Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Week 42; August 26, 2014 – There’s Magic in the Air!

It’s been another great week! We've been able to help a lot of people and we’ve had some fun along the way. 

Our last P-day was awesome! We went to Europe’s traveling Harry Potter exhibit which was in Norrköping for some reason and it was the coolest thing ever! We got to see all original movie props and learn how they made everything! I can now say I've seen the golden snitch, Harry's wand, and Hagrid’s hut, such a very fulfilling P-day! 

The actual Gryffindor Cape Harry Potter wore at Hogwarts
A mythical Hippogriff on display in Norrkoping
We had an incredible experience on Tuesday. We were at a Ward activity and walked to the tram with a new convert named Pontus. Pontus is actually blind and he has an incredible testimony for such a new member. He forgot his bag at the church and we missed the tram going to get it. We ended up walking to the next stop and waiting for the next tram. When we got there, Pontus started talking to this older women named Mariam that was from America! He brought up religion and gave his testimony to her before we could say too much. She was really surprised, but touched that Pontus had started talking to her and shared his testimony. We introduced her to a little about what we did as missionaries during the ride back into town. There was road work going on, so the tram took another route that night. We showed Mariam back to her apartment and she was so thankful for the help that she said that we could come back and teach her more. 

We came by on Sunday and taught her the first lesson and challenged her to baptism. She said she would love to be baptized if she still felt right after the next lesson! Finding her was such an incredible opportunity and showed me how much the Lord’s hand is in everything we do. If Pontus hadn't forgot that bag he never would have found her and we never would have been able to teach her. She's an awesome person, and I'm so grateful that God put us where we needed to be to meet her!

Wednesday was awesome! We went to Stockholm to see a conference with Elder Teixeria who is the Area Authority over the church in Europe! He gave one of the best conferences I've ever seen and taught us how to effectively set-up return appointments and ask people about baptism. He also said we will be getting iPads soon, so that was really cool! We've been trying the approaches that he recommended in our contacting efforts as well, and that’s been really effective so far. We just hand people a contact card and ask if they've heard about Mormons. It worked really well this week and we’ve tried his suggestions in every lesson. 

I also got to catch up with some old mission friends and I got to see Elder Miles and Elder Forsyth, who are lucky enough to be companions now! I also got to see most of the members of my MTC group and a lot of other friends that I've served with around Sweden, so it was a great day!

We had another great lesson this week with a Dutchman named Eigen. I met him in a pizza place about two months ago and took his number. I've been trying to call him ever since, but he's been very busy with work. He finally switched jobs and now he has time to meet with us! We had our first meeting on Thursday and it went great! He is searching for truth right now and he really enjoyed the message of the restoration. He said he wasn't ready to commit to be baptized, but he would love to start reading the Book of Mormon. 

Well, I'm so thankful to be a missionary in Sweden right now. I hope everyone has a wonderful week.  Thanks for reading!

-Äldste Stoeltzing

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 41; August 19, 2014 – Rainbows, Fireworks, and Planting Seeds!

Hey guys,          

It's been a really cool week. We started with a great P-day exploring old town Linköping! I never went there when I was in the area, so it was super cool to see an old Swedish village. I guess the biggest bank robbery in Scandinavia took place in old-town Linköping, so there's a fun fact for ya!

On the train ride home after P-day we met a guy who was backpacking from Germany to Stockholm where he was planning to fly to Iceland. We taught him a lesson on the train and gave him a Book of Mormon in his own language when he got off in Norrköping. I don't know if we'll ever see him again, but it was a cool chance to plant a seed. 

Wednesday, we had a great “teach” with a less-active member named George. We've met with him for a while and this week we taught him about finding strength through Christ. We challenged him to come to church and, next week he said he'd come back!  

We saw a lot of investigators in town this week. There was a huge fair called the “Agusti Fest.” The streets were packed, so it has made this week exciting! They had fireworks every night and we could see them really well out our window!  

We ended the week with our Ward Conference. Elder Lindquist’s Dad came and spoke at the meeting, so he got to see his family a little early! Sorry Mom… That will probably make you a little jealous ;-) It was super cool to see all of them together and his Dad gave a great lesson on missionary work in priesthood meeting that got the ward really fired up!  

Well, it's been fun, and I just want to send my congratulations to my good friend, Sonny Smith, who just got his mission call to upstate New York. Sonny, you’re going to be a fantastic missionary and I know you’ll do incredible work serving the people there.  

Thanks for reading - Love you all,

Äldste Stoeltzing        

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 40; August 11, 2014 – Finding my Swedish Roots

Hey guys it’s been another great week! I always find that writing my first paragraph is hard, so I'll just jump into it! 

We had an awesome Wednesday. We went out to visit a new convert in an outlying town called Finspång. He was doing great! Afterward we thought we'd schedule a lesson with an investigator we'd been teaching for a while named Adrian. We'd never been out to his house because he usually meets us in Norrköping, so it looked like a good opportunity. We only had about half an hour to meet though. He lived out in the country and the trip took us out to a really cool lake. We weren't sure how or what to teach, so we talked with him for a little bit. While we were there, a little kid jumped off the high dive into the lake, so Adrian had to try and jump off the huge diving board too. 

Unfortunately, we had to start walking back to the bus stop, but he brought up the question of baptism. We explained it to him the best we could and he seemed excited about it. But, our bus came at that moment and we didn't get to discuss it any more. We are hoping to ask him to be baptized on Wednesday though!  

A Unique Water Tower in Nykoping
After that we took a long bus ride to have dinner with the Bishop. We talked a lot about how the Ward was doing and about some of the less active members we had met recently. After dinner he took us to an incredible ice cream place and we walked along the largest canal in Sweden in a beautiful town called Söderköping.    

The  Beautiful Town of Soderkoping, Sweden
The best part of the week was on Sunday. A church member helped me do some family history research about a week ago, so I could find my Great, Great, Grandfather, Hjalmar Lundin.

Hjalmar Lundin (1870-1941)
 Editor’s note: At the turn of the century, Lundin was known as Sweden’s Giant of Strength and considered the strongest man on earth. He single-handedly moved an over-sized grand piano in to the ballroom of the Swedish royal palace of King Oscar II on his back. King Oscar was so impressed with his strength that he tipped him 50 Kroners, which paid for his passage to the United States where he later became the strong man for Ringling Brothers Circus in 1894 and a professional wrestler in the years that followed. He was known to have supported the weight of 22 men standing on a board across his chest in in a “wrestler’s bridge,” with an aggregate weight of 3,752 pounds.   

We couldn't find the information we needed after hours of research and I got a little frustrated. On Sunday he told me that he finally found him and he gave me a document that had all of his genealogy on it! We would never have been able to find that information without access to a specific Swedish database that he used! It was a huge blessing that he was able to find information about my relatives. Now we can finally move forward with the rest of our family history in Sweden. I know this discovery was a miracle and it was a huge part of why I was sent to Sweden. It was so awesome to find him this week!  

Elder Hernandez in the Legaspi, Philippines Mission
Well that's about all from here. But there’s one last thing, my best friend Ryan is serving his mission in the Philippines. They recently had a bad Typhoon that caused a lot of damage on his island. Please keep Ryan and the people in that area of the Philippines in your prayers as they work to rebuild. Thanks!

I hope everyone has a great week!  

Love you guys! 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Week 39; August 4, 2014 – Right Place at the Right Time!

It has been a beautiful week. We have been blessed a lot, and every great experience has come from the guidance of the Holy Ghost.  

Our new mission car... Not quite!
We started-off with a really fun P-day. There is an ancient mission tradition that every “Greeny” has to eat a whole Kebab pizza, so we made sure we fulfilled that tradition and introduced the new missionary, Sister Austin, to Kebab! Afterward, we played volleyball in the park. Although, we were pretty terrible, but we had a lot of fun. Ironically, a professional volleyball tournament started when we got off the court. Needless to say, they were a lot better than we were. One guy kicked the ball backward over the net and another guy hit it back over with his chest. I lost a little bit of self confidence at that moment, but volleyball has never been my sport. So, it was all good in the end. 

Elders Lindquist and Stoeltzing
Wednesday was incredible. We went out early to do some swing-byes and we got in to teach a lesson with Louis, an investigator I haven’t seen in a while. We taught him a little bit about the scriptures and we encouraged him to keep reading. The rest of the day was really amazing. We had to go over to the church at an unusual hour. While we were there a man named Abu walked in and wanted a tour of the church. He was the first person I've seen that has actually walked into open church in Norrköping since I’ve been here. The crazy thing is that no one invited him, he just wanted to see what the church was all about. We taught him a little bit about the gospel of Jesus Christ and showed him around the church. He seemed open to the message, so we took his number and we hope to meet with him again. He did want to talk a lot and we ended-up missing our cable car back home. But, that turned-out to be a huge blessing. 

There was a new convert who'd been out of town for a while and needed to talk with us. He'd been going through some trials and he really needed someone to talk with at that moment. I know that we were in the right place at the right time to run into him. The Lord put us where we needed to be to help all of those people that night.  

Sister Smith and what's left of the Red Black Cafe'
Thursday ended up being a funny day. We got out of our district meeting to eat lunch and Sister Smith wanted to go to a restaurant called The Red Black Cafe. She said it was a Shwarma place, and we wanted to try it because that's what the Avengers ate after their battle in the movie. So, were looking all over for this place and we couldn’t find it. Finally, we stumbled into it, just to find that the restaurant had been torn apart and only the sign was left. Unfortunately, we did not get to try Shwarma that day. 

Friday, the Holy Ghost really intervened in the work again. We were scheduling the week and going through a list of potential investigators. I was sorting through the list and I came to a name I had usually skipped over. It was a man, who I had been told, wasn't interested in investigating the church, so we hadn’t been calling him. This week, however, I felt I really needed to call him. He didn't pick up at first, but he called back. He said, “I'm glad you called, have you heard what happened.” I had no idea. He told me his that brother had just passed away and that he needed someone to talk to. He asked me how I knew to call him, and I said it just felt right about it. I've called him a few times since and I can't even begin to imagine how terrible he feels right now. However, he said he's realizing how important God is in his life and we were able to talk to him about the restoration of the gospel over the phone. He also wanted to know about the prophet, so we left him with a copy of a talk called “I Will Not Fail thee, nor Forsake thee,” for him to read ( This is the talk that Thomas S. Monson gave after his wife passed away. 

Evening in Norrkoping... The end of a good week!
We've had our share of challenges working in Norrköping, but talking to this man really put a lot of things into perspective. It’s been worth it to endure the difficult days just to have the chance to help this one man. Everyone that reads this, please pray for him. His name is Eli.

I've been really thankful this week. There’s not much that we did on our part to make these experiences happen, but the Lord really guided us to where we needed to be and what we needed to do. Its weeks like this that help me remember why I'm here as a missionary and give me the strength to keep on working. Thank you all for reading and I hope everyone has a great week!

-Äldste Stoeltzing