Monday, February 10, 2014

Weeks 13 & 14 January 3rd &10th, 2014 - Tracting at Downton Abbey (Well… Almost)

A lot has happened over the past two weeks. The first week was a little slow, but we ended it by attending a baptism on my birthday. The sisters found an investigator named Jami from Afghanistan about three weeks ago. He loved the gospel from day one and he was ready to be baptized super quick. Elder Miles got to baptize him, which was super cool, and I gave a talk about the Holy Ghost.  

Jami's Baptism
After the baptism, we went out into the countryside to have Semlor (A Swedish cake or pastry kind of thing) with the family Jami lived with, a Swedish lady and her husband from Iran, Hommie (the coolest name ever). They were giving Jami a place to stay while he got established in Sweden. Although they were part of the Swedish Church they were super happy for Jami joining the church and they supported him 100%. We got back to Göteborg kind of late that night, but we had just enough time to grab a Birthday pizza and we celebrated my 20th with Elder Beus and Tietjan, so it was a great birthday! 

My 20th Birthday Pizza
Unfortunately, the beginning of the next week was sad for everyone. We had one of the largest transfers in months and Elder Tietjan and Sister Anderson got transferred to new areas. They were both super cool and they helped make my first seven weeks in Sweden awesome. Elder Tietjan got sent up to Jacobsbörg (Yacobsberry) and Sister Anderson went to a really cool little city down on the Southeastern coast called Karlskrona. I'm sad to see both of them go, but I know they'll keep doing amazing work in their new areas.

Saying Goodbye to Elder Tietjan and Sister Anderson
The Elder that transferred to Göteborg is super cool. His name is Elder Forsithe. He came down from Umeo and was training one of the missionaries from my MTC group before he left. The new Sister who was sent to Kungsbacka is really nice. Her name is Sister Pearson. She grew up on a farm in Nevada and has 12 younger brothers and sisters. It's hard to see my friends go, but it’s part of the mission and I think I'll really like the new members of my zone. Oh, I'm no longer one of the newest missionaries in Sweden. A new group came in from the MTC, so there is a newer missionary than me in the zone now! It seems crazy that an entirely new group has come and gone from the MTC since I arrived. My time in Sweden has gone by a lot faster than it did in the MTC.

Tracting at Downton Abbey... Well, not quite!
We had a lot of cool stuff happen this week, starting with the giant castle we found in the middle of nowhere. Elder Miles and I were driving through the countryside, and then, out of nowhere, we saw this big pink castle and we had to stop to take some pictures.  We found out later that night that the castle/summer home was owned by a member of Sweden’s royal family, so it was a pretty cool stop.

Gasevadholm Castle in Kungsbacka, Sweden
Practicing my Swedish door approach
We also found two really cool investigators this week. The first one is a guy named Olan, who we met on the street.  He told us he used to play stick ball with missionaries when he was about ten years old. He has always had good feelings about Mormon missionaries, but he never met with them to talk about what they believed in. Olan really liked speaking English, so I got to be more effective in the lesson. He believes in a higher power, but has a hard time believing in God with all the evil that's in the world. We taught him part of the Plan of Salvation lesson and he really liked the conversation, so are coming back to teach him again later this week.

The next promising investigator we met was a referral from an older member in our ward. He's an older guy named Stieg who was super excited to have us over. He told us all kinds of stories about when he played soccer growing-up and about the trip he took to America about 20 years ago.  We started teaching him about the restoration of the church. Then he stopped us and asked if we believe if we will see our family members after we die. He explained to us that his son had been hit by a train over 40 years ago when he was only 15. He has been wondering if he would ever see his son again since that time. We told him he would absolutely see his son again and we started teaching him the Plan of Salvation. The lesson really touched him and he almost committed to a baptismal date at the end of the lesson. I am really excited to keep teaching him. It means so much to me that we could help someone to find the peace that he’s been struggling to find since the death of his son 40 years ago. Experiences like this are what make every second of my mission worthwhile.

I can't believe that by the end of this week, I will have been in Sweden for two months! It has been an amazing experience so far and I'm loving every minute of it. I’ll write more next week.

Love you guys!

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