Monday, October 26, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 30: Delayed Greenies and Hectic Weekends

Another six weeks has come and gone, and this Wednesday will be transfer day once again. Before I get into the updates, I will take you through the week. 

Our investigator Henrik, who we have been meeting with regularly has moved to Umeå now to continue his college education and get more training in his field of work. On Monday, we lended our hands and helped him with moving his furniture and some other assorted things into a trailer to be set up to Umeå. We had some fun playing Tetris with his three piece couch as we hauled it down the stairway of the building, but eventually we got the required items down. Nothing else other than normal P-Day duties to report there, except that President Beckstrand gave us a call and said that I have been called to be a trainer next transfer!!! (More on that soon...) 

On Tuesday, we helped Henrik again with his second trailer haul up to Umeå and finished loading up all his furniture. After helping him, we had lunch with the Delgados to celebrate my trainer's call. Later, we went over to the Bustamantes and had a good visit with them, shared a few scriptures and such. 

We had planned to go to Kliti's on Wednesday, but it turned out to be his birthday, so we let him have the day to himself and his family. The Delgados were having a bit of a rough week, so we thought we'd helped them out a bit and got the car washed and vacuumed it out for them. That night, we went out to a neighborhood called "Ås" that we had scouted out last week, and did some tracting over there. Not a noticeable amount of success, but we did get a few people who were busy at the time to invite us to swing-by again, so a few potentials there. 

And then came Thursday...

So when new trainers are called, they receive a trainers' meeting the week before transfers. President Beckstrand had told me when he called Monday that I would be coming down to the Mission Home on Friday to attend the meeting, so Elder Workman and I had kept that in the back of our minds this week. The beginning of Thursday started off like most others; we had district meeting in Ö-vik at 10:30, then we went out to lunch after. We had rescheduled to meet with Kliti on Thursday at 3, but due to some things with the Delgados we were running a little late and didn't begin heading out to Kramfors until 3. Everything is fine though, and we are merrily driving on our way. As we are going, we get a text from the Office Elders saying for the trainers to check their e-mails for travel arrangements for the meeting on Friday. Elder Workman turns to me and asks, "Should we check your e-mail on the Delgados' phone?" I think for a minute, prone to say Nah, but then shruggingly say, "Okay, sure." And it was a good thing we did check, too; Elder Workman is an inspired man, no question. The Delgados give us their phone, we check the e-mail, and we see that the Office Elders had sent out travel arrangements on Tuesday, but had not texted anybody about it until Thursday. We are looking at one of my train tickets and notice that it says that Elder Workman and I are supposed to catch a train to Umeå at 4:15....On Thursday!!! IT WAS A QUARTER AFTER 3!! The Delgados turn around, we regretably had to cancel with Kliti, again, and race home, both of us grabbed a plastic bag and filled it with essentials, then went to the church, printed out our train tickets, and make it to the train station in time to catch our train. We get to Umeå at 5:22, Elders Murri and Nelson were borrowing the Zone Leaders' car for the day (blessing right there), so they picked us up, the four of us go to a member's house for dinner at a little after 5:30 (another blessing), then we race out of there to drop me off at the Umeå airport at 6:40 so I could catch my plane to Stockholm that night which departed at 7:10. I eventually made it to the Mission office where I spent the night after arriving in Stockholm and taking a tunnelbana and getting picked up by the Office Elders. 

Then Friday came...

Stayed at the office in the morning, then bummed along with the Office Elders as they picked up other incoming trainers for the meeting. We all get to the mission home and have a wonderful sloppy joe lunch, and have a great, spiritually uplifting meeting. Elder Johanson, who I haven't seen since arriving in Sweden, will be training, so it was great to see each other, along with Elder Richard, who will also be training. At the end of the meeting however, President Beckstrand stands up and says, "Well, Satan has gained a small victory here..." He then goes on to tell us that the incoming missionaries have been delayed due to visa problems; this news was startling to all, and came unexpectedly on Wednesday to President's attention. So, all twelve of us will still be training, we just have to wait for our greenies for most likely another transfer. With that news, the mission has a shortage of missionaries right now and will be closing down a few areas temporarily for this next transfer. 

Despite the hard news, I still came away eager to train from the great meeting we had. The rest of Friday I spent in Stockholm, and got the chance to attend the Stockholm/Täby wards Halloween fest that night, where I saw lots of old familiar faces, to beloved members and missionary friends, and even Karim!! Super fun night! I went home with the Stockholm Elders after the festivites, none other than Elder Aabo and his greenie Elder Cox, then took two trains back up Saturday morning and reunited with Elder Workman in Ö-vik that afternoon, who had been in Umeå this whole time with the other guys. 

The Delgados and Elder Workman and I had lunch with Carlos at his new house, then later went to the church for the weekly youth activity.    

Yesterday marked my last Sunday in the Ö-vik branch. We got transfer calls Saturday morning while I was on the train, and I will be moving to Umeå to be companions with Elder Murri, who has just completed his training. Going to be an odd transition, since I will still be District leader and see Elder Workman and the Delgados regularly. Anyway, Church on Sunday was very good, most of the seats were filled in the chapel and I gave a talk and vocal musical number in sacrament meeting. Elder Workman and I did a few swing-bys in the afternoon, and then had dinner at the Delgados with Ole again! 

It has been an interesting time here in Ö-vik, filled with strange happenings and special spiritual experiences as well. It isn't a true goodbye yet, since I will only be a hop, skip, and a jump away. This weekend I learned that the Lord gives us uncomfortable situations so that we can grow and learn more than we would have otherwise. I know he truly loves us and trusts us more than we trust ourselves. I am very excited to be working in Umeå with Elder Murri and look forward to what lies in store.

Until then...
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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

Monday, October 19, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 29: Buying Gloves and Scouting Missions

Hallå allihopa!! 

Things are getting colder up here, let me tell you. Last Monday I had to do some shopping and bought some gloves to keep the hands warm. 

This week was better than last, although just a tad slow in terms of the work. Tuesday felt like a really solid missionary day. We got some area book updating done in the morning and gathered our records together, then went out in the afternoon and swung-by some old investigators; one said they were too busy to meet during the fall/winter, but the other opened up and we set an appointment with him for Friday. We got a good amount of street contacts too as we traveled, and even had a solid conversation with a nice old woman who was walking her dog. She ended up accepting a Book of Mormon by the end of it. That night we also taught the Bustamantes as usual with the Delgados present as well. By the way, the purse has not been found, but keep praying!

Wednesday was Elder Workman's birthday! We had a yummy breakfast and later that night celebrated at the Iguarans house with the Delgados, where they fed us dinner and made the birthday Elder a cake. Also on Wednesday, we met with Kliti and got Edi to sit in with us, and talked about repentance a bit. Kliti wants to get baptized so badly, but he knows he has to stop smoking, so that is the next step.

District Meeting was held in Umeå on Thursday, where we celebrated Elder Workman's birthday again for a bit by singing and eating some kladdkaka. When we got back in Ö-vik, Elder Workman and I decided to go on a little walk and find some new neighborhoods to do some finding work in. We did find one for future reference, and as we were walking back home, we contacted a girl from a Christian background and gave her a Book of Mormon and our information. As soon as we said we were missionaries she just sported a big smile that lasted the whole conversation. We even said a prayer with her....well, she prayed in her own way as we said one, anyway. 

Friday was the start of some service projects that we helped with. In the morning, we taught the guy we got in contact with from Tuesday, whose name is Harry, and he happens to be the only registered Phillipino man in Ö-vik. Fun fact that he shared with us :) We gave him our "Seed" lesson and he liked it. Probably going to start meeting with him regularly. After that, we ended up helping the Branch President in moving in one of the Mong daughters and her husband, who just arrived from Cambodia. The man is so nice, but cannot speak any Swedish and can speak only a little, little English. He is also a non-member, but the two have been coming to Church these last two weeks since obviously the Mong daughter IS a member. Elder Workman and I moved some furniture and boxes and got our exercise in well that day. The usual English class was held in the evening, and we had a decent turn-out and played some good games with the attendees. Ole showed up as well, and afterwards, Elder Workman and I and the Delgados had great conversation about the Gospel and how it has affected our lives. Even though he isn't interested in the religious aspect of things yet, as he left that night Elder Delgado turned to me and Elder Workman and just said with a grin, "Someday!" 

Saturday was fun. In the morning, we went to the church and watched a streamed broadcasted meeting about family history held in Sundsvall with the branch. We struggled with loss of the stream and some technical issues, but we caught the gist of it in the end. After that was done, Elder Workman and I went home and did some weekly planning, then went back to...you guessed it...the Finnish Gypsie to help her again with moving things. We brought Elder Delgado along and we moved some furniture pieces and took some more stuff down to storage. Elder Workman even walked her cute little dog. We had the youth activity also that night, and after Branch President Ottosson gave his spiritual thought, we all played Uno while eating candy and drinking tea (herbal, mind you). 

Sunday was very special. The two Brethren who hosted the Family History meeting for the District in Sundsvall came to our sacrameet meeting yesterday and held talks and then taught the second hour lesson. They also installed two new computers here to be used for Family History, which Elder Workman and I are gladly using and appreciating. No more cramped quarters in the aptly named "Vault" (this floor of the building used to be a bank before it became our current church meeting house, true story). Anyway back to Sunday. After Church services, the Delgados and my companion and I (I need to think of a cool name for our little group of four here...) drove to Kramfors and held a sacrament meeting in Edi and Besara's home. Kliti came as well. It was very simple yet very special and spiritual. Edi exercised his newly received priesthood and blessed the bread and water, Elder Workman and I passed it, and then the two of us gave talks like any normal sacrament meeting. The Spirit was very strong and everyone in that room was touched and felt God's love. Not an experience I will soon forget. The Fantastic Four drove back to the Delgados after we concluded, where we ate dinner, relaxed, and reflected on the day. 

Today, we helped out our investigator Henrik move some furniture as he makes his final arrangments to move to Umeå this coming week. We were able to load up his rental trailer with the big furniture, so we helped him out quite a bit. Hence the reason for the late emailing. 

This week taught me a lot, lots of good personal things that I need to work on. The Lord strengthens us when he sees our willingness to try, I know that. We can always have positive attitudes and be grateful for the things the Lord has blessed us with. As it reads in Alma, this time on Earth is "the time for men to prepare to meet God...the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." We have to always be reminding ourselves of this and make sure we are on the upward climb towards that day. 

I know this work is true and that God loves each of us. May he continually bless you all :)


Mycket Kärlek

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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

Monday, October 12, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 28: Finnish Gypsies and Fighting the Cold

Hello alla! 

To be honest, it was a pretty bumpy week. Thankfully, the last few days were decent, but hopefully things will be better this coming one.

Monday was just a normal P-Day, not a whole lot there. Tuesday however was pretty weird. So two Sundays ago we got an online self-referral. A Swedish woman had requested a Book of Mormon so we gave her a call and got in contact with her. She lives outside of Ö-vik, so we kept in contact with her until she said she would be coming into Ö-vik on Tuesday. Elder Workman and I were way excited to teach about the Book of Mormon, Restoration, we thought it was going to be solid; then we met...This woman has a christian faith, but she basically just wanted to see what is in our church and what is in the Book of Mormon. She talked more than we did, and usually that is a good thing, but not in this case. Too put it shortly, she said we are following false doctrine, God does not have a physical body, the Revelation 22:17 argument, sorry for us because we will not be saved, the whole nine yards. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she is going to read it all, but she is not doing it in the right Spirit. She is already decided on her beliefs and is not willing to accept other things, but yet wants information and knowledge on what we believe...

After that lesson, Elder Workman and I both knew the Spirit hadn't been there. We had tried to testify and share some scriptures with her from the Book of Mormon, which she gladly read with us, but we could hardly get a word in edge wise. She wants to meet with us again and hold contact, though, she thinks we are nice boys. 

I felt pretty low coming out of that "lesson". I had not experienced someone directly telling me my beliefs are false doctrine; competely new experience for me. Directly after that, the Delgados and Elder Workman and I drove over to a help a Finnish lady who happens to be a gypsie do some fall cleaning and move some things to her storage. It was good ol' fashioned service, and it helped get my mind off the previous events of the day. That night I prayed extra hard for the Holy Ghost to be with me.

On Wednesday, we had splits with the Zone Leaders, and I went up to Umeå with Elder Featherstone. Our day was pretty good, we went over to a less-active's and made american style pancakes and had a message with his non-member friends. Later, we met up with a guy named Thomas and had a good restoration lesson with him. It felt good to share my testimony about restored truths, and I even felt to extend the baptismal invitation to him. Though he didn't accept now, he said when he feels that its true he will absolutely get baptized. 

District meeting was held in Ö-vik, and there we ended splits. Elder Workman and I and the Delgados drove out to Kramfors and had the regular visit with Kliti and the Simoni's, repectively. Kliti is doing alright and has read nearly all of Alma. We helped answer his questions and showed him how to access the chuch's websites so he can read/watch Conference talks and other things. When we got back into Ö-vik, we also had a lesson with Henrik, and watched Elder Marino's talk from Conference with him. He seemed to like it but still is not recognizing the Spirit yet. 

Friday was comprised of weekly-planning and the like, and then a fun English class where we played Scattegories. 

Saturday was a very solid, fulfilling day. We did some classic trakting, got lots of street contacts, and got in touch with some more old investigators. Though we didn't get anything too positive, we were still proud of all that we did during the day, because we were busy and trying our best. An unfortunate incident happened to Sister Delgado that night, though. We were tending to a mini-garden that the branch youth had planted, and somehow Sister Delgado's purse was lost or (hopefully not) stolen from the car. She has not found it yet, and it had some mementos and driver's license and other important cards in it, so any prayers on her behalf would be greatly appreciated. 

Sunday was rather empty in Church, but Henrik came to church for his first time! The members that were there were friendly and we think he had an overall good experience! Later, Elder Workman and I got in touch with another old investigator, and we had a lovely dinner with the Delgados. 

Though the week was a little bumpy at the start, things turned around in the end. Elder Workman was physically struggling as well as he contracted a cold on Tuesday and has been fighting it since. Despite the lows, I felt the Spirit many other times last week and am solid in my conviction to the Gospel and my testimony. I KNOW that the Holy Ghost is real and has touched my heart and mind. I cannot deny the things I have felt. They are not coincidences or self-created dillusions; the power of God is REAL and this Gospel is the message of eternal joy and salvation. 

Elder Workman and I have taken up Elder Durrant's "Ponderize" exercise and are ponderizing Alma 32:42. It has helped and given me good things to think about, I would encourage you all to try it as well if you have not.

Here's wishing you all a wonderful week filled with happiness and love! I love you all and thank you for your support and love!

Until next 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

Monday, October 5, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 27

God eftermiddag!

What a wonderful weekend we just had with General Conference! Really boosted me up and was exactly what I needed to strengthen my missionary fire. 

Lets just get right into it and cut to the chase. Decent week, with some decent work accomplished. Last Monday, we went to visit Ulf in Docksta, had a delicious lunch, then got a tour of some super cool Swedish Churches; one was built in the 13th Century!! In the evening, we had FHE with the Iguarans, and upon learning that my birthday had happened last week without their knowledge, they baked a cake and held a mini-belated celebration. 

On Tuesday we made some flyers for General Conference and made some paper slips that we handed out during the week to our street contacts. We got to share a little message with the Bustamante family that night and tried to encourage them to be member missionaries, then we had a good lesson with our friend Henrik. That guy has some serious questions hahaha. We just need him to understand the importance of being sincere and really living after the teachings of the Gospel; that is the only way he will know its truthfulness. 

Wednesday was highlighted by doing some more swing bys, and then we had a great lesson with Maarit, an old investigator with lots of potential. She is middle-aged Finnish woman who is super polite and kind, very open to our teachings. We had a great lesson about "The Seed" and increasing in Faith. She understands that these things are a process, which makes us excited that she wants to make some sincere progress in the Gospel.

We had a short district meeting in Umeå with the Assistants in the attendance Thursday morning, then did some more contacting with the Conference handouts and did some more swing-bys. Friday was spent doing weekly planning and then the usual english class. The Mongs brought Salima to it, and she had a good time. 

On Saturday, Elder Workman and I had the opportunity to go to the Karlsson's and help on their farm. With Winter coming, they had a couple tasks they needed extra hands for. We ended up pulling up some old plants and vegatables, and picked TONS of potatoes. One of their sons, Gustav, came down from Umeå and helped as well, and they currently have a woofer (farmhand I think) from the States over helping as well, named Caitlyn. We were there most the day, and then returned in the evening to make sure Conference was up and running at the Church. Of course on Sunday, we showed the other sessions and stayed at the Church all day. We caught the Saturday Morning Session live, as well as the Sunday Morning session live. It was a little sad that none of our investigators or anybody else showed up to any of the sessions, but hey, maybe next time. The Delgados were there and so the four of us had an enjoyable watching the Prophets speak together.

After watching the sessions and taking notes from the speakers, I really got lots of applicable council. My questions I had taken to the Lord had been answered, and my testimony has been strengthened. Some of my favorite talks included Pres. Uchdorf's from Saturday morning, Elder Andersen's on faith, and many more. We can never stop trying as members of this church. We must always been living after the commandments of the Lord. Our faith must be stronger than ever in this world today. The Gospel, in its beautiful simplicity, is available to all, as well as the eternal blessings of our Heavenly Father included there in. The Church is run by strong leaders; I have a testimony that Elders Rasband, Renlund, and Stevenson are ordained Apostles of Christ. I am thankful for them and for the great council that they will give us in the coming years. 

I encourage you all to take care of your "Seeds." Take Alma's council from Chapter 32 of his teachings and "nourish [nourish] them with great care." By living the principles of the Gospel, your faith will increase, your love will grow, and you will start to see the fruits of your nourished tree. Hold fast to the Iron Rod and trust in Heavenly Father.

I love you all and thank you for your thoughts and love. Have a wonderful week! "God be with you 'till we meet again!"

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Äldste Stefan Reed

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fb/Kungsholmen_stockholm_sweden_20050609.jpg
Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden