Sunday, October 26, 2014

Gotland, Baptismal Date, Let the Spirit Guide Prayer and We Got To Attend the Temple!

Tjena tjena hur lagget?!

 How is everyone doing? It has been a fantastic week here on Gotland and we have been running from place to place just trying to contact and find as many people as we can to just teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to. I think the hardest thing is that we cant just make people automatically become interested in religion they have to have thought about it and have questions in their lives first. I think in Sweden just depending on who they are they havent thought about religion before and definitely not a way to solve problems but more of a problem creator which is really sad. We have been blessed a ton this week by the Lord and a lot of the people that we met last week have become investigators this week!! One of the coolest things is just to be able to bear testimony of what this life is all about to random people and then having them think to themselves and inviting you back to be in their homes and teach them. I have learned more about the importance of the spirit this week because so many people have gone through a ton of hard times in life and they have seen and experienced things that I cant even dream of much less have an answer to. We teach a few immigrants and they have questions that really are burning inside of them and the only way that we can help them to find that answer is with the spirit. I have seen that multiple times this week whether thats a scripture popping into my head or just giving them something to read and having them tell me that it answered a lot of questions that they hadnt even asked yet. The point is that the spirit works through us in so many different ways if we just let him. Coming to this branch and seeing the missionary work they have done has helped me to understadn that as members it is the same thing. If we prepare and live the way we know we should then the spirit will use us to bless other peoples lives. We had a lady this week that has started to have us over just because she had a coworker 15 years ago that was a member and she thought that he was a good man and wanted to know a bit more about what he believed. It is amazing what kind of influence the spirit can have. As missionaries we have a small influence on a bunch of people, and as members we have a huge influence on a smaller amount of people. However, both are needed to help missionary work in general.

Do you remember the Chinese lady that we started teaching last week? We set a baptismal date with her for next monday (its a lucky day for her) and we were all super excited. We have a ton to still teach her so we will have to meet with her every day this week to make sure that she is ready but it is super exciting to see her enthusiasm for everything that we have. She recognizes us finding her as a miracle and a whole bunch of stuff that has happened in the past week is the same. A miracle. There is even a short time missionary that just started that speaks fluent Swedish and Chinese and English that can help us over the phone to translate which is insane that never happens!!! Also, keep praying if you can for our other investigator who is still trying to give up cigarettes and coffee to be baptized on the 1st. We have a few others that seem to be on that point of accepting baptism as well so I hope that I have more good news next week.

In other news the Swedish is coming along really well and I am speaking with everyone. Sometimes they definitely use words that I dont know but I can get the meaning of basically what everyone says unless they are speaking straight up gotlandisk which is like super redneck swedish then I have no idea but neither does Elder Held so its fine haha. We had zone training this week so we went in on a boat and train to Västerhaninge where the temple is and had zone training about prayer. I think it has really changed how I think about prayer and how I should pray as a missionary and otherwise.  The biggest thing is that the spirit should guide our prayers and what we say. So if we take a moment and really think about what we should say and what thoughts come to our heads then we can be guided to revelation during the prayer instead of after which I think most people think that is when we recieve revelation from prayer. I think everyone just has to find out the best way that they can communicate to their HEavenly Father and that is the best way that they can pray. But it is amazing to think that we have that communication to our Heavenly Father. God. Who cares so much about everything we do even though sometimes we dont think so. I have been blessed to see his hand in my life but also in the lives of so many around us all the time I know that He cares and listens.

We also got to go to the temple because we didnt leave for 5 hours after the training and the president gave us the ok so we got to go to a session in Swedish!! I understood about 85% which I would consider to be pretty good but I will keep working on it! Its great being out here and I am loving it! I hope everything is going well for everyone and sorry if I didnt get to write everyone we didnt have a lot of time this week to email!!

Jag Älskar er!!

Oooh Så an intressant svensk sak. de flesta i Sverige hatar Halloween, det finns bara ett små avsnitt i en står affär som man kan köppa halloween greyer... och jag har aldrig sett Halloween Godis...

Har en fantastist vecka!!

Äldste Israelsen

Musikafton and 6 Numbers, D&C 6:34


How is everyone?! I hope it is going super well back in thebeautiful United States. My little island is pretty beautiful but I think mom beat it with the Grand Canyon this week haha. We have seen a ton of miracles on the island this week and its amazing to see the Lords hand in all corners of the world and not just where you can find all of the members. The Lord cares about the little branch that we have here on an island off the coast of Sweden of all places and the rest of the people that live here too. We have ahad a lot of contacting to do and plenty of people to find but we were also blessed this week with people to serve and people to teach as well. This week we were able to do some service for the investigator who has a baptismal date for the 1st of November. We really hope that he will be able to follow the Word of Wisdom completely by then and be completely ready to be baptized. He barely got a dog and this week he got really sick too so we have been trying to help him as much as we can with the dog and cleaning his apartment and just little things that might take the stress off a little bit so he can also focus on quitting smoking and drinking coffee which both are definitely not easy to get away from.

We were also priveledged to meet with a 95 year old active member of the church with another brother who is his home teacher. We got to meet and discuss a little about conference and the prophets and how blessed we are to have such inspired leaders of the church. It is super cool to see that even though he is 95 he will come in any way possible to church to be able to pass the sacrament and have the sacrament himself. It is an amazing example to me that he would be so dedicated that even at his age he understands how important it is to be living the gospel.

I think our biggest miracle of this week was a lady in our area that we just met. We had a planned musikafton in the church and actually they made me sing like 6 numbers because there is a very limited amount of members and we had to fill an hour. That was exciting but we had been inviting a bunch of people and we werent sure who would show up. We were contacting and tracting right before and had knocked every door in the building and every one just shut the door really fast. We knocked on the last one and this lady came to the door on the phone and we said we were from the church but we could come back becuase it was obvioiusly not a good time. She immediately said something really fast in chinese and hung up the phone. We had a lesson with her and she talked in super fast chinese Swedish and then said she would come that night. She came and just loved everything! She then came to church and was a little late because we called her and she said that there wasnt a bus so she was walking to church! She is super cool and we are definitely looking forward to teaching her more. I think its amazing to see the people that the Lord has prepared and the was that their life experience has helped them to get to a point where they will let the missionaries in and talk with us about God and what they think.

We are trying to work with as many people as we can and as many places all over the island that we can and not just in Visby. Actually allof our active members live outside of Visby right now so it is only part of the work. I want to let you all know that the work of God is progressing all over the world and I am so blessed to be a part of it. We found out that one of our investigators from Örebro will have his baptismal service this weekend which is fantastic! Elder Held and I are staying together for Åtminstone another transfer and that is really good to hear it would be hard to transfer now just after 3 weeks here. We have felt the spirit so strong in this area and we know that investigators have felt that same spirit so we hope that we can help them to continue to see God more in their lives and continue to see the good even though many can only see the bad in life. Especially those we talk to that have just come out of places like Syria and Iraq life is really hard sometimes but Heavenly Father has given us a way to see that light in our lives and I love that.

Äldste Israelsen

"Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail." Doctrine and Covenants 6:34

Love you all,
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Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 17, Högklint, Conference, Redneck Swedish and Service

Hey everyone!!! This week has been pretty crazy we have a lot of work to do in this branch because its so small but the Lord is definitely watching over this area. Elder Held and I have been contacting a ton becasue we need new investigators as well as some from the old area book. We have also looked for a lot of ways to serve this week. There was a quote I heard in the MTC that really stuck with me and I think that we are really able to use it in this area. "If you can love them today, maybe you can teach them tomorrow." That has been our motto this week because we have had members and investigatorsin need. Megan told me that she would get to do service so that she could wear jeans and thats true!! Its probably one of the only times we don't have to wear church clothes is when we do service.
Högklint and it is the highest
suicide spot on the island
On Tuesday we went to a members house to help with some of the house and yard work so that her house can be ready in that area to have people over to be taught. So we got do mow her lawn and take care of the weeds and things and do that for some of her neighbors and talk to them. It feels so much better to just go and ask people if they would like some help rather than jumping straight to religion. People get more excited when you ask if you can mow their lawn haha. We also got closer to an investigator in the area that has never let missionaries come over in her 4 years of investigating but we are going there tonight actually so we are really excited about that and we hope that we can help her feel that spirit to help her in her decision.

We were also blessed to help Tord this week who changed his baptismal date to the first of November so that he can feel ready and really get rid of his habits of smoking and drinking coffee... which, by the way, I have been told several times that the harder of the two is coffee... I guess it depends on the person but I thought that was super interesting. We helped him clean his apartment and gave him a few things to remind him of his commitment. We are going to try and do whatever we can to help him because it is not going to be easy. We also got to help his nephew who is also an investigator move. That was really cool because he got a lot more comfortable with us. We were able to really talk to him genuinely because he knows that we actually care about him and that its not just a thing we want him to have just because. I liked the quote from conference from Mother Theresa when she said that "My work is about love not statistics!" I think that is something I am definitely learning while I am out here that I really do care about these people individually and that I share the gospel with them because I want them to have the same joy that I have felt in myself and in my family and I know that they can have the same in their life. Those opportunities have been pretty amazing this week and I am super grateful for them. Also, the Swedish here I would describe as being super redneck Swedish. They used to have their own language now its just a super weird dialect but its fun to get used to. Örebro was a whining dialect and here is redneck... They have a ton of different ones in Sweden.

I remember dad and a bunch of people telling me that tracting is one of the least effective ways of getting to people but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. We did almost no tracting in Örebro because we could work the system and get in contact with people that knew other people. Here we only have a few members and investigators so it is down to knocking on doors sometimes. Which is actually really interesting but its helped me a lot develop a testimony that Heavenly Father is directing where we should go and what we should say. We felt promted this week right after a lesson to knock on one door before we left the area. She opened and was super positive and later in the week we taught her the lesson of the restoration. That was super cool because we have been praying to know where to go and what to say to find the people that are interested. I have a testimony that God cares about us and that He really does direct this church and the missionary efforts around the world. It is super cool to see. (I think my favorite with tracting is when people try to be nice and say that now is a bad time and then we ask if we can come back later and they think for a sec and just say.. nope I dont think that is a good idea either haha)

Also, this one is mostly for Megan. We taught a belgian girl on the street that we met and just taught her the first lesson standing on a cobblestone street in Visby and gave her a book of mormon. I dont know if we will be able to teach her again but it was cool to be able to meet someone that is from one of the places that Megan served!! Also, it just makes me happy to be able to share my testimony every day even if people arent going to accept it. That is there choice and they will always have the choice but the choice is also mine to share it and it always feels good at the end of the day no matter how many people turn down the invitation.

I hope everyone got to watch conference this weekend it was super good and talked a ton about strengthening the ward members and your own family. That was cool to see the shift in focus I felt like from missionary work from the past couple of conferences. I think sometimes we focus so much on outside of the church that we begin to forget how to take care of what is already there and what is inside our own homes. There were some amazing, inspiring talks. Its amazing to have the opportunity to listen to people that are inspired for our benefit.

Love you all!!!

Also this week had Visby day so we were in the middle of the city eating the best hot dog of my whole life (not even kidding) and we had knights that were on horses that rode behind us!!! I would show you but we forgot the cord to our phone. And I thought that it was just someone dressed up but apparently there actually is a knight of Visby... where am I? haha. Mom asked what we ate and this week we ate some rice
pancakes which had eggs and flour and some yogurt and rice because we didnt really have anything else. And they were actually pretty dang good!!

Jag sacknar er!!!
Äldste Israelsen

Check out this cliff!! Its called Högklint and it is the highest suicide spot on the island how cool!!

Transfer to Visby, Missionaries New to Area in Middle of Transfer and Week 16

What 4 months?!?! No one saw that coming especially me I can't believe that it has been that long. Also I am sorry for the lack of apostrophies they do not exist as far as I know on these computers so that is really sad I promise I still know how to use them!!

This week has been something we are going to need to get used to for sure. We left Örebro in the middle of a transfer to head to Visby. We had to take a 3 hour train to Stockholm and then a 3 hour ferry to the island where we were dropped off at our new appartment. We have a senior couple who have been here for about 3 months the Anyanwus. They are super cool Äldste Anyanwu is from Nigeria and Sister Anyanwu is from Denmark but they both live in Lund which is in southern Sweden. They came to the island and the stake president just said to strengthen the branch and he became the branch president. Apparently, they have been getting things resolved in the branch so that they can be ready for the missionaries to come. They have been asking for awhile which is why they had us move in the middle of the transfer instead of the end. They really have a need to be strengthened in this branch so we have a goal of baptisms and really bringing in people that will be active in the branch.

The first couple of days we met with Äldste Anyanwu for about 5 hours and he told us all about the situation and what we need to do in order to help the situation and be the strength that the branch needs to grow. It really is a call to be obedient and really try to call on all of the Lords blessings for these people because the branch is pretty close to closing. But, the Anyanwus are really good and we hope that we can do everything in our power to get the people necessary to have this branch up and running. We have a lot of plans in the works but for now we have been knocking on doors and talking with as many people as we can and unfortunately not a whole ton are interested.

We did have a man that was taught a little before and we invited him to be baptized during our first lesson with him and he accepted!! His baptism will be on the 18th of october!! Pray that it goes through!! It is crazy gorgeous on this island and I am sure it will be an adventure. The first Sunday we had 8 people there. 3 members, 1 investigator, and 4 missionaries in sacrament haha. It was probably the smallest meeting I have been to and I hope it isn't normally quite that small.

The Lord has a plan for all of us though and I know that He has a plan for this area as well. All we can do is be obedient and do our best as His servants to bring to pass what we think will help the most. Faith really is an action word and we are experiencing that in this area.

The language is coming along really well I am still not there but I don't think I will ever be quite there but it's getting better every day. It's amazing what the Lord blesses missionaries with the gift of tongues and I know it is real. There is no other way that I would even be close to this point right now if it wasn't for the help I get from my Heavenly Father every day. He has a plan for every one of us we just have to seek it out and we can find it. I love all of you have an amazing week!!!

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dad, remember who you are and what you stand for haha