Monday, March 23, 2015

And at Last I See the Light

Tjena! Hur läget?

Okay, so this week has been crazy. I have literally been all over Sweden, or at least the northern half of it this past week.Tuesday we woke up early so that we could get down to Stockholm and go to the temple with the MLC. It was so great to get to go, and for a few reasons. I hadn't been in about 9 months just because of how far I'd been from the temple, and it was so wonderful to get to go in and feel the spirit that really only exists in the temple. It was also great to get to see a few of the friends I've made in the mission one last time. That, and it's officially spring in Stockholm. The farther north you go, it's a little more winter-y (is that even a word? Oh well, I just made it one. But really, we had flowers starting to come up in the grass outside our apartment, and then it snowed this week and they all died. It was awful. Spring has NOT hit Uppsala yet).

After the temple trip, we went up to Arlanda and then took a plane up to Luleå for splits. I think this was the most eventful splits I have ever been on. We made it up to Luleå around 8:30, and we'd just made it to the sister's apartment when a member called them to say that the Northern Lights were out. So, in pajamas and coat, we all ran out to the car and drove out to the edge of town to stare up at the sky. It was absolutely amazing. They were a lot more subtle than I'd expected; the amazing pictures you see in National Geographic really are the exception to the rule. These lights were soft whitish-greenish-blue and slowly moved across the entire sky in narrow, twisted ribbons of light. I'd honestly given up hope that I would see them during my mission, and it was such a blessing that I was able to see them.

The day after that, we had even more luck. We moved most of our p-day to Wednesday so we could take it up there. We happened to overlap with the apartment couple's trip up north to take care of apartments, so they offered to drive us up to Kiruna and the Ice-Hotel. Guys, it was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Chandeliers made out of ice, wolves and fairies and apes and everything imaginable sculpted out of snow, and words and drawings frozen into enormous chunks of ice. Imagine if you got to walk around Elsa's ice castle, and you've about got it. It was so amazing to see how talented people are. 

On the way home I was even more blessed, and the Northern Lights came out a few more times- once along the road, and another time when we'd made it back to Boden, so we climbed up a hill with the elders to watch them dance across the sky for a few more minutes before driving back to Luleå.

The rest of splits were amazing, and I feel so lucky for the chance I've had to work with so many of the amazing sisters we have in our mission. I have learned so much from them and their areas, and I love each of them so much. Really, I am so grateful for all the chances that I've had to learn and grow and become better on my mission.

Back in Uppsala, things continued to go well. We got blåsted quite a bit in the last week (why, people, why? We don't bite, and we're not THAT weird. Don't you want to meet?), but we were still able to get some really good lessons in. One in particular I remember, we set up an appointment with a relatively new member who's been struggling to come church since before I made it to Uppsala, and I've only been able to meet with her once the entire time I've been here, and Sister Modersitzki had never even seen her, so we had no idea what to teach her. So, we planned a lesson centered around the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. As we got into the lesson the next day, it was amazing to see how the lesson we planned had exactly answered her needs as she expressed her concerns and doubts with Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. It's not necessarily a unique experience in my mission, but by the end of the lesson,  I just had a strong feeling that this was Heavenly Father using me and my companion to answer her prayers, which was an amazing feeling. We're still continuing to meet with our sweet investigator from Gambia, and she's still asking all of the right questions and doing everything absolutely right. This week we challenged her to begin thinking about a baptismal date, and while she wouldn't agree to a solid date, she made it pretty clear that she'll get baptized because she knows this is THE true church, and that she would do it by the end of May. 

And there's the week. It's been awesome, and with every day, I realize again how grateful I am to be a missionary and to be in Sweden- even when it's gray and cold out, it's a beautiful country, and I'm so lucky to have been here. I feel so insanely blessed it's not even fair, and I'm so grateful for every last second of the last 18 months. It's a little crazy to realize that I've only got one full week left (time flies. Insanely fast. I hate it), but it just gives me that much more of a push to get out to use every last second and to give my all to loving and serving the people.

I love you all, and I miss you like a fat kid misses cake. Which, quite obviously, is a lot. Have a fantastic week, knock it dead, and I'll talk to you again soon. Ish. Like in a week.... yeah, I'm awkward, I know. Anyways, have it so good, and TTFN!

Syster Maxwell

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