Monday, September 19, 2016

Day 621 - A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day


Hope everyone is doing well! Things are going awesome here in Sweden! We are working really hard and doing our best to find, teach, and baptize. I love it here so much and I love being a missionary. I feel that the longer I have been out on my mission, the more my testimony has been tried. But it has also grown that much more. I feel like I am so bold on the streets now and it is so cool to think about how I am now compared to when I first came into the mission. I have grown so much and the Lord really has turned me into a more effective messenger of the truth. 

To be honest, not too much has happened in the past week. On Monday, we went to this castle on this island in Stockholm and it was awesome! That's what most of the pics are this week haha.

This week we went on splits with Jakobsberg and the other Gubbängen elders. I went with Elder Hatch and we had a blast! We basically contacted the whole day. It was a good time. He is a great missionary!!

I also finally got to go on splits with the legendary Finnish Elder Murtonen. It was a jolly good time and he is such a stud! He is an incredible missionary with only good intentions. I had a good time with him and we worked hard. I learned a lot from him! Love you man!

This experience was a really small miracle that might not sound too crazy haha but for me it was a testimony building experience.Yesterday Elder Weaver and I were sitting at a train station waiting for a train that left in 40ish minutes and we hadn't done weekly planning yet so we started calling people and planning for the week. About 15 min into our small weekly planning session, the phone suddenly died. It was at 40% or something. We were pretty bummed and mad that it died with so much battery left. I tried turning it back on but it didn't work. I tried warming it up for awhile since it was kind of chilly but that still didn't work. We weren't sure what to do. We were in the middle of nowhere and we wanted to be effective and we really needed to call people. So in kind of a joking tone, I turned to Elder Weaver and asked him if he had faith for the phone to turn back on. He said yeah. And then the thought just hit me. Why not? God can do anything right? Why couldn't he turn on a small iphone for two missionaries in the middle of Sweden? Also the scripture came to my mind: "And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you." So for a short moment, I held the phone in my hands and asked God in the name of Jesus Christ to turn the phone back on. As soon as I said amen, I knew I had to have a full expectation that it would turn on. So I did. And when I held down the power button, the little apple symbol popped up and the phone turned back on. We were able to finish calling the people we needed to. This small miracle my not seem very amazing to others, but it was a huge testimony building experience for me. That Heavenly Father is aware of his children, and whatever we ask for in the name of Christ, which is right, believing that we will receive, we will receive. The day of miracles is not over. And though sometimes small, God continues to work miracles in the lives of his children. We need to look for them and we must have faith.

Yesterday in Priesthood, our teacher was a guy from Ghana whose name is Divine. We all just call him Brother Divine. Anyways, as he was teaching, he made a comment that I really liked. He was asking a lot of questions as he was teaching, and told us that he is learning from us as well. He said how he doesn't want to "go home with his bag empty". I thought for a second about groceries. When you go to the grocery store, you don't want to leave the store with your grocery bags empty, right? Same with church. When we go to church each week, we need to make sure that we don't leave with empty bags. Take something home with you that you can actually apply and do!

Anyways, that's all I got for this week! I love you all!! have the best week ever!

Fight the good fight and keep the faith!

äldste Bailey

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Day 614

Tjena tjena!

Sorry for the lack of email last week. I totally ran out of time plus there was not too much to write about. And unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot to write about this week either. There was actually some cool stuff that happened this week that I will write about. But this week Elder Weaver and I had to do the dreaded "Stake Report". We basically have to call each companionship in the Stockholm Stake (which is even bigger than the zone of missionaries that we are in) and talk to them about their ward and the members and the problems and the leaders and solutions and all that jazz. It takes an eternity. So that took up the majority of our time this week besides the lessons we had set up. 

But I would probably say that the highlight of my week was the fulfillment of my mission-long dream of seeing and holding a hedgehog!! It was probably the coolest thing I have ever done in my life. We were walking home one night from a member's place and we saw the little guy running across this lawn and we realized that we needed to seize this once in a lifetime opportunity. So we started following it (they aren't that fast haha) but he ran into a bush. So we reached our hands into the bush and the secret with hedgehogs is that you have to tickle their bellies and then they just relax hahaha so we picked the little guy up and took some pics but then he just curled into a ball (it's super funny they just turn into this spike ball and sit there). Anyways, the spikes hurt like heck but we picked him up. So yeah it was pretty much the coolest thing ever.

So over the last week and a half, we have been teaching a man named Jeff. When we were on splits with the APs last week, Elder Bradshaw and Elder Weaver contacted him on the street. He is from California and has lived in Sweden for about 18 months. He actually approached them and asked them if they were mormons. They said "yeah" of course and he told them how he has a few friends that are mormon. He also said that he has a lot of respect for the mormon religion. He took a BoM and agreed to meet again. For some reason he doesn't have a phone right now so they just set up a time to meet in a few days. Then on Tuesday, Elder Weaver and I were a little skeptical that Jeff would show up. But surely enough, Jeff was there! We sat down on a park bench and talked for a long time. Jeff is going through a lot right now. He has a lot of trials that he is dealing with and he is in a low spot in his life right now. He was separated from his wife and kid and he isn't doing too well. He is jobless and possibly homeless. He was very down when we talked to him, but at the same time he was so humble and respectful and appreciative that we met up with him. We didn't really teach him the first lesson, rather we kind of just listened to him and his problems. I don't think he really had anyone to vent to. We also taught him about the gospel and the atonement and what they can do for him in his life. The spirit was so so strong in this meeting with Jeff. The difference was that this man wanted to change. He wants to climb out of the pit that he is in right now and get his life back. He actually has a desire to turn his life over to God and Christ to be able to overcome his problems and to turn his life around. He listened so intently as we bore our testimonies of the gospel and the enabling power of the Atonement and how they literally change us into the people that Heavenly Father wants us to become. It felt a lot different for me too. Usually the majority of the people we teach are just interested to learn about the church or are searching for a church or something like that. But it is a whole different feeling bearing your testimony to someone who is suffering in some way and looking for help. It was amazing to see the hope in his eyes as we promised him peace and understanding and comfort as he continues to meet with us and as he follows Jesus Christ and his gospel. Everything we were saying made sense to him and he was very receptive to the message and was so willing to accept it and try it out. He had actually done a lot of research on our church and showed up with a stack of papers of anti stuff he had printed out. He said he had read all of it and he told us, "ya know, I think the mormon church has the most persecution of all the churches. And I think that means something." He recognized that a lot of it was garbage and not very credible, but he had also read a lot. As we continued with the discussion, you could already tell that the gospel was beginning to change him. It was so cool to share my personal testimony and see how it effected Jeff. After the discussion, we asked if we could say a prayer together. We said one and afterwords Jeff grabbed the stack of papers and said "you know, I don't really want this anymore, do you want it? I just don't feel good about it." It was so cool to see the desires of his heart change as the spirit worked inside of him. After this meeting, we met Jeff again the next week. We taught him the Restoration and it went so well. Everything we said made sense to him. He agreed to set a baptismal date for the 8th of October. He is such a good guy and we hope to continue to meet him. 

I am almost out of time, but there are a lot of other positive people that we are meeting with! I feel so blessed to be able to serve here in Gubbängen. I love being a missionary and sharing my testimony everyday. It is such a blessing to be able to serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind and strength. I love my Savior and I know He lives!

Before I hop off, I want to send out a birthday S/O! I have been really bad at these lately, but it was Haylee's birthday yesterday! Just want to brag for a second and let you all know how amazing she is and how much she means to me! She is my best friend and has always been there for me from the start. She does so much for me and makes me so happy! I love you Hay! 

Well folks, just remember one thing: the church is true. Everything else in life can be dealt with and worked out if you remember that this church is true. I love you all and I am so grateful for all you do for me. Shoot me an email if there is ever anything I can do for you! 

Godspeed my friends

äldste Bailey