Syster Schneiber here reporting from the wintry northern country. It is officially cold and winter here. But when the sun shines it feels like summer on the inside. I was sitting on the bus the other day and as we passed a bus stop I saw this girl facing the sun. Her expression was pure contentment, peace, joy, and happiness all in one. They say here that Swedes "dyrka solen" which means to worship the sun. Totally true. And I am becoming one of them. When the sun is out shining you have to take a moment to just soak up its warmth. It feels great. So today the sun is out in full glory and I LOVE IT!
Well this week had its rough moments. Ulla tried to drop us and Pam did drop us and a few other hard parts.... but through it all miracles still happened. Last Monday started out grand. We went to Göteberg for our P-day and played FRISBEE again with all the missionaries on our zone. It was fabulous. I think one of my favorite things about having activities with all the missionaries (Other than playing Frisbee) is having a chance to get to know them on personal levels. I have learned a lot from these great Systers and elders who I am serving with. Each one has sacrificed something to come here and has a special relationship with heavenly father. Love really is the greatest motivator!
I had the chance to talk to my first district leader Äldste Todesco and he taught me something interesting about obedience. Why do we choose to be obedient? He said there were three levels.... 1. fear. You do it because you are scared you will get in trouble. 2. Duty. You feel like it is your duty to serve. and 3. Love. you do it because you love God. Very interesting.
This week as Syster Juker and I taught our investigators it felt like the same problem kept coming up. They said they didn’t think there could be only one true church. It was hardest when our dear investigator Ulla brought up this problem on Tuesday. She is about 70 and said.... how is this possible. What if I had never seen the Book of Mormon and met missionaries. She has been an active Christian for most of her life. So we left her with a challenge to read the Book of Mormon throughout the rest of the week and pray specifically to know if this was God's only true church. We met with her again on Friday with the Wiklöfs (members) and it got a little heated. I could see Ulla closing off more and more and us trying to hang onto her and help her understand. Finally, Ulla asked Torston Wiklöf to say a prayer to help her be more open and understand. If you remember from my previous email.... torston is on his sick bed and he probably only has a few weeks left of life. He also has served 4 missions. When this man walks into a room you automatically feel the spirit. So as he the said the prayer Ulla relaxed and softened. His prayer was possibly the longest prayer I have ever heard.... but still really beautiful. So she is still on a mission to try and figure out if there could actually be one true church.
This week Syster Juker and I went on splits to help some of the women do their visit teaching. I went with Sandra (coolest girl ever) to visit another member, Elizabeth, who had just gotten married in the temple. I mostly listened to the two girls talking but at one point I had a comment and leaned forward to speak. As I opened my mouth to speak I could feel a sense of power flowing through my words. I don’t even remember what my comment was about.... It was just one of my normal thoughts that stuck out and I wanted to share it. As I was speaking I could see Elizabeth felt touched by my statement as well. It was warmth and a sense of unity that came with the words. As Sandra and I got on the bus after she pointed out how as a missionary there really is a power that comes with the calling. She said she felt it too with the words I spoke. Often times I don’t understand everything. I don’t know the answers to all questions. But that night I understood a little better that there really is a power with me as a missionary. I know that Heavenly Father is here with me now. He loves you
Lastly, even though many of our investigators are having a hard time .... there seems to be a lot of less actives that need our help and are ready to come back to church. Johanas is my new friend. He hasn’t been coming to church since he was a teenager. But a member family continues to invite him to their house for Christmas every year and for other big events. We met him on Boxing Day and asked if we could meet up again. From there we have been meeting him once a week and trying an experiment: To see if living the gospel really does bring him more happiness. We were supposed to meet him on Friday evening. We got a text message that morning that he was in the ICU with a ruptured coronary artery. We went and visited him that evening at the hospital. He said he has been doing a lot of thinking about Christ, the church, everything.
It seems so hard to sometimes believe and have faith. There is so much that pulls at our attention and tries to tell us there can be no such thing as a loving heavenly father. But I am here to tell you. He is there.
I love you all.
My favorite scripture for the week is Alma 37:9. If you want evidence that God exists and that this is the only true church of God read the Book of Mormon. It is the evidence.