Sweden Stockholm Mission

Monday, April 27, 2015

All is Well

Cool rauk (rock) formations
Old Viking Cemetery
Greetings lifeforms! It's me, your favorite ____ (fill in your response)!:) Love hearing from all of you! Thanks for everything. Things have been pretty sunshiny and great this week! Let me tell ya...

"Hi Mom"

Mån: We decided to go on an adventure early in the morning. So we drove up to this huge viking graveyard forest place! it was pretty awesome! We then drove a little further to explore some cool Rauk (Swedish for "rock") formations. Then we walked along a gusty beach! Hi mom!:)

T A C K  ("Thanks")
Just trying to balance on a stone, haha
Tis: We picked up the District leader and his companion who came over for exchanges and went to this place called Högklint. (I was there last November when I came here on exchanges.) It was super fun with those guys. I got kind of artsy and we made a cool picture -tack (thanks) with our bodies! We then ate some grub and went out and talked to tons of people. My comp went with the Elder J and taught our two investigators -it went really good. Elder P and I had the car and did lots of swingbys. He is in the group before me (he goes home in a few weeks) so we had some great deep conversations about the mission and the "afterlife" haha.

Ons: I made us all waffles with some heavenly syrup! Man that was fantastic! (I dont know what it is, but baking and cooking are so much fun for me. It is a great stress reliever and just super great!) Anywho, we did lots of service with the B family. They are moving next week and need help -so great to have us missionaries there! Though we hardly made a dent into the cleaning ha. Later while the other two taught our lovely E, we taught G. She has been a little different lately. I am reminded of President Uchtdorf when he said " those who sit and wait until the church -or gospel- does something for them end up finding nothing. You gotta be anxiously engaged in helping and searching in order to get what you are looking for." We took the boys to the boat and said farewell and the headed off to teach S and had a great discussion about the scripture Mosiah 3:19 (put off the natural man and become a saint by following the promptings of the Holy Spirit.) It was super solid. I always come away from our meetings with him super inspired.

"Yoohoo, Family?!" (think Frozen)
Tors: We spent most of the day with the H's! And we had a blast! We drove down with them to a place called Hemse to visit with their friends who they have been working on for years. They are super nice, just not to particularly interested in the gospel...yet. We'll see what happens. We then went to see an old investigator with them and had some good laughs. They are wonderful people and just die-hard missionaries 24/7. It is super good. At the family's house, I saw a quote that I loved! "If friends were flowers, I'd pick you." hahhah, awesome!

Fre: We have finally tackled the area book and have a good pattern we are following. We are getting to go by lots of people and also find many along the way. We seriously average teaching someone on the street to and from appointments several times a day. That's pretty nice. Not a lot will want to go further, but its getting closer and closer. We got to teach B and S and they expressed that they want to talk with their family back in Africa (I guess there is some distress going on there so the communication is pretty hard.) They are all on board for getting baptized and they basically taught us about tithing and fasting! I love it!

Lör: More service at the B's place in preparation for their big move. It was tons of fun, but very tiring ha. It is very hard to find projects to do service on in Sweden so this is one we can take care of. We did a lot of finding/tracting during the evening time. We are determined to find a family.

Sön: Church was super solid. No investigators came -darn. But it was still really good. The Bs participated in most of the program for their last Sunday. It was super spiritual and emotional. They have done so much for this branch in the time they have been here. They are all so gifted and talented too -its amazing. But the greatest thing is how connected they are as a family. It is truly inspiring. I want to be like Brother B. Not because he knows many languages fluently, not because he is amazing at singing and playing the piano, but because of the man of God he is. You can just feel it when you are in his presence. Yes, there is a ton of stress going on with the move and he could choose to be sour about it, but he's not. He does what he can and puts the rest into the Lord's hands. I want to be that. Truly amazing. We also participated in a special fast for the Maddens (missionary couple)-to see if they should move, and because sister m suffered a great fall and is badly bruised all over. We did lots of finding work and we are getting closer and closer to our family!!!!! I can sense it! Just keep going though:)

The song Come Come Ye Saints seems to truly ring out in my head this week. There may be things all around that are trying to tear at us, beat us, or make us give up. But we need not fear. All is well. All is well. Having the Bs move takes a huge chunk of our branch, but no worries. it will be ok. All is well. We just do what we can and leave the rest to the Lord. He will not fail us.

Jag är så glad att jag få vara här som missionär. Det är otroligt hur mycket jag forfarande lära mig varje dag. Jag älskar Herren. Jag älskar min mission. Jag ärligt är hur glad som helst! Han lever. Det är Hans verk! Detta är sant! Hoppas ni får ha en bra vecka! Älskar er

I'm so glad I get to be here as a missionary. It is unbelievable how much learn every day. I love the Lord. I love my mission. It honestly helps us be happy! He lives. It is His work ! This is true! Hope you have a great week! Love you,
Äldste Johnson

Monday, April 20, 2015

Everything will work out.

Heyo! Things are good this week! Or maybe it is my attitude -I dont know. Thanks everyone for the love and support and updates and prayers. It really is appreciated. 

St. George's Church 13th Century
Mån: We headed off to go do some exploring. There are so many things to explore here on Gotland! We went to the place called Galgberget -which means the Gallows! It was a ruin from a thousand years ago full of dead peoples bones! Crazy! Then we did some climbing around and taking some funny pictures. We finished the day by talking to some cool people on the street.

Tis: Sister Madden taught us a bit about indexing for Family History. It was hard at first, but I think I got the hang of it...maybe. We were able to visit some less active members. They are super nice and good people who don't have the desire to come back...yet. Agency -gotta respect it. We then visited two people and set a baptismal date with both of them! It is a goal for them and we are all excited for that! Man its so cool-we have 3 dates now! Pray that they happen.

Ons: We taught E the a new member lesson, going a little deeper by explaining simply (kind of interesting, eh?). We are really focusing on teaching for understanding by asking lots of questions with our people and having them teach us back. E is super solid. We taught our other guy about the sacrament. We take the sacrament (outward expression) to show our love and appreciation for the Savior (inner commitment). We showed the bible video of the Last supper. Boy, those things are great ways to invite the spirit. Hopefully it affected him. We drove out a long ways to have a member meal with the S's. They are great people.

Tors: Thursday afternoon routine now is eating lunch with the Herreys: pea soup and swedish pancakes:) They invited their friend and we had a good discussion and invited her to fully investigate and be baptized if she found out this was true. We then were able to visit with another investigator. He is on a spiritual journey to find truth, yet he is restricted because of the organization he is currently in. He is super nice and awesome. We know if he would just give this a full try his questions would be resolved.

Fre: We were walking around the wall of the city and started talking to a German woman. She gave us some great insight to the meaning of life and finding joy in the small unselfish moments -as well as talking to us about parenting. It made me super excited for that. She really wanted to meet and talk with us but she doesnt live here. We did our best guiding her to be able to get in contact with missionaries in Germany. Hopefully she will. She was awesome- just a great spirit about her! We had another new member lesson with E. I have taught the lessons many times and have come up with some great visual aids with the lessons and she really enjoyed the one we did this time. She is such an angel. She makes these little sticker cards that are super cute, so I wanted to buy some. I had 50 krowns and they cost 10 a piece. So i picked out 3 and asked her if I could get some change, and she said nope, and that I have to take 2 more and just give her the 50!!! hahaha that was so funny! My companion was dying! :)

Lör: Well, we finally got to teach F this week (she's been sick) and we had an awesome discussion about Alma 32 and the topic of Faith is Enough. The parable of the seed has come to be one of my favorite things to explain and teach. 4 things happen when we begin to exercise our faith and test something. Verse 28 will tell you. Then if you continue, you see that the seed will only grow if we nourish it. Just because it was a good seed, it doesnt mean that it will survive if you ignore it. You need to water it, take care of it, and help it along the way-just as you would with your own testimony until it begins to sprout and blossom and grow into a tree. I told her that my testimony isnt a full grown tree- I still have much room for growth and improvement and that I still need to nourish my seed. She seemed to catch onto that concept and realized she needs to be more diligent and more thorough in her investigating.

Sön: One investigator came to church but the other two people pulled a no show. Dont know why. This branch is giving me the opportunity to work on my singing- something I really want. We sang in church and I will be doing a solo sometime later. Cool stuff. We had a little fika/party for the B family as they are moving soon. The Maddens (missionary couple) made their famous pulled pork sandwiches - yum. The rest of the day was trying to contact previous investigators and having some great discussions along the way. Its awesome how deep my companion and I get into the talks we have. Its pretty awesome!

"Everything is going to work out."
Well, I kind of had a moment Saturday night where I could sense and feel some problems in the work and frustrations of people arise here and there, and some uneasiness (the Maddens are losing their apartment soon so they may be moved or take our place and we would then be moved), lots of stuff, etc. But I just felt so comforted that everything is going to work out. God knows whats going on and He is going to help us out -in His way and His timing. I thought of the sons of Mosiah just putting all of their faith in the Lord and leaving everything behind to serve Him. I feel like one of them. This is the single greatest work of all mankind! This is eternal life! All we have to do is follow the commandments and do our best every day. Everything is going to be ok when we put God first.

Jag vet att detta är sant. Gud älskar oss. Han känner oss personliga. Han vill oss väl. Hans verk är fullkomligt. Hans son är fullkomlig. Lita på dem. De kommer att välsigna oss. Det kan jag lova er. Älskar er. Ha en bra vecka

I know this is true. God loves us. He knows us personally. He wishes us well. His work is perfect. His son is perfect. Trust them. They will bless us. I can promise you. Love you. Have a nice week.
MVH, Äldste Johnson

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Eyes to See

Cool cloud streaks in the sky
Wonderful family and Friendz, things are always changing, yet ever constant. What the heck is Melanie doing and getting engaged and married before PJ and I -her favorite cousins- come home!!!!! I cant believe how many people are getting married and going on missions back home and just all sorts of crazy grown up stuff. I dont know if I am ready for that. No, I know I am not ready for that haha.

Mån: So, being on Gotland has been super interesting. It is a very old city, it has a huge wall covering the main part of the city. So of course, on Pday we walked around the wall and saw all of the cool parts of the city. Maybe got lost for a bit, because the roads are so small! We also played around on our ukuleles -my comp has one too. We got some ice cream -this place has at least 180 different flavors. Thats too much for me to choose from. I want it all! We have now made that a tradition to eat ice cream every pday:). We tried doing some swingbys at the end -no one home. 
We will talk to anyone about the
Book of Mormon

Tis: I read D&C 64:33 and I think it summarizes my whole mission. Dont be weary in well-doing. Ye are laying up a firm foundation. It seems that every area I go to we start from the bottom and work up. Don't often get to see a lot of fruits from the effort, but this scripture really spoke peace to my soul. I love my role as the foundation man. Today was an amazing day of contacting -as well as a very disappointing one. We found 5 people in a row who were some of the coolest people I have ever met and we had awesome discussions going and the spirit was strong and they could feel something. But then they just denied it and didnt want to do anything more about it. It was heartwrenching because I know they felt it and I know how much their lives could change if they accepted it. But everyone has their agency. We felt a calm feeling that we had done all we could. And thats all we can do. We cant force others to listen or to act, but we can do all we can to help them.

Cool tree
Ons: We were able to teach E and start the new member lessons. Their is something special about her, I love being able to teach her. She knows with her whole heart that its all true.  We also got to teach G. The spirit is super strong here too but she wants to have the facts and the knowledge. Ahhh!! Faith is the answer. But she is still awesome. We also taught an investigator from Zimbabwe. The problem is that he believes Saturday is the Lords day. Not sunday. Otherwise, he would be a member. Oh well, we keep working with that.

Ferry ride. Good thing I don't get sick.
Tors: We were able to have lunch with the famous H couple. They are legends on Gotland and in Sweden. Their kids won Eurovision-a music festival, and they are stalwart missionary minded members. We ate pea soup and swedish pancakes -oooh that was so good. I have heard so much about that my whole mission and I finally got a taste of the glory (name that movie anyone!) We packed up and headed to the boat to go to the mainland for zone training. We had a pretty fun 3 hours on the boat ride. We stayed overnight with some other missionaries.
Elevator pics - everyone does them.

Elder F: my St. George bud.
Fre: We had a good zone training where they introduced a cool topic called God's Classroom. Basically, God is the teacher during our study times- we better pay attention and listen to all that he is saying to us through his spirit and allowing ourselves to be guided to prepare ourselves in the best way possible. I got to talk to a lot of friends -namely elder Featherstone and it was fun seeing other missionaries. The rest of the day we did some contacting with the district leader and then back to the island -getting home at 11:45 pm.

The B's House - we will really miss them. 
Lör: We had the opportunity to help the B family with some service. They are moving (which is going to really hurt the branch) at the end of the month, so we helped them set up for a yardsale. We taught E again and it was great. We got to play soccer with some kids who are at this community center -some sort of volunteer thing. Anyway, it probably isnt the most effective thing we can do, but it was fun. The kids loved my soccer skills.

Sön: It was a little hectic because we had to drive and pick up many people to take to church. We had 5 visitors from the stake come and speak. We did some less active swingbys and got in contact with a couple of them, which was solid. We then ate dinner with the Maddens and finished our week.

So as you can see from my title, it says Eyes to See. This is something Elder Bednar really loves talking about, and I have been trying to apply that a lot as of lately. I think one reason why i have been called to serve out here on Gotland is for my eyes to open. Lets look at E for example. The reason I have so much fun teaching her and just love being around her is because i can see her as Christ sees her. There is an unconditional love there that I didnt even know existed. There are no judgments because she is different or that she needs lots of help, but there is love because she is a funny warm loving person. May we have the eyes to see as Christ sees those around us and serve them with our love.
Always go towards the light!

Jag vet Gud lever. Jag vet att Kristus har uppstot från de döda. Deras kärlek är oändliga. De älskar oss så mycket. Låt oss bli lika dem. De kommer att hjälpa oss. Bara ta det första steget. Tack för allt som ni gör. Jag älskar er

Translation: I know God lives. I know that Christ has risen from the dead. Their love is infinite. They love us so much. Let us become like them. They will help us. Just take the first step. Thank you for all that you do. I love you guys, Äldste Johnson

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Easter and Conference!

Some local Easter festivities in the park
Hey you people! Things are gött here! Thanks for all of the love and updates and such. Happy Easter to one and all. Hope you all enjoyed this wonderful bonus weekend of conference and Easter to really remember our savior Jesus Christ. I’m in a new setting here in Gotland, it will be my last area of my mission.

Mån: (Still in Lund) Long day. I hate packing. It is so stressful. I cannot wait to dump a lot of stuff I have collected throughout my mission, ha. We went bowling with some YSAs and it was a blast! (125 -not bad, 2nd place.) We got ice cream, had FHE and just had a really good time.

Tis: Sad to have to say my final goodbyes to everyone. It is always so weird and so hard, because what do I say? "See you in...heaven...i guess" haha .  But it was heartbreaking. . The YSAs were so sick, they took us out to dinner and made us some cool gifts. R even got me a special present from work, it was so awesome. I love these people so much. I said goodbye to M last week and then B today. They are special people. I cant wait until they are married in the temple together.

On the Ferry - Off to Gotland Island
Ons: Basically all day was traveling. I took a train from Lund to Stockholm from 9.30 to 1.30. Then a train to Nynäshamn. and then a 3 hour boat. I had a pleasant conversation with my neighbor on the boat, though she wasnt interested. It was a miracle i got there all in one piece with all of my stuff. I am so glad that that was my last time moving before I go home. I pulled into Gotland at 8 pm to meet my new companion Elder T. The Maddens -sr couple were also there and helped us home.
New companion, Elder Treat
Tors: Unpacked and went right to work. I served as ZL over this area 6 months ago so i know a little bit about this island. We have a small branch which I see as a great opportunity and challenge. I’m still not sure why President and God decided that I needed to finish my mission here, but it doesn’t matter. There is a reason, and I have the opportunity to discover that!:) Not too many people on the island but my comp and I are ready to get things rolling. We really see eye to eye on a lot of things and just have a blast together. It is only the two of us on the island so its a good thing we like each other! We got to teach a mother and daughter from Ethiopia.

Fre: The elders before me had a baptism last week so we got to meet this wonderful sister- E. She has difficulty walking around, but visiting with her was amazing. It really hit me that Christ didn’t spend much time with the rich and the well dressed and well off, He spent his time with the sick and afflicted and those who were humble. E is such a person. Though her Gotlandish (Swedish dialect on Gotland) is hard to understand ha. She is awesome. F is another investigator we got to teach. She is a very thorough and studious investigator reading everything the church has to offer. We will help her to rely a little bit more on faith rather than on fact and knowledge. We were able to have the spirit really strong with her and set a baptismal date to work for in June! Wow, that was incredible!
Our little church meeting place

Lör: We are determined to find, teach, baptize and strengthen a family into the church -this branch is in need of one- So we are doing all we can to bring that to pass. The Maddens are super great- we are with them quite a bit. He is the branch president and they love teaching on lessons. We watched a part of conference with them and had a good barbecue pork sandwich dinner:)

Brady singing at Priesthood session

Sön: General Conference! SO awesome! I got to see my studly brother Brady as he sung in the choir during priesthood! We confirmed E at the church as we gathered to watch conference.
Cold day on the bikes
but we found someone to teach!
We had some in-between time so we went finding -in the cold windy rain, brr. We were on our bikes and both were impressed to stop and talk to this guy. Turns out he had investigated not too long ago and got into some anti stuff and stopped. He was really sincere as he said he needed to find himself and God again. We showed him an Easter message video and the spirit was strong. He 
isn't ready now, but I know we were led to him for a reason. Anyway, we also finished conference with the Maddens again. I have not yet seen the Sunday Afternoon session, but I look forward to that.

I cannot begin to express how much I loved conference. I came with 4 very specific questions and it seemed like every talk answered all 4 of them every time! It is incredible! I love the inspiration and the preparedness our leaders bring to conference. I love being able to feel the spirit so strong, especially when President Monson addresses us. There were so many great messages, so instead of writing you the things I liked, I would invite you to tell me what things you liked:) I flipped it on you, heh. It’s weird that this was my last conference on the mission. That is crazy. Next conference I will be home, hopefully at the conference center. I will quote one thing, "Nothing is impossible with God".

Jag vet att Kristus lever. Han uppstod från de döda. Han finns alltid. Han har betalt priset för oss. Han ber oss att lita på honom och använda försoningen. Allt görs bättre tack vare kristi försoning. Jag vet att hans kärlek är oändlig. Han lever. Idag. För evigt. Alltid. älskar er

Translation: I know that Christ lives. He rose from the dead. He is always there . He has paid the price for us. He asks us to trust him and use the Atonement. Everything is made better through the atonement of Christ. I know that His love is infinite . He lives. Today. For good. All The Time.

love you
Äldste Johnson