Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Yo No Hablo Spanska

Hey guys! 

So, missionary life is crazy. Seriously, eight months out here, and I'm still surprised by the things that happen around me every day. Suffice it to say that it is always safe to expect the unexpected.

This week, we had some amazing meetings for the sisters in the mission and for planning. It was really cool, they brought in some of the senior-pair sisters to talk to us, and it was amazing to hear their stories and how it has shaped their testimonies so much. Planning was great too. I'm a little sad that we got the condensed version (it usually takes double the time to present apparently), but it was really nice to get to hear how much planning really does affect the rest of our week, and how it doesn't haven't to be stressful and tedious, but it really is just to make us more effective with our time.
we're holding a cremated cat!!!

We also had some interesting experiences this week. Nothing went as expected. To begin with, Tuesday after District Meeting, the elders left, and we were doing open church hours here at the church. We decided to go sit outside on the steps to welcome people in and get some sun (we hit at least 75 F this week- so freakin' hot with the humidity!). We'd been outside about fifteen minutes when a guy we'd never seen before walked out of the church, and apologized for scaring us. For some reason, we were still a little worried, so we asked if he wanted a church tour. He told us no, he had just been sleeping the bathroom. WHAT THE HEY! We asked him how long he'd been in there, and he asked what time it was. When we told him it was nearly two in the afternoon, he said he'd been sleeping in the bathroom for TWO HOURS.  Understandably, we were still a little freaked out when he continued to walk away down the street, but we decided not to let us bother us. Until an hour later when a woman came in with a bag she said she'd found outside that had my meter, my wallet, and my camera. We're considering it a tender mercy that 1) we didn't know until she brought the bag in, because it would have completely stressed us out for the rest of the day and 2) that all that was missing was $25.00 US that I still hadn't swapped to Swedish kronor. Honestly, I'm still kind of amazed by the experience. Suffice it to say, we're now being smarter about locking doors in the church and that I'm still thanking God every day that I have those things that I need to make it through pretty much every day of my life.

Another fun experience from this week: Saturday evening we went to visit a missionary pair who lives on the other side of Stockholm (which was fantastic; they are seriously the BEST), but this also meant that we were taking a long train-ride home on Saturday night. Somehow, Sister Morris and I both managed to end up sitting by groups of drunks. I ended up by some slightly buzzed Africans who were talking to a Swede about how the Swedes should be more outgoing. They pulled me into the conversation to ask if I thought that 'we' (meaning the Swedes) should be outgoing, and I had to disappoint them by saying that I was American, so I would stay out of it. Of course they were very interested to know why an American could speak such good Swedish, so I explained that I was a missionary. Instantly, one of them put up his hand and said 'Put it there, Maxwell. I'm proud of you.' So I spent the rest of the train ride talking to my three new best friends, Dani, Marvin, and Chris about the church, and I was genuinely a little disappointed when they didn't come to church yesterday, but if anything, I'm glad that I'm still laughing so much over the entire thing.

And even yesterday morning on the way to church, we realized that we'd forgotten something in our apartment, so we ran back from the train station to grab it, and then ran back. And then we realized that the train was leaving THAT SECOND, so we really started booking it, along with another woman who needed the train.We missed the train by about 10 seconds, so we started talking with the woman next to us. It quickly came out that she was from Ecuador and didn't really speak any Swedish or English, only Spanish. Trying to be helpful, I told her the name of the church in Spanish, and she then assumed I could speak Spanish. I feel like I learned a lot of random words in my 3 years of Spanish, but not enough to help me carry on a conversation after 8 months of only speaking English and Swedish. Luckily, by a miracle we ran into a member on the train who translated for us, and we're now hoping to meet with her (with translation) later in the week.

And I guess in closing, I would like to say I am grateful for the amazing people I'm surrounded by. Last night, we were able to visit a cute family in the ward. The mom, Emma, comes from Chili. She's recently been reactivated, and her son, Kevin, was just baptized a little while ago. It was so amazing to see how much love they have for the church and for the missionaries. After dinner, I got to play a few songs for them on the violin and then bear my testimony that I know the lord gives us all talents for a reason- whether they be with an instrument, a sport, or the less obvious talents like being able to tell when someone just needs a friend or how to help others in a meaningful way. It was really so amazing, and that's just one example of many.

I love you all, and I hope you have a great week. I'll keep you all posted on the crazy things happening here in Sverige! Love y'all, and stay classy!

Syster Maxwell

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