Sweden Stockholm Mission

Monday, March 31, 2014


Hello family and friends!

What a great week it has been! Something random, I dislocated my pinky by playing..... nah just forget it. I was pulling an April Fools joke on you! The weather has been quite wonderful here -it's finally looking like spring! The sun was out shining bright most of the day long (nights are still chilly), I finally switched from my thick jacket to my thin rain jacket! Now it is time to pack up all of the winter clothes och spara dem för nästa vinter (and save them for next winter). We had a light drizzle rain yesterday, one of my favorite things ever. The smell brought back so many fond memories and moments of reminiscing.

Mån: We were having apartment checks this week so we spent a solid 3 hours of cleaning, deep style: I was on the floor getting the back corners, on the wall like spiderman making sure things were good. After it all, it looked nice, really nice. We met a less active and his investigating wife later on in the day. We got to know them and their situation -they are really cool. We had a little testimony meeting and the spirit was strong.  It was cool to see the strong desire she had to find the truth.

Tis: We met with M. who has been reading the Book of Mormon and we answer his questions and bore our testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know he felt the spirit. He accepted our challenges -but he didn't make it to church. We went to D's for dinner and she was very grateful because Elder S kept the kids occupied while I had a good chat with her and her husband. We reminisced about the good times, back when we were young and crazy and just growing up. Talking about the things we used to do, the stores and shops we used to go to, talked about favorite foods we missed from back home in the states -it was nice. We ended with a mormon message called Moments that Matter Most. It's about enjoying everything that is going around us now: kids playing on the swings, family going on a nice drive, spending quality time together with those you love. That's reminiscing. Stopping to realize all of the good that you have in your life right now: a job, a loving family, church, etc. It helps you through the day to see the bigger picture in life, to not stress about little things, to take time to enjoy the everyday moments that are happening now.

Ons: E met us at the church to do Family History. It took some time to find family and whatnot, but once it happened he had a big smile on his face and just loved it! I could see that the Spirit of Elijah had touched him. It's something I have yet to experience for myself, though I truly want to. It's hard to testify/teach someone family history if you haven't had your own personal experience with it -so that's what I'm looking for. Family History is reminiscing of the life and stories of those who have gone on before us. We see what they went through in their life and the courage and determination to keep pressing forward gives us hope that we can make it through our trials.

There is a guy we met with and it seriously felt that there was an evil spirit inside of him. It's sad to see that happen, but you just have to forget it all and move on. We met up with a street contact we had 2 days previously who is interested in talking with us. We will see how he progresses.

Tors: We had district meeting -honestly, it wasn't my best, but I will plan better next time. We talked about the Baptismal interview questions along with Extending the Baptismal Commitment. If people haven't been taught the significance of the questions they are not ready for baptism. If we do not extend commitments we are not asking people to repent/change, or come unto Christ. We met N about her preparation for baptism -things are looking good! We went over the Restoration and it seriously felt like she was teaching us! The spirit was strong. It didn't feel like we were speaking at all. The spirit is the teacher -we are just the instruments in allowing him to testify. We went over to give M a blessing. The branch president came with us and he asked me to give it. I don't remember what was said, but I do distinctly remember the feeling I had as I was speaking from the Spirit. I felt calm for him. That everything would be ok. God is watching out for him, and knows him personally. I am so grateful to be able to bear the Holy Priesthood of God and help other people feel the blessings that God is waiting to give.

Fre: We went down to Södertälje to have interviews with President. We may or may not have gotten on the wrong bus because of me...I will not say, haha, but we got there in time. I wasn't feeling like I needed to talk to President about anything in particular. But I guess there was, mainly still stuff about Elder Bailey death. It has been getting better but every so often it's just hard. But God makes it worth it. He knows what I'm going through and what I need, in this case to talk with President. I know he is inspired of God. We got to escort him to the train station- we felt pretty cool.

Helpful note to burglars.
We made it back in time for volleyball which was a lot of fun. Making relationships with the people on sports night and just having a good time, not caring if people are good players or not, has been really great for me.

Lör: We had a good visit with D and told him to pray to know if what we have said is true. Later we ate pizza with this potential  friend who seems awesome. He said if we were ever needed anything we could call him. He wants to come visit us in the states in the future. We talked and testified about what we do and the book of mormon. He is very interested in reading it, so let's see where that goes.

Sön: Talk about a crazy day! First it was daylight savings, so we lost an hour of sleep. We got a call from N (who was trying to come to church) who said the train didn't leave till after 11! I was so upset, I was not going to let this happen. I wasn't going to let her miss out on church! So I called the branch president, who usually goes to Strängnäs to pick up some members, and I asked him if he could pick her up along with her sister daughter. He came through. Whew! I am so happy and grateful for the branch president. He really helped us out big time with that! We showed N around and the members just went right to her :) I did the translating in church -still having a fun/hard time figuring that out. Oh, Prof D came to church as well!! He was so awesome! The other elders took him and taught him the Restoration with F, while we took M with us to teach N and go over her baptismal calendar for lessons. She loved it and is so excited!!!! We met later with A who takes in everything that we teach and wants to find out if it is true or not. We met M and later on B and talked about how they were doing as well as their plans of listening to general conference. We bore testimony of living prophets and apostles and how we can receive answers to prayers and questions through them. CHALLENGE: come to conference with a question and I promise you, you will receive an answer!!!

I thought back to growing up and watching conference. We were lucky enough to watch several sessions live in the Conference Center. I love the spirit that is there as soon as President Monson walks in and we all stand up in reverence. I remember the traditions that we have. After Priesthood session the boys would go out to Iceberg and get our massive shakes and save half of them for the next day. Then Sunday morning we would have waffles:) Mmmm. Thinking back to these great times, and planning ahead to the future of continuing those traditions, makes me pause and reflect on how much I have been blessed. I am grateful for my family who loves me and puts up with me. I'm grateful for the personal relationships that I have with them and know that they are doing well, though I am far away. I am grateful to grow up where General Conference is a priority. Listening to the Prophet of God means something, we listen and act on his council. I know that my prayers and questions have been answered several times through conference, and I know it can do the same to you. These are moments that I cherish and remember, watching conference as a family and having a good time. This is what I mean by reminiscing. I love you all and pray that you have a fantastic week! Love you all
My backpack is now officially Swedish
Elder Johnson  #4

Monday, March 24, 2014

I want to live on a street named this:  Dragon Shield Street

Dearest Family and friends!

Thanks for all of your letters, emails, updates, greetings, prayers, love and support. It means a lot to me, and I truly -don't know how but I do- feel the power of your prayers. They strengthen me. Prayer. It is such a wonderful gift that God has given us. I'll share my thoughts I had about prayer later on in the email.

It has been fairly decent weather lately, seeing more and more of the sun. We had a random snow storm on the day of transfers and the next day the snow was completely gone -tyvär (too bad). Any who, I went from one Elder S to another -that was pretty funny. I still have the 2 most stereotypical missionary names-Johnson and S -men det funkar (but it functions-works).

Mån: We met up with our district to play soccer but it was rather windy and cold. So what did we do instead? Go eat some Asian food of course!:) We also played some Scum for a while before heading back home to get ready for proselyting. We re-ran into some investigators on the street whom we had met before but somehow lost their numbers, that was great. We then met with Bro C and had dessert and deep doctrinal discussion. My favorites:)

Tis: We met with our friend at the church and went over Alma 32 (faith) with him. We have to take small steps with him, but he is improving! We had a going away party for Elder S at the K home and had some great dinner, dessert, and discussion with Pres K.

Goodbye Elder S.
Ons: I dropped off  my comp at the train station and the other Etuna elders came and picked me up so we were a tri-panionship for the day until my new comp came in. It was a lot of fun being with Elders S and B for a day, seeing their area and people that they work with. We met with a less active who is making his way back to church slowly but surely, an active woman (who we also taught some Swedish), and a new convert who comes to the church when we are there. 

Both Monday and Wednesday we taught English class at the Somalia-Swedish society. We are moving the English lessons to our church where it is safer and more can come. We met up with a sister in the ward who took us on her visiting teaching visit. It went a little long and I almost missed getting my new comp. I sprinted down the train station entrance and then back up to his line and luckily got to him in time! Elder S is from Alaska, is a really cool guy. We are very similar with interests, hobbies, music, movie quoting and getting work done. I'm very excited about this transfer!

District Meeting.  My new Elder S.
Tors: I held my very first district meeting (oh yeah, I was made District Leader this transfer). After getting to know each other I focused on the reason for being out on a mission and the expectations we each have. Each of these elders has a strong testimony of this gospel and it was powerful to see and feel it. I read through many of the prophecies about the Second Harvest from the prophets and apostles, and what President has said "we are a part of the 2nd harvest now! I told them it starts now, with you. You can choose to be apart of it and lay the foundations and start to harvest the ripe fruits, or you can just mozy on through your mission expecting little to happen." Be a part of it, full heartedly and miracles will happen. The spirit was strong, powerful. Next it was helping my comp learn our area and get him familiar with things before we headed out the door to do some swing-by's and lessons.

We got down to Strängnäs to meet with an investigator with the intent of setting up a baptismal date. We talked about the Atonement and that no matter what we've done, if we have faith in Jesus Christ we will be clean. We talked about how the Sacrament is like symbolically being baptized every week . We bore solemn testimony to her and gave the baptismal commitment and she accepted! However, she asked if we had a group of people waiting to be baptized (if only. if only:))- so we actually moved it up two weeks earlier (that's when the other Etunas investigators are being baptized!)!!!! I was so excited, I couldn't breathe!!! We mapped out a plan to meet her 3 times a week every week up until her baptism -because there are lots of things we still need to teach her and prepare her for this. She wants to involve her family in on this too!!! So excited for her!!! Talk about a great first day for Elder S, coming in and getting a baptismal date with one of the most prepared people ever! She gave an amazing prayer afterwards, and things just feel good. We called President right after to tell him about it, and I was just so happy-still am! I was freaking out a bit, because this has never happened to me before! It is nothing at all that I have done, all of God's preparation and the Spirit bearing testimony, I'm just here to help in any way! I'm so excited for her to be baptized and to make that first step through the gate on the path back to our Heavenly Father!

Fre: We met our friend again and talked about authority and Restoration and testified of our living day prophet. We taught another friend about the Plan of Salvation. He's still searching for the truth and praying about the book of Mormon -reading beyond what we assign him to read. He's so close, I can feel it coming soon! Sports night was a lot of fun. We had a good game of volleyball going on. I really just enjoyed being in a good environment playing games.

Lör: Z sent a text that he couldn't see us today so we called him and found his health is not good. We offered to help clean his place -he was very grateful for that. Hopefully that opens him up to our message just like Ammon serving King Lamoni. We met D at the church and showed him some family history. He was very excited about that and knows his mother and aunt are very interested in it! (he didn't come to church because of previous arrangements, but is still moving along). We met with a potential -R- he's interested to talk about religion but said he wasn't going to be converted when we gave him a BoM, but then said "well you never know, God works in mysterious ways." Yes He does...:) I had the other Elders go into our apartment to make a cake because it was Elder S's birthday, and we wanted to surprise him and have him feel loved. When we got home and walked through the door -I was recording the whole thing- both elders jump out and scared him! Hahahaha it was so funny! He had absolutely no idea what was going on!:) He loved it!

Sön: We went to church and our friend was there! We taught her about how even though society changes, Gods laws never do. She is seriously still looking into our church (we believe she already has her answer that it is right) but doesn't want to be shunned or ridiculed by people close to her. We told her the church is a family. Even though we are all not directly related, we are family. We care for each other and look out for one another -help people feel included. I think that really helped her as well as some personal stories I shared with her. We met M later on in the day, he's still struggling and my heart just aches for him. We met with A for a little bit and gave him a Book of Mormon in Lithuanian. He really wants to know answers to soul searching questions. We then finished out the day contacting (one really cool guy) and visiting Sister K for the Sacrament. Doing numbers as a District Leader for the first time was very interesting. I've realized I have a lot of responsibility. My companion is still very new to the language and the mission life, I have new paperwork and phone calls, and I am watching over my district as well. I'm very grateful that I have this chance to learn and grow and especially rely more and more on the Savior for help and guidance.

This is what I thought about Prayer today. Think about these two situations: 1) You come home from school, and you just had the very best day ever! You were first pick on the sports team, you were first in line for lunch, everything was going your way. You come home and of course you want to express to everyone how great your day was! 2) You come home from school, and things just weren't going your way today. You were last pick in sports, your lunch fell on your clothes, not good. You come home and all you want is someone to listen to you and help you feel better. In each situation you can guarantee that your parents are waiting there for you to tell them about your day. They share with you your joy for the best day ever, they mourn and comfort you when you had the worst day ever. The same goes for our Heavenly Father. He waits for us to come home -through prayer- and tell him all about our day; he is so happy when you are happy, and he is sad when you are sad. He helps you feel better as you talk it out to Him. If people understood that relationship between God -our Father, and us -His children, prayer would come instinctively. He is waiting to bless you and help you feel better. Just open up that line back home through prayer, and He will always hear you.

Thanks everyone, I love you all and this work. It is amazing! Hope all is well and that you have a great week!
This is what we consumed the last 6 weeks
Love Elder Johnson

ps today is my half birthday:) September 24-march 24. it makes sense ha

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hallå allihoppa!

I deeply thank and appreciate you for the many prayers you have given to me and the mission through this trying time. I truly have been strengthened by you and things are getting better. With time, more understanding comes as well as acceptance. I think about a quote that goes along the lines of "Lord, give me the patience to deal with the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to tell the difference." This quote has helped me a lot throughout my mission. This week has been quite wonderful, to say the least. Words don't give justice to the many amazing experiences and blessings that God has given to me.

Mån: Most of the day we spent walking around Eskilstuna trying to find museums and domkyrkans (cathedrals) to visit. Unfortunately they were all closed and or were not opened on mondays:( However, we took the time to look at the beauty along the way and capture the fun moments. Eskilstuna is one of the prettiest cities in Sweden during the summer time, and even now it looks amazing! We finished up our day with a practice teach with some members. They asked random questions they thought investigators would ask haha. It was nice, we had dinner and a good time.

Tis: We had the church watch and one of the branch's new converts came into the church and chatted with us. We renewed our bus cards and went out to go find this less active and ended up getting lost...for a little bit. Later we went out on exchanges with our home teaching companions. I went with the Stake President (now thats pressure.) We swungby 2 less actives who weren't home, so I was kind of nervous because i was leading the way tonight. A thought came to mind to go visit this other less active. So we drove out there, knocked on the door and chatted for a while. She wasn't too excited to see us but after President talked with her and connected with some interests she was eager to let us in!

We got talking and getting to know each other, her daughter is a olympic gymnast and will be competing in the next summer olympics!! Thats crazy! Her son and I connected with soccer and had a good chat about that. President pulls out his ipad and shows a mormon message and gave a little testimony about that. They liked it so much that we helped them download gospel library app on their ipads and pull up more mormon messages! It was amazing! At the beginning she was not wanting us to come in or anything, but as we continued and as the spirit worked came in, it opened her up to letting us in and connecting more! She said that we are welcome to come back!  Later that night my comp and I contacted someone in the similar fashion: first glance -not too interested, but as we continued, taught a little bit and bore testimony, the spirit was able to open up his heart and accept what we said and give us his number! The spirit was definitely in control this day!!

We seem to always be getting lost these days
Ons: We planned for a lesson in the morning, but ended up in the wrong place for our lesson, ha. Getting lost and confused has been happening a lot recently (that is a foreshadowing to future events). We met L and talked a lot about Agency. We really focused on right and wrong, happiness or misery: there is no middle ground. We taught that everything good comes from God. He is still unsure about the existance of a God and even an afterlife but we bore testimony to him that if he prayed about it he would receive his answer. 

We had our church watch and met up with a potential investigator -W.  We met him 4 weeks ago at the bus station -he actually talked to us first, but we left without getting his number or anything. Last week we saw him riding his bike and stopped him to get his number. Later that night, the other E-tuna elders came to our place for a sleepover-because torsdag we had zone conference and would head up together. We made some hamburgers and Elder B and I stayed up pretty late talking and having a bro sesh. We are very similar and it's pretty funny. He is excellent at quoting movies, so needless to say we get along great.

Tors: We left early in the morning for Västerhaninge for combined zone conference of Södertälje and Stockholm South zones. We had to go through Stockholm central and then go back down to Västerhaninge. As we were going in and out of STHLM, i was getting very nostalgic. I was back in my home! I loved being able to see all of my first area and point out things to the other elders. I miss it. 

The meeting started out with a memorial video of Elder Bailey. It was a bunch of pictures compiled together and I was in a lot of them, because we were in the mtc together. It made me cry a lot again; I had forgotten a lot of great times in the MTC with elder Bailey. However, through all of that, I think I really found peace. President Newell said something that really hit me. "Elder Bailey is fine. He just had a transfer. He is continuing the work with just as much vigor and enthusiasm as he had here, if not more. However, he cannot baptize there. He is counting on us to do that. What we do now, should be for the same cause that he died for. He needs us." That hit me. He is fine. We are not. We have bodies that are subject to disease and all sorts of things. He is fine. But he needs us -all of us. To baptize. That right there, has helped me comprehend what I need to do. That I need to keep going forward, go out and find, teach and baptize. We all need to do family history work to baptize. This has given me great peace to know all is well with my fellow brother, but also a sense of awakening and determination to go out and serve more fully.

Figuring out the I-phone and all the apps
Just before we left, the secretaries announced that we were all getting IPHONES!!! Everyone was ecstatic. It will make things easier: never get lost, access to mormon messages for lessons, visual aids right there, etc. . So that was a big shock! We have iphones, and it's really cool ha!

We got back into Strängnäs and met up with N. She loved everything we talked about and the daily scriptures we have been sending her. She still has some concerns but we promised her that if she continues to read and pray about the book of mormon, she would get an answer that she should be baptized!! SO please pray for her!

Interesting doorknob
Fre: We met up with an older investigator. He is very knowledgable about the bible and knows that it has flaws. He has a lot of questions but he is very positive with us. We had our weekly planning and then headed to sports night. It was only us 4 missionaries, plus two others but we made it fun. 

Lör: We received the transfer call.  So my Elder S will be going and I will be receiving a new Elder S. hahahaha so I am going back to back S's! What are the odds?:) He just finished his 12 week greeny program, so i will be greeny busting, is what it is called in the mission slang. It'll be cool. I'm excited. We had a busy day today as well. Met with J and W and had great lessons with them. 

We met up with Y, the most respectful, coolest guy I've ever met. He has the strongest belief in his religion. I could feel how much it meant to him. He obviously doesn't agree with some things that we believe in, but he didn't shoot them down. He analyzed them and tried to accept it and see why and how we believe this way. He is very open and just a great guy. We gave him a book of mormon, and he is planning on giving us the koran (pretty cool right). Super cool guy! We had planned other lessons in the day, but they were cancelled. That actually helped us get some breathing room and focus more on our lessons with these 3 than worry about being late to the next appointment. God was watching out for us on that.

Sön: It was Elder S's last sunday here, so he gave his testimony. We had 4 investigators show up to church!!! I did the translating from swedish to english for my first time -so that was scary and fun ha. I dont think I did so well, but I made it through ok.:) After sacrament, we elders split up to teach them. One of them actually knows one of our members and so that was cool for him to have a friend already in church!! Miracle! We had a branch council afterwards then went to take the sacrament to a ward member and I used the peacock feather for an object lesson -went really great, thanks mom!

We went down to Strängnäs to teach A , gave a book of mormon to S and he accepted the soft baptismal invitiation!!, met up with N for a short time for E. Smith to say goodbye, and then we went to B's. We had a very busy, just fantastic day! Everything went according to plans, and the spirit was so strong, and it was top 5 best days of the mission. I wish I could explain more, but I don't have too much time!!! SOOOOO AWESOME!!!

We ended up having 20 lessons this week! We had 4 investigators in church! We have really just seen the Lord's hand in this work this week, and he has shown us the fruit of our labors. We have worked really long and hard with little happening, but this week was a testimony to me that the Lord holds onto his promise that he will bless us if we are but faithful, diligent, and obedient to Him always. I'm so happy right now, and things are just going really good. I can't even describe how much we have been blessed this week, and see so much success! Many people are making the steps closer to Christ. I am so blessed and grateful for this amazing opportunity I have to be a missionary here in Sweden. It is amazing. I love this work and know it is true. I love this people and desire their happiness just as Enos, and the Sons of Mosiah for the Lamanites. I love you all, and I especially love my Savior who has been there every step of the way with me. And has carried me when times have been hard. He is always there. He lives. It is my prayer that you all always remember that He is there for you. He waits to bless you if you but ask. Have a fantastic week!

Love, Elder Johnson

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hello family and friends,

It's great to hear from all of you and know you are doing well. I really appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers to help me and more importantly Elder Bailey's family. This week has been rough, to say the least. I am emotionally drained and just tired. I know because of you, that I receive the strength to carry out through the day-so thank you for that.

Mån: Last Monday I was in shock and couldn't really comprehend all that had taken place earlier. The Stake President invited our district to their place for dinner and comfort. He gave a very special prayer to bless us and comfort us through this time. I came home and for the first time that day (i had postponed it selfishly and pridefully) knelt down and prayed. And I wept. One, because of the loss of a close friend, and 2 because I knew I had waited too long to become comforted. I had postponed feeling better because of my pride. But I know now, that anytime I am in need, the first place I go is on my knees. God is waiting to comfort and bless you. Don't wait. That's selfish to hang on to your suffering. If you truly need help, that is the one place guaranteed, you will be safe-on your knees. Things may not get better immediately or ever, but there is peace that comes when you submit to the will of the father. That I know to be true.

Tis: I have kept my mind occupied working hard, being out and talking to people, putting aside all thoughts and feelings of what had happened. I didn't want to deal with it, and for a time it worked. We had a couple of lessons. One was with an investigator who wont come out and tell us he is not interested. However, we bore witness about book of mormon and how one could truly find the truth upon reading and praying about it. I know something stirred within him but later in the week he denied that feeling and has been hard to meet with again.

Ons: In my personal study, I wrote a special tribute about Elder Bailey and shared it with mom and others. We taught a person who is interested in religions but has no background of it himself. We had a successful, positive contact with a Chilean person on the street in which we all used 3 languages throughout the entire contact: Swedish, English, and Spanish, and we all understood every word of it! How cool is that! The other elders brought someone back to the church for us because they were off to another meeting, and so we ended up talking with Professor C for a while. He is 77 years old and still full of energy, life and going hard! It was inspiring just seeing how active he was for how old he is ha! He told us his life story and how he was in prison unjustly for 14 years. He taught us a little chinese, as well (Im learning common phrases and gestures in so many languages while im out, its amazing!!! I've met people from many countries throughout the world. And Im learning phrases in many of them!!!). Prof C is very interested in the book of mormon and what our difference is among other religions. He was just awesome! I loved it:) We met a couple of other people through contacting who were quite positive.

Tors: We got to our district meeting in Katrineholm a little early so us E-tuna elders walked through a park and took some pictures. District meeting was about turning potential investigators into investigators and investigators into progressing investigators. We have gone through so many people, and a lot have been dropping us, with not too many people progressing towards baptism and confirmation. So this helped us a lot.

We ate some pizza and headed to Strängnäs where we met with C and her family, and her husband was involved with our scripture discussion. She half jokingly, told him to read the Book of Mormon! Ha, that was cool! We then met up with M who has been heard to meet with. She knows that what we have to offer will help her life so much, and she said she needed to make time for us because it will help her find the truth she has been searching for!  I shared my experience and the tragedy of Elder Bailey, and she had a firm testimony that he is needed with God for a greater work. The spirit was so strong there, even in that pizza parlor (because we cant meet with single women alone unless we are in public). She asked us if we wanted to pray then and there, and of course we did! Wow! We are sending her daily scriptures to remind her about God, and so that she can share them with her friends at work!! She is awesome!

Fre: In the morning we got haircuts from a member, D -who is the backbone of the branch and very knowledgeable of missionary work. We then met up with K a Finnish guy who really wants to change his life, but is scared what will happen and what it will take to get there. He blåsted us once, but is really wanting to change but not really ha. So we'll see how that goes. We did some weekly planning and headed over to sports night. We had everyone put rocks in their shoes and walk around in them, and then take them out. The rocks represent sins that we personally put into our shoes-lives. The way the rocks are taken away is through sincere repentance and the Atonement. We then played innebandy (indoor hockey) which was really fun and frustrating ha. Im not too good at it, but it was a lot of fun.

Lör: We met back up with K and further explained the Book of Mormon, the Holy Ghost and Prayer. All of it was new to him, but he was open with all of it. He read and asked some questions, but he is content with his own knowledge of life -which is very little. A lot of people are like that, content with not knowing much about God or religion, or even a purpose in life, and dont really care for it even if they are given the opportunity. He is willing to meet with us and read the BoM, so hopefully... We came home a little early so we could shine our shoes, and iron our clothes to look nice and respectful for the memorial service.

Sön: We got to go toVästerås for the Memorial service of Elder Bailey. All of the missionaries in my Mtc group and their current companions, elder baileys former companions and their current companions, and stockholm and stockholm north zones all got to attend the memorial service. It was nice seeing everyone but it wasn't the same. This day the shock went away and reality hit me. It was a tough morning. Seeing his face on the program and knowing I will never see that face again in this life, it took its toll on me. The service was very beautiful, a lot of great music, and a lot of reverance towards elder bailey. Sometimes, I would be ok, and others I just cried and cried. I cried out in acceptance knowing that he is gone, and I cried out knowing that I will see him again. I am not one to let people comfort me, I prefer to be alone to solve my problems and or hard times. But there was no way I could this day. And that was good. I stood next to Elder O, and he held me and just let me cry and cry. No words. It wasn't needed. I just needed someone to be there and let me cry. 

Picture from Swedish newspaper of the Memorial.  (Brock in green tie.)
The missionaries all sung a swedish hymn, # 159 in the swedish hymn book "Blott en dag, ett ögonblick i sänder". This is a traditional and favorite passing away hymn, and more importantly it was elder bailey's favorite hymn. It is my mtc districts favorite hymn that we had truly taken as our own. We sang it when we had to say goodbye to sister D in the mtc, and we sang it today. I got through the first 2 verses just fine, but couldn't get through the last. Basically the message of the song is that in a moment, things can change so fast. But though we mourn for the loss of a loved one, we know that he is well with our Father in Heaven, and that we will see him in a moment not too long in the future. It is a song that is very near to my heart and I would love it to be sung at my homecoming. 

Some members from the stockholm ward were there including the G's, so that was very special for me to hug them, because I know they have had the similar experience when their son J died on his mission. I'm grateful for them, and that we are still so close though I am in a different area now. They are my biggest help and heros here in Sweden. Afterwards, we all took a picture together, had a lunch, and talked and caught up with each other.

At the train station.  We all missed our trains.
We all missed our train so we hung out at the station for awhile. Someone come up to me and asked for a lighter to smoke and realized I was a christian. He sat down next to me and we talked. I had seen him before in Linköping and there he was now. He wants to stop drinking and smoking and go to church more, and also wants to know what the difference our church is among others. He is really excited and happy to meet missionaries, so I gave his number to my brothers in Linköping and they are going to meet him! We got to have dinner with the Stake President and his wife again. I came home and stayed up pretty late praying and thinking and pretty much cried myself to sleep. I thought I was all cried out, but I guess not. No real overwhelming calm feeling has come to me, just a simple small "it'll be ok" thought. This is hard -life is hard, the mission is hard. No one ever said it wouldnt be. They only said it would be worth it. I'm not sure how I'm going to be this next week, this next month, this next year, in the future with dealing with this, but I do know where my strength lies -in my Savior and Redeemer. The greatest blessings from the Atonement is all that is unfair in life will be made right, whether in this life or the next. He has died so that I might live. It will not be easy, but I know it will be worth it. I know Elder Bailey knew that, he lived that. And I will see him again. My prayers continue to go out to his family, friends and all those who have been touched by him in any way. I love this gospel, and I love you.
Love Elder Johnson

Monday, March 3, 2014

Tough News

Elder Mason Bailey is to the right of Elder Johnson
Something tragic has happened that I need to tell you about. Sunday afternoon here in Sweden, Elder Mason Bailey, who was in my mtc district, was hit by a car and died. I am still in shock and don't know how to respond or what to do. He was the greatest guy I have ever known; full of love and life, always a friend to everyone, recognized his weaknesses and made them his strengths. I am deeply saddened by his loss, and can only imagine how hard this is for his family. Though sad this may be now, the message that the Gospel brings lets us know that we will see him again. What peace and joy to know that we will live forever with our families and loved ones for all eternity; that this life is not the end, but just one step in the process. Death does not separate us, if anything, it brings us closer together. I truly am grateful for this knowledge in my life and know that it is all part of God's Great Plan of Happiness.

This is hard but I will go ahead with my letter. I kind of seems trivial right now. I love and appreciate all of the love, support, updates, etc. you send to me -you are amazing!

The name of this fruit is pretty funny
Mån: I started doing the Insanity workout and it is definitely insane. I'm sweating so much from it and I haven't done that for a while. We taught our english class then headed over to a less actives place. We asked her to teach us spanish. Both my comp and I have a fairly decent background in spanish so it won't be completely new. She lit up at the suggestion and wants us to do it.. She even said that we can learn how to read scriptures and teach our missionary lessons in spanish to her! She said that this will help her desire to come back to church grow! We were very excited to see that! It's really cool to see that when we really take the time to listen and get to know someone, the Spirit can touch them in such a way that opens them up to the Gospel.

Breakfast of Champions!
Tis: We got up at 6 am to do laundry then had our church watch. Its interesting what sometimes happens with companions; we have a little spat, but right after that, we have the greatest spiritual experience ever by really getting to know each other and growing from that. A lot of people cancelled on us today so that also played a role in our frustrations. This week we had a lot of solid 0 days, which got us pretty down. But tuesday I got a package from the Lewis family and some letters that really helped me feel loved and appreciated in a time where I was feeling down. So thanks for that!

Ons: Our companionship study was very interesting. We talked about if we were the missionaries we saw ourselves being when we were younger. That's a very interesting thought. Am I the same missionary I dreamed about being? Am I doing the things I saw myself doing? Missionaries can get into the routine of teaching and talking that they are confident in what they say and know how to read certain people and ultimately not rely on the Spirit. But we want and need the spirit so much in everything we do. God directs us through His spirit and if we arent doing His work in His way, why are we doing it? On a funny note, we contacted an old man who only spoke Arabic. We gave him a pamphlet and he kissed it and touched it to his head and said "tack så mycket!" (thank you so much)

I am navigating, and no we're not lost.
Tors: This day was crazy! We called it the MEGA ULTRA EXCHANGES because the AP's and the ZLs came to Eskilstuna to be with us. The Assistants went with the senior companions and the Zone leaders went with the juniors. So 8 missionaries in Eskilstuna!!! Wow, that was crazy! I went to Strängnäs where no one was home and my appointments fell through. I had a good chat with Elder M about his mission and what I can do to improve -it really helped. I was getting pretty anxious because we didn't have anything to do, but luckily I called C and she said we could come by. That was a life saver for me. We had a great discussion and spiritual experience. We watched a mormon message "The Will of God" by D. Todd Christofferson. I started to tear up because this week God has been pruning me. He only does it out of love, He knows who and what we need to be, and in order to get there, we have to be cut back every now and again to grow in the right place. The night is always the darkest, just before the dawn. How true that is.  I'm lucky enough to try to keep a positive attitude through all of the hard times and know that something good is on the horizon. 

We ended on a teach with an investigator and his sister. We were able to bear testimony of the book of mormon and challenge them to find out for themselves if it is true. They seemed to grasp it very well. We came home and Elder M showed me all of the functions of the Area Book because I was never taught that. That book is priceless and irreplaceable. It was a cool day in Eskilstuna for sure.

Fre: Lots of cancels and drops... we need more people to teach so contacting, tracting, everything it takes to get more people. We had sports night and it was us 4 missionaries, plus two others. We taught them for a little bit and then played some indoor football (soccer.) Love to play!

Lör: Some swingbys, some cancels, some good contacts and all of that stuff. I made some good curry chicken:)

Sön: Fast sundays are the best!! We had a lot of people in church -investigators, less actives, members, us:), all were from the other elders' area, but we're all the same team so I was very happy for that. I shared my testimony about how Christ calls us his friends, and as such we should do our best to help him and His work. Just knowing he considers us friends, family, His own, really makes you feel comforted. You are never ever alone. He is always there for us if we allow Him to be. A member family invited us over for dinner and had a good time there. We did some swingbys and got cancelled again. We walked home during a snowstorm contacting people who were content with being ok. They didn't want to have eternal happiness. They just want to be ok. Not too good, not too bad, and thats sad. It was a very tough week and then our missionary brother gets killed. But we've just got to remain positive and keep moving on.

Reppin' the DH Thunder on a morning run in Sweden
Hope all is well and that life is good. And I realized that back home high school soccer started up. It made me kind of sad to think that I can't be there to suit up with my team, but very glad that I am here serving the Lord, right where I need to be. I miss my boys, but I'm so happy and proud that my fellow seniors with me last year are all out on missions or preparing for them. How great is that! Special shoutout to Dhills soccer! You guys are the best, work hard and do work. Get the toe poke, Brock style:)
Same shot as above: What a difference a few days make.


Elder Johnson