This is important:
I don't know if you have ever actually looked at a map to see where I go, but this one is important. So...
1. Open up google maps or something
2. Search Luleå, Sweden (I think you can type Lulea and it will pop up)
3. Stare at the map in shock
For those of you without google maps, I have attached a few pictures from our phone :)
Yeah, I am going to the most northernly area in the mission. Literally have to fly up there tomorrow. 1.5 hour flight or a 14 hour train ride. What have I done to be cast out from all of the other people?!? :) The good news: There is a set of elders there and a car shared between the two of us. The bad news: the sun already comes up at 9:31 and goes down at 13:15 and we have two more weeks before it switches so that the days get longer. This will be a new adventure.
This does mean that I get to see the Northern Lights :) And the Arctic Circle. And maybe even the world's first ice hotel (which is about a four hour drive farther north)
But, the last week in Jakobsberg:
-Got to spend most of Tuesday with Nicki, a YSA preparing for her mission. We did language study, lunch, and taught together. She is so great! One of our investigators did not show up, so we took the time to do a little bit of mission preparation and read through a section in the book we use as missionaries called Preach My Gospel. The very first thing that we teach anyone is God is our Loving Heavenly Father. That is really the basis of everything else. God loves us, so He made a plan and here we are! God loves us, so He sent His son, He gives us prophets and families and every good thing. We are who we are because of a loving Heavenly Father. Everything else depends on that one fact.
-Last district meeting of the transfer with the North Stockholm District. I have loved being in this district so much! I have learned so much from all of the missionaries! One of them, Syster Powell, is going home this week, so we had a "funeral" for her. We each shared something that we like about her then watched videos that each of her previous companions had made about how much they love her. It was absolutely sweet :)
-On Thursday we went down to Västerhaninge with the Elders to help clean the Guest Home that is used for visitors of the Temple. Some people come from thousands of miles away and they stay at the Guest Home. It was really fun :)
-On Friday Syster Crawford had a meeting (because she is training a new missionary), so I got to be on splits with Syster Stetler (one of my companions in the MTC)! It was so fun to be together and catch up. We really had a good opportunity to talk about the mission and everything. We talked about our last 3 transfers and what it will be like going home. Love her! We got to teach our new member about the First Vision. We read Joseph Smith's account from the scriptures and talked about how we get opposition every time we try to do a good thing, just like Joseph Smith did. If you haven't read it recently, I would encourage each of you to read Joseph Smith-History, especially verses 1-26. I love that he says, "For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it." There are things in each of our lives that we know, but sometimes we begin to forget or doubt. Never forget! Hold on to the ground you already have! Rely on the Lord through times of trouble, "Cast not away therefore thy confidence!"
-Interesting fact about Sweden:public transportation cannot handle any type of weather. Like its raining? Oh! Train is cancelled! There is some wind? The whole train system shuts down for 12 hours. That was the weekend for ya :) Plus buses are late and tunnel-banas are delayed and...yup. I am not completely converted to the idea of public transportation for many reasons. One thing that I am grateful for is that Swedes are much more patient with these kind of things than Americans. They just calmly wait until everything is figured out instead of getting frustrated about it :)
-We had the Ward Christmas Party on Saturday. It was a huge deal! We had a Julbord (rough translation: Christmas Table) with all of the traditional foods like: ham, potatoes, Johnssons Frestelse (Johnson's temptation, a dish with potatoes and anchovies), red beets, sausages, deviled eggs with caviar, and sill (weird fish stuff). Plus lots of desserts :) They had a talent show and it was just spectacular. We (the missionaries) shared the video, "A Savior is Born" and bore testimony on why we need a Savior.
-Good-byes on Sunday. I hate Good-byes! It is so hard to say goodbye to these people that you have just come to love so much! I got to bear my testimony during Sacrament Meeting. Talked about Christ and how much I have learned about Him and from His example. We went to our Ward Mission Leader's house for dinner (Swedish meatballs, potatoes, brown sauce, and lingon berry jam...typical Swedish meal!) then spent the evening contacting and swinging-by people. Already making mental plans to come back to Sweden to visit all of these people that I have come to love with my whole heart!
Spiritual Thought this week:
I love this video! It perfectly explains why we need the Savior. There would be literally no purpose to life without Christ and the Atonement. There would be no chance to start over, no chance to improve, we would literally be stuck here without any hope. Thanks to Christ, we have hope of more happiness, of more joy, of returning to our Heavenly Father. I am so grateful to have a Savior that understands me. Someone that knows me better than I know me. Someone that I can always look to and rely on. I know He lives! Through all of the hustle and bustle of Christmas, remember to take time to remember the real reason for the season. Remember Christ and all that He has done for you personally.
Love you all,