Monday, May 23, 2016

                                       h     o    m    e

This week went by so unbelievably fast. 
I don't even know where to begin. 
This week was filled with so many fun different things. 
I have received a lot of great hilarious and random presents from my Swedish family here as I have repaired to come home. 
A couple highlights include 
Raymon to the temple for baptisms for the dead 
My funeral 
My last Sunday 
random beyond random gifts. 
The sun has been out ...kinda... We played football and volleyball because the weather was so nice and it was super fun. For the first time I was the top of a pyramid!!! 

More sun means, 
More flowers and happy people. And happy cows. 
This week one of my old companions sent me this picture. Syster banks KNOWS ME SO WELL. She just sent it because she knew it would make me so ridiculously happy. And it did. It was so cute. I named him Alejandro. Alejandro the highland cow. 

i sent her these pictures in return because she is obsessed with oranges. she used to eat so many that it actually tinted her skin orange. crazy.

I will start with Raymon. 
Remember Ray? The guy from Nigeria who is a music producer? The man who was baptized 7 times? The legend who hit his head on the pipes in the font? 
You would think with all those trial runs he would be a pro by now. 

The answer is no. 
Also, my new favorite hobby is watching adult men try to do baptisms for the dead for the first time. 
Side note: Raymon's mom has passed away and so he is getting her name together for the temple and she came to him in a dream the night before we went to the temple. 
The first name he was baptized for....I don't know if he was excited or what but he leaped backwards and swan dove into the font. Water went everywhere and Nikolai who was baptizing him just had the greatest look of amused terror on his faced. Everyone was chuckling and they explained to Ray that all he needed to do was bed his knees..... So testing testing.... He bends his knees the second time but way too fast. He buckled under the water and we all just hear this great echoing THUD. His knee just gets destroyed on the inside of this font. The advice this time was to go a little slower and scoot away from the walls of the font. 
This time it's like watching a slow motion video of a small plant withering away as Raymond sinks slowly slowly slowly straight down into the water. eyes were just filled with thick tears as I held in my laughter. But it was so. Darn. Funny. 
He loved it. He loved the temple and we were able to take Cedric with us too and they got to do baptisms together just like how when they were baptized together. It was so so good. I am so grateful I was here to take Ray to the temple for the first time. 

T H E   F U N E R A L

When a missionary in this mission goes home it is called dying. I even got a 9 page eulogy. 

So the last district meeting of the transfer you hold a funeral service for the missionary and ...I had the best funeral ever. 

They welcomed me into the spirit world down the hall then carried me on this sofa into the cultural hall where I then had flowers from each person laid on me. Which by the way still had all the bugs in them. 
It was so funny and amazing. I got to see videos made by my friends all over the mission here .. A total of 18 of them sent in videos for my funeral with funny memories and thoughts and good vibes. Over an hour of footage of my favorite people in this country. I laughed and cried and just loved them all. I love them all. 

here are a couple...

favorite part of this video is about the eyeliner hahahaha so accurate, snygg (sneeg) means attractive

My favorite part was something super cute sister hall did. 

My favorite person is Irina and Irina is from Ukraine. She always has Ukrainian candy and my favorite one has a picture of a cow on it. (Cows are my favorite animal) 

Sister hall had her find the candies and got me a bag of them. But she had everyone take a candy and say something that I had done that "moo"ved them. So awesome. So cute. It was so well put together and just chill and fun and I loved it. It was perfect. 
I have received some pretty cute funny things. 

top row left to right: elders johanson, backman, dickson,johnson
bottom row left to right: elders hainsworth, groberg,
 mr. freedom (cedric), loertscher, sisters nielson, hatch, elder muirhead

My. Last. Sunday. 
First of all the sacrament meeting 
Went way way over. It was an hour and 45 minutes long. And no one cared. Because it was INCREDIBLE. 
Estelle Holmberg spoke then elder Dickson bore his testimony because he is being transferred then I spoke and sang and then our stake president randomly shows up and speaks (super good) and then I sing again with my young women (who were so hard to say goodbye to today. Lots of super long hard hugs from those girls I love them so much) 
and then we closed with a song and stuff. 
But the spirit. Was crazy strong. 
I gave probably the best talk I ever have given. The topic was "my heart pondereth them continually" 
Super interesting because the first week of this transfer Ann Sofie the classiest fun person ever taught us with this talk from general conference. I thought it was super lame a year ago but I respect Ann Sofie so much and she is such an incredible teacher that I began to love the concept. I started to study it super hard after that lesson and then was asked to speak about it and tie in missionary work. 
They always just expect you to know how to do that hahaha 
So I focused on a part of the talk that was about building a spiritual room of light and truth inside of you so that you can use it as a place of safety from the world. 
I touched on one pivotal experience in my mission that my heart really does ponder continually and how that experience opened up that room and filled it with light. How my missionary life IS that room. And then I sang. And cried. Haha. 

I love swedish. I love this country. It is my home land now.... 
After church everyone of course was coming up to me saying goodbye but I heard some of the most incredible compliments I have ever gotten in my entire life. I was told that I might not see it but I mean a lot to the young people in Sweden. That I am very influential. I heard that while I was singing this certain person just cried and just felt the spirit showing her that I would be a righteous leader. That I would be an inspiration through music and it would be global. She didn't even know that's what I wanted to go into. But she felt the spirit tell her to tell me that. She answered a lot of my prayers. A couple members didn't catch me at birch but called me to make sure that I knew that they loved me and wanted to see me be an influence in the world. I even got a random call from Erik Salo, my old bishop in Jönköping (coolest guy ever) to congratulate and thank me for all I did in Jönköping. Today was so incredible for me. 
People looked me in the eyes and told me that I am special. That I am going to do really amazing things..... I don't think I have ever heard that before. 
My was completely silent the whole time as I spoke. The spirit was so dense. 
While practicing my song before sacrament meeting I got to the end and just started to bawl. 
The song I sang is one voice. But I sang it in Swedish. It basically is missionary work in the Swedish translation. About being just one voice but that my voice can wake up a sleepy world. 
I have been one voice. 
I made it. 
My mission made me. 
My mission has trained me in how to be a good spreader of the gospel. That is something that will never stop. I know how to be the best member missionary ever now. I have so much hope in my future. My family here in my land ...they have so much so much so. Much. Hope. In my future. That feels incredible. 
So many prayers were answered for me today. I just really love this place. Hägersten has been so so good to me. This ward saved me. I have grown so much here. 
Elder Backman, a very close friend of mine in this mission made me a video for my funeral and I thought I would post the poem he wrote me. 
In the mtc my companions and I "taught" elder Backman. During the last two weeks we were to teach each other and try to address each others needs like a real person. On our last lesson with elder Backman we decided he needed comfort and reassurance that he would be okay and do well and make it. So we wrote him an incredible poem. We prayed about it and wrote it from the perspective of Jesus Christ. So this is the poem elder Backman wrote me and needless to say, it brings tears to my eyes. 

The Light of a Friend 

For Syster Tanner Adell Giles the first (and the coolest) 

The time is drawing near
The tears well up in my eye
A cherished friend the past 18 months
How I hate to say goodbye

She's brought more than just a few
To see the truth and the light
A radiant sun shining forth 
Rescuing from the darkness of the night 

Working through times hard
Committing to what she had vowed
And after a year and a half she has made
Her family and her Savior proud

They say taking off the tag 
Is the hardest part
But it shouldn't matter anymore
Those names are written on her heart

To me she's been an example 
Of how to love and how to live
Going around helping others
Just as the Savior did 

She taught me how to use our talents
To bless others, whoever they may be
By personality, making them laugh
Or creating inspiring melodies

She refused to be discouraged
Though situations were rarely ideal
Her indefatigable optimism 
Is something everyone can feel

Things I've learned from being around her
Of course do not stop there
Some of the biggest things she taught me
She's taught without being aware

I can't imagine how much I'll miss her
Once she is actually gone
But the tide of life ebbs and flows
And it's her time to move on

Her time to serve only others
Has already come and already flown
She is needed home with her family
To help and start her own

Though a chapter is now ending 
And a chapter has just begun 
She'll continue to be a light to others
'Cause discipleship is never done

Obviously elder Backman is one of my bestest friends. At my funeral he shared an experience we had in the mtc that I honestly didn't even remember. 
But during the "moo"ved part of the funeral he explained how he loved that I always look for the interesting and best things in people and how I genuinely care and I want to know about them all. He talked about the time we had a zone meeting to welcome us into the mtc and we each had to stand up and say some interesting things about ourselves. Everyone was sharing some pretty cool things... He said, he stood up and said his name and just said "I'm not interesting" sat back down and I just leaned over super big smiling (shocker) and said 
I bet you're interesting! 
He talked about how I took the time to get to know him. I listened to all his girlfriend problems and that I just always had his back and I still do. 
...I am seeing the effects of me existing ...I am seeing the fruits ...I am seeing the results of my work...and I hope the lord is pleased with me..I hope he accepts it. 
I didn't just get called to teach people and baptize them but I was called to be a friend to my Patriarchal blessing I am told that many will want to be my friend and that it is my job to be open and generous to every single person who wants to be my friend...
I have been true to that. And I will continue to be true to that for the rest of my life. 
Everyday this week will be spent with my family. All day every day. Monday through Friday. 
First star angel family...the family that has raised me for 18 months....but Wednesday night they will allow my eternally sealed family to take me back...I was on loan...but they will be here to take me back. 
I am so grateful for them. I cannot believe I have the family that I do. People I have met here are astounded when I tell them my family's story and immediately want to meet them. And a couple of them get to. :) 

i wrote my testimony on a big paper and rolled it up and stuck it in a bottle...ill be throwing it into the harbor in stockholm today....i have loved being a missionary 

    jag älskar sverige

this is it..


thank you for the love and support and just everything...

see you at the beach :)

worst jumping picture ever. one of my young women, rakel, LOVE HER.
she and her mommy are hilarious

on our way to Gubbängen for sports and football. gonna miss that a ton

when all the strawberry stands pop up and you get super cheap strawberries!!!

messing around taking selfies when irina is trying to get ready haha

irinas healthy raw food!!!! yum...breakfast...YES.

on our way to the temple with my ukranian mommy

mm...healthy..thanks for caring about my skin with this nettle drink thing always have my back. 

i love decorating irinas door. it gets her so happy!!!!!!!

taking cedric shopping ....we fixed him up reaalll good. love him...he wouldnt let us take pictures of him hahaha

everyone knows how much i adore cows. i finally met someone with the same love. ann sofie holmberg. as a going away gift they wrote me an incredible note on the inside of this popular childrens book that I DIDNT EVEN KNOW EXISTED. theyve changed my life. i love this book. its adorable. 

sister stoughton and i on splits visiting mary louise. I left there with a lot of different gifts haha my two favorite she gave me were the saari from kenya and the air floss......i was like how did you know i hate flossing with floss???? hahaha

walking around wearing a saari like this isnt weird at all....because of all the immigrants what i am wearing...and how i am carrying my bag of gifts from mary is totally accepted

even if my comp thinks its a little weird...shes only been out 6 months haha give her some time

oh ray...

i am gonna miss africans just buying us whole pizzas for ourselves. thanks rayon!!

i am gonna miss stockholm...  

I am going to miss all the different culture in sweden the most. especially Indian culture. i love love love india and i hope to be ale to work with India a lot on my path in life. look at these BEAUTIFUL GIRLS!!!!!

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