Monday, December 30, 2013

Week Eight - December 30, 2013

My holiday experiences so far as a missionary in Sweden have been amazing!


One special gift I enjoyed for Christmas was the opportunity Skype with my family face-to-face.  It was the next best thing to being there.  This was one of two chances I will have to speak with my family all year.  Otherwise, I will communicate to everyone via emails and photos that will be updated in my blog every week. 


Josh speaking with his brother via Skype for Christmas

My typical day for letter-writing will be on Mondays from now on. I'll post the latest updates about my experiences in Sweden then... Happy New Year!!!  

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2014!!!

 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Week Seven (The Long-awaited Arrival) - December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas! 
 
Sweden is so AMAZING!  We touched down at 7 am last Tuesday, December 17th, after flying for 22 hours. Then we got to meet President and Sister Newell as soon as we got off the plane. I really liked them – They are going to be really fun to work with! 


Flying over Stockholm
 
We spent our first day touring Stockholm.  The city was beautiful and, believe it or not, it was much warmer here than it was in Provo when we left. We also made our first street contacts in downtown Stockholm. That was super scary, but once we tried it, it wasn’t all bad.  


Safe Arrival

Okay… This may seem super weird, but I was the first person to wake up in the mission home after arriving from an all-night flight. Going around the world switched me from being a night person to becoming a morning person! I guess it was smart to send me half-way around the world after all.
 
Welcome to Kungsbacka!

So, early on day two we actually got our area assignments and trainers. I was assigned to Göteborg (yettaborry) in the Kungsbacka area to the south. My trainer is super cool. His name is Elder Miles from Provo, UT and he actually played soccer for BYU before his mission.  He's been here for nine months and he speaks great Swedish.  Right after we met we left for a three hour train ride down to Göteborg. Unfortunately, I pulled a “greeny-move” and left my shoulder bag in the train station.  It’s alright though, because the office Elders got it for me… It’s still kind of funny!    
 
Kungsbacka is south of Goteborg 

Our apartment is very cool. We live with the Zone Leaders who are both great guys!  It’s going to be really fun for the next 6 to 12 weeks!  Our first day of proselyting went really well. Our first investigator had an electric guitar and he let me play it, so that was a great way to start teaching… Ha ha!  We went to drop-in on some old contacts after that, but most of the people weren't home. We try not to tract too much because it’s not very effective here.
 
Aldste Stoeltzing and trainer, Aldste Miles, assigned to Goteborg
 
However, we actually have taught quite a bit (Five discussions so far), but it’s hard to teach lessons right before Christmas. Our goal is 20-25 per week. Elder Miles felt that we needed to tract in a complex nearby and on our first knock we found a great potential investigator and we taught him a discussion about the restoration of the gospel. He committed to reading the Book of Mormon during the first lesson!
 
Beautiful Goteborg

On Sunday we met our new ward and they were amazing. They sang for half of the Christmas program and it was easily the most talented ward I have ever seen!  This past Sunday was probably one of my favorite Christmas services ever… Their Sacrament meeting was fantastic!  They probably had more kids than our ward in Carmichael, so it is extremely strong for Sweden.  

Merry Christmas!

I love Sweden.  The food is great, the clothes are way cheap, and the Christmas decorations are really cool with lights in all of the windows, best of all, I’ve got a car here!  Well, I have a lot more to write about, but I need to go now. I’ll call home with more on Christmas.
 
I love you guys – Merry Christmas everyone!!!

The newest arrivals to the Sweden Stockholm Mission = "The Greenies"
 

Sunday, December 15, 2013


SWEDEN BOUND... Week SixDecember 15, 2013

The last week has gone by quickly! I am finally starting to feel better. We taught our last practice lesson today and it's a crazy to think that the next lesson I teach will be to a real investigator of the church. I have learned a lot of Swedish, but I feel a real sense of nervousness knowing that I will be completely immersed in this new language in less than 48 hours. I know that through God's help I will be able to confront the incredible challenges that still lie ahead, despite how nervous and unsure I may feel.  

Leaving the MTC for Sweden at 3:00 AM December 16, 2013
 
 
The last two days we have been spent saying goodbye to our four amazing MTC teachers. They all said goodbye to us in their own special way. We said our first farewell to brother Jorgensen. He was President Newell's first Assistant and one of the most amazing individuals I've ever met. He spent three hours telling us the amazing story of his mission. Brother Jorgenson helped turn around missionary work in Sweden and was an incredible influence for good for countless individuals in the country. He left us by saying that if we will give all that we are to the Lord for the next two years that we will witness miracles occur in our lives and the lives of others. 

 
Brother Jorgensen with his Swedish students

Next we said goodbye to Brother Bloomfield.  On our third day in the MTC we taught our first lesson in Swedish to him while he was acting as an investigator named Peder. It was pretty much an utter train wreck, but I'll always remember that my first experience speaking Swedish was with Brother Bloomfield. After a week and a half of trying to teach hum we found out he was actually our teacher. He has been a great influence on me and he has worked one-on-one to help me develop my own language study plan, create effective planning and goal setting methods, and most importantly, he taught me to teach “people” and not “lessons.”


Brother Bloomfield with our Swedish MTC District


We also said goodbye to Brother Dunn. He really pushed us hard and spoke mostly in Swedish from day one.  We have really grown to love him and I have appreciated all he has done for us. He showed us a slide show from his mission today. Sweden is a beautiful country filled with beautiful people. I know through hard work I will be able to touch the lives of others and have others touch my life in the process. 


Brother Dunn and Aldste Stoeltzing


Lastly, we said farewell to Brother Bush.  He is one of the nicest people I've have ever met and he has made class extremely fun. We just found out that Brother Bush and his wife are expecting their first child and sadly, we’re leaving for Sweden just before they will find out if it will be a boy or a girl. I know he will make a great Father and it has been a joy to be his student.


Look-out Stockholm, here we come!
 
I have learned so many amazing lessons here at the MTC, but it was the words of Brother Jorgensen that have truly inspired me in the days before leaving. Last night I prayed that I would be able to devote all of the next two years to the Lord in the fullest. I then set five goals that I hope will define my mission: 


1. Become fully converted the gospel of Jesus Christ 

 
2. Share the restored gospel with all that are willing to listen  


3. Develop a Christ-like love of God and compassion for all that I come in contact with 


4. Do all that I am asked with exact obedience
 

5. Give all that I am to the Lord


I have an amazing adventure ahead of me. The MTC has humbled me and made me realize just how much I need the Lord.  I can't wait to begin my journey. I know I will grow so much and I cannot do this great work without the Lord. Alone, I am nothing, but with Him, I know I can do a great work. I would like to close by leaving a passage of scripture from the Book of Mormon that has served as an inspiration to me, eloquently describing the way that I have felt in the past six weeks, giving me comfort and solace when I have needed it.  

If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear...
 
2 Nephi 4:15-35

  15 And upon athese I bwrite the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul cdelighteth in the scriptures, and my heart dpondereththem, and writeth them for the elearning and the profit of my children.

 16 Behold, my asoul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and mybheart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.

 17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great agoodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O bwretched man that I am! Yea, my heart csorrowethbecause of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.

 18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily abeset me.

 19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have atrusted.

 20 My God hath been my asupport; he hath led me through minebafflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.

 21 He hath filled me with his alove, even unto the bconsuming of my flesh.

 22 He hath confounded mine aenemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.

 23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given meaknowledge by bvisions in the night-time.

 24 And by day have I waxed bold in mighty aprayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.

 25 And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been acarried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.

 26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath avisited men in so much bmercycwhy should my dheart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?

 27 And why should I ayield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to btemptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my cpeace and afflict my soul? Why am Idangry because of mine enemy?

 28 Awake, my soul! No longer adroop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the benemy of my soul.

 29 Do not aanger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.

 30 Rejoice, O my aheart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the brock of my salvation.

 31 O Lord, wilt thou aredeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of bsin?

 32 May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my aheart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I maybwalk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!

 33 O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thyarighteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine benemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.

 34 O Lord, I have atrusted in thee, and I will btrust in thee forever. I will not put my ctrust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his dtrust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

 35 Yea, I know that God will give aliberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I bask cnot amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the drockof my erighteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.

God bless, I love you all.  My next blog entry will be from Sweden! 

Aldste Stoeltzing 

 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


MTC Week 5December 10, 2013

Well I'm down to my last week and I couldn't be happier.  My next entry will be sent from Sweden and boy, am I ready to be there!  I could still get a lot better at learning the language, and I am by no means a great teacher yet, but I know once I am there I will learn all that I need as I am guided by the Lord.
 
This has been a hard week for me. I was up all night with the flu last Tuesday and I spent all of Wednesday in the sick bay. On the bright side, I got to spend all day on a twin memory foam mattress, so the day wasn't all that bad.  It was the best bed I've slept on in a month!

Unfortunately, I've been fighting a bad cough since Wednesday. That's made the week pretty hard. Everyone here seems sick. I may have it pretty bad, but I learned there are always people that have it worse.
 

The MTC
When I was in the medical wing I saw a Doctor just start laughing super loud in the hallway. He said, "Now there is the ultimate example of companionship unity!"  I looked in the room as I walked by and I saw two sister missionaries with slings on their arms.  I guess they both slipped on the ice on the same day and landed on their arms. That would be the worst!  I'll take a cough any day over my companion and I having broken arms.  
 

The MTC has a serious ice problem though!  There are some walkways here that are covered in an inch of ice that we have to cross every day.  I'm always a little afraid of slipping every day. It's about 20 degrees in Provo... That's actually way colder than Sweden right now believe it or not.  
 
 

Winter arrived with a vengeance this week
 
I can't wait for the plane ride I think I'll enjoy it. It may be the only nap I get for the next two years, so I’ll have to make it count.  

 



Up, up and AWAY... Look out Stockholm, here we come!
 
My Swedish is coming along better.  We’re teaching whole lessons completely in Swedish now, barley using any notes. The problem is that I know how to use “Church Swedish,” but I barely know how to use every day Swedish. I hope I pick that up when I get there.  
 
I’m really going to miss the guys I've met here.  There's a real spirit of brotherhood in this group. I'll probably have at least two of these guys as companions again, but we won't likely see any of the Elders that are going to Denmark over the next two years. Their classroom and apartment are right next to ours and we've all gotten to be really close friends.  They have a great district and I know the nine of them will do great things in Denmark.  



Many are cold, but few are frozen... Except for these two!

I'm hoping I can make the next week count as much as possible and learn all that I can so I can hit the ground running next week in Sweden. I can't believe it's finally here… Look for my next blog entry from somewhere near Stockholm, Sweden!

Faithfully,
 
Aldste Stoeltzing    



P.S. Please email me at jacob.stoeltzing@myldsmail.net.  I hope to have an opportunity to catch-up when possible on my weekly preparation days (P-days).  My mailing address will change from time to time, but I will send updates as often as possible.  For now, please reference the following:
 
Mailing address:  
 
Elder Jacob Huston Stoeltzing
Sweden Stockholm Mission
Enebybergsvagen 38
182 46 Enebyberg
Sweden
 
 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Week 4December 3, 2013
It’s hard to believe in 14 days I'll finally be half way around the world in Sweden! 

Anxiously Engaged in a Good Work



Days in the MTC are long, but the weeks fly by.  The MTC has been quite the experience.  There are a lot of opinions you'll hear about the MTC but here’s the honest truth; the MTC isn't Disneyland, and it most certainly isn't like Especially for Youth (EFY).  The MTC is 16 hours of hard work sun up to sun down.  You get up at the crack of dawn; you study and learn, you attend two long three-hour classes each day in deep language immersion.  Then you spend the rest of the day preparing and studying to teach investigators.  The MTC is without question the most difficult and challenging experience I have ever encountered, but it is without question the most rewarding and fulfilling experience I have ever had as well. 


The twelve heading to Sweden


I spend every day in a classroom with eleven of the finest individuals I've ever met.  We motivate each other to learn and grow daily.  The 12 of us have developed a friendship and brotherhood that will last far beyond the time we finish serving.  Our four teachers are world-class individuals.  They work with us one-on-one and inspire us to learn and grow each day.  The best thing about the MTC is the incredible way in which you feel the spirit here.  There are 2,000 individuals here that are going out to serve the Lord.  This place is filled with some of the most passionate followers of Christ I've ever seen. 
Swedish scripture study
 
This week I got to be part of an amazing service project where 2,000 of us were able to prepare 350,000 meals for underprivileged children.  It’s so powerful to see what can be done when we serve together.  We also have the privilege of hearing from General Authorities of the church and/or Apostles on a weekly basis.  We go to the Temple once a week as well.  The spirit is strongest, however, when I pray just before bed.  I have felt the Savior’s love so strong each night as I share all my questions, concerns, and hopes with God.  I know my Savior loves me and I know this is where I need to be serving him.  So, No… the MTC isn't easy, the food isn’t great, and it's 95% work combined with 5% fun, but this is perhaps one of the most special places on earth and I am so thankful for the time I've been able to spend here. 

Missionary service project to feed the children

Exhausted after a well-earned Thanksgiving feast

I love all of you and I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Aldste Stoeltzing