Yesterday I decided to fast for the work here in Katrineholm and more specifically for a baptism. But as I sat in church yesterday looking at our small branch, I had an overwhelming feeling that the missionaries are sent here to strengthen the members. That doesn't mean that we should not focus on finding or teaching investigators and it does not mean that we can't baptize... but the members are really struggling. Everyone is so tired and burned out and it is hard enough to get everyone to do their callings- let alone come to church. So we have decided to really focus on strengthening and serving the members because if we don't have strong members, then it is going to be tough having a new member join. We can already see that with the Yasavolians. I am grateful that Heavenly Father trusts me to be in this area and work with these fragile people.
I hope you all had a wonderful week! Here is my week...
On Monday, we visited Åsa who is a less active. She is a cat lover and is obsessed with Yankee candles and I love her. Tuesday was spent in Vingåker in the rain. Wednesday was Syster LaFontaine's birthday so we woke up and went running with a member, Myriam, and then she made us breakfast! We ran back home afterwards and I gave Syster L the necklace that you sent me- IT WAS PERFECT! She loved it. Thank you Mom!! The day started out great with lots of lessons planned which ALL ended up canceling - so the rest of the day was spent tracting in the rain with no success. Hahaha Happy birthday to the ground! I felt so bad but she was positive and we had a lot of fun. It will definitely be a birthday she wont forget. And of course there are always highlights of tracting... namely... a man in his 30's with his shirt unbuttoned #hairychest, holding a HUGE orange cat, petting it the entire time we are talking to him (cat hair flying in my mouth)...
On Thursday we had Zone Training in Södertälje and then I went on Sister Splits with Sister Dawson in Handen/Västerhaninge (Stockholm-ish area). Sister Dawson was also trained by Sister Swenson AND they just got put BACK together! I am so jealous. We had a yummy member dinner which was fun. We don't get fed by the members here in Katrineholm so it makes me even more grateful for the members in Kristianstad and for Senja and other members who always feed the missionaries. It is not so much the food that we as missionaries want- but it is just comforting to be invited over for dinner- it makes us feel more at home. On Friday, I got to see the Stockholm temple again which is beautiful. Then we switched back to our areas.
We went out to Vingåker again on Saturday and taught some pretty sad people. It was a rough day... One of our members is doubting, Esther gave us the Book of Mormon back, Abraham doesn't keep committments and he is going through a rough time... our other investigators cancelled and the Yasavolians are struggeling. BUT I did realize by the end of the day that I had not foccused at all on getting numbers- but just on the people... and my desire to help them and teach them was so much stronger. I am grateful for this change in my work- it is helping me be a better missionary. It helped me focus 100% on the people we were with and on how I can really help them change and receive that hope and joy that they are searching for in their lives.
I am grateful that we have the Tolley couple in our branch now. They have been good at getting things up and going. Sister Tolley got up and bore her testimony in Swedish for her first time with out using notes and when she sat down, she was crying a bit and she turned to Elder Tolley and said "That was really hard!" And he said "Well, that's the only way you learn!" She is so awesome. And I completely agree... There are so many things that are hard and uncomfortable but those are the things that truly help us grow.
After a long week of lots of "No's", rude responses, and trying to understand people who just operate differently than myself, I reflected a lot on why it is so important to treat people with kindness. Interestingly enough, Dad's letter today went along with my thoughts on: loving the unlovable... and the unkind. It is so easy to react with anger or frustration or to say something rude when you are offended or hurt... and that is why we must accomplish the ultimate test, as dad said... to "find the people who need to be cared for and to be lifted and to be loved- to "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them who hate you and pray for them who despitefully use and persecute you." 3 Nephi 12:44.
The ultimate test is to be kind. Kindness means charity- which is the pure love of Christ. It means to have compassion, to love, and to be gentle. I love this quote that was in a talk from one of moms friends... "Three things in human life are important.The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." :) After I contacted a lady, who was not at all interested, she swung her hand down and hit mine pretty hard and stormed off. I dont think she meant to hit me but if that would have happened to me before my mission, I probably would have yelled "calllmmm dowwwwn." But luckily I have learned that the best way is to "kill 'em with kindness." I believe that Jesus Christ was the perfect example of being kind. He succeeded at "always being a little kinder than is neccessary." This is my new goal. To always be a little kinder than is necessary. To watch my words and thoughts and to be an example of what Christ would do in situations where it is harder to love and accept and be kind.
Have a happy Easter this weekend! I LOVE YOU.