Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dec. 10: A Last Letter of Joy

Dear Family,

Wow. Here goes my last missionary letter! These weeks just keep going by so fast. This week we had some wonderful things happen. I don't even know where to begin.. PS. I'm writing to you in the middle of a snow storm!

Lets start with Sunday. I love church! We were sitting in our meeting with our mission leader (Samuel Caballero... Awesome mission leader!) and I looked out the window and there was Ondrej and his wife Slatta walking into the parking lot. They walked to church!! It took them about an hour. What dedication! He came up to me with a big smile on his face and motioned with his fingers that he walked to church.. and then said "Måste komma till kyrkan!" (Need to come to church!) He speaks very very very little Swedish. Ondrej's daughter has a hard time coming to church every week. She has four kids and not a lot of money and a lot of things going on. So we usually try and go over on Saturdays and get them excited to come to church. But this Saturday we went to the Copenhagen temple! And when we came back we didn't have any time to go visit them. We just figured that they probably wouldn't come to church. So when Ondrej showed up on his own!! He sat through the whole first meeting with no one to translate for him.. But he knew how important it was to come to church!! I felt like a mother.. so proud of him! We also got a Gospel Principles book for him in Slovak and after he explained how he came to church he pulled out the book and showed me three chapters he had already read. He was so proud of himself! :) That was probably the greatest gift.

But this was not the only gift I received this week. When Syster Werjefelt was sick a month ago I found an old investigator named Björn. I called him up and asked him if we could meet. He said yes and invited us over for Lunch. Since then we have taught him four other times. Two being this week. Björn was a huge blessing! I wish you could all meet him and hope you do get to meet him someday. As we taught him this week... I was reminded why I love being a missionary soo much. There is nothing better then teaching someone who is receptive to our message. He has meet lots of missionaries over many years.. but never really taken the discussions from one set of missionaries. So we are teaching him all over. On Saturday we taught him at a members house who he is friends with. It was AMAZING. We got down to the main problem and he also told us that he knew the Book of Mormon is true. Now he is at a cross roads and needs to make a decision. It is amazing to see how quickly you can develop love for someone when you share the message of the gospel. I hope Björn can receive faith, courage, and take a step into the unknown and follow Christ. For the unknown will be greater than any life he could create on his own.

I too feel a little nervous. Ending the mission is like a roller coaster. Lots of different emotions throughout one day. But this unknown will be filled with light and joy if I choose to follow my Savior. (I plan on following him too :)

I also got to go to the temple in Denmark on Saturday with three amazing women from our branch. Marie Jacobsson, Ellie Rhodes, and Claudia Correa! I love these women so much! I feel as though they have been my mothers, sisters, and friends these past four months here in Kristianstad. It was a wonderful experience to go to the temple with them. I loved every moment and I was reminded of the BIGGER PICTURE of life. I am so grateful for the plan of salvation and the temple.

There is much more I could share.. but I'm running out of energy to write these long letters to you all! I think Heavenly Father helped me write all these letters these past 18 months.

Well! See you soon!!!

I love you all, and I love being a missionary!

Syster Schneiber II

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dec. 3: Let it snow!

Dear Family!

I don't have much time to write today.. we are going to have a missionary Christmas party in Lund! and we had a late start going because there is SNOW COVERING EVERYTHING!! Yes... i made syster werjefelt bike in the snow.. just so we can save time.. :) Don't worry mom. I'm wearing my helmet!

I LOVE the snow! and I love Christmas! and I love Swedish christmas! and I love church during Christmas! Yesterday we had a wonderful testimony meeting. Everyone was happy and shared about how thankful they were for LIFE! Isn't life just wonderful? :)

Well.. This week started out a little rocky. We have been going a little bit slower.. and our friends that we have been teaching are dropping like flies. Our days seem to be a little bit empty. But in a way I think it is a good thing because we get to go at a little better pace of life. I have found, being on the mission, that lots of people don't seem to like going at my rushed pace. And to tell you the truth it is a little nice to go at a slower pace. You get to enjoy life a little better. Swedish mentality is definitely more calm and easy going. "ta det lugn" ... a very Swedish phrase.

Also ending the mission.. I all the sudden get these thoughts like.. Have I done everything? Have I really done my best? Have I used my time wisely? Did I talk to EVERyONe I could? And then I realize that I was not perfect throughout the past year and a half and I am filled with regrets.. oh no. I have been a terrible missionary. These were the feelings that plagued me at the beginning of the week. Thank goodness for companions though! As we sat Tuesday morning discussing what we learned I had a little break down and shared all my feelings with sys werjefelt. She was calm :) and knew just what to say. Next day I also received a letter from a good friend. He has been like an extra trainer throughout my mission. He wrote to me about exactly what I was feeling and shared with me how he overcame those feelings while he was on his mission. Perfect timing.

I also had another little experience this weekend. We had this last minute big decision to make Friday evening. It was to cancel our plans for Saturday and go to the Copenhagen temple the next day with the young adults and the elders in Lund. (I wont be able to go through the temple one last time before I go home because we leave on a Tuesday early morning and the temple is closed Monday morning.. so we got permission to go on our own time). We had thought about going my last Saturday... but suddenly we were offered this chance and it was a free car ride. Friday night I sat there unsure of which option to take. I did pro's and con's and tried to figure out what to do. I didn't want to cancel on the lessons we had set up on Saturday... but it would be really fun to go with all the youth and it was free... ugg!

I prayed and felt like it would be best to stay and hope that everything would work out for us to go again.

Saturday morning I sat reading and wondering about if I was really a good missionary. I had once again felt an overwhelming feeling that I was not doing my best and that I was not a good missionary. I read "Preach My Gospel" in the first chapter about "How to be a successful missionary" In there it said "Do not be discouraged in yourself. You can know that the Lord is happy with you when you feel the Holy Ghost working through you." ... humm.. I thought.. is the Holy Ghost working through me?

Right then the phone rang and we got a text message. It was from one of our wonderful members who we would be helping that day, Ellie. Ellie's aunt had just moved in and one of the things that we had scheduled for the day was to go help her unpack. Ellie texted us about somethings we would be helping with today and how much her aunt really appreciated us coming to help her.

At that moment I was filled with such gratitude that we had decided to stay home and not go to the temple. I was so glad I didn't have to text her and say.. oh sorry we are not going to be coming to help you today. I realized that the Holy Spirit had worked through me and guided me to know what would be best to do.

I learned I might not be the perfect missionary. I might have missed a lot of opportunities.. etc. But the Lord can still use imperfect tools to help build his perfect kingdom.

Heavenly Father is the best planner in the world. I don't know how he can answer everyone's prayers at just the right moment. I talked to Ellie about how she had answered my prayer on Sunday. She said... "I was just lying in bed and I felt like I needed to text you right then and there. So I did."

WELLL! You will be getting one more letter from me! I'll be home sooner than you know it. Don't expect anyone special to come back... I'm still littl' ol' imperfect me :)


Syster Schneiber

Nov. 26: Pictures!

beach soccer with a football :) in the middle of winter
our thanksgiving party :)
Another heart attack to our sick mission leader samuel
Simon and his family! (these pictures didn't turn out so well.. theyare a little blurry)
Simon and us!

Nov. 26: Thanksgiving

Dear Family!!

Life is swell. I think I got a sinus infection this week but not to worry. Syster Werjefelt took good care of me and made me rest and get medicine. She made fun of me and said she was going to remember me as the snot lady. I am always amazed by how much snot the body can produce. SOO many tissues! And Happy thanksgiving!!

We only have a few American families in the ward and so I asked one of them what they were going to be doing for thanksgiving. They said they would be celebrating it on Saturday with a few other families in the ward. After asking I was hoping we would get invited as well… but no invitation came. I was thinking this might be a not so great thanksgiving. BUT! Then another family came up and invited us over to their thanksgiving on Thursday night! Yay!! I don’t know what I would do without a ward. They really do become your family.

This Sunday our relief society lesson was on a talk from General Conference called “Ask the Missionaries.” I remember listening to this talk and thinking.. o boy I am one of those missionaries. The talk is all about how “the missionaries” are the ones to turn to for all the questions one can have. It seems that we are the solution to any problem  As I listened to the talk I thought.. I don’t feel like I can really solve all those problems! Yikes. So the teacher asked me in the lesson about some of them major things I had learned on my mission… seeing as I was a missionary preparing to go home.

I told her that I had learned a lot… One thing in particular was that I was not sent here to Sweden to just help those who were not a part of this church. I felt I have been sent here to help many of the active members.

The teacher had talked about how it was interesting that they had chosen this talk for the lesson because she felt like it was more directed towards non-members and less-actives. But when I listened to it.. many of the situations that Elder Nelson brings up.. are problems that active members have.

This might not be interesting to all of you.. but I really loved the lesson.. and moral of the story is USE YOUR MISSIONARIES! Love them, get to know them and make them a part of your family and then introduce them to all your friends and extended family 

Simon was baptized!! Finally. Our 9 year old little friend has been sick and lots of other problems that have stopped him from getting baptized the past month. But this Sunday it all worked out. It was definitely the calmest and easiest baptism to prepare and it was really beautiful. 

We had some wonderful miracles this week. Simple miracles. It is funny the blessings I write down in my journal each day. Monday we went to Lund to have a little thanksgiving party with some of the elders in near-by areas. We played Frisbee and sand soccer! And we had planned a fun activity for the evening and invited all of our friends. Throughout the day we got texts back from them saying.. no I cant come.. im too busy.. etc. I felt like I usually would start getting stressed and really worried.. But I have been doing this for quite some time now and I know Heavenly Father will help it all work out. And what do you know..! We had a good turn out of people and had a great evening. Big thanks to our amazing member Hadi!! You all need to meet Hadi. I told you about him before that he was a muslim studying here in Sweden from Iran. Syster Vistaunet and Syster Jacobs were teaching a Chinese member at his school and Hadi was in the background and heard them talking.. and he was interested to hear more about Christ and the Bible. So he came up to them and asked them if he could learn more after they were done teaching. He is now one of the strongest members I have ever met. And definitely the best missionary I have ever met. He has introduced us to all his friends and we have taught many of them.

We also got to FINALLY meet with our cute Vietnamese friend Hang again! Her schedule has opened up a bit and she invited us over to her home to have Vietnamese food. It was soo much fun. We had a big bowl of soup with meet and noodles and ate with chopsticks. Syster Werjefelt had a rough time eating with chopsticks and they all had a great laugh watching her try. 

Thanksgiving we spent with the wonderful Larsson family. The wife, Lisa is from UT and she married a wonderful Swedish man, Bert. They lived in the states for a long time and then moved to Sweden. Their two kids have mostly lived in Sweden. Lisa doesn’t have any American relatives here in Sweden.. just Berts family. So she wasn’t sure if she really wanted to have a big thanksgiving party this year but her son is on a mission in Wisconsin and she knew how important it would be to her that someone took in her son for Thanksgiving. So she said that she threw thanksgiving mostly for us  She also invited all of Berts family for dinner (non of them are members of the church). It was lots of fun getting to be with a family and especially getting to know all of these fun Swedish people. Before we had to leave I just wanted to thank them all.. and I told them about the tradition we have at home to go around the table and everyone gets a chance to say what they are thankful for. SO I just told them what I was thankful for. And then everyone else wanted to join in. It was interesting to hear what they all said what they were most grateful for… Family.

So family! I have loved being here in Sweden.. it has been an amazing year filled with lots of wonderful people that I have come to love. I will miss them a lot. But I have also recognized how MUCH I LOVE YOU ALL.


Syster Schneiber II