Magdalena Nilsson of Havinge, Sweden


Magdalena Nilsson of Havinge, Sweden

More than just about anything, Magdalena Nilsson loves to run. And this delightful, yet determined, bundle of energy is very good at it. Over the last few years, she has won several championship medals for her running. She has also earned medals for her gymnastic performances. Magdalena’s mother and dad run, too, as do her brother, Sebastian (12), and her sisters, Charlotta (7), Anna-Maria (5), and Alexandra (3). The whole family enjoys boating, skiing, and gymnastics.

The children’s mother, Ingrid Nilsson, serves as ward organist and also as a Primary counselor and a Relief Society teacher. Per Nilsson, the children’s father, serves as second counselor in their ward bishopric. “Magdalena is the best missionary in our family,” he says. “She often takes nonmember friends with her to Primary, and she seems to have a sense of history and enjoys reading the Book of Mormon. Sometimes she reads parts of it to her friends.”

Music is important to Magdalena, who has been trained to sing for public gatherings. She sings with a choir and often has solo parts. At school she is especially interested in math, English, drama, drawing, and, of course, music.

Besides participating in sports with her family, Magdalena likes to ride her bike and play hide-and-seek and European handball with her friends. She also has a great time running an obstacle course nearby. When the weather is stormy, she may make clothes for her dolls or play Pick-up-Sticks with her brother and sisters.

“I enjoy going to church,” says Magdalena, “because it helps me learn to do what’s right.” She has gained a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel by praying and studying the Book of Mormon, and by her service to her family and to others.

An abiding spirit of togetherness and love is felt by all who enter the Nilsson home, where the children help with the planning and preparation for family home evenings, family excursions, and holidays.

Magdalena is particularly interested in holiday traditions. One of her favorite holidays is the midsummer festival, which is held in Sweden during the longest day of the year—in June—when the sun dips below the horizon for what seems like only a moment, then rises again. The revelers sing, feast, and dance around a flower-decked majstang (Maypole), which has nothing to do with the month of May. In the magic of the occasion, wistful young girls often tuck seven kinds of wildflowers under their pillows, each hoping to dream of the man that she will marry.

[photos] Photos by Richard Romney and Per Nilsson

[photo] 1 A good exercise for runners

[photo] 2 Another of Magdalena’s talents

[photo] 3 Nilsson family

[photo] 4 One of Magdalena’s many winning ways

[photo] 5 A few of Magdalena’s medals that she won for running

[photo] 6 A favorite toy