Sunday, March 29, 2015

Week 72; March 23, 2015 – Knock and it shall be opened! 

Wow this week has been really special!  I can't believe how blessed we've been!   

Tuesday was a really cool day. We met our neighbors, and they invited us over. They are Jehovah’s Witnesses and they live a few houses down from us. We had a great conversation together and they actually made dinner for us. Later on, we taught a less-active member named Paula who we hadn't seen for a few weeks.

Wednesday was awesome. We taught a few lessons, and at the end of the day, we had nothing but dinner planned as we walked back to our apartment to eat. But, I had this really strong feeling we needed to go back out and do a swing-by across town. I told Elder Bybee about it, and we decided to go. We got there and knocked on the door. The man we'd met a few days earlier said he wasn't really interested and he asked us not to come back. We were pretty discouraged, but as we were walking away, less than 30 seconds after that door was shut on us, we met another man that said he'd be interested in hearing our message and he invited us into his home. He ended-up being really interested! We were so thankful that the spirit helped us find someone who was prepared to hear our message and that we had listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

On Thursday we had district meeting and I went on splits with Elder Corbin. We had a great time and we watched one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen over the ocean before heading home. 

Friday was another great day we didn't have much planned, so we tried a few unsuccessful swing-bys. Like Wednesday, we reached the end of the day and we were ready for dinner. Although we felt ready to end the night, Elder Bybee asked, how would you feel about pushing dinner back and tracting? We decided to go back out. Unfortunately, we missed the bus to where we wanted to tract and we had no idea what to do. It was raining and I wanted to go back, but Elder Bybee said lets knock on one door.  So, we knocked on the door that we were standing directly in front of, and to our great surprise, we met a girl that turned out to be a former investor and we ended-up talking to her for an hour! It was such a cool experience and we were so thankful that the Lord reached-out to help us find someone like that twice in one week. 

We taught Stefan on Saturday. Although we had been afraid to teach him about the Word of Wisdom (our code of health) before he had a good foundation under him. He's been using a Tabaco product called Snus for years and he drinks from time to time. We were worried that he wouldn't take it well, but it finally felt right… What happened next was amazing. He said that he's been waiting for someone to help him quit for years, but had no idea how. He said that it was one of the nicest things anyone had ever done to offer to help him quit. He not only wanted to do it, but said he was ready to do anything we suggested to stop and he knew God wanted him to do this. We know the Holy Ghost helped prepare him for us and helped him to accept something that we weren’t sure how to address for him. We know he can do it and he will be able to concur this obstacle as he prepares for his baptism.

It was an Amazing week! My testimony of the Holy Ghost’s role in this work grew a lot this week. I know this is the Lord's Church and I know he guides the work. I hope everyone has a great week! 

Thanks for Reading!

Äldste Stoetzing

Friday, March 20, 2015

Week 71; March 16, 2015 – Finding Truth In The Library

Wow, a lot of good stuff happened this week… We were really blessed!

We went thrift store shopping on Monday and I found some new shirts and I bought a new journal. 

Working in a very Swedish-looking neighborhood
Tuesday was another really good day. We didn't have much planned, but we went out to an area we like to visit and we just worked hard. We taught someone on the street, then we saw an old investigator taught him a lesson. The day ended-up jam packed and we developed new opportunities for the future as well! 

Halmstad Library
Wednesday morning was really cool. Our printer broke at the Church, so we went to the library to print some new teaching records. As we were working there, a man sitting next to me asked if I could help him to navigate a housing website that he was looking at. I had no clue how to use the site, but together we figured it out and we were able to submit his request on the site. He noticed my name tag and asked us if we worked for a Church. We told him what we did as missionaries and he asked if we could meet. He said his name was Yotham from Tanzania and he was trying to become closer to God. It was an awesome experience and we decided to meet later in the week.

Later that day we went to Trang and Lassie’s house and she made us her Vietnamese peanut sauce, it was really good! It was also the first time I've had onion in a peanut sauce, which was a little different, but I liked it. 

A great game of Innabondi with Elder Sheldon
Enjoying home-made pizza with Elder Sheldon
On Thursday we went to Helsingborg and Elder Bybee taught the district meeting. Afterward, I went on splits with Elder Sheldon who is actually from Galt, CA! We had a great time and we talked a ton about California! That night we started fasting with a less-active member who's been struggling and we had a lesson about finding God's light in his Life. He decided to take it seriously and I'm hoping it will help him get closer to God. 

We were able to teach Yotham the next morning and we had a really good lesson with him. He's really searching for truth right now and he is already willing to come to Church next week! We didn't have a ton of time, but we set realistic expectations and we feel like he's ready and willing to make quick progress! 

That night we taught Stefan. He'd been thinking a lot and he came with a lot of questions. We did our best to answer them, but the star of the lesson was our ward mission leader Heekee. They were both about the same age and Heekee gave some answers that Stefan could really relate to. The best part was that Heekee forgot his reading glasses, so he and Stefan were switching-off glasses through the whole lesson… It was really funny and they both laughed about their age! Stefan felt good at the end of the lesson and he is happy to keep reading and praying as he searches for answers.

My torso next to the Turning Torso in Malmo - Torso & Torso
Elder Bybee and the Turning Torso
The next morning we went down to Malmö for stake conference. We started-out with interviews, and it was good to sit down with President Beckstrand again. Afterward, there was a whole session about missionary work. There were some outstanding talks. My old friend Luis Hurray from Kungsbacka spoke and he really hit it out of the park, encouraging members to get out of their shells and help the missionaries. And, he encouraged the missionaries to get out of their shells and serve the members to gain their trust. It was a call to action for both of us. 

Elders Silvernoinen and Stoeltzing
Elders George and Mott
Sister Beckstrand’s talk was also amazing! It was about member missionary work as well. She told the story about how her grandparents didn't join the Church when her mom was baptized. Her grandpa never joined, but her grandma eventually moved-in and lived with them. For eight years they were examples to her and they lived the gospel the best that they could. After seeing her family living righteously, united by the gospel, she realized that she knew the Church was true and she was baptized! Sister Beckstrand taught us that by living the Gospel we are a light to all those around us and by having the courage to invite others, we can change people’s lives with the gospel. President closed with a great talk that he gave in Swedish, exciting the audience about missionary work!

On Sunday we had another round of conference talks and they spoke about the temple. We even got to hear from Denmark’s Temple President. He was quite difficult to understand. He was an American who tried to speak Danish. I think most of the audience understood pretty well, but it was still hard for us to understand. Danish and Swedish are close, but they are defiantly different languages. It's always fun to try and understand it though!

We ended the weekend having a dinner together with all the missionaries and we had a great time before we headed back up to Halmstad!

The work moved forward this weekend and we had a great time along the way! I hope everyone back home is doing well and I hope you all have an excellent week!

Äldste Stoeltzing

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Week 70; March 9, 2015 – Spring Cleaning!

This week was great!  It was the sunniest week I've seen in over six months and we were really blessed along the way!

On Monday we did spring cleaning. We turned the apartment inside out. It took all day, but it looks great! After all the work was done we bought some original paintings to hang in the apartment just to get it looking even better. It defiantly feels like home and I'm glad we worked so hard on it. 

Tuesday was an awesome day too! We went back to Göteborg my home away from home in Sweden! I missed it so much and it felt so great stepping of the train back into Göteborg central! We went to a chapel in a town called Utby, just outside of Göteborg for conference with a General Authority named Elder Donaldson. It was one of the most spiritual conferences I've ever been in, maybe because the conference was about the spirit, but regardless, it felt really good. Elder Donaldson is a humble, but powerful teacher and he reiterated how we absolutely need the spirit in our efforts and how we are so much more than “young person with a name tag” when we have the spirit!

Afterward, I got to catch up with old friends from around the mission and we had a long, but fun ride back. Unfortunately, the trains behind us got stuck in the station due to electrical problems and some of the missionaries didn't get home until close to midnight!  It was a crazy start to the week, but defiantly worth it and it helped us a lot with the rest of the week!

Wednesday was amazing! We went over the border from Holland County into Skåna and drove up and down the coast line to visit less-active members with our ward mission leader. It was probably the most beautiful drive I've ever taken and you would not believe how incredible Sweden gets in the spring. This drive made it worth enduring the bleakness of winter; Haha! We visited two elderly members and gave them the monthly message from our church leaders. It was a great day and quite an adventure! 

Saturday was really special. We started off at the Bishop’s home and helped him move fire wood into his house from the wood pile! We got to ride behind a tractor! And, later Senja made us probably the best meal I've ever had. It was pork with a honey sauce over it and it tasted perfect! We've got the best members in Sweden here in Halmstad! 

Afterward, we went to teach Stefan! The lesson went great! He had a lot of questions, but the spirit really helped him and he was so accepting! He said there's still a lot he doesn’t understand, but he felt that what we told him was right and he accepted our invitation to get baptized in two months! It was an amazing day and an incredible feeling to know that we played a role in helping Stefan to be ready for baptism! 

Later that night we kept feeling like we needed to swing by to see a less-active member named Jeff. He wasn't home, but as soon as we walked out, we met a women named Basma and she was one of the most prepared people I've ever met! We hope to meet with her again this week!

On Sunday, a lot of people got sick, so Elder Bybee and I taught all the lessons at church. I did an object lesson and made Elder Bybee carry a lot of hymn books. It was funny :). Afterward, we went home, did our planning, and called it a week! 

Halmstad Ward Council
 We feel so blessed and so excited for the work right now!  Halmstad is amazing and I hope to stay here even longer if they’ll let me, so I can keep giving my all to this great little town! Thanks for reading… Have a great week everyone!  

Äldste Stoeltzing  
Week 69; March 2, 2015 – Saying Hello to Bybee

Hey guys!

It's been a crazy two weeks! It has felt like a marathon, but it's been awesome, and I've loved every minute if it! 

Two Mondays ago we went to the Lindahl's and we had dinner with them. They made Elder Cushing's favorite Swedish meal, which is a type of creamy potato casserole… It was amazing! We visited for a while, then we taught their little daughter Matilda about prayer, she is the cutest kid ever! 

On Tuesday we went to Tylösand, which is one of the most famous beach towns in Sweden during the summer, but it’s pretty cold in the winter.  Although it’s still beautiful! We saw Marcus there and Elder Cushing got to say good bye, then we took some pictures on the beach. Later that night we had a meeting with one of our investigators, Raustin, and we had a good night with him.  

On Wednesday I said good bye to Elder Cushing and he was off to Stockholm. It was an amazing six weeks we had together. It flew by, but it was an incredible transfer. Elder Cushing is going to do amazing work during his last 4-1/2 months and we'll definitely be good friends when we get back home. 

I spent the day with Hiekke working on the guest home they are building. It was hard work, but we got a lot done and the foundation is finally ready to be laid. We moved a lot of big rocks, so I felt pretty tired. Afterward, we picked-up my new companion, Elder Bybee, and we moved him into the apartment. He's been out on his mission about a month less than me and he just finished training a new missionary. Elder Bybee is from Mapleton Utah. He's probably one of the nicest people I've ever met and he has a great positive attitude. He's an obedient and a hardworking missionary and I think he'll be great to work with here! 

We had a really good first week together and we had a great lesson with Stefan about the Plan of Salvation. 

Week two was pretty crazy! We had two conferences this week. Elder Bybee went to Stockholm and then we went to zone training later in the week! Tuesday was pretty crazy too! I went to Helsingborg and worked with the Elders there. Elder George got sick, so I ended-up going to Landskrona for an appointment. Sadly, they cancelled and we ended-up missing the train, so I got stuck in Helsingborg longer than planned. Although I had a really good conversation with a man I met in the station and he sounded interested in the gospel, so I hope he will contact the Elders there. I finally made it home and all was well. 

On Thursday we had a conference in Malmö! It was a little unexpected, but it was super fun and it was great to see the missionaries in the zone again! 

Saturday was amazing! We had a great talk with Stefan and he said that he felt that the Book of Mormon was true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet! It was amazing, and one of the most special teaching experiences I've been a part of! He isn't quite ready to commit to baptism yet, but he said he will read the Book of Mormon cover-to-cover! 

Well, next week will be really cool! We are getting a chance to see a church leader in my old favorite town of Göteborg, so it'll be great! 

That’s all for this week… I love you guys!  

Äldste Stoeltzing