Monday, February 22, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 47: Year Mark and Zone Training

Tjena Tjena! 

This has been a fast week with lots of events and teaching! Going to try and sum up everything and keep it brief as well.

Last Monday we had dinner over with Iguarans and joined their little family home evening. Afterwards we went over to the Umeå Östra Station with the ZLs and helped coordinate and shuttle all the Norrland Zone missionaries for the Specialized Zone Training on Tuesday. Elder Loertscher and I successfully hosted two other companionships in our humble abode.

The training on Tuesday was wonderful! I gained lots of great insights on conversion and how I can take better accountability for myself and my area. Also learned that I need to do a better job of conversing with members and getting to know them better, to show that I care about them and to help build unity with the ward/branch that I serve in. Afterwards, Elder Loertscher and I went home and made some phone calls and got some stuff set-up with our investigators. 

On Wednesday Elder Loertscher and I met with Henry again and read through the Introduction to the Book of Mormon and 1 Nephi 1. Henry was really engaged, reading out loud everything and asking us for help when he didn't understand something. The Spirit was there and it felt great. Something about reading from the Book of Mormon with others just feels wonderful. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the Book of Mormon is inspired :) Later that night we had dinner with the ZLs and Sis. Carlsson, then Elder Loertscher and I did a bit of contacting in the city to end the night. 

Thursday was my year mark! I have now been a missionary for a full year! Crazy how the time has zipped by. We had lunch with Daniel Petterson and he showed us pictures of his recent trip to Egypt. We also got to meet with Shafi Mohammed, a street contact from a couple weeks back. He has a muslim background, and to be honest it didn't go exactly how we had planned. Rather rough lesson. He is super nice though and wants to continue meeting. We had dinner over with Ronnie and the ZLs that night as well, then did some tracting later in the evening. 

Niels and Zezka invited us over for lunch with the Zone Leaders so we went there and also did some service by helping them move some things into storage. We began splits with the Ö-vik Elders that afternoon and I stayed in Umeå with Elder Carrigan while my son went to Ö-vik with Elder Rhoades. Did a good contacting session in the city together, had dinner with the Iguarans that night, tried to swing-by a potential investigator, then called it good. 

Saturday morning we played Innebandy(small group, four others besides the missionaries), got back and changed and ate, then did some contacting by the train station before Elder Carrigan went back to Ö-vik with Elder Rhoades. The two of us had a good time and learned that Elder Carrigan is a master chess player. After getting back together with my Son, we had dinner over with Bro. Lars Norin, then had a lesson with our other Muslim investigator named Sardar. That lesson went super rough too. 

Sunday was refreshing though. Great Spirit during sacrament meeting and the rest of church meetings. After church the ZLs and us stopped by Zezka and Niels', who were having a little birthday party for Erica Bussmann, another member in the branch who just turned 22. We ate some hamburgers and donuts then went on our way. We had dinner with the Kronberg family that night and after sharing a message and eating some Magnum bars, Elder Loertscher and I went home and did weekly planning. 

If there is one thing that I know without a doubt it is that my Savior Jesus Christ loves me and atoned for my sins. Jesus Christ is the only begotten son of the Father who was chosen to fulfill the purpose of cleansing us from our sins. He has fulfilled the requirements of Mercy and made it possible for us to return to our Heavenly Father's presence. Without him we would be subject entirely to justice and would be lost in a fallen state. Because of him we will overcome death and stand before our Eternal Father. I know this because I have felt the loving embrace of the Savior in my life. I have had experiences that confirmed these things. I hope that each one of you and all who read this will come to know that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer, Creator, and Savior of the World.

Have a wonderful week,
Mycket Kärlek  

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, February 15, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 46: Bad Weather and The Wedding

Well how are you all doing? Hope life is treating each of you well. This week was awesome, lots of cool things and neat experiences. In terms of work it is still slow and steady, but Elder Loertscher and I are dedicated to making these (possibly) last two weeks here in Umeå together incredible. We can get Monday out of the way by saying that we had planned on meeting Roger the less-active Monday night, but he cancelled, so we took a walk and contacted some people then got pizza for dinner. 

Tuesday was actually really cool! We went into downtown and contacted people down the streets and ran into a man named Shrok from Iran. He had only been in Sweden for two months so hardly any Swedish and no english, so we resorted to Google translate and communicated to him in his native persian using the app. While we were "talking" another man who turned out to be from Kurdistan and could speak Persian noticed us and helped translate for us. We were able to get Shrok's number and told him that we had a book that would help him come closer to Jesus Christ. He was very happy to hear that and excited to meet with us again (more on that soon). We also swung by a referral from Sis. Kaarina, and got in with them! His name is Henry and he is an older fellow from China. We drank tea with him (we taught him what herbal tea was haha) and just had a nice chat and got to know him. He possessed a chinese copy of the Book of Mormon, but said that the translation is weird, so we left him with an english copy have scheduled to meet with him this coming Wednesday to read from it together and study it. We also taught Kurt that night, and taught about the importance of the sacrament and covenants in general. Kurt is so close, very spiritual man and really inquisitive and ponders a lot. We learned at the end of the night from the Zone Leaders that Niels and Zezka were going to get married on Saturday! We were so excited!! (more and that also)

Wednesday was good too. We did some more walking over by Lilljansberget and ended up contacting a guy on the street then got into teaching him about how we can recognize the Spirit and really recognize what is coming from God. It was cool because at first when we stopped him he was about to keep walking and just waved us off, but then stopped, turned around, and asked us if we do this thing (proselyting) every day. Fairly young guy, probably college student, but he really seemed conflicted and listened intently to what we had to say. We left him with a card and he walked away saying "I know where you guys are" (he had mentioned he knew where the chapel was over in Carlshem). Cool street lesson. We had lunch over with Niels and Zezka that day; they had wanted us to come to dinner with the Zone Leaders Tuesday night but we were busy so they invited us over for lunch that afternoon. Super cool to visit with them and talk. That night we met with Emelie and Johannes finally!! Last time was before New Years! They fed us dinner and taught us a little about Swedish, and we told them that next time we were going to show them the Restoration movie. 

Thursday was the infamous "no lesson/tracting-and-contacting" day haha. Lots of walking that day. Got a street lesson with a guy named Anton who happens to be related with members in the branch. We told him a little about the Plan of Salvation and gave him our information. He said he has an interest in all religion and enjoys learning what others think. 

We had district meeting on Friday in Ö-vik, and after getting our train delayed 30 minutes, we got back into Umeå and met up with Shrok at a local grocery store! We gave him a Book of Mormon in Persian, was very grateful and said he was going to read it when he got home. We did some more google translate communication. We are going to see if Sarfaraz can help us with the language barrier, because the Zone Leaders said he might be able to speak Persian. After walking a bit with Shrok and departing ways, we got back home and got picked up by the Zone Leaders for dinner at Bro. Villhelmssons place. 

On Saturday, we played Innebandy as usual, had a fun and intense time, then Elder Loertscher and I went back home and did some weekly planning. Then, the big moment of the week. NIELS AND ZEZKA'S WEDDING!! It was held at the church in the chapel and conducted by District President Håkan Stegeby. Those in attendance were ourselves, the Zone Leaders, the Ö-vik Elders (Elder Rhoades knew Niels from having served in Umeå a year ago), and Bro. and Sis. Lövgren; so a fairly small ceremony. It was so beautiful to see. We ate cake and pies and ice cream (Elder Luke put his baking skills to the best and made some good treats) afterwards and all talked and laughed. Very short and simple but perfect at the same time. The Spirit was there and we were all so happy for the newly wedded couple. Next step, the temple! 

Normal church meetings on Sunday, with some teaching by President Stegeby on keeping the Sabbath holy in third hour. We and the Zone Leaders went over to Niels and Zezka's for dinner and had some delicious fried chicken over rice. So amazing to think that they were just married yesterday. Afterwards, all four of us taught Zezka about the Commandments continued preparing her for baptism. 

In terms of the weather we have gotten a ton more snow and many days this past week were rainy and wet, so not too many people were out and about. Even so, we are getting things set-up with other investigators and continuing to press forward. I have been reading from Alma pretty heavily lately and have wound up in the war chapters. Personally some of the coolest chapters in the Book of Mormon in my opinion. So many lessons we can learn from them. One of the main themes I have seen is the principle of obedience and putting the Lord first. As Moroni led the Nephite forces in defense of their liberty and families and faith, Helaman and his bretheren continued to preach the Gospel to the people and make sure the spiritual welfare of the people was intact. The Nephites placed the Lord first and found success in their battles. I know from experience that the Lord more richly blesses us as we are diligent in heeding his commandments and acting in faith. 

I am so grateful for the things that I learn everyday and I hope you all are continuing to learn and grow in your own lives. Take care and have a wonderful week one and all! 

Mycket Kärlek,  

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, February 8, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 45: Mycket Service and Miracle Contact

Hello friends and family far and wide! Good to be writing to you all once again on this Monday afternoon! This week was slightly slow, but things are still moving ahead little by little. Line upon line over here in Umeå. 

On Tuesday we took a good little walk from Liljansberget back home in the morning and got to contact lots of people. We met a elderly gentleman who explained for us the traffic policy for walking on swedish sidewalks, because apparently we weren't following them hahaha. In the evening we taught Fredrik again with Erica Bussmann at the church, and clarified some things about the Plan of Salvation and Pre-earth life. He committed to reading from the Book of Mormon and praying daily, and gave the closing prayer to our lesson, so that was awesome to see! We had dinner with Magnus and the Zone Leaders that night as well and we all shared our different reasons for going on missions. Great to hear from each other and to hear our testimonies about missionary work. 

We did some more walking and contacting over by where Mattias lives and contacted one guy as we walked past the church. He said he know a member in the branch and that the member had invited him to church in the past and had seen missionaries before. He was hurriedly on his way to lunch, but we briefly mentioned that church starts at 11 every Sunday and we went our ways (more on this man later). We had waffles over with Niels and Zezka, the Zone Leaders less-active and investigator respectively, and helped assemble their new kitchen table and other furniture. Zezka is really becoming more open with us and the idea of becoming a member and now has a baptismal date for the 27th of this month! Super exciting!! Apparently she has had a dream about getting married in the Salt Lake temple, so her and Niels have a goal of getting sealed there as soon as they get the chance! 

We did splits with the Zone Leaders on Thursday so I went with Elder Bradshaw into his area. We had some good teaching appointments together and taught a couple solid Restoration lessons. We really just think similarly and work well together (which means we probably will never be comps haha). The two of us went back over to Niels and Zezka's and taught her the first lesson, and the Spirit was definitely there. She really has shown a change of heart from the time I first met her. At first she thought talking about Church and religion was awkward but now she is all ears and listens intently and has a sincere desire to become a member and to receive the Gospel. The doctrine of changing our hearts as taught by Alma is true, that I can testify of. Also that day, the four of us missionaries helped Lovis Kohlström and her boyfriend Hugo move into their new apartment, so lots of fun lifting things and moving beds and so forth. They thanked us by buying pizza :) 

I got back together with my son on Friday after we had District meeting. We did some weekly planning that day and had dinner over with the Carlssons. 

Guess what happened Saturday? That's right, Innebandy! Still sucking at it and easily the worst missionary out of the four of us, but at least its a fun game. The four of us also visited Sister Kaarina and had a fika with her, then shoveled snow from her driveway so she could get to her car. 

Alright, so now to Sunday. Remember that contact from Wednesday? Well, HE CAME TO CHURCH!! That is the first time that has ever happened on my mission! The guy's name is Erik, and he is a music teacher and likes learning about history. He sang along to all the hymns, said amen to every testimony that was bared in fast and testimony meeting, and was over-all super respectful and listened intently to everything! We had a lesson with him and Bro. Erik Carlsson and basically went over the Restoration and what makes this church different. He gladly accepted a Book of Mormon and is excited to read it, and said that he really appreciated all the testimonies and that he would come back again. We took his number and are looking forward to working with him! Definitely a huge blessing and a testimony to me of fasting. Plus, the branch has just begun its twenty-one day fast, and I have no doubt Erik is the first fruit of that fast. As for the rest of Sunday, we broke our fast with the Zone Leaders at Sister Wirtala's over potatoes and reindeer meat (soooooo gooood). 

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful week. Things are progressing here slowly but surely; it is a constant roller coaster over here with bug climbs and low drops, but that is how it is. I am so very grateful for the many blessings I have received and seen and am happy to be serving.

Mycket Kärlek!

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, February 1, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 44: Zone Training and Push-Backs

Hello everyone! 

Things are still going fine here! Just a normal week here in Umeå. Still trying to meet with lots of people but they just keep rescheduling on us...but we did have some good things happen. 

 Last Tuesday we did mostly just did tracting over in Ersboda, but we did get in with a very friendly practicer of Islam. He mostly taught us, we couldn't get a word in edge wise really. We talked about different scriptures in the Bible and he promoted the Koran to us. In turn, we invited him to read the Book of Mormon so that he could strengthen his existing love for Christ. We'll see if he becomes someone a progressing investigator.

Wednesday we had lunch with the Zone Leaders over at Sis. Raija Tegman's, after some more swing-bys in Ersboda, we were able to visit with Mattias, the first time since before Christmas. It was a very question-orientated lesson, going over Moroni 10 and talking about the Holy Ghost, but the Spirit was notably there and Elder Loertscher and I both felt at peace walking away from it. Mattias is going to decide he has a desire to receive an answer, and then from there we can see where he goes.

So everything on Thursday fell through (all four lessons), which led to lots of walking around and contacting and a few houses tracted. Good day, taught us that maybe we need to make better back-plans haha. 

We received excellent training by our zone leaders Elder Luke and Elder Bradshaw last Friday. I got some really great insights on repentance and how I can do a better job of teaching through listening. It was fun seeing the rest of the Norrland Zone and saying hi to some old faces and meeting new ones. Other than the training, we had dinner at a member's home that night and had a funny street contact lesson with an older lady who didn't believe there is a meaning to life. 

Saturday was the usual Innebandy, and after having dinner with the ZLs over at Sis. Kaarina's, Elder Loertscher and I visited Roger, a less-active who Elder Murri and I had tried to stay in contact with. The man has lots of stuff on his plate between his three children who all live in different cities, so his life is pretty hectic. He expressed a desire to come to church and wants to read the scriptures and pray. Hopefully we can continue to help him in the coming weeks. 

I have been reading a lot in Alma recently and really finding so many applications to our day. The Book of Mormon was really written for us. The Spirit will testify the truth of things to us, we just have to open our hearts and have faith that we will receive. The seed will grow by our constant care and diligence, faith, and patience. 

Have a wonderful week and continue to change and grow to become more like Jesus Christ. 

Mycket Kärlek, 

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden