Monday, March 31, 2014

first and greatest commandment


WOW. Boy does time go so fast. It was fun to hit my year mark on Thursday because we had a big phone call with everyone from my MTC group. It feels like we were all just getting to know each other in the MTC. When everything was so new and we were just trying to survive the long classes and food and new language.

This week we had some major struggs.

On Tuesday we went to Södertälje for a District Meeting and we ended up missing our train and not getting back until 4 so we had to cancel all of our morning lessons- which is never fun to do... When we got back we went out to vingåker to teach Esther and then came back the next hour to catch a bus out to a members house for a dinner appointment. We missed that bus and ended up not being able to go at all because they live too far away to come and get us... #publictransportationprobs. 

On Wednesday most all of our lessons got cancelled and on Friday we went to södertällje again for interviews with President. We left to get back on the bus at 3 and the trains were all backed up because of an accident so we didnt get home until 7:30! And... ended up having to cancel all of our lessons for that night as well. Hahahaha.

BUT in all- I am grateful that we got to meet with Esther again. We taught her the restoration and she is so prepared. We are meeting again on Friday. We also had a miracle day on Thursday out in Vingåker- we taught SEVEN lessons. We were very blessed with a very busy day that day. We also taught Goltom who is doing very well. He knows the church is true and wants to be baptized but he just wants to wait a little longer. We are working a lot with him- he is so humble and kind and comes to church every week and doesn't understand anything, but he still comes and sits and smiles and goes around and shakes all of the members hands :). He is an example to me.

We made "American dinner" for "E" on Saturday night and it was DE-licious! We made baked potatoes with a yummy cheese topping and the BBQ chicken salad from Zupas! It was so fun to treat her to something. She has fed us more than any other member here and she doesn't have any money. The people here amaze me.

I read a talk that dad wrote and sent me a while ago and a story from the scriptures really stood out to me that I didn't notice before. He talked about Genesis 6 when God looks down to see that the wickedness of man was great on the Earth. Dad wrote "Enoch tells us that Gods heart was broken and that he wept because he made them (us) and he commanded them (us) that we should love one another." I thought about this for a long while... I love that God weeps when he sees all of the wickedness because he commanded us to love each other. I love that because it shows how personal God is to each of us. We are all his sons and daughters which means that we are all brothers and sisters.  

Yesterday I was sitting in church among the 10 members who came. I looked around at each of them and thought about their lives and the different sacrifices that they make to come to church each week. I am humbled by their circumstances and that they come and carry on the meetings even when there are only ten of them scattered about. These people are true disciples of Christ. They live the first commandment of God. They love others. And they love and appreciate their own lives. And they do all of that because they love God. When we love God- we make sacrifices. We follow his commandments. We work together as people- as brothers and sisters- trying to build unity and peace. Trying to make the world a brighter place. I love that I get to serve and work among my brothers and sisters here in Sweden. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to learn from them and become better friends with them. I am grateful for the first commandment... I love God. I love the people in my life- and I love my own life. 
I got so many wonderful letters in the mail this week from old companions, mom, emma, and Jeni- who sent me an awesome lesson that she gave on the Atonement. It was fun for me to study and read through... very inspiring. She is so nice to think of me. 
Sister Swensie and Adelide on the right
One of my favorite letters came from my trainer Sister Swenson. I had just written a letter to her telling her of all of my struggles and how hard this is and she wrote back and agreed that this is hard and she also told me of things that are hard for her- (we tell each other EVERYTHING) But then at the end she also wrote a list of things that were positive in her life. That her hair is getting longer and that she has fun Elders in her district haha. It really opened my eyes because YES this is hard and there are always things to be sad about but look at all of the positive things in your life as well! So I sat there and thought about all of my blessings and made a long list. And boy- I am the luckiest. (Did I tell you that Sister Swenson is a Sister Training Leader? She has been for a while and she is in Lund. She is so awesome!)

Thank you to EVERYONE- for all that you add to my life. I have so many examples and people to look up to. Thank you for your prayers and love and letters.

Ha en bra vecka :) PUSS O KRAM.

Sister ADELIDE Christensen.

Monday, March 24, 2014

One Year

This week marks my year mark if you can believe it. I CANT! 

We were very blessed with a busy schedule this week and I am so grateful for the success that we have been having. Every week we follow the same routine. We teach some amazing lessons and some not so amazing lessons. We do some tracting, lots of contacting, studying, and laughing. Every week we teach some creepies, weirdies, oldies... the list could go on. And I could spend hours writing stories of the odd situations we are put in as well as the miracles we see. But with every cat lady and chain smoker, I have seen so much beauty in how unique each person is. 

On Saturday morning we got on a train out to a tiny city called Vingåker, where we have been doing most of our work. We taught a few lessons- one bad, one good. The difference of the spirit was amazing to witness. Our third lesson got cancelled, so with an hour left, we decided to go tracting. We went to these three yellow buildings and knocked on all of the doors in the first two, with no success. On the last door we knocked on in the third building, Esther came to the door and immediately let us in. We went in and sat down and got to know her a bit. She is from The Congo and speaks Swahili, French, and English- so of course, I sang her my Swahili song that Fianesi taught me in the ninth grade. She told us that she is here alone and that ten years ago when she was 27, she was taken with her family in The Congo, and put in a camp in Rwanda. Her son and family are still there, but she was put in Sweden and her brother was put in America. It is such a sad story. She said that it has to do with the Hutu and Tutsi thing. I remember learning a lot about that when Fianesi and her family came to Utah. And also when Dad and I watched "Hotel Rwanda". 

It is so hard being put in these situations because we personally, cannot compare our struggles with theirs. But luckily, we do carry the message of our Savior Jesus Christ, who does know what she is going through. After listening to her, tears rolling down both mine and Sister LaFontaine's cheeks, we bore strong testimony to her of God's love for her. She was so grateful that we knocked on her door and she invited us to come back next week. She is so humble and a great inspiration to me. We gave her a Book of Mormon and ended with a prayer. The spirit was so strong and I felt so much love in my heart for her. We left and offered a prayer of gratitude, and my soul was filled with EXQUISITE joy. 

More than anything right now, I am so grateful that Heavenly Father allows me, with all of my flaws, to sit with His children and tell them He loves them. Everyday I am reminded of my flaws and yet everyday I am so happy, because I feel Gods love and I can't wait to share it with others. 

"Oh, it is wonderful to know that our Heavenly Father loves us- even with all of our flaws! His love is such that even should we give up on ourselves, He never will. We might see ourselves in terms of yesterday and today. Our Heavenly Father sees us in terms of forever... The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of transformation. It takes us as men and women of the earth and refines us into men and women for the eternities." - Joseph B. Wirthlin. 

I feel so blessed to be a missionary. I only have six short months left to give this work my all and I am so grateful that Heavenly Father continues to trust me in sharing the gospel. I am grateful for the transformation that the gospel gives to each of us. I am grateful for my flaws, because it is through them that I learn to love myself and others. I am grateful for the interesting people that I meet everyday because they are all sons and daughters of God, just trying to make it by. I enjoy meeting with the family that believes in a Korean Messiah because they are down to Earth and they make life fun. I love watching a member load slices of butter onto each slice of meat that he is cooking for me because I am just grateful for the meal he is giving me. I love teaching the people who are struggling because they keep me humble and help me to not complain. 

The work is wonderful. I love every minute of it. 
-Adelide Louisa

PS. This is my new favorite guy. - Good luck with the language Henry :))) 

P.S.S. Every week a member does Family History with us. I have not been very fond of doing it but I decided to look at moms side of the family to see if I could find anything. I clicked on Nana's mom, Alta Simpkins and then on her parents and then clicked again and I noticed that Alta's grandma had a Swedish last name... so I opened it and she comes from Malmö! I was so shocked and excited because I didn't know that mom had any Swedish in her. I kept clicking back and saw so many Swedish names and that I have actually been to a lot of the places that they are all from, way down south in Skåne. So I am going to work on finding more names next time :).

Monday, March 17, 2014

Vår. Spring.

My dearies,
The Yasavolian Family at the Stockholm Temple!
This week was a blast. We went to Stockholm for a Zone conference where we received the Iphone 5C. #wootwoot! It has been the biggest blessing. But I kind of miss the old school looking at maps and trying to act out words in lessons instead of using google translate. hehehohhaha. We also went to Stockholm on Friday to do baptisms for the dead with the Yasavolian family! There were seven of them- all doing it for the first time. It was a very spiritual experience for all of us. We managed to get a large van to pick them up and drive them to Stockholm. Special thanks to President Newell who allowed it and the Tolley's, who drove them. It was my first time seeing the Stockholm Temple and it was BEAUTIFUL! It was so much smaller than I thought it would be! But I loved it. 
i don't think i've ever seen swedes sit so close together.
We went over to Cats this week and we were sitting on her couch just chatting... and she looks at us and says, "I need you to do me a favor... cut my hair." And she pulled out these little elementry school scissors HAHAHA. It was so hilarious. Sister Lafontaine just put it in a pony tail and cut it off and it was so jagged. So I tried cleaning it up a little bit, but it was a fail. And right after we finished she said her hair takes a long time to grow hah- oops. But she said that she loves it and even if she doesn't - I feel for her. My hair... afölskdfjaölskdjf. I asked Cat what her favorite meal was and she said "hmmm...... POK CHORPS.... i mean PORK CHOPS." Hahaha. Okay I'm done with Cat stories but I really just want you to meet her. 
Stockholm Temple
While teaching our investigator Nour this week, she got a little choked up and said "I just love you girls- you really know what is important in life and I love how you dress. How can I get my two baby girls to be just like you?" Nour is from Syria and she is here with her husband and twin little girls. She is Muslim but she is open and willing to listen and discuss. It is so interesting to teach so many different people with different beliefs. We teach Athiests, Muslims, Budhists, Christians etc. And I think by now I understand each religion. I know before hand what concerns they will have and what they believe. This week we listened to two Muslims bear strong testimony in what they believe and that we were wrong. It was interesting to say the least but also pretty normal because we get that from somebody at least once a week.
The night that we taught Nour, we shared the Plan of Salvation with her and she was a little confused about how the Atonement works. She kept asking how someone who has made a lot of mistakes would be able to make it to the Celestial Kingdom, along with the people who tried their very hardest to get there their whole lives. I thought to myself... "good point!" (just kidding). But really I thought "I am so grateful that I don't need to be the judge." And I don't really know exactly how it will all work out but I do know that when we are judged at the end of our lives, it is going to be so personal.
I love the parable of The Talents in Matthew 25 because it shows us that we will be judged on an individual basis. We are all given different trials and different talents, we sin differently and we learn differently. I believe that it really won't matter in the end which trials we went through, talents we had, or sins we committed. Our job is the HOW. (what I mentioned last week). President Newell said to me once, "It does not matter what the sin is. For the unkind person will not be in the celestial kingdom either." What matters is how we overcome that sin- how sincerely we repented, and how we tried to be better. It does not matter if I have 2 talents and you have 7, what matters is how we use them. I loved the statement in Gregg Christensens talk that you sent me when he mentions this parable... He said "We all have to work out our own salvation." This is what the gospel is about- individually trying to make it through our own personal lives. And luckily we have the atonement, to personally help us through. 
Stockholm Temple
It says in the talk that you sent me about the Currant Bush that "God knows who he wants us to become." He knows that each of us can and cannot handle certain things. The trials that we face help us grow and the talents we are given help us accomplish. I have been thinking a lot about my individual family members as I write this. Each of you have been given challenges- it is so amazing for me to see, though, HOW each of you climb the mountain that you are faced with. This week more than ever, I have been thinking of my little Lillie. She has so much strength. She is so beautiful. She works everyday to find happiness and enjoy the little things. She has patience and humility. She is so much like our Savior- and yet she has a challenge that is hard for any of us to comprehend. She and I will be judged very differently. (scary for me) :).
This gospel takes humility, patience, and strength. But we are given so many blessings. We are given a perfect plan that will help us get to the point where we can stand in front of our Master to be judged justly but so mercifully. And to be ready to enter into his presence so that we can enjoy eternal life.  
Syster Missionaries
Nana and Papa sent me a wonderful letter this week!! THANK YOU! I loved Papa's analogy that she shared with me. I know that mom and dad have also mentioned it. In his analogy he compares winter, spring, summer and fall to trials, opportunities, blessings, and lessons learned. Each year we go through the same process. In the winter there are hard times and trials, spring comes with opportunities to believe again and become refreshed. Summer is a time to appreciate the blessings that come with hard work and effort and fall is when we harvest what we have learned from through the process. They said "The key is to endure the new trial more easily each time we go through the process." In other words it is the HOW. How we are enduring, learning, repenting, trying, working, succeeding. The how is what helps us become like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Syster Christensen and LaFontaine
We have snow on the ground and gray skies but I am hopeful for sun soon! It is the beauty of spring... you never know what weather you're gonna get. (except for now we do because we can look on our Iphones ;) )  I am grateful for the seasons and the journey that I have gone through on my mission. There have been many trials, but with each trial I have found opportunities and blessings. I feel like I am truly learning what Heavenly Father wants me to learn so that I can become who he wants me to become. 
Crew who is amber and mikes baby. I LOVE HIM. We visited them while we were in stockholm :) He is not too fond of me in these pictures hahaha

As for the work, we are so blessed everyday. It's moving slowly but surely and I have nothing to complain about. We are surrounded by wonderful unique people everyday in this tiny city that I could walk through with my eyes closed. But it is my home for now and I love it.

I love all of you. so so so much.
Love adelidieloulielou.

I love you and I am so grateful for your letters!! what you said about lillie dad, made me cry! I have been missing her pretty bad lately. tell her i love her.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Gratitude Changes Attitude

Good Luck Henry!!
 -_- TAIWAN!?!?!? OKAY. On Tuesday morning we got up and went running and then came back and I meditated for 15 minutes and then got in the shower and then realized: HENRY WAS SUPPOSED TO OPEN HIS CALL LAST NIGHT! So I jumped out of the shower and ran to the phone and saw that we had four missed calls from Isam and three text messages from Senja and Isam! But before reading the messages I called Isam and he put Henrys call video on speaker phone so that is how I found out! I literally screaammeed. I can't believe he is going to TAIWAN speaking CHINESE!!! Except I can believe it because I knew he would go somewhere Asian. Later that day we taught our investigator Grace, from Mainland China and I told her about Henry and she said that one of her best friends here in Sweden is from Taiwan! She said we could meet up so that she can tell me about it. Chinese is going to be a hard language but YOU CAN DO IT. I couldn't... but you can! I am so proud of you Henry and your desire to serve a mission. We won't see each other for three and a half years- which kills me to think about but I know it will be okay. It has already been ONE YEAR (almost) ;). It will be so fun for me to watch you grow and experience the mission lyfffeee. 

This past week has been pretty rough- trying to get the motivation to get up and get to work. We have both been pretty drained and exhausted but we continue to work and we have been blessed. I wish I had time to go through every miracle and blessing that we saw and received this week... We were kept busy and received a lot of success. One of which was that we found a book of Mormon for our investigator Goltom. In Eretria there is one language but so many dialects but the book of Mormon that we found was in Amharic and he can read and understand it. When we handed it to him he was SO grateful and excited. At the end of that lesson we committed him to be baptized on March 29th. He wants to be baptized but he was a little nervous about setting a date- I told him that the date can always change if it needs to be, but that it at least gives us a goal to work towards so that he can be prepared and get all of the lessons in time.

Maria after the spray down
One day this week, we went out to a member's house to help her clean her mom's bathroom. The mom lives next door to her and is also a member- she is so old and so sweet. She just moved in and the person that lived in the house before, smoked, so there was yellow nicotine stains ALL over the walls and ceiling. I mean... could you not... It was so disgusting. We just pulled up or sleeves and got to work- scrubbing nicotine off of the walls :) hahahaha. Luckily the Swedish showers are just part of the bathroom so after we scrubbed we sprayed down the whole thing and there was yellow drips falling down from the ceiling- but we got it all clean and it was actually really fun! 
Nicotine drips
Afterwards we were talking to the mom- Maryvore, and she picked up a picture of her husband and her sitting by the bed side of their youngest daughter, feeding her. She hugged the picture and said "I miss them so much." Her husband died two years ago and her daughter died when she was 28. I picked up another picture of the daughter and Maryvore starting tearing up and kept repeating "She was so beautiful... I love her. She was so beautiful." It made me tear up as I looked at this girl in the picture- her disability was apparent but she looked like an angel.
"E" och vän och babies
I don't think I have been more aware and appreciative of the plan of salvation than I have this past week. I know that we will all be reunited together again. This hope alone gives me the energy to get out of bed each morning and do what I have been sent here to do. Yesterday we went to Elder Bailey's Memorial service. It was . . . perfect- if you can say that about a memorial. President Newell got up and read Elder Bailey's last journal entry- which happened right after he had his first baptism. He expressed how happy he was... and then bore the sweetest testimony. He ended by saying that he loves his family and that he knows they will live together forever. It was so fitting for him to read that. We all gained comfort from his words, knowing, that he was prepared to pass onto the next life. I don't think there was not one person who was not in tears. All of the missionaries that were able to attend stood up and we sang "Blott en dag ett ögon blick i sänder". It was a very sweet and tender experience. 
Anderson, Hosenfeld, LaFontaine and Adelide
It was also a very fun weekend for me because Sister Hosenfeld and her companion, Sister Anderson got to come and spend the night with us on Saturday! We just RAN to each other when we were picking them up. It was so fun to be with her. I think we both realized how much we love each other and loved our time together in Halmstad. It was fun to catch up and talk about everything. I am happy that I got to train her. They were supposed to head home yesterday after the memorial, but we missed our train and waited for two hours and then when we went to get on the train, they told us that our tickets wouldn't work... so we waited TWO MORE hours for another train! And then they ended up having to spend another night with us- but it was very fun. :)
Halmstad Reunion
This week, along with being very tired, I have also been pretty impatient with myself because I make SO many mistakes... I often feel discouraged for what I am putting forth. I feel like I am being judged and I feel far from PERFECT. But today I am grateful for those feelings because they keep me humble. They help me to realize that I always have something to work on. Every day I can try a little harder to PUT OFF THE NATURAL MAN. This is something that I love about missionary work. Our work is centered on INVITING. Inviting all to come unto christ. Inviting all to put off the natural man. Inviting ALL to repent. I am constantly falling- (getting offended, sinning, acting or talking without thinking etc.) 
And I get DISCOURAGED but this week I have gained a testimony that getting discouraged is not what matters. What matters is how long you stay discouraged or angry and then HOW you decide to get back up and try again. I am grateful that Heavenly Father allows us to fall -- because by falling I learn how to get up again. And by falling I learn how to repent. I am grateful that when I have an angry or frustrated thought- I have the choice to act on it OR... to quickly bow my head and ask for forgiveness and help to overcome.
I have ALSO noticed this week that I am not constantly focusing my thoughts on gratitude- which makes my whole attitude change. I get stressed, I don't notice small blessings, I complain, and I am not happy. I believe that GRATITUDE is the root of happiness. I believe that when we have a grateful heart, we notice the beauty of every day life- the silver lining around the clouds on a dark and rainy day. Gratitude CHANGES attitude. So... my goal for this week, along with so many others... is to focus on being grateful- which in turn will help me to be patient and humble.
I love you all.

Love, me. 
doing peace to the lady walking by ahhaha awekwarierd

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Life is Precious

bye forsman's
Hej hej hi ho he ha

Last week we were given the opportunity to choose if we wanted to go home a transfer early or a transfer late (August or October). Some are going home for school but I decided to stay. I am a bit confused though, because when I emailed the office, they said my release date is still September 23rd which is what it originally was... So I guess just plan on me coming home in September or October. I hate writing about that because I don't even want to think about going home yet! haha. I am grateful that I still have 6 or 7 months ahead of me.

We got the Forsman's all moved out this week and they have now moved up by the temple. We in turn got a senior couple!! THE TOLLEY'S. They are the sweetest. They are also the housing couple so they won't be moving to Katrineholm- they will just be coming to our ward on Sundays to help out and also helping with some missionary work here. We are so excited to have them. Elder Tolley served his mission here and has amazing Swedish.

The Yasavolian family received residency in Sweden this week which is a HUGE blessing. Now they can start taking Swedish classes etc. which will be good because our Sunday school lessons are pretty hard. We do a lot of actions and pointing and very simple english and swedish all mixed together. 

Yesterday we had Anicet who only speaks french, the Yasavolians who only speak Persian, and another investigator, Goltom, who only speaks Tyringe (the language in Etruria)- he is the hardest because we don't have a book of Mormon for him or any type of translation... But he is very humble and still comes and pretends like he knows what is going on. :) 

We only had 20 in church yesterday plus the four missionaries, the Tolleys and President and Sister Newell joined us as well. I guess you never know what you're gonna get! But those who came bore beautiful and powerful testimonies. E's testimony was so strong. She said "I didn't want to get up this morning because my baby cried all night and I was very tired... But then I thought, 'there is no way that I will miss the opportunity to bare my testimony and take the sacrament today.'" The rest of her testimony was on the Book of Mormon and how she reads it for almost two hours everyday. She said that she can't put it down because she is so excited to find out what is going to happen next -even though she already knows the stories. It was very inspiring.
I was giggling a little bit in church as I was going through all of the names of our investigators /potential investigators. They sound like they come right out of Genesis 10. Example: Abraham, Afra, Amir, Aquel, Khalad, Mohammed, Mussa, Nour, Simon, Fahad, Salmi, and Habib. Those are just a few. Ya none of them are Swedish. Hahaha. And none of them speak great English or Swedish which is hard. But they sure are humble people. We taught 6 lessons in one day this week. We were very blessed and when we had any spare time we went tracting and got invited in by two different families who let us share a message and are both interested in continuing to meet- so that is very exciting for us.
We received horrible news this morning that one of the Elders in our mission, Elder Bailey, was hit by a car and killed last night. They were crossing the street and a car came speeding- his companion got out of the way but he didn't. He was trained by Elder Christensen so he was a greenie in my District when I was in Kristianstad. He also came in the same MTC group as Syster LaFontaine. His family is inactive and he decided on his own to serve a mission. He is one of the coolest kids and I am positive that he is continuing his missionary work on the other side. We actually just talked to him on the phone last week because they referred one of their investigators to us, who moved to our area. He was so happy and told us of how grateful he was because his family had gone to church for the first time while he has been on his mission.
weekly planning set up
Experiences like this put things into a reality check for me. They make me a little more appreciative. A little more humble and kind. They come more regularly on the mission as I deal with people who are suffering from heartache almost everyday. They make me more grateful for what I am blessed with and of why the message of the gospel is so important. Life is precious. The people in my life are more so. I wish I could take the time to go through every person that I love and who has blessed my life in one way or another and tell you of how GRATEFUL I am for each of you... I can't imagine losing someone so close to me which is why I look up to so many who have. I also want my family to know and understand how much I truly love you and of how grateful I am for you. I hope you know that every time I write that or say that, I really really REALLY mean it. I am grateful that I can be with you forever. Gods plan is real and it brings me peace and happiness and comfort every day.
and our apple crisp we made last night :)
Keep the Bailey family and the missionaries here in your prayers. It is a very sad time. Our stake president invited us over for dinner tonight along with six other elders. 3 of them also knew Elder Bailey very well and it will be good for all of us to come together. I hope Hannah had a wonderful happy birthday. I am excited for Henry and I hope that his call gets to him this week! I love Lillie and I miss her hugs. I LOVE YOU ALL MORE THAN I CAN EXPRESS OVER EMAIL. Remember that please.

Love always, Me.