Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Day 502 - Transfers!

Hello there friends!! 

Hope that all is well in Zion! I don't have a ton of time today but this week was super busy! We traveled a lot for splits and then we had District (Stake) Conference on Saturday and Sunday. We had to take care of all the missionaries in Norrland those two days so they consisted of shuttling them out to the island we live on a couple times and then some others to the other Elders' apartment and also taking them and picking them up from the train station and all that jazz. Yeah it was a ton of driving. I let Elder Luke drive cause he loves driving and I just controlled the music and danced in the passenger seat the whole time ;)

Speaking of Elder Luke, transfer calls came this week! Elder Luke will be transferring to a city called Jönköping (good luck pronouncing that one). I am going to miss Elder Luke. He is a super good missionary and I learned a lot from him and a lot about myself as well. I have grown a lot since being with him. I know he will kill it down there in Jönköping! I will be receiving Elder Olson from down south! Elder Olson is super cool and I am excited to work with him! I don't know him super well, but he was an office Elder here for awhile and I talked to him every now and then. He is a stud and it is going to be a great transfer! Elder Jones will also be getting Elder Carrigan's son, Elder Gergitz. We are ready to tackle another transfer here in Umeå!! I honestly love it here so much!

This week we were able to meet with a new investigator named Shahin. He is from Iran and is Christian. He is super awesome and funny hahaha. He has lived here in Sweden for over 20 years and has been going to multiple different churches over the years. About a week ago as we were walking down the street, he said hi to us right before we were going to stop him. So we still stopped him and he said "You want to talk about Jesus Christ don't you?" We told him that we did and he got a huge smile on his face. This guy loves Christ and was very willing to discuss about him. We started talking and then pulled out the Book of Mormon in Persian and told him that it would strengthen his relationship and bring him closer to Jesus Christ. He gladly took the book and we taught him a little bit about it and he said he would love to meet up again. Since then, we have taught him two times. The spirit was the strongest in the most recent lesson we had together. He loved the idea of the Book of Mormon and everything but he didn't believe that God could answer his prayers. He is very depressed in his life and not very happy. He expressed to us how he felt lonely. We testified to him that this gospel will help him and bring so much happiness into his life. The spirit was so strong in the room when we told Shahin that his Heavenly Father knows him personally, loves him, and cares about him more than he can comprehend. I could feel the spirit guiding my words when I told him that he will receive an answer to his prayers if he is sincere. Shahin also agreed to set a goal for baptism to work towards. We told him that if he does the things we tell him to do and if he is honest and sincere, God will answer his prayers and he will want to and will be ready to be baptized by 23 July. 

We were able to go on splits up in Boden this week. Boden is about five hours north of us haha so it is pretty high up! It was sick!! It was such a fun time and we worked really hard! Both Elder Cox and Elder Olson are such studs!!! They work really hard and are fantastic missionaries. We had a ton of fun! Boden is super pretty and just plain cozy. We were also able to go to Luleå the next day. We were there for their district meeting. I absolutely love being up here in the north! I love the missionaries up here as well! Anyways, we were up there for a couple days just working. It was a good experience. I was with the legendary Elder Cox. He is such a stud and I learned a lot from them!

Super quick there was a baptism here in Umeå that the other guys had this weekend that was so good! It was a really cool story. So basically, they just ran into her downtown and started asking her about God and stuff. By the way her name is Isabella and she is 19. Anyways, she told them that she used to be a member when she was a little girl. She believed in everything that we believe in as church and was down to meet up. It turns out that her parents used to be members but divorced and left the church when she was in primary. When she came to church for the first time, all the members remembered her and it was so cool cause they were so good at fellowshipping her. They just gave her hugs and helped her feel welcomed. Anyways, she ended up getting baptized and it was such a good baptism! The spirit was so strong and she was so happy! Her mom even came to the baptism! She definitely felt the spirit that was there. She even bore her testimony in District Conference and it sounded like the testimony of a long time member! She is awesome and will do great things in this branch. Anyways it was just kind of cool how she found the church again and how God has a plan for each of us.

I got to bounce everyone! Sorry for the short letter! We didn't have a whole lot of time today! Hey, remember that the church is true and that I love you all!


äldste Bailey

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Day 495 - Here we go again!

Hejsan hejsan! 

Wow I am pretty sure it was just yesterday that I emailed home! Time is moving fast.. I am also pretty sure that in the past few emails I've referenced time moving super fast haha. It's true though. I can't believe it. I am so lucky to be out here representing the Savior and to be a tool in his hands to bring others unto the gospel. As time goes by, I am gradually realizing how big of a blessing this opportunity really is. I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior and I love this work!

This week went by super fast but it was full of miracles and blessings! Something I have learned over the past few weeks is that we don't always see the results of our efforts immediately. But as we go out and give the Lord everything we've got, we will feel the satisfaction and joy that comes with knowing the Lord is pleased with you. And the blessings will come. I really do find so much joy going out every day and talking to people all day long. Each one of them is a child of God, my brother or sister. And something I have been trying to do recently is seeing each and every person through Heavenly Father's eyes. I have been really trying to genuinely care about each person I talk to and it makes all the difference. There is a whole different spirit in the conversation when the person I'm talking to can feel my love for them. The contact then changes from a number or a rote recitation, to a genuine conversation and everything that comes out of my mouth is sincere because I want this person to listen and try our message and come unto Christ with all my heart. It has really made all the difference and it is something I think can help us in our daily lives as well. Trying to see everyone, whether we like them or not, through God's eyes. I promise that if you do, you will notice a change and develop a love for that person.

Tuesday was a solid day and we were able to call a million people to set up appointments for this coming week. It was pretty boring but we did it in the car while it was raining which made it worth it (rain hitting the car while I'm sitting inside is like one of my favorite sounds ever). Anyways, we got some appointments set up for this week which should be good! Later that day, we were able to meet with Tistou. I don't think I have ever taken a picture with him! I should probably do that haha. He is a stud! He has super long hair and a huge beard. He is a funny guy. He is just always thinking and pondering. We think he goes way too deep. We are trying to help him build his relationship with God. He doesn't feel like he knows who God is and what we wants him to do. So we are working on that with him. He is a super good guy. After that, we went to Niels and Zezka's and helped them pack up their stuff for Ireland! Niels left the next day and Zezka will be leaving in a few weeks! They will love it there! It will be super good for both of them. 

Wednesday and Thursday were a blast! Wednesday morning we hopped on a train to head down to the magical land of Sundsvall! We went on splits down there with Elders Weaver and Lohmeier, both just huge studs! When we got there, Elder Lohmeier and I headed out to a members house to cut down some trees and dig up a fence. Basically a bunch of farm work. We were working in the yard of an old house that they are going to rent out to people in the near future. I was super pumped to finally unleash my inner lumberjack and cut down some trees in Northern Sweden with an axe! But when we got there, I saw that the member had a chainsaw plugged in and I became pretty dissapointed.. We had four trees to cut down so I climbed up the first one and tied some guide ropes to the tree to help it fall where we wanted it to. And then we cut it down and everything went smoothly. Then, when we started on the next tree, the members chainsaw broke! He then went into his shed and grabbed an ax. What a tender mercy! (That I was going to be able to use an ax, not that his chainsaw broke) Haha anyways, he let Elder Lohmeier and I just hack away at the trees and it was honestly a dream come true! We were able to cut down all the trees (they weren't super big at all) and dig up most of the fence. It was hard work! The member was very grateful that we were able to come by and help out. After that we came home and changed and had a pleasant evening tracting!

On Thursday on our way to district meeting in Sundsvall, I had a really touching experience. Since I have been in Umeå, I have had a car. It is a blessing and a curse because a car eliminates my favorite method of contacting which is contacting people on public transportation. The best is buses and trains because the people are stuck and they can't go anywhere ;) anyways, the fact that we would be riding the bus in Sundsvall got me really excited to talk to people on the way to places. So on the way to the church, we got on the bus and I sat down next to a lady who wasn't interested at all and she got off within a few min. Then I was sitting by myself waiting for someone to come sit down by me at the next stop. The next stop was the hospital. There were a bunch of people waiting to get on. Surely enough, and older lady sat down next to me at the next stop. I noticed after a few moments that she was staring at my name-tag and so I told her that I was a missionary for my church. We started talking a lot about what we do as missionaries and a little bit about the church. Then she asked me out of the blue if I really believed what I said I believed in. I told her that I do without a doubt. She said that that must be nice. She then preceded to ask me what I thought would happen after death. I then realized that she probably just went through something really hard coming from the hospital. Plus swedes don't usually just ask that out of the blue unless they are super interested. I began to teach her the second half of the Plan of Salvation and I felt the spirit so strong as she listened intently to what I was saying. I told her how it was hard for me to believe that God would only want to save a few of us and the rest are unhappy forever in an endless damnation. I just don't see a god that would want that. I told her that her that God loves us so much and that there is a reason that the plan is called the Plan of Happiness. Anyways, she really liked the plan and asked lots of questions. Then she told me how she liked the idea. Then she started to tear up and she couldn't get any words out. She finally was able to say that she hopes those who have passed away are happy on the other side. I was super touched and I realized that she had most likely lost someone close to her. I assured her that those on the other side are okay and happy. I asked her if she had lost someone close to her. She said she had lost her daughter. I was crushed. I told her that she would see her daughter again. She asked me if I really believed that. I told her I knew it with all my heart. It really comforted her. I taught her the rest of the plan and how the whole purpose is to live with God and our families forever and that through Jesus Christ, we will all be resurrected and be able to live again. When we got off the bus. She grabbed my arm and looked at me with tears in her eyes and said thank you for the words and for comforting her. I was so grateful to be the one to be able to be a means of comfort to this woman and let her know that she really would she her daughter again. The spirit was so strong and this lady came one step closer to Jesus Christ that day. She said she knew where the church was and that she would maybe come by. I am so grateful for the plan of salvation and for Jesus Christ who makes it all possible.

Speaking of the Plan of Salvation, we were able to attend the funeral for Matheo this week. I don't have a lot of time to write about it because I have to go right now but it was such a spiritual experience! I also had the opportunity to speak at the funeral in the cemetery to a bunch of priests and nonmembers and it was soooo sick! I felt like Abinadi!!! :) 

Anyways, gotta jet!!!! Love you all!!!!!!! Have a good week!!!!!! 

"The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect
you." Ponder it.


Äldste Bailey

Monday, May 9, 2016

Day 488

Ahoy there! 

Time is a sneaky guy and another week has slipped between my fingers! As the time goes by, it just keeps getting warmer and sunnier and lighter! It's awesome! I have been wearing my short sleeve white shirt more in the last two weeks than in the last two months which would actually make sense because it was winter but whatever haha. It is crazy how light it is here and how light it is going to be! The sun starts coming up somewhere around 3 in the morning right now and goes down around 10:30-11ish! We were talking to some members yesterday and I asked them if it was possible to see the midnight sun here in Umeå and they said yes! They said during the summer, the sun never goes down! That will be so weird to experience! Anyways, we had a great week here and everything is going well. We are working hard and the work is moving forward! I absolutely love being a missionary and I feel so blessed to be able to be here in this beautiful country as a servant of the Lord.

I don't have a lot of time today but I will be able to type out a little bit! We have a lesson coming up here soon! This week was good! It was soooo good to skype yesterday!! It was the best thing ever! It was so weird to see how the fam has changed! You have all changed so much! Don't worry, for the better of course ;) It was good to talk and catch up a little bit. The crazy thing is that that was my last skype call! I come home right before Christmas. This means that it is time to kick it into high gear! I am ready to give the Lord my all and to finish strong!

I also want to send a quick Happy Mother's Day shout out to my sweet mom. She is the absolute best and I love her so much. I wouldn't be the man I am today if it wasn't for her. She is such a good example to me of love and kindness and patience and so much more. She has always been there for me no matter what and has always cared about me and what I do. She has always supported me in everything I do. I will always remember her voice in the crowd being louder than anyone else's at my basketball games telling me to play harder or to pick it up on D ;) (haha thanks mom youre the best cheerleader ever! ;)) I am so grateful that she raised me in the church and taught me the gospel since I was little. I will always be grateful for the example she has been throughout my life. I am honestly so grateful for all she does for me and for all the sacrifices she has made and time she has spend in my behalf. I love you so much mom!! Thank you for being one of my very best friends!!!

There is one more thing that I have been thinking about that I want to write about before I go. Yesterday I was doing the dishes after a branch lunch we had together and a lady came into the kitchen and we started talking a little bit about the members of the church in Utah. She lived there for a little while and just said how amazing they were and how cool it is to be surrounded by members of the church wherever you go. But unfortunately, and I think I would agree, there are those who don't really know what it means to be a member of this church. There are those who are members more because of tradition or because they grew up in the church and these people kind of just go through the motions. It got me thinking a lot. Because I think it would be safe to say that before my mission, it was very easy for me to just go through the motions. I just went to church on sunday because that's what you do on sunday. I don't know how truly converted I really was. So I want to challenge you all to figure out why you are a member of this church and what that means to you. Why do you do what you do? I challenge you to become truly converted to the gospel. I just barely thought of this quote but I want to share it with you. It is from a talk during this last general conference called "Do I Believe?" by Bonnie L. Oscarson.

"We claim that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God and the only true Church on the earth. It is called the Church of Jesus Christ because He stands at the head; it is His Church, and all these things are possible because of His atoning sacrifice.

We believe that these distinguishing features can be found in no other place or organization on this earth. As good and sincere as other religions and churches are, none of them have the authority to provide the ordinances of salvation that are available in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We have a knowledge of these things, but do we believe them? If these things are true, then we have the greatest message of hope and help that the world has ever known. Believing them is a matter of eternal significance for us and for those we love.

To believe, we need to get the gospel from our heads into our hearts! It is possible for us to merely go through the motions of living the gospel because it is expected or because it is the culture in which we have grown up or because it is a habit. Perhaps some have not experienced what King Benjamin’s people felt following his compelling sermon: “They all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”

We all need to seek to have our hearts and very natures changed so that we no longer have a desire to follow the ways of the world but to please God. True conversion is a process that takes place over a period of time and involves a willingness to exercise faith. It comes when we search the scriptures instead of the Internet. It comes when we are obedient to the commandments of God. Conversion comes when we serve those around us. It comes from earnest prayer, regular temple attendance, and faithful fulfillment of our God-given responsibilities. It takes consistency and daily effort."

I gotta jet! I love you all and I am so grateful for your examples to me! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers! I truly do feel the strength from them. As the mission goes on, I feel more tired than I ever have, but I also feel more strength to keep going than I ever have before. I love getting up every morning for my Savior. I love getting up every morning hoping that just one person will listen to us that day. Even just that little hope, coupled with faith in Jesus Christ, can gives me so much strength. Hope and faith in Christ will allow us to be lifted higher and to accomplish what we otherwise would deem impossible. I love my Savior and I love serving him each and every day. I know he lives and loves each of us. I know it. I wouldn't be here otherwise. I didn't leave my life back home, my family, and everything else, to come to a foreign land with a foreign language to stop strangers on the street and tell them about some fairy-tale. Trust me, I wouldn't do that. It's true. This gospel and this church are true. And I know that with all my heart.

Hey, you guys are the best! Have a good week alright? Sköt om er!

"Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." 2 Tim 2:3

Äldste Bailey