Hi! I served a mission in the Sweden Stockholm mission several years ago and am now married to a returned missionary and starting a family.

Please share this blog with others so we can help as many future missionaries as possible. Feel free to add your own advice. I hope this can help many young people preparing to go on a mission, but most specifically, sisters.

Have fun and let me know if you have any questions or any post ideas!

Mormon Messages


Personal missionary experiences #3

   I absolutely love being a missionary! We gave away 3 copies of the Book of Mormon today on our way home from dinner with some members! It makes me so happy! We're really working towards "tala med alla" [talk to everyone] this transfer and Sister Carlson is really good at it. She's only been in Sweden for 2 months yet she still opens her mouth and does her best at preaching the gospel. She's such a great example to me! If she can do it, I certainly can!

   We have a baptismal date! for Janelle!! Feb. 7th! I'm so excited! She still needs her dad's permission [she was only 15] so we're going to pray and fast with her. "With God, all things are possible"!
   And I want to write about one more thing today... We got home at 8:30pm and still hadn't given away a copy of the Book of Mormon so we decided to go back out for a little while. I ended up stopping this young couple with a baby. We talked to them for 10-15 minutes about the gospel. They're Catholic but not really religious. She took the Book of Mormon and promised to read and pray about it and sounded really interested! We didn't get their number [her husband really didn't seem interested], but still, it makes me so incredibly happy to help wonderful people find the truth. I love being a missionary!

   What a funny day we had today... hehe. We taught Billy today - He is really interested! He's 20 something, Swedish, AND he believes in God and Christ! It was an awesome lesson. We tracted into this lady today who let us in and then talked about all kinds of crazy things, like how Islam isn't a religion or something. Anyways, it was interesting. [She wasn't the least bit interested, it turns out. Just likes to talk, I guess.] Then we taught this Bosnian family, or rather tried to. We're not sure how much they understood. We ended up walking out with a bag full of fruit, bread, wafers, and this sausage/salami/pepperoni thing that we'll probably never eat. Haha. Life as a missionary...

   It's interesting to read what I wrote when I was first here in Sweden. It's amazing how far I've come with the language and with being a missionary. It's cool to see how many really hard times I've had and how I somehow got through them every time. I've forgotten how hard it was for me to understand Swedish at first. I can understand almost everything now without concentrating that hard. It's so cool to see how I've changed. I really have grown, I think.

**For Personal missionary experiences part 1, click here.
**For Personal missionary experiences part 2, click here.

Personal missionary experiences #2

Some more parts of journal entries. :)

   We had some awesome lessons today! We finally talked to Matthew about why he doesn't want to get baptized. He hasn't gotten an answer yet and he doesn't want to get baptized until he knows it's true. So he said he'll read the Book of Mormon every day for 2 weeks (which he hasn't been doing) and pray about it. Yay! And our other lesson... we're working with Robert and Jessica and their little girl, Isabella. Robert and Jessica were members but were excommunicated and want to come back now. We watched the first half of The Testaments with them. They loved it and they promised to read the Book of Mormon together as a family! Yay again! I love this gospel!

   We were walking home from the train station today and we ran into a couple of ladies who were struggling to carry a lot of stuff. We stopped and helped them to their apartment which wasn't that far away from ours. They're from Turkey and don't speak English or Swedish very well. So our "conversations" were pretty interesting. Haha. They were really cool though. They invited us into their apartment for some juice to thank us for helping them. We gave them a pass-along card and told them about the website but we're not sure how much they understood. Oh well, they'll remember that we helped them and maybe, hopefully, they'll meet some missionaries they can talk to some day.

   Sister Madsen and I were talking the other day about how interesting it is that we can have 6 hard, discouraging days and 1 wonderful day in a week and all we'll remember is that one wonderful day. That one wonderful day makes up for all the hard and discouraging days.
   We've been having a hard time staying motivated lately. It's actually not the fact that we keep getting turned down that's hard for me. What's hard, I think, is waking up exhausted and with sore feet, sore arms, sore back, sore everything, and we still need to go out and work. Then I concentrate so hard on everything people say and try to think of something to say back so my brain feels like it's going to explode. So at the end of the day I"m just totally exhausted yet I still should talk to that girl sitting at the bus stop and think about how I can help her rather than think about how much I want to go home. Then I do get home and know that I'm going to wake up and do it all again the next day. Just being out in public as a missionary is exhausting... being on our best behavior and happy all the time... oh well, it's good.

   Today I read an awesome quote about motivation (like I was talking about yesterday). Elder Neil L. Andersen quotes President Hinkley in his talk this last conference. Pres. Hinkley said: "When [an individual] is motivated by great and powerful convictions of truth, then he disciplines himself, not because of demands made by the Church, but because of the knowledge within his heart." Then Elder Andersen adds: "Are we sufficiently motivated by 'great and powerful convictions of truth'? Do our choices reflect this motivation? Are we becoming who we want to become? It's true, isn't it? Then what else matters?"
   So I guess I need to be motivated because, well, I'm a missionary. I'm a representative of Jesus Christ and I'm on His errand. I should stay busy because I love Him. And because I love the people of Sweden. The best thing I can remember right now is that I"m doing this because I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I'll do anything for him... so here's my perfect chance to show Him.

**For Personal missionary experiences part 1, click here.
**For Personal missionary experiences part 3, click here.

Personal missionary experiences

I decided today that I will post parts of some my journal entries from my mission. I hope they will help each of you  know a little more of what to expect of missionary life. And hopefully get you excited to serve a mission. :) (All names have been changed.)

3/26/2007 (I had been in the mission field for just over a month)
    We had an amazing lesson with Amy [an investigator about 40 years old] today! I didn't understand all of it, of course, but I understood what was important. Brother and Sister Hansen from the ward came with us, which ended up being a very smart decision. They're originally from Finland but have lived in Sweden for most of their lives, just like Amy. AND Bro Hansen has dealt with depression so he knows what Amy is going through. AND he's a convert. It was so wonderful to hear his testimony and to have someone she can relate with. They're getting her to come to general conference with them next weekend too! At the end of the meeting, Amy started crying! I don't really know what that means, but hopefully it's because she realized how much we care about her and want to help her. We had a really good lesson about prayer and how we can ask God for help whenever we need it. So hopefully, just maybe, she'll pray herself. We've asked her before, many times actually, but so far she hasn't. But maybe she will this time.

    Matthew's [an investigator about 25 years old] doing pretty well. We've taught him up through the 2nd lesson now. He's awesome and actually a lot of fun to teach. I'm getting to the point that I don't really care about making mistakes while talking to him. I guess it's because he's already heard me make tons of mistakes so why not make more. Haha. Anyway, the thing I'm worried about is that he says he hasn't gotten an answer about The Book of Mormon yet. He says he doesn't feel anything different about The Book of Mormon than any other book. And we he prays, he doesn't feel bad, but he doesn't feel good either. I want him to get an answer so bad. I know it's true and I know that he can know it's true too. He would make an awesome member. But what if it's not the right time for him right now? I would absolutely love to see him get baptized. But I know that as long as we do our best, whatever's right for him will happen.
    We had the chance to get 3 new investigators this week! We were so excited! But all 3 of the appointments fell through. One of them was sick, so we'll reschedule with him, but one called and said she wasn't interested anymore and the other didn't show up (for the 2nd time). I guess we'll see what happens.

   Exciting news! We have a new investigator! His name is Steven and, well, I don't really know that much about him yet. We taught him the 1st lesson today and it went really well! He listened intently to everything we said then promised to read the parts of the Book of Mormon we asked him to and to pray about it to know for himself that's it's true. And he wants us to come back! He seemed to really like the fact that we want him to pray for his own testimony rather than just relying on ours. He must really like cats though, because he has 10 of them. Weird... Anyways. I think I did pretty well. I probably made a million mistakes, but he understood me so that's good. And in the middle of the lesson he asked me how long I've been here, and when I told him, he said that I speak Swedish really well for being here such a short time. And then he talked about how hard it must be to come to a new country and speak a new language. So that made me feel better. He's pretty cool. I'm trying hard to have faith that this very well could lead to another baptism, but the doubt and fear are still there. Satan is sure trying hard to destroy my faith... but he's not going to!

**For Personal missionary experiences Part 2, click here.
**For Personal missionary experiences Part 3, click here.

Mission meal ideas #3

Some more meals that I grew up with. :)

E-Z Chicken Tetrazzini:

- 2 cups uncooked spaghetti
- 4 cups diced and cooked chicken (or turkey)
- 1 can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
- 1 cup grated cheese (try different kinds)
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup water

Cook spaghetti noodles. In casserole dish, add soup and water. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Add chicken, noodles, cheese, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Bake at 350 degrees F until warm or zap in microwave for 10 minutes.

Tuna Casserole:

- 1 can of cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
- 1/2 can of milk (using cream of soup can)
- 1 cup cooked flat noodles
- 1 can tuna fish
- onion (or onion powder)
- grated cheese
- chinese noodles or rice krispies cereal

Mix all ingredients except cheese and chinese noodles or cereal together in casserole dish. Cook in oven at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes or zap in microwave until heated through. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and let melt. Add Chinese noodles or cereal on top to make it crunchy.

Taco Salad:

- 1 lb hamburger
- 1 cup chopped onion (or onion powder)
- 2 cups water
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2/3 cup rice
- 1 tsp oregano
- pinch of pepper
- 8 oz. tomato sauce
- 1 tsp cumin

Brown hamburger and onion. Drain. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Turn down to low and simmer for 30 min. Serve over/with tortilla chips and top with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream.

Mission meal ideas #2

Before I start with the meal ideas, here are a few tips for you:

Tip #1: Sit down with your mom or someone and type up all the recipes you have grown up with that you think would be mission friendly. I will warn you that they probably won't turn out just like you remember them (different brands of food, different pots/pans, different stoves, etc) but you'll still enjoy being able to cook things you are familiar with.

Tip #2: Like I mentioned above, remember that you will be working with different foods, different dishes, different stoves, etc. They may be very different if you go foreign. Be ready to be flexible and try new things! You may want to make sure you are comfortable enough with cooking that you can be flexible without too much stress. Even if you go state-side though, you will have to learn to cook with whatever is in the apartment, and that could take some getting used to.

Tip #3: Be sure to eat healthy as a missionary. It will make a world of difference in how much energy and strength you have if you are eating healthy. You all know how... now do it! Eat your fruits and veggies. (It's not that difficult - and pretty cheap - to pull out canned or frozen fruit or veggies to add to your meal.) You'll thank me later. :)

One of my favorite dinners is crock pot salsa chicken. But since you most likely will not have a crock pot as a missionary, here's an alternate. It's not quite as good, but it's still pretty good.

Baked Salsa Chicken:

- 4 chicken breasts
- 4 tsp taco seasoning
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 cup cheese
- 2 tbl sour cream

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
2) Place chicken breasts in a lightly greased 9 X 13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle taco seasoning on both sides of chicken breasts, and pour salsa over all.
3) Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is tender and juicy and its juices run clear
4) Sprinkle chicken with cheese and continue baking for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Top with sour cream, if desired, and serve.
It goes well with rice or pasta and corn.

Here's one I grew up with:

Pizza Casserole:

- 1 lb hamburger
- 1/2 cup chopped onion (or dash of onion powder)
- 3 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
- 2 1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni
- 1/2 lb mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- pinch garlic powder

Brown hamburger and onion in large pan. Add tomato sauce and spices. Let simmer while cooking elbow macaroni. When macaroni is cooked, drain, and dump into hamburger mixture in frying pan. Top with slices of mozzarella cheese. Cover and let cheese melt.
Options: Can put anything on top of casserole that you would want on a pizza: pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, etc. Can also use different type of cheese if you want.
*This recipe makes quite a bit... maybe 6 servings?? So you could half-it or save the rest for later.