Monday, July 27, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 17

Yo yo yo! What is going on everyone? Sending my e-mail a little late today due to an awesome P-Day filled with Volleyball Tournaments and Pizza! It was a load of fun, lots of missionaries from the Stockholm and Stockholm South Zone. Unfortunately, my team didn't win, but we had great team spirit, so that is all that matters! 

Last Monday, Elder Aabo and I hung out the with Täby Sister missionaries and walked around Gamla Stan. We actually ran into two people that Kapp and I had met, named Johan and Cecilia, who are practitioners of Falun Gong. They were helping out with a booth that was set up in a street square, petitioning against human organ pillaging in China; apparently it is a huge problem over there. I said hi to them and we chatted a bit, then we checked out a little museum of paintings that were done by people of this same Falun Gong group. Later that night we had a lesson with Tiki and his family, as well as his young neighbor friend Sharif. We just watched the Restoration together, and they gave us delicious African bread as we left. 

Tuesday, we helped out the Södertälje Elders' investigator by helping him find a travel agency so he could buy a plane ticket. That night we taught another of our investigators, Yafet, and got to know him better and tried to help him recognize the Spirit as he studies and prays. Very cool guy, has been taught a lot, now time to apply it to his life so that he can progress further in the Gospel. 

Wednesday was super fun, because we did another Chalk drawing over in Sergel's Torg; this time it was a picture of the iron rod leading to the Tree of Life, as described in Lehi's vision (pictures to follow). I got to talk to lots of cool people while Aabo helped with the coloring in; I wasn't gonna get my nice clothes all chalky haha. Besides, my job was the real dirty work anyway, right? :) That was a big success, and lots of Books of Mormon were handed out. We got invited for dinner at a member's house that evening, the Stenkrona family, and we had a wonderful time over there with them and the Stockholm Sisters, as well as a senior missionary couple, the Brittons. 

We had our weekly District meeting on Thursday, talked about following the light of Christ, and afterwards got lunch at a Mongolian buffet. After that, we tried to do some less active swing bys, did a little calling session, then went to Sports Night in Gubbängen. Yafet showed up and we had some good basketball/soccer fun there. 

Friday was decent; did a bit of walking around and contacting people, then had our weekly-planning session. After making a million calls, we went to Karim's and just re-emphasized our purpose as missionaries, trying to help him progress by doing the basic things like scripture study, praying, and coming to church. After visiting with him, we went into Sergel's Torg, tried to contact around, ended up sitting down to take a break, and got like 5 people come up to us and talk to us! One guy had been an exchange student and had been hosted by a Mormon family in the States, and another guy and his buddy recognized us as Mormons and talked for us with a bit. It was super unusual too, because Swedes almost never will come up and talk to strangers. Little blessings here and there.

The main things that happened Saturday were soccer in the morning over in Lidingö, and teaching Javid the Plan of Salvation that evening. As usual, Javid had many questions, but he was overall pleased with the concept and understood it all. 

Sunday consisted of Church (I translated once again; only had to do one talk though, the other 4 were in English), having an awesome dinner at the Pence's house, who just returned from Utah and brought back with them their RM son, Riley, celebrating Thai Strauss' birthday, and teaching our investigator David. David is doing well, and making a good effort to read the Book of Mormon daily. Hopefully we can get him to get into the baptismal waters soon. Aabo and I both feel he is starting to progress more. 

And that was the week! As I have been thinking about our progress in this area, it has stemmed from following the Spirit and doing our best to make the most of our time. The Lord prepares his children, in his own time, in his own way. This next week will be the last one before transfers. I have the feeling that I will probably be leaving Stockholm, and going to who knows where. It will be a sad day; I have done a lot here. It really has become my home. But you never know with these things; I'll be sure to fill you guys in next Monday. Stay tuned! The Gospel is true, and Jesus Christ is the way towards exaltation. 

Mvh,

Äldste Reed      

Monday, July 20, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 16

Whoa, another week just flew by folks. Time is always moving, whether you want it to or not. So since I talked about last Monday in my previous letter, I will go ahead and start with Tuesday and go from there.

Tuesday we saw some tender mercies of the Lord. As we were out and about in downtown, a random guy came up to us and asked if we were Mormons, then told us that he lost his copy of the Book of Mormon and asked us for another. Of course, we always have a couple copies on us so we gladly gave him one as well as our card with our Chapels address on the back. He was very grateful and said goodbye to us with many "God bless you"'s as he walked away. Other things that happened, we took a wrong bus to get to Tiki, ended up late, but he didn't answer the door anyway. Blåst. However, we did have a good lesson with Karim later that day and talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and focused on getting him to come to Church. Plus we got 15% discount cards for the Subway in Stockholm Central Station. WINNING!! 

Wednesday wasn't too exciting; we swung by a potential investigator in Gåshaga who said he had read a little in the Book of Mormon and said we could come back next week for a sit down lesson. We spent a lot of the day at the center, organizing the Google Drive map so we could organize some less active swing bys, and teaching Javid in the evening there also. We had a very good lesson and reviewed some points in the Restoration. We were so close to setting a baptismal date with him, but he isn't ready to set a date yet. For now, we are helping him read and pray daily. 

Thursday was a little bizarre. We did some more area organizing at the Institute Center, where we got a call from the Stockholm Sisters saying that they needed us to come with them on a lesson with two guys from Malmö (Southern Sweden). Turns out the guys heard them speaking English on the tunnelbana, got interested, and lets just say were probably interested more in investigating the Sisters rather then the Gospel. The Sisters didn't tell the guys that we would be there, so they were thinking they were going to be having a double date night. When we all met up together that night, needless to say they were a little taken aback to see me and Elder Aabo there. Hahaha We went and got some drinks at a local place (alcohol free, don't worry everyone), and sat down and chatted. We ended up talking about the Book of Mormon and a lot about how we missionaries live. One of the Malmö guys was extremely outgoing and did most if not all the talking, while his friend sat back and listened. I believe he was silently absorbing it all in. After an hour, the Sisters and Elder Aabo and I left, leaving the two guys by themselves wondering what to do. Definitely went against there plans; no party night with the Sisters like they had wanted. :) 

On Friday, we had District meeting in the morning where we got to hear a "lecture" on Obedience from our district leaders Elder Silvennoinen and Elder Milne. Then, we and the Stockholm Sisters (again) went to have lunch with a less active woman and then helped her with some service in her basement. Unfortunately, we weren't successful in finding what she was looking for, but we helped none the less and had a great lunch were Elder Aabo and I shared a message about taking upon us the name of Christ. After spending a couple hours over there, we went back home and did some weekly planning, making tons of phone calls, etc. 

Saturday, we spent the day trying to do some less active swing-bys around Stockholm and Lidingö. As we did one, we were able to help a lady and her brother move some breakable things into their place, so that was a nice bit of unplanned service. That was pretty much Saturday ya.

Very great theme of families and eternal marriage in Church on Sunday; I did translating in Sacrament meeting again, even translating one English talk into Swedish. Thankfully it was a youth speaker and not an adult, or that would have been extremely difficult. The other classes were good as well, and I helped do some translating again in combined priesthood during third hour. After Church, Elder Aabo and I went home and made ourselves some food while listening to MOTAB, then we had a lesson with the Södertälje Elders who passed an investigator off to us. His name is Kashif, and he is a Pakistani man (like Javid) who has strong faith in Jesus Christ. He is having a hard time finding work right now, and he may be moving back to Pakistan to reclaim an old teaching job at the University there. Very good lesson, felt the Spirit strongly as Kashif gave the closing prayer. After that meeting, we went to the Center and taught Javid again, going through the Ten Commandments and committing him to follow them. 

This last week I learned some good personal lessons. I learned how important it is to focus on others as the Savior did, and to loose ourselves in this work. I had been so caught up recently about myself; was I doing my best, was I speaking the language well, me, me, me. I prayed about some personal questions this week and prayed to receive an answer to them, and in church as I took the Sacrament, I felt an overwhelming feeling of love, that the Savior knew me and knew my situation. That's something that we can always do, take questions to the Lord, and I can promise that he WILL answer them. Of course, its in his own time and way, but I can promise that he DOES answer. Prove him, if you think otherwise. 

I send love and support here from Sweden to all you guys, where ever you guys may be. I hope that you all have a wonderful week! Vi ses nästa vecka!

Äldste Reed


Monday, July 13, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 15

Hello Hello everyone! I had a very decent week! Let me fill you in on all the happenings here in Grand ol' Stockholm!

Our main activity last P-Day was some Innebandy (floor ball) at the Gubbängen Chapel with some missionaries in the zone. After that, not much else happened after that, Elder Aabo and I just went home and did some planning because we didn't have anything else planned. 

Tuesday was fairly solid. We went out to Lidingö and did some tracting while exploring a part of the island called Gåshaga. Very wealthy part of Lidingö, right next to the water, where lots of marinas with sleek little boats are docked. We handed out a Book of Mormon at one guys door, named Lukas, but no other big potentials found. After tracting, we went to the center and taught our good friend Javid about the Atonement and Repetance. He is a very practical man, who likes applications to the real world and to society, so we had to explain several times to help him understand. Eventually, he did understand though. Very smart man with lots of good questions and a good sense of logic. Good lesson!

Wednesday we did some more exploring in Lidingö and looked at more rich, cushy houses. It was raining on and off throughout the day, so that was a little annoying. We tried to swing by some less actives in the area as well, but nobody answered :( As we were leaving one neighborhood, who did we see sitting on a bench but none other than JAVID!! Another "chance" meeting. We sat down with him and talked some casual conversation, as well as throwing in a subtle prayer lesson. Definitely good to see him and chat with him. The Lord is telling us something, I know it!! Haha We ended the day by having dinner with Bro. Strauss and his sons (his wife is in Japan visiting her family). Good food and good company; we shared a little object lesson and then joined with them in their daily Book of Mormon reading. Wonderful way to end the day!

On Thursday we had specialized zone training at Gubbägen, which is a little longer than normal zone training. Good training on the Book of Mormon and using it more in all of our contacting, lessons, and personal studies. We had a cute little "family home evening" with the Beckstrands, where they let us do a Q & A session with them. We all felt closer to them after that meeting, feeling loved and grateful for their service. After the training, we went home and changed and went straight back to Gubbägen for Sports Night. We had invited Matillda and her mom to come with (remember those two?), and they came up and had an awesome time!! It was super good to see them, it had been a while! That was Thursday. :)

Nothing super special on Friday, other than calling a ton of contacts in our phone for weekly planning, had a nice member lunch at McDonalds with Sister Frederickson, and having a good teach with David. We watched a Mormon Message with him and taught the importance of reading the Book of Mormon daily. Hopefully it helps him with coming closer to baptism. 

We began Saturday morning with Soccer of course, and that was fun as usual. It was a very small group, just me and Aabo and the Strauss' and Layne kids, but also a friend of Bro. Strauss from the Embassy came. His name is Eugene, and he is a fellow American! Very friendly guy, and was super fun playing soccer with! Said he would come back again next time! We'll make an investigator out of him yet! :) That night, we met with a potential investigator that Elder Kapp and I had contacted a while back and taught him and his girlfriend the Restoration! They were very interested and excited to learn more! We need to hook them up with some Persian Books of Mormon soon, and they will be golden. 

Sunday was rather uneventful for once. Elder Aabo and the Sister missionaries gave talks in Sacrament meeting, and I translated all of them! My first time making it through the whole sacrament meeting! Of course, I was translating missionary Swedish (we all understand each other), but hopefully that counts for something. I also bore my testimony as well! After Church, Elder Aabo and I went home and made our own Sunday dinner, then we went out and did some contacting before meeting with a Chinese less active member named Zi Ping. Pretty soon, he isn't going to be less active anymore; he has been coming to church frequently and is doing well. We had a good meeting with him and got to know him better, having never met with him before. We gave him an extra copy of the Book of Mormon in Chinese to give to his friend. 

And that was the week! I am sending my email out later today because we had a lesson with Fumi and Anna earlier today, reviewing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. Tom of course came with and as always was a great support for Fumi, helping explain things and adding his wonderful touch of humor. 

A challenge that we have been given this transfer is to read either 2 Nephi 9 or the Book of Enos daily. I have been doing my best to take that challenge on, and it has been interesting what I have learned. Every time I read those chapters I learn something different. They both are great passages about repentance, the Atonement, and the redeeming blessings of the Savior. I would invite you all to accept the challenge too and try reading one of those passages every day for maybe a week; see what you get out of them, and write me back about what you learned. The Book of Mormon is true! Have a wonderful week and stay fresh friends and family!

Mycket Kärlek!

Äldste Reed

Monday, July 6, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 14

Tjenna, tjenna allihopa! This may be a short letter, not a whole lot crazy happened, but there were some good things in any case! 

Last P-day we went to the mission office and threw a surprise party for some of the recent birthdays in the zone! It was very fun, lots of missionaries enjoying the outdoors and playing games like Kubb! 

Tuesday, Elder Aabo joked that night and said we spent the day playing Waterboy. We ran around picking up things like baptismal clothes at the Täby chapel, giving some mis-addressed letters to Sister Bolton, and unlocking the Institute Center for a YSA who forgot some items for her work there. We did get to do some tracting though, and knocked some doors in an unlocked apartment building over in Lidingö. We also hosted some Elders from Umeå last night in our apartment, since one of them had to get his Visa renewed in Stockholm.  

På Onsdag, we had a pretty normal missionary day; we ran by our good friend Tiki, who is now back from his vacation in Spain, who told us to swing by him on Friday evening. We did some more contacting in tracting in the Danderyd/Sollentuna area, and met with Javid in the evening at the center. We had an awesome lesson on Faith and read Alma 32 together. Solid ending to Wednesday.

Thursday was a super warm day. We tried to do some swing-bys in the morning, then decided to go to Lidingö and swing by some less-active members. As we were walking, we got spotted by the Guerras, who picked us up and bought us lunch, then took us back to their place and we helped them translate some Swedish letters into English for them. Elder Aabo and I had made a goal to get some one to Sports Night at Gubbängen that night, so we called the younger people/investigators we knew would normally go, but no luck. We took a shot in the dark and called Javid, and we ended up going with him and playing Ping-pong, or table tennis, as he calls it. We three had a good time, and Javid showed us his secret Ping-pong side, teaching us how to be better and improve our technique. 

Friday we had our transfer-lly Zone training, where we discussed using the Book of Mormon more in our work. The Zone has changed a lot since I started here, so it was cool to meet some more missionaries and get to know others better. After leaving lunch at the infamous 'China Wang' restaurant, Elder Aabo and I ended up running into no other than Javid at T-Central! We talked to him as we made our way home, and it super ironic to see him for the third day in a row. There are no coincidences in this world, I can tell you that. Later that day, Aabo and I went on Splits with the Zone leaders, and I stayed in Stockholm with fellow Trekkie and nerd, Elder Dahle. We went and taught Tiki, who had a neighbor friend over and we ended up teaching him and getting his number afterwards! His name is Shariff, and he is a teenager from Uganda. Super nice kid! Elder Dahle and I ended the night by doing some tracting and contacting.

Saturday, Dahle and I went to play soccer in Lidingö, then we went out around Karlaplan and did some street contacting. We ended the splits at around 4, then Elder Aabo and I went back to our place and I quickly baked some more cookies for the Pence's Fourth of July Party, which they had invited us to. The party was great, lots of good America food, and good company from ward members and some relatives of the Pence's who came to visit. 

Sunday was interesting! Tried my hand at translating some more in fast and testimony meeting, and traded off with Jonathan. Hopefully I can get better at translating, its a stressful job. Elder Aabo and I taught a baptism lesson in Sunday School, which went well. After church, we went over to the Pence's and had a very traditional Swedish dinner, then we stopped by at Karim's place and shared a short message about the Godhead. Elder Aabo used a good object lesson about balancing a spoon and a fork with a match stick on a glass. Super cool trick that I'll have to remember when I get home. After Karim's, we went into Stan, and ended up talking to some Jehovah Witnesses. Turns out there was a three-day conference that happened starting from Friday, and 50 thousand members from all over Scandinavia and other countries came to the meeting. All of the attendees had little name badges on, and everywhere Aabo and I went we saw armies of Jehovah Witnesses in transit on public transportation. We decided we had to talk to some, so we did, and we had a cool, civil conversation with two middle-aged guys. Interesting way to end the Sabbath, but it was neat to hear another religions perspective.

So that was my week! Hope you all take care and are having a wonderful summer where ever you may be. I sign off with a powerful yet simple scripture about praying to the Lord and always turning to him whenever we have concerns, doubts, questions, or are troubled. 1 Nephi 15:8: "And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?"

Best Wishes, Vi ses!

Äldste Reed