Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 91; August 10, 2015 – 928,800 Minutes… How Do You Measure 21-1/4 Months!

Wow, another week has come and gone, and this one was hard. We had to say goodbye to some of our dear friends, but we did it in style, and we probably gave Elder Farnworth the greatest missionary funeral (send-off) of all time! 

Monday was pretty normal. We had a cool lunch with Mattias, the Sister missionaries, and a girl named Hilda who's about to leave on her mission. We thought we'd try a new experience, so we ordered two giant Kebab pizzas for everyone, they were huge!!! We didn't even get close to finishing them, even with the six of us! 

Kebeb Pizza anyone?
Tuesday was the funeral. We've been planning this for the past six weeks. Elder Farnworth asked me if we could give him a memorable send-off to end his mission. We didn’t tell him that we were already planning it, so as far as he was concerned, he was going to conduct one last district meeting and that would be it. Little did he know, we we're putting-together the most legendary missionary funeral of all time for him! 

A mission can be a funny thing, in the sense that there are more than 150 Elders and Sisters in the whole country, some of whom you may only see once in two years, while there are other's that you can never seem to escape. That couldn’t have been truer than it was for me and Elder Kelab Farnworth. After serving together in three districts for a total of eight months, Elder Farnworth has been one of the most consistent personalities of my entire mission and he has been one of my closest friends over these past two years. So, naturally we needed to go all-out for him!

How to build a strong district
He thought we'd be having a lite breakfast followed by his final district meeting. As he was finishing breakfast Sister Brink told him he “needed” to eat one last Swedish pancake. As he was eating, Elder Harrison shouted, “Oh no Elder Farnworth, you’re choking!” Elder Farnworth seemed to know exactly what we were doing, so played along and he collapsed onto the floor "dead!" We carried his body into the bathroom where we explained that he had died. But, he was being permitted to stay and observe his own funeral for one last day. 

So, Farnworth’s body was escorted into the room and laid on a table, off to the side, as we started his memorial service. I presided over the funeral and we began with a sonata played on the ukulele. Next, Sister Giles had written an obituary explaining his tragic cause of death… It was hilarious! Afterward, we had a reading of various haiku’s and then Elder Blackburn and I played a rendition of “Come Thou Fount,” on electric guitar and bass. Finally, we got to the big speech, Elder Farnworth's life story. I took all the major events of Farnworth's mission and dramatized “The Legend of Kaleb!” A 20 minute epic ballad of sorts, telling Farnworth's story! He loved it! We ended on a really spiritual note and everyone shared what Elder Farnworth had meant to them on their missions and we let him close the meeting. 

Farewell Elder Farnworth... You'll be missed!
We gave him one last surprise and rearranged the song from RENT, “Seasons of Love,” with the lyrics, “Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes. How do you measure, measure a year…” and we made it all about Farnworth. He thought it was the perfect ending. Then we took some family pictures and we had one last district lunch at Jenson’s Böfhus (steakhouse). All of us went to the train station to wave goodbye and watch him ride off to Stockholm, then home. It was a sad day, but it was the perfect ending to his mission. Fortunately, I'll get to see him again when I return in three months! 

The big send-off!
That night we came back and took Mattias to dinner with two members named Sinnika and Hilma. We ate salmon with them and it was delicious! 

On Wednesday we had another sad goodbye. Sister Giles was transferred to Kungsbacka. We're really sad to see her go, but she's going to the best place ever and I couldn't think of anyone else I'd rather see serving in my first area! 

The California connection won't be the same without Sister Giles
The new Sister is really cool. She just left her first area and she has a great energy for the work. Her name is Sister Nielson and she just flew down from the artic city of Luleå. 

We we're having some trouble with our phone on Thursday, so we went to Göteborg and had Elder Stinnet fix it for us. Then we did some service for an older lady named Irma. 

Later that day, our investigator, Jeff, had to cancel on us but we went to his neighborhood and did some great contacting and taught a family there! We ended-up teaching this lady’s husband out of a third story balcony, not the usual, but it worked! 

Moments of reflection
Friday was really funny. We went to visit a member named Våge and he served Elder Blackburn his first glass of Påskmusk (Easter soda). However, while he was eating, he accidentally dropped a potato in his drink. Våge thought it was the funniest thing he'd ever seen. He said there won’t be a lot of missionaries that he never forgets, but the guy that invented Påskmusk potatoes will defiantly be one of them! 

Working together to teach Mattias
We taught Mattias later that day and we had a great lesson. He had a lot of super deep questions and I explained how they all had answers. But, some were answers were more complicated. I related it to how I struggled with math and wanted to master it, but I would still make mistakes with my addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I told him that one could never master math until they learned these basic functions, and I drew them up on the board. We explained that there are basic functions in the gospel as well, like knowing God loves us, developing a testimony of prophets, accepting the Book of Mormon, and having faith in Jesus Christ. He accepted this explanation and he realized these where the things he needed to understand now, and then, the deeper answers would come soon enough. 

The Work in Sweden is uplifting!
Saturday was awesome!  We went to the Murphy's again and helped them put a silicon coating on their barn roof to cover-up and seal the leaks to get it ready for winter. The barn was huge, like maybe 50 yards or so, but it was a really fun project.  Then they fed us American pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast (a rare delicacy in Sweden).

Do I really look shorter at this angle? 
After church we had dinner with the Englebreakson's and enjoyed taco night, probably the best missionary meal ever! They are one of my favorite families. This was a great way to finish-up an amazing week! 

Thanks for reading guys! I Love you all a ton! 

Äldste Stoeltzing

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