Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Email #10

Aug. 25th, 2014
Jakobsberg (and Gotland), Sweden


Wow, this week was just killer! Lets start it out from the top...

Alright so this week was VERY busy. On tuesday, Elder Krebs and I got a call from President Beckstrand. He gave us an assignment to go check out the work in another area of Sweden called Gotland. Gotland is the island east of Sweden that is like directly south of Stockholm and is a place that every missionary wants to go to but hardly any missionaries get a chance. There is a little history behind it though. Back in midieval times, the island of Gotland was always being conquered and reconquered because it was in the prime spot for trading. The Danes, Finns, Nords, Germans, and Swedes were always fighting for it. Overtime, a wall was built around the city of Visby (now the biggest city in Gotland) and the Swedes gained possession of it for good. Now because the Swedes own it, Gotland is in our mission and is a pretty isolated area for missionaries. The branch has about 6 active members and the work is pretty slow. They originally took the missionaries out of the area for quite some time but now President Beckstrand wants to get missionaries back there. He send Elder Krebs and I to check it out and let us do a little bit of sight seeing while we were there.  It is such a cool part of Sweden! We were blessed with such an amazing opportunity. I will send some pictures. While we were there we taught a couple lessons and had a lot of success is such a short amount of time so I think that the missionaries that are sent there will continue to have success.

On Wednesday we had the opportunity to hear from Elder Teixeira who is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. It was such a cool experience and shared some wonderful insights about several gospel principles. He read something out of PMG that I had read before but didn't really pay attention to. It is a definition of repentance that is stellar! In PMG it says, "Our faith in Christ and our love for Him lead us to repent, or to change our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that are not in harmony with His will. Repentance includes forming a fresh view of God, ourselves, and the world. When we repent, we feel godly sorrow, then we stop doing things that are wrong and continue doing things that are right." How cool is that? That part that sticks out to me the most is that when we repent, we form a fresh view of God, ourselves, and the world. After we heard from Elder Teixeira, Elder Lundquist (an elder who I was accompanying for) and I played for about half the mission (about 100 full time missionaries). It went really well and I felt great about it. A little back story behind us playing "Jesus, Savior Pilot Me." A week earlier when I was asked to play for the Mission Conference, I was asked to play "Jesus, Savior Pilot Me." I remembered that Preston sang and recorded that song for Ross and Michelle Boothe and that they just started a new business called "Sacred Hymns." I went online and bought the music to "Jesus, Savior" and it looked great. I thought that we would be good to go. Elder Lundquist was serving on the opposite side of the country and there was no way to get the music to him. I had a little bit of a problem with the computer so I only had the sheet music when Elder Lundquist needed it also to practice. I was in a little bit of a tough situation so I sent an email to Ross and Michelle Boothe asking if they could email me the PDF form of the sheet music so I could email it to the other elder. I knew it was a bit of a long shot but I thought I would give it a try. I didn't receive an email back for several days so I just bought the song again and had the other elder log into my email and print it off. I didn't think anything more of the music because we had already played for the mission. I got an email back from Ross and Michelle a while later and this is what it said: 

"Hi Elder Featherstone,

So sorry we didn't respond to your email quickly enough! We noticed that you bought a second copy to send to the other elder. You're great. Thanks for trying to the right thing. We certainly love your family and appreciate everyone's help in getting Sacred Hymns off the ground. As a gift from us, attached you will find the sheet music to all of our currently published hymns. We hope they are helpful to your missionary service and future life. 

All the best, Elder!

Ross and Michelle Boothe"

The Boothes had attached 13 songs of full sheet music with their email. I really could not believe that they gave me such a gift. I was so thankful and so humbled by such a Christ-like act. There were so many miracles and blessings this week and I could not have been so blessed. 

We have been really busy this week with mission business and haven't had much time in our area but I'm excited to get back to work in our own area and see what we can do here at home. I'm doing well and hope everyone back home is doing well too. I love you all.

Strength and Honor
-Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone


The Wall of Visby in Gotland

More Gotland Pics. Love you all!

"The way is shut. It was made by those who are dead. And the dead keep it"
(Lord of the Rings) Direct translation

Monday, August 18, 2014

Email #9

Mon. Aug 18th, 2014
Jakobsberg, Sweden

This week was busy but stellar! I'll start it off from the beginning...

Alright so Krebs and I have started a new tradition called "Kiwana Söndag." Every Sunday we try some weird fruit or food that we haven't tried before. Last week we tried something called the "Horned Melon" and this week we tried "Starfruit." Both pretty interesting and probably wouldn't ever buy it but hey, it was a fun time.

Speaking of eating, we had something called zone training this week (I'm getting to the eating part... give me a sec). Our zone leaders talked a lot about the blessings we receive when we are obedient to what the Lord has asked of us. In D&C 64:34 it says,

34 Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days."

 So moral of the story... if we are obedient... the members will feed us more. Hah, I wish that were true. Alright but after being out here for even a short few months, I already can see how much the Lord truly blesses those who are obedient. If we are struggling with being obedient with a particular principle of the gospel and we want to find out if it is true then we can experiment on it. There is a scripture in Ether that I feel can be applied to so many different situations. In Ether 12:6 it says,

 "And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."

Sometimes we aren't sure why we are doing things. We have to first act as a trial of our faith and then we can receive a witness. And once we receive that witness then it is just a building block on the foundation of Christ. We can just grow and grow and grow. That's what we're here to do. We are here to progress and grow in the gospel.

Both Dad and Mom asked if I have had any chances to play the piano. The answer is.... Every week in priesthood (I was already doing that before) and occasionally I have to play in sacrament meeting also. After zone training on Wednesday I got a phone call from an elder who is serving central Sweden. He ended up asking if I would accompany him in a musical number at the "Mission Tour." Not sure why it's called a tour because it's more of a conference. We are having Elder Teixeira who is a member of the first quorum of the seventy come and speak to us for a couple hours. Half the mission will be there and Elder Lundquist asked me to accompany him. I'm scared out of my mind but I'm also very excited to be able to play for all of those people and share my talents that the Lord has blessed me with. Elder Lundquist went on to explain that he wanted me to "whip somethin fancy together" with a hymn and "make it sound good." Haha you have got to be kidding me? I was a little hesitant but then he told me the hymn was "Jesus, Savior Pilot Me." I immediately thought of the song that Preston recorded for Ross Boothe. I went online and bought the song and now Elder Lundquist and I are playing it for half the mission so it should be pretty cool. Elder Bednar actually comes in a couple weeks so there is a pretty big chance that President Beckstrand could ask us to play for that as well. Pretty crazy stuff! I've been practicing a ton so that's nice I get to play a lot but hopefully I'll be ready because they gave me 7 days of notice so I'm just praying I can perform the to best of my ability.

Everything else is going well here. I love my area and I don't want to leave it in two months because there is so much potential. There are some problems, every ward has those, but I really love all of the members and I can't wait to get back out there and see what I can do. Love you all and hope everything is going well back home.

Strength and Honor
-Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

Email #8

Mon, Aug 11th, 2014
Jakobsberg, Sweden

How are y'all doin? Man, I feel like I have been gone a long time but I feel like I just got out here at the same time. I think that's how i'm going to be feeling the whole time. What is going on with you all? Alright I don't have a ton of time so I'm going to have to keep this one short if that's ok. So when I first got here we had only one progressing investigator and now we have six so that's pretty exciting. Here in Jakobsberg there is a lot of less-active work because there are about 60 active members with about 400 less active. When I first heard that I was a little shocked and sad because that is the majority of the ward. We have been calling and dropping by a lot of houses of less actives and it has been going really well. We called a guy named Rolando and dropped by his house a couple of days later. When we visited him he told us that he wants to come back to church and he wants to receive the aaronic priesthood. He straight up told us that and I got so pumped! Something that you have to focus on here is going to the temple. Baptism can't be the end goal. The temple has to be the ultimate goal. Rolando is such a stud and I can't wait to work with him more and more in reactivating him and reaching his goal of receving the aaronic priesthood and hopfeully the melchizidek as well. If you would keep him in your prayers I would be very greatful! We are also teaching a lady named Ildiko who is a past investigator who is having a tough time coming to church so getting her to go to church is the goal with her. She has a friend who is very christian but isn't a great influence on her. She is pretty much crazy. She focuses a lot on the scientific part of religion so it's not helping Ildiko a ton because she gets this from her friend 24-7. The positive side of that is that we get to teach Ildiko, her friend, and her friends fiance. It's all pretty cool to see the progression of investigators and see how the light of the gospel and help them become entirely "New creatures" through Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Alright I gotta head but I hope you all are doing well! Love you.

Strength and Honor
-Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

Monday, August 4, 2014

Email #7

Monday, Aug 4th, 2014
Jakobsberg, Sweden

Family! Thank you so much for all of your emails this week! Loved them all! 
This week has been really good! My companion and I have done a lot of damage in the Jakobsberg area and we have a ton of people we are talking to every day! We got two new investigators last week which is huge! I hope they will continue to progress and gain that testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Church for themselves. Yesterday we were on our way back to the apartment from church and we were just talking to the other Jakobsberg elders. We were just talking about how church went and a lady interrupted us and asked us what a "Bishop" was. The other Jakobsberg elders explained what a bishop was and then she asked what we were doing here in Sweden. They continued to talk to her while Elder Krebs and I just listened. They said we were all americans and we were serving a mission for our church and sharing the gospel with the people of sweden. She then asked "What is something you guys have that is different or special from other churches." I had an answer right away but I looked at the other Elder's first. They were trying to figure out an answer so I turned back to her and said "The Book of Mormon." She kind of jumped back and said, "WOW! Now you sound like an american. You have a really.... (insert hand motions here) american voice. I laughed and was trying to decide whether that was a compliment or not. I definitely took it as a compliment and in my mind I said, "USA! USA! USA!" Proud and loud baby! gotta love the US! But I went on to explain what the Book of Mormon was. I asked her if she would like to read a little bit of it and she said yes! She said she seemed to always find herself reading. I pulled out a Book of Mormon and shared a brief testimony of it. I handed it to her and said she could have it. She said, "Wait I can have this?" She looked just as shocked as she did earlier when I started talking. I told her that this book was "wonderful" and that she could read it if she wanted. You have to make sure that you are very casual and layed back with Swedes or they will get scared. Ha but it was such a cool experience. Never does a Swede start a conversation with you so it was really cool. She was very sincere and thanked us a couple more times before she got off on her stop... which was ours as well. She dove into it and started reading it right after we stopped talking to her so hopefully she will read it. In "Our Heritage," it talks about the Standard Works and says, "These books are of inestimable value to the children of God, for they teach the fundamental truths of the gospel and bring the honest seeker to the knowledge of God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. You really can tell just by talking to someone if they are an honest seeker or not so when you finally feel like you get an "honest seeker" you get pretty pumped! I have to wrap it up for this week but I want to share one more thing quick. As I've been out here I have been thinking a lot about my sacrifice as being out here and not a ton about the sacrifice of those that are home. On page 60 of Our Heritage it talks about the families of the saints who had accepted calls to serve missions. It says, "The families remaining behind demonstrated their faith as they sacrified to support those who had accepted mission calls." I just want to thank all of you (Dad, Mom, Greg, Mimi, Max, Laurel, Millie, Brian, Kelsey, Preston, Megan, Noah, and Klaus and Bagheera) for your faith and supporting me in accepting the call to serve. I love you all and hope you have a stellar week!

Strength and Honor
-Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

The Streets of Stockholm

Swedish "Preach My Gospel" 
 Throwing it back to the MTC

The Smallest Street in Stockholm