Sweden Stockholm Mission

Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Me and Elder P at the harbor
Finally some snow!
Hello hello everyone, I need to catch up on the last two weeks.

Tis: Exchanges with the Västerhaninge elders. I was with Elder P and we went down to the harbor called Nynäshamn where we did some contacting and tracting. We came back for me to do a baptismal interview for the vendelsö missionarie's investigator. T is a swedish woman who started searching for the truth and found it here and is super ready. Gosh, she is cool! We taught some people on the streets with the He is the Gift and it was lots of fun. Visby elders spent the night with us.

From my MTC group
Sis Becktrand photo bombing
Ons: Christmas Zone Conference!!! The first and last part were very serious with talking about Sharing the Gift and the true meaning of Christmas. But the middle was funny! Each district performed a skit about christmas! Ours took the Charlie Brown Christmas special to a whole new level! It was amazing and so good! Then the departing missionaries -i.e. my trainer and the sisters from my MTC group- bore their testimonies. The spirit was so strong. Just listening to them made me realize how short of a time I really have. Crazy! 

Tors: A regular working hard day.

Fre: I found this talk that I absolutely love called "the 4th Missionary." It talks about the different levels of devoted service and it is incredible. I challenge everyone to look at it, even if you arent a missionary -its so good!!

The sisters who taught C
C's baptism
 Lör: We taught D-and he is doing super good. We 4 missionaries went to the L family to make some goodies for their neighbors and our investigators! it was tons of fun! We then attended both T's baptism in Vendelsö, and C's in Västerhaninge. We finished the day with not one but two members dinners.

Sön: We had 5 investigators in church! Incredible -H's mom came for her first time and loved it! She has lots of friends in church now! We then ate dinner with a family and afterwards went up to the city to watch the Ninni Bautista and family Christmas concert They are famous here and are members and it was fantastic. I got a CD and am going to send it to mom -she signed it for her. It was a good mix of english and swedish songs-I loved it!

Enjoying the festive city
Mån 22: We had 1/2 pday to take care of the necessities after which L and her family showed us around Stockholm and we had fun. We came home to teach a member's friend who is interested in the church. We helped a member move some furniture around and went to another members place for dinner and FHE. The P's. Gosh, they are so great! We played some family games and tried their massage chair out:)

Tis: So worked hard and got some lessons in and lots of contacts trying to show people the He is the Gift and help people remember the meaning of Christmas. It was super solid.

Ons: We played some soccer in the morning and the rest of the day we were with members! We were with 1 family from 2-6 where we watched Kalle Anka (the traditional Donald Duck Christmas show that EVERYONE watches) and played games, and then went to another family to do karaoke! The VH elders spent the night with us and we stayed up late talking and having a real good christmassy time:)

Tors: Christmas day! So good. I made french toast in the morning, complete with Peanut butter that I got for a present!! We got to watch Frozen! -that is so good! I love it!!! It is totally based on the Scandanavian culture! Elsa is sooooooo cute ha:) Then we got to skype home and that seriously was the best gift ever!
I got to meet baby Lia for the first time ever! I loved seeing my family and talking with them. I love em all. They are the best. We then went to our bishop's home for turkey dinner and games. We played a game called Dixit. Its pretty fun.

This is just an hundredth part of what really happened. It seriously has been the greatest christmas. The members have been so sweet to us. I had been stressing about not getting my package from home but then it came just in time. I experienced my first white christmas (with snow) and I got to go to two baptisms this week and that was awesome! I am truly grateful for all that happened. It was absolutely magical. And what's great is that the magic of christmas is Christ's love flowing in all of us. I am grateful for Him. For his birth, for his life, for his death. He is the only way, and I am forever grateful for that. I love Him. I love you all. Keep the season with Christ as the center and all will be wonderful!

With great love -med stor kärlek

Äldste Johnson

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hey Ho! Well well. Another week has gone and Christmas is just that much more closer! Seriously, I am stoked for Christmas and being able to skype home to family. Thanks everyone for all the emails and letters and love and support and prayers you send. It really means a lot.

Mån: We just finished doing our laundry when our neighbor stopped us outside. He is super positive and has wanted to meet us but has always been so busy. He is a super cool guy. It seriously felt like we were part of an Indiana Jones movie because of the things he was telling us ha. It was awesome! We had dinner with the bishop's family -I love them! 

Tis: Exchanges with the Vendelsö elders -I was with a greeny Swede, Elder S and we had a great day! We spoke Swedish the whole day -it's weird that we don't normally do that ha. He is quiet, but we had fun and taught several lessons. I was amazed at how well he taught for only being out for so little. But then I think how much easier it would be if I was teaching in English 24/7. 

Ons: First we helped clean the church. Later on it was raining pretty hard -and it was like Ice rain. We decided to go tracting. First door -Let us in!!! Wow, amazing! It was a Finnish woman with her 3 little children. There was an incredible feeling when we walked in and knew that this family was special. The husband was asleep but we shared "He is the Gift" with them and they loved it. They are very devoted members in the local church here and you could tell that Christ means so much to them. 

Practicing our epic skit for next week.
Tors: We had District meeting. This is God's work that we are doing. He knows whats going on but until we pray -until we get connection with God, it's not going to be as effective. Prayer aligns our will with His. It makes a lot more sense to do His work in His way. We then practiced a skit that we will perform in the upcoming zone Christmas conference. Let me tell you, it is going to be epic!!!:) Later on, we met up with the finnish lady again and her husband. We had an awesome discussion with them and testified of the Restoration. They had lots of questions and we answered them calmly and boldly. There was an amazing spirit there. You could tell, again, that Christ is the center of their lives. They are helping their friends find faith in Him and doing their own missionary efforts-amazing! Unfortunately, they can't meet again until January and they don't sound interested in our church, but my comp and I felt peace as we left. They probably won't accept our message now, but we feel very strongly that they will in the future. A seed has been planted very deeply and it will nourish and grow, and somewhere down the line, they will be ready. It was an incredible feeling of peace. I can't describe it. We also met with H and his sister and they are doing good. She is heavily involved with the YW so thats great!

Santa Lucia Holiday program
Fre: Our investigator M invited us to her daughter's holiday concert. Santa Lucia is a holiday here in Sweden. It basically is people with candles singing Christmas music. It was a lot of fun being there and showing our interest in this family. We ate dinner with Sister O. She is so awesome. Seriously like the nicest sweetest person.

At the temple with L for his first time.
Superman gingerbread
heart cookie
Lör: My comp had some back pains, so I took Elder L to the temple with L. We had a nice group of people there to celebrate his first time doing baptisms. And boy did he love it!!! It was awesome. The spirit was there so strong and he was so happy that he made it! What a journey he has had! I feel so grateful to be a part of that journey. Funny, I was at the temple this time exactly last year with J R to go do baptisms for his first time! 
More Santa Lucia

We watched another Lucia concert and passed out some pepparkakor (gingerbread) to spread some good cheer. We then did some knocking and taught F. 

Sön: I was beginning to feel sick Saturday and for sure got the ont i halsen (sore throat) on Sunday. Its not too bad. I'm just super exhausted and tired. But church was really good. 3 of our investigators came and had a great time. Oh yeah, guess who was there! S Q (the guy that knows Brady.) Geez, he's been here 3 times now. I'm gonna eat dinner with him later this week. We ate double dinner with the B's and the R's. I'm so full!!!!! hahaha but I love it:)

Something that we talked about Sunday was something I read in the conference Ensign. The sacrament is a spiritual renewal. It is the most important thing about sunday, and about church. The more I thought about it, the more I came to this conclusion. It may sound bold, but this is how I feel. Just taking the Sacrament isn't the most important thing. Feeling the Spirit of it is. It is the spirit that renews our covenants, that refreshes us, that gives us the feeling of peace, the forgiveness of sins and the desire to try harder the next week. The sacrament is pointless if we do not feel the spirit cleanse us. And that is the promise that God gives us -to always feel His spirit. I am so grateful for the ability to feel the spirit as I partake of the Sacrament. It truly is a renewal of the spirit. I love it. I love this work. And I love you all. Have a great week.

Love Elder Johnson

Monday, December 8, 2014

He is the Gift!

This is where we shop for food every week.
Hej Hej, This week was very good and also very trying. The weather was pretty mild, so no complaints there. Hope y'all avoid that nasty cold fever. Get away! Thanks for all the updates and love, you guys rock.

Found the phone - whew!
Mån: We made our way to Stockholm to eat lunch with other missionaries and walk around. I bought a shirt for baby Lia so that we can all rep a Sweden shirt:) I left our phone on the train and it took some time tracking it down. Oops. Luckily we found it -it was just 1.5 hours of finding time ha. My bad.

Tis: I sent a package off to the family. We met with M and showed her "He is the Gift" and the spirit was super strong there. I love it! She keeps saying she will come to church but hasn't yet. Coming to church would be the final key for her -then it will all be clear. Please pray that she will come. We did swingbys and we talked with people along the way and ended up teaching 3 people on the street by starting it off with "He is the Gift". It was sooooo sick!! I love it.

Ons: We taught 5 lessons in the day and they were all super solid. We received a surprise dinner invite which is always the best! We gave L a blessing because he was sick and wasn't doing well. Gosh darn it. Just when he's about to go to the temple, he gets sick!!! We met up with H and his sister but unfortunately their mom won't let his sister to be baptized but hopefully we can clarify some things and get that going. They are still coming to church and doing great!

Pretty countryside. 
Here is even another crazy thing. As we were walking around we came out of this apartment and a young adult old woman contacted us. Her name is K and she was actually one of our old investigators who had a baptismal date last year but cancelled. There's been on and off contact with the missionaries for the past year. She came up to us and said that she was ready again! WOW!!! Talk about Miracle! That was so cool to be in the right place at the right time.

Tors: We met with K more formally and for a longer time. She speaks English but is from somewhere in eastern Europe. She was so ready and willing to be baptized. It was amazing to hear her story. Sadly, we haven't really heard from her since. It is frustrating because we felt the spirit so strong with her and know she is ready. People have their agency, but we will keep trying with her.

Free hot chocolate in the train station (with a message of course.)
Fre: District meeting focused on contacting and discovering "the gift." It is working very well when we are talking to people on the street about Christmas -they are more open and we have a great conversation. We then ask if we can share a 2 minute video about Christmas-they say yes-the spirit is there and then we testify. It's awesome!! Our district gave out free hot chocolate at the train station while showing "He is the Gift" and talking to people. It was a great turnout -not as big or great as it would be in the states, but still good.

Sadly, the rest of the day was quite brutal. We got blåsted 3 times, hard by some of our most progressing investigators. That was a blow. Plus just a bunch of minor things built up to knock us down. I have been in my tiny tiny tiny area for 5 months now and I know everything about everything here. I know what I am going to do everyday and it is messing with me. I eventually called President and shared my feelings with him. He told me there is still someone out there I need to find. So that helped change my perspective and I had an incredible spiritual experience that night as I prayed.
Reece's Cookies- Yum

Lör: I baked some Reese's cookies and they turned out FANTASTIC!!! Seriously. I was super happy -and so were the rest of the missionaries who live with me. My companion participated in our ward Christmas concert. He did really good.

Dinner with the O's: A typical Swedish Christmas meal

Sön: Fast sunday is always great! Boy, it was a crazy busy day though. We had coordination meeting; ward council; we participated in a role play in a meeting for all of the stake presidents in sweden, the mission president, and the area 70 -talk about no pressure ha! It went good though; as well as teaching and translating during church, teaching a few lessons on the street. WHEW!! What a day! We also had dinner with the Ö's and it was basically the Swedish Christmas meal and it was great!:)

Let me tell you that I am no longer losing my mind as I have felt recently being in this area for so long. The experience I had Friday night helped so much. I remember just opening up completely to my Heavenly Father -not leaving anything behind. It all came out and I stopped suddenly and flat out just said "Are you even there? Do you even hear me?" ... I can't even begin to describe to you the feeling that I received after that. It was absolutely incredible. I felt enveloped in His loving arms and knew without a doubt that He was there with me, that He knew what I am going through, and that He would always be there for me. I know that is true. I know He is real. I know He lives. I challenge you to find out for yourself -for I know you will receive an answer of His reality. I Love this work, I love you all, have a great week! 

Äldste Johnson

Monday, December 1, 2014

Tjena Tjena, It was a weird schedule going 10 days without a pday. Sounds like Thanksgiving was a success back at home. It's not celebrated here, but we pulled some strings and made our own. I am excited though to be there next year for Thanksgiving with the family. I forgot to mention that transfers were last week and I will be staying here in Handen for Christmas!!

Warm Hands=Warm Hearts.  Thanks to the Utah ward who made these for us.
Lör: For pday we hung out with the Assistants and President and Sister Beckstrand in Stockholm looking at some Christmas lights. That was fun! I love them all. Sister B gave all of us missionaries mittens that she had her ward back home knit for us.  What an awesome gift.  

Sön: We taught C early in the morning and invited him to church. He made it to part of church not sacrament meeting, but hey at least he came right! F also came and is doing better and better each time. We had dinner with some members and then went to another dinner with some other members. We were pretty full afterwards. But I love that:)

Mån: We found out at last minute that we would have to take care of a missionary because his companion was going home and he wouldn't be getting his new companion until the next day. We picked him up and said goodbye to the departing missionaries -a lot of leaders and guys I look up to who aren't too much older than me on the mission. Crazy stuff. We then came back to the L family to bake bullar and have family home evening with them. I love them. We had loads of fun baking and I did the object lesson and totally blew everyones mind!!!

Tis: We took our extra missionary to get his companion and then got cancelled on back to back. That was rough. But we did finish the day by teaching F about prayer and scripture study.

Ons: We hosted the Visby elders because they were staying for tomorrows training. One was a greeny -Elder Jones who actually went to Pine View HS. So I took him and had lots of fun talking about mutual friends and whatnot. All 4 of us met with a member who just moved in from Bolivia who speaks English really well. He is our main man in helping us teach our Spanish people. He knows his stuff and is so cool. We had dinner with the O family-the area 70. He's super spiritual but way funny. It was hilarious seeing the greeny fall asleep because of jetlag.:)

Festive sweaters and socks for Thanksgiving
Tors: We had zone training and went over the "He is the Gift" initiative and #sharethegift! EVERYONE check out christmas.mormon.org and get started!!!! It is amazing. It's a worldwide event to help everyone remember the true meaning of christmas!!! It is awesome!! I have never felt the spirit so strong with anything, and it is a testimony to me that the Lord is hastening His work. We then had Thanksgiving lunch with our zone where everyone brought a little bit of food and we used chicken instead of turkey. It was super nice:) We contacted with the Visby Elders until they had to catch the ferry back home.

Fre: Finally alone in our area and able to get our stuff done that we need to ha. We taught M-he is now 6 weeks + without and for sure going to the temple! I'm so excited for him. We had 2 member dinners and with the last we moved some furniture. I cant tell you how many times I have helped people move furniture on my mission, Haha, but I love helping people.

Lör: We walked, talked, tracted, swungby, etc all day long teaching and preaching the good word and teaching several new people along the way. #sharethegift is amazing!!!
Brady skyping with a Cambodian woman in Sweden

Last week the sisters were teaching a Cambodian woman but with the language barrier they couldn't communicate.  I told them that my brother knew Cambodian so they skyped him and he got to talk and help teach this woman.  How crazy is that!  

Some guy asked me to watch his stuff
while he got coffee.
Sön: F brought her son and brother to church. They had to leave early, but it was great having them there. Sunday is always a bit stressful as a missionary. I wonder if I will be able to relax more when I am home haha. We ended the day with another member dinner and had some fun there.

So much happens every week. I love this work. It is amazing. Thanksgiving has caused me to reflect on many things that I am grateful for: all of you, my mission, my family, and more importantly my Savior. He is the reason for the season. He is the greatest gift ever given to us from our Loving Heavenly Father. He is the way, the truth, and the life. I am so humbled to bear his name and testify especially in this time of year about Him. I love you all, have a great week,

Love,  Elder Johnson  #sharethegift