Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dec. 10: A Last Letter of Joy

Dear Family,

Wow. Here goes my last missionary letter! These weeks just keep going by so fast. This week we had some wonderful things happen. I don't even know where to begin.. PS. I'm writing to you in the middle of a snow storm!

Lets start with Sunday. I love church! We were sitting in our meeting with our mission leader (Samuel Caballero... Awesome mission leader!) and I looked out the window and there was Ondrej and his wife Slatta walking into the parking lot. They walked to church!! It took them about an hour. What dedication! He came up to me with a big smile on his face and motioned with his fingers that he walked to church.. and then said "Måste komma till kyrkan!" (Need to come to church!) He speaks very very very little Swedish. Ondrej's daughter has a hard time coming to church every week. She has four kids and not a lot of money and a lot of things going on. So we usually try and go over on Saturdays and get them excited to come to church. But this Saturday we went to the Copenhagen temple! And when we came back we didn't have any time to go visit them. We just figured that they probably wouldn't come to church. So when Ondrej showed up on his own!! He sat through the whole first meeting with no one to translate for him.. But he knew how important it was to come to church!! I felt like a mother.. so proud of him! We also got a Gospel Principles book for him in Slovak and after he explained how he came to church he pulled out the book and showed me three chapters he had already read. He was so proud of himself! :) That was probably the greatest gift.

But this was not the only gift I received this week. When Syster Werjefelt was sick a month ago I found an old investigator named Björn. I called him up and asked him if we could meet. He said yes and invited us over for Lunch. Since then we have taught him four other times. Two being this week. Björn was a huge blessing! I wish you could all meet him and hope you do get to meet him someday. As we taught him this week... I was reminded why I love being a missionary soo much. There is nothing better then teaching someone who is receptive to our message. He has meet lots of missionaries over many years.. but never really taken the discussions from one set of missionaries. So we are teaching him all over. On Saturday we taught him at a members house who he is friends with. It was AMAZING. We got down to the main problem and he also told us that he knew the Book of Mormon is true. Now he is at a cross roads and needs to make a decision. It is amazing to see how quickly you can develop love for someone when you share the message of the gospel. I hope Björn can receive faith, courage, and take a step into the unknown and follow Christ. For the unknown will be greater than any life he could create on his own.

I too feel a little nervous. Ending the mission is like a roller coaster. Lots of different emotions throughout one day. But this unknown will be filled with light and joy if I choose to follow my Savior. (I plan on following him too :)

I also got to go to the temple in Denmark on Saturday with three amazing women from our branch. Marie Jacobsson, Ellie Rhodes, and Claudia Correa! I love these women so much! I feel as though they have been my mothers, sisters, and friends these past four months here in Kristianstad. It was a wonderful experience to go to the temple with them. I loved every moment and I was reminded of the BIGGER PICTURE of life. I am so grateful for the plan of salvation and the temple.

There is much more I could share.. but I'm running out of energy to write these long letters to you all! I think Heavenly Father helped me write all these letters these past 18 months.

Well! See you soon!!!

I love you all, and I love being a missionary!

Syster Schneiber II

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dec. 3: Let it snow!

Dear Family!

I don't have much time to write today.. we are going to have a missionary Christmas party in Lund! and we had a late start going because there is SNOW COVERING EVERYTHING!! Yes... i made syster werjefelt bike in the snow.. just so we can save time.. :) Don't worry mom. I'm wearing my helmet!

I LOVE the snow! and I love Christmas! and I love Swedish christmas! and I love church during Christmas! Yesterday we had a wonderful testimony meeting. Everyone was happy and shared about how thankful they were for LIFE! Isn't life just wonderful? :)

Well.. This week started out a little rocky. We have been going a little bit slower.. and our friends that we have been teaching are dropping like flies. Our days seem to be a little bit empty. But in a way I think it is a good thing because we get to go at a little better pace of life. I have found, being on the mission, that lots of people don't seem to like going at my rushed pace. And to tell you the truth it is a little nice to go at a slower pace. You get to enjoy life a little better. Swedish mentality is definitely more calm and easy going. "ta det lugn" ... a very Swedish phrase.

Also ending the mission.. I all the sudden get these thoughts like.. Have I done everything? Have I really done my best? Have I used my time wisely? Did I talk to EVERyONe I could? And then I realize that I was not perfect throughout the past year and a half and I am filled with regrets.. oh no. I have been a terrible missionary. These were the feelings that plagued me at the beginning of the week. Thank goodness for companions though! As we sat Tuesday morning discussing what we learned I had a little break down and shared all my feelings with sys werjefelt. She was calm :) and knew just what to say. Next day I also received a letter from a good friend. He has been like an extra trainer throughout my mission. He wrote to me about exactly what I was feeling and shared with me how he overcame those feelings while he was on his mission. Perfect timing.

I also had another little experience this weekend. We had this last minute big decision to make Friday evening. It was to cancel our plans for Saturday and go to the Copenhagen temple the next day with the young adults and the elders in Lund. (I wont be able to go through the temple one last time before I go home because we leave on a Tuesday early morning and the temple is closed Monday morning.. so we got permission to go on our own time). We had thought about going my last Saturday... but suddenly we were offered this chance and it was a free car ride. Friday night I sat there unsure of which option to take. I did pro's and con's and tried to figure out what to do. I didn't want to cancel on the lessons we had set up on Saturday... but it would be really fun to go with all the youth and it was free... ugg!

I prayed and felt like it would be best to stay and hope that everything would work out for us to go again.

Saturday morning I sat reading and wondering about if I was really a good missionary. I had once again felt an overwhelming feeling that I was not doing my best and that I was not a good missionary. I read "Preach My Gospel" in the first chapter about "How to be a successful missionary" In there it said "Do not be discouraged in yourself. You can know that the Lord is happy with you when you feel the Holy Ghost working through you." ... humm.. I thought.. is the Holy Ghost working through me?

Right then the phone rang and we got a text message. It was from one of our wonderful members who we would be helping that day, Ellie. Ellie's aunt had just moved in and one of the things that we had scheduled for the day was to go help her unpack. Ellie texted us about somethings we would be helping with today and how much her aunt really appreciated us coming to help her.

At that moment I was filled with such gratitude that we had decided to stay home and not go to the temple. I was so glad I didn't have to text her and say.. oh sorry we are not going to be coming to help you today. I realized that the Holy Spirit had worked through me and guided me to know what would be best to do.

I learned I might not be the perfect missionary. I might have missed a lot of opportunities.. etc. But the Lord can still use imperfect tools to help build his perfect kingdom.

Heavenly Father is the best planner in the world. I don't know how he can answer everyone's prayers at just the right moment. I talked to Ellie about how she had answered my prayer on Sunday. She said... "I was just lying in bed and I felt like I needed to text you right then and there. So I did."

WELLL! You will be getting one more letter from me! I'll be home sooner than you know it. Don't expect anyone special to come back... I'm still littl' ol' imperfect me :)


Syster Schneiber

Nov. 26: Pictures!

beach soccer with a football :) in the middle of winter
our thanksgiving party :)
Another heart attack to our sick mission leader samuel
Simon and his family! (these pictures didn't turn out so well.. theyare a little blurry)
Simon and us!

Nov. 26: Thanksgiving

Dear Family!!

Life is swell. I think I got a sinus infection this week but not to worry. Syster Werjefelt took good care of me and made me rest and get medicine. She made fun of me and said she was going to remember me as the snot lady. I am always amazed by how much snot the body can produce. SOO many tissues! And Happy thanksgiving!!

We only have a few American families in the ward and so I asked one of them what they were going to be doing for thanksgiving. They said they would be celebrating it on Saturday with a few other families in the ward. After asking I was hoping we would get invited as well… but no invitation came. I was thinking this might be a not so great thanksgiving. BUT! Then another family came up and invited us over to their thanksgiving on Thursday night! Yay!! I don’t know what I would do without a ward. They really do become your family.

This Sunday our relief society lesson was on a talk from General Conference called “Ask the Missionaries.” I remember listening to this talk and thinking.. o boy I am one of those missionaries. The talk is all about how “the missionaries” are the ones to turn to for all the questions one can have. It seems that we are the solution to any problem  As I listened to the talk I thought.. I don’t feel like I can really solve all those problems! Yikes. So the teacher asked me in the lesson about some of them major things I had learned on my mission… seeing as I was a missionary preparing to go home.

I told her that I had learned a lot… One thing in particular was that I was not sent here to Sweden to just help those who were not a part of this church. I felt I have been sent here to help many of the active members.

The teacher had talked about how it was interesting that they had chosen this talk for the lesson because she felt like it was more directed towards non-members and less-actives. But when I listened to it.. many of the situations that Elder Nelson brings up.. are problems that active members have.

This might not be interesting to all of you.. but I really loved the lesson.. and moral of the story is USE YOUR MISSIONARIES! Love them, get to know them and make them a part of your family and then introduce them to all your friends and extended family 

Simon was baptized!! Finally. Our 9 year old little friend has been sick and lots of other problems that have stopped him from getting baptized the past month. But this Sunday it all worked out. It was definitely the calmest and easiest baptism to prepare and it was really beautiful. 

We had some wonderful miracles this week. Simple miracles. It is funny the blessings I write down in my journal each day. Monday we went to Lund to have a little thanksgiving party with some of the elders in near-by areas. We played Frisbee and sand soccer! And we had planned a fun activity for the evening and invited all of our friends. Throughout the day we got texts back from them saying.. no I cant come.. im too busy.. etc. I felt like I usually would start getting stressed and really worried.. But I have been doing this for quite some time now and I know Heavenly Father will help it all work out. And what do you know..! We had a good turn out of people and had a great evening. Big thanks to our amazing member Hadi!! You all need to meet Hadi. I told you about him before that he was a muslim studying here in Sweden from Iran. Syster Vistaunet and Syster Jacobs were teaching a Chinese member at his school and Hadi was in the background and heard them talking.. and he was interested to hear more about Christ and the Bible. So he came up to them and asked them if he could learn more after they were done teaching. He is now one of the strongest members I have ever met. And definitely the best missionary I have ever met. He has introduced us to all his friends and we have taught many of them.

We also got to FINALLY meet with our cute Vietnamese friend Hang again! Her schedule has opened up a bit and she invited us over to her home to have Vietnamese food. It was soo much fun. We had a big bowl of soup with meet and noodles and ate with chopsticks. Syster Werjefelt had a rough time eating with chopsticks and they all had a great laugh watching her try. 

Thanksgiving we spent with the wonderful Larsson family. The wife, Lisa is from UT and she married a wonderful Swedish man, Bert. They lived in the states for a long time and then moved to Sweden. Their two kids have mostly lived in Sweden. Lisa doesn’t have any American relatives here in Sweden.. just Berts family. So she wasn’t sure if she really wanted to have a big thanksgiving party this year but her son is on a mission in Wisconsin and she knew how important it would be to her that someone took in her son for Thanksgiving. So she said that she threw thanksgiving mostly for us  She also invited all of Berts family for dinner (non of them are members of the church). It was lots of fun getting to be with a family and especially getting to know all of these fun Swedish people. Before we had to leave I just wanted to thank them all.. and I told them about the tradition we have at home to go around the table and everyone gets a chance to say what they are thankful for. SO I just told them what I was thankful for. And then everyone else wanted to join in. It was interesting to hear what they all said what they were most grateful for… Family.

So family! I have loved being here in Sweden.. it has been an amazing year filled with lots of wonderful people that I have come to love. I will miss them a lot. But I have also recognized how MUCH I LOVE YOU ALL.


Syster Schneiber II

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nov 12: Who Shall Separate Us from the Love of Christ?

Dear Family!!

Hejsan och hur går allt med er!? jag borde prata mer svenska med er så att ni kan prata svenska när jag kommer tillbaka. Jag älskar er och ser framemot att vara med er snart!

Translation: Hello and how is everything with you? I should talk more Swedish with you so that you can speak Swedish when I come back. I love you and look forward to being with you soon!

Okej! what a wonderful life! This morning syster Werjefelt and I woke up and we had decided to push our beds together. Well I decided to steam roller over her to wake her up. Then we got the brilliant idea to come to the church and play ping pong for our exercise this morning and study at the church and then write to the family. It was a great plan until we got here and only found a broken ball :( but we made the best of it. We live right near a big arena and on Saturday two of our members were in a big ping pong tournament. So we decided to go check it out Saturday morning. I have never seen sOO many ping pong boards in one room with so many awesome players. It was awesome. So we just really wanted to play ping pong after that. While we were at the ping pong tournament we got to meet a few friends of our members and invited them to learn more. I love finding people through new ways :)

The big event for this week was having splits on Thursday. The systers from Alingsås (Syster Talbot and Syster Jacobs) came down to Kristianstad on Thursday and I was going to take syster Jacobs around and syster Werjefelt was going to have syster Talbot as her companion. Let me tell you... it is not easy planning a whole day of missionary work for one companionship... let alone planning TWO full schedules of missionary activities. So we started planning Thursday on Monday. We just scheduled everything for Thursday :) We were a little worried the rest of the week we wouldn't have anything to do.. but we did :) So Wednesday night came and everything was looking beautiful when one of syster Werjefelts main appointments canceled. NO!!! what should we doo!? I was thinking.. if someone canceled on in my schedule it would be ok..we'd find something to do.. but I was worried about helping sys Werj having the best first time leading the whole day. She was going to be in charge. As we sat there thinking the phone rang. It was Björn.

Let me back up. Last week Syster Werj was sick and so I got to spend some time looking through the missionary area book where they have records of all the old investigators they have taught in the past years. Well I found one guy named Björn. We ended up meeting him this Tuesday. The lesson went well but at the end he didn't really seem interested in trying to find out if the church was true during this time. Sys Werj and I were both sad.. but we gave it our best shot and all we can do is invite people.. we cant force anyone.

So Wednesday evening.. Björn calls and says.. you know it was so nice meeting with you guys. I really enjoyed talking with you. Do you think you have some more time this week to meet and talk? WHA?!! yesss.. tomorrow? It worked out perfectly! I love Heavenly Fathers timing.

Thursday came! and I LOVED being with syster Jacobs. She has two older sisters who are the same ages as Katie and Christa and she has a younger brother who is the same age as Erik. She is just happy and full of energy :) I really felt like it was just too much fun to be with her. We went to Hässleholm which is a town right outside of Kristianstad. We took with us a Young Woman named Javi (she is from Chile and wants to serve a mission!! she is 17 right now). We just rocked the whole day with amazing lessons one after the other. It is days like these that I walk out of a lesson and just cant stop smiling and LOVE being a missionary and could do this for the rest of my life. My favorite lesson was with an amazing man named Daniel. He served a mission when he was younger but had to come home early due to some kind of sickness/emotional problem. At that time they didn't know what it was.. He became inactive afterwards.

We had come by two weeks ago and knocked on his door and he was home! (that was a huge miracle) and he said.. "well i've been trying to sort of avoid you guys..." But we smiled and asked if we could come back. He hesitated for a moment but then said ok. So I was a little nervous about what we could say to touch him and invite him to start coming back to Christ. Right now he is sjukskriven (he cant work due to sickness) and is having a really tough time. This week I have been studying hope and I just felt like that is what we needed to talk to him about. And then I was looking through my ipod and I have some Mormon Messages on there and I clicked on one and it was PERFECT. (I believe this is the same Mormon message that erik sent me one day when he had come home from his mission.. )

well to make a long story short: We came in, showed this clip with him and then syster Jacobs turned to him and asked him how he FELT during it. He opened up and told us about his worries and there was such a strong spirit in the room. He has gone through a lot and has a hard time with "Faith" and really knowing if God is there and "Feeling" the holy Ghost. It seemed to fit perfectly with what I experienced myself in Uppsala. We testified and taught and I could just feel a strong love for this man. I believe it was Heavenly fathers love for his son and his pure desire to really know if his Heavenly Father was there for him. I walked out with a peace and joy and love that could sustain me through the darkest of dark nights.

I was reminded while sitting there that all the hard challenges we each face are for a purpose. They are not given to us to beat us down and kill us. They are given to us so that we might rise above. I am so grateful for the small challenges I have faced in my short life for they too have given me the chance to better understand Gods children around me, my brothers and sisters... and so that I might better be able to lead a helping hand, a listening ear, and an embracing hug.

There is much more I could write about this week. But I think I will leave it at that. I love you all and hope you all know that Heavenly Father loves YOU. And he has sent certain people to you that you too can help and uplift. And he has also sent certain people to you to uplift and help you during your times of need. And don't forget our savior who understands it all.

Romans 8

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Syster Schneiber II

Nov 5: 5 Pictures

1. claudia and us (we love our spanish members!)
2. kevins baptism (our little 8 year old) and Peter Eriksson who baptized him
3. Our branch council :)
4. Sara! our third companion! She will be a missionary soon!
5. Us in the warm sunshine

Nov. 5: hej hej!

Dear Family,

This week was sick week. Syster Werjefelt, She had magsjuck (stomach flue) on Wednesday and we stayed in all day. Usually those days are really hard for me. But I was productive and did a lot of good work at home and sys Werj was a great sport and a happy sick person.

We had so many great positive people we were going to meet with at the beginning of the week. Most of them canceled or said they weren't interested :( So now we are back to the beginning. This is a normal part of missionary work. People have their agency. Even though this was difficult to face... I still could feel that I did the best I could do and could still be happy. When things are down and not going so well that just means that miracles are around the corner.

I don't have a lot of time but I just wanted to tell you about how much I love Sundays!

This Sunday as we headed to church syster Werj was still not feeling so well and it is not always that easy to be positive when things aren't looking so good. It seems every Sunday as we head out.. there seems to be no hope. I got into the chapel and this woman misunderstood me when I tried to compliment her and she got a little angry at me.. We then had a little meeting and as we were saying to closing prayer I realized I had talked the whole time and didn't give sys Werj any chance to talk.. so I beat up on myself a little. I realized this was not the best way to begin church. So! I went to the bathroom and had a little prayer. As I ended the prayer two young women walked in.. and I couldn't help but smile. Then as I sat down for Relief Society.. Marie Jacobsson walked in and got a big smile and chose to sat down right next to us and gave us a big hug. The day just kept getting better. Our less active family showed up to church! and then an investigator walked in for Sunday school.

(one thing I'm looking forward to when i come home is not having to plan a gospel principles class every week for people of three different languages and all at different levels in the gospel... that is HARD.. and I usually only have 1 hour to prepare.. or less on Sunday morning)

Our Sunday school class went really well as we talked about faith and for sacrament meeting I got to sit up on the stand and speak into this little mic to translate for the English speakers. I had a lot of fun with it. I really like translating because I have to focus on what everyone says and I get a lot more out of the meeting... and it was fast Sunday! those are my favorite meetings.

So.. the moral of this story is.. Sundays are the best. Even if they start out seeming hard... say a little prayer and you will find joy in your day.

I love you all!

Syster Schneiber