Monday, May 21, 2012

Pictures: Ulf and Anne Marie

Anne Marie and Ulf Loven
Sys Sprague and me and Ulf! (please notice Ulf is praying ;)
I LOVE Preach My Gospel... and Sys Sprague cut my bangs!

May 21: Korv in the Rain with Laughing Fits

Dear Family! 
   It is so good to hear from you all! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM AND DAD!!!! Even though I just talked to you all for an hour last week... I was filled with bubbles of happiness to see all of your letters. Katie!!! I cant believe you are a doctor!! Man, good to know that all that work, sweat, tears, stress.... etc. was worth it. I still think I'm going to stick with being a nurse. ;) 
     Where to begin. . .  This week has been as fabulous as ever! Sometimes it seems that things are just trying to bombard you and make you have a terrible day. That is what Tuesday started out with. All the sunshine left and big dark clouds settled over Alingsås. We were about to head out for the day when Richard (our new amazing investigator) texted us and said.. I cant meet till after Maj. My heart sunk! After May?! He had just told us he had all week free. My first thought was.. who in the world has he been talking to or what did he read on the internet.  Then as we were walked outside to get on our bikes Lennarth or other progressing investigator calls and says.. "I don't want to be baptized.. I'm not convinced about the Book of Mormon!".. I calmly walked him through and said he didn't have to get baptized nor did we want him to get baptized until he got an answer about the BOM. Would he still be willing to meet until he received an answer. He thought about it and reluctantly answered yes.  Then as we are about to hop on our bikes and Syster Sprague's bike broke down. It was at this point where I felt like exploding and just walking back inside when Syster Sprague just busted up laughing. And then we couldn't stop laughing.  We fixed the bike and headed off on the way. Just in case satan was going to try another trick--I couldn't help but shouting out loud "don't even waste your time!"  It was a fabulous day. We ended up meeting with both Richard and Lennarth and the bikes are still working :)  So when something goes wrong.. Don't let it be the beginning of a bad day. Get rid of it with a nice laugh and smile. It works every time. 
You might be wondering why I titled my letter "Korv in the rain with laughing fits"... the laughing fits is because I think I almost peed my pants three times this week. One time we were going to knock on a referrals door and we couldn't even move we were laughing so hard. Our laughter just echoed throughout the stairwell.  I'm sure people wondered what was going on!
   The Korv is another story. We had come home from our District Meeting on Thursday and our teach had been cancelled. So we had some back up plans and one person that we stopped by was this old woman in the ward.  Her name is Viviann.. and this woman is on top of her missionary game!  Just that Sunday Freddy (an old man who had a stroke) came to church and he has an assistant that comes with him. It was a young looking guy and as the meeting was part way through a replacement came for him. As he sneaked out to go Viviann got up real fast and right as he was sneaking out the door she caught him and invited him to sit next to her to stay for the rest of the meeting :)  He said Nej tack. But that doesn't matter! She invited him!  So we stopped by to say hi and see if there was anything we could do for her. She had just warmed up two hotdogs (Korv) to eat for dinner. We were already quite full from our dinner but she offered us the korv.. and so we politely started to eat them.  We thought okej.. we can force down these two and then hopefully that is all we will have to eat... Viviann then warmed up 5 more!! and then cut them up and offered them to us. Oh my goodness.. She probably ate one korv and we both had the other four. When you are already full and have just eaten a korv and then are asked to force down another two.. I might not sound like much to you.. But it hurt! These are LONG HOT DOGS! ugg. But it was worth it! because she gave us a referral at the end! :)  I love old people. 
   This week was also amazing because we really worked on having members at our teaches. Friday was the big highlight! We had three lessons set up with members! We were super excited. And with each lesson.. I was so grateful we had a member there. Even though I can speak Swedish.. I still can't always explain everything perfectly..  My favorite teach was with Ulf and Anne Marie. Ulf is married to Anne Marie.. I think I have talked about him before. But he is awesome. We sat down to eat and he brought up the church conversation. He used to have a problem with drinking.. but he is under control of it now and still likes to drink his beer on the weekends. We think this is part of the problem for him not really wanting to progress and learn more. He told us he isn't open again and that it wont work trying to talk to some one who isn't open. We totally agreed with him.. which I think threw him off. So when we started out lesson we just said "ok, so we have a lesson for you Anne Marie!" and Ulf smiled and jumped right into the discussion. Working with Swedish people takes a lot of work! Probably working with everyone takes a lot of work. :)  But he is making some progress even if it is slow.  I really do love this man. He is so soft and kind and yet looks a little scary on the outside. We took pictures afterwards so I'll send you some. 
Our last teach that day was with Richard and Viktor. Viktor is getting ready to go on a mission and comes on one teach with us every week now. He goes on his mission really soon and we know he is going to be awesome! We even role played with him before our teach and exactly what he asked us was the question that our investigator had. It was amazing! We have been working on our teaching and focusing on certain points to make sure things are clear to people. All in trying to answer the why.. for our investigators. So like...why did we need a restoration..? we focus on the apostasy! Or why are we here and why do we need a savior..? the focus is Gods plan and the fall of Adam and Eve. These two points are very important and we have found sometimes are not understood quite right.  
   Lastly we were on the train and I sat next to this kid. He kept nodding off.. he looked so tired. I finally just asked him why he was so tired. He was surprised and told us he had been up for the past 2 days trying to finish school work. I smiled and talked to him a little more. He paused when he found out we were from America and said "WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY SO!" and said he was Canadian and switched into English.. haha. As he was getting of the train, he reached his hand over and said, "thank you so much for saying hi--it really made my day..." we really didn't get to say very much--but just taking the time to talk to people even if you don't even get to say something about the gospel... can be an answer to prayer.
Oh yah.. and the title was " the rain..." because it rained ALLL WEEEKKK... but! that cant stop us from having a great day! 
   So! You should all try and make a new friend this week! You might just make their day :)
love syster schneiber!

Pictures from the last month

Manal! our Lebanese investigator
Splashing in the rain :)
 after the rain!
taking home the shelf on the bikes :)
My amazing district
Christa's birthday present!
our little friend who helped us heart attack :)
Our home
Walking heart attack!
our red rain coats!
Alingsås town!

The Holy Ghost feels like Clouds

Hey family!
 Well I just talked to you all on Saturday... so not too much has happened. But I wanted to tell you about a cool experience on Sunday. Our non-progressing investigator Mona came to church. She is not progressing because she has a hard time reading the Book of Mormon. But she does come to church sometimes. So she came to church and usually she likes to stay in the normal sunday school class. But in Relief Society they had announced the next ward temple trip. She leaned over to me and asked.. can i come too!?... I thought.. ja visst. of course you can come.. ;)  So when the sunday school hour came around she said she would like to learn more about the temple.  It's crazy how as missionaries you can last minute have to teach a 30 min lesson without any preparation. And its not like we go around teaching about the temple every week either. It was a miracle that we could find some material on the temple with pictures. And that we could find the right two members to come sit in on the lesson for help. There was a lot of miracles and Heavenly Father's help right there in those 5 mins as we were scrambling to start our lesson. Well! The lesson went amazingly well. Mona is hopefully off the bandwagon and progressing. We covered alot of ground in the lesson.. we even invited her to be baptized again. The best part of the lesson was when Robert (an old bishop) had a comment about the Holy Ghost. He said "A great way to feel the spirit is through hearing others testimonies... and i would like to bear my testimony that i know that this is the only true church." The spirit quickly entered in and quietly touched my heart. I am so grateful to have that witness time and time again. Each time it is a little miracle.
I too know that Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's church here upon the earth today. 
So! I love you all and will be sending you some pictures later on in the afternoon! :)
Love Syster Schneiber

May 7: CIA Agent!

Dear Family,

I woke up this morning with the light shining. At 6:30 in the morning it looks like it could be 10 or 11 o'clock. Its amazing. I woke up staring at the ceiling. I had just dreamed about being home and going back to school. A very odd dream. But as I realized where I was, what I was doing, who I was with. I was filled with a peace and happiness. I love being a missionary. :)
This whole week feels like it has been my birthday. We have just had a fabulous fun miracle filled week :).  Some highlights:
We found an old shelf outside of our new member and asked their neighbor if we could take it home (we are low on shelf space). She gladly handed it over. So Sys Sprague and I came up with a wonderful way to carry it home... we just put it across our two bike seats and walked it home. :) We walked past this woman picking flowers on the road and I asked her what kind they were. She smiled up brightly and we ended up talking for the next 15 mins. She immediately looked at my name tag (I LOVE MY NAME TAG.. i think all members should have them ,) ) And I told her about the Book of Mormon.  She had lots of questions and as she had to go she said.. "Here, here is my number... why don't you give me a call tomorrow and come over. I live in that yellow house".. !  I think that is one of my favorite parts about being a missionary. Taking courage, opening my mouth and spreading the gospel message. We ended up meeting with Ann-britt later on in the week and I think I made a life long friend. When I come back I'm visiting her!  Funny addition to this story. While we were talking to Ann-britt one of the members came walking around the corner. She and her dad had been driving and seen us. They thought we looked soooo ridiculous walking around with this shelf. So they stole it from us! They just came and lifted it off our bikes and drove it home while we stood and talked with her. haha I love our members.
We decided we had to show our love back to these wonderful people so yesterday we took some time to make some hearts with little notes on them and "Heart Attack" them. We also took some banana bread we had made during the week and a card to the bishop to drop off. They lived in the same area .. so we decided to be secret agents with the assignment of spreading love!  We got up to the area.. turns out the mothers were on a walk! so we had to sneak around them.  Fortunately, one of their sons, William was out and about. We decided to recruit him. He helped doorbell ditch the bread to the bishops and then helped us heart attack his own house. It was too much fun!  So I'm thinking once again about being a CIA agent ,)
My birthday was WONDERFUL! We had the chance to meet with Nahid. Nahid is a woman who works at a restaurant. A member family (Hulldin's) were eating there and were talking about church. Nahid was serving them and ended up asking them loads of questions about what they believe. She gave them her number and said she would love to meet with the missionaries. I LOVE IT when members help in the work! So after we had an amazing teach with Syster Hulldin and Nahid, we stopped by some other members named Natascha and Anton. They are recently married and both served missions. Natascha is amazing. We walk in and tell her about Nahid and other miracles we had that week with members helping in the work--and she pulls out her phone and says.. "humm... who can I give you..." She proceeds to go through her contact list and gives us three referrals. !! I have a special list at the back of my journal. Things I want to do when I go home. I wrote down be like Natascha and give the missionaries referrals.

That night we had a member dinner and they made me a wonderful Torta (cake).  I think my favorite part of the dinner though was getting to share our message. All of our messages here in Alingsås have been focused on helping members invite their friends to learn about the gospel. As we told them about the miracles that had been happening, and invited them all to take the next step with their friends.  Asking for referrals from members.. is not easy. It is uncomfortable.. and it is not really easy to invite your friends to learn more about the  gospel. So I often feel a little guilty asking for it. But! one of the sons (who has come back from his mission a few years ago) said, "you two are the first missionaries in a long while who have inspired me to do member missionary work and really get me thinking about which of my friends are ready for the gospel.  I'm sure all those other missionaries were still great... But it felt good to know we are on the right path and making a small difference.
Church was also another blessing for me. Sometimes you try and do so much.. but you really don't feel like you are doing anything. Nothing seems to be changing. Well.. I was feeling a little bit of that at the beginning of the day. But sacrament meeting blew me away. As people got up to bear their testimonies.. missionary work was a theme. Sys Hulldin got up and talked about how grateful she was to come with us to teach Nahid. She was reminded that she really did have a strong testimony of the gospel. She was so grateful to have Syster missionaries so that she could take more part in missionary work. Then almost all the youth got up one by one and bore simple and pure testimonies of how the gospel was helping them in their lives. One young woman named Josefin made me cry. (Josefin is the girl I went on splits with the very first time I came to Alingsås when I went on splits with Syster Sprague.. when i was still living in Jönköping). She talked about her family and her friends.. and then talked about Sys Sprague and I.. how we were such good examples to her.. and how we had helped her so much by just loving and trying to uplift her.  Wow. Then David Hulterström (I was at their house for my birthday.. he hasn't gone on a mission yet) got up and talked about missionary work. He asked the ward to all try and invite their friends to meet with the missionaries. He knew it would bring them happiness in their lives and it was what the Lord wanted.  When we asked David at dinner if he had any friends to invite to learn more.. he was quiet and didn't really feel like he had anyone. So I worried a little that he felt bad or stressed.. or that he really didn't think much about it. but after hearing his testimony.. i guess he really was listening and really does want to spread the gospel :) 
 So! I just want you all to know that you are making a bigger difference than you think. Cant wait to talk to you all next week! :)


April 30: I love being a missionary!

hej på er!

   Well! another week as flown by. Syster Sprague and I cant believe how fast time flies. April has been the shortest month of my life. When you are having fun, working hard, and doing good... its like you are working with a different clock. Crazy. I remember when I first came on my mission... days felt very long sometimes.. now I'm wishing we were going by a 30 hour clock.

   Sweden is still gorgeous as ever. We live in a big house with lots of different apts (town house?). We live on the 3rd (top) floor. Looking out our window you can see the lake we run by in the morning. In the evening when we come home to plan.. we often take a few minutes and just enjoy the sunset. Wow. This world is truly a reminder of a God who loves us.
We had a chance to teach Ulf again (Anne Marie's husband).  Anne Marie is a convert to the church for 10 or so years. She married this wonderful guy named Ulf who does not quite believe in God. He does on the other hand love nature.. and is a big softy at heart.  On your first look.. he has a pony tail, doesn't have his right ring finger, and lots of permanent dirt caked into his nails.  He looks pretty rough.  We taught him the plan of happiness last time and this time taught him about the restoration (Joseph Smith's story).  At first he told us.. he wasn't open at this time.  But he watched the Joseph Smith film... and questions came pouring out. The spirit really does guide us in teaches... because it helps us ask the perfect questions to touch a persons heart.  We asked a question about his father and their relationship... ding ding ding!  To Ulf his family means everything. As he explained this love he had for his dad, his children, his brand new grandchild... tears began to fall down his face.  It was amazing. From going to a closed off man he became soft and open ready for the healing affects of the gospel. It was amazing. After explaining.. Ulf said, Okej lets stop now.. i hate crying. haha. And then throughout the closing prayer he kept on crying. I love Ulf! Now he just has to start reading the Book of Mormon.
Members make the biggest difference in missionary work. Anne Marie is amazing. We have some other amazing members in our ward. We had an investigator, Solomon, in church on Sunday.  Brother Magnusson came right up after church and asked.. do you guys have a place to go for dinner. Usually we do.. but our member had canceled on us. He said, good come to our home and then he looked at Solomon and said we would love to have you as well.  It was perfect!  We told him later that he did some awesome missionary work that day. He is in the bishopric and said that he often looks out over the ward and thinks.. who needs to come to our home for dinner today.  Your homework: Make new friends! Invite them over! Love them.  And especially if you are going to have the missionaries over... invite their investigators.. or even better invite your friends!!
Another amazing lesson happened this week. We had our first lesson with Manal over Skype! We got permission from President to teach her while she is in Lebanon. WAHOO!!  We get on and the first thing she says is.. I gave away my Book of Mormon.  What??  She was reading it on the plane and the guy sitting next to her asked her about.  She gave it to him and all her pamphlets!! He is from Lebanon but living in Michagan... She isn't even baptized and she is doing missionary work. I love her!!  So we need to send her another BOM. She did have her gospel principle's book so we had her open up to tithing.  We explain to her that tithing means paying 10% of your income and before we could go any further.. she said. Yes, I'll do it. ! We didn't even have to tell her the blessings. It is quite amazing to be with someone who has such faith. Now she just has to get an answer about the Word of Wisdom. Manal is definitely one of those prepared for the gospel.
Missionary work of course is not always so glamorous. People don't just say yes to following the law of tithing everyday.  On Tuesday we had a full booked up day with lots of teaches. By the end of personal study time.. everything but one lesson had fallen through. :)  This is why backup plans are so important. Plan B. We had a few investigators and less actives that we wanted to go by.  Syster Sprague and I have become professional cookie makers. We knew of a few people who were having a hard time and decided to make it a day of service.. spreading the gospel with cookies!
At church we talked about taking upon us the name of Christ. One raised their hand and said .. it is really hard to always remember Christ. I thought about it.. as missionaries we should be the best at this.. but how often am i really thinking about Christ??.. not enough. I leaned over and whispered to Syster Sprage.. Maybe you could get a tattoo on your forehead of Christ so that I can remember more often. .. we burst out laughing and disrupted the class. (don't follow my example). Afterwards Sys Sp said.. but look we have name tags on.. that's just like a tattoo. We are so lucky to have these badges to remind us so often. She makes a great point.  We are so lucky to be missionaries.
 Lastly, some times my favorite parts of the week is a short 3 min conversation with a stranger on the street.  On Friday we had some extra time so we went in search of Mr. Krig. (He has a less active wife in jönköping). Mr. Kring wasn't home but his sister was. She answered the door and answered a few of our questions. She knows of the church and has a Book of Mormon.  When we asked her about her beliefs she opened up and told us about how she believes in a higher power.. but she isn't quite sure. It is amazing to me that strangers sometimes open up and they tell us about their fears. But then again it shouldn't be amazing. It is the Goly Ghost. Well we invited her to learn more. she said yes.. but then she said.. but i'm homosexual...  Well that one kind of took us by surprise.. but we immediately replied that she still has a Heavenly Father who loves her and his plan is just as much for her as it is for us. Then Sys Spra.. prompted by the spirit to her about some people who were very close to her who also were homosexual. You could see timid and shyness slowly dissipate and she got a big smile on her face. She invited us back for next Saturday! 
   Sys Sprague said after she closed the door.. that the moment she said she was homosexual her heart started beating really fast and she just felt like she really needed to share that with her.
     That's all I have for this week. I love you all and keep loving everyone around you! I'm trying to do it too!
Syster Schneiber II

ps. Frid means peace.. And there is this awesome 18 yr old girl named Frida who got baptized in Göteborg. Frida! I didn't realize our great grandmothers name was Swedish!