Monday, July 14, 2014

home again home again

WOWOW. Talk about being E X H A U S T E D! Hahaha. This week was insane. On Monday the Tolley's drove down to Örebro to bring extra furniture they had to give to our investigator, Adama, who has no furniture. They brought him a bed, table, night stand etc. It was soooo nice of them. We helped them unload and then we drove to Stockholm with them. This started my week of adventures in Stockholm. I was out of my area from Monday until Thursday NIGHT! #3sleepoversinarow. It was so fun but it also made me grateful on Thursday night to be back home in Örebro and to get work done. :) 
I did Sister Splits with Sister Swenson on Monday night until Tuesday night. It was sooo needed. We worked so hard together- teaching, contacting, and tracting all day- we both felt like we were back to the beginning of our missions... except for much older and wiser :). We had actually never gone tracting together and we hardly contacted (we tried but we were both so new and we didn't know HOW to!) hahaha We actually laughed about that because we would go around and ask people directions, hoping that they would notice our tag and ask us why we were here ... hahaha. Oh man. We talked non-stop and laughed and cried. She really is my best friend. It was fun to get caught-up from the past ten months. 
When Sister Lowe and the other two Sisters arrived that night, Sister Lowe brought me two letters from my momma and a package from gram! It was the best gift EVER! (Please tell gram thank you so much for the homemade fudge and everything! We ate it all up.) That night we slept over again and the next morning, Sister Lowe and I left to go to our mission leader council meeting. It was such a fun day. I got to see Sister Hauglid and Sister Richins and Sister Randall!!!!! 
I hadn't seen Sister Richins for sooo long. It was so fun to talk and see each other. She is too, one of my best friends. How did I get so lucky to get the best companions? I seriously feel so blessed every single day. I have connected so well with all of them in one way or another and would consider all of them to be my best friends. We go through a lot together... we see every flaw and every wonderful attribute of each other. It would be hard not to become so close. 
That night, we were supposed to go home but it would have been pointless to get home late and wake up early to head back up to Uppsala, so we decided to sleep over with the Uppsala sisters. The next morning, we had an awesome zone training. We were asked to wear p-day clothes- we did a little hike thing- it was really cool and spiritual. 

Our main focus with this training and with what President and Sister Beckstrand focused on in our meeting was the temple. Too often we focus on Baptism being the most important step and the final step. But it is not enough just to be baptized. Our goal with everyone we work with, is to not only have them be baptized, but to enter into the temple. To make those covenants that will help each of us endure to the end and make it home to our Heavenly Father. That is why we work with the Less Actives and members- so that we can get them to the temple. President Beckstrand pointed out that our goal is the ENDownment- (ENDure to the END). It is the end goal that we should strive for. 
Sister Beckstrand asked us what things are sacred to us... Everyone said different answers (testimony, family, Patriarchal Blessings, our worthiness). She said these are the things that are eternal. They are all something that we work for and they put things into perspective. I love that. It is so true- and those are the things that we will be taking with us in the next life. Not our clothes or houses or cars... but our faith, our courage, our worthiness, our testimony, our families. These are the things (and so much more) that we should put our focus on everyday. It was so wonderful to be able to participate in this meeting. What a blessing it is to be able to learn from so many amazing missionaries as we sit in a room together and teach each other about how to be better missionaries and better people. 
When I was on splits with Sister Swenson, we taught Gerald Wennerlund and his two daughters. Gerald is Bo Wennerlund's son and was also our Mission Presidents first companion. They served together here in Örebro and the first person that they taught together was a man named Vedel Förnes. Vedel was not baptized when either of them were here, but he got baptized, has been a Stake President, and has one of the strongest families here in the Örebro ward. It was such a testimony to me of planting seeds... Of teaching all who will listen and opening our mouths to all. Inviting ALL to come unto Christ. You really never know who you can influence or who is prepared and will accept later down the road... This is what brings me hope and courage each day to keep on spreading the gospel. Both mom and dad shared with me something that Sister Newell shared in her homecoming talk...

"Sister Newell told about how she was out of her comfort zone for 3 years. When new sisters came into the mission they would feed them and then send them out to talk to people on the streets. She told about going out with these sisters and how every time she was nervous to talk to strangers. Having courage to act according to the dictates of one’s conscience is one kind of moral courage, talking to people in the face of rejection is another kind. There are other kinds of courage too. It takes courage to get up in the morning and do things you would rather not do. It takes courage to find ways to get along with your companion when she rubs you the wrong way. It takes courage to follow the spirit. It takes courage to keep trying to acquire a language that feels impossible. It takes courage to put one foot in front of the other when you may feel like curling up in a ball and hide under your covers. Mostly it takes courage to serve others and to choose the higher law. The lower law (Old Testament) tells us what, when, where, and how to live God’s law. The higher law (New Testament) asks us to think about why we live God’s law." 
 I love that. It does take so much courage each day- but there is reason, testimony, and love that goes into every act. The "WHY" for me, is because I have a Savior that died for me. Who gave me hope that I can start again. Who teaches me to be kind, to serve, to love, to be diligent, to have patience... to live up to my baptismal covenants that I made when I was 8 years old as it says in Mosiah 18: 8-11.
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
 9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

11 And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts.

This is the desire of my heart.
I love you all so very much. I know I say that every week... IT'S BECAUSE I MEAN IT! Every week! Every week I love you and I am so grateful for you. I can't wait to hear how Henry is doing in the MTC! I have been thinking about him everyday. I loved the Lake Powell video that Jeff sent. What an amazing family we have. :)
service project

PS. I forgot to mention that we met "God" this week... We contacted a guy who and we said that we came from the church of Jesus Christ, and asked him if he believed in God and he replied... "I am God." He said that he has been reincarnated and came back as God. His name is Tommas.

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