Wednesday, January 6, 2016

CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR 2016 1.4.2016



Well Howdy!

I am going to start at the beginning of this crazy holiday season. Sooo much has happened so i am just going to write it allll out. 
I will begin with our Christmas break! 
In the Sweden Stockholm mission we are given three days of non proselyting time. we eat food with members and are allowed to watch animated movies :) 
basically I was so super stoked for life these three days. The 24th, 25th, and 26th. but really the party started on the 23rd....
on the 23rd we had our district meeting. All it was going to be was caroling! So everyone came to Jönköping and we wrapped up copies of the Book of Mormon with wrapping paper to hand them out while caroling. It was a little bit of a train wreck at first but we got the hand of it and it was just awesome.  We got into the city and saw these guys filming their dancing. It looked exciting so of course I go over to talk to them.. turns out they are background dancers for this guy and they were just having fun making a video. Well the rest of my district was kinda awkwardly watching from afar but eventually made their way over. We started talking about dance and stuff and I showed some of my awesome dance moves that I learned from my dad, and all the guys got super excited! They pulled us over to the bridge and told us we were going to be in the music video haha. So we danced on the bridge with them and got into this music video!! Afterwards Syster Taylor and I are talking to them about the church and I see on the other side of the bridge, a guy we had met on the street the day before. Abel.
backround story on Abel:
We met him the night before this, and had started talking about life and one thing lead to another, turns out he is a record producer and and music artist here in Sweden. Syster Taylor got all peppy and was like Syster GILES CAN SING!! and right there on the street he was like sing for me! So I ended up singing for him and we got his number and everything to meet with him. 
Well, while all these guys are still dancing on the bridge, I’m talking to Abel and he tells me....yeah these are my dancers....
coincidence. I think not. 
So we got all their numbers and will be organizing a flash mob with them! 


WELL after all that excitement we walked a little further into the city and started to sing. It was awesome. People totally thought it was freaky but it was so worth it because we got on camera again haha, hashtag, we are TV stars now. I’m sure the heading was something like, "Jehovahs Witnesses making the ears of the Swedish people bleed again." but ill take it. 
our day was just awesome...till about 5:30 that night. We had come back to the apartment to eat and I went into the bathroom to ... you know.... use it. and I had locked the door... well Syster Taylor thought it would be funny to try and scare me so she just pounds on the door all of a sudden and yells. Then we laugh..ha ha ha...ha....ha....no. 
well…I go to unlock the lock....and it just spiinnnss for dayyss. 
oh. no.
I start laughing nervously now....Syster Tayloorrrr...heheheee.....heeeelllp.......still super calm........OMG HELP I AM LOCKED IN THE BATHROOM. She comes to the door and we start trying to get me out....we think something broke and jammed when she pounded on the door....but it was totally...not ever going to open again. Syster Taylor starts frantically trying to find a tool box with a hammer or something to bust me out....but she cant find that or even a screwdrive to unhinge the door or screw off the lock. She takes a knife to the screws but theyre all stripped. 
We call the Elders for their toolbox...they have just left to go to a less active who lives way far away.........i was going to spend the night...in this bathroom. 
I started mentally preparing for it and even made a last words video diary entry. 
About an hour goes by and I’m pretty hungry and sitting on the ground was getting pretty old….I dont know how we came to this decision, but the decision was that Syster Taylor could probably throw me some food and towels to sit on and some laundry to do, from the outside of the apartment. three stories up. 
It took more than a couple tries because our bathrrom window is tiny and I am a small rhinocerous right now, plus it only opens like halfway, BUT ALAS. the survival items were caught and i was able to eat and change into jammies (since i was in a dress before) then I sat down on a bunch of towels and reviewed my entire life....for the next THREE HOURS. Luckily I had a toilet, but Syster Taylor was not so lucky...yes, Syster Taylor pulled an Angie, from Baby Mama. 
Then finally the Elders showed up. They were able to bust me out and let me tell you, I have never been happier to see these people haha 
Well we had gotten a baptismal date that day and needed to call President Beckstrand to tell him about our investigator and he picks up and is just like, 
"well hey there Bathroom Queen!"

Yes. I am referred to, Bathroom Queen now. 




But we went on to tell him about Isaac, our awesome 50 year old man from Ghana! He is progressing sooo well. He loves church and the Book of Mormon and has received answers from reading it. I think the most amazing part to me is that he RECOGNIZES that they really are answers. He is very special and we have an amazing member named Williams, who has just totally taken him under his wing. 

We did loootsss of caroling!!! 
We even went caroling with the YSA group! remember the Teo Eritrean guys!? Habtom and Kasete?! Well we invited them to come and they CAME!! It was SOOOO FUN AND AWESOME. Well what happened was a totallll blessing. We went out to a family that was a little out of the way but one of the YSA really wanted to go to them. we got lost a couple times just trying to figure out and remember where it was.... well we finally get there and Habtom turns to us with super wide eyes and just says "my little brother lives there..." 
PAUSE. REWIND.
Habtom brought his little brother to basketball remember. 
PLAY. CONTINUE.
so we were like, omygodnessss we have to sing to his little brother. So we did!! We walked down and we all got quiet as we realized that it was an immigracial living quarters for teenage boys... 
the supervisor lets us in and Habtoms little brother Nobel is at the end of the hall, biggest smile on his face. ...which really brought the biggest smile to mine. Then alllll these boys come out of their rooms and come sit in a little living room thing to listen to us sing..we sang one song and said Merry Christmas and walked out the door....but the supervisor came out and said the boys want you all to sing more!! So we went back in and sang like 5 more songs.....the light in that room was magnificent. The love that Jesus Christ has for these kids was so clear and so strong. We all felt it. and the light in THEIR eyes, was unmistakable. 
We talked to them a little bít after and eventually left. 
This experience has touched our YSA...as I have listened to two of their testimonies this month....they have talked about how much this experience touched them. 
I feel really blessed to have been apart of it. 
It was the perfect lead up to 
CHRISTMAAAS!!! 

WOKE UP AT 2AM TO WATCH MOVIES AND SKYPE WITH MY FAMBAMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

That was sooooo amazing to see their beautiful faces and hear their familiar voices!!! it was just special. 
After our skype sessions we watched moooviieesss!!! This Christmas season I watched a total of 15 movies over the course of 3 days!!  It was glorious. We had Christmas with the Heggesseys and we even celebrated the 26th with a family from England!!! We celebrated boxing day with them!!! It was SO MUCH FUN. It was quite the party and we even got tinsel to put around our heads :) 
We played lots of games and ate lots of food. It was soooo fun. 
We have eaten at homes with a lot of members and one that specifically comes to mind is the Malms! We went and had tacos!! 
Elder Bliss probably wont appreciate me telling this story so publicly but it needs to be heard...and I have perfect recollection since I was right behind him.
In the Malms home there is a very steep skinny spiraly staircase. While walking up it when we first got there, Elder Bliss was being extremely careful, one step at a time....i kinda made fun of him because it just looked ridiculous.....well at the end of the night, while walking down the stairs, Elder Bliss took my words to heart as he walked down the skinniest part while doing some sort of dance move.....and then...he just flew. Like the kid flew. 
He fell and did a couple flips and just straight supermanned down the staircase. And I saw the whole thing…..he kinda slid further on the hardwood floor at the bottom and the whole house was quiet….Brother Malms son is like..."was that Jonaton..?" and everyone kinda slowly walked down the stairs...to find Elder Bliss sprawled out on the hardwood floor. probably. im not sure, i felt really awkward and scared so i ran upstairs as fast as i could to hide in Syster Malms hug. 
like. it was just awesome.

New Yeaaaarrrsss !!! It's 2016 people! and... and.. and... I had an awesome time at New Yeaaarss... It wasn't as fun as being with my family and eating chicken wings and laughing and falling asleep before the ball in New York even drops... but it was awesome... played a lot of games, and watched the fireworks over Jönköping because the members had a amazing deck that we could see everything from. Happy New year's my friendly neighborhood.

I got a lot of presents this year, but I think my favorite present was these four crazy immigrant children that Marina found on the bus and brought to volleyball one night. They are super adorable! I love them a lot... They totally came to basketball the next day. They're really not good at basketball. It's adorable. And then they even came to church on Sunday!! They probably didn't understand a whole lot, but I hope that they felt the spirit. We're going to see them tonight! I'm super excited for that. They're kinda my favorite. 

I had a couple humbling experiences this week. One of the two experiences was when one of the Afghanistan refugee teenage boys cut his foot on something during basketball because afghanees don't wear shoes during basketball. I was able to clean up the cut and dang... his feet were all beat up like he had been walking for miles... because he had been. These kids immigrated from Afghanistan on foot. Through deserts, and mountains, and rivers, and lakes, and I was like... My life is easy. They don't even have family to love them. But now we are their family and we love them. 

Second Experience:
This is something I have to thank all of you guys for.. Thank you family and friends, for loving me and supporting me enough to fast for Elder Bliss and his situation and myself. My mom emailed me and said that she hoped that I could feel the love from the fast. I think I did. I just felt super at peace with everything at the end of the night last night. Thanks for putting our names in the temple... I really appreciate everything that you do and have done for me my entire life... I love you.
I'll talk to you next week. 

Love, Syster Giles



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