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! 


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Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden


P.S Like my new signature? :)

Monday, September 21, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 25

This has been another great week here in Örnsköldsvik! Lots of things have been done and the branch is getting stronger by every Sunday. I am loving my new companion, Elder Workman; quirkiest companion yet, and also one of the most dedicated. When have had a blast already this week, getting to know each other and setting up some worthy goals for our transfer together. Here's the low-down on this fellow
  • Hails from Draper, UT
  • Two older silbings
  • Plays the violin and piano
  • Been out on the Mish for 21 months (in the same MTC group as Elder Kapp)
  • His middle name is Reed (pretty funny actually)
  • His birthday is October 14 (we get to celebrate birthdays together)
  • Great sense of humor
  • His voice reminds me of my Uncle Pat's
Anyway, we are having a great time together, speaking swedish and checking on the Northern Light forecast nightly. 

As far as major events, last Monday was just a regular P-Day with Elder Thacker, and Tuesday contained packing for Elder Thacker and handing out flyers for a fireside on Saturday (more on that later). Wednesday was fun, as after Thacker caught his train at 9 in the morning, I got to spend the rest of the day with the Delgados and hitch along as we visited some members in the outskirts of the city as well as Kliti and then the Simonis. Elder Workman didn't arrive in Ö-vik until 9 in the evening due to train problems that day, but the three of us made the most out of our time together. 

Since Wednesday night, Elder Workman and I have been excited for this transfer and have been establishing some wicked goals. Our vision for this six weeks is "No Empty Chairs"; we want the chapel in Ö-vik to be filled by the end of the transfer. 

The past couple of days have consisted of consistent contacting and tracting, and handing out flyers for the fireside that occured on Saturday. The fireside was for all, non-members and members alike, and featured President Håkan Palm of the mission presidency discussing his book "Surviving Hitler: The unlikely true story of an a SS Soldier and a Jewish Woman". Its about the story of his parents and their lives before meeting. Great presentation, and there was a less-active who showed, two non-members the Delgados invited, and Ole, as well as members. It was very interesting and I enjoyed listening. 

Sunday was a wonderful Sabbath. Edi, Virak, and Sineth were all confirmed members of the church and received the Holy Ghost, and Edi received the Aaronic priesthood after sacrament meeting. Great experience to witness and be a part of. We also had an old investigator show up to church that we had swung by on Saturday. We had just knocked the door and asked them if they would come to church, and they said they would. The investigator is named Salima, a sixteen year old girl from somewhere in Africa. Her little sister came as well! Other things that have happened have been checking up on old investigators in the area book and swinging by them, and we have gotten in contact with a few from that. Elder Workman and I are trying our best to be diligent and have a specific goal for every hour of the day. Our planning sessions have been really meaningful. 

A little cool experience that hapened also was running into two Swedish brothers that we had contacted on the street on Thursday again last night. Elder Workman and I had been doing swing-bys, and we were on our way home when the two guys came walking down the same path as us. We walked with them for a while into town and had good conversation. Definitely not a coincidence; both are very open and positive and are curious in what we do. Just goes to show once again that the Lord is putting the prepared people in our path. 

Things are going very well here, and I am excited to see the work here shoot up. The potential is out there and waiting for us. I have been studying a lot on humility recently and have learned that the key to spiritual knowledge, repentance, and an increase in faith is being humble. As we recognize our place in the Lord's plan and accept his will, we will become instruments in his hands to witness first hand the joy of the Gospel. In the way of scriptures, here are a few that I found in my studies: 

Proverbs 15:33
Alma 5:28 
Helaman 3:35

As always, have a wonderful week, and may the Lord bless you!

Jag älskar er!

Äldste Reed

Monday, September 14, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 24

What an excellent week we had! I'll go ahead and get transfer news out of the way first. Elder Thacker will be leaving and taking a couple of trains to his new area of Eskilstuna, just west of the greater Stockholm area this Wednesday. I will remain here as District Leader and am getting Elder Workman, an Elder in Kapp and Downing's MTC group. Elder Kapp talked him up so I am looking forward to working with him. Elder Thacker is a little bummed to be leaving, he really enjoyed this area. We have done some awesome things here, which, speaking of, have happened this last week!

To start from last Monday, the meeting with Edi went very well, and he was all set to go for the baptism. Tuesday was highlighted with an impromptu lunch from the Iguarans, where we also gave Sis. Iguaran a blessing of health; she is struggling with her diabetes right now. That marks my first Swedish-given blessing. I was a little nervous, but I know the Lord understands and strengthened my weakness in the language. Later that day, we went with the Branch President to scout out some potential baptismal sites in the bay. We found some but they weren't very car-accessible. In the evening we met with the Bustamantes and gave a short lesson, and afterwards our lesson with a potential investigator didn't end up happening...blåsted...

Wednesday was fun! We got to visit a less-active fellow with the Delgados by the name of Ulf who lives out in a village called Docksta, on the way to Kramfors. He is a superb chef and fixed a beautiful turkey 'dinner' for lunch! Later, Thacker and I visited Kliti while the Delgados met the Simonis and we had a very spiritual lesson with him. His wife even sat in and listened while we talked! When we got back to Ö-vik, Elder Thacker and I visited an old investigator named Henrik, really nice guy who classifies himself as Atheist. We had a good meeting with him but he isn't one that is going to make huge progress anytime soon. 

Elder Thacker and I ended up biking all over the city on Thursday due to my poor navigational skills trying to swing-by old investigators. Poor Elder Thacker had it rough this past week too due to a cold he has been trying to get over. I think I tuckered him out by the end of the day haha. We also had a smaller district meeting that morning too because the Zone Leaders were up in Boden with the Luleå Elders. It went well, and the Delgados were kind enough to provide split-plea soup and sandwiches for lunch. 

On Friday we had weekly planning but also went with the Branch President and the Delgados to check out another baptismal location. President had done some searching and he found the perfect spot: right next to the water, cars can drive right up to it, and there were even some picnic tables to sit at. That evening, Elder Thacker and I had english class with just Poo-minh; it ended up being a cambodian class, as Poo-minh taught us Khmer and told us some history about Cambodia. 

Saturday morning we got our transfer calls, the Delgados came and checked our apartment, and we swung by the boys (Virak and Sineth) to see how they were doing. We were a little worried, because they had texted us throughout the week saying that they were having stomach pains, and had gone to the hospital twice. They were taking medicine, and gradually they were feeling better. Needless to say, we had texted them and called them everyday this week to make sure they were doing alright. We saw them in person Saturday and they assured us that they would make the date and be baptized. Our fears were hushed! Elder Thacker and I visited the Persian people again that evening and gave them persian Books of Mormon to read, then we had the weekly youth activity with the branch, where we played soccer. Good way to relax a bit before the big day on Sunday!

Yesterday feels like a blur! After having the regular church meetings everybody was a hustle-and-a-bustle for the baptismal service. We held it right after the normal church meetings, Elder Thacker and I and the boys got changed into our whites, and Edi and Besara came with some friends soon after! It ended up all working out; we only had four cars to shuttle everybody down to the water with, but we made it work! That water of the bay was cold, and after some teeth-chattering and wading in, all six of us were okay. I baptized Virak, Thacker baptized Sineth, and Elder Delgado baptized Edi. We all went back to the church after, dried off, and finished the program with refreshments ready to be eaten. President Ottoson and his wife helped out a ton in making this crazy thing work. That evening, Elder Thacker and I enjoyed a classic spaghetti meal with the Delgados and we relaxed while discussing the events of the day. 

My faith has definitely been strengthened, the Lord hastens his work for sure! I can hardly believe we pulled this off. It was a terrific week, filled with some ups and downs, but ended on a fantastic note. We are sending Elder Thacker off with a bang. What a great last week to have here in Örnsköldsvik together. I know the Lord is watchful of his children, and through "small and simple means" his kingdom is strengthened. I hope you all have a wonderful week. Kärlek to everybody out there! 

Hälsningar,

Äldste Reed

Monday, September 7, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 23: Miracles Are Real

Family and friends, I can not say in words how much we have been blessed here in Örnsköldsvik lately. 

To recap the week, our drive to Stockholm last Monday went smoothly. Long, but we took some breaks inbetween and it was a fun trip. We slept at the mission office upon arrival and then were shuttled over to the good ol' Gubbängen chapel for Zone Conference on Tuesday. Great conference, got to see lots of old faces and meet some new ones; Elder White from my MTC group is now in Stockholm zone and was there too! Fun talking with him. On the spiritual side, we received great instruction from President and the Assistants and Sister Beckstrand. I got lots of good personal revelation for myself and set up some new goals.

After the Conference, we left with the Delgados to drive back up; this time only as far as Sundsvall. The Delgados had to do some apartment checks in that area, so they dropped us off at the Sundsvall Elders' apartment for the night. On the drive up there, we got an interesting text that set the course for the rest of the week. 

If you remember, we have had some success in fellowshipping non-member youth here. There have been two that have been consistently coming to church and the youth activites since the beginning of the transfer, and they even came to District Conference in Umeå, both Saturday and Sunday. Their names are Virak and Sineth, 14 and 16 respectively, and are originally from Cambodia. Elder Thacker has really connected with them and they both love seeing us. During District conference, Elder Thacker had been talking to them and was casually asking when they were going to get baptized. He even joked and said, "How about next Saturday?" We joked and they were even agreeing to it. 

Well, back to the text. So Sineth texts us and basically asks about his baptism this Saturday. We were stunned! Apparently they had taken it seriously! We quickly replied back and explained that we had to teach them some things first. Sineth said to meet them at 4:00 on Thursday at the church. 

And boom, just like that, things began being put into motion. We take a train back to ö-vik (finally back home) Wednesday morning and made up for lost P-Day time. We also told the Zone Leaders about the situation with the two boys and had a good call with them. Thursday rolls around, and we meet with Virak and Sineth, teach them the Restoration, give them BoMs , and set up the goal to be baptized next Sunday, the 13th. They accepted, and we met with them everyday last week from Thursday, teaching them 4 out of the 5 lessons in three days and extending all the commitments to them (which they are keeping, too). Then, on Saturday, we get a call from Elder Delgado asking me when I can give a baptismal interview to Eddy Simoni. He has decided to get baptized next Sunday as well! Incredible, just amazing. Elder Thacker and I have just been anxious and energized from all this wonderful news. The work is moving forward here! 

Sunday was great, wonderful fast and testimony meeting, Ole showed up to church again as well as the boys. That evening the Zone Leaders came down and gave Virak and Sineth their baptismal interviews, and they have the official okay now!! Just have to get some logistical things taken care of this week and we should be good to go. Later this afternoon, Elder Thacker and I and the Delgados are going to see the Simonis, and I will interview Eddy. 

I honestly am so happy and just feel spiritually filled. I can hardly believe what has taken place over the last few days. My testimony of faith has been strengthened, and my faith has increased ten-fold. 

My focus in studies this last week has been in "Preach My Gospel", and there is a line in their that I really like: The gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith will bless their families, meet their spiritual needs, and help them fulfill their deepest desires. Although they may not know why, they need relief from feelings of guilt that come from mistakes and sins. They need to experience the joy of redemption by receiving forgiveness of their sins and enjoying the gift of the Holy Ghost.
The Gospel is the only thing that we need. It is the universal answer and pupose to life. My love for the Gospel has increased greatly since I have been out here. I wish you all plenty of joy in your lives, and hope that your testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will grow as well. 

Mycket Kärlek,

Äldste Reed