Sunday, August 30, 2015

Week 63, Tjenare!! Splits with Äldste Pärkkä and Books of Mormon!

Splits with Äldste Pärkkä

What a great week in Göteborg!! I have to start off by just saying that miracles do happen and the best ones that we can have are the little things, the things that happen every day. I guarantee you that if you thought every day about a little miracle you could think of one and recognize just a little more the role that god plays in your life. It is super cool!!

This week we have been spending a lot of time finding. Just making sure that every spare hour that we have is spent finding new people to teach and talking with everyone that we see. That is always the emphasis of missionary work but this week we were really trying to be as dedicated as we could be to finding people to teach. We have seen a lot of blessings that come from that. We were also able to meet a lot of new people regardless of if they were interested and that is always interesting when you just talk to people in cities, you definitely find all types!! This week we found a couple of investigators that had been investigating before and some new ones. One of them is named Kansa and she is from Kurdistan. She is super cool and very open to learn about everything. She had met with missionaries for a number of years ago and they just kind of lost contact with her and we were able to get contact with her and to teach her more about the Book of Mormon and our purpose as missionaries. I am super excited to teach her and see where it goes she is a very sincere person so we will see this week how it goes.

Service with Äldste Brown (I am the guy in the background haha)
We also found Emmanuel. This is our miracle for the week we had planned with an investigator to come to her house on Sunday evening and to teach her and she said the morning of that she would be home around 7:30 so when we showed up she wasnt there and we talked to her son for a second and left. We decided to just pray that there would be someone in our path that we could talk to as we walked back because it was getting to late to tract (normally after 8 people just get mad) so we start to walk away and he opens the door again and just says like excuse me do you two have a church? Elder Brown and I just kind of looked at each other and we start walking back to him and he is super cool he wants to change his life and he is about 21 and wants to find God and come to church and things like that so we will meet him  again tonight and see what happens but that was a really cool little miracle for us and we were just glad to be in the right place at the right time.

I was also able to go on splits this week with Äldste Pärkkä who is finnish and just came about 2 months ago to sweden. He could already speak swedish and he is a super good missionary. Let me just be the first to say that I am glad that I dont have to speak finnish haha that language is impossible (dont show this to any finnish missionaries or blivande finnish missionaries it is in fact possible to learn that language... but it is tough). We went out to an area to tract before a lesson and gave out 5
Cool Swedish castle thing
books of mormon out in the same couldesak and they are going to go back to all 5 next week so we are calling that the unofficial mormon neighborhood of Sweden for now. On that same splits we taught a member that wrote herself out of the church 20 years ago that just moved from Umeå to göteborg and I had worked with her in Umeå! But she wasnt really as possitive to meeting then and she is now going to be baptized soon so that was also super amazing to see. Sometimes you just have to have the right people around she knows all of the members in the ward and a lot of them were there when she was baptized there so she got those feelings again coming back to church in Alingsås.

In church we had a few less actives and Lennart was there who we are teaching!! He is a very cool investigator that has been a missionary for the salvation army for 25 years and then was baptized into the pyngst kyrka and now has been meeting with the mormon missionaries. He seems to be taking steps to find God and he was able to attend church this week which was fantastic.

It has been a great week and I am excited to see what happens in the upcoming week(s) hope everything is going well for all of you and thank you so much for all of the support!!

Älskar er!!
Äldste Israelsen
1 and 2. Splits with Äldste Pärkkä
3. Service with Äldste Brown (I am the guy in the background haha)
4. Cool swedish castle thing :)

Week 62, 3 Hour Train Ride to Stockholm for Mission Leadership, Power of Preparing and Gospel Brings All Nations Closer


This week has been fantastic!! We have seen a lot of good things here in Utby and also in the rest of the zone and area in Gothenburg. On Tuesday we went on a 3 hour train to Stockholm to have our mission leadership council meeting which is always really good and really spiritual. I have thought a lot about why it has been such an uplifting experience for me and I think that the reason is because I go in with specific questions about the people in our zone and how they can be helped and then I am able to recieve specific answers because of the preperation. One thing that I have learned recently is the power of preparing and being ready even if we need to switch things up and it doesnt go the way that we planned. For example, whenever we plan to teach lessons I would say about half of the time the lesson plans are thrown out the window and we teach something else
. However, I can say that when I have prepared I have seen the opportunity to teach and say what they needed to hear or invited them to do the thing that they needed to do at that time. I think that is how it is with life as well, as long as we prepare with the spirit and are ready, if we have to improvise we wont be on our own.

This week has been really filled with finding people and helping them to take that step closer to their Heavenly Father. We have been finding a ton of success and being able to give out a bunch of copies of the book of mormo. What I have noticed is that when we have the courage to just open our mouths and talk with people that it is then that we see the miracles and we are able to strenghten our own testimonies and be able to help them as well. We had one lady that talked with us and she told us that she doesnt really talk about religion with people.... (neither does anyone) but that she had been having a lot of questions about what will happen because her dad passed away. I loved that moment because it is those kind of moments when the gospel becomes REAL and PERSONAL. It is no longer just talking but it becomes someone seeking and trying to find an answer. We were able to witness to her of the Plan of Salvation and that she can see her father again. It was anamazing experience just right there on the street and we should be meeting her this week as well.

We are working with some newly baptized people that are bringing in their friends to be taught which is really exciting to see and we are super pumped to be able to work with them so we will let you know how that goes. Also, we had zone training this week and it was all about the need to prepare ourselves to find in the prepared. If we arent prepared to open our mouths or to teach or to speak the language then we can definitely miss the people that are prepared to find the gospel so we had a training about that and what we can do in Göteborg and we are already seeing the results!! The next few weeks will be fun in this zone I can feel it.

I want you all to know that I love this work!! I know that it is the work of God and can bring "all nations" closer to a knowledge of their Heavenly Father and find that peace that everyone is trying to find in their life. Have a fantastic week!!! Love you all thank you so much for your support!!

Äldste Israelsen

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Week 61, Goodbye to Amazing Umeå, Hello Utby! Fantastic Pancakes, Bacon and Baptism!

 Goodbye to two of the best people I have ever met

This week has been one crazy week but it has been Gött!! It was rough at the beginning of the week to say goodbye to the people in Umeå but it went really well. We had a service project again with the Carlssons and we picked a bunch of weeds and I tried to explain the government system in America to brother Carlsson while we did that... I didnt realize how complicated it was until he started asking a bunch of questions and I wasnt sure how to answer them exactly haha. We got to say goodbye to the bussman family who are absolutely amazing and have been some of the best examples of how to live a Christ like life and to understand the gospel that I have ever seen. Also, they made us pancakes and bacon and that was fantastic!! Well that was the end of one chapter and i took an hour plane and a 3 hour train to the next chapter... Utby.

Goodbye to an amazing family in Umeå
By the way Utby is just the name of the little place that the chapel is in but it is just right outside of Gothenburg. Super cool place and some amazing people already. Elder Brown is my new companion and since they just moved the Zone leader area to Utby it will be something new for both of us. He is from Mesa Arizona and has been out on a mission for about 2 years now so I will be learning a lot of really good things from him he is a fantastic example of how a missionary should be. We did see some miracles here in the area this week. One of them was on our way to another area we just decided to knock on some doors around an investigator and this younger swedish girl opens the door and we were able to teach her on the doorstep about the restoration and she was super excited and asking questions and wanting to know more and we were able to give her a Book of Mormon and got another appointment with her to come back with someone in the ward. It was super cool to see how she turned from like about to shut the door to interested in what we have to say and wanting to know more by the end. I know that the Spirit is real and will work if we open our mouths and give the situation the opportunity to have the spirit present because that is the only reason anyone would be interested in what we have to say anyway.

We also had a baptism on Saturday!! The other two elders in Utby were teaching a man named John that was just baptized. He is an incredible person and has a great conversion so we are very excited to see him progress and he was confirmed on Sunday. Which by the way this is the biggest ward I have been in for a long time! They have about 130 people that come every week and the youth and YSA are pretty big as well. I am super excited to work with them!! Its sad because for the last little while the missionaries havent been working with the ward so that definitely needs to change because they definitely want to and they have enough people!!

Sign in Utby "Playing retired people"
This week has been really good and I have learned a lot. In third Nephi 24:7 it says "return to me and I will return to you" Christ is always there and willing to come to us as long as we take that first step and come to him. For different people that means different things if youhavent prayed before that probably means that you should try to pray. But for the people that have lived and are living his gospel that might mean giving up something that you havent before or being more diligent in a certain thing. But I do know that as we try to take a step closer to Christ he will come closer to us as well so try that this week. Think of something that would bring you closer to Christ and then do it and I promise that you will see and feel the change.

I love this work and these people!! Thank you so much for all that you do :)

Ha en bra vecka!!

Äldste Israelsen
1. Goodbye to two of the best people I have ever met
2. Sign in Utby "Playing retired people"
3. Goodby to an amazing family in Umeå

Week 60 Volleyball Tournament, Transferred to Göteborg with the Sing Songy Accent!

Running in the Mornings by the river :) (by the way it is 6:30 in the morning)


Först och främst, I need to apologize for the lack of an email last week we had some very serious volleyball tournaments to take care of. No but really, the whole zone came down to play volleyball in Umeå so we were running around taking care of that!! Also, Äldste Kapp and I totally won... in our hearts anyways. We set up on two beach volleyball courts that were super nice right by the lake and played tournaments of 4 and then by companionship and it actually went super well. It rained a little bit but other than that it was super fun. Our zone is definitely filled with some of the best and most inspiring people that I have met and that is one of the coolest things about being on a mission surrounded by some of the best people that the world has to offer. It really is an amazing experience and I have learned so much in the past 3 months in this Zone.

Volleyball Tournament
We had some really fun experiences this week as well as some amazing miracles that we have been a part of. We had the opportunity to have a service project and some lunch with the Carlsson family and that was a blast. They make amazing food and then we got to pick weeds in their grass and it reminded me of my summer picking dandelions when I was 14 but for some reason it was a lot worse then than it is now :) In that same day we were on splits with the elders in Sundsvall and we taught a woman named Flora who is here in Umeå to study. We contacted here just last week and talked to her about the Book of Mormon and why we were there and this was the second time we met. She told us that it was really hard for her to read the Book of Mormon because the rest of her family wouldn't put it down.... that is a bad problem to have (so we gave her another one). But we had a really powerful lesson about the gospel of Jesus Christ and what He has done for us and then we invited her to be baptized on the 12th of September and she accepted!! She is really wanting to prepare herself to take that step and her testimony of the Book of Mormon has been growing and it is so cool to see.

Service at the carlssons
We also are continuing to teach Catherine who is a friend of a less active named Niels. He is in a wheelchair and was paralyzed in an accident but burns for the gospel and we met her through him. She is also in a wheelchair and they are two of the most sarcastic/amazing people and examples in my life. We have really bonded with both of them and we taught about the Plan of Salvation with her. It was super simple and the spirit was really strong. She wants to have the same joy and happiness that she sees and has when we come over and that she sees Niels have. She is preparing herself to be baptized in September as well!! It is absolutely amazing to see the successes of people wanting nothing more that to come closer to God and being happier in life. That is all the gospel is about being happy and coming close to God. I have learned recently that you really cant have one without the other and that they go hand in hand.

I love this area and the people here and the work of the Lord, I know that it is His work and all we have to do is try to be instruments in His hands and He will take care of the rest. Sadly we got transfer calls and I am leaving Umeå and the great white North/never ending light. But I am going down to Göteborg to a place called Utby!! It is a town right outside of Göteborg and I am super excited to go there and see what happens. They speak more sing songy there and I want to pick that accent up down there. I am excited to see where it goes and Elder Kapp and Elder Featherstone are going to take care of Umeå and will do a fantastic job. I am excited to see where everything takes me and the adventures on the West coast!!

Ha en bra vecka!
Äldste Israelsen

1. Volleyball tounament!
2.running in the Mornings by the river :) (by the way it is 6:30 in the morning)
3.service at the carlssons
4. splits with elder James (smöret means "the butter"... its a preschool...?)


Week 59

We have a giant activity that we have to take care of today so I might not get out a weekly email but I will try!!! Love ya!


Here is a link to the Mission-Wide volleyball tournament from President Beckstrand's Blog.  Fun!