Monday, August 29, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 74: Being Guided and Flying Away

Good morning friends and family! 

Another week has passed us by. Elder Dean and I have been amazed by how many people we have had the chance to talk to on the street. The status of the work here is still on the climb, however we have not been able to meet with many of the people we had planned to due to them cancelling appointments on us. Such is the life of a missionary sometimes. 

We had a fun start to the week by playing capture the flag with other zone members at Pildammsparken in Malmö. We had a blast running around in the trees there, and its been fun seeing my son Elder Loertscher again and getting to meet new missionaries as well. A couple of new missionaries are being trained in the zone so its been cool to see the Sweden Stockholm mission change for me after being here for over a year. We had the usual correlation meeting that night, then the next day was spent out and about street contacting and trying to get in contact with old investigators. We had a nice dinner at our member friend Simon's with the other missionaries which was a nice relief to a hard working day. 

On Wednesday we explored some neighbors in Lund that neither of us had been to yet and did a bit of dedicated tracting time both in the afternoon and in the evening after ward council. It still amazes me how efficient and dedicated the bishopric and other members of the ward council are here. They truly have a desire to help and support and build the Kingdom here in Lund. People of the day were comprised of a faithful Catholic father who we had a nice chat with about the Restoration of the Priesthood, as well as an agnostic Swedish student who was very accepting of a Book of Mormon. 

We did some more exploring out in the Lomma area on Thursday and found a woman from Slovakia named Jaroslava who is seeking to define the higher power that she has felt. She took a Book of Mormon from and we got her e-mail, and she was happy to talk with us about God's plan and finding guidance and peace in this life. She is studying at the university here and had just arrived to Sweden a week ago upon us meeting her. Its neat to see the people that come from all over the world to Lund to study social economics or civil engineering or what have you. We also got the chance to meet with a less-active that Elder Dickson and I had met my first week in Lund and have a nice peaceful chat about Christ at the Botanical Garden. He is close to coming to church and to reading from the Book of Mormon which he hasn't really done before. Very nice man with a strong faith in Christ. We met with Mia that night as well at the YSA center (our dinner plans got changed due to Bro. Saffer having an operation that day) and brought a convert member along to teach about the Word of Wisdom. Mia accepted to try living it and said that she was thinking recently about her physical health and things that she could change. The bad news comes in with the fact that Mia is moving to Ottawa, Canada this week and will be staying there for four months before coming back to Sweden. We are going to stay in touch with her possibly via Skype and make sure she finds the church there so that she can attend church and continue meeting with missionaries. She gave a great closing prayer to end the lesson and just expressed gratitude for us, calling us wonderful people. It is so special to hear those sincere prayers of sincere investigators. 

We had a great Zone training in Malmö handling teaching skills and doubts this past Friday. Elder Dean and I also met two Italians and gave them a Book of Mormon, and ended up getting to know another recent convert named Victor who hails from Peru and just arrived back in Lund after visiting Stockholm. On Saturday, we did some weekly planning and had an awesome experience with the Spirit (I'll get to that one in a minute), and got to do some tracting with our member friend Simon since our lesson with a new investigator cancelled. 

Sunday was wonderful as usual and an uplifting experience in church, which was followed by an awesome dinner at the Nilsson home with the other Elders and other members in the ward. Once Elder Dean and I got back into Lund (the Nilssons live out in the country haha), we swung-by an old investigator that coincidentally Elder Workman had worked closely with and got let in and answered some questions that he and his sister and other roommate had. They mentioned to us that they had actually been talking about Mormons that week and then there we were in their home Sunday night haha. Though they weren't too interested in progressing or making commitments, we left an English copy of the Book of Mormon with their Bulgarian roommate who was curious in reading it, and left with a word of prayer. Maybe one day they will be more interested in experiencing the blessings of living the Gospel. 

So to close, I wanted to relate a neat experience we had Saturday afternoon. As usual, Elder Dean and I had planned the night before what we would do the next day, and we decided to go check out this neighborhood we hadn't been to before to do some finding work. Saturday comes and we go out and talk with people on the way as usual as we head to this neighborhood. We get there and weren't sure where exactly to go, but we ended up meandering through a bit and decide to tract a random building. Nothing happens on the top floor, but we get down to the next floor and I recognize the name on one of the doors as one of a members' in the ward. After hearing audible voices behind the door it was apparent it was in fact the home of a member, so we decided to just knock and say hello and offer to help in some way because why not. We ended up getting let in and shared and short message and learned that this active member who is a single mother with children who are not so active in the church, had been having a bit of a stressful week, had had physical problems with her back, and had been praying and seeking comfort and help. And then what do you know, we showed up! The three of us all knew her prayers had been answered. She asked us for a blessing and we gladly gave her one, after which she thanked us with tears of gratitude and joy. The Lord truly does look out for his children. He uses us to help one another. The Spirit had guided us to visit that normal, active single mother who just needed a little extra help from her Heavenly Father at just exactly the right time, and Elder Dean and I didn't even know it. We were just doing the work of the Lord and we suddenly found ourselves placed in the path of someone who needed us. The Holy Ghost truly does guide our paths whether we recognize it or not. He will always guide us to "do the will of [the] Father" (3 Nephi 27:13) as we live after the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have an undeniable testimony of the power of the Holy Ghost and that he guides us to do the things that are right. 

Act on the promptings of the Holy Ghost immediately and you will be led the right way. 

Mycket Kärlek,  
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden

PICTURES:


First two pictures taken in Pildammsparken

First two pictures taken in Pildammsparken

Saw some LARPers over in Stadsparken

A short view of the ocean over in Lomma

Allhelgona Kyrka

Monday, August 22, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 73: Hello, Good-bye and Sifting Dirt

Hejsan allihopa! 

Another letter from the land of Skåne for you. New changes in Lund as you all heard last week. I received a familiar face, Elder Dean, who hails from Auburn, WA (Pacific NW represent!) and has been out on the mission a little less than my son Elder Loertscher; roughly about 9 months. He enjoys swimming and plays the violin, and has found much enjoyment in the game "Magic: The Gathering". We have already found some new people to teach and have taught lots on the street about the Restoration. Going to be a solid companionship! 

With the events of the week and pre-transfers, we enjoyed some time at one of the beaches of Helsingborg last Monday and had a delicious dinner at the Rönndahl's place. We had a couple of good-bye moments with some YSAs for Elder Dickson, as well as the last Kebab pizza, dinner with a return missionary who served in Sweden and got married to a Swede from Lund, and so forth. We met with our curious friend Ina, who had tons of questions and strong opinions, but was interested in what we had to say as well. She is a very funny character, very smart and analytical, yet very respectful and apologetic at the same time haha. We finished the night with an AWESOME contacting stund in the city. Elder Dickson's last goal was to give a Book of Mormon to someone, and we ended up giving out 4 in a row. It was incredible. He definitely went out on a good note. 

It was a sad day to see Elder Adams and Elder Dickson go, more so in terms of Elder Dickson since he was departing for good. Wednesday morning, he boarded the train to Stockholm for one last day in Sweden with the others in his MTC Group. Elder Pack and I stayed together for a bit, doing studies together and having lunch, then picking up first Elder Dean and then Elder Gergetz. They were welcomed warmly by many members at Ward Council that night, and I introduced Elder Dean to Lund by taking him out contacting in the city where we ran into a Jew and his Muslim friend (they were like the two Muppet guys that sit in the teather booth haha), a pregnant woman named Matilda, and a few others. All this week Elder Dean and I have been able to teach many people on the street. 

We had some really spiritual teaching experiences this last week. On Thursday, the Saffer's invited us and Mia over for dinner and we all had a great time! We taught Mia about the Gospel of Jesus Christ afterwards and she expressed how she has learned so much already and feels that it is good. She prayed last week on her own and said she felt calm and comfortable. The Spirit was really there as we taught her and she is recognizing it as well. We commited her to baptism, and though she said she isn't ready she feels that it is something good that she would like to do.

On Friday, we had another such experience. Elder Dean and I just finished teaching Bert about prayer with Bro. Björklund, and we had planned to stay in the neighborhood and do some old investigator/less-active swing-bys. We go to the first address and get no answer, so we decided to tract the building from the top. The first door that opens happens to be man named Kamal from Syria who shook our hands upon opening the door and immediately let us in. We sat and taught him the entire Restoration, he gladly accepted the Book of Mormon, accepted a soft commitment to be baptized (only concern was not feeling ready), and recognized the Spirit after we said the closing prayer. The Spirit was super strong throughout the lesson. He said we could come back again and we set up a time to meet this week. Though coming from an Islamic background, he was very accepting of what we taught, understood the concept of priesthood authority even, and was anxious to learn how to pray and to continue feeling the Holy Ghost. It was a wonderful experience. It turns out as well that he had been to church once three years ago with a member. We are super anxious to teach him again! 

Other events this weekend was doing some service for the Ahlströms on Saturday morning; Elder Pack and I collected dirt and moved it to a sunken part of their yard, it was fun work! Also, Elder Dean and I met up with Ina and talked about faith and tried to address her concerns about knowing what's good. We met a Chinese mother named Baofeng who we are going to meet this Tuesday so should be fun there! Sunday was Ward Conference, which gave Elder Dean a great opportunity to meet the ward. 

So that's the report in Lund I! I'll just close by sending a scripture that I found this morning that was pretty profound. D&C 90:24:

24 Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another.

No matter the trials or challenges, all things will "work together for [our] good". Hold to the faith and press forward with obedience. I love you all! 

Mycket Kärlek! 
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden

PICTURES:

Elder Dickson's last Kebab pizza

Elder Dickson's last dinner in Sweden with the Danish legend himself, Mads Held (one of the first missionaries I met when I arrived in Sweden); MEATZZA!

Pano outside of the Malmö Station

Welcome Elder Dean. We have 8 eyes between us!

Monday, August 15, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 72: O'boy Cravings and Time Flies

Howdy doody y'all!

Once again, another transfer has rolled on by. Elder Dickson is getting his things together for his departure, and I am awaiting another fun and exciting transfer here in Lund. In the way of transfer news, I will receiving Elder Dean, who I have been on splits with before in Alingsås, Elder Adams is leaving to Sundsvall, Elder Gergetz is coming in his place, and the Sisters are staying the same. On the Malmö side of our district, Elder Loertscher, my favorite son, will be transfering down! YES YES YES! I am so stoked to see him! We also have a few other familiar faces coming into the zone, so I am looking forward to it! That's about that in terms of transfer news. 

To hit things off, last Monday Elder Dickson and I went out to a place called Nimis, which is a driftwood "castle" located north of Helsingborg in a mirco-nation called Ladonia. Check out the internet for more info on that haha. Super fun day! We later had a family home evening with our Bishop's family and shared the D&C 14:7 message, as well as correlation meeting with our ward mission leader and the other missionaries. 

Some common occurrences this past week were appointments falling through; little disappointing, but allowed for lots of street contacting haha. So off of that, we got lots of street lessons too this past week! It was amazing to Elder Dickson and I how simple yet effective it is to just bear testimony and invite people to read the Book of Mormon. On Tuesday we got to teach Mia again with Hanna following along, this time about the Plan of Salvation. We recommitted her to praying about the things we have taught her, and she accepted. This week, Hanna invited the three of us over for dinner, which will be an awesome opportunity to teach her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ but also build member relationships. Super cool stuff happening with her, I know it! 

On Wednesday, we met with Bert and read a few verses from Mosiah 18 with him. We discovered that he has a bit of a difficult time praying, so we will be meeting with him and focusing on that. Always nice to find concerns and then work on them! Other things on Wednesday were ward council and meeting a cool German guy named Christoffer on the street. 

More of the same on Thursday, plus meeting with Stig and getting dinner with our YSA friend Henrik. We also met with a super nice guy from Belgium who is traveling around Europe and had met missionaries when he was in Estonia. On Friday we held district meeting as well as "funeral services" for Elder Dickson and Elder DeMourdant, and then I went on splits to Malmö with Elder Backman and Elder Duke where we had Sports night at the Malmö chapel and taught a new convert from Africa some Swedish. 

Transfer calls went out Saturday morning as usual, and I headed back to Lund and hooked back up with Elder Dickson afterwards. All of the Lund missionaries attended a baptismal service for Alva Björklund, a member girl in the ward, and we helped out with the program there. Afterwards, Elder Dickson and I did some service for a young member couple and got fed lunch. After all those events, we were planning on some other things that ended up falling through, so we ended up getting pizza to lift our spirits and were headed home to do weekly planning when Elder Dickson talked to this one Swedish girl and ended up getting her number. He had mentioned what we do as missionaries and why he himself does it, but other than that not a huge lesson on church or anything, more of a casual conversation. After getting home and doing weekly planning, we were startled and amazed when this girl texted us back saying that she felt that she (in her own words) "needs to find Jesus" and asked what would be required for us to meet. It was so incredible! I know the Spirit truly does touch all people. We are set to meet with her tomorrow. Cross your fingers folks! 

Sunday was a normal day in church, Elder Dickson got to say a few words seeing as this was his last Sunday in Sweden as a missionary, and later we took some pics with members. We and the other Elders also got dinner with the Schanner family and had a great time there, then finished off the day by doing some contacting around Stadsparken. 

With regards to the subject of faith, I know that through simple acts of obedience our faith grows and our testimonies deepen. There are only positive consequences when it comes to having faith. Ether 12:4 reads:
Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

Sounds pretty good to me. I know faith in Jesus Christ allows us to become the people that our Heavenly Father knows and wants us to become. Have a great week everyone! 

Mycket Kärlek,
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden

PICTURES:

Nimis!

Nimis!

Nimis!

Nimis!

The funeral for Elders Dickson and DeMordaunt

The District! (Elder Larson was not able to be with us in person due to a trainers meeting, so we drew him on the whiteboard)

Dinner at the Schanners

A cool graffiti place by the other Elders apartment

Monday, August 8, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 71: Blessed Members and Broken Things

Good Morning one and all! 

Here I am once again with another e-mail about my past week in Sweden. Things are going well, Elder Dickson and I are seeing our relationships strengthen with members and the Lord blessing us as we bear sincere testimony to people we meet. It truly does have a better effect as you speak from your heart and own personal experiences. On a different note, we realized that out of the seven days this past week, six of them we ate pizza for one meal or another, whether it was frozen or fresh from a pizzeria, or fed to us at Zone Training haha. Pretty crazy! 

Anyway, we had the Volleyball tournament this past Monday in Malmö which was a big success. My team made it to the championship game but lost 22-25. We had a big come back in the middle of that game let me tell ya! I think our MVP was Elder Fawcett, he was a one man team. After all those festivities Elder Dickson and I got back to Lund and met with two new people, two Swedish teenagers named Nikolina and Alma. They both had lots of questions and wrote things down, almost seemed like an interview haha. Both our very curious in learning about what we belief and all these things about religion and God our pretty new to them. 

We had lunch with the Anyanwus and the other missionaries on Tuesday, then did some less-active swing-bys in the afternoon followed by a super great lesson with a Chinese woman named Mia. We got the perfect member to follow along, and it just went super well. The Spirit was there and we really focused on helping Mia understand that God is someone that loves her and that she can form a personal relationship with thanks to the blessings of the Restoration. Definitely was the biggest blessing of the day. On Wednesday we got to meet with a YSA and really bear testimony to her as we talked about weaknesses and how we can be changed thanks to Jesus Christ. It was cool how she opened up to us and we left really feeling that we had made a positive influence for her. Also got to visit the ever-enthusiastic Stig, and after ward council, we visited our investigator Bert with a member friend of his. Pretty bold lesson, we left him with the commitment to simply pray to Heavenly Father and ask him if he needs to be baptized. Haven't heard from Bert since that visit. 

Thursday was little rough, we went out to the middle of nowhere to visit a less-active, but it didn't really pan out, and one of our potential investigators no-showed on us. We did however get pizza for lunch and taught another one of our YSA friends named Hannah about Faith and answer some of her questions as she is preparing to serve a mission next year. We also got to share a message with another YSA, named Matilda, and after that we did some contacting and swing-bys. I tried to fix my bike brake that day and only made it worse, and later some of my spokes broke on the front wheel, so the end of the day didn't end on such a good note haha...

We were uplifted Friday by having Specialized Zone Training in Malmö, where we received some great training and teaching on obedience and expectations, and finding the balance of abiding both the Spirit and Letter of the Law. The Spirit was there and helped me recognize some things I can work on, and after the meeting I felt more courageous and peaceful. Always nice to see the Mission President and his wife and the Assistants. 

Saturday was service day with the Ahlströms; I finally finished painting the inner roof of their playset haha, I was so proud! It was a bit of a bummer later that day, both our planned lessons with positive potential investigators cancelled on us, but we did have some great street contacts in the evening. Sunday was relieving as I was able to take the Sacrament and be uplifted by the lessons taught. Later that day we had one street contact where we talked to a woman who was obviously stressed by the toils of her life, caring for her sick Mother and working a tiring job. She was agnostic and was previously a Muslim, but after treatment by others of her faith she gave up with it. We testified to her of peace and that God can help us with the difficulties we face, however she was hesitant to meet with us. In the end, we gave her a Book of Mormon, and she was moved by the fact that is was free, breaking into tears as we walked our seperate ways. Elder Dickson and I just kind of looked at each other and said, "Wow". We knew that we had helped her, that those were tears of gratitude, that had been swelling up in her. We walked away feeling good in our hearts, knowing we had done our part. 

It is so powerful the affect our testimonies have. We don't always see those affects just in the moment, but we can feel the peace and comfort from the Holy Ghost reassuring us that what we said was true and right. I am so grateful for the testimony I have, that I can say I know God lives and His son makes it possible for us to reach our divine potential. I wish you all a great week and a continued great summer!

Mycket Kärlek,
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden

PICTURES:

Volleyball Tournament! Second Place team #ThirdString!

Volleyball Tournament! Second Place team #ThirdString!

Elder Dickson and I's favorite picture from the past week

Our Wonderful Assistants! Elder Bradshaw and Elder Halterman. I love these two Elders so much!

Monday, August 1, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 70: Copenhagen Trip and Rewarding Work

Hey all! 

It has been a blast of a week! So many fun things happen here! I know I keep saying in the past that I have to keep the e-mail short, but this time I am serious, we have a train to Malmö to catch for the annual Volleyball Tournament of Champions today. But anyway, I will keep this one mostly to highlights to jump to mind.

As mentioned before, we had been planning on going to Copenhagen and this last Thursday we did just that! Elder Dickson and I went with Elder Duke and DeMourdant and explored the city of Copenhagen, seeing tons of cool sited like the Round Tower and the Our Lady Church were the original Christus Statue and Twelve Apostles are found. Also did a session at the temple and saw a familiar face from the MTC, Elder McDougall, who is serving in the Denmark mission. So all in all, Thursday was a total success! 

Other things that have happened was helping the Schanner family move from Hjärup to Dalby, so all Wednesday morning and early afternoon was spent helping filling up the trailer and unloading things at the new house. Nothing like good ol' moves to serve your fellow man. :) We also went out to the Ahlströms again this Saturday with the other Elders and did some work on their property as usual, and on Tuesday Elder Dickson and I helped Bro. Girhammer with renovating a shed. Is there such a thing as too much service? 

Elder Dickson and I have been on fire with teaching people on the streets lately, the Lord seems to be putting people in our path that sincerely listen and are interested in what we have to say. And at the times where our plans have fallen through or something "bad" happens, when we went out in faith to work, our Spirits were lifted as we found new people to talk to. To name a few, we met a friend of Stig's named Ulf who is a Lutheran, a Swedish man named Joel who has had a rough family upbringing, a 94 year old man named Bengt who was just lonely and let us in after we knocked on his door, and so many others, the list continues. Each time, we felt the peace and joy of the Holy Ghost, reassuring us that what we were doing was right. 

I wish I could go on into more details, but I will end it here on this scripture that I found this week from Isaiah chapter 60 verse 19:

 "The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory."
Jesus Christ is the everlasting light that is never darkened. I know he is my Savior and Redeemer. All things point to him. May we all strive to follow him and live after his eternal and enduring example. I wish you all a great week! 

Mycket Kärlek, 
--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden

PICTURES:



Random pictures from Copenhagen

Random pictures from Copenhagen - with the Elders!

Random pictures from Copenhagen

Bus selfie

Group selfie

A city street with Danish flags

Super cool castle

We had schwarma for lunch! 

Selfie eating a Danish pastry! YUM!

In the land of Lego

In the land of Lego

In the land of Lego

In the land of Lego

In the land of Lego

-Our visit to Vår Frue Kirke (I think that's what it is in Danish)

-The Christus

Some views of Copenhagen from the Round Tower

Some views of Copenhagen from the Round Tower

-The Copenhagen Temple!

-The Copenhagen Temple!