Sweden Stockholm Mission

Monday, January 27, 2014

Whoosh! The feel of a door slamming in my face!

Frozen lake in Motala
Aloha! Oh wait, I won't be able to say that until I get to college (at BYU-H) but anywho! Hey, howzit goween? Wowee wow! Thanks to everyone who wrote this week. I love and appreciate all that you do for me, and all the prayers in my behalf. I truly feel the power of your prayers for me, and they help me go through my day with peace and with courage. 

This giant slide is fun!
Mån: I played my uke and just tåg det lugnt (took it easy) for the rest of Pday. We then got ready and set up for FHE. Not too many people showed up, but it's to be expected for the first week starting it. We had a spiritual thought, lesson, played a lot of fun games together, sang hymns, had some prayers and then had some fika (dessert/treats). It was a big success, and I feel like this activity will grow and will help the branch unify and bring less- actives back!

Tis: I have been reading in the Pearl of Great Price- or Den Kostbara Pärlan- in my personal studies, and boy, there is some deep stuff! Whew! The best thing that I get out of it is how many times and how important it is that God calls and says to Moses and Abraham, "you are My son". That's so amazing to see that God wants us to truly understand that we are literally his children. "You are my son (or daughter)" brings the most peace in this life to know that we truly have a Loving Heavenly Father who has prepared a plan for us to follow and return to Him.
Playground stuff is unique.

Two members took us out to lunch- obviously we had kebab pizza! The pizza guy was a Catholic and was very respectful to us "church people". The 2 members bore their testimony to him and it was so awesome to see haha.  We found a park nearby and decided to play around as part of our lunch break. 

We did a lot of swingbys afterwards, met up with an  investigator who does not want to change his habits but then we also ended up with 15 unplanned contacts on the day! President is really stressing that we contact as many people along our way, never plan them, because when we get at least 10 contacts a day, it will lead to 3 new investigators on the week, and 20 + qualified lessons, which will lead to baptizing monthly! So that was really cool for us to break that 10 barrier for the first time! A lot of people were coming up to us after we talked to someone who rejected us, because they heard we had something great to offer! It just goes to show, that when you are doing what the Lord has asked and go forward with faith, he will bless you!

Ons: We did some swingbys and got prepared for our exchanges with the branch presidency. I went with a brother who originally comes from Denmark and he's such a stud! He is so funny and awesome! He is always so eager and willing to help us with our work and goes out and contacts with us on the way! He gave me a lot of good advice for the mission, and for life -especially marriage! To quote him, he says, "Marriage is the best! I definitely recommend it!" hahahaha!

With one of the less actives we were going to swingby, this elderly lady opens the door and sees my nametag with the church's name on it, and grasps hold of her door and slams it shut with all of her might! WHOOOSH! I literally felt the wind blow my hair up because of how powerful she had slammed the door. I have never experienced that before, but it was very interesting to get slammed so hard -it was pretty sad. I mean sure you don't want to have contact with the church, that's your choice, but at least be civil about and respect us for trying to do our job. But, oh well. Definitely a good story, haha.

Tors: We had district meeting here in Linköping, instead of going up 40 minutes to Norrköping, so that was nice- getting more study time for me, and more sleep for the others. I actually love the schedule a lot because it helps me balance out my day and helps me do what I need to do to be most effective. I will definitely need to keep or make some sort of schedule for when I go home. The lesson was about "Pray with Faith". If we have no faith when we pray, what do we benefit from it. If we don't think God will hear us, why talk to him? If we don't think he will help us, why ask? If we don't think something good will come from it, why bother? We don't ask him for help in our lives knowing that he is not going to help us. NO! We ask him for help because WE KNOW and BELIEVE that he will help us.

On the way to Mantorp
We did some outskirt swingbys in Mjölby and Mantorp (20-40 minutes away from linköping, but still in our area) and didn't find too much stuff. We always find success, that's something that I have been trying to see more, is that anytime we do something we find success. If someone isn't home, we leave a note- success in trying to get contact with a less active, for example. Always be looking on the positive side. God is always giving us little successes here and there, we just need to open our eyes to it.

Fre: Weekly Planning! Always good stuff! Out of the blue, I asked my companion "How much faith do you have elder?" He was a little surprised, but he knew what I was talking about. There are only so many days left in the transfer, yet it was still possible to baptize someone. We knelt down and prayed whole heartedly and honestly pleading and asking God what His will is for us, and that if it is possible to baptize before the transfer. Now, I cannot begin to explain the incredible feeling that we both felt after closing the prayer and pondering. We both felt it and knew that we could do it. We don't know who, but we know it's possible! We were both so excited and just breathless because while we didn't know what to do, we just knew we needed to have faith in the Lord! I know what I felt, and cannot deny it. Though I have no clear direction with seeing someone be baptized soon, I am putting my whole heart and trust in God to let me be an instrument in his hands. The Lord can do mighty miracles in a matter of seconds!!!
I tried the ice (again) and had my shoe go in (again).  I guess I will never learn.
Lör: We were up in Motala (1 hour north) for most of the day, getting in contact with less actives and investigators-having some interesting discussions- and just having a good time. We made it back home to the H's later that night for dinner. We tried teaching a lesson but they have a lot of questions and are so awesome and happy with their lives that they don't yet see a need for our message. They still love having us over and they are interested in FHE, so we will teach that. We will just keep being a good example and build that strong relationship with them. The spirit was strong as we bore our testimonies. Oh just det, they fixed our bikes and drove us home with them! That was really awesome of them and now we have working bikes!

Sön: I made breakfast burritos- the hash browns didn't turn out so good...oops ha.* The people we were hoping for didn't show up for church yesterday so it made us begin to doubt the goal that we have. However, there was no way we could doubt that strong conviction that we had received that we can baptize before the transfer is up. We had a different investigator come to church on sunday, and it could be him. We just don't know. But we know we need to follow the Lord in complete faith. He had a very good experience and loves the spiritual unity of our church. He is very scientific and sees things in that sort of way, but he is very open and willing to prove it for himself if it is true. 

Even if we don't get a baptism this transfer that doesn't matter. We have received a conviction that we can do it, and if we work for it with all of our might mind and strength and show the Lord we have all Faith in Him, that's what really matters. It's not fair for someone to be pushed/forced into baptism, and we don't want that, but as long as we are working for that goal and progressing, that's all that we can do. So that was a really cool thought that came as I was thinking about it last night.

Press forward with faith, and trust in God, and we'll see if something miraculous happens this week! I love you all so much and pray that everything continues to go good! Brady shared with me a Mormon Message "Mountains to Climb" and it made me cry. You all should look it up. I'm grateful for the chance I have to be a missionary and get to serve God and His children. Things progressively are getting better (we had 13 lessons!) and the future looks bright! Ha det så jätte bra den här veckan! Jag älskar er!

Äldste Johnson (# IV)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hey y'all!
Lost his earmuffs
Sounds like everyone has been having a crazy awesome week! Well it has continued to snow for a good week and a half here, so I have been loving that! But I lost my earmuffs somewhere so my ears have been cold. . The work has been about the same as last week, though we are putting a lot of effort into it. 

Monday, we just took it easy on Pday after buying 800 krowns worth of food for the week!
Walking in a blizzard
Tuesday, we got cancelled a couple of times But we got things updated, planned and ready for home teaching. Elder L and I made a trip out to Mantorp We walked all the way in a blizzard, and all the way back -though stopping in an adjacent store that was opened to rest and grab a quick snack. We met a teen at the train stop who we ended up talking too for a long time. He was not too interested in the gospel, but loves sports. The train actually got cancelled for the whole night so we thought we were stuck out there forever, we had already been waiting an hour in an outside station. Luckily, a bus came to our rescue a half an hour later, and we made it back home safe and sound.

Wednesday, we spent the day looking all over town for maps of the little outskirt areas where we have less actives and investigators that we could swingby. They had NONE! We did our home teaching splits. We met with a less active who is pretty much home bound. She is very nice, has a strong testimony, but can't afford to get to church because she lives 40 minutes away and she has a wheelchair. It's sad that we can't really help her, but we are thinking about bringing the sacrament to her. Everyone deserves to take the sacrament.

Thursday, We had our zone training up in Södertälje. We have the biggest zone in the whole mission, and we were packed into a small hot building ha. It was pretty fun. It was about the Atonement. That Christ did a hard work in going through so much pain and suffering for us. He did it because he loves us so much. It made me want to go out and work even harder.

A little wet after going through the ice
We met up with a less active who absolutely loves animals! The place was crazy with animals, but it was really cool!  She loves missionaries and said we can come over whenever we want. 
I tried to test the ice water by the path and fell in a bit. Woops.

This is where I went in

Friday, I finished the book of Mormon after 3 months and had a really cool experience. Now I have read and prayed about the bom plenty of times, but I wanted to continue to test it. I prayed whole heartedly for a very long time, (almost an hour) about if it was true. I felt an overwhelming sensation throughout my whole body that was testifying to me that it is true. It has been true, is true, and forever will be true. It was a really cool experience to say the least. The only way people can know if it is true is to try it. Its as simple as that. So thats what we do-invite all to try it, to come closer to christ. The honest seeker, when trying it out, will 100% guarantee know that it is true.

So, here's a crazy story - my dad gave me a referral. Crazy, right? Yes! My dad, in St. George, Utah, met with a guy who has a son who lives 20 minutes away from where I live!!! Insane! Dad sent me his phone number so I called him up and spent a good hour talking with him about his family, how he came to Sweden (he grew up in salt lake but doesnt know too much about mormons or missionaries...hmmm) and just things like that. He is really cool and said his door is always open whenever I am in the area. We are planning to go meet him in person this week! Way to do member missionary work dad!

Walking our bikes on this path to get them fixed
Saturday, We met up with the a nonmember family who are fixing our bikes! We ended up eating, playing games, playing the piano (I fixed their guitar by ear!) and just strengthening our relationship with them. They are very open and ask us anything they want to know about us, they think family history work is super cool and that we do baptisms for the dead in the temple! They are just awesome! We keep the gospel in mind when we are there and we just continue to have a good time and build our relationship.
President Newell came down to do interviews with us -this was my first interview since I had that 2 minute one right off the plane. It felt really good. He knows me, and we were on a very personal level as we talked. I know he is an inspired man called of God.

Sunday -yesterday! We made a big breakfast together before heading to church. We had a good meeting, I love the sacrament! Its great to look back on the previous week and see what we can change in the upcoming week! I am so thankful for the chance to renew my baptismal covenants and be clean again. We had a really good meeting with the branch presidency and are planning on doing activities to strengthen the branch and bring less actives back. Also, we want to come up with a date in the future for this branch to become a ward. It probably be after my time here, but I want to lay the great foundation of getting there! It would be so great if we could do that, truly see the Lord's Kingdom in Linköping grow and expand.
Outskirts of Linköping
We had a member dinner and got to have a really cool talk with the Relief Society president, who is also responsible for young women, and primary (though we have none so far)-talk about busy schedule! She talked with us and helped us be smart with all of our plans. Sometimes missionaries run around with all of these really good goals and plans, but aren't too realistic with the setting and background of the area. So that was really good for us. She is an amazing person and we need to help her out!

Well y'all, its time to close. If you are going through a hard time, don't give up. Please don't. If you can only see one step ahead of you, take it, and look ahead to the next step. Though you may not see completely, go forward with faith that the Lord will guide and help you. I love Him and this work. I hope you all have a fantastic week and try to help someone come closer to Christ. I love you
Äldste Johnson

Monday, January 13, 2014

It finally snowed!

Yes, it has finally snowed!!! I'm so happy about this! Its what I've been waiting for!! In just one day it dropped from 7 degrees celsius to -7 degrees celsius. Crazy!!! I love it though! I almost got frostbitten, but then I remembered I can be smarter than that so I put on some gloves and a beany, haha. 

I would like to thank all of those who have sent me christmas cards: Blake, Craig, Tony, Greg, Nichole, Wilkinsons, Flakes, Terrys, Andersens, Gunters, and the young women and men of the ward! You guys are all so awesome! I have all of the pictures and cards hanging above my desk! That means a lot, thanks so much!

Mom- I will definitely try to find more cheese slicers - I'm glad you liked it. I love those as well as the long shoe horns! Im planning on buying like 10 of those before I come home because they are the best!! I realize more and more everything you have taught me: being clean, cooking, respect, laundry, everything. I should have paid attention and done it more because now I realize how important all of those things are and I'm really OCD about them now, haha. So thanks for that:) Well I guess thats all I wanted to talk about, have a good week, love ya bye! Ha, Tricks (are for kids).

This week has been an improvement, not quite where I would like to be, but hey I'm working towards that. It doesn't just change overnight that we meet all our goals, it takes time and work to progress up to that point. That being said, it still was a pretty low number week, though that is not because we didnt work hard or put in the time. Thats the only sad thing about numbers is that it doesnt measure how much work you actually put into a week. But you and the Lord know, and thats all that matters, eller hur? Right? Right.
Perhaps I'll have a room like this someday (?)
Mån: Went to Ikea as a district and had a lot of fun going through the maze! You literally have to hit every single point in the store before you can go out, and it is a HUGE warehouse! So we had fun with it. We went through every room seriously contemplating and planning out our future lives and houses we wanted to have. It was the funniest thing ever! We were totally serious, testing certain couches, asking employees their opinions of cabinets, bathrooms, and discussing our future families. Awesome! We ate some kebab afterwards-I love kebab, but man it is a giant curse. It tastes soooo good, but then 2 hours later you immediately regret it (aka, you destroy the bathroom as well as your stomach hahahaha).
The package from the ward YW 
**A big thing we have done this week and probably do next week is get in contact with less actives, so we have been doing a lot of swingbys this week. Not a lot of people answered the door-so we left a note, but then others had portcodes-worst things ever! But thats where a lot of our time was spent this week.**

Tis: Met up with a contact who was busy during the holidays but is now available. They both study religion and are very interested in how people worship and why people worship. They have previously received the Book of Mormon. He says he feels something different when he reads it, than when he reads any other book-(Thats the spirit testifying of it's truth!) It was so awesome when he was talking about that, the spirit was very strong! They were supposed to come to church, but got sick, darn.

Ons: We did home teaching and I went with the Branch president- we got to know each other really well. He has a great long conversion story and how he got to Linköping. I love when people share their conversions, especially when its a long story, because thats how it really is. It doesn't just happen over night, usually, the Lord is mindful over his children and their development over a long time. Its amazing seeing the Lords hand over all. I love it!

Tors: District Meeting! I always feel the spirit so strong! I feel like it is always so personal and just exactly what I need, so Im greatful for my district leader(s) for that. Diligence was talked about a lot. This month has been perfectly set up for me to work on this attribute- continually doing good and working hard. D&C 58:26-28 says you shouldn't have to be commanded to do everything, take some responsibility and do good of your own free will even if no one else is doing it. Continue forward. Kämpa på! Fight On!

The Domkyrkan Cathedral - 2nd biggest in all of Sweden
Later that day, we contacted a referral from a member in Luleå that Äldste L knows. We knocked the wrong door and were confused for awhile, but then we found the right address. We knocked and the family invited us in! They are members of the Svenska Kyrkan church, but seriously were the best people I've ever met!! They had no idea who we were, but because we knew this family in Luleå, they had us in for dinner, talked about what we are doing as missionaries and getting to know each other, and touring their house, oh and offering to fix our bikes (i have still yet to ride a bike on a mission). This family is the best! They are so awesome and so talented in sports, music, art, everything! They are really outgoing fun people. I have never experienced anything like this! They are sooooo awesome! Yes they belong to another church, but we have started a really good relationship with them. They asked us how we continually believe that our church and our missionary work is the truth. We both bore our testimonies of it and the spirit was strong-SO COOL!

Fre: We met with an investigator who smelled strongly of smoke and that transfered to my clothes (I had to get them cleaned because I'm allergic to smoke). He has a strong testimony of Jesus but his other beliefs are interesting. Today marks 6 months on a mission!?! Wow, time goes by fast. I took some time to reflect on that and see what I can do better in the future months ahead of me. In honor of getting over the bump, we burned a tie. Dont worry, it wasnt any of my own.

Lör: I went on exchanges with Elder S. We hit up some swingbys and walked at least 10+ miles, or I guess you could say 15+kms the whole day. Wow! And in the snow!

Sön: I taught priesthood today in Swedish -very challenging. It was a great discussion on who God is from chapter 1 of Pres JF Smith's teachings. I had a good time studying and learning more about My Father in Heaven. God wants so much for us to be happy. He's given us our agency in hopes that we choose to follow his son back to Him for everlasting happiness. I think about now, me being on a mission, being separated from my earthly father, and how much I miss him and want to be with him. Then I think about thats how Heavenly father must feel about us, we are separated from Him on earth. And he wants us so bad to come back to him, and I feel the same way. I want to be with My Father in Heaven again. Its something very powerful that hit me. 

I had a really good heartfelt prayer with him this night. I was feeling stressed out, worthless, and that non of my swingby or efforts were counted for. It took a long time of me just opening up and telling Him all of the thoughts and concerns of my heart and how much I want to do to help him and his work. I can honestly say that I have come to know that there really is someone there who is listening to me, who is always there for
me with outstretched hands waiting to bless me if I but only ask, someone who can change how I feel in an instant, someone who knows me by name and wants what is best for me. I have a strong testimony that God lives. He lives and is there to bless me in times of need. He loved me so much that He sent His beloved Son Jesus Christ to come to earth and to sacrifice His life so that I might be able to return to Him. I love Him and am so grateful for him. I promise that when we truly humble ourselves, and pray to God in real relation to talking with our Father, he will bless us. He is waiting to. Don't cut off that line. I love you all and hope this week blesses you with all that you stand in need of. Go to the Father in prayer, and you will be helped.
Love, Äldste Johnson

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hey Friends and Family!
What is up?? I still can't believe it is a new year! Just last year, my cheeks were puffed up from my wisdom teeth surgery and I was blabbering and saying who knows what! A lot of things have happened since then, crazy crazy stuff. Well the last time I wrote was on thursday but I'm back to a normal Monday P-day schedule again so thats good. Congrats to Pops for becoming the 1st counselor to the bishop! I know you will be strengthened and do a wonderful job. 
This is where we meet for church

Friday: We had district meeting up in Norrköping, because half of our district is up there and they actually have a church building. We went over the new key indicators for the new year.  We talked about how it is possible to reach all of these numbers and that we aren't failing if we don't get them, as long as we strive for them every week to do a little more to be a little bit better.

In Habakkuk 2:2-4 it says that we should write down our vision, our goal, anything, so it can be made plain upon the tables. Also, when we write things down on earth, we know that it is written down in heaven. So if we have a vision of helping someone in need, teaching someone, thinking about someone to invite we should write it down because that makes it easier for God and his angels to see what we have in mind and they will know how and where to guide us and help those people that we are trying to find. Its really awesome to think about that! We took some personal time to think about our vision for ourselves in our areas, and then get together with our companions and talk a little bit about it. It was a very spiritual experience for me just pouring out my soul to God to let him know that I am ready and willing to do all that he wants me to do here in Linköping.  

Later that day, the T's, or the mission moving couple, came down to check out a new apartment around here. They stopped by our place to give us a couple of things, well mainly me, because I haven't had a pillow-so I was using my blanket as a pillow- and no comforter. So they got me those, and now, I am much better. I dont have a legit bed, its just 3 mattresses stacked on top of each other, which is nice but no lumbar support, so my back is always sore in the morning. They are working on finding me a new bed. Anywho, they went to check out a new apartment which had 100 applicants looking to take it but the owner sold it to them right then and there because she felt good about us!!! That is so cool! The Lord is definitely working with us even with things like apartments! It's amazing!

Sunday: Fast sunday is always just the best! I love how much closer to the spirit I get when I'm physically hungry because then I get spiritually fed a huge feast! We had most of our members there today, which was about 20, so that was really awesome for us getting to meet everybody including the branch president. Sister S, who is from Texas and married a Swede, wanted me to translate for her. I was scared out of my mind because I have never done that before. Its hard enough translating what people are saying into my own head, but to do that and then speak it out to someone else, boy thats rough! After struggling for awhile, she finally told me that she was messing with me and she understood just fine! Hahaha man, that was intense! She loves messing with missionaries I guess, and she got me good on that one! But then afterwards, I decided to try it even to myself; translate for myself and speak it out loud, softly, but enough to where I could hear myself. This really has already helped me out a ton, so I'm going to keep doing it.

Sunday school was awesome because I understood all the deepness on what was being talked about with Moses talking face to face with God, and being called to save Israel. It was an awesome lesson! Then priesthood we talked about Joseph Fielding Smith's life -wow, what a great man! This was the first sunday since I've been here in Linköping where we have had all 3 meetings. We met with the branch council and talked about the vision we see with the branch with investigators, less actives, home teaching, and having personal member missionary plans. They are all on board with it and want to get started ASAP! It was awesome to see how fired up they were about all of these things and seeing our vision come to pass!

I read 3rd Nephi till the beginning of Ether. It would be so hard to be Mormon and Moroni to see and witness the destruction of their people. Its incredible how great their faith was and their testimony that they knew the Book of Mormon would come forth in our days to help us. It makes me realize again how true this book is! I love reading it and all of the amazing insights I get from it. Take some time out of your day and read! I promise that it will help you no matter what! I love you all and so grateful for all that you do, keep going forward in faith and inviting all to come unto christ, even if it is in just the way you are living, keep it up!
Yes, I can cook.

Äldste Johnson

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Elder Johnson is doing the toe touch.

Whaddup Alihoppa! Its been a while since I've actually legitly written y'all an email. The holiday schedule was really crazy for us with transfers happening in the mix of it. Skype and talking with the family was definitely the best thing of the holiday. It was all I really needed and wanted from Christmas. Y'all have grown up so much in such a short amount of time! Gee whiz! The temperature has finally been coming back down again, though I did not have a white Christmas, something that I have always wanted but sadly never have had. I'm holding on for next year though, up in Norrland!!  
Downtown Linkoping

18 December 2013. This was transfer day, the prior couple of days was me saying goodbye and packing up stockholm. We received elder T so we had a threesome up until the zone conference when I would leave. (also, G family, took me up onto a mountain overlooking all of Stockholm. I decided I want to ask my future wife to marry me there on that spot. I even wrote it down on the tower that I was going to ha)

The 4 man group
19. Christmas zone conference= really good. I felt really inspired and want to get work. Then I travelled down to Linköping with Elders L (my comp), H (from Wasatch high school), and S (from Kentucky).

We have made some house rules to keep us in order and have respect for one another. Cleaning, eating, doing dishes is working good -we all take our turns. Elders L and S are very similar in the fact that they love games and arguing so me and Elder H just sit back and laugh at them. 

Streets are deserted at night
The area is fairly large, it is all of östergötland (sweden is divided into provinces, like this is where their different dialects come from. US has the same thing with the South, new england area, midwest, etc.) We have hardly seen the area, we have mostly been in stan (main city). The branch contains 15-20 active members, with about 90 on the list. In the area books we found at least 30 positive old/recent investigators. So Im excited to finally get to work with them. Its a very beautiful area. The city has like 200,000 people, so a tenth of what stockholm had, but it is still the 5th largest city in sweden i think. I love the smallness of it, yet it is still a big city feel. But one thing that is different is the streets are deserted at night. Not like in Stockholm. The outskirts are wide open areas that are just green pastures and forests. I'll need to take some pics of those and the area more.
The new apartment

20-23. Deep cleaning our big 4 man apartment the whole time along with going through 4 unorganized area books in order to separate and split our area equally and orderly. Also, making a google drive account on the computer of our ward list, less actives, and investigators. We tried to some contacting work but because the holidays had started and not too many people are in town.
My desk area

24.Visited the H family for christmas eve. A swedish tradition (all of sweden, seriously) is to watch kale anka och väner-Donald Duck and friends. It is little snipbits of cartoons and disney movies in swedish. It is really funny! We also ate dinner with them-lots of meat including eel (not too bad) and seal. We also got to walk their siberian husky (i want one of these) -it seriously looks like a wolf at night when its running, ahh. Then all 4 of us got home and read the Nativity story in Luke and sung some hymns before we opened presents. Lots of cool things-thanks everyone!! I really love you guys for that!
25. CHRISTMAS!!! What a stressful day, whew! Woke up late, missed the train to Norrköping for our District breakfast (us 4 in linköping, and 4- 2 and 2 elders and sisters- in norrköping are one district). I spilled food on my clothes, but eventually we made it all work. It was a very nice meal. Then we did secret santa gifts along with white elephant; For secret Santa I received sudoku toilet paper-which I am now hooked on...- and a tie. For white elephant I received a My Little Pony coloring book! So I was very happy about that:) Then, we were late, again, to the train to take us to the members place to skype the family. But we got there ok.
Thanks for the shirts Brock!
I got to talk with the fam, speak some swedish, and shed a few tears. Man, Brody and Carter are sooo big!! Plus it was a shock to see Nichole with a new baby on the way.  Out of everything that I got and that happened, skype was the only thing that I really needed and wanted. I havent really been homesick all that much, but talking with the family really helped me feel a lot better.

Missionary work is slow because people are out of town still and dont like to be bothered. I wanna go out and just teach and talk and do missionary work. That is fun to me. That has really been the hardest thing for me this holiday - no one to teach. So I've been reading a lot, studying scriptures a lot.  I've learned some interesting things.
31. New Years Eve, we spent at a members house playing mahjong-the real chinese way! (and also band hero, i dont know if that was ok or not, but we were with members and thats what we were told to do. I totally owned singing Michael Jackson's ABC:))  A lot of people have their own fireworks and they were going off around the neighborhoods-super loud and awesome! Its weird but the final moments before the new year, i always get really nervous or anxious about the new year. Its weird but funny! 

1. January 2014! Wow, that is so crazy that a new year has begun. Its good at this time of year to look back and see all that has happened, all that you have done and all that you can still improve on. We know that we cant be perfect in this life, but we can work towards perfection. There is always something that we can work on a little bit more to be a little bit better. This will be a full year of me being on a mission, whereas this last year was only halfway, and the same with 2015. So Im going to devote my whole self into this year to invite all to Come Unto Christ. 

We ate dinner and shared favorite scriptures with a member also on this day, who lived pretty far away. I read through the entire second book of Nephi in Swedish waiting for our train to take us home so that was really cool. I can't understand all of the words that I read, but I know the storyline really well because I have read the Book of Mormon so much, that I can piece together and make sense of the words I don't know with the context of the words I do know. It is very helpful! I'm hoping I can also finish this by June or maybe even earlier! Who knows, the new year looks very bright! Mainly because the days are starting to get longer (sun-wise), haha, no but really though. I think 2014 is going to be a good one for sure.

I love you all and am so grateful for your wonderful examples and the love and support you continually give me. I could not ask for a better family, could not ask for better friends, could not ask for a better gift than the Atonement. I am truly grateful for my Savior and that through him, I can work out my imperfections and make them my strengths. I can go through this year happy and positive with a hope that all that is in store for me is for my good. Nothing can tear me down as long as I put Him first. I love you all, have a great new year!