Saturday, November 12, 2011

Surströmming and haircuts

Dear Family,
What a great day to be alive! Well missionary work is always filled with fun adventures and that is what this week was all about. Start off with last P-Day!
We had a missionary Halloween party. We rode the train to Gubbängen and met at the stake building there. There were probably about 30 or so missionaries and we had a blast. I played Basketball (little did you know I’ve been working on my bball skills), tried my hand at Innebandy... a Swedish floor hockey game. It brought back memories of field hockey. And then had a blast playing Frisbee out in this big field. Nothing beats a great game of frisbee! I'm so glad Syster Erickson likes frisbee and is the one who supplies the frisbee disk. When she goes home I don't know what we will do. But the grand finale was the best. Syster E and I found four cans of Surströmming in our church fridge. For those of you who don’t know... this is what Wikipedia has to say on the dish:
               "Swedish "soured (Baltic) herring") is a northern Swedish dish consisting of fermented Baltic herring. Surströmming is sold in cans, which often bulge during shipping and storage, due to the continued fermentation. When opened, the contents release a strong and sometimes overwhelming odor, which explains why the dish is often eaten outdoors. A Japanese study has shown that the smell of a newly opened can of surströmming is the most putrid smell of food in the world...."
So! We talked to some members and they gave us specific directions on how to eat this. You need: 
  1. Boiled potatoes. 
  2. Raw onions. 
  3. A forest... or some place far away from other people. 
  4. If possible a bucket of water.  
  5. Can opener.
Directions:  Go out into the forest and open the can under water in the bucket. Don’t let any of the oils touch your clothes because you will have to just throw them away if the smell gets on it.  Once the can is open pick out a fish and put it with a potato and raw onion and eat away!  (The forest is very important... supposedly you can get a fine if you open it up near people.  And if you open it up inside your house will stink for a month.  
So we had a grand time opening up the fish out in the field and tasting it. The smell was gross. The fish itself wasn’t that bad. Opening it up in water helped a lot. The worst part is the after affect. For the next 5 hours I kept burping up the smell. OO it was sooo gross! But definitely worth the experience! :)

Onto the important missionary adventures for the week. Where to start!?  Well Håkan is getting baptized next week if all goes according to plan. We had him read the baptismal interview questions and he looked back at us with a confused look and said, "Is this all!?"  Is this all! Geez it would be great to have every investigator like this. He has been searching his whole life for the right religion and the moment he heard about the restoration he said ... this is it. I'm probably getting spoiled working with him because he is so easy. But every investigator has their challenges. He is having a hard time with his friends and how they are judging him. So we have had quite a roller coaster with him.

I also taught the lesson for District Meeting this week. I had been thinking a lot about the spirit and so decided to focus on how we recognize the spirit in our work. As a missionary you hear a lot about working and teaching with the spirit. So I felt worried that I didn't really feel anything too special. In fact all these great things were happening... but it was more like we were stumbling into them. I was thinking I would get these thoughts... go talk to that person... or go down this street. But what in reality happens is... We just plan our day... I just try and smile and people and talk to the people I sit next to on the bus... and the Lord just kind of puts people in my way.

In preparing my lesson I began with what I wanted to commit my district members to. I wanted everyone to take the week and write down how the Holy Ghost had worked through them that day. In chapter 4 of PMG there is a big list of ways the holy ghost can influence us. Whether it is feelings of peace and joy, or understanding scriptures, or having a certain thought. And I know that if we take more time to recognize the spirit and write it down the more the spirit will be able to work with us.  As I continued to study though I learned something really interesting. In the Bible Dictionary under Holy Ghost it says that we are sanctified by the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Sanctification is a very interesting idea. I think in the end I realized that the Holy Ghost isn’t really something foreign you feel... it is more that it acts as a cleansing agent. It what all the sudden makes me want to do the dishes for my mom... or gives me more patience with my brother. Etc. During the district meeting I tried to search inside me to see if I was feeling a "burning in the bosom...” I didn’t really sense anything... but what I did notice is that I just had a desire to be good. That is the Holy Ghost.

Next awesome adventure! Jason is still holding on there. I called up the missionaries who baptized him... we were just going to give up on him... but they gave me hope. When he found out we were going to drop him... it hit him and running back he came. We meet at the church on Friday... and spur of the moment Syster e and I decided to give him a haircut during the lesson. (I am not sure if that is against missionary rules.... but! it was needed).  So I read with him Alma 32 and about how he needed to nurture his ground while Syster E clipped away. I sent some pictures of before and after. It was so great. He ended up writing a letter to the other missionaries and this is what he said
"Thanks for telling Sister Schneiber and Syster Erickson not to give up on me. Anyway, that kind of jolted me awake a little. I saw how I was spiritually straying from the path got lost in the wilderness (yet again) but those two messengers (angels) from God were there to help me get back on track, one step at a time.
But that foray into the wilderness only served to strengthen the faith it seems: when the darkness lifts, things become so much clearer. Maybe it has the effect of a vaccine: the spiritual immune system can now better recognize the devil's repertoire of traps."
  Missionary work is awesome!! The Lord lets me take part in his work and it is always cool to see the affects of it pay off. Jason really is awesome. One thing that I have noticed with Jason... is that it takes TIME. This didn’t all happen in one night during a haircut.  This has taken numerous weekly visits and phone calls to try and help him along.

Maj- also shown in a picture is just amazing. Sometimes I am surprised at how she just keeps going with us. Quitting smoking is really hard for her. But we taught her about fasting last week and she fasted on Sunday!! It was really hard for her and she slept through a few meetings :) But she did it! As I was talking to her on the phone last night she said she just has a desire to follow the commandments... and she is willing to change. This old woman rocker... who has been through a lot of different things recognizes the Lord and is willing to submit to him. Wow. I know this gospel is true because there is no other way she would be willing to follow the commandments otherwise.  Amazing how the Lord softens hearts when they are willing to let him in.

 Lastly! I love the scriptures!  Today I read 1 Nephi 17 and 18.  And I just had to share some verses that I loved.  17:2 talks about how they had to wade through afflictions and then two lines later he says how great were their blessings! Afflictions and blessings seem to go hand in hand. I guess that’s why people say that the hardest things in life are always the greatest. 17:13 talks about how the lord prepares a way for them through the wilderness. I really feel the same way on the mission. I might not get specific promptings to tell me where to go... he just makes the path I choose... filled with people to talk to. And lastly 17:50 Nephi says *if God commandant me to do all things...I could do them... if he asked me to turn the water into earth... I could do it".  That is so awesome. What faith!... of course it has to be what the lord commands... but when he does... all things are possible.

I love you all so much! Sorry I don’t have so much time to write personal letters today ... but know that I love you all. :)

Love Syster Schneiber!
Syster Erickson and Syster Schneiber in Stockholm

Vacuuming up fruit flies
Jason, me, Syster E on Jason's favorite park bench
Broccoli, a peace offering
Jason, pre-haircut
Jason after
Me, Maj, and Syster E.
Ingrid and Syster Erikcson are in the front. Louise and Melena (members) are in the back.
All the missionaries gathered around the surströmming (really stinky fish- Swedish tradition but tastes horrible).

1 comment:

  1. YOu can't have a blog without responses, Jacqueline!! :) HOW exciting for you to be in Sweden. I scrolled down and just read most of your entries thru the fall and you are just THRIVING there, girl. Having an amazing experience huh? There is nothing else like mission work in a very foreign country, even though the sharing the gospel part is the same everywhere. Sounds like the language is easy for you, and you are loving it. I served in France and Belgium and know how hard it is so many days. So hang in there. Spend lots of time on your knees. Be happy. Look for the little things and know that you plant lots of seeds. LOTS. And most of them you will never see the results but doesnt mean they don't grow. Go get em sweet girl. Love to you, Sister Bryant :):)