Monday, September 26, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 78: Burning Quadriceps and Tri-pan Triumph

Tjena! Hur är läget?!

Family and friends, I just want to say first how much I love all of you and for how grateful I am for each of you. I have been truly blessed by the Lord with encouraging, kind, loving people. Thanks for all the wonderful birthday wishes; it made my morning and made me feel great seeing those! 

With that aside, lets get into the week shall we? 

Elder Dean and I had a blast last Monday playing some Lasertag over at the Laserdome in Malmö. I have to say though that those Swedish kids that we ended up playing against could be a little mean at times, they were ruthless haha! Due to the two and a half hours of squatting, ducking, weaving, running for cover, crouching, and other physical exertions, our leg muscles were incredibly sore for the next 2 or 3 days. Made for some funny moments tracting last week going up and down stairs; little biking even was rough haha. 

Most of this week was spent again on finding work and getting a hold of old investigators and old potential investigators. Tuesday consisted exclusively of that with a visit to Stig's thrown in there, and part of Wednesday as well. We got to teach Siv once again this last Wednesday and were able to give her a Priesthood blessing to help her with the opposition that she had been facing recently. She acted in great faith in allowing us to do so, and stood as a testament for me of the level of trust and faith that these people put into missionaries and members of this church. It was a touching experience. She has been doing better than ever since, and had a great time at church yesterday. We are looking forward to teaching her tomorrow. 

We were blessed with a phenomenal Zone Conference on Thursday up in Göteborg at the Västra Frölunda Chapel with our Malmö Zone as well as the Göteborg Zone. The Spirit was felt in abundance. I felt like Ammon upon meeting Alma and his brethren, minus the fainting part haha (give Alma 27:16-18) as I saw old mission friends and companions, some of whom are going home this coming Wednesday. I really thought about all the beautiful friendships that I have made since serving and how these are relationships that will last for the eternities. Anyway, enough mush, long story short, Zone Conference was great and strengthened my testimony on faith and the Restoration of the Church. 

Due to the fact that Elder Gergetz will be training a new missionary here in Lund, he stayed in Göteborg with the Zone Leaders there to head up to Stockholm the following day for the Trainer's meeting, so that meant that Elder Pack traveled back with Elder Dean and I and stayed with us for basically all of Friday. We had fun being a Tri-pan and ended up talking with a ton of people on the street and teaching more than normal together. We had thought the fact of three missionaries stopping people on the street would be a little too intimidating, but turns out that wasn't the case and we ended up meeting lots of cool people and got a couple phone numbers out of it. Almost felt like we were a group of college roommates at times haha! Elder Gergetz arrived safely back that night, and the following day Elder Dean and I did weekly planning and had a great lesson with our investigator Bert, making plans and setting goals for helping him overcome some of his addictions. We had the help of Stig with us and he provided great encouragement in the lesson. 

Sunday happened to be both the Lord's Day and my birthday; on a funny side note, I told President upon his calling me last night the fact that it was the Lord's day and he said that since my birthday fell on his day then I am right up there with him haha! Sacrament meeting was extra spiritual yesterday and great talks and musical numbers were given. Both Siv and Bert came to church, as well as some other unfamiliar faces which was great to see. After meetings, Elder Dean and I swung-by a few investigators, and visited the Sister's investigator Maria at the hospital and had a good visit there. I guess not the most exciting birthday, no special meals or cakes or anything, but it was a beautiful day and I felt good inside so that's what counts :)

In regards to transfer news (what you all have been waiting for), my time in Lund has come to a close and I will be headed back to the city of Stockholm to serve in the Gubbängen area as Zone Leader with Elder Weaver, son of beloved Elder Bradshaw. Elder Dean will be receiving one of my former companions, Elder Murri, and Elder Pack will be headed to Alingsås. The Sisters are doubling out, Sister Bourelle is going home to Canada, and Sister Weaver is spreading her wings to double-in and open a new Sister area in Eskilstuna. There will be a new set of Sister's doubling in to Lund, so no lose on missionaries here :). For those interested, Elder Johanson from my MTC group will be replacing Elder Bradshaw as the new Assistant to the President to be with the lovable Elder Halterman. I am both excited and nervous for what awaits in Gubbängen, and don't feel adequate at all for the new leadership responsibilities. I know however that the Lord will guide me if I work my hardest and ask Him for help. 

I love Lund so much, I am sad to leave this area. I have had unforgettable experiences here and my testimony has grown and been strengthened like never before. I feel clean and close to my Savior as I work here, and I hope that I will continue to be diligent in my new area. The Holy Ghost is so real I have no doubt about that. I have felt the love of Jesus Christ lift me up and fill me, and have felt a greater increase of love for others in the past twelve weeks. This work is divine and is led by the Master. May we all act in faith and take the needed steps to have the Spirit with us more abundantly in our lives. 

I love you all so much. Until next week...
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:

What happens when you leave a glass of chocolate milk in the freezer

Quick glance at Folkets Park, a small place near our house.

"Oh my Atlanta!" Elder Cragun!

YESSS! The old Umeå crew! Love these men so much! Special shout-out to Elder Bradshaw and Elder Luke who will be returning home from completing very honorable missions. Thanks for your service and safe travels!

Temporary Tri-pan from Friday

Lund Chapel. I will miss you.

Monday, September 19, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 77: Spiders Everywhere and Sweaty Diligence

Good Morning/Afternoon! 

It has been a week of much finding work and laboring in the Lord's Lund section of the Vineyard. We are continuing to work with our investigator Siv with the incorrigible Christian Schanner, we were finally able to meet with potential investigator, Baofeng, and have been teaching plenty of street lessons to the Swedish people. This will be a short one due to time, so don't be too upset. 

We were very eager to have our little FHE with the Schanners and with Siv, but unfortunately it didn't pan out. Elder Dean and I and the Schanner family waited and waited, and had to end up doing the FHE without her. It was precious though the prayers that were offered in Siv's behalf by one of Christian's little girls, and though her presence was missed, we were able to learn that her car had some issues which resulted in her not coming. We did however get to meet with her this last Friday with Bro. Schanner, and had another Spirit-filled, testimony-strong lesson about faith and repentance as we read 2 Nephi 31 together. Siv has strong faith and is so close to the waters of baptism, it's just commitment to that step that is missing. Unfortunately, she also called us afterwards during the week and let us know that she wouldn't be able to make Stake Conference due to something that happened that she will tell us about when we meet this Wednesday. We are praying for her and hope to see some more progress soon. 

Wednesday evening after an engaging ward council about the ward's new mission plan, Elder Dean and I got the relief society president to join us on a lesson with Baofeng, someone that we had met the first week of this transfer. It was quite an emotional meeting, as Baofeng expressed many of her concerns and questions and trials that she was going through. We couldn't do more than bear testimony of the Savior and his Atonement, and share our experiences that praying does work and that God loves each of his children. Having Sis. Hearth along was an inspired choice and she helped greatly in connecting with Baofeng when we were at a loss of what to do. 

This weekend was Stake Conference for the Malmö stake, and we were able to attend the general session Saturday evening held in the Malmö chapel as well as the general session on Sunday held at the Scandic Star Hotel here in Lund. Lots of wonderful talks centered around the Europe area's goals of being Spiritually and Temporally independent, taking a friend, and finding an ancestor to take to the temple. A strong emphasis was also placed on missionary work and on the members and missionaries striving to work together to teach the people of Sweden. Being a part of the Lund ward where this emphasis is already in place gave me encouragement that this ward is on the right track. 

I have been pondering and reflecting on the attribute of diligence recently and have been uplifted by many great conference talks and scriptures as I have studied this subject. We each have a conscious effort each day to choose to stand up and be an example, or to sink down and be apathetic with our beliefs. While at times we may choose something that gives us temporary joy but can lead to eternal consequences, including even sin, when we choose to be diligent and obedient we may suffer temporary embarrassment or discomfort but in the end we will receive eternal life for those righteous efforts. 

 "For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo,he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul; " (D&C 4:4)

Lay up righteous works each day and you will be protected from the temptations and evils that surround us. I know that through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repenting of our transgressions, we will receive forgiveness and be made clean. That power is real and has had affect in my life. I love this Gospel and the peace and joy that it gives me. 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


Beautiful sunset picture taken by Elder Dean

The District of this transfer.

Selfie courtesy of Elder Backman

One of the many interesting signs that we see on doors here. Translation: "This apartment is protected by a Pitbull with AIDS". We found no such pitbull after knocking the door and talking to its uninterested owner. :)

Sunday Dinner! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 76: Answered Prayers and Marriage Season

Good afternoon one and all! 

The work in Lund is continuing to be led by the hand of the Lord. Elder Dean and I have had some great experiences with the Spirit recently and have seen ourselves guided to the places and people that we have needed to be at at just the right time. 

Before I get into some of those experiences, last Monday Elder Dean and I took it easy here in Lund and did some window shopping at the local Nova mall, got a bite at Max Burgers, and went to a second hand store and checked out the famous Domkyrka. Pretty easy day. The FHE at the Schanner's place didn't turn out, but we are going for it again tonight with Siv there, so it should be good. Last Tuesday we planned to do some member swing-bys and contact, and we ended up tracting into a guy named Leonard who hails from Zimbabwe, has a Catholic background, and was a Carmelite Monk for seven years! He was very receptive to the message of the Restoration and was really impressed by the fact that two young Americans go around talking about Christ in Swedish. Going to be a solid investigator we believe. Later that day we also ended up getting let in while tracting and met a man named Sassan who had some interesting views on God and religion in relation to human biology. We left him with a Book of Mormon and invited him to read 2 Nephi 2. 

Wednesday was really cool, probably holds the highlight experience of the week. We decided to do some more member swing-bys and felt that we should stop by one member who I had met with Elder Dickson during my first week in Lund who we hadn't seen for awhile. We bike over and knock on the door, she opens and is happy to see us but tells us that she has a guest over and can't take a visit right now. We offered help with anything and she said she was fine but would let us know if anything came up. She closes the door, and Elder Dean and I kind of look at each like, "Well, oh well...that was pointless I guess". We leave and start biking again, when suddenly she calls us and asks us if we can come back and share a message with her and her friend. She said she felt a nagging that she needed to invite us back. So we of course pedal back as fast as we can, super excited, and end up sharing a message about faith and healing (checkout Alma 15), as well as teach her non-member friend from Peru, named Bruno, about where the Book of Mormon comes from and the Restoration. He wasn't super interested, he thought it was all a bit comical actually, but the member shared her testimony with him combined with ours and the Spirit was there and it felt right. We left having strengthened her testimony of acting on the promptings of the Spirit (as well as ours), and felt great. The Sisters actually saw her later that day in town and she told them all about it and they said she was just glowing and felt super uplifted. The Holy Ghost truly does guide us all. 

Other happenings of Wednesday was the usual ward council, was well as teaching our investigator Bert that evening. Slower progress with him right now. Thursday was a fun-filled day, lots of contacting, taught a bunch of lessons. Elder Dean and I ended up going on splits halfway through the day with the other Elders so that he and Elder Gergetz could practice some music at a wedding rehearsal for a wedding that happened this past Saturday (more on that in a second). Elder Pack and I some lessons together that night, including one to our investigator Siv. Really great lesson about Baptism and the Gospel of Jesus Christ; we were soooo close to setting a baptismal date with her. The Spirit was in abundance that evening. She came to church yesterday and had a wonderful experience, so things are looking up for Siv right now. Also, random highlight of the day was being stopped by a college student on the street asking us if we had dropped a planner of notebook recently because they had found one on the bus and recognized it as belonging to missionaries! She had found my lost planer! Turns out this student lives very close to us, so I was able to get it back the next day. The Lord watches out for his missionaries haha! 

Friday was district meeting, really good one on using the scriptures in teaching; had a surprise visit from our two studly Assistants, Elder Bradshaw and Elder Halterman. Did some weekly planning that day and swung-by a member whose name we didn't recognize but turned out was an active member haha. Whoops. 

Saturday consisted of two major events: Service with the Ahlströms in the morning and early afternoon, then the wedding reception for Malena and Joshua in the evening. Malena is a daughter to a family in the ward and Josh is an RM who served in Sweden about 5 years ago and hails from the UK. Elder Dean and Elder Gergetz got picked up early to practice some musical things, and Elder Pack and I stayed together for most of the day, contacting a bit in Lund before heading over to the reception ourselves. It was held next to a beautiful castle in Trolleholm, and there were tons of guests ranging from familiar Swedish members that I have met (including the former Elder Sahlin and my mission "Grandpa" Hemming Svensson), to lots of relatives on Josh's side from the UK. Fun night, turned out to be a beautiful reception and the newly-wedded couple was stunning. Eternal marriage is a wonderful thing and brings some much happiness into so many peoples lives. 

After the usual church meetings, Elder Dean and I were invited over to dinner by Sis. Holmin, where we had a very pleasant crayfish dinner. We ate out in her very large garden where everything was very peaceful and quiet. We closed the evening by swinging by an investigator and contacting a little as well. 

I can't express to you all how much I know that Heavenly Father loves us. He truly answers our prayers. Elder Dean and I saw how our prayers were answered during the day as we would stop and offer a prayer together then within the next hour have it answered by meeting Leonard, or Sassan, or evening being able to get my planer back. Heavenly Father loves us so much and is aware of our needs and concerns. As we include him in our lives, we will see the blessings of joy and peace and security that come. 

Well, gtg, but I look forward to writing you all again next week. Have a blessed week! 

Mycket Kärlek,

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

P.S: Our mission is looking to collect ideas for object lessons in relation to principles of the Gospel, so if you know of any or have any friends who know of any, send the ideas my way in an e-mail with a description about it. Thanks! Love you all! :)
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Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden

PICTURES:

Exterior shots of Domkyrkan

Exterior shots of Domkyrkan

Together outside of Domkyrkan

Down in the Crypt

Inside of Domkyrkan

One of the many beautiful University buildings in Lund

American products found at our local ICA Kvantum. WHOA!

The Wedding Reception

Following the Bride and Groom out for pictures by Trolleholm Slott

Cutting the cake!

Monday, September 5, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 75: Iraqi Mother and American Brotherhood

Good afternoon fellow siblings!

As the seasons are beginning to make the turn from Summer to Fall, so to is our investigator pool. We are beginning to get in contact with "new" people and seeing some great opportunities sprout up. 

Last Monday we took care of some temporal needs such as getting Elder Dean a haircut from the local Salon, dropping off my bike to get it fixed up, and then relaxing a bit at the YSA center and playing some card games with other missionaries in the zone. Tracting in the evening finished off our day. On Tuesday we had correlation meeting in the afternoon with Bro. Wagner, then Elder Dean and I went out to Sjöbo with the Sisters to visit one of the investigators and give her a blessing. She was very grateful and said that she could feel comfort and good feelings flow down from her head as Elder Dean blessed her. After that we went home and got dinner then swung by a less-active. 

Wednesday was rather eventful. Elder Dean and I did a contacting session in the city and ran into some nice University students as well as picked up my repaired bike. That evening was ward council which was then followed by the quarterly talent night, "Arena", hosted by ward here. We were able to invite a less-active named Grant (more on him in a second) and get two potential investigators that Elder Dickson and I contacted many weeks ago to come. Fun night, lots of musical talent was shared (including a rendition of "Let it Go" by our ever-energetic bishopric) and we got to meet a bunch of non-members. 

Thursday went by pretty fast. Elder Dean and I single-handedly helped out Grant and his girlfriend with their move from their place in Hjärup to a new place in Staffanstorp, and it was actually super fun. Grant is half-American and half-Australian, comes from a Catholic and LDS background, and working on building his faith and in the process of becoming more active in the church. He feels that peace of the Spirit when he attends Sundays and comes to other activities at the chapel, and really has a desire to learn more and grow his childhood testimony that has been nurtured by his mother. We really got to become friends with him and were laughing and having a blast carrying furniture. We were all pretty sore and tired by the end, just physically wiped haha. We took a break and got some candy at the local grocery store at one point ("Pick&Mix lollies"). He really appreciated the service and thanked us multiple times, and expressed meeting with us and discussing the Book of Mormon and some of his questions. Felt really good helping him. We also got to visit Stig and teach about prayer, and then were treated with dinner by our wonderful office couple, the Clouses, who came down to Skåne for some missionary apartment business. Wonderful time chatting with them and getting to know each other better. 

The usual district meeting was held on Friday, then afterwards Elder Dean and I did some language study and planning, contacted for a bit, then had a great lesson with a previous investigator and our member friend Bro. Schanner. Siv had investigated the church 8 years ago, had come to church a couple of times and met a bunch of stalwart members and was very close to baptism, but then was dropped due to health issues and opposition from family. Earlier in the week Elder Dean and I tracted into her by chance (spiritual guidance, really) and set-up a time to meet later in the week with a member she remembered from before. It happened to be Bro. Schanner, so the three of us went over Friday night and had a great lesson about Christ's Atonement and reestablished expectations. She was very receptive of what we taught and nearly committed to a baptismal invitation. She did however come to church yesterday and had a great time, seeing members she had met all those years ago and enjoying all three hours of church. She basically has jumped to the top of our priority list. 

On Saturday, I went on exchanges with our District Leader Elder Gergetz and had a great day together. We did a little bit of everything; tracting, contacting, swing-ing by old investigators and less-actives. Couple stand-outs from the day were contacting an Iraqi woman with poor English and Swedish who invited us to her nearby home for food. We sat outside the door since her husband was asleep and she kindly gave us a full meal. After the husband woke up, we came inside and tried to explain our message as missionaries, but the language barrier was difficult. We learned that they are of the Mehndi(?) religion and believe in John the Baptist, and are set in their faith, but welcomed us back anytime if we would like food or help. It amazes me still the kindness of others from different cultures and seeing the good that exists in this world in the hearts of people like that woman. Other contacts were a Swedish Atheist who was content with the things in his "room" (little analogous there), a Swede who practices Buddhism and was greatly impressed by our Swedish, and a young couple who gave us a good job on talking to people on the street on a Saturday night. Overall, one of the better splits I have had yet on my mission. 

As said earlier, Siv attended church, but we also had one of our chinese potential investigators, Baofeng, come to Sacrament meeting with her 5 year old son. She stayed for the whole first meeting, but had to leave due to her son's restlessness. He wasn't too interested in going to Primary or Nursery haha. Baofeng enjoyed the meeting however and said that she wanted to come back and stay longer and meet other members in the ward. Super cool! The rest of the Sunday we planned and did a little bit of tracting, and I unfortunately lost my planner. First time for everything haha. 

I have been pondering and studying lately on the subject of repentance and found some wonderful insights from the teachings of previous presidents of the church. While the process of repentance can be difficult with its different pieces, I know that a true repentance can relieve feelings of guilt and lift burdens carried. The blessings of a true repentance far outweigh the fear of confession, self-pride, and shame. We can be clean and guilt-free thanks to our loving Savior. 
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

I wish you all a good week, especially those of you starting school this coming week! Call on the Lord for comfort and you will receive it. 

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:

The first (and currently only) KFC in Sweden! Thanks Clouses for the awesome dinner!

My comp and some ducks

Splits with District Leader Elder Gergetz!

Sneak peek of some pictures of Lunds oldest Church, Domkyrkan, coming next week...