Sweden Stockholm Mission

Monday, June 30, 2014

Carry on!

I loved  seeing the pictures of everyone having a good time at home and at Lake Powell. I am grateful for all of you taking the time out of your busy schedule to update me and give me support through your prayers. I really appreciate all that you guys do for me 5,000 miles away! You are amazing! This week was very rainy, and I havent seen the sun for awhile, but All is well in Zion regardless. 

Mån: On pday, we traveled down to Vingåker for a shopping spree at a store called Tiger of Sweden, and needless to say it was well worth it. We bought pants that are usually 900 krowns for 100 krowns each!! Great success!

Tis: We had a great thing happen while we went out contacting around the Centrum. We had a potential investigator in a portcoded place. Luckily we got in somehow -miracle 1. Then he wasn't home so we decided to tract the building. On the 3rd door -miracle 2. We got in with this lady her daughter. The daughter was the one who wanted us to come in! We talk about our purpose as missionaries in helping others come closer to Christ. The mom was was willing to let us come back to "teach her child good values" which was secretly hinting that she wanted to know more about what we had to say! Ha, that was pretty awesome! We then taught S the 15 step 7 day program to stop smoking and so far it is working on him! (today-it has been nearly 6 full days without a smoke!!!!).

Ons: We again met with the mom and daughter we found yesterday. Sadly the mom ended up being on the phone for the whole time but it was fun and cute teaching a little girl about God and Jesus ha:) For our meeting with K we wanted to start a seed of faith for him -literally- buy some seeds and have him nurture it and water it. But the stores didnt have anything!!! but he really loved Alma 32. He is opening up and trusting us more. We went to a Less active's place, where Elder A used his Spanish fluently. I understood most of what was being said, I just couldn't join in. Rats. Im gonna work on it though! Afterwards we did some service for the K's  -it felt good.

Farewell to President and Sister Newell
Tors: We had the Zone Conference "The Last of the Newells". It was very sad. They have done so much for the mission and for Sweden in these last 3 years -it is truly remarkable.  Even though their time is up, it doesn't mean we stop. We keep going. And thats what they said they are going to do when they go home -keep going. Yes the badge comes off, but the missionary work never ceases. We watched the updated version of Den Andra Skörden-the second harvest, and it gets me so pumped every time I watch it. So amazing. We got to hug both president and sister newell and get a picture with them. I really am going to miss President a lot. I know with all my heart that he is inspired of God and knows me personally. I love that man and am so grateful for his service here. He will be missed.

Fre: Exchanges. I got to know Elder B a lot better and I have a huge respect for him. He went to church by himself for 4 years and is the first in his family to serve a mission, and he is reactivate his family while he is out. What a great example. If you have a willing desire to serve the lord, there is nothing that can hold you back from being an amazing instrument in this work. We had dinner with A. She has only met with missionaries who have been born and raised in the church so Elder B was able to help her out a lot, and that was just what she needed. We made it to sports night but the numbers were few.

Just chillin in the elevator
Lör: Lots of cancellations so we did a lot of walking and not a lot of stuff happening. Everyone was indoors because it was raining. But what did we do? Carried on. We were able to get a new investigator with a Vietnamese woman. The language barrier is hard, but we sat down and gave her a BOM and she just went to town reading it! Haha that was pretty awesome! 

Sön: We had our branch conference and had 0 investigators but 40 members! There were visitors from the stake to talk to everyone, and it was really good. It's always frustrating when investigators dont come to church. We had a dinner afterwards and K was able to make it to that and meet S so that was really good. We ended up getting into a portcoded building where we tracted half of it and found 4 TUs!! Miracle! God was definitely mindful of us.
This week was rough haha. But what'd we do when the big rains came? We carried on! You can choose to be grumpy and frustrated or choose to sing a hymn in your head -there is sunshine in my soul today- and be happy to get to serve the lord. I took some time to go over my Patriarchal Blessing this week and it really seemed to help me out. It doesn't necessarily say this, but somehow this is what I got out of it this week "Carry On". Keep doing what you know you should be doing. Trust in the Lord, and good things will come. I know this to be true, though it may be hard to see and understand at times. Carry On brothers and sisters in this great work. For with Christ as our foundation, how can we Fail? It is impossible. I love this work. I know it's true. Have a great week everybody! Love ya

Med Kärlek

Äldste Johnson

Monday, June 23, 2014

Howdy Errybody!

Wow, sounds like my family is having so much fun in the sun this summer! We have been having one of the coldest summers in Sweden (and we had the warmest winters earlier...) so thats been quite weird. Oh well. Special shoutout to Carter saturday for his 2nd bday and today for Stacy and her 18th!!! WHOOOO!!!! Thats so weird that my baby sister is an adult now...Be smart;) It was a good week this week, we got to celebrate Midsommar, the longest day of the year! 
The sun had been up for 5 1/2 hours already by 6:38 am!
I took a picture right when I woke up to capture all the light, I shouldve gotten up at 1 in the morning to capture the SUNRISE, yes, I said sunrise. 12 am was the SUNSET. Very interesting. Well, it looks like everything is back downhill going to the darkest day of the year. No more light, darn. haha anyway, let me tell you about the week...

Mån: After emailing we came home to do a lot of cleaning. We defrosted the freezer and boy did that take a lot of time! Sheesh! I got some pictures and videos commemorating my struggles...but now I know how to do that all on my own, and the freezer looks so much better now. Later we went to the train station to wait for N, someone Elder A contacted on his way to Eskilstuna his first day of transfer. I thought he was just making her up, but I was very wrong. I have never been more happy to be proved wrong in all my life because she is so prepared. She was piecing things together so fast, it was amazing! The spirit was so strong when we were testifying to her that this was what she has been searching for. We had her say a prayer and boy, that was so strong. Seriously one of the greatest lessons/ feelings I have ever been a part of.

Tis: Taught 3 of our regulars then helped set up a funeral program for a member's father.

Ons: We met N again early on, with a member there to help us out and befriend her. Again, such a sweet spirit and so strong feeling that this is what she needs. We set up a baptismal date for her as well! Funny story: She had read the scriptures that we gave her last time, then she asked us if she was only allowed to read the certain few we gave, or if she could start from the beginning and read the whole thing! Hahaha of course you can read the whole thing!  We then helped out with the funeral service. It was interesting because I never knew the man but I felt a calm peace that said everything was gonna be ok for their family. 

Tors: District meeting (btw, do all of you have a PMG now that Elder Ballard has challenged us to have one!!!). We went over how important the spirit is, especially teaching. Without the spirit bearing witness of truth, nothing you say will ever mean anything to anyone. The spirit is the real teacher, and if you think you are better than the spirit, well you are wrong. I ended by telling one of my favorite stories ever -"the kings son" about King Louie's son getting tortured, beaten, submitted to all sorts of cruel/vile things and not caving in. When his enemies asked why he wouldn't cave in, he responded " I cannot do what you ask, for I was born to be a king." That has hit me so hard, and still does every time I hear that. He knew his potential, and nothing stood in the way of that. He was meant to become a king. All of us are meant to become kings and queens. We are sons and daughters of a heavenly king with the potential to become like him. If we understand this, nothing in life can stand in the way of us achieving that. Becoming who God needs us to be. Who we are is not who we can become. It was pretty powerful. I love that story.  

Fre: MIDSOMMARS AFTON celebration.
The whole day is a non proselyting day so we could go celebrate somewhere, but with our personal money. We decided to go to Tyresta By, a big gathering put together by the Stake. Seriously about 1/3 of the missionaries in the mission there at Tyresta By. It was really cool, minus the rainy weather. I hung out missionaries from my MTC group and I got to catch up with a lot of friends/members from Stockholm -the G's!!
They had little festivities going on around the whole time we were there. We got to wear normal clothes, and I honestly did not feel like a missionary. It was really scary and I didnt like it ha. But I had fun.

So The main thing is raising the may pole and singing and dancing around the pole! So I got to hold a random pretty girls hand for the first time in a long time, hahahaha. It was nice to say the least;) Dont worry, Im still focused on the mission. It's kind of hard to explain the whole midsommar thing, because I dont really know it all ha. But, we made it home safe and sound, very tired but happy and ready to go back to work.

Lör: So we had a random transfer go on and we picked up a new companion for Elder C. We sadly had 2 people cancel on us, but we went out to contact people and ended up teaching 2 strangers on the street.

Sön: A lot of people were gone for the holiday weekend, so we had very few members here at church. However, I was very happily surprised when I saw the T family enter (they've been investigating for a time and we had stopped by last Monday)! Then D and K showed up! We had more investigators than members at church haha. Also a Finnish family visiting, and a former missionary Elder Rowley and his parents visiting. It was quite nice. After church we stopped by a less active and she was really nice and warm with us. She was joking around and having a good time showing us her watch collection! Well we finished off with a scripture and prayer before heading home to pack up for the bastu:)
Gods means "goods" in Swedish

I have had a chance to do a lot of personal reflection this last week and it has been very good for me. I fasted all day tuesday and received some answers that I have been looking for. I asked my bros and bro-in-law for some advice and they have been very helpful with that. I've learned a lot about charity. In the Book of Mormon, Mormon prays without much faith or hope for his people because of how wicked they are, yet he prays still because he loves them. Everything will fail, but charity wont. It is everlasting. It is so strong, it causes miracles. By expressing and showing love, we can help people around us back on the path home to our Heavenly Father. Correction is needed from time to time, but an increase of love needs to be there as well. I am grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who corrects me from time to time, but shows forth his love in numerous ways that I cannot even fully fathom. I know because He loves me, I can and want to be better. I know that by trusting in His son, we can overcome our individual weaknesses and make them our strengths. I love this work. I love being able to testify of these truths that I hold dear to me. It is so rewarding, I love it! I love you all, have a great week!

I love Brady's gifts from Cambodia
Med Kärlek

Äldste Johnson

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hey there family and friends! Well, the weather seems to be very bipolar. This week we got destroyed by a thunderstorm, and the next day it was sunny as can be. Så är det med livet. I'm struggling a bit knowing that the world cup is going on right now, haha. But Im doing my best (and I have a member who keeps me updated;)

Mån: I went to Gripsholms Slott -the castle, and boy was it amazing!!! Definitely worth the trip out there. Obviously I got some trinkets and souveniers, though doing a good job of not looking like a tourist... It was a lot of history and just a lot of cool stuff! I definitely want to show my family that. We came home to let elder smith pack up. We had dinner and FHE with the K's and yummy desserts!

I think I'll knock this door
 A "rune stone"?
Sun dial

What time is it?

Tis: We went around for Elder S to say goodbye to and teach for one last time. B has been filling in at a hair clipping place so we stopped by there to say bye.  Also taught S then ate dinner with D and S and had a great time with them. They are awesome. The other elders met us at our place for one last sleepover, because our apartment is right next to the train station so that makes things easier for transfers.

Ons: We picked up my new comp, Elder A (who loves to sing and lived in Mexico for 3 years of his life and knows Spanish really well) and for a while it was us three as a companionship. We had 2 really good lessons back to back, with us 3 teaching them and working really well together. We then visited a less active before picking up Elder C's new companion, Elder J #2. Hahaha, as if it wasn't enough to go from one Elder S to another, we now have to have 2 elder J's here at the same time! It is a really good joke! 

Tors: District meeting on contacting. We ate lunch at a place called American Pizza Today but it wasn't american. It was close, but there was a big difference. Tyvärr. We headed down to Strängnäs and as we were walking to the library to meet K we were hit by a huge thunderstorm out of nowhere! I havent been in a thunderstorm in a year, I really miss it. It was soo cool, and so much water! We didn't have jackets or an umbrella so we were soaked, head to toe! Ooops!:) We then met with S and then visited C and her family, who invited us to stay for salmon dinner. We couldnt decline. We then met with A to read the BoM outloud in Swedish together, trying to imitate the way she pronounces words. Elder A is really good at languages and imitating people because that s the best way to learn!

Fre: Weekly planning session and contacting then sports night where it was just us 4 missionaries and two more.

Lör: We had a great lesson with D and the spirit was strong and testifying of the truth. We went down to Strängnäs to meet a new guy. The first time we met he was not yet ready but this time he was. After saying a prayer he felt really calm and peaceful. We testified that that was the spirit. He was so excited and said he wants that feeling so much all the time!! We can help!:) We missed the train, so we did some contacting/tracting for a bit and got some return appointments set up.

Sön: Always a glorious day. I made some french toast for us in the morning, and it was goooood:) We made it to church and got things set up. None of our investigators came today, kind of sad. But we did have tons of members there so that was good. We met a less actives daughter who hasn't been baptized. She was really cool is willing to meet and try it out. 

Me and my duck friend
Well, it was fathers day yesterday. I kind of forgot about it because in Sweden it is in November. But I would like to take the time now to give my old man a tribute. I think of the Mormon message, Earthly Father Heavenly Father, and that's what reminds me of my dad. Growing up, kids don't fully comprehend where things come from or how things came to be: the food in the pantry, the clothes in the drawers, etc. They just expect it. Not realizing where it came from, the work of father and mother providing for the care of the children. And as a father, he has worked hard to provide me with a home where I could learn and grow in the gospel. Allowing me to apply myself to many different things, and not judging, but loving me through it all. I am grateful for my father for the wonderful Priesthood man that he is. Being the patriarch of the home. His example is what I want to follow when I have the sacred privilege of becoming a father and husband. I have seen him fulfill callings and responsibilities above and beyond the call. He is always so kind and friendly to everyone-because he knows everyone ha. I miss being at all of the BYU sporting events with him and knowing I could always count on him for a boost when times were rough. I could always hear him when I was playing my games, and I knew that he loved me and still does. Thanks for all that you do pops, I love you. You deserve a great day!

I love you all, this church is true. I'm so grateful to be apart of it. Let us do all that we can to build the Kingdom of God on the earth. Have a great week,


Äldste Johnson

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Well Hello errybody!

We received transfer calls and it looks like I will be staying another 6 weeks in the TUNA! I will be getting Elder A who can speak Spanish quite well so that will be good! And Elder S is actually going to my birthplace of Stockholm where the G family will be in his ward. Lucky him!
Daycare graduation at the park with 2 member girls
Mån: When we were getting our groceries, guess who we run into!!! Sister K and her girls! Then later that day, who do we see again? Sister K and her girls! So we ended up following them to this park to watch this graduation ceremony from dagis -daycare. It was so cute, 25 little 5 year olds trying to sing in front of all of their family and friends. You couldn't hear em, but it was pretty cute. We then got lost trying to visit a less active, but finally made it there to meet and talk.

Tis:  B is doing good.  And S has finished reading all standards works. Man, this guy can read! We then visited with M -who feels a whole lot better now that he has begun reading through the book again! That's the power of the Book of Mormon right there! 

Ons: So we did a lot of swingbys where we made some return appointments and also got told not to come back again, so that was pretty positive ha. That was very oxymoronical. Anywho, I practiced a lot on the piano during open church time. I can successfully play a few hymns on both hands fairly well. Im really happy with that! I'm trying to implement singing at the same time, but it's gonna take some time. So we had a contact on Tuesday who we told to meet us today. Usually when that happens people don't show up. My faith was lacking -i repented- because here comes this man right on time! Wow, what a stud! It was hard with the language barrier -he knew Portuguese, so my Spanish helped a little but not too much. We gave him a BoM and set up to meet again in a couple of weeks.

Tors: We had an early zone training because President is leaving soon and wanted to do interviews. The zone leaders talked about keeping a balance with everything going on. That's why missionary work is so exhausting, because you are constantly spinning plates going back and forth from one to another making sure they are spinning ever more. Whew! When we went to lunch we had a guy contact us and was very prepared. Hopefully the Södertälje Elders can follow up. It just goes to show that wherever you are, you are constantly doing missionary work! I had my interview then President gave me a blessing and said some things that I have pondered greatly on. 

sports night
We made it back to Strängnäs to meet T and K came with us to teach him! We gave him a priesthood blessing which was very spiritual and powerful. I'm grateful for the knowledge that I have that I know Priesthood power is back on the earth.

Fre: We played soccer at a legit field early in the morning. Later on we went to sports night where J came and became great friends with L! He is athletic so it was getting really intense! Oh the joy of sports night!

Lör: We were able to meet up with a potential investigator and we got introduced to a whole group of friends. Lots of Eritreans in one room all trying to talk to you. It was hard, but super funny. We brought out a Book of Mormon and explained that and went on our lovely way. We had dinner with A for one last time before Elder S would leave.

Sön: We ended up having more than 30 people come to church! I did the translation but the speakers were just talking extra fast for some reason -it was hard to keep up. Tyvärr. We taught D during 2nd hour and finally set up a baptismal date for July. It came so randomly, but Im grateful that we followed the spirit and set this up. So D has a baptismal date! Whoo!!! We met G for one final time before he left for Norway, and hopefully we can get missionaries set up there for him.

We met a potential investigator, D in Strängnäs. By testifying with all of our hearts that our message will help her find what she is looking for, her heart was softened and she agreed to meet with us again. Wow, that was pretty cool to see that quick transformation because the spirit was working on her. I lost our phone for about 1 hour when we were talking with her, but were able to find it right where I had left it. My heart was pumping so fast. I was so mad at myself haha. But luckily God was able to answer my prayer right then and there to help me find the phone. We headed over to the other elders place for the final sleepover/ bastu sesh before Elders B and S leave. 

Kind of looks like I'm Batman on a bike
I would just like to end by telling you how grateful I am for each and every one of you. I truly feel the power of your prayers for me. It means so much to me that you are thinking about me. I love you all and I love my Savior who has given me this wonderful chance to help in this great work. I know it is true. I love it. Hope you all have a great week

Med Kärlek

Äldste Johnson

Monday, June 2, 2014

Welcome June

Hey Fam and Friends! Summer is definitely here. I don't think I have told you guys but the days are super long-meaning the sun is up ALL the time! From 11pm to 3 or 4 am is darkness, the rest is super bright and sunny. The weather has been about 25 Celsius or higher (77) except a little random cold front over the weekend. But with summer comes other stuff -basically, no clothes. That is eventful. ha. Yeah, people here don't like to wear much clothing when it's warm, men så är det med livet -but so is it with life. :) 

Family Home Evening
Mån: We had FHE with B and his family at the K's! We had a great dinner -most of which Elder S and I cooked, dessert (of course), and a fun lesson. We showed them how to hold a family evening together where we could sing songs, play games and teach important life lessons. I'm seeing how I want to raise my kids up in the gospel and how to have family home evening with little kids. I was a little nervous about the lesson, I don't know why, I guess kids just scare me ha, not. But it was really good.

Tis: We met with B again to prepare him for his baptism this week. We met S and went over Kysketslagen -law of chastity which simple, straightforward and easy. Later that day we had dinner with A and her kids and read the Book of Mormon out loud in Swedish. She has been enjoying that, and we are benefiting from it as a language study as well as spiritual study. I honestly think that is why the MTC works so well is that it is working 2 different parts of your brain when learning a new language and having the spiritual side there as well, and it can connect easier. Plus, doing the work of the Lord gives you blessings.

Ons: We did contacting and swingbys. We met with K who has read some things on the internet so that makes things difficult, but he understood fully the need for Priesthood Authority. We ate dinner and headed over to D and S's place so we could practice a song for the baptism. D cannot sing so S banished him, haha. The song is a cool arrangement of I am a Child of God. We had a good time with them talking afterwards -I really enjoy those 2 a lot. Their marriage, the way they interact with eachother is hilarious and exactly what I want with my framtid fru -future wife.

Tors: This was a very jam packed stressful day, doing one thing right to the next. Every time I have trouble focusing on preparing district meeting it usually always turns out really well. Im grateful for that wonderful blessing. Anywho, we were walking to lunch when we see President K and his wife and they invited us to have sushi with them. Im not the biggest fan of it but Im not gonna turn something down like that. It actually was really good, so yay! We then had B come over and it was a very spiritual powerful lesson. President told some very personal stories that got me and B going (tears.) I shared my experience and my knowledge of the Plan of Salvation with him about Elder Bailey and it was a very tender experience. I feel like I have been able to connect more deeply with people when I share that knowledge because it is so personal and so real to me, it's a big blessing in disguise.

We then met up with M, someone who Elder Bailey actually contacted in Västerås a couple months prior. He felt a cleansing when he was with the missionaries. He really loved Elder Bailey (as everyone does) and he took the loss quite hard. But afterwards, he came to himself and now is doing really well. He lives in Etuna now and wants to meet with the missionaries again and get baptized! I've already had a great connection with him just sharing stories of Elder Bailey, it's quite amazing.

We then went down to Strängnäs to help S. We taught him Tithing and Fast offerings and he got it. We came back and we met up with H. We ate dinner with him and then went on a walk just talking about everything and finally getting down to the Book of Mormon, which he actually really enjoys! We got talking more and more about it and somehow I mentioned hope. He opened up to us big time and shared a personal story about his grandmother that was so tender. I told him about my grandmother, who died not too long after I was born. And though she is gone, I have felt her presence in my life so strong and fully that I cannot deny that there is no afterlife. She lives, and helps me. And I testified that his grandmother does the same. It was a very real personal connection that we had together. It was amazing.

Fre: we went on exchanges with the zone leaders so they could interview B. (I was with Elder O in Etuna) We found out that B needed more time and understanding before he can be baptized so we are going to continue to work with him and help prepare some more. I had to tell everyone the baptism was off, right after I had sent the text talking about it ha. That was tough. But it'll be ok.

We met with K and asked that if he knew this was the right path for him if he would be baptized, and he said yes. We set up a day in July to work towards. We picked up L and headed to sports night. He said he wants to go to the temple. It was really cool seeing that motivation take place (I believe it might have come from the BoM challenge we gave him earlier). So Sports night was pretty fun. Elder O is an athletic guy so he wasn't really used to our type of Sports night. Sports night is not really about the sports:)

Lör: So no baptism today. Sad. But we press forward.  Sister K told us she had some food for us. So we go over and find out that she picked up a hitchhiker, who is from Vancouver Canada (where sis k will be visiting in a couple of weeks), coming here to work on an free organic farm, she wants to be a librarian (sis k is a librarian) she grew up in a Mormon family (but not so active anymore). Her name is P (I'm naming my daughter P) it was just crazy! AND she has a ukulele! So we go grab our ukuleles and have a jam session with President K rocking his guitar! SO AWESOME!
Talk not with me about weaknesses, talk with me about possibilities

Sön: Fast sunday! Yes! Man, Sunday was a good day. We got L, B and K to come to church. AND P ended up coming too! The Newells (Mission Pres and wife)  were there to visit the K's. It was testimony meeting. Everything was so good. I helped L pass the Sacrament for his first time ever, and it was amazing. So many memories were coming back to me as we were passing of when I did it for my first time, and through the ages of preparing and then blessing the sacrament. I later bore my testimony about that, and how sacred it is be able to pass the sacrament. It truly is a sacred calling; to enable people the opportunity to renew their baptismal covenant as well as all of their covenants, to invite the spirit and let angels administer in the congregation. It was powerful. We then had dinner with the K's, P, and the Newells! It was a lot of fun. We found out later that P really enjoyed us missionaries and thought we were quite normal. She has tons of friends on missions and now wants to write them! Wow, cool stuff!!! She's from halfway across the world, and there are still so many ties!!!

We went to H for the sacrament and then proceeded to do swingbys. Nothing much came of it, we tried to set return appointments but people dont like to commit ha. We ended up going by H again and taking another walk/talk with him.

Thursday seemed to be so jammed and stressful, but it turned out to be one of the most spiritual days of my life. I do not do this work on my own. There is no way that I could. It humbles me to know, in situations like that, that I can truly rely on the Lord to strengthen me and support me through it all. I'm having special experiences everyday that connects me to people so deeply and so powerfully, that it can only come through the gospel. I know this is the Lord's work. I am a part of it, and I could not be any more grateful for this chance, this sacred calling. I love it. I know it is true. I know He lives. And loves. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Med Kärlek

Äldste Johnson