Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Week 29 - May 26, 2014; Teaching the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people!

Well, I have to start by wishing the best Mom in the world a Happy Birthday! I’m so sad I can’t be there to spend it with you, but I know I’m where you want me to be. Every day I do my best to be the kind of person you taught me to be; To work my hardest and to love others. I owe a lot of what I am as a missionary and person to you and I just wanted you to know how much I love you. Thank you for sacrificing so much to help me be out here. 

We had a great start to the week. We taught a man that the sisters had found by the name of Toni. Toni’s an immigrant from Syria and he has been here as long as I have. He doesn't speak much Swedish and his English isn't much better, but he has an incredibly strong faith in Christ and a real testimony of prayer. We brought him to the church and found a copy of the restoration film in Arabic. In what little English he could speak, he told us how he completely understood how the young Prophet, Joseph Smith, must have felt looking for truth and how a knowledge of truth could only come from God. He asked if he could bring the DVD home to show his wife so they could watch it together. There are a lot of people like Toni here in Norrköping.  

We meet many people from Syria escaping the violent civil war that is still dividing their nation.  Many of them are Christian as they have been the most persecuted in the conflict. People, not only from Syria, but from all over the Middle East and from every religious background come to Sweden looking for a better life. I've gained a special respect for the Middle Eastern people we meet and work with. You can tell that they’re all here in Sweden for the right reasons, to have a better life in a nation that knows peace. They are some of the hardest working people I've ever met. They will take any job they can find and learn the language fluently as quickly as they can.  Within a few years most are very settled-in and established in Sweden. Regardless of their religious affiliation, they are some of the most receptive people who will at least listen to the gospel message.

It is amazing to see the Lord's promise of the gospel being taught to every nation, kindred, tongue and people here in Sweden. Many of the people we teach come from lands where it may be decades before their countries are stable enough to open their doors to the church. However, we see prophecy being fulfilled here in Sweden as people from every corner of the world are willing to listen to the message of the restored gospel in a country that is not typically known for its’ religious values. The Lord truly works in mysterious ways.

During Zone Training this week, Sister Newell conducted her last presentation to us before she and President Newell go home. Her discussion was focused on planning, which is one of the most overlooked and most important skills a missionary can develop. She taught us to make daily goals and measure our success as a missionary by how many of these daily “victories” we can achieve. Next she taught us to put first things first and make the most important things in our day our first priorities, but she also reminded us not to let the tedious, but important things get ignored. Lastly she taught us to put people before our plans and to make the people we teach our highest priority, not the numbers that we write in the planner. I’ve been studying planning for a while and it was great to get further direction on it.
Why? ...Because it was there!

Each week gets better in this area and I know we will see more miracles with every coming week. I’m so happy I’m working here in Sweden. I wouldn't trade it for the world. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to comment and I’ll try to respond next week. Thanks for reading!

Äldste Stoeltzing

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