Another week has already come and gone, and I'm back again. Weird. It continues to get darker (blech) and colder, but we've yet to have snow that sticks- actually, it hasn't really snowed since that first time, so from the rumors I'm hearing, it's currently colder and snowier back home in Utah than it is here in Sweden. Never saw that one coming. In any case, we're starting to get Christmas lights up again all over the city, and I'm doing my best not to get too excited over the fact that Christmas is coming because it's like the best holiday ever (celebrating the Savior, lots of food, and I get to talk to the fam- sounds like a great day, right?). But, for the record, there's less than two weeks until Advent, soooooo, Christmas is, like, here.
Anyhoo, it's been great here in Sweden. We've met with a lot of people, we've gotten blåsted a handful of times, and we've been up to Stockholm TWICE in the last week. Yup. I came back to this side of the mission, and now I seem to go up to Stockholm once a week at least. It's really weird, but hey, at least I was there long enough that I have no problem getting myself around the downtown Stockholm area.
This pastwas the Sisters' Conference in Stockholm, and it was a ton of fun. Sister Beckstrand started it off with a little warm-up exercise, which was a lot of fun, and included my old favorite, Chicken Fat. It brought back many warm memories of my first year at girls' camp and waking up every morning to go do Chicken Fat by the lodge. Still just as evil as it was then; I was sore for about two days afterwards (my mission has NOT helped me get in shape), but still a lot of fun. After that, we had a lot of great lessons from a few of the Senior Sisters in the mission, and it was so great to get to learn about their life experience and begin to look at how we can apply things like Gratitude, Faith, Optimism, and Decision Making both in our missionary work and later on in life in careers and families, and whatever else we find ourselves getting involved in.
It was also a lot of fun because it brought all the sisters from the entire mission together, and I got to see a lot of friends- some of whom I hadn't thought I would get to see before they went home or I did- it's just a little weird how weird how stratified the ages with the sisters are in our mission (as in how long they've been out). There's always been a big group of sisters older than me, but given that there were only 2 sisters that came in after me up until my halfway mark and now there's another 20 sisters or so who are younger than me, it's really weird to see all these completely new faces and to realize that unless we have another sisters' meeting before I go home, a lot of them, I probably won't see again. In any case, it was a lot of fun to see Sister Byrd one last time before she goes home and to get to see Sister Stewart again.
Then, , we went back up to Stockholm again for Stake Conference. It was a lot of fun in so many ways. For one, I got to see a lot of the members from Hägersten since I'm back in their Stake, and it was so great to actually be able to understand what they were saying and communicate with them. It was also a lot of fun because we stayed with four other sisters overnight, and it was a lot of fun to spend a little extra time with them.
One of the things I really loved from the Stake Conference was that the general authority who came talked to us a lot about the importance of personal and family scripture study EVERY DAY. He gave us an invitation that if we hadn't started reading everyday yet, to start now. It doesn't matter if all you can squeeze in is just a few verses or if you choose to sit down for an hour-plus like the missionaries do. What's important is that we get into the scriptures daily. I knew before leaving on my mission that it was important to study the scriptures, but it wasn't until I'd been out here a while that I really was able to notice that there is a clear difference on the days that I do and I don't get all the time I need fo rmy scripture study. I'm crabbier, more stressed, and less... mentally and emotionally gathered when I don't study, whereas when I study, I notice I think more clearly, I'm more patient and loving, I feel smarter, and I truly can feel my love for the gospel and my Savior Jesus Christ growing. It's fabulous, and I truly would i nvite you all to do the same- if you haven't started reading every day in the scriptures yet, start now! There are so many blessings that come to us as we read and study- far more than I'll ever be able to count! I honestly can say that I love the scriptures so much, and the time I get to spend in them is probably my favorite time every day.
I love you all so much, and I hope you can have a fantastic week!