Monday, July 6, 2009

There is Sunshine in My Soul Today!!

Kära Familj och Vänner,
This week on the mission has been great! Everyday we had something to do, and somebody to teach. We did service last Monday, had our P-Day last Tuesday and I can't believe it's already Monday again. I am amazed at how quickly the time is going and I'm trying to make every day count because I know this 18 months will fly by. Can't believe I've already been gone for 4 months. CRAZY!!!
My companion Sister Väätti will go home on the 17th of July. So, next Thursday I will have a new companion to get to know and do this marvelous work with. I have really enjoyed getting to know Sis. V and we have gotten along really well. I know that all the people we meet and get to know in our matter the circumstances are provided for us to learn from, and have support from...and to support. I think of all of you back home, and really all over the place...and I just want you all to know that you have had an impact on my life for good. I appreciate the support, example and love all of you have shown to me. Please know that I will always be appreciative of all of you!!!
Ok, so for this last week, I have a couple of stories to share that were spiritual highlights.
The first happened on Tuesday evening. We went to teach Segen, who we have been teaching for a month...or maybe longer. We invited a member to join us to go to Segen's house and bake cookies and have a lesson. (Side cookies are a hit around here....nobody bakes cookies...only cakes...) We started to teach Segen the lesson and we read with her from 3 Nephi 27. We wanted to focus on the authority the Priesthood has from God that makes us different from all other churches. At first as we read, she had a really hard time to understand what the scriptures were saying...the Book of Mormon doesn't exist in her native we explained many things in simpler ways to help her understand. As we talked more, she said she understood, and that was really good. We had finished the chapter in the scriptures and we reviewed the Restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith. We were testifying to her how the gospel had blessed our lives, and the knowledge that all of the needed principles and ordinances of the Gospel that Jesus Christ taught on the earth are the principles we live by in the Church today. All of a sudden Segen started to talk about a feeling she had right in her heart. She didn't know what it was. She said it didn't hurt but was a warm feeling that she felt whenever we talked to her. Sis. Väätti and I looked at eachother and smiled. We then had the opportunity to explain to Segen that what she was feeling was the Holy Ghost. That we receive a witness of truth through the feelings the Holy Ghost gives to us. That warmth, peace, happiness we feel when something is uplifting and good comes from the Holy Ghost. She started to cry. She knew that we were truly messengers of God. It was so wonderful. We invited Segen to get baptized into the church and she said she needed some time to think about it because she has already been baptized twice...once as a baby and once in a Protestant church when she was 18. We explained to her with an analogy that without the proper authority and power from God that the baptism is only an action...that it doesn't have all the needed ingredients to cleanse away sin. We also taught about the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and that the Gift of the Holy Ghost can be a constant companion after baptism by the proper authority.
Anyway, it was an incredible experience and we are anxious to meet with Segen again this week and talk more about the possibility of baptism into the church!
The other thing that happened this week was a meeting we had on the 4th of July! By the way, I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July. It was so weird to be in a different country where no fireworks, barbecues or other festivities took place. Our celebration was a member family in the ward who invited us to come bake a traditional Swedish Cake with them on the 4th. Totally fun...but not the same.
Anyway, back to my story. There was a referral we got from the Mission Office here in Sweden of a man named Samson some weeks ago. We tried the numbers they gave us and neither worked. All we had was an address in Rejmyre...and small town about an hour away from Norrköping. We had tried to go there 2 Saturdays but it didn't work out then. So, we made the trip to this little town to try and find a man from Sudan, who found refuge in Denmark and met the missionaries there, and has now moved to Sweden for hopefully a better life. There is A LOT more to his background, but for now that should suffice.
We went into Rejmyre and found the building where he lives. We found the right door and knocked on it. He was home. Hurray!!! That was the first thing we had prayed for. We came in and sat and visited about his visits with the missionaries in Denmark. He speaks English, so we spoke with him and he had explained that he had met with the missionaries several times and had committed to be baptized. We were pretty excited about that. We wanted to see where he was when he had met the missionaries last, so we reviewed the Restoration of the Gospel and Joseph Smith as a prophet and asked him what that meant to him, and what he thought of it. His response was one I never will forget. He said, "The Restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith is the way that God is trying to get all of His children back to the right foundation." I was like, "Exactly!!" I could sense the simplicity and the realness of his testimony. He has been through many trials and we talked about the comfort there is in knowing that God is aware of all of us and will provide the opportunities we need to return to him. I asked him how he felt that if he had stayed in Sudan...that the chances of the Gospel getting to him there were pretty slim. He replied with gratefulness that he had met the missionaries in Denmark and that we found him in a little, out of the way town in Sweden. Pretty incredible! Before we left he asked me how long it would take him to get baptized. That was pretty awesome as well!
Those were the two experiences that were very important to me this week to share. We met with many others, taught them, and consistently pray that they will read and pray and sincerely show the trust in God to let him answer. I know that as we all do those things, we can receive answers to prayers and that the Lord with provide for us. I hope you all have a wonderful week. I hope the weather is nice...wherever you are and that the Summer is bringing warmth and happiness to all of you. Know that I pray for you, and sincerely know that God loves each of I do.
Sister Suzanne Wood
P.S. Ok, for the Swedish word of the day...we are going to go with CHAMPINJONER. This is the word for mushrooms. I want you all to know that this is the word that Sister Väätti wanted all of you to know. She says they are "special" mushrooms....we eat them often and she won't let me say the other word for mushrooms which is SVAMPAR. Anyway, I hope that you enjoyed this episode of "Swedish Word of the Week!"