This week was absolutely incredible!!!!!!!!!! You guys!!!!!!!! We are soooooooo blessed. :)
So first of all, Kristianstad is THE BEST PLACE EVER. This branch is unlike anything I have ever seen before... They could not be more helpful or better missionaries. They take such good care of us and just have a spiritual strength like I have never seen in any other place. They have such a desire to share the gospel and they don't let anything stop them from doing it. I have had the best areas ever...
So Christmas Eve, we were walking to the Sandelin's and we got stopped by two men, they asked us four if we had a Holy Book in Arabic. We were so confused.... but told them "Yes! Absolutely!" We took their number and told them we would get them one as soon as possible. So then we went and had the most fantastic Jul Afton ever, so much food and love. :) (I'm totally obsessed with Sara Sandelin.... haha) But anyways... we get ahold of this guy and we are really interested to see what's going to happen because 1) he contacted us 2) he asked for a Holy Book, not a "Book of Mormon" 3) he doesn't speak a word of Swedish and very, VERY limited English. So we met him at the church and he brought a friend to try to translate... but he wasn't super good either. Haha. It was a mess. But we called a translator and used him. We found out that he is from a war torn country, his family was all killed there, and that he felt like he should talk to us, he feels good in the church, and he wants to come every Sunday. So we met with him again and he told us he wanted to be baptized and that he has been reading the Book of Mormon every day. He came to church in a tie and dress pants and a sweater. It was adorable. He had us and the elders over and just offered us everything he had in his fridge, that's their culture... haha. SO NICE. Soooo loving. At church, he stayed for all three hours even though he couldn't understand anything. There was seriously a line of like 6 people to bear their testimonies because everyone is awesome... but very last there was an old woman that went up and said she wanted to bear her testimony in English so that "her dear friend that she just met" could understand. It was sooooooooo beautiful even though she struggled a bit. Not to mention she also drove one of our other investigators to church. We had three here and it made me sooooo dang happy. :) ______ (from Albania) came and loved it too. Everyone was so nice to her. She LOVES the idea of a modern day prophet. :) ______ came also. He speaks Arabic too, but speaks swedish really well. He is so fun. He came to New Years with us and played games with us and made pizza. It was a blast! It just was an amazing week. We had another family that was slightly interested become fully interested. We went from talking about the weather and languages and trying to have a lesson to reading out of the Book of Mormon straight through and them not wanting us to leave. They also speak Arabic. So basically, I just want to start up an Arabic sunday school class haha. I guess we have a member that got baptized here and didn't speak hardly any english or swedish, but he read EVERYTHING and loved it, knew it was true, and wanted to be baptized. He is picking up his family right now but I hope he comes back soon because he would be a huge help. I really do love these people so much. It's so fun to have so many different cultures in one place. It makes for really interesting experiences with google translate and charades but I love it.
The heartbreaking thing though is to hear of their situation in their home countries.... I've heard of so many devastating things from Africa and the Middle East. I can't wait until everything is made right. But it's beautiful to testify of eternal families when people are so heartbroken.
On a lighter note, New Years was amazing. They were just blowing up fireworks like crazy haha. They were everywhere! I loved it. We played Mormonopoly and a lot of other games. Oh and we got snow! I have a lot of fun pictures to send. :)
The New Year was filled with a lot of different thoughts for me. I finished my "black year" in Sweden. It's weird to think I'll be home this year. I don't feel like I have enough time left to do all that I want to do. It goes way too fast. But I still got some time. :) I decided for Christmas that I wanted to give Christ a "gift" of some sort. I thought a lot about that and when Mom sent me the 12 days of Christmas, I realized I wanted to give Christ "12 months of Christmas." I decided I will choose a Christlike attribute every month to study, pray for, and do my best to apply. I chose "Desire" this month and it's already been incredibly interesting and eye-opening. I've been recording what it is that I desire, deep down and how strong that desire is. It's pretty sad when you are honest with yourself and realize that sometimes temporal things are a stronger desire than spiritual. I really want to work on that. And I want to desire the welfare of this people more than I do now, or in other words, love them even more. I think desire and charity go hand in hand.
"Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming.
How do we develop desires? Few will have the kind of crisis that motivated Aron Ralston,3 but his experience provides a valuable lesson about developing desires. While Ralston was hiking in a remote canyon in southern Utah, an 800-pound (360 kg) rock shifted suddenly and trapped his right arm. For five lonely days he struggled to free himself. When he was about to give up and accept death, he had a vision of a three-year-old boy running toward him and being scooped up with his left arm. Understanding this as a vision of his future son and an assurance that he could still live, Ralston summoned the courage and took drastic action to save his life before his strength ran out. He broke the two bones in his trapped right arm and then used the knife in his multitool to cut off that arm. He then summoned the strength to hike five miles (8 km) for help.4 What an example of the power of an overwhelming desire! When we have a vision of what we can become, our desire and our power to act increase enormously.
Most of us will never face such an extreme crisis, but all of us face potential traps that will prevent progress toward our eternal destiny. If our righteous desires are sufficiently intense, they will motivate us to cut and carve ourselves free from addictions and other sinful pressures and priorities that prevent our eternal progress." -Elder Oaks
I started reading the Book of Mormon with this in mind and it seriously came ALIVE. When you have a goal to learn something it seriously gives you completely different ideas than any other time you read it. What are your goals for this next year? We should all study something together so we can talk about it. I think that would be really fun. I will need a comp study with someone when I go home haha.. Also.. going along with that. I will need a companion too haha. I can't even be in a different room than my companion any more, even in our apartment. I used to be independent haha...
Well I love you guys so much! Happy New Year! And have a fantastic week. God loves you all. :)