I love you all so much. Reading your letters always make me smile. Lets see if I can give you a little taste of Uppsala, Sweden...
The weather is getting colder as of Saturday. And it is slowly getting darker and darker... NO!! But the leaves are falling off trees and it reminds me of Connecticut. Our spot to teach people most often is in the Carolina Rivera Library. It is the grand old building on the top of a big hill. And when you are standing outside the doors (the doors to the building are about 12 ft high.... or more) and you look down the hill--there are colorful trees lining the main road and lots of students on bikes and old people with awesome British looking hats. It is beautiful. And to the right side the Dome Kyrkan rises high out of the trees. It is the biggest Church in Scandinavia. (To me it looks like all the other old churches we saw in Germany and Portugal... and all over Europe.... but it is cool to have your own huge church right in your backyard).
Every morning we trade off running or working out inside. Syster E likes to lift weights... so when we stay inside I usually trade off doing Christa's workout and P 90 X abripperX. Running of course is my favorite... but we only have time for 15 to 20 mins of running (not nearly enough). But Uppsala has great little paths through forests. My favorite trail is through a small path and then it opens up into this huge field with horses and little trails that weave throughout the whole place. It is magnificent to see as the sun rises. Breakfast usually comprises of bran flakes mixed with granola or muesli. My favorite part of the morning is getting to sit and eat and listen to a conference talk from my iPod. I am so grateful for general authorities. I receive a lot of strength from listening to their testimonies and following their counsel. I still haven’t been able to listen to the last session of conference but I heard it was really good.
Then we have about 4 hours of study. One hour for personal study. Two hours for companionship study (it is usually one hour... but they have started a new program called the "12 week program" for all new missionaries and their trainers.) and then an hour of language study. Then we have an hour for lunch... and then its out the door and adventures to be had.
This week we got to do some service for members of the ward. I think I mentioned Syster Uhrobom last week... But we went back over again to her house to help her clean. She is 4’ 10”... maybe and kind of hard to understand. And there are piles of things everywhere. With only one pathway through the little apartment, only one person can walk through at a time. But we had a great time trying to dust and vacuum in the little uncluttered areas. I still am amazed at how much stuff she fits in her apartment. We found a piano hidden back against the wall. Syster E had to climb her way over a few piles to finally uncover it. She ended up playing hymns and we all sang together. Nothing sweeter. I love little old ladies!
Maj Maj is making progress! This week we went over to clean her house... I am never ... never going to have cats. And I am always always going to clean every week (mom keep me to that). So we had to do a lot of dusting and collecting of cat hair. I tried to keep the cat hair away from my face and didn’t have too bad of a time with it. Syster E on the other hand.... she was coughing and crying and sneezing within 20 mins. Well Maj was so thankful but we didn’t really get to give her a good lesson after that. We really wanted to invite her to be baptized (again)... but she still wasn't really sure about it. She said... maybe if she knew the book was true ... maybe December. Well we walked out feeling a little at a loss. But I think there really is a lot of power to teaching one of the lessons from the restored gospel (from PMG). When we just try and share a spiritual thought and discuss... there just isn’t the same spirit. So we set up another time to teach her this week and invited to member to come with. Well! This was a whole different ball game. We taught her the third lesson (Jesus Christ's Gospel) at the church with a member. Right as we began she got out a piece of paper to take notes on! Oh! It was beautiful. I also had to lead the lesson... and it just went great. We read from 2 Nephi 31 and explained the 5 steps of what we have to do in life to make it back to heavenly father. It was beautiful. At the end we invited Maj to get baptized on November 19th. And she said yes :) So! There is still much to do but I think she is our most positive investigator. She is about 65 years old... she is a guitar teacher... she was in a rock band... a little rough around the edges... but she is so sweet. And something amazing happened! We called members in the ward on Saturday to sit next to her at church and talk to her... well! Sunday came around and they actually did it! (Swedes don’t tend to be the best fellowshippers...). And the most amazing thing happened is that one of the women we asked invited her and us over for dinner! Our very first Sunday dinner with a member and they even invited our investigator. Oh what a wonderful day!
Andres is this younger guy... who has a beard like the people do in fiddler on the roof. He called us two weeks ago and said that he was reading the book of Mormon in the library... he had ran into a missionary 6months ago ... twice... and so he thought that was a sign from God. Well we had our second lesson with him this week. Not so good. He walked in, sat down and said... I don’t think I'm really interested in being baptized. These were my thoughts... 1. Well its a good thing he knew what our purpose was... 2. WHAT! No no no! We walked him through a bit. Watched the talk by Callister from General Conference (SOO GOOD)... He talked about either the Book of Mormon is a huge lie or it is God's book. Well we in the end told Andres... if he hasn’t read the book than he can't know if it is true or not. We taught him the plan of salvation and read a lot of scriptures with it. So we shall see what happens.
Another favorite part of my week was taking the bus to the Bishops house and cleaning their windows. I know mom... I never liked cleaning before... but now it's one of the high lights of my week. Syster E and I sang Disney songs and talked with the bishop’s wife. I think my favorite part about the mission so far has been creating friendships with these sweet people. I just wish more people wanted to be our friends! :)
My last story: On Sunday we went and visited a new couple that just moved into the area. The boy was a return missionary from UT and the girl was from Sweden who had grown up in the church in Stockholm. Well they hadn't been coming to church... so it was our job to go see what was up and invite them to come back. They invited us in and were really nice. Asked us all about the mission and our lives before hand. Then when it came down to it... they told us... well we have just decided to leave the faith. Not only are they not coming to church... they don't believe in God. We sat and listened to their story. They both talked about how they hadn’t felt like they had ever really gotten an answer--what they had felt previously were just feelings they had made up. They were both really nice... but it just scared me to see how fragile someone’s testimony can be when they stop doing the small simple things. That was one of the only questions we asked them.... "When did you stop reading your scriptures?" They said we could come back and talk and discuss... I don't know exactly what to do with them... but we shall trust in the lord and see what is best. It is hard sometimes when you just have to let people make their own choices.
So... Please please read your scriptures every day and pray every day. That is all I ask of you all.
Love Syster Schneiber