Monday, April 17, 2017

HEJDÅ SVERIGE...UNTIL NEXT TIME

Well...as bittersweet as it is, I am leaving my beloved Sweden in just a few days.  I'm not going to lie--it hasn't been easy--but my mission, and my time here, has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. I am not the same person as I was before, and I am grateful for that.

Leaving home, I thought a mission was just an adventure.  A time to learn more about my Heavenly Father and help people come into His Church.  Little did I know it would be SO much more. 
Never was I expecting all of the little blessings and tender mercies along the way.  Never did I think so many tears would be shed, or so much pain could be felt then I have had in the past year and a half.  Never did I know the extent of sacrifice until I thought I had officially hit the end--and yet somehow had a little more to give.  Never could have imagined all of the miracles that have come about, the amazing people that I have met, the fact that my heart feels completely new, and the ability to love as much as I do.

For a while now, the days have not been easy.  These last two transfers I have just felt like I have been completely drained physically.  For three months, I have gone between feeling just so sick some days and then just in pain for many of the others.  It has been really hard, but I have just been too stubborn to stop.  I usually never have dealt with much pain before in my life before my mission.  But there is an interesting story attached that I have started to see through my mission...
Starting about 6 months ago, I just thought--okay.  I am just sick of all of these random things happening to me--feeling really sick one day, to stomach hurting really bad another day, to something completely new a few days later.  I started looking back and realizing a slight pattern. 

Ever since the beginning of my mission, I went through phases, I guess you could say, of just different kinds of pain, whether physical, emotional/mental and spiritual.  I started realizing that each time, it lasted a couple weeks and then passed.  Much of the time it felt very different than just any other thing that I had already gone through. 
After going through those times, I came to find something interesting--my companion, or someone around me that I loved--soon began to feel that very thing.  After a while, I really tried paying attention to it even more.  Something new would come up, and I was humbled a little--I couldn't do all that I could before--but I started feeling more compassion and desire to keep going.  Soon the other person would start feeling different--whether that be acting different or not feeling good.  It was always something familiar--the very thing I had been feeling a couple weeks previous. 
Usually, by this point, whatever it was was usually behind me-- but I had the memory.  I then was able to take care of them and understand what they needed.  It was all very strange to me how exact it always was.  But, I had felt the pain, understood what they were going through--but the pain itself was taken away.  My capacity for compassion and understanding grew, and I could understand so much more.

 It has been really weird and crazy for me to think about, because it just doesn't make sense. All of these weird "phases" and things to go through, for a 2-week period of time, getting over it, and then somebody else starts feeling these exact things.  I have thought about it a lot.  I don't know if it is a normal thing or anything--in fact I'm still just confused by it.  But one thing that I have felt, is that it's been the way to help me understand the Atonement of my Savior in a much more personal way. 
He suffered these things so that He could better heal, better succor, better comfort.  He felt the pain--but no longer has the pain.  The pain He now has is the knowledge that His children are suffering--that they are feeling this.  But the thing for us to understand to get us through the hardest of times is knowing that our Savior felt these pains, too.  That He overcame them so that we can, too. 

It's interesting, though--because in most cases, our immediate reaction to other people's pain is to sympathize with common experiences. I feel like this has just been a way to help me understand the Atonement even greater--because I now can reach out to them and show them that someone does understand.  Sometimes that is all we need.  Sometimes that is all it takes.
I wasn't expecting to write any of this, but that's what came out.  The Savior's sacrifice and Atonement are so very real.  He gives us glimpses into the joy of sacrifice.  I have felt the tiniest glimpse of what He has paid, and He has given me an increase of joy during and after the pain.  

Sometimes I think we are given little trials just to show us that the light exceeds all pain.  No matter what it is that you are going through, the light of the Savior--the Joy that we receive through Him--truly does exceed all.  This Gospel is the light in my life, and my Father has shown me the way to keep this light. This has just been the very beginning of it all, as I have come to see...  
No longer do I see my mission as the greatest adventure of my life, but the greatest start to the Adventure which is my life.  This is just the start!  A very good start, but a start, none the less!  I now have the map, and I am about to set sail, I guess you can say!  Each map is different and beautiful in it's own way.  Full of surprises and ups and downs at every turn--but thats what makes it an adventure!
Looking back at my mission, it wouldn't have been so precious to me were it not for all of the hard days and the tears along the way.  So, what would make me think that a straight line to the finish would be any fun?!  

"Men are that they might have joy."  Temporary happiness may come from the easy walk to the finish--but for true Joy--true Joy comes from all of the little sacrifices and struggles along the way.  We are, after all, a part of God's army, so we have to train like one.  So, enjoy the easy times when they come--but never lose sight of the goal when the days begin to be tough.  These days are ahead of us all, so take them as they come, and end each day on your knees.  Thank your Heavenly Father for it all.

The Church is actually true.  This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  How great is it to be able to say that--and not only say that, but to feel that, as well.  There is peace here and there is truth.  I am grateful for it all.

Gud var med dig tills vi möts igen...


Syster Campbell:)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

MY SWEDEN

Hello! 

And once again to some of you, sorry for the shortness of the letter...to all you others, you're welcome for the shortness of the coming letter!
 WOW.  Last full week in my dearly beloved Sweden.  Surreal.  I really can't describe.  I am so very excited to be home once again...but then, again, I am leaving a part of my heart here in this new home I have come to love so very much!  
It's kind of weird thinking about how we put everything on hold for 18 months...give all that we have, and then return home almost like nothing ever happened.  The weirdest thing is, that I honestly just feel like a completely different person.  I have no clue what I am supposed to do when this is over!  It's scary!
I feel like I have finally hit this mark where I feel like I have found my place here.  I love it.  I feel comfortable and at home--but, I guess that's the beginning of all change.  Well, that and a broken heart.........
I think that is just the Lord saying, "You've done good, now let's do better."  He loves us too much for us to just be satisfied with our lives--and I am grateful for that.  Painful, but worth it.  
I can't even say how grateful I have been for the experiences that my Father has given me.  I feel like he has just given me a clean slate.....  
A fresh pair of eyes and a new heart.  A mind that is drawn more to Him and a greater understanding of the fact that this is not all.  That there is SO much more awaiting us.  
With the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives the possibilities and opportunities of finding true and lasting happiness are absolutely infinite.

I love you all with all my heart,


Syster Campbell

Monday, April 3, 2017

BILDER

Syster Campbell's mom here, today.  Apparently, it was a very busy letter-writing, picture-sending morning for just a couple of computers and six missionaries today--and Annie didn't have time to write her letter for the week.  But, she did send some wonderful pictures.





They say a picture speaks a thousand words, and I absolutely believe it.  Pictures of missionaries doing the Lord's work every day with His light in their eyes and smiles on their faces speaks volumes to me.  And I'm so grateful for that...







And some picture speak an infinity of words.  And feelings.  And miracles.  And wonder.  There is peace and comfort in this special message that means so much to Syster Campbell--and to her mother.

Our daughter has spent the last 18 months doing nothing but sharing this message with the people of Sweden each and every day--and I know she will continue to speak this message to all for the rest of her life.

I hope it speaks to you today.



Monday, March 27, 2017

PRINCE OF PEACE

Well, hello there!

This quite literally has been a week of miracles.  I'll try to keep it short...

We received two new baptismal dates, three new people that seem very promising, an 87- year-old Swedish lady that might become an investigator from seeing "The Book of Mormon Musical" with her grandson.  Our wonderful new convert blessed the Sakrament for the second time yesterday--that was wonderful! 

Then another miracle last night--we were contacting, and then behind us I hear, "Are those the Mormons?"  Then somebody comes up behind us and interrupts our other contact--basically we had a solid 25-minute street lesson, and this guy just had SO many questions... really good questions, too.  Sister Christensen and I agreed that neither of us feel like we have felt the Spirit quite so strong during a street contact before.  Just never have felt such a desire for them to just listen and take what you are saying and just ask for themselves! 
It was right in front of a bar--and the whole time we were talking, all of these different people came up and would join in on the conversation, and then leave, and it was just the guy again.  At the end, he didn't want to set up another time.  A quick shut down to meeting again.  We were kind of bummed about that, but we were just kind of astonished at how that felt.  How it felt to just really feel the Holy Ghost so powerful on the street...pretty amazing. 

Well, time went on, and about an hour later we get a call from an unknown number.  I answer, and just recognized the voice immediately.  He says, "I don't know what it is, but I cannot stop thinking about our talk.  You really planted a seed in me and I am really curious now."  Such a miracle!   And we set up a potential meeting for later this week.  We are really praying this all goes through--but a miracle, if you ask me!
And lastly--the new Easter Initiative is coming out soon!!!  I believe on March 31st.  You guys, it is marvelous.  I was just blown away.  It is beautiful and just so captivating. 

We had MLC (Mission Leadership Council) this past week to learn more about it, and to plan how we were going to get it spread here in the Sweden Stockholm Mission.  But the focus of it all is The Prince of Peace.  

I just blew it for you all, but I am telling you, you have got to see the video when it comes out.  It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL.  But, as well as being an amazing video, it also came as an answer to my prayers.  I cannot even tell you how blown away I was at just how much this training meant to me.

Peace is a gift.  It is a constant.  Peace is the calming reassurance from a loving Heavenly Father that everything is okay even when everything else would tell you otherwise.
The second half of our training was on Spiritual Whirlwinds.  It was based off of a talk called "Spiritual Whirlwinds" from Elder Neil A. Anderson, and a Mormon Message made from it. They showed the Mormong Message, and I just loved it!  Some may find it weird, but I absolutely love it. 

It talks about how in life, we lose sight of our focus and are led off by little gusts of wind that soon turn into something so much stonger if we are not aware.  It then talks about a power that can help us back onto the right path: 
video
"There is of course a powerful force that will subdue the wounds of sin.  It is called REPENTANCE."        -Ä. Neil A. Andersson

 A powerful reminder of the wonderful gift that is Repentance.  In a world where the winds are blowing all around us at reckless speeds, we can find safety in the eye of the storm. When we are focused on the Prince of Peace, we can go forward in peace amongst the chaos of this world.
I know now that this is perhaps one of the greatest of God's gifts to us.  The gift of Peace.  We all seek for an inner peace that can only be found in The Prince of Peace.  I have seen that, looking back on my mission, there has been one constant--Peace.  Through the good and the bad and the just plain seemingly impossible, there was still some level of peace.  I always knew that all the hard parts were just for a moment...  
 That peace is what allows me to look back on it all with an eye of gratefulness.  I am truly grateful for my Savior, The Prince of Peace.  For the ability I have to look forward with an eye of faith--to be able to see the good in it all.  Peace is precious--and it is a gift.  It is something to give and something to receive.  Never cease to be the peace that someone else is searching for.
I love you all, and now just go prepare for General Conference--make it so you get more out of this Conference than you ever have before.  Make it so personal to you that you will always turn to your Father in Heaven out of gratitude for the many blessings and answers He will give to you. 
This is an amazing opportunity to hear from our dear Prophet and the Apostles of the Lord. After all, the Father and the Son are still at the helm.  Leading their ship.  Though the waves might be crashing all around us, we need not be worried--for the Prince of Peace will calm the storms soon enough.

Med Kärlek,


Syster Campbell
Peace like a river....................................