Monday, July 25, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 69: Increased Faith and Pressing Forward

Hi everyone! 

Things have been a bit crazy these last couple days. Very busy with a myriad of things from helping out in the program of a wedding anniversary, chopping down a tree, and seeing the insanity of the ever-spreading craze of Pokemon Go. I will have to really keep this one short due to time, but hopefully pictures will be enjoyed as compromise. 

Elder Dickson and I had a fun time with the Malmö Elders (Duke and DeMourdant) visiting a place called Trelleborg and seeing a viking museum and fort. Elder Dickson and I also cleaned up our apartment in prep for an apartment check the next day. We got to have lunch with a less-active and her son and got to know them better. We have done a good bit of that lately, visiting members both active and less-active and leaving simply messages to lift them up and also getting to know them. That is a big strength in this area is the relationship of members and missionaries, and we are doing our best to strengthen that with everyone. 

Other highlights included going on splits with the Malmö Elders. I got to go with the DL Elder DeMourdant and have a day in Malmö, where we visited with a new convert and shared a message about the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the help of a prospective Elder in their ward, and also did some tracting and contacting, and got into a discussion on the street with a man named John about proof of God and the Book of Mormon. Also home taught a member couple from South America and we got to see some of the husbands paintings, very beautiful art. 

Got back to Lund that night and the next day we went out to the Ahlströms for service, this time to cut down a tree. The chainsaw that Bro. Ahlström used broke (thankfully after he felled the tree), so the four of us Elders had to chop the branches and then the tree into logs by hand with handsaws. Super fun actually, and super manly! Later that day we went out to an area called Hurva to visit a member family, but the dad forgot and we had a short, kind of awkward door lesson with his daughter who was alone at the house. The member called and apologized later that he had forgotten, but it left feeling that it was worth it in the end. 

Friday and Saturday consisted a lot of helping out with the anniversary of Hyacinth and Annie Anyanwu, a very strong couple in the ward well-known by many. After district meeting Friday morning, we Lund missionaries helped set up tables at the church where the anniversary would be held the next day. Elder Dickson and I also met with a less-active couple in Lödeköpinge(?) who fed us a super spicy dinner and we shared a message about the Liahona and being guided today. Great couple, they really appreciated the visit and it was fun getting to know them and their interesting backgrounds (Indian and Kurdish for those interested).  

Saturday was the big Anniversary celebration! We were part of a choir singing songs written by Hyacinth, finally being able to sing the songs in front of him after hours of practice spent the past couple weeks. Cool experience, that couple has really had an influence on many here. I remember Elder Workman expressing great respect for them and sharing memories when he served in Lund. That took most of the day, but afterwards we were able to get some weekly-planning done. 

Sunday was a much needed relief to the craziness of the week. I gave a talk in sacrament meeting about how the Book of Mormon has brought me closer to Christ, and without notice, Laila and Bengt, the older Swedish couple that we had helped with family history work came to the second hour of church and were able to get help from a member in the ward who is a pro with genealogy work. Their desire to do family history work is still burning bright! After having dinner and having a visit with one of our neighbors who sees us all the time, we swung by some less-actives and found success with the people we contacted on the street the Lord placed along our way. Got some phone numbers and shared good messages with many who actually stopped and listened, though they maybe didn't accept it. We haven't been able to get in contact with the other potential investigators we got the previous week, which is a bit frustrating, but we have hope and faith that things will turn up. 

I have pondered a lot about faith this past week as well as weaknesses and why we are at times faced with so much opposition. I found great comfort from the words of Moroni recored in Ether 12. The path to perfection to becoming like our Heavenly Father and our Savior is not easy. It requires that we go through certain weaknesses so that we can be polished and refined into the glorious children that our Father knows we can become. I am grateful that we have a loving Redeemer who paved the way for us, by coming unto Him in humility so that we can make us whole and help us transform our weaknesses into strengths. 

27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them theirweakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humblethemselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weakthings become strong unto them.

While we may not be able to remove our weaknesses, we can learn to see them in the way that our Heavenly Father sees them: steps of learning for our spiritual growth and eternal progression. I love the Lord Jesus Christ and know that he can change our attitudes and desires if we use the power of His Atonement. 

Have a wonderful week and a fun summer! 

Mycket Kärlek,
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden

PICTURES: 

Streets of Lund

Streets of Lund

Comp pics from Trelleborg!

Photos from the Viking Museum in Trelleborg

Photos from the Viking Museum in Trelleborg

Photos from the Viking Museum in Trelleborg

Photos from the Viking Museum in Trelleborg

Photos from the Viking Museum in Trelleborg

Yes, I was the last to run from the falling tree; little slow on the uptake... :)

Live long and prosper

Landscape shots from the Hurva area

Landscape shots from the Hurva area

Cows!


Pics from the Anniversary

Pics from the Anniversary

Pics from the Anniversary

Pics from the Anniversary


Monday, July 18, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 68: Following Guts and BYU Assault

God Förmiddag!

Let's just get right into things here! 

First P-Day in the Malmö zone last week! Went over to Malmö to a castle-turned-museum called Malmöhuset, lots of really cool art exhibits and old Swedish furniture and paintings as well as cool rugs and other stuff. Had an aquarium there too, plus we walked over to a neighboring technical museum and walked in a submarine. Fun time! That evening was correlation meeting with our very dedicated ward mission leader; talked about goals and mission plan and other things of the like. 

Tuesday turned out to be a funky yet super fun day. We had some service planned with a member in the morning but that fell through, however the rest of our activities held out. We met with Stig in the afternoon and had a fun lesson about D&C 4 with him, he ate it up haha! Later, we met up at the center with Samuel, a YSA who is working on his mission papers, had a lesson about Moroni's promise, then went out contacting with him for a short bit. Elder Dickson found one guy named Aron who is friends with another YSA and got his number and gave him a Book of Mormon. YES! Later that day we had song practice at a members house in preparation for the anniversary of a member couple in the ward that will happen this coming week. 

We did get in some service Wednesday morning with the other Elders and the Sisters over at the Ahlström family's place, doing some landscaping on their property and painting their playset. I got to paint some boards white; my first time painting! After being fed lunch and coming back from that, we did studies then went over to the center and did some swing-bys of less-actives nearby. Later had language study with Hannah, another YSA in the ward, and then ward council followed by some contacting in the city to finish the night. 

Super effective morning on Thursday! Got lots of phone calls made and set up stuff for the coming week, it was like Christmas came early! We then went over to Stig's since it was his birthday and ate some cake together with him and one of his non-member neighbors! We had a good chat on Jesus Christ since this man is also a Christian and shared some other things regarding our belief in continuing scripture and revelation. It was a pleasant conversation, though not sure how much the man wants to actually investigate, he was pretty set in his beliefs. After that, we headed over to Hjärup to the Schanner's for dinner and shared a message about D&C 14:7 before eating some yummy dessert. The evening closed with some contacting and a visit with some YSA bros who were grilling some korv outside. Fun day! 

The transfer-ally zone training was held Friday in Malmö; we received some great training on continuous personal revelation and being guided by the promptings of the Spirit. For zone lunch, we ate at a popular Chinese buffet called "Miss Asia", and I got to talk with Elder Thacker who is currently training in Karlskrona as well as Elder Higgins. Upon arriving back in Lund, Elder Dickson and I headed home and did weekly planning, then later had a language lesson with yet another YSA, Emma, and contacted a bit before; we had an interesting conversation with an agnostic woman named Matilda, and found a cool couple that had investigated the church previously. 

Saturday was packed with stuff. In the morning we met up with a man named Sergio who is married to a member in the ward and went out to his bicycle repair shop to help him fix up and repair bikes for his business. We were accompanied by a friend of his nephew who comes from Chile and can't speak Swedish or hardly any English as well, named Joaquin. We had a fun time getting to know each other and left more knowledgeable on the workings of bikes, and even had lunch at Biltema together. We then hopped over to Hjärup to help our ward mission leader move some furniture, then hurried to the Institute center for a quick meeting with the Elders quorum presidency on home-teaching. THEN, we hurried over to the church to meet with an elderly Swedish couple who had contacted us yesterday to meet up and help them with some family history. The wife loves family history and while I helped her search for some documents on FamilySearch on one computer, Elder Dickson chatted with the husband about the church. Super nice couple and eager to meet again and do some more. Also might be coming to church next week for the Family History class alone haha. Yet after all of that, we went back into the city and did some contacting and talked to some awesome people, ran into some American members by an outdoor concert in Stadsparken, then on our way home decided to get some pizza and ended up meeting three more awesome people. I learned that Spiritual impressions can come in the form of pizza cravings haha. Zahra, Jonathan, and Sara. Remember them.

So to add a little more clarification to the week, we had been running into BYU students all throughout the week due to a Study Abroad group coming through and visiting different European countries, including our own Sweden in the city of Lund. So, all 60 of these students with a few faculty (we ran into the teachers Saturday night) attended our ward yesterday, so meetings were packed and the chapel was full. On top of that, Joaquin, our new friend from Saturday came to church and I sat with him during all the meetings and luckily we had members in the ward who can Spanish so they translated for him. Super cool! Crazy but fun Sunday! Elder Dickson and I and the Sisters went over to a member's for dinner after meetings, then Elder Dickson and I ended the night by doing some contacting and ran into a Muslim from Ghambia. And that was the week in a nutshell haha! 

So as you can see, things are just busy and fun over here in Lund. Elder Dickson and I have been talking about weaknesses and trials and why some of us have a hard time acting on righteous desires lately, and we came to the conclusion that it takes active faith, meaning action is included in the process of hoping and desiring. There was a part of Preach My Gospel that I read through recently that said: "You will find more people to teach as you testify and allow them to feel the power of the Holy Ghost".  
As we bear our testimonies of restored truth, that is when we will find success. Not only will we help others, but we ourselves will feel successful as we strive to share of our knowledge. 

Have a great week everyone!

Mycket Kärlek, 
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden

PICTURES: 

Malmöhuset

Beautiful Paintings and rugs

Beautiful Paintings and rugs

Don't touch that!

Tekniska Museum exhibits

View from the Institute balcony (you can see the Lund Cathedral in the background)

Crops and other buildings shots

Crops and other buildings shots

Crops and other buildings shots

Crops and other buildings shots

Outdoor concert!

Sister's spotted us contacting

Dinner at Simon's!

SARA GOT BAPTIZED IN UTBY YESTERDAY!!

Monday, July 11, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 67: First-Week Fire and Old Sweden

Greetings from the Southern Land of Skåne! 

I feel like I am in Sweden again! Lund is a beautiful city with so much old, rich architecture and history, and a myriad of sites and places to see. Our district here comprises of the two sets of Elders in the Malmö area and the three companionships in Lund, which includes Elder Dickson and I and then Sis. Bourelle and her greenie Sis. Wagner, and Elder Adams and his greenie Elder Pack. Transportation includes riding bikes often and then the general city bus system as needed. Elder Dickson and I are having a jolly old time, talking about old times in Stockholm and reminiscing on our missions. It was a bit sad leaving Göteborg, that place just has a different feel to it. Great things lie in store for us here in Lund though, I know that. 

To catch up on what happened in the days before the change, we can go back to Monday and Tuesday. Basically, hung out with other missionaries at the YSA Center for a bit, ate some hot dogs in celebration of the 4th, and walked around Göteborg a bit. Also went to a shopping outlet with the ZLs so Elder Heiner could get his last couple Swedish clothing items before heading home. The evening was spent at Kirk's, grilling up some hot dogs and brats and talking about America. Good 4th! Tuesday was the big transfer day for me and a couple others. In the morning, we drove out to Alingsås with the ZLs to FSY (similar to EFY, big event for youth all over Sweden and other nearby places) and there with other missionaries in a small choir perfomed the number "Come Thou Fount" to open the morningside devotional. Cool time, got to see some familiar youth faces from other areas I have served in. Other events of the day were finishing packing and final transfer preparations, said good-bye to Lennart and Kirk and Valentina, and then headed to the train station where Elder Cragun and some the other trainers in the Zone headed to Stockholm and Elder Linchenko and I headed to Skåne together. Nice train ride, played some card games and talked a lot, then we got into Lund where Elder Linchenko caught another train to his area (Kristiansstad). I was welcomed by Elder Dickson and Elder Bentson, and we headed back home with my stuff and had dinner. 

The three of us were in a tri-pan until Elder Bentson left to transfer to Alingsås at around 12:00 Wednesday, and after that it has a been a rush of work here in Lund. Elder Dickson and I have done lots (I mean lots) of street contacting these last couple days, finding interesting people to talk to like Indian and German tourists as well as a British man who took a Book of Mormon and a Belgium couple looking for geocaches. We attended Ward Council Wednesday night (super effective and efficient), taught a practice lesson with a YSA member, and got a language lesson from another on Thursday. 

I have already gotten to meet a handful of YSA's in the ward, one being a super awesome RM who served in Japan and went with us on a teach with an old investigator named Bert. The Ward mission leader is very dedicated and on top of things, expecting nothing less than hard work, and one of the counselors of the bishopric set me up to give a talk in two weeks. Other people include a recent convert named Stig who is the most enthusiastic fellow I have met haha he absolutely loves the Gospel and making new connections as he continues reading the Book of Mormon. We had a cool experience on Saturday where we taught two guys from Syria who had met missionaries in Helsingborg and are new investigators now. Lots of good things happening basically haha. 

Sunday was a blast, all the classes were taught super well, good talks given, and members were friendly and welcoming. Its scary how organized this place is, its almost mechanical hahaha. Very well run ward, to say the least. Elder Dickson and I were kind of having a slow day after church, but we decided to go out to a neighboring city in our area called Dalby and swing-by a less-active there. As it turned out, he let us in and we had a nice short visit talking about the Holy Ghost and where he is at right now. He is working on discovering his personal spirituality right now and trying to learn more about Jesus Christ, and we shared some scriptures from the Book of Mormon and testified of the Holy Ghost revealing truth. We left feeling upplifted and grateful that we had swung-by, it was the right time to do it. 

I'll just wrap up here by sharing the spiritual thought I left with President Beckstrand:
"As I have been reading about the Savior's ministry to the Nephites, I have marked the relationship of Christ to the Holy Ghost, and how the two relate to each other. I pondered this scripture from 3 Nephi 28, verse 11: "...and the Father giveth the Holy Ghost unto the children of men, because of me". The Holy Ghost is essential and required in order to receive a testimony of Jesus Christ, and at the same time, because of Jesus Christ enabling us to repent thanks to His Atonement, we are able to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Pretty cool I thought. It really is because of Christ that we enjoy all these amazing blessings."

I hope you all have a great week! Here back from you all real soon! 

Mycket Kärlek,
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden

PICTURES: 

Found this cool Handball tournament going on in Göteborg! Partille Cup!

Ran into some American kids!

4th of July at Kirk's!

Saying good-bye to Prince

Good luck with Training Cragun!

Good-bye times before the train

Lennart's good-bye

Bye bye to the Cammans

Elder Dickson!

Quick shot of a church in Lund (stay tuned for more and better pictures)

Monday, July 4, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 66: Big Transfer and Seeing Celebrities

Holy Cow I'm leaving Göteborg! 

I think this is the first time I have come to the close of my time in an area and I have found myself wanting to stay another transfer. All my past areas, it felt right to leave when I did, but with this one I just want to stay because the Lord is truly preparing people here and I want to continue being a part of it. I know however that Elder Cragun and his son (yes, that's right, Elder Cragun will be training) will take good care of Utby 1 and that they will find continued and increasing success here. It has been a precious blessing to see the Lord's hand here and I will cherish many memories made here. 

So where am I going you might ask? I have been assigned to go down to the land of Skåne and serve in Lund with an old friend, Elder Dickson (my second district leader back in Stockholm). I will also be "killing" him since this upcoming transfer will be his last. I have heard awesome things about Lund and its super dedicated ward, having had a companion who served there as well as other mission friends who have had nothing but good things to say about it. Going to be an adventure! 

For events during the week, there has been lots of things going on due to the news that Elder Cragun would be training as well as some others in our zone, plus the last week of a transfer is always busy as a rule haha. We had a fun time on Monday browsing the Midsommar sales at Nordstan, as well as checking out some other places and even happening to see Bruce Springsteen coming out of a hotel/bar. Turns out he had a stop in Gothenburg for his tour this past weekend. In the evening Elder Cragun and I taught Sara about some commandments which she was more than willing to accept, including the Word of Wisdom. Already she has made huge progress by going from 10 cups of coffee a day to just half a cup. Incredible how the Lord is preparing his children! 

Tuesday we spent out in the greater Angered Area visiting Agha and Juha and sharing messages with them, then unfortunately got blåsted by a potential investigator. We did happen to contact a very nice lady (the first contact of the day actually) who was interested in what we said about the Book of Mormon and liked the idea of eternal families. We got her number and gave her a Mormons Bok. Elder Richardson and I went to ward council that evening, and at the end we celebrated Lennart's birthday by having cake and pear soda. Perks of going to ward council haha!

Spent the day with Elder Treat on Wednesday, who also had a birthday that day! Elder Cragun and I and the ZLs as well as Elder Treat and Elder Falkner went to Lennart's who hosted a little party for Elder Treat, and there we ate smörgåstorta and sang to him. Afterwards, I followed with Elder Treat and the ZLs to a little lunch in honor of the missionaries who would be leaving for home soon (includes Elders Heiner, Treat, Bradley, and Sister Banks) hosted by the Watsons at their place. Elder Treat and I then traveled to Alingsås and had a dinner with a member family there. Coincidentally, the family had picked up a cake from their local grocer using a free coupon that they had had lying around since they knew the missionaries would be coming over, but they had no clue that it was Elder Treat's birthday. Knowing I couldn't let it go unnoticed, I spilled the beans of his birthday to them and after some quick work with candles we had a genuine birthday cake and sang to him. Super funny! Definitely some promptings from the Spirit there hahah! After the dinner and fun time, Elder Treat and I did some contacting in downtown Alingsås then headed home for the day. 

As you might have expected, the weekend was pretty crazy haha! Elder Cragun headed up to Stockholm Thursday evening for his "Train the Trainers" meeting on Friday, so I got paired with the one and only Elder Bradley since his companion will also be training. Before all that happened though, we had district meeting at the center as usual, had a mass funeral for the four missionaries heading home, then Elder Cragun and I got home and made preparations for splits. Once Elder Cragun and Elder Johnson were safely on their train, Elder Bradley and I went and taught Sara with Staffan and together we read 2 Nephi 31. Bradley was warmly welcomed back to Kirk's FHE that evening (Elder Bradley served in Utby for 6 months) and that wrapped up the day.

Elder Bradley and I had a whole Friday together since our companions didn't get back until 8:30 that night, and we had a blast! Lunch at IKEA with some other missionaries, then going hard in the paint contacting in Angered areas, meeting with Agha, and visiting Inge. Tons of fun, one of the funnest days of my mission, shame that Elder Bradley is headed home. 

Transfer calls on Saturday of course, then Elder Cragun and I, once again reunited, taught Sara some more commandments that morning. Not much else that day other than weekly planning then some tracting over by Fjällbo park. Was both Elder Heiner and I's last Sunday in the Utby ward yesterday, we both bore our testimonies in Sacrament meeting. We taught Sara with Kirk and Valentina about Prophets during second hour and then went to High Priest's and translated for Kirk during third. We spent the rest of the Sunday with the ZLs, having correlation meeting at Kirk's then dinner with the Svahns out in Stenungsund. In the middle of that we did a bit of split contacting in Angered Centrum and Elder Richardson and I talked to some drunk people. 

Sorry about the super lengthy e-mail folks, I'm sure I've bored you all half to death haha, but it really has been a blast serving here in Utby in the wonderful city of Göteborg. This place really does have a special feeling to it. I have strengthened my testimony of so many different principles here and have learned lots, but I think the main take away is that we are truly sons and daughters to a divine Father in Heaven. God posses a fullness of love, justice, and mercy and truly watches out for us. As Jesus taught to both the people of Jerusalem as well as to the Nephites, "seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all...things shall be added unto you". Heavenly Father loves each and everyone of us. 

Take care till next week! Next stop, Lund! 

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! God Bless America!

Mycket Kärlek 
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden

PICTURES:

Paparazzi! Bruce Springsteen sighting!

Paparazzi! Bruce Springsteen sighting!

Chatted with our Frölunda buddy Oscar on a bus!

Peace and Love Agha!

See you, Juha!

So much Star Wars Cereal!

Fun times with Bradley

FHE at the Cammans

Sara and Staffan

Sadik!

Bishop Tittus and Bro. Renman!

The Svahns!