Monday, March 24, 2014

The weeks news from Sweden!

Well, what a week. It started off with transfers. My new comp is Äldste Lofgren, from good old Salt Lake City, Utah!! He is a super cool guy and it looks like we are going to work really well together. He went to Skyline High and played a year of baseball at the U before his mission. Pretty sweet! But, anyways, let me tell you how this week has been going. It seems like it has been really well!! We have a lot to do and have a ton of scheduled lessons! We have been blessed quite a bit with people to teach, who are ready to hear the gospel. Just 5 minutes ago, we taught our investigator Aurora, who has the baptism date. It is so amazing to see the gospel work in peoples lives and how it can change them. She gave me a note today at our lesson, here at the church, and after reading it, it lets me know that the Lord is preparing her for baptism. It talked about how she is realizing all of these people who are on the TV and all over the world, who think they are free. But they really are not and that it is all an illusion. She is starting to see what true happiness is and the Atonement is really working in her life! She may be moving her baptism date back, because of some Word of Wisdom problems, but she knows it is true and has committed to rely on the Atonement to overcome them. We are both very excited for her. Earlier this week, we taught Aline and Yonelle, who are these two sisters from the Congo. We showed them the restoration video in French and they both said they felt the spirit. It was SO strong. It was a very amazing experience. On Wednesday, we had our district meeting in Göteborg. It was a really good meeting, in a really cool city. We went to Pizza Hut after, which is the only place here that has American pizza. We taught our Swedish class again to the Syrian immigrants. That is still going well, and we are still trying to figure out a plan to meet with a couple of them that we feel are ready to here the gospel. Also, earlier this week we met with a new investigator named Roger. It was a little interesting... we taught him in his apartment which was a little different. He had drugs on his table next to his cigarettes in bags! I don't know what it was but it didn't look legal in the U.S. BUT, he has come to church and has felt the spirit... SO, we are teaching him. We taught Trautte again, and that lesson seemed like a mess. We talked about the baptism interview questions to help her see that she is ready for the commitment. She didn't take the message well at all and didn't seem like it really went anywhere. We have been working with a couple of less actives, too, which has been going well!! We played inndebandy this last Saturday with the young men and some leaders. It was a really good time. There are some really good members here. Church yesterday went well. We had these 3 random guys walk in, and they hardly speak Swedish or English. They speak Arabic, so when we teach them we might Skype with someone who speaks Arabic in Göteborg. Oh and speaking of them... something really funny happened in sacrament. I was helping pass the sacrament, and one of the Arabic guys said in kind of a loud voice, "Hey, let me get some of that bread." Ha ha I looked up a the bishop on the stand and he just kind of nodded his head and smiled. The things you see in Swedish churches. Oh and one more thing!! Yesterday, when we were walking back home from a lesson, we passed this car with people piling out, outside this hotel in the main city. One of the guys getting out of the car was like "Hey Elders!! How ya doing?" At first I was like, WHAT? That guy has an American accent and second I was like... He is greeting us! AM I IN UTAH??? Turns out it was a bunch of guys in Sweden for a business trip and they work for Autoliv. Two of the guys are from Brigham City. I guess it is a small world after all. Well that is it for this week!! 

                                                            Me and my new companion

                                                               Making homemade corndogs!

Monday, March 17, 2014

First Baptismal Date Set!

Sorry about last weeks email. We had to run to an appointment and didn't have very long at all to talk! I have decided to bring my journal with me when I write, so I can give you more spiritual/interesting emails. But this week has been amazing!! I'm finally starting to settle in and get comfortable with my mission. I am starting to fall in love with my mission and starting to enjoy, even the hard times better. So this last week is huge!! We got our first baptismal date!! It's with Aurora and she will be baptized on your birthday mom!!! Cool huh?!! It's pretty awesome... we met her on the street when she yelled out, "Who are you?" when she saw our name tags. She was standing outside a bar with a beer and a cigarette in her hand. She is coming a long way. We are very excited for her. Okay, so Tuesday we had our huge zone conference with a bunch of zones in southern Sweden. It was really awesome and spiritual. It started off with a memorial for Elder Bailey. I guess he baptized someone just hours before he was hit by the car. The night before, he wrote a huge testimony in his journal about how much he loves his family and knows he will be with them forever, and how much he has loved his mission. It's almost as if Heavenly Father was preparing him to go. But what happened when he was hit was the guy driving was speeding and intoxicated and they heard the car flying around the corner so his comp ran forward but Elder Bailey decided to step backward and the car hit him instantly where he flew 100 feet and was killed instantly. Through this very sad story, I KNOW that he is being sent on the other side for a reason. Mission work in the spirit world is just as important here. That is why we are supposed to do an hour of family history a week as missionaries! But also from the meeting, we had a nice surprise....... ha ha the entire mission now has iphones!!! Ha ha we kind of heard rumors that it was going to happen, but didn't actually believe it until at the zone conference the proselyting office elders announced it! Every companionship now has one!! No more getting lost, with GPS. The ward directory is on it, and it's cheaper with apples large group plan than the phones before, and it can all be monitored what we do!! It's pretty sweet and so useful!! So the night after the zone conference we got an unexpected call, with a single lady needing help moving. Here's the thing. She lived on the top floor in an apartment and we were the only ones there and she had SO much stuff. We ended up just putting it in a big storage room on the basement floor in the apartment, but it took forever and I now have a hole in my black suit pants... but it's okay, its not big and I can sew it!! We also found out about transfers on Saturday. I will be staying in Alingsås, but Äldste Svensson will be going down to Helsingborg. I am glad I am staying here! I am just starting to get comfortable and the work is going well. My new comp will be Äldste Lovgren. He is from the US and has been out for about a year. Well that's my email for the blog this week. I hope it is better than last weeks!! 

                                          This is what Sweden looks like this time of year.

                 I think this might be the city Göteborg. He says this city reminds him of Boston.

                               I think this might be the caviar and blood pudding he's about to try.

Monday, March 10, 2014

An up and down week!

      This is a lake close to our church. We went here a few weeks ago on p-day. It's a pretty big lake.

                                                   This is me trying blood pudding!
So this week we haven't done too much. My comp and I both have had bad colds so it slowed us down a bit. We had a district meeting earlier this week in Göteborg, or Gothenberg in English. It was a good meeting!! Tomorrow we have a big zone conference in Göteborg with our zone and the other Göteborg zone. It should be good. I'm sorry I normally look back at my planner to see what we did for the week, but I started a new planner so I'm trying to remember the best I can. Church was insane yesterday!! It was ward conference and we had a ton of investigators come to church. There literally was no room. But it's good, because this month if the sacrament meeting numbers reach a certain number they will remodel the chapel and make it bigger! Our two progressing investigators right now are Aurora and Trautte. I'm pretty sure I have told you about them already, but Aurora came to church and it seemed to go really well. Trautte didn't come to church because she was with her grandkids, but she is progressing pretty well. We weren't able to meet with Trautte this week, because we are sick and she is pretty old, so we didn't want to meet. On Saturday morning we played indebundy with the ward. It was fun, and apparently I'm really good... they said they can tell I have experience with a stick... they all googled lacrosse after I told them what it was. We also met with a couple of less actives and taught the Swedish class like always. 
I will tell you some happy stuff that has been going on!! So this week me and Äldste Svensson have both been sick, so we haven't met with a lot of people. So earlier this week I prayed one night for Heavenly Father to prepare one person the next day, for me to have a positive contact with and be able to follow up with. So the next day it was getting late, and it still hadn't happened. We were in a city called Vårgårda, and we missed the train to get back and it was getting late. So we figured we would just track until 8 or so and then grab dinner and get on the next train. So we were tracting in this appartment complex and kept getting rejected. Finally we got to this door and this lady opened. I just told her who we are and a quick message of the restoration. I then asked if she had 10 or 15 minutes that we could share more of our message. She said, you have 5 and I began talking about the Book of Mormon... The Swedish was far from good but I bore the most sincere testimony that I could. She took the book, said she would read it, and said we could come back. Heavenly Father answers prayers!!
 So we have had a lot more sunny days. It's been awesome!! It's funny after church on Sunday a ton of people were just standing outside taking in the sun. You really take the sun for granted when you don't have it!! That's too bad that the lacrosse team lost to Davis. They will have a good season I think though!! 
So you haven't gotten the package I sent you yet!!! Dang it! I hope it comes soon!! It has some really good food in it! And no, I haven't gotten the letter you wrote yet. So today we did the normal P day stuff, but earlier we taught this Jewish investigator we have named Daniel. That's why we are emailing late. He mostly just taught us Hebrew... didn't really go anywhere! And yes transfers are next week, so I guess we will see what happens! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Wow, what a week!

So this week started off with me going on splits with 2 other missionaries in Göteborg, because our companions were in Stockholm for a leadership meeting. The 2 elders I was with were also both greenies. One was in my MTC group and the other one got into Sweden right when we entered the MTC. GREENIE FEST!!! It was actually a lot less stressful, because we all had nothing to be embarrassed of, because we were pretty much on the same language/skills levels. We made it fun and it was a good day. The appointments they had planned fell through, so we ended up tracting for most of the day. But we had a very busy week with a lot of appointments. One of our investigator's name is Trautte. She is an older widow, who is very sweet and is from Germany (apparently from the area book she lived in Germany during the Holocaust.) But she has been taught for a while, and we pretty much asked what has been keeping her from baptism. She said she was already baptized and although she had heard the authority/priesthood lesson before, she didn't feel ready. Luckily we had a member present who kind of nudged her along. She knows the church is true!! She is just kind of worried about what family will think and what not. But the member bore a good testimony. I think sometimes when we teach we aren't straight forward and don't bare as strong enough testimonies. What I mean is we could be better at being a little more intense and not quite so, "oh well that's okay." Let me remind you that I don't do a lot of teaching, so I just sit there kind of paralyzed, when I want to share WHY this is so important. But anyways, the member kind of took that approach and it was awesome!! She is going to talk to family and hopefully prepare for it. We are also teaching a women named Aurora, who has a ways to go, but is following up on commitments!! She smokes, drinks, has tattoos everywhere, and actually called us out when we were walking home in the main city of Alingsås. She was sitting there drinking and smoking with some guys, saw our name tags and said, "Who are you?" Ha ha that's when we were like, "Actually we would love to tell you." We now are meeting her again tonight and it is looking promising. Finally, I don't know a lot of details about what is going on in Syria right now, but I have learned to have a love for the people there, like you would never know. So we are teaching a language class to the people in the refugee camp here at the church twice a week. They are the kindest, most humble people I have ever met in my entire life. They are always saying, "Thank you so much sir" and have smiles of their faces. Okay no big deal... a lot of people do that right... Well get this. We invited them to church yesterday and three showed up. After sacrament, one of the members asked Ahmed about his family. Ahmed is probably the most loving, respectful one out of all of them. He humbly answered that his wife and kids had all been killed in the trauma in Syria. These people are less different from us than I ever would have imagined, and if anything, I look up to them. I wish you could meet them. They have changed my life forever, and we will be inviting some of them to learn more about the gospel. But yeah, that's my week. Oh and I got a hair cut today... just told the guy how long I wanted it and he said sounds good... ha ha let's just say it's VERY European looking. But I like it and feel like I fit in more, even if I didn't intend to have it look that way!!

(Oh, and Caden... the caviar actually wasn't too bad... you just spread it on this hard bread they eat in Sweden. The blood pudding wasn't too bad either... but the fact that I knew I was eating blood made it hard to get down.)