Sweden Stockholm Mission

Monday, September 30, 2013

Kär familj och väner,
As you all know, I officially hit the big 19 on Tuesday and have one more precious year of being a teenager ha. Boy, it still hasn't even set in that I am 19 now. Where has the time gone? I miss being a kid, doing anything I wanted whenever I wanted (according to mom of course;)) I am super glad that all of you are doing so well!  

The temperature has been about 4 Celsius on average throughout the week, probably 40 Fahrenheit. It is weird seeing leaves change around the time of my birthday instead of December like in St George. However, I love being in this weather with all my heart! 
I bought a lot of cold weather clothes for my birthday, I kind of went on a little shopping spree, no big deal.  I still am in need of a few items, but I have all of the necessities that I wanted. 

With the cold weather coming so fast, I have gotten a little sick this week. Nothing major, just a tiny sore throat and some phlegm. But the tea that I drink makes it all better. Yes, tea! It is so big here, everyone loves it! I love it now! Don't worry, its not the bad tea (red, black and green) so I am not breaking the WOW. This is something that I will bring back with me: tea. So far I have had apple, bengal spice (cinammon, vanilla) (best one), and something called booiros. I don't even know what it was, all I know was that it was good and it made my throat stop hurting! I will probs send you guys some of my faves home for christmas so you can experience this too! We stopped by a little eatery stand thing and had what you call a classic rulle. This is pita bread (or flat bread type of thing from subway) with mashed potatoes and a hot dog or korv (meat) with ketchup wrapped up like a taco. SO GOOD! haha, I will definitely make that at home for y'all. Swedes are super OCD about their trash. You have to sort EVERYTHING when putting things in the trash to recycle everything. They have other countries ship them real garbage because Swedes hardly have any because they recycle everything, really weird. 

Tuesday: Moving day into our beautiful new apartment. We had to squeeze down my bag several times and received plethora of strange looks from people (not that we don't already get strange looks everyday, all day ha). I made my Mac N Cheese for lunch and it was soooooo good. If ONLY i had my hotdogs, that would have sealed the deal. Oh man. It was a good one.  I opened my b-day presents and cards (thanks for all the sarcastic attitude, it was really funny haha). I especially love the apron with the family pics on it.  

We tried swinging by to see J, because we live so close to him now (and everyone -its the best!) but it turns out that he was in the hospital! God is really wanting him to realize that we are the answer. We met up with one of our bus contacts and his family! They are the best! All of them work so that is really hard to try and set something up with them (nothing yet, but they are golden). One goes to school in U S and is looking for a church to go to and have some friends. Hmmm, I wonder where we could one?? All of them are just super open and way cool to talk to. That was the best present I could have gotten. I am so thankful for that. 

We happened to stop by the G's that night and they roped us in to dinner and cake (they knew it was my bday). They even sang a Swedish song to me. They are just the best family in the whole world!!! They are so kind and just always willing to help out whenever. I wish all of our members were like that and helping bring their friends to church and reactivating members.

Wed: I ate my bowl of reeses puffs cereal and felt like I was in heaven:) Too good. We went on splits with the zls. We were in my area so I had to put on the big boy pants and take command of the day. It was really scary and a lot of responsibility, but we made it through ok. We had little success trying to visit old investigators (GU's-gammla undersökare) and less actives (MAs-mindre aktiva) so that was pretty gloomy. However, we got to really know each other. We talked about how Sweden and America are promised lands. I'm not bragging about Sweden because I am here, but to show you how amazing this place is. God has kept them out of wars time and time again, and has kept them safe. It is really interesting to see how blessed this land is. Now, all we have to do is get the people here to realize that. 

Aldste S helped me out with some language things and grammar stuff in just the best way. He helped me see where I went wrong, asked me to figure it out for myself before he helped me see it, and then immediately apply what I just learned with a little role play. It wasn't him scolding me for making a mistake or making me feel offended at all, which is so good, and it helped me out a lot. 

We met up with a man who has played Jesus in a passion play and looks a lot like him. He is cool and open to discuss all sorts of religious things. We gave him a BOM in Afrikansk and he wants to read it!

Thurs: Me and S finished up our splits with a great role play! We took turns every 30 seconds switching off, even in mid sentance, talking about the Restoration in Swedish. You really have to pay attention to what the other one says so you can finish their thought and keep going with the topic of restoration and move on to the next thing. It was really hard, but a great way to practice Swedish and unity in teaching. Man, He is just a great missionary!  We had a meeting with the YSA pres to get them more involved with missionary work. A lot of them are RMs and want to help. 

My comp had to do a baptism interview with the wife of a young couple and I ended up chatting with the husband. He is super stoked that his wife is getting baptized (did on saturday) and wants to go on a couples mission when he's older (convert)! Super sick couple!

Friday: We got up at 6 am (with borrowed soccer balls) and hit up the soccer pitch that is right outside our new place!!!!! YES!!! Every morning since then we have gotten up and gone to play for an hour just shooting, juggling, and all that jazz! Man, it just felt so good being able to be on a field playing the game I love. Which reminds me, I would like my soccer cleats sent to me, if that's not too big of a hassle. 

President called with the transfer call which surprised us cuz I haven't finished my training yet. My comp is moving to zl in stockholm and I will stay in Lidingö with Aldste H. He and my comp were trained by the same person, and he is now finishing my training! That puts so much responsibility on me because it is my area, that I hardly know, I can't talk to people or understand when trying to set things up, I have to show him everything that is happening with the area and all that stuff. I am super nervous about this and have been really hard on myself this last week with language and stuff like that. 

We had a brasafton (fireside) that night at the kapel about the plan of salvation with lots of songs and talks and videos. All of our people bailed on us being there, so that was really sad. One of the songs was by a convert, who took third in Eurovision (like american idol). He sang You Raise Me Up and I started crying. I know I am super stressed right now and nervous about next week, but hearing that song really helped. The savior is really there to raise us up in our trials, in our hard times, in our stresses, in everything. I know the savior will help me out, and that everything will be ok. I know he will do the same for you if you ask him. I have a strong testimony of this. Go to him in everything, He is waiting to raise you up, to put you on his shoulders, to conquer mountains.

Satur: The lidingö loppet was going on all day which made it super impossible for us to do anything. This is one of the biggest marathons in Northern Europe happening on our island! But we got some good lessons in and did a lot of service for a family. We ended up walking home because the buses couldn't go anywhere, too much traffic with the race. It took a long time so we missed the baptism for J, which was really sad, but we taught a new convert who is 14. He had been struggling but we got real with him and helped him realize that he needs to shape up if people want to see him as a disciple of Christ. 

Sun: It takes even longer to get to church from our new apartment and sunday transportation doesn't run as often, so we have to leave super early. H was there for sacrament but left a bit confused. We are going to try to meet up with him again and explain and clarify things. He still is super cool and postivie about it all. We celebrated Brother G's birthday with a big party after fast sunday eating food, cake, telling stories and leaving a spiritual thought. He had some nonmember friends there with us during the party. 

Today: just got up to play futbol and now im writing! This week is going to be very awesome! It is general conference on Sat and Sun (well back at home). The morning session for you starts at 6 pm here. We will either watch it at a members place livestream or from a recording of it, or go to the chapel to watch it with our investigators. We are trying to get EVERYONE to watch it because that is the perfect scenario for them to feel the spirit and understand what we are all about! Pray that we will get our baptism Saturday, but more importantly that we get lots of people to conference! I am personally ecstatic for conference! I have been longing for it for quite sometime and hope you all are too. I can't wait to hear the prophets voice and hear what God wants us to focus on so we can better our lives! This is going to be the best one yet, I can feel it!! 

I love you all so much and pray for all of you! Good luck with this week, I hope all goes well! Conference is the best! I'm sad I wont be able to do the Iceberg shakes tradition or even the waffle breakfast, but I am glad I am here doing the Lords work. Everyday is a challenge. Rely on the saviors strength, I promise you that He will help. Jag älskar er!
Yep, that's my name!

Äldste Johnson

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hallå evrybody!!

This week has been up and down and up and down...and up....and down. It is really weird!!! But you know, you just gotta smile and work just as hard. Thanks everybody for the birthday wishes and greetings, it means a lot being that I'm 5,000 miles away (8,000 km). Yes I am using the metric system and let me tell you I am mad that America doesn't. It is so easy, but my brain is still set on the imperial system and its so hard to jump back and forth with everyday calculations. I officially hit my 1 month mark in Stockholm on Thursday which was really cool. This last week has been raining quite a bit, but as you all know, I LOVE THE RAIN!  It is crazy that I have been alive for 19 years tomorrow. It seems like yesterday I was running around in just my diaper dancing nonstop with my chubby self. Now I am on a mission??? How did that all happen??? How am I in Sweden?? I wake up everyday and think about that. 

We found out yesterday we are moving to Lidingö which is going to be so nice for us. Right now we travel for about 45 minutes there and 45 minutes back everyday which takes up a lot of precious teaching and finding time. Now we are going to be living in the place we are assigned to, next to our favorite members who love feeding us, and right next to a soccer pitch so we can wake up and go play in the morning!!! I'm so stoked about this move! 

For language study I read out loud to hear myself.  It already has helped. I am pretty good at understanding people talking but it is a very slow process from understanding to being able to actually say what they said or respond so that is tough. I still am very positive and I can only go up from here (because I am at the bottom ha). We have had a goal to baptize someone before general conference so please pray for us! I am confident that we can do it, but it requires a lot of work.

M: I received my b-day package so thanks for that. It was all the necessities I needed. [I sent him Reeces' puffs cereal, peanut butter, mac and cheese, and ranch dressing. Necessities???

Tu: My spiritual thought for District Meeting was from 1 Nephi 17:41. Lord has all power and makes a way possible for his children to be saved. Nephi recounts the story of Moses and the brass serpant and it amazes me how people had to do such a simple thing. Look at the staff and be healed. A lot of the Israelites were too proud to do such a simple task. What would you have done? 

That night we met up with one of the many K families in Stockholm. We had a good time with them and left a message. The father is big into golf and sports. The conversation he had with his wife about the importance of sports reminded me so much of mom and dad that I was laughing so hard haha. He also said that if you guys come out to pick me up, he would like to take me and pops golfing to a really nice course here in Stockholm! So there ya go dad!

W: We taught 6 lessons today so that was really cool! That meant we walked about 10 miles all day, but it was very fun! I had been struggling with opening my mouth in lessons and trying to say something because its hard to follow when they talk so fast and get off subject sometimes, so by the time I have something to say, the conversation is gone. I prayed really hard and this week I have been a lot better at opening my mouth when I wanted to say something. Also, something I have noticed is that testimonies need to be nourished. It really is like a seed if it isn't growing, it's dying. People have testimonies on the basics like God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost, but that's just the roots, you gotta expand and let the flower grow from that. It is constant care, nurture, sharing every day for your testimony to stay active to keep growing. 

Th: We had a special fast for the day for some people and help in our work. Though nothing immediately came from that, it was a good experience. Sure I was hungry during the day, but it really didn't bother me. I had a purpose for my fast and thought about that all day and it strengthened me to not worry about the temporal things and focus on the spiritual. I felt really good all day. 

Sports nite at the YSA center was great because there were a lot of investigators from the different areas and we played bball, soccer and volleyball (so much fun!). Even though we had a good time with that, it can be very distracting to the work. I honestly could play sports for days at a time, but I need to remember the reason why I am here, not for sports time, but for helping others Come unto Christ.

F: Happy Birthday to PJ! I thought about my long lost cousin on the other side of the world the whole day ha. Hope everything is going good with him in the Phillipines! We had a really good day contacting and teaching new investigators!

Sa: Weird to think that homecoming was going on back at DHills that day and I got a little homesick, I know weird right. Eller hur? (the literal translation is "or how" but the meaning is "right?"). We taught someone who has been off and on with the missionaries. We got him to really understand the difference of our church compared to all of the others and it really seemed to re-spark his interest! Hopefully things go good with him. (I think he could be the one who will be baptized before conference.)

Su:  ZL's suggested that I take a small notebook and right down words from sacrament meeting that I hear a lot but I don't recognize. Then I could look them up later and try to apply them in my teaching. It is super helpful and I can see that I do understand more than I give myself credit for. 

2 friends from another country are here on a scholarship.  But both of them are super cool, very humble and open to everything we have to offer.  We met one contacting on the street and she led us to the other so we are grateful for that.

This week we had a lot of opportunities to give blessings and use our Priesthood. It has been really cool for me to do some of them in Swedish (anointing the oil). I really rely on the Lord for help on that, but it has turned out great every time. It makes me realize how amazing it is for me to have the Priesthood. That authority from God to act with His power. Wow. He trusts me with this and I want to do all I can to always be worthy of it to show Him that he hasn't wasted His trust on me. When you truly understand how great a thing that is, you want to do all you can to not let him down. I am so honored to be able to hold this Holy Priesthood, and I challenge all of you males to live constantly worthy of it. It is amazing. God trusts you. Don't let Him down.

I love all of you so much and am so grateful for all that you have done for me, do for me now, and will do for me in the future. These 19 years have been so wonderful and I am so privileged to know all of you, thank you so much. Continue to strengthen your testimony and share it with others. Have a fantastic week!
Med Kärlek

Äldste Johnson

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tjena Tjena Hur läget?? (Slang for Whats up, Hows the situation?)
Sounds like everyone is doing fantastic as per usual! Happy birthday to my cousins and Me soon! Haha, Im not that conceited...This week anywho, has been pretty good! Just a little thought -you all should check out the Vocal Point Album "Lead Thou Me On", it is something my companion has and it has all of my favorite hymns and songs and really makes me feel good! Especially Danny Boy, holy cow that is such a great song! Yes, look it up and listen to it a lot! I promise you will feel so good!

I feel like I should talk about the investigators first before I give a little summary of the week: E- we got to meet and teach her twice this week and it went really well. We had 2 members with us each time who personally overcame some habits in their lives and shared some really great experiences with her. She really has changed so much from the first time we met, and now I see her for who she truly is: a blessed daughter of God in need of help in her life. The spirit has changed her for the better though she still struggles, but that is normal!  But the great knowledge we have is that we never have to do anything on our own. The savior is always there to help ease are burden and stay with us as we endure our trials. 

We ran into J the other day, trying to swingby his place for the 3rd time in the week without him answering, just outside of his apartment. We ended up talking there for 1.5 hours. We first just chatted with him about how he is doing, his family and just life in general. He really likes talking about God and recognizing Him in everything. So, we ever so sneakily taught him the Plan of Salvation. He basically has a knowledge about most of the things we talked about with him. Its amazing because he doesn't belong to any church, but he devotes himself to studying God. Things are good between us, but we need to take slow steps with him. But he has a general care and concern for us and likes talking about God and Jesus with us, so hopefully things will get better for us.

R is someone we met him on the tunnelbana. So we went by his place the other day and did a How to begin Teaching and Restoration lesson with him. The lesson went good and he is generally interested, not quite sure how much though. Hopefully he takes the time and search it out for himself. He offered us some wine. Obviously I said yes....HA! YA RIGHT! I got you guys! No, so we kind of did a little brief WoW with him, not too crazy though. We will see how it goes.

S is probably the best man in the whole wide world! He is a native Swede who plays American Football. He played for a Big 12 college team for a bit and now is back here working and playing in a league. He has a really amazing experience after a football injury. He was not religious at all to begin with, but after this miraculous incident he had, he found God. Ever since then he has had a strong relationship with God and Jesus and basically is like a young Joseph Smith, looking around for the truth and giving himself to a lot of study. He self-referred himself and has been going to all of the activities at the YSA center and is so great! We met him there, thinking he was a member but found out he wasn't. He works downtown and likes to meet right after before going to his home which is out of our area. So we take advantage of that.

We taught him the Restoration and Plan of Salvation and it was seriously the best lesson ever. He is so humble and just really accepting of trying new things to find out for himself. He tells us that he believes the same thing as us but has never been able to put it into words or express it. He asks us questions that we plan to teach him later and just loves our answers for him. The lessons we have with him make the mission so worth it. You can have so many rejections and have 1 simple honestly spiritual lesson with someone who is so humble and desires the truth, and that triumphs everything else! Sharing spiritual experiences with people are what make the mission so amazing. I am so glad I could share that with him. I can relate really well with him because of football and injuries, so I have shared some personal things with him and we both felt the spirit. The sad thing though, is that we have to give him up to the Gubbängen elders:( We aren't worried though, he gets a long well with everyone.

So anyway, the week in wrap! M: went all over Gamla Stan with a bunch of elders, met some guys who were backpacking Europe and Asia for 6 months with only a small backpack with essentials and 1 pair of clothes! They were RMs and just the coolest guys on the planet!!! Oh man, Brady, we are so doing that when I get home!!!! I have a lot to tell you about them and that!

T: hit my 2 month mission mark.  We started running every other day and it gives me so much energy throughout the whole day!  Plus my workouts are getting better.  I read a lot about stories of faith in Hebrews 11 and Ether 12 which are super cool.  We came up with a brilliant way of sorting our area into people to work with, those who need work, and those who we can stop working with.  It is super helpful for us and took quite some time to get it done.  But it with also help the home and visiting teachers with their responsibilities and reactivation.

Mom, you will be happy because we went to the DI place again and I found a way awesome thick coat in perfect condition for a steal!! We have been working on thankful prayers after all of our visits, no matter what happens in the lesson. It really helps us focus on what God has given us and refocuses our minds to go back to work. 

W: it was 9/11 and that was really hard. That day is always so hard for me because I think about the all of the lives that were lost and all of the families that were affected. It is really such a tragedy, but blessing to remember what happened to remind us that life is short. Live it up. Share your love with everyone and make sure they know it. I love all of you so much. I really do. I have gotten into reading a lot in the Bible Dictionary when I have time, which is never, but I hope to be able to do it at home because it is so interesting and informative. We average at least 1 meal with someone every day so no complaints here, no matter the the food is, haha. We are planning a huge ward party/talent show in Oktober to help members, less actives, investigators, etc can come and have a great time! We are really excited for that, and I will tell you more about that later.

Th: the norm of swingbys, reactivize, and baptize ha. I should tell you though that I have seen a lot of things here. Things. Yes. Europe is very open and all about the natural body, so thats all I am going to say about the matter...haha.

F: long weekly planning sesh which we ended up making faces at each other and laughing for no reason. Sound familiar? We had a contact with and an elderly person. We knocked and she asked us who we were. We said the missionaries and she said, I cant talk now I'm naked! hahahaha  Here's an idea - Put some clothes on so we can talk with you!!! Oh man, old people kill me. Just chilling in their room in the raw. We contact a lot of great people who always turn out to live out of our area so that is super frustrating for us because we don't have anybody to work with.

Sa: we cook smores, or at least the equivalent to that, on the stove and it actually is super good!! I sang at the sisters investigator baptism for P. I sang I Need Thee Every Hour in front of Pres Newell! It went really well, though P planked it into the water and forgot to plug his nose! Haha it was great but so spiritual too. The APs (the coolest guys ever) took us to dinner that night which was super good at an Asian restaurant run by a less active member.

Su: I gave my first talk in Swedish about tithing with Prez there again! President did the confirmation of P in French which was really cool. I talked with one of the YSAs in our ward who got her associates at BYU-H and knows a lot of the guys on the soccer team!!! We talked for a long time and she is putting a good word for me with those guys! Im way stoked about that! We taught the gospel principles lesson (a lot this week for me, I know!) about the creation. We went to the G's for dinner and got talking about their son who died on his mission. It was really sad. I can't imagine that. Losing a son, brother, and friend. My love to them and to everyone who has lost a loved one. Especially dad, I love you so much. It must be so hard, you are a great example to me I hope you know that. 

The knowledge of the Plan of Salvation gives us so much comfort to know that we can be with them again, what an amazing plan God has for us. I know this gospel is true. I live it everyday and try to share it with everyone. It gives me so much joy and peace to know who I am, where I came from, and where I am going. God couldn't have planned it any better. It is my testimony to all of you that through Christ we are able to overcome our human mistakes and become clean and able to return with our Father in Heaven. I love that. Don't be afraid to go to him in prayer. I love all of you, have a great week!

Äldste Johnson

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hallå everyone!!
Well it sounds like everybody is doing fantastic this week. So mom and everyone, please  put the date on when you send letters by mail because I cant tell how long it has taken to get here but it takes a long time, so ya. And yes, I knew all of the stuff about Sweden you told me: The H&M store is huge here (like one store every block), Volvo is huge here and yup. I dont know the names of any food here so sorry about that. 

Ok so a couple of things I would like to talk about. 1. Everything here is in the metric system and in Celsius for degrees, but I have not learned either yet so I'm struggling with that. For example my weight is like 83 kgs or something and then my height is 180 cm ha. So the weather is just oblivious to me, I just know if it is cold or hot, no temp or anything like that. It has been really great weather here, and I love it, and am so excited for the winter!! 2. The traffic lights are way cool. Sometimes we go with members to appointments and we take a car. At the stop light, right before the light turns green it goes yellow first. That is to signal for all the cars to start going because all of them are stick shift and it turns green at just the right time, it is way cool haha! Oh and there are no stop signs anywhere, but Swedes are excellent drivers: they cant get their license till 18, it costs about 3,000 dollars-18,000 krowns, and it is a rigorous test so people have to be way good at driving, so its all good. 

I will do little snippets of awesome things that happened in each particular day.
Måndag: we played soccer, lots of fun, with our zone. Our mission president's son, who just got back from his mission to france, gave the lesson at FHE and it was so good. It was about Elder Holland's talk about Jesus questioning Peter if he loves Him. If we really love the Savior and want to follow Him, we will do all He asks of us: including feeding His sheep. We have such a great thing in our lives, we have to share it with everyone or else we truly don't love the Lord. Show Him your love by doing what He asks instead of going back to your life after you have been touched by Him. I hope all of you guys take this to heart!

Tisdag: So Monday night we had a sleepover with the zls because we had splits Tuesday. We actually blew up 2 air mattresses and slept outside, all 4 of us on the balcony!!! IT was soooooooo funny and just the best ever! It was cold but we actually slept really well. Our neighbor called out to us in the morning and just started laughing, we invited him to join us the next time and he said he was down! Tuesday we had splits; I went with Elder N (he's Finnish) and my comp went with Elder S. We went to his area in the heart of Stockholm and did a lot of less active swing-bys and contacting. Elder N is super bold and can talk with everyone, so that's what we did ha! It went well, though we got rejected a lot, it didn't bring us down. I swear though, every time I try to initialize a conversation I get blown off. Swedes are usually pretty nice and genuine when they reject you though, so that is nice, in a sense.

Onsdag: So we were back to our regular companions and we went to a members place to do a lot of service! Afterwards, he took us out to a really nice restaurant and got us large steaks and fries. OH MY GOODNESS, it was soooo good! My first steak in Sweden, and it was great! Then we did some other appointments had dinner with a Chilean family (lot of immigrants from all over the world in sweden, fyi). And they fed us so well. It was this kind of meat and rice and i don't even know, but super filling. So we were stuffed from that and thought it was done. NOPE! they whip out this huge bowl of ice cream sundaes for each of us, I swear it was bigger than my head, filled with whip cream and just everything good. My comp and I looked at each other and said "Here goes!" So we plowed through the ice cream, just wanting to get over the pain and just show how grateful we were for the food. People expect you to eat every last drop and scrap of everything. We did it so fast so we wouldn't make ourselves more sick by drawing it out. We made it through and about exploded on the way home ha. We gained at least 5 pounds each or more that day. wow.

Torsdag, we had zone training with the Stockholm zone of 20 missionaries and it was way fun and cool. We watched the movie "only a stone-cutter" and it was way powerful. He says in the movie "this is my calling". That hit me so hard, this is my calling in Sweden. It was amazing, I want to do all I can to build up the kingdom on earth. Afterwards we all ate lunch together and I met and talked with some aldstes (elders) who are all way cool guys and hilarious. We all got along super well and were telling  each other funny stories. Oh also, we talked about prayer in the zone training. We are all going to pray more, like every half hour to keep the spirit with us, as a zone. We tried it out during the day and it really worked. Though we didn't have much success, we had the spirit with us the whole way and we could feel it.

Fredag,  We have weekly planning every friday, but it is really hard because we call people to make appointments for the week but they all say we will talk about it in church. That is one thing that is so hard, relying on other peoples agency and choices instead of our own. It is crazy and frustrating sometimes! So the rest of the day we did swingbys and got to travel by and take some pictures next to this pier out in Lidingö,
so I hope you enjoy those pics haha. We also went to a fresh fruit stand and bought some food for a small dinner: I got the best nectarine I have ever had in my whole life!!! Pure golden! And I also found something very similar to DanActive yogurt drink that I love and chugged all 4 small bottles of that too! 

Lördag, we went to Gamla Stan for language then took more pictures while walking around. So there are a lot of pictures from Gamla Stan.
We then went to President Newells house for dinner and a lesson with an investigator from the sisters but the guy called and said he had to go to France urgently. but he is solid, so no worries there. We ended up just eating with the Newells and talking and having a good time before pres through out some referrals to us! He doesn't do that unless he really trusts you, so that is a big deal for us! We are actually going to work with pres a lot with them, so I'm stoked for that!! Pres actually was the one who made us food. Man, he does not stop going, just serving and feeding everyone physically and spiritually the gospel!! I love it!

Söndag was 4 hours of straight Swedish for church (1 with coordinating meeting with ward mission leader) that I only picked up on like half of the stuff. That makes my brain fried trying so hard for so long to comprehend that I get so exhausted because of it ha. We went to the G family for dinner (every sunday) and had a good lesson with them. We did some more swing-bys and found someone in a nursing home and said the reason why she hasn't been to church is because she is old and was in an accident recently. The only reason why she is active though is because of her home and visiting teachers she has, that call every week no matter what and just talk or visit. Those 2 things are what keeps members active, I wish our ward could start to pick up on that. Think about that too, in your ward and make sure to do your home and visiting teaching. It really makes a difference in peoples lives.

We taught E the WofW and she understood it really well and knows she needs to commit and have faith and rely on the Savior to help her. It is never easy, but keep her in your prayers. We swung by J's place and left a note for him (he wasn't there) to say no hard feelings and that stuff. He called us later and thanked us and said we were great young men and that he would like to meet with us again once he gets feeling better. Interesting, he got pneumonia like 2 hours after he texted us saying he didn't want anything to do with the BoM, and he hasn't had that since he was way young. Coincidence? I think not!! He told us to come back so we can talk about God but not about Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon, so we are still going to subliminally throw in the Plan of Salvation next time we meet. Pray that his heart may be softened and accept our message please.
These signs are everywhere - fart means speed in Swedish

I love you all and pray for you, keep up the good work. MVH- med vänliga hälsningar (with friendly greetings). typical thing to say in sweden when closing a letter or email.

Äldste Johnson

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Kär familjen Johnson och väner!

Sounds like everyone is having a great week, busy but fun! I think a lot of you forgot that I am 8 hours ahead of you so my monday is over before you even start so write earlier to me! That is the only complaint I have ha, but I do appreciate all of you writing and keeping me updated. Happy birthday Blake and Bus and whoever else! 

So my area is the heart of Stockholm, which is hard to explain because Stockholm actually has a million islands haha. But the very heart of the city is where we are at. Gamla Stan is a tiny island for shopping pretty much and is the main part of stockholm. We live in Slussen which is just south of Gamla Stan. Our area where we serve is an island called Lidingö and a place called Gärdet. It takes about 30-40 minutes to get there everyday, so obviously we are late getting home at the end of the day, ha. We have an all access card to ride every public transportation: tunnelbana (main thing to get around, like a subway), the pendeltåg (like a tunnelbanna), and the busses (we take these on lidingö). It is very nice and way easy to get places, if we are on time and not lost ha. Oh and our church is way south in Gubängen (20 minute tb ride). The ward I am in covers Lidingö to the west part of the mainland (island north of Gamlastan). The ward has moved locations many times and it is way far out of the way for members so that is why we have a lot of in-actives. 80 out of 430 people are active in our ward and our bishop wants to change that a lot. We are whitewashing our area and it has been hard but we have come a long way from day 1.

We have a YSA center in main Stockholm where we go for all of our meetings and just to chill, hangout and email on p-days. It is really nice being able to drop off things there and not have to go all the way home and then all the way back because it is really time consuming getting to our area. On p-day we do our laundry (our dryer isn't very good) but it is on the floor below us so that is very nice. We go shopping about 10 minutes away at Willys, probably the cheapest store (they have american stores for food and stuff but it is super expensive. Even when you transfer the kronos to dollars it is still expensive ha.) Then we go hang out with people or play games for a long time and then email and go proselyting or we are in charge of a spiritual thought at the YSA FHE. All of us missionaries in the district are in charge of the center so we take turns doing fhe, institute, or chill night (m,w,f).

The typical day for me here in the mission field is 1) wake up, pray, and go workout on our balcony for 30 minutes thinking of things to do, then 2) we shower, eat, and get ready for the day. 3) we have personal study. 4) we have comp study, 5) language study, 6), lunch and then head out to Lidingö and Gärdet. We usually have 2-3 lessons a day on average, sometimes more sometimes less with members, less actives, and investigators who sometimes feed us dinner. Half of the food they feed us is good, and the other half is way awesome! They have potatoes with everything and always have glas (ice cream) and cake which is soooo good! I don't know any of the names of foods we have but it is cool. Oh, and everyone drinks Coke here.
So in between lessons we either contact, swing by in-actives, or tract (not a whole lot of that). Then we go home, late usually ha, and plan goals, write in the journal and then go to bed. I sleep really well here in Sweden so that makes me happy. We work so hard and walk around everywhere so by the end of the day I am exhausted and fall right to sleep. It is a great blessing!

Ok so the weirdest thing here is people suck in air, like gasp, when they agree with you. You will be talking to them and then they suck in and it just throws you off cuz you are like, what?? Way crazy! I understand really well when my comp talks to other people, but when they talk to me I have no understanding whatsoever haha. I am getting better so its not bad.  I just bought a sweater, but I will get more and more the later it gets into the year. It has rained the last 3 days and has been amazing!!! I love the rain and the weather here! Right now it feels like December in St George which I love!! It is so nice and I still wear my short sleeve shirt haha.
I love the fashion they have here, I plan to getting some stylish clothes right before I come home. So expect me to come home dressing really classy and super tight clothes (sorry mom, its gonna be that way:) 

We have a couple investigators that are doing good. Recently we have already seen a huge change in one. She wants the Holy ghost so much in her life and has told us she wants to change some habits, even though we haven't had the lesson about the Word of Wisdom! The spirit is already touching her so much, it is amazing. She has a dop dat (baptism date) for the end of September.  I m hoping the 28 of September because that is the date I was baptized!!!! Yes i remember that, it was such a great day and has changed my life so much because of it. I want people to experience this gospel so much because it gives you such much joy and peace. 

We had one guy who was so cool and so ready for the gospel and just way humble. We had a fantastic first lesson with him and he wanted to learn more and more. Then out of the blue he texted us and said he was done. No explanation and was mad at us. We think he has read some anti stuff or talked to people because he was doing so good. We are really heartbroken about it. That is the one thing I feared about going on a mission, is disappointment. You do so much but it all comes down to peoples agency. We are struggling with that, but we just got to do our best and know that the Lord loves us.

I just want to close and say you all need to do missionary work everyday. Its so simple and could be just a smile to somebody. Do it. Do it now and everyday! Even though we go through our disappointment with people, as long as we do our best and rely on the Lord, that's enough. That's all he asks of us, and if you do that you will know that he loves you. He will help you through everything so go to Him all the time. Alma 37:37 pray all the day long and all night for thanksgiving and gratitude and help. It will help you through everything. In the bible dictionary, prayer has such a great definition. When you understand the relationship with God being our Father and that we are His children, prayer is habitual. You automatically go to Him first for thanksgiving, for guidance, for help, just to talk to somebody, etc. DO IT! I know prayer continues to help me each and every day. I have already had a lot of hard days, but finishing off my day and finding good in the day I am comforted by His spirit and it makes me want to go the next day! I love you all so much, 

Hope all is well.
Med kärlek

Äldste Johnson