Monday, May 25, 2015

Week 50 Roller Coaster Ride, 2nd Nephi, Splits on Bikes, Preach My Gospel and Utan hans hand är ännu utsträkt.

Biking with Elder Noso and I 

This week has been one roller coaster ride for us. It has been weird adjusting to life as a Zone Leader which honestly isnt super different but there are just certain things that we have to take care of that come up in the middle of the day randomly so its sometimes hard to just focus on missionary work in our area. It has been teaching me a lot about planning though and I definitely can use some help in that area!! we had zone training this week so that was really cool and all about keeping in contact with the people that we have and extending commitments to everyone that we teach and talk with. It says in Preach my Gospel that we should rarely talk to someone without extending a commitment and we have really been trying to extend commitments that people understand and know why we have the commitment so that they can make a clear choice of what they want to do. It has definitely been a learning experience for us and we are seeing the blessings that come from that.

A little veiw of Umeå.. took while riding a bike, no big deal
We also had splits with the assistants this week and I went with Elder Noso and we were on bikes the whole day which was so much fun because I have not been on bikes since Gotland and I actually miss them!! We just talked with literally everyone that we could and got into contact with some really solid TUs (tänkbara undersökare) so we will see what happens with them in the future. One of them we walked up and they were sitting on a table and both elder Noso and I enjoy awkward contacting situations so we just said hey and kind of sat down with them and they were super open. So we taught them the restoration lesson and gave them books of Mormon and invited them to read and to meet with us and they said that they would!! So the benefits of just going for it with contacting haha as long as we don't make it awkward it usually doesn't get awkward :). We came into our last scheduled lesson with a less active member and he needed help with cleaning and moving things so we spent basically the time cleaning and helping as much as we could and gave a short message at the end. But when everything was said and done we had 30 minutes to get home and it normally takes 45 or 50 on a bike so we sprinted home on these bikes that have 2 speeds and I am pretty sure my legs were just about ready to fall off when we peeled into the walkway back at home 9:30 on the dot :) That was a lot of fun and helped me to know the area better and to get some pointers as to how this area needs to improve and what I can do specifically to help it.

We also had the opportunity to have dinner this week with the Pettersen family. Sister Pettersen is the daughter to sister stålek on Gotland!! Sister Stålek talked a lot about her daughter in Umeå so its been cool to get to know them and come full circle in their stories.. it is a small world in Sweden. But I love also working with their kids and just helping them to have something to look forward to or someone to look up to (besides their parents obviously) But I think that is something that I didnt really have with the missionaries influence growing up too much so we try to help the kids feel the spirit and have a love for the gospel and for missionary work :)

Us with part of the zone after training :)
We had an exciting Sunday as well because we had some less actives at church and one of them brought his girlfriend who is not a member of the church so we will hopefully be seeing them soon. She really enjoyed church and everything looks really positive but she hasn't met with missionaries before so it will be exciting to be able to teach her. This area is a lot of fun and needs a little love on the investigator side of things but we will get that moving. We have really felt that it is time for something to get moving here in Umeå so I am definitely excited for the framtid of the area and what it holds.

I was reading in 2nd Nephi this week and in chapters 19 and 20 it has 4 different times, " utan hans hand är ännu utsträkt." which means basically but his hand is reached out still. This is Isaiah talking about Christ. No matter what kind of things we are doing or what we have done His hand is ALWAYS outstretched to meet us. I have seen that not only in my life but in the lives of people that we work with every day, that Christ is always there ready to catch us when we fall and ready with open arms for the exact moment that we decide to reach out and grab his hand. We see that in peoples lives daily and in our own and it is an amazing blessing. :) Love you all and I hope you have a great week.

Med Kärlek,
Äldste Israelsen
1. A little veiw of Umeå.. took while riding a bike, no big deal
2. yeah
3. Biking with elder noso and I
4. Us with part of the zone after training :)

Week 49 WEIRD THINGS ABOUT NORRLAND Service and Mission Leadership Council


This week has been a week of changes that is for sure!! Leaving Jakobsberg was very bittersweet and I am going to miss it but it will be awesome to serve up here in Umeå as well. I came in on Wednesday early to catch a flight to come up to Norrland. Honestly most of it is a blur and saying goodbyes are always the worst part but thats ok it went well and I got up there in one piece and my bags were not overweight!!! (Harder than it sounds). I am now companions with Elder Krebs who is going home in August so it is quite likely that I will send him home because he only has two transfers left which also means that I am going to have to take the initiative and keep the area moving during that time!! So far it is going really well between us though we are trying to figure out how we work and teach and how we are going to do trainings and help the zone. It has definitely been a weird couple of days.

On Thursday we were sent back down to Stockholm for MLC (mission leadership council) where the assistants and President and Syster Beckstrand instruct us on where they have felt the missionary work has been lacking and where we need to improve. It is then our responsibility to make sure that the information goes down and gets to everyone. The training was amazing and I could really feel the mission shifting into something that it hasn't been before. The mission here in Sweden has a lot of areas for improvement and it seems like we are getting the missionaries we need to step up to the plate and make it better for the people investigating the church and for members. We are going to see a lot of changes coming up in the next several months in terms of service and I am just blessed and happy to be a part of it.

On Saturday we went around doing a lot of Service which was a huge change of pace for me because I haven't had the opportunity to do service for a long time. We helped this lady named Kaarina, she is Finnish and a super nice lady that has started coming back to church. But she fed us and we got a lot of work done in her yard in preparation for the summer. We were also blessed to move a piano which is always my favorite thing to do and my back felt it afterwards which actually felt really good (it was a good hurt, I lifted with my legs mom don't worry).

There are a lot of areas for improvement here in Umeå but I am excited to get to work and see what I can do to help. This branch is super good at feeding missionaries we have about 5 meal appointments a week which is undoubtedly the highest in Sweden so I am not going to complain. But lets see if we cant get them to do a little missionary work as well :). What I have realized the past couple of days is that I have a Looooooong way to go before I am a perfect missionary but that all I have to do is what I c an and thats what the Lord expects and what He is expecting to work with. He doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. I am grateful for that.

1. The dialect is weird, they use han instead of honom all of the time and that is basically the difference between he and him.... so I am just always confused because that grammar is awful.
2. the Sun goes down for a couple of hours at best. I haven't seen it dark up here yet.
3. we eat reindeer a lot apparently...
4. It is beautiful

Love you all!! Thanks for everything you do
Äldste Israelsen

Letter From Mission President

Dear Brother & Sister  Israelsen,
We are grateful for the service of your son, Äldste Jacob Israelsen, in the Sweden Stockholm Mission. Recently Äldste Israelsen has been assigned to work as Zone Leader in the Umeå II area.  He is an exemplary missionary, demonstrating the work and faith which have earned the respect and trust of the Mission.
As a Zone Leader, he is in  a position of sacred stewardship in the Sweden Stockholm Mission and can have a tremendous impact on the culture of the mission and the missionaries themselves. Thank you for your efforts in preparing Äldste Israelsen for this time of his mission.
May the Lord bless you and yours.
With respect and kind regards,
James E. Beckstrand
James E. Beckstrand, President

Week 48 Leaving Jakobsberg and moving to Umea to Serve as Zone Leader

District Photograph

I honestly have no idea what week it is but it has officially been 11 months that I have been out on my mission... I cannot believe time moves so fast. I have just felt like everything has been going faster and faster the longer I have been here. The first news is about the transfer..... I will be leaving Jakobsberg and moving to Umeå where I will serve as the Zone Leader in that area. It is going to be hard to leave Jakobsberg but I am sure there will be plenty of adventures there in Umeå as well. Its pretty far north so it will be a little colder than I have had it here but I will be going to the land of the midnight sun. Lets all just hope I get some sleep while I am up there.

Familjen Nilsson och jag Family I Skyped From!
We had a fantastic week with a lot of things to do and one of the first was go on splits with the assistants. I went to Täby with Äldste Sahlin who is one of the two Swedes in the mission so I was able to improve my swedish with him. We also managed to go to Texas Longhorn with a member in their ward which was pretty good and almost tasted American! haha. We had a really good day and he showed me a lot of things that I need to improve on as a missionary and one of them was in the car. We had planned on going to one side of the area but he saw a sign and thought that we needed to go there in stead and we went and ended up seeing a less active family that really needed a boost and were actually thinking about the missionaries all day. There son was even there and listened when we gave our message and none of the other missionaries have ever been able to see him because he just runs as soon as the mssionaries come. It taught me the importance of listening to the spirit all of the time and knowing what plans need to change and be willing to change them if it feels right.

Another miracel that we were a part of this week was at a members home. He is active but his sons are inactive and his wife is not a member or even really positive towards the church. It has been really hard on him lately and his wife came in after dinner and talked about how she had been sick for over a week and couldnt breathe out of her nose or do anything and it was getting really irritating. We asked if she would like a blessing and it kind of felt like the whole room just held their breath but she said she would love one. So we had the opportunity to give her a blessing and after that she could breath again and we got a report the following day that everything looks so much better than it has been for her. The power of the priesthood is REAL and it can help everyone and God knows exactly how it needs to and how He is going to do it. It was amazing to be a part of that.

We were also able to visit Max and Santa who had their baby a week ago!! They fed us too... theyre pretty amazing and their baby (Alex) is pretty much den sötaste saken som finns. Serious though. We also had stake conference and heard from Äldste Boom who is from the Netherlands and Megan knows who he is. But he spoke a lot on the importance of the sabbath day and that we cannot continue to just do what we want on Sundays but to reallly make it a day for the Lord and I felt like that was something that everyone needed to hear it was an amazing meeting but it also meant that I didnt have a last sacrament meeting to take a picture with everyone so I only got it with some. Sad but i will see them again.

This week has beengreat thank you so much for the prayers and the support we need it and we really appreciate it :) Ha en bra vecka!!!

Med Kärlek,

Äldste Israelsen

1. Distrikt Foto
2. they have tesla charging stations
3. Familjen Nilsson och jag

Mother's Day Skype!

It was amazing to Skype with Jake and we were able to add Megan and Grandpa and Grandma Israelsen from Logan in the call as well!  He looks great and is very excited about the missionary work in Sweden.  We learned that he was moving to Umea in Northern Sweden and would be serving as a Zone Leader.  The time flew by and we were very grateful for the time together!

Week 46

Hej tjena!!

 This week has been one crazy awesome week of crazy awesomeness. That is probably how I would describe it in official terms. we have had so much to do this week and there just seems like not quite enough time to get it all done. There were a couple of miracles I will talk about and one is the power of the young women! We took them and the young womens president to a couple of less active families with young women aged daughters. It was super cool to see them just bring the spirit but in a different way to their life. I feel like sometimes we as missionaries bring the spirit in almost a disjointed way like it comes when we come and leave when we leave and they dont see the application. When we had them there we were able to have them see the results of having the gospel in their lives and that the people that we brought over could be their best friend in the future just that they are normal people with more light. Both of those young women were in church on Sunday. #powertotheyoungwomen. So dont forget how important you can be to someone else

around you or for the missionaries, offer to help them I promise they wont turn you down!! The next one was with a man we called this week and he wanted to meet with us. His name is Ramon and we talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ and were able to teach him what we need to do. He said that he wants to change his life and that he wanted to be baptized so we have him for the end of May and we will see where that goes!! He was really humble and an amazing man. It is interesting to see how life can bring us low so that sometimes we can be stronger afterwards and have the desire to be better. We have seen that time and time again here in Sweden. On Sunday we had 5 in actives that we are working with and it felt really good to have them there finally and seeing that they could feel that
same thing that they felt when they were members of the ward years ago. The ward has really stepped up as well. I have to say that the best feeling is when the missionaries bring a less active to church and they dont have to worry about them because they have members that never let them be alone or feel like they aren't included. So if you see someone new take them and show them around and introduce them to new people the missionaries job is to get them there. the members need to help them stay :) Okay now for the funny story. This week there happens to be 2. One of them is a man that we have been working with that the other side has a baptismal date with. It turns out that he is a
professional beggar and wanted to just get money from the church... why s it so easy to fool the missionaries? Haha we were teaching him and then he just randomly started talking about his son and how he needed money to bring him to Sweden and had all of these papers from the immigration office that had nothing to do with each other and we just told him that the church can help him figure out his finances and that situation but that we don't just give out money like that to everyone and he didn't like that answer too much... good times. The other was at a less actives house. I love this woman she is so funny and one of the nicest people you will ever meet. But I swear she made enough food to feed an army and she would not let us go until everything was finished. and then she brought out dessert... I had 5 pieces of cake before she let us go, 5!!! Thats a lot of food, we were definitely sick for the next 2 days running around Stockholm haha. But we really appreciated it and love the time we could spend with her. She also came to church this week so that was one of the highlights :) Ether 12:35-37 Just keep doing what is right and let the rest of it go. :)

 Love you all keep being amazing!
Äldste Israelsen

1.Just outside of our appartment. notice the green things otherwise known as leaves (they are mysterious and very rare in Sweden;))
2. Last P day over the waters of Stockholm
3. self explanitory
4. Went to the "nordiska museet" super cool and ginormous

Monday, May 4, 2015

Week 47, Valborg Bonfires and the Power of Hi!

Valborg with a bunch of missionaries and sister Beckstrand!

This week has been pretty fantastic! We are seeing some amazing things happen in this area and in the district. We have been planning a talent show that the young women are hosting in the ward and have asked us to help them deliver things to less actives and get member support and be a part of the talent show that is coming in two weeks or something like that so I should probably find something to sing or a random cello to play we will see what happens. Its super cool to see though that this ward is coming together with the missionaries and with each other and trying to put together activities and things that can not only bring them closer together as a ward but provide opportunities to have their friends come as well. With that said, we have been trying to get people to bring their talents and have a little fun in this activity and we will see how it goes.

Smörgåstårta its a sandwhich cake :) super delicious
We are really trying to find a lot more in this area and get those people that are really ready for the gospel. So we have been talking to as many people as we can and going over what other missionaries have done in the area as well. its been super cool to see things come our way even when we least expect it. For example, I was on splits with Elder Taggart this week ( he is one of the proselyting office elders) and I just said hi to this lady on the street and we were headed home it was time to be back at the apartment so we didn't try to talk to her but she flipped around and asked me why I said hi. (People ask that a lot because no one said hi to each other in Sweden) So we explained that we just wanted to say hi and that we are Americans and a look of understanding just washed over her face.Its almost like one of those moments where your super sarcastic friend says "well that explains so much." haha but anyways we were able to talk to her and she is looking for God and wanted to know more about what we had. So we got a Book of Mormon for her and had a chapter that we gave her to read. I hope we see her again soon!! Its amazing what the Lord does when we are just there and willing, its never us.

Elder Lukes Birthday cake (courteousy of Maks)
In other news we had something called Valborg this week!! Its where all of the Swedes burn a huge bonfire and sing and just burn away winter and the darkness and whatever else. But they get really drunk also so we had the night off on Thursday and had a bunch of people get together in Västerhaninge right across from the temple to watch them burn the fire and sing songs. It was super cool to see everything and awesome just to wear jeans and a t shirt every once in awhile. There was another elder that brought a football as well and we started playing american football and I don't know how long it has been since I have done that. We got plenty of weird looks from people but don't care it was definitely worth it haha.

If you haven't looked so much into family history or church history I would say go do it. It is amazing to see the hängivenhet of the people that made what we have possible. I know that the Lord guides this work and it is HIS work and as long as we are all willing and looking for those opportunities He will use us in His hands and I have seen it too many times out here to think even for a second that its me that puts things together because it never is. Love you!!! Thanks for everything and I am excited for Mothers Day!!

super giant dog on splits with Elder Taggart

1. Valborg with a bunch of missionaries and sister Beckstrand!
Elder Lukes Birthday cake (courteousy of Maks)
3. Smörgåstårta its a sandwhich cake :) super delicious
super giant dog on splits with Elder Taggart