Sweden Stockholm Mission

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!

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