Monday, November 23, 2015

Day 323 - So you think the darkness is your ally?

Wow this week flew by! Things are going great over here across the ocean! Life is good and I can't complain! Well maybe I can about this darkness haha it's crazy! Sun isn't up until around 8:30 and down by 2:00! It is pretty insane. It is pretty cold here now. It has snowed in just about every other place in Sweden now except Uppsala.. I just want it to snow. If it's gonna be this cold you might as well have snow to go with it. Plus it adds to the Christmas Spirit :) The Lord is continuing to bless Elder Blackburn and I as we work hard each day. We are seeing miracles every day. The Lord is continuing to bless this area as well, in ways large and small. It is hard work, but we are finding prepared people, and seeing the gospel really change the lives of those we teach. I am so grateful to be on my mission at this time. It is really changing me. 

This week was great! Lots of great experiences. But funny enough, there is not too much to write about. We have seen so many small miracles everyday. For example, we were riding home on the bus one night. I was in the front half and Elder Blackburn was in the back (we split up so we can talk to people). I was just sitting there with no one by me and I was kinda zoned out. Then I heard two girls speaking in the seat in front of me. The reason they caught my attention was because they were speaking English. You don't hear English very often here. Then I zoned back out. Then I heard the phrase "Yeah I was just really trying to find the true church." I think I almost broke my neck with how fast I turned my head around to see who it was that said that hahaha you almost never hear those words in Sweden. Not one time on my whole mission have I heard someone say that! Especially two friends just talking on a bus. So at this point I was just listening to their conversation. Then one of the girls said "Yeah I have been going around to all the different churches". I was thinking to myself that this could not possibly be true haha I thought that it was probably like an angel that God sent to test if I was a good missionary or not. So we were about 30 seconds from our bus stop but I knew I couldn't let this opportunity pass. So I awkwardly interrupted their conversation and asked them where they were from. They were from Egypt and Ethiopia. I told them that I was a missionary from my church and that I had a website for them to look at that talks about my church. I told them that my faith has given me comfort and peace and strength and guidance in my life and I know it can do the same for them. I handed them a card and barely made it through the doors as they were shutting. It wasn't a huge testimony building experience or anything, it just confirmed to me that Heavenly Father really does put the people who are prepared to hear the gospel in our paths. They are always there, we just have to trust in the Lord, do our part and find them. 

On Wednesday, I was able to go on splits this the Elders in Gävle (Yev-leh). They are such great guys. I was with a new missionary named Elder Swenson. He is such a great missionary and really progressing in the language. We worked really hard. We were blessed with so many teaching opportunities as we talked with everyone we passed. Working with Elder Swenson made me so excited to train my new missionary coming in a few weeks! We were also able to see the house and statue of the first missionary in Sweden and first member in Scandinavia named Jon Forsgren. He was a beast! I was honored to stand by the stone replica of him haha. The next day we had District meeting in Gävle. It went really well. I love every missionary in this district and I feel so blessed to be able to serve with them. It also snowed in Gävle!! It was my first snow in Sweden so I was pretty excited hahaha it's kind of hard to see on the pics. 

As I am sitting here thinking about what to write about, all the people we taught on the street this week are popping into my head. Even though most of them were not interested, I just want to express my gratitude for the opportunity I have to go out every single day and bear witness of the Book of Mormon and to be a representative of my Savior Jesus Christ. It is honestly the best feeling in the world and I love doing it. I love teaching people on the streets and sharing my personal witness of the truthfulness of the restored gospel to them. It is such an amazing blessing.

We have been continuing to meet with Klara. She is doing so good!! The gospel is honestly changing her. It is so amazing to see and be apart of. The gospel is amazing in the way it really does change people when they live it. We teach that the way to get an answer or to know that this church and gospel are true is to act. I love sharing this verse in the Bible with investigators (John 7:17): "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." What to know the best way to know if the gospel is true? Live it!! As we seek and do the will of Heavenly Father, we will begin to feel his influence and love in our lives, and our testimony will grow. This is exactly what Klara has been doing. We met with her on Saturday and had a lesson about the Holy Ghost. She really understands and it is amazing to see. She has grown so much when it comes to prayer. I love hearing her express her feelings when she tells us about her experiences with prayer. She told us how as she prays, she feels peaceful and she feels a warm feeling in her heart. She also expressed how she feels burdens and guilt and stress lifted off her shoulders and she recognized that that relief came because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Remember that Klara started at absolute ground zero when it comes to religious knowledge! This is so amazing!  In our lesson, we asked her to pray again about an answer about the Book of Mormon and the church. We knelt down and she asked Heavenly Father if the Book of Mormon was true and if this is what he wanted her to do. After the prayer, she said that she felt warm, and very sure in the heart. It was amazing and the spirit was so strong!!! Continue to pray for her. She has a lot to learn still and I know she will be baptized. 

Thinking about all the bad stuff happening in the world, I want to echo the thoughts of one of my best friends who is also serving in this mission. My thoughts and prayers are with those in France this week also. Even with the immense sadness of an event like that, I would like to express briefly some additional thoughts about both this situation and others. Something that I've felt the influence from for the past several years of my life is the conflict in the middle east, compiled with the various terrorist attacks throughout the world. I believe this has affected everyone to some degree or another. I think that sometimes it's our default as people blessed to live in the peaceful countries of the world, to judge others, or countries, or peoples, or situations wrongly, or without considering a different perspective. This is something that I've been guilty of. Every day here I meet victims of war - many of them who barely escaped with their lives and had to leave family members and everything behind. It's been one of the most humbling and eye-opening experiences of my life to meet these people (often muslims) and get a view into who they really are. I've been shown more kindness and friendship from people, who, in most perspectives are seen as violent and irrational-thinking, than I have from anyone else. They are wonderful people, with kind hearts, and a want for peace that is stronger than anything I've ever seen. Unfortunately, there are also those who aren't this way, and often they paint the picture that we all see. I don't mean to be political at all, I just want you all to know that my thoughts and prayers are also with those in the countries of Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Egypt, the Palestinians, and so forth, that are experiencing worse conditions, and much greater losses than what we can imagine. I hope that we all pray for them too. :) 

Well I have to go. I love you all and I'm so grateful for all of you! Thank you for your prayers and emails. They mean so much. Have the best week ever! 

"Preach the gospel always. And when necessary, use words."


Äldste Bailey  

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I really liked this weeks letter. I am so glad that the Lord provides you with all you need. I am so impressed by your effort and works. I am so jealous that you met Joshua again, I miss you both. I can't wait to see your journey and growth. LOVE, Pia