I'M UP HERE IN NORRLAND. That is right, the coldest place during the winters.. which will be coming too soon, but right now it is actually the hottest place in Sweden! The sun doesn't go down EVER. :) It is crazy. I am kind of going to go throughout my days only because so much has happened. But first off- I LOVE IT. I love being a missionary, I love Sweden, I love the people and my companion.
Monday/Tuesday (21-22 Jul) - woke up at 3:30 and finished packing then started our travels. We took a bus to the front runner, then trax then to the airport. It was a little crazy, but we made it! Everyone checked their luggage through just fine. (lets be honest- only because the airport people are nice.) haha I'm pretty sure we were all like at 50. Oh well, I'm not complaining :) We traveled all day, and I didn't sleep much, being sick on the plane was not fun at all, but I am fine. We were able to share the gospel as we traveled, which was so much fun :) We arrived in Sweden at 8 am Tuesday morning. We had a full day of adventures. We did all the stuff you have too, then toured Stockholm a little bit, which is GORGEOUS. Some of the oldest towns in the world. Crazy stuff. The architecture is HUGE and stunning. (of course I would notice that.) But really all so cool. We went to a YSA Center and met a lot of other missionaries, some that were going home, and some that were serving in Stockholm. While all the other greenies went out and contacted for 20 minutes, I received a Priesthood blessing from Pres. Beckstrand for my health. Since my ears hadn't popped I didn't have much balance (that was pretty funny honestly,) but I didn't feel well, but I was grateful for the power in the blessing. After some orientation and stuff, we finished our day early and I was the first to climb in bed and right once I did I was out at about 6:45 pm. haha It was a long two days since I was sick and slept only about 2 hours on the plane.
Wednesday (23 Jul) - Good ol' orientation. But we did get to spend time (plus we had slept there) at the mission home, which was cute and so fun. Felt good to be in a home. Then finally the time came... TRAINERS. We each read our assignments one at a time out loud, I was last, but I ended up with the sister I really hoped I would be with from when they all walked in (I was trying not to choose favorites, but hey I ended up with mine! haha) So while everyone else filled onto the bus, I said goodbye, jumped in a car with two other companionships and we headed to the airport. Yep, another plane. But hey, I kind of wanted to go to the north, and felt like I would be the one on another plane, so all is well. The plane was a little over an hour. Elder Archibald from the other district in the MTC also is serving with us in the Luleå Branch. The most north. :) haha It is fantastic.
Thursday (24 Jul) - our first FULL day of MISSIONARY WORK :) It was so fun. We contacted a bunch and had a few lessons. Sister Eborn is a rock star. She seriously is such a good teacher. I just contributed to the lessons be bearing my testimony on what I was hoping was what was being discussed! haha Swedes ask weird questions so the lessons are sometimes harder for me to follow. But super awesome part of my day was when Sister Eborn showed me the mormon message "Good things to come" by Elder Holland. Here is the link: https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2010-05-12-good-things-to-come?lang=eng WATCH IT NOW :) ah it is so good. I wasn't really having a hard time, but the spirit just touched my heart so much and was perfect :)
Friday (25 Jul) - So we live in "Tuna" yes. Tuna. hehe :) But it is right by a small lake, and forestiness. It is hard to explain because there is forest-i-ness all over, and water all over. IT IS GORGEOUS. I love it :) But we run on a trail through the trees by the water every morning. (yes I am running everyday.. be proud. haha) We taught four solid lessons, and two were in english- so that was nice :) haha I felt like there could really be two teachers during that lesson instead of one and a girl who sits and agrees and says I know that is true :) (don't get me wrong, bearing your testimony is so important and so strong, but the fact that I can explain some things too is nice. :)) But I am so grateful for the fact that the gospel is so true, that I can promise that if you will read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true with a sincere heart, and willing to act upon what you find out, including change to live in such a way to follow the gospel, then you can receive that witness from the Holy Ghost for yourself. (used that with Mahommad Ali- super awesome, he is eating up the gospel and loves it, but is just not sure because of his Islamic background.)
Saturday (26 Jul) - Sister Eborn said I should make it a goal to talk to people on the bus alone. So I did. I was scared considering understanding Swedes is a whole other thing than understanding teachers at the MTC, but it has gone really well! I pull the greenie card when I don't know what else to say in Swedish or when I really just don't know the words they are using. It is fun, but dang scary. We ended up going over time on a lesson because she and the member who followed with are both chatty kathys and so we missed our bus, sprinted to the church (it is a 30-40 minute walk) and then our investigator didn't show up for the lesson, so we turned around, tried to catch another bus which took us to the wrong place, then we finally figured it out after a while and got to our next lesson with Thomas and Kristina. Who we have taught twice now, plus they came to church so that is good! We shall see if they continue to progress. They are very simple thinkers, so I hope that they will see that the gospel will be a blessing in their lives! Or the fact that they should want those blessings. But they are great.
Sunday (27 Jul) - first one! Dang it is hard to stay focused in an hour long meeting that is in a language that you don't really understand. I focused on the spirit and then opened my scriptures. We had 5 investigators come to sacrament meeting though, so that is great :) We also had a member dinner following church... and lets just say. Swedish food is adventurous. (There is your answer to my friend who asked..haha :)) I put only a tiny bit on my plate of each thing and then a good amount of salad. Well after trying the salmon and almost throwing it up it was hard to get anything else down because nothing was uh.. my kind of food. Oh it was bad if I'm being completely honest. Plus I was starving since we skipped lunch. Ohh well. I was given strength by my Heavenly Father to be able to go off of the energy I had. :) haha adventuresss...
Something that touched my heart this week was as we watched the Restoration film with Thomas and Kristina, I opened my scriptures to find one to share after the film. As I peeked around in my scriptures I came upon 2 Nephi 22:2 at the very same time that "Joseph Smiths First Prayer" was playing in the video. One of my favorite songs which brings the spirit so close to my heart as I read "God is my salvation; I will trust, and be not afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation." After a long day of running around that touched my heart and helped me remember why I am so happy. Even when it was a little hectic, all I could do was smile. I am just so happy to be out here doing the Lords work! And I know that only through His strength am I able to look upon all the things that happen with a good attitude. He is my song, so I am ready to share that with the people of Luleå!! It is so fun being here and watching the work move forward!! :)
I am loving the work and am so happy to be here. Thank you for all the love and support. I LOVE YOU
Love, Syster Bolton
Cassie with her companion/trainer Syster Eborn.
A little more of what I have learned
I have learned so much from my personal scripture study! I just started reading the Book of Mormon with the question of how I can have more faith when facing adversity. As I have slowly read and studied, new things always stick out at me. Something I read a couple days ago that I loved so much was in 1 Nephi 15:25. Nephi is talking to his brethren and he explains that "he did exhort them to give heed unto the word of the Lord; yea, I did exhort them with all the energies of my soul, and with all the faculty which I possessed, that they would give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his commandments always in all things." the part that stuck with me was that he did it with all the energies of his soul! That is what I need to be doing out here as I am a missionary, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to do that. To give all my time and all my soul. That is what I plan to do while I am out here serving this mission. To give it my all, so that the Lord can work through me.
Also today during study, I read 1 Nephi 17- oh my goodness it is so good!! :) I learned so much from it. Hopefully you can open up to it and read a couple verses that I refer to. Verse 6. Reminded me of the mormon message "good things to come" that I put the link to in that other email. You will always be blessed for enduring trials. :) Also verse 7. the voice of the Lord said to Nephi "Arise, and get thee into the mountain... and (Nephi) went and cried unto the Lord" which made me start thinking if the voice of the Lord ever said that to me. "Go to the temple" Honestly, I hadn't ever thought about it in such a way, but He has. Weekly. When I went to the temple, it wasn't because I just thought, oh that would be a good thing to do. But because the spirit directed me to do that. The Lord knew I would follow that prompting time and time again and I built my relationship with Heavenly Father often by attending His house. But also the second part of that verse says that Nephi did cry unto the Lord once he got there. I often go to the temple, and I always pray. But how often do I truly plead with the Lord to understand whatever it is that He wants me to understand. Nephi was commanded to build a boat. What is the Lord wanting me to do this month? week? day? He wants to give us direction, but sometimes, we need to be in a place and pleading for it to be able to receive it. I just thought that was super super cool. Ah the scriptures are a wonderful thing aren't they? :)