Sweden Stockholm Mission

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

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