Good Morning from Gothenburg!
Hope the weather is treating you all well and that you each had a wonderful week! It seemed that this past week we did a lot of things with ward members and individuals and strengthened relationships with others. The drudgery of negative responses from our finding efforts was a little wearing, but I learned some good things this week and feel that the Lord is still with me and teaching me the things I need to learn.
Elder Williams and I spent the rest of P-Day last week checking out the Nordstan mall, a popular attraction here in Göteborg. Lots of clothing stores and shops. We took the evening to organize our area books and get some records and things in order as well.
Tuesday afternoon we went out to Angered and tracted an apartment building and showed a few people the new Easter initiative message, before being picked up by the Zone Leaders for lunch with the Sis. Svahn and some of here friends. We also showed them the Easter video and brought the Spirit in as we talked about Christ and his sacrifice. After getting back into Göteborg (the Svahns live a little ways out), Elder Williams and I dropped the ZLs off at an appointment and borrowed their car to pick up some things for mutual that night, which we the missionaries would be leading for the Young Men. The activity turned out great! We did a little relay race with the guys and then made pancakes and talked about the importance of daily scripture study and prayer. Made me reflect on my experience in Young Men and realizing how important these simple things are. It was fun to be on the other side and to be able to show these growing teenagers that the Gospel is so meaningful and important.
On Wednesday, I traveled with Elder Dean to the land of my father, Alingsås, for splits. Elder Kapp was trained in this city two years, so it felt special to be there and see the sights that he saw for twelve weeks. Alingsås is a quieter little city, very quaint and Swedish. Elder Dean and I went to a little community outside of the main city and did some tracting over there, and also some swing-bys and tracting in the neighborhoods of Alingsås itself. Elder Dean and I had a good day, despite not seeing too many results. We did get stopped by a less-active member as we were riding our bikes around who expressed the desire to have visits from the missionaries more and gave us her number, so that was neat.
Thursday was pretty fun! Elder Featherstone and I had the opportunity to visit a "high-school" religion class and talk about our faith, what Mormons believe, why we are here as missionaries, etc. and answer their questions. We had lots of fun and got the kids laughing, gave lots of information, and answered all their questions with confidence. There were some deep doctrine questions though, let me you haha. We kept it simple while at the same time being respectful and clear. They all seemed to enjoy having us there and it was a neat experience for me, this being my first time doing something like this. Afterwards, we ended our temporary splits, and after lunch at the ZLs place, Elder Williams and I had a short visit with Lennart, then headed over to Kirk's for Family Home Evening, but also to give Kirk a blessing. The four of us layed our hands on his head and Elder Williams gave him a wonderful blessing. Kirk was so appreciative and couldn't thank us enough. It is always special to exercise the power of the Priesthood in the service of God's children.
We held our weekly district meeting Friday at the Institute Center and discussed how we can increase in hope as we strive to be "All in" missionaries of the Lord. Afterwards, Elder Williams and I and the ZLs were taken out to lunch by three sisters in the ward and we had a lovely time with them. It was touching to hear how missionaries have been a strong part of their testimonies and how we are always the constants in the ward. We learned some good insights from them on things we can do to help the ward become more unified and more like a family, because many of the members are up there in age and are feeling lonely and more separated from the younger generation. After lunch, we had a lesson with Juha, a Finnish-Swede investigator, where we taught him the Plan of Salvation and committed him to read daily from the Book of Mormon and pray. We did some tracting later that night before visiting Inge Nordås, the blind member in the ward who we visited last week. He had had a rough day and expressed his concerns with us, to which I felt an outpouring of sympathy. I couldn't help but weep as I listened to this man express his struggles; I felt so much love in that moment and desired strongly to help him. We taught a practice lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I pondered on the principle of enduring to the end as we taught. We have to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters and show that we truly care; that is a part of enduring, is helping one another in that same journey. As we left, Inge told us we had cheered him up and that he appreciated our visits so much. It felt wonderful to know that we had lifted someone up on their bad day.
On Saturday, the ZLs and we visited with Lennart together and discussed his plans for doing a little campaign to spread the message of Easter next week. Elder Williams and I also had lunch with Sis. Zene Lundgren, who bought us soda and pizza. My first encounter with Göteborg kebab! After her, we had a meeting with a former investigator which turned into a debate about Justice, Mercy, why we need a Savior/Mediator, and God's plan. This man was of the Islamic faith and had strong opinions and beliefs. Needless to say we left feeling frustrated and a little depressed, with the addition of rejection on all of our street contacts as we made our way back home for weekly planning that evening only adding to the hurt. Elder Williams and I talked a lot that evening about how it went and reaffirmed our faith and testimonies. I agree with a remark by Elder Williams: "The more I meet people of other faiths and learn about what they believe, the more it supports my testimony of this church and that it is the true one." Amen
Sunday was refreshing and a needed respite from the previous day. I felt the renewal of the Spirit as I took the sacrament and listened to talks on the Book of Mormon during Sacrament meeting. I translated for Chris again during sacrament meeting as well as for Kirk during third hour in High Priests'. We did an investigator to come to sacrament meeting that we have been waiting to meet named Cuong. He is a referral from the Västra Frölunda elders and is very close to baptism. He has been taught nearly all the lessons and we will be meeting with him this coming Friday. We have faith we can set up a baptismal date with him :) The four of us missionaries were invited over to dinner with the Gjaeram family and had a delicious meal with them. We showed the Easter video and I felt the Spirit reaffirm the truths of the Atonement and Resurrection as we had a closing prayer together. Elder Williams and I later tried to swing-by some less actives, but with no luck there ended up tracted a building and gave two Books of Mormon out and got two potential investigators! We closed the evening by having correlation meeting over at Kirk's house.
I having really learned how important it is that we reach out to our neighbors and friends and family and hold contact with each other. A simple phone call to say hello, a surprise visit, or a brief letter can go a long way. As we reach out we will be lifted ourselves and feel more the Christ-like love that is charity warm our hearts. I know that Jesus Christ lives and bear my testimony that he is the First Comforter and the Redeemer of the World, our Mediator with the Father. I am so grateful for the testimony I have and for the times that it has been tested and made stronger. May you each have a wonderful Easter week and remember that because of Him, we can find new life.
Äldste Stefan Reed
Varma hälsningar från Sverige
Elder Stefan Reed
182 46, Enebyberg