Monday, April 25, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 56: Street Preaching and Chapel Clean-up

Good Morning from "Göteborg, Göteborg denna underbar plats!"

Elder Williams and I had a solid week out in the field of labor, both the physical one and the spiritual. The work is still chugging along, trying to meet with more people, and still contacting and finding all the time. 

Last Monday Elder Williams and I got our hairs cut thanks to Sis. Hong, then browsed around some shops in Nordstan and walked around the city. In the evening we had a mini-party with Sadik, the Zone Leaders' investigator and Lennart, and had some homemade Falafel! Sadik is the man and cooked us up some yummy food. Had a good time! 

On Tuesday, we went out to the Hjällbo neighborhood and did some contacting and tracting there, teaching a couple lessons at doors and such. We shared a full Restoration lesson with one muslim man at his door, and met a Native American woman who had her faith in the Earth and in American Indian beliefs. Interesting stuff. After our time there, we went to Juha's place and ended up ditching what we had planned on teaching and simply read the Book of Mormon with him. He expressed that he wasn't feeling ready to be baptized on the 30th, and so we pushed the date to the 28th of May so that he has more time to read the Book of Mormon and come to church a couple more times. He is still struggling with reading daily and coming to church, still not sure why entirely. We decided that we are going to read a chapter with him every time we visit from now on and then pray immediately after with him asking if what we read is true. It has felt good the past two times we met him this week, and we are continuing to see small progress with him. After Juha, we went to the Church for the mutual activity which we were in charge of. There was some miscommunication however, but in the end we ended up playing Volleyball with the YM and YW and then made falafel for everyone since we had lots of leftovers from Sadik. 

Wednesday afternoon we went out to the Bergsjön area and tracted over in the Atmosfärgatan apartments. Had another door discussion with a muslim man, bore testimony and invited to read the Book of Mormon then left. About all you can do sometimes. We had lunch with the ZLs at Bro. and Sis. Cederberg's home, an older couple in the ward, and got to know them a little better. A visit with Lennart was after that, and Elder Williams and I got to learn some new Swedish things with him. That evening we decided to swing-by Sado, an old potential investigator from last transfer that we gave a Serbian Book of Mormon to. We were able to get in and have a decent visit with him, we mostly listened to what he had to say. We bore testimony about a couple principles from the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation, and invited him again to read the Book of Mormon which, which he hadn't done yet. Just was a peaceful visit, and though he wasn't all that interested when we first came, after we talked we ended up getting his phone number and agreed to talking more about what happens after death next time. 

Thursday was an Angered day. Did a bit of tracting and ran into a Christian man from Syria and taught about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Taught Juha again and went over the Godhead and the manner of prayer after reading a chapter from the Book of Mormon. Juha has found a job and is doing pretty well. I definitely feel those are little blessings from the Lord that have come to him since we have been teaching him these past couple months. We had a delicious soup dinner with Bishop Tittus' family that evening with the Zone Leaders and Elder Williams and I shared a cute message in relation to D&C 14:7. To close the night we had the weekly family home evening at the Camman's home. 

Zone training occurred this Friday at the YSA Center. Good teaching about being bold in our teaching and helping investigators live and understand the commandments better so as to help them on their journey towards enduring conversion. The ZLs and Elder Williams and I were invited to lunch by Bro. Koch and Sis. Lund in the ward at Marcos Restaurant and had a good time with them. Good food too haha! We went out to Hjällbo again and contacted/tracted some more, giving out a Book of Mormon to a nice African man and bearing testimony to a Swedish woman that God loves her and is real and that he will answer her if she asks. Sports Night was a bit of a bust, just Elder Williams and I and two South American young men. The four of us had a fun time though and played soccer, basketball, and some variations here and there with those. 

Saturday was the Chapel Cleaning Day where we cleaned up the grounds and did a bit of manual labor. I got to mow the grass with the classic push mower and swept up the parking lots. Nice to help out in beautifying one of the Lord's houses. The four of us missionaries then met up with Kirk and helped him out by loading some wood into his van and then pulled out some bushes in his backyard. After getting home and cleaning up quickly, the four of us then went to dinner with the Markmann family. They have a cute little family of three daughters, Bro. Markmann is actually Danish, and they will be buying some hamsters soon. In the evening, Elder Williams and I swung-by a man who we have been trying to track down, but turns out he was the wrong guy; still able to teach him a bit and gave him an Arabic Book of Mormon. Nice guy! Then, went down to the Central Station to renew our bus cards, and Elder Williams got to talk to a nice Muslim guy from Syria on the bus ride down. 

Sunday was Stake Conference, which was held in the Västra Frölunda Chapel and broadcasted to ours. Lennart was going to be ordained an Elder and given the Melchizedek Priesthood yesterday, but the lack of a stake high priest leader forced us to post-pone it. After getting home and having lunch, we did weekly planning and then went to Kirk's for correlation meeting with the ZLs. 

We had lots of great opportunities to teach this past week and it was definitely a step forward in boldness for us as we bore our testimonies and shared of the truth that we have to others who at first were ready to shut the door or keep walking. Its amazing the difference it makes by asking somebody the simple question of, "Why?" "Why don't you believe in God?" "Why would you not be interested?" It has been a little uncomfortable at times, but at the same time freeing once you step out of your comfort zone and go a little further with people. Its those times that we have been able to teach and share our message more fully with others. I recently read Jacob 5 recently, and this verse stuck out to me: 

72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.    

The Lord is with us in this work. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week and may the Lord be with you each day!

Mycket Kärlek,   
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, April 18, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 55: The Grind and Beautiful People

Hello once again beloved friends and family!

This week was a helt okej one. Got some good opportunities during the week and just continuing to progress forward with Juha and with finding here in the Utby I area. Got to meet some new people in the ward and get settled in with the new district for the next five weeks. 

Monday was pretty lugn (chill). Elder Williams and I spent some time with the other missionaries in the Zone, looked around in the Nordstan mall with the Zone Leaders and did a bit of shopping. Got some Max hamburgers for lunch which is always nice. 

Tuesday was spent a lot in the company of others, specifically members and the Zone Leaders since Elder Featherstone was headed out to Skellefteå the next day. We had lunch with a member named Gyula, a convert who is originally from Hungary and lived in Ö-vik for a while and knows a bunch of missionaries and others that I know as well! Cool connection there! He is a stud and was really a golden/prepared person to receive the Gospel. Really good guy! Later, Elder Williams and I taught Juha about the Ten Commandments and some other commandments, and emphasized obedience bringing blessings. Afterwards, Lennart was throwing a party of sorts for those missionaries who would be transferring out of the zone, so we were there with the VF missionaries and the Zone Leaders and the Watsons. Fun time, had some korv med bröd (hotdogs essentially) and then swedish pancakes for dessert. That evening we and the ZLs were invited to mutual with the Young Men, where we played Killer ball, Volleyball, and Basketball. Fun times! 

Wednesday was transfer day! Elder Williams and I and Elder Halterman sent Elder Featherstone on his way from the Airport that morning. The three of us stuck together for an hour waiting at Central Station for Elder Heiner to come in from Malmö, then Elder Williams and I went to get Pizza with Zene, our Brazilian member in the ward. She has a lot of things on her mind with college and her husband and other stuff, so we shared a short message about how keeping the commandments will allow us to prosper in the land, as Father Lehi shared with his sons. Later, we helped out our investigator Agha by carrying furniture back to his apartment from a store. We rode the bus back together and just talked and built our relationship with him. He has been calling us a lot lately and is starting to show more of a desire to read out of the Book of Mormon and study more about Christ. He is a good guy, just wants to do good, but struggles with his natural man to overcome his addiction to cigarettes. He has accepted the Gospel really, he just has to make the changes necessary in his life to live after it. 

Thursday we had our first district meeting this transfer, got to see some old faces like Sis. Hong and Elder Treat, and even Elder Richards, who is now serving in Kungsbacka in the VF district. We had a good meeting setting up a vision for the transfer of what we want to accomplish. After, we got lunch at Wrapped, then Elder Williams and I headed out to Angered and did some finding work tracting and contacting before meeting Juha. We met a funny guy named Leif who believes in reincarnation and is from Denmark. He apparently lived in Tucson, Arizona for a while, so shout out to my parents! Our lesson with Juha went well; more commandment teaching and bearing testimony about the Book of Mormon. His desire is there, he just needs to commit more and put forth his works with his faith. We have faith that he will make his date though. He just has to put in the work to gain that testimony. He is willing though, which is awesome. Did some more tracting after that then went to Kirk's for Family Home Evening. Talk about an intense one. Coffeey, one of the boarders at the Cammans place started a heated discussion with Kirk which kind of turned into Bible-bashing. Good turn-out, Agha was there as well as Chris and Sanna.

On Friday Elder Williams and I did some work over in Bergsjön, tracting a little and the like. We also swung by a Nigerian family in our ward and got to meet the kids, who are the coolest ever! Their dad, Rex, works a bunch and struggles coming to church because of it, and he is a single parent. The Kids are studs and are super nice and funny! Elder Williams and I just talked with him and I got to know them since I hadn't met them before; Rex (son) is 17 and is smart guy who likes geeky stuff like me, and his two sisters, Godgift and Favor, are pretty funny! We watched the Easter video with them from this year and they appreciated the message. They are doing well and reading their scriptures and saying their prayers, just want to get them to church more! Super fun meeting them! That evening we had to pick up the ZLs at the train station, who had MLC in Stockholm all day, so we got their car for the day; sadly, we didn't end up using it because they left us with a quarter tank of gas, so that was a bummer haha. 

Saturday was a straight Angered day. Elder Williams and I had lunch at McDonalds with our favorite member Inge Nordås then shared a message about prophets back at his place, then went out and tracted a couple of buildings and contacted in Angered Centrum. Pretty much the day, our feet and legs were tired when we got back. 

Church on Sunday was great. Agha came for sacrament meeting and Elder Williams taught about sacrifice in Gospel Principles class. I assumed my standard role of translator by translating for Chris during Sacrament then Kirk during High Priest's. After Church, Elder Williams and I did some weekly planning ("Weekly planning is the best!"), I am apparently turning into a Utah Mormon according to Elder Williams, and then we had dinner/correlation meeting with the Cammans and the ZLs. Afterwards, the four of us visited Jules, a less-active in the ward from the UK. She has an pretty interesting past and an insane life-story, can't really share too many details here, but she is a character. 

And that sums up the week! I have been thinking a lot about improvement and trying to set more goals for myself in efforts to become a better missionary and disciple of Christ. I know that through faith and obedience we can achieve the potential that Heavenly Father knows we have. Reading from Leviticus and Deuteronomy and 2 Nephi lately I have been seeing a correlation in messages, specifically if we keep the Lord's commandments we will prosper and be blessed. Something to always ponder is how well we are keeping His commandments in our own lives. Always room for improvement! 

I love you all and hope you have a rewarding week! Take care and talk to you all real soon! 

Mycket Kärlek!   

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, April 11, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 54: Staying Put and Counting Blessings

Käre vänner och syskon! 

It has been a fantastic week! Better than ones past for sure, but also I am just feeling so blessed and happy to be out here. I have been blessed so much in my service to the Lord and I couldn't be finding more joy in the work which I am doing. Struggles come and go, happy times fill your heart, and you learn to truly love everything that you have been given and to see people in the way that our Heavenly Father views us all. I really feel that I am increasing in Christ-like love and can't help but smile sometimes these last couple days. 

But enough cliche missionary mush. To cut to the quick, in terms of transfers, Elder Williams and I are both staying here in the Utby I area. To be honest, we wanted a little change, but at the same time we both felt that we would be together another six. The transfer call that Saturday morning was a little boring for us, and we were a little disappointed, but by the end of the day we were in high spirits and happy for the outcome. Elder Featherstone however is going back to one of his old areas, Skellefteå, to complete his mission there, and Elder Halterman will be getting Elder Heiner, who will be our ZLs here. 

With transfer info out of the way, lets go through the week...

Last Monday was a blast! We had a big zone activity for P-Day where we went to this little park/mountain area right here in the Utby neighborhood and played football (yes that's right, as in the American kind), ate lunch together, then hiked this mountain and had a testimony meeting at the top. Definitely a memorable experience, pictures will follow. That night Elder Williams and I visited Chris and Sanna and had dinner with them and played a card came. We also had the change to exercise the priesthood and bless Michael, their little boy, who was suffering from some sort of chest cold or nasal thing. 

Elder Williams and I caught the last session of Conference Tuesday morning, then went out to Angered Centrum and contacted around there for a bit. We ate soup with Lennart later that day and had a language lesson, then finished the day by making some calls and updating the area book. We were set to meet Juha that day but he had to cancel on us. 

On Wednesday we did some tracting over in the Atmosfärgatan area, then had a lesson with Sonyaa at the church. We even got Sis. Liljansalo to be there as well, which was a great help. Lessons with members present always go better. We reviewed the Restoration with Sonyaa and tried to find out her concerns. It seems right now just to be things like abortion and other political apsects. Still working on getting her to open up, but Sis. Liljansalo later gave us some good advice in that we should be more confident and not so shy in our teaching. If we want her to open up, we should be open ourselves. That night we went with Kirk and his wife to visit a less-active named Veikko, a member from Finland. He lives in an assisted living building and loves having visits from missionaries and others. Elder Williams and I got to know him and the four of us went around sharing scriptures from the Book of Mormon. Nice guy, definitely needs visits more often. 

We had the weekly district meeting on Thursday, then had a "funeral" and lunch for Sis. Griffes in the Västra Frölunda district, who will be going home this Wednesday. After the assembly, Elder Williams and I went out to Angered and did some more tracting in the Rannebergen area. Lots of unlocked six story buildings makes for a happy Elder Williams :). We found a few potential people there, plus some interesting people who wouldn't open the door but wanted us to yell through it who we were, but surprisingly couldn't hear us and wouldn't open up. People are funny sometimes hahaha. We met with Juha as well and had the Elders Quorum President, Magnus, come with. The lesson went really well; we watched the short Restoration movie, and talked a lot about diligent seeking and praying. Magnus was awesome and helped a lot. Once again, member lessons are better. Juha is continuing to open up more and really getting more invested in this whole process. Definitely making progress. The evening concluded with FHE at the Cammans home. 

Friday was fun! Had lunch with the ZLs and the Svahns at their place and with a bunch of others that they invited over, and Elder Williams and I shared a message about Prophets that went really well. After arriving back in our area, we started some weekly planning since it was raining anyway, then had Sports night at the chapel where we played basketball with the Young Men and Bishop. Let it be known that Americans are better at B-Ball than Swedes, just not me...

Saturday was super good! After the transfer calls that morning, Elder Williams and I went to the Västra Frölunda Chapel and attended a Baptismal service for Oscar, an investigator of about nine months. Cool experience and big turnout of people to support him. Even got to see my old comp, Elder Thacker! After the service, Elder Williams and I went out to Angered, although we intended to go to Bergsjön, but it was better we went where we did. We were able to do more tracting over in Rannebergen, but also got in and taught one of our potentials that we found on Thursday, named Jasmine! She has a crazy family situation; her dad is Muslim and her mom is Catholic, and she has family in Peru that are half Mormon and half Jehovah's Witnesses. She has investigated before and read out of the Book of Mormon and is willing to continue meeting with us. Super cool! We have high hopes for her. Found some more potentials and then eventually went home and had dinner after a solid day. 

Sunday was also awesome! Kind of a hectic morning, trying to get Juha directed to Church and also taught our investigator named Cuong from Vietnam before Church started. It was Ward Conference so we had the Stake Presidency there and lots of members in church. Juha came a little late but made it, and met some more members and seemed to have a great time. Cuong stayed for Sacrament as well and overall just a good time at the end. We had a big lunch afterwards and it was really good just talking to members and helping out with cleaning afterwards. After Church we went out to Bergsjön and did a lot of swing-bys/tracting that turned out to be super successful. A couple phone numbers gathered and lots of Books of Mormon handed out. Great Sabbath!

I have been thinking a lot about the Priesthood lately and how God has blessed us with the keys, authority and power to perform saving ordinances for the salvation of man. It truly is something that sets us apart and testifies that we are the true church of Jesus Christ restored on the Earth today. As it states in D&C 84, the "power of Godliness is manifest" by the ordinances we perform and in the power we exercise. Such a blessing!

I hope you all have a great week! Enjoy the Spring weather and every moment! 

Mycket kärlek,  
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden

Monday, April 4, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 53: Bird Poop and General Conference

God morgon från Sverige! 

Another week flown by! I had some great opportunities this week in spreading the Gospel and was richly blessed by watching General Conference this weekend. 

On Monday, we celebrated Sis. Griffes' birthday as two districts in the zone by eating lunch at Vapiano's (Italian restaurant) and then going back to the YSA center. Monday evening, the ZLs and Elder Williams and I had dinner with the Muhlemätter family. They really appreciated our visit and we enjoyed getting to know each other better. The Spirit was present and felt as we held a prayer that evening given by Sis. Muhlemätter. 

Tuesday afternoon we had lunch over at Kirk's place with the ZLs and talked about plans for helping unify the ward more. Afterwards, Elder Williams and I did some tracting over in Rannebergen before heading over to Juha's, where we set up a baptismal calendar and taught about the three Primary answers: read your scriptures daily, pray daily, and come to church every Sunday. He is accepting of what we teach, he just needs a little more drive and to act more in order to receive that confirmation by the Spirit. After Juha, we visited a less-active named Leo, where we shared a message about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Leo is a great guy, just busy with work and family matters and trying to juggle everything. The Spirit was felt and it was cool to hear his testimony about faith and to strengthen him with our visit.

Elder Williams and I headed to an unknown neighbor Wednesday afternoon and did some tracting, where we were let in by a family from Syria. The husband let us in and we talked about the Book of Mormon and God's plan, and just listened and got to know the husband and wife. They were very friendly and welcomed us back! We left them with a Book of Mormon in Arabic and they seemed fairly interested in learning more. Cool experience! We did some contacting around Angered Centrum, and met an older lady named Tatiana! She comes from South America and has a Catholic background, but was impressed to see two young men share their testimonies about Christ and accepted a Book of Mormon. We also got her number and she was interested to visit our church next week. I felt the Spirit as we talked with her and as I testified to her that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Got good hopes for her! We met with Agha as well and had a good conversation about the world, why so many religions and about our church. That evening we had dinner with the ZLs and Sis. Liljansalo, who had tried her best to invite a neighbor to our little dinner. It didn't pan out, but we had a good time anyway and it was nice to lift this single sisters' day. 

On Thursday, we went on splits with Alingsås, so I stayed here with Elder Falkner. We had an awesome day, met lots of people and tracted lots of doors, as well as explored Hjällbo. We had a nice street lesson with a man named Josef of the Islamic faith, met a guy named John from Chicago who had played pool with missionaries three years ago, gave a Buddhist lady a Book of Mormon, and had a long chat with a Christian priest/pastor from the Caribbean. We also taught Juha about the Word of Wisdom, which he is already following basically haha, and had family home evening over at the Camman's place where we ate cake to celebrate Andreas and Inge's recent birthdays. Pretty good day, learned lots while I was with my British District Leader Elder Falkner! 

Elder Williams and I got back together on Friday after district meeting, then had lunch over with the Wikanders with the ZLs. We talked about some less-actives in the ward and others that they referred to us to visit, so that was great! Later, we went over to Lennart's and did some language study with him, then in the evening had Sports night and played Soccer at a field in Kviberg.

We tried our best Saturday to invite people to General Conference throughout the day, tracting tons of doors and contacting people on the street. We were in Bergsjön, Kortedala, all over tracting different places. We found a few potentials and gave out a Book of Mormon or two. That evening we watched our first session of conference at the chapel, and watched three more sessions on Sunday the following day. General Conference was awesome! I got so many wonderful insights from the Spirit and was touched by many of the messages about forgiveness, family, teaching and reaching out to children, and the words of our beloved Prophet, who taught us to always be worthy of our priesthood and to be aware of the choices we make. I am so grateful for a living prophet, and that the priesthood keys have been restored to the earth. I love this church and am so grateful for the knowledge that I have. I know the Church is true

Mycket Kärlek, 
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg

Sweden