got to Halmstad and I was a little stressed with what was ahead of us (work wise) and Senja came and picked us up and took us grocery shopping, and after that I knew that I would love it here. :) 
Halmstad covered with snow
This week we had a random snow storm and of course it was the day I forgot gloves :/. We had nothing to do so we decided to go tracting. No one was answering so we began shoveling everyone's walk ways. My bare hands were beginning to not move in the cold air so I put them in my coat pockets for a couple minutes and said a prayer and they immediately warmed up and stayed unusually warm for the rest of the time that we shoveled.

I am grateful that God blesses me everyday with just a little more strength or a little more comfort so that I can press forward and serve. 

This week I was thinking a lot about the hymns and how mom wanted us so badly to sing them in Sacrament Meeting and not play games with each other or just sit there. It was so important to her that we sing the hymns. I never knew why but I would do it anyways, and this week as I was reading the words to some hymns, I became overcome with the Spirit. It was so strong. I realized how much I love the hymns and have gained a testimony of them on my mission. They are so beautiful. Each morning with my companions, we sing a hymn and I believe there is no better way to bring in the Spirit. I am humbled by the words that are written and the stories behind why they were written. This week as we sang "More Holiness Give Me," tears streamed down my cheeks as I thought of these words.

1. More holiness give me,
More strivings within,
More patience in suff'ring,
More sorrow for sin,
More faith in my Savior,
More sense of his care,
More joy in his service,
More purpose in prayer.

2. More gratitude give me,
More trust in the Lord,
More pride in his glory,
More hope in his word,
More tears for his sorrows,
More pain at his grief,
More meekness in trial,
More praise for relief.

3. More purity give me,
More strength to o'ercome,
More freedom from earth-stains,
More longing for home.
More fit for the kingdom,
More used would I be,
More blessed and holy--
More, Savior, like thee.

last visit with Aina
We all need more. More purpose, more strength, more patience, more joy. I am grateful for a loving and patient Heavenly Father who has helped me to realize how much I am in need of being better. 

AND last but not least, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY GAMMAL PAPPA! I hope it was wonderful. I love you and your example and strength. I want to be more like you. I love you so much. 
Carry on dear family. I love you all. "Be like a tree... planted"- psalms 1:3 
last night we made dinner for this awesome group of people! it was so fun
love adelideliouoljoulkkllia

p.s. I GOT THE CUTEST PACKAGE FROM JENI G. She is so cute! I have been wearing the gloves everyday and I loved the letters and candy! THANK YOU!!!!!!