Monday, August 17, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 20

Its been an exciting week over in Ö-vik!! As a side note, I reach my 6 month mark tomorrow; crazy to think I've been out on my mission this long. It still feels like yesterday I arrived here. But cliche feelings aside, here's what happened in short this past week:

Monday, Elder Thacker and I hung out with some non-member youth and did some exploring of Ö-vik's "mountains". We got some awesome pictures and got to see some awesome views of the city below us. That evening we had family home evening over at the Iguaran's, a Columbian family, where we celebrated their son Helaman's fifth birthday. Yummy cake and ice cream was eaten. 

On Tuesday we visited Inger again with the Delgados and watched the "Finding Faith in Christ" movie together. Afterwards, we did some old investigator swing-bys and also visited the Bustamante family. The wife is originally from Cambodia, and they have a couple kids who I have already met the previous week. We shared a good message about blessings and positivity with them. 

The next day we took a road trip with the Delgados and went out to one of the sub-communities/towns here in Örnsköldsvik called Kramfors. The Delgados are working with an Albanian part-member couple, preparing the wife for the temple and preparing the husband for baptism. While they visited them, Elder Thacker and I visited another Albanian family, and taught one of the most humble investigators I have met since I have been out here. The man's name is Kliti, and he is friends with the Simonis (the couple the Delgados visit). He has only been taught a few times now, but he feels the Spirit when we teach him and wants to change and have a more Christ-like life. He reads the Book of Mormon daily and has watched the Restoration video multiple times, to point where he can quote from it. Its a little hard to teach him however, due to a slight language barrier, but he understands a lot. We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and read some 2 Nephi 31 with him. He wants to come to church badly, but cannot due to how far away he lives (Kramfors is about an hour outside the city of Ö-vik), and he has no car, or enough money to make the travel. He is so positive and we pray that we can find a solution soon. After our respective visits, the Delgados and Elder Thacker and I headed home and stopped by a very nice restaurant on the way home for dinner. 

Thursday we had zone training up in Umeå, and that went very well. This zone is a lot smaller than Stockholm, but it is filled with hard working missionaries :) It was cool to meet everyone and then have lunch afterwards together. Once we got back into Örnsköldsvik, Thacker and I visited an old investigator named Tim, a mid-twenties aged Swede. He mostly just wants to talk and hang out with us, but he does want us to send him scriptures periodically so maybe we can get some progress made there. 

Friday morning we helped the Iguarans move a recently purchased wardrobe closet to their home, and they rewarded us with lunch afterwards. Later that day we visited another old investigator named Sebastian, probably one of the nicest Swedes I have met. He is interested in our church and comes from a Pentecostal background, and was intrigued by the Book of Mormon. We basically got to know him and checked his status, and unfortunately is not willing to go further as far as baptism or progressing in the church. He said we are welcome to come over and chat and discuss things together, but he doesn't really want to make commitments right now. We left him with the Restoration movie and told him to watch it, so maybe he will have a spiritual awakening after he watches it and will want to progress further. Unfortunate, but at least his is welcoming and nice. That evening we also had english class and got some of those non-member kids we hung out with on Monday to come. 

Saturday wasn't too thrilling, just organizing the area book and making calls for weekly planning, then the weekly youth activity in the evening. We played the classic game of Kubb. 

Yesterday was fairly nice. Elder Thacker gave a great talk about the Book of Mormon in Sacrament meeting, and a guy named Ole (who really isn't an investigator but has apparently come to church at least four times now) showed up. We talked to him after church and I introduced myself. He is kind of in the same pickle as Sebastian, just enjoys our company and interested in what we do as missionaries, but not interested in making commitments. Very nice guy, very thoughtful, quiet, and inquisitive. He says he will keep visiting church, and said he will come to English class as well. 

Overall it has been a good week. I learned a lot of good things in Zone training that I can improve upon, and Elder Thacker and I are continuing to trudge on and get in contact with people. We handed out a couple more Books of Mormon yesterday after church before going over to the Delgados for dinner, so that was good. I was reading in the Howard W. Hunter 'Teachings of the Presidents' manual and came across something he said that I thought was incredibly profound:

    "If our lives and our faith are centered upoon Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, nothing can ever go permanently wrong. On the other hand, if our lives are not centered on the Savior and his teachings, no other success can ever be permanently right."

So true. Though things may go well for us if we aren't living the principles of the Gospel, those moments do not last forever. It is only through the Savior and his teachings that we can expect any lasting success or joy. Those are the things that are eternal and everlasting, where we need to "lay up our treasures". What great counsel from a former prophet of God. I love you all and love hearing from you. May the Lord bless you and guide you this new week and may you be happy.

Hälsningar,

Äldste Reed 

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