Kära family! I love you all so much! I got a great letter from the southern hemisphere. Glad you are surviving and I would say thriving! It sounds like you’re having my kind of adventure! But don't worry--I am not too envious. Although I do demand a trip back to Guatemala. That cave sounds awesome!! (Side note to mom... when I went through my cave adventure... there were quite a few times I was pretty scared... so you are definitely allowed to be scared :) And wasn’t Conference just awesome!! I think officially General Conference weekend is better than Christmas. Maybe if we had Christmas and General Conference weekend at the same time. I think I would like that the best.
Sooo the happenings in little Uppsala: Syster Erickson and I are just bonding. I love her so much. I couldn't have asked for a better trainer and friend. She is 5'9 and gives the greatest hugs when you need them... she always gives the perfect advice when I'm struggling with something and she also knows how to have a great time. She writes me little notes of encouragement a few times a week and then sticks them to the clock or stuffs it in my bag. This weekend as we were rushing around trying to get everything set and ready for Conference--I just couldn’t help but feel love for her. She is a great disciple of the Lord. SO that is number one blessing in my life. Thank you Heavenly Father!
On Mondays we get to go to hemafton (home evening with the single adults... all of about three girls and a couple from Austria (Alice and Benjamin) and a few other random stragglers. So two Syster missionaries greatly add to the activities. Well officially hemafton became my favorite night of the week. To begin our meeting we go around the circle and everyone says the highlight of his or her week. Jason (our new member who is becoming inactive... he is from Singapore 35 years old and thinks he is having his mid-life crisis right now... ha-ha he is a riot. Deep thinker and acts like he is 25 years old... he feels like life kind of left him behind), said his highlight was sitting on his favorite bench last week and talking with us about the gospel. I showed him a scripture in the dc about God being everywhere and in everything. He said it resonates with him. So we made his highlight!! Then we had our favorite investigator (ok... we cant have favorites... but we have a lot of hope for her because she is.... more normal than the rest of our investigators :) Ingrid comes to hemafton. And she said her highlight was meeting with Alice and us Wednesday night! She said she was having a really hard time with work and things and she felt really good after meeting with us... and she just started praying every night since then and she felt like it was really helping. OH! Boy!! Well that was just music to my ears and cake to my stomach. Hehe. It is true that as a missionary you go around trying to help people.... but often times you don’t really know if you are doing anything. So to see that we just made two peoples weeks! And that we actually helped someone change by beginning to pray! Ohh yaH! Awesome!
Next awesome blessing was district meeting. We focused on using the Book of Mormon in our lessons. Often times we will teach a lesson and testify all about how the Book of Mormon is the word of God, it changes lives, it is the evidence that our church is true... and yet we never use this evidence in the lesson. So! We all made a commitment to use the Book of Mormon in EVERY LESSON for the rest of our mission. A little intimidating because I really want to keep these commitments I am making. But Syster E and I have been following through and I really feel a difference. I think the biggest reason why people stay as investigators is because they really are not reading. It is interesting to me that each time we find someone new to teach... we are basically going in with the plan of changing their whole life. Following Christ really is giving up your life. But the reason why we do it is because when we do... we find this greater life that we had no idea was possible. It is beautiful.
This week Syster E and I were trying to invite a lot of people to General Conference. One of the things we would often tell people when they said they would come was to think of a question they had because they could receive an answer to it at Conference. So I began thinking about questions I wanted answered. One of them was... How has reading the Book of Mormon every day for the past 3 or more years changed my life? I had realized I kept promising people that the BOM would change their life... and I knew it had changed mine... but I couldn't really remember what life was like not reading. Sooo you all should ask yourself that question and try and answer it. How does reading the Book of Mormon everyday affect me... on a daily basis?
Conference was the best blessing of all though. We could only watch the morning sessions live. So the first one we watched was relief society session. We ended up having problems broadcasting it in English... so three of us piled into this little class room and streamed it from the computer (just like Katie and mom!). I LOVED IT. Uchtdorfs talk was perfect. As I sat there with these two other sisters... one Swede, one German, and one American... I just felt a love for the ward. It is a pretty small ward about 35 people each Sunday... maaaybe. And they have lots of funny characters. An old man named Karl Erik who likes to run things and causes lots of problems for the bishop... but he is so sweet to us... He fed us pancakes this week :) and a woman named Salme from Finland. She is shorter than me. We stopped by to do some service because her husband was in the hospital... oh my goodness.... I have never seen a house so full of.... STUFF. There was a little pathway to walk through the small apartment... and the bathroom... the tub had been converted into a closet... things were piled all the way to the ceiling! But we helped her do her laundry and sang love one another in Swedish and she sang it in finish... she is just too cute. The more I work with the members the more I have a desire to serve in a small struggling branch. They just need a few more just solid members to get things moving.
Sunday came and we again couldn’t get it to broadcast in English... so we had 10 of us piled into the room. See all the Swedes can understand English... And listening to a translation of elder Holland... just doesn’t do it justice. So a lot of the Swedes just like to listen to it in English. I was a little stressed because we were trying to help Jason have a great time and receive some personal revelation. We had 3 investigators at different sessions... and just trying to help everyone have a good atmosphere. After priesthood session and before the Saturday afternoon session played Syster E and I fed everyone with potatoes and ham and random fruits and veggies. Our investigators had a great time and so did the members. It felt good to have everyone gathered together. Then after the Sat afternoon session the single adults had a meal and we were invited to join them. Once again I felt a feeling of love for this small ward and its members trying to do the best they can. AND THEN! Miracles of miracles! We fixed the satellite and got to watch the Sunday morning session on the big screen in the chapel. Best session ever. (I still haven’t gotten to watch Sunday evening yet).
Favorite talk was Eyring's. He talked about how he couldn’t NOT be a witness of Christ... how he prepared for that talk and the woman later on said she heard the words of God. He was just a powerhouse. I think I liked it the best because I know that I have the same job right now... to be a witness of Christ. Often times I wonder why people listen to me... my Swedish is not that good... and I’m just a little girl. But after listening to each of these 12 apostles and the prophet bear their testimony on how they knew the Book of Mormon was true and Christ was their savior... I thought, "YAH! That’s right! Who could deny these powerful men and their word?". All of our investigators need to listen to Callister's talk. I just feel like I am not alone in doing this. Those strong men who lead the church are doing the same thing. Preaching, teaching, and testifying of Christ. I am honored to serve along side them. Overall I felt like all of Conference was focused on the Book of Mormon and how it was the core. What did you all like the best? And why?
Last funny story: we have one woman named Maj (pronounced my) who came to relief society and the sat morning session. She listened to Barbra Thomson's talk in relief society in Swedish... and then she came and joined us in the room to listen to it in English. When Barbra came on again she grabbed her head and stated loudly "oh NO!"... She didn’t say anything after that ... so I said, "What’s wrong"... she said... "In the last session I fell asleep when she talked"... hehehehhehe ooooh boy. If only she knew how many people fall asleep during Conference... too funny.
LOVE YOU ALL BUNCHES! Keep reading and praying everyday. I know it makes a difference. I received my answer.