Monday, December 9, 2013

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

So, it finally snowed in Huddinge this week! I've been waiting since I got here in November to see snow, and it finally came this week, which made me ridiculously happy. That is until I realized that Swedes don't believe in snow plows or shoveling their sidewalks, and they don't do anything to really get rid of the snow. Because this means that I'm walking on 1/2 an inch of solid ice everywhere I go. Actually, I'll be honest, I'm just glad that it finally snowed, and I'm willing to pay for that by learning how to ice-skate in my boots every day. I haven't slipped yet, so we'll hope that pattern continues in the next few months.
Sweden continues to be beautiful. I love all the candles in the window for Advent, and we're starting to get little
blurbs of Christmas music in the stores. I miss American Christmas songs, but I've found a few Swedish ones to love, and every so often, we hear a little bit of an American song in the grocery store or coming from korv carts.
I actually had an amazing experience with music this past week. It's been really strange for me not to have a thousand concerts and rehearsals for Christmas this December, and I'd been missing it when Äldste Lambson asked me if I'd be willing to play with him in the Stake Christmas Concert that was in Västerhaninge last night. It took a little finagling, but we were able to find me a violin, which was absolutely gorgeous, and I was able to play a song called 'Betlehems Stjärna' last night, which was also absolutely gorgeous. It was absolutely amazing to get play and rehearse, and to get to share my testimony with others through music again. I love getting to do that, and I'm doing everything I can to get more opportunities like that.
However, we were only a small part of the concert; most of the concert was a local sånggrup who were absolutley amazing to listen to. They had the most amazingly in tune and pure voices, and the arrangements of songs they sang were stunning. The spirit was so strong in that meeting, and I consider it a privilege to have been a part of it. One of the songs they sang was a more traditionally Swedish song called 'Bereden väg för Herren.' We're supposed to be singing it in Sakrament in a few weeks, and I'm excited to learn it. They also sang 'Believe' from 'The Polar Express' and 'O Holy Night' in Swedish. It was amazing. I feel like I've said that a lot, but really, this was one of the most amazing concerts I've been to in a very long time.
We've also had a lot of fun in normal missionary work this week. We continue to contact all sorts of lovely individuals (some may not always seem so lovely, but I'm sure that they really are when you know them). I actually got a lesson on humility this week from that; we contacted a Turkish man on the street near our apartment, and he started freaking out on us and swearing at us because of how people of other faiths have treated him in the past. I was more than ready to leave, but Syster McCollaum patiently waited for him to stop swearing, and asked him if he wanted to meet with us. I was still not entirely sure I wanted to go through with this, but I didn't say anything. Friday, we met with him, and it was the most amazing lesson. Really, he would talk and talk and talk, but as he talked, you could feel the Spirit so strongly. We're continuing to meet with him, and we're hoping that he'll continue to progress.
Obviously, I don't know everything, because if I'd had my way, we probably wouldn't have met with him.
But luckily for everyone involved, I have an amazing companion and a Heavenly Father who understands much more than I do. I don't think we've had a single investigator so far that I would have really sought out so much before my mission, but they've all been amazing to talk to and teach.

I'm excited for Christmas to come. It means a lot more clementines, pepparkakor, and julmust for one, but for two, there's a different spirit in our meetings, and I feel like people are a lot more open to talking about faith and Jesus Christ.
Anyways, I hope people are enjoying the start of the Christmas season back at home! I love you all, and I think you're pretty amazing.
Syster Maxwell

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