Monday, September 1, 2014

twenty minutes.

Dearest family. Thank you for your letters this week! They were the best! I am so happy for Brooke!! (her friend Brooke Waltman got engaged) Woot woot. All my friends be gettin married! 
I threw a bucket of ice water on her hahaha
Also- HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO PAPA last week! I am so sorry I forgot to write to him and I feel horrible because he has been so faithful in writing me my whole mission. But I love him and think of him and pray for him and I hope he had a happy birthday. :)
 on anderson's b-day
It was Sister Anderson's birthday this week as well so I made her breakfast and we had a fun day. The new senior couple here- the Taylors, had us over that night for ice cream which was fun and so cute of them. Sister Anderson got a tiny ping pong set for her birthday so we have been playing that a lot after planning at night hahaha. 
ping pong champs
This week we also had a Surströmming party... Surströmming is fermented herring. aka- nasty salty fish that is in a can. The Swedes love it and I have never smelled or tasted it my whole mission until this past week! (This is the stuff that dad used to pull pranks on the sister missionaries way back when hahaha)... 
You are supposed to open it outside or under water but no one did that so it smelled horrible in the church for days. It definitely smelled a lot worse then it tasted but it is something I will probably never do again. 
Karl Erik (the old man that I always write about), got so mad at everyone during the party because we missionaries went in another room with some of the younger people to play ping pong and he came and got us and made us sit down in the stinky fish room and he made us shut the door and said that no one could go in or out. We were in lock down. hahaha. One of the members was like- uhh.. this is a party not a prison. We were dyyying. He really just wanted us to all play a fun game together but he is so old and so bossy that it kind of killed the spirit hahaha. poor guy.
karl erik
I will share my thoughts with you about this past week from my journal entries:

This morning I woke up with absolutely no energy and I thought to myself... "can I really do this for one more month?" My feet hurt so bad and I am so tired and at this time of year, it is so hard to get people to meet with us because they are all in school and working. The only person we have right now to teach is Ashti and we received a text message from him last night asking if we could just meet as friends without talking about church... I was pretty discouraged this morning and I just wanted to sleep. I didn't have any energy to exercise but I still got up at 6:30 and stretched. 

During personal study I had no desire to study anything and so I just sat there and pondered for about fifteen minutes. Then I opened up a folder and pulled out a talk that mom had sent to me called "the miracle of a mission" by Elder Holland. As I read it, I just cried and cried and cried. I felt the spirit so strongly. It was telling me to keep my chin up and to keep going. In the talk, Elder Holland talks about one of his championship basketball games. He said "I remember the coach saying at half time, when we were behind... he came into the locker room and said, 'I know you're tired. We don't have a lot of substitutes- we hardly have any. I know you're tired. I know you're giving it everything you've got, but the next 20 minutes is the most important 20 minutes of your high school career. Twenty minutes is all I'm asking, and then we'll rest forever! Give me all you've got for 20 more minutes!'" 
After I read this, I closed my eyes and said the most heartfelt prayer that I have said in a while. I asked Heavenly Father to please forgive me and to please guide me today and to help me move forward with strength and faith. At that moment... I felt his loving arms around me, telling me that I will have the energy to give this all I've got. That this is my twenty minutes and that I can rest later. I gained so much strength and had immediate energy to get going.
During companionship study, Sister Anderson told me that she felt the same way I did. I gave her the talk that helped me put everything into perspective and let her read. We talked about it afterwards and I cried some more and then we decided to get outside and go hard for this last month of mine. Because I truly want to give this work everything that I've got left... Elder Holland also said in one of his missionary talks, (missionary work and the atonement), "I don't believe that missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul... missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience." 
It is interesting to me that even on the last month of my mission, I am still learning that this work is never easy. I think if it is easy, then you're not doing it right. A hard mission doesn't mean that you can't have fun and it doesn't mean that things won't get better... because it can be fun and it does get better... But I am grateful for the times that come when I want it to be easier... Because when those times come, and I lack faith and energy, I am compelled to get on my knees, ask for forgiveness and keep going... And when that happens, my faith is strengthened. And my love for the gospel, this work, and my Heavenly Father and Savior increases.
We went outside and did a lot of contacting and tracting and had no success but we kept going. We both had an impression to go visit Maria Shaw, who is a less active. We got on the bus with faith and knocked on her door. Her husband answered and told us that she wasn't home- so we decided to hold our heads high and keep going.
Maria Shaw
We knocked on door after door in this small little neighbor hood until we were reaching the end of the circle with about five doors left and a girl named Alexandra opened. She is 18 years old and asked me in english when the door opened if I was holding a Book of Mormon. She told us that she lived in UTAH of all places, for a year as an exchange student and she lived with an LDS family. The dad there was the ward mission leader so they always had the missionaries over and she went to church every week... When we asked her what she thought about it she said that it was a pleasant surprise... God guided us today. He answered my sincere and desperate prayers. We learned a great lesson today and I am so grateful that the Lord allows me with all of my imperfections to do this work and to learn along the way. 
Yesterday in church, we had one of the most spiritual sacrament meetings that I have attended in Sweden. Last Sunday, Kele, a darling member, spoke to us about how her bishop in Africa asked everyone to start sitting as families and to all sit close together and up front. (I don't think this is really an issue in Utah wards but it is here in Sweden- everyone sits all spread out and not with their families and on the back rows etc.) Kele said that no one really understood why he would ask them to do that but they did and everyone came together and the spirit was strong. So yesterday, everybody did just that... and it changed the whole feeling in the room. 
meet my companion miranda :) hahaha (inside joke)
Our bishop, who is a very humble man and travels up here to Uppsala every Sunday from where he lives in Stockholm, just so we can have a bishop, was the one who spoke to us yesterday. Everyone was in tears and we were all right next to each other to comfort one another. He talked about how hard it is for us to lose those we love here on earth, but about the joy that comes from knowing that we are going to see them again. Almost every family in this ward has lost a child or a spouse- it is crazy. But it was so perfect and comforting for everyone. 
I felt the spirit tapping on my heart, as I have felt many times throughout this week, reminding me that this church is true. I am so grateful for the spirit in my life. We saw many more miracles with our finding efforts this week as we changed our attitudes and went forth with faith. I am grateful for every experience that I have had on my mission and for your love and prayers.

I love you all and hope you have the best day/week ever!

bye bye,

Zone Conference
PS. I think I forgot to write this last week- Mohamad is still getting baptized on the 6th! THIS SATURDAY. We gave him to the elders last week but he is still very positive and is doing great. We are excited for him. They announced it in church yesterday and he was sitting next to me on the front row and he stood up when they said his name and Sister Anderson and I were so scared that he was going to try and give a speech or something! hahahaha it was pretty hilarious.

I thought this was a funny picture of Adelide that I found on her Mission President's blog

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