Saturday, December 27, 2014

How is Christmas already over...

Hi everyone!

I think this last week has been one of my favorite of my entire mission. I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!! I honestly don't think one thing could have been better, missionary-wise and party-wise :)

On Tuesday, we had a lesson with Henrik, and he has decided to be baptized on February 7th!! YAY!! He is all worried about getting an answer before then about if the Church is true or not, and I am not even breaking a sweat. Heavenly Father has a pretty good plan, and I know he will let Henrik know that everything is true :) I seriously have been so excited about it all week. All our hard work is finally paying off!!! And more importantly, it is not at all about us. Henrik is taking huge steps that are going to bless him! :)

If you look closely you can see Erin's Christmas tree. :)
Wednesday was Christmas Eve! It is called julafton here, and is just like Christmas Day in the US. Everyone in Sweden starts really celebrating at 3 pm. There is a show called Kalle Anke (Donald Duck) that everyone watches, which is just a bunch of shorts from Disney classics (Lady and the Tramp, Cinderella, Jungle Book, Mickey Mouse, etc) dubbed in Swedish. That was really fun to watch! #memories And after Kalle Anke, we eat! We had a julbord, full of fish and potatoes and ham and yummy things, and ate until we couldn't even look at the food anymore. It was great. Haha! Then the jultomte (Santa Claus) came! The family who's house we were at, the Dahlqvists, had their 15 year old daughter put on a Santa mask and bring around presents for everyone. It was hilarious. Haha! After we opened presents, we got to watch a movie (How To Train Your Dragon 2---sooooo cute) and we taught the family how to play Spoons (the card game). Swedes think Americans are crazy. Haha! It was seriously one of the most fun Christmas Eves I have ever had, and definitely the best night I have ever had in Sweden. I am so grateful for members who take care of the missionaries!

Thursday was CHRISTMAS! We were with a half American family, the Newells, so it felt just like home :) We ate gröt in the morning for breakfast, which is basically warm rice pudding with sugar, cinnamon, and milk. Swedish tradition says to put an almond in the big pot of gröt, and whoever finds it gets a prize. So fun! Then we watched another movie (Maleficent---also good. I have missed good movies since I have been gone. Haha!) and did the Nativity and ate and ate and ate :) We played games and finally I GOT TO SKYPE MY FAMILY!!!!! It was the best. I really do just love them. I feel so blessed! There was crying and laughing and all sorts of things and I just want all of you to go hug them for me because I can't. Haha!

I am so grateful to the Newells for taking care of our missionaries on Christmas day. They're the greatest!
Skyping with the family :) Best. Day. Ever!
Yesterday we just hung out and took advantage of Christmas sales, and today we are heading back into missionary work. Woohoo! I just can't even express how much fun I had this week and how thankful I am to be here around these people. Obviously, I miss my peeps at home, but Swedes are seriously theeee best. Who knew? :)

I LOVE YOU ALL!! My next email time is on January 2nd, so I will talk to you all then :) Happy 2015!! Crazy!!

xoxoxo Syster Modersitzki
The goodie baskets they gave as thank you gifts.
Look at the time--1:58 p.m. and DARK! And the temp -26.5* Celsius (-15.7* Fahrenheit)
Merry Christmas Eve from Luleå!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Merry Christmas from Sweden!
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!! This is for reals now. I get to talk to my family on Thursday!!!! I don't think I have ever been more excited for something in my entire life...honestly. I love those people. But yay!!!

This week has been insanity. Way good insanity, but insanity nonetheless. We started by flying to Stockholm on Tuesday for zone conference. I LOVED it. It was so Christmas-y and fun. All the districts even performed Christmas themed skits! It was super fun to see everyone and to be around people who truly understand what Christmas is all about. Most people here in Sweden think it just means stress...haha. But I loved that!

The Norrland Zone

The STLs came home with us from the conference and stayed for 2 nights to do workovers! Workovers are where an STL comes and works with you for the day, but both pairs of missionaries stay in the area. It is super fun because you get to have a sleepover, but super stress for the missionaries who have to plan 2 days into one. When we finally got to Luleå as I was major stressing out about the next day, we found out I lost the car keys on the airplane home, and we left our bus passes in Stockholm. WHAT. I am pretty sure I am sporting some new zits from that minute of my life. Haha! We found the keys and got new bus passes, so all was well, but I learned my lesson. Laughing is way more fun than stressing because things always work out in the end. And I had a really fun day with Syster Bass!

We had a great day on Saturday, and at the end of the night we got a call from a guy in the branch presidency. He was told that we were going to sing in the Christmas program the next day, but we both had no idea about that...We ended up throwing something together really fast with the elders that night, but Syster Stetler woke up sick the next morning with a sore throat. I ended up singing a solo in church with not even 24 hours notice. Haha it was better than giving a talk, that's for sure, but I didn't realize when I went on a mission that was something that would happen. Besides that craziness, the Christmas program was super good and just got me more pumped. I have read the Christmas story like 10 times already this month, but I am rereading it again this week. It is the best!

I hope you all have the BEST Christmas! I know I am going to! :) Thank you for all the packages and letters and love. They mean so much, especially when I am so far from home! It doesn't feel like it one bit because everyone just sends me a little kärlek :) I LOVE YOU ALL!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

xoxoxo Syster Erin Modersitzki

Everyone knows the Sweden Stockholm sister missionaries by their backpacks

Cute Christmas gift from President & Sister Beckstrand

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmastime in Sweden

Dear everyone,

MERRY CHRISTMAS IN 10 DAYS!! Woooo!!!!! I am beyond excited and my advent calendar/3 countdowns have just made me more excited. I love Christmas. Someone needs to watch The Grinch for me, because I don't think I will be able to this year... :)

I was sick on Tuesday, so we weren't able to do much outside. We had had district meeting earlier that day and got reindeer pizza after, so I wonder if it was karma for eating Santa's friends? Oops. (FYI, it tasted like game-y jerky on a pizza. I like moose better. #Norrland) I have never been so productive while sick, though. I think this is a sign that I am way too much of a missionary. I was so content cleaning up the ward list and area book for hours on end...Hahah. My life. I also got to go to bed at 9:45 last night. That's what normal 19 year olds do, right? Right!? :)
This is what reindeer pizza looks like. :)
After I finally got over being sick (it was not fun), we went out and went HARD.  Some of my favorite lessons this week:

-Meeting with the most darling less active named Rose-Marie. The only reason she doesn't come to church is because she is old and she forgets about it. Haha! She told us this week that she loves us coming, but she thinks the devil is taking over her head and asked us to pray for her....I decided I am just not going to get old. Hard pass. I love her though!

-Meeting with another 80 year old-ish less active who decided she was going to practice her English with us. I wish I was smart like Swedes are....

-Meeting with a potential investigator who showed us pictures of an igloo her family made. They decided to put a cross on top and have a priest dedicate it as a winter church. Haha everything goes in Swedish church! ;)

-We had another lesson with Henrik this week, and he set goals for quitting smoking and drinking coffee!! Woooooo!! He texted us earlier in the week and said he was in line to get a coffee, but heard our voices in his head telling him not to, so he left. Hahah!! I love it! I am someone's conscience now ;) He seems really determined to keep these goals, and I have been so impressed. Yay Word of Wisdom! :)

We are also delivering rice krispie treats to all of our neighbors, less actives, and old investigators. The treats are super American (aka super sugary) and Swedes don't really know what to do when someone gives them a nice treat for no reason other than to be nice. Haha! Their faces sometimes are just like, "Really? Are these poisoned? That is so nice! Why are you being nice?" :) It has been fun to take those around. :) We actually had a less active call us after and want to take us out for lunch because of it! Points for sugar!

Saturday was Lucia! We had a giant ward party and all of the Primary kids did a Lucia tåg (train) :) They all dress up and sing...I don't know how to describe it! It is just so cute! After the ward party, we drove up to Boden (where the elders live like 30 minutes away) to watch a real Lucia in a cathedral. We walked in as the Lucia performers were singing and walking....on their way out. Hahah. It was so cool though! In Lucia, they have a main girl dressed up as St. Lucia. She wears a red sash and a headpiece with real lighted candles, and leads the tåg. Everyone sings and holds candles behind her. Fun fact: it is common for people to faint after because they hold the candles right under their nose and just breathe in the smoke....scary!! I loved the tradition though. Everyone should look it up on YouTube when they have a spare second!

I LOVE SWEDEN! I love Luleå, I love my companion, I love this branch, I love Christmas, and I love all of you!! Thank you for all the sweet emails and love I get every week! You guys are the best!

xoxoxoxo Syster Modersitzki i Sverige

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tracting for Days

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great week :) I keep hearing everyone in Utah still doesn't have snow, so I am going to pray extra hard that God takes all the snow/ice out of Luleå and takes it to Utah. I know, super generous ;) Haha but anyway! This week was super good! 

This was Syster Stetler's first real week as a missionary, so we did what all missionaries who need to find new investigators do---tract and tract and tract! I remember when I was a greenie, I was soooo excited to tract. That was always my first idea of a backup plan. I just thought it was so exciting to knock on people's doors...I don't think I realized that sometimes people aren't very nice when you knock on their doors. Haha! A few times when we tracted this week, Syster Stetler would turn around and be like "Oh my gosh, I can't believe how rude they were..." while I am just sauntering off to the next door without noticing a thing. I have turned off all sensitivity filters since I have been in Sweden. Haha!  Ya do what ya gotta do ;)

We also met with a lot of less actives and new converts this week. One is named Asefa, and he was baptized in August. He is from Ethiopia, and he is the BEST. We showed him the He is the Gift video and he got so excited. He just went off about his testimony of Jesus Christ, and how grateful he is to have knowledge about Him...It made me realized how grateful I am for Jesus Christ too. I am a little sad that it took me moving another country to realize how big of a role He plays in my life. Just so you all know, Jesus Christ died for each and every one of you. Do you realize how amazing that is!? Someone loves you enough to sacrifice EVERYTHING for you! You are so loved by your older Brother. :) I love this Christmas season because it reminds us of that every day!

We also had a cool breakthrough with one of our investigators, Henrik. He has really struggled to find a faith in God, so we have focused on the Spirit and how that feels so he can recognize it and feel God through it. The whole time we have been meeting with him (ever since I got to Luleå in October), he has insisted that he doesn't feel anything when he reads the Book of Mormon or prays or anything. We asked him about it again this week, and he said "I have a confession to make....I have felt the Spirit for a long long time." and we were so excited! He has just been nervous to act on what he has been feeling, because he smokes and drinks coffee, and it is a big life change, all that stuff....but progress!! Yay! We are doing our jobs right ;) I love when the Spirit teaches, instead of me. Lessons always go a lot better. :)

Sunday was my favorite. I think it is always my favorite! I always love church, and after we went to a member's house, and learned how to make falafel. Falafel is one of my favorite foods in Sweden... When we found out that was what we were having, Syster Stetler was like, "Oh awesome, Mod talks about that all the time!" Haha embarrassing but whatever. It is vegetarian and made of chick peas and deeelicious. Mmmm! I am so excited to make my family food when I get home. #swedishpancakes4lyfe

But yeah! This week I have just counted all of my blessings a lot. I love all of you and I am so grateful for my mission. Huge s/o to my cousin Ally, aka sister akmod in bulgaria, for finishing her mission next week! I have the most amazing examples in my life!! :)

This week's fun facts of Sweden:
-I am currently listening to a Jehovah's Witness trying to convert my companion. Hahah speaking of conversion, one of our investigators gave me my very own copy of the Quran (Muslim bible thing) in English. Hahah. Not exactly what I came all the way to Sweden for...
Erin with the Quran from an investigator.
-Lucia is this week on the 13th! It is a Swedish holiday. Everyone should look up pictures cause it's cool :) We are having a ward party that day and I am so excited!
-I don't know why I just thought of this...but there are literally 4 grocery store chains in all of Sweden. ICA, Coop, Willy's, and Lidl. Socialism = no Wal-Mart. :(

xoxox Syster Erin Modersitzki

Everyone puts these cute paper stars in their windows at Christmastime
Sunset at 1 p.m. at Luleå

This is what Luleå looks like at 3:15 IN THE AFTERNOON!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Greenie is Here :)

HAPPY DECEMBER EVERYONE!! I cannot believe this month is finally here...My mom sent me an advent calendar with a bunch of notes from everyone I love and I FINALLY got to open the first one today. Yay :) I love love :) Thank you all! I am so excited for this month. Even though they don't believe in Christ or God or really anything, Swedes go hard for Christmas. There are lights everywhere, people are noticeably happier, groups are singing in the town square (We literally have town squares. This is Europe people)...'Tis the season :)

And with this Christmas, I got my very own gift---missionary style. :) My greenie is here! Her name is Syster Stetler, and she is the BEST. I seriously love her so much. She doesn't even feel like a greenie. Her Swedish is killer, she teaches like she has been out here longer than me, and she is so fun to be around. Seriously! We get along so well, and I know we are going to have so much fun in the next couple transfers. I just love her. What could be better!?

It's been a while since I emailed, so this might be long...Sorry in advance. But it will all be good. :)

The Sunday before last (confusing I the 23rd) was Äldste Allsop's last Sunday in Sweden. The Wirtala family invited us over so he could have one more Christmas in Sweden, complete with a julbord (that translates to Christmas table, it just means FOOD :)), presents, decorating the Christmas tree and singing Swedish Christmas carols together. It was so fun! I am soooo excited for real Christmas now. I am convinced it can't get better than that was, but you never know... :)

Later that week, I went to Stockholm to say goodbye to Syster Bolton and pick up Syster Stetler! Saying bye to Syster Bolton was sad...I helped her get her luggage onto the train from the airport to Stockholm's central station, and then we hugged for the last time. And then the train started moving. And the conductor said I couldn't get off and had to pay for a ticket. It was not funny at the time, but 5 minutes after (and after a call to the office elders making sure I could be reimbursed), it was really funny. I always seem to get myself in the weirdest situations here...haha. Finally, I got Syster Bolton on her train to Jönköping (and myself off of it) and got to go to a member dinner in Stockholm with Syster LaFontaine :) I want to serve in Stockholm so badly! It was a little shocking to see all of those people at one time though...Luleå is little. I missed it. Haha!

After that, I picked up Syster Stetler and we flew back to Luleå! The next day was Thanksgiving, which we spent traveling to Umeå (4 hour train ride) for zone training, having the meeting, and traveling back (another 4 hour bus ride). It was one of the more interesting Thanksgivings I have had, especially because all we talked about in the training was the Christmas initiative the Church is putting out. Haha! But it was great :) When we got home, I made some stuffing and potatoes and gravy just for the holiday's sake :) It was really good! My first big holiday in Sweden, and no Swedes even knew what it was about. Haha!
Thanksgiving dinner....vegetarian style. She thought they had chicken, but they didn't. :)

Stetler and I have just worked hard ever since! This Christmas initiative the Church is putting out has gotten me motivated! (PS-everyone go look at and watch the video He Is The Gift :)) We have had some great finding ideas, and I think December is going to be the most productive month of my mission so far. We are going to focus on service, because that is what Christ would do, and this season is all about him! We are planning to start a "pay it forward" movement with service--scraping ice off of other people's windshields, baking treats to take to members, all sorts of things. We have also had the ward members write down one "missionary goal" that they want to complete by Christmas. I am so excited! We are going to have some awesome things going on in the next couple of weeks.

Okay sorry this is sooooooooooooo long. Props to all of you who made it this far. :)

Swede facts:
-There is a Christmas soda here called Julmust. I loooove it. I think it tastes like Egg Nog, but everyone I tell that to thinks I'm crazy...I'm right though. It definitely tastes like Egg Nog. ;)
-Christmas here= fish. Raw fish, herring, name it, they eat it at Christmas. I am grateful that I like it all. :)
-I can't remember the last time I saw the sun, because it has been hidden behind the clouds for days. The sun comes up around 8:30-9 ish, and goes down pretty consistently at 1-1:30 pm. I am taking lots of vitamin D. Haha!

Love you all!! Thanks for everything!!
xoxoxo Syster Mod