Monday, February 23, 2015

Lead me, Guide me

Heeeejjjjj! How's it going??? It sounds like you guys had a good week! I never loved America so much until I came here haha. Don't get me wrong, I love Sweden! But I appreciate home a lot more now. So it's totally warming up! I am so glad, Feb. has been really enjoyable so far. My body has adjusted so much that I don't even get cold until it's below 0. 

Ok, so I hated saying goodbye to Syster Modersitzki. I definitely fought tears when I had to say goodbye to her as she flew to Stockholm and I was by myself for an hour. She has been so great and taught me so much, I know we will always be friends!!! =) BUT my new companion's name is Syster Savage and I aaaaaaaaaaaaabsolutely adore her! She is hilarious and we have been working so hard. It's seriously been the best. She is only a transfer older than me, so we still have to guess with a lot of swedish, but we get by just fine! She is from Mapleton, Utah and she is incredible at singing. The girl is gonna lead the motab (Mormon Tabernacle Choir) in a few years, so watch out.

We got to go on the frozen ocean! Oh, it was so fun!! They have sparks, like scooter sleds? I don't think they have them in the states. But you can get going so fast and there are sleds behind them so people can push you! You also can just run and slide. The ice is thick enough they have tractors on it. And you can see the bubbles frozen under the ice. #northerncountries #arehashtagsevenstillathing So Sister Modersitzki said goodbye to everyone, and it made me really sad for whenever I leave! People have a hard time when the missionaries leave.

Investigators: Henry is doing about the same. We really think he has been receiving answers but we are still helping him recognize that and trying to help him have the courage to trust God. We have not been able to meet with Terry, we have an appointment set up with her tonight! We had a good lesson with Andy this week. too. We did a lot of finding work and we had a really cool experience:

So we went tracting in an area where a lot of younger people live, by the University here. (You get paid to go to school here, did I tell you that?) And I was literally just talking about how I always prayed and strived to be worthy of the guidance of the spirit, but I didn't really know if I was being guided or not. So we go and we are talking to this guy and his friend comes in and wants to know who we are and what we are doing. He said he had seen our nametags before when he was in an orphanage and they came and prayed with and for him, he said he felt like that prayer changed his life. He said he was just thinking that he wanted to join a church because he wanted to give back for all the good fortune he had had in his life, and we showed up. "It was you that came, no one else, you're the ones that came." I could feel the spirit so strong as he was talking and just how truly sincere he was. We set up a lesson that night and he accepted everything we taught, and wanted to learn more and more. I can't wait for the next lesson with him, and I was grateful that Heavenly Father confirmed to me that he really is guiding us, and answering all our prayers to lead us to those who are prepared and excited to hear the gospel. It's His work, not ours. 

Also, a spiritual thought. We were teaching this couple and they listened, but told us they just didn't think it could possibly be true. And it hurt to hear that. I really felt like I did my best, to find them, to teach them, to be in line with the spirit, to share my testimony. I was thinking about how Christ must feel with us, because we have our agency. I think I got a taste of what he meant when he said, "What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it?" That's the question that crossed my mind, but in my own words, "What did I do wrong? What should I have done differently?" Obviously I am not perfect, but Christ is. He did and does everything possible for us and we still go astray. 

I actually said a prayer the other morning to "get to know Christ better" and then I realized a few hours later that I have been, I just haven't realized it. Some of the thoughts that came to mind is I am getting to know him when I keep going in the coldest winds I have ever felt in my life, when I feel super embarrassed because I said something wrong in Swedish, when I share my dearest thoughts and experiences with people and they reject them. It gave me a lot of hope and peace to know that the work I am doing is good, and even if people don't listen or accept, I am becoming closer to my Savior in the process. 
Syster Stetler with her new companion Syster Savage
Well I think that's about it for the week. I will send a few pictures. I love you guys so much and pray for you daily!

Syster Stetler

Monday, February 16, 2015

Staying in Lulea!

Hi Friends and Family!

 Will you guys do something for me? Will you watch "His Grace is Sufficient"? It is sooo good, and I love a quote in it that says:

When people ask him [The author of the talk], "You think you are earning heaven?" He says, "No, we are learning heaven."

YES, I am staying in Luleå! And I am so glad. I really didn't want to leave, I don't think I ever will. I am getting Syster Savage who everyone says is adorable so I am really excited, though it'll be hard to say goodbye to Sister Modersitzki! I cannot believe I am done being trained. It has gone SO fast, and I feel like I will have a lot of responsibility now, so that's scary. This week the most exciting thing we did was go to Umeå for a specialized zone training and it was great! I really learned a lot, and it was fun to see the Beckstrands! We watched Meet the Mormons, and it absolutely destroyed me. I thought back to how that was one of the last things we did, and it just trunked me out for like 2 hours. Just seeing the temple, the mountains, Snowbird, and especially Anthony saying goodbye to his family, I just lost it. Syster Beckstrand reminded us how much we are sacrificing and that "Sacrifice really does bring forth the blessings of heaven."
Investigators: We had a lot of good progress with Henry. He told us that he has been reading the Book of Mormon and "something freaky happened", verses were standing out to him and speaking to him. It was so cool to see that God is speaking to him through the scriptures! Terry has been sick, we will meet with her tomorrow. And Drew expressed his concerns about baptism. So Kris and Jen, a 3/4 American couple had us over for dinner (delicious) and then we talked about the Book of Mormon, which he read in a week. And when I say read, I mean READ. He marked everywhere he had questions and compared it to his Bible. He had a LOT of questions and he is really smart, and honestly curious. It was cool to see someone that curious and driven but it was a lot different than our normal teaching experiences about basic doctrines and relationships to God. He is going to read D&C this week so it'll be interesting to see what he thinks!
I think that's it... I wish I had more to say! I love you all and hoppas du har en bra vecka [Have a good week!]
Syster Stetler

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Car Keys


Ok, this week started out really slow, then ended really well! So since Monday is Pday (Preparation Day), the Elders came into Luleå to email and then lost the car keys to the car we share. So..... since they were lost in Luleå, we had to look for them all of Tuesday. It's a dang good thing we found them because it turns out the mission didn't have a spare. So we spent all day asking everywhere. But I really learned a lot that day. We finally found them at the police station. Swedes are very honest people! I was really nervous after having had my car stolen. In other news, we may or may not have dyed Sister Mod's hair... Uh.. Haha. It didn't go so well. But fortunately she got it fixed today and it looks really, really pretty. The week ended well because on Saturday we went tracting to somewhere we had never been before and got let in 3 times. That's unheard of. And one couple was adorable. He was half American and she was from California, and they let us in and invited us back!

Investigators: Henry is meeting with us consistently again. He says he still wants to work towards baptism and he is praying about the time period that he wants to work towards. He is very determined, and if he sets his mind to it I know he can make it happen! Terry is seriously so cool. She told us she was going to be Mormon for a month and follow all the rules, do the entire thing, and if she feels like it's right, she will join. She has such a desire to find truth and find God that she is willing to try a completely new lifestyle. How cool is that? It was totally her suggestion. Andy, the Russian, says he wants to find out if baptism is right for him, but he just loves church, he comes every Sunday. The Hu's are adorable, they started praying! Which was a pretty new concept to them. We seriously teach people from everywhere here, right now we are teaching people from China, Russia, South America, America, Africa, and of course Sweden. I love learning about other cultures! 

That is honestly about it. The week was not that exciting! We made Kladdkaka and it was delicious! It's like brownies but better! And transfer calls come this week, so I am really nervous but I know that the calls are inspired and whatever happens is for the best!

I love you all and hope you have a great week! Hej då!

Syster Stetler
Syster Stetler with some children from the Branch

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Beautiful Disaster

Hej Familj! 
You wouldn't believe how much "snö" there is here! It has been snowing for DAYS and it doesn't stop! There are snow piles of like 10 feet everywhere and there is probably 5 feet of untouched snow. Even native Norrlanders are amazed and saying this is a ton! It's beautiful, but it makes missionary work a lot harder. The buses are late, we pushed cars out of the parking lot yesterday, and like normal humans, the Swedes are not out during a crazy snow storm. Also, I am developing Norrländska, just how they speak here. There are a few different dialects, and this is, of course, my favorite.
Investigators: There will not be a baptism this week, for Henry. We are just trying to keep meeting with him, and figure out if this is still something that he wants. Terry is Anna Newell's (President Newell's wife) friend. She is like 26 and super cute. She is really searching for the truth and has wonderful, very sincere questions.
So she invited us and the elders over for dinner with some of her friends. We taught her, ate, then went to a hockey game! (Yes, I called the mission president for permission) and it was SO fun. Our lesson went great, dinner was fun, she made some traditional Swedish food (potato pancakes). It was really cool because we didn't even talk about religion, but afterwards that couple was like "you can come over and do your thing anytime." It's cool to see the doors you open by just being yourself. So the hockey game was nuts! They sing/chant the ENTIRE thing. Dad would have loved it, we walked in and they were playing Crazy Train. All the sudden they started chanting "OY OY OY OY.... Cause I'm LULEÅ, I'm dynamite... LULEÅ, and I´ll win the fight!" Hahaha. TNT was replaced with Luleå. It was so fun. But unfortunately, we barely lost in overtime. Also, dad, one of my investigators explained how his life by quoting White Snake. So all that 80's music training is really paying off on the miss. Haha.
The language.... I am starting to get really impatient with what I don't know. I am starting to understand people a lot better, but I just get so nervous to speak. An Elder that got here a month ago is just incredible. His grammar is perfect, pronunciation, and his vocabulary is huge. Everyone asks him if he's from Sweden, and it's so rare that you don't have a heavy American accent, even after being here a really long time. So I am learning that I can't compare myself to people. And that's a hard thing to do.
Something spiritual... We had an awesome district meeting again. I loved it. We talked about desires, our desire to come on a mission, and how to act according to that desire. I really like what Elder Elinkowski said when a missionary asked him for advice on how to be a better missionary and he said "I could give you advice, but it doesn't really matter what I think. My best advice is: Figure out what you want, figure out what God wants for you, and then don't be swayed." I think that really applies in regular life too. Figure out what you want, what you really want, see if it's in line with God's will. Then don't be swayed. In Lehi's dream those who partook of the fruit "heeded them not." It was cool because I have seen that Elder placed in tempting situations and he says something like "No, that's not my style." And I respect that a lot. He knows what he wants and doesn't sway.
Transfers are coming up on the 18th and we are a little worried because I had a bit of trouble breathing when the Zone Leaders came. I love it here. I have never felt so much love as I feel in this branch. I really just want to stay and continue this work here, but I know whatever happens will be for the best. 
Well I love you all and I hope you have a really great week! =)
Syster Alyssa Stetler

                                                     Syster Stetler and her companion.
                                                                       Lots of snow
                                      Alyssa is the first person from Elko to have visited Jakkmokk
                                                              Alyssa and her district
                                                                       Taking in a hockey game