Saturday, December 26, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 39: Un-White Christmas and Baking Cookies

Hej Hej! 

I hope you all had an awesome Christmas! Can't believe that another one has come and gone! 

This week was pretty exciting because of Christmas and everything; lots of delicious, traditional Swedish Christmas food was eaten like meatballs and ham, Christmas Sausage and beat salad, and pickled herrings and lots of bread. 

This week we decided to spread Christmas cheer by baking cookies and delivering them to less-actives, investigators, and everyone else in between! Last Monday I got Elder Loertscher kebab-tized (he ate his first kebab pizza!) for lunch, then we picked up some cookie ingredients and ended up running into Roger on the bus, and talked to him for a bit. We had dinner with the Branch President and his family that night as well, and we got a good list of people to swing by this week and say hey to or wish a Merry Christmas. 

So Tuesday, we had the big bake off and made a bunch of cookies with the Zone Leaders' help, who came to our apartment and joined our little party. The bulk of that day was spent swinging by people and delivering plates of cookies of course; Elder Loertscher talked to one Sister who was very happy to see us and invited the four of us over for dinner sometime in the future, so that was nice. After all our deliveries, that evening we did a little district activity; the Ö-vik crew drove up and we went into the city and set up a table serving free hot chocolate and a laptop looping the Church's Christmas video. Fun activity, and all the hot chocolate we made got drank up. 

Wednesday saw more cookie deliveries (we even made another batch), and Elder Loertscher and I made some deliveries on our own in Mariehem to a few people. The Zone Leaders picked us up in the afternoon and we did some more deliveries together. That night, the Skellefteå Elders came in, who spent Christmas with us and return back to Skellefteå tonight. The six of us all went over to Nils' place and had a Christmas dinner with him and his girlfriend that night as well. 

Of course, Thursday and Friday were the big days! The whole city was quiet, nobody on the streets as Elder Loertscher and I took the bus around, everyone inside enjoying Christmas Eve. Highlights of Thursday were having Christmas brunch with Ronnie, a single member in the branch, watching Kalle Anka (Donald Duck in Swedish), a very very swedish tradition of watching an hour long televised program of old Disney Cartoons from Mickey Mouse to Cinderella to even the most recent Disney movies, over at Åsa's house (another member), then having Christmas dinner with the Bussmann family! 

On Friday, the six of us went with the Norin Family to a special Christmas mass by the Svenska Kyrka, then we went back to their place and had brunch and relaxed a bit by watching Inside Out. After spending some time at their place, three of us scurried over to the Lövgren's and the other three to the Ottosson's to skype our lovely families. Super nice to see everyone and open Christmas presents together! The night was concluded at the Ottosson's, where all six of us had another big Christmas dinner with them and their family. I even got to see President and Sister Ottosson from Ö-vik, so that was a nice surprise! Bro. Ottosson read the Christmas Story to us and then we all watched Big Hero 6 together. And that was my Christmas! Unfortunately, no snow this time around, we have to wait next week for that...

Well, it certainly felt nice to spend the holidays with so many different people and to experience my first Swedish Christmas. As this was my first Christmas away from home it got me thinking what I am grateful for and for my family. I also thought about how Christmas is the same all over the world; we all recognize the birth of the Savior and think about the gift that he is to each of us. It is true, it's a small world after all. 

I hope you all have a fantastic week, and I wish you a Happy New Year! You can expect to hear back from me this coming Friday, next P-Day is then. Keep the Christmas Spirit in your hearts and have a wonderful day!

Mycket Kärlek    
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, December 21, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 38: Christmas Time and Language Studies

GOD JUL PÅ ER! 

Unfortunately, we don't have a full P-Day today either, so I have to keep this one a little short...

This week has bee good but crazy haha. As you all knew, we were down in Stockholm Monday and Tuesday due to the big Christmas Zone Conference. That was a real blast and I got some really good insights out of there. One of the challenges the Assistants and President gave were, "What gift are you going to give the Savior this Christmas?" After all the festivities in Stockholm, between having lunch with the Pences on Monday (Thanks again! :D), our Norrland Zone Caroling on the street next to T-Central, and lots of flights, the four of us Umeå chaps arrived back in Umeå Tuesday night. 

Some other events of the week were meeting with an investigator couple named Emmelie and Johannes, two very inquisitive Christian Swedes who had lots of questions for us. We met with them twice this week and they even fed us a little traditional swedish Christmas dinner at one of those meetings. They love us and want to meet again soon after Christmas. 

Also got to meet with Mattias Wednesday night and discussed faith in action and taught about the Word of Wisdom, which he agrees with but didn't commit to living it (yet). 

On Thursday morning as we hopped on a bus, a man named Fernado asked us if we were with a church which of course led into a nice conversation on the bus ride into the city. Turns out he is with a group of students at the University who are studying Theology and they wanted to visit our chapel and see our church services in action. We gave him our information and got in contact with his group, and his two classmates named Ida and Nils ended up coming to church yesterday and stayed for all three meetings. Bro. Carlsson led a Gospel Principles type class and we ended up talking about the whole Plan of Salvation and answering a lot of their questions about how we see God and Jesus Christ. Really cool experience; those two definitely left with an information overload haha. 

Of course, we had some a couple awesome member dinners, the members are awesome, met with Magnus again this week, his testimony is rock-solid, and Elder Loertscher and I are just busy and trying to find time to do language study everyday haha. I can't believe Christmas is upon us, I am looking forward to spending time with members and seeing my family over Skype. I know this Gospel is true, and that we have a loving Heavenly Father. Think about Christ this Christmas; what are you going to do to show him your love and gratitude?

Have a Merry Christmas! Until the next P-Day (which is this Saturday actually :D) 
God Jul! 

Mycket Kärlek   
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Sunday, December 13, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 37: Elder Loertscher and More Traveling

Hej Hej! 

Christmas is nearly upon, just one more week. The candles are shimmering and things are looking very Christmas-y over here. I have to keep this one rather short this week, because in about 30 minutes we are flying down to Stockholm for the Annual Christmas Zone Conference tomorrow. P-Day in Stockholm! With the Boy! Speaking of which, I have given birth and have a bright son named Elder Loertscher. A native from South Carolina, but has lived the last five years in Pleasant Grove, UT, which is where he left from. He actually happens to be one of the twelve visa-waiters who were spread over the States this last transfer; he spent his time there over in the Washington, Vancouver Mission (Shout out to Vancouver!), doing some good work in the city of Portland for the most part. We are getting along well and just trying to keep our heads on straight with all these crazy events as we prepare for Christmas.

Last Monday was fun, Elder Murri and had his last visit with Magnus, and we had a family home evening over at the Church with the YSA's in the branch. The rest of the P-Day was packing on Elder Murri's end, and general shopping and things for the week.

Tuesday was Elder Murri's last day in Umeå. We got all his things packed, had one last Pizza from Atlanta for lunch, dinner with the Karlsson's (reindeer meat is super delicious), and had a crazy evening as myself, Elder Murri, and Elder Dahle flew down to Stockholm. 

Wednesday was of course the big day. So many missionaries at the Väster Haninge Chapel, new and departing ones alike. The meeting was super fun, got to see lots of old faces, and everyone was safe and got where they needed to be. My greenie and I made it safely back to Umeå, and since then we have had fun attending the branch Christmas Party this Saturday, as well as meeting some new people and showing folks the Church's Christmas video. 

I would like to say more but time is short. I wish you all a good week, and hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas. I know our Savior is the true meaning of Christmas, and the one gift that we can never be too grateful for. 

Mycket Kärlek

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, December 7, 2015

SWEDEN WEEK 36: Many Splits and Visiting Skellefteå

Ja hej! 

Raise your hands if you are excited for Christmas!....Nice! This week has been pretty tiring, lots of travel and things before the big transfer week and the big day this Wednesday. By this time this Wednesday I will be a father in the Sweden Stockholm mission! Very exciting but very stressful at the same time. But anyway, here is what happened last week.

Last Monday I got to eat fermented herring again with Sister Kaarina and the other Elders(it was all their first time eating surströmming). It actually tasted better this time around as we ate it in the traditional swedish dinner style. After having dinner with her, we went over and had a little meal with another member, Sis. Nordinström. After that, I went on splits with Elder Dahle and spent most of Tuesday with him in the Zone Leaders' area while Elder Bradshaw and Elder Murri were together. 

Elder Dahle and I did a couple of swing-bys in Ålidhem and got to teach a couple lessons. We met with a potential investigator for the first time at the church, named Amina. She was super nice and interested in our faith, despite being of an Islamic background. Elder Dahle and I gave a good Restoration lesson, and got Erica Bussman to sit in with us. We gave Amina a Book of Mormon and she was super excited to read it. Right after that, we met with Sarfaraz and had a good visit with him. He is going through a few hard things, but he has an insanely strong testimony and knows that his Savior will help him.Afterwards, we met up with the other two Elders at Erland Villhelmson's place for dinner. Super funny member with lots of cool stories about his family. Elder Murri and I got back together after the dinner and went to visit Magnus. Had a good spiritually charged visit with him, as usual. 

On Wednesday, Elder Murri and I got to meet a new old investigator, named Ulla. We got Bro. Karlsson in the branch to follow with, seeing as how the two have known each other for a while. We had a good visit and showed her the Christmas video, then invited her to Church. We did some tracting in Lilljansberget and got another potential investigator from it. We also had a short visit with a less-active named Roger, who came to Innebandy on Saturday. 

Thursday Elder Murri and I went on splits with the Ö-vik Elders, which meant I was with Elder Workman again in Ö-vik! Super weird to be in my old area with my old companion. We had a good though, spreading the Christmas video with a couple people and getting them to stop and chat about it. Elder Workman brought his portable bluetooth speaker and coupled it to the iPhone, so everytime we were about to contact someone he would flip the speaker on the get the video ready. We also got dinner from Subway with a less-active there, named Vesa. Interesting guy haha. To end the day in good ol' Ö-vik, Elder Workman and I hung up a couple QR code posters that will take people to the Church's Christmas page. 

Elder Workman and I took the train back to Umeå on Friday for District meeting as well as to re-unite with our comps. District meeting was fun, we "killed" Elder Dahle and Elder Workman, then went out to get Kebab pizza for lunch. Later that day, the four of us Umeå Elders picked up some furniture for the Iguarans(who are moving up here to Umeå very shortly) and dropped it off at their new house. 

Saturday was a bit crazy. Transfer calls were released that morning, and we learned that Elder Murri will be leaving to Skövde and I will be staying in Umeå to train. In the morning, we had Innebandy at the regular place with lots of the branch young men as well as some non-members and other branch members. Good turn out that day. After that, the four of us missionaries went back to the ZL's place after grabbing some things, where we had lunch and got some weekly planning in. We had dinner with Sis. Wirtala, and one of the ZL's investigators came too, named Ranja. She has been investigating for a couple years now, has a testimony of everything, just a little worried about baptism. The ZL's taught an awesome lesson after the dinner, and then the four us boogey-ed to the hospital train station. The reason being is that Elder Bradshaw and I had to go up to Skellefteå that night. The reason being for that is that the Skellefteå Elders had a baptismal service, and wanted to use Elder Bradshaw's piano skills to provide music for the service. The reason I came along is that chances were very high that I would be staying (which I am haha), so we figured that Elder Dahle and Elder Murri needed to stay since they would be having their last Sundays in Umeå(which was the case lol). So, Elder Bradshaw and I took a two-hour bus up to Skellefteå, the second highest area in the mission. We stayed the night with Elders Burton and Kendall, and got to witness an amazing baptismal service yesterday morning. The two of us stayed for church there, and we had a great fast and testimony meeting. The new convert, Therese, bore a powerful testimony, and everybody was happy to welcome her into the branch their. Elder Bradshaw got back into Umeå at 5, and after getting picked up by Elder Murri and Elder Dahle, we went back to Murri and I's place and had a break the fast dinner together. To finish the night, Elder Murri and I did some weekly planning and made plans for the upcoming crazy days.

I have a strong testimony of the power of prayer. I know our Heavenly Father listens to us and cares about our welfare. We can always turn to him when there is no one else, and he will always be there to comfort us. I know he has comforted me and given me strength to overcome my trials.

I hope you all are as excited for Christmas as I am! Have a wonderful week and don't forget #ASaviorIsBorn. Love you!

Mycket Kärlek!    

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden