Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Day 537

Ahoy there!

I hope everyone is doing well! I am doing super well!! I am continuing to love it up here in Umeå. Things are going so well. I love this place. The only frustrating thing is how slow the work is going in our area at least. And I know we are not there a lot and that there are not a lot of people there but that really shouldn't matter. It is just hard when we are working our very hardest but no one is interested or they are and then we can't get in contact with them. It makes me wonder if I am doing something wrong but I know I'm not. But despite the no's and rejection's we will continue to be diligent and give the Lord our all! That is all he asks for. Our all and our will are really the only things we can give the Lord that are really ours to give. I love being a missionary sooooo much and it is such a blessing to go out and serve him rain or shine. 

Wellllllllll where to begin.. Hmmm Tuesday. Wait a second. Monday. Monday we went to a wedding! It was for a girl in the ward named Lovisa. It was out in the middle of nowhere but it was sooooo pretty! It was out in the countryside at this church, which was on a hill overlooking this huge river. It was just super pretty! I got some good pictures that I will send home. Anyways it was pday and we had nothing else to do so all the missionaries went and it was a blast!

Now Tuesday. Tuesday was a good day. We were able to meet with Rita! If you don't remember, Rita is and 18 year old Persian girl who we have been teaching off and on since I have been here. She is interested and likes to meet, but it is just hard to meet with her because she is always busy. Anyways, so we brought Erica along with us on the lesson. Erica is a stud! I think I have talked a little bit about her before, but she is a returned missionary from Russia and loves I go on lessons with the missionaries! She is a spiritual powerhouse! So we planned to teach Rita the Plan of Salvation and it went super well! We only got through half of the plan because the spirit led our lesson in a different direction and helped us explain things clearly and in the way she needed to hear. She is a pretty quiet girl and she usually just sits there and listens, but this time she was asking questions and it was awesome! It is so cool how the Plan of Salvation answers questions and brings understanding as we learn more about it. Anyways, the lesson was super powerful and it helped a ton to have Erica there. We ended up talking a lot about prayer and about the atonement. It was cool to hear her feelings for Christ as she learned about what he did for her. After we left, we felt pretty good about the lesson. And as the three of us were walking down the street, a thought just hit me and I said, "hey guys, no matter how good or bad that lesson went, we are fulfilling the prophecies in the Rededicatory prayer." (The Rededicatory prayer of the land of Sweden is when Thomas S Monson came in 1977 and dedicated the country for missionary work and building up the kingdom of God on the earth. It basically says among other things that when the members unite with the missionary army, all things become possible and miracles will happen. That thousands upon thousands will join the church. He said Sweden is a choice land and will be the example for others. Those thousands of people joining the church is called the "Second Harvest". We missionaries are working and praying for it so hard right now. We know it is beginning and we are apart of it now.) Anyways, it was just cool to think that we are working with the members and doing all we can to bring others into the fold. And that Erica took time out of her day because she also cares. The Second Harvest is right around the corner. This work is hastening!

Tuesday night we had a special experience. I don't know if I have ever written about it, but there is this special food that most swedes love. It is called "surströmming". Directly translated it means, "sour herring", but it is actually fermented herring haha and it is the worlds stinkiest food! You have to open the can underwater haha or the stink gets EVERYWHERE. Anyways it is a traditional summertime food in Sweden and they usually have little surströmming parties and stuff. It's kind of like sardines but a ton bigger and disgusting haha. So you usually clean the fish on your plate and put the meat on a sandwich with potatoes and onions and butter and tomatoes and stuff. So it's not a ton of the fish. But you can still taste it. It is really really salty. Anyways, with all the other stuff on it, it actually wasn't that bad! I think I could get the hang of it just having it once a year. So I think I'm gonna make it a tradition at home ;) ikea sells it ;) anyways, the reason I am writing about this is because for some unknown reason, it has become a weird tradition among missionaries to eat the fish whole haha guts, scales, bones, tail, and all. Not many people do it, but it is the test of whether you are a real man ;) no one at this members house did it and no one wanted me to do it, but I knew I had to just to say that I did haha. So I ate the whole fish. It took me about 3 big bites but I ate it. And after doing that, I can with confidence say that if I had caught a live fish out of a lake and started chomping down on it right out of the water, it would have tasted better than that fermented herring haha. But it was super fun!! I can say that I am a real Viking now ;) 

This week, we swung by a TU that gave us his address and when we went by, he let us in and we had such an amazing lesson with him. We had a prompting to go by him that day. The lesson with him wasn't very long at all, but it was powerful. He was genuinely interested and asked a lot of questions. The spirit was present in the lesson and you could feel it. The part that was most spiritual to me was at the end when we talked about answers from God and prayer. We invited him to pray and he did. Afterwords we asked him how he felt and he smiled and said that it actually felt really good. When he looked up and smiled I felt the spirit so strong, knowing that the Holy Ghost had touched this man's heart. This man was willing to try and to search. He showed his faith and acted and God answered him. It was a huge testimony builder to me. I think that faith and willingness is what the people of Sweden need. When they show that willingness and sincerity and act, then God will show them his power.

On Thursday we met and had dinner with a little member family of a mom and two little girls. Well, the girls aren't actually members. They are both 10 years old and are twins. They are pretty loud and annoying and crazy haha but good girls. While we were over there, we taught them about baptism. The mom has been less active for a while but has a strong testimony. The girls ending up saying that they wanted to be baptized! It's going to take a lot of work to teach them, but it will be worth it! So all four missionaries are going to go over there and teach them and also any members that we can take with us.

That night we ended up getting to Pandu's about 30 min late.. He had been waiting for us but our phone died so we couldn't call him. When we got there, his buddy had come over and they were making dinner together and about to start a movie. The friend started talking to us and never stopped. He was an atheist swede and tried to prove us wrong the whole night. It was actually pretty frustrated and the conversation got a little more "bashy" than we would have liked. Sooo we weren't really able to teach or talk to Pandu. But we are hopefully going to meet with him this week. 

Friday and Saturday were red days in Sweden because of a holiday called "Midsommar". Haha you can probably figure out what that means. But it is basically a holiday where they celebrate summer! It's awesome! It is definitely needed because the rest of the year is dark. It's basically a pagan holiday and they dance around this pole to welcome summer and fertility and sing songs and have a jolly good time. All holidays in Sweden are at least two days haha. But Friday was the big day with all the dancing and festivities. The Örnsköldsvik missionaries came up and spent the days with us. We all went to this place called Gammlia. It is a museum type place that is an old Swedish village/farm. It was super cool! It was packed! It was a ton of fun! After all the dancing and such, we went to the church and had a party there with the branch. We ate and played games and talked and it was a super fun! I love this branch so much! They are like a big family. After all of that, we headed home. The Övik missionaries spend the night with us. The next morning we played soccer with the branch. It was raining hard that morning so we weren't sure if we were going to play but a family in the wars said that we would play anyways. So we played a game of soccer in the rain. It didn't rain the whole time but we still all got soaked haha. It was such a good time! 

Sunday was a good day. Church was good. But I just felt a little off. Like just physically drained and tired. So after church we had no lessons planned and no dinners or anything. And this was one of the only times of my mission where I didn't want to go out and work. I had a head ache and I was tired and just wanted to lay down. But I knew my calling and I knew the Lord would strengthen and bless me as I went out and worked. We went out and contacted for hours and it was amazing because as we continued to contact and continued to walk, I felt less tired and more happy. We ended up finding a bunch of new people who gave us their numbers. As the day was winding down, I didn't want to go back in. It was just a huge testimony builder to me to see how the Lord strengthened me when I needed it and helped me fulfill my calling. There is real joy in this work. As we go out and do what is right, we will be happy. I also know that the Lord really does magnify us in our callings. I have experienced that first hand. I love my mission and I love the Lord.

Well everyone, I have to bounce! I want you all to know that I know that the church is true! Have an awesome week! I love you all! 


äldste Bailey

1 comment:

  1. First off that is so disgusting, surströmming is good on a sandwich with all the other stuff and to eat it whole like you did is just nasty. But yes you're a true Viking now...
    So happy to hear that Rita is doing good.
    I think that the bet lessons are those when members come with. It's more spiritualpower in those. Take care and keep up the good work. Love/Pia