Sweden Stockholm Mission

Monday, July 28, 2014

Hello Handen

Hello hello errybody! Wow, sounds like you all had a blast for the 24th of July. Thank you to the pioneers. What great examples they are for us! It was a very hot week (major heat wave for Sweden), but really good, saying goodbye to friends and making new ones.

Mån: We met a woman who invited us over for some cheesecake. And boy was it good cheesecake! She isn't interested in the church but we kind of snuck in some stuff about the church whilst talking. I visited B for my last time. Im sad to leave him, but I know he will be baptized and all will be well. I feel very strongly about this man and like I was meant to find him. We had FHE with D and S and discussed about priorities in life. When God is first, everything else just falls into place where they need to be. Not necessarily where we want them to be, but it all works out. I love those 2 so much. They are the best. We got joking around that me and my future wife would take them to Hawaii if they took us to Sardegna -an island off of Italy. Sounds good to me!

Good trade: 4 ties for these goggles.
Tis: I finished my packing in a relatively decent amount of time. All of my bags were stuffed to the brim, super heavy and tight. Plus I had my backpack and shoulder bag and my ukulele as well. Whew! Crazy! We went to visit all my investigators and K, who I baptized, to say good bye.  Then went to M -I gave him 4 ties and then he gave me some goggles. Good trade off. I told him Im gonna keep track of him and his reading so he holds onto the challenge I gave him. We were then chilling at the apartment, about to go to bed when we receive a phone call from the office elders saying that Elder M, elder A's new comp, had been waiting at the station for awhile for us. We had been told that he wasn't coming until Wednesday, Oops. Luckily we live right next to the station so it's all good:)

Ons: I have been starting my spanish studies and I have actually contacted people on the street speaking spanish! I took all of my stuff to the train station, waved goodbye to the Tuna and was on my way. It was sad to leave but I said a prayer and told God that I have done my best here and I had a great feeling of satisfaction and peace. I have no regrets. I slept most of the way and then met up with Elder L -my companion. We live in a 4 man which is actually a lot of fun. The apartment is very nice. We went right away to a member dinner -we get those a lot here which is exciting ha!
My new home and companion

Tors: So in Handen ward we have 2 sets of elders. The ward boundaries are the smallest in all of Europe!!! Crazy! It's a big ward, but a tiny proselyting area. We handle Jordbro, which literally means Earth Bridge, and it makes sense because there are many immigrants here, so perfect for missionary work:) We also work a lot with YSAs, and that is so helpful. We had 2 teaches this day with YSA member present. The first was W. She is from the Middle East but has lived most of her life in Finland. She was supposed to get baptized last month but her family didn't approve. We will be patient and just give her the encouragement and support she needs.

Then there is G, who is 19 from Bolivia and super ready. A, the YSA who found him, will be leaving on his mission soon and will get to baptize him right before he leaves.  No better way to start a mission, eh? We met T,  from Iran, who grew up in Sweden. His son has been asking a lot of questions like "what do we believe in" and that got wanting to find the truth. Man, what a great first day! 3 awesome people to teach!!

Fre: Correlation meeting with our recently returned missionary, mission leader Brother O.  He is super awesome. Working with him is nice because now I don't have to worry about the other stuff and I can focus on teaching people -my calling. At district meeting we each told our conversion story. It was powerful. Most people are gone on semester-vacation until late August but we have a lot of potential here and I'm super stoked! I serenaded the boys with my ukulele skills tonight. Im getting pretty good eh.

Lör: We taught a member who has never been to the temple since he was baptized years ago. We are making a goal with him to get there. We had a little bbq with a member M from Philippines, who loves the missionaries. We played soccer with her autistic son who is super awesome! Playing soccer on a turf field felt so good:) ! We met W again at the church. I love teaching at the church because the spirit is already there. Our church is the one right next to the temple! So I will be able to go to the temple soon. It has been a year since I have been and I am needing it. Do not take that for granted those of you who live near a temple.

Sön: We don't have church until 1 which I find to be less productive. Oh well, I make the best of it and get all of my studies in. We made it to church in a most random rainstorm. We got pretty soaked but it felt nice. G and W were both at church! Man, it was weird having a big huge ward again. Its been ages like ive seen tons of people in church and going from 2 hour church to 3 hour was pretty hard hahaha;) Afterwards we went out to contact and swingby some people. We do not have a car because we are in the greater Stockholm area and our bus/train cards take us everywhere we need to go.

Well, it's been a good couple of days so far and I'm super stoked for the future. I miss Eskilstuna but the future looks bright indeed. Im grateful for the opportunity to be and serve here. I love this gospel. I know its true. I love you all, have a great week! -elder johnson

Monday, July 21, 2014

Goodbye to the big Tuna

Dear Fam and Friends, Glad to hear you are all doing well! I'm very jealous that I can't go to Wicked with you, but we'll do that later. It was a very warm week, and very humid. So about 90 degrees fahrenheit with 100 %humidity. Nice and wet if you know what I'm saying.

Chocolate Molten cake
Mån: After emailing, we cut our pday short to proselyte because of something we were going to do on Thursday. We met with M who taught me some Spanish. Then we had dinner and family home evening with K's and B's whole family! Plus it was my going away party because we knew I would be leaving. We had homemade chocolate molten cake. Oh man, it was so good:) The K's are the best fellow-shippers ever. We got to watch front row how member missionary work should be done. I love them. I know B and his family will be baptized. I hope I will be able to come and see that happen.

Tis: We went down to strängnäs only to walk around with people cancelling on us left and right. I honestly have no idea how we got 20 lessons this week because we got cancelled on so much. We did get to visit with C and her family before heading home.

Ons: District meeting: the discussion was led to Bearing Testimony Frequently. Many times we think that we need to make this huge extravagant testimony at the end of the lesson, but it doesnt need to be so. Small simple sincere statements of truth allows the Holy Ghost to penetrate to the investigators heart. We received a call from an old investigator (GU-gamal undersökare) wanting a Doctrine and Covenants -this guy knows a ton about our beliefs and everyones, he does deep deep study to honestly find truth. So we took this as a sign that all of the cancellations were so that we could meet with him. He tried to bible bash but he still wants to meet and discuss certain things. So thats cool. We met with K and he was being so hardhearted with everything. He was just fighting the Mormon doctrine, but I was like, "Look, we don't teach any Mormon doctrine, there is no such thing. We teach the doctrine of Jesus Christ, because it is the Church of Christ, the same that has been taught since the beginning of the world." It was intense, just let me leave it at that.

Teaching me the munspel
Tors: We got to go to a Medieval Knight Festival going on in Mariefred with a member family and it was pretty awesome! I got myself a munspel -mouth game. There's a pic of the guy teaching me how to play it. Ill have to show you guys when I get home, it is super cool!!! Sick! Then they had tournament with competitions and they actually jousted! Well, as much as they could without people getting hurt. I wish though that I could have seen a real joust, just like from A Knights Tale. That wouldve been sick! It was definitely worth it, though the sun was blazing hot. I got me some good color again:)
Hole in one

Back to work where we met with Y. Things have been stressful for him because his family lives in Libya and theres some crazy things going on over there.

Fre: Exchanges. There was a locked building and just at that moment we get to the door someone was there! Perfect! Turns out it was this TUs girlfriend. So she lets us in and we met with the TU. He isnt religious at all, though is interested in Theology -like most people here ha. We had him pray for his first time ever, and it was pretty great. He definitely opened up a lot more from when we first got in. We were able to meet with this less active family for a visit. I'm very grateful for Elder C. We've had some good talks together. He has really helped a ton here in Eskilstuna, especially for me.

Lör: We met with T for a good deep conversation and he is sincere in his desire to find truth. He had great prayer afterwards to ask God for him to open his understanding if the Book of Mormon is true. We met D who had a spiritual experience this week. 6 months ago he was very content with his life, lagom. Then after meeting with us, reading from the Book of Mormon and coming to church, he has felt even better than before. It was so cool hearing him say that and for him to recognize it himself. So wonderful!

We finally met up with B who is from El Salvador and he and his wife were excited to see us and we had some fika and talked. They are in the belief that God is first priority. And testimony should be centered on Jesus Christ, not some priest. They were super nice and just awesome people. And we finally got in contact with N again!! It seems her boyfriend doesn't like us. Man, that was very disappointing. 

Oh just det, we received the transfer call from President Beckstrand and I will be transferring to Handen, Stockholm South, as a Zone Leader!?! I'm super excited for the opportunity and I'm also a little nervous but I know that when I put my faith in Christ he can use me as an instrument in His hands to carry this work forward.

Love these people!
Sön: It was my last Sunday in Eskilstuna and when I bare my testimony I usually cry, its just how it is. It gave me a chance to just pause, look out over the congregation and feel the spirit. It's truly a remarkable feeling. I had my last dinner with the L's and visited H for my last time (every Sunday for 6 months.) At home I packed a little bit -that is always so stressful for me ha! and went to the other elders for my last bastu, tyvärr. It was nice.

These 6 months in Eskilstuna have truly been a great blessing. I love these people with all of my heart and am pained to leave them. But I know that life goes on, and same with the mission so there are new adventures to be had and new people needed to be found and I am honored for the chance I have to do it. There is a big place in my heart for the Tuna. I know the work will continue to progress here - I have seen mighty changes from day 1. This work is true. It blesses lives. It heals the broken soul. It promises eternal joy. I am forever grateful. I love you all, have a great week
Med Kärlek

Äldste Johnson

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ooh, ooh, half way there! (and living on a prayer!)

Hello family and friends! Wow, what a week. I'm glad to hear that you guys went to the Newell's homecoming. They are the best! Lemme tell you about my week and how I passed the Hump!

Mån: We helped the apartment couple carry in some new desks for us, because ours were falling apart. And we got some office chairs and they are a lot better than the wooden ones we used to have:) Ha, I'm so spoiled. It's crazy. We met K at the church  and taught him. We later met up with N again and taught her the Restoration. She accepted the invitation to be baptized when she knows it's true. That's interesting what we do as missionaries with the baptismal invitation. We say "will you be baptized...when you know it's true" instead of "if". It's bold, it's powerful, but that's because we know it's true.

Tis: My mission is focusing a lot on family history. We have received a booklet called "My Family" and it is simple and easy and everyone can do it! I think I have finally begun to catch the Spirit of Elijah and I am really happy about it!:) I've already begun to put some information on familysearch.org and put up pictures. You all should look into it!

We have had some difficulty with our bikes lately -we've taken them to the shop 4 times in the past month. We now walk -which is a lot slower. Such is life. By the end of the week we would have 15 scheduled appointments get cancelled. So getting 16 lessons this week was a miracle. We should have had at least 30!

We got into this building but our investigator wasn't home so what did we do? We tracted it of course! We found a really cool Palestinian guy. We told him about the Book of Mormon and he let us in so we did a basic Restoration lesson. Afterwards he said, "What happens to me if I don't follow your beliefs?" I said that we are a church of invitation. We don't force anyone to do anything, we just invite them to try it out and see if it is true for themselves. He was totally down with that and immediately began reading the Book of Mormon after we left!

Ons: Well this day was a trying one. We had 7 lessons scheduled for today -all of them cancelled. We swungby a lot of people -no one wanted to meet. It was pretty warm -about 85-90 with humidity. We contacted 30 people and only 1 of them actually listened. But we kept working hard and doing what we know was true. I remembered something that Pops told me a while ago that really has helped me with situations like this. I remember when I was in 8th grade, playing in the Allstar Football game, I had sprained my ankle, pulled my hamstring, and jammed a couple of fingers. I was done. I had no desire or energy to finish the game and it was only halftime. Pops came down and I told him how I was feeling, expecting him to be sympathetic. Nope. He just said, "Suck it up." I was so angry and absolutely mad at him for saying that. But I used that frustration to carry me through the rest of the game, and I believe I ended up scoring as well. When life gets hards and is beating upon you, just suck it up. Now I know not everyone can do this, but I am very grateful for that opportunity to learn to never give up when times are hard, when the world is beating on you and denying everything that you have to offer. I have learned to press forward with hope that something good is coming up. How sad it would be if we gave up just before the finish line, when we could not see it because you first had to cross a giant mountain. Do all that you can and leave the rest to Christ.

Tors: 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!!! WHOOOOOO!!!! Man, how crazy is that! Just one year ago I was pulling up to the Mtc and saying goodbye to the worldly world. Now when I think, "what was I doing this time last year?" I respond, Oh yeah, I was on my mission ha. Weird. I thought of all the things that I have done so far in just one year. So many memories were flooding in and testifying to me that what I have done is pleasing to God. I laughed out loud at times thinking of certain things, and I cried as well. There is still so much more I can give and do until the end. It's like having a midlife crisis, or so I imagine. I wouldn't know, I'm not in my 50s or whatever.

Zone Meeting
We had zone training where we got to wear sports clothes. We had an egg toss, relay race and talked about our vision with the new mission president. "Hastening the work of the 2nd Harvest by helping others live the Gospel of Jesus Christ" or as I like to call it HTWOTSHBHOLTGOJC:) hahahaha. We then took some time to re-evaluate what we have done on our mission so far and what we want to do to better ourselves. It was fitting since I was already thinking about that today with it being exactly 1 year. 

Found a cannon in the hills
We decided to hit up this outlying town in our area. Way far out, but it'd had been 6 months since I've been in this area and have not been to Åkers Styckebruk, it reminds me a lot of Pocatello Idaho. We had a referral there -turned out not so interested. We had a TU, who was gone. And then we had some less actives who were very friendly. They are from Chile and don't like how the church isnt the same here as there. They are like a lot of people here who think that there are too many good people in the world that there couldn't possibly be one true church. Man, that is so sad. I then had a conference call with my MTC group. It was good to hear from them all and it we realized that our sisters only have 6 months left. :O crazy. It was a good "birthday" here-I wore my elephant tie and it looked good.
Fre: We did some swingbys and language study and then sports night. 
Lör: Sometimes I have sleepless nights and don't want to get out of bed, but I do it and give my all to God and he helps me. I have a burning conviction that I could not do any of this on my own. I rely so much on God for absolutely everything, he is able to work through me to fulfill his purposes. It's truly remarkable. We met an old (not age) potential named N. She loves talking about Christianity so she was ecstatic to meet with us! She was able to find God on her own after her mother died, though none of her family is religious at all. She was really cool and respectful, so we'll see how it goes. 

Sön: At church today we were able to have K, D an B AND HIS WHOLE FAMILY!!! Whooo, it was great to finally see them all again! And even better, we had 2 families from Switzerland and Germany visiting. So it was a full house! We didnt have enough english translators, so elder C took the visitors and I took B's family ha. It was quite a lot to deal with but it all worked out. Things look promising for B to get out of his current circumstance. He was so happy to be at church and feel the spirit again. It was amazing. After church we decided to call some people while sitting outside on a bench. A lady saw us and came down to talk because she loves seeing Mormons but never really knew what they believed in! Ha, well thats wonderful! We taught her the restoration and she took it all in. She was super funny and awesome (she's half Swede half Finn.) Sometimes people are guided to us rather than us guided to them. Either way, it is always so fun!
I'm on a soccer pitch - I'm in heaven.
Well, it's true. I'm halfway there, and I'm living on a prayer day to day. I got over that hump and I feel very happy with what the Lord and I have accomplished. Am I gonna plateau? Absolutely not! There is still so much more for me to do here and learn and grow. I have loved all that has happened to me so far: the good and the bad, and I'm excited for the trials ahead to continue to shape me into the missionary and person I am meant to be. I know this work is true with every fiber of my being. If it wasn't, I wouldn't be here. If it wasn't I wouldn't be able to get through the hard times, as well as the good. Jesus Christ is my Savior, he is your savior. God lives and loves us so much. The biggest thing that I want to happen this year of my mission is completely give everything I have to God and let him work through me. Let the mission go through me and change me. I love this work. I love you all, have a great week!

Med Kärlek

Äldste Johnson

Monday, July 7, 2014

Dear Family and Friends!
Sounds like you are all doing so well. I am very heartbroken with what happened to my good friend Kenzie Lewis. My heart and prayers go out to her and her family. God is watching over them and things will work out -I am sure of that.

Woweee, there was just lots of stuff that happened this week. It was hot, it was cool -we got drenched one day, we met some cool people, we got cancelled, we had a firework, yes a firework, and many more things.
Euro haircut

Mån: I cleaned, cut my hair -looks totally euro ha, wrote some letters, played my uke, among other things. We then did some swingbys to set up return appointments. I bet nearly 90 % of the stuff we do is set return appointments, and set some more when we come to meet them, and set some more ha. We had family home evening with D and S. We read Pres Uchtdorfs "Continue in Patience" from a few years ago. I invite you all to go back and read that. We can find peace of mind when we go through trials in knowing that something good is waiting for us. Whether it comes in this life or the next, we don't know. But what we do know is that it will come.

Tis: July is here. Wow, that is weird. Nearly one whole year down. Almost there. You all need to do some family history. I think I am beginning to catch the spirit of Elijah. It's something that I have been praying and working for for a long time. S returned to his habit after going 6 days (because of watching the world cup.) He is not showing any desire to try anymore. We know he has felt the truth but we can't force anyone to repent.

Ons: We're using our swingby list. Though most of the people say don't come back or give me more time, that is success. It's our responsibility to take care of these children of God, though some don't want the truth...yet, we do our job and love em through it all. During our time at the church I have been practicing a lot of the piano and singing as well and I am getting a lot better. K came and said that he is getting frustrated and scared that the book of Mormon is true and that our church is the only true church. Haha what?  That's awesome.  As we left the church an immediate down pour came on us while we were biking on our broken bikes, in nice white khaki pants and no jacket...that was brutal. Hahaha,

Tors: I made cookies: not my best batch, not my worst. I was content. Lagom (that's very swedish thing. Lagom, not too much, not too little, not too bad, not too good, just right). We met with K and shared a very tender moment of testimony. I told her I know that Christ has gone through my trials and my pains and my fears with me. It is through him I am able to make it through those hard times. We then had dinner with A and had a good talk.

Fre: So, 4th of July! Happy Birthday America! God bless the USA!!!! ....and Sweden! We had a big zone conference where we met President and Sister Beckstrand!!! Wow, what can I say? They are awesome! I am so convinced they are who is needed to fill the shoes of President and Sister Newell. They have so much energy and conviction in helping this work go forward. They love Obedience!!!! YES!!! That is something that I have been praying for recently- how can I be more obedient and how can the mission be more obedient. And well, here you go. A quote from Pres Beckstrand -"the gospel is fun. It is even more fun when we are obedient." He had a miracle happen to him a couple of years ago. I wont share the personal story but many missionaries fasted for him - missionaries are the most obedient people in the world (or should be). When we missionaries are obedient, we are endowed with great power. I'm stoked to work with them. Sister Beckstrand even bore her testimony in broken Swedish, that was so bold and so powerful. They truly love this work and love the Lord.

Ford Mustang in Sweden!
We played soccer for our sports night and that was a lot of fun:) We also got one firework from a member that we lit off of our balcony hahahaha. America!

Lör: Us 4 missionaries and the branch president went down and cleaned S's apartment for 2 hours. I don't know what else we can do for him. We were doing some swingbys and we looked at the list and a certain name stuck out to me -N. Turns out, it was just what she needed. She had been having a very hard day and just needed someone to listen to her. We listening to her concerns and questions and we just boldly testified that what we have to offer will help her in every aspect of her life. We testified that we were guided to go by her place and she knew it as well. It was so cool to be able to be to be an answer to someone else's prayer. That's when you feel like a servant of God. Man that was incredible.

Sön: Fast Sunday! Those are always so good though I always get a huge headache from them ha. Its a sacrifice I'm willing to make to come closer to God. K and D made it to church. S did not so we decided to drop him. It will honestly be the best thing for him. To see for himself that he needs this. Hopefully he will come back soon. It's hard dropping people. D stayed for the Priesthood lesson. Guess what the theme was? Baptism!! 8 people were able to testify of their own baptismal experience to him and that was very powerful! Then president K was able to talk with him and help him understand more!

Oh just det, I forgot to tell you, I was asked to play the piano in sacrament meeting, so I was a little freaked out by it. I just need a little more practice. I was relieved when President K came in and played instead. Whew! Hahaha. I'll get there eventually. After church we contacted 2 older men on a bench and ended up talking with them for 40 minutes. We are going by there same time next week! We swungby a TU and turned him into a U! (potential investigator into investigator). Then we ate some good homemade stir fry by yours truly. Mmmmhm. Good stuff:)

Jag vill lämna mitt vittnesbörd om evangeliet till er. Jag vet med all mitt hjärta att den här kyrkan är sann. Jag vet att Joseph Smith var en Guds profet. Och att han återställde Jesu Kristi Evangeliet och prästadömets nycklar. Jag älskar det här verket så mycket. Jag kan inte uttrycka mina tankar om det, men det känns så underbart att vara här. I love you guys, have a great week!

Med Kärlek

Äldste N. Brock Johnson