SO! First off... We got a call on Saturday... I've gotten the boot and I'm going to Jönköping. My new companion will be Syster Dabb!! She was Syster Wintertons trainer... so I'm just hopping from one trainer to another :) But I am actually really excited. I have heard a lot of great things about her... and I hear I am a lot like her. She likes to run (yahoo) and she is one of the best sister missionaries in Sweden. (but... we don’t compare soo... she is just awesome). I am excited for all that I get to learn from her. It is sad to be leaving Uppsala right before Christmas. I have really grown to love this small little ward. This Sunday was testimony meeting and a group of Americans came to visit. We don’t have any headphones to translate yet... so I ended up sitting behind them and trying to translate for 3 of them while Syster E did the rest. As I sat there translating... every time another member would get up, I would worry a little if I would be able to translate what they said... if they went off on random tangents I would be lost. But!! Even though the church is small here--they are founded on the right rock. They were all simple and pure testimonies of the Christ, his church, and the Book of Mormon. It was wonderful. My love for them increases every time I see them and here of all the ways they are trying to come unto Christ. This Sunday was also special because Håkan received the priesthood and then passed the sacrament!! Oh what a beautiful day. And he got up and bore his testimony... ah! I just love him. Some times you worry about your investigators and if they will be a help to the ward or just be one more inactive member they will need to visit. Håkan is definitely there to uplift and help the ward grow. He is awesome... and the most amazing part is... I really don’t think any of it was me... I just got to be this person on the side of the road that holds up a sign... "THIS WAY TO CHRIST!"
Maj... well she is going to keep needing some more prayers :) This past week was really tough on her. Darn those cigarettes. Well she was doing great and then Saturday night after we left her... she just had the urge for a cigarette.... she let down her guard... made up some silly excuses why the church might not be right for her... and then drove over to her friends house and tossed everything out the window... oh boy. She still sometimes is a teenager at heart. But you gotta love her. So no baptism Sunday. But she made it to sacrament meeting and the ward was great in welcoming her and telling her it was ok... just keep coming to church. We just had a teach with her and her fellowshippers (LOVE THEM!--Tore and Sol-brit Burman) and it went great. Maj has just really gotta buckle down and do what is right. She has such a great big heart. I still have faith for this woman.
One of my favorite experiences from this week had to have been with the Bishop. We were getting ready to have a lesson and the bishop invited us into his office. He thanked us for all the work that we were doing and started to cry. Often times I really don’t feel like I am making any difference. But he has seen this ward over three years now... he has watched them and been their caretaker. We have really tried to focus a lot on building up the ward since we first got here... and I think he has really seen a difference. What a humble and great man he is.
Also this week we saw our friend--the return missionary who doesn’t believe in God anymore. We went over two weeks ago and I just wanted to thank them for the experience they created for me. My testimony of the Book of Mormon is all due to them :) They were nice about it but.... they were still solid on their God not existing thesis. Well we met the return missionary twice on the train to Stockholm this week... (coincidence... I think not) and we were able to talk with him about why he doesn’t believe. It was interesting as I found out more about the story.... it of course started with broken commandments. I learned a lot in those two train rides and my understanding of why living the gospel is so important to gain a testimony of it. Even though they caused some very hard days for me... I am very grateful for the knowledge I was able to gain through it. My faith has been tested, held strong, and grown.
Lastly, this week I got a letter from a friend from school. He wasn’t very strong in his testimony when I knew him... he was kinda taking the backseat and had become stagnant. I had the opportunity to talk with him about it one day and asked him why he had become such. It was an interesting conversation... and I was a little nervous to bring it up... but I felt like the Lord was with me and guiding me. I didn’t really think much of the conversation later on... nothing really seemed to change... he was still the same. But!! :) In his letter he told me about the change going on in his life right now... and he thanked me for calling him out on being stagnant. He talked about how he was reading the Book of Mormon every day and how his testimony was coming back... He was excited about the gospel and to move forward.
It was so cool to realize that I was doing missionary work even before I got here on the mission. The Lord was able to use me as an instrument to help one of his sons come back to him. I know I wasn’t the only one who influenced him. There were countless other small little acts that helped him come back. I hope you all recognize that you are being a missionary every day. Often times you don’t feel like anything you do really makes a difference. But that is because you are looking at it with such a small perspective. Take a step back and realize that it is through small and simple actions that the Lord can do great and marvelous works. I have a strong testimony of that. I still often forget that... but I have been reminded of that this week.
I love this gospel and I do know that it does bring happiness and peace to the human soul. That doesn't mean that we don’t have trials... in fact every trial is essential to our growing character. But the peace can still be there through those ups and downs. I know that now. If you cant feel it at the moment... Take a step back, slow down and remember all the times the Lord has been there for you... and know that he is now still there for you.
Love you all
Next week I’ll be reporting from Jönköping!