Well how are you all doing? Hope life is treating each of you well. This week was awesome, lots of cool things and neat experiences. In terms of work it is still slow and steady, but Elder Loertscher and I are dedicated to making these (possibly) last two weeks here in Umeå together incredible. We can get Monday out of the way by saying that we had planned on meeting Roger the less-active Monday night, but he cancelled, so we took a walk and contacted some people then got pizza for dinner.
Tuesday was actually really cool! We went into downtown and contacted people down the streets and ran into a man named Shrok from Iran. He had only been in Sweden for two months so hardly any Swedish and no english, so we resorted to Google translate and communicated to him in his native persian using the app. While we were "talking" another man who turned out to be from Kurdistan and could speak Persian noticed us and helped translate for us. We were able to get Shrok's number and told him that we had a book that would help him come closer to Jesus Christ. He was very happy to hear that and excited to meet with us again (more on that soon). We also swung by a referral from Sis. Kaarina, and got in with them! His name is Henry and he is an older fellow from China. We drank tea with him (we taught him what herbal tea was haha) and just had a nice chat and got to know him. He possessed a chinese copy of the Book of Mormon, but said that the translation is weird, so we left him with an english copy have scheduled to meet with him this coming Wednesday to read from it together and study it. We also taught Kurt that night, and taught about the importance of the sacrament and covenants in general. Kurt is so close, very spiritual man and really inquisitive and ponders a lot. We learned at the end of the night from the Zone Leaders that Niels and Zezka were going to get married on Saturday! We were so excited!! (more and that also)
Wednesday was good too. We did some more walking over by Lilljansberget and ended up contacting a guy on the street then got into teaching him about how we can recognize the Spirit and really recognize what is coming from God. It was cool because at first when we stopped him he was about to keep walking and just waved us off, but then stopped, turned around, and asked us if we do this thing (proselyting) every day. Fairly young guy, probably college student, but he really seemed conflicted and listened intently to what we had to say. We left him with a card and he walked away saying "I know where you guys are" (he had mentioned he knew where the chapel was over in Carlshem). Cool street lesson. We had lunch over with Niels and Zezka that day; they had wanted us to come to dinner with the Zone Leaders Tuesday night but we were busy so they invited us over for lunch that afternoon. Super cool to visit with them and talk. That night we met with Emelie and Johannes finally!! Last time was before New Years! They fed us dinner and taught us a little about Swedish, and we told them that next time we were going to show them the Restoration movie.
Thursday was the infamous "no lesson/tracting-and-contacting" day haha. Lots of walking that day. Got a street lesson with a guy named Anton who happens to be related with members in the branch. We told him a little about the Plan of Salvation and gave him our information. He said he has an interest in all religion and enjoys learning what others think.
We had district meeting on Friday in Ö-vik, and after getting our train delayed 30 minutes, we got back into Umeå and met up with Shrok at a local grocery store! We gave him a Book of Mormon in Persian, was very grateful and said he was going to read it when he got home. We did some more google translate communication. We are going to see if Sarfaraz can help us with the language barrier, because the Zone Leaders said he might be able to speak Persian. After walking a bit with Shrok and departing ways, we got back home and got picked up by the Zone Leaders for dinner at Bro. Villhelmssons place.
On Saturday, we played Innebandy as usual, had a fun and intense time, then Elder Loertscher and I went back home and did some weekly planning. Then, the big moment of the week. NIELS AND ZEZKA'S WEDDING!! It was held at the church in the chapel and conducted by District President Håkan Stegeby. Those in attendance were ourselves, the Zone Leaders, the Ö-vik Elders (Elder Rhoades knew Niels from having served in Umeå a year ago), and Bro. and Sis. Lövgren; so a fairly small ceremony. It was so beautiful to see. We ate cake and pies and ice cream (Elder Luke put his baking skills to the best and made some good treats) afterwards and all talked and laughed. Very short and simple but perfect at the same time. The Spirit was there and we were all so happy for the newly wedded couple. Next step, the temple!
Normal church meetings on Sunday, with some teaching by President Stegeby on keeping the Sabbath holy in third hour. We and the Zone Leaders went over to Niels and Zezka's for dinner and had some delicious fried chicken over rice. So amazing to think that they were just married yesterday. Afterwards, all four of us taught Zezka about the Commandments continued preparing her for baptism.
In terms of the weather we have gotten a ton more snow and many days this past week were rainy and wet, so not too many people were out and about. Even so, we are getting things set-up with other investigators and continuing to press forward. I have been reading from Alma pretty heavily lately and have wound up in the war chapters. Personally some of the coolest chapters in the Book of Mormon in my opinion. So many lessons we can learn from them. One of the main themes I have seen is the principle of obedience and putting the Lord first. As Moroni led the Nephite forces in defense of their liberty and families and faith, Helaman and his bretheren continued to preach the Gospel to the people and make sure the spiritual welfare of the people was intact. The Nephites placed the Lord first and found success in their battles. I know from experience that the Lord more richly blesses us as we are diligent in heeding his commandments and acting in faith.
I am so grateful for the things that I learn everyday and I hope you all are continuing to learn and grow in your own lives. Take care and have a wonderful week one and all!
Äldste Stefan Reed
Varma hälsningar från Sverige
Elder Stefan Reed
182 46, Enebyberg