Hej hej allihåpa!
I am convinced that the longer you are out on your mission, the faster the weeks fly by. What happened this last Monday or Tuesday feels like it happened a year ago. Perks of becoming older, I guess. To get right into things, last Tuesday was pretty busy. In the afternoon, we met with a less-active member named Chris over by the city library. We had a really good visit with him and got to understand his situation a lot better. He is a super friendly guy, loves and respects us missionaries, and is originally from Kenya. His real concern is the Book of Mormon, but he said he is too busy to read it regularly due to his work as a bus driver. The observant Elder Murri noticed some headphones dangling around his neck as we talked, and so then suggested that he could listen to it as he drives. Genius (Elder Murri is the best, honestly)!!! After meeting him, we did some contacting around the city, then went to the chapel to meet an investigator named Ian. He only had literally three minutes to meet, so after saying an opening prayer, he took a Book of Mormon in simplified chinese (he is from China :)), a letter from Elder Murri's sister who served a mission in Taiwan, then booked it. He will be in China until the new year, so follow-up will occur after that. Also, I got to help Elder Bradshaw teach Sarfaraz, the zone leaders baptismal candidate. We watched the Restoration movie and bore our testimonies about Joseph Smith, and Sarfaraz loved it.
Wednesday was also busy! Met with an old investigator named Konrad who has known Mormons for quite awhile, but unfortunately he is content with knowledge he has and doesn't want to take further lessons or come to church. Very friendly guy though and always happy to sit and talk over some tea (herbal, that is). Elder Murri and I then did some contacting in the city again, and decided to keep going past our lunch time. We were feeling good haha. Later, we did some tracting over in a neighborhood called Mariehem, and found a potential investigator who said we could come back on Friday (more to come shortly...). That evening, the four of us Umeå missionaries were fed dinner by the young men in the branch over at the chapel. Tacos, Yum!
Thursday was marked by the usual district meeting, held in Övik, which went really well thanks to the great missionaries in the district. Good discussion about commitments and diligence, plus some fun role-plays on the side. Once Elder Murri and I and the Zone Leaders got back into Umeå from taking the train, Elder Murri and I did, yet again, more contacting downtown before going over to the Bussman's for dinner. The zone leaders brought Sarfaraz along as well, so it was a great opportunity for him to form closer relationships with the branch members. He was very excited for his baptism this Sunday (more to come shortly...). After dinner, my diligent companion and I went to Mattias and had a fairly good lesson with him. He did his Book of Mormon reading no problem, but still struggling with the prayer part. We really testified about prayer and how we don't have to know everything in order to speak to our Heavenly Father. Plus, we invited him to the baptismal service on Sunday. Elder Murri is confident that he will get past this concern soon, though.
So Friday morning was interesting. Remember last Monday how we and the Zone Leaders did some tracting in the afternoon and Elder Bradshaw and I found Jon? Well, Elder Murri and I went back and turned out the door to his hall in the apartment was locked; it wasn't the first time. So Jon is still in the unknown territory right now. We also swung-by some other potentials that Elder Murri and Dahle had found, but alas, no answer or not interested after all. However, we swung by the guy that said we could come back on Friday, and his girlfriend answered and said that he wasn't home, so come back later. After coming back home, eating lunch, and doing weekly planning, we did just that. He was home, and Elder Murri and I got in and had an awesome first lesson with him and his girlfriend, named Jonathan and Nanette. They both were really interested and open, accepted a Book of Mormon, and said we can come back again! Yes! Later that night, we did some tracting and ran into a Jehovah's Witness family who knew exactly who we were and invited us in for ice-cream. We had to decline due to time, but we talked a bit at their door and learned that the mother has relatives who are members (Mariotts). Small world. Very friendly and welcomed us back another time haha. To end the day, we had a visit with our strong member friend Magnus and shared an uplifting message.
Innebandy was played Saturday morning like last week, got back home after and ate lunch and changed, then met with another old investigator named Jörgen. Elder Murri and Elder Dahle had met with this guy last week, so I got to meet him for the first time then. The lesson didn't go exactly as planned, and to cut the story short, he returned his copy of the Book of Mormon to us; he had read the whole thing, and felt like he had fulfilled his promise to the original missionaries who he first met that had committed him to Moroni's promise. He hadn't felt anything and is still atheist, which saddened Elder Murri and I. Elder Murri left him with a powerful testimony though, and he has been dropped as an investigator. Our spirits were lifted back up though by having dinner with the Branch President and his family, the Vinterflods. Tacos, yum!
Sunday was a big highlight for Sarfaraz and the zone leaders. Sarfaraz got baptized after church as well as confirmed a member in it. Wonderful experience and the service went smoothly and spiritually. How blessed we were all to see this man's conversion in such a short amount of time. Not really though, because he had been searching for the truth for about nine years. And now, he found the path! The four of us missionaries as well as Sarfaraz went over to the Delangs for dinner, and we had a good time there. More member fellowshipping for Sarfaraz!
I have been thinking a lot about the Gospel and the Plan our Heavenly Father created for us. I know the plan is real and that we all have the opportunity to follow it. It is merciful and achievable to all. The comfort that we receive from this knowledge is unparalleled and is the greatest peace we can have in this life. I leave you all with Alma 34:32. This life is the time to exercise our agency and learn how we can become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is real and his hand is there to save us, so grab hold.
Äldste Stefan Reed
Varma hälsningar från Sverige
Elder Stefan Reed
182 46, Enebyberg