Saturday, December 21, 2013

Elder Christian Tanner - What christmas song is hidden in the alphabet?


Hello my good friends and family!

 What a week it has been. It went by rather fast, actually. It was the fastest week I have had here in Trollhättan so far. The other weeks up to this point have been more or less been a drag. So, we got transfer calls. I am staying in Trollhättan but Elder Peterson is going to Vendelsö. My new companion is Elder Hansen. He is my "brother." He was trained by Elder Millsap also. I am "greeny breaking" him. So, he is younger than I am. That will be exciting! I have been on splits with him before and he was in my district while I was a greeny. He is super cool. He's actually a lot like I am. Our personalities are fairly similar. Now the only problem is that I am still learning Trollhättan. I still don't know all the names and places but I will learn it very quick in the next two weeks or so. I am super excited about this, I know its going to be more fun.

So obviously on Friday was Sankta Lucia. Unfortunately we did not get to go!! When we got there they told us that we had to purchase tickets in advance. Stupid. That's how the Svenska Kyrkan is for ya. But, I do have a funny story about it. Last week Elder Peterson was making plans to go see our member friend Detlef again (the one 2 hours away). The only day we could go was on Friday. I told him that I would rather not go because that is Sankta Lucia but that I would rather work in town that day. He insisted we go, so I gave in, warning him that I wouldn't be happy if we missed the program. So, we spend all day with Detlef and we miss our bus. Why? Well, this is another long story. But he has a history of not really knowing when buses come. So we miss our bus I am not very happy. I knew we would miss the Lucia program. Well, an hour later we get on another bus. I am just praying that we'll make it! I wanted to see it so bad! I seriously was like "Please!! Please let us be there on time!" and by some miracle, we actually did make it there on time! I don't know how, but we made it from his place to Trollhättan in just over an hour. It normally takes double that time. So we get into Trollhättan and meet the sisters and start walking over towards the church. As we are walking, Peterson starts explaining how he doesn't even know what SANTA Lucia is. Sister Vaarola being a Fin, and Sister Wilhite and I having grown up with it, just bust out laughing. We tried to explain what it was and that she was a saint, not a santa. He couldn't grasp the concept though. It was super funny. Sometimes, we gain up on Peterson like that because its "3 Scandinavians and an American," but on the flip side, we also gain up on Vaarola as "3 Americans and a Fin" haha. Its kinda handy being a citizen of both :) So, but ya. We didn't get to see the program because we had to buy tickets. Even though we didn't get to see the program, I still gained a huge testimony of prayer and miracles. It wasn't big. It wasn't life or death. But my prayer was answered that we would make it back in time. And we did. We just didn't get to see it.  So that was a great experience anyway.
 On Saturday we had the Ward Christmas Party! That was super super fun. But, the food was gross. They served sill and these gross meatball things. So far everything I have ate here in Sweden is good. I have had no problems with food until Saturday night. But it wasn't that big of a deal. I just ate eggs and bread and cheese and oranges :) fine by me! But we had music and just a bunch of socializing. We had some inactive and less-actives there, so that was great. Elder Peterson played the guitar with Tobias an inactive and he also played with Samuel a YSA. We had several people just sing and such. Us missionaries stood up and sang White Christmas as well. We were going to play something with Detlef but he ended up not being able to come :(. But, It was such a happy environment. When the did the "sing along" part, it was all the Swedish traditional Christmas songs like the ones that mom plays every christmas at home. It was so amazing. Just, I am here in Sweden experiencing Christmas! The spirit was so strong as the entire ward was singing along and AH I just loved it! They had all the little kids come out dressed in Sankta Lucia stuff and also in Santa Clause outfits it was so fun. I remember when mom would try to get me to do that... haha no. but It was so much fun to watch. This was probably my most favorite night I have had in a while. It was amazing to just sit there and just think to myself "enjoy being here! its possible this is the only time in my life I will experience this in full, in Sweden." I was really blessed by the Lord when He called me to Sweden. I have found my self thinking that often. I really am so blessed to be here.

 So Thursday was a great day as well. We went to Skövde for District Meeting. But, we were also there for a baptism! That makes two dops in our district this week! Oh ya! For our "game" we had bought Christmas presents for specific people in the district. We had put our names in a box and draw one out and that person you had to get something for. Sister Wilhite ended up getting me. She bought me this hat that has a wolf on it! And i lost my beany in a train a few weeks ago so I have been wearing this wolf hat around for the past few days. And let me tell you, it is awesome! I can get people to contact me! They just come up and say "hey i like your hat!" then on purpose in English I say "i don't speak Swedish, what did you say?" hahaha i'm tricky. Because if you say it in English they all of the sudden want to have a conversation with you! Then somewhere in the middle I mention I know a little bit of Swedish and I try to finish the conversation in Swedish. But its so stinking awesome. Plus its warm, so hey, its cool. But anyway, after our gift exchange we had our meeting. Right after our meeting people started showing up for the baptism. They only have a branch there in Skövde, but its a nice little building with some great people. The lady that was baptized was from the middle east somewhere. She didn't speak Swedish so they taught her in English. Well, basically right as she was getting in the water, they realized they forgot to ask two people to witness. So they quickly turned to Peterson and I and asked if we could witness. It is totally awesome. Her face, just like Hjalmars, was just priceless and new she had been forgiven. We were witnesses for 2 baptisms over the past two weeks.... i could totally get used to it! So, more baptisms to come! my goal is 3 more before I leave Trollhättan. :) We took District Christmas card photos! But, I am a cheap skate and didn't spend any money to get some printed out. So, i am just going to send it in an email. I hope you're okay with that :)

So I just got an email from President Newell, we have 6 no proselyting days over the next two weeks. I love working hard, but you have no idea how excited I am not just have some days off. I am so tired! I will definitely be doing some sleeping over that time. It will be all the sleep i get to last me until next christmas haha. We are authorized to watch kalle anke and Disney movies and other Christmas movies like elf and such. who knew? I am excited for that. And speaking of movies, that stupid hobbit movie came out here. EVERYBODY talks about it and says its even better than the first part. It's so annoying! I just calmly remind myself that this is better and that this brings many more rewards and blessings :)

So I am emailing early this morning! we are going to Göteborg for the day! We are going to go to Lisaberg and look at all the lights. I haven't ever been during the winter obviously but apparently they fill the place with lights during christmas. So, I am excited to go do that this afternoon. We're meeting a few other missionaries there too. And last week i tried this sushi thing and it was so good. I have had sushi a few times but i didn't care for it that much. but his particular one i had was soo good. so, i think i might treat myself to that today haha :) Thanks family for the presents so far. I have opened up the sour worms, the snickers, the candy Cains and the life savers. I am definitely set for my candy this year! The snickers hint was good though! I kinda knew what it was before I opened it so I understood the hint. That was a good one, though. The candy cain hint was easy, but the other two took me second to understand. Thanks for putting that together for me. Its been fun. And as for skyping, it isn't working out very well arranging times. mom, i don't know what their skype address is. but I will give it to them. I will be online probably around 8:00 to 10:00am on the 24th for you! So for me it will be closer to 4 or 6 when I skype. I will email you on that day though and give you more details. But for now, thats the plan. Sorry its not very specific. And your christmas gifts that I am sending... well, i still havent send them yet. So... ya. It won't be there by christmas. But it will be there!

And as for our christmas message we have been sharing, we have been reading in Alma 7. It talks about Christ being born for the purpose of dying for our sins. So, among all your christmas gifts, remember that the reason Christ came to earth was our greatest gift of all... the opportunity to return to him.

I love you all! Have a good week before christmas! :)
Äldste Tanner

So, the answer to the joke? NOEL (because there is no L) hahaha

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sister Courtnee Wood - Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Sister Wood's part in the Mission Christmas Conference Skit was that of a......wait for it.......TREE!!
Courtnee loves Giraffes. My parents serving in England sent her this necklace
Classic Pic

Hi everyone. :) Life in Laoag is going great and I am loving it here. Soooo.... there are so many little things that happened this week so I will just go right in order from where they happened! It has been a fun week that's for sure. We did so many things that the only issue is is that we didn't get to teach very much. So that's the down side of it! But don't worry, next week we are going to get at it! I want to say Happy Birthday to Dawsy Bear my Nephew and also my girl Taylor Swift for their birthdays this week! I did not forget. Thank you for being in my life. :)
My mom will be proud, but I made a filipino dish this week and it was delicious! It is just called sopas or soup! And it is super easy: just sautee some onions and garlic in oil and then add oil and then brown growned beef inside and then fill it about half with water and then put like that chicken boolion stuff and then put carrots and potatos and cabbage and noodles inside and let them soften and then put a can of evaporated milk. it is delicious!
Sopas - Soup
Oh my heavens so funny... okay so we went up to La Paz on Tuesday and I mean the ride is pretty long and there are hills and stuff. We took a tricey just how we normally do and I sat on the back and Sister Fuchs sat inside. Keep in mind this is what we do every time. Well the rule here for triceys is that whoever sees you and honks first to pick you up gets to take you. So this guy picks us up on the road and I tell him where to go. I for some reason always notice the type of motorcycles the men are driving, maybe cause stetson is obsessed, i don't know! But the brand of this one was Euro. That's it. haha so we head up there and it doesn't sound like the others and we get to the hills part and it was just like putt putt up the hill so slow haha. Anyways we were laughing our heads off and the guy kept saying bigat kayo! You two are heavy! But it made it up the one hill so no worries. Too bad there was still one more big one right before you get there. He got up speed but there was no way it was making it. We almost got to the top and it just died. Wouldn't even turn on again. I WAS DYING LAUGHING SO HARD! This poor filipino man and his euro motorcycle. Us sister missionaries had to help him push it up the hill. Haha I bet it was the funniest site in the wordl. Sister Fuchs said it best... "Pretty sure that motorcycle was built in a Toy Shop." We just told the poor man we would walk the rest of the way, so we apologized, paid him then left hahaha. Anyways, HILARIOUS. 
Next thing, CHRISTMAS CONFERENCE! It was such a fun day, but we all know... time flies when you are having fun! We had a really good devotional on Wednesday with the entire mission! We all squished into the Chapel at our church and President and the AP's and Sister Barrientos gave us a training. It was awesome. Hahaha this is a funny thing: Elder Tate got up and had everyone stand up who had investigators. So everyone stood. He then said okay if you left a boyfriend or girlfriend before your mission stay standing. A lot sit down. But still a lot up too. And then he said okay if you have been dear johned sit down. So basically it was just to see who has been Dear Johned and dumped on their mission. So horrible, but so funny at the same time. After the devotional we all ate lunch together and then went and changed to play sports. It was a blast. I played soccer for half the time and then basketball with the elders and president for half too. Elder Egan that was in my math class in high school played with us and we scored a sweet goal. Haha so happy to have the kid who helped me in math class all the time in the same mission as me haha! Such a small world. I could've played all day. Nothing has changed with my lay ups though. Extremely embarrassing haha. Then we went and changed and had dinner at the church again and that is where we had the skits and dances. Haha everyone was so creative and for the most part so out of their element. I think our dance was the worst though. Sadly. Haha it was not too hot. But ours was cool because the polys in our zone put a twist to it at the end and ended it with this polynesian dance that involved president! So that was cool. And then our skit was pretty funny. It was a cool twist on the Christmas Carol. And yes my part in it was a tree. Hahahaha. I am still laughing about it. One zone did a skit to the song "The Hardest thing I have ever had to do." If you are a part of the "MISSIONARY MOMS" don't listen to it, you will bawl your eyes out haha. It was really sweet though. Then we did a gift exchange with everyone and that was fun too! We got home at 11:15 that night though and of course woke up at 6:30 am the next morning! :) It was a fun day that went too fast.
This week is transfer week! Nope I am not leaving! So I will be going on 6 1/2 months here in Laoag! I love it so much. But we will get a new apartment mate this week and she is filipino! Not only filipino, but ilocana! So I may be touching up on tagalog and ilocano. :) We are all excited! So many new different transfers this one. It will be a fun change!
On Saturday we had a stake primary activity that we spent the day at. It was specifically for the special needs kids and it was so fun. There were also so many people there which was even better. They need things like that here to get everyone involved. Such great missionary opportunities as well.
Yesterday all 6 missionaries had to speak in sacrament meeting. I spoke on the talk by Elaine S. Dalton, Be Not Moved. It was my goal to have it completely in Tagalog. It turned out being really good and I was super nervous haha. I don't know why! But I actually did it and even added in parts that were in ilocano! Yes, the whole congregation died hahaha it was so funny to see the reactions! I loved that talk by Sister Dalton. It is so important that we are constantly standing as witnesses of god at all times. As members of this church, there are always people watching us and we need to always stand as a witness of our savior and be not moved!
Also yesterday we got a text from President saying we had to go on exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders right then. We didn't know why but we found out Sister Diamond was sick and Sister Pamittan had to go out and work so Sister Fuchs went with her and I stayed back at the apartment with Sister Diamond. So we really really did not get any time to work! haha. But it is okay because to end the night we got to watch the First Presidency Christmas devotional. I loved every second of it and seeing the video of temple square with all the christmas lights. :) felt like home! They all gave amazing talks about our Savior. It was such a good boost. 
It has been an awesome week, but we are ready to go hard this next week! People to teach, souls to save! haha. Thanks for all of the love and support everyone. You're the best
Sister Wood
A stove that everyone uses to cook on
Missionary Feet

Elder Zach Taylor - December 17, 2013

This week has been really good for me. Well, I guess all of them are, but this one in particular. We were teaching a woman named Maria, who was interested in the church for a time, but this week told us she won´t switch her religion because she believes that you don´t have to switch religion to better your life. Which is true. She said if I dedicate myself to the Catholic church, I can improve my life just as much as if I dedicated my life to the Mormon church. And then the thing that they always say: we ourselves are the church. Really I had never seen it from that perspective before, and it put a lot of doubt into my mind about if a true church is really necessary. If I can better my life by dedicating my life to any church, what importance does it have for me to go the the church of the ¨Mormons¨?
I was answered in part that night, when we taught Sally that plan of salvation. I realized that really, any church can improve that quality of life of people. But this isn´t just about this life. There really is a necessity for a church, or a place in which you can go to learn all the correct doctrine, and recieve all the correct ordinances from people who hold the correct authority. That is why we have a true church. The church doesn´t save the people, but the correct principles and correct authority will, and that can only be found within the walls of our buildings.
Besides that, our investigator Sally has been progressing a lot. She understands everything well, and her husband Jorge helps a TON in answering her questions. The bishop announced their marriage and her baptisim in church yesterday, so I¨m more and more confident that she´s actually going to follow through! I really have trust issues with these Paraguayans.. there have been countless people that appear to have the desire to change, but won´t do anything about it, even after committing to do so. 
We found a man named Silvano this week that had a lot of questions and good conversation for us. We went to buy a watermelon and while eating, he sat down and started talking about religion with us. He was surprised at hearing about the Book of Mormon, but is excited to read it. I¨m excited to see what happens with him. 
Yesterday, we got to watch the Christmas devotional from the other week that the First Presidency did. And while watching the choir, I saw my old dentist in it singing. Pretty weird to see him on the screen.. especially being so far away. 
Well, that´s my week for ya. It´s been full of good learning experiences that have strengthened me and helped me want to become the person Heavenly Father wants me to be. Talk to you all later!
Elder Taylor

Monday, December 16, 2013

Elder Brandon Wallis - December 16, 2013

Here's an update on the work up here. Marcella is still out of town. Until January I think... The Johnson's are doing awesome! They're talking with their family about when they could all come to Baptism! We're going to set a solid date with them tomorrow at lunch. They want to do it before Christmas! We haven't been able to catch Pete home again, he seems really busy, and we haven't been able to go to the Jemez again with the weather and the mileage thing. We have to go to Zone Conference this month, and it's going to take a lot of miles. Denice is the investigator up in the Jemez and her neighbor friend is a potential investigator, Judy. Daniel is the less active that wants to come back. The Ward counsel was really excited to hear that. We got 3 new investigators! Vijay and Sahana are friends of the Bakers family in the Ward. They're Hindi! And awesome! Vijay is the father and Sahana is the daughter. There's no one else at home. Not sure what the situation is. We also got Burgandy Brock. She's 22 has a little boy and is super nice. All these people came to the Creche show. It's a display of a bunch of Nativity scenes from around the world. It was quite impressive. The best part is, I think all of these new investigators will come to Church this next Sunday! They're all willing to try things to feel closer to God. It's nice to find people who are genuinely searching. Not much else has happened. It has slowed down a lot with the Holidays and the weather, but none the less we have been able to see some awesome miracles. 
I love you all! Stay safe with the snow!
Elder Wallis

Elder Kaden Barlow - December 16, 2013

Elder Kaden Barlow
Que lo que hay?
So my new companero is Elder Shimamoto, he is Hawaiian so he speaks English!! His Spanish isn't super good. He struggled a long time with it. He said he didn't become proficient until he had over a year. He is a great example of patience to me. Elder Shimamoto can cook really good and he is teaching me. I know realize that I should have learned how to cook rice and beans before the mission, but hey I'm starting to get good. Also we have pancakes with a special syrup that one of his comps taught him and that’s always exciting.

I have an experience to share. One night before the transfer, Elder Tirado and I were out walking and the power went out. We kept going but I had this feeling that we should stop and turn around... I thought, well that could be the spirit but it could just be me... I'm going to need something bigger... I had just finished thinking that when a random guy stopped us and told us that he felt like we shouldn't go down that road... Needless to say I then realized that we probably shouldn't. We turned around, and I learned that I should probably obey the first time before I get robbed. December is pretty dangerous here. Elder Shimamoto got robbed Sunday before he transferred here... Everyone is trying to get their family stuff for Christmas. Also there is a ton of drinking and stuff. The bishop every week reminds them to stay strong.

We had a pet lizard come and start living in our house... I call him Spanky and he eats all the cockroaches, so I don't complain about him living here ;)

I’m now playing for the Stake Christmas choir! Every ward in the stake except one is using me for their pianist for the concert this upcoming Saturday. I played a duet with a guy playing a recorder and that was pretty cool too.The primary program was great! The spirit was strong. They do it different here, the primary literally does all of sacrament meeting. The prayers are even by the kids. The sacrament isn't, obviously, but yeah it was pretty great!

Saturday night they had a huge Christmas concert for the saints here in the Parque Ibreoamerica across from the temple. I got to see all my teachers from the MTC and it reminded me of temple square a bit with all the Mormons walking around! They started off with a movie and a Jon Schmidt song, the one they did in Goshen or whatever that place is called. It kinda made me a little trunky. :)
Until next time...


Elder Almen Thorpe - December 15, 2013

Elder Thorpe and Elder Jarnigan on Pday hike

Talofa lava!! means hello or hi is Samoa!! Everything is going great. 
That time will work for me for our Christmas call! I'm excited to hear everybody's voices!

Sister Tala and I did some baking together because she needed help so I put on an apron and got to work. I'll also go see if the calling cards I still have will work when I give you guys a call. P-day is going great and everything is dandy! It's hot and weird because it is usually rain or snow....this time of year.
I've had some mircles happen to me this week. First my companion and I have been working with this kid name Zavior. He's friends with one of sister Talas sons. He's 13 years of age and catholic, but we've been asking and asking him what would be holding him back from being baptized and we finally got his trust and he told us. He was already baptized but in his church, we explained to him that even though he was baptized it wasn't with the right authority. He wasn't sad but now he understands. We are hopping to set him up and get him baptized. Another miracle is we met this couple walking their dog on the road one day and their names are Danny and Bionca. Danny is a less active member and has been baptized but Bionca isn't, their story is interesting. Danny and Bionca were hard going with drugs and drinking but they then suddenly stopped because they didn't want to do it any more and they haven't started up again. We met with Danny yesterday and this is what he told us "meeting you missionaries on the road the other day was no accident" when he said those words I was amazed at how strong his faith was. Amazing how the spirit works. Danny and Bionca both have been looking for a way for help and meaning for life, like is there more for them.
My final mircle was that Friday we went on a trade off with the zone leaders and I went with Elder Talavivou, when we were almost done I had this impression we needed to go to this family that we've been working with for the past couple mouths. Now we've been getting denied by them because both the boys didn't want anything to do with us and the mom just didn't want to get baptized because of some issues. But Elder Talavinvou and I went to their place, the boys were there and we played some games and explanied a little bit about baptism because Leo, the 11 year old, didn't know the meaning of baptism and Dametry was scared to get baptized alone. Their older sister is a member but the two younger ones aren't either. The mom wasn't home so we couldn't go in the house to talk to them, but as we were leaving the mom pulled up. We got to talking to her for a awhile but this time we told her the reason why we aren't giving up on her family was because we loved them and love being around them. This changed her mind and we have an appointment for family home evaning with them tonight. 
I used my faith and didn't give up on this family, I'm hopping we will be able to get them all baptized and sealed together. This is the family we are supposed to see and teach all seven of them. My faith has grown and hasn't stopped, thank you mom and dad and I love you and miss you all. 
I haven't received my package yet but I hope I will soon. I'll call you all the 26th at 9:30 so 2:30 your time, thanks and I love you for everything.
Love , Elder Thorpe

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Elder Zach Taylor - The Book of Mormon is True

Zach in Ciudad del Este
We´ve seen some pretty awesome things this week.
First of all, I´m really excited for our new investigator, Sally. She has so much desire to follow the way of the Savior. We were able to talk to her on Wednesday at the ward night about the Book of Mormon. She absolutely loves that book. We had a nice talk about some of our favorite parts and about the divinity and truth of that book. She told us that a lot of the nights she stays up reading it. Her husband, who´s an inactive member, is so helpful too. He always explains the things that we teach to her in more deatil afterward and helps her understand the things that are a bit more complicated. Both Sally and Jorge came to church on Sunday for the testimony meeting and loved it. Jorge talked to the Bishop afterward about setting up their marriage at the end of this month. Sally saw the other elders in the street one day and told them about something she had put on Facebook, which said something like ¨I want an eternal family¨. I´m so happy for her and the decision she´s taking in her life. It´s really amazing to see.
Besides her, we also talked with another investigator, Ana. Her husband we have yet to see, but Ana told us that he always takes the Book of Mormon to work with him and reads it. She said that since then he´s quit smoking and drinking.. pretty amazing. I´d like to actually see her husband, though.. apparently he works so much that it´s basically like he doesn´t even exist at home. Or maybe he doesn´t really exist... We´re trying to find a time to meet with both of them, hopefully we´ll be able to do it this week.
We talked with another investigator, Maria, as well. She always reads the sections in the Book of Mormon that we give her and she needs a lot of help in her family. We had a good talk about the vison of the tree of live with her, but afterwards she told us that she doesn´t want to change churches because we don´t worship Mary. Both me and my companion felt impressed to leave Ether 4 for her to read.. I don´t know why, but we´ll find out what she thought this week.
Other things I did this week... I drank goat milk. Which tastes almost the same as cow milk and is more expensive.. not really worth it, but at least now I can say I´ve drunk goat milk.
My companion was sick this Friday and the nurse of the mission told him he had to stay inside all day.. That left me an opportunity to clean up a bit, and read half of Our Search for Happiness, which is a sweet book by the way. I also realized a lot about my testimony while reading. About the truth of the Book of Mormon and this church. There are many moments when I doubt many things, but I can´t deny the truth of the Book of Mormon. I have recieved witness time and time again that it is true, and because of that I know that God exists and listens to me, that Christ lives today, and that the work I am performing here is the truth.
One last thing, we got to see an awesome storm. Really, the coolest one I´ve seen in my whole life. The best part.. the lightning was purple! So cool.. the thunder was almost deafening too.. and it was pouring rain. Best thing I´ve seen in my mission. Or maybe 3rd or 5th best.
Well, that´s my week, we didn´t have a ton of discussions, but the ones we had were awesome. Pretty pumped to see what happens this week. Ciao!
Elder Taylor
Zone Conference Meeting

Pizza - Thanksgiving Dinner


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Elder Almen Thorpe - Hi!!

Hi Mom, 
I was sad when it was Thanksgiving because you and the family were not here to share it with me. My companion and the other two Elders that share the flat with us were all thinking the same thing, how weird Thanksgiving was without our families. I miss you guys so much! Love you and the family!
The other three elders that are in my flat are Elder Dunika (from Australia) Elder Televianou (from Utah but born in Samoa) and Elder Jarnagin, my companion from Arizona. Elder Dunika and Elder Televianou are both the zone leaders of our zone, they are the two Elders who take care of the whole zone, and its a pretty big job. Both of the zone leaders are funny and really fun to be around,  both love to play sports and do things. Elder Televianou is huge and used to play football for the University of Utah until he tore his ACL in practice. Elder Dunika is just an all around great Elder. We all get along, we do work together but more like to save souls weekly. Elder Televianou and Elder Dunika are companions but are looking out for all the zone and as a zone our weekly goal is to save souls and to have a white Christmas for Christmas day. The area I'm in is split into different districts, and we all work as a team to baptize as many investigators as we can, so far my companion and I have two more people to baptize this Saturday.
My area is not a very rich area. The houses are nice for the members but its not like very nice American homes (I hope that makes since). Its a pretty busy area, everybody we see on the road walking or driving always waves to us or honk their horns at us to say hello, people down here treat missionaries like family. Even the gangs down here treat us like brothers but I haven't seen too many gangs, which is a good thing. Some days it can be busy and some days its more quiet and relaxing. Mom, when its quiet down here its so peaceful! Love it! Also you know how I was relaxed lazy....well my lazy is close to how laid back and relaxed the people are here. 

There's been a lot of people that we have seen but most recently my companion and I (Elder Jarnagin) were walking on the sidewalk of the road when a girl on the other side of the road yelled our names. We went across the street to talk to her and she wanted to know about the plan of salvation. We explained it to her a little bit but we couldn't get a whole lesson in because it was getting to the time where we needed to get back to the flat, so she told us we could come to her house the next day to teach her. The following day we went to her place and taught her about the plain of salvation, oh by the way, her name is Alice. Alice is 19 years old, had a lot of questions for us and we answered them the best we could. Half way through the lesson we learned from Alice that her dad passed away when she and her little sister were young. They both live with their aunt and with her aunts kids. At the end Alice understood our lesson and really wanted. us to go back to teach her. So in our next visit which is Tuesday we will explain a little more and ask her about her dad then from there talk about families and how they can be together forever. Also, Alice likes to read so she knows the bible really well because she goes to a bible study at her church but she doesn't think her church is making any sense. Mom, this girl is wanting some help and that was no accident that she called our names across the street, I believe her dad is looking out for her. Next time we see her we are gonna ask her to get baptized and we are hoping and praying she'll say yes. 

Lucky!! Wish I could of been there with you to see Amy and the fam. Tell them I say Hi and give them kisses for me!!! Families down here feed me like crazy!! I think I might have to lossen my belt a little. Anyways they don't celebrate Christmas or at least not a big holiday because it doesn't snow. Its hot here a lot which I love! Miss you guys a lot and tell Amy for me I said thanks for the presents, I haven't opened them all yet. Oh could you send me some more ties from the same place we got my suit please!!!!  Have a very merry christmas and we get to call you on Christmas day!! I can't wait!!! Love love love love love you!!! 
From your son and Elder Thorpe!!! Miss you mom and dad 

Sister Courtnee Wood - Happy Holidays!!

I should preface this weeks pictures by telling you all that Sister Wood has been very sick with Dengue fever this week. But bless her heart, she never mentioned it once in her letter. She is my hero!!

Happy Birthday Sister Wood!!! - So Sicky :(
Birthday dinner on the balcony

Royal Strong and True - Always reppin BYU
Happy December everyone! I can't believe it is December already either. I hope that you all had a Happy Thanksgiving. We had district meeting that day and  we all forgot that it was a holiday! We went and ate at KFC, so I guess that was our Thanksgiving dinner. This week was magical because it was literally 70-75 degrees on some days. It felt so incredibly amazing. Haha all the kids were in sweatshirts and beanies. All the filipinos were freezing! So I guess that's as cold as it will get. I don't know! 
Thank you all so much who took part in the little birthday suprise that mymom put together! I loved it more than words can describe! Haha the birthday was just another day in the mission field! Nothing special! BEsides the sweet sisters made me dinneron the balcony, so of course that was a awesome. 
Yesterday we were walking on the street and out of nowhere  a big monkey jumps up on the fence next to us. IT SCARED US SO BAD! I swear I have seen more monkeys here... gosh. And it wasn't on a leash or anything! Don't ask what it was doing cause I have no idea. 
So you know the Javier family from La Paz that we have been teaching. Oh how amazing they are. We have continued teaching them and they are on and off magsimba (going to church). But this last week we taught Word of Wisdom and they immediately committed to quit drinking coffee. These people have so much faith! So they asked us when church was again this week and said they were going. They show up to church and we have gospel principles class. The topic was Eternal Families, which was so perfect for them! Well an RM in our ward decided to come in the class and was just going in to all of this deep doctrine stuff that did not need to be talked about with investigators there. They didn't really talk to us after church and just left. So I hope and pray that they were able to feel the Spirit there. There are a lot of times like that at church where we don't have control over things and all we can do is pray that the Spirit touches their hearts. I think that they have the faith, so it will be okay, it is just hard sometimes when we work to get people to church and then something unnecessary happens like that. But its alright! We also have another investigator, someone that Joey referred us to, and he has come to church twice, so he can probably be baptized this month! He is 18 years old and his name is John Eric. We have called him Jenerick this whole time though. They never correct us when we say their names wrong! 
Well I am so sorry this email is all over the place. So many little things happened this week and I can't keep them straight! I hope you all have an amazing December and remember the true meaning of Christmas. I was reading in 2 Nephi earlier today and it was about the Savior. All I want to do is become like Him. Too bad it is the hardest thing ever. There are so many Christlike attributes I need to develop more, but slowly and surely Heavenly Father is helping me. I am so grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ and his atonement. We are nothing without it. Thank you so much for all of the thoughts and prayers.I am so grateful.
- Sister Wood 
Tired, worn out, dirty feet

Sister Wood's creation out of plastic sacks. She wanted me to put this pic on pinterest. hahaha

Elder Kaden Barlow - December 2, 2013


Mariani's Baptism
Let’s see, early in the week something scary happened. We had just walked past a street we were probably 30 or 40 yards past, when right behind us we heard three gun shots. We turned around and a guy had got shot in the leg. Everyone started screaming and ducking for cover and we took off! It was super sketchy! I about peed my pants. Luckily we weren't 15 seconds slower.
Saturday we had the baptism for Fransisco! It went great. I gave a talk and played the piano. The power went out for about 2 minutes and I was afraid that it was going to ruin everything but luckily it all turned good and now Fransisco is a member of the church. He is way awesome! In the first lesson he was smoking a cigarette and now he has completely given it up. He has changed so much.  Also next Saturday we have another baptism for Mariani.
Ok as for interesting things this week I have almost gotten eaten by 3 dogs! The first was huge and would have torn Elder Tirado and me to shreds. It was growling and we froze. Its owner thankfully came and saved us though. The other two actually chased me. One was small and so I just kicked it and it left me alone the other was well... it was medium size and it chased us but we got away :) I felt like a real missionary ;)
So the mission office is out of everything except restoration pamphlets and a few more Book of Mormons. Anyways so we got some of the Book of Mormons and Elder Tirado and I were teaching a lesson and we gave one away and then we asked her to look up a scripture and it turns out the copies had been printed upside down!!!! I had just read a quote from Amberlee about how god works with imperfect people all the time and he deals with it and so should we, but this was just an example that our church isn't perfect! On the bright side I kept one of the BOMs for myself that was upside down :)
Today we went to a national park here. It’s called Parque Mirador Norte or something like that... it was really beautiful but while there I got fried like a lobster!! I thought I was used to being in the sun but nope. Our whole zone was there and we played volleyball and Frisbee and such. It was great.
Thanksgiving was great! We ate out after District Meeting like usual so that was good and then I went on my last exchange with Elder Tirado where we got our favorite mango drinks and then went to a family home evening and they gave us cake so it was great! I missed being with the whole family but I still enjoyed myself here.


Elder Christian Tanner - December 2, 2013

Well hello my wonderful family and friends.

I guess the best way to start his letter is by saying (drum rolls)............................................... WE GOT A BAPTISM this saturday!!! We went over to Hjalmar's house on Tuesday. We encouraged him that he can still quit snus by December 6th. But he said "No, I need more time than that. How about we make the new year our deadline. I will get baptized at the first of the year. New Year, New Man." So we said ok, BUT, 2 days later he calls me on the phone. "Hi. It's Hjalmar." He says. "Hi Hjalmar! How are you today?" Then he says "Just awful. I haven't taken a snus in 2 days. I am in a withdrawal right now." I was like "WHAT! HJALMAR! THAT IS SOOOO AWESOME!" and both me and Elder Peterson were FREAKING OUT. He only has to be off snus for 1 week in order to be baptized. So we are back on track for December 6th! Now, just a reminder on this guy. He has been investigating the church for 10 years. He has been snusing 8 packs a day for many years. He went from 8 to 2. Then from 2 to 0 in like a 32 hour period or something crazy like that. He told us "yeah I just woke up one morning, popped in a snus and it tasted disgusting. So I took it out, put in a Fishermans Friend (Fishermans Friend is just a breath mint, but has also been found to help quit snus). And since then, I didn't take a snus." So he's been off for 5 days! The first 3 days of quitting are the hardest. Then he came to church on Sunday which was fast and testimony meeting. He got up and bore his testimony and invited the whole ward to his baptism! IT WAS SO AWESOME! Now, the Bishop who is away in India this week, had no idea. Hjalmar wants the Bishop to baptism him. So we texted Bishop and said "hey bishop. Surprise, Hjalmar quit snus and is being baptized saturday at 6:00pm and you're baptizing him." He text back "perfect. I get home on Friday. Call me then." Super super super super awesome! FOR SURE I will be talking about his in my next letter, along with a bunch of pictures!
We've been on fire this week. The zone leaders have called several times saying "wow. you guys are doing such good work up there!" President came and interviewed us, also. We have 2 new investigators. We had like 15 lessons it's about the highest i have had in my entire mission. Its just been a killer week.
So today we went to Göteborg for the day. I love being in Göteborg. It brings back so many memories. I really hope I get to serve in Göteborg before my mission is over. It is such a neat city. We ended up meeting up with some Zone Leaders in the Västra Frölunda area, and our District Leader and his comp from Skövde, and the sisters from Trollhättan went too. It was really fun. We got McDonald's for lunch. When Swedes see 8 Americans all nicely dressed, it makes for good contacting. We sat next this guy at McDonald's and he just wanted to know everything about us. Nothing turned up of it unfortunately. But we also ended up talking to a sales clerk in a store. She seemed interested, but then nothing. Plus, there were several people that just come up to us and ask us for directions. Why? No idea. But, its really fun to see.
AHH I almost forgot! So after church yesterday we went over to Samuel, David, Bjorn and Andreas' house. All of them are Young Single Adults in our ward. Every Sunday we have institute at the Bishops wife house, but they are gone on vacation. So we went to their house instead. We had a pot luck dinner to go with institute. The 4 of them made RIS GRYNS GRÖT the sisters brought apple cake, and we brought bread. It was totally awesome! With the Ris gryns gröt, the Julmust, the open faced sandwiches, and the christmas music, it was just HEAVEN! It was so much fun. The 8 of us just having a good time and an amazing dinner. I honestly don't know what I would have done if I didn't go to Sweden on my mission. Its the best mission anywhere in the world. Sorry Sister Wood, this is better than frog legs. And sorry Elder Taylor, Elder Barlow, Elder Stilson, its not going to be a warm chirstmas here. I will stop bragging now ;) You're all awesome and I am proud of ALL my fellow ward members who are serving missions. But, yes. This is going to be a really good Christmas. I am really excited for Lucia on the 13th and then the 24th and 25th. Oh and by the way, since we celebrate christmas on the 24th in Sweden, that is the day I will call home. So, be prepare you family members of mine. I will let you know times when it gets closer.
Ok this letter just turned out to be pretty pathetic. I thought it would have been longer. I must be forgetting something. I need a rememberoll (from harry potter... ahahah get it... anyone?). I always forget to write something. Anyways, this will have to do. Frid ut! (Peace out)
Äldste Tanner

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sister Courtnee Wood - Happy Thanksgiving!!


Nanay Batugal's baptism - look at that tiny little lady, so cute!!

Frog legs instead of turkey legs for thanksgiving

Hi everyone!
Sadly we won't be celebrating Thanksgiving here in the Philippines, and I will be missing the apple pie and stuffing, but that's okay. The missionary work goes on! :) 
This week we had interviews with president, and a training from sister barrientos. It was the best! Mom and Dad and the funniest people in the world. My interview with Dad consisted of laughing and joking the whole time. So of course I enjoyed it. Man I love people with a sense of humor. :) Speaking of humor, it is humorous to say that I ate frog the other day! Our ward mission leader fed it to us. It tastes just like chicken. But gosh, the thought of eating a frog is just too weird. Enjoy the pics! Oh yeah another funny thing. Remember the story of the screaming kid and all the naked kids swimming last week? Well this week we were in La Paz again and taught people close to the same place. All the little kids saw us there and immediately ran and took their clothes off and jumped in the water. Started climbing on rocks and jumping off them and yelling "AMERICANA AMERICANA!" They wanted us to take pictures of them hahaha. We didn't, but I was laughing so hard. 
The highlight of the week though was Nanay Batugal's baptism. Let me just tell you all htat we had been looking forward to this day for the longest time. Since I got here pretty much. We got to the church and she wasn't there yet. Her and Joey finally rolled up in a tricy, and we immediately took her to put her white clothes on. When she walked out of the bathroom in her little white jumpsuit I about died. Yes that is a youth size jumpsuit and the bottoms still had to be rolled up a ton. So cute. Little Louie who is in the ward also was getting baptized, he is 8 years old. The program begun and the Spirit was so strong. The other sister missionaries sang kailangan ko kayo, and then a sister mae joy who is preparing for a misson gave a talk on baptism. The Spirit was more strong at this baptism than in any other that I had been to here. After the program we went downstairs to the baptismal font. Joey (her grandson) was baptizing her. Nanay is so old and fragile, so she had so much faith. They got in the water and Joey baptized her, and it was absolutely perfect. After she came up from the water, she hugged and held on to joey tighter than anyone I have seen. It was the most tender moment EVER! The Spirit was so strong, and of course I shed a tear or two. Joey baptized little Louie as well. He did such an amazing job. We were so proud of him and we know Heavenly Father was too! It was an amazing baptism. How happy I am to be able to be the instrument in the Lord's hands and help Nanay come closer to our savior. 
One of my favorite lessons we taught this week was to Tatay Fermin and his son Brian (20). Their family isn't yet sealed in the temple so we taught about eternal marriage. It was such a powerful lesson. There is just so much power in the temple! We talked with them about why you need to get married in the temple, and showed them a bunch of pictures of the temple and pictures of our siblings that have been married in the temple. You could feel the Spirit so strong during it. Showed them how happy they are because of it. They have a goal to go to the temple and I want to help them get there so bad. I know that if we always keep our sight on the temple, we will be able to go there. I am so excited for one day to be able to go to the temple and be married there. Definitely will be like the greatest day of my life. :) 
We got a referral a while ago for a less active family in La Paz. Other missionaries had run in to them in the Centro or something and had written their name down. We had it for a while until the other day i remembered it, so while we were in la paz we went looking for them. Somehow we happened to find someone who were family with this Agacir family, so they led us right there. When we were walking up to their house, they came outside. I have never seen a family so happy to see us missionaries in my life!!! They kept saying pasok pasok (come in, come in!) over and over. So yes of course we went inside. We sat down and they preceeded to tell us that they had been waiting for us. They had been waiting for the missionaries to come because they wanted to go back to church so badlly. SUpposedly they moved to La Paz from san nicholas so didn't really know the wards or anything. (i mean that is no excuse). But We were an answer to their prayers! We found out that the mom and dad are members, and they have 4 kids all over the age of 9 that aren't members. So we are so excited to start teaching the whole family. After finding the Agacir family it just made me think of all of the other people who are just waiting to be found and rescued. Whether they are less active, or not members yet. I just want to encourage you all to find a less active memeber. Find someone who needs the gospel. And friendship them and invite them to go back to church. Heavenly Father wants all of His children back in the fold of the Gospel, and it is our job to help Him. I know that your life will be blessed, but most importantly the lives of the people you touch!
I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving! It's the greatest time of the year! :) 
Sister Wood 
P.S. Will someone PLEASE keep me updated on the NCAA tournament? It's not like my team is playing in it or anything... :) haha. 
P.S.S. it is so funny because in tagalog you can change any noun or anything into a verb. I was laughing so hard the other day when i heard someone used "freak." Magfrfreak siya. She will freak out. Hahaha. Life is more fun in Tagalog, i promise! 


Elder Almen Thorpe - November 24, 2013

First trip to New Zealand Temple

Hey mom and dad! Well first thing is that I got the camera to work! But the bad news is I don't have a clue how to up load the pictures. Sad day for Elder Thorpe...I'll figure it out soon.

Anyways, thanks so much for emailing me and for the early Thanksgiving present. I love the nerf guns!!! My companion and the two other companions living with us in the flat also have nerf guns. We sure use them quite often. Tell Amy and Spencer and their two sweet little girls that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the pictures they drew for me of thumbprint turkey's. I had a huge grin on my face. I'm a happy uncle.

My companion is Elder Jarnagin as you probably know from the email that the President sent to you. He's from Arizona and is very funny. For being a trainer he's good at teaching me on what I need to do and what I shouldn't be doing. We are working on how to communicate, learn from each other and how to help the souls in need. Auckland mission has a memo, it is to "save souls weekly". On my first day out in the field I had the opportunity to ask an investigator to be baptized and he accepted it. We also had another one on Sunday who said he would be baptized. We also had a baptism on Saturday with a nine year old. His name is John Thomas. Now he and is family are active in the church. Talk about all happening right away in the start of the mission! I'm still trying to get the hang of this mission life as well. Every day I'm learning something new, not just for myself but also for the people we talk to. Me being shy, well that's gone cause now I talk to almost everybody who we see or who is walking on the same side of the road as us.

Today is P-days for us and I'm happy to hear that the family is doing very well! Oh and everybody here is having a hard time saying our last name on my name tag, so my new nickname is "Elder Thor". I know, all I'm missing is my hammer. All the families here are lovely, they don't have much but they still have the smile on their faces and are happy to be in the gospel.

MOM! They don't have a dryer so we have to air dry our clothes. I'm blessed to have a dryer at home but I'm learning the new ways in New Zealand to dry the old school style.

Love you guys so much!, lots more to come! Give the fam hugs and kisses for me! Love your son Elder Thorpe
Temple Grounds


Elder Brandon Wallis - November 25, 2013

I love being a Missionary! With the Thanksgiving season I feel it only appropriate to include some key things that I am thankful for. I'm thankful to be a full time representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm thankful for the spirit that I feel when I do my part. I'm thankful for my family and the wonderful example they are to me and specifically to my parents for raising me in the Gospel. I'm thankful for my sister and for her uplifting personality. I'm grateful for my Church leaders and how much they have helped me in the past and how they continue to help me in the present. I'm also thankful for trials bikes... ; )
The work here in the town of Los Alamos has really been picking up. Enough so that the Lord has seen fit to call another set of Missionaries to work here as well! It'll be interesting and very exciting. This might be a small place, but there is still so much to do! We're getting more and more excited about the Johnson family. Scott, the father, and Jona, the son, have been participating in the lessons and it's been wonderful to see the change that has been going on in their home! The Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is truly bringing them closer as a family. Marcella Walker is still doing well. She is convinced that she will get Baptized but is having trouble picking a specific date. The members have been very key in getting her interested in the Church and keeping commitments. We found a new investigator named Pete that we are very excited about. He is 49 and currently separated from his family. He neeeeeds the gospel!!! He is already a very religious guy and we're hoping that he will recognize the truth that is here in the Church of Jesus Christ.
I love this Church, and I love being a Missionary.
Love, Elder Wallis

Elder Xavier Stilson - November 25, 2013

Oi todo mundo! Todo bom?? Aqui em  Conilândia todo é perfeito!;) Well, that is about the extent of my Portuguese.  Haha, just kidding. This week has been really good and my Portuguese is getting  a little better every day! I also have a goal to not have ANY of my American  accent left by my one year mark. It’s hard but everyday that gets better too!

Well P-day we went to the Convento  da Penha! This is a HUGE Catholic Church on top of one of the Morros here in  Vila Velha! When you are on the top you can see the Third Bridge which is  AWESOME!! It is the thing to see when you are in Espirito Santo! The HUGE Chocolate  factory here in Vila Velha is another big tourist attraction and we are going  to visit it on the 2nd of December.

This week was awesome though!!! We didn’t  have any baptisms but we have 3 marked for the 7th of December! Their names are  Lucas, Daniel, and Gabriel! These are 3 young kids that we met on the street.  Daniel was the first that we contacted and we went back to his house and his  mom was really interested in our message as well! We want her to be baptized  but she smokes so that pushes her date back just a little bit. But while we  were teaching Daniel and his mother, Gabriel shows up. Daniel and Gabriel are  twins so it was kind of funny when he came in! But then he started to listen  and really liked the message. Then Lucas came in. He is very timid and didn’t  say anything the first visit but when we went back he came and sat down by  himself and loved the message!!! We went back a third time and they had all  read the Intro to the BOM but Lucas read up to 1 Nephi 2! When he got to the pictures  he read all the descriptions as well as the scriptures!!!! He is VERY Bible  smart and when we talked about everything in the bible he knew all the answers  but accepted the "new" doctrine. He says that he LOVES the BOM! That  is amazing!!! They are great kids and will be even better Missionaries!!!

We were supposed to have a baptism  this week but it fell through because the Lady says she isn’t quite ready. We  have done everything we can with her and the spirit is so strong when we teach  her but Satan is working on her NONSTOP!!! It is really frustrating working  with someone to the point of baptism and then have it fall through, especially  when they have a testimony.  I guess this is just one of the frustrations of  being a missionary. We are going to continue to work with her and I know that one  day she will be baptized.   

I wish we were given more time to  email.  There is so much more I would  like to share with you all but I am out of time. I would like to thank those of  you who have written me! You really have no idea how much those letters mean to  me and how some of the simple things you have said have meant the world to me. I  love reading your letters and if you have time, please write a little note  about how your family is doing when you send your Christmas card so I can have  something to write back!!!:) AND DONT FORGET THE CHRISTMAS CARD!!!;) Haha well  I love you all so much. God speed be with you!

One more quick thing, this Saturday and  Sunday we had an opportunity to hear from Elder Môroni Torgan of the 70 and he  talked a lot about missionary work with members! Missionary work is so hard  sometimes. 90 percent of our success comes from member referrals! SOMEONE you  know needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They either need a blessing or prayer or  service or SOMETHING! Please share these people with the missionaries! Even if  you are afraid, talk to the missionaries, they will be able to help you. We don’t  want to push people away. The missionaries don’t even have to talk about the  Gospel in the beginning.  Just having the  opportunity to meet with them and find things that they need is the perfect way  for the spirit to reach these people’s hearts. Have faith!! And if you have wavering  faith as Peter did while walking on water, or the un-surety of the man who  brought his son to Christ, do as they did!!! Pray to Heavenly Father and ask  him for faith to be able to reach out to these friends and neighbors! I have a  testimony about this! It is so hard to approach random people on the street every  day.  I ask Heavenly Father to help me  with my faith to be able to overcome this and talk to everyone!!! HE WILL HELP  YOU just like he is helping me!!! In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

  Elder Stilson


Elder Christian Tanner - Yep.....I Played The Violin

Christian jamming on an accordion
Hey family!

So, last week I was thinking that it was Thanksgiving. But, on Thursday I realized that it WASN'T Thanksgiving that week. This week is Thanksgiving. But, still, you can be thankful for things 2 weeks in a row ;) I can say that I am definitely thankful for you, my family, much more this year than I have been in the past. Not that I wasn't ever thankful, because I was. Just, its a little bit more now. So, I am thankful for my family. And I am thankful for my mission that I am on right now. This past week was another terrible week, but I am still thankful for it. Without bad weeks, we wouldn't know what a good week was like! I am thankful for trials and hard times. I am thankful that we have a loving heavenly father that loves us, no matter if we deserve it or not. I have felt his love countless times and I am truly thankful for that. And of course I am thankful that I have a pilots license. Corny? Yeah. But I love it.
So, instead of talking about the awful parts of the week (and there were many), I will just write some good things that happened. No one wants to hear the bad stuff anyway.
On Tuesday this past week, we were in Vänersborg (or something like that. I am still learning the area) visiting a ward member with the sisters. The sisters told us to get off at a certain bus stop and they would be waiting for us when we got off. Well, we got off and they were not there. So we called them and asked where they were. They said they were waiting at the bus stop. Turns out, they told us the wrong bus stop. So we were scrambling around for like 20 minutes trying to find where we had to get to. There was this older gentlemen not too far from where we were walking. I turned to Elder Peterson and said "Lets ask this guy if he knows where our bus stop is." So we walked over to him. Right was we started asking our question, we could tell something wasn't right with him. I don't even know what wasn't right though. We tapped him on the shoulder, asked the question, and he didn't respond. In fact, I don't think he even knew we were talking to him. Finally he realized it, and just kinda waved his hand in a direction. It was really odd. So we just said "Ha det så bra!" and went on our way. Well, we had walked about 50 feet maybe and I hear keys hitting the pavement and a loud groan. I turn around and this old guy just smacked the pavement face first with on coming traffic. I started booking it! Behind me I hear Elder Peterson say "should we help him?" haha I was like "yeah!" and I was running. So as we run over to this guy the cars start stopping and we start picking him up. He is completely dazed and has no idea what is happening. We get him up to his knees and some police officers start running over towards us. The police and my companion and I get him up on his feet and he is still just dazed. After we picked him up we just left the scene. The police thanked us for the help and we were on our way. I don't even know what happened to him. He could have had a stroke or something. But in any case, it was a miracle. I truly believe we were met to get off at the wrong stop to be there to help that guy. It could have gotten really bad if we weren't there to run out into the road and stop the cars. I have thought about this experience many times over the past few days. I am come to the conclusion that we really are instruments in the lords hands. We are not just here to save lives spiritually, but as well as physically if it need be. The Lord knew we would respond when we were needed. The Lord has his hand in everything, we just need to trust in it. Even if it causes a lot of stress sometimes.
There is this guy in our ward who lives like 2 hours away by bus. He is active and comes every single Sunday. Its quite impressive really. He is actually from Germany. I cant remember his name right now either. But, he makes instruments. He makes Guitars, Violins, Cellos, Xylophones, and just all kinds of stuff. On Thursday we took the day and went out and visited him. Guess what!? I played a VIOLIN! It was the first time I have picked one up since I graduated high school. Do you know what the strange part was? I picked it right up as if I played it yesterday. I started rockin out to some Orange Blossom Special and such. It was super cool. The guy was really impressed. Elder Peterson is good at the guitar and this German guy made his own instrument similar to a viola but played like cello. So for the Christmas Party in a few weeks he wants the 3 of us to do a trio. Pretty neat huh? I can still read the music and everything. Felt just the same. So then, after we spend a few hours playing on all his instruments, he takes us to a music studio in town. When we got there, we discovered there were like 6 old people there. 2 of them had accordions (drawspel in swedish!)  and the rest had violins. They were a band! Kind of. Mostly they just got together and played around. Well, the main guy asked if I played violin. I was like "heck yes I do!" and he had an extra one there! So they gave me the violin and music and I jammed out with them. While they were having fika, I started playing that one Swedish Folk Song that Dad taught his group years ago. They were like "Hey! Thats a Swedish tune!" And I was like "Yes, it is!" So then they all started playing it! And no one even had the music to it and we were just playing! IT WAS SO FUN! With accordions and 4 SWEDISH violinist, it was SUPER fun! I only wished dad could have been there with me. It was a lot of fun. I might be going back next week and doing it again :)
So our investigator Hjalmar. He is trying to quit using snus (chewing tobacco) right now. We did have the baptismal date set for this Saturday, but they have to have quit for 1 week before they can be baptized. And he didn't yet. So we pushed it back one week. He really really wants to quit. He has such a strong testimony and knows the Book of Mormon is true. But, he was in church on Sunday! He has been 2 times now int he past 3 weeks. If we can get him to go again this following week, he'll be all set. Just gotta get him off that nasty stuff. I look forward to hopefully writing about his Baptism in a few weeks! :) but for now, we meet with him 3 times a week.
I have had several dinner appointments this past week. Being in the Göteborg Stake, everyone knows Sol Tageson. And I have heard Marlene mentioned a few times. So, its pretty cool to just be like "yep, thats my family." you'd think I would get used to it by now, but nope. Oh and since I have been here, I have picked up an unusual hobby. One that I never thought I would do in my life. And before you judge too much, just know I am quite good at it. I made my own tie. How? Knitting. Yep. Knitting. Ask me if I feel like an old lady. I dare you. Because the answer will be yes. But at the same time, I will have an awesome tie that I made. So ha! When we go to District Meeting in Skövde (mom, 4 of us in trollhättan, 2 in Skövde makes our district), its a 2 hour bus ride. So, I get plenty of time to knit. Hahaha. Thats 4 hours I just sit there anyway.
Okay, and I gotta share this ridiculously funny story. So, me and my companion decided we wanted a Christmas tree. Surprise, there is a forest right behind our apartment. After we get home from tracking and such on Wednesday, we go to the forest behind our apartment and chopped down a small christmas tree! We get it down and get it into the apartment and get it standing up against the wall. Suddenly we realized that it wasn't your regular Christmas tree. AKA: pine tree. It was a bush that stinkin looked like a pine tree. It was  BUSH! Not a TREE! But it smells nice so we just keep it there. And I have the ornament grandma send me so I hung that up at the top. And that will do until we decide if we will actually go get a christmas tree. So, there is your "average missionary desperate for a christmas tree" story. Haha.
Well, that will do it for today. I am looking forward to a good week and well, maybe a thanksgiving. HAHA. Love you all lots!
Äldste Tanner
Christian with his 3 companions he has had in Sweden

The knitted tie he made