Monday, November 28, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 87: 'Breakfast Club' and Christmas Renovations

Good early-afternoon friends and fam! 

Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving where ever you found yourself this year! Winter is picking up once again with a fresh layer of snow here and the temperature is dropping back down. The Christmas Initiative has kicked off and all the missionaries are super pumped about it and so are the wards and branches! Stockholm is going to be so "lit" this Christmas season! Elder Weaver and I had an exciting week and got to go out a ton and just contact the streets of Stockholm.   

Last Monday we rang in the Thanksgiving Spirit by doing a Turkey Bowl over by the chapel with some other missionaries from our Zone as well as the Stockholm South Zone. Good ol' American pride! We got to meet up with Katrennada later that night as well and start teaching her a little about the Plan of Salvation. Tuesday, Elder Weaver and I went hard in the paint and street contacted all day in Farsta and in the Slussen area. That evening we had another delicious dinner with Jorgé and Hanna, and they are doing well, just getting over some colds. 

On Wednesday, Elder Weaver and I traveled up to Borlänge and did some workovers with Elder Fawcett and Elder Richards. I went with Elder Fawcett and we had a pretty solid day despite some plans falling through. We were able to give a blessing to the investigator that Elder Baquedano and I taught when we did workovers last transfer, and that was a neat experience of service. His first ever priesthood blessing, too! I am so grateful for the Priesthood and for the opportunity that I have had to use it to serve and lift others. 

Thanksgiving day was one for the books haha! So, the four of us were headed to Uppsala for District meeting, but upon arrival at the Borlänge train station we learned that we would have to take a replacement bus and hop on a train at a different station farther down the line due to some accident with the trains earlier in the morning. After two full replacement busses, we finally got onto the third one, which took us down to a place called Säter, and once we got there, we learned that the train had not waited for us and had continued on without us. We then were forced to wait in the tiny train station "salong" with some other wayward passengers from our bus. It ended up being a kind of Breakfast club experience where we got to know each other and where everyone was going and stuff haha. One couple was headed to Thailand and was supposed to catch a flight (don't think it happened), a couple other women were on their way to work, just a fun little group of ten people. Of course, we explained what we do and who we were. After a couple hours of sitting in the Säter Station and some more delayed busses and trains, we took another bus down to Avesta Krylbo, then took another bus the rest of the way to Uppsala. Total travel/waiting time between Borlänge and Uppsala: little over 5 hours. Elder Fawcett missed his own District meeting, but we called in a bit and let the other missionaries know what happened, and once we got to Uppsala the four of us headed to the Thai Buffet and celebrated Thanksgiving together. Fun morning and afternoon haha. Elder Weaver and I made it back to Stockholm no problem later, and had sports night as well as met with the Swedish woman who had interviewed us again and got our pictures taken by a photographer. Apparently, she wrote an article about our interview and its going to get published in a Swedish Christian Newspaper. 

Friday consisted of weekly planning while some handymen came into our apartment and installed some new lights for the Landlord, as well as getting an IKEA wardrobe delivered to us. I don't think I mentioned this earlier, but the mission will be losing the "Treehouse", Landlord is moving back in and kicking us out, so we will be moving out in a month or two. Also, taught Swedish to one of our members in the ward at the Church and did a ring stund. 

Saturday was District meeting, followed by some more solid contacting using the Christmas Initiative and seeing the general response. We also met with Dieudonné and showed the video to him and read Helaman 14 together. Sunday was the big pay-off day. Throughout the week, we had been stressing about how we would present the Initiative to the Ward and texted the Bishop multiple times and other leaders trying to coordinate allowing us some time to present the video and things. Thankfully, to our surprise, Bro. Henretta (one of the counselors in the Bishopric) announced it during Sacrament meeting and showed the advent calender as well, Elder Weaver and I showed the video in Priesthood opening exercises, and the other Elders showed it in Relief Society. Members are excited and interested and it was a success! Another plus was that our Albanian friend, Christoffer (who came to Stake Conference out of the blue last week) came to church yesterday and stayed all three hours and is just a stud. He already comes dressed in a full suit and introduced himself to a bunch of members, and we got him a Swedish and Albanian Book of Mormon. #SuperPrepared! It was a very fulfilling Sunday and so was Pablo's dinner per usual afterwards haha. 

I'm a sucker for small kids, I think they are the cutest and I always enjoy making goofy faces at babies or playing peek-a-boo with a toddler. Yesterday was the Primary Program and I felt the Spirit strongly as I heard the sincere, innocent testimonies of those dear children witness simple yet divine truths of the Restored Gospel. I was reminded of my own experiences in Primary and of my younger sisters back home, and the Spirit was so sweet. I know that the words Christ spoke have great meaning when he said, 

"Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me". (Matthew 18:4-5)

Don't forget to be a light for others this Christmas season and enjoy the time you have with your little ones, who have some of the strongest lights. 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: 
Turkey Bowl 2016!

Enjoying a snack on the way to Borlänge

City Square in Borlänge

City Square in Borlänge

The much deserved Thai Buffet!

Elder Weaver's first Cheesecake (Do you see Ludvig, as well?)

Friday, November 25, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 86: Slushy Streets and Christmas Excitement

Coming to you live from the Farsta Bibliotek ladies and gentlemen!

Hope you all have had a wonderful week. I say this so many times but this week seriously did fly by. We were kept super busy and had a packed week, even if some our initial plans did not turn out. Lots of things exciting things coming up in the missionary World with the launch of the Church's Annual Christmas Initiative. More to come on that shortly.

Anyway, last Monday was a little bit different. In the afternoon we had a nice interview with a Swedish mom who is working on some essay or project with her University. Elder Weaver and I toured her and her husband around the Chapel then sat down and had a fun conversation about what we do as missionaries, our outlook on Sweden and its people, and some of the experiences we have had while serving here. She was very nice and we had some moments of laughter which broke the typical awkwardness of the situation. Chances are high that we will see her again this week actually; she enjoys basketball so we invited her to our sports nights on Thursdays. Besides a good call stund in the evening to set things up, we took it easy the rest of the P-Day.

Tuesday was the transferally MLC at the mission home, this time talking about plans for the Christmas Initiative and the countless opportunities of sharing the Gospel this has to offer. While leaving a bit overwhelmed with all the information that we would have to present to the missionaries in the zone later in the week, it was a very upplifting experience at the mission home and was topped off by a dinner with Jorgé and Hanna and the other Elders that evening. Hanna is so solid. We went over the Restoration again and Hanna explained to us how she had some questions after her baptism, but she had already gotten answers. She then shed tears as we testified of Jesus Christ and that his Church has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. She is so special.

Wednesday and Thursday were rather busy between planning on presenting the training to the Stockholm missionaries on Saturday, having time to teach our man Dieudonné, have dinner with the Del Gaisos again, getting a new investigator, and contacting in Farsta Centrum. The new investigator's name is Katrennada, and Elder Weaver and Elder Barker found her while we were on splits with the Gävle Elders a couple weeks ago. We had a short meeting with her on Wednesday about the Restoration and our purpose as missionaries, and she really opened up to us. She feels that she is missing a connection with God that she used to have as a child, and is desperately searching to get it back but can't seem to find it. We testified that this could help her and that this is what she needs, and she is excited to continue meeting with us. She felt peaceful and calm and felt different like she never had Before, and we testified to her that those feelings are from the Holy Ghost. We are super excited to work with her! She even came to Saturday's session of Stake Conference and enjoyed it! Dieudonné is doing alright, but is basically just at the point where he is backed up to the wall of faith and will have to decide for himself that he needs to be baptized again. We met with him on Friday as well and had a very spiritual Close to our meeting by kneeling down and all praying together for an answer. Unfortunately, he didn't seem to recognize the strong apparent Spirit that was there, so we are not sure what more we can do for him. He is still coming to Church though and we are going to continue meeting with him.

Forgot to mention, but on Thursday, Elder Weaver and I had the most spiritual street contact I have ever had. We were headed to a certain tunnelbana station but Elder Weaver thought we should get off at an early one, and the first contact that we had after getting onto the street was an slightly older Swedish woman named Christina. The contact started off like normal, but eventually we ended up teaching the full Restoration and testified of the Book of Mormon, and she just took it all in and hung on to everything we said. She said that us and this message coming to her at this time in her life was very important and she knew it wasn't chance that we met. After testifying and teaching, we asked her how she felt in that moment, and she responded in English, "Overwhelmed". On the verge of tears, she took a copy of the Book of Mormon and thanked us multiple times, We exchanged numbers and referred her to the missionaries that work where she lives. The Spirit led us to Christina without a doubt. Looking forward to how that all turns out with her and the missionaries she meets.

Pretty much all of our planned lessons fell through on Friday. Blåst day. Ended up doing some tracting in the rain, but thankfully we had umbrellas. As mentioned earlier, we had a lesson with Dieudonné again that day, but other than that and finalizing Zone training preparations that was it. Saturday and Sunday were a blur and a half. So much was going on with Stake Conference and Zone training and making sure all the missionaries in the zone knew who they were spending Saturday night with and everything. The training on Saturday went well and everyone is excited to use the Christmas Initiative. Elder Weaver and I attended a Priesthood Leadership meeting before the general session of the Conference and got some good insights there, then quickly helped out with setting up chairs and things. I ended up doing the English translation for both Saturday and Sunday. Other cool things was that we had street contact from Albania come to Church on Sunday, loved it, and he is now excited to meet with us and learn more. Besides all that, I got to see a ton of familiar faces from the Stockholm ward like the Heidenbergs, Guerras (their son Jerry just came back from his mission this week and gave a talk on Saturday), the Pences, and even Fumi. Joyous times and wonderful memories were remembered. I am so grateful for all the wonderful people that I have met her and whom have changed my life for the better.

To top off Everything, Pablo invited ALL the missionaries in the Zone plus the ones in the Stake that are in Södertälje Zone, to dinner at his Place on Sunday. It was a full house of missionaries, but it was accomplished. Elder Weaver and I and the other elders cleaned up afterwards and helped Pablo get his house back in order haha. Afterwards, Elder Weaver and I visited a mother in the ward and her kids and got to know them better. They want us over every week now!

So, about this Christimas Initiative: #LightTheWorld! The theme for this year is service and is focused on President Monson's talk from October 2015 of "Being an example and a Light". The goal: 25 Days in 25 ways; serving others and exemplifying the Savior each day up to Christmas. Some resources include an inspirational video, an advent calender with suggestions of ways to serve each day from December 1 to December 25, and pass-along cards. This is me inviting you all to get on the bandwagon and share this with everyone! Mormon.org will launch the Initiative this Friday (November 25), and then on 1 December, get involved with the Worldwide Day of Service. 

I know that we can be "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14-16) and following the Savior and becoming like him will fill us with more joy and love than we have ever experienced before. Lets make this the best Christmas ever! 

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:
Daniel! We met him on the street in Mörby Centrum. He is an investgator with the Jakobsberg missionaries!

Pretty much all the snow has melted now

After Stake Conference

Visting the Gegundezs

Monday, November 14, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 85: Apocalyptic Snow and Loving People

God eftermiddag mina damar och herrar! 

Winter has come early this year! That just means more julmust and pepparkakor sooner so I'm okay with that haha. It has been crazy over here with snow, however. Last Wednesday, Sweden got hit with TONS of snow, especially the greater Stockholm area, and America got hit with a new President. Crazy day! Elder Weaver and I are surviving and doing well and continuing to move on as always. Hanna is doing great, Dieudonné is still having a hard time accepting Priesthood and the decision to be baptized again, and new missionaries in the zone are awesome. 

Not a whole lot happened last Monday other than saying goodbye to some departing missionaries from the Zone at the YSA Center. We were able to meet with Jeff after a week and he is falling back into old habits, but doing okay. We had to drop his baptismal date due to different reasons, but are going to continue helping him and be good influences for him. He needs lots of temporal and spiritual help. Our dear Elder Murtonen took his train to Helsingborg on Tuesday morning, so we took Elder Wilson along with us for the morning and did studies and lunch together before heading to Stockholm C to pick up his new companion, Elder Cotton. Elder Weaver and I headed to Fisksätra and swung-by a couple of less-actives and later that evening did a over-the-phone Stake Report with our Stake President. 

Wednesday was the day of the Apocalypse. The snow came down the previous night and continued most of the day, shutting down tons of busses and delaying tons of trains. Elder Weaver and I helped out the outgoing and incoming missionaries at Stockholm C, and did our best to contact despite the weather. Swedes just seemed confused and panicked all day due to the results of the Presidential election and the amount of snow that was coming. The four of us Gubbängen Elders had to walk to a different train station in order to catch a train to get to Jorgé and Hanna's for dinner. We made it safely and had a great time with them, their family is doing awesome. They want us over every week from now on! Getting home was crazy for Elder Weaver and I; some of the tunnelbanas were delayed so their was a huge pile-up of people packed at one station waiting for trains to come. 

Thursday's plans didn't entirely turn out, but we did lots of contacting and topped it off with Sports night in the evening. Got to see one of my old comps, Elder Thacker, who is in Hägersten's area in Stockholm South now. District meeting with the new district on Friday; got a brand new missionary being trained named Elder Harris who is in the Stockholm area. Got to meet with Dieudonné as well but didn't turn out so well, but were are working with him. We got to have a great dinner with the Del Gaiso family Saturday night and learned how we can help the ward members more and got some great insights on things we can do. We were even able to give a blessing to the wife. Earlier that day we also ended up helping clean the church with Bro. Henretta, who was originally going to clean it all by himself due to the originally assigned family not being able to. Luckily we happened to stop by the church as he was in the process and were able to help him out. 

Normal day yesterday, Church as usual with some solid classes during second and third hour. Dieudonné came once again and we also had some other non-members that were there. The relief society put on a little fika afterwards and we were to talk to some members and clean up the dishes afterwards. Dinner at Pablo's with the Hägersten missionaries as well to end the evening. 

I ran into some awesome examples of faith in my study of the Book of Mormon recently. I noticed how both Abish and Aaron stretched forth their hands to raise King Lamoni's wife and King Lamoni's father, respectively. They didn't just ask God to lift raise them, but they acted in faith and stretched forth their hands because they had the faith that they could raise them back up. I pondered these stories and was strengthened by the knowledge that we can accomplish miracles as we act in faith. Give Alma 19 and 22 a read this week. 

May you all have a great week! Enjoy the fall weather those of you who can! Haha! 

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 District of last transfer
Day of the Snow!

Day of the Snow!

Day of the Snow!

Walking to the Saltsjöbanan Wednesday evening

Packed like chickens at Skärmabrink

Monday, November 7, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 84: Spiritual Fiesta and Early Winter

Beunos días! 

It has been a great week to end the transfer on! We had a wonderful baptismal service this past Saturday for Hanna, we are continuing to meet with Dieudonné and help him find an answer in regards to being baptized, and we were able to complete Stake Reports in a timely manner! It has been amazing to see how much the Lord has blessed Elder Weaver and I here in Gubbängen. 

In the way of news, Elder Weaver and I will be staying together for another five weeks (this transfer is a week shorter due to Christmas coming up shortly after), but sadly our beloved Finn, Elder Murtonen will be leaving the ranks and heading down south for the winter to the Helsingborg/Landskrona area. We are going to miss him a ton...Elder Wilson will be getting Elder Cotton, a fairly new Elder who is leaving his first area. Not a whole lot of big changes in terms of the mission overall either, pretty simple transfer this time around.

In the way of events, last P-Day we checked out the Natural History Museum over by the University with the other Elders and some other missionaries, as well as tried swinging by some less-actives but instead met a cool guy from Serbia named Nikola. 

Had some fun exchanges with the Gävle Elders this past Tuesday. I got to be with an Elder from my original MTC group, Elder Perkins, going out to do some good old tracting in Gävle. Gävle is a nice city, reminded me a little of Umeå and has that little Norrland feel just being farther north and all. Got to meet an Finnish woman who accepted a Book of Mormon from us. Due to snow in Stockholm and people running around on train tracks in Gävle, Elder Weaver and I faced some difficulty with travel, but we eventually made it back to Stockholm okay. That is another thing, SNOW IS HERE! Crazy to see that stuff again.

I got to have a cool teaching experience with Elder Wilson teaching some old investigators, a Colombian family who is looking for the truth and enjoy the teachings that the missionaries bring. They have investigated for 4 years now and are just wanting that perfect church experience and feel that haven't gotten it yet with our church. We taught the Restoration and answered some of their questions, and they definitely felt the Spirit. They are really positive and I am hoping the other Elders focus on them because they seem pretty prepared. 

Other events of the week were Stake Reports and getting final preparations ready for Hanna's baptism. We got to teach Dieudonné on Friday and watch the short Restoration movie with him as well as a Mormon message from Elder Holland on the Book of Mormon. Dieudonné has been reading through a ton of the Book of Mormon lately and is almost to Helaman. We also got to have a dinner with a Swedish non-member family and have some "English conversation" together. This was a return of a favor; the Mom had contacted us for help with her daughter's english assignment. We got to teach the Restoration to them and are planning to have continued contact with the Mom. 

Transfer calls went out on Saturday, little weird to be the one delivering the info to the other missionaries, and then after District Meeting and Elder Larson's Funeral, Elder Weaver and finished Stake Reports and had Hanna's baptismal service that evening. The service was conducted in Spanish by our Ward Mission Leader, Walter, and we had a good turnout by almost exclusively Latino-members. Dieudonné came too! Hanna loved it and many tears were shed. The confirmation yesterday also went well. So grateful that I could witness this process a little and see the beginning of Hanna's new life. A step closer to building an eternal family. 

The language of the Spirit can be understood by everyone. As Elijah experienced, it is "a still, small voice". The Lord loves all of his children and communicates that eternal love through the Holy Ghost. I am so glad that Hanna has received this gift, to guide her on her path back to Heavenly Father. 

Have a great 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:

Riding the Dino-gator at the Museum

Dinosaurs!

Dinosaurs!

Splits with Elder Perkins

First snow in Stockholm

Hanna's Baptism