Monday, January 25, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 43: Teaching Power and Gingerbread House

This week was pretty fun! It felt like we were teaching all the time! 

Last Monday the lesson with Kurt ended up going pretty well. He really respects Latter-Day Saints and has been to church once before who knows how long ago. He is just a friendly old guy who doesn't get out much, but enjoys talking and has a strong christian faith with good morals and standards. He ended coming to church yesterday and stayed for sacrament meeting! 

Tuesday's highlight was visiting our less-active active Miriam over at the hospital. We were able to get her home-teachers and Sis. Wirtala to come with us, and we all sat in the central hall and had a nice chat. It was awesome to kind of be the middle-men while the members talked with her and showed concern. Cool experience! 

Wednesday we mostly spent in the city and walked around, getting some street contacts and swinging by some old investigators. That night we had dinner with Sis. Nystedt (delicious) with the Zone Leaders, then the four of us headed to the church and watched the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast. Lots of great insights from the leaders who taught about how we can better fulfill our purpose of "teach repentance and baptize converts". 

On Thursday we had district meeting in Umeå and another delicious dinner with Bro. and Sis. Karlsson with the ZLs. That night we had a visit with Magnus and talked about Christ-like attributes and how we can develop them more. 

Friday was a very anticipated day! From mid-December, I had been texting this old investigator who was a little discouraged and struggling trying to find answers from the Book of Mormon and praying. After weeks of back and forth encouragement and doubt, we finally were able to schedule a lesson with him and got Erica Bussmann to follow with. We had a spiritually-charged lesson about feeling and recognizing the Spirit and not giving up. Elder Loertscher even committed him to being baptized on the 20th of the February and though he didn't accept, he didn't decline, and agreed to meet with us more from now on. Elder Loertscher and I really prepared for that lesson that morning in our studies and it definitely felt good meeting with him and being prepared. On Friday night we had dinner with the Iguarans, and then later Elder Loertscher and I were able to swing-by an old investigator and get to meet her. 

This Saturday we were able to have our first visit with Martin, the inspired contact from two Sundays ago. We took a walk together and taught some principles of the Restoration, and showed him how we pray. We got to know him better and he really is a humble, nice guy. He is going to continue reading the Book of Mormon and we are meeting with him again this Wednesday. 

Sunday was nice! As said before, Kurt came to sacrament meeting, and after church meetings, Elder Loertscher and I went over to Västra Ersboda and swung-by some old investigators and potentials. We were blessed with probably the easiest contact ever; Elder Loertscher stopped one guy and immediately he said "We can meet another time", and we got his number. Literally got his number within twenty seconds. The Lord blesses us! 

We have been talking a lot about "real intent" recently in our studies and as we have prepared our lessons. We truly have to have a desire and be willing to act in faith to the answers we receive. As we press forward, are obedient, say our prayers, read our scriptures, and act in faith, all the answers will come through the Holy Ghost. I know the promise in Moroni 10 is true. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week and that your faith will increase this week. May the Lord bless you! 

Mycket Kärlek, 

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, January 18, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 42: No Changes and New Blessings

Hellloooo everybody! 

So it doesn't feel like it to Elder Loertscher and I but transfers are tomorrow and nothing is changing here in Umeå. The End! Hahaha

Yes, I will talk about the week. Definitely an awesome one I must say, we saw lots of blessings and we were able to teach new people and old! 

So on Monday we had some fun with the Zone Leaders for P-Day by going out for lunch, but we had some plans change in the evening so we ended up going to Mariehem and contacted a few people while we were there. Nothing too exciting yet. 

Tuesday we had District meeting down in Ö-vik, and after spilling some Indian sauce on my shirt during lunch (it wasn't really that bad, just some spots haha), we took our train back to Umeå and spent the rest of the day trying to track down some new referrals we received, but not too much there either. 

Wednesday was the highlight day this week. We went to Mariehem in the morning to do some swing-bys and we were able to set-up a time to meet with a potential investigator named Kurt (meeting him tonight at 18:30 actually), talked to another old investigator at her door, then probably the coolest thing was finding a young man from Columbia named Jorge at a potential investigator's place who spoke no Swedish or English, just Spanish. For those of you keeping the track play-by-play at home, you probably remembered that the Iguarans come from Columbia...so after using google translate to get some information across to him that he would understand, we rang them up, and Sister Iguaran had a conversation with him, told him about the church and that it is in Columbia, and we got his e-mail address and sent it to her. Turns out the Iguarans have member friends in the city where Jorge is from as well, so we were just grinning from ear to ear after that experience. Really strengthened my testimony of the Spirit and that we have so many tools that the Lord has given us to help others come to a knowledge of the restored Gospel. For the rest of the day we had dinner with the Bussmanns, then we also got in with a 19 year old potential investigator named Viktor and taught a full Restoration lesson to him. We gave him a Book of Mormon and committed him to read and pray about it. He was pretty quiet during the lesson and mostly just listened, but he was interested and agreed to reading the book. On a side note, we saw Martin AGAIN at the bus stop on our way home for lunch so we stopped and talked to him and turns out he has already read a little in Mormons Bok, so that is exciting. Can't wait to have a lesson with him!

Thursday was mostly a swing-by and tracting day, but we got in contact with some people and taught an elderly lady on the street about our Heavenly Father and agency. The highlight of that day was being able to have a family home evening with Joseph Iguaran and his girlfriend Ema and her daughter Isa. We shared the classic story of Nephi going to get the plates using the picture book, and then we had ice cream and played the Swedish version of Parcheesi with them afterwards. Really a special experience and we all had fun together. Elder Loertscher and I both got beat by team Isa and Ema though.... :)

We did some more tracting in a different area Friday morning, did some weekly planning later, had dinner with Sis. Carlsson and Sis. Wirtala, and then met with Magnus and had our usual spirit-charged visit with him. 

Saturday we basically spent with the Zone Leaders. We had lunch over with their less-active Niels and his investigator girl-friend Cezka. She is feeling more comfortable with the idea of baptism, all we have to do now is get the two married and we are off to the races. Later that night we had dinner with the Branch President and his family and discussed the branch mission plan and how we can help as missionaries. 

Sunday was also great! After a fulfilling time in Church we had dinner with the Delangs then later Elder Loertscher and I were able to teach Jonathan and Nanette; finally! It had been awhile since the first lesson with Elder Murri and I, so it was great to finally meet with them and recap some principles of the Restoration and teach about Joseph a little more. Both are very willing and open and very interested in reading the Book of Mormon.

My lesson this week was definitely patience and faith brings blessings. The Lord was aware of us as he always is and sent us some wonderful blessings in the form of teaching opportunities and meeting new people. I love the Lord and know that he leads this work. Great things are just ahead and Elder Loertscher and I are both very, very excited for this next chapter here in Umeå. 

Mycket Kärlek,   

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, January 11, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 41: Cold, Cold, and Very Cold

Hello friends and family! 

Well it has been cold cold and more cold this week. To tell the truth it was a rather tough week, and not just because of the weather but the work was difficult for whatever reason. Just the Lord testing us and seeing how well we endure. We learned a lot about faith and long-suffering for sure this week, and my testimony has been strengthened.

Last Monday we did some shopping and picked up some winter gear, and the only other highlight was having family home evening and dinner with the Carlssons that evening. 

On Tuesday we did splits with the Ö-vik Elders, so I was separated from my son for a little bit while he and Elder Carrigan stayed in Umeå and I went down to Ö-vik with Elder Rhoades. There, we met with Vesa, a less-active guy who is pretty interesting but enjoys our company, organized some swing-by sheets and other electronic records on the Google Drive, and did a little bit of contacting through the city. Apparently everyone that night was going to the theater and didn't have time to talk. 

Wednesday we had district meeting with the Assistants and President and Sister Beckstrand, who came up to the Norrland zone to do interviews and were with our district on Wednesday. After the meeting we all went out to lunch and had Chinese buffet together. Yum! Other than that, we had dinner with the Lövgrens and Nils and his girlfriend, so it was really good to see them. 

Thursday we attempted to do lots of swing-bys but nothing really panned out there. We did give a Book of Mormon to an older lady who Elder Carrigan and Elder Loertscher had tracted into on Tuesday, and she seemed friendly but a little hesitant of meeting with us quite yet. She does know a few members in the neighborhood so we are hoping for some fellow-shipping there.

Friday saw more of the same as the day before, but we did attend two member baptisms this weekend for some eight year old saints in the branch. On Friday, we witnessed little Linda Carlsson's baptism, and after church on Sunday, we attended Felix Wennerlund's baptism. Very special experiences; always touching to see such young children of God make that special covenant. We did get in contact with one old investigator named Kristin Friday morning and invited her to the baptism that night, but sadly she didn't show.

Saturday was also rough. We had planned to meet with Emelie and Johannes as well as Jonathan (finally!) but unfortunately they both cancelled on us that day. Little sad, but we got to play Innebandy that morning and invited people on the street to come to church later in the day. 

It wasn't until Sunday that something different happened. As mentioned, we had the baptism after church meetings, then later we went with the Zone Leaders to dinner at the Kronbergs, but in the last thirty minutes of the day we saw some glimmer of light. As soon as the Zone Leaders dropped us off after the dinner, we just started walking and talked to every person we passed (which was only three because it was 8:30 in a residential neighborhood :( ) We talked to the first two guys, one from Holland and the other a native Swede that at least both stopped and talked to us for a bit. But then, as we were headed back home, we talked to a guy waiting at the bus stop named Martin. He has a Christian faith and had heard a little about the Church. We ended up giving him a Book of Mormon and got his number, and was absolutely willing to meet with us. He is busy this week but we are going to call him this weekend and set something up. That final minute of the night was worth the whole week walking through the face-peeling cold and facing obstacles and trials.      

I have a stronger testimony of faith and prayer after this week. Sometimes things just don't go your way, but in the end the blessings are worth waiting for and they do come in the end if we are patient and obedient and continue doing our part. 

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week! 

Mycket kärlek!
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, January 4, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 40 Part II: Chatty Investigators and Spiritual Meetings

Hello once again! 

Feels like I was just here a couple days ago! This is going to be pretty short but we have had some good things happen lately! 

Something fun that happened on the first day of year was we and Zone Leaders made Meatzza. The pictures will clarify :) Other than that it was just planning with the rest of the P-Day stuff. 

Saturday was highlighted by visiting Emmelie and Johannes, who LOVE talking to us! It is a little hard sometimes trying to stay focused with them, but Elder Loertscher and I are trying our best and getting better and directing the discussion. We talked a lot about Christ and how he was either the person he said he was, or he wasn't, because there is absolutely no doubt he was a real person (and of course there is no doubt in my mind that he IS who he said he was). But we had a good visit in the end, and the Spirit was felt. 

Sunday was a wonderful day for me! I felt the Spirit so strongly during all three hours, especially during the sacrament and hearing the testimonies of the members in the branch. Just a solid, strong spiritual Sunday for me, a great way to start the new year. The rest of yesterday was spent swinging by potential investigators and others. Near the end of the day however, we did get in and have a visit with two young guys from Eritrea named Fankel and Phillmoore. They can speak Swedish a little bit, don't know really any English, so the language barrier was pretty rough. They were open to listen and everything, and they have a Christian faith and believe in Christ, but Elder Loertscher and I just weren't being understood fully. Its hard as well because we don't have a Book of Mormon in their language yet. They are very willing to meet, we just need to find a way to communicate with them better so they can receive this message. 

And that was the last three days! I hope you all continue to have a great New Year, and that you all have wonderful weeks! Until next Monday! 

Mycket Kärlek  

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden


Friday, January 1, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 40 Part I: New Year and Colombian Food

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It is officially 2016! Holy Cow! The fastest year of my life has just gone by and now I am looking ahead to what this new year will bring! So far the week has been very rewarding and of course we had a wonderful New Year's Eve! I have labeled this letter Part I because we are having P-Day again in three days this coming Monday, so stay tuned for Part II then. Anyway, here is what has happened so far in the week!

Monday was a normal proselyting day, and Elder Loertscher started back up in the swing of things by doing some swing bys of less actives and potential investigators. We dropped off the last remaining plate of cookies at an investigators home and talked to her for a little bit, her name being Eva. Other highlight of the day was having dinner over at Sis. Carlsson's place, where we had delicious Cheese Cake (but not the dessert kind) and salmon. Mmmmm

More swing bys were had on Tuesday, but we also got Elder Loertscher registered for his "personnummer" so he should be good to go here in Sweden as a temporary citizen haha. We also had another member-meal with Sis. Nystedt, who invited Per-Anders (second counselor in the Branch Presidency) and her non-member friend, Astrid, again. We had a lovely traditional "Julbord" for dinner (I think that makes the sixth one hahaha), and then we got into a long,somewhat tense Gospel discussion about why we are baptized, why it is done the way it is in our church, why we do baptisms for the dead, and touched on Plan of Salvation concepts like the Spirit World. Astrid is a strong Christian, so she has some firm opinions and beliefs in her faith that made her question ours a bit. I turned out alright in the end and proved to be a very good experience for Elder Loertscher, who subtlety asked her if she would be baptized in our church if it was what Christ wanted, to which she replied yes. Later that evening we also visited with Magnus as usual and had a good chat about testimonies and signs of the times and such.

Wednesday was the grand swing-by day. Elder Loertscher and I traveled around the city and Mariehem quite a bit and contacted people along the way. We said hi to a member family and wished them a Happy New Year, renewed our bus cards, and overall had a jolly day. We had dinner with the Iguarans, who are now completely settled in and glad to be back in Umeå. Their son Joseph and his girlfriend were there (who stayed for New Years as well) and we had a yummy empanada dinner with them. They even invited us over for New Year's Eve the next day!

Thursday was New Year's Eve! We had district meeting over in Ö-vik, got lunch at Max's after, then went back into Umeå and spent a little bit of time in the city before our proselyting time ended for the day. The four of us Umeå missionaries all went over to the Iguaran's again and spent the night with them, eating tamales and rice, listening to Colombian music, and playing Monopoly with Nefi! Elder Bradshaw popped open the bubbly before midnight, and we all went outside and counted down the last few minutes of 2015. Fireworks were shot off as if we were in an air-bombing once twelve hit, blasting in the night sky. Swedes love their fireworks! Joseph even lit a good dozen or so rockets and added to the barrage. It was a crazy night, definitely the strangest New Year's Eve of my life! Who would have guessed that I would be spending it in Sweden with a Colombian family. Crazy world! 

Of course, during this time we often think about and set goals for the New Year. Some of mine are writing more hand-written letters to my family (yes, you read right Mom and Dad) and to read through the Old Testament. No matter what your goals may be, spiritual or physical, educational or recreational, include the Savior in the goal-setting process. Pray about them and tell him your plan. The Youth theme for 2016 is "Press Forward", inspired by the scripture in 2 Nephi 31:

20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.  

Ponder this scripture and keep working towards that ultimate goal of achieving eternal life.

I hope this letter finds you all safe and happy as you continue to ring in the New Year. Enjoy and have a terrific week as you start 2016!

Mycket Kärlek
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden