Sunday, March 22, 2015

Week 40, Timing, Helping with Groceries, Ask How You Can Help!

Hej på er!!

This week has been full of things to do and places to go and I believe that the focus of the area is becoming clearer which is really nice. I realized as I looked back through my emails that some of the keys on these keyboards stick so just use your imagination a little bit when you read them haha. Our week started with the bishoprec having a meeting and discussing the needs of the ward and the people that they want us to meet and who we need help with. I am not sure if they wanted to have the meeting because we requested it but it is really good to have the ward on the same page as the missionaries with everthing because that is how the real growth will come. Also, if missionaries are ever inyour house ask them how the work is going and of specifics and maybe how you could help. It might just be advice. As missionaries we want everyone to think that we know it all but inside we don't know anything and just think that everyone is judging us because no one came to Sacrament meeting so ask them whats going on specifically :)

One thing that we were really blessed with this week was timing. We were able to go to a less active members house for a lesson and then on our way to another the bus left early and so we were about half an hour later than we thought we were going to be just to swing by them. We got there as soon as they did back from a walk and we were able to go in and talk to them and get to know them  and now we are going back this week so we will see where it leads!! It was super cool just to see the Lords hand in things like that this week. It happened again with an investigator that hasnt been home for awhile. We decided when we were in the area that we felt like we should go visit him even though it wasn't in the plans. He was magically just coming to his house when we showed up and we were able to teach him as well. It just the little things that happen during the week that help me to know who's work it is and what plans He has and how they are different from mine.

On our way to district meeting this week we saw this woman who was struggling with her groceries so we kind of ran up to help her (it probably looked really creepy) But we asked her if we could help and kind of took the bags at the same time because people in Sweden don't like accepting help especially from us so we kind of just took them and asked where she lived. But we were able to talk to her all the way to her house and she said that we were "angels" that day and that she wanted to come to church... it was really cool and thats the reason I love being a missionary because we can help people just at random times and when they really need it and we dont know them at all. Super cool.(I was late to district meeting though so that was a little pinsamt) but thats ok haha.

We went to a part members family this week and taught them and the son started asking us a bunch of really inciteful questions and he was really wondering about God and just why we believe in and all of this stuff. Come to find out later that he has never even once been interested when the missionaries came over and has not been baptized so we are excited to keep working with that family and help to answer his questions åtminstone about the gospel and his purpose.

The work is going forward in Jacobs mountain and it is still my life goal to make the people of Stockholm say hi to each other when they  walk around and when they are on buses and things so I will let you all know how that goes :) The cool thing about missionary work is that we can affect everyone around us. Depending on what we do and how we act we can strengthen members, friends, anyone we associate with and that is why it is so important to be able to have a strong testimony all of the time and knowing how the Spirit works in each of us. I know that this gospel is true and that God loves every single person no matter what their situation is. If you can't say that. find out. :)

Love you have an amazing week

Äldste Israelsen

Week 39, Law of Tithing, Makalos Faith, MTC Group Reunion and Simple Testimony

Hejsan ni vackra människor!!

I hope everything is going well this week on the other side of the ocean and that the weather has been just as nice as it has been here!! We have had an early kick-start to spring here in Stockholm and I am definitely ok with that. We have been running around our area a little bit like mad men this week. Our area is huge and when we take the trains and buses it just takes time to get places and we live on Söder Malm so it takes at least 45 minutes or so to get to our area initially in the morning so that is always a good time :). Everything works out really well though and there aren't any problems that we have run into.

I am not entirely sure where to begin with this week but we had a mission tour this week with Elder Donaldson of the 70 there with us and we got some training from everyone for about 6 hours. It was actually really good and I was able to see a lot of people from my group there (MTC group). Everyone's MTC group is really close because the MTC I feel like is just something that you cant really describe and all of the people that are with you at that time you just get really close with them. we are having an emphasis right now in the mission to teach members the missionary lessons and almost to have a role play with the members so that they know what we teach exactly and gain more confidence in the way that we do it. Also because they can then give us feedback or things that they would do differently and it has been really beneficial to u as a mission when we have someone to practice with. Plus the spirit of the lessons are always stronger than a spiritual thought.

I went on splits this week with Elder Erikson who works n the other side f Jakobsberg an we went around and taught a couple of investigators and less actives. We had a really cool experience together a well. He has been out for 3 months and we went to teach a part member family and the kids are les actives. The mom really wants them all to be active in the church and the lesson wasn't really going as planned and I really didn't know what to do or what I could say to change the direction. Elder Ericson bore a really simple and powerful testimony in the moment about his mom and what she knows and how that has blessed his life. The spirit was super strong in the lesson and it made me realize that sometimes we try to say the right thing... or the most intelligent thing... or even to address all of those problems that people have. But in the end the most powerful tool we have is our simple testimony of the things we know to be true. That is all that we can offer but that is everything that is needed for the spirit to work and I am really grateful that he could remind me of that fact.

The Miracle we saw this week was that Johnson ( one of our baptismal dates) was not answering his phone this week and he wasn't at his house an we couldn't figure out what to do because we needed to have contact with him this week. S we fasted and prayed and even had the district praying with us and on Sunday he came to church!! His phone broke and he wasn't able to get a new one but he saw our note and really felt like he needed to come to church! His interview will be next week and so on Sunday we taught him the law of tithing. We were nervous because he works really hard and doesn't make the most money. But when we taught him the commandment he said that he had been waiting for this because he knew that it was in the Bible and as a Christian he needed to pay tithing... his faith is makalös and I am so grateful to be able to teach him.

The work is moving and we have the message to help every single person in their lives I don't care what their situation is they can be hleped through the gospel. I know t to be true and I love being out here in Sweden!! Thanks for your support everyone and if you have any ideas about little things we could do at member visits to help strengthen their trust in us let me know vi skulle uppskatta det!!!

Med Kärlek,

Äldste Israelsen
1. Släkt bild (dad, me, son)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 38, Sons of Jakobsberg, New Companion from Utah is Super Driven and Splits in Gubbängen with Äldste Held

The "sons" of Jakobsberg are still goin strong. (we have erickson, nelson, johnson, and then israelSEN but its ok because my name is Jacob so I can be included in the name:))

I have to say that I cannot believe that another week has just flown by I think they are just getting faster and faster its erally not fair... time needs to slow down just a little bit. The week started off with mission leadership training which I was asked to give a little presentation just an example district meeting but it had all of the zone leaders and district leaders and assistants and STLs and then the president and his wife.... så I was pretty nervous but I think it turned out ok. I am beginning to find my way around and figure out this city. Stockholm is huge and our area is bigger. By train and then bus it would take us probably around 2 and a half hours to get from our appartment to the edge of our area which makes it hard to focus but as long as there are people to teach we will figure out a way to get there to teach them.

Our investigators are doing really well. Everyone is still on track for amking their baptismal date however we did not see them in church because they had to work... its really hard to get a solid job as an immigrant in Sweden and so they have "project jobs" where they have to work through a project and then maybe have a break before the next project starts so its rough to find that schedule. We had good lessons with the three of them and they have some of the strongest faith that I have seen and it really strengthens my faith when I see people living purely by faith its really inspiring actually.

For those that have asked we do a fair balance of less active work and finding and investigator work. Both are super important for the ward but also for those less actives. Most of the time they really miss the blessings of the gospel that they had in their ives before and they really just left the church for a person and so they want to see those things back in their life and we can help them to get there :) We met with one who has a family not in the church and wasnt baptized too long ago. He was really cool and wanted to let his family know about the Book of Mormon and the church so we need to find it in Hindi... or punjabi... haha we will see maybe ill just use google translate and write it on my own ;)

My comp is really cool hes from Utah and just graduated from high school last year. Hes just really excited about sharing the gospel and super driven to get this area going which is super cool to see. We work really well together and I am excited for this transfer.

Ok, WEEKLY MIRACLE: This man names Xing we met for the second time now and he really likes us. He told me after our lesson about the plan of Salvation that the night that he met us for the first time he had been thinking about his purpose in life and he really believed that he would have "någon slags uppenbarelse" that day and we met him outside of his gym. We will continue to meet with him but that was really cool to hear that God watches out for all of us not only with what we NEED but what we WANT and what we want to understand. Never forget that.

Oh Also I went on splits in Gubbängen with Äldste Held! It was super cool to be back with him and work together again... like old times haha. Love you all! Know that I know the Savior lives and helps us through every problem we turn to him with I love this mission and I love the church and the people in it. Never forget to share the light you have

"Our simple desire is to share with you the truths that are of greatest worth to us."

-Elder Bednar

Med Kärek,
Äldste Israelsen

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Crazy Week 37, Greeny, Slussen, Train Contacting, Jakobsberg which means Jacobs Mountain and Russian Member Says to Read Genesis 32:28

Selfie with the New Comp
This last week was absolutely crazy I don't even really know how to describe it I kinda feel like I just got into a completely different mission and I don't really know anything anymore haha. I got here on Wednesday morning and met up with Elder Nelson (who is in my group) and Elder Johnson (my new companion) Elder Johnson is an amazing Elder. He is in the same group as Jones so I am his second companion which is normally called the "greeny breaker" but since a greeny breaker can't be a greeny he is also greeny breaking me... weird situations. Haha anyways we live in Slussen which is right in the middle of Stockholm but our area is on the other side of Jakobsberg so it takes a little while to get there every day which means we do quite a lot of train contacting. Its harder than you would think because Swedes don't talk to each other on the trains its in the Swede handbook of things you CANNOT do so we have to be more creative than "hi" usually. It is also super cool and where the first miracle of the week comes in. I was on a train and sat across from this lady and we just started talking (she was from Chile) and we were talking about her day and then the subject went to prayer and I asked her if she ever felt like God answered her prayers and she said right before I sat down she prayed for something so that her day could just get better because something at work was just really bad. So in that way she said that her prayers were answered that we could talk on her way home. That was a super cool experience for me just because I know that we can be instruments in Gods hands if we just try to do our very best and when we do that we will be able to see these little miracles as they come.

Jakobsberg (which actually means Jacobs mountain) Is a really good ward. They have about 60 people that come every week and right around 400 inactive members... we have quite a bit of work to do. I think we have to work on the wards trust with the missionaries because they have had some less motivated missionaries here kan man säga. So if there are any ideas I would love that!! It is going to be a very different experience here and I will grow in a lot of ways that I don't even know yet but I am really grateful for the experiences I had on Gotland and all that they have done for me to get to this point.

We had distrikt meeting for the first time on Thursday and I have the office and the APs in my distrikt meeting so it was really interesting but it went super well and I am glad to be here in Stockholm. Right now we have 3 people that have baptismal dates and we are working with them still to set new goals. We have one right now for the 22nd of March and another who we need to re set up a date for to make sure that they have been taught everything first. Send some prayers their way they are going to need it with the Word of Wisdom especially. But it is incredible to see how the Lord works because we met with 2 of them ( a polish couple) and the wife said that she threw out her cigarettes and gave them up for good and he said that he would do the same thing tomorrow. It is never an easy thing to do that but the gospel brings a motivation and a light into their lives that they werent sure exited even and they will need the support but we are so excited for their decision and ts cool to see that transformation. Thats another miracle.

Last miracle of the week was with an inactive member of the church we were able to visit. She is an older lady and really still does love the church but something happened a long time ago and the situation wasn't handled right. But she is willing to work with us and wants to come back. But we were able to give her a blessing... and that blessing was really strong and you could feel the spirit super strong. I know that Heavenly Father cares enough to send me and my companion into her life and we are able to say what she needs to hear in our "probably interesting" Swedish. I know that it is always worth it to follow what we feel we need to do and I love seeing those miracles our here and I am definitely excited to see more :)

Ha det så bra!!!

Äldste Israelsen

p.s. A russian member showed me this scripture Genesis 32:28 (its a good one)

Week 36, I'm Moving to Jakobsberg, 6 Investigators to Church and The Dead Man's Watch

Maddens and Mozes and Judith
Nya begynnelser,

This week has been crazy but I will let you all know the first thing..... I will be moving..... I am going to be the district leader in Jakobsberg which is right in stockholm... not quite centrum but right in the mix of things. It will be crazy because apparently the President and the assistants are in my district so those meetings will be a good time. Also, Elder Held my Father/trainer will be the zone leader in my area so I will be working really closely with him as well which is pretty cool I am looking forward to that opportunity. My companion just got finished training so I will be the "greeny breaker" but technically he will be mine as well so this next transfer is just going to be interesting and a little weird not going to lie.

Kerstin Och Jag
It has been really hard actually saying goodbye to the island which is I think why they tell you on Friday or Saturday and don't give you any time because that is too much time to be saying goodbye to people. The area is going really well and I have nothing but confidence in my companion to keep it going. We still have one baptismal date this week but we did have 6 investigators in church which is definitely the biggest number I have seen out here so that was a really neat experience! That is one of the hardest things about a mission is that you begin to care a ton for these people and develop these relationships and then you have to move to a new area but it will be good for me.

So a funny story for this week also. Elder Jones was in a lesson with an investigator that speaks crazy gotlandska... it is sometimes very hard to understand her but she is one of the most amazing people you will ever meet. Anyway, he made a comment earlier that he was looking for a watch and asked for a good place to find them. The conversation that then ensued with her went something like this.

"was it you that was looking for a watch?"
Elder Jones: "ya"
"well I guess I have a couple from my dead husband do you want one of them?"
Elder Jones: (not knowing he was agreeing to anything) "ya"

and so the story of how elder Jones got a new dead mans watch is told haha... it was great.

Ragna from the branch
We also taught kids english which was awesome we actually sang Justin Bieber at the end which would have been embarrassing but they were so into it so it worked well with me :) (song chosen by them). Other than that this week has been a blur we have been meeting with investigators and now we are saying goodbye to people and making sure that the transition goes smoothly and hoping that this week won't quite kill us haha.

I know that this work is true and that it is led by god. We are able to see the success and the light that the gospel brings into peoples lives and sometimes we take that for granted as members of the church. My hope is that we don't. That we look for the light that is in our lives and realize how much we have and how much of that comes from God. I love this gospel and I love being able to tell people about it all of the time!! Love you all!! thank you for the support!!!

Med Kärlek,
Äldste Israelsen


Dear Brother & Sister Israelsen,

We are writing to express our appreciation for your son, Äldste Jacob Israelsen. Äldste Israelsen has been assigned to serve as a District Leader  in the Jakobsberg II area of the Sweden Stockholm Mission. He is wonderful and well prepared missionary, and this added leadership responsibility will be a blessing to him and to the mission.

He is an exemplary missionary, demonstrating the work and faith which have earned the respect and trust of the Mission. District Leader is a position of sacred stewardship in the Sweden Stockholm Mission as it can have a tremendous impact on the culture of the mission and the missionaries themselves.

May the Lord bless you and yours.

With respect and kind regards,
James E. Beckstrand, President