"I know my Savior lives. I know that He died for us and that He rose again so that we could all do the same. I know without any doubt that He loves each and everyone of His children. I have felt that--and I CANNOT DENY that."
Monday, July 4, 2016
WITH A SKIRT AND A SMILE
Wow! How is it already the Fourth of July?! It feels like just
yesterday I was up in Idaho going to Aunt Karen and Uncle Scott's house
celebrating with them! Time just has no mercy, and keeps flying by at the
constant speed of too fast! I am not liking how fast it is going, but I am just
trying to treasure every moment! I have been very blessed, because every single
one of those moments has been worth treasuring--so I consider myself very lucky!:)
Well, due to the fact that it is national have pride in
your country day, I just have to say...I LOVE AMERICA! I love Sweden too--don't get me wrong--but being out here has just shown me how much I LOVE my
home! I feel my pride for it has grown just a little bit more ever since I have
been all the way out here!
Well. Where to start? I guess I might as well just say it
how my "kid", Eunice, says it: "I might as well just start getting used to
the weirdness, because it doesn't seem to stop!" I assured her that that
was a very good goal indeed, because nothing about the Mission is normal. It is
just a whole lot of crazy thrown at you all at once from every side--and you're expected to catch every single item thrown at you going over a hundred miles
and hour--and you do it all with a skirt and a smile!
Let's just say this week has been one of those weeks that you
just can't imagine getting any weirder--but then somehow, something happens, and
makes it just a little weirder...weirder than you ever thought was possible! But, it was also very good at the same time!
Let's see...First of all, we have found some really amazing investigators this week! One of
them is from Kurdistan. He is super cool, has lived in Sweden most of his life,
studies science, but really wants to find truth. It is really amazing teaching
people with different backgrounds, because you never quite know what to expect when
you ask what they believe or how their religion has helped them.
This man said
that he grew up _____,but even as a child, he began finding faults with his religion. He basically
said that all his childhood and years growing up, he was just finding out more and
more how false it is. <-- those being his words.
He mentioned how it would
be hard for him to know if this (the Gospel of Jesus Christ) was the truth, because he did not want to be led
astray again--and he also mentioned how it would be hard to know through the
Holy Ghost, because since he studies science, he believes that eveything inside
of us is just a chemical reaction or a hormonal reaction. It was quite
reassuring to be able to promise with all of my heart that if he sincerely
tried, he would be able to know.
Promising him many things--and telling him that he
does not even have to worry about being led astray was such a comfort to me. I
think my testimony grew in this lesson more than it has in any other lesson. I
was able to testify that I knew--that despite any past he had experienced, and despite any false teachings
he has found, that he can find the truth, and that we have the truth today. Something that cannot and will not be altered or changed. Unless the Lord
wishes to add something to His doctrine, we never have to worry about our Church
or its teachings conforming to the ways of the world.
The Church is true, and if
you haven't come to find it out for yourself, try it! As a missionary, this has been the greatest
blessing--to be to be able to share with people that without fail, if they turn
to the Lord with a sincere heart, truly desiring to find truth, they can and
Well, along with that we had another amazing lesson with a
Swede--one of the first actual Swedish investigators we have had in a while! It was super cool. We met him earlier this week, and then yesterday--right as
Sacrament Meeting started, he came in and sat right next to us! I was so happy
that somebody actually showed up! Every week--without fail--we personally invite
at least 12 people with us to Church--and this week somebody actually showed
It was amazing! And then a couple of minutes later, I look back and see
somebody that we just met early this week on the street, and he had come, too! The one Swede could only stay for Sacrament Meeting, but he really liked it. He has had a really tough life. During our lesson earlier in the week, he had
been telling us a little bit about his life--and basically he just wants peace now--and so it
was really amazing to just feel the peace in the chapel, and just be able to see
that what was being said was truly what he needed to hear.
investigator--from Iraq--was able to stay for the second hour, too, and after each
meeting he just said, "det var värkligen en jätte fin upplevelse!"
Basically, "that was a very nice experience!" It was really great to see how much
he just was trying to take it all in, and how well he was just accepting
everything! The Lord really is at the head of this Church and this work. As
long as you are following Him and doing His will, He will bless you in more ways
than you can possibly imagine!
The rest of the week has been pretty great! We
celebrated Äldste Lohmeir's birthday...had a little party during dinner hour at
the church. Since my Mission daughter, Syster Howlett, lived in South Korea
before coming here, she has become quite the little Asian chef, and we all love
her spicy dishes that make us cry, so Äldste Lohmeir requested that for his
Then, I made a little Swedish/American cake for dessert. He
said earlier that his favorite flavor was mint chocolate, so I made a Swedish Kladkaka with mint chocolate
frosting. The first bite, he just sighs, and says its like a more delicious
version of a mint Oreo cake! Forget this low-carb diet--they just downed the
cake! Haha! It was pretty funny!
This week, we also went to our favorite lady's house--Bonnie! One of our all-time favorite people! We went over on a cold, rainy day and she
just let us sit around in her cozy little home, and had us tell her all about
all of our investigators, and then let us bake stuff in her kitchen, and we just
had the loveliest day!
Quick note: I think I can quite easily say that if you
want to make your way into the heart of any sister missionary, do this! Talk
about their investigators, bake with them...it means so much to them to talk
about the people they love and to be able to get to know you!
Well, then we ordered some
pizza--and being Sweden, pizza is not always quite the same as America--let's
just say this pizza was a banana peanut curry pizza. If any of you have heard
of that while in the States, props to you--even more props if you have tried
it! Haha! It was an interesting upplevelse (experience), and strangely quite
Well, our last District Meeting came along, and we had a
"funeral" for Äldste Peterson because he is going home this week. He quite possibly loves baseball more than anybody I have ever known, or will ever know!
For the funeral, Eunice and I made a baseball cake, other people shared some
parting words, a eulogy was given...I'm telling you--people go all out for
these shindigs...("that's a weird word, shindig!" ***If you can name that movie, I
will love you forever!***)
Anyhoo...the week got weirder as we went out Saturday
afternoon to go contacting-- just to find that it was Gay Pride Day. Let's
just say that day is surprisingly even less pleasant as a missionary! Yay. Syster Howlett just kept saying, "Why don't we have Straight Pride Days?" It's a
good question, though! As we were walking down the street, Syster Howlett just said,
"Oh man...do you think people think.....?" Me: "Dang! ...they might...here--you walk over there and I will be over here, as far as we
can, so it doesn't look like were together!" Okay, now how sad is that?! What
kind of a world are we in that we need to worry about that? Ridiculous!
One last quick thought. So, the Elders had a baptism this
past Friday, and it was quite possibly one of the greatest things I have ever
experienced. This man is 24 years old. He was born in Afghanistan and moved here
3 months ago. After becoming Christian in Afghanistan, he was persecuted by
family and friends, and eventually made the unbelievably hard and dangerous
journey here alone. Only being able to speak Persian--with the help of a recent member in
Stockholm, and thanks to Google Translate--the Elders were able to teach him
After 3 months of walking 2 hours once a week to meet with him, the Elders' efforts-- and his humility paid off--and he is now the newest member of
our Branch! He is the sweetest and humblest man ever. We have been starting to
teach him Swedish and English phrases, and he has just been learning more and
more every time we see him.
Last week we saw him in the city with some of his
friends. All of his friends were dressed in kind of grungy clothes, most of them smoking--and
then there he was--all bright and happy, in his button-up plaid shirt--and there
was just such a tangible difference. Now a member of the Church...I can just see the Hand of the
Lord at work here. I can not even begin to say how grateful I am to be serving
here in Sweden at this time.
And now, a little part of one of my favorite talks, "Refuge
form the Storm", by Elder Patrick Kearon:
"We must take a stand against
intolerance, and advocate respect and understanding across cultures and
traditions. Meeting refugee families and hearing their stories with your own
ears, and not from a screen or newspaper, will change you...
found refuge. Let us come out from our safe places and share with them-- from
our abundance, hope for a brighter future, faith in God and in our fellowman,
and love that sees beyond cultural and ideological differences to the glorious
truth-- that we are all children of our Heavenly Father."
Go out of your way
and learn something new. Find the truth for yourself, because it will change
you. It has changed me, and I am so grateful that I have been able to witness and
experience the Hand of the Lord in the lives of these amazing people. Find out
what you can do and do it. You will be changed.
Jag älskar alla er med hela mitt hlärta och jag är så
tacksam för möligheten jag har för att vara missionärer här i Sverige i denna
tid. Det har varigt en jätte stor välsignelse för mig och jag vet att det
kommer att välsigna mig hela mitt liv. Jag älskar kyrkan och jag vet att det är
den sanna kyrkn på jorden idag. Det är Guds kyrka.