Monday, June 23, 2014

m i d s o m m a r

What the what? HENRY IS (almost) ON HIS WAY! I am sure that both him and Lil did such a great job speaking. They are the best!!

I am still LOVING it here in Örebro. It is a big city (compared to what I have been in) and I love it. There are buses that we would normally take everywhere but we try and walk most places. The weather has been a little chilly but when the sun comes out it is SO beautiful. Our apartment is cute and simple- it is a perfect size and we have a good kitchen which is fun because we both love to cook. And we did a whole lot of cooking this week for Midsommar. We made a delicious potato salad and a million chocolate chip cookies (mom's recipe) and EVERYONE loved them and asked for the recipe. We go running every morning and we are so blessed to have a HUGE forest right in back of our house with a lot of different running trails and hills to run up and down. IT'S AWESOME and soooo beautiful. I get excited to go running every morning just to be out in the trees.

Every Monday night we do Family Home Evening with the young single adults and last Monday we asked our investigator, Adama to come teach us African dancing. He had never been to the church before and we thought it would be a great way to get him to the church so that he knew where it is and could meet some of the members. He was SO happy and excited to come and teach us. At first everyone seemed to be pretty nervous. It was about 10-15 shy Swedes who did NOT want to dance but after a while they warmed up and everyone LOVED it. They asked Adama if he could come back next month to do it again. It was perfect and so much fun. 

We had a wonderful Midsommar celebration at the Keann's- the bishops house. The bishop is from America and he served his mission here in Sweden and got married to his wife shortly after. They have the cutest family and cutest house and the mom is HILARIOUS. I love her. 
We spent all day playing, eating, dancing, singing. It was a blast. It was a no proselyting day and the next day we couldn't proselyte until three p.m. so we went with the Keanns again to go on a hike and have lunch. We also helped their daughter who is married and lives near them, paint her sons room. It was a fun but exhausting two days! We are excited to get back on track with the normal missionary schedule :). 
Right now we have about eight investigators who are really positive. We meet with all of them every week and we are hoping to get some baptismal dates this week! WOOT. Here are some of my thoughts that I was thinking about this week...

Most of the people who are "truly humble and are seeking diligently to learn wisdom and find truth" (
Doc. & Cov. 97:1) are those who are suffering with some kind of trial or heartache in their lives. Most of the people we meet with are struggling and are trying to find peace and comfort- to know that there IS a God and there IS a reason and purpose to living on this earth. In the scriptures, we are told many times to "not be troubled, not to fear, and to let our hearts be comforted." We wish that this was easier to do- but it is probably something that is easier said than done. In Doc. & Cov. 101:4-5 it says "therefore they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham was commanded to offer up his only son. For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified." Or we could make that last verse a bit more positive and say "for all those who do endure chastening and believe in me, will be sanctified." 

We all have to go through trials. It is our trials that makes us humble and makes us stronger. In Doc. & Cov. 98 God tells us in vs. 12 that we are going to be chastened and tried, and then in vs. 18 he says let not our hearts be troubled and in vs. 23- that we should bear all things patiently. (If you can't tell, I've been doing a lot of Doc. & Cov. reading... :)) I love the comfort that I get in knowing that we are meant to have trials and that IF we endure them well, we will be blessed and sanctified. 
This week we went to a family's house who are less active. The mom and dad both have a little bit of a disability as do their five children. They live about an hour and ten minutes away by car so the senior couple that are here with us in Örebro, the Browns, were very kind to drive us there and help us out. We made homemade pizza dough and bought all of the ingredients to make the family pizza for dinner. We arrived, went in, had a little lesson and then had everyone help us put the pizzas together and put them in the oven. Their house was messy, the little baby's' hair was not brushed and she had dirty clothes on. The little boys teeth were rotten and falling out and they had animals running all over. Sister Lowe and I were both pretty stressed getting everything done with everyone standing in the tiny kitchen together trying to help out.
Once the pizzas were in the oven, everyone went into another room and I walked in to see The Browns sitting there with smiles on their faces, holding these little children and listening to the mother tell a story about when their house caught on fire and their oldest son was trying to help all of the kids and animals out and he died from the smoke. I stood there listening and I looked around at this sweet family and I noticed a big sign hanging on their wall that read:

"Peace be still and know that I am God." Psalms 46:10 

I had so much love in my heart for this family and it was then that I realized that all that they need is to be loved. We went in and got the pizzas out of the oven and had a wonderful time eating and sitting and talking. I thought about that scripture hanging on their wall all night and when I got home I read the hymn: "Master the Tempest is Raging" and I loved these lines, 

Whether the wrath of the storm tossed sea or demons or men or whatever it be, no waters can swallow the ship where lies, the Master of ocean and earth and skies. 
They all shall sweetly obey thy will: peace be still, peace be still... Linger, o blessed Redeemer! Leave me alone no more, and with joy I shall make the blest harbor and rest on the blissful shore. 

famous ice cream place :)
 I know that this is the message we are bringing to others. To be still and believe and trust in God and in His son. Because it is truly THROUGH them that we are sanctified. Through their love and comfort we are able to endure our trials patiently so that we can be saved. 
So many people, as dad wrote to me today, are struggling with the History of the church. We are specifically working with one boy who is 16 years old who has been reading some Anti-Mormon things online. His parents are so sad and he has decided that the church is not for him. We went over to their house for dinner last night and we decided to talk about faith. It is the first principle of the gospel and is so simple- and yet it can so easily be destroyed if we are not constantly doing the small and simple things to strengthen our testimonies everyday. When we are struggling to know the truth- we need to go back to the basics... Sister Lowe said something yesterday that I loved, she said "sometimes we need to figure out a simple truth that we believe in and then hold on to that truth." For her, she knows she has a Heavenly Father who loves her so she is holding onto that truth. For me, I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that he died for ME. I hold onto that belief and I know that as I strive to do the little things everyday to feel of my Savior's love, that my testimony will become stronger.
We need to remember that the church is filled with imperfect people. We are all just trying to do and be the best we can be. We make mistakes. We sin. But we also forgive and know that we can be forgiven. I will end by sharing what dad wrote to me in His letter... He said " I don't want you to ever think that the church is better than it is. It is filled with average people, nice people, mean people and great people. It is filled with sinners. And some of these folks have done things that bring shame on themselves and on the church. And sometimes these sinners sit in the high councils of the church and sometimes they sit in the critic's chair and throw stones. But the church is also filled with vibrant answers to life's most difficult questions. It holds many of the keys to happiness. We can have our burdens lifted in this church by the promises of the Savior and by our own diligent efforts, along with occasional grace from other sinners. The principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ are principles to live by, no matter how imperfectly the church stumbles and fumbles along because the people trying to advance the ball on the field happen to be sinners. On days like today I am always reminded how grateful I am to be numbered among so many sweet, good hearted, good willed people. Optimism and hope are a much better formula for happiness and love for others than the alternatives out there." 

I love being among the humble, sweet, good hearted people. I also love being among the sinners because we are ALL sinners. We are all imperfect. We all make mistakes because we are human! I find so much peace and comfort in the scripture hanging on that family's wall- peace be still and know that God is an all knowing God. He is there and He has a plan for us. We don't need to know or understand everything! We just need to be patient- and know that everything will be okay.

I love you all! Have an awesome week!
puss o kram,

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