Hej Hej Familj och vener!
Well it's official, I have made it to week 2! I guess I can get down to the nitty gritty now! (ntm-name that movie)
Tuesday night after I wrote you guys we had the devotional where we sung Nearer My God to Thee for the choir. Richard Hinckley (pres Hinckley's son) and his wife spoke to us about following the spirit and being true to your mission. Sister Hinckley recounted the tale of Ephraim Hanks and how he did not question the spirit when it prompted him to go and help the saints crossing the plains. I LOVE THAT!! Not once did he question that prompting, he got up and left immediately and helped save so many people because of it. It got me thinking that I never want to miss out on helping somebody because I want to follow the spirit without question. I would be so sick to find out that I could have saved someone, either physically or spiritually, but did not heed to the prompting. I hope you guys feel the same way. On the back from the Marriot center, the crowd of missionaries was massive!!!! It didn't seem to ever end. We got to the top of the hill and looked down and people were still exiting the Marriot center, and we weren't even near the front!! Satan has to be so intimidated when he saw that, because I knew I was. And it's not just here the massive crowds of missionaries, it is all over the world! People are going out in strong numbers to bring people to Christ! It is fantastic!!
Wednesday Elder Hansen and myself had a great lesson with our "investigator" about the Atonement. We prepared well and had a lot of good things to say. Of course we didn't think we did a great job with speaking to her, but we brought the spirit definitely. I gave her a short simple but heartfelt testimony of the Savior from my heart. It was amazing. The lesson for the day was how Our Purpose as missionaries is the same as the Doctrine of Christ: faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, enduring to the end. We invite them to follow Christ by these things. They don't know how to do it, so that is why we are there. To show them to the straight path through the gate of baptism.
TALL is something we do on the computers to learn language. It works really good for me because I can memorize really simply if I see it and keep it in my head. But at the same time it is kind of bad for me because I need to do it without seeing it, but hearing Swedish. Whenever our teachers testify to us or we as a district pray in Swedish, I don't know exactly what is being said, but I know the spirit that they bring is so strong. It's cool how that is even better than fully understanding what people have to say. Oh another great thing our district does to grow(i'm pretty sure we are the best/closest district here ha) is once a day go around the room and sincerely compliment the person who is about to pray. It really brings the spirit to the class and helps us appreciate each other instead of finding the bothering things about them. How cool! I will admit this week has been tough with getting frustrated with people and little things that annoy me, but this is something that really helps me realize how great everyone here is. Whenever we discuss or study scriptures and doctrine I have a hard time writing it down because I don't like to write. I would rather just store it in my brain. I need to work on this, cuz no matter how great I think I am at remembering, I'm not. Ha so i've been writing more and more thoughts and impressions than before.
Thursday we had gym time in the morning and our district played sand volleyball together. It was a lot of fun because all of us are actually decent! Haha. Brother Bloomfield talked with me and Elder Hansen after our discussion lesson and I swear he was inspired to do so. I was so down on myself and mad that I couldn't understand the language that well and just feeling stressed out. He talked with us that it doesn't matter. By showing genuine interest in someone, even though you know nothing what they say, as long as you listen with love you can understand their spirit. That's all that matters. I have had a really hard time with that because I'm usually so independent and have to do things my way and without any help. But I can't do that. There is no way I can survive the mission that way. I HAVE to rely on Jesus Christ and the spirit to guide me. And also my companion. We have to be on the same page or else we will fail in teaching. So I have to humble myself and ask for help a lot. It's hard, it really is, but it is so rewarding if I do. Sleep still is hard for me here, especially when it comes to that after lunch time like 2-4 pm. I struggle to stay focused and hear what's going on ha.
Friday's motto of the day would have to be Be Positive No Matter What! Things can go so wrong and you feel like you aren't getting anywhere at all: doors slammed in your face, can't understand anyone, no one will listen. But as long as you go through that with a positive and work just as hard if not harder the next time because there will be something small that will make all that hurt go away. I call them my Amazing Moments. I had one today (friday) that was just so awesome. One of our teachers sent us a video to thank us because she is getting married next week and will only see us a couple of more times. She thanked us all for the spirit that we brought that helped her in her life. She said we were an answer to her prayers. Wow. That hit me so hard! I had been so frustrated with not really understanding anything she said to us as but we brought the spirit still. We helped her in her life, by her saying that we were answers to her prayers was an answer to my prayers; that what I had done was just what she needed. It confirmed to me that I am helping people when I bring the spirit no matter what is being said. It was great! In my personal studies I found in PMG a quote that said "Earnestly desire the gifts of the Spirit". I thought that to be really cool, that we should not just desire the gifts of the spirit but earnestly want them to always be with you to guide, protect, and help you. We should all strive for the gifts of the spirit because they are so amazing, and the only way we can access those gifts is if we are worthy of them. We need to constantly check ourselves to see if we are worthy of these precious gifts. With these gifts it makes me want to work that much harder to show the Swedes how amazing they are because they don't have it. They feel the power of the spirit, but don't know fully the wonderful gifts the spirit brings to everyone. Everyday I feel a stronger love for these people who I have never even met, because I know how much better their lives will be if they come to Christ. I know firsthand the power and peace it brings in my life, I want the same for them. Me and my comp are getting better at planning. We set a long term goal, then short term goals to accomplish them, and everyday goals we can accomplish those small goals. It really helps!
Saturday marks the one month away until we get to Sverige! (svair eejz ah) It was a fast pleasant day so that's good. I had a nice workout for Johnson's Bootcamp in the morning and the guys really held up! In my personal study I read a scripture that says "Freely ye have received, freely give". This is the savior talking to his apostles about the Priesthood. They had been given the authority to use the power of God. It's interesting, Christ gives them and us the Priesthood freely, and he asks that we use that power worthily to people everywhere. We should not withhold the priesthood from anyone, that's what he means to freely give out the power of God to help people in their lives. It's funny, sometimes I'll be reading something and then gain a cool insight on a totally different topic. It's one of the great mysteries of God that is so amazing! We really dug deep in the Restoration in class and it was pretty cool. We came up with some questions investigators might have about it and as companions looked for scriptures or things to answer them. The cool thing about that was when everyone answered the questions I had an insight for every topic and had a scripture to go along with it. It was really cool how all of my seminary knowledge came back to me and just flowed out so nicely. Seminary really has made a huge impact on me especially since i've been here.
We had a lesson on stress management that was really beneficial. Stress in itself is good, without it we are dead, ha. But we have to balance that stress or else we start to distress. I can't do the normal things to unstress me here like listening to my music or playing games, watching tv or playing soccer. I have to find a new way to help me unstress while i'm here. You can choose to have the stress affect you or you affect the stress. What I mean by that is you can let all the bad things affect you and cause you to become lazy or discouraged, OR you can put it out of the way and make that help you become better. I challenge you guys to try it when a situation comes up! It will be interesting to see what you guys find out.
After dinner, we just watched Mormon messages and cried a bit. They are so powerful yet so short. AMAZING! I have been very diligent in my journal writing every night since I have been here. I am really glad I am doing it to remind me of spiritual stories or funny things that happened during the day. I am disappointed I waited till I was here to actually start one.
Sunday, whew. Good ol' sunday. After a week of class work for ever, it's nice to relax and enjoy the Lord's day. Priesthood we learned about the Holy Ghost like the names, callings, gifts of, etc. I saw Quin Gray, and I am sooo Happy about it! He is doing great and we are both excited to welcome in Jacob Morley this coming week. We sung hymns in Swedish and watched more Mormon messages and cried some ha. Really though, if you watch them all, or even just one, you feel the spirit so strong in each it's incredible! We also had a discussion about enduring to the end after sacrament meeting. It was really awesome and I shared a lot about what I said in my farewell talk. We then proceeded to the temple where we sat in some shade and just talked. I felt inspired to ask everyone of the guys' parents and what they love about them. It was cool seeing their faces light up as they talked about how cool their parents were and made me realize how grateful I am for mine. Thanks mother and father for all you have done for me: the amazing love and support in sports, 100% attendance, and just care for me. It's funny mom, I realize now how close we are when I didn't think that for awhile. I remember how I always wanted to go shopping with you, cook with you, and just be with you as a kid. It's so fun to look back at those times, but I do miss them.
Sunday evening we went to choir where we are learning Praise to the Man and the story behind it. Satan really tried hard to get rid of Joseph Smith since he was born. It's crazy hearing all of these stories and makes you marvel at how he overcame them. W.W. Phelps' background to the song is pretty interesting. Look it up. The director is so funny and makes it a good time. That's what I was missing in high school, was for someone to make it enjoyable. I feel like since I have been here I have really improved on hearing music and being able to sing better. I have been complimented a lot on my voice and it is really nice. Lindsey McArthur's gma, Jolene Allphin, spoke to us about pioneer stories. It was really interesting
All of the Dutchies are leaving in the morning so we had our ritual of shoving all the elders in the zone into one room and sing songs and pray together. It's bittersweet that they are leaving: the ones who are going to Suriname (have to go to SC because of visa trouble for now) were like our big brothers, especially Elder Hall from Kansas. He was the coolest guy ever and had an amazing voice! There is a pic of us so ya. They will all be replaced by 30 elders!!! HOLY COW!
Monday we had our last lesson with Marta. It kind of surprised us so we were a little unprepared but we got through it and she is "going to be baptized"!! Ha it was funny we actually didn't hear her when she said yes, so we were like so is that a yes?? and she said yes and we laughed for a bit. haha! I feel really happy for her, even though she isn't a real investigator, I know that the gospel will bless her so much. Imagine how great my excitement will be for actual investigators in Sweden! But something I have learned is that, even if I don't get one baptism, if I worked my hardest and did all I could, I will know I did what the Lord wanted me to by planting seeds for them so that another missionary may see that plant sprout. It was a really cool insight I received. But still so stoked to finally get there!!! Me and my comp are getting better at studying the language, though we get off track easily ha. I pray that we can do better at that.
Today is p-day so we just did service and laundry and then wrote emails and letters! Mom I do not know anything about the MTC West campus so ya sorry. I am wearing my short sleeve shirts often. I am good at ironing them, don't worry. We "stole" / borrowed the classroom's fan and put it into our room so I have been doing better on my sleep because of that. Thanks for the scriptures verses, they are awesome! I know Brody was inspired to find those! Cmon Stacy, start crackin;) Thanks to everyone for writing, its great! Send pics! Branden Clark leaves tonight for Nebraska!
Oh I found out our Branch President doesn't care how long we write so another 2 hour sesh from me today!
Jag alska dig! Lycka till med liv!