Monday, August 31, 2015

Good Conference Weekend

Hey everyone,

This week has been really good. We had district conference (stake conference basically) and had a lot of other stuff going on. 

On Tuesday the assistants came up to Umeå and we did splits. I was with Elder Sahlin and learned a lot from him. There was one cool thing we noticed while he was here. So me and him were on splits last transfer and we taught our investigator Azim for the first time. We ended up teaching Azim again while he was on splits with me. We were talking about how different he seems from the first time we met him. There was a noticeable change! The gospel changes people and even though for us missionaries we don´t always see those huge changes, they do change. The gospel can change the entire countenance of someone.  

So Saturday night we had the first sessions for stake conference. They were really good. Both President and Sister Beckstrand spoke, along with Elder De Feo, an area 70 from Italy. It felt like the entire conference was focused on home teaching/visiting teaching, and missionary work. Once the members in Sweden can master administering to each other the church will thrive on a completely new level. After the general Saturday session, all of the missionaries went out and ate together. After we had a meeting for recent converts of the last two years and investigators. We were able to get Azim there. The Spirit was so strong in that meeting. I am serving in a branch where two thirds of all members are converts. Each of their stories are unique and powerful. We were able to be taught in a smaller setting by Elder De Feo and let some of the recent converts share their testimonies. The Sunday session was focused a lot of the Atonement. Elder De Feo shared about the healing power of the Atonement. I was getting pretty emotional yesterday. I kept thinking about how faithful these members are here in Sweden. I thought a lot about the movie "17 Miracles" and how faithful the members in Europe were and still are. The members here in northern Sweden are pioneers and their faith is an example to the rest of the country. 

I love being here and I am learning so much.

Have a good week. 

Love,

Elder Kapp

                Elder Featherstone finally got his dill pickles (they aren´t too common here I guess?)


             Our apartment is too small for 4 elders so when the assistants were here on splits Elder                                         Featherstone and Elder Rasmussen did studies in the bathroom.

                                                                             Elevator

Monday, August 24, 2015

Fermented fish... Yum...

Well, 

Another week gone by! It has been a good one and this last stretch of my mission is flying by! On Monday evening we went with the YSA´s and had a camp fire and grilled hot dogs. We always get a great turn out to these of both members and non-members. It was a ton of fun! 

So Thursday I got to go on splits with my dear son... Elder Reed, in Örnskoldsvik! We had a great time together and a lot of good memories proselyting with him came back. While we were there, we were driving with the Delgados, a senior couple in Örnskoldsvik and they said, "Did you guys hear that they are serving free surströmming (fermented herring) outside of ICA?! (a grocery store)."  I couldn´t go my entire mission without trying it. August is the time of year where the Swedes eat a lot of pickled herring, especially here in the North. Well... I am one with a pretty solid stomach who has learned to eat and like just about everything on my mission. But that fish was HARD to swallow. The best way to describe it is rotten fish with an overdose of salt on it! It actually wasn´t that bad if you eat it with onion, tomatoes, cream, on thin bread... but the fish alone was pretty gross. I have learned to love caviar in toothpaste tubes, salted black licorice, and a bunch of other weird Swedish delicacies, but fermented herring is just nasty. Oh!! By the way... I tried another Swedish classic this week at a members house... liver paste! It was interesting. Not that bad, not that good. All of those weird foods that I read about that people eat in Sweden mostly just eat it here in the northern part. I am loving trying it all though!

While Elder Reed and I were on splits, we were tracting into an apartment building and met this couple from Iran who let us in right away. Their Swedish was rough, but we were able to get across the basics of our message. We have a missionary here in Sweden who translates to Persian, so the elders went back yesterday and taught them with translation. They apparently were really positive and are going to be baptized. Pretty cool! 

Saturday was a little crazy... We went and played soccer with the branch in the morning. We had 2 investigators come! After that we went with the other elders to Kaarina´s (the super sweet/old Finnish lady) and mowed her lawn and did other service. We then went and played basketball with a new investigator we found on the street who had met with missionaries before. It´s going to be a jackpot for new investigators! Basically Saturday was exhausting! A lot of physical activity. 

I gave a talk in church on Sunday. It was about prayer and receiving personal revelation. Talking has become really easy for me on my mission, and I even enjoy it a little. 

Well, I am learning how to carry a big load here in Umeå. There is always a lot to do, but I am also learning the Lord is always willing to help if you let him! I can't afford going a day without His strength and neither can you. 

Have a great week! Love you all!

Love 

Elder Kapp
                                                Me and Elder Featherstone in a CARWASH


                                                                 Us with YSAs on Monday 


                                                  The reunion of Elder Kapp and Elder Reed


                                                             Fermented herring anyone?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Stockholm and my 21st Birthday :)

Hey guys,

This week has been great. We have been busy. I want to thank everyone for the birthday wishes and for the thoughtful gifts and cards. I really appreciate everything!

Monday we flew down to Stockholm! It was a blast. We didn´t have any meetings until Tuesday, so we had all of Monday open. My companion and I went and hung out with the Pence family all day and had so much fun! We went to the Museum of Natural History and ate dinner with them. I love that family! 

Tuesday was mission leadership council, which was really good. We were in the mission home all day for the meeting and ate lunch together. I got a lot of insights and good things to apply to our missionary work. 

We flew back Wednesday morning and got right back to work. We were busy teaching lessons. 

Thursday morning we had zone training. We focused on finding the prepared. We described how the prepared are those who act. We as members and non-members are prepared for blessings and spiritual impressions when we are ready and willing to ACT. After zone training we did exchanges and I was with Elder Falkner, from England. We had a good time together and we are able to teach quite a few people here in Umeå. 

On Friday we spent the morning teaching and then the rest of the day I spent on trains switching back companions. We took the train down to Sundsvall and then I picked up Elder Featherstone and headed back up to Umeå. 

Sunday was my birthday! I woke up, opened up my gifts from my family, and then we headed to church after studies. Thanks for the gifts fam! :) I am giving a talk in church next Sunday. I think I will wear the canteen tie you sent me, and purposely cough so I can just throw everyone off by drinking out of my tie ;) We then had a member meal after dinner. My comp and I then headed back and did our weekly planning after that. 

We have just been super busy. I think this last week felt faster than any other week on my mission. It literally feels like I just emailed yesterday. It is going by so fast. 

Well, I love you all. Thanks again for everything. Hope you have a great week! 

Love 

Elder Kapp



Monday, August 10, 2015

Transfers!!

Hey guys,

Well this last week was transfers, and I am now with Elder Caleb Featherstone from St. George, Utah. We are having an awesome time working together! It´s been a blast! 

So last Tuesday was Elder Israelsen´s last day in Umeå, and like always before transfers we had a lot of people to say goodbye to. We were fed lunches, 2 dinners, and then fed cake at another house... #umeåproblems. 

On Wednesday I sent Elder Israelsen off to Göteborg and then got my new comp. Once I picked him up we went and taught Julianna. We have taught her everything and she has accepted everything. She needs to move out from her boyfriend in order to be baptized and that is the plan. She is looking for a job first so she can support herself on her own. So much faith here. After we went and ate dinner at a member´s named Magnus. 

Thursday we had district meeting in Örskoldsvik in the morning. Elder Reed is the district leader here!! I am so proud of my son ;). We then came back and taught Azim with a member. Azim is a post PhD student here in Umeå. He has no beliefs in God whatsoever so we are really start from square one. After teaching him, we had an interesting experience. We were going by a less-active lady in the branch and we were planning on going over and eating outside, since she is single. We got there and she said, sorry I forgot I had a meeting today, but she really insisted on making food for us. So she made us chicken and then just took off. So we just ate outside on her patio furniture by ourselves... We then decided she needed a little hand around the house so we cleaned up her living room and vacuumed it before taking off. Later on Thursday we met with Flora. She is scheduled for baptism in September, and is probably our most positive investigator. She is so prepared for the gospel!! We taught her the Plan of Salvation. She actually just lost a relative, so it was a good lesson for her. 

So Friday morning, Erica, a member who just got home from her mission invited us to eat American pancakes with two of her friends. It was a super good time. Members do a really good job inviting missionaries over for things like that here in Umeå, and we have found a ton of investigators through it. After we went and taught Tistou, a somewhat recent member. We talked to him about the Restoration and staying close to the Book of Mormon. We then went to the church and met Jouko to teach him English. After that we went to Niel´s to teach Catherine, another one of our baptismal dates. We made American pancakes (it´s our weekly tradition here), yeah pancakes twice in a day. Haha I am going to be seriously obese when I get home. We taught Catherine about the basic principles of the gospel. She is doing so great and is starting to notice blessings in her life from the gospel. We then went over to Kaarina´s, the sweet, old Finnish lady in our branch and mowed her lawn and pulled weeds. 

Saturday morning we went to play soccer with the branch. It is always so much fun! We had like 3 investigators there and several less-actives we are working with. After playing we went to the church and changed. We taught Julianna later and had a good lesson about the priesthood, service, and missionary work. 

So Sunday was crazy... First I was going to give a talk, but then there was like 0 time left so the branch presidency asked if I can just bear my testimony and then give my talk in a couple of weeks... I was like YES! Dodged that bullet. In Sunday school they didn´t have anyone to give the lesson and so of course they turned to us. I looked at my comp and said, "What principle of the gospel are we going to talk about?" He answered, "Faith!" and we improvised an hour lesson right there. It went insanely good... You are definitely blessed with some pretty cool gifts as a missionary. Later we went and taught an investigator named Rikard with the branch president. Rikard is just a normal, young Swedish guy. He isn´t religious, but is open. The branch president is a convert of about 4 years so he was able to share his experiences. They both have pretty similar backgrounds, so it was pretty great. We then went to teach a new investigator named Tami. He is from India and is a post PhD student researching neurological medicine here in Umeå. We taught him a quick lesson about the Book of Mormon outside of his apartment. 

So we were able to give several blessings this week. It is amazing to see the power of the priesthood work upon faith. I don´t think we understand completely how great of a gift it is to have the priesthood in our lives. 

Well, I am flying down to Stockholm in a couple of hours for MLC. Hope you have a great week! 

Love 

Elder Kapp  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Another week in the North

Hey guys, 

Well this week has been a good one. We have found even more success and have been really busy. I am tired. We have so much going on. But I am happy!! 

A couple of cool things happened this week. We have a new investigator with a baptismal date. Her name is Flora. She seems so positive and we are going to teach her family as well. Her only big concern was that her sister always takes the Book of Mormon and reads it so she can´t. Not a bad concern to have-haha!! We gave them another copy, haha. 

So we have been going over to Niels, the less-active member in the wheel chair and teaching his neighbor Catherine, who is also in a wheel chair. We went over this week and made American pancakes. They are both sold and we have now instituted an official tradition to make them once a week. While we were over there Catherine pointed out how we always are just so happy and she doesn´t understand how. We later taught her the Plan of Salvation and told her that it was by following God´s plan for us that we are happy. We promised her that she could have the same happiness in her life by following it. We invited her to baptism on the 5th of September. She accepted. 

We have so many positive people we are working with who have dates to be baptized. Most of them have some pretty big road blocks that we have to help them overcome in order to be baptized. Some days are super frustrating because there are so many people who know of the truthfulness of the gospel, but it doesn´t feel like they are progressing as fast as we want them to. I am learning a lot of patience in this area! 

So this week I have been studying a lot about personal revelation this week and had some thoughts that I wanted to share. I created a diagram/map to the steps for seeking personal revelation in my study journal and some key steps for getting personal answers. The first thing I wrote was that we have to begin with a question. We learn in D&C 9:7, a revelation regarding Oliver Cowdery and him being able to assist the prophet Joseph in translating the Book of Mormon. The Lord teaches us here that we need to ASK. He isn´t always going to just give us things. Once we have a question and we have presented it to the Lord through prayer, we then have to ACT. This in my opinion is the most important step. We act by fasting, praying, studying the scriptures, and living our lives in a way where we are worthy to receive revelation. We then have to ponder and come up with our best solution ourselves. Just like the brother of Jared, the Lord is asking us, "Well, what do you think we should do?" I have learned this principle a lot on my mission. Many times when I have gone to President Beckstrand for a solution to a problem, he often returns the question saying, "Well, what do you think we should do Elder Kapp?" I am perfectly aware that my mission president, in most cases, knew an appropriate solution. But he allowed me to use my own knowledge and agency to grow. The Lord, like my mission president wants us to practice using our agency to grow. Then, once we have come up with this solution in our own minds, we then go to the Lord and say, "This is what I have come up with; what do you think?" He then can testify to us if this be right or wrong, and what I have learned is that He often teaches you even more and gives you more revelation then you went in asking for. It is predicated upon our diligence in seeking. The Lord does not need to "command us in all things," because He does not want us to be "slothful servants." When we use are agency when seeking personal revelation, then revelation can become crystal clear and we can be easily guided. I have one last thought. I have found it is much easier to seek revelation one question at a time. "Precept upon precept" is the way the Lord teaches us. Take one question and work on it, and then, when you feel like you have received the answer sought for, move on to the next. 

I have learned two things. First... this works! Second, the Lord wants us to ask him. He says it in Alma 37:37. He is our Father and He will always guide us. It is my testimony that when the Lord says, "Ask and ye shall receive," he means it. We just too often forget our personal responsibility to exercise our agency to find answers. I invite you to try it! It is pretty cool!