Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Day 523

Hello family and friends!

I am doing great! I love it here in Umeå and we truly are working our hardest and giving the Lord our all. And as we have done this, we have been blessed with miracles not only in our own area, but in other areas as well. I love being apart of this mission.

This week has gone by super fast and super slow at the same time. I know that doesn't really make sense haha it doesn't really make sense to me either. But it did. It was also a fun but hard week.

Tuesday of this week we were able to go down to a city called Sundsvall. It's about a 3 hour train ride away. We have 6 missionaries down there and we went on splits with Elder Weaver and Elder Anthon. Elder Anthon is brand new to the mission and Elder Weaver is training him. I went with Elder Weaver and Elder Olsen went with Elder Anthon (that was a lot of "Elder" haha). Anyways, it was super good!! These guys are both wonderful missionaries and they are working super hard. Elder Weaver and I did A LOT of contacting on Tuesday, which was awesome! I love talking to people so much. We also had planned to go mow a lawn for an older guy later that day.

There was a little cool experience that happened while we were contacting. We stopped this kid on the street who was probably about 16 or 17. He looked like he came from India or something (which we later found out that he did). But, he was wearing a Los Angeles Lakers hat so we started to talk to him a little bit about basketball and the US. Turns out that he didn't know anything about basketball haha but it turned out that he actually lived in the states for a while. So English was his best language. Anyways, we started to teach him about God because he was atheist (surprise, surprise). He was asking a lot of questions and seemed genuinely interested (funny side note: we contacted this kid right in front of the jehovah's witnesses' stand right after we waved at them hahaha I love waving at the jay dubs and taking selfies with them and stuff). Anyways, sorry it's hard for me to stay focused, haha. So we were teaching this fantastic lesson to this kid and this old guy starts walking up to us. And for some reason I always have these preconceived notions that whenever people come up to use or call out our names on the street it's because they are going to make fun of us or tell the person that we are talking to how wrong we are and that they shouldn't believe anything we say. I guess I just think that because it's happened so many times. So this fragile cute little old man starts walking up to us and it's taking him a while because he is walking so slow and while he is gradually moving closer I'm just like praying in my head that he doesn't ruin this contact, haha. He finally walked up to us and had this little smile on his face and the first thing he says to the kid (the kid could speak Swedish as well so he understood): "It is good that you are listening to the missionaries. What they are teaching is true." I was caught off guard and looked at Elder Weaver and he was just smiling and I realized it was probably a member. This little old man began to bear  the strongest testimony of the Book of Mormon that I have ever heard. The spirit level in the conversation just skyrocketed. He told him that he could find his own answer by reading and praying. He quoted Moroni's promise and bore a powerful testimony. It was so cool to here the conviction in his voice and the surety in his heard that he knew it was all true. It was just awesome to see like 85 years of life experience testify of this church to a 16-year-old kid on the street. I'm pretty sure this guy was president Hinckley as an angel. Anyways, the man asked the kid where he lived and he told him. Then the old man said, "Good, you live close to the church. I will see you there on Sunday." Hahaha then he shuffled away. It was so awesome. I just learned and felt the power that the members here in Sweden really have in this work. Their testimonies are critical and need to be shared. I also saw how I want to be when I am 85 years old. I want to be as sure as this man was that the Book of Mormon is true. I wish you could have heard the power and surety in his voice. It really sounded like a prophet. Anyway, I thought it was cool how he came up and helped us teach this kid.

Later that day, we went to mow the lawn of an older man who turned out to be the same man who walked up to us in town!!! Haha how sick is that!! By the way, his name is Brother Käriää. He was the funniest little man ever. The only English he could say was "Little house on the prairie" haha he was so proud that he could. He said that was his favorite show. And then later we taught him the word "awesome" hahaha and he thought it was soooo funny. Every time he or we would say it he would just laugh and laugh. It was a good day!

On Thursday and Friday, we were able to go on splits with the assistants, Elder Hemmingsen and Elder Bradshaw! They are both amazing missionaries and it was so good to see them and work with them! Elder Bradshaw and I did a little bit of contacting and it was super good to be able to learn from him! We also had a super good discussion about the zone and the zone members. Everyone is doing so well right now! As a zone we were able to focus on contacting this week. We did an initiative type thing and set a goal as a zone for amount of people we talk to. We focused on talking to everyone and also on the quality of our contacts. We studied and talked about charity and how it relates to everyone we meet and especially the people we contact. It was really cool and I learned a lot! It is so important that we offer the gospel to every single person possible and see him or her through God's eyes as we do. As we see them for what they can fully become, it changes our vision of them completely. Later that day we were also able to meet with a lady named Sister Wirtala who invited all six of us over for dinner. She is my adopted Swedish grandma, haha. Anyways we were able to talk about member missionary work with her and it was so good!  Later that night we were able to meet with one of our investigators named Ylva. She is not really progressing that much but we are really trying to help her with her personal relationship with God. She does read in the Book of Mormon and marks it up and writes notes and everything. She just needs help with getting an answer to her prayers. We had her read the book of Enos before we met and then we discussed and answered her questions. It went really well! A member named Erica was also in on the lesson and her testimony was so strong!

I don't have very much time left but I just wanted to say one more thing.  The past couple days have been really hard for me after hearing about the passing away of one of my best friends, Ali McCashland. I grew up with Ali and it doesn't seem real that she is gone. We were such good friends and always laughed and joked around together. We clicked super well. I thought the world of Ali, and still do. I guess I just wanted to say that no matter how hard it is to lose someone you are close to and someone you love; it is such a blessing and comfort to know that this isn't the end. What a blessing it is to have the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation! That because of Christ's sacrifice for us, we will all live again! I know that Ali has joined the missionary army and that she is on the other side helping people receive the restored gospel just like I am. I am so grateful for the Savior and what he did for me. Words can't explain the amount of gratitude and love I have for Him. He offers so much peace and love if we turn to him. Because of him, we can know that everything is going to be all right.

It seems like there has been a lot of sad and hard things going on lately in our lives and in the lives of others, including the shooting in Orlando. But my little brother Austin sent me an email and I want to share a little part of it that was really of comfort to me: "It is helpful to know that there is just as much happiness and joy as there is sadness and sorrow. So many people are afraid, but it is our job as humans to help them feel hope. I recently made the connection that fear and hope are exact opposites. Fear is thinking that bad things could happen. Hope is believing that good things will happen." Let us all have hope in Jesus Christ and in good things to come. Christ is always there for us every step of the way to comfort us and to strengthen us. I know he is. My heart and prayers go out to the McCashland family. They are so amazing and so strong and I look up to them so much. Please remember them in your prayers. 

I am totally out of time and I have to bounce but I love you all so much! Thank you for all you do for me!! Remember that the church is true! I love my Savior and I love this work.

Älskar er!

äldste Bailey

1 comment:

  1. First off. I am so sorry to hear about Ali! I will pray for her family and you for sure!
    It's so hard to lose someone you love. But the plan of salvation will bring us all back together again and it's such a blessing in our life.
    I loved the story about the kärelää. And about the young boy. Sometimes I've been thinking about a lot lately is that things and people happen in your life for a reason, for your own growth! You just have to learn from everyone and everything to make the most out of your life.
    have a great week and keep up the good work. And if you ever need anything, just call and David and I will fix it for you!
    Love you Alex!
    Hug, Pia