Monday, October 31, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 83: Splits Galore and Sacrament Epiphany

Hola amigos!

"Trick or Treat!"

Every week goes faster and faster, its insane. Superb week all in all. It felt like Elder Weaver and I were apart this past week due to going up to Borlänge to do workovers with Elder Baquedano and Elder Fawcett, then doing splits with our trusy troopers, Elder Murtonen and Elder Wilson here in Gubbängen. Things are just going really well and I am coming to terms with the fact that I am "old" in the mission. I guess struggling to stay awake in personal study despite following the morning schedule is a sign of that haha.

Lots of good things happened this past week. The four of us "Gubbie" elders went back to help the older couple in the ward with cleaning their apartment and got lots done there on Tuesday. We also have taught Dieudonné a couple more times this week as well, teaching him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation. Biggest concept that he struggles with right now is Priesthood and understanding that it is only this Church that has that authority. Other than that he is super willing to learn and meet, came to church again yesterday and has incredibly strong faith. We also have taught the man Jeff a couple times as well. He is now reading from the Book of Mormon an hour and a half each day! Sadly, hasn't shown up to church these past few weeks so that is the next step. 

Hanna is our shining star! Elder Olson from Jakobsberg interviewed her for her baptism last Friday and she so prepared and ready! Saturday is going to be a glorious day for her and for everyone else! Her quiet and humble demeanor just fills the room with the Spirit as soon as she speaks. The beautiful thing is that the language of the Spirit can be understood and felt by all.

Splits were fun this past week, I got some of my fellow brothers a lot better. In Borlänge, Elder Baquedano and I paired up and had good times doing a good contacting stund in Falun, then teaching two of their investigators that evening. Elder Baquedano hails from France, and has often been compared to Harry Potter due to his looks. Going on splits with Elder Wilson in our area was also equally rewarding. Its such a blessing to get to know someone better, because your love for that person increases greatly. Elder Wilson and I also had a good contacting stund and found a kid from Kenya who was very interested in getting a Book of Mormon. Elder Wilson is from Firestone, Colorado and is an experienced piano player and runner. Got lots of great reminders on diligence and boldness from both of those exchanges.

I have also been gaining some wonderful insights on members from all the district meetings that we have attended as well. Each member truly is precious and has different talents and skills that can be incorporated in this great work. I know I have much to work on when it comes to strengthening my relationship with the members in the units where I serve, and I also know that working together will accomplish miracles. Yesterday in sacrament meeting as I was listening to the talks and singing the hymns, I was really having a hard time tuning out the distractions of crying children and shuffling toys, the people sitting next to me fiddling with the translation headsets that weren't working, the speakers going over their allotted time, everything just seemed wrong in my head. Finally, as we sang the closing hymn, "Så rikt har du välsignat mig" ("Because I have been given much"), the Spirit reminded me that everything in the church is not perfect. We are all imperfect people. Everything will not always go according to plan or go just the way we want it. But that is the beauty of this Church; the beauty that we as Zion can perform this great and marvelous work with all our imperfections and human weaknesses. The Spirit once again filled my heart as the thoughts filled my head. I am grateful for that knowledge and grateful for a merciful and loving God. 

Have a great week everyone! Happy Halloween! 

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:
Taking the train from Borlänge to Gävle

Went to the Mall of Scandinavia last Monday

Went to the Mall of Scandinavia last Monday

Oh no, Disney Store!


District meeting with the Uppsala/Gävle/Borlänge District

Monday, October 24, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 82: Fairy Godmothers and Divine Help

Elder Weaver is a STUD and Elder Murtonen is okey, oh yeah, money

The above is courtesy of our dear Elder Murtonen who happens to be emailing on the computer adjacent to me. :) 

~~~

Hejsan hejsan! 

Things are going very well for Elder Weaver and I over here in Gubbängen. Lots of awesome experiences from going on splits with the Jakobsberg Elders as well as one of the Stockholm Elder companionships. Biggest news is that we finally got to meet with our investigator Hanna and set up a baptismal date with her for the 5th of November! The Lord takes care of his prepared children in the missionaries absence, that's for sure. Also, Jeff now has a baptismal date for the 19 of November. Plus, we meet a super positive guy from Chad that we are now teaching. As an extra extra bonus, Elder Weaver and I helped out with the technical set-up for Sisters Conference Wednesday morning in the Gubbängen chapel and then Elder Olson and I helped clean up afterwards with some other missionaries.  

Last Tuesday we had to take care of some miscellaneous things like renewing Elder Weaver's residency permit at the Migration Office and some administrative things, but we did get some good contacts in like meeting a couple from Kenya who took a Book of Mormon and a man named Divine who also took a Book of Mormon.

We went on companion exchanges with Elders Olson and Hatch on Wednesday, and Elder Olson and I had a good day here in Gubbängen swinging by some less-actives and doing a good bit of contacting, where we found the man from Chad named Dieudonné in Farsta. Dinner with the Arnegårds was upplifting and good too, as usual. The next day we ended the exchanges at the Jakobsberg districts District meeting, which was equally uplifting and spiritually uplifting. Elder Olson is doing a stand-up job as District Leader. The main event of Thursday was meeting Hanna (finally!) and getting that dop ("baptism" in Swedish) date. We were a little unsure of what exactly we would teach, but as soon as we asked her about the Book of Mormon and how it is going with reading, she told us that she knows it is true and that it gives her peace and comfort when she reads it. We checked what else she had been taught and came to the conclusion that she was definitely ready for baptism. We didn't even suggest the date, Hanna and her husband proposed it themselves. Hanna's gentle and slightly shy and timid nature just ebbs the Spirit, you can definitely tell that she has a strong faith and believe in this Gospel. 

This Friday we also went on Splits, this time with the Stockholm I Elders, Elder Larson and Elder Martineau. I went into Stockholm's area with Elder Martineau and had a total nostalgia trip, being back in my old stomping grounds. Elder Martineau has tons of greenie fire and moved fast, and we had a solid day. It was especially weird when we got back home and I flipped through their areabook, reading teaching records that I had written nearly a year and a half ago. Fun times, good memories. I came to the realization that I had been trying to deny that I really am pretty "old" in the mission. :) While I was away in Stockholm, Elder Larson and Elder Weaver met with Jeff and got a baptismal date with him as well as mentioned earlier. 

Elder Weaver and I reunited Saturday after some cleaning of both the Täby and Gubbängen chapels (got to see my old Bishop from Stockholm Ward and some other familiar faces), and had a lesson with the guy that Elder Olson and I met on Wednesday. So the whole story is that Elder Larson and Elder Weaver happened to run into him when they were on splits as well, and Dieudonné took that as a sign from God that he really needed to meet with us on Saturday like Elder Olson and I had arranged. We were able to get a new convert (Naasi) to follow with and we had one of the best First Lessons I have ever had with an investigator. Dieudonné came to church yesterday and loved it, and is eager to read from the Book of Mormon and strengthen his faith in Jesus Christ. 

Sunday was great, Hanna also came to church and Elder Wilson and I taught Dieudonné more about the organization of the church and the priesthood during Gospel Principles hour. Dinner at Pablo's was yummy, and overall it was an uplifting Sunday. 

I have been reminded of the scripture in Alma that talks about how "the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word" (Alma 16:16). I know that that is true, because the Lord has taken care of Hanna and has been preparing her for quite a while now, and has done the same with our new friend Dieudonné, who knows that the Lord has answered his prayers about where he can find His Church. Don't take for granted those opportunities that you feel the Spirit in your life. That power is real and is inspiring and guiding people all over the world. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost. 

Have a great week and stay warm, wherever you may be!

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:
Our dapper Assistants getting ready to play the role of Butler during Sister's Conference Lunch

The Arnegårds and splits with Elder Olson

District meeting at the Clubhouse in the Office

Monday, October 17, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 81: Battling Stress and Service Capacity

Hej Hej! 

So it has been a good week over here in Stockholm. Elder Weaver and I are staying busy and just trying to stay on top of everything! Running out of time here so here comes a quick one this week.

I can barely remember what happened yesterday, let alone a week back, but some highlights this past week was being able to go on splits with our awesome Assistants on Tuesday. I went along to their area with good ol' Elder Halterman and we had a blast of a time contacting people in Åkersberga and meeting with one of their new converts named Jasmine. Elder Halterman is such an example of listening and he had some great advice to offer for concerns that I had about responsibilities and my own personal proselyting work. 

Got to attend my first ward council last Wednesday here in Gubbängen and it shed a better perspective of the ward and things that they are working on here. Seems that a lot of people need help and the ward needs to strengthen its fellowship and unity amongst its members. Elder Weaver and I dropped off some cookies to a struggling family in the ward on Thursday then on Friday gave the wife of the family a blessing of comfort and strength. Very hard times right now for that family, obviously things not appropriate for this e-mail, you get the idea. Did some service Friday (and today actually, hence the late email), for a pair of older members in the ward, which was a humbling experience for me and gave me a good reminder about serving in love and tempering our pride. Sports night and dinner with the Arnegård family as usual, and I got to give a talk yesterday in sacrament meeting. 

Jeff has been taught the Word of Wisdom now, his new struggle now is showing up to church and our appointments that we have scheduled. Elder Weaver noticed that he seems brighter and more clearer in countenance, and Jeff is continuing to pray and get through his situation. Besides all of that, lots of good contacting opportunities, we had some solid lessons with a guy from Mexico, a deep thinker who ponders the idea of God as an Intelligence, and a Swedish student studying at Stockholm University. 

To end this little e-mail, I will add one of the scriptures that has been on my mind lately

"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17)

I know that as we serve our fellow brothers and sisters with love in our hearts, striving for the kind of patient, merciful, and lasting love that our Heavenly Father has for each of us, we will be filled with a brighter hope and a endless feeling of comfort and peace in our lives. We can make the pathway bright for others each day with the opportunities that the Lord gives us. I hope you all have a wonderful 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:
Its coming to Sweden! Suit up!

After gemmensam lunch with the Assistants after a day of splits. Love 'em!

View from one of our Treehouse windows. Fall is here!

Finished with service today


Monday, October 10, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 80: Finding Time and Eternal Accountability

Hello Hello!

This week has been one of those slow yet fast weeks. Not too many huge events or happenings either, just lots of administrative kind of things. All in all, I learned lots of good things and had my perspective expanded in terms of missionary work and how we are accountable for the opportunities the Lord has given us.

Last Monday we walked through Gamla Stan with some other missionaries, then later that night contacted in the Slussen area and taught Jeff the Plan of Salvation at the Church with a member present. The following day, Elder Weaver and I went to Mission Leadership Council at the Mission home and got some awesome training from President and Sister Beckstrand and the Assistants. I got to meet the Arnegård family Tuesday night as we had dinner with them and the other Gubbängen Elders, and Elder Weaver and I shared a message about the Love of God. The next days consisted of preparing for the Zone Training that we would give to the Zone from the information that we had gotten from MLC, as well as doing Stake Reports, where we call around to each companionship in the Stockholm Stake and report on the status of the units that they are serving in. 

It was weird to be on the other side of things this past Thursday as we gave the training to the zone. Lots of new responsibilities and a greater sense of accountability for sure. That was what the training was on in fact, accountability. Everyone seemed to receive it well and we felt that we conveyed the message the best we could, so that felt good. The missionaries here really are doing their best and are aware of the things that they can improve on. The overall feeling is one of dedication and diligence, and an understanding of the calling they hold. It is a blessing to be able to work with some many fellow servants in this capacity. 

A cool experience that happened this last Saturday was swinging by some new converts in the ward to share a little message. Elder Weaver and I had finished Stake reports and we had a little bit of time left that night to go visit Nassi and Daniel. After having shared a short scripture from Isaiah and talking about Christ's love, Nassi explained to us that we were definitely guided by the Spirit to visit him and his friend. The day we swung by has a special significance to Nassi and he knew that the Lord was watching out for him by guiding us to him that very night. Once again, another example of simply doing our best and trying to do what we feel is right, and we end up unknowingly following the Spirit, just like so many experiences in Lund. 

We had the regular Sports night last Thursday, and Sunday was enjoyable as I got to meet many members of the ward and introduce myself. Also, Jeff came and I translated for him during sacrament meeting. We had the usual dinner at Pablo's afterwards, then later went with him and the other Elders to move a bed for an elderly member in the ward. 

Sorry for the shorter letter and the lack of details and exciting things. We worked hard to take every spare opportunity we had to talk to the people we passed by and were able to have a couple street lessons and bear our testimonies to others. Elder Weaver is such an awesome example of diligence and we are doing super well together. Still working out hard in the mornings too ;). 

I just close this up with a scripture that we shared at the Zone training:

14 And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.  (2 Nephi 2:14)

We have the power within us to act for ourselves and to do good in all that we do. The Lord holds us accountable for our words and deeds and what we do with the opportunities we are given. Accountability is an eternal principle that inspires us to change daily to better align ourselves with the Lord's will. 

I wish you all a great week! Until next time!

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:

Back in Stockholm! Stortorget in Gamla Stan

The Gubbängen Crew (from left to right, Elder Murtonen, Elder Wilson, Elder Weaver, Elder Reed)

View from Gamla Stan

Elder Weaver's Musli-eating spot

Oncoming Tunnelbana

Monday, October 3, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 79: Welcome Back and Getting' Jacked

Tjabba allihopa! 

Well, I am back in STOCKHOLM! Feels super great to be back and see all the old and the new in Sweden's Capital. The week has gone by super fast and I am still trying to keep up with everything. My new companion, Elder Weaver, is a complete and total stud. He comes from North Ogden and is the oldest in his family as well. He loves hunting and anything outdoors, super awesome humor, and has a super ripped bod. Our apartment, nicknamed "The Treehouse", is equipped with a bench press and weight set-up and Elder Weaver has a couple bands and things as well, so needless to say morning workouts have been intense. Never had more fun working out in my life haha. 

Anyway, Monday and Tuesday was spent back in Lund; P-Day was spent hanging out with other missionaries in Malmö and getting Subway, then having FHE with the YSAs at the Institute Center. We were planned to have a lesson with Siv at a member's place on Tuesday, but Siv unfortunately couldn't find her way, so Elder Dean and I share a message with the members about recognizing the Spirit. I was a little bummed because that was going to be my last time seeing Siv, but I called her Wednesday morning and was able to say good-bye in the end. Other events of Tuesday was dinner with the Rönndahl family and the Sisters, and some last minute preparation things for transfers the following day.

Took a train up to Stockholm Wednesday afternoon with Elder Pärkka (good missionary friend going to be ZL in the Södertälje Zone), leaving Elder Dean behind to wait with Elder Richards until their companions arrived. Elder Pärkka and I had a fun train ride, getting to know each other better and studying scriptures together, so the four hour ride went fast. Arrived with all my bags to Stockholm Central and got picked up by Elder Weaver and the other set of Gubbängen Elders, Elder Muortonen and Elder Wilson, and we took my stuff back and had dinner. That evening we helped out with a program the ward does here called "Sträk ut din hand" (Reach out your Hand), where members go out and visit less-actives or other members in the ward. I went on splits with one of the counselors of the bishopric and we visited a new convert named Nassi who is a pro soccer player. Nice opportunity to meet the Bishop and some other ward members and get set off on the right foot.

Thursday through Saturday were pretty similar; Had a lesson or two set up and the rest of the time contacting or making calls. Sports Night on Thursday (remember that thing that we sometimes went to when I was in Stockholm?) was fun, still getting wrecked in Basketball though. Our District is full of awesome missionaries, bunch of new people for me to meet as well. Weekly Planning was good, set up some good goals for our companionship and talked about the area and the zone. Member dinner thrown in there with the Ternström family Friday night, super nice young family. Visited a member with special needs who lives at an assisted living place on Saturday. Also, we met with one of our investigators named Jeff. American guy who has a rough situation with family affairs right now, but has been exposed to Mormons his whole life and is at a point right now where he is very receptive to our message. He has lots of trust in Elder Weaver, and is deeply interested in learning more and in changing his life. 

This weekend was of course General Conference, which was super awesome! The Spirit warmed my soul continually as I listened to the inspired talks that were given. We watched the Saturday morning session Saturday evening at the Gubbängen Chapel, and Jeff came, and then watched the Priesthood and Saturday Afternoon sessions on Sunday at the Chapel. We then took Jeff along to dinner at a member's and watched the Sunday Morning that evening at the member's place as well. 

So many inspiring and insightful talks from this past Conference. I noticed themes around the power of the Book of Mormon, sincere prayer, the truthfulness of the Plan of Salvation, and ministering to others with the love that our Heavenly Father has. I am so grateful for living prophets in our day. I am grateful for the Holy Ghost which testified of truth to my heart and strengthened my testimony of this Church. I know that when we take our thoughts and questions to God in prayer with faith that we will receive, He will give us abundantly. 

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:
The awesome Bishopric in Lund

Couple of Pictures from Malmö. Note the Turning Torso in the first one

Couple of Pictures from Malmö

Yummy Yummy cake at the Rönndahls.

Snagging one last selfie before taking the train to Stockholm