Spring is here and I love it! Can I just say.. I am so lucky to be here in Sweden. I am back on bikes-and I love it. We live right next to a small lake. Our clocks changed and now when I get up to go running the sun is just peaking up. It is so beautiful to run by the lake in the morning. Also Every week for district meeting we take a train from Alingsås to Göteborg--and it is beautiful! It is similar Minnesota.. but it is Sweden! And as you sit there on the train.. everyone is speaking Swedish! I love the Swedish language too. As we were ridding the train back this week there was a group of teenagers who got on with us. I love their accents and the intonation of their voices as they speak. We sat there in the corner trying to mimic them half the way home. I remember how I used to ask people how long it took them to feel like they were fluent in Swedish as a missionary. Well Kaitlin Purdy wrote me and asked me about how the language was going and if it was super hard still to communicate. It was cool to realize I dont even worry about it at all any more. I realize if some one goes off talking specifics about their jobs.. I wont be able to follow.. but otherwise when I have a conversation on the phone or to someone on the train.. anyone.. I never feel any worries about Swedish. That is amazing! Soo cooL! I can speak swediSH! I love languages!
Being with Syster Sprague is really fun. She only came two months before me--so we are at the same Swedish level.(we are senior co-companios) We are trying to learn 5 new words a day. The coolest part is once you learn a new word--you all the sudden start hearing the word all the time. And since Sys Sprague and I often have the same words we are learning.. we often have these secret code signals during our lessons that mean--"Hey! that was one of our words!" I love it. For our celebration of learning 5 words each day and getting them all right at the end of the week.. we decided to go up on the roof of our building. I know I know. this is probably not allowed. But! We live on the top floor of this big house (which is really a whole bunch of apartments) and there is a really big window in our bathroom that leads out to the roof... sooo a little CIA agent is still in me. :)
Other highlights from the week. On Monday after P-day we went to a member family for dinner. They are in a town called Trollhättan. Technically they are not in our area but they are now coming to our ward. On Saturday night Sys Sprague had remembered that they said they would love to have us for dinner. We were trying to plan ahead for the week and didn't have any specific plans for Monday.. so we thought, why not. All of our other evenings were already scheduled with member dinners. When the family picked us up from the train station one of their friends was in the back seat. I had never met the family let alone the friend. So I just introduced myself to her and slowly found out she wasn't a member. Well! Guess how awesome this family is! they just invited their friend over for dinner too! She has two little kids and her husband is a pilot but was away for the week. She also has a nanny helping around 19 years old. It was awesome! We had a great discussion around the dinner table and we are hoping to go back this week and do it again. The member just explained at the beginning that on Monday nights they have family night and explained about family home evening. What great member missionaries!!!
Your assignment! Do that!
But the story gets even better. They gave us a ride home and the mom had to use the bathroom when they got to our apt. (She is pregnant :) When she got out of the bathroom she thanked us once again for coming over.. and then began to cry. Turns out they are really going through a rough time at the moment. And she was actually really surprised when we called to ask if we could come over. It ended up being a huge answer to her prayers. She said--she it was great you could do missionary work with our friends.. but I was thinking I just wanted you there to bring the spirit into our home. It was a really neat experience to realize once again the Lord is guiding us. And most of the time we really don't even realize it. It was really unusual actually that Sys Sprague remembered about this family.. they are not on our ward list yet.. nor did she have it written down. Sys Sp. also has a pretty bad memory :). And the fact that we decided to schedule them for this Monday.. i remember when we decided to call them.. I thought we could have a teach with this other family. But we just decided why not do it this Monday. SO! moral of the story. Even when I don't feel like I am doing much.. and I don't see much change or results in my work.. The Lord really is guiding me and has a purpose for me here. Which means the same for each one of you.
Alingsås is still small... and we are still having a hard time finding people to teach. This could make a missionary's life really difficult. Especially when we are keeping numbers on the number of lessons we have each week etc. I could feel it slowly taking me down. I was feeling like I wasn't doing anything. Bit in our veckoplannering (weekly planning) Syster Sprague and I decided to make a simple goal for each day. We taped it up on our wall that we can see each day we come in from a hard day of work. "Have I done any good in the world today." I love this simple goal. That I can reach every day and it also inspires me to reach for more each day as I walk out. I love weekly planning! So much great inspiration comes to us. And I just love planning in general too.
You know what else I love? I love companionship study! Especially with Syster Sprague. (Did I mention i really really really love love love Syster Sprague? She is wonderful! So one day Syster Sprague pulled out her old notes from the MTC from some of the devotionals and read one titled "How to be a successful/happy missionary". She told me about it in our comp study. It was exactly what I needed. I cant remember all 10 right now.. but I think they are going to be goals for the rest of my life. One of them that I am working on right now is.. "Forget yourself".. and a part of the way the speaker described that one can do that is through praying for others. I have a new goal to not ask for anything for myself the next month. I can ask for things for our companionship.. but otherwise.. only thank yous and asking for things for others. I already feel a difference.
There is so much more I want to share.. but! We don't have as much time on these library computers. So I am going to head out!
I love you all! and hope you all have a wonderful day.
"We can do much more than we think we can--through the help of Christ" --quote from sacrament meeting
PS. Dad I got the package
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
I am in Alingsås! I have arrived safely and love my wonderful, awesome, darling, funny companion. She is just perfect for me :) We almost have too much fun.. so we have to make sure we stick to the task at hand and don't get carried away. I love it.
Alingsås is a small town. It reminds me of New Canaan. Most people commute into Göteborg (45 min train ride). Just like NYC. So it seems that each transfer and each area will have its challenges. Allingsås's challenges is that EVERYONe already seems to know who we are. Almost every single door has been knocked on in the past year. We also dont have too many investigators. So.. unlike Jönköping where we were having to prioritize what and who was most important to see in a day.. I'm back to white blank days trying to fill it with productive work. It feels like Uppsala again in some ways. but! This time we have a FABULOUS ward! The ward also reminds me of NC. Its a little smaller then Jönköping.. about 100 active members? maybe 120?.. We had our first meeting with our mission leader. it was amazing once again! They sat down went through our investigators-- then invited in the relief society president, bishop, and high priest leader. They all had things to help us with. I was very impressed. So our focus here is a little different. Every night we have a member dinner and we are really focusing on member referrals. This is the way missioanry work should be done!
We went to one members house for dinner, The Hollesens. We had a wonderful lesson and at the end asked for referrals. Syster Sprague remembered that the mother Gunn was actually a friend with a woman who was in Göteborg who used to be investigating the church. She said she hadn't heard from her in a while and said she would call her. She walked out of the room right after that. Ten mins later she was back. She said she had called this woman.. invited her to come to church and then have dinner with the family and missionaries after church on Sunday. GUNN MADE MY DAY! Way to go member missionary work! We had an amazing lesson with her on Sunday. the members basically did all the teaching.. we just testified (which is our job :) and now she is going to meet with the missionaries again in Göteborg. wahoo!
We met with this other awesome member, Berit (she reminds me of Marianne, mom's friend) my first full day in Alingsås. She is older and her husband died in December. She told us of how she became a member--missionaries knocked on her door a few times always asking about doing a family home evening program. But one time as she opened the door the missionary received some inspiration and asked her some specific questions. It was exactly what she had been wondering about. She let them in and that was that. Well this missionary had since written a book about his experiences. So she pulled it out for us and I read it allowed. The spirit washed over us so strong. And she said she felt like she was once again back there in that old apt with her two little kids listening to the missionaries. We then asked her about one of her friends we have been praying for. Suddenly we had her address, a time to go visit her, etc. It was really a neat experience. Hard to explain over an email. You should all just become one of my freckles on my face so you can experience it with me. That day we really hadn't had any success or any other lessons. As we walked away from the lesson i thought.. well at least if no non members are willing to let me in and up lift them.. the least I can do is come in and uplift and inspire members. Berit said she felt so rejuvenated and ready to go out and talk to all her friends. :) Yay! I asked her if she was really Swedish at one point because she was so out going and not shy at all.
That very morning we had taken Syster Erickson to the airport. (I can tuesday afternoon and got to be a threesome for a day for Syster Ericksons last day as a missionary!!) As Syster Erickson loaded her bags onto the train she came back to the door and stood there to wave goodbye. We started singing God be with you till we meet again as a fun farewell. Syster E got so embarassed.. putting her fingers to her lips and saying that people were starting to look at her. :) We just sang all the more loud. It was so fun and Berit was there singing along with us! This is not very swedish-like. She is too much fun.
It was a little strange to see Syster Erickson go. She is home! crazy! So that morning as we came back home to do our personal study I felt a little lost and sad. But! That is why I love the scriptures. I am in Alma now and I opened up to Alma 26. My new favorite chapter in the BOM. It was the perfect chapter for me and I really felt like Heavenly Father had answered my prayers through the scriptures that morning. I LOVE THE BOOK OF MORMON. Alma 26:35 is amazing.
"Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all apower, ball wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a cmerciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name."
I also had the wonderful opportunity (:) To give a talk my first Sunday here. My talk was about how we can make hard commitments through Jesus Christ. I loved this topic. We really do have an all powerful God. Why don't we use him more? recognize that we can do all things through Him. That is a lot of what I have been thinking about this week. I love being a missionary. We also got to show one of our investigators the Joseph Smith movie. As we ended the movie I couldn't help but feel a powerful desire to go out and spread this amazing news. We really do have the fullness of the Gospel. There are people who are searching for it. I thought, even with all the hard times of a mission... I wouldn't take it back. If I had stayed home and not gone on a mission.. I would just continue to feel a strong desire in me to go out and proclaim this truth. This is a very poorly written letter. But I just LOVE having the opportunity to be a full time missionary for the Lord to spread this truth. Even if people don't accept it. It still needs to be spread. I really like Alma 29: 1.
1 O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the atrump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!
I feel that way :)
I feel that way :)
Last bit of wonderful news. Li and Wilson made it to the temple on Saturday! Sys Juker called and told me about it. She said the spirit was really strong and they had a great time. Guess who else was there for their first trip to the temple!? Häkan!! She saw him there too! OH! I feel so grateful to partake in the joy that comes from helping people come closer to their heavenly father. yay!
I love you all and I hope you can this week take some time to realize how lucky we are to have the gospel. Then realize how many other people deserve the chance to know about it.
LOVE Syster Schneiber
Syster Sprague does green smoothies! We have offically loaded up the fridge with spinach and we have a blender!
I have also found a Neti Pot in the apartment! :) YAy for cleaning out my sinuses!
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Well it has been another three months since i've been in Sweden. Three months in Uppsala and now 3 months in Jönköping and now its time to move! I'm off to Allingsås! A much smaller town but still a pretty solid ward. I was there just last week on exchanges and I'll be with Syster Sprague again!! I'm very excited.
But before I get all excited about the future.. Let me tell you about my last week in Jönköping.
One of my favorite times of the week is on Monday. On Mondays we go to hemafton (family home evening) with the Young Single adults. There are usually about 6 or so people. I love these people! There is something about missionary work. You just cant help but love these people you are serving. You worry about them, you pray about them, you listen to them, you just give them all that you can. I am going to be sad to leave them. A few weeks ago Syster Juker and I were in charge of the activity and we taught them "Extreme Spoons" :) It was awesome. One of our assignments with this new year is to strengthen the Youth. We have been told that it will be through the youth that the second harvest will come to Sweden. We have some really amazing youth here.
I wish I could just introduce you to all of them. So! We will just have to come back :) I have quite a few adopted families that are willing to house me and whatever family I bring back with me. So! Jönköping is on the list.
Another person I am going to miss here is Sabrina. She officially is a believer :) I was talking to her on the phone yesterday and she talked about how she has so much hope for the future. She has made the biggest and fastest 180 i've seen. She asked a hypothetical question "what if it's not true?".. then I thought about how she has changed since we have met her. Well she is certainly happier right now.. nicer, has a hope and purpose for life. I feel like I am receiving evidence and proof for these questions I had in Uppsala when I met that missionary who no longer believes in God. I had a moment of wondering.. does this gospel really make people happier? I haven't really tried the other side yet.. so how do I know? Well! Here was my answer. She still has a way to go to understand the restoration of Christ's church here upon the earth. But at least she has the main message about Christ.
She also just learned about the ten commandments and the two overarching commandments that cover them all. First love God. Second Love others. She said I feel like this is the most amazing way to live. It just makes so much sense. It is amazing. We should just do all these things because we love God. We should go to Church because we love god!. YES! She has it!!
Syster Juker had to get her visa renewed and we had to go take a two hour train ride to Göteborg to do it. I tend to like to sit in the middle of a car where they have three chairs with a table in the middle and another three chairs on the other side so I can have a better chance of talking to someone. But no one sat by me on the first train ride :( So I studied my scriptures. On the second train it was full and I sat next to this middle aged man on his phone. It was a beautiful day outside with the sun out in full shine. I pulled out my Swedish Book of Mormon to read to pass the time. As the man finished his phone conversation he turned to me and said "Hur fint det är, eller hur?" (How nice it is outside, right?). My jaw almost dropped.. Did this Swedish man just talk to me.. first!! But I quickly collected myself and replied "JA! det är fint" (Yes it is nice out). He then looked down at my Book of Mormon and asked me what book it was. Well! I could walk you through the whole hour conversation.. But I'll just tell you the highlights. Half way through the trip I offered him my book. I told I carry a free copy with me and said I would love to give it to him. He graciously accepted it and said he would read it! YAY! That wasn't so hard. I gave him a few of my favorite sections and gave him my card and told him he could call if he wanted to learn more. He lives out in the middle of no where.. so unfortunately there are no missionaries or church near by.. But it is a start. Robert was an answer to my prayers.
Syster Juker was sick for a big chunk of the week. We got home from Göteborg and she passed out. She slept for the next two days. So that was a challenge to figure out how to keep myself busy and still productive. But! There wasn't a dull moment. It is amazing how you can choose to fill your 24 hours of a day. You can definitely do a whole lot of nothing. Or you can get alot accomplished. I have definitely learned once again the importance of planning and making goals. There is a quote in "Preach My Gospel" that says
“I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life.”By Elder Ballard.
I feel like this is Dad's motto too and I have decided to join the club. We finished our last teach with the Thörn family. They are a strong member family. Both parents became members in their late teens with three daughters. We have done a member missionary program with them. We helped them go through chapter three of Preach My Gospel and helped them learn how to teach simply so that they could feel more confident in sharing the message of the gospel to their friends. We gave them the challenge to make some goals as a family about missionary work. When we make these goals that not only makes it more likely for us to accomplish them but it also lets the Lord know what you want, that you are serious about doing it and he is more likely to help you accomplish it. SO I am excited to see some miracles happen with this family.
So I tried my best to take care of sicky Syster juker. She is doing much better but I am afraid I have caught her disease. I tried to be a good nurse and wash my hands alot.. but I guess when you live with them its hard to keep yourself from the germs. But Ill be back up and running in no time.
We had another amazing miracle happen this week. We met with our two newer Chinese members Wilson and Li. Next week the young single adults are going to the Stockholm temple and we wanted them to go with. Wilson has been a member for two years now and Li almost for one. There is a small challenge with our Chinese members. They don't speak Swedish and they study a lot. So it has been hard to help them stay strong and active. Li also hadn't gotten the priesthood yet due to his inactivity. But! We have done a lot of work with them and something has changed. They really have grown so much in their testimonies of Christ and his love for them. I feel like their simple and yet so pure testimonies are so strong! I wish the whole ward could be with us when we taught them. I am strengthened listening to them. Well we asked Wilson if he wanted to go to the temple. He was nervous.. a little scared. But He WANTS TO GO! You could almost tangibly feel his desire through his eyes. But he didn't want to go without his friend Li. Well this means he needs to receive the priesthood. Now just so you know. The missionaries have been trying to get Li to receive the priesthood the whole year! Yet. This Sunday Li and Wilson came to church at 1030. Interviewed with the bishop. Li received the priesthood!!! and they will be going next week. I am sad I don't get to go with them.. But as long as they both get to go.. its ok. ! I am so excited for them!
To end this wonderful week I wanted to share a little cultural fact. We went out to eat breakfast this morning with a woman from the ward. At the restaurant/cafe they served this for breakfast: Freshly baked bread and rolls, some cold meats, cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, butter, jam and porridge. I was rather surprised. I felt like I was at a hotel having one of the continental lunches or breakfasts. :) No pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc... I love Sweden! :)
I love you all. Most of all I love the Lord. And I'm trying to love everyone else. Life really is all about love. And when we live after that ... life is just all the more meaningful. So go make some one smile! Make a new friend. LOVE!
One thing I remembered saying to myself the first few weeks on my mission was "I'm saving the world, one smile at a time". Every time I made someone smile.. i would do a little fist pump and whisper "I just made their day!"
One smile at a time.
Love Syster Schneiber
2. the church
3. Johannes (my favorite less active!)
|and the Thörn family!|
I hope this letter finds you happy, smiling, laughing out loud, jumping up and down, or singing.
I am so glad I have a family. This week was a very interesting one. I got to go on my very first exchange. Syster Juker stayed in Jönköping and Syster Erickson came to join her. I went to Allingsås with Syster Sprague. It was wonderful! We switched on Monday and switched back on Wednesday morning. Syster Sprague is from Utah and has quite an interesting life. I think one of my favorite things to do is meet a new person and shower them with questions to figure out who they are and learning as much as I can from them. Each person has a lots of little experiences that make up who they are. And in each of these experiences you can find the Lords hand in their life. Syster Sprague is awesome. It was a neat experience getting to teach with her and see missionary work through different eyes. I think one of the greatest parts of the exchange happened on Tuesday in the afternoon. I realized that I am beginning to feel very comfortable in Jönköping. I know who every one is, I know how to get around, I have lots of ideas and plans running through my brain. There is always something to do and that feels very good. But as I entered Allingsås and was no longer in my area I realized I still have some fears. We had a less active woman and her daughter that we were planning to go by and teach. We also had decided to bring a girl from the ward with us who was about the same age as the daughter. Well the Allingsås systers had overbooked and asked two young women from the ward to come. We decided to go on splits with these two girls. So! I was going to show a girl how to do missionary work in an area I was not familiar with. This was definitely out of my comfort zone. We came up with a plan that I and Josefin would go see another less active girl and then we would meet back together. I figured this was pretty do-able.. She showed me which bus to take and gave me the map. Well.. we all got together and our plan ended up not working. Plan B? we had not thought that far in advance.
As we stood on this corner of the street, Syster Sprague thinking about what Josefin and I would do while these two went to teach this less active.. and I tried to stall and talked to the two girls. We really wanted them to have a good time and good experience with a mission. Syster Sprague had said that if worst came to worst I could take Josefin and we could just contact (talk to people on the streets) around the area till they were done. THIS was EXTREMELY out of my comfort zone. Contacting is not my specialty... nor is it always a great experience for someone who has never done missionary work. If going up to strangers and talking to them about God in the US is strange.. it is x10 crazier in Sweden. But as Syster Sprague decided, I told her I would be willing to do whatever she decided. It ended up being knocking on one door of a less active who was across the street and then contacting with any left over time.. AhH!
So I said a prayer.. told Heavenly Father my fears and worries and just wanting Josefin to have a good time and that we would survive. We knocked on the door... and no one answered. :( With that we still had 45 mins to go out and contact. As we walked out onto the street.. I took a deep breath and left all fears and worries behind me. I taught Josefin how to contact and then told her we would walk around .. get to know each other and then when someone walked by we would stop them. I was so impressed by her.. She didn't even look scared! She just smiled and said OK! This girl is one awesome young woman! It was great getting to hear why she decided to believe in Christ and follow him. And then came the big moment. Two men in their 20's approached us. They were holding grocery bags. I usually dont like talking to more then one person.. because it is hard to get someone to open up and talk about personal things when they are with a friend.. But there wasn't anyone else around. So I asked Josefin if she was ready--and jumped in. IT WENT AMAZING! You can have a lot of different reactions when you stop someone and ask them if they believe in God, or the meaning of life, or families etc. I have had a lot of not nice people. But these two guys stopped listened to us.. we had a great conversation and Josefin was able to bear her testimony on the Book of Mormon. As we walked away from them she looked at me, her face glowing and said "Det var underbart!!" (that was amazing!). And right after that Syster Sprague called and said they were done and ready to go. It WAS A MIRACLE. I walked away smiling as well.. Realizing that my trust in Heavenly Father is growing. I really can do anything with his help. And often times it is these harder things that push us out of our comfort zone that give us the greatest satisfaction and greatest joy.
SO! The exchange was a success on all sides. Syster Erickson also did wonders with Syster Juker. I hope that I can one day be a missionary like her. She knows how to really help someone feel loved and know that they are special. Syster Juker and I are a wonderful companionship and I love being with her. But it is very interesting when you have two people who think very differently. Our planning sessions are the most interesting :) I have learned so much from Syster Juker and I am so grateful I have these past two months to be with her. She has definitely changed my life. But I think it was really good for her to be the FULL leader with Syster Erickson being the junior companion.. so that she could realize she really can lead and be the senior companion.
On Wednesday we went to Mullsjö! About twenty mins out of Jönköping to visit two less actives. This experience was also another miracle. I must make a comment before I begin. TIME is precious. It is so hard to be on time and use all your time wisely. As we planned this trip out to Mullsjö we were already relying on the Lord to help us hinner (make it in time) to our appointments.
We had never been out there before and had no maps. We got into the town and called Helena up. We weren't sure what stop to get off at. We read off a random street sign and she told us to get off at the next one. So we did, only to be on the complete opposite side of the lake that we wanted to be on. So there we were with probably a 30-45 min walk ahead of us and we were already short on time. So I called Helena back and began to tell her our situation when a car turned the corner. Well! I just decided to do what any Schneiber girl would do.. I told Helen to hold on and stood in the middle of the street and hailed the car down. An older lady was in the car (miracle) and she knew where the street was that we need to go to. So I said, Could you drive us there?? I definitely made her feel slightly uncomfortable.. but! who could resist two cute girls in skirts!? :)
After a reluctant pause she said yes and ended up actually knowing Helena. We were able to visit Helena and she is wonderful! We are going to help her get back in the game. Then we pulled out the map to see how far we would have to go to get to Erica's.. it would again have taken another 45 min walk. And Helena had just enough time to give us a ride. To end the evening we sat next to a man on the train who is neighbors to a member of the church. He asked me if I had read the Book of Mormon before. I said yup, and asked if he had. He said no. (*side note!* As we left the apartment at lunch I had wanted to be sure we had an extra Book of Mormon just in case Erica didnt have one anymore.) I was able to pull in out and offer him a free copy of the Book of Mormon. He accepted graciously. It was awesome! Heavenly Father prepared the way for us and it felt great!
Well!! there were more miracles.. but too much to write down in this email. Know that I am safe, warm, happy, and still being lead by the Lord. Im praying for you!
Monday, March 12, 2012
This week flew by. We have had some great things happening here in Jönköping. Small but steady progress! It is funny how one week can be really hard and nothing seems to be going right. And then the next week is like your on top of the clouds and everything is working out perfectly. Ok it is never really quite to those extremes.. but this week was definitely a blessing from the Lord. You cant help to be happy when people's lives are changing due to the power of Christ.
Where to begin! Heavenly Father is answering my prayers. Maybe not quite in the way I want Him to--which is usual. But He is answering. Tuesday morning I studied more about faith and finally figured out for the thousandth time why we need to have faith before miracles can occur. Miracles are really not to confirm our faith they are just a way that God interacts with a believer. That day we went to an old lady who joined the church in her 50's. She had been a faithful member until she had a stroke and is now unable to come to church. We visited her in the nursing home and read her some Scriptures. She couldn't say very much but she seemed to appreciate it. There was another old lady across the way who didn't seem to like our church. She kept telling us to put on our coats and leave. It is so cool that I can understand old ladies who are yelling at me in Swedish! :) As we walked out of the building I said "Hi" to this young man as we passed. He stopped and pulled out his ear phones and said "what, do I know you?".. That is my favorite reaction. I walked back and said I was from America and people just say hi to strangers. Then we started talking. And guess who gave us his number! Gustav! I felt like that was the Lord answering my prayers--telling me that our time spent serving members was right and he accepts our work and will help us find along the way.
The next highlight of the week is Sabrina! Just in case I have not talked about Sabrina yet.. she is Chinese. We contacted her a few Sundays ago on our way home. She said she was atheist but would be willing to learn more. This week we taught her two great lessons. The first was on faith. In the middle of the lesson as she was describing her feelings she said "When I was atheist..." She did a total 180 in understanding that we need to have faith before we have miracles. I felt peace. She said she felt peaceful as well. And at the end she said she would make more time for the Book Of Mormon to find out if was true. I love listening to her prayers.
Our second teach with her was on Christ. We watched "finding faith in Christ". At the end of the film we asked her what she thought. "Unbelievable... not possible. Can someone really raise people from the dead?" We kept talking and she asked a lot of questions. In the end she asked is it worth it to put all this time and effort in to find out if God is there? We asked "Well... so far what has your experience been like? Good or bad?" Good. Explain why... "I have a positive view on my future, I have hope, and I know it comes from meeting with you here in the church". Well that was a good start. So we probed a little deeper to see if there was anything more. I officially love teaching Sabrina. At first she is a little quiet and takes a little time to open up. But once you ask the right questions she starts to really think. She sometimes has to just sit there and think for a few moments and then its like a light bulb goes off in her head. I get it! and she will teach us the same thing we have just been teaching her. We were still trying to work on having faith in something you cant see. She suddenly paused and said.. Well I guess I have hope and faith in my future but I cant see it... " It was perfect.
As she talked to us more about the changes she has felt in her life in the short time that she has been meeting with us--she said she has felt a change in the way she treats people. Usually there are people she doesn't really like or get along with or have patience with. She has a lot of negative feelings towards them. But she has felt those negative feelings leave her and she has really felt a change. She doesn't dislike them anymore and she is able to forgive them. That brings her feelings of relief and she feels much happier.
Throughout the teach she kept explaining that she felt good inside. Happy, peaceful, warm. We explained that this was the Holy Ghost telling her that this was true. She thought for a moment and said.. well maybe it is just because it is a nice story that gives me hope.. but its just a story. After she explained her feelings about changing--I asked her if she thought a nice little story we told her once a week was really what was making her change? After 24 years of living one way.. a little story about a nice man named Christ-- made her change the way she treats people in three weeks. I don't think so. That would be the power of Christ. We explained that Christ's power is not just shown in bringing people back to life.. but also in changing people. These changes that have happened in you--just after two to three weeks of meeting and learning about the gospel comes from the power of Christ.
It was awesome! It was cool for me to actually see the change she admits to happening in her. The best part of the whole lesson was the Spirit testifying to us all that this was true. She paused at one moment and said I can feel that it is right--and she put her hand to her heart.
Sabrina came to church on Sunday... and loved it! I have to admit there is nothing quite so amazing as helping someone going from Atheist to a believer in Christ and seeing the changes it creates in their lives. Now she is praying to know if God really does love her.
So life just keeps on going! The weather here is beautiful. The sun is out in magnificent colors with bright blue skies and a breath of fresh air with blustery winds. I love Sweden.
On a more fun note.. we went to support one of the young single adults by going to her handball game. I have never seen any sport like it! It was soo cool. We decided it was like water polo but in a gym. I also got to play the Swedish version of field hockey called "innebandy"!! They play it indoors with a light ball (like a whiffleball) and light sticks. It was really fun.
Favorite Scripture of the day!
Alma 15:16, 18 "...Almulek having forsaken all his gold, and silver, and his precious things, which were in the land of Ammonihah, for the word of God, he being rejected by those who were once his friends and also by his father and his kindred...and Alma having seen all these things, therefore he took Amulek and came over to the land of Zarahemla, and took him to his own house, and did administer unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord."
Love Syster Schneiber
3. My desk.. my thinking spot where inspiration comes daily.
1. Ring stund on the swings! (Ring stund= when we take some time to try and set up appointments for the week)
Fiesta Bowl. This is a usual dish that Syster Juker and I have for dinner when we are the cooks!
|Swedish homes on a beautiful day|
|My dream house! (owned by the Högberg family). I want their life!|
There is much for one to learn with the time we have here on earth. I would like to start by stating my gratitude for the Book of Mormon. I do not know where I would be without it. It has uplifted me in times of sorrow, given me words to express the joy I have felt in times of happiness, given me ideas to help me grow and stretch, and been my link to heaven as I wait for Heavenly Father to answer my pleas. It is my evidence that God and Christ do exist. Just this morning I was reading the words of Alma as he testified to the people of Ammonihah. As they try to find a flaw in his words and destroy him--he stands firm and testifies of Heavenly Fathers plan for us. I never realized how much the authors of the Book of Mormon talk about the Plan. "And they began to call on his name; therefore God conversed with men, and [he] made known unto them the plan of redemption...and this he made known unto them according to their faith and repentance and their holy works." (Alma 12:30)
God does talk to his people... after they call him.. and he answers them according to their faith and actions. I am so grateful for prayer. Sometimes it feels as if no one answers. Especially when I really would like an answer. But I believe He always does answer. Most often in a way we do not expect it. I have been wanting and waiting for a certain answer this week. And I was surprised this morning as I realized I had already received my answer.. Numerous times in fact. I wrote in my journal today "I feel some kind of hope bubbling up in me..".
I listened to a talk by Elder Bednar and he said most often "They can tell the spirit of the Lord from all other spirits. It will whisper peace and joy to their souls, and it will take malice, hatred, envying, strife, and all evil from their hearts, and their whole desire will be to do good, bring forth righteousness, and build up the Kingdom of God." As I listened to that it was like a small piece of the puzzle fell into place and part of my prayers was being answered. I feel and have felt that whispering of peace and joy before. I have felt it take out the negative feelings as well. And i have many times felt that desire to do no more evil.
On a lighter note. We had some very interesting lessons this week. We met with our science guy Amin. It was like an hour of pounding against a brick wall. We would try and take a different approach to reach him. But nope. The Big Wall appeared every path we tried. I tried just saying the simple statement... "We believe that God is our loving Heavenly Father. He loves us and want us to return to Him again." He some how related that to atoms, molecules, and particles. I have no idea what he is trying to get at. At one point he also said, "It is that simple?" I guess simplicity is a bad thing for him? :) I don't know, I kind of like how simple it is. He also said the Book of Mormon was the same stuff written in the Koran and Bible... So we told him to go back and read it again and see what else is there. After that teach Syster Juker and I were TIRED. But we had another lesson right after. Sabrina! She is our awesome Chinese girl who is trying to figure out if there is a God. We taught her the plan of salvation. It was beautiful. When we got to Christ and explained who He is--she stopped and said "it makes me feel warm and good." We told her that was the Holy Ghost telling her it was true.
It was very interesting seeing the difference between the two lessons. Having that open heart and faith is so important. Must be why Christ always says it is because of our faith that heals us. Sabrina came to church on Sunday. She said she was a little nervous to come and she didn't know if she could really commit to coming to three hours of church every week. But we told her to just come today and test it out. It was a normal meeting. Nothing spectacular. The last meeting went long and I looked over at her.. a little worried she was never going to come back because it was three hours long. She had not too much emotion on her face. After the meeting I asked her what she thought. "I feel very peaceful." was her response. She liked the music the best. Sooo! We will just keep moving forward.
Another really sweet experience this week was when we went to help clean the "Wiklöf". They are an old couple. The husband is still on his death bed. They have done so much for the church. And Edith is getting really run down and tired. So we have been coming over three Friday's now to help her clean for an hour. As I cleaned this week I had a quick moment of wondering.. "Is the best use of our time? Should we be out trying to find more people, be with less actives.. tried to set up some teach somehow.. we could have tried to get some members to do this instead." I put it at the back of my mind thinking.. well there i nothing I can do about it now.. might as well enjoy the service I can offer her. Well as if in answer to my worries.. as we packed up to go, Edith turned to us to thank us. Tears just began to run down her face as she said "I couldn't have done it with out you two." It was a sweet moment to be the hands of the Lord.
I am not perfect. And I don't need to worry about hiding that from the Lord. He knows it even more than I. What I and you must do is just try and do our best and ask Him to help us with the rest.
I love you all. Always keep your eyes open to those around you that the Lord might guide you to help. There is nothing greater realizing you were an answer to an others prayers.
LOVE SYSTER SCHNEIBER
An instrument in the Lord's hands.
What a great day to be alive!
I love Syster Juker and I am so grateful to have her as my companion. She is very patient with all of my habits and weaknesses. This week was a little rough on me mentally. We had some great lessons.. but sometimes you just have harder days. I think one of the hardest things about being a missionary is having this great message and wanting to share it with others--but them not wanting it. Sometimes after so many rejections you look back at this product you are holding in your hand.. and you wonder is this product really that good if no one wants it?! Also one can wonder.. maybe I'm just not a good salesman. Maybe I am just not that great of a missionary. Maybe the big boss upstairs (God) isn't really happy with the work that I am putting in because I don't seem to be having any success or returns.
BUT! this is all just silly thoughts. I am so grateful for the scriptures. Right now I am at the beginning of Alma. Alma has decided to leave his post as Judge and go out and preach to the people. In one town he is accepted but in others.. in Ammonihah they cast him out and tell him not to come back. He is "weighed down with sorrow, wading through much tribulation and anguish of soul because of the wickedness of the people."
I can understand his feelings. But as he is feeling terrible an angel comes to him and tells him to "lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice, for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God..."
Just because people don't believe in our message.. it doesn't make it any less true. In church we talked about Lehi's dream about the tree of life. We talked about how the tree represents Christ and the fruit represents the Atonement. And this time when I read the verse that described the "great and spacious building" I realized how that connected to my life. Just because all those people who chose to go to the building instead of partaking of Christ's atonement didn't make the tree any less real. In fact those that endured and made it to the tree and stayed said, "we heeded them not." There were always going to be many people in that great building.. so don't let that get you discouraged. heed them not. I made a comment about that in class and after a member came up to me to explain his view on it. He said, often times people on the streets that you talk to have never tasted of this "fruit" you are selling.. they don't understand how good it is. But when we as members partake of the fruit.. we in a way become the fruit ourselves. So those that we come in contact and interact with they get a small taste of the fruit and can understand how good it is. Members have such a great chance to affect those they are around. You are an extension of Christ to the whole world. How cool is that.
So! I am back on my feet and ready to heed them not and continue to give others a chance to taste of the fruit of Christ.
On a more basic level.. some little things that made my day.
Jönköping is on part of a big lake. There is a big island in the middle of the lake and we have a member family living on it. Since they have moved to the island they have become inactive.. So! We got to take the ferry out and visit them. I love living on a lake! At the end I kinda became a little bold and promised them blessings if they came to church again. They are just tired and don't like waking up to get to take the ferry to church. Sometimes it is hard to figure out what is the best thing to say to people. You don't want to offend them but you also want to be bold and help them "repent" and come back to Church.
Syster Juker and I have been trying to spread acts of love where ever we go. The less active girl I told you about last week who's boyfriend died.. we cut out a bunch of hearts and wrote our favorite scriptures and quotes on them and we are going to go and "heart attack" her door this week. It feels great to do nice things for others.
I think my favorite part about being a missionary is getting to teach others about Christ and his gospel and see them change as they follow his path. We are teaching a girl named Sabrina from China. She is atheist. This week we told her about Joseph Smiths experience. We watched the restoration and asked her how she could follow Joseph Smiths experience to find out if God exists. It was awesome. We asked her to be baptized and she looked a little taken aback.. and went silent and then said.. I don't know. And that is OK. We told her that is fine.. But think about it this way.. "If there was a tutor in your school that you wanted to talk to about your paper.. do you think he would give you all this advice if you were not going to take his advice." Why would God show himself to you if you were not going to follow him after he revealed himself? That is why we are supposed to invite people to be baptized on the first or second lesson. :)
I love you all. Know that I am praying for you.
Love Syster Schneiber
ps. did I mention i love being a missionary. and I love my Swedish scriptures!
1. Semlor!! The easter treat for the season. It is wonderful! Sarah Williamson and I tried to make them one time.. I have to admit they taste a lot better here in sweden :)
2. We went on the ferry!
|3. Syster Juker and I|
Hejsan familj! Isn't is just a wonderful world we live in? The sun is shining again here. It is crisp and cold but I have nice warm clothes. And I have the best family in the world! :) Who could ask for more!
I just love being a missionary. I love getting to study the doctrines of the gospel every morning. I love praying fervently for the help of the Holy Ghost. I love overcoming those hard days where suddenly you recognize that Christ really was there the whole time. And I love learning to really love people. Jönköping is just marvelous!
One of my favorite people in the ward is a boy named Leif. He is our språk teacher (laungage). This kid has a gift for teaching just a love for knowledge. He is also working on going on a mission soon... so it is really fun to meet with him and help him grow. Our mission goal this year is to try and strengthen the youth and young single adults. So Syster Juker and I have our work cut out for us. Jönköping has a small center here for the YSA's. They have about 20 ysa. They are all in different stages of their testimonies and could use some unity help.
We also have an awesome investigator named Albert. He is from China. This week we taught him the word of wisdom. We knew he smoked and drank coffee so we were interested to see how he took it. We had a member with us and started out by reminding him about the Plan of Salvation. We came to this earth to get a body...what do you think we should do to take care of our bodies? It was actually a really fun lesson. We ended up writing down the 5 things we are asked to refrain from taking. We started out with Tabacco. He agreed and said he had a problem with that. No problem I told him. We can help you. Then I wrote down alcohol. He threw up his hands and said"-oh no! I drink too but I am not addicted." He then leaned forward for the next one. Coffee. His hands went up again and he said "Oh no! I drink coffee too!" and it went happened once more with tea. It was so funny. Each time his "Oh no!" and his hands in the air got bigger and more exaggerated. But as we finished the lesson and read the blessings--we asked him what he thought about them. He said he wanted them. so! we gotta help him quit smoking and coffee.. oh boy. We shall see how this goes.
We met with a girl named Sabrina also from China and taught her a zero lesson (introduction, expectations, set up times to meet every week). When we contacted her on the street she said she was atheist. PERFECT! I really think these atheists are often the most prepared. My favorite part about the lesson though was involving one of the youth. When Sabrina had a question about faith and receiving answers Caroline answered by explaining about how Love works. It was perfect. Faith is just like Love. Love motivates you to act and do things for a person. But you cant really see it. Its all about feelings. You could see it click in Sabrina's eyes too. LOVE IT!
I have been reading the New Testament and it is so cool to be reading it when you are a missionary. I feel like I have so much in common with Paul. This week we contacted quite a few people who were Christian.. we had great discussions with them but they are not willing to change. The same thing happens with Paul. He goes out to preach to the Jews and Gentiles. He ends up getting rejected by the Jews but the Gentiles welcome his teachings and are willing to change. Very interesting!
We have our new standards of excellency which is to contact to 10 people everyday (outside of your daily plans) and then get 5 new investigators every week and then 1 new baptismal date and help the zone baptize weekly. I was having a really hard time getting those 10 people everyday. And it was really causing me a lot of negative feelings. But I received some great inspiration from my old district leader and then Syster Juker and I just decided we could do it. two days later I remember thinking.. its a cloudy day... its just going to be hard to make this 10 people goal. But! then I just decided to do my best. At 7 that night Syster Juker said OK. Lets name all the people we talked to. We were at 7! and we were headed to a teach. We talked to a girl on the bus and ended up getting her number. And on the way back home talked to two students. 10! So we were really excited about that. The next day it was if the Lord had just guided our planning. We decided to go help a part member family with their dishes in hopes of talking to their daughter. On our way we ended up contacting this guy Syster Dabb had talked to quite a few times. He said he would like to meet! and then guess who opens the door at their house. The very daughter we wanted to talk to and we had some time alone with her. We asked her about her job and things. Then I thought.. I wonder if she has a boy friend. Usually I refrain from asking girls over 30 in the church if they have a boyfriend.. :) But I did.. She ended up bursting into tears! He boyfriend had died in a car accident that week. We had the chance to bear testimony on the atonement and that Christ would be the one who could feel that hole.
Lastly! Our member family we are teaching the lessons to to help them be better missionaries is going awesome! We went over last night to the Thörn family and did a few activities with the plan of salvation. We have really seen a growth in their understanding about how to share the gospel better. This night we ended with how important it is to share our testimonies out of everything. And their goal for the week is to share their testimony with someone who is not a member or a inactive. SO!! we shall see how it goes! Im excited
Know that I love you all and I too am trying to increase my faith. What is a righteous desire of your heart? Create a goal to try and achieve it. PRAY. and then act. The Lord is ready to grant those desires.
Love Syster Schneiber