Monday, June 15, 2009

Go Forth with Faith! (Monday, June 8)

Dear Family and Friends,

I've decided the best way for me to title my emails is with a title of one of the wonderful hymns of the church. You all know how much I LOVE music, and I often hum a hymn as we are walking, after somebody turns us away, in our apartment. It is truly a blessing to have such wonderful praises we can sing to the Lord, and they all teach such wonderful messages about the gospel. I am still singing by the way. In the next couple of weeks Sis. Väätti and I are going to try and have some kind of concert. I will sing and we will invite all the ward members and then have them invite their friends. It would be a great way to meet people and it would be SO fun for me to get to sing. I will let you know more about that as it comes to pass.

I have had a good week this week. It flew by. We were in Stockholm both Tuesday and Wednesday and had a really nice time there. On Tuesday, we went to the temple, where I felt the Spirit in great abundance, and really helped me to process some of what has happened on the mission. We then stayed at some other Sisters apartment in Södertälje, about an hour away from Stockholm. We ate pizza together and had a great time. The next morning, we left for Stockholm for our Zone Conference. It was awesome. It is so nice to get together with the other missionaries that are in the Zone, and here their successes and learn together ways we can improve ourselves out here in Sweden. We talked about the Holy Ghost and it's importance and the importance of teaching investigators how important it is to us. What a blessing it is to know that I can have the CONSTANT companionship of the Spirit of God as long as I am worthy. I never need to fear, or feel doubt when I am living according to the commandments. How awesome is that?? I am learning to listen to the Spirit in all I do. I continue to seek the guidance all the time so that we can be where we need to be, when we need to be, and find those who are prepared for the gospel.

After Wed., we came home, and have had several appts. the rest of the week. We have had more appts. with members in the ward this week to eat dinner and that has been really good. It is helping our relationships with the ward so much, to get together with individual families and get to know them, and share a message about the gospel with them. We haven't had anybody from the ward give us any names yet, but we will continue to show them that they can trust us, and as that happens, I know the Lord will bless them to know who is ready to hear the gospel.

We also had some disappointments this week. It's been surprisingly ok though. I am realizing that as long as I do all I can, I don't need to feel like I've done something wrong that somebody didn't keep a commitment. I know I have written about Harri, a really cool Swedish man we have taught a couple times. Well, he was supposed to go to dinner with us at a members house, and then cancelled and said he didn't want to re-schedule because he doesn't like to disappoint people. That was pretty sad. Then, we met with another really cool Swedish man named Kaj, who was a previous investigator. We met with him at the Mission Leaders home and had an awesome conversation. He said he really wanted to come to church, but then didn't show up yesterday. We are trying to think of ways we can help people keep their commitments, but we can only do so much, and it's still their choice. We had also been teaching Violetta the last few weeks. We taught her the Plan of Salvation yesterday, and she didn't accept it. Her heart and mind are not open to accepting anything other than her perceptions of things. It was very sad to us, but we won't be meeting with her anymore, unless she has a "message from God" that it's right. More often than not, our promptings from the Spirit will be small, still, and brought to pass in very simple ways. I think Violetta was looking for a sign. I will continue to pray that her heart is opened and that she will realize that the things we have taught her are the truth.
Well, along with all the disappointments, are wonderful experiences too. We have had many teachings this week. We will see if any of them will become investigators. We had to appointments with less active members in the ward who really need our support and the Spirit present in their lives. We have had many opportunities to offer the gospel to people here in Norrköping. We have given away many copies of the Book of Mormon...and the most I guess you could say exciting thing about all the little successes we have throughout the week is that I have and will have NO idea what will come to pass later with all the Book of Mormons we gave away, or the people that will meet missionaries later. So, I will continue to go forth with faith and know that no effort here is wasted...something I have to remind myself everyday.

We went down to Linköping the other day, where our District Leader is, and we had a really cool experience with them. Three of their branch members were called on a three hour mission. So, we all went out around town and gave people a survey of questions to see if they would accept the gospel. It was fascinating to see that many people would stop and answer our questions. We found one man who wanted to know more from the missionaries and gave away two Book of Mormons. Really cool! Plus, the other members found like ten other people who wanted to know more from the missionaries, and got to have the experience of missionary work. We are going to do that in our ward as well. Sis. Väätti and I have used the survey here in Norrköping as well, and it is a really great contacting tool. People are more willing to do that, and even though they might not be interested, at the very least they are given the opportunity to think about really important things like their family, and the meaning of life. It's awesome!

I know I said I was becoming a vegetarian...but don't worry. I am still a meat eater. We went to the Bishops house yesterday and his wife had made chicken....really good. So don't worry, but I am eating a lot more vegetables and fruits and I have felt really good this week.

As for my back. It's doing better. I have had less pain this week, and it continues to be manageable. I appreciate all the prayers that all of you are offering in my behalf, and I know the Lord is answering all of them. I continue to be cautious, and sensible with what I carry around, but my back is fine. There is no cause to worry. I know the Lord with provide for me, and that my health will continue to get better as I serve Him with all my might.

I will send pictures soon. I know mom sent me the cord for my camera to the computer, so then I can load pictures and send them. I am sure...well maybe you want to see a picture of me with my companion, and some of the pictures I have taken around Norrköping.

Thank you all for your support. I have felt your prayers, and your guidance, and love for me. I am so glad that all seems to be good, for all of you. Continue to be well. Continue to take care of yourselves. Remember to take care of yourselves not only physically, but spiritually as well. That balance is something I am realizing is SO important in life. One without the other is not inaccordance with the knowledge we have from the gospel. Having our bodies and Spirits working in harmony is really important.

I continue to learn so much every day. I treasure my scripture study every day, and can't write how much I have learned, and how much I love the scriptures. Prayers are answered. Fasting works. I know that these simple things are what keep us close to our Heavenly Father so we can do His will. I am happy. We laugh all the time here. I continue to look for the good in all situations, and although not everything can be seen through rose colored glasses, I continue to go forward, and I know the Lord will provide the miracles as I show Him my willingness to work hard.

I love all of you, I pray for you, I think of you often. I know that the Lord is taking care of those I love as I serve Him. Take care of yourselves. Stay strong in your faith. Remember what the Savior has done for each of us, that wonderful and necessary gift for us to return to live with our Father. This church is true. I have no doubt.

Sister Suzanne Wood

I will have a Swedish word for the week from now on...kind of a little fun. I would love to hear you all try to pronounce some of these things...I would have a real laugh I'm sure.
This weeks word: KAKA....which in English sounds a little a word you would tell your kids in place of another word for a less than pleasant substance...but in Swedish, it can be either a cookie or cake....ironic that they are so opposite. So here we have KLADKAKA, SMÅKAKA, and all other wonderful varieties of KAKA.... I can hear you all laughing about that.

Oh by the way, Swedish is coming still. Some days I have no clue what anybody is saying, and I can't think of what I am trying to say, BUT for the very most part, I am understanding better, and I can more readily think of my responses in Swedish. The Gift of Tongues is real. I have seen it work in my life here in Sweden. It's incredible how the Lord blesses us as we fulfill His purpose!