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 :) :) :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ice Cold Elder!!

Hej Familj!!!

As the subject line says, I am ice cold right now. We have been having some severely cold weather! Yesterday in church all of us were freezing so badly that we had to keep rubbing our arms to stay somewhat warm. It is bad.. haha I wouldn't mind much if I could just sit inside by a heater, but as a missionary I have to leave and go out on the streets! It is hard at times, but it is all worth it! Today is clear and windy though, so hopefully that means some warm weather is coming our way?? I sure hope so!

Good thing I purchased those boots from Missionary Mall, because my other two pairs of shoes both have holes in them so when I walk in all of the snow my feet get cold and wet! No problems though, because these boots are doing just the trick!

This week has been a good one! We WILL be having a baptism this Saturday for Dermas. His brother is having a little bit of trouble right now and we think it is best that he wait a little longer. We continue to pray for him. Kent is doing well, and we will be meeting him this week to set a date for him. Needless to say, Äldste Shear and I are very excited that we will have the opportunity to see a baptism together during our last transfer! Hopefully more! :) Dermas asked Äldste Shear to baptize him and he asked me to do the confirmation on Sunday. His mother is very excited that he is finally becoming a member of the church, and she can't wait to go home to Washington and tell all of her friends! haha She is awesome and loves the missionaries! We will make sure that all goes well for both of them and I will tell you all about the details next Monday! It is going to be a great week!

Lets see, any other news right at the moment... Hmm, nope not really, just loving life! I need to get to the e-mails because I have less time to write this week.

First up is Dad! I love you Dad! Yeah, the life of a missionary is a good one! Miracles, struggles, highs, lows... They all make for a really grand adventure! That was a crazy story you told me about your train ride down from your last area. Sounds kind of like you had a memory flashback. Those are awesome! I know that I will have many of the same feelings you had, but as for right now, I would rather just leave them be and deny the fact that they are coming.. yet I know the are... eek! Weird.

Yes, to answer your question, I do still have that guitar with me! It is starting to sound funny and make weird noises when I play, but I figure that is because it is getting old! I enjoy having it to relax after a long hard day. Music rules. haha :) I also remember that show at Hastings. I want to do things like that when I return, but hopefully it will be with a group of friends as a band or something.. I dunno, we will see! Anyway, I love you Dad! Have an awesome week, and I want you to know that you have been in my prayers a lot lately! The Lord will provide! I know that is true!

Okay, now on to Mom! I love you Mom! Thank you for your e-mail! Am I happy?? Of course I am!!!! As happy as I have EVER been! Am I warm?? NO. Not at all! haha But I don't want to complain anymore about that! :) ;) That is pretty cool that the Giants won the Superbowl. If I had been able to watch, I would have rooted for them over the Patriots. So, good for them! Just a question, has Matt heard anything from BYU Provo yet?? Just curious! Lol, that was random.. Hmm, That was a really cool idea you had for the primary kids to learn the song, "Choose the Right". Sounds like you know how to get them to remember the song! Fun activities really are the best way to create a lasting memory! Good job! I am again glad that you like my Spiritual Thoughts. I for one, wish that I had more time for them! I always seem to have to rush when writing e-mails! Ugh! It must be the P-day curse! (not sure really what that is... haha) I know that you are going to have a great week! Did you know that? haha Well, it is true! I love you Mom!!!

Okay, now on to Matt! I love you Matt! Not too much is going on right now, just writing you an e-mail from the library in Jakobsberg Centrum! What is up with you? haha So, it was a surprise that the Giants won the Superbowl? Why is that? Were they not good?? Just curious I guess. Wow, that class really sounds like it is helping you possibly more than the kids! I am very proud of you for making a difference in their lives and being their friend. Just know that every time you walk into their classroom there is a Father in Heaven with a very big smile on his face. Did you ever think about that?? He is proud of you too! Sick! haha :)

You are just FULL of trunky comments! Did you know that your e-mails make me the most trunky?! Yup. Congrats bro! Nah, it is good to have someone reminding me that it IS coming up. It will be a good time, and a hard time.. I dunno, I've never done it before! lol! I hope you are having a blast at school and with your friends! Are you able to drive yet, or is that still in the future? Yeah, we will throw you an awesome Graduation Party at the LaQuinta! Of the hook?? Is that what the kids are saying now a days? ;) I love you brother! Have an awesome week!

Okay, QUICK Spiritual Thought! When was the last time you read you Patriarchal Blessing?? If is was a while ago, pull it out! I read mine often and remind myself of what is in store for me. I particularly focus in on the part about my mission! Our Heavenly Father knows who we are, and who we have the potential to become. He helps us here on Earth to make the right choices and follow the right paths. Scriptures, prophets, prophecies etc... How often do we use these gifts? Often I hope! I love you all very much! I love being a missionary! The Church is true! haha Until next week...

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

Äldste Kundis :) :) :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

It just doesn't get any better than this!

Hej Familj!!!

This week has been incredibly awesome! We have been working hard, and really having a great time. If there was ever a dream "last transfer", I am having it. A great friend by my side, a ward full of members willing to do missionary work, and investigators ready and willing to be baptized! Just so you know, we moved Darmas and Aman's baptismal date to the 11th instead of the 4th. We just want to make sure they are ready. No worries though, they are really excited for their baptism!

Now, let me tell you about a little miracle named Kent. We were heading to the bus one morning and stopped to talk to a man that was walking down the same path as us. When we stopped him he was a little surprised, but decided to stay and hear the message that we were sharing. He told us about his belief in God and Jesus Christ, and about how he is always trying to get closer to them. We told him that as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ it was our privilege to teach others about how they can do just that. He was excited about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, and he was even more excited to come to church! Well, Sunday came and Kent was no where to be found. Later on in the week we gave him a call and set up a time to meet with him at the Church. He came and explained that he had no way of getting to the church on Sunday because his friend uses his bus card on the weekends. He apologized and said that he truly did want to come. We taught him that day and the Spirit was there with us. I invited him to baptism, and he said YES! So, Kent will be baptized sometime in the near future. We don't have an exact date for him yet, but we will set that up on Tuesday when we meet with him! We were able to arrange a ride for him, and he came to church yesterday! During our investigator class we showed our group the baptismal font. We said to Darmas and Aman, "This is where you will be baptized." To which Kent said, "And maybe I will join you!" Hahaha!! Eager maybe??!?! Wooo! I love being led to the prepared!

So, we are doing well here in Jakobsberg! Oh, and just so you know there was another man named Marcello who was a member referral. We met with him and he asked us this question.. "Do I need to read the whole Book of Mormon before I am baptized??" HAHAHA!!! He is going to be away on a vacation to Bolivia for a couple of weeks, but we were able to teach him and feel the Spirit of this man before he headed off. He will be baptized when he returns! Wooo! :)

So, as you can tell I am a very VERY happy missionary! The Second Harvest is here in Sweden! Prophets have prophesied of its coming, and I am so blessed to be able to be here to see it happen! How awesome!!! :) We have a fun P-day planned so I better get the e-mails going!

First up is Dad! I love you Dad! I loved the British accent you had going on in your e-mail.. Haha, not exactly sure what prompted that, but it made me laugh! It is soooo cold here!! No warm weather at all! We have had lots of snow, and I am starting to think that it will never go away! Hopefully we see some of those warm air trends you all are experiencing, but if not, just know that there IS a part of the world that is frozen solid! haha :) As for the week filled of music, it went great! My musical number at Zone Conference was fun, even if I was nervous! Funny, tell me to stand up and testify that there is a God and that he knows each and every one of us and I puff out my chest in courage, but ask me to stand and sing a solo and my knees start to shake! hahaha :) It was fun! I am very thankful for the gift of music in my life and in our family! It is incredible! Also, Zone Conference was really awesome! Once again I felt the Spirit testifying to me of the importance of this work. It is always an uplifting experience!

This Conference however, was a little bitter-sweet. When we first arrive in the mission we give a testimony at our first Zone Conference followed by the "departing missionaries" testimonies. This Conference guess who was the "departing missionary"?? Yup, me. I shed some tears and gave my best advice to all that were there. I felt like Mormon and Moroni giving their "final testimonies".. haha It felt very strange to be standing up there again after two years. It really has flown by! No worries though, I still have time!!! Yay! :) Anyway, I love you Dad! Did you do anything like that in Japan?? Just wondering! Have a great week!

Okay, now on to Matt! I love you Matt! I am very glad that you are excited to read this e-mail! I am excited to write it and answer your questions! Yes, I still listen to a lot of music.. The genres have changed quite a bit though.. haha You know, the regular missionary music library.. Mo Tab, EFY, Conference Talks... etc... haha Yup, all of the good stuff! ;) The Swedish people normally listen to American songs.. They don't get really popular here unless they sing in English. There are some good artists that sing in Swedish, but for the most part they are not listened to. haha :) That is really cool about what you heard from the CEO of Benefis! He has it right! Woo! I love you a lot brother! Have lots of fun and finish out your last semester of High School strong! How is it going in that class you told me about?!? Take care of Molly and play some fetch with her! Maybe with the snow you will be getting soon! :) ;) haha I love you man! Have a great week!

Okay, next is Mom! I love you Mom! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am glad that you had a fun day and that Dad and Matt took care of you! They are really good at that! :) Haha, I would love nothing more than to sing When I am Baptized in Swedish for your Primary kids! Sounds like lots of fun! They are very lucky to have you as their chorister! :) Don't worry about the food situation, I am getting better at saying no thank you and eating slower! haha We will win the war! :) They are just so nice to us! Once again the week is full of diner appointments! I love it! This work is incredible, and every single day I am happier and happier! What a blessing! :) I hope that you are feeling well and that work is being good to you! I love you Mom! Have a great week and know that you are in my prayers! :)

Okay for the Spiritual Thought we must turn to Exodus! Chapter 14 to be exact! This is when Moses is in a little bit of a tough situation! In verses 10-12 we read about how the Children of Israel kinda freaked out a bit. "And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness." Just put yourself in Moses' position! how would you feel?! Do we sometimes decide to yield to the enemy instead of trusting in our God? ? ? Moses answers them in verses 13-14. "And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." Trust in God. Need I say more? I know that when we put our full trust in Him our Father in Heaven will "deliver" us out of any situation we might find ourselves in. Don't give up. Never give up. Trust in God and everything will be okay. I KNOW that is true! I love you all so much! Have a great week and do something fun!! Something really REALLY fun! :)

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

Äldste Kundis :) :) :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

This just in... Winter!

Hej familj!!!

Well as you can see from the subject of the e-mail we finally got some REAL snow here in Jakobsberg, Sweden! It all started on Saturday night. We were coming home from a baptism the ward had for Nicolas Espinoza (he turned 8!!) and it started to snow lightly. Well, when we woke up the next day it had snowed quite a bit, and it got worse and worse. Outside right now it is easily negative temperatures and we have lots and lots of snow. I am starting to think that we get the same weather you all get, but we get it a bit later. There is probably some scientific explanation for that, but I am not sure what. So, if that is true, I think we might have a warm-up coming our way? Time will tell, and we will see!

So, we have had an incredible week! Let me first start out with some very exciting news! Two of our investigators have decided to be baptized! Isn't that awesome! Their names are Darmas and Aman. They live here in our area and their Mom, who is a member from Washington State, is here visiting. The missionaries have been teaching them with their mother and they feel that it is time to move forward and join their mother. We went over to teach them and had planned to invite them to be baptized and they accepted, no problems at all! It was a very Spiritual teach and I know that everyone felt the love of our Heavenly Father. So.. They are scheduled to be baptized on the 4th of February. It will be a great day, and we will be with them every step of the way! Woo!

As for the rest of the week... We have been fed sooooo much food.. I am always so full. This is a real problem!! I think the members here are trying to stuff me up so they can shove me in their oven! Haha I am just kidding.. But seriously though, the members basically refill my plate when I finish. I don't know what to do and we have dinners planned for every day until February! And that is only because the February calendar is not up on the board yet! I think I might just keep it down for a bit.. You know, give my stomach a break! Haha I love this place!

Oh! This is another fun thing that happened. We were asked to put together the baptismal program for Nicolas' Baptism, and as we were typing it up and getting everything ready, the parents called and asked me to do a musical number! haha I had like no time to practice, but I was able to polish up a version of "When I am Baptized". They time came and needless to say, I was nervous! I started to play and all feelings of nervousness left me!! It was SOOO COOL to sing the same song I sang at my baptism but only this time in Swedish! "Ibland Kan Jag se Regnbågen" That is it's Swedish title. It all turned out well and they really appreciated it. Now all I have to worry about is the musical number they asked me to do at tomorrow's Zone Conference! Yikes! I will be singing "I know that my Redeemer lives" the EFY version that Josh sang at his farewell and homecoming. It should be great! I have Syster Bylund playing the piano for me which is awesome because I got to know her really well when I was the center missionary in Stockholm a few months back.

Anyway, this will be a great week and I am looking forward to it! As for our p-day today we will be heading into Stockholm for an activity with all of the other missionaries in the Stockholm Zones. You know, the activities I would always go to when I was in Linköping?? Yup, only this time I am living in Stockholm! haha Not really, but basically because I am soooo close. It is all one big city anyways.

Okay, I will get to the e-mails now! First up, Matt! I love you Matt! Congrats on being done with finals! Those are always rough, but at the same time it is really nice to have the longer lunches and only like three classes. Not to mention, if you finish quick you get lots of free time to listen to music or whatever. I loved that part of finals. I must say that you have really impressed me! That class you were talking about really sounds like it would be rewarding. You would be the perfect person to help out with those kids and keep them laughing and happy. Not to mention the fact that you will remain humble and always remember that we are ALL sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven. How great is that! Let me know how that class goes for you. I am so proud of you and the man you are becoming. Keep it up brotha! So Elder Prosser had a good talk huh? That is awesome! I bet he learned a lot and really enjoyed his time serving! Missions are the best thing for our lives. Better than diets, better than education, better than iPhones... haha They teach us what is important and what really is not. We develop relationships with our Father in Heaven and with Jesus Christ. Missionaries learn through experience how to deal with the challenges of life. Prepare now my brother who I love! You will never EVER regret the decision to serve a mission. Okay, so good luck with your job at the LaQuinta! Sounds like some tough work.. Painting can be stressful at times, but I am sure you will become an expert at it in no time at all! I love you Matt! Have a fun week and good luck with your new classes!

Okay, now it is time for Dad! I love you Dad! Okay, to answer your questions about our companionship. We are "Co-Seniors" which basically means that the Lord is our Senior. We follow the Spirit at all times when making decisions and it has been an incredible experience so far. Being with Äldste Shear again has been so much fun. Not a day goes by that we are not laughing and having the time of our lives in the service of our God. I am so thankful to the Lord for this opportunity. :) Thank you for your story of when you first arrived in Japan. I remember you telling me that towards the beginning of my mission and it was helpful to know that what I was going through, no matter how personal, was universal. We all have those moments. But it is in those moments we grow the most! I know that it true! Never would I give back one of those many experiences I have had. I have learned too much from them. They are my experiences.. I was sent here to have them and to learn from them and I cherish them. I love this!!!!!!!!!!! haha I just love how the more and more I serve I get caught up in the joy of our God. It is all so real! I know it! Now, if only I could get everyone I meet to realize that! :) ;) I love you very much Dad! Take care of the family and please know that you are in my prayers. Every single day!!!! Have a great week!

Now it is on to Mom! I love you Mom! I must be honest in saying that I thought it was rather funny you didn't realize that the story I sent was about me until you were a ways through it. I guess I didn't do a very good job in explaining that. But oh well, you know now! :) You have been sick?!?! What!?! I really REALLY hope that you are feeling better now! No one likes to be sick. I am glad however that you are feeling better! Keep working at it! :) It really sounds like Matt Prosser's talk was great! I am sure that the Spirit was right there in the chapel testifying to all that this work is great! I am so lucky Mom!! Look at me.. I am a missionary who gets to go out everyday and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What an amazing opportunity! I am blessed and all those who are able to serve are blessed as well! :) I guess I am just going to be happy today. Haha Sounds good to me! :) I hope that you are happy and loving life, because it is amazing! Get feeling better and have a good week of work! As I told Dad, you are also in my prayers every single day! Don't you forget it! haha I know you wont! I love you Mom!

Okay, now let me get to the Spiritual Thought! I have time to write one out, but I feel like this is going to be awesome. Go to the Church's website and watch the video titled, "Power of God". It really touched me, and I know that you will enjoy it too! The Priesthood is no joke folks... It is real. It comes from God. It's power blesses many and I am thankful for the ability I have to bless others with it. I love you all very much! Have an amazing week! We are blessed. We truly are.

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

Äldste Kundis :) :) :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Loving my new area!!!

Hej Familj!!!

Well, sorry but this is going to be one of those annoying short e-mails. I logged on to my e-mail here in the Jakobsberg library and noticed that there were some things from the mission office that I needed to fill out and send back. That took most of my e-mail time.. Yup, that right, I have e-mail time now. haha We don't e-mail from the church in this area so we have to book times here in the library.

Anyway, let me get to this week! I must say that I have fallen in love very quickly with my new area! The streets are ready and the doors are waiting. Sadly though, most of those doors are in apartment buildings with coded doors that lock us out. So, most of our work is contacting on the commuter trains, buses and on the streets. It is great!

Äldste Shear and I are loving being together again. Honestly we feel that we have the best companionship in the mission.. We don't want the others to hear about that.. okay??? haha But we all know it is true! :) I met the WARD for the first time yesterday in church and they are all so very awesome! Lots of different cultures, and I think I should mention a large part of that is Spanish!! It is so cool!!! :) haha I love it! I look forward to the time ahead to spend with them and to get to know them. Oh, did I mention that we have a dinner every single night this week with a member!! AWESOME! I can't think of a better place to be. I honestly can't!

I really have no time so I am going to head out and move on with our p-day. Not too much going on just checking out the local stores and possibly meeting up with the Stockholm Elders a little later. This evening we will have a dinner with a member and finish our day with contacting/knocking on doors in that area. OH!! I almost forgot! We have an incredible Senior Couple serving in our district! The Johansons! They are incredible and ready to work! It is going to be so awesome here!!!!!!!! Agh!!!! :) I love you all!

Oh, I thought I could include this in the e-mail. I think I have already told you all this story, but in case not, here it is! I hope you like it! (It was written to the missionaries serving here in Sweden)

I was a new missionary in a land that was strange to me. The language was hard to understand and finding groceries in the local ICA was nearly impossible because everything had new names! I began to work with my trainer and quickly became discouraged with the work. It was nothing like the MTC prepared me for. So many slammed doors and rude people clouded my mind. I was unhappy and my future as a missionary looked bleak in my eyes. The Lord knew these struggles though, and gave me a glimpse of what the next two years would hold in store! After just a few weeks in Sweden I was privileged to perform the baptism of a dear sister in our area. She quickly became a very good friend of mine and her family, consisting of three children, found a place in my heart. I described the feelings I had in the baptismal font as "purely Celestial", and I figured that was the greatest feeling of missionary work.
My four months in the area flew by as I came to love the branch and investigators. I cried as I left and said a little prayer in my heart that all would be well, and that this particular family would be taken care of. Now, fast forward into the future... I was in a different area and we headed to the Zone Conference scheduled for the day. When I arrived I had the opportunity to talk with one of the Assistants to the President about the growth seen across the mission. This magnificent Elder went on and on about the miracles being seen in all of our areas. My ears perked up as I heard him mention a family in the area I had served in as a brand new missionary.
He told of a dear sister in the branch with three kids who had remained incredibly faithful after her baptism. He spoke in almost reverent tones of her strong testimony and how it was blessing the work and the branch of the area. My heart leaped for joy as I realized just who he was talking about. Tears filled my eyes as he explained that this sister had found a good man in the church, also with a strong testimony, and was planing on getting married to him in the near future. What increased my joy even more was that this new family was planning on living in the area to help build up the branch. I thought I was going to fall over and collapse in that same "purely Celestial" joy I had felt at her baptism.
I was reminded of Ammon's experience recorded in Alma 27:17, "Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhausting of his strength; and he fell again to the earth." I remember that day perfectly. I will always cherish it and thank my Father in Heaven for the opportunity of being a part of it.
Later in my mission I would come to find out that all three children decided to be baptized so that, "they could be sealed in the temple together as a family forever." Upon hearing that, I was again struck with another "Ammon Experience". So much joy! This family is doing so very well and I look forward to the communication we will be able to have when I return home from the blessed fields of Sweden.
This work IS the work of the Lord. If we have faith in Him, and His mission, He will bless us and no matter what happens we will be, as Ammon was, "swallowed up in the joy of [our] God, even to the exhausting of [our] strength." I testify that this work blesses all who are involved with it. Our brothers and sisters need us now more than ever. Let us go forward with faith knowing that we are called and ordained, ready and willing and seeking humbly the joy of our God.

(THIS IS GARRETT'S STORY...about HIM!...from mom)

Have a wonderful week family! I love you all sooooo very much! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!! Until next week...

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

Äldste Kundis :) :) :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

A dream come true!!!!

Hej Familj!!!

Well I have some very exciting news to share with you all!!! As most of you probably know, transfers were announced this week. We received our call this past Saturday from President Newell early in the morning. Guess what?? I am moving! But guess what the BEST part is?? I will be with my MTC companion Äldste Shear again!!! Hahaha! I know right! How awesome is that! I will be able to end my mission with the same companion that I started the mission with. Over our time together in the MTC and out here in the field we have quickly become very good friends. This transfer call was truly an answer to prayer.. Just what I wanted. I remember the two of us talking in the MTC about what if we were companions in the mission field, and now it is actually happening!!! Wooo!

We will be serving in Jakobsberg which is basically Stockholm. (it is just north of Stockholm maybe only 10-15 minutes on the commuter train) I had a chance to do some work in Jakobsberg when I was serving in the Stockholm City area. I love the ward, and I love the area. Lots of people ready for the Gospel! I honestly freaked out when President told me this was happening. Most everyone in the mission is just as shocked as I was when I heard it! It will be a fantastic transfer and we will have a great time serving this last transfer of our missions together. I am soooooo excited?!? Anyone else excited out there?? You should be because this is big news! :) haha

Anyway, this week has been great! We found lots of new investigators and the work truly took a large swing upwards. Exactly what we over here in Sweden were hoping for! Yay! I must say though, the past couple of days have been very hard. It seems with every area that I leave from it gets harder and harder to say goodbye. I gave my testimony yesterday and just couldn't keep myself from shedding a few tears as I looked out on the amazing branch of Latter-day Saints that I have come to love during the months that I have served here. I will be saying goodbye to most of the branch these last couple of days because I will take the train up to Stockholm on Wednesday. I really don't like this part of transfers.... But I know that the members of Jakobsberg are just as loving! I look forward to getting to know more of them and serving them in this great work I am so blessed to be a part of!

Well, I better get to the e-mails really, really fast because I got all caught up in the transfer news. We actually are heading up to Stockholm to spend some time with the Elders there especially Äldste Wood who will be traveling home in just a couple of days. He is my brother for sure. Lots of fun will be had with him after the mission. But, thats not for a long long long time so thats that! Okay, first we have Dad! I love you Dad! Sorry that the fireworks woke you up and made you tired on Sunday. Sounds like no fun! Hopefully there have not been too many aftershocks lately and you have been sleeping like a baby again! By the way, do you still nap on the couch every once in a while and stick your hand in your button-up shirt??? That always amused me! I remember taking a picture of you and turning it into a Darth Vader themed picture. Complete with a light-saber and all! :) So, Matt Proser returned home huh?? That is great! I am sure that his family is LOVING THAT!! Be sure to tell him hi for me and that I hope he had a fabulous mission! Okay, sorry but this must stay short if I want to get to everyone! I love you Dad! Have a great week and know that you are forever in my prayers!

Okay, now on to Matt!! I love you Matt! I am going to ignore your trunky comments and tell you that I love you! All in good time brother! Thank you for letting me know that you are praying for me! Be sure to say your personal prayers every night before bed! That way when I get home we both can be in the habit of kneeling down in prayer at the end of our day! It is a great feeling! Oh, and say them in the morning too... The absolute BEST way to start the day! :) Never forget this, I love you and I pray for you because I love you. Make good choices and enjoy your last year of high school! It is the best! Yes, by the way, I am set on BYU for after the mission... :) Have you heard back from them yet?? Let me know brother! I love you!

Okay I must move on to Mom now! I love you Mom! Can you really believe that this transfer actually happened?!?! Yay! Thank you for your prayers and faith! What a... blessing.. A true blessing! Thank you! :) Yes, we finally have some snow here. This is the first bit that is not leaving so I think we are in for it!!! Wooo! Bring it on! That song, "Stronger" was from the Nashville Tribute to the Missionaries CD. I believe the title is "Work". It has like a field and a guitar on the front.. Haha very fitting! :) I hope you can find it! I was very happy to hear that you enjoyed my Spiritual Thought from last week! It was something very special to me. The Spirit is felt so much, and so strong on a mission. I love it. I thought addictions were bad, but what about an addiction to the Spirit?? Haha I am sure that can't be too bad! ;) I love you so very much Mom! Your faith and prayers along with the rest of the family keep me going. They keep me focused and dedicated. I am so happy and very taken care of! The future is bright! Very VERY bright! Okay, well I love you Mom, but I need to get out of here so we don't miss our train!

Here is a quick Spiritual Thought! I am not sure if I have shared this before, but it is something that I like very much. It was a quote from Sister Siikavvara in her Sunday talk at Christmas time. She said, "In the darkest of days we gather to celebrate the birth of our Savior. The light to all the world." Isn't that amazing! In the darkest of months, both figuratively and literally, we celebrate the light to our souls. We have so much warmth and light and joy from our Savior Jesus Christ! What a blessing and a testimony of a loving Heavenly Father! Okay, well I hope that you all "stay warm" this week and make it a good one! I love you all with all of my heart! Until next week!

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

Äldste Kundis :) :) :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!! 2012!!

Hej Familj!!!

I hope that you all have had a wonderful start to your new year! Anyone make New Year's Resolutions?? I sure did! One of them I will tell you more about in the Spiritual Thought today. So, I guess I can tell you all about our awesome New Year Celebration! We were able to celebrate New Years Eve with the Siikavaara family. The same family we were at for Christmas Day. They have very quickly become my very good friends! I will be sad when I have to leave them, but we will definitely stay in touch! We were not allowed to proselyte on New Years Eve so we pretty much spent the day at their house eating really good food and having great conversations. The father of the family is not a member and can actually speak Finnish!! Have I told you that?? Anyway, Elder Rautio was able to talk with him and the two of them bonded, partly because of their love for hockey! So, that was cool.

This year the fireworks were just as crazy as last year. Very dangerous though. Little kids, mostly immigrants, are still running around with lit rockets and fire-crackers! Nuts! haha It still amazes me just how big fireworks are here. Sure, they miss out on the 4th of July, but they truly do make up for it on New Years!

Anyway, the work is going a bit slow right now, but that's mainly due to the holidays. But, those are over now. Time to bring the Gospel in! We are looking forward to a large upswing in the work, and we are working to see that happen!

I did know that BYU won their Bowl Game against Tulsa! Way to go Cougars! Always feels good to have another bowl game under your belt! Next season will be fun to watch and I am sure that we will do even better!

So, I was able to start my new year by giving another talk in church! haha I was called on Friday and asked to speak about something from General Conference. I read through the Liahona and found a great talk by Elder Richard G. Scott. It was exactly related to a District Meeting I had just given and really focused on something I have been thinking about recently. Agh! I am getting into my Spiritual Thought already!! haha I will just skip it for now and get to the e-mails before I forget!

Okay first up today is Matt! Okay, I guess I should come clean to you... You said in your e-mail that you wish we could have Skyped... I assume that you meant with the video and all... Well, funny you mention it.. We were actually given permission from President Newell to Skype home if we so desired. Heh heh.. lol! Dad had already purchased the calling cards plus I just didn't want to Skype with the video feed. I will see you all live soon enough. No need to do it now! ;) So, sorry about that! :) I had a great time though! You have asked about our P-days.. Lately they have been pretty boring. Not too much to do right now with the weather like this. Our preparation days normally consist of shopping for food or looking at shops, and of course e-mailing home to you! We take it easy and rest to get prepared for the week of work that we have ahead of us. So, BYU is doing well with sports! Very good to hear! Keep following them so you can fill me in! You took Molly to a palace?!?! Are you trying to make her love you more than me?? Watch it brotha.. haha ;) jkjk I am glad she was able to get some royal treatment! You found my old phone?? Where was it? Was it in my old things? Why are you going through all of that! You DO remember that I was there when Josh and Kevin were gone.. You can't have my clothes! :) hehe I think your idea of getting me an iPhone is a great one! I am completely okay with that. haha But that wont be for a long while. All in good time! Haha I love you Matt! I hope you drive carefully and take the Spirit with you wherever you go! By the way... Thanks for NOT telling me about the whole Suburban thing. You played me like a fiddle! jkjk I love you man! Have a great week!

Okay moving right along to Dad! I love you Dad! The weather here is just like you described it there. Warm and not too much snow. It comes every once and a while but it is basically just freezing rain and it all goes away by the next day. It is very strange that we still have green grass and green plants... Whats going on?!?! But like you, I am not complaining. I am a missionary for a living and the dry streets are no problem for me! ;) haha I think you have it right about the answers to prayers and fasting. I have been blessed and I am continuing to be blessed as I serve with all I got! You asked about the last transfer... It should happen sometime soon here probably in a week or so. Next e-mail might have some specific info for you but you know either way I will keep you informed! :) Am I learning Finnish?? Is that possible?? haha Yeah, Äldste Rautio is teaching me some cool phrases, but not too many.. Finnish is hard! ;) We will see how much more I can learn! So you got the Stratus up and running again? That is good! I am sure that Matt will treat it like a little angel! He better! Anyway, I love you very much Dad! Thank you for your strong Spirit and the love you send along with your e-mails every week! I love you!

Okay, now on to Mom! I love you Mom! Oh no. Oh NOOOOO!! Not 1PM Church!!! Anything but that! haha I am only kidding. It is not THAT bad, but I guess it is not the best time. We have to be fair to the other wards though! Right? Maybe?? :) It sounds like you truly are enjoying the music in Primary.. No surprise there! I agree completely with you about the simple yet vital truths talked about in the music of the church. It is awesome! Truly music has a power to touch the very souls of mankind at a level that no other form of communication can.. Except the Spirit of course.. but I believe that music can help us feel the Spirit. It is great!!! So, you also asked about the transfer. I continue to pray with you about the transfer. I know that it will be a good one no matter what happens! :) We will work hard and do all that we were sent here to do!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LANDON!!!! ONE YEAR!!!! haha That little man is awesome! Thank you sooooo very much for the awesome pictures! It looks like he enjoyed his cake and party get-up! could have used more cake on his face though.. ;) haha! He seems to be growing fast and I hope that he is always doing well! In my prayers every day! :)

Well Mom I can guarantee that I am continuing to smile and sing every single day! It's who I am! It's in my blood! I hope that you too do the very same thing! Be happy with everything life brings you! I love you very much Mom! Have a great week and a wonderful start to your New Year! Happy 2012!!!

Okay well everyone I better get to the Spiritual Thought I was telling you all about earlier! I have been thinking a lot lately about the scriptures. There is a song on one of the CD's Mom sent to me called "Stronger". It talks about how the scriptures can make us stronger and become the air that we need to breathe in every day. I have met many people who have experienced that incredible knowledge of the scriptures, and I have felt the power of the scriptures many times on my mission... But I want more. I want more of the wonderful Spirit that comes from DAILY scripture study. No, I am not talking about the 5 or 10 minutes before bed or in the morning, but a good sit down study of the scriptures every day. I hope that this year I can continue that and read from all of the standard works. The talk I used for my talk in church was by Elder Richard G. Scott. He focused on how scriptures can become friends that are not limited by distance or schedules. They provide support and guidance and give us strength when we need it. I have made many New Years resolutions and I hope that you all have too. Lets make this year great and do all that we can to focus on that which truly is important for us here in this life. I've decided to start with the "hand book" of life. The Scriptures! :) It will be great!

****I testify that our Father in Heaven loves us and cares about us. He wants us to GROW and DEVELOP while here on this Earth, not just endure or survive!****

Let us put our feet forward knowing and trusting in faith that our Father will help us do that which he has so lovingly asked us to do! I love you all so very much! You are incredible! I love my family! Have a great New Year!

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

Äldste Kundis :) :) :)