Tuesday, December 27, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 91: Last Christmas and Tracting Cheer

Hey there everyone! 

"MERRY CHRISTMAS BEDFORD FALLS!!!" 

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas yesterday and that Santa fulfilled all your wishes. Going to keep this one pretty brief, but basically we had an absolutely wonderful Christmas here and were well taken care of! The days before the Holidays were spent tracting out in Sköndal some more and contacting people in Farsta and Hökarängen. On top of that, we also got to meet with a good amount of people, including some new ones.

Ludvig, our young Swedish Padawan is doing great! We met with him Tuesday before he left for his Christmas travels, and taught about the Priesthood, specifically the blessings of it. We also watched a little bit from President Monson's biography movie which was good for him to build his connection with the living Prophet. 

Speaking of young Swede's, Elder Richardson and I also got to meet with three high school kids and show them around the chapel and then teach them about the Restoration. This was a way better experience with students then I've had in the past; all three of them were pretty into what we were saying and made comments about doctrines we taught sounding familiar. They were surprised that we actually answered all their questions haha! Going to meet with them in two weeks time so looking forward to see what they thought of their Book of Mormon presents that we gave them. 

Dieudonné is also doing well. He came to our Christmas program yesterday and we were able to teach him during the week about the Word of Wisdom. He is eager to follow it! Other highlights were Sports Night as usual on Thursday night, but we also went out as a District that afternoon and did some caroling on the streets of Stockholm. Felt really good to raise my voice in song about my Savior and smile at the passing people. Though most were busy with their day and walked by without a second glance, there were a few who stopped and listened and even filmed or took pictures of us. One lady even tried to give us money, but we gave her a wrapped Book of Mormon instead haha. Also, Elder Richardson and I made some cookies and delivered them to Naasi and Daniel, the Bishop, and the couple that we taught a couple weeks ago.

Christmas Eve was fun! Lots of Disney movie watching! Spent the day at Pablo's and watched the traditional Kalle Anka program at 15.00, then ate a yummy Schnitzel dinner with the Stockholm Elders and Shafiq and Najib (Persian members in our ward). Christmas day we had a nice Sacrament meeting program in church with musical numbers and Christmas hymns. Elder Frankman and I and Elder Richardson even performed some vocal numbers. After the meeting, we were surprised by the Relief Society with two huge crates to each of our companionships containing presents and goodies and Christmas food. SUPER NICE! We then went to the Ridells and spent the rest of the day there having the traditional Swedish Julbord and watching more movies. Second Swedish Christmas, completed.

I think the best way to spend Christmas is service. It felt good to simply help Pablo with the dishes and to talk to the Ridells and just get to know them and talk about the Gospel together with them and their 15 year old son, Mikael. The Savior unselfishly loved and served and did so much that we can never repay him for. May we all remember him as we continue into a new year! 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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: 
Christmas goodies after tracting!

District Caroling!

District Caroling!

Sneaky cam by Elder Frankman during our lesson with Dieudonné. Elder Richardson is praying fyi

Cookie making!

Christmas Eve morn, opening gifts

Christmas Eve morn, opening gifts

With Pablo!

Christmas Day with the Ridells!

Monday, December 19, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 90: Endless Energy and His Timing

Good afternoon! 

Here we are at the week of Christmas! I can't believe it at all! So insane how fast time goes! 

Elder Richardson and I are having a blast! We get along so well and have similar interests and ideas. He hails from Eugene, OR (West Coast Best Coast) is the seventh of eight children. He wants me to spread lies to you all that he doesn't obey the rules and that I hate him, but they are not true. We have enjoyed quoting from Lord of the Rings and other movies together as we have contacted on the streets and traveled. 

Elder Weaver and I had some good final days together last week. We explored some shops in Gamla Stan last P-Day and had dinner with Jorgé and Hanna and some others as well. On Tuesday we were able to meet with a new convert named Daniel and share the Christmas initiative with him, and then meet with an investigator named Robert who is from Rwanda. We got to do our monthly Stake Report meeting with President Hagman and discuss the well-being of the missionaries in the Stockholm stake and what we can focus on to hasten the work with the members that evening. 

Wednesday was the big transfer day. Tons of missionaries at Stockholm Central, including a big departing group (Elder Thacker, Elder Carrigan, etc.). Elder Weaver and I said good-bye and Elder Richardson arrived from Handen that afternoon. We dropped his bags at home and called some people while he got a few things unpacked, then we headed to dinner with the Delgaiso family. We did our first contacting stund together in Farsta afterwards and were able to stop and talk to a couple people about the Initiative and why Christ is important in our lives. 

Thursday was quite the interesting day. The main highlight was meeting with friends of Sis. Thijssen who came to the Christmas Concert last week and expressed a desire to be baptized! They were super eager to learn and wanted to get baptized as soon as possible. We taught a couple of lessons and a few commandments, but once we hit the subject of marriage before baptism it got pretty rocky. We later learned the next day from Sis. Thijssen that they are no longer wanting to get baptized right now, which was pretty disappointing, but taught us a good lesson that the Gospel can't be learned in one day and that people, no matter what they say or how eager they are to learn, need time to experience the Gospel in their lives and feel the process of repentance. Line upon line, precept on precept. Also, God's ways are not our ways. Later that day, we met with a less-active member who hadn't been to church in a year and thought that the church had forgotten her. We got to know her and invited her back to church and she gladly accepted. She was so happy to meet with us and it was a great experience getting to know her and then see her at church yesterday. Sports night as usual was fun with another big turnout of peeps.

Got to have our first district meeting with the new district on Friday, then went out to Farsta and contacted the people, spreading the message of service and the Savior. We met with Dieudonné and taught about the importance of a living prophet, helped out with some set-up of the YSA activity for that night at our church, then weekly-planned. On Saturday, we were asked to help clean the church, then did some extra service for Hans and later taught our good friend Ludvig to talk about baptism and where he stands. Also, the other Gubbängen Elders held a baptismal service for their investigator Sanyi, and Elder Richardson got to baptize her. Little bit of a hectic week planning for it and stuff but it turned out good in the end. She got confirmed yesterday and it was great! We ended church meetings yesterday with a little ward fika to ring in the Christmas cheer, and Elder Richardson got to meet lots of members and is super excited to work with the Ward. 

Big things are on the way here in Gubbängen! We are super excited to continue strengthening the Stockholm Zone and this ward and to be celebrating Christmas this weekend. Earlier this week, I read a talk from Elder Bednar that had to do with the enabling power of the Atonement. I pondered how I can better ask for the strength of Christ's Grace and have been making an effort to change myself rather than my circumstances. As we ask for the strength of Christ's Atonement, we will not feel the weight of our burdens and will be filled with hope. 

May you all have a wonderful Christmas week! God Jul på er!

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: 
Don't quit. Never give in.

I'll miss you!

"Oh yeah. Money" This Finnish stud is training!

So is this guy! Congrats Elder Dean!

Dreams really do come true

After the Confirmation 


Monday, December 12, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 89: Room Service and Christmas Spirit

God Jul! 

Lots of good good service this past week, pretty much the gist of what we did. This week also concluded the transfer, and we have received the calls for the upcoming one. Elder Weaver will continue his travels in Malmö and continue to be a ZL there, and I will be receiving Elder Richardson who has been serving in Handen's ward. We have run into each other multiple times on the mission, never served around each other but have gotten to know one another a little bit and are absolutely thrilled to be comps. He comes from the same group as Elder Weaver and was one of Elder Murri's MTC companions. Going to be an awesome transfer, no question! Elder Wilson in the other Gubbängen area will be headed to Skellefteå to be with Elder Hainsworth, and replacing him here will be Elder Frankman who was one of my Zone Leaders when I was in the Malmö zone. Also, Elder Loertscher is headed to Borlänge to be District Leader, which means workovers with my son! Tons of other changes to, including changing the Umeå I area to a Sister area. 

But anyway, the events of the week are as follows...

On Monday, Elder Weaver and I picked up our White Elephant gifts in Stockholm for the Christmas Conference the next day, then went back to the chapel and played some B-Ball with some other Elders. We proselyted in Farsta that evening, contacting a bunch of people and even taught a few lessons as well. The next day was the long-awaited Christmas Zone Conference, and it was terrific. We received some awesome training on attitude and faith, and were reminded of the true meaning of Christmas. Lots of awesome musical numbers from missionaries in both Norrland and Stockholm Zone. The gift exchange was a riot, and the lunch was delicious. Hard to believe that was my last Zone Conference and last Christmas one, too. After all the jubilee and clean-up, we headed to the Arnegårds for dinner and the other Elders shared a message about our divine identity. 

We were recruited to take the Handen Elders' shift of cleaning around the temple on Wednesday morning, and spent our rotation cleaning up the rooms in the guest home. It was peaceful and calming being able to do some service by the House of the Lord. Later, we visited Jorgé and Hanna as usual and taught the Plan of Salvation after dinner. We then headed to the chapel and taught our Albanian friend Christoffer about the Restoration. It was incredible to see how much his belief in God and faith was similiar to principles and doctrine that we believe. Before we even started teaching are were setting expectations with him, he told us how he believes that God wants the same power that he has for us, that he wants us to have his glory. Heavenly Father truly does prepare his children. Very strong-spirited lesson. 

Went on Splits with Elder Baquedano Thursday and despite some fallen through lessons we were able to teach Dieudonné and utilize some of Elder Baquedano's French, as well as have a good contacting stund on Södermalm. We met a 99 year old woman from the UK who is soon turning a hundred and has lived in Sweden for over 70 years. We went over to Eva's house and had some English conversation with her and her daughter and her daughters friend, who is actually really interested in our church and loves the songs in the Book of Mormon Musical haha. We invited the daughter and her friend to a YSA activity next week and they seemed eager to go. Sports Night concluded the day, and it was a really big turnout. 

The rest of the week consisted of doing Stake Reports for the month of November for Elder Weaver and I with some other service opportunities. We had an apartment check Friday morning then headed to the chapel to do the reports. Friday night we got the transfer info, then delivered it to the zone Saturday morning. We then headed to the chapel and helped Hans with the weekly cleaning, then afterwards helped the Åkerbrand family move into their new home. They recently came back after living in UAE for almost seven years. We finished up some more reports after all that then had dinner with the Senior Couple that works in the Mission Office, the Clouses. Good way to end a busy day. 

Sunday was the normal church meeting times, and Elder Weaver and Elder Wilson both bore powerful departing testimony. That evening was the annual Christmas Concert for the Stockholm and Stockholm South Stakes, and there was an awesome turnout of both members and non-members. A beautiful ending to the Sabbath. 

Pondering and studying the Savior's example in the New Testament in correlation with #LightTheWorld each day has been so refreshing and has helping me keep Christ in focus everyday. I've been reminded of his qualities and attributes, including kindness, tenderness, selflessness, diligence and his ability to inspire others to act in faith. He had a clear sight on his mission while on Earth, and he never strayed from it. I loved how the Savior took the time to "[lay] his hands on every one of [the sick], and [heal] them" as recorded in Luke 4. Even during times of hardship and trial, Christ took no thought for himself and ministered to those in need. I am grateful for his eternal example of love and goodness and hope to share that light with many during this wonderful season. Continue to follow the Savior's example each day and watch your love for others and yourself grow! 

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 MTC Group (minus 2)

Temple Cleaning Crew

Dinner with the Clouses

Monday, December 5, 2016

SWEDEN WEEK 88: Personal Worth and Gratis Våfflor

God Jul allihopa!

It has been a week of growth for me personally, and I have learned lots of things and been reminded of much more. The week went pretty quick, did splits with the Assistants and Jakobsberg Elders, were part of a big kick-off activity at the YSA Center on Thursday to promote the Christmas Initiative, and got some good member dinners along the way. Things are going well for our new investigator Katrennada, and we got to show more members the Christmas Initiative video. 

Got to spend some time with some other missionaries last Monday browsing around shops in Gamla Stan, then later in the evening taught a guy who we thought was a non-member but turns out IS a member from Ethiopia. We also visited the Thijssen family and invited them to participate in #LightTheWorld. We went on splits with the Assistants on Tuesday and I went to the office to be with my good friend Elder Johanson. We had a good day contacting in Åkersberga and were able to teach one of their investigators, Margereta. 

Next day, we went on splits with the Jakobsberg Elders and I took Elder Black to Gubbängen. Elder Black arrived into the mission just a couple weeks back, so very fresh missionary but has the drive and the diligence. Had fun getting to know each other and contacting a ton in Södermalm and in Farsta. Also, had fun at dinner with the Del Gaisos, showed them the initiative, then went with our ward mission leader, Walter, and visited another family in the ward, spanish-speaking. Just one of those Spanish nights haha. 

Elder Weaver and I met back up at the Jakobsberg/Täby District meeting Thursday morning and learned some great ways to use the initiative more effectively in contacting. Also, it was Elder Halterman's "funeral", so it was fun being able to be in on that. The rest of the day consisted of the Christmas Initiative kick-off activity at the Center and then Sports Night. The activity went super well! A bunch of missionaries from our zone as well as from the Stockholm South zone got together and did a big contacting blitz trying to get people to come to the center and get some free waffles. The Halls (Stockholm YSA couple) and some other missionaries stayed at the center and welcomed the people we brought in as well as cooked the food and taught people about what we were doing and why. They had a nice set-up of tables and chairs and in the background played the LightTheWorld video on loop. Elder Weaver and I went hard in the paint, cheerfully inviting to get some free waffles to celebrate the World-wide Day of Service, and managed to find a tourist from Greece as well as a couple youths and a couple from Spain. A couple companionships were even able to get some potential investigators out of it. 

Had our normal District meeting with the Stockholm crew on Friday where we got even more ideas of how to spread the Christmas Initiative, then did some weekly planning back home and later taught Swedish to our friend Bro. Divine. Got to visit a lot of members on Saturday, first Jan in Fisksätra, then celebrated Bro. Morales Birthday at his family's place, and then went to the Arnegårds for the first time in a couple weeks due to their mini-vacation to the States, and even got Katrennada to come along! We were able to finish teaching her the Plan of Salvation and got some good testimonies from the Arnegårds to support us. We finished the evening by going to Farsta and ended up teaching two Persian teenagers, showing them the Initiative video, and getting their numbers. 

Sunday was different than the normal ones since our meeting block was bumped to 14.00 instead of the usual 11.00 due to Stockholm South Stake having their Stake Conference. Church went well, Dieudonné was able to come again and I was strengthened and upplifted by the testimonies of the members. Afterwards, we went to Pablo's for dinner and the Hägersten missionaries came bringing 6 non-member friends. It was a Turkish party! And that was the week! 

As I have been looking at the advent calendar each day and studying examples of how Christ served others in the New Testament in correlation to the theme of each day, I have felt a special closeness and comfort to my Savior. I have felt a greater love in my heart and my eyes have been more open to look for opportunities to serve each day. It doesn't cease to amaze me how personal the Savior was with all people, from the simple touch of his hand, to his willingness to bless and heal the one, to his submissiveness and humility towards the Father. 

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls". (Matthew 11:29)

As we continue to help our fellow brothers and sisters this Christmas season, our own difficulties and burdens will be made lighter. I have already felt that peace as I have focused more on serving as the Master did. 

Have a wonderful week! Talk to you all again real soon! 

Mycket Kärlek,   

--

Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden

PICTURES:
Stockholm getting lit up for the season

Stockholm getting lit up for the season

World-wide Day of Service Kick-off Waffle Activity

World-wide Day of Service Kick-off Waffle Activity

Täby/Jakobsberg District (minus the POEs)