Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Day 706 - The Last Goodbye

Well.. I have been sitting here for quite a while trying to decide what to say in my last email. The only thing that comes is an extreme feeling of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the time I have been able to spend in this beautiful country over the past two years. I already miss Sweden so much. This mission has been exactly what I needed. The experiences that I have had has shaped me into the person I am today. I have worked my hardest and tried my best and I regret nothing. It is extremely difficult to put into words the feelings that I have right now. I am so grateful for the chance the Lord has given me to represent him and to testify of his gospel. I love my Savior with all my heart. 

This week was full of member appointments as we are trying to get the Christmas Initiative going in the branch and due to the fact that Elder Gentry and I are leaving. We also had a zone conference which was great and then we also had a ward Christmas party on Saturday. So it was a full week! We were also able to to meet a few of our investigators. 

Zone conference was great. It was Christmas themed and there was also a lot on Faith. I learned a lot that I am going to be able to take home with me and apply in my life. I think the highlight of the conference was sharing my farewell testimony. I felt the spirit so strong as I stood up there in front of all the younger missionaries and shared a final testimony with them. What was even cooler was being able to do that with a few of my brothers that I started this journey with. I love them so much and they will always be my friends. It was so good to see so many missionaries and say goodbye to them. 

On Thursday we went to see an older couple named the Holmdahls. We ate some delicious pasta with them and shared the Christmas message with them and they loved it! I'm gonna miss them! Later that day we were able to travel to Enköping to visit a family named the Frid's. They are the best! Malte is from Sweden and Cynthia is from Peru but lived in Utah for awhile. They made us the best Peruvian food I've ever had! It was so good. We had a great time with them and their daughters and shared the Christmas message with them as well. Gonna miss that family!

On Friday we were able to meet Ahmadraza! And that is the good news of the week my friends! We pulled a few strings and now Ahmadraza is actually going to be baptized today! I can't begin to tell you how ready and willing this guy is. He constantly bears his testimony to us and is so humble and ready to follow God. He is basically here on his own and has no idea where his family is or if they are alive. He was separated from his family at the border of Iran when they and other refugees ran in different directions as they were being shot at. He is  from Afghanistan and fled here to Sweden a little over a year ago. His story is so sad and it is so crazy the amount of trials and to hear what he had to go through to get here. He loves the gospel and Jesus Christ so much and has really noticed the change that the gospel and living the commandments have made in his life. He keeps telling us how much better his life is now that he has found the church. He loves Thomas S. Monson and he loves the Book of Mormon. He calls the church "the Church of Happiness" haha he is the best. Anyways, he will be getting baptized tonight! Hurrah for Israel! That will be a good time. Unfortunately, I can't put any pictures of the baptism on the internet but I can for sure show you the pictures if we meet up when I get back! He is so excited though and it is going to be a great way to end my mission. I wouldn't have it any other way. 

On Saturday we played innebandy (floor hockey I think) for the last time :( I was also able to play a little ball with the stake president, Jakob Hagman. He is the best! Later that day, we had the branch Christmas party! It was such a good time! We missionaries were forced to do a few musical numbers haha so that was fun. The Christmas party ended with a small snowball fight with little Styrofoam snowballs that were used for decorations between the little kids in the branch and the missionaries. It then grew to a giant snowball fight outside with all the little kids, the missionaries, and a few members in the branch. It somehow then turned to me vs. everybody else which was a ton of fun hahaha we all got so soaked. Definitely a snowball fight to remember! 

I was also able to meet and say goodbye to Sorie on Saturday. It was hard to say goodbye to such a close friend, but he is in good hands. The gospel has truly changed that man and it has been such a blessing to work with him. I am going to keep in good contact with him for sure! Elder Harrell and his new companion will take good care of him. It's gonna be tough to also say goodbye to Elder Harrell. I love that kid so much. I am thankful for all that he has taught me and for being one of my closest friends. It has been an honor to serve with him and he is going to kill it over the next 20 months! Love you brother!

Well this is it folks, after two years of writing letters, this is the last one. I don't know how to feel. My stake president was 100% right when he told me that the tears I have going home will exceed the tears I had when I left on my mission. I have tears in my eyes as I think about leaving this country and these people. I love Sweden and I love the people of Sweden with all my heart. I will never forget the memories and experiences that I have had here. I love my mission so much. Because of my mission, I am the man that I am today. And above all, I love my Savior Jesus Christ. He is my Redeemer and he suffered and died for me. I know this now better than I ever have before. I love him with and my Heavenly Father with all my heart and I am determined to serve them to the end. Again, I cannot put into words the gratitude that I have to my Father in Heaven. I have been so blessed to be able to come here and to serve Him. I am thankful for all that He has taught me over these past two years. But what I think I am most grateful for is that He has taught me to love as He loves. If I could describe my mission in one word, it would be love. Love for God, love for the work, and love for others. I am nowhere near where I want to be, but I can truly say that after being here for two years focusing on others, I have truly learned to love. And I have been privileged enough to see others through just a glimpse of our Heavenly Father's eyes. I think that is the key. Seeing others though God's eyes. When we do this, we begin to develop a true and lasting love for others. You start to care less about your self and you start to care more about others. And then true joy follows. I am so grateful for the people of this country and I truly love them so much. My mission has also blessed me with a testimony of this gospel. The gospel is love. I know it is true. I know that Joseph Smith was given priesthood authority to restore this church to the earth and to translate the Book of Mormon. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is the word of God. I know that my Savior lives and loves me! I know that this church is true without a doubt. How can it not be? It's true. It's all true. 

I love you all more than you know. I can't wait to see you all in a few days. I couldn't have done this without your support. Thank you so much for all your love and prayers. And thank you Mom and Dad for your amazing examples to me throughout my life and for always being there for me. I love you! I love this work! I am eternally grateful for the opportunity I have had to be apart of it. 

Godspeed, my friends.

Signing off for the last time,

Äldste William Alexander Bailey
January 2015 - December 2016

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Day 698

Hello my dear friends! Happy December!

Hope everyone had a great week! Things are going great here in the beautiful town of Västerås! We had a great week filled with adventures and such!! 

I have basically no time but I will quickly fill you in on a few things!

I was able to go on splits in Karlstad with one of my best friends Elder Williams! It was a great time and we worked hard! Elder Williams is such a stud and an amazing missionary! We taught their investigators with a baptismal dates and it was so good! They are awesome! We even saw the one and only Lennart from Göteborg! He came to visit us and say one last goodbye before he goes to Chile for a few months! It was good to see him! 

On Thursday, We had a "funeral" after district meeting during lunch for me and Elder Richardson who are both "dying" this next week. (Elder Carrigan was there as well but he is not in our district ;)) It was a good time!!

I bring good tidings of great joy! Ahmadraza is going to be baptized on the 17th of December! He was interviewed by President this week and he is all ready to go! It was supposed to be this Saturday but our branch is having us move it back a week because it conflicts too much with the branch Christmas party. Kinda a bummer that I'm gonna miss it, but it's not really about me. I am just so happy that he is going to be baptized. He is such a great guy and told me at church that he knows that all this is true. He said that he received an answer in his mind and heart and that this is the "church of happiness" haha. He has been reading a lot of conference talks and chapters in the gospel principles book. I am so happy for him. 

Håkan is doing good as well! He is reading out of the Book of Mormon and loves the spirit he feels at church. We had dinner at the Stake President's family on Sunday and he came along. We had a great lesson there and the spirit was strong. He told me that he feels the same energy and spirit that he feels in church. It has been hard to get a sit down meeting with him since he has started working. Hopefully we will set up a baptismal date next time!

I want to lastly leave you with a scripture, 3 John 1:13-14

 13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:

 14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.

The church is true! I love you all and I am so thankful for all you do for me! Take care and talk to you again next Monday!

Äldste Bailey

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Day 691

Hello Ladies and Gents!

Everyone doing well? Good, good. Well, this time around I really don't have that much time to write. But things knallar och går here in Västerås! We are continuing to be blessed as we put in the work. 

This week started off with me wrestling one of my favorite members, David. He is the coolest guy ever and he is basically the hulk. (by the way He and his wife Ida invite us over for dinner every single tuesday. They are the best). And in their apartment they have a giant bean bag. So I was standing by the bean bag talking to the other Elders on the phone when David just runs over and tackles me into the bean bag which started an all out wrestling match. I was putting up a pretty good fight at the beginning but the match ended up with David picking me up and literally flipping me upside down and slamming me into the bean bag. It was crazy I don't think anyone has ever picked me up and thrown me like that since I was a lot smaller and lighter. hahaha it was super fun though. He is so awesome and always helps us out with lessons and always talks to our investigators at church. This Tuesday I'll catch him by surprise and take him down ;)

We were able to meet our brother Sorie this week. He is going trough a lot right now actually. His cousin was stabbed to death in London last weekend and it has hit him and his family pretty hard. He did say that he was so grateful for the knowledge he has learned about the gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ which has given him a lot of comfort in this hard time for him. Because of all the stress of this and other reasons, Sorie's baptismal date has been moved to the 7th of January. Unfortunately, I won't be able to be there, but that isn't too important for me. The coolest part of all this I have already been able to see and be apart of. The gospel has really changed him. It has been a blessing to be able to take part in Sorie's conversion process. But please keep him and his family in your prayers!

We were also able to meet Ahmedreza again! He wants to be baptized! We taught him the restoration and the plan of salvation. Both made a lot of sense to him and he loved them. When we prayed he said that he felt the spirit really strong. We are going to continue to work with him.

We had two really great lessons with a new investigator named Håkan. He is a Swedish man who has been studying with a lot of different churches over the years and has never found what he is looking for. We talked to him on the street a few weeks ago and he decided to give it a shot. We met him first on Wednesday and answered a lot of his questions. He is going through a lot of tough things in his life right now so we decided to focus on God and His plan for us and on Jesus Christ and His role in the plan and how they both can help us in our lives. We shared a lot of comforting scriptures from the Bible and the Book of Mormon about God and Jesus Christ and the Atonement. It was a great lesson and a member randomly showed up to the church and he was able to bear his testimony about God and prayer and the Book of Mormon. It was a great lesson and the Spirit was present testifying to us all that our message was true. On Saturday, we met with Håkan again and it was such an amazing lesson and the spirit was so strong the whole time. We sat in the chapel and we were the only ones in the church and it was so quiet and peaceful. He loved it and he loved the feeling inside of the church. He said that his head was so much more clear and that he could leave all his problems outside. We taught him the restoration but focused mainly on God. It was more of a discussion which was good. We asked him questions about God and his relationship to God. He was able to ponder and answer our questions. He also asked us a lot of questions which was different. He asked us about our personal relationship to God and how we receive answers. It was so cool because I had the amazing opportunity to share my personal testimony about my Heavenly Father and my relationship to Him and how I receive answers to my prayers. The spirit was so strong as I looked into Håkan's eyes and bore testimony to him. The coolest part was that I felt the spirit so strong and it seemed like I could say whatever I wanted to in Swedish. The words just flowed out of my mouth like never before. I mean, for a long time I haven't had any trouble speaking Swedish, but this was different. I noticed that words and phrases that I don't usually use just came out of my mouth and I was speaking completely fluently. It was no doubt my Father in Heaven who helped me say exactly what Håkan needed to hear. I was also prompted to ask Håkan if he felt like God loved him. He wasn't really sure how to answer. So I told him to get on his knees that night and ask God what he thought about him. I promised him that God would let Håkan know that He loves him. He smiled when he heard that. It was an all around great lesson. He also agreed to being baptized if he receives an answer. He came to church on Sunday and stayed all three hours and absolutely loved it! He is such a great man.

Anyways, I gotta go. I love you all so much. Keep working hard in whatever you do. Have a great week! The church is true!


äldste Bailey