Monday, September 28, 2015

Day 268

Hej hej everybody!

Another awesome week down in Uppsala. We worked really hard this week and are definitely seeing results! I absolutely love and am so grateful for the opportunity I have to represent my Savior and to be a soldier in his army and fight for his side each and every day. I really have changed. We have had some amazing, spiritual, and funny experiences this week that I will never forget! I don't have that much time this week, so I will try to hit as much as I can.

This week we helped a lady in the ward move a bunch of her stuff out of her house. She is from America and married a swede. She has been living here in Sweden for 30 years. Sadly, her husband passed away a couple of months ago. Now she wants to move back to America. Her husband was an inventor and had SO much stuff. So we literally spent the whole day in this tiny town in the middle of nowhere helping her clean out her house and moving a bunch of stuff. It was actually really fun. We also got a bunch of her food she wasn't going to take with her to the states so that was a plus! But also, it was really sad to she her cleaning out her husbands stuff and hearing her say how much she loves him. It really strengthened my testimony to hear hers about eternal families. That she knows she will see him again. I am thankful for the plan of happiness that makes it possible for us to live with our families forever in happiness.

This week, we were walking in the forest after dark and there was no one around. As we came a little farther up the path, we saw a Swedish man just standing there next to the path and he was smoking. He looked a little bit shady so I decided it was probably best that we just let him be. But I don't usually let people pass me without talking to them. So I was thinking that it was going to feel weird to just walk by him without sharing the gospel with him, because you never know who is going to accept our message. But I also had the strongest feeling that I need to just talk to him. My dad actually came into my head as I was walking up to this man because on my Dad's mission, he talked to a man that was all alone on a bench, and he was eventually baptized. I saw this man up ahead all alone and thought of my dad's experience. I knew I needed to talk to this man. So when I gave my little contacting approach and told him we were out to talk to people about the Book of Mormon, he said, "Oh, you mean the book about the Lamanites?" It kinda caught me off guard, then I said, "Yeah, actually! Have you heard of the book before?" Anyways, turns out he had been contacted by the sisters only a few weeks earlier and had looked into the church a little bit. He told us that he came to the conclusion that Joseph Smith was a "bedragare", which is like a scoundrel or a deceiver or a fraud. The first feeling that came over me was that I wanted to deck this guy in the face for calling a prophet of God that. But suddenly a feeling of peace came over me and I took a deep breath and asked him if he has even read the book. He said no. Then I was able to bear a strong testimony of the Prophet and the Book of Mormon. The spirit was definitely there. I love the feeling I get every time as the spirit comes over me and I look in these peoples' eyes and tell them that I know it is true with my whole heart. Long story short, we discussed with him a little farther and talked to him about God and answers to prayers. We gave him a Mormons Bok and he promised to ask God if it was true. We were able to get his number and he was interested in meeting with us again. I love testifying of the reality of God and is Son Jesus Christ. I am looking forward to meeting Jakob again. And I am happy I didn't punch him.

On Saturday, we visited a less active member whose name is Jose. He is 14 years old and is from Spain. He was born into the church but has not been in a long time. He can't really remember anything about the church actually. He said he remembers his baptism as just getting dunked in the water and coming up and people clapping haha. He doesn't know what the Book of Mormon is either so we have a lot of work to do. Anyways, we came in contact with him because Elder Walker, is really into this card game called Magic. And Jose's life is Magic. So he was super excited when he heard that Elder Walker played it. So we went over there and played with him. It was my first time playing and I won (for some reason I always win ;)) But we taught him afterwords and it was actually a really good lesson about prayer. We also told him we would come and pick him up for church on Sunday. He told us how he thinks church is really boring and not fun. I told him he is going with the wrong mind set. That he needs to go in thinking that he is worshiping God and that he wants to learn something. So on Sunday we picked him up and he actually really liked church! He asked a lot of questions in the gospel principles class we taught. He said that he actually liked it this time because he paid attention. Crazy how that works! We decided with him that we are going to go through all the missionary lessons with him. He is really excited. When a member asked him how long he has been a member, he said "I was born into the church, so my whole life. But you can say from today." It was so awesome! I am excited to work with him.

I am so sorry this is so short. I had like no time at all and now I have to run and catch a bus. Next weeks will be better I promise! I love you all and I hope you have an amazing week! The church is true!

Äldste Bailey
Äldste Bailey

Monday, September 21, 2015

Day 261

Tjabba Tjabba allihopa!

I hope everyone is doing well! This was a long week. Transfer weeks seem to always be super slow. Just a week ago I was sitting in Katrineholm's library emailing and that seems like forever ago! But I have made it safe and sound to the beautiful city of Uppsala! It is honestly so pretty! And all the people are so nice because they are all young college people. They all usually listen or are very nice when they aren't interested so that is nice. But there is still the fair share of older and rude people. But that probably doesn't change no matter where you go. I am loving it here in Uppsala though. My new companion is named Elder Walker. He is from Idaho Falls. He is a really cool guy and a good missionary. He is quiet and really funny. He is easy to get along with so he is going to be a great companion. I also live with two other elders named Elder Johnson and Elder Blackburn. They are both super funny and I love them both. It is really fun to live in a four man apartment. We do go through food a lot faster and there are a ton more dishes to do, but it's worth it. We actually have a really nice apartment. Nicer than I have ever lived in in Sweden. We have a real piano (neighbors probably love us) and a huge kitchen, including a dishwasher (which I haven't had on my mission yet and most missionaries don't), we actually have a juicer too and we juiced some carrots but then we broke it because we tried to juice ice to make snow cones hahaha and the apartment building has a sauna haha so we have done that a few times.

There is actually not a lot to report this week. Elder Walker and I are actually opening a new missionary area here in Uppsala. Which means that there were no missionaries in our area before. There is two other elders here and a pair of sisters. They have been here for a while but Elder Walker and I are brand new so we are starting from complete scratch. So we started with no investigators at all. We have been working really hard this week to find people. We have been working on the ward list to find less actives to work with and we have been out contacting people most of the time. We did meet a girl on the street who showed us around the cathedral here in Uppsala and she said she would be interested in meeting again. We also met another Swedish guy who we taught on the street named Victor. He is so cool! We taught him the restoration on the street and it went so well! He said he would read the Book of Mormon and try to come to church on Sunday. So Saturday night we called him to try to set up a time with him for the coming week to meet up. And he said "11:00 right?" and I said "wait are you coming to church?" and he said "yeah!". So we got super excited! And the next day in church he showed up! It was so awesome! He loved sacrament meeting and especially loved the music. We said The Spirit of God for the opening song. (Den Himmelske Elden in swedish which means 'the heavenly fire'). He especially loved that song. It was really powerful when the ward sang. He really enjoyed sacrament meeting but I was a little disappointed afterwords because with swedes being the reserved and quiet people they are, only one person came and greeted him after the meeting was over. But then luckily, the bishop came over and greeted him. This was the first time I met the bishop and he is the coolest guy ever! You would think he was american because he was really loud and expressive and so funny. He was so nice to Victor and really made him feel welcome. I wish all swedes were like that haha. But we talked to him afterwards and he expressed interest in the Plan of Salvation. We explained a little bit to him and gave him 2 Nephi 2 to read. We are meeting up with him tonight. We hope to make progress with him. He is super cool! 

On Friday we were able to go by a member/kinda less active named Lennart. He lives alone about an hour away by bus from Uppsala. He knew that we were new and wanted us to come by and visit him. It was a really good visit and lesson. We taught a little bit about something I found in personal study that morning. It was in Matthew 5:48. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." I was thinking about what that meant. Obviously our Heavenly Father doesn't expect us to be 100% perfect here during this life. But we can for sure try to be. But I also wondered, If Jesus was perfect and sinless, why didn't he say be ye therefore perfect, even as I? In Swedish, the verse says, fullkomlig, which means more 'complete' than 'perfect'. We aren't complete here on earth. We have so much more to learn and to accomplish and to become, we need to be resurrected and obtain our perfect complete bodies. But our Heavenly Father is complete. And I came across a quote from Elder Russel M. Nelson that said: “The term perfect was translated from the Greek teleios, which means ‘complete.’ … The infinitive form of the verb is teleiono, which means ‘to reach a distant end, to be fully developed, to consummate, or to finish.’ Please note that the word does not imply freedom from error; it implies achieving a distant objective. …We need not be dismayed if our earnest efforts toward perfection now seem so arduous and endless. Perfection is pending. It can come in full only after the Resurrection and only through the Lord. It awaits all who love him and keep his commandments”. So our distant objective is to become perfect and complete and to return to live with God. And none of us, even Jesus can be complete without the Resurrection and through Christ's Atonement. And something interesting is that when Christ visits the Nephites in the Book of Mormon and gives the same message to these people, he changes it just a little bit. He says, "Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect." So because Christ went through the Atonement and was resurrected, even though he was sinless throughout his mortal life, could now finally say that he was perfect. I thought that was really cool. Perfection is pending and is something we need to work towards our whole lives by exercising our faith and utilizing and applying the Atonement of Christ and keeping the commandments.

On Sunday I was able to meet all the members of the ward here. They are so awesome! I was also able to bear my testimony to the ward and kind of introduce myself. I wasn't nervous at all and I was so happy because I'm usually super nervous to talk in front of people. The 3 other new missionaries also bore their testimonies and it was really good. I love this ward and I really look forward to working with and getting to know the members here. I love this area and I am excited to get to work. 

Well I am about out of time. Sorry for the dull letter. Maybe the pretty pictures of Uppsala will make up for it. I want you all to know that I am doing great and I am loving my mission. Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers and emails. They mean so much. I am kinda behind on answering back but I will soon I promise! I love this gospel! It's true isn't it? What else matters? 

Know that I love you

Your friendly neighborhood missionary,

Äldste Bailey

Monday, September 14, 2015

Day 254 - Transfers!

Hej Hej allihopa! 

Hey everyone. Hope you are all doing well. It has been another hardworking and fun last week here in Katrineholm. We received transfer called on Saturday and I found out I am going to be leaving Katrineholm. On Wednesday I will move up to a city a little bit above Stockholm called Uppsala. It is a branch of about 60 active members. About four times the size of the branch here! I will also be in a four-man aparment which I think will be fun! I am also doubling into the area, which means that there were no missionaries there before us. There is actually a pair of sisters there and one set of elders there as well. One sister and One elder from each of those companionships are going to stay in Uppsala, so two people will know a little bit about the area which is good. I am really excited to get to work there and meet the people there. It is a pretty big city because of a university that is there. So there will be a lot of young people, which is good for the work because the older people don't usually listen. I am also very sad to leave Katrineholm. It is going to be so hard to leave this place. I have put my blood sweat and tears into this city. I have made friendships that are going to last eternity. I have also learned many lessons that will effect the rest of my life. Katrineholm has been a wonderful, hard working, humbling experience. I am so grateful for the people I have met here and all they have done for me. I am going to miss this city and the people here. But right now the Lord needs me somewhere else. I am excited to work hard in my next area and show the Lord I mean business. 

This week was actually really good and we have had lots of lessons and amazing experiences. I won't be able to write about them all! On Tuesday, we went out to a town called Valla to teach Lement. Except he wasn't home when we got there. Because of that, we figured there was another reason we were here. So we went to work and started knocking doors. In the second apartment building we were knocking in, a swedish woman opened the door and we told her who we were and what we were doing and she said "come in!". Elder Johanson and I were caught a little bit off guard because very rarely are missionaries let into doors when tracting. We went in and we taught her the restoration. It was a really good lesson and the spirit was definitely there, something just felt a little off. This woman, Helena, was just a little different. But the spirit was there, and we gave her a Book of Mormon, and she said she would read and pray about it! She also said she would be baptized if she found it to be true. 

Tuesday night, we visited a member who hasn't been to church in a while named Per. He is older and has some health problems and said he just hasn't had the energy and just hasn't felt like coming to church. Per really enjoyed our visit. He lives alone and seems pretty lonely and sad. He just had really sad eyes and it made me sad and made me want to cheer him up. He has been through a lot. We had a really good chat before the lesson. And then when we started teaching the spirit was so strong. We felt like we should talk about adversity and trials with him. And how advesity and pain and trials are all about of Heavenly Fathers plan for us. We talked about how dissapointments, sadness, sickness, and heartache are a hard part of life, but they can lead to spiritual growth and progress as we turn to the Lord. It was a really good lesson and the spirit was really strong. 

On Thursday, we met up with a potential investigator that we contacted on the street last week. Her name is Macy and she is from Nigeria. We planned a really good restoration lesson to share with her. The lesson went so good and the spirit was present. Macy said she would read and pray about the Book of Mormon and it was so awesome! I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to help spread this gospel over the whole world!

On Friday, we met up with Pia at the church and answered some of the questions she had. We taught her also a little bit about the parable of the prodigal son. There was something that stuck out to me that I wanted to share. When the prodigal son came to himself, he decided to go back to his father. And the father saw the returning son "when he was a great way off", implying that the father had regularly been watching the horizon, hoping to see the his son come back. He had not given up on his son. Then, instead of waiting for his son to come up to him and beg for forgiveness, he "had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." I think that this shows us the attributes of our Heavenly Father. Like the father in the parable, God is not going to control us, keep us from staying, or keep us from making mistakes. But he always loves us. He is so anxious to have us return that he will run to us when we are still "a great way off". He really does want us back. Also, it shows us what the Savior does for us when we turn away from sin and return back to him. Through the Atonement, he runs to us and doesn't make us take the journey of repentence back alone. I love my Savior and the Atonement and I am thankful that I can use it everyday to become clean, to receive strength and to show my love for my Savior. There is so much we can learn from that parable. I love it so much! 

On Friday, we were going to met up with a Eritrean investigator for the first time outside the church. But she brought 2 friends with her. So that was good. Then as we were about to go in, 2 more walked by and they said something in Eritrean to eachother and then they wanted to come. We said why not and then we started to head up the stairs and right as I was about to shut the door, 2 more walked by and stopped and looked in, and I just gave them the gesture to come on in as well. There were already 5 Eritreans here so what is two more haha. So we ended up teaching a class kind of a thing to 7 Ertitreans in the the chapel of the church and only one could speak english and that was the only way of communication we had. It was actually really funny. They all loved it. We taught them about the Book of Mormon and then out of the blue they kinda all got up and left. But it was a fun experience trying to communicate with these people. They were all super funny. But one thing was kinda cool. When we started to tell them about Joseph Smith, the lady translated for all the other guys and they all just started speaking to eachother in Eritrean and you would just hear "Joseph Smith" in the middle of the sentences. I thought of a quote from someone but I cant remember who it is and it's making me mad but he said that every nation will hear Joseph Smith's name. It was so cool hearing these people from some african country in a different language that we couldn't understand discuss about the prophet Joseph Smith. 

Sunday was my last Sunday in Katrineholm. It was pretty emotional. Sadly, only like 7 people showed up, but I was still able to give my farewell testimony. I felt the spirit so strong as I stood before these people I have become so close with the last 3 months. I love each of them so much and I am going to miss them a lot. They have taught me so much and blessed my life incredibly. As I was sharing my testimony, the spirit just came over me and I just began to say what was in my heart. I wasn't worried about the language at all and it just flowed. I felt the sprit so strong and I began to cry and it was the first time I have cried talking infront of people during sacrament meeting on my mission. It was because I didn't worry about the language or if I was saying anything wrong. I just let the spirit take over and it felt amazing. I love this gospel with all my heart. I know it is true! 

Well I am totally out of time. I want you all to know that I am doing great and loving every second of my mission. I am so lucky to be a representative of my Savior and serve him with my whole heart each day. Thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers. They mean the world to me and are much appreciated. I hope you all have a great week! 

“Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven; but for   those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.” -Jeffrey R. Holland

Know that I love you and your Father in Heaven loves you.

Med vänlig häslning,

Äldste Bailey

Monday, September 7, 2015

Day 247 = 8 months!

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a good week. 

Well, today marks 8 months. So weird. Time is flying by! Doesn't seem like 8 months at all. I'm loving everyday of my mission. I am so grateful for the chance I have to serve the Lord all day every day.

This week was pretty average compared to the rest of the weeks of my mission. It was filled with some ups and downs and some amazing experiences. 

Tuesday morning during studies, we had an unexpected call from the guy in charge of all the chapels in Sweden saying that he was waiting for us at the new chapel. Apparently we had set up a time to meet him at the chapel to help move in all the supplies and furniture and what not. We weren't aware of that, haha, but we went anyways. So we spent the whole morning moving things into the new church. The new chapel is perfect! It's still super tiny compared to buildings at home but it's not a classroom! After we helped out with that, we got lunch and then went out and contacted for a while and then met the branch at the church and we moved everything into place and washed all the dishes and set up chairs and put up pictures and lots of other stuff. It was really stressful. Everyone was following orders of an older lady in the branch that wanted everything perfect and her way, bless her heart. But the chapel is so awesome! It felt so nice to actually have a pulpit! I am so grateful that we have been blessed with a place to meet on Sundays. 

Wednesday we had zone conference in a town right next to Stockhlom called Västerhaninge. It was really good. It was about becoming the best missionaries we possibly can and becoming the missionaries Christ wants us to be. We talked a lot about how we can effectively teach and how the spirit is the ultimate and true teacher. And how we just need to "get out of the way" of the Spirit and let him work in people. And the Spirit can only work through us if we are "clean vessels". We must be worthy and willing to serve. We also talked about how a lot of our mission is to change us. How we need to let our mission work within us. I can testify that my mission has really changed me so far. It's currently making me into the man I want to eventually be. I have a hard time believing that I am here and that there are missionaries around the world just because God needs a little help. I think that if he wanted to, he could find those who believed and convert millions no problem. I believe we are here to also convert ourselves. To show our own dedication to the Lord and to learn important lessons ourselves. I am so grateful for this opportunity I have to represent my Savior and wear his name on my heart every day. It is the greatest blessing in the whole world. No matter hard it is or how much success I get, it is all worth it to be able to serve the Lord. I have committed to become a better missionary 

Thursday we went out to the smaller village of Flen. The plan was to swing by some of the people who were interested. We stopped by one lady who said she doesnt think she is too interested anymore. Then I bore testimony of the gospel and the Book of Mormon and how it has blessed my life and how it will bless hers if she reads it. She said she would read it and give us a call if she is interested. And then we went by Mary and Ingamid or something. The tomato guy and his wife. They are super old and Mary gave back the Book of Mormon and said she wasn't interested anymore. That sucked.. But, we had two older ladies who lived in the same apartment building that we had given copies of The Book of Mormon to. We went up to Ingrid first, knocked on her door, no answer. So we walked down a flight of stairs and knocked on Britt's door and Ingrid answered! Haha we were a little confused but then Britt came around the corner and they were laughing and invited us in! We had no idea they were friends haha. They said that they both knew that we said we were going to come by so why not just take the lesson together. So we came into Britt's kitchen and there was a third older lady sitting at the table! These three swedish ladies were the chattiest people I've ever met haha. They would fit right in to the Relief Society. I actually felt like I was in Relief Society when we were teaching them hahaha. But all three of them were super interested and asked question after question and loved our answers. We taught them the Restoration and about the Book of Mormon. Each lady had a Book of Mormon infront of them and we were reading a bunch of scriptures out of it too. The spirit was definitely there and it was strong. It was just a different experience teaching someone old. Usually old people here in Sweden are either super stubborn and don't want to change what they believe in or just laugh and tell us they are too old haha. It was a fun and spiritual lesson. Although the teaching environment and circumstances constantly change, the feeling of testifying of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ never changes. There is a real power that comes from testimony. It is my absolute favorite thing to do when I teach. Bearing testimony really invites the spirit and helps them realize the truthfulness of our message. Sure we can teach them and give them all the information in the world about our chruch and what we believe in, but it doesn't mean anything at all if we don't testify to them that we know without a doubt that it is true, and testify how the gospel has changed our lives and how it can change theirs. That's what really means something to people. People are searching for guidance and peace in their lives, and when we promise them that is what this gospel can bring them, that's when the spirit can testify to them that this church is what they have been searching for. Sorry for this little rant but I have a strong testimony of testimonies and the power they bring with them. I challenge each one of you to bear testimony of some principle of the gospel to someone you know. Just how you know it is true and how it has blessed your life. I promise you that you will feel a joy that you can't experience any other way. Your own testimony of that priciple will also be strengthened, and your Heavenly Father will be pleased with and proud of you.

On Friday, we had a really good lesson with Pia and David about the gifts of the spirit. It was a great lesson and the spirit was strong. It really made me want to discover and better my gifts from the spirit. We all have them and we can all improve them. Later that night, we had dinner with our branch president and his family. We had Salmon and it was so good! It is pretty close to the top now on my favorite food list. Right behind peanut butter. Anyways, for the lesson, we sang tons of hymns together all night. The spirit was seriously so strong. It is crazy how music can invite the spirit so quickly and how it can be there so strongly while singing. It was a great night. 

Saturday we met with Becky and Cat again. We watched the movie "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration" together. I had never seen it before and it was the best movie ever!! I love Joseph Smith!! He was a true prophet of God and I know that without a doubt! I am so grateful for everything he did and sacrificed for the church and for the Lord. I look up to him so much and I want to be just like him and how he was to those around him. After the movie, Becky kept saying how much she loves Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. She really does have a testimony, she just isn't acting on it and that is really frustrating for me. If she knows Joseph Smith was really a prophet then why not follow what he taught? We are just going to have patience and keep working with her. 

Sunday was our first week in the new chapel. It was so good and the spirit was so strong!! We had a bunch of visitors from the stake. It was testimony meeting and people went up one right after another! Elder Johanson and I didn't even get the chance to go up and we usually have to talk for about 10 minutes because of time! Each testimony was so powerful. It was a great sacrament meeting. Elder Johanson and I also sang in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. My long forgotten past of Suessical and Alice in Wonderland were brought back to life yesterday, hahaha. I am not the biggest fan of singing in front of people. But it turned out really really good! We sang "I'm Trying To Be Like Jesus". I will send a video of it next week. But lots of members came up and thanked us. One older lady from the stake came up to me and grabbed my hand with tears in her eyes and said thank you for all you do. She put some money in my hand and I tried to tell her no but she said it was for us to go out to dinner. I kept saying no but she said if I didn't take it she would make us come to Stockholm to have dinner at her house. She told me she knows we don't get fed a lot here so she wanted to treat us to some food. But I started crying as well when she squeezed my hand and told me how thankful she is for me and for what we do for the people of Sweden and for our Heavenly Father. It was an experience I'll never forget. 

Well folks, I am about out of time. I just want to give a quick happy birthday shout out to my best friend and girlfriend Haylee!! She is so amazing and does so much for me. She has taught me so much and continues to teach me everyday. I am so grateful for her in my life. She makes me so happy and I am so lucky to have her. Happy Birthday Hay! I love you!  
Thank you all for all you do for me. I really appreciate all the thoughts and prayers and emails. I promise I will get back to you all!! I am doing so well here and I am loving my mission.
Know that I love you all. 
Äldste Bailey