Saturday, December 26, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 39: Un-White Christmas and Baking Cookies

Hej Hej! 

I hope you all had an awesome Christmas! Can't believe that another one has come and gone! 

This week was pretty exciting because of Christmas and everything; lots of delicious, traditional Swedish Christmas food was eaten like meatballs and ham, Christmas Sausage and beat salad, and pickled herrings and lots of bread. 

This week we decided to spread Christmas cheer by baking cookies and delivering them to less-actives, investigators, and everyone else in between! Last Monday I got Elder Loertscher kebab-tized (he ate his first kebab pizza!) for lunch, then we picked up some cookie ingredients and ended up running into Roger on the bus, and talked to him for a bit. We had dinner with the Branch President and his family that night as well, and we got a good list of people to swing by this week and say hey to or wish a Merry Christmas. 

So Tuesday, we had the big bake off and made a bunch of cookies with the Zone Leaders' help, who came to our apartment and joined our little party. The bulk of that day was spent swinging by people and delivering plates of cookies of course; Elder Loertscher talked to one Sister who was very happy to see us and invited the four of us over for dinner sometime in the future, so that was nice. After all our deliveries, that evening we did a little district activity; the Ö-vik crew drove up and we went into the city and set up a table serving free hot chocolate and a laptop looping the Church's Christmas video. Fun activity, and all the hot chocolate we made got drank up. 

Wednesday saw more cookie deliveries (we even made another batch), and Elder Loertscher and I made some deliveries on our own in Mariehem to a few people. The Zone Leaders picked us up in the afternoon and we did some more deliveries together. That night, the Skellefteå Elders came in, who spent Christmas with us and return back to Skellefteå tonight. The six of us all went over to Nils' place and had a Christmas dinner with him and his girlfriend that night as well. 

Of course, Thursday and Friday were the big days! The whole city was quiet, nobody on the streets as Elder Loertscher and I took the bus around, everyone inside enjoying Christmas Eve. Highlights of Thursday were having Christmas brunch with Ronnie, a single member in the branch, watching Kalle Anka (Donald Duck in Swedish), a very very swedish tradition of watching an hour long televised program of old Disney Cartoons from Mickey Mouse to Cinderella to even the most recent Disney movies, over at Åsa's house (another member), then having Christmas dinner with the Bussmann family! 

On Friday, the six of us went with the Norin Family to a special Christmas mass by the Svenska Kyrka, then we went back to their place and had brunch and relaxed a bit by watching Inside Out. After spending some time at their place, three of us scurried over to the Lövgren's and the other three to the Ottosson's to skype our lovely families. Super nice to see everyone and open Christmas presents together! The night was concluded at the Ottosson's, where all six of us had another big Christmas dinner with them and their family. I even got to see President and Sister Ottosson from Ö-vik, so that was a nice surprise! Bro. Ottosson read the Christmas Story to us and then we all watched Big Hero 6 together. And that was my Christmas! Unfortunately, no snow this time around, we have to wait next week for that...

Well, it certainly felt nice to spend the holidays with so many different people and to experience my first Swedish Christmas. As this was my first Christmas away from home it got me thinking what I am grateful for and for my family. I also thought about how Christmas is the same all over the world; we all recognize the birth of the Savior and think about the gift that he is to each of us. It is true, it's a small world after all. 

I hope you all have a fantastic week, and I wish you a Happy New Year! You can expect to hear back from me this coming Friday, next P-Day is then. Keep the Christmas Spirit in your hearts and have a wonderful day!

Mycket Kärlek    
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, December 21, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 38: Christmas Time and Language Studies

GOD JUL PÅ ER! 

Unfortunately, we don't have a full P-Day today either, so I have to keep this one a little short...

This week has bee good but crazy haha. As you all knew, we were down in Stockholm Monday and Tuesday due to the big Christmas Zone Conference. That was a real blast and I got some really good insights out of there. One of the challenges the Assistants and President gave were, "What gift are you going to give the Savior this Christmas?" After all the festivities in Stockholm, between having lunch with the Pences on Monday (Thanks again! :D), our Norrland Zone Caroling on the street next to T-Central, and lots of flights, the four of us Umeå chaps arrived back in Umeå Tuesday night. 

Some other events of the week were meeting with an investigator couple named Emmelie and Johannes, two very inquisitive Christian Swedes who had lots of questions for us. We met with them twice this week and they even fed us a little traditional swedish Christmas dinner at one of those meetings. They love us and want to meet again soon after Christmas. 

Also got to meet with Mattias Wednesday night and discussed faith in action and taught about the Word of Wisdom, which he agrees with but didn't commit to living it (yet). 

On Thursday morning as we hopped on a bus, a man named Fernado asked us if we were with a church which of course led into a nice conversation on the bus ride into the city. Turns out he is with a group of students at the University who are studying Theology and they wanted to visit our chapel and see our church services in action. We gave him our information and got in contact with his group, and his two classmates named Ida and Nils ended up coming to church yesterday and stayed for all three meetings. Bro. Carlsson led a Gospel Principles type class and we ended up talking about the whole Plan of Salvation and answering a lot of their questions about how we see God and Jesus Christ. Really cool experience; those two definitely left with an information overload haha. 

Of course, we had some a couple awesome member dinners, the members are awesome, met with Magnus again this week, his testimony is rock-solid, and Elder Loertscher and I are just busy and trying to find time to do language study everyday haha. I can't believe Christmas is upon us, I am looking forward to spending time with members and seeing my family over Skype. I know this Gospel is true, and that we have a loving Heavenly Father. Think about Christ this Christmas; what are you going to do to show him your love and gratitude?

Have a Merry Christmas! Until the next P-Day (which is this Saturday actually :D) 
God Jul! 

Mycket Kärlek   
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Sunday, December 13, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 37: Elder Loertscher and More Traveling

Hej Hej! 

Christmas is nearly upon, just one more week. The candles are shimmering and things are looking very Christmas-y over here. I have to keep this one rather short this week, because in about 30 minutes we are flying down to Stockholm for the Annual Christmas Zone Conference tomorrow. P-Day in Stockholm! With the Boy! Speaking of which, I have given birth and have a bright son named Elder Loertscher. A native from South Carolina, but has lived the last five years in Pleasant Grove, UT, which is where he left from. He actually happens to be one of the twelve visa-waiters who were spread over the States this last transfer; he spent his time there over in the Washington, Vancouver Mission (Shout out to Vancouver!), doing some good work in the city of Portland for the most part. We are getting along well and just trying to keep our heads on straight with all these crazy events as we prepare for Christmas.

Last Monday was fun, Elder Murri and had his last visit with Magnus, and we had a family home evening over at the Church with the YSA's in the branch. The rest of the P-Day was packing on Elder Murri's end, and general shopping and things for the week.

Tuesday was Elder Murri's last day in Umeå. We got all his things packed, had one last Pizza from Atlanta for lunch, dinner with the Karlsson's (reindeer meat is super delicious), and had a crazy evening as myself, Elder Murri, and Elder Dahle flew down to Stockholm. 

Wednesday was of course the big day. So many missionaries at the Väster Haninge Chapel, new and departing ones alike. The meeting was super fun, got to see lots of old faces, and everyone was safe and got where they needed to be. My greenie and I made it safely back to Umeå, and since then we have had fun attending the branch Christmas Party this Saturday, as well as meeting some new people and showing folks the Church's Christmas video. 

I would like to say more but time is short. I wish you all a good week, and hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas. I know our Savior is the true meaning of Christmas, and the one gift that we can never be too grateful for. 

Mycket Kärlek

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, December 7, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 36: Many Splits and Visiting Skellefteå

Ja hej! 

Raise your hands if you are excited for Christmas!....Nice! This week has been pretty tiring, lots of travel and things before the big transfer week and the big day this Wednesday. By this time this Wednesday I will be a father in the Sweden Stockholm mission! Very exciting but very stressful at the same time. But anyway, here is what happened last week.

Last Monday I got to eat fermented herring again with Sister Kaarina and the other Elders(it was all their first time eating surströmming). It actually tasted better this time around as we ate it in the traditional swedish dinner style. After having dinner with her, we went over and had a little meal with another member, Sis. Nordinström. After that, I went on splits with Elder Dahle and spent most of Tuesday with him in the Zone Leaders' area while Elder Bradshaw and Elder Murri were together. 

Elder Dahle and I did a couple of swing-bys in Ålidhem and got to teach a couple lessons. We met with a potential investigator for the first time at the church, named Amina. She was super nice and interested in our faith, despite being of an Islamic background. Elder Dahle and I gave a good Restoration lesson, and got Erica Bussman to sit in with us. We gave Amina a Book of Mormon and she was super excited to read it. Right after that, we met with Sarfaraz and had a good visit with him. He is going through a few hard things, but he has an insanely strong testimony and knows that his Savior will help him.Afterwards, we met up with the other two Elders at Erland Villhelmson's place for dinner. Super funny member with lots of cool stories about his family. Elder Murri and I got back together after the dinner and went to visit Magnus. Had a good spiritually charged visit with him, as usual. 

On Wednesday, Elder Murri and I got to meet a new old investigator, named Ulla. We got Bro. Karlsson in the branch to follow with, seeing as how the two have known each other for a while. We had a good visit and showed her the Christmas video, then invited her to Church. We did some tracting in Lilljansberget and got another potential investigator from it. We also had a short visit with a less-active named Roger, who came to Innebandy on Saturday. 

Thursday Elder Murri and I went on splits with the Ö-vik Elders, which meant I was with Elder Workman again in Ö-vik! Super weird to be in my old area with my old companion. We had a good though, spreading the Christmas video with a couple people and getting them to stop and chat about it. Elder Workman brought his portable bluetooth speaker and coupled it to the iPhone, so everytime we were about to contact someone he would flip the speaker on the get the video ready. We also got dinner from Subway with a less-active there, named Vesa. Interesting guy haha. To end the day in good ol' Ö-vik, Elder Workman and I hung up a couple QR code posters that will take people to the Church's Christmas page. 

Elder Workman and I took the train back to Umeå on Friday for District meeting as well as to re-unite with our comps. District meeting was fun, we "killed" Elder Dahle and Elder Workman, then went out to get Kebab pizza for lunch. Later that day, the four of us Umeå Elders picked up some furniture for the Iguarans(who are moving up here to Umeå very shortly) and dropped it off at their new house. 

Saturday was a bit crazy. Transfer calls were released that morning, and we learned that Elder Murri will be leaving to Skövde and I will be staying in Umeå to train. In the morning, we had Innebandy at the regular place with lots of the branch young men as well as some non-members and other branch members. Good turn out that day. After that, the four of us missionaries went back to the ZL's place after grabbing some things, where we had lunch and got some weekly planning in. We had dinner with Sis. Wirtala, and one of the ZL's investigators came too, named Ranja. She has been investigating for a couple years now, has a testimony of everything, just a little worried about baptism. The ZL's taught an awesome lesson after the dinner, and then the four us boogey-ed to the hospital train station. The reason being is that Elder Bradshaw and I had to go up to Skellefteå that night. The reason being for that is that the Skellefteå Elders had a baptismal service, and wanted to use Elder Bradshaw's piano skills to provide music for the service. The reason I came along is that chances were very high that I would be staying (which I am haha), so we figured that Elder Dahle and Elder Murri needed to stay since they would be having their last Sundays in Umeå(which was the case lol). So, Elder Bradshaw and I took a two-hour bus up to Skellefteå, the second highest area in the mission. We stayed the night with Elders Burton and Kendall, and got to witness an amazing baptismal service yesterday morning. The two of us stayed for church there, and we had a great fast and testimony meeting. The new convert, Therese, bore a powerful testimony, and everybody was happy to welcome her into the branch their. Elder Bradshaw got back into Umeå at 5, and after getting picked up by Elder Murri and Elder Dahle, we went back to Murri and I's place and had a break the fast dinner together. To finish the night, Elder Murri and I did some weekly planning and made plans for the upcoming crazy days.

I have a strong testimony of the power of prayer. I know our Heavenly Father listens to us and cares about our welfare. We can always turn to him when there is no one else, and he will always be there to comfort us. I know he has comforted me and given me strength to overcome my trials.

I hope you all are as excited for Christmas as I am! Have a wonderful week and don't forget #ASaviorIsBorn. Love you!

Mycket Kärlek!    

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, November 30, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 35: Technical Difficulties and Entirely Stuffed

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and ate lots of food (I know I sure did)! 

So here has been the scoop in Umeå for the past week. Last Monday, Elder Murri and I and the ZLs helped Kaarina with some winter preparations after taking care of our P-Day matters, then when all had a little family home evening over tea and sandwiches. Lovely time! 

Elder Murri and I had a solid Tuesday. Lots of traveling all over the place contacting and tracting, meeting a kid named Motadah on the street who was interested in our message and exchanged numbers with us. In the evening, we and the ZLs had dinner with our good guy Magnus, who fed us an American classic: hamburgers and chips. Couldn't have hit the spot better. After our meal, Murri and I headed over to teach Mattias, which turned out to be a very solid lesson. We mostly answered his questions from reading Mosiah 3-4 and we ended up teaching some good doctrine about the Godhead and Plan of Salvation. We are continuing to getting him closer and closer to prayer, but he is still not there yet. We committed him to read the Book of Mormon daily for just ten minutes, then ponder about what he has read for five; we are hoping that will lead him to prayer. 

On Wednesday, I went on some temporary split-age with Elder Bradshaw to visit Joseph Iguaran and his girlfriend Emma and her daughter Isabel. We had a good visit about setting goals and focusing on "small and simple means" (Alma 37:6). That evening at the church, the four of us missionaries were treated to dinner by the Young Women; swede-ified Thanksgiving dinner haha! It was really yummy, and we got to share a message about gratitude and thanks with them after dessert. 

And then of course we had Thanksgiving! I have never been so stuffed in my life. Us Umeå missionaries headed down to Ö-vik by train, where we had a combo of District meeting and Thanksgiving dinner at the Delgado's place. Everything was perfectly cozy and warm; we had all the traditional food: turkey, mashed potatoes, a sweet potato and apple dish by Elder Workman, stuffing, fruit casserole with marshmallows, hot rolls....Mmmm Mmm was it good. Plus, dessert was awesome too. After that little "stund", the four of us returned to Umeå, where we immediately had dinner over with Sis. Carlsson and Sis. Wirtala. There was just enough time inbetween the meals to manage them both in my stomach, but boy, was it a tight job haha. The four of us all came out of there rolling by the end. Wow, talk about gutted. 

Friday was Elder Murri's birthday; he turned nineteen! I treated him to lunch at our local pizzeria in between our weekly planning sessions. We had dinner with Sis. Nystedt and the ZLs that night, but before that we did some contacting on the way and ran into a lady who had met missionaries before and had some unanswered questions about the afterlife and such. We were able to have a good little conversation with her, and got her to take our card at the end so she could get back in contact with missionaries. Dinner at Sis. Nystedt's was delicious, and afterwards we dropped the ZLs over at the train station so they could go down to Ö-vik to begin splits. We had to pick up Elder Bradshaw and Elder Workman once they got back into Umeå that night, so in the meantime, Elder Murri and I borrowed the car and swung by an old investigator and did some tracting. We were able to find a girl from Eritrea who was interested and get her number, so we will we be seeing her in the near future. 

Saturday was a little interesting. Elder Murri and I were given the key to the school where we have Innebandy every Saturday due to lots of members being gone who usually show up, so we had some major responsibility there. We had some issues with travel, but thankfully, we were able to get a ride from Sis. Carlsson and her boys, and Innebandy was able to happen again (twenty minutes later than usual, anyway..)! After that, Elder Murri and I got back home, ate lunch, and changed, then did some tracting in Mariehem. We got to borrow the ZLs' car while they reunited from splits in Ö-vik that evening, so while they did the Railroad hop back and forth, we had dinner with our member friend, Bro. Norin. After, we made a bunch of calls and got in contact with some old investigators before picking the ZLs back up. 

Church on Sunday was...not what we planned. So the Church has begun their Christmas initiative this year, #ASaviorIsBorn, releasing a video and materials just yesterday. We talked about this about the last Zone training, so the mission has been amped up to spread this Christmas cheer. Here in Umeå, the four of us missionaries had planned to show the video to the branch during the third hour since it was the fifth Sunday, but due to a miscalculation with US Mountain Standard Time, we weren't able to show the video like we wanted. It was a bit of a bummer, because we had been telling all the members at our dinners that we would be showing the video this Sunday, but unfortunately it didn't happen. But everything was alright though, we still stood up and briefly talked about it and invited the members to share the video and get it out there over social media. The rest of the Sunday was fine though. Elder Murri and I did some potential investigator swing-bys after church, and were able to give one Muslim father an Arabic Book of Mormon; he was very excited to begin reading it and to discuss with us soon. We had dinner over at the Ottosson's, yummy chili, and watched the Christmas initiative film with them. That evening, Elder Murri and I did some more street contacting a met a nice guy from Vietnam who was interested in the church. 

Like last week, I have been thinking a lot about Christ, especially since we have been sharing this Christmas initiative message with every member for the past week and a half. I ran across a scripture in 1 Nephi 7 last week, that really hit me hard. 

12 Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.

Like Nephi counseled his brothers, don't forget what the Lord can do. Through faith in the Lord and obedience to his commands, we can do anything. "Let us be faithful to him."

I hope you all continue to think about Christ as you begin singing familiar Christmas carols and songs. Stay warm!

Mycket Kärlek,      

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, November 23, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 34: Swedish Snow and Changing Plans

Hello from the Umeå Winter Wonderland!!

Yes, the rumors are true, so has fallen here in Sweden, with quite a bit landing over in my neck of the woods. It snowed just a tad bit here on Monday evening, but the real stuff didn't come until Thursday lasting through Saturday. Seeing everything in white is so beautiful; as if Sweden couldn't be more beautiful as it is. 

Well last Monday was pretty fun as everyone in the Norrland Zone prepared for Specialized Zone training which was held this past Tuesday. Missionaries were coming into Umeå Monday night, so Elder Murri and I hosted a couple companionships at our place for the night. 

Tuesday was of course the Zone training! President and Sister Beckstrand came up with the Assistants and we received some great training on being diligent through to the end of this year, as well as focusing on testimonies and talking about Joseph Smith's First Vision. That took the most of our day, but we did have dinner with a member, Daniel Pettersson, a super cool convert to the church. Elder Murri and I also contacted a cool Finnish girl as well who thought it was cool that the Book of Mormon was in the Finnish language. 

On Wednesday, Elder Murri and I did some tracting in the late morning time and found a few interested people with requests for Books of Mormon in their native language (Amharic and Arabic). We also did some swingbys and tracting over in Mariehem, and got in contact with an old potential investigator and set up a time to meet. Also, Elder Murri and I went to Branch Council, got a ride from a member back home, did some tracting and ate dinner to finish the day.

Thursday, I went on Splits with Elder Rhoades (with Elder Workman in Ö-vik) and we have a good exchange in Umeå together. Elder Rhoades' first area was actually Umeå, so he had fun coming back to his old stomping grounds. We tried swinging-by some old investigators, did some tracting, and had a visit with Miriam, the less-active that Elder Murri and I swung-by on our first week together. Elder Rhoades remembered her, and she remembered him, so it was cool for them to see each other again. That night, we had dinner with the Kohlström family in the branch, too. 

Elder Murri reunited with me from his time in Ö-vik on Friday morning. We did weekly planning as well as more tracting over by our apartment, then made dinner with the Zone Leaders over at a member's house, guy named Ronnie. Sarfaraz also came along and the six of us all had a great time. So glad that Sarfaraz is being taken in by so many members. Elder Murri and I visited Magnus that night as well and shared some of our favorite scriptures with him. 

Saturday was snowy and more snowy all day. Elder Murri and I made contact with an old investigator named Eva-Maria that morning, who knows nearly everybody in the branch. She has been investigating since 2010, so she is known by many members. We weren't able to teach her that morning, but talked with her at her door and got to know her better. She came to church yesterday as well, which was awesome! Later that day, we did some tracting over in Mariehem again, then went with the Zone Leaders over to Nils' place. If you remember from a while ago when I was in Ö-vik, I went on Splits with Elder Featherstone (ZL at the time) in Umeå and went to Nils' place before! It was really cool to see him again and he made us an awesome dinner. His girlfriend from the Philippines has also arrived in Sweden, and the Zone Leaders are now teaching her. Really cool stuff going on for Nils! The both of them also came to church yesterday. 

We heard some really good talks in Sacrament meeting yesterday by some of our branch members. After all the meetings, Elder Murri and I did a bit of tracting (are you tired of hearing about tracting yet? ;D), then we went over with the Zone Leaders to dinner at the Kronberg's home. Yummy meatloaf and potatoes with pie for dessert! After that, Elder Murri and I got back by our place and just walked around street contacting people. We ran into a cool guy from Turkey named Baran who ended up taking a Book of Mormon after we discussed our Christian beliefs and his Muslim beliefs. He commented on how he liked talking about religion and having these kinds of conversations. Made me feel good inside. 

So though our week didn't go entirely according to plan, Elder Murri and I felt good about our efforts and we did a lot of good. I have been thinking a lot about Christ and the power of redemption he offers us. I love his coming to the Ancient American peoples recorded in 3 Nephi. His personal introduction couldn't have been better said as stated in Chapter 11 verses 10 and 11: 

"Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. And behold, I am the light and the life of the world;and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning." 

During this Thanksgiving season, think about all the things you are grateful for and express that thanks to the Lord. I am so grateful for him and his Atonement, to that am I eternally grateful. 

Have a wonderful week and an even better Thanksgiving!

Mycket Kärlek,     

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, November 16, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 33: Invitational Ice-Cream and Brother Hussain

Hej hej allihåpa! 

I am convinced that the longer you are out on your mission, the faster the weeks fly by. What happened this last Monday or Tuesday feels like it happened a year ago. Perks of becoming older, I guess. To get right into things, last Tuesday was pretty busy. In the afternoon, we met with a less-active member named Chris over by the city library. We had a really good visit with him and got to understand his situation a lot better. He is a super friendly guy, loves and respects us missionaries, and is originally from Kenya. His real concern is the Book of Mormon, but he said he is too busy to read it regularly due to his work as a bus driver. The observant Elder Murri noticed some headphones dangling around his neck as we talked, and so then suggested that he could listen to it as he drives. Genius (Elder Murri is the best, honestly)!!! After meeting him, we did some contacting around the city, then went to the chapel to meet an investigator named Ian. He only had literally three minutes to meet, so after saying an opening prayer, he took a Book of Mormon in simplified chinese (he is from China :)), a letter from Elder Murri's sister who served a mission in Taiwan, then booked it. He will be in China until the new year, so follow-up will occur after that. Also, I got to help Elder Bradshaw teach Sarfaraz, the zone leaders baptismal candidate. We watched the Restoration movie and bore our testimonies about Joseph Smith, and Sarfaraz loved it. 

Wednesday was also busy! Met with an old investigator named Konrad who has known Mormons for quite awhile, but unfortunately he is content with knowledge he has and doesn't want to take further lessons or come to church. Very friendly guy though and always happy to sit and talk over some tea (herbal, that is). Elder Murri and I then did some contacting in the city again, and decided to keep going past our lunch time. We were feeling good haha. Later, we did some tracting over in a neighborhood called Mariehem, and found a potential investigator who said we could come back on Friday (more to come shortly...). That evening, the four of us Umeå missionaries were fed dinner by the young men in the branch over at the chapel. Tacos, Yum!

Thursday was marked by the usual district meeting, held in Övik, which went really well thanks to the great missionaries in the district. Good discussion about commitments and diligence, plus some fun role-plays on the side. Once Elder Murri and I and the Zone Leaders got back into Umeå from taking the train, Elder Murri and I did, yet again, more contacting downtown before going over to the Bussman's for dinner. The zone leaders brought Sarfaraz along as well, so it was a great opportunity for him to form closer relationships with the branch members. He was very excited for his baptism this Sunday (more to come shortly...). After dinner, my diligent companion and I went to Mattias and had a fairly good lesson with him. He did his Book of Mormon reading no problem, but still struggling with the prayer part. We really testified about prayer and how we don't have to know everything in order to speak to our Heavenly Father. Plus, we invited him to the baptismal service on Sunday. Elder Murri is confident that he will get past this concern soon, though. 

So Friday morning was interesting. Remember last Monday how we and the Zone Leaders did some tracting in the afternoon and Elder Bradshaw and I found Jon? Well, Elder Murri and I went back and turned out the door to his hall in the apartment was locked; it wasn't the first time. So Jon is still in the unknown territory right now. We also swung-by some other potentials that Elder Murri and Dahle had found, but alas, no answer or not interested after all. However, we swung by the guy that said we could come back on Friday, and his girlfriend answered and said that he wasn't home, so come back later. After coming back home, eating lunch, and doing weekly planning, we did just that. He was home, and Elder Murri and I got in and had an awesome first lesson with him and his girlfriend, named Jonathan and Nanette. They both were really interested and open, accepted a Book of Mormon, and said we can come back again! Yes! Later that night, we did some tracting and ran into a Jehovah's Witness family who knew exactly who we were and invited us in for ice-cream. We had to decline due to time, but we talked a bit at their door and learned that the mother has relatives who are members (Mariotts). Small world. Very friendly and welcomed us back another time haha. To end the day, we had a visit with our strong member friend Magnus and shared an uplifting message. 

Innebandy was played Saturday morning like last week, got back home after and ate lunch and changed, then met with another old investigator named Jörgen. Elder Murri and Elder Dahle had met with this guy last week, so I got to meet him for the first time then. The lesson didn't go exactly as planned, and to cut the story short, he returned his copy of the Book of Mormon to us; he had read the whole thing, and felt like he had fulfilled his promise to the original missionaries who he first met that had committed him to Moroni's promise. He hadn't felt anything and is still atheist, which saddened Elder Murri and I. Elder Murri left him with a powerful testimony though, and he has been dropped as an investigator. Our spirits were lifted back up though by having dinner with the Branch President and his family, the Vinterflods. Tacos, yum! 

Sunday was a big highlight for Sarfaraz and the zone leaders. Sarfaraz got baptized after church as well as confirmed a member in it. Wonderful experience and the service went smoothly and spiritually. How blessed we were all to see this man's conversion in such a short amount of time. Not really though, because he had been searching for the truth for about nine years. And now, he found the path! The four of us missionaries as well as Sarfaraz went over to the Delangs for dinner, and we had a good time there. More member fellowshipping for Sarfaraz! 

I have been thinking a lot about the Gospel and the Plan our Heavenly Father created for us. I know the plan is real and that we all have the opportunity to follow it. It is merciful and achievable to all. The comfort that we receive from this knowledge is unparalleled and is the greatest peace we can have in this life. I leave you all with Alma 34:32. This life is the time to exercise our agency and learn how we can become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is real and his hand is there to save us, so grab hold.

Mycket Kärlek!      

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, November 9, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 32: Raking leaves and Temporary Splits

Hello one and all! On my end here in Umeå it was a very solid week! Things are picking up and blessings are starting to be poured. Elder Murri and I and the Zone Leaders, Elders Dahle and Bradshaw are hastening the work up here. 

Last Monday was nothing worth mentioning, just doing the daily P-Day things and then doing some planning that evening. Tuesday was rather good though. I would call that our crazy swing-by and phone call day. We did lots of walking and talking to people along the way as we went from Mariehem (little neighborhood close by) to the middle of the city. We ended up talking to some elderly ladies who know about the Church's family history work and gave them Books of Mormon, set-up some stuff for the week, and contacted a guy who asked us if Mormons are the ones who believed that Satan and Jesus are brothers. 

Wednesday was....my Mom's birthday!!!!! Quick shout-out there! Besides that, some tracting and swing-bys over in a neighborhood called Liliansberget for most of the day, more calling of people and getting in touch with old investigators, then having a member dinner with the Ottosson family (the father happens to be the son of Branch President Ottosson in Ö-vik;cute, huh?). Something about the Umeå branch is they are known for feeding the missionaries, and after this Sunday, we have the dinners lined up for the whole month. Great blessing there. Anyway, we also ended up taking one of the Ottosson boys, Viktor, to a lesson with us. We taught a regular investigator named Mattias. He comes from an Atheist background but has a desire to develop faith and find out if there is something. The lesson went well and having Viktor there was a big help. 

Due to Zone training, we had to host the Boden Elders at our house Wednesday night, so the four of us Umeå Elders were running around dropping off incoming missionaries at their places of shelter for the night. Eventually, everyone made it where they needed to be and we all had an awesome zone training on Thursday. Big focus on diligence and focusing on what is important while we are out here. Really spiritual and lots of things learned. Our mission president, his assistants, and our mission leadership in general is inspired. Of course after the meeting we had lunch as a zone, then we shuttled everyone to the train station and what not to catch their return modes of travel. After that was finished, Elder Murri and I went back out to Liliansberget and tracted some apartments, then went to the church for a Young Men's activity. I went on splits with Simon Carlsson (from the family that fed us last Sunday), and we had a fun time tracting some houses over by the church. Always feels good to help out the youth and get them involved in missionary work. 

Friday was fun. Did some tracting by our apartment in the morning, then met an old investigator named Mike from Ethiopia at the "Fika" Café. He is too busy to meet regularly and investigate seriously, but he is still a little interested and wants to keep contact off and on. After him, we did some street contacting in the city, went over to the church, more house tracting, then had dinner at Sis. Wirtala's place. Very kind, sweet, elderly member. 

Sports on Saturday is back in action! Instead of the old Futbol like in Stockholm, here in Umeå we play Innebandy (floor hockey) at a local athletic center with the young men and other branch members. The four of us missionaries were on our own team, and we got destroyed...the skills will develop though, I'm sure. Later, we did some service at the church by raking the grounds of leaves, then I went on temporary splits with Elder Bradshaw of Martin, TN and did a baptismal interview for one of their investigators named Sarfaraz. The Zone Leaders met this guy the first week of the transfer and he is going to get baptized this coming Sunday!! Sarfaraz is a prepared child of God from Pakistan, and the interview went very well. I feel confident that the Lord prepared this man and he is excited to be baptized. I rejoined with Elder Murri shortly after that then the two of us went to visit Magnus, a very strong convert to the church of about ten years. Wonderful to hear him express his testimony. 

Sunday was great, Elder Murri gave his first talk in Swedish to the branch, went wonderful, rest of the meetings were great. Nefi Iguaran came to church yesterday too, so I sat next to him in Sacrament meeting and we got to talk before the meeting started. It will be great once the rest of his family moves up here from Ö-vik this December. After church, Elder Murri and I swung by the Murphy family, a part-member family that we had swung by on Halloween. Got to know Jane and Mark a bit better and we hope to see them more soon. We had a member dinner with the Bussman family, but before that we had some extra time so the ZL's and Murri and I went on contacting splits and street contacted downtown; I was with Elder Dahle. The dinner at the Bussman's was great; super funny family! After that, Elder Murri and I went home and did some much needed weekly planning to end the day. 

I also have to mention today!! So Elder Murri and I and the ZL's decided to do some tracting splits this afternoon, so I went with Elder Bradshaw and he and I ended up getting in and teaching a guy named Jon! We gave a simple yet, packed Restoration lesson, gave a Mormons Bok, and Bada-Bing-Bada-Boom we have ourselves a new investigator just like that. Great experience, the Lord blesses us. First time that has happened on my mission! Definitely will be hearing more about Jon soon. 

I know that what matters most in this life is our journey to discipleship as we strive for celestial glory in the next. Recently gained a new insight on this scripture, 1 Nephi 11:17

"And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things."

Like Nephi, we can rely on the eternal truth that God our Father in Heaven loves us and will do all that he can to help us return to him. Though we don't always have all the answers or know why certain things happen the way they do, we can put our faith in God and know that everything he does is for our eternal salvation. 

Love you all very much!!
Puss och Kram!   

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, November 2, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 31: Taking Buses and Cozy Quarters

Hejsan käre vänner och syskon! 

I am now comfortably settled in the city of Umeå, known for the big University and Hospital! Elder Murri and I are chumming up and are getting along fine. So funny to think that I was the Elder who taught him how to say "Excuse me" in Swedish on his first day in Sweden. Who knew we would actually become comps! Things are going well and we are doing our best to help move the work along here. 

Of course, Monday, Tuesday, and part of Wednesday were still spent in Ö-vik. Not too much to report from last Monday, just the usual P-Day at the church. We did go back over to the Ås that night and did some tracting over there. On Tuesday, Elder Workman and I did some street contacting through the city and ended up teaching a full Restoration to a Swedish man named Andreas. He wasn't too interested in meeting again, but he politely listened us and even accepted a Book of Mormon at the end of our exchange. It really does feel good testifying of restored truths. Later that same night, we shared a message with the Bustamantes and answered their questions about the temple and patriarchal blessings, they were really curious about those things. It was temple week here in Sweden, so many branches and wards took pictures to the temple and did work. I was happy to hear that The Delgados took Edi and Besara there, Besara got her Endowment and patriarchal blessing, and Edi did proxy baptisms. Plus, Fumi got to go to the temple as well with the Pences and other Stockholm youth! Great news! 

Wednesday marked my departure from good ol' Örnsköldsvik. I finished final packing preparations and left around 4 to Umeå. I was picked up by Elder Murri and the Zone Leaders, Elder Bradshaw and Elder Dahle (also going him this next transfer). The ZL's dropped us at our home, a rather cozy abode (pictures will follow), and then Elder Murri and I went in the city and did some contacting. 

On my first full day in Umeå, we had district meeting at the Chapel, went pretty well, then Elder Murri and I did some swing-bys on old investigators and less-actives. We did get in with one lady named Miriam, who gladly let us and let us share a scripture with her. We really want to build up our teaching pool and have lots of investigators, new and old, to teach by the end of this transfer, so finding work is our main drive. Later that night, we had a member dinner with Sis. Nystedt, a member of the branch presidency, the other Elders, and a non-member friend of Sis. Nystedt. Very yummy dinner and a great time talking and getting to know each other. We also picked up a delivery of Books of Mormon (desperately needed here) afterwards with the ZL's help. 

Friday, we did some contacting in the city in the morning, then had a visit with a man named Leif, who had seen Elder Murri and Nelson (previous elder), and wanted to meet with them. He had lots of questions about our beliefs, how we can believe so strongly at a young age, and a bunch of other things. He happens to be atheist but has studied other religions and heard about Mormons in the past. We had prepared ourselves to teach him the first lesson, but his only intention was really getting an information dump and nothing else. We did leave him with a Book of Mormon which he is anxious to read, so maybe something will turn up. Besides that, weekly planning and some more swing-bys later in the evening. 

On Saturday we did some area book work and organized investigators and such, and then did some service with the ZL's at a less-active woman's house named Kaarina. We raked the leaves in her yard and with the combined effort were able to get the work done just before it got too dark. She thanked us by feeding us salmon and potatoe dinner. Nothing like raking on Halloween! Other than that, more swing-bys. We found an American-Swedish less active family actually, and though we didn't get in then, they said we can stop by again next week. Yeah! 

Sunday was very good. Fast and Testimony meeting was great in the branch. I definitely felt the Spirit from hearing the testimonies of the branch. Got to greet lots of members as they walked in, and had great lessons the other two areas. Everyone is very nice and welcoming! After church meetings, Elder Murri and I decided to tract some houses in the nearby neighborhood, and we found very nice people there! Got a few, "come back again another time"s so we'll see where that goes. Later, we went to another members house for dinner with the ZLs, this time with the Karlsson family. Very nice, great people, great humor! After that, did some more swing-bys and searched for the investigators. 

This place has great potential; all it takes is a little diligence and elbow-grease and the blessings will come. I am amazed by Elder Murri's example; though this is only his third transfer out, he has a good head about him with the area and has high expectations for himself. I have already learned a lot from watching him carry himself and the care that he takes for the responsibility he has been given. We planned some messages about faith and enduring to the end to share with the people we wanted to swing by, and the scripture at the end of Moroni we found is very powerful. Take a look at Moroni 10:32. Come unto Christ is our constant invitation to people everywhere. He is our Redeemer and exemplar. 

I hope you all have wonderful week! Stay warm!
Mycket Kärlek, 

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, October 26, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 30: Delayed Greenies and Hectic Weekends

Another six weeks has come and gone, and this Wednesday will be transfer day once again. Before I get into the updates, I will take you through the week. 

Our investigator Henrik, who we have been meeting with regularly has moved to Umeå now to continue his college education and get more training in his field of work. On Monday, we lended our hands and helped him with moving his furniture and some other assorted things into a trailer to be set up to Umeå. We had some fun playing Tetris with his three piece couch as we hauled it down the stairway of the building, but eventually we got the required items down. Nothing else other than normal P-Day duties to report there, except that President Beckstrand gave us a call and said that I have been called to be a trainer next transfer!!! (More on that soon...) 

On Tuesday, we helped Henrik again with his second trailer haul up to Umeå and finished loading up all his furniture. After helping him, we had lunch with the Delgados to celebrate my trainer's call. Later, we went over to the Bustamantes and had a good visit with them, shared a few scriptures and such. 

We had planned to go to Kliti's on Wednesday, but it turned out to be his birthday, so we let him have the day to himself and his family. The Delgados were having a bit of a rough week, so we thought we'd helped them out a bit and got the car washed and vacuumed it out for them. That night, we went out to a neighborhood called "Ås" that we had scouted out last week, and did some tracting over there. Not a noticeable amount of success, but we did get a few people who were busy at the time to invite us to swing-by again, so a few potentials there. 

And then came Thursday...

So when new trainers are called, they receive a trainers' meeting the week before transfers. President Beckstrand had told me when he called Monday that I would be coming down to the Mission Home on Friday to attend the meeting, so Elder Workman and I had kept that in the back of our minds this week. The beginning of Thursday started off like most others; we had district meeting in Ö-vik at 10:30, then we went out to lunch after. We had rescheduled to meet with Kliti on Thursday at 3, but due to some things with the Delgados we were running a little late and didn't begin heading out to Kramfors until 3. Everything is fine though, and we are merrily driving on our way. As we are going, we get a text from the Office Elders saying for the trainers to check their e-mails for travel arrangements for the meeting on Friday. Elder Workman turns to me and asks, "Should we check your e-mail on the Delgados' phone?" I think for a minute, prone to say Nah, but then shruggingly say, "Okay, sure." And it was a good thing we did check, too; Elder Workman is an inspired man, no question. The Delgados give us their phone, we check the e-mail, and we see that the Office Elders had sent out travel arrangements on Tuesday, but had not texted anybody about it until Thursday. We are looking at one of my train tickets and notice that it says that Elder Workman and I are supposed to catch a train to Umeå at 4:15....On Thursday!!! IT WAS A QUARTER AFTER 3!! The Delgados turn around, we regretably had to cancel with Kliti, again, and race home, both of us grabbed a plastic bag and filled it with essentials, then went to the church, printed out our train tickets, and make it to the train station in time to catch our train. We get to Umeå at 5:22, Elders Murri and Nelson were borrowing the Zone Leaders' car for the day (blessing right there), so they picked us up, the four of us go to a member's house for dinner at a little after 5:30 (another blessing), then we race out of there to drop me off at the Umeå airport at 6:40 so I could catch my plane to Stockholm that night which departed at 7:10. I eventually made it to the Mission office where I spent the night after arriving in Stockholm and taking a tunnelbana and getting picked up by the Office Elders. 

Then Friday came...

Stayed at the office in the morning, then bummed along with the Office Elders as they picked up other incoming trainers for the meeting. We all get to the mission home and have a wonderful sloppy joe lunch, and have a great, spiritually uplifting meeting. Elder Johanson, who I haven't seen since arriving in Sweden, will be training, so it was great to see each other, along with Elder Richard, who will also be training. At the end of the meeting however, President Beckstrand stands up and says, "Well, Satan has gained a small victory here..." He then goes on to tell us that the incoming missionaries have been delayed due to visa problems; this news was startling to all, and came unexpectedly on Wednesday to President's attention. So, all twelve of us will still be training, we just have to wait for our greenies for most likely another transfer. With that news, the mission has a shortage of missionaries right now and will be closing down a few areas temporarily for this next transfer. 

Despite the hard news, I still came away eager to train from the great meeting we had. The rest of Friday I spent in Stockholm, and got the chance to attend the Stockholm/Täby wards Halloween fest that night, where I saw lots of old familiar faces, to beloved members and missionary friends, and even Karim!! Super fun night! I went home with the Stockholm Elders after the festivites, none other than Elder Aabo and his greenie Elder Cox, then took two trains back up Saturday morning and reunited with Elder Workman in Ö-vik that afternoon, who had been in Umeå this whole time with the other guys. 

The Delgados and Elder Workman and I had lunch with Carlos at his new house, then later went to the church for the weekly youth activity.    

Yesterday marked my last Sunday in the Ö-vik branch. We got transfer calls Saturday morning while I was on the train, and I will be moving to Umeå to be companions with Elder Murri, who has just completed his training. Going to be an odd transition, since I will still be District leader and see Elder Workman and the Delgados regularly. Anyway, Church on Sunday was very good, most of the seats were filled in the chapel and I gave a talk and vocal musical number in sacrament meeting. Elder Workman and I did a few swing-bys in the afternoon, and then had dinner at the Delgados with Ole again! 

It has been an interesting time here in Ö-vik, filled with strange happenings and special spiritual experiences as well. It isn't a true goodbye yet, since I will only be a hop, skip, and a jump away. This weekend I learned that the Lord gives us uncomfortable situations so that we can grow and learn more than we would have otherwise. I know he truly loves us and trusts us more than we trust ourselves. I am very excited to be working in Umeå with Elder Murri and look forward to what lies in store.

Until then...
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, October 19, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 29: Buying Gloves and Scouting Missions

Hallå allihopa!! 

Things are getting colder up here, let me tell you. Last Monday I had to do some shopping and bought some gloves to keep the hands warm. 

This week was better than last, although just a tad slow in terms of the work. Tuesday felt like a really solid missionary day. We got some area book updating done in the morning and gathered our records together, then went out in the afternoon and swung-by some old investigators; one said they were too busy to meet during the fall/winter, but the other opened up and we set an appointment with him for Friday. We got a good amount of street contacts too as we traveled, and even had a solid conversation with a nice old woman who was walking her dog. She ended up accepting a Book of Mormon by the end of it. That night we also taught the Bustamantes as usual with the Delgados present as well. By the way, the purse has not been found, but keep praying!

Wednesday was Elder Workman's birthday! We had a yummy breakfast and later that night celebrated at the Iguarans house with the Delgados, where they fed us dinner and made the birthday Elder a cake. Also on Wednesday, we met with Kliti and got Edi to sit in with us, and talked about repentance a bit. Kliti wants to get baptized so badly, but he knows he has to stop smoking, so that is the next step.

District Meeting was held in Umeå on Thursday, where we celebrated Elder Workman's birthday again for a bit by singing and eating some kladdkaka. When we got back in Ö-vik, Elder Workman and I decided to go on a little walk and find some new neighborhoods to do some finding work in. We did find one for future reference, and as we were walking back home, we contacted a girl from a Christian background and gave her a Book of Mormon and our information. As soon as we said we were missionaries she just sported a big smile that lasted the whole conversation. We even said a prayer with her....well, she prayed in her own way as we said one, anyway. 

Friday was the start of some service projects that we helped with. In the morning, we taught the guy we got in contact with from Tuesday, whose name is Harry, and he happens to be the only registered Phillipino man in Ö-vik. Fun fact that he shared with us :) We gave him our "Seed" lesson and he liked it. Probably going to start meeting with him regularly. After that, we ended up helping the Branch President in moving in one of the Mong daughters and her husband, who just arrived from Cambodia. The man is so nice, but cannot speak any Swedish and can speak only a little, little English. He is also a non-member, but the two have been coming to Church these last two weeks since obviously the Mong daughter IS a member. Elder Workman and I moved some furniture and boxes and got our exercise in well that day. The usual English class was held in the evening, and we had a decent turn-out and played some good games with the attendees. Ole showed up as well, and afterwards, Elder Workman and I and the Delgados had great conversation about the Gospel and how it has affected our lives. Even though he isn't interested in the religious aspect of things yet, as he left that night Elder Delgado turned to me and Elder Workman and just said with a grin, "Someday!" 

Saturday was fun. In the morning, we went to the church and watched a streamed broadcasted meeting about family history held in Sundsvall with the branch. We struggled with loss of the stream and some technical issues, but we caught the gist of it in the end. After that was done, Elder Workman and I went home and did some weekly planning, then went back to...you guessed it...the Finnish Gypsie to help her again with moving things. We brought Elder Delgado along and we moved some furniture pieces and took some more stuff down to storage. Elder Workman even walked her cute little dog. We had the youth activity also that night, and after Branch President Ottosson gave his spiritual thought, we all played Uno while eating candy and drinking tea (herbal, mind you). 

Sunday was very special. The two Brethren who hosted the Family History meeting for the District in Sundsvall came to our sacrameet meeting yesterday and held talks and then taught the second hour lesson. They also installed two new computers here to be used for Family History, which Elder Workman and I are gladly using and appreciating. No more cramped quarters in the aptly named "Vault" (this floor of the building used to be a bank before it became our current church meeting house, true story). Anyway back to Sunday. After Church services, the Delgados and my companion and I (I need to think of a cool name for our little group of four here...) drove to Kramfors and held a sacrament meeting in Edi and Besara's home. Kliti came as well. It was very simple yet very special and spiritual. Edi exercised his newly received priesthood and blessed the bread and water, Elder Workman and I passed it, and then the two of us gave talks like any normal sacrament meeting. The Spirit was very strong and everyone in that room was touched and felt God's love. Not an experience I will soon forget. The Fantastic Four drove back to the Delgados after we concluded, where we ate dinner, relaxed, and reflected on the day. 

Today, we helped out our investigator Henrik move some furniture as he makes his final arrangments to move to Umeå this coming week. We were able to load up his rental trailer with the big furniture, so we helped him out quite a bit. Hence the reason for the late emailing. 

This week taught me a lot, lots of good personal things that I need to work on. The Lord strengthens us when he sees our willingness to try, I know that. We can always have positive attitudes and be grateful for the things the Lord has blessed us with. As it reads in Alma, this time on Earth is "the time for men to prepare to meet God...the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." We have to always be reminding ourselves of this and make sure we are on the upward climb towards that day. 

I know this work is true and that God loves each of us. May he continually bless you all :)


Mycket Kärlek

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, October 12, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 28: Finnish Gypsies and Fighting the Cold

Hello alla! 

To be honest, it was a pretty bumpy week. Thankfully, the last few days were decent, but hopefully things will be better this coming one.

Monday was just a normal P-Day, not a whole lot there. Tuesday however was pretty weird. So two Sundays ago we got an online self-referral. A Swedish woman had requested a Book of Mormon so we gave her a call and got in contact with her. She lives outside of Ö-vik, so we kept in contact with her until she said she would be coming into Ö-vik on Tuesday. Elder Workman and I were way excited to teach about the Book of Mormon, Restoration, we thought it was going to be solid; then we met...This woman has a christian faith, but she basically just wanted to see what is in our church and what is in the Book of Mormon. She talked more than we did, and usually that is a good thing, but not in this case. Too put it shortly, she said we are following false doctrine, God does not have a physical body, the Revelation 22:17 argument, sorry for us because we will not be saved, the whole nine yards. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she is going to read it all, but she is not doing it in the right Spirit. She is already decided on her beliefs and is not willing to accept other things, but yet wants information and knowledge on what we believe...

After that lesson, Elder Workman and I both knew the Spirit hadn't been there. We had tried to testify and share some scriptures with her from the Book of Mormon, which she gladly read with us, but we could hardly get a word in edge wise. She wants to meet with us again and hold contact, though, she thinks we are nice boys. 

I felt pretty low coming out of that "lesson". I had not experienced someone directly telling me my beliefs are false doctrine; competely new experience for me. Directly after that, the Delgados and Elder Workman and I drove over to a help a Finnish lady who happens to be a gypsie do some fall cleaning and move some things to her storage. It was good ol' fashioned service, and it helped get my mind off the previous events of the day. That night I prayed extra hard for the Holy Ghost to be with me.

On Wednesday, we had splits with the Zone Leaders, and I went up to Umeå with Elder Featherstone. Our day was pretty good, we went over to a less-active's and made american style pancakes and had a message with his non-member friends. Later, we met up with a guy named Thomas and had a good restoration lesson with him. It felt good to share my testimony about restored truths, and I even felt to extend the baptismal invitation to him. Though he didn't accept now, he said when he feels that its true he will absolutely get baptized. 

District meeting was held in Ö-vik, and there we ended splits. Elder Workman and I and the Delgados drove out to Kramfors and had the regular visit with Kliti and the Simoni's, repectively. Kliti is doing alright and has read nearly all of Alma. We helped answer his questions and showed him how to access the chuch's websites so he can read/watch Conference talks and other things. When we got back into Ö-vik, we also had a lesson with Henrik, and watched Elder Marino's talk from Conference with him. He seemed to like it but still is not recognizing the Spirit yet. 

Friday was comprised of weekly-planning and the like, and then a fun English class where we played Scattegories. 

Saturday was a very solid, fulfilling day. We did some classic trakting, got lots of street contacts, and got in touch with some more old investigators. Though we didn't get anything too positive, we were still proud of all that we did during the day, because we were busy and trying our best. An unfortunate incident happened to Sister Delgado that night, though. We were tending to a mini-garden that the branch youth had planted, and somehow Sister Delgado's purse was lost or (hopefully not) stolen from the car. She has not found it yet, and it had some mementos and driver's license and other important cards in it, so any prayers on her behalf would be greatly appreciated. 

Sunday was rather empty in Church, but Henrik came to church for his first time! The members that were there were friendly and we think he had an overall good experience! Later, Elder Workman and I got in touch with another old investigator, and we had a lovely dinner with the Delgados. 

Though the week was a little bumpy at the start, things turned around in the end. Elder Workman was physically struggling as well as he contracted a cold on Tuesday and has been fighting it since. Despite the lows, I felt the Spirit many other times last week and am solid in my conviction to the Gospel and my testimony. I KNOW that the Holy Ghost is real and has touched my heart and mind. I cannot deny the things I have felt. They are not coincidences or self-created dillusions; the power of God is REAL and this Gospel is the message of eternal joy and salvation. 

Elder Workman and I have taken up Elder Durrant's "Ponderize" exercise and are ponderizing Alma 32:42. It has helped and given me good things to think about, I would encourage you all to try it as well if you have not.

Here's wishing you all a wonderful week filled with happiness and love! I love you all and thank you for your support and love!

Until next week!

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, October 5, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 27

God eftermiddag!

What a wonderful weekend we just had with General Conference! Really boosted me up and was exactly what I needed to strengthen my missionary fire. 

Lets just get right into it and cut to the chase. Decent week, with some decent work accomplished. Last Monday, we went to visit Ulf in Docksta, had a delicious lunch, then got a tour of some super cool Swedish Churches; one was built in the 13th Century!! In the evening, we had FHE with the Iguarans, and upon learning that my birthday had happened last week without their knowledge, they baked a cake and held a mini-belated celebration. 

On Tuesday we made some flyers for General Conference and made some paper slips that we handed out during the week to our street contacts. We got to share a little message with the Bustamante family that night and tried to encourage them to be member missionaries, then we had a good lesson with our friend Henrik. That guy has some serious questions hahaha. We just need him to understand the importance of being sincere and really living after the teachings of the Gospel; that is the only way he will know its truthfulness. 

Wednesday was highlighted by doing some more swing bys, and then we had a great lesson with Maarit, an old investigator with lots of potential. She is middle-aged Finnish woman who is super polite and kind, very open to our teachings. We had a great lesson about "The Seed" and increasing in Faith. She understands that these things are a process, which makes us excited that she wants to make some sincere progress in the Gospel.

We had a short district meeting in Umeå with the Assistants in the attendance Thursday morning, then did some more contacting with the Conference handouts and did some more swing-bys. Friday was spent doing weekly planning and then the usual english class. The Mongs brought Salima to it, and she had a good time. 

On Saturday, Elder Workman and I had the opportunity to go to the Karlsson's and help on their farm. With Winter coming, they had a couple tasks they needed extra hands for. We ended up pulling up some old plants and vegatables, and picked TONS of potatoes. One of their sons, Gustav, came down from Umeå and helped as well, and they currently have a woofer (farmhand I think) from the States over helping as well, named Caitlyn. We were there most the day, and then returned in the evening to make sure Conference was up and running at the Church. Of course on Sunday, we showed the other sessions and stayed at the Church all day. We caught the Saturday Morning Session live, as well as the Sunday Morning session live. It was a little sad that none of our investigators or anybody else showed up to any of the sessions, but hey, maybe next time. The Delgados were there and so the four of us had an enjoyable watching the Prophets speak together.

After watching the sessions and taking notes from the speakers, I really got lots of applicable council. My questions I had taken to the Lord had been answered, and my testimony has been strengthened. Some of my favorite talks included Pres. Uchdorf's from Saturday morning, Elder Andersen's on faith, and many more. We can never stop trying as members of this church. We must always been living after the commandments of the Lord. Our faith must be stronger than ever in this world today. The Gospel, in its beautiful simplicity, is available to all, as well as the eternal blessings of our Heavenly Father included there in. The Church is run by strong leaders; I have a testimony that Elders Rasband, Renlund, and Stevenson are ordained Apostles of Christ. I am thankful for them and for the great council that they will give us in the coming years. 

I encourage you all to take care of your "Seeds." Take Alma's council from Chapter 32 of his teachings and "nourish [nourish] them with great care." By living the principles of the Gospel, your faith will increase, your love will grow, and you will start to see the fruits of your nourished tree. Hold fast to the Iron Rod and trust in Heavenly Father.

I love you all and thank you for your thoughts and love. Have a wonderful week! "God be with you 'till we meet again!"

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fb/Kungsholmen_stockholm_sweden_20050609.jpg
Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden


Monday, September 28, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 26

Hey Ya'll! This has been one of those, "a day in the life" kind of weeks, if you understand what I mean. It was a good week; good is probably the most appropriate word for it haha. Not too many exciting things but hopefully you all find this one enjoyable. 

Most of the week has followed the pattern of swinging by clusters of old investigators in different parts of the city and getting back in contact with them. Elder Workman and I have done a lot of Area Book work and pulled out lots of potential people. We have found lots of old investigators as well as traveled around a lot on foot and bike. 

On Tuesday, we had a very succesful contact with a young woman and were able to set up a time to meet and teach her at our church, but unfortunately Satan attacked and she got a fever, and after then inviting her to come to church there was some confusion of which church we actually represented, she thinking we were with the Swedish Church. She hasn't been replying to our texts but hopefully we can at least meet with her and teach her something so she can feel the Spirit. 

Our friend "The Feeder", Ulf, came in to town on Wednesday morning and we had a little visit/message about the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him. He shared some cool spiritual experiences that strengthened his testimony and brought the Spirit into our meeting. We went out to Kramfors afterwards and met with Kliti and his family again, bringing Edi and Besara Simoni along as well. We had a good visit; I can really feel a good Spirit from Edi, now that he has the Holy Ghost and the Priesthood. He is really eager to share his knowledge and is a great example to Kliti. Kliti does want to get baptized (badly), but between migration and Word of Wisdom issues, it will take some time. I just love that guy so much, his humility and spiritual sensitivity is amazing. Also on Wednesday, we had a really strong lesson on Faith with Henrik the Atheist fellow. He is very willing to keep commitments and try things out ("test the word" you could say), he just needs to recognize the Spirit and be diligent in his search. We will meet with him again this coming Thursday. 

Thursday was a little bittersweet. We had a good zone training up in Umeå, got to meet some brand new missionaries fresh from the MTC and see some old faces, like District Leaer Downing! Super good to see him again! After a late start to the meeting and lunch and having to make some pit stops with the Delgados, we didn't get back to Ö-vik until around five. As noted earlier, the girl we contacted got a fever and so our lesson got cancelled, and the lesson we had set up with a less active member fell through, so we ended up helping Bro. Iguaran with moving some boxes, then trying to do some more swingbys to fill in the now empty time. We did end the day with a delicious soup dinner at the Iguaran's though. 

Apparently someone had a birthday on Friday, so we had little party for him in the morning :) Elder Workman made German pancakes for breakfast and then I opened some gifts I had been sent early by my folks. After that, the day proceeded like any other and we had a fun English class later that day. The Delgados surprised me by making a cake which we enjoyed together with the Mongs and Sineth during English Class. 

Saturday consisted of biking over to the Domsjö area where we had a visit with Wek, a less active guy, and then we had a successful swing-by that turned into a lesson with an old investigator named Jean, a young guy from Congo. 

A nice fast and testimony meeting was had on Sunday, and we had a couple of people come to church to fill those empty seats. Ole came again and Salima with her sister and this time younger brother came to church. Salima is very shy, but we are thinking about extending a baptismal invitation to her just to see what happens. Sineth got the Aaronic priesthood as well and was ordained to Teacher. After church, the Delgados let us use the car and we did some good swingbys over in the Gullänget area of town. In the evening, we had dinner at the Delgados but also with Ole! The Delgados invited him over and he politely came! We had a great time and talked about a lot. 

Hopefully that didn't bore you all too much lol. Elder Workman and I did pick up library cards at the city library and check out some kiddie books (those are approved to read haha), so we have been having bedtime stories and reading out of our books together.  Good language activity. 

With General Conference coming up this week, President Beckstrand and the Assistants have asked the mission to come up with questions in preparation and to prayerfully take them to the Lord with the intent of receiving answers during Conference. I invite you all to do the same, to watch the sessions and listen to the Holy Ghost speak to you. We are blessed to be receiving three new apostles this weekend and I know that they will enlighten us as we faithfully listen to them. 

Here is a quote from President Hunter that I read this past week to finish this weeks update:

"It is the general rule that we do not get things of value unless we are willing to pay a price. The scholar does not become learned unless he puts forth the work and effort to succeed. If he is not willing to do so, can he say there is no such thing as scholarship? … It is just as foolish for man to say there is no God simply because he has not had the inclination to seek him.

… In order for an individual to obtain unwavering knowledge of the reality of God, he must live the commandments and the doctrines announced by the Savior during his personal ministry. … Those who are willing to make the search, apply themselves, and do God’s will, will have the knowledge come to them of the reality of God."

I love each of you and wish you a wonderful week! 


--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden


P.S Like my new signature? :)