Monday, March 12, 2012

Coming Home!

Hej Familj!!!

Check this out...

They've got the beginning, but how about we add our own ending sometime soon?? How about Thursday? :)

I love you!

Trogen och Stadig, Är Jag Redo!!!!!
Faithful and Steady, I AM Ready!!!!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

One more to go!

Hej Familj!!!

Wow, can you all believe how fast the time is going? I am starting my last "real week" of missionary service and I feel some of the most confusing feelings I have ever felt! Really though, this is getting tough! I think Äldste Shear and I are ready to get this week done, give it our all and stop all of these crazy emotions! Everywhere we go people are reminding us that the end is near. Going to church yesterday was extremely difficult.. I wanted to put ear plugs in just so I wouldn't hear all of the trunky comments!

Anyway, we are moving forward and we will make the best of this last week! Today we have a great P-day planned. We will be joining up with some of the other Elders in our group to have lunch at Pizza Hut. Afterwards we will be heading to Gamla Stan in Stockholm to purchase some gifts and things to remind us of Sweden! I have no idea what to bring home for ya'll, because the States pretty much has everything Sweden does.. We will see.. Just to break the ice, it may be something a bit lame, but it will be Swedish anyway! :) lol It will be good!

Okay, after the shopping we will be heading up to our ward mission leader's home for a dinner and a meeting. Guess what, we have a dinner every single night this week, and most of the days also have a lunch planned in with a member. I guess the ward really wants to say goodbye and make this week one of the hardest weeks on my mission! Wish me luck! haha I love this ward, and leaving them is going to hurt. I can already feel it. :( Why is this so hard!?? Wasn't this part supposed to be fun and exciting? Nothing else?? haha I know it will be tough!

Okay, well I hope that everything is going okay back home! The e-mails from you all lately have been lacking to say the least... haha Just kidding! I do appreciate the extra time though! It is nice! On a more serious note, please send ALL OF MY LOVE to Nana at this time. My heart hit the floor when I read what happened. I just said a little prayer, and will continue my praying until things are figured out. Nana is a strong woman filled with FAITH. I know, and trust in the Lord that He will take care of her. Not to mention the angels surrounding her at this time. I look forward to visiting with her in the near future.

Okay, well I hope that we all are looking forward to a fantastic week full of good times, because that is whats going to happen! Before I sign off though, I thought I could share a quick Spiritual Thought..

Lets look really fast at the last verse of John 16."These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) At this point the Savior of us all is teaching the Apostles plainly about praying to the Father in His name. In the name of Jesus Christ. He reassures them that He will plead unto the Father in our behalf. In Jesus Christ we find strength. In Jesus Christ we find peace. In Jesus Christ we find ourselves. He knows that this Earthly trial will be accompanied by tribulation.. He says so himself right here! Right in the very scriptures many of us have somewhere within eyesight. But guess what, he also knows that it is okay. He knows that these trials and tribulations are for our very good. He gives us the secret. It is Faith in Him. He has overcome the world, and offers that very world PEACE.. PEACE IN HIM. Peace through our loving brother, the Son of our Eternal Father in Heaven. Have FAITH. Pray with all energy of heart and know that HE IS THERE. He is continually praying unto the Father for us, and He will FOREVER reach out with love to provide the peace we need and the strength we desire.

I testify in the name of Jesus Christ and as one of his called representatives that He LIVES. He loves you and He loves me. He is there watching over you just as he is watching over me. I feel Him in my life. I know that he is there. Because of this, and this alone, I find peace. "Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come." (D&C 68:6)

As I finish my time as a called and set apart missionary I reflect on the words of that scripture. He HAS stood by me during this battle, and He CONTINUES to stand firm even to this very day. I don't know what the future will bring for myself, or for anyone else, but this I do know.. If it is founded on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a relationship with Him is made and nourished all will be well... And all is well. I say this, and leave my testimony, in the name of my Savior, my King and my best friend, even Jesus Christ, Amen.

Trogen och Stadig, Är Jag Redo!!!!!
Faithful and Steady, I AM Ready!!!!!

Äldste Kundis :) :) :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Heading to the airport a little early!

Hej Familj!!!

Well here I am writing from the library in Uppsala! That is a town about 45 minutes north of Stockholm. We had planned to travel in the morning and spend most of the day here, but I guess that the Lord had other things in mind! There was a train crash a couple of days ago near one of the cities on the route to Uppsala from Stockholm, so our train was delayed. Then after sitting on the stopped train they came over the intercom and told us all that they were delayed one and a half hours more! We were not very happy.. They then continued and told us that we had the option of taking a bus instead. We jumped on the opportunity. So, after a couple hours of delays we were finally on our way!

Funny story now... The bus decided to make a stop at Arlanda Airport... That is the airport I flew into when I first came to Sweden, and it will be the airport I will leave from. Haha We thought it was quite a crewel trick. (Thus the title of the e-mail...)

Anyway, once we got here we had lunch with the Sister Missionaries, Syster Talbot and Syster Hill, and my old missionary companion Bill Barlow! The lunch was great! It was a Thai food buffet! Yum! This place also had sushi and ice cream all included in the very reasonable buffet price! I was really impressed!

After lunch "Brother Barlow" had to leave to get to a class, so the Sisters and us went to the Dom Kyrka here in town. It is huge!!!! VERY beautiful and lots of fun to look around in! One thing I didn't understand though was why there were dead people in big stone boxes in the church... Kinda creepy if you ask me! lol Anyway, there was even a play-place in the church where you could draw pictures! ! ! I decided to draw a very poor rendition of the Salt Lake Temple!! haha So, now there is a picture of our beautiful temple inside a beautiful Swedish State Church! :) ;) haha Anyway, after the church we went around sight-seeing and just had a good time in Uppsala.

Now we are all at the library here e-mailing to our parents! I will be sure to enjoy the rest of my p-day and hopefully travel back to Jakobsberg in time to make our appointments! :) As for the work here... I would like to see more! haha Marcello I guess decided to stay longer on his vacation because his phone is still shut off. We have been teaching at Swedish High Schools and looking everywhere for new investigators.

We are having success, but I definitely feel more and more that my time is being taken from me! Seriously, every day that passes makes me feel more and more like someone, somewhere is making the clocks move faster and faster. It is annoying!!!! :) Anyway, I don't want to bore you all with my feelings at the moment. We are having a great time being missionaries for the Lord, and we are working hard to the end. Or, as President Newell would say, "Hoe to the end of the row!" :) We love that line here in Jakobsberg!

So, before I wrap this up, I want to make sure that everyone knows that I love them dearly! Mom, I really hope that you are feeling okay and that you KNOW my prayers are with you. Dad and Matt keep helping her feel better and better! It is a great day to be alive and to have the Gospel a part of it! I love you all!

Trogen och Stadig, Är Jag Redo!!!!!
Faithful and Steady, I AM Ready!!!!!

Äldste Kundis :) :) :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Keep it cold please!

Hej Familj!!!

Haha!! We are having some great weather changes here in Sweden! Two days ago it was warm and sunny which made huge rain/ice drops fall later in the day transforming the streets into icy/slushy rivers! The next morning, yesterday, I stuck my head out of our door to see which shoes I would wear as to best battle with the slush. Sadly, I made the wrong observation... I thought for sure that the slush had frozen overnight and that I would want to wear my shoes that have better traction. Well, I walked outside and realized that the slush was indeed STILL SLUSHY.. But we needed to go and I figured that it would be okay. It wasn't okay.. haha I arrived at church with soaking wet socks and shoes! I should have worn the boots because those DON'T have holes all over them unlike both pairs of my shoes! I am glad I can look back and laugh at that.. It was quite the pain all day having soaking wet feet and sloshing around in ankle deep ice/mud slush! Today I was smarter!! I made sure that everything was frozen again before I made my shoe choice! It is nice and cold here and I am okay with that because it makes walking around much easier and much less wet! :) :)

We have been pretty busy the past week! Contacting, tracting, teaching and more! The AWESOME life of a missionary! I must say though... Everyone here in Sweden keeps reminding us that the end is coming soon. It is getting harder and harder with every day to try and not think about it!! haha I think this is the hardest I have ever EVER tried to NOT think about home!! I honestly am sorry for that, but you all are just sooooo distracting! ;) I love you too much!!! :)

Anyway, Äldste Shear and I are both helping each other to stay focused and working hard. We are united in all that we do, with the exception of me moving my bed out of our bedroom... haha You see, Äldste Shear snores, A LOT!! hahaha I have been losing lots of sleep, and the ear-plugs are starting to hurt my ears. SO, lol I have "moved out" I am now sleeping in our kitchen on the floor with the foam pad from my bed! VERY nice! Especially with the blanked the Family sent me two Christmases ago! Thanks again Family! :) It is quite funny that I am sleeping there, but I have been getting GREAT sleep now and I don't hear much of his snoring! Yay! I love him.. It is just the snoring that I have a hard time with! :)

So, today for p-day we don't really have much planned. Some of the Elders around the Stockholm area will be getting together in Gubbängen to play sports and just hang out... We will head that direction when we are done here in the library. Oh! Yeah! We are planning on going to a great Greek fast-food place in Stockholm that Me and Äldste Woodruff found when we were there together. I have been talking it up to Äldste Shear and we both feel that it is about time we go there and take part in the majestic gyros! :) Mmmmm! So, that should be lots of fun! We WERE going to be ice-fishing with a new member named Cris, but when we called yesterday to make the final plans he informed us that he was very sick... He sounded terrible! So hopefully in the future we will be able to go with him, and he will get feeling better! Never been ice-fishing, but he has made it sound like something I want to try! Ice-fishing on the frozen lakes in the northern Scandinavian country of Sweden.. Nope, NEVER thought that I would be able to do that!!! ;) haha Fun!

This week is looking pretty good! Marcello has not returned as of Saturday, but he should be back this week for sure! We will try to get over to his place and teach more of the Gospel! Kent, sadly, has dropped off the face of the Earth! lol We don't know where he is and he doesn't seem to be answering our calls. This happens from time to time.. Normally it means that the person either doesn't want to talk anymore, or they have run out of money to use their phone. We still have faith in Kent. He is out there somewhere, so we will keep trying and hopefully a miracle happens! We live by miracles, right?? ;)

Okay, well I better respond to these e-mails!! But before I do I just want to thank whoever attached that picture of Landon!! He is so awesome! I just can't wait to meet him!!!! :)

Okay first up we have Dad! I love you Dad! Wow! Someone was rescued in Northern Sweden from being stuck in their car since December 19th!?! That's crazy! haha No, it is not that bad down here in Jakobsberg! Norrland (Northern Sweden) is for sure getting a beating, but we are okay. There are lots of roads and trails up there and LOTS of cold and snow. So, I am not really shocked that someone was buried under the snow, but the fact that he survived that long is incredible! I guess the snow must have acted like some sort of igloo or something?!?! haha Pretty crazy! It is a different kind of place up there. Not too many people, and if something goes wrong out on one of the roads it may be a while before someone, if anyone, passes! Danger is often times associated with beauty, and Norrland is a VERY beautiful place! Nature can be harsh sometimes! :) Anyway, it is good that the guy was able to be rescued! What a blessing! You know what, I share the same feeling that you expressed at the beginning of your e-mail. Time is going very fast! It DOES seem that just yesterday we were e-mailing and it was p-day. Crazy how time just runs like that. Slow down!!! I promise to make the best of the time I have left. It takes a constant effort to stay focused. We are keeping the drive to do all that we can as we move from day to day. Thank you for the encouragement! It helps a lot! :) I love you Dad! Have a great week!

Okay, now we will move on to Matt! I love you Matt! I hope that you had a great week and that you felt the love coming from Sweden! You were in my prayers! That is pretty funny that Bishop Jacobson is getting you excited for my return.. Tell him to slow his roll!! I still have lots of time here! I still have brothers and sisters to find, teach, and baptize! It's going to be a fight to the finish! I want to also thank you for your positive encouragement to keep working hard! You are right, this is our time to shine! To answer your question, yes, I am very comfortable with Swedish now. It is a beautiful language, and I can't wait to continue studying it! this is pretty cool, I can also speak Norwegian! haha Well, not exactly, but I can understand pretty much everything when they speak! Danish is harder, but still possible.. Finnish is not even a language.. its just a bunch of strange noises.. haha I have no idea what those guys are saying! But I am very thankful to my Father in Heaven for the ability He has given me to learn a new language! It has been an incredible growing experience! :) I really wish that I could speak Spanish though. We have lots of Spanish members and the often times speak to each other in Spanish. I am just the strange missionary that butts in with "Hola como estas??!?!" haha I am sure you can picture that! They are teaching me some cool phrases though, so I am getting better and better! Half of an education is a desire of education right?!? Haha I love made up statistics! :) So, I hope that you have a bomb week and that you enjoy listening to Rascal Flatts! Someone in the ward told me that they are about to come out with a new CD!!! Look forward to that! :) haha I love you brother! You will still be in my prayers! :)

Okay, now it is Mom's turn! I love you Mom! Haha, yeah, I am sure that everyone will be telling the story of the "tidal wave" for a good while here in the Jakobsberg Ward! I know that I will for sure be telling it! Dermas is still doing good! We were over with him on Saturday and had a great discussion about studying the scriptures! He is a great new member! I already talked about Marcello, so you know whats going on there. Hopefully we can meet with him this week! Okay.. you continue to surprise me every week with some new health thing.. do me a favor, and just be healthy! haha It is so much better to hear that you are doing okay then to hear of surgery after surgery! Anyway, I am very thankful that these things are getting taken care of. What a blessing to have trained professionals ready and willing to help! You as well will be in my prayers this week, and I look forward to hearing that everything is taken care of. :) Forward in Faith! :) Oh, by the way, the package you sent arrived at the mission office today! Thank you so much! I will be getting it in Gubbängen when we head that direction! Woo! :) I am pretty spoiled! ;)

Okay, I guess that this week everyone just thought it would be good to offer their encouragement! Thank you for all of that! I really need it now! :) That was an awesome thing you did with the Primary kids! Haha Turning the word GOOD into GO and DO!! I am sure that they loved that! Nephi is a great example to us no matter what age level. He was faithful and had courage to do all that the Lord asked of him no matter what everyone around him might think. Go Nephi! Yeah!! haha Okay, well I love you Mom! Have a great week and good luck with all of the medical things! :) I will be praying for you! :)

Okay, well now it is time for a Spiritual Thought! Woo! It comes a talk given by one of the Sisters in our ward. Sister Karumo! She said this, "We should not be quiet about that which we believe in." I really liked it when she said that! When we truly believe in something we should do everything in our power to share that with the world. If we have a burning belief in Global Warming, then we should probably go out and stop pollution and what not.. If we have a burning belief, something often referred to as a testimony, that the Church is true we should probably go out and teach the Gospel!! We should NOT be quiet about that which we believe in. The Lord has promised us that we will know what to say and when to say it. Do we have faith in this? If we know the Church is true, I definitely think we should be able to trust in the promises of the Lord. Turn to Mosiah 4:9. Get your faith from that! "Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend." God has ALL Wisdom, ALL Power, and guess what.. He is on your side. We are on His team. When we believe this to be true, we will desire more players on our team. We fight for victory, but the end has been decided. I can't remember off the top of my head who said it, but one of the General Authorities said that in the end Satan will fall. That is a fact. Our team will win. We are on the winning team. Lets make sure we do all we can to not see losers. hahaha :) ;)

I love you all very, VERY much! I am so thankful for your support and for not being quiet about that which YOU believed in. You have blessed my life in such an incredible way! Thank you! As for me, I am going to hit the streets and try to get our team some good recruits! Missionary work is awesome! Have a GREAT week everyone! I love you!

Trogen och Stadig, Är Jag Redo!!!!!
Faithful and Steady, I AM Ready!!!!!

Äldste Kundis :) :) :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Hey! What did you do this weekend?!".. "Oh, you know, just had a BAPTISM!!"

Hej Familj!!!

Well, as you can tell, everything went great with the baptism for Dermas! We had a pretty good turn out for the service and everything came together. We could most definitely see the Lord's hand in making sure everything went well. We had two senior couples there, two other sets of missionaries, and us two! LOTS of black name-tags! I guess that missionaries like to see baptisms!Okay, well the Spirit was most definitely there and everyone had a good time but what really got me the most was how happy Dermas and his mother were! They both had the biggest smiles on their faces and we could tell that it had been a good day for them! As well as for all involved!

Funny story.. So, Dermas is like 6' 6" so we needed to fill the font quite a ways as to accommodate for his tall self. There was an awesome member family that came (The Fhors Family) ((Related to President Fhors from Skövde)) and they brought with them their two boys. The two were both plastered to the glass excited to see the baptism. So, as Dermas entered the water, a tidal-wave of water jumped out of the font and splashed through the space between the glass and the floor completely drenching William, one of the Fhors kids. He lost it!! He started screaming and yelling! Not really constant, but he was just shocked! We all started laughing, and Äldste Shear and Dermas thought they had just had a baptism in a baptist church or something! Hallelujah! :) Good memories! There were some other funny moments too, such as Äldste Shear and Dermas BOTH forgetting to bring extra white button-up shirts. I had to run back and forth from the baptismal clothes closet a few times before everything was figured out. Haha It was an awesome baptismal service! :)

Yesterday, on Sunday Dermas arrived early to church with his mother. He was looking sharp as always for his confirmation. Sacrament meeting started and soon we were up in the front and one of the Priests was holding a microphone to my mouth. I was able to confirm Dermas and it was a great experience! He seemed happy and I am sure I was smiling just as big! It is so amazing being a part of all this. Dermas has made some excellent decisions and he will continue to make good decisions with the help of the Holy Ghost. I feel as though I get to be a part of his life in some way. That I am helping him progress and by so doing, gaining a good friend and a brother in the Lord. It just doesn't get better! haha :)

Okay, well something went wrong with the computer that I am using, so now my time just went down by a LOT.. Sorry, but this is going to have to be quick... E-mails! First we have Dad! I love you Dad! Okay, I will get on things and try as hard as I can to get that stuff you asked for. Hopefully it will be easier to work through all of the things now that I know a little bit more about the system! Thank you for answering my questions and for the money to get some things before my time is up. I truly appreciate it! I do not remember much about the call I had with the Student Loan people. My first thought was that I could not get another deferment because they said I could return home and get a job to start paying on the interest or something like that. But, it might be worth it to give them a call and just see if I could buy some more time from them and explain that I can't return to school until the Fall Semester.. I dunno, maybe look into it and see and if I need to call someone just let me know and I will get in touch with President Newell! No problem! YES, I am very cold... Haha, it is okay, and I am surviving, but the harsh winds and falling snow is quickly becoming an annoyance! It makes contacting so... fruitless.. haha I am sure anyone who knows what contacting in the snow is like can understand! :) ;) lol I am having a lot of fun though, and it is a blast being a missionary! Our other investigators are doing good! We are having a little bit of trouble trying to get a time set up with Kent because his work is completely unpredictable. Lame! But he is still positive and from what we can tell, he wants to meet! Yay! We will see what this next week will bring! Hopefully Marcello one of our other investigators will return home from his trip to Peru this week and we can meet him again! Another yay! :) I love you Dad! I hope that I answered all of your questions and that you are doing well! OH! As for what day I want to speak in Sacrament Meeting... uhhh.. Can you just pick?? I think that would be best! Ready whenever! :)

Okay, well now I am going to move on to Matt! I love you Matt! Oh wow, I am sorry Matt. It sounds like work, school and a "life" has put a lot on your plate! I remember going through all of that. Some days it just felt like I had no time to be "me" ya know?? But I must tell you the truth.. It is all in your mindset! Work is something we NEED to do. There is no way around it as much as we really want there to be. So, be happy with the job you have. Make it fun! That should be easy for you! :) If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, learn to live with it. You will grow incredible amounts by working at it! Trust me, I know that is true! :) ;) School is another one of those things that we just have to do. Here is the secret.. Make it something you WANT to do. Learning is fun! Share with Mom and Dad the cool things you are learning or at least some of the funny stories that happen in class. School is not there to make your life boring. I know, sounds sketch.. But it is true. If you learn to love it however hard that may be at first you will never regret it, and your life will be filled with success and knowledge! :) Keep at it! Senior year is really tough when it gets down to the end. Just keep swimming brother! Use floaties if ya have to! ;) No shame in that.. haha I love you a lot Matt! Know that you are in my prayers and that you have lots of people around you ready and willing to lift you up, dust you off, and encourage you to try again. Two of them live with you. They are called parents! Give 'em a try! I promise they want nothing more than to see you happy and to see you succeed! Okay, have a great week Matt! You will be in my thoughts and prayers even more since you asked for some assistance from your brother in Sweden! Let me know how everything goes! :)

Okay, now on to Mom because my time is running away from me! I love you Mom! No, I have not received your package yet, but I will be on the look-out for it! Thank you so much for sending me another one! I am sure the man at the post office knows that there is someone in Sweden who is loved dearly! :) Wow, there is a lot to respond to in your e-mail.. I hope I can answer everything with the time I have left! The baptism really was awesome! If felt great in the church building! The Spirit was there and the heater started working again! All it took was a missionary to turn a switch.. hmm.. lol :) I hope that things will be warming up here in the future as well! Today the sun is shining and no snow so that is a good start! We will have to wait and see what the future will bring! So, nothing back from BYU yet huh? Oh well, I guess we will have to wait and see! If Matt ever has questions about anything just have him ask me. I am in the mission field where there are missionaries that went to many of the various schools he could attend! Just ask and I will see what I can do for him! No, I don't think you told me about the surgery you had! I hope that you've learned your lesson about staying out in the hot sun all day! Hate to say it, but, we told you so! haha I love you! :) Let me know how everything went! As for what I have had at member's houses lately.. Well we ate burgers at the Fhors' house last night! We had pea soup and Swedish pancakes (a Swedish tradition) TWICE this week! We have had pasta and tacos and etc... lol You should make them braised beef! lol ;) or maybe Chicken-cheese rice?? I think thats what is was called. OH!! Lasagna! If you orka! lol :) Thats always good! :) Cheesy Garlic biscuits! Ok, I need to stop an move on! I love you Mom! I hope you have a good week and the the missionaries enjoying eating my food.. I mean, their food.. hahaha You are in my prayers as always! I love you!

Okay now for my Spiritual Thought! Since Valentine's Day is coming up here.. Which reminds me HAPPY BIRTHDAY MATT TINER!!!! Woooooooo! Haha :) It is the season for love, and what better love to talk about than the love of the Savior. He loves us all soooooo much! We can't even fathom how much he wants what is best for us, and wants us to choose the correct path to come back to Him. I love you all so much! Get a hold of a Preach My Gospel and study the Christlike attribute of love. (chapter 6) It will truly bless your life as I know it has blessed mine! I must be going now! I have less than a minute before the computer shuts off! Have a great week!

Trogen och Stadig, Är Jag Redo!!!!!
Faithful and Steady, I AM Ready!!!!!

Äldste Kundis :) :) :)