Monday, February 15, 2016

Service, Pay Attention to Prophecies, Splits in Eskilstuna and Speaking in Church!

This has been a great week with lots of things to get done and not seemingly enough time to get it all done but somehow we got through it. We have this investigator whos name is Kent who is on track to be baptized on this Saturday and that will be really exciting. He is the one that has read the Book of Mormon a ton of times and the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price and knows that it is the word of God. Its really exciting to teach someone that has done so much of their own investigation. It certainly makes our job a lot easier and helps us to focus on what they need to know to help to build the testimony that already exists instead of breaking down a wall of skepticism which is often the first thing that an investigator needs to get over before they can recieve a witness for themselves of the truthfulness of these things. We had his interview during the week and he has passed and is ready to take the step and become a member of the ward which is really cool to see that there is someone that is ready and wanting to take that step. Really great man.

We had a less active member also that needed help during the week to move and so the elders quorum got together and we went with them to help him to get the rest of his stuff moved to the next apartment. It felt really good to be over there to help him do something that he just couldnt do on his own and its always good to see the body of the priesthood just doing the things that other people need and magnifying their callings. Its pretty amazing to see that. He was very grateful afterwards and he felt a big load off his shoulders because of it and it made us feel good to be able to make a small difference. Service really is the best and it is also the thing that will bring us closer to Christ than anything else. I have realized, over the course of my mission, that I just dont have such a big understanding of the gospel or of Christ and how to grow closer to him. However, we watched a talk with a new member this week from President Monson who talked about how, when we lose ourselves in faithful service, that we come to know the Savior and his purposes for us and for other people. I have realized that, more importantly than understanding on an academic level, it is important to understand on a practical level who Chist was and who he is in the lives of everyone and in our own. The only way that we are going to get there is by serving people around us in the same exact way that he would do if he were here. It is our job to love and to serve, and for those of us who have been baptized it is not only a great thing to do; it is required of us.

We had a meeting with the Stake President this week about the different units in our zones and how the missionary work is going and what they can do to help the wards and the members to do their part. We have had so many people from persian lands recently that have been baptized that dont really speak english or swedish and what they are trying to do across sweden is find enough teachers to be able to hold a skype class for sunday school for all of the persian speakers in Sweden. Its really cool how many people are coming into the fold of God and how many people are in the work of keeping them here. Its fun to meet with the stake presidents and see all of the incredible work that they do and it plugs our misisonary work into the stakes and into the country of Sweden. I have realized more than ever that the work really is the same around the world and we are all on the same exact team. God is using us as His instuments to find the people that are willing and ready to hear the message of the gospel. It was prophesied in the first book of Nephi about our day and he said,
"And it came to pass that I beheld the church of theLamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of thewickedness and abominations of the whore who sat uponmany waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of theLamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all theface of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of theearth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw."
He knew himself that the church of God would be upon the face of the earth but that would also be small compared to the rest of the world. Despite this he also says,
"I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth;and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.""
It is my testimony that the power of God has rested and is with the covenant people as long as those covenants are held. The amount of power that brings is amazing and something that we probably don't notice very often. Pay more attention and realize that the prophecies made anciently are being, have been, and are going to be fulfilled. You can be a part of it, so do it.

I had the opportunity and excitement of going to Eskilstuna to be with elder Groberg on splits. He is a great elder who came to Sweden just a few months ago so it was fun to be able to work with him and just talk with as many people as humanly possible and even teach a man named mark who is super cool. I think my favorite thing to do on my mission has become just the amount of opportunities we have every day to testify to people of the things that we have come to know are true. Even people that we dont see go anywhere take the things that we say and come later in life. That is the situation with Mark, he was taught once or twice by the missionaries and then dropped them and said that he didnt want anything to do with what they were saying. A couple of years later he called the missionaries saying that there was something missing in his life and he knew that they had it. He is now working to be baptized in the next couple of weeks and it is a cool situation. It is definitely a testimony to me that we never know what the results of our labors will be.

In church this week, I had the honor of speaking to the ward about service which was really fun and for me its always an opportunity to gain a stronger knowledge and understanding about a specific subject. But other than that we had Kent in church who is ready for his baptism on Saturday and we also had Fidelis there who said that he was so happy that he came and is also excited to be a part of this congregation. We had a ton of awesome members who helped him and came and said hey and talked to him and I know how much of a difference that makes to people that come to church for the first time. We are excited to see what will happen during the rest of the week and for all of the opportunities that we will have in the coming weeks and the people that we will be able to serve.

I am so grateful to be out here and learning how to serve and understanding the principles of empathy and love and just how to help other people. If there is nothing else that we should understand it is that. How we can love the children of God. Love you all!

Ha en bra vecka
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1. Thats elder larson and I
2. The move
3. he pushed my face into the cake...

Happy 21st Birthday! Power of 15 Minutes in a Person's Life is Pretty Powerful!


Sorry the sisters are about to kick me off of my computer but I did want to say a couple things about this week. We had a lady named Amin who was investigating the church here in Södertälje and we went to teach her a few times and she was going to be baptized and then she moved to Hägersten. She called us up last week and invited us to attend the baptism this week! It was an incredible experience to be able to be a part of and see the growth in a person. I just wanted to say that there are a lot of things that happen around us and a lot of people that we have contact with and you never know what kind of effect it can have on that person. You never know who needed that testimony or who needed a little support. I know that I have said this quite a few times but the power of 15 minutes in a persons life is pretty powerful. So takt the time and talk to people or to help them or whatever you feel like you need to do because you just never know what they need or maybe even what YOU might need.

Blue Suede Shoes?  Happy Birthday European Aldste!
I have been reading in the first few chapters of the book of Mosiah with King Benjamins speech and I would encourage you all to also go through it and imagine that he was talking specifically to you and what you need to do now to come closer to your Heavenly Father. Again, sorry that this was so short but I have had a great week and thank you so much for all of the birthday wishes it was a great birthday!!

Aldste Israelsen

Temple in Västerhaninge, ACT on the Things We Have Felt, Bear It and Build It!

Temple in Västerhaninge

This week has been another crazy one for the books!! I cant actually believe that the things we did on Monday were this week it seems like at least a month ago. But we started off the week in Stockholm for MLC (mission leadership council) which is a really exciting one that happens once a transfer with all of the zone leaders and sister training leaders where we receive training and we discuss what the mission needs to move forward. This transfer we talked a lot about the new year and what we need to do to shift our focus to help the missionaries and help people to come unto Christ. They talked a lot about Teaching Repentance and what repentance is and it has been something on the minds of all the missionaries in the world because of the broadcast that was sent out the week before. But we were able to receive a little more insight as to what that means and what it means for us in our own daily lives and I love how repentance is an everyday principle and I think that sometimes we say that and dont really do it. Its been a wake up call for me to understand and use the atonement of Christ in my life more and to help my investigators to do the same thing. After the meeting we had the privilege to go to the temple in Västerhaninge which I have not done for about 17 months...  but it was a fantastic experience and we were able to get some needed direction and focus for the training that we were going to give to the missionaries in the zone.

That training happened on Friday but between those two things we had a lot of preparation to do but also some awesome people to teach. Benjamin is one of our most progressing investigators right now and he is understanding more about the restoration and the weight of the message that we are giving. I think that a lot of people like the things that we say and understand on an intellectual level but its when the message sinks in that we understand what that means for us and how we can apply it. We talked with him about the organization of the church and I think its pretty amazing when you think about it how smooth the church works and how it is lead.

We also taught a man named Kawa who, when we came to teach him with one of the members in the ward, was just super excited to see us. He has changed a lot since I have first seen him and he even shared with us that he really hasnt felt joy really in his life for a really long time but that he feels it while we are there. It was an amazing confirmation to me that the joy fo the gospel is something that we cannot find anywhere else, its deeper it means more than any of the things that can make us temporarily happy. i know we say and think that a lot but I hope all of you that feel that joy every day do not take it for granted. The other key to all of this is to ACT on the things that we have felt and to understand that when we have answers given to us by the  Holy Ghost it becomes our responsibility to act on them and to begin to understand more. That is the problem with many people. They hear and they kind of understand and they know that it is something that is good but their willingness to act is what can keep them, and me for that matter, from coming closer to God.

The training was about a lot of things but the main points that were covered were language proficiency, and how to teach repentance and recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost. We ended the training with a little bit about receiving and building personal testimonies of the gospel and we had a couple of missionaries bear their testimonies and the spirit was soo strong. Its amazing because just as prophets have said the spirit is never a degrading spirit it is, however, a spirit of peace and confidence and something that one can understand. As Nephi says, "For my soul delighteth in plainness for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. FOr the Lord giveth light unto understanding; for He speaketh to man according to their language, and their understanding." When we receive a spiritual prompting we can know that it was something from God because He speaks plainly and in a way that we can understand and I think that is something that is absolutely fantastic that we may not understand the implications of. However, these missionaries testimonies are so individual and so completely different but really strong in their own way and that is something that i have come to understand a little bit more ins that our testimonies are different and based upon different principles and there are always questions that we wonder and things that we can do to strengthen that testimony. So do that this week, work on the things that may be holding you back and more forward.

If you dont have a testimony of something (can be any gospel principle) Get it, Bear it, Build it. If you already have one great, Bear it and Build it. Because we all can, and that is the point.

We also went on splits this week and had some investigators in church which was awesome because this fifth Sunday was all about the restoration so all of our investigators were able to feel the spirit super strong and get a double dose of the restoration this week! Things are going well up here and I hope they are going well for all of you! Love you :)

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Broadcast, Mission Leadership Council and Are Our Feet in Two Different Worlds?

Helping Move Many Boxes!
Hey everyone!!

We have had one crazy week this week and we are pretty excited about the things that are happening in the area and in the ward. Elder Larson and I have been thinking a lot about the things that we need to do to improve and where the mission is moving and where the work needs to be moving here in Södertälje as well and where we personally need to be more diligent or improve. We had the broadcast this week with some of the 12 and the executive missionary committee or something like that. They basically just had a training about the things that we need to do to be teaching repentance and having a change happen in the people that we teach. Essentially that is the reason why we are here, to show people how to change their lives and how the atonement of Jesus Christ can be applied for them as well and not just now or for a split second or for a day but for a lifetime and maybe a little more :).  They talked so much about us being able to be conduits for the spirit so that there isn't anything hindering the spirit from being with us while we are out during the day or while we are teaching people. I have personally thought about worhtiness this week and realizing that it needs to be a part of our daily thoughts and what we need to try to experience every day. The bishop related an experience on Sunday about how he was on the way to church to come and serve and have meetings and he was super stressed on his way and speeding with his seatbelt off to come to the church. How easy is it to have our feet in two different worlds? And, if we do, the spirit cannot be with us in the way that we might want, in the way that we need, and almost more importantly in the way that other people need. Besides that being the focus we are also concentrating on the aspects of teaching that will help us to teach "with convincing power" which is something for all of us 18-25 year olds struggle with sometimes is teaching with this convincing power.

This week we will have Mission Leadership Council to talk about what the mission needs and how we can take all of the things that we have learned to the missionaries that we serve and how it can be applied. One thing that we have been trying to do quite a bit is teaching repentance and making sure that people cannot missunderstand the things that we say, just like Nephi says, "my soul delights in plainness" because when God speaks to us He does it in a way that we will understand and so that changes from person to person. We taught Fidelis again this week and we met in the library and the only place that we could sit was at the little kids table with the tiny chairs and proceeded to have one of the most powerful lessons that I have had on my mission. We just read out of 2 Nephi 31, he hadnt read and so we just read with him from the scriptures and explained about the Savior and his gospel and how we can come closer to him. He told us that he was questioning this last week about the mormons and if they actually preached Christ and he said that he knew the things that we were saying were true and that he understands the purpose of the Book of Mormon and why we need to read it. It is a powerful witness of Christ and his purpose.

We had a man this week that needed help all of a sudden to move and to pack things, he is 82 and got a notice from the doctor to not make too much effort or like strain himself I guess you could say. So we helped him and he literally had hundreds of binders that he had writtned stuff in and put stuff in and of course he needed them all so 20 giant boxes later we had those packed up and then we had to start on some books haha. We did not have time to finish but we will be going back hopefully with a little help from the quorum to help him to pack up and move... so many binders its ridiculous. Super fun to help out though we love when we have the opportunity to serve.

We taught this man named Benjamin the other day that came to the church to watch the restoration film and learn more about the restoration and about Joseph Smith. He has been in church quite a few times now and when we watched he understood the spirit behind the prophet Joseph Smith and he said essentially that he was so glad that he come to the church that day and he understands about the reason why he has felt the way he has in the church.

Anyway I dont have too much more time but it will be a good week this week. I know that the church is true and the restoration is a reality :)

Love you all!

1. lots of boxes.
2. giwal... investigator and I promise he was smiling until we took a picture haha
3. drilling the wall at a members home... they have a lot of trust


Don't Just Pray for the Missionaries, 50 Baptismal Dates and a Self-Referral!


This week has been absolutely fantastic and we have been seeing so many miracles here in södertälje!! First I will tell you about transfers, we will be staying here for the next 6 weeks as Zone Leaders, I guess we did ok last transfer so President Beckstrand feels like we can have another 6 weeks which I am very excited about! There are a lot of things that are happening right now in the mission and in this zone. We have already had 15 baptisms this year and have 50 baptismal dates all over Sweden... now that may not sound like a lot to some of you but it is a lot and the mission and the missionaries have been working a lot harder and have been a lot more dedicated than any time that I can remember or that I have seen and I think it is a priveledge to be a part of and to see the "marvelous work and a wonder" åstadkomma so to say in this beautiful country. The most amazing part of missionary work is being a part of it so... be a part of it! Ask the missionaries when you can come with them on a teach or when you can invite someone over for dinner with the missionaries (one of your friends or one of the investigators), if you cant do anything else ask who you can pray for! I can promise you that as you PARTICIPATE in the work and stop just praying for the missionaries and ask the ones in your ward what you can do to help you will see the miracles of the gospel in other peoples lives but also in your own life. Gör det bara :)

This week we received a referral from Northern Sweden about a man who had moved into the city in Södertälje, he lived out on the outskirts of a northern town up there so he had always been interested but he didnt have the means to get to the missionaries there in Skellefteå. When he moved here we were able to meet with him and it turns out that when he lived in Nigeria he lived right next to a LDS church building but never really knew what it meant. We taught him the restoration this week and invited him to be baptized. The spirit is always super strong when we talk about the truth of the restoration and the meaning behind what happened that day and people are moved, even if they dont know why I have never gotten through teaching that lesson and doctrine to people without them knowing that there was something different in what we were saying. But he loved it and has agreed to be baptized later on in February. We are really excited about working with him and teaching him more.

Another miracle this week we passed a man on the street and talked with him (naturally) and he didnt seem so interested but we gave him a card and the next day a referral popped up and he had self referred himself!! We were able to meet with him and also talk about the message of the restoration. He really understands the weight of it and almost like no one else that I have taught wants to know if the message is true. It means the world to be able to look them in the eyes and tell them what I know and that I know that it can help their lives. What an incredible knowledge to be able to have! I would encourage those of you that do not have a knowledge of the restoration or think that you might to find it. Read the Book of Mormon, apply the principles that you find there. Use prayer, ask God for your answers and continue to do that and receive confirmations of the truth for the rest of your lives because you can and because it will fill your life with peace and knowledge.

We were able to put a few things together this week like getting interviews with President Beckstrand and being able to get things set up for the broadcast that is happening next week. We are pretty excited for that broadcast which is for all missionaries around the world. We are incredibly blessed to have the leadership that we have and the inspired men and women that lead in our wards and worldwide. I know that the inspiration that they have recieved for me is incredible and has helped me a lot to understand my role to play. Especially President Beckstrand in this mission. If you dont know him... he lives in Utah somewhere so when he is done go there and get to know him because hes an incredible example of living the gospel in his own life.

I dont have too much time left, we have been running around to teaching appointments and members this whole week and right now in this ward we have 8 people who have decided to be baptized that the missionaries (us and the sisters) are teaching and it feels like something big is starting to happen in this country... and this ward for that matter. I want to leave you with a scripture that I came across this week it is in the doctrine and covenants chapter 11 vers 20

"Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments,yea, with all your might, mind and strength."

Gods work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Our work is to keep His commandments with all of our might, mind, and strength. When we do this the blessings come and its not about blind obedience. Its about trust in what you know. and understanding the the knowledge that you have recieved is divine. :)

Have a fantastic week I love you all thank you so much for the support that you have all given me, you are the greatest!

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