Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Life up North!

Hey guys, 

This has been another busy, but good week. I am emailing on Tuesday this week because we had a zone activity yesterday that took up the entire day and then I hopped on a train and now am on splits with Elder Perkins in Sundsvall. 

I started a new planner and left my old one with last weeks activities in Umeå, so this week will be a little shorter.

This past week has been nice because we didn´t have to spend any days outside of our area, so we were able to get much more done. We had some cool experiences that I wanted to mention. One day we had a little time on us between lessons so we decided to go by some previous investigators. While we were in the area we were talking to people on the street. We stopped a lady named Flora. We started talking to her about the Book of Mormon, and then she interrupted us and asked if we could sit on a nearby park bench and talk more about this. We taught her all about the Restoration. She seemed very prepared. What was also cool was after talking to her for a while she said that she saw us walking on the street and felt like she needed to talk to us, but then we turned to go to a set of a apartments. Luckily, we ended up passing her again and she knew she needed to talk to us, so she was glad when we stopped her. The Spirit touches the hearts of those who are ready to hear our message. 

We have been teaching a ton of people. A lot of them have set baptismal dates, but have some things to overcome before they can be baptized. We have been praying and fasting for miracles so each of them can be baptized. 

Well, transfer calls are this Saturday, so it will be interesting to hear what happens. 

Have a great week! 

Love 

Elder Kapp

Monday, July 20, 2015

It is the tiny drops that make up the ocean.

It has been another crazy week here, but it has been good. We have definitely stayed busy! On Monday we went to our investigator Peter´s. We normally teach him and his girlfriend together, but her and the kids were out of town visiting family this time so it was just us this time. He drove us out to a lake near his house and we grilled with him and were able to just talk to him. It was one of the most spiritual experiences on my mission. He has a strong faith in the church and has been prepared for a lot of things. We were able to talk about his trials and experiences. It showed my how much the Lord prepares people and lead them to the truth. We aren´t just blindly going through life. Each experience/trial can help us come closer to Him. 

So on Tuesday we went and helped an older Finnish lady, named Kaarina, mow her lawn and take care of some other things she can´t do. We were talking to her after and she shared an experience years back that really had an impact on me. After World War II she and a friend decided to gather some clothing that they could send to Eastern Europe to help those in poverty. They had gathered used clothes and had a car full to send to the people in need. They drove all of the clothes they had gathered to their desired destination of need, in a single car. A member of a neighboring charity organization came to her while she was in the process of doing this and asked, "Why are you doing this? You realize the work you are doing is like a tiny drop of water in the ocean. You will never make an impact." Kaarina humbly responded, "What do you think the ocean is made of?" It is the small things that make the differences in our lives. Kaarina later had a co-worker who was inspired by her efforts. Her co-worker decided to organize efforts to also gather clothing and put together an organization. By the end of it, her co-worker had been able to gather 17 tons of clothing which was sent to the areas of need. This was all inspired by Kaarina´s humble efforts of driving a small car, packed like sardines with clothing. I learned how important it is to do those small things, because they are what make the difference in our lives and the lives around us. Those small acts of service or the small adjustments in our lives go a long ways. 

Wednesday morning we went and taught a new investigator named Catherine. She is in a wheel-chair and we found her through her neighbor Niels who is a member we have been working with, who is also in a wheel-chair. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and how it can bless her life. Niels called us later this week and said he had some exciting news for us. He said that Catherine has been reading and she believes that it is true. We were so excited. We are meeting with her on Wednesday. 

Wednesday we met with a member named Magnus. He shared with us a story of the very first missionaries in Umeå. This is a cool story. They had been there for 3 months and did nothing but knocking doors every day for 10 hours. Not one single investigator. Not one. At the end of their 3 months the mission president called them and asked if they wanted to "wipe the dust off their feet," and leave this place. They both felt a strong impression to stay, even though they were given the option to leave. At this point they were faced with even more trials. Their landlord said that they would no longer be able to rent the apartment they were staying in because he wanted to use it for other needs. These missionaries were given a few weeks to find new living quarters. This is extremely difficult because there are so many students in Umeå. (I can testify of this since we just moved apartments). There was literally nowhere for them to live. They continued searching but had no where. It got to the last day and they still had nowhere to live. But they still felt like they needed to stay and give an offer to the Lord. They stayed. That night they realized that the only option they had was to sleep in the forest. This was a huge trial being in northern Sweden, even in the summer the temperature drops quite a bit. They decided to do it anyways. They slept in the forest of Umeå and the following morning woke up and continued their work. They went through the day working and once again the evening arrived again. They were both dreading sleeping outside again, especially knowing that their mission president had given them the option to leave. They still felt the need to stay and made their way to the forest with tears in their eyes. On their way they met a man who they talked to on the street. After they had left their message, the man asked them "Where do you guys live anyway?" They told him about their situation. He then offered them to stay at his house that night, having two extra beds. They did so, expressing heartfelt prayers of gratitude that night.  After that, everything went uphill. They had seen so much success, including with the man who let them sleep in his house. He later became a member. They were pioneers for a now thriving branch of close to 100 active members and 4 missionaries who have extremely busy schedules. The church in all of Sweden has been effected by their efforts, especially in the northern part. I learned so much from this story. I don´t need to sleep outside, but I realized whatever sacrifice I make will always be worth it and every tiny effort will result in miracles and an even stronger church in northern Sweden. 

On Thursday we drove up to Boden, the northernmost area in the mission. We went on workovers with the elders there. It was beautiful up there and we had a lot of fun with them. 

Well, we were able to set another baptismal date this week, which now means we have 6 scheduled for August and September. We have been so blessed for our hard work. If I have learned anything on my mission it is if you give the Lord a little sacrifice, showing you want success, he will bless you with more than you even have room to receive. 

I love you all! Have a great week. 

Love 

Elder Kapp 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Busy busy busy busy.

Hey guys,

Wow this week has been another crazy busy week. We have more people to meet with than we have time to meet with them. It has been really good though! 

On Monday we spent a good portion of the evening being bus drivers! We had a lot of companionships arrive for our specialized zone training, so we had to drive them all to their different places they are staying. It was crazy!

Tuesday morning we had a great zone training. The first half was focused on the Book of Mormon. That has been a HUGE focus in the mission recently and we have seen miracles. During the training we broke off into groups and read scriptures together. We read 11 verses from the book of Enos. We ripped those verses apart and I got so much personal revelation. It hit me that I read my scriptures way too fast and don´t get enough from them. We shouldn´t just read the Book of Mormon to tally off another time we have read it, but to really apply the things we are reading! The second half of the training was a family home evening with President and Sister Beckstrand. They wanted to come and have a less-formal meeting with us because it is really hard for them to get to know all of the missionaries on the level they want to because the mission is so large in area and they can´t be with us as much as they want. It was a lot of fun and we got to know them a lot better. 

Tuesday night and Wednesday I was on splits with the assistants, while my companion was in Stockholm taking care of some visa problems. We taught lesson after lesson after lesson. We had a lot of good experiences. Wednesday evening we ate dinner at a family named the Jälmbrants. Brother Jälmbrant is the second counselor in the district presidency. The coolest thing is they are both converts, and guess who tracted into their door years ago? It was President Beckstrand! We had a really good dinner with them. They served elk... which was really good! After that I dropped the assistants off at the apartment and then went on splits with ANOTHER elder in our zone, Elder Perky. It's been nothing but splits, splits, and more splits. And hey, this upcoming week we are going on work-overs in Boden, which is the Northern most area in Sweden. Will be fun! 

On Thursday we moved into our new apartment. It is probably in the most beautiful area in the world. We can see the Baltic Sea from our balcony and when you step on the balcony it is absolutely silent. It´s is so weird, but really nice. The new apartment was just remodeled so it is very nice, but SMALL! By far the smallest apartment I have lived in on my mission, but I like it anyways. 

So I want to share one more cool experience from this week! We are working with an inactive member named Niels. He is from the Philippines and is paralyzed. He has made huge steps. He has quit smoking and has been applying the Atonement in his life. There is a literal change in his countenance when you see him. When somebody has the Spirit you can tell. I can look at a group of missionaries and could tell you what kind of a missionary someone is just by looking at them, because of the light they have in their eyes. I love the Atonement! We were talking to Niels and he said, " I know my body was made in Asia, because my warranty is expired and my body is falling apart." I laughed pretty dang hard. 

Well, I love you guys and hope you are enjoying this last month of summer! All the Swedes are starting to get off semester and go back to work... which is nice! There are more people to teach! 

Love 

Elder Kapp 

                                                The view down the street from our apartment


                                                  Me by the water right next to our apartment


                                               My comp burning his shirt for his year mark

                          
                        A meal that Åsa made for us missionaries at the church. It was super nice of her!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Busy, busy week

Wow,
 
I have never been so tired in my life. We have been going and going and going! It feels like we have an endless list of things to do, besides our own proselyting. But the good news... Elder Israelsen and I have been working our tails off and have 5 baptismal dates set right now! That is the most I have ever had at once on my mission and the thing is... there are a lot more positive people we could get baptismal dates with as well. Hard work, and dedication pays off! 

So Monday evening we flew into Stockholm for MLC. It was a pretty laid back evening once we got there. Elder Israelsen and I basically just planned for our upcoming zone training while we were in the office. On Tuesday we went to the mission home for MLC. We had a BBQ first and then had our training. The entire training was focused on the Book of Mormon. That book is the strongest tool in all aspects of the gospel. I realized how weak we will become if we are not fully invested in reading it. It is something we have been emphasizing extra as a mission recently and it has brought in a special spirit.  Elder Israelsen and I have issued a challenge to the branch to read the Book of Mormon within the next 3 months. We made a calendar for them to follow along with. 

So Wednesday we had a really cool lesson with an investigator named Ranja. She has investigated the church for a really long time and KNOWS the church is true... the thing keeping her back is opposition from her family. We just shared a simple lesson about our testimonies of the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was very strong and she accepted a date to be baptized in August. 

On Thursday we had zone training. It is always a challenge getting all of the missionaries here to Umeå... It takes 7 hours to drive from one end of our zone to the other. But we got everyone here. We had a really good meeting on consecration and the Book of Mormon. It is really cool to hear missionaries experiences since and how it motivated them to change and become better. I love the teaching aspect of being a zone leader. It is fun to inspire and help other missionaries. 

Another cool experience we had was teaching a part member family later Thursday night. Their names are Josef and Emma. Josef comes from a really strong member family but has been inactive for a really long time. Emma is a non member, but reads in the Book of Mormon and has a testimony of it. Josef has a really strong desire to be active again. He doesn´t want to have kids until he is strong in the church. We committed Josef to come back to church and we set a baptismal date for Emma. They both are so committed to making this journey back, though it will be hard because they have a long ways to go. I am so happy to see them. They can be leaders in this branch. I think it is so awesome how many members in this branch are converts. I would almost go as far as saying as half of the branch are converts... some of them fairly recent as well. The branch president has been a member for 2 years!! Converts can make such faithful members. 

On Friday we met with a couple named Isabelle and Jonas. We taught them the restoration. After they asked us what they have to do to become members in the church. We were like... well good question! Needless to say they also have a date for baptism. 

On Saturday I had a very humbling experience. We went  by an inactive member named Niels. He is from the Philippines and was a part of a search and rescue team when a building collapsed and is now paralyzed from the waist down. He is in a lot of pain and has a hard time with depression. I just want to love him to death. We are going to him later this week to help clean up his apartment. We are going to try and just build him up!! 

Well tomorrow we have another specialized training. The assistants and president will be coming for that. It is has been a pain trying to find places for all of the missionaries to stay tonight in Umeå so they can be ready for the training tomorrow. Some of them are getting into Umeå pretty late. I have learned that sometimes you just don´t have time to rest. I. am. tired. But I love it. 

Have a great week y´all!

Love 

Elder Kapp