Sweden Stockholm Mission

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hungry Hungry Hippo found me!
Hallå family and friends!! Wowee! Things have been quite cold this week -it got down to 1 degree celsius [33 F]!!! But now it is warming up again. It was a good week. I turned 20, no more teenage life, but best of all I heard from my good friends in Eskilstuna that B's 2 daughters were baptized last week. That was great news. Elder S and I found that family, and now they are taking that step in following their savior. It is an indescribable feeling. 

Mån: So, I did some early bday shopping and got myself a laundry basket, my previous one broke. We played sports at Gubbängen with a couple of missionaries and came back to teach a new investigator, G.

Tis: We planned to teach H about family history and when we got there he had already created an account on his own! It was like he knew what we were gonna talk about and was super prepared! We went back to G's later on and he just got super anti with us. He was so positive to begin with, but then didn't want to try it anymore. It was really strange.

Happy birthday to me
Ons: Hey, it's my birthday!! I don't know what it was but I was just feeling sad and down in the dumps this day. It was a really good day, but just mentally I was not all there. All is better now. We had our district meeting (breakfast) then went to a different district for exchanges. We taught W -we have a cycle every time we meet with her: she is confused, things are hard, we
Klad kakka- sticky chocolate cake
teach and testify and promise blessings, and she is pumped to go out and try it all, then she slips and forgets and we start over again. We are working really hard with her. So we read 3 nephi 13 talking about consider the lilies, see how they grow...and yeah. Continue on the chapter and it says God knows what we need. But if we just put him first in our lives everything else will fall into place in the place where we need them, not always where we want. We had a member dinner and it was fantastic soup! I got sung to in Swedish 3 times during the day, so that was pretty fun. I also made myself a klad kakka (sticky chocolate cake) -super good!
Tors: We had another district meeting to attend. I was tech support trying to skype some members in our district who work out on Visby-Gotland. On our way back home we taught some guy on the street. The assistants came to do exchanges with us. I was with my papa again -elder m!!! It was a lot of fun. We went up to Täby to work in their area. And I also got to drive the car the whole time! I haven't driven a car in over 15 months, so needless to say, it was a good reunion with me behind the wheel. Whoo! I miss that! I hope Leo is doing good. [Leo is Brock's truck here at home.]

Me and my pappa, Elder M.  He loves anything country!
Fre: I had a really good day with Elder M. It has been a year since I was with him, so it was a great time together. We worked really hard a year ago, and it was just like we picked up on the same beat again. I loved it! he took me to lunch at a Texas restaurant where they played lots of country stuff -he was in heaven hahaha. I think now that country music is growin on me...we will see;) We taught a new convert from Gabon who is a genius. Then we taught a teenager and set a baptismal date with him!! That was really cool. All too soon we had to go back home but it was a great day. We had a good heart to heart while we were together and i needed and was grateful for that.

Lör: When we were teaching H, his mom came in and asked us some questions. We were able to teach and testify to her that we are here to help people come closer to Christ. H bore his testimony of the difference it has been in his life, and she began to cry. It was so spiritual, man, it was the best! Mind you, this was all in spanish too, but I understood it all!!! That was so great! We taught several other new investigators -hopefully they will keep progressing.

Sour herring.  Now I'm a real Swede!
The second highlight of the day was the member dinner with the N's. We had SUR-STRÖMMING! Sour herring. Holy cow, I cant even begin to describe to you how AWFUL that smell is. The actual taste is ok, but the smell is seriously like a sewer. I almost threw up just taking a whiff of that. WHEW!!! I survived! I ate it, and now I am a real Swede:)
Sweet Aston Martin

Sön: One of our new investigators made it to church! He had been before a while ago and knew some members so he fit right in! After church, we had dinner with the Ö family again, and it was so good! They are so awesome!

Listening to a prayer in church got me thinking. We ask for things: please bless the spirit will stay with us the rest of the day, please bless that we will have a good week, please bless those that couldn't come today that they can come next week, etc. Now, what good does that prayer do if we don't act on it? Why do we just ask for those types of things and not do anything about. It is something that Elder Bednar talked about, and it is ringing through my head. Faith is not just praying really hard that something happens. Faith is praying for eyes to see the opportunities, and then acting. So if we pray that we may feel the spirit the rest of the day, what do we do to make sure that we can feel the spirit?? Are we reading our scriptures, listening to uplifting music, spending quality time with our family, other various activities that INVITE the spirit to stay throughout the day. What about if we pray to have a good week? Are we acting for ourselves to put things in our path that will make sure that we do have a good week, if not, change that! And what about when we pray for the people who couldn't make it to church that they can come next week? Are we just gonna expect people to be healed and come to church by themselves, sure its possible. But why not go out and visit these people? Check up on how they are doing? Invite them over to your place, offer a ride to church, do something so that your prayer is an ACTION. Pray for the opportunities and then act on them. God trusts us, so lets act now.
We have a perfect opportunity in front of us, General conference, to take in a question, or even pray that you may be able to find a question from general conference in which you can then act for yourself and find the answer by studying, fasting, and pondering. Dont just pray and not do anything. Pray and act! That is my invitation to you all. I know that as you do so you will see the Lord open new paths of understanding and direction for you. You will know what to do, and receive the strength to do it. This is the only true church on the earth. Are we acting like it? I love you all. I love this work. God and Christ are at the head. Have a wonderful week and a great experience with conference!

With love
Elder Johnson

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Lord's Wind

Dear family and friends, How are you? It sounds like you all had a fantastic week! Well, as y'all know, I turn 20 this week. It's kind of weird thinking about it. So, I'm not gonna think about it ha.

Mån: We met up with a lot of missionaries to play some sports and that was lots of fun. Later we met with M. She had met the missionaries before the summer, didn't really get into the lessons, but now after summer, she is very positive and looking for some answers. So we taught her and things look promising here.

Tis: O, a ysa who is preparing to leave for his mission, came with us to go teach some people. They cancelled on us so we did contacts instead. We had O talk to people on the street. He was really nervous the first time, but he actually did really good. We did a role play to get him comfortable and that was hilarious!! Hahah, it just reminded me that life as a role play missionary isn't all like real life. We had member dinner with an awesome family -but let's just face it, all the members here are super awesome!!

Removing mountains 
Ons: So we had our zone training! Removing mountains through faith. President Be wants us to memorize Mark 11:22-23, and that is what we based the training on. Mountains are things that hold us back from reaching our full potential. They stop us and hinder the work. We had a good discussion with the whole zone, not just us talking, and it went really well. Mountains could be expectations, laziness, tiredness, comparing, pride, fear, etc. We then went into how we can break down those mountains with faith. Faith is not just praying really really hard, but faith comes after the amen. We have to actively do something to remove our mountains. We also tied in the fact that we are yoked with Christ and he can help us remove our mountains. 

So we got blåsted a lot right after that, but we went out and started digging at our "mountain" -talking to everyone in our path. It's really fun actually, not letting a person pass you by who you could reach out your hand to help. Things aren't immediately picking up, but I can tell you my comp and I are more unified than ever. When we put aside our pride and put the Lord first it is amazing!

Trains are great
Tors: We swungby B in the morning and taught her briefly on the doorstep. Then met with M again and helped her understand Gods plan of happiness. We had a great member dinner and then met up with G to go to sports night in Gubbängen. Elder M and Elder S (former comp) were there and we had a soccer game and it was super intense and sooooo much fun!!! I loved it! I got my megs in and got some goals, it felt really good:)

Fre: We listened to a conference talk with L, continuing to help him on his plan to get to the temple. When we met G and his sister eventually made her way in and we were able to give her her own copy of the Book of Mormon. We want to teach her but we gotta go through the mom, so pray that we will be able to.

Lör: So we contacted this guy C a week ago but he cant speak Swedish too well -he speaks Spanish. So we met him with a YSA to help translate for us. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and has had some really good questions. It is kind of hard with the language barrier but our ysa is a recently returned missionary and was great.  Later we went through half of our TU (potential investigator) list in our phone, which is 100 people, and about 30 of them answered and 5 of them said that we could meet again! 

Sön: C came to church and had a great experience. We had someone translating for him and then he went into the spanish speaking sunday school class. Things are looking good for him. I'm super excited. We went to a members place for dinner, and boy did they have a beautiful home. They are humble people and willing to help us out with teaches! I love it. We got caught in a rain storm on our way back but it was ok. You aren't a missionary if you havent walked through a rainstorm in a suit:)

I can honestly say my life has been changed since the conference with Elder Bednar. I feel the spirit more strongly and I am more effective in my scripture study, prayers, and coming to church. I want to share something that our ward mission leader shared with us yesterday. It is the story [a church video] about some missionaries in the Polynesian islands who received a notice that a family wanted to be taught on a different island. The companionship sets out on a boat to go teach these people. Half way out, the wind dies, and they are stuck there for a really long time. They decide to pray that the wind would carry them to the island -it was a righteous desire to go teach these people. Nothing happened. They finally started rowing themselves, a full days journey of rowing non-stop. The message is that sometimes the Lords expects us to be His wind. He needs us to do things to show him that we are really his. That we dont just pray for things to happen, but to work for them. Pray to be the lords wind and work. Man, that was super powerful. I challenge you all that instead of just praying for missionary opportunities that you pray to have your eyes opened to them, then go out and be the Lords wind and seize them! I love this work. It is true! I love you all, have a great week!


Äldste Johnson

Monday, September 15, 2014

Spiritual Growth

I'll talk to anyone who will listen

Hello family and friends! This week was spiritually uplifting and life changing. Let me tell you...

Europe's smallest street
Mån: We decided to go up to Stockholm and eat at Pizza Hut. It's not the same as it is in the states, but its decent. After that we walked around Gamla Stan for a bit. I signed my name on Europe's smallest street with hopes to come back there someday with my framtid fru- future wife;) We then came home to sleep -we were exhausted. All 4 of us just crashed for 2-3 hours, it was nuts. We had a member dinner and I shared the thought with the peacock feather-påfågel fjärder, that mom gave me. It works really well! We then swungby this potential investigator and got in, had a quick little lesson and set up a time to return. On our way home when we got hit by a downpour. Seriously,  in those 5 minutes, we were drenched head to toe. It was awesome!:)

Tis: We were able to teach B- focused on the Sabbath day. We hope she comes to church. We met with M -the guy who break dances, and had a make it or break it lesson and he broke it ha. Rats. Well, all we can do is move forward. We met with S and taught the Word of Wisdom. We had a couple of people cancel on us, but what can you do?

Sun breaking through- just like truth and light
Ons: Mission Leadership Council. What a great time. We talked about Mark 11:22-23 which says, "whosever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith." That scripture is powerful. We have mountains in our path that is hindering us from something (being most effective in my missionary efforts for me.) What is it that we are gonna do to move those mountains? If I just say I Have faith to move a mountain, IT IS NOT GONNA MOVE. FAITH IS ACTION. Faith to move a mountain is getting to the base of the mountain and starting to take a backhoe, tractor, shovels whatever, starting to move it little by little, then will we see that our faith has led us to action and the mountain will then move. Wow, pretty awesome! My perspective on faith has changed.  At home, we were hosting the elders from Boden -farthest north area for missionaries, as they were here to come to the conference as well.

Tors: ELDER BEDNAR!!!! Wow, let me tell you, I know for a fact that he is an apostle. It was absolutely incredible. It was a question and answer time with him in which he taught us things so valuable. I would like to share with you. 1) In everything we do, we should act as agents not objects. For example, scripture study. We should act as agents by coming into our studies with a question in mind and then searching it out for ourselves, rather than read and hope something pops out at us like objects. The same goes for Prayer. We dont just pray really really hard for faith, and suddenly expect it, we pray with faith as agents to GO OUT AND ACT, not be acted upon. He did the q and a so that we could act as agents in finding out what it was we needed to hear and do. So that kind of leads me into my next point. 2) The spirit is the true teacher. There are things for sure that we can do to invite the spirit to be present: sing hymns, be worthy, talk about truths, but it is the spirit that ultimately comes into our hearts to testify that YES, this is true. Elder Bednar modeled for us to dig deeper, take some pauses to let the spirit come in and reteach what we have learned and help us act as agents to find out the answers for ourselves. Man it was So great. Not once did he mention the word Obedience, but every missionary there is going to be more obedient because of his teachings. That is just but a tiny portion of my thoughts and insights from the conference with elder bednar, but boy, was it life changing. I am changing the way I pray, study the scriptures and come to church. I am changing the way I write in my journal. I am changing the way I go about my missionary work. Wow. Thats, really all I can say. Wow.

We were able to teach B right after that and we applied everything that we learned, and had one of the most spiritual lessons ever. She was kind of doubting things and not really focusing too well, but we asked her a question, and then paused for a good 3 minutes, the spirit came into her heart and she was able to bear testimony that she knows this is all true. She doesn't know how, but she just knows it's true. Man, that was so powerful. The spirit was strong. SO AWESOME!!! We also got to go to the YSA meeting with Elder Bednar and it was basically the same thing, but it was so cool to get a second witness of it all. 

Fre: We taught S and unfortunately, after all that we said and tried, we decided we need to drop him. it is an act of faith, but something good will come of it. Better times with H, he told us that just a few days before Elder L and A knocked his door, he had a pretty big argument with his mother. He knelt down that night and prayed to God that He would help him on the right way. Then those 2 knocked his door and gave him his own BoM, he knew that it was Gods answer to Him. Wow, that is incredible! We had never heard that part of the story before. It just goes to show that God is truly mindful of all of his children and is preparing them little by little until they are ready for the whole truth. God really is over his work. I love it!

Lör: We were able to go to the temple to watch H do baptisms for the dead for his first time. That was so cool. Seeing someone that you taught for a long time get baptized and then continue that desire to follow God by going to the temple to do ordinances for others, that was a really spiritual moment. He absolutely loved it! A lot of people cancelled on us one right after another, but whatya do? Move on! We had a moment when we were contacting where it was straight spanish for an hour. I was able to use quite a bit, but I still need to practice and get better. I am working on my Spanish!!!

tran SWAG gon
Sön: None of our investigators came to church, too bad.  We had a great contact on the street with two guys for 40 minutes later that night. It was intense and just super great. The spirit was really driving us to work on these guys and we are going to meet them again this week. Ill let you know more about it!

Ever since the Bednar Conference, things are just different. I don't know how to explain it. I have a greater desire to do the missionary work. My attitude about it has been changed and so much better. I feel the spirit so much more and I love it. Not really anything Elder Bednar did, but the way he allowed me to find out for myself things I could change has made a huge impact. I have spiritually grown so much from this and I hope to continue this pattern of growth and learning as I continue my mission and my life. I know Elder Bednar is an apostle of the Lord. I am excited to hear his words and the words of the other 14 prophets, seers and revelators at conference. I challenge you all to take in the lessons I have learned, to be Agents not objects, and let the spirit be the true teacher. I love this work, I love you all. Have a great week!

Love Elder Johnson

Monday, September 8, 2014

I love soccer parks!

Hello! This week was rather hot, so that was a nice change. it was a good one, lemme tell ya...

Mån: Nothing big for Pday, just went into Stockholm for a bit. Later we met with and dropped one potential whose heart wasn't ready then met with another who told us he needs time to let all the stuff we've been teaching soak in, but say s he is willing to find out the truth. Afterwards, we met up with H and a few YSAs to play some bball. Oh man, that was loads of fun. Someone has still got it:) Just sayin.

Tis: I could see a huge difference in H today after we met with him. He's super strong in the gospel and knows how much it has blessed him, so things will get better for him. The rest of the day we did some swingbys and we were able to meet up with X! She was saying that it is hard for her to leave her old religion because it means leaving her family. Yeah it would be super difficult, I have no experience- but at the same time, if you want to follow God to the fullest, some sacrifices are needed. It was awesome to pinpoint that her attitude and life had changed dramatically because of Jesus Christ. We are happy we had this meeting with her.

Ons: We met with M and read Mosiah 24. M slips sometimes, just like we all do, but God can lift our burdens and we can endure our trials with patience and a surety that He will help us. We taught a couple of people on the street and at the doorstep -some saying some interesting things to us. You know, as a missionary, people tell you some of the most absurd things you would ever hear. It's crazy but funny! We met up with T but he is asking many Why questions, to the smallest little detail instead of actually studying and praying to God for the answers. We will see where it goes with him.

Tors: So district meeting was good. We are working on changing the mission culture. Seriously, everything starts on a good attitude. Set high expectations and look forward to the future. I shared my story of Eskilstuna; when I had gotten there we only got 3 lessons the first week. That was unacceptable to me. So my comp and I worked so hard for the next couple of weeks and were able to turn things around by getting 22 lessons at the end of the transfer. Hard work and a good attitude work miracles.

We and another member taught B. When we give her a chapter to read from the Book of Mormon, she does it so precisely and can relay it back to us perfectly. The member did a perfect job of bearing testimony, inviting to church and fixing a ride for her. Wow, it was fantastic!! Later that day, we were able to meet with S with another member (who actually served his mission in St. George like 2 years ago.) He's super funny, and we had a great lesson. As we bore testimony, it was cool that it was the spirit telling him he needs to read the book of mormon, pray and come to church-not us. Man, that was a great experience!

Fre: We had some good lessons and in one the spirit was so strong, my comp did the church invite and he flat out said no. It was the weirdest thing! Ha, the spirit was strong but he just wasn't ready for it, tyvärr.

Lör: We visited M, who was investigating in spring but was gone the whole summer. She said that she had been thinking of becoming mormon but wanted to do more studying on the subject. We came at the perfect time! She set up 2 appointments for us and said she will read the BoM! Wow, thats awesome!

We went to a party for one of the members because she invited some investigator friends there, so perfect opportunity. they are a super family! Dinner (and karaoke) with B afterwards, so we were pretty stuffed of all that food. But it was a great time!

Sön: Fast sunday! I fasted for some specific things and I got my answer. I love the power of fasting and prayer! We had correlation meeting and ward council and it was so right and efficient. I love it!  We went to church and had a good time. Neither B Nor X made it, but S was able to come and H received the priesthood and a temple recommend to go with us this weekend to do baptisms for the dead!!

So I read something from Preach My Gospel this week that has really stuck out to me. In Chapter 4 there was a quote that said “Every morning … missionaries should get on their knees and plead with the Lord to loosen their tongues and speak through them to the blessing of those they will be teaching. If they will do this, a new light will come into their lives. There will be greater enthusiasm for the work. They will come to know that in a very real sense, they are servants of the Lord speaking in His behalf. They will find a different response from those they teach. As they do so by the Spirit, their investigators will respond under the influence of the same Spirit.”-Gordon b. Hinckley.

I can say that I have taken this challenge to heart and have already seen a significant change in my attitude. I love it. The power of prayer is real. I know God lives and loves us and will do anything to help us. I am forever grateful to be His humble servant. I love you all, have a great week. 

Love, Elder Johnson (or Johnsson in Swedish)

ps Elder Bednar is coming to talk to us this week!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Grateful in any circumstance

Well, Hello there! It's me, Elder Johnson. Transfer calls came and I will be staying in Handen! I'm very excited for that because the ward here is great and we got some good things rolling for us. Glad to hear everyone is doing good. I can't believe September is already here. I will be turning 20 this month and will be done with the teenage life. Tyvärr. Anyway, lemme tell ya about my week...

Mån: We had kebab for lunch which was a bad idea because we went to play sports right after. Not a good feeling ha. But we went to the Gubbängen chapel -the one I started my mission in (that was super trippy)- to play soccer, basketball and innebandy with a few missionaries and YSAs. That was a lot of fun. Later we ended up teaching someone on the street about the Plan of Salvation. When we bore testimony of it, we know that they felt something but they didn't want to meet further. Ahhh, thats the worst. When you bear testimony of the truth, and you see in their eyes that they believe what you are saying is true, and then toss it aside because it doesn't make complete sense. It's sad.

Tis: I went on exchanges with Elder S and we had a good time together. Met with T, our young JW. He shut us down.  We gave him some information about Christ and Jehovah being the same person shown in their own bible so we will see how that goes. We had a YSA come with us to meet a guy, M, who can speak that language and Russian and Swedish and English, and is a break dancer. He is super cool! He comes from a muslim background but is reading the Book of Mormon. Our YSA, was super solid bearing testimony to him and just instantly becoming his friend. It is so nice having members help us on teaches, you have no idea how big a difference it makes!

Ons: After a solid district meeting we went to see an investigator that we randomly called on the phone last week. It would turn out to be the craziest thing ever, we were totally led by the spirit. We had no idea who this lady was -B- so we went with no expectations. Within the first 5 minutes we find out that she has 4 copies of the Book of Mormon in several languages, she believes it to be true, she knows Joseph Smith was a prophet and that this is the true church of God. For some reason she just never was baptized and stopped meeting with missionaries. We said "nu är det dags"- now it is time. She agreed and said she wanted to be baptized. So we set up a day for her to be baptized in late September. Wow, how incredible is that! The spirit was guiding us to ask the right questions at the right time and just leading us to her. It is so amazing. I'm still shaking my head as to what happened!

We taught a man from the Congo. We told him, "Look, the only thing we are asking you to do is read and pray about it the Book of Mormon. God knows all and He will tell you whether it is right or wrong. Don't take our word for it, especially don't take what the internet has to say, but take God's word." He said he'd do it. Awesome! We then went to the Å's-some members, for dinner. 

Tors: We went to Västerhaninge's district meeting and had a great experience. I remember hearing Sister M Lewis telling about how her mission had to sacrifice personal music in order to come closer to God. So I thought, what is it that I can sacrifice, that isn't something necessarily bad just not the best, so I can come closer to God. I have been doing a lot of praying and studying and I think I have come up with something. I'll tell you how it goes later. We did some swingbys and had a member dinner with the O's. The husband is the area 70 over here, and they have 11 kids and 18 grandkids. H -our ward mission leader- is their youngest. Later we met up with some JWs and had pleasant meeting, ha. Nah, I'll tell you later -when I'm home.

On the way to clean the temple
Fre: We had the wonderful opportunity to clean the temple in the morning. The temple had some refurnishing done and they needed as much help to get things back in order to open it up again this next week. I got to clean the ordinance rooms. Even cleaning in the temple was a very spiritual experience. I walked by the sealing rooms and the celestial room and felt the spirit so strongly testifying to me that this really is the House of God. Wow, it is indescribable. I was really sad to leave because it felt so good being there. I had a nice taste of heaven while cleaning the temple which I am very grateful for.

We had lunch with our Bishop and his cute family. The little 7 and 5 year old girls really took to me -I don't know why;) They are great. We did some teaches then we got an early call about the transfers. Some things are changing: instead of 9 zones and small districts, we will have 6 zones with big districts. I'm excited to see how it goes. 

Lör: We met with H found out that his life is getting hard.  We told him that things would work out if he placed God first in his life. We watched the new mormon message "the hope of Gods light". He was almost to tears. It was pretty sad to see. I have noticed that for new converts, there comes a big trial to see if they will stay faithful. We have a good ward here to take care of H so I am not worried about it. Just keep him in your prayers though for support. 

Sön: B couldn't make it to church but H did and everyone is looking for ways to help him. Bishop and the ward are on top of things looking for a ways to help his situation. 3rd hour was combined and we learned how to raise children in the gospel. Im laughing because this whole month has been focused on marriage and children and I cant do anything about it right now hahaha. We had a member dinner afterwards where we had crayfish and shrimp-mmmmm:)

Well, that was this week. It is getting colder and colder already ha. I can't believe how fast time flies. This mission is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I'm constantly amazed every day by the bounteous blessings that God has given to me. I read President Uchtdorfs talk "Grateful in any Circumstance" and that has really hit me a lot. We can find peace and gratitude even in the midst of our trials. My friend Kenzie Lewis shared that with me, and she is going through something really hard too. That has really inspired me. We can always be grateful for the Atonement to carry us through and give us power to endure our trials and find peace in our journey. I love being led by the spirit and looking back saying "what just happened?" haha, it's the best:) I love this work. It is true. Christ is at the Head and we are on our way to victory. I love you all, have a great week!


Elder Johnson