Friday, December 26, 2014

God Jul Allihoppa!

With the Holiidays the P-day schedule is all over the place for this week and next but we will be back on a regular schedule soon.  

Well, my mind is kind of boggled right now in several different ways. For one, it's about -10 Celsius outside and we have no snow. This is my second non-white Christmas in Sweden, and I thought I was guaranteed one at least 1 year. And then there's the other part- I've had two Christmases in Sweden. It's a little freaky, but so cool at the same time, especially since I actually understood what was going on this year!

Let's see, we'll start with last week. We made popcorn balls with cards and spiritual thought for ward-members, investigators, and less-actives, and it's been a lot of fun to see the general Swedish reaction which is usually something along the lines of 'Oh, the sweet sisters..... what is this strange American concoction?' Caramel popcorn just isn't a thing here, poor people! But, it's been really nice getting to share EVEN MORE the importance and power of our Savior's birth. It honestly has been so wonderful this Christmas to get to witness of the Savior's birth and ministry to literally EVERYONE. It's been great to hand out popcorn, and it's been great to realize what a miracle modern technology is so we could share 'He is the Gift' with our street contacts and members using our phone in just about any language. I think what I've loved especially about this Christmas season is that in sharing the gift of our Savior's birth with so many people, I've brought it a little more into my own heart and I've realized at a much deeper level that we celebrate so much more than a baby's birth every Christmas. We truly celebrate our Savior and the fact that he loved us enough to humbly come to Earth as a baby and one day offer up Himself as a sacrifice for each and every one of us, as imperfect and flawed as we all are, and for that, I am so, so grateful. 
Zone Conference was great; I got to play a duet of 'Away in a Manger' for the  Conference, and it was so fun to see so many of the friends I've made in the last year one last time before a lot of them head home.

Other news.... well, we had a little heartbreak with our investigator who travels so far to make it to church. Her husband and sons have all become Christian, but her father who still lives in the Middle East is still Muslim, and wasn't too pleased when he got the news that she was seriously considering converting to Christianity, so for right now, she's taking a little break until she can sort out what she wants to do. I know how strong a faith she has, and I know that she truly has gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon, but for right now, we can't tell her what to do, both because it needs to be her decision, but also because of the potential for more serious problems that could come from this, so for now....  we don't know what to do with her until she knows what she wants to do.

And then, there was Christmas. It's been so much fun; I got to watch Kalle Anka again this year, and it was amazing to realize I do actually understand what's going on in all of the cartoons now (take that, Swedish!), and as always, the Swedish tradition of Julbord has been great. But think Julbord on steroids. Seriously, I've had three or four Julbords in the last 2 days, and I'm really starting to get sick of meatballs and Janssons Frestelse, although it was fun to convince Sister Allen there was no fish in the Janssons Frestelse only to tell her a few hours later it was some of the fishiest stuff I've ever eaten (no pun intended), as well as to get the chance to try some Finnish foods, and to try eating bear, boar, and hart meat. It actually all tasted really good, I just don't know that I can eat many more Julbords after the last week!

And now for the big news. And just so no one is surprised, let's think this through: what do they always do to Syster Maxwell? They transfer her! And since there's a pretty large group going home next week to make it home for school, guess who's getting pulled out of Norrköping? This girl. And do you want to guess where I'm going? Stockholm! Yup, I spent seven months in two of the three or four sisters areas around T-Central in Stockholm, so it makes sense they would send me back just to make sure I really get the full Stockholm experience. Haha, it should be lots of fun, especially since they're putting me back with Sister Stewart, my MTC comp!

And yeah, that's Christmas in Sweden! I love you all tons, and I hope you have a fantastic Annan dag Jul!

Syster Maxwell

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