Monday, June 15, 2009

Onward Christian Soldiers

Kära Familj och Vänner,

I really can't tell you how fast this week has gone. I say that every week...I know, but really, time is flying by before my eyes. I realize already that my mission here in Sweden will pass quickly and I want to try to make the best of the time I have here, so I can know that I did what I could with the time I had. I have had a great week. We have had ups, and downs, but the ups have outweighed the downs, and I am doing really well. Some of you know it was my birthday yesterday....I'm officially old. Well, not really, but it's been fun to joke around seeing as though I really am one of the oldest missionaries here in Sweden. I'll start from the beginning of the week, and make my way to Min Födelsedag!!! Ok, let the journey begin.

Well, last Sunday night, we had met a man named Roger who was really open to the gospel. We also met a young man named Sebastian who was receptive also. It was so amazing to me. When we knocked on the door with Sebastian, he opened the door, and as we started to chat, I could feel the Spirit really strong and so could Sis. Väätti. It was amazing, because so often the Spirit is not there...not because we don't testify, but because the people we are speaking to are not receptive, or ready to hear the Spirit's promptings. We will hopefully meet with Sebastian next week.

With Roger, we got his number, and left him with a Book of Mormon. We always wait two days before we call people to make appointments with them, so that they don't feel like we are pushy. When we called him on Thursday and asked when we could meet, he said, "Well tomorrow would be ok with me." That's the first time that we have had somebody else volunteer to meet us so quickly. It was awesome. Then, when we taught him, he was receptive, and wanted to know how the read the Book of Mormon, and we will be meeting him again this Wed.

I am learning, as I am sure I will learn throughout my whole mission, that the miracles will never cease as long as the work doesn't cease. We met two interested people in the same building on a random Monday evening when we had had a dinner cancellation. The Lord knows much better than we do. I am becoming content with the small view I have of the big picture, because I am becoming more trusting in the artist. The Lord knows all, and it is so refreshing to remember that. I don't need to worry as long as I am worthy of the guidance of the Spirit.

We had a couple of slower days after that. We did a lot of tracting, and have been trying to get a hold of some of the less-active members in the ward to visit them. We did our weekly planning, and spent lots of time deciding what we really feel like we need to focus on and where we need to be during this week to find those that are ready and willing to accept the gospel.

To update on some of our other investigators, here's the scoop:
Segen, who is the girl from Eritrea, has had a tragedy happen to her. Her dad, and the rest of her family are in Eritrea, and her dad passed away last week. We were able to go, and teach her the Plan of Salvation, which was so wonderful. She was so glad that she can see her dad again. That was an awesome lesson. There are parts of the plan she has questions about, but we will meet her this week, and hopefully she will have given thought to what we said, and we will see if she is ready to hear about the Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel. She is awesome, and is sincerely trying to know what path she should take in her life.

Harri, Kai, Lisa, and a couple of others we couldn't meet with this week. It's obvious that even though people feel the Spirit, and they have a desire to know more, that Satan is working just as hard on the other side to keep them busy and push the importance of this true gospel down on their list of things to do. I hope we can meet with them all this week.

Now, for the events leading to my birthday, and my birthday. On Saturday, we decided to go out tracting in the same part of the city that Roger is from. There, we got 4 Try Agains for this week, and we talked with many people about the gospel. It was awesome. We then went to the other side of town to drop off a Book of Mormon to Lisa, the student we had met previously, and she wasn't there. Bummer. But, it was all good, because we decided that we would have a little birthday treat and eat pizza somewhere for my birthday. I tried for the first time a ham, banana and curry pizza. I know it may sound bizarre, but really, it was delicious. Here, they have really thin crust pizzas, and obviously put some different ingredients on them. It was really good. You will all have to try that sometime.

Then yesterday was AWESOME!

We first had Stake Conference. But this was not just an ordinary stake conference. It was broadcast from Salt Lake to all of Scandinavia. I am sure you can probably guess, but the Prophet was present and spoke the last half of the conference. It was amazing!!! Not only the prophet, but Elder Christofferson, Sister Dibb from The YW Pres. and Marlin K. Jensen from the 70. The meeting was incredible. President Monson's remarks were all focused around the "Lost Batallion." Those people who are inactive, are in need, are widows, are in the church, are not in the church, are struggling in any way. He compared us to those in a life raft going to rescue those who are need. It really hit me that I get the opportunity right now to help all the people here in Sweden. The interesting thing to me is that it really doesn't matter who they are. One thing Pres. Monson said is something to the effect of, "The widow is somebody's mother, the boys are somebody's sons." That really is true. All people have families here on earth, and just as importantly we are all part of the same spiritual family. The conference was very good. We can all learn from the Prophets counsel to help those in need.

After Stake Conference, we had dinner at the Åström Home. It was Sis. Åström's birthday also yesterday, so they invited us to join in their celebrations. It was wonderful. There are 3-4 related families in the ward that all came to the party. They had a nice meal, then, to my definite surprise, they all started getting out presents for me. I was really surprised. I had felt good that we just has somewhere to be for my birthday, let alone having a bunch of presents. They gave me tights, lotion, and some really fun accessories. It was wonderful. I am so blessed to be here, where even though I could not be with all of you, that I was still well taken care of on my birthday.

Even more fun than the song, and the gifts was what happened later yesterday evening. We had decided that we wanted to go out to an area in Norrköping that has not been our knowledge at all. We were a little disappointed when we got out to the area Fyrby, and it was a little higher class, with good sized homes, and NO apartment buildings. I know that may not seem like a big deal, but by stereo-type, big housed areas are "harder" to tract in because people don't "need" the gospel. Well, we wanted to check it out anyway. So Sis. Väätti and I headed down a random street and just started to knock the doors. Well, to our astonishment, the first door we knocked was a really nice lady named Roija, who said she had faith in God, and wouldn't we come in. That was a miracle in and of itself. But, it gets better. So, we came in, and she was kind of doing some other things and her husband Habib came in the room and sat down and started to chat with us. It finally came out that we are Mormoner, and the wife came in, sat down, and said, "Well, I just thought that you were helping others to increase their faith, but don't think that I will be converted to your church. I have my own faith in God." With that, we kept chatting, and started to talk about the Restoration of the Gospel. They were open to listen, but had many questions about what we had said. As we chatted, the wife started to have some very good questions about the Restoration, about the meaning of life, what happens after death, and so forth. We brought up the Book of Mormon, and were talking about it's relevance to us, and that it answers all the question of the soul we have. She first said she wouldn't read it, then as we told her it could answer all of her questions, she picked it up, and started to read a chapter from Alma. About an hour had gone by, and we were having a really great discussion and laughing about different things, and then down the stairs came their two children. They started to chat with us, and we started to clear up their misunderstandings about the church. We were at their house for like 2 hours yesterday evening. We answered questions, invited them to read the Book of Mormon, and told of the promise in Moroni 10:3-5, and really had a great chat with them. Not to mention we will be meeting with them again Sunday after next. So moral of the story is that as unlikely as it may be, it doesn't matter where, or what the house, or building looks like, or what the names sound like, or what the people look like, there are people who really do want to know the truth. It was awesome!!! We even gave out another Book of Mormon in the same area last night.

We have been truly blessed. I am happy. I am healthy. My body continues to allow me to do this work. I am learning how to learn balance now, so that I will be able to continue to help those here in Sweden come closer to the Savior. I appreciate all the birthday wishes. I hope all of you are doing well. Please know that I pray for you, and think of you and hope that all of you are healthy and happy.

One thing I want to let everybody know is that there is a blog for the mission. If you go to, you can see pictures of the missionaries, and what is happening here in the mission in Sweden. My picture is there with my companion...since I haven't been able to send pictures yet. Check it out if you want to.

I will look forward to hearing from all of you next week. Thank you for your support and encouragement. I know the Lord will bless you as you are faithful to Him, and the covenants you have made with Him. Continue to live your lives close to the Savior.

Sister Suzanne Wood

P.S. Here's the Swedish word of the day:
ETT PARAPLY, or in umbrella. Let me just say, that I can again hear all of your attempts to say it in English, and I am laughing. This has become one of my favorite Swedish words because it is fun to say, and I use it a lot. The weather has been a little less than desirable here...lots of rain, but that's why it's so beautiful and green. I hope you all have a great week.