Monday, January 30, 2017

SWEDEN WEEK 96: His Will and New Adventure

Friends and Family,

This is the last time I will be sending an e-mail from Sweden as a missionary. This past week has been nothing like what I expected it to be, but it has been everything God has wanted it to be. I was taught a great lesson in trusting in the Lord and being humbled in not having my own wishes or desires fulfilled. My mission has been entirely the Lord's, and I have been grateful for that because through Him I have been changed and become someone much better than I was before. 

Ludvig did not end up getting baptized this past Thursday, but he is feeling more at peace and calmer than he was last weekend and will inevitably be getting baptized sooner rather than later, no doubt about that. Elder Richardson and met with a new investigator named David and are looking forward to continued visits with him. Got some solid dinners from members like our Ward Mission Leader, the Seguras, the Åkebrands, the Acuñas, and the Lindgrens. Have had some quality time with the other Gubbängen Elders and have strengthened our relationships with lots of members here. Another major highlight was the premiere of the "Book of Mormon Musical" in Stockholm, and Saturday night it was Elder Richardson and I's turn to got together with some other local missionaries and members and President and Sister Beckstrand (including an old friend) and hand out Books of Mormon and cards to the attendees of the show as they left the theater. Incredible to see how eager people were to take the real thing! 

This week just marked down all the "lasts". Last district meeting, last time proselyting in Fisksätra, last weekly planning session, last everything essentially. I delivered my final Swedish talk yesterday in Sacrament meeting which was a very weird feeling. Before that as I partook of the sacrament, I was reminded that would be the last time hearing those sacred prayers in the Swedish language for a long while. I was comforted by the Spirit, which is the same in all languages, and which spoke peace to my heart as I pondered the promises and my Savior. 

I don't know what I have in store for me once I get back. Most of me is pretty scared to return due to the unknown and knowing that this is when life begins and the choices I make from here on out are truly my own. I am however leaving with the absolute confidence that Heavenly Father has a perfect plan for my and those I love. I know everything that has happened on my mission has been for my good and improvement. 

I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. His Atonement has cleansed me of my sins and mistakes. I know that there is power in prayer and that we can feel God's love as we humbly seek his guidance. The Holy Ghost testifies of truth and guides our paths, especially when we are not expecting it. As we go about doing good and keep the commandments, we will experience enduring freedom, peace and, and inner strength. The Book of Mormon has brought me to Christ and has taught me how to repent and has continually nourished my faith. The Plan of Salvation is in effect and through the restored ordinances of the temple, I can live with my family for eternity. Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and courageously opposed opposition and endured to the end. God is our Heavenly Father and I know he loves me and each of you. God be with you 'till we meet again. 

Jag älskar er! Hej så länge!
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Äldste Stefan Reed

Varma hälsningar från Sverige

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Mailing Information

Elder Stefan Reed
Enebybergsvägen 38
182 46, Enebyberg
Sweden

PICTURES:


The ABBA MUSEUM
The ABBA MUSEUM

The ABBA MUSEUM

The ABBA MUSEUM

The ABBA MUSEUM


Stockholm

Stockholm

Final District Meeting and District! Ending in the District I started in!

Outside the Kina Theater Saturday Night! 

Outside the Kina Theater Saturday Night! 


Monday, January 23, 2017

SWEDEN WEEK 95: All In and Crazy Weirdness

If time was a person I would like to corner him and tell him to stop running so fast because its really frustrating haha. 

This past week we did a little shopping at an ICA and had lunch with Pablo and some of the older gents in the ward. That evening we were super stoked for contacting the world and got out and taught some awesome quick lessons, then we ran into one woman who was into light energies and orbs and we ended up talking to her for about 45 minutes. We set up a lesson with her at the church for later in the week but she didn't come. 

Tuesday was a standard day, got out and contacted in Farsta and tried to swing-by some less-actives as well. Taught a bunch of street lessons and had a good afternoon. That evening, we met up with Elder Richardson's Aunt who happens to be Swedish and who he has never really seen or talked to before. Turns out she lives in America in North Dakota but came back to Sweden to visit her family and such, and it just so happened that Elder Richardson is serving here in Stockholm where she was visiting so we had dinner together with her and a member in our ward who was childhood friends with her as well. Special experience for Elder Richardson and the Lord made this little meeting happen for sure. 

Wednesday marked my final Zone training. It was just wonderful. I know that this mission is in good hands. Lots of big changes are coming to Missionary work, including some changes to the daily missionary schedule come next transfer. There is a Worldwide Missionary Broadcast this Wednesday that will surely talk about the changes so more to come there. The training was great and it was awesome to be able to present the new Standards of Excellence for 2017 and be gathered together as a zone for the first time this transfer. Finally! I had the opportunity to bear my "Farewell Testimony" på Svenska to the zone and see some of my fellow Elders in my MTC group share theirs as well. We have all grown so much, its incredible. It was a wonderful meeting to also reflect on the events of 2016 and the success that the mission has seen. Miracles have and are continuing to happen! 

Went on my final splits ever with the Stockholm Elders, Elder Martineau was my final Splits-ee (not sure what you would call that) and we had a solid day in our area. Lots of contacting in Farsta, a solid dinner with the Delgaisos, and Sports night. Shout-out to Elder Martineau, the most advanced missionary for the time he has been out on a mission (his Swedish is impeccable!). Friday was spent doing weekly planning after having lunch with the Stockholm Elders, then we helped out at an event for the homeless with the Stockholm and Jakobsberg missionaries downtown. Didn't turn-out to be the kind of service we had expected, ask me about the full story later haha. That evening Elder Richardson and I then went to the Thijssens to celebrate William's 12th Birthday, but before that did some tracting in Tyresö. 

Saturday flew by! We helped out with cleaning of the chapel, then had lots of teaching appointments set up for the rest of the day, to which only a couple panned out. Nonetheless, we taught Ludvig and had another Spirit-filled lesson with him. We taught about Testimony and how we can grow it, then got into the main event concerning his baptism. After bearing of testimonies, assurances, and a powerful prayer. Ludvig has decided to get baptized week. It was amazing to witness the Lord answer our prayers and his directly in that lesson. He knows he needs to take a step of faith and he is holding onto his spiritual experiences as anchors to sail past his doubts. We will be holding the service on Thursday so that both his parents can be there. He passed his interview yesterday and now its just getting the program together. My testimony of prayer and faith has increased so much these past few weeks. Other events on Saturday were teaching Dieudonné and explaining that we dont have anything else to teach him now, which was a little sad but its the point that we had come to. We then headed to Fisksätra, talked to a cool Argentinian on the train ride there, and swung-by a less-active and taught a new investigator named Markus who accepted a Book of Mormon. 

Sunday was hectic but at the same time calming and very peaceful for me. Wonderful sacrament meeting talks, I felt the Spirit strong, the usual teaching of Gospel Principles, and then announcing Ludvig's baptism to the ward and coordinating things with ward leaders. Basically, we spent the whole day with Ludvig haha. Dinner at Pablo's was great, the Stockholm Sisters were able to come and get to know the Finnish girl who may be interested in learning more. By the end of the day, Elder Richardson and I were wiped rather than rested and refreshed. 

This week is going to be incredible, I know it. I know that God answers prayers, and that the Holy Ghost speaks to us personally. I know that it is only as we take a step forward in faith that we will be able to receive greater light and knowledge. More true is the case that God is waiting for us to exercise our faith before we receive an answer to our questions and prayers. Jesus Christ is there to lift us and help us through our doubts. This week will be one that I never forget.

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:
Aunt Birgitta

Jakobsberg Elders

Elder Martineau

Cajun Latino food with Elder Martineau and Elder Johnson. Celebrating splits the right way.

Monday, January 16, 2017

SWEDEN WEEK 94: Father-Son Outing and Not Us

Howdy doody tutti frutti! 

Lots of fun things happened this past week! For starters, Monday we hung out with our Gubbängen brothers and walked around Södermalm and got food together. During the day, we saw that we got a referral from Headquarters so decided to swing-by that night and check out the situation. We got in with a Swedish family whose oldest daughter was an exchange student in Idaho and was hosted by a Mormon family. A relative passed away during Christmas for them who happened to be a member and had said that they should get in contact with the missionaries and feed them a dinner, so before we left that night we set up a date for Friday. Super cool family, very welcoming and kind and even gave us a ride to the church. 

Tuesday, we headed out to Fisksätra and ended up doing some good tracting and contacting and tried to follow up with some potential investigators and less-actives. That evening we had our monthly meeting with President Hagman and one of his high council men and went over the Stake report. It is a huge blessing to have such a dedicated and strong Stake President.

On Wednesday we had the pleasure of doing workovers in Borlänge, so I got to be with...you guessed it...MY SON! So cool to see the growth in each other after having been companions a year ago. Nuts! We tracted, contacted, taught a new convert and a less-active, and had a good time together. It went pretty fast, but it felt like old times, just better! Thursday the four of us traveled to Uppsala for District meeting, and got to see my boy in action teaching his district. The home-made taco lunch made for a fun time. We had splits with the Uppsala Elders lined up after, so I got to stay in Uppsala with Elder Bringhurst who is on his third transfer in the field. Uppsala is a gorgeous city. It reminded me a lot of Lund but also a little bit of Göteborg as well. There can be found the biggest Cathedral/church in Sweden. Elder Bringhurst and I's day also went by fast; we contacted in stan for a good hour and got a couple potential investigators. It was neat to testify of opposition and the Plan of Salvation to a Swedish guy who had some concerns with the way the world looks today; he really listened and respected what we said. Other things we did was swing-by a potential investigator, but no answer, so we tracted some neighboring buildings. 

Elder Richardson and I reunited on Friday at Upplands Väsby station. We returned to our apartment and had lunch, then commenced some weekly planning before the awaited dinner with Emilia (the exchange student girl) and her family, as well as another family. We had a wonderfully american dinner of hamburgers and were surprised by a dessert of Root Beer floats. For whatever reason, Swedish people do not grasp the tradition, and think its the weirdest thing ever, plus disliking the taste of Root Beer, so it was a riot to watch these Swedish families try it and see their faces. Felt like home :)

Saturday was also eventful! We had lunch with the other Elders and some of our Persian members at the church and made homemade kebab pizzas. We forgot yeast in our dough, but they turned out good to me! We later taught Ludvig, our favorite organist, and had a very spiritually led meeting. After reading Alma 32 and testifying about Faith, he has made the decision to be baptized. The Spirit was so strong, and it spoke to all of us. Now its just a matter of setting a date. Ludvig is so ready. Bishop gave him a Preach My Gospel yesterday :) We also taught Dieudonne about tithing then afterwards traveled to a dinner with Ely and the other Elders. 

Sunday was a spiritual feast for me. The Spirit touched me many times during sacrament meeting. I'm now scheduled to give a talk on the 29th, my last Sunday in Sweden. We talked to Ludvig a little after as well and he is still feeling strong about being baptized and will be pondering a date this week. The four of us went to Sister Morris' for dinner and shared a message about Christ's Atonement with her and her daughter, and then closed the evening with some baptismal date follow up. 

At district meeting in Uppsala, Elder Bringhurst made what I thought was a very inspired comment. He said something along the lines that God allows us as imperfect beings to perform his work, so that others can know when they feel the Spirit that it comes from no other source than Heavenly Father. 

Nothing we do can persuade people to God, but it is only through the Spirit that hearts are changed. That's what changed me. I am grateful that the Lord is patient with me and allows me to participate in this great and marvelous work. 

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:
City Square in Gävle

Heading to Uppsala

Domkyrkan in Uppsala

Inside the Cathedral

More Domkyrkan

More Domkyrkan

Dnner and Root Beer Floats

Persian Pizza Party

Persian Pizza Party

Persian Pizza Party

Monday, January 9, 2017

SWEDEN WEEK 93: Goal Striving and Snowy Contacts

Howdy! 

Just so you know, winter is here to say and I busted out my bigger coat. The Umeå memories flooded in as soon as I stepped outside in the full winter gear. Pretty manageable weather so far but I'm not playing the Theoden card this year; I expect it to get worse haha. 

This week was a bit of everywhere. Elder Richardson and didn't see everything happen that we wanted to, but in the end we learned lots of things this week about ourselves and helping others, and had some good experiences along the way. Monday was running around checking out stores and then making sure we got to Fisksätra on time so we could get in contact with some less-actives. Mild success there with the less-actives but some good street contacts while we swung by people. We also visited Jan and strengthened his spirituality. 

On Tuesday we had the first MLC of the year and combined forces as leadership in the Sweden, Stockholm mission to determine the new Standards of Excellence and Key Indicator goals that we will be striving to achieve this year. Lots of opinions were shared and decisions were made, and for me I left with the take away that we as leaders do have a big responsibility and that we can improve how we work with our missionaries. Lots of accountability reminders. Big focus on member work as well and things to focus on there. Draining meeting but very good nonetheless.

We went on splits with the Jakobsberg Elders on Wednesday and Elder Olson and I had a solid finding day, nothing but contacting and tracting. It was neat to see the growth in Elder Olson as we had been on splits before two transfers ago. Though the weather was cold and the rejection was high that day, we had a good time and were super motivated throughout the day. We found a couple potential people near the end of the day that would be open to a visit. 

District meeting on Thursday with the Stockholm crew, then Stake reports and Sports night. Nobody at Sports night this week besides us and Bryte (member in our ward). On Friday, we went to the office to attend Jakobsberg/Täby's District meeting and were spiritually upplifted there. Elder Richardson and I then traveled to Fisksätra again and found some solid success with finding potential investigators. We look forward to following up with them this week. Still working on getting in contact with those less actives. Saturday was a Stake Report grind day. 

Sunday was, as always, a spiritual relief and boost. Both Elder Richardson and Elder Frankman held fantastic talks during Sacrament meeting, as well as our Bishop who gave some inspired council to the ward. Dieudonné came and so did Ludvig, who is back from his holiday travels. We taught Gospel Principles then taught Ludvig after meetings to follow up with his testimony building. Dinner with Pablo as well afterwards, and then some solid teaching of one of his boarders who came to church today. She is a Finnish girl who is seeking God and wanting to change her life, yet not sure if she is ready to give up the life she currently has. Lots of talk about the Savior and trials, and the choices we make, then we all gathered and watched the Restoration film. She was very interested and asked lots of questions, and listened intently. She is quite the curious one, and is very nice and open to listen to other's viewpoints. Pablo is really counting on this one and we are scheming of how we can continue to teach her. Solid time at Pablo's this week. 

As seems to be the case more and more recently, I have pondered and reflected on the things I have learned so far here in Sweden. It amazes me to see that I have learned a great deal and have had tons of experiences that have helped me learn more of who the Savior is as well as who I am and how I fit into everything. The thought that has most been with me is the enduring question of ,"What can I do to increase my diligence and to serve the Lord each day?" The funny thing about missionary work is that it never really gets easier, but rather more rewarding. As I have done my best to improve and follow the guidance of the Spirit, I have felt lasting joy that has only continued increasing in strength. I'm not perfect and I am still learning tons, and I love it so much. Heavenly Father gives us trials and struggles so that we can grown and continue to be shaped into the children that he knows we can become. Its a beautiful process. 

I wish you all a great week! Take care and know that I love you all!  

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:
Orders! Missionary tags galore!

Semlor!

View from Pablo's balcony

Someone is hungry

Sunday, January 1, 2017

SWEDEN WEEK 92: Companionship Unity and New Life

GOTT NYTT ÅR!!!

We are finding ourselves once again in a new year! Just moved on to the year 2017! The future is now! I must say that for me 2016 felt like yesterday! (Budum chhh!) But really, it was the fastest year of my life thus far, I learned so many wonderful things and have experienced so much these last 12 months. 

In the days leading up to New Year's we had some interesting stuff go on. Last Monday we perused the after Christmas sales in downtown Stockholm and witnessed the commercial chaos of everything haha. People are pretty fun sometimes. We had Julbord with the Tompkins/Stenborg family with the other Elders and got fed well that night. Tuesday, Elder Richardson and I went on splits with the Assistants, myself going with our fairly new Assistant, Elder Jensen. We were able to swing-by and get in contact with a less-active, do some contacting in Åkersberga and talk to an interested lady there, and teach some new Chinese investigators with some Chinese members present. Little bit of everything! 

The next day, Elder Richardson and I both got sick that morning while still on splits with the Assistants. We got back together safely and rested that day. Wasn't fun... Thursday got progressively together after District Meeting, and we were able to call lots of people and get our information on people current. On Friday we were completely back to normal and were able to contact the masses in Farsta as well as teach Dieudonné and Ely and do weekly planning. 

New Year's Eve, Elder Richardson and I gave 2016 one final hurrah and contacted tons of people in Farsta. We were able to give out a couple Books of Mormon and bear testimony of Christ to many. To celebrate the evening before the new year, we went over to Pablo's and had dinner then play some card games. This year, we had to be home by 10.00 due to the New Year falling on Sunday, but we did see plenty of fireworks. Today is New Year's! We had fast and testimony meeting for church today and the Spirit was strong as the members bore their testimonies. I feel like things are really changing here in Gubbängen; our relationships with members are improving weekly and it feels good. We just got back from having another dinner with Pablo and are getting ready to soon go out and get some good 2017 proselyting in. 

This morning I was reading in Alma about the Stripling Warriors and was impressed by the description of these men in that "they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity." To my, that is my New Year's resolution; I want to be courageous in the decisions I make this new year and above all I want to be actively striving to live the Gospel for the rest of my life. I know that choosing our Savior Jesus Christ will allow us to become better people. I hope this new year will bring you all wonderful opportunities and that you will continue to learn and 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: 
Getting our fashion on

Comp studies

The Gubbängen Crew and pepper soup

New Year's Eve Dinner dish duty

The dessert!

Happy New Year! 2017!