Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Day 481 - May !?!

Hallå hallå mina kära vänner! 

How crazy is it that it is May already? Time is a quick little guy. Crazy how fast the mission is flying by! I don't want my mission to end. I love being a missionary with all my heart. My mission has been the most rewarding experience of my life. I have really changed. So much has changed over the last 16ish months. My perspective of the world, life, God, and the Savior have changed dramatically. I am becoming the man that my Heavenly Father wants me to be. I wouldn't trade the time I have spent as a missionary for anything in the whole world. 

Our zone and this mission is doing so good right now and so much is happening! I am so proud of our zone members and the missionaries in this mission! We are seeing so much success. Our area in specific is not seeing the most success and I don't know why. We are doing a lot of finding right now and just no one seems to be interested. I take it as a trial that I need to continue to work through. I know the Lord loves me no matter what am here to do one job and that is to preach the gospel to as many people as I can and trust in my Heavenly Father that he will help me find the people who are interested. He knows the desires of my heart and will guide me and help me. This is definitely a defining moment. I have to go through tough patches to continue to grow. I wouldn't grow if it were easy! Nothing worth it comes easy. As long as I am humble, obedient, and willing to listen, the savior will walk beside me and help me.I read this scripture during the week and it is definitely one of my favorites now. 

"I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."

This week was good! Not a ton of exciting things happened but we worked hard and felt the satisfaction and joy that comes from giving the Lord your all. We did a lot of finding work. There is nothing better than hitting the streets and working in the Lord's vineyard! No matter how hard it gets, or how many no's we get, there is always an amazing feeling knowing that the Lord is pleased with me and it makes me so happy! 

This week I was able to go on splits with the legend and one of my best friends Elder Featherstone in Skellefteå! (I was comps with him for about 2 and a half weeks a few months ago). Skellefteå is about a two hour drive north from Umeå. We drove up Wednesday morning and I was going to stay and work in Skellefteå. Elder Featherstone and I had an absolute blast! I absolutely love that kid! He is such a good missionary and I always learn so much from him when I am with him. It was so good to work with him again and we worked really hard. We had the car there so that they had the opportunity to visit less actives that they otherwise would not be able to reach. We spent a lot of the day swinging by people that have not been contacted in a while. After swinging by a bunch of people, we decided to swing by one more member. They ended up not being home but their cousin was. We talked to him hit he wasn't interested either. As we were walking out, I had a strong feeling to knock the apartment building that was next to the one we just swung by. I almost ignored the feeling but I listened and said, "Hey Elder Featherstone... let's knock that building over there." he was completely on board so we walked up the stairs and knocked on the first door. No answer. So, we turned to knock the other door on that level and we heard someone walking up the stairs. It's always super awkward when you're just waiting there outside someone's door so I made a little joke to Elder Featherstone, and he gave me a little elbow bump and said, "Alright... here we go buddy." A man walked up the stairs and it was actually the man that lived in the apartment we had just knocked on. We introduced ourselves and he invited us in his house. Long story short... we sat down, taught Shirzad the Restoration and he LOVED it. He said he feels exactly like Joseph Smith did and he is going to read out of the Book of Mormon for one hour every day.  The cool thing was that Skellefteå is praying this transfer to find "the one" who wants to be baptized. Elder Featherstone and I talked about it a lot in the car and about the faith required. We knew that it was an answer to our prayers. It was so cool to know that the spirit was guiding us in this work. We had such a spiritual lesson and Shirzad is really searching for the truth. It was so cool to teach him. It felt good to know that the Lord trusted me enough to give me a prompting to go knock that building so that we would find him. And it felt so good to act on that prompting. It is hard to explain but it feels so good to feel the spirit working through you to use you as a tool to hasten the work!

The next day, we were able to attend district meeting in Skellefteå with the Boden Elders and the Luleå sisters! It was so much fun! They have such a great district and we had a great meeting and had a blast together! After that, we were able to drive home and even stopped by the world's biggest cheese slicer!! Didn't know that existed, did ya?

Later during the week, we heard some sad news from the Iguaran family. Their son Joseph, who is about 22, and his girlfriend have been expecting a baby for the last 9 months. Sister Iguaran texted us on thursday and told us that the baby had passed away in Emma's womb. It just hurt us all because Joseph has been inactive for a long time and has been trying to come back to the church and then this happened. The other missionaries here in Umeå have been working with both of them for awhile and it was going really really well. It also hurt us because it just really hurt the Iguaran family and they are just the nicest people in the whole world. They even insisted that we still came to their house the next night even when we told them that we could reschedule. Anyways, sometimes bad things happen to good people. Actually a lot of the time bad things happen to good people and we don't understand why. But what we do understand is that our Heavenly Father has a plan for us and he knows us better than we know ourselves and he knows what he wants us to become and what it's going to take to get us there. We just have to show our faith and press forward and put our trust in the Lord. He will be there to strengthen us and to lift us up. I know that he does because I have felt it in my own life. Anyways, Sister Iguaran told us a few days later that this is actually helping Joseph and that he understands that he needs to come back to church, give up smoking and drinking, and get married in the temple. She said that he told her that we wants to be sealed in the temple now so that he can be with his son forever. Anyways, Saturday morning we played soccer with the branch and a few investigators, and after we finished, we were driving over to Niels house to help him pack up his things because he is moving to Ireland, and Joseph called us. He asked us if he could come to the hospital right now to give a blessing. I put the phone on mute and I turned to Elder Luke and was like "should we go right now? We are in t-shirts and shorts and my hair is crazy and I'm all sweaty and stuff.. plus we have to go to help Niels." After talking for a few moments, we felt like we should go immediately. I took the phone off of mute and told Joseph that we were on our way. We called Niels and told him that we would be late because of this and he totally understood. When we got to the hospital, Joseph and Emma were waiting outside for us with one of Joseph's friends. (hahaha holy smokes I just realized that their names are Joseph and Emma!! That's sooooo sick!!! hahaha) Anyways, they were really grateful that we came and Joseph thought that it was so cool that we came immediately even though we were in normal clothes and stuff. He grew up in the church and knows that it's true but he just struggles with some things. He loves the missionaries so much. This was the first time I had ever met him. We walked into the hospital and as we walked into the room, the baby was in a little pillow basket thing right next to Emma on the hospital bed. He had a little suit on and Joseph had put one of the Mormon.org cards we pass out in his arms. (He told us that he is a mormon) The baby didn't look super good. It was honestly one of the saddest things I have ever seen and I felt so much pain for this couple. We talked to them about the baby (whose name is Mattheo) for awhile and about the plan of salvation and the resurrection. I was so surprised to see how strong they were. There is no way I would able to be that strong. The Lord was strengthening them for sure. Anyways, they told us that they were going to take the baby away in only a few short hours and that if we hadn't come right away we might have missed Mattheo. They asked us if we could hold a prayer together before they took him away. To bless them with comfort and to bless Mattheo as well. We said of course and we said a prayer in that little hospital room together and the spirit was so incredibly strong. It was amazing. It was a really spiritual experience and I am so glad that I was there to take part in it. Just from that little 20 minute meeting, my testimony of the Plan of Salvation grew so much. Just looking at little Mattheo, there was no way that he didn't live on. That wouldn't make sense. The spirit in that room testified to us that Mattheo was there with us and that he is not gone. I am so grateful for this wonderful plan that Heavenly Father has for us and for Jesus Christ who makes it all possible! 

The other big happening was a big holiday in Sweden known as "Valborg." It's just a big thing in Sweden where the Swedes gather a bunch of wood and stuff and have a MASSIVE bonfire thing. Super cool actually. Kind of along the lines of burning away the old and on with the new to welcome spring. It's pretty ridiculous that we're JUST getting away from the snow and it's JUST starting to get nice. haha gotta love it in Norrland. Anyways, we ate dinner with the Norin family (who are super awesome!!!) and then we met up with all the YSA in the branch and went hiking/exploring. And then we were able to go to the big bonfire and participate in the festivities. It was a ton of fun!! 

Well folks, I gotta bounce! I love you all and I hope you have the best week ever! I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you! I love being a missionary and I love this country! The church is true and nothing is going to ever change that! Have a good week my friends! Don't be afraid to send me an email! I might be bad at answering but I promise I will get back to you! It is always fun to hear from everyone back home :) I love you all!! 



äldste Bailey

1 comment:

  1. I am truly so sorry to hear about their baby! That is so sad. I know by experience that loosing a child is so hard. They are in my prayers for sure.
    Sounds like you had another great week in Umeå and Skellefteå.
    Valborgsbrasan is the best thing ever. But I missed it this year. Keep up the awesome work!
    Love you, Pia