Hello friends and family and everyone in-between!
It is true! I am close to the west coast of Sweden in the beautiful city of Göteborg! What a change from Norrland! Back to the hustle and bustle of a major city and seeing other missionaries more frequently. But as far as the last couple days in Umeå, P-Day was spent taking a few pics of the city and then having dinner with the Kohlström family and doing some planning for the upcoming week. On Tuesday, Elder Loertscher and I spent a big part of the day with the Zone Leaders saying good-bye to some members in the branch like Daniel Pettersson, and Niels and Zezka. Elder L and I also got to meet with Henry again and read a couple chapters from the Book of Mormon. Had my final dinner with the Iguarans that evening, and also got to meet with their son Joseph and his girlfriend Emma at the end of the day. It was bittersweet saying good-bye to these people, but I am sure we will meet again and keep in contact.
Wednesday morning Elder Bradshaw and I left Elder Luke and Elder Loertscher and flew down to Stockholm together. I have to give a shout-out to my dear son, who I will miss dearly. He taught me a lot and we had some wonderful times together. After landing in Stockholm I took another flight to Göteborg, where I picked up my bags was greeted by Elder Featherstone (a former Zone Leader of mine and now once again) and my new companion, Elder Williams. Elder Williams is a supposedly shy guy at first glance, but he has a characteristic humor and we have been getting along great so far. He hails from Kayesville, UT, has two brothers, and his favorite film is "Need for Speed". He has been serving for seven months and Utby is his second area. After meeting at the airport, the three of us stayed together for most of the day waiting for Elder Halterman, Elder Featherstone's new comp. We dropped off my bags at our place, which happens to be an add-on to a member's home, so that is different, and then came to the chapel and worked on an area map, then picked up Elder Halterman that night after having his train delayed.
My first full day in Utby, we had district meeting in the morning at the YSA Institute Center in the middle of Göteborg (awesome location), had lunch at a place called "Wrapp-ed" (super good Chipotle style burritos), then Elder Williams and I did some contacting before meeting with a new convert named Lennart. Lennart is a wonderful elderly man who loves missionaries and was baptized just last year. He fed us some soup then he helped us with our Swedish as we read from Mosiah 16 and shared a message. That evening we also had FHE at the Ward Mission Leader's home and I got to meet some less-actives who live at their place as well as Chris and Sanna. Chris is from the UK and he and his girlfriend have an adorable one year old son named Michael. The mission leader is actually American and has lived in Sweden for almost 18 years. Great guy and loves giving hugs!
On Friday Elder Williams and I met with one of our current investigators named Sonyaa who has a baptismal date for April 2nd. We met her at the YSA Center and taught about the Law of Chastity (the awkward one haha). We realized that we need to question her more next time on her expectations and intentions because though she is very willing to meet she seems to be doing it out of an educational or purely informational desire. Her dad happens to be a recent convert as well and he wants her to be baptized. We will see how things play out with her. Afterwards Elder Williams and I met with an investigator named Agha who deals with some word of wisdom issues but loves the company of the missionaries and has had all the lessons before. Hopefully we can get him close to baptism and help him overcome his difficulties :) That night we weekly planning and set-up some goals for the transfer and the coming week. We had a couple street lessons as well, and got to give a Book of Mormon to one person named Kandas. We have been able to teach a lot on the street I have seen so far and it has been neat to share the message of the Restoration with others.
On Saturday we did a bunch of contacting in the city before meeting with the Västra Frölunda Sisters and with one of their investigators who just moved into our area; so we had a little hand-off meeting. The guy's name is Wikee and he originally comes from Ghambia. He bought us all hot chocolate at a coffee shop and we read from 1 Nephi chapter 1 together. Elder Williams and I did some good tracting that day as well as street contacting and got a couple potentials out of it. We really have been talking to everyone we pass and though many turn us down without a second glance, it still feels great to do our best and try. We have lots of opportunities to contact on public transportation such as busses and trams (called a spårvagn) as well.
My first Sunday in the Utby ward was great! Got to meet lots of new faces and introduce myself to many. Still working on remembering all the names though haha. I translated for Chris during fast and testimony meeting; my translating was a little rusty since Stockholm. The missionaries here are really involved in the ward and we teach regularly the Gospel Principles class as well as Young Men's. The rest of Sunday we had mostly meetings, one directly after church with the ZLs and some priesthood leaders going over home-teaching and how we can help, then later meeting at the bishops home to discuss his expectations of us and what he would like us to do, as well as Correlation meeting with Bro. Cammans (the mission leader) also at the Bishop's house. Elder Williams and I did some tracting and potential investigator swing-bys in-between some of those meetings as well.
Despite being farther South, the weather hasn't felt too much different here. We have seen cloudy skies and slight drizzles daily, mixed with some snow yesterday and today. I expect to see some Sun around here soon :) I am very excited for this new area, companion and transfer and am looking forward to the business. As we met with the Bishop yesterday, I felt the Spirit testify to me that his goals for us were true needs of the ward. It testified to me that our local church leaders our inspired of God to guide these units and to minister unto those under their stewardship. The Power of the Priesthood is real. I wish you all a great week! Take care!
Äldste Stefan Reed
Varma hälsningar från Sverige
Elder Stefan Reed
182 46, Enebyberg