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....

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