Monday, April 27, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 4 (Elder Downing gave himself an awful haircut this morning and has to have Sister Hong fix it)

Alright everybody, here's what happened last week.

Starting with Tuesday, we had District meeting as usual, and my and Elder Kapp went with the other two Elder companionships to China Wang, for a lunch buffet; there I had sushi for the first time. Later we tried to do some less-active swing by's and then did some street contacting. We happened to run into a less active member from Uganda named Maria, who has lived here in Sweden for about 10 years. She is super nice and we can't wait to get her back to church and meet with her.

Wednesday we met an investigator from Västerhaninge, Idee, who is moving to our area and went to Institute and dinner at the Center. Got to talk to my "Grandpa" about tips on learning the language there, and had some good laughs with one of the YSA guys, Danny. This guy needs to be a stand-up comedian.

Thursday, more contacting (can you see a pattern yet?), found some potentials, then had Sports Night at the Gubbängen Chapel again with our new guy Idee. Lots of people that night, one of the biggest groups yet. 

Friday we made cookies for our investigators and less-actives, but when we went to deliver them, no one was home. We just left the plates on the doorstep with a little note on the back of our pass-along cards haha. We had some extra plates, so we handed the extras out to some of the homeless Romanian folks. We ended the night with contacting, and found another potential who hails from Tanzania and speaks Swahili. She got super interested when we told her we had the Book of Mormon in Swahili, so she looks very positive.

Saturday, you guessed it, Soccer over at Lidingö again. We have had to change fields because they are getting booked by local Swedish clubs, so we played Sandlot style soccer that day. More contacting later that day.

Sunday was a big day for me. I gave my first talk in Swedish in Sacrament meeting. The pressure was on too; the whole Stake Presidency was there, and President and Sister Beckstrand were there too. It was a nice missionary-focused sacrament meeting; My companion and Sister Bolton from the Sister companionship in our ward gave talks also. I have to mention that we have three missionary companionships in our ward. We did a musical number in the middle, and our Ward mission leader, Bro. Wimmer (American, awesome guy) closed the meeting. Everyone was complimenting me on how well I spoke for only being out three weeks, so now I have set high expectations for my future. Great hahaha. We had lunch at a members home after Church, then correlation meeting at the Wimmer's house to close the day. 

I meet lots of people who don't believe in God because there are so many bad things going on in the world. Live is hard, but we have so many blessings as well. It all depends on our perspective and what attitude we choose to have. We have to remember that everyone has their agency as well. Though bad things will always have, we know in the end that Good will win. Its going to work out. I love the account of the Anti-Lehi-Nephi's in Alma, and how they were so converted to the Gospel and to keeping their covenants with God, that they literally laid down to be killed. In chapter 24 of Alma we read in verses 27 that "not a wicked man [was] slain among them; but there were more than a thousand brought to the knowledge of the truth; thus we see that the Lord worketh in many ways to the salvation of his people." Though the bad will happen, sometimes it is necessary so that we come closer to Christ and to God. As long as we hold on to our testimonies and do our best to help others receive the Gospel, we will be blessed and "have no reason to doubt but what [we will be] saved."

Stay strong and seek the help of our Savior. All my love,

Äldste Reed  

Monday, April 20, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 3

Hello once again from Stockholm!

Interesting week for sure. Last P-Day I did some shopping at H&M and picked up some very Swedish sweat pants and a simple hoodie that was on sale. Definitely somewhere I would not have gone before for clothes, but its the cheapest place here. Plus, H&M is originally Swedish. Cool, huh? Later that night we taught FHE at the Institute Center to the YSA's. The YSA's here are awesome. They really rely on each other and are super strong in their testimonies. 

Tuesday we had district meeting, then went to Pizza Hut afterwards. I know I know, why there, right? Its actually very fancy here, and they have a Pizza Buffet for a reasonable price. Rest of the day we did some contacting, then went to do a less active swing by in another apartment building. Of course, they didnt answer, so we went decided to start at the top and tract. First door we knock, an african woman answers, we say we're missionaries from the church, and she says "Come in!" Her son was there too, so we were fine. Turns out she is a less active member and is being seen by the Täby sisters. Her name is Nadia, she loves church and how welcoming members are, but she has a clinical memory problem and forgets things. She was super nice and invited us back for dinner next week. Hopefully she doesn't forget :)

Wednesday we taught the first lesson to Walter. He is super receptive and willing to read the Book of Mormon. He even said baptism might be a possibility, but he needs to learn more, he said. That night we took our chill, single, Ukrainian investigator Tim to the Center for institute and dinner. Poor Tim was so tired from work, he was falling asleep during Elder Wood's lesson. We had to nudge him so he wouldn't snore. Oops! Haha

Thursday we found a potential investigator from street contracting. Her name is Matillda, she's 18, and super interested in religion, but doesn't have any beliefs herself. Sports night at the Gubbängen Chapel was fun, as usual, we took Tim again and played B-Ball and Soccer with the usual missionary/YSA/Non-member Hispanic dudes in the area. 

Friday was fairly busy. We met up with Hampus, an 18 year guy who is ready to be baptized, believes everything, pretty much already a member, he just has to wait till October because his dad wont let him be baptized. He is from another area, and was taught by Elder Kapp, so they are good friends. We talked and showed him around Stockholm, and had lunch at Max, a Swedish Burger joint. SUPER GOOD. That night we taught the potential, Matillda, and her mom came too(not surprising, two guys wanting to meet her daughter at a random place...smart mom), at the center with our YSA friend Jonathan. It was a good lesson, we really ended up talking about faith and knowing things. She had so many questions! Super inquisitive. She was so excited when we gave her a Book of Mormon and asked her to read it; she probably has the whole thing read by now. 

We didn't have Soccer with the members this Saturday. It ended up being just an off day. Elder Kapp and I both just felt weird. Just contacting mainly and trying to swing by some people. 

Sunday was very good. We ended up teaching the English Gospel Principles class at the last minute, but the lesson was about the Atonement and went well. Then we had FHE at the Strauss family house (one of the american families) with our buddy Tim. We had a lesson on prayer and the Spirit was super strong as we sang together and talked about experiences with prayer. The Strauss' are just awesome. Did I mention they lived in Spokane for a time? They were in the Central Valley HS area. Tim loved meeting them and seemed to have a great time with us. Plus, they served us Taco Soup for dinner, with Doritos too! Those are unheard of here in Sweden. A great evening to close the week with. 

This morning we taught Walter again, and showed him the Restoration film (20 minute one). He said he believes the Book of Mormon is from God, Joseph was a prophet, and he could feel the Spirit as we watched the film, but he is satisfied with his existing faith and says he is too old now to change his life in alignment with the church. He is still accepting our commitments though and is happy to meet with us, but somehow we got to help him see the blessings of baptism and becoming a member. All in time I suppose, with lots of patience. 

I have been reading a lot in Alma, and Ammon is the perfect missionary! What an awesome guy. He understood the joy that the Gospel brings and had so much charity for the Lamanites. I loved reading chapter 26 of Alma; probably one of my new favorite passages of scripture. Good stuff throughout that chapter.

May Heavenly Father Bless you all with a renewed sense of joy and gratitude for your lives. We have lots to be happy for when we simply look around and have good attitudes. Father is always looking out for us with his hand extended, just waiting for us to take it.

Jag älskar er!

Äldste Reed

Monday, April 13, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 2 (Turns out Elder Downing is a bust...not really, he's an awesome District Leader)

Hey Hey!

Work is picking up! We have been blåsted many times though. That's Swedish missionary slang for being blown-off. Last Monday we spent the rest of P-Day walking around Gamla Stan and checking out shops. That place is always packed with tourists. I also was Kebab-tized! Kebab is a lamb based meat that is super popular here, and they usually put it over pizzas. Kebab pizza is THE BEST! Apparently Stockholm Kebab isnt the best, but the more South you go the better it gets. I already sense an addicition to it.

Tuesday was interesting. We initially were planning to swing by an apartment complex where some less-actives were, but they didn't answer so we decided to just tract the whole nine floors of the place. Its important to note that its hard to tract in Stockholm because most all buildings are locked by 4-digit port codes, so you can't get in unless you know the code. So we tracted and ran into two potientals and set up some teaching appointments. 

Wednesday was planned to be a three lesson day, but two canceled on us and we had to reschedule the other. Nice...We did end up meeting this one older lady, Monica, with Elders Sweat and Downing at her small cottage in the woods. She was a little strange, and refused to read from the Book of Mormon because she believes that God talks to us all in specific ways. At least she was nice and welcoming. Probably going to be an eternal investigator.

Thursday, more lessons fell through. One of the potentials we met at the Golden Apartment just didnt answer the door. Bummer. We did some more tracting in the building and came across Walter, a man from Bolivia who speaks Spanish and Swedish. Tried to set something up with him. Later that night we went to Sports Night at the Gubbängen Chapel. Another potiental, Tim, was going to meet us there, because we went last week with him, but he ended up having to call it off after we were already there. It was still fun, we played Soccer and basketball. Of course, I'm awful at all sports, but its fun to play anyway and fellowship YSA's and non-members that are there. A group of Spanish guys always show up; they're super chill.

Friday we had Zone Training. Our zone leaders, Floyd and Rassmusen, are crazy guys. They know how to put on a show. We were taught some good thoughts about effectively using companionship study and teaching simply. Later that night we taught a potential at the Apartment building we've been tracting. We took a member with us, a returned missionary, convert, and native Swede. We taught Jasmin, a single Muslim lady who was super accepting of everything we talked about. We talked a lot about the Holy Ghost and praying. Even though Elder Kapp speaks way more than I do, I was still able to simply bear my testimony about how we can receive answers from the Holy Ghost when we pray. I felt really happy coming out of the lesson.

Saturday we went and played Soccer with the American families in our ward. These were the same families who invited us over to watch conference last week: The Strauss and Wimmer family. Their kids are all super good, and show us up everytime. I totally stink haha. Bro. Strauss bought us pizza afterwards, including some Kebab pizza. YESSSS!! This soccer thing is turning out to be a weekly event for the Elders in the Stockholm ward. Kapp and I also finished organizing and calling people in our Area book. Finally! 

Sunday was cool! We attended church for the first time! Buildings here are very small in comparison to American chapels. That goes along with the wards also. Everyone was nice and greeted us. Elder Kapp translated the talks in Sacrament for all the American families. He got a little lost on the last talk. Everyone speaks so fast! He has the experience of 15 months in the field, and has served around Linköping, Alingsås, Hägersten. He is from Clinton, UT and is Lacrosse player and cyclist. He reminds me a lot of my good friend Elder Brett Carr. Similar humor and personality. Sunday I also met my "Grandfather", or Elder Kapp's trainer. He is a native Swede and has been home for almost a year. Nice guy. We were even invited to a members house for dinner that night. It was a very traditional meal, of meat, golden boiled potatoes, and lingon berries. Very tasty.

Everything else is going swimmingly. We continue to go contacting and are trying to hunt down less actives. We have set good goals for ourselves and plan on checking them more throughout the day. I've been studying in Alma now, and Alma and Amulek are awesome examples of missionaries. We can truly have Priesthood power if we have faith and teach in unity. I hope all of you are doing well!

Vi ses!

Äldste Reed

Monday, April 6, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 1-Stockholm Area (District Chief-Master, Elder Downing!!)

Greetings from Stockholm! 

So our travel from the MTC went very smooth! The flight to Amsterdam was super long...I almost was not able to board. Don't worry, it wasn't as bad as it sounds like. So I had my small, carry-on suitcase and we were boarding for Atlanta from SLC. Because it was a full flight, and my group was boarding last, they had to check in my bag last minute. They told me I wouldnt get any of my luggage until reaching Sweden, so I frantically pulled out my shoulder bag and camera. While we were flying, I had the sudden realization that I had left my pass-port in the front pocket of my carry on, plus I forgot my scriptures. So after landing, we went to the gate and I told the agents what had happened. They then sent people down into the luggage plane and got my passport, and I boarded without an issue. Boy was I glad to see that thing.

After getting to the Stockholm Airport on Tuesday, we got our baggage (no issues there either) and were met by President Beckstand and his wife, the Office Elders and AP's, and the senior couples, Bro and Sis. Taylor and Tolley. After giving them our bike-fund and other stuff, we loaded up a van and were whisked all over Stockholm. Tuesday was a head trip for me. My head was literally spinning whenever I moved it, not too mention I was tired out of my mind. We were taken around Gamla Stan and other places, then taken to the YSA Institute Center for a meet-and-greet with other missionaries. Then we went contacting! That was scary, but not unexpected. It was cool to pass out cards and try and talk to people in my extremely less-than proficient Swedish. It was an eye-opening experience to be sure. After that it was to the mission office for some paperwork and orientation, then the mission home. The Beckstrands were so welcoming and accommodating, and we had a great dinner of homemade soup. Needless to say all of us Elders crashed around 8:00 pm.

Wednesday was the big day! I got my trainer! We went to the Täby Chapel that morning and got some more field orientation from the POE's(proselyting office Elders) and Assistants. Then the moment came. Because it was April Fool's, President had us fooled at first by making us believe that they decided companions by coin flip. Elder Perkins was the poor sucker and believed he was getting Elder Lindquist. That was soon cleared up and we opened our assignment letters one at I time. I have been assigned to serve in the Stockholm Area in the Stockholm zone, and am working with Elder Jacob Kapp! We doubled into a new apartment together, so we had to trudge through the tunnelbana (the metro subway) and walk a couple of blocks to our place, all the while with all our luggage. The Place is super awesome though! Top floor, with a dishwasher and stainless steel appliances. We live on the island of Södermalm in Maria Torget. We were told that we have the most expensive apartment in the mission right now. Talk about responsibility. After settling in, we did a big grocery shop at Lidl and lugged the groceries back home. We got our bicep workout that day.

The rest of the week has been interesting. We are basically starting from ground zero in terms of the area, and have had to organize a new area book and do tons of contacting and finding. There have been so many blessings as well though. For General Conference this weekend, we watched all the sessions we could at member homes, and have been fed a couple dinners. The only thing though, is that the families have all been American! I guess Heavenly Father is easing me in slowly to the Swedish culture. 

Conference was awesome! I loved the theme of families and the Easter messages about Christ. We truly can receive so much joy from our families. They are the key to eternal life. Its so important that we build our homes on the principles of Christ. 

I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend and was uplifted by the thought that Jesus Christ lives. Through him, we can live again as well. May the Force be with you all

Love,
Äldste Reed     

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sweden Stockholm Mission Arrival Letter

JESUS KRISTI
KYRKA
AV SISTA DAGARS HELIGE


SVERIGEMISSIONEN STOCKHOLM

April 4, 2015

Dear Brother and Sister Reed,

We met your son, Elder Stefan Mikael Reed, this past week as he arrived in Stockholm, Sweden. It has been a delight to become acquainted with him.

Upon arrival, he was taken in to the city of Stockholm for immigration paperwork. He then went to the Church’s Young Single Adult Center, located in the heart of Stockholm, for a light lunch, training, and contacting in the streets of Stockholm with one of our exceptional, experienced missionaries.  Then he had a glimpse of Stockholm.  The Mission Office was his next stop with an orientation to the Sweden Stockholm Mission policies and procedures. After orientation, Sister Beckstrand and I invited him and his MTC group to dinner at the Mission Home. I had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time in an interview with your son. We concluded the day’s activities with family scriptures and prayer and retired for the evening.

The next morning we began the day promptly at 6:30 a.m. with breakfast at the Mission Home. We departed the Mission Home for the nearby Täby Chapel where the Assistants, Sister Beckstrand and I provided training.  In the second meeting of the morning, he met his new companion and trainer, Elder Jacob Kapp. They will serve together in the  area of the Sweden Stockholm Mission. I would like you to know I have experienced some of my most tangible moments of revelation in the assigning of companionships.  I know your son and Elder Kapp will learn much from each other, and together they will be edified as they labour valiantly, with full purpose of heart and obedience, in the service of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sent previously was information on the mailing address for letters and packages. This information will help your packages arrive in a timely manner.  Please share the mailing address information with relatives and friends that may be writing or sending packages. Traditionally, Preparation Day is held on Monday in the Sweden Stockholm Mission. This is the day you can expect to receive an email from your son. We encourage you to also communicate weekly with your son as correspondence from home can be a great source of faith and support for this sacred work in which he is engaged.

I bear my witness that this is the work of our Savior Jesus Christ, and it is a sacred responsibility to wear his name above my heart. I am grateful for all you have done to prepare your son and for the sacrifices you have made and are making to support him as he continues in his labors. May our Heavenly Father’s most generous blessings be with you and yours.

With respect and kind regards,

James E. Beckstrand
James E. Beckstrand, President
SWEDEN STOCKHOLM MISSION

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