Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Week 58; December 15, 2014 – No Such Thing as Latvian Baseball… Really?!

Hey guys!

It's been a really fun week. We started off with a simple P-day, eating at Pizza Hut and shopping a bit. We went to a member’s home that night by the name of Max and Santa. They were super cool and they were the first Latvians I've met on my mission. I've always had a life-long question that I wanted to ask a Latvian. Back home our ward played a game called Latvian Baseball. It was like an indoor version of baseball and I had always thought it was the national past time of Latvia. So, I asked them if they had ever played… Sadly, to my despair, they hadn't! My apologies to the youth of the Carmichael Ward, but Latvians do not, in fact, play a game called Latvian Baseball!

Reaching One Year in Sweden Next Week

On Tuesday, we taught the Omahomen family. We were reviewing the new-member lessons with them and we taught them about prayer and scripture study. I bore my testimony of how scripture study has blessed my life. I told them that I wished I had studied more when I was younger and how developing a love for the scriptures has been a huge blessing for me. I felt prompted to promise them that if they were to study their scriptures daily as a family, they would be blessed to become stronger and more united than they have ever been before. They really liked the lesson and promised to give it their best efforts.  

Later that week we had our Santa Lucia program. It was super fun! A lot of less-active members came and a few even participated in the program! The costumes were hilarious and the ward had a great time! It was definitely a taste of some great Swedish culture. We may have not been the best singers, but it was surely a night to remember! 

Some of the best parts of this week have been while we were out contacting people. Our District Leader challenged us to contact people on trains and buses more often. I don't really love doing that, but I thought what the heck, I'll give it a shot! The first one went pretty well. I couldn't find anyone in particular that looked like they would love to talk about religion, so I just sat down. I noticed a lady who had these really cool rings on, so I asked her where I could get some like hers… As a Christmas gift for my Mom, of course. That started a great conversation and we were able to talk about the church a bit. Although, she wasn't super interested, she seemed to respect what I had to say. Sorry Mom, she got the rings from a second-hand store, and they were from Macedonia. So, I don't think I'll be able to find you one! 

Later that day, I found a guy that spoke mostly Spanish and we did pretty well bouncing back and forth between languages. Although our discussion was going great, he hoped-off the train before I could get his contact info. Lesson learned!  

On Saturday we found our best contact. We had just finished-up moving a new member into his home on the far end of the area. In the process, I contacted another man and this time he knew only Spanish. Fortunately, I knew enough Spanish for some basic dialog, but this time I didn't really think I could do it. However, the most amazing thing happened. I understood nearly everything he said. I understood that he was from Iran and that he had lived in Spain for 20 years. His Swedish wasn't very good and he was having a hard time learning the language. Then, an even cooler thing happened, I started remembering Spanish words that I hadn't seen or heard since my sophomore year in high school. The more the conversation went on, the more we understood each other. It was an incredible experience. At the end of our conversation he gave me his number and said he'd be happy to meet with us any time! The Lord had put the right words in my mouth even though my Spanish was downright terrible. I know God helped me recall every Spanish word I had ever put into my head so I could talk to this man. I just wish I had tried harder in my Spanish classes. Regardless, I would consider this to be a miracle! It was a real example of how weak things can be made strong with the help of the Lord.  

Well, I can't believe Christmas is only a week away! I hope you all enjoy your time together, and I hope you will also think of the savior in the coming days. I have grown to love Him so much more than I ever thought possible. I can truly share my testimony that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world and that He loves you all more than you could possibly know. Jesus Christ is truly the greatest gift the world has ever received and He is the greatest friend anyone could ever have. I know this is His work and helping people find Christ is the most incredible experience I have ever had!

He is The Greatest Gift!
Have a wonderful Christmas! 

I love all of you! - Äldste Stoeltzing 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Week 57; December 8, 2014 – Ikea, the taste of Sweden!

I hope everyone is having a great time preparing for Christmas. We can really feel the Christmas spirit here in Sweden. There is no better time to be a missionary than around the Holidays in Sweden. After the dark, cold month of November, everyone just seems like they want to take the entire month of December to be happy, and we've met some wonderful people. 

The week started-off with a really cool experience. We did a service project for a member in the morning and we had a long afternoon of swing-byes without much success. By that time, we were decently far away from home at that point and our phone had died. But, we left some things at the other Elder’s apartment earlier that day, so we needed to stop-by before we went home. 

I decided to ask someone if I could borrow their phone and I felt like I needed to talk to a girl by the train station. I just asked her in English if I could borrow her phone to call a friend because my phone had died. She laughed and said her phone had just died too and that she had the same problem. We got to talking for a while and she said she went to a Christian school growing up, but wasn't very religious herself. We needed to go the same direction as she did, so we kept talking on the train. She told us about how she'd been living in France with her boyfriend and that they just broke up, so she'd recently moved back to Sweden. She said she was at a point in her life where she was trying to get a few things figured-out, and said that our meeting was possibly a sign that she should go to church! The coolest part was that she said she actually lives really close to the church. We gave her our card and she said she would come to church sometime in December. So, we’re hoping that she'll come in the next few weeks. This was a way cool experience and one of the most unexpectedly positive contacts I've seen in a long time. 

In Sweden we're definitely seeing that youth are often the most open towards the gospel. They are still open to forming new ideas and beliefs and they have probably been the most positive people to contact recently. 

I had one of the coolest meals I've ever had in Sweden last Wednesday! An older lady in our ward, Betty, wanted to make sure we had a proper Swedish Christmas feast experience while doing a little missionary work. So, she decided to take us to the Julboard buffet (The Christmas Table) in what I'm, pretty sure is the biggest Ikea super store in the World!  She said, older people like it a lot, so expect it be busy. And boy, was that an understatement! I'm pretty sure every retiree in the greater Stockholm area had made the pilgrimage to the giant Ikea to partake in the Christmas feast. 

Sweden has become a lot more like America in their tastes, or at least, like a really, really healthy America, you could say. It was absolutely crazy! They had five different kinds of Seal (raw hearing). I skipped that, but I did get some Salmon because it's almost required that you eat some form of fish in a Swedish Christmas feast. They had all kinds of ham, potatoes stuffed with beef, rice pudding (one of my favorite Swedish deserts), of course, they had lots and lots of Swedish meat balls, and every other Swedish food you could think of. Even after a year I sometimes wonder what true Swedish food is actually like, because of how Americanized their tastes have become. But I think I can honestly say I know what Swedish food is now. We each had about four plates full and we felt stuffed by the time we finished, but it was super fun! Betty is one of the coolest people ever for giving us that experience.

That night we went out to one of the farther out parts of the area to contact people. The town square there wasn't very big, so we decided we would change it up a bit and solo contact people while staying close to each other. I decided to do something a little unusual and talked to a street vendor. He was a little surprised, but when he figured out who I was he got super happy and said, “Wait, your 20, and you came all the way out here from California to tell people about God, That's amazing!” He said, a lot of people from his culture live in California and he had me guess where he came from. I had no idea, but it turned out that he was from the Sikh faith. I thought I knew a thing or two about Sikh's, but I didn't know much at all. He briefly shared the history of his people with me and I shared a little about our faith as well. He said that he didn't have a ton of friends in Sweden, so he invited us to come by his house and share more about why we’re doing missionary work. So, I'm hoping we'll meet him this week. Fun fact: He told us his name is Singh, but so are the names of 20 million other Sikhs around the world. I guess they all have the same last name who knew, got to love what you learn on a mission, right!  

So, on Thursday night, we had us some culture. The ward is putting on a Santa Lucia (Saint of Light) production and we've been invited to be a part of it. This is the holiday where girls wear a white dress and a crown of candles on their heads and sing together before Christmas. It's not really seen all in the US, but it's a huge tradition here. So any way, the practice went well and the songs were super fun, but we found out that we were getting costumes as well. They want us to be the star boys. We will stand behind the Santa Lucia girls and sing with them. Our outfits will also be white gowns. The ward members thought we looked great in our traditional Swedish clothing. We took lots of pictures, but I don't think I'll put them in the blog, so ask me about it when I get home and you'll have a good laugh! 

Lastly, we finished-off the week with a great lesson with a girl named Mercy. She grew up in Sweden, but studied at UCLA. We got to know her for about 30 minutes, but she came with a lot of questions about how we gained our testimonies. She was really touched by what she heard, and then I shared my Grandpa's conversion story. She thought that was absolutely incredible. She said she hadn't been taking a lot of time to read the Book of Mormon before, but she felt strongly that there was something important in the lesson and she committed to read it very seriously in the coming week. We are hoping to meet her one more time before Christmas and see how she feels about baptism!  

Well that's what happened last week. Christmas is almost here and I can't wait to talk to you guys then… It's going to be great!!! 

I love you guys so much - Have an awesome week!!!    

-Äldste Stoeltzing 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Week 56; December 1, 2014 – “He is The Gift”

Hey guys!

It's been a great week here and I love this new area! It's quite a change, but it's a good change. We've gone from riding in buses to commuter trains, cable cars, escalators, and subways to get around town – All in a day’s work! 

The longest escalator I've ever seen!
Our first meeting great! We met a less-active family that made us spaghetti for dinner (he emigrated from Italy, so it was really good)! They were some of the nicest people ever, and we really hit it off with them! They were really open about their background and they seem to want to move forward and get involved again. So, we're really excited to keep working with them!    

The largest hospital in Scandinavia
Later in the week, we taught the Omahomens family about the temple. They are recent converts to the Church and they loved the lesson. Hopefully, they’ll be able to go to the temple this week!  

Something incredible started this week! The Church produced a new video called “He is The Gift,” and they want to share its’ message with the world. We are now contacting people with a message about the true meaning of Christmas and it really opens people up. So far, we haven’t had one bad contact!

I went on a split with Elder Farnworth and we got a group of young people to take a selfie with us holding “Share the Gift” cards and they promised to tweet about how they felt watching the video! I hope everyone has a chance to see the video and tell their friends about its’ awesome message!

Share the Gift!
Well, thanks for reading everyone. I hope you all have a wonderful week as you prepare for Christmas!

Love you guys!!!

Äldste Stoeltzing   

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 55; November 22, 2014 – Six Areas in 12 Months

Hey guys!

So, our P-day was changed to Saturday this week. We had a large group of missionaries going home, so we are having transfers a few days earlier and we’ll be taking today off instead. 

The Narrowest Street in Stockholm
Believe it or not, we're both getting transferred. This will be my shortest transfer yet, we’re only switching bedrooms in the same apartment. President Beckstrand has decided to close one of the two Vendelsö areas and we will be replacing our two roommates who were working in Hägersten, just outside Stockholm. 

Elders Stoeltzing and Ogaard
This is probably the strangest transfer yet. I'm super sad to see Elders Kapp and Sandquist go, but this has been a really fun six weeks. Although we won't get to keep working in Vendelsö, I feel good about the opportunities we are leaving for Elder Williams and his new Greeny. 

Getting All Decked-out for the Holidays!
Hägersten will be an awesome area and there's a ton of work to do there. I can't wait to get out and work hard next week and hopefully settle down in one area for a while.

I wish I had more to report this week. Unfortunately, I got pretty sick with an ear and sinus infection, so I've been down much of the week. Hopefully, I’ll be ready to go by Monday. Until then, I'm going to get a little more rest and, by next week, I'll be telling you guys all about area number six! 

Love always,

Äldste Stoeltzing 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Week 54; November 17, 2014 – I Have Kept the Faith!

Hey Guys!

It hasn't been the busiest week, but we've been blessed and the work is moving forward!

We taught a less-active member named Jamie on Tuesday who still has a powerful testimony of the restored gospel. It was our first lesson with him, so we learned about how he joined the church and we shared our testimonies of Christ with him. He's fairly busy with work, but he wants us to come back and he will come to church as soon as he can.

Later that night I went on splits with our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Brändh. We taught another less-active member, Jamaal. Brother Brändh led the lesson by telling a story. He's super good at origami, so he folded-up a piece of paper as he told the story and he made one tear in it. The pieces spelled-out the letters “Love,” with a cross, and he explained that the atonement of Christ is because he loves us. I really hope I remember how to do that lesson because it was a super cool way to teach that principle and keep your attention.

Later, we found our second new investigator named Lisbeth. She was a lady that Elder Nielsen and I found on splits about two weeks ago. She was really receptive at the door and said she'd read a little out of the Book of Mormon. We didn't have much time, but we reviewed the principals from the first lesson and answered some of her questions. We hope to meet her again next week to teach the Plan of Salvation.

Last weekend we had Stake Conference. It was great to see members from my last three areas. The conference was wonderful. Nabeil from Norrköping was one of the speakers and he told an amazing story about how his family came over from Syria and how he found and accepted the Church in Sweden. All of the speakers were great, but what I'll remember the most is the news from the members in Linköping that Carl-Arne had passed away. I don't know if you guys remember me writing about Carl-Arne, but he was a man in his mid-90's that Elder Farnworth and I used to teach. Of all the people I've met on my mission I don't think anyone has had the impact on me that Carl-Arne has had.

When Elder Farnworh and I met with him Carl-Arne was fighting cancer and dealing with the trails of old age. He was sick enough that no one would have blamed him if he stopped coming to church, or even if he left his apartment for that matter. Despite his health challenges, Carl-Arne felt it was his priesthood duty to pass the Sacrament in his small branch in Linköping every week. Carl-Arne was almost blind and hard of hearing, but even still, after the Sacrament was blessed, he would drop his cane, pick up a tray, and pass the Sacrament to each member.

Carl-Arne showed me that even the most basic responsibilities of the priesthood have a significant meaning to someone who has given a life of service to the church. He still considered passing the sacrament to be the most valuable thing he did every week. He was the best example of enduring to the end that I've ever met. And I hope that no matter what I do to serve in Church, whether it be leading an Elders Quorum, or greeting people at the chapel door every Sunday, I hope to do it with the same devotion and love that Carl-Arne showed in his last act of service.

This verse is for Carl-Arne; 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

-Äldste Stoeltzing  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Week 53; November 10, 2014 – Half-way done?  I’ve only Just Begun!

Happy November everyone! 

I can't believe I've been away for a year already… It doesn't feel real! This has been the fastest year of my life and I've loved every minute of it. It feels really weird to be in the middle of my mission. I've learned a lot out here, but I don’t feel like I'm nearly where I'd like to be as a missionary. So, I’m really grateful for one more year. I'll probably get things figured out right about the time I'm ready to hop on a plane and head home next year. 

Celebrating One Year as a Missionary... Shirt Burning to Follow!
So, it snowed this week too! That made for a cold, cold day of tracting. The weather was pretty unexpected, but it warmed-up quickly, so the rest of the week wasn't too bad.  Regardless, the cold, dark winter is coming soon. Glad we have mittens!  

A gift of mittens at Zone Conference - Warm hands and warm hearts!

We finally had a sit-down investigator lesson with someone who was really interested in our message this week. His name is Mono and he came prepared with a lot of good questions. We will hopefully teach him at the church this week, so expect to hear more about him soon! 

Translation: "Beware of Dwarf Hamster"
We spent a lot of time trying to find a ton of new people this week and we had some good successes. We feel like we’re finally developing a good potential investigator pool. So, hopefully the area will be moving forward, full steam ahead, very soon. 

Other than that, not a lot has happened in the past week, but I'm ready to start my final year as a missionary… I can't wait to go one more round. Thanks for a year of reading my blog. This has truly been the best experience of my life and I'm so glad I get to share my adventures with you guys!               

Jag Älskar Er! (I Love You!)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 52; November 3, 2014 – A Halloween to Remember! 

Hey everyone!  

It's been a tough week, but it’s been a good week. We worked very hard and made this a finding-centered week. We are both pretty tired, but it felt good to work so hard. Even though we didn't see a lot of success, we did make some progress.  

On the road in Norrby
 We've been trying to work with members to bring them a message about the power of friendship to encouraging them to develop at least one new friendship in the month of November. It can be scary for members to be put on the spot, and asked for a name of someone to teach. So instead, we're trying to show members that by just being themselves, they can bless the lives of others if they open up and are willing to make a new friend. If all goes well, we can move forward and help them to share the gospel. This message seems to be going well. We also used the Ward Halloween party as a way to help members strengthen their friendships and invite someone to the party.
The beautiful Norrby countryside
We had our Zone Conference on Wednesday and the Beckstrand’s did a great job. Their message was about mission unity. Basically, if we could all be united in purpose, effort, and obedience, we'd see miracles in Sweden. Sister Beckstrand taught a lesson about being a light in the darkness (because the sun goes down at 4 pm now), and she explained how we need to be warm to do that… So, she gave us all a new pair of mittens that some awesome sisters from the Relief Society made for us. We also had the best lunch I've had at a Zone Conference in a long time, so thank you to the senior couples for your wonderful cooking!   
That night I went on splits with Elder Farnworth's ‘greeny,’ Elder Nielsen. We had the best night of work I've seen in Vendelsö. It was a miracle! Literally the first door we knocked was interested in our message and listed to the whole first lesson. She took a Book of Mormon and invited us back in about two weeks. Later that night we met a girl from Mongolia that talked to us for 20 minutes in English and said she'd also be interested. She took my other Book of Mormon and we got her email address. I was so thankful that Elder Nielsen got to experience a great night of missionary work and that I got to be part of an awesome evening.     

Crossing a bridge in Hägersten
Thursday was a tough, tough day. It started out well when the first lady we talked to was interested in a meeting and gave us her phone number. But, the rest of the day was a shut-out and we had a lot of doors closed on us. It was a good day for patience building, but I am thankful for the one person we did find. And, if we can teach her, the whole day would have been worth it! 

Halloween was interesting… First we helped Nikolas with an English lesson and then we went out to start tracting. We made it through 5 or 6 large buildings and we started walking to a different area when we found the coolest looking playground ever. I asked Elder Ogaard to take a picture of me, but when I hopped down, I put my hand out to catch myself, and when I got up my hand kind of hurt. I looked down and saw a big piece of broken glass where I landed. Then I looked at my hand and realized I had cut it pretty badly. Fortunately, there was a small clinic nearby and we got in right before they closed. I'm sure I looked like I had the best Halloween costume in town because no one looked the least bit concerned despite seeing a lot of blood. The cut was deep enough that I had to get stitches for the first time in my life, so that was cool! After getting five stiches, I was finally put back together… We decided we'd call it a night. But, it was certainly a Halloween to remember.
Hi Five... Stitches, that is!

Saturday was awesome! Elder Steen had been helping to put together a ‘Trunk or Treat’ Halloween party for the Stake, and it went really great! We've only been planning it for about two weeks, so we had no idea what to expect, but the turn-out was really good! We had over 100 people come and all of the parents thought it was an amazing night. Yesterday, the ward told us they hope this becomes a yearly tradition and they thanked us for our help putting it together. Also, we found out that a good handful of kids in our Ward invited their friends to the activity, so we'll be following-up this week! 

Salamon Came to Church on Sunday!
Afterward, the whole zone took a walk around the Västerhaninge graveyard to look at the lights. Halloween is a little different in Sweden. They actually put more of a focus on remembering their dead than focusing on candy, so the graveyard was filled with people lighting candles to honor the dead. The whole place was lit-up with candles… It was really beautiful!  

A Halloween tradition of honoring the dead with light
Well, that was the end of an interesting, but good week. The work here is tough, but it is moving forward. Thanks for keeping me in your prayers. That really, really does help. 

I love all you guys. Have a great week! 

Äldste Stoeltzing   

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 50: October 20, 2014 – Old Friends, New Adventures!

Before I get started, I just want to wish my little brother Josh, a happy 17th birthday! You’re the best brother I could ever ask for, and you make me so proud to be your big brother! I miss you a ton and I can't wait to see you in a little over a year from now! Thanks for inspiring me to be better every day! I love you bro! 

Josh's Birthday 2013
There has been a lot of change these past two weeks. We found out that sisters were coming back to Västerhaninge, and Elder Pearson and I would both be packing our bags. So, I feel sad to leave an area so soon, but I think the sisters will be really good for the area. I've actually been sent just up the road so it's not a real ‘good bye,’ I guess. It's been a good six weeks and I think this will be a nice change.

However, before we left we got to watch an incredible musical program called ‘Han Lever’ (He Lives). Elder Sahlin put a lot of it together with the help of the local YSA's (Young Single Adults) and we've been trying to help promote it through our contacting. It was an awesome performance. We had no idea how many people would come, but there were easily over 300. The YSA's shared great testimonies of the Savior and the music was incredible. It was amazing to see the community come together in support of the event and I think the program really showed the YSA's they could do amazing things together and it was a big blessing for me to be a part of.  

On Monday we went to the YSA Center in Stockholm and just played some games with other missionaries for P-Day. We said good bye to Elders Moe and Knecht, and Sister Miller also. They were all super good friends and great missionaries. I'm so thankful I got to serve around them and get to know them. If you guys read this, thanks for everything you did to make my mission special… I'll see you guys at BYU!

Our last lesson in Västerhaninge was with Andres. We taught his kids this time and we used an object lesson to explain the Holy Ghost to them. The kids really liked the lesson, but the best part was when Andres testified to his daughters that the Holy Ghost was real and how it can be a huge blessing in their lives. The girls really liked the lesson and they seem really excited when we come over to teach them. It was hard to say good bye, but I think we've done our part with Andres for now. The sisters will be a big help to him as they continue to teach his girls.

Wednesday was transfer day and I met-up with Elder Ogaard and the other missionaries moving into our four-man apartment in Vendelso. Elder Ogaard will be a fun comp. He's almost done with his mission, but he has a lot of energy still and he wants to make our time here count before he leaves, so I'm super thankful to have him as a companion. Likewise, Elders Kapp and Sandquist are working in Hägersten and they are super cool. This apartment is great and I couldn't ask for better people to live with. Elder Williams and Steen are the other two Elders in the area. It's awesome to work with Steen again and Elder Williams is a super hard worker that will bring a lot of enthusiasm to the area. We actually have four missionaries in the area which is pretty unusual, but I think it will give us a good fresh start. Oh, Elder Farnworth was sent to Hägersten, so he'll be in the district as well! The old Linköping team is back together, so I couldn't be more excited for this new district!  

The ward here is great! They are so ready for member missionary work and they gave us a warm welcome. It's a smaller ward and I think it will be a lot easier to get my mind wrapped around its’ needs than I was able to do in Västerhninge. We plan on working with members a lot and I think that together we will do great work.  

So far, the start in this area has been really good. We went on a contacting blitz and split-up with other Elders in the district. Elder Kapp and I found six new potential investigators and we taught a lesson on the street about the Plan of Salvation. It felt great! 

That night we found a restaurant that was basically the Swedish equivalent to Panda Express! I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. I haven't had good Chinese food in forever, so it was one of the best meals I've had on my mission! Okay, maybe it wasn't that good, but I've really, really, missed Chinese food.

We went tracting later in the week where we found four more potential investigators! One of them invited us over on Sunday and we taught them the full Restoration lesson. It went really well and we hope to see them again this next week!  

It must be a sign!
Well, I think this area will be a great change. It's weird to think this is my fifth area, but I'm really excited for the time I'll have to serve here.  

Thanks for reading… Love you guys! 

Äldste Stoeltzing  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Week 49; October 13, 2014 – On the Road Again!

Hi Everyone,

This will be a short update… I found out I’m being transferred out of Västerhaninge so they can put sisters back here. It seems like this is the first time in forever that sisters haven’t served in this area. I’m going up the road to a place called Vendelsö, about 20 minutes North toward Stockholm. We’ll be in a four-man apartment with two other missionaries who are both really cool.

Our current apartment smaller than my room back home, and I can say that claustrophobia is a real thing!  It’s been really hard to function in a space that small. The bathroom is half the size of our small walk-in closet back home and the kitchen was even smaller. So, it will be good to have a little more room to stretch out, but I’m happy for the change.

Elder Pearson is also excited to be heading even farther North! He’s been here for a long time, but we've both had a great experience serving together. Sorry for the short note... We have a lot to do. I’ll write more later.

Have a great week!

Äldste Stoeltzing

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week 48; October 6, 2014 - Flowers and Testimonies Bloom

Hey, I hope everyone had a great week! This has been a really good week for us. We had another awesome floor hockey game for P-day!  

Ship Wrecked in a Playground!
Tuesday was really cool too. The temple needed new flowers planted, so we brought the whole zone out to plant over 7000 flowers at the temple. We we're all super tired by the end of the day, but the temple looked amazing. 

Missionaries Planted 7,000 Flowers to Beautify the Temple
Ansel Adams would have been proud to photograph
Elder Pearson's hands after a day of planting
That night we went to see Andreas and that went really well. He's making a lot of progress and he’s remembering how much his testimony means to him. He was praying for answers last week and he felt that God was still there for him and would help him work out his questions if he was patient. He accepted that he needs to work to find those answers, but he knows that God will help him. He invited us to come and teach his three daughters tomorrow and wants them to have more of the the Gospel influencing their lives. We're really excited to go back and teach the family and we are looking forward to working with them more.  

Working in the beautiful town of Nynäsham

We we're also trying to track down investigators from the sister's old area this week. The first guy we contacted looked at us through the peep hole in his door and just chuckled a little bit. So, we tracted around the building a little more without much luck. When we got outside I decided to contact an older man using a walker. He smiled and said he was actually a member of the church. He hadn't had any contact with the church or the missionaries for quite a while, but he gladly invited us in. It was really cool to see a message reminding him, “Don't forget to read the scriptures,” written on a sticky note on his door. He then showed us that he kept a copy of The Book of Mormon in his walker bag and he takes it with him everywhere he goes. We shared a gospel message with him and he expressed how thankful he was that God had helped us cross paths that day. I am really thankful we were directed to a random part of town to a random name on a list, after we thought nothing would come of it, we were able to visit someone that really needed to see us.  

The week ended great. We got to watch General Conference for much of the weekend. It was wonderful to be uplifted by messages from a latter-day Prophet and Apostles (See link below)

Oh, by the way, I want to wish my Dad a happy 50th birthday!  Thank you for being the best Dad ever! 

Have a great week everyone… I Love you guys! 

Äldste Stoeltzing 

Editors Note:
Read or listen to the messages from the October 2014 LDS General Conference on the following link:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 47; September 29, 2014 – Lost Sisters and Found Opportunities!

Wow, fast week! This one’s been really fun! So, P-day was awesome! Sisters Gambles, Clingler, and Verolla went home last week, so we had to do something awesome for them. It's pretty sad to see them all leave. They came to Sweden in one of the most famous MTC groups in the mission. Some of us lovingly refer to them as the Relief Society, because that group made-up at least a quarter of the sisters in the entire mission. So, to go out with a bang, we arranged a scavenger hunt to take unique pictures throughout Stockholm. I was on Sister Gambles’ team, so we ran through the city trying to see as much as we could in an hour. 

Scavenger hunt... Taco anyone?
We got to the Royal Palace and one of the challenges required us to get one of the guards to smile and take a picture with us. Sister Gambles tried, but he wouldn't flinch, so I told him, “she's about to leave the Country and the last thing she wanted was to see a Palace guard smile.” He agreed and cracked a little smile for them! We may not have won the scavenger hunt, but that picture was Epic! 

Smile and say... Cheese!
Tuesday we had another great lesson with Andreas. He said he'd gotten some tuff news that his father had been diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer and he probably wouldn’t live much longer. He said that he could handle the news. Despite the fact that he's still struggling with some parts of the gospel, he knows that families can be together forever, and he knows he'll see his Dad again. Afterward, he told us a few incredible stories about how the spirit helped him do some amazing things. He said he feels the spirit so much stronger when we come by and he wants that feeling so bad. I told him that we're not the reason he feels the spirit, but he was feeling the spirit because he was saying things that he knew were true and the spirit was testifying to him that the things he was saying where true. We ended the lesson a little teary-eyed. I know that he is going to be okay because he's starting to realize that the truthfulness of the gospel that he feels in his hart is more important than the questions he hasn’t been able to answer yet. 

District Breakfast
 Wednesday we had our last district breakfast before sister Gambles and the others went home. She will be missed and she was super fun to serve with. We actually lost the Sisters in Västerhaninge because Sister Sandalin was transferred up to Gubbangen, a Little North of us. That meant our area got bigger, so we inherited a ton of new potential investigators! I think that will be a good shot in the arm that will help us get the area going even better. We'll be running up and down the train tracks, trying to get in touch with all the new people we now have to work with! 

On Sunday we had one of the coolest experiences we’d seen in a while! We felt like we should go down to a town called Ösmo that we had just gotten from the sister's. There were several people that we wanted to swing by and see, but there was no one home at our first stop. On the second try, however, we were looking for someone named Therese and when we walked into the apartment complex we saw a lady walking out of the basement with a ton of clothes that she needed to carry upstairs. We asked her if we could help, but she didn't want us to bother. We insisted, and helped her take her stuff up three flights of stairs. I asked her at the top if she'd be interested in taking a few minutes to talk about Jesus Christ. She said she'd actually met with some missionaries before and she stopped talking with them because school had gotten too busy. I said we can teach her a lesson in five minutes and she let us in because we were so helpful to her. I asked her name at that point, and she said, “Therese!” It was the lady we came to see! The timing couldn't have been more perfect and I know we were directed to Ösmo at that time for a reason. The short lesson went really well and we taught her about finding strength through prayer. She liked having a quick lesson and invited us back in two weeks! It was a great experience and I'm so thankful for the Lord’s help in crossing paths with Therese at exactly the right time. 

Get off the fence!
Have a great week everyone… I’ll see you guys in the relatively-near and not-far-distant future!

-Äldste Stoeltzing