Good morning allesammans!
We have officially chased away winter with the celebration of Valborg this past Saturday, and the sun is beginning to shine ever brighter here in the land of Gothenburg. Elder Williams and I have had another interesting week here in the Utby area, teaching on the street and knocking on doors encountering ever more new faces.
Last P-Day, the ZLs and Elder Williams and I spent most of the day together, having lunch at IKEA, browsing a sports store for sporty clothes, and playing a board game with Chris and Sanna. To end the day, Elder Williams and I went out to Bergsjön to do some swing-bys and tracting and got in with a man from Somalia of the Islamic faith who committed to reading the Book of Mormon.
We headed out to Kortedala in the early afternoon on Tuesday and tracted a bit, giving out a couple Books of Mormon at the door. We had lunch with Sis. Zene and the ZLs over by her place, then went out to Angered to have a visit with Agha. We gave him a Book of Mormon in Thai (not sure why he never had been given one since its his first language) and then went out to McDonalds and had a nice meal with him. We were going to meet with Juha, but he cancelled on us, so we ended up doing some tracting in Angered and met a guy named Jack. Jack is from Iraq and has a background of being muslim, but has a Christian girlfriend and is open to discuss religion with others. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and about the Gospel of Jesus Christ a little bit, and gave him a Book of Mormon in English with the promise to bring one in Arabic. We got his number, he was more than willing to meet again, and as we were leaving his door he reminded us not forget the Arabic Book of Mormon when we visit again. Awesome guy! We are going to meet him this coming Wednesday so looking forward to that.
We went on Splits with the Alingsås Elders on Wednesday; Elder Treat and I had a great day together! Did some tracting in the early afternoon, had lunch with the ZLs at Kirks place and helped him with is member map that he is working on, then had a Swedish lesson with Lennart where we worked on the letter "U". Elder Treat and I ran into one woman from the Congo while tracting who said we could come back and share more, and gave a couple people Books of Mormon. In the evening we swung-by Rex and his family, and shared a scripture with the kids from the Book of Mormon. After scoping out some tracting areas in Bergsjön, we headed back home to end the day.
Elder Williams and I reunited at District Meeting Thursday morning, where Elder Falkner taught us about the Word of Wisdom and teaching it more effectively. We snagged some lunch at Pizza Hut with the District afterwards, then Elder Williams and I took the tram over to Angered and tracted a bit before meeting with Juha. We had a really good lesson with him; read from Alma 32 together, which he really liked, and set-up a new baptismal calendar with him. Our relationship with him has changed so much since the first time we met him. He has opened up so much to us and we three are just good friends now. Still working on getting him to read from the Book of Mormon on his own. Afterwards, we had dinner with Sis. Liljansalo and the ZLs, then went over to FHE at the Cammans place.
Friday was definitely a memorable day. After the normal morning routine, we headed out on our way to Angered, when we contacted one man on the street and ended up standing there talking for 2 and a half hours (really). His name was Robert, and he is a member of the Jehovah's Witness faith. We talked about a bunch of different topics, from the Bible to God's Plan to the Book of Mormon. He was curious as to what Mormons believe since he didn't really know, so the conversation was of course all over. Basically, we didn't really get anywhere with this man; we bore testimony of the Book of Mormon multiple times and invited him to take one and read, but he wouldn't. After that big chunk of time, we both felt it necessary to take a quick snack break upon arrival in Angered. We tracted a bit over by Juha's without too much success, then went home and changed for Sports Night, but nobody showed up so we ended up doing weekly planning.
Saturday was Valborg! Before ending proselyting at 5:00 PM, Elder Williams and I worked hard and did a bunch of tracting and swing-by work in Kortedala. We were able to teach a few people at the door, and had another incident with a Muslim man who let us in to his place only to preach to us, then got upset when we began to bear testimony and teach him in return. It was a rainy day, but despite that we pushed through and did some good work, and found some new places that we can tract in the future! We went back home and had classic chili dogs for dinner, then went to the park where we had the Zone P-Day activity a couple weeks back and gathered with some other missionaries in the Zone to have our own little Valborg celebration. We built our own fire, listened to exquisite poetry from Elder Treat, and sang some songs in the drizzling rain. Fun time for sure!
Sunday was super uplifting! Had the privilege of participating in Lennart's ordination to the office of Elder and his receiving of the Melchizedek Priesthood. The Priesthood Power is real. Sincere, heartfelt testimonies brought the Spirit to my heart and gave me a great spiritual renewal from events of the past week. Lots of less-active came to church, all of Rex's family(his three kids and himself), Juha stayed for sacrmament meeting, and I got opportunities to talk to other members I didn't know so well. Plus, taught Gospel Principles class. We basically bummed along with the ZLs the rest of the day since we had all the same places to go. Had a delicious grill dinner at the Ludwigs, left super stuffed of delicious meats, stopped at the ZLs to make some calls and do some language study, then had correlation meeting with Kirk at his home. Great day overall!
To close, I thought I would share an insight I learned this week in my personal study. Reading from Mosiah 12:27, Abinadi exhorts to the wicked priests that they "have not applied [their] hearts to understanding". A footnote from the verse guides one to Mosiah 2:9, where King Benjamin admonishes the people to "open [their] ears that [they] may hear, and [their] hearts that they may understand, and [their] minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to [their] view". If we desire spiritual knowledge and guidance, our hearts have to be open to the Spirit, the one true source of pure truth. We ourselves are the ones who decide to open our hearts or not to the Spirit, it will not force itself into us. I know that to be true and I know that through faith and humility the Spirit will reveal the revelation and guidance that we need.
I wish you all a wonderful week! May the Sun shine ever upon you all!
Until next time,
Äldste Stefan Reed
Varma hälsningar från Sverige
Elder Stefan Reed
182 46, Enebyberg