Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Day 474

Well hello there everyone!

I always get a little nervous writing these whenever I think about how many people are probably going to read this haha. So I hope whatever I say helps everyone in some way. 

And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these. Behold, I am Elder Bailey; and were it possible, I would make all things known unto you. But I don't have so much time :/ I will run you through as much as I can and probably unintentionally write more than I planned on writing!

Not much exciting happened this week. It was another week of hard work! Something exciting that happened today was that we woke up to a white blanket of snow over everything! We thought that the snow had gone for good! But it has been a blizzard all day which is pretty crazy! It should melt soon though. Anyways, I absolutely love being a missionary and going out and sharing the gospel every single day! It is such blessing to be able to serve my Savior.

Monday night we had a family home evening with the whole branch to welcome home Eline Norin who was serving a mission in the Scotland/Ireland mission. It was pretty fun and the branch was able to ask her questions and she told a lot of stories from her mission. It was kind of cool to see how similar missions are no matter where you go. I realized that I have experienced a lot of what she talked about. So that was fun. This branch is the best! They are like one big family! I really love it here!

I am so sorry everyone but I have to bounce! I'm sorry that this email sucks and im sorry for the lack of pictures! Just know that I am happy and having a great time! I will update more next week!! 

I love you all! 



äldste Bailey

Monday, April 18, 2016

Day 467 - A new transfer begins

Hello my friends!

Hope you are all doing well! Again, another week has flown by! Things are going great here in Umeå! I absolutely love it here and we are working hard and having fun! We are really seeing the hand of the Lord in our work. That is something I have been working on recently. Seeing His hand in the work and in my life. And it's something you have to actively look for. When you try, you will be able to recognize his hand in your life. As I reflect back on this week, I can think of so many times that the Lord has helped us and strengthened us and helped us carry out his work here in Umeå.

I don't have a lot of time at all but I will quickly run through this week!

Monday night, we had another fire pit gathering thing with the YSA's. It was so awesome. They invited a lot of their friends so there were more nonmembers than members there! They got to taste a little bit of how we live as members of the church. None of them were really interested but they had a fun time and the spirit was there. Planting seeds!

Tuesday was pretty good! We taught a young couple named Robert and Hanna. I think I have written about them before. They are both like 20 years old so it is kind of like a bunch of kids in an apartment which is a little weird but whatever, it was spiritual, haha. We chatted with them and then watched a talk from conference because they we not able to watch it. We watched the Jeffrey R Holland talk and it was super good. The spirit was there and we all shared what we learned from it afterwords. We are trying to get them to come to church. Hanna works some weekends in Skellefteå which makes it hard, but Robert doesn't work and we tried getting him to church but he didn't come. They are both so awesome and it is always a blast going over there. After that, we went to Tistou's and we answered all of his questions. He has a million and he always has some problem. He has been coming to church the past three weeks which is good. When he comes, the members really take care of him. He is so awesome. He is really trying to figure life out and trying to understand God and his plan for him. When he came to church, I asked him how he was doing and for the first time he said that he was doing good. He said his only problem was that he had too few problems hahaha. I told him that was a good thing and that God doesn't want us to have trials and problems 100% of the time. We contacted for awhile after that. And then, we had dinner at the Iguaran family's house. They are from Columbia and probably the most loving family in the world!! They just absolutely love the missionaries. They had us over because Elder Loertscher left Wednesday morning. It was a fun time.

On Wednesday, we met with Niels and Zezka who are having a really hard time. They are just going through so much. They are trying to get out of Sweden because it just doesn't work for them here. We have been praying a lot for them this week and Friday afternoon we got a call from Niels and he told us that he got a job in Ireland! We were so happy! Ireland will be so good for them! I love Ireland! I even did my 6th grade report on that country! Anyways, they are moving there next month. So that will be good for them! That night, we got to play innebandy (floor hockey) with the young men in the branch! I absolutely love these guys! They are so cool and such good friends to us! It was a ton of fun and we were playing super hard and then I ran across the court and all of a sudden I was just hit in the face by someone's stick. It was a kid named Simon who swung his stick at the ball super hand and it hit me right in the nose on the follow´-through. I stopped for a sec and then kept playing only to find out that the blood faucet in my nose was turned on and blood was just running down face and got all over the floor haha so I went and washed it off and yeah it hurt pretty bad. I just stuffed some paper towels in my nose and kept playing. I felt like Nevil Shed on the movie Glory Road when he breaks his nose in a basketball practice and then runs and puts on a baseball catcher mask and runs back on the court. haha good times.

Thursday morning we had district meeting. We have a new senior couple here in Norrland named the Mitchells. They are so cool! They are brand new to Sweden so we had to show them how everything worked. It was fun to help them pay for parking downtown and help them order their food when we went out to lunch. They are just awesome. They remind me of my grandparents. And yeah District meeting was really good! Elder Jones did a good job. After that, Elder Luke and I did some yard work for one of our investigators named Louise. She is like 75 years old and she had us come and work in her yard for a few hours. Then she fed us a ridiculous amount of waffles. Then after that we went to another member dinner and had a Norrland food called palt. Its like a super dense potato/bread ball with ham on the inside. They eat it with butter and jam. It is pretty gross if you ask me. At the member meal, there were a few non members there and we were able to share a spiritual message out of the Book of Mormon. It was pretty short because we had to catch a plane to stockholm. The other guys stayed and taught them about the Book of Mormon and the restoration. Elder Luke and I then flew to Stockholm that night and we stayed in the mission office with the Assistants and the Office Elders. It was a blast! I love all those guys so much.

Missionary leadership council took up most of the next day. It was super good to see all my friends! We have some amazing missionaries in this mission! I was also able to see a bunch of missionaries from my MTC group which was awesome!! It was a very uplifting and motivating training. We have a new assistant, and I was proud of the effect he had in being bold and motivating the leadership of the mission. I agree and relate very strongly for his vision and plans for the mission, and am so excited for what's going to be coming about in the near future. My entire mission I've been doing what I can to raise the passion that the missionaries have for this work, and that's exactly what this training was on, as well as being combined with being bold in teaching the commandments. Great things are going to be happening, and I can't wait to give zone training with elder Luke this Thursday! After MLC, we hung out in the mission home for a while chatting with President and Sister Beckstrand which was awesome. They are so amazing and do so much for this mission. I love them both so much!

On Saturday, we taught Rita again. This lesson went so well! She asked a lot of questions and we focused on her feelings when we used to meet the missionaries two years ago with her father. We had her ponder the feelings that she had in church when she used to come. She said it felt very calm. We told her that was the Holy Ghost testifying to her. She asked a lot of questions and we were able to answer them. We tried setting up a baptismal date but she said she wanted to read a little bit more in Mormons Bok and come to church first. She said that she would come but ended up not showing. It was a very spiritual lesson and I could feel the spirit working and testifying through me and what I was saying.

Later that day we met with a couple new investigators. We met with a 23 year old named Adam who is such a bro! It was a super good lesson and he even made us brownies! He is very active in the Pentecostal Church which makes it hard for him to come to ours. He is interested in continuing to meet though!
 In church the next day, Elder Luke and I taught a last minute lesson in priesthood and it went really well! It was about missionary work. I shared a quote in the lesson that I want to share with you all to end this email. It is one of my all time favorites. It is from Joseph Smith himself:

“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

I LOVE missionary work! I am so incredibly grateful for the chance I have to be a tool in the hands of the Lord and to hasten His work! I love you all and am so grateful for all you do for me! Have the best week ever!


Äldste Bailey

Monday, April 11, 2016

Day 460

Hej hej!

Hope everybody is doing well! It has been another great week here in Umeå. I love it here! It is really warming up and the sun is starting to shine! This morning, I automatically woke up at 5:30 because of the amount of light in our room. I totally thought it was about 6:30 so I got up and started doing the morning routine. A few minutes later when I looked at the clock, I realized it was 5:30 and I still had an hour to sleep! Elder Luke also said it was starting to get light at like 4 in the morning. So yeah it is getting a lot lighter here which is nice! In other news, this week is transfer week! Elder Luke and I will be staying together for another 6 weeks. We are both excited for another round here in Umeå! Our dear Elder Loertscher will be leaving us.. He will be moving down to Hägersten in Stockholm. He will do so good there! We are going to miss him so much. We are also getting a missionary from Stockholm named Elder Jones. Elder Luke was friends with him in high school and they are from the same mtc group so that will be fun. What is weird is that out of our new Umeå crew, I will be the youngest! 

Well, the mission is continuing to fly by and sometimes I feel like I can't keep up. This transfer has been a series of ups and downs and I am grateful for the learning and growing experiences I have had. My testimony has been tested more than it ever has over the past six weeks. But at the same time it has also been strengthened more that it ever has. My trust and diligence to the Lord has been tested and also to the people I am teaching. This transfer was really hard in regards to finding and retaining investigators. But I know as I give the Lord and these people everything I have, He will guide me and strengthen me. Like we have found a lot of new people. The only problem is their own willingness to search for and accept an answer. I know that we can't force people or anything like that, but it is so hard trying our very best to give these people the true restored gospel and then watching them deny it or not be willing to even try. Things like this can really take a shot at your testimony. But honestly, I am so grateful that I have been tested in this way. It has really strengthened my testimony and as I have been praying my heart out, I have realized my dependence on my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I can't do this alone. I have also gained a personal relationship with them that has helped my testimony so much. And I always thought a sure, fast, immovable testimony would come all at once. Like the snap of fingers. But from what I have experienced, my testimony has come from hours and hours of showing my faith. Praying, reading, testifying. It has also become strong as it has taken so many blows and hits from outside forces. It's kind of like our body. When we work out, we get strong. When we take lots of hits and blows, literally and figuratively, we become tough. Or like a refiners fire. Our testimony will increase as we use it. It will also increase and become stronger as we rely on it and fall back on it in times of opposition, confusion, or persecution. I am thankful for the testimony I have and that I am working on building each day. It's a process. It takes time. This kind of testimony is available for everyone. God is no respecter of persons. Those who put in the work will receive the reward. You just have to have a open mind and an open heart and then go to work. Do the things that will build it up. There have been a lot of spiritual experiences in my life that have strengthened my testimony. And when we receive a spiritual experience, we can't settle there. We need to keep going and keep having spiritual experiences. Because how much easier is it to fall back on one spiritual experience, than to fall back on a whole armory of spiritual experiences that you have had because of your faith and diligence. Because the opposition is going to come, that is for sure. And when it does, we need to make sure we are ready to stand firm in what we believe. I think that the more we strengthen our testimonies, the more opposition will come. That is why it is so vital to continue to "work out" our testimonies and make them stronger through the simple things that bring us closer to God. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be perfect. And I know that. And God knows that. But he expects me to try my best. I need to do better with the simple things as well because there is no limit to how strong our testimony can be. Holy cow what a rant I didn't mean to do that! Sorry!

I'll make the rest of this shorter. I don't have a whole lot of time anyways. This week we were able to meet with a couple new investigators! On Wednesday, we met with a 24ish year old girl named Ylva. She investigated a little bit back when Elder Featherstone was here. We met her in the Church with a YSA girl name Erica who is a powerhouse member missionary. Erica and Ylva were actually friends growing up so it wasn't awkward at all. We got to know her and set up expectations with her. I than proceeded to ask her about her beliefs and such. He then said how there are things that she doesn't agree with that our church believes. I asked her what those were and it just set off a chain reaction. We talked forever about a lot of different topics. It was good and we were able to answer her questions and oppositions to the best of our ability. Close to the end I was getting kind of irritated and felt like she was just bringing up all this things that attack the church. So I asked her the question, "Ylva, varför träffar du missionärerna?" which being interpreted means, "Ylva, why do you meet with the missionaries?". It kind of caught her off guard. She thought for a moment and then said that she was actually interested in what we believe. Also, that she wants to learn more about God and strengthen her relationship with him. She said it would take a lot for her to become mormon. We closed up the lesson with our testimonies and left. Afterwords, we talked to Erica and we both agreed that maybe it would be best right now to help her strengthen her relationship with God. So that is what we are going to focus on with her. It was an awesome lesson and Erica helped out so much. The spirit was definitely there. 

On Thursday, I got to go on splits with one of my best friends Elder Carrigan. It was almost a year ago that we went on splits last. It was honestly so much fun. That kid makes me laugh more than anyone else. We worked really hard and had an absolute blast! He is an amazing missionary and I'm super grateful that I have gotten to know him so well. He actually just got called to be the ZL down in Malmö. I am soooo jealous of him!!! So much of my heart is in that city. He is going to do great there! Love you buddy!

On Friday, we were able to meet with our investigator named Louise. She is pretty old but probably the nicest old lady in Sweden. She was so open to our message and even fed us broccoli soup! We taught her the restoration. The spirit was so strong in that lesson and we invited her to read and ponder and pray about the Book of Mormon. We invited her to be baptized! She said if she receives an answer that this message is true, she said she would. So we are going to keep her in our prayers. 

Last night, Elder Luke and I headed home around 6 to start weekly planning. We were planning out the week and calling people and then all of a sudden I remembered that about a week ago, we had rescheduled with a potential investigator named Tobias for last night. So I gave him a call and he said he was still planning on coming. It was so cool how the spirit just brought that appointment to my memory. We had totally forgotten to write it down and if I didn't remember, Tobias would have just shown up and we wouldn't have been there. I am grateful that I am living worthily of the spirits guidance in times like this. We ended up meeting Tobias and the lesson went so well and the spirit was so strong! It was so cool because as Tobias was explaining his beliefs, we noticed how everything he was saying was basically what we believed. His only holdup is the Book of Mormon. So we basically told him that what he needed to do was decide if the words in this book are of God or not. If they are of God, then the book is true and everything in the book is true. Which also means that Joseph Smith was really a prophet and that Jesus Christ's church is again restored to the earth. It was so cool to testify of the truthfulness of this message. I know I say it a lot, but the spirit is seriously so strong and it never gets old. It just burns in your heart and you can see it in the person's eyes that it means something to you. Want to feel it? Go testify to a non member friend that you know that the Book of Mormon is true. It works. Tobias was more than willing to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. We informed him that it will take effort on his part, but if he sincerely searches, he will receive an answer. It was such a good lesson and the spirit was there testifying to all of us that what we were discussing was true. 

Well everyone, I got to jet. Thanks for all you do for me! Thank you for the emails and prayers! They really mean so much and make me so happy! I did a horrible job of answering this week but I will get back to you all next week I promise!! Remember that the church is true! 

Know that I love you!


äldste Bailey

Monday, April 4, 2016

Day 453 - Why am I counting days? Oh well, can't stop after counting this far.

God eftermiddag mina kära vänner!!

Well hi there! How is everybody doing? Good, hopefully. Man, time is just going by too fast! This week flew by and we are already making our way into April! It doesn't really feel like April yet here. There is still snow and all the rivers and lakes are still frozen. But it is definitely warming up! And it is getting lighter and lighter! The light makes getting up a lot easier! Well, until it's light at 3 in the morning hahaha. Anyways, Elder Luke and I had a great week! We worked hard and found some new investigators! I love missionary work. It makes me so happy! 

Monday night was super fun! We had a family home evening with the YSA's in the branch! We went to the "mountains" (they are in quotations because there aren't really any mountains comparable to back home) to roast s'mores and to roast swedish stuff, like chocolate and bananas, and this stuff called "pinnbröd" (stick bread). You basically wrap the dough around the stick and roast it over the fire and it turns into this super good pretzel like bread! It was super good. One of the YSA's, Åsa, who was baptized about 2 years ago and is probably one of the coolest members ever, invited her friend from work. Her friend's name is Sara. We had a fun time and afterwords we were able to share a spiritual thought and discuss about it. Sara started asking a lot of questions about the church and about Christianity. We were able to answer her q's and even teach her a little bit almost the whole restoration lesson. She was willing to meet up again but she is super busy. I think she has like 5 jobs (including ice cream truck driver). So we are going to meet with her as much as possible. 

Wednesday was the deadline to switch our winter tires to our summer tires. In Sweden, they have winter tires that have these stud/spike things in them so you don't slide on the snow as much. And so you put those on sometime in October and then take them off sometime at the end of march/early april. The deadline for the mission cars was March 31st so we had to change the tires on the car. It was a fun experience. I learned a lot about cars from Elder Luke. He worked at a car place before the mish and loves talking about cars haha so he was in heaven when we were working on the car. 

Later that day, we were able to meet with a new investigator named Issa. I can't remember where exactly he is from, but it is a middle eastern country and he speaks Arabic, pretty good Swedish, and some other language. Urdu I think. Anyhow, he is such a stud! He is in his late 20's early 30's and is super cool. He doesn't believe in God but was super down to meet. We basically had a lesson about how we can come to know God is there and how we can receive an answer from him. I was touched by his willingness to test our message. He basically said in broken swedish, "okay we can try. And if God is there, great. I'll follow him. And if not.. *then he just shrugged*" haha We told him how this is going to require effort on his part. It will require diligence and consistency. An open heart and an open mind. We gave him Alma 32 to read and we taught him how to pray. He had us write it down for him. He told us he was going to read and pray right after we left. There's some faith right there! The spirit was super strong in that lesson and it was testifying to all of us that God is there. We haven't been able to meet with him since but we are hoping to meet with him this week.

Thursday was an absolute BLAST! I was able to go on splits with the one and only... ELDER HART! That's right folks, my very first companion as a missionary in the MTC. This was the first time I had ever worked around Elder Hart. We were both super stoked and excited for this. And let me just say this man is an amazing missionary! I was so impressed with his work ethic and the love he had for the people he is serving. He also takes very good care of his district. We were able to teach a few lessons throughout the day and it was so cool to experience teaching with Elder Hart after being away from him for over a year. I just thought back to the MTC as we were teaching our "investigator" in the worst swedish you could possibly think of, and how cool it was that, over a year later, we were together again teaching a real swede in a little town across the world in almost fluent swedish. Crazy! Anyways, it was super fun and we worked really hard and we had such a good time. I love that man! 

Friday, we were able to take the double decker bus up a little farther north to a city called Skellefteå for the Luleå, Boden, and Skellefteå district meeting. Elder Hart taught and it was super good! It was so fun to be able to spend time with those missionaries! They are awesome! It was fun to spend some time up there! We took the double decker bus back and I got to sit up top in the front! That has been one of my deepest desires since I came to sweden and I finally got to do it! It was everything I expected and more! 

This week, we were finally able to teach one of our investigators named Rita. Elder Burgin and I went on splits because Elder Luke wasn't feeling so well and it was such a good spiritual lesson! Elder Burgin and I taught really well together. So Rita is about 18 years old and has been investigating the church for about a year. Her dad was a convert to the church but passed away about a year ago. Her mom also listens in on the lessons. During the week, Rita told us that she had a friend who was also interested in the church and asked if she could be at the lesson too. So we got to Rita's house, and her friend Klara was there also. And it turned out that they were doing a report for school on the Mormon Church. We decided beforehand that we were going to focus more on Rita's friend in the lesson because she didn't know anything about the church. We started talking to Klara about her beliefs and interests. It turned out that she was actually genuinely interested in God and religion. She has no religious background and didn't know much about God or Jesus Christ at all but wanted to know more. We assured her that the answers to the questions she had could be found in the message we have to share. She was very interested and we were able to teach both of them the Restoration. The spirit was soooo strong and you could feel it and see in Klara's eyes that it was touching her heart. The lesson went very well and we answered all the questions she had. It was a lot of information for her but she said it made sense. She gladly accepted the invitation to pray to find out if God was really there. She was so happy to get a Book of Mormon and she even asked for our number! We got her number as well and hope to start teaching her more! She said that we could come back and share the rest of our message. It was just a really spiritual experience. It was very humbling to see the spirit change the heart and desires of someone as they listen to the message of the gospel. At first, Klara was just planning on doing a short report on our church, but afterwords, she was genuinely interested in the message of the restoration. I love missionary work so much. I love the opportunity I have to bear witness of the truthfulness of this message everyday! 

CONFERENCE!! It was sooooo good!!!! I don't think I have been more excited for anything on my mission. I'm pretty sure that missionaries get more excited for conference than Christmas out here! It was soooo good and I learned so much! I could honestly write pages about it but I don't have that much time. I maybe could quickly describe the feelings I had in the opening session. First of all, conference made me feel so close to home. Especially the two sessions we watched live. I knew my family and friends were watching and singing at the exact same time as me and that was kind of special. But as Elder Eyring opened conference and talked about how we are gathered together all over the world and read Matthew 18:20:"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.", the spirit hit me so hard. Here I am on the other side of the world in this little swedish chapel with three old ladies and two younger members, and we are apart of this meeting. And the spirit of the Lord was in the midst of us. Even in Umeå Sweden. I loved conference so much and I haven't even seen it all yet! We are going to watch the last session tonight. I am so excited! I love conference and the opportunity I have to hear the word of God. (D&C 1:38). I love going into conference with questions in mind that I know Heavenly Father will answer.

Anyways, I am about out of time. I love you all so much! Thank you for all you do for me! Thank you for the prayers and thoughts and emails. Have the best week ever! Remember that the church is true!

Know that I love you!



Äldste Bailey