Friday, December 26, 2014

Email #27

December 26, 2014
Västerhaninge, Sweden

Dear family,

Wow. These past two weeks have been incredible. Being here for Christmas was the greatest! I didn't think that anything could be any better but then I skype-d home for the first time.  That was honestly one of the coolest experiences of my life. When I first tried to call it didn't go through but then I got the call back I was so pumped!  When I accepted the call I started cracking up because all I heard was whistling, cheering, and other Featherstone-like noises that I remember from the White Elephant party. Oye oye oye oye oye oye ahhhhhhh!!!! I couldn't believe that I was actually talking right to you guys! It was the greatest thing ever! I love you all so much. I miss you all but I know that this is the place that the Lord needs me to be right now.

Speaking of being here in Sweden... the other weekend I had the opportunity to do a baptismal interview with a woman that the sisters here in Västerhaninge have been working with. She is from Cambodia and has lived here in Sweden for about 2 years. After the interview the sisters asked me if I would baptize her. I was so excited! Sweden is a tough place and people aren't that open so it's pretty rare when you find someone who is as prepared as Chhunkry. I was able to do the baptism and everything went super well! It was a really cool experience because after she came out of the water she just said, "I feel so clean." It is such a wonderful opportunity we have each week to go and renew our baptismal covenants and refocus on what is important if we've had a tough week.

Overall, everything is going really well in Sweden! It's dark, cold, and the greatest place ever! I'm absolutely loving it! We're working with a man from Kenya named Mich so if you could keep him in your prayers I would be so grateful! I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful break!

Merry Christmas Charlie Brown! Merry Christmas Bedford Falls! Merry Christmas USA!

Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone








Thursday, December 18, 2014

Email #26

Dec. 15, 2014
Västerhaninge, Sweden

Family!
This week has just flown by!  Holy cow!  I guess time flies when you're havin' fun! So we have had just a jam packed week!  I'll give you the rundown of the week.  So as some of you may know, Elder Featherstone just hit his 6 month mark on the mission. I'm pretty sure missionaries do this in other missions but here in the Sweden Stockholm Mission when you have been out on your mission for 6 months exactly, you burn a tie, so that's what we did!  Wednesday was my 6th month mark but we had one problem, no matches.  So we got creative.  When missionaries start getting creative, they get a little dumb in the head as well.  Next thing you know, we're shoving newspaper down a toaster to try to get some flame going. Long story short, we made it out alive and burned a tie in honor of six months.
On Monday we met with a man named Mich.  He is from Kenya and is a stud!  He has met with missionaries before but nothing happened for some reason.  We tried to figure out what the problem was and he told us that he has never read the Book of Mormon before.  We challenged him to read it and he accepted.  He told us that maybe to find out that the church is true  he just needs to take the first step which is reading the Book of Mormon.  After that we showed him the "He is the Gift" video that the Church has put out.  After it ended and before we could say anything he said, "Hey, can you send that to me so I can share it with my friends?"  I kinda laughed and just said, "Yes, we can definitely do that for you."
So I think that as of this week, Sweden is officially cold.  The humidity goes right through you and it is so dang cold!  Holy cow!  I'm wearing layers on layers. "Like cakes! Cakes have layers! Donkey!! Ogres are like onions!" (Shrek)
Alright I love you all and can't wait to see you all next week!  I love you so much and have a very Merry Christmas!


Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone


The temple during Christmas with the nativity in front.

Peterson and I after a long and rainy night of tracting

Västerhaninge Alla Dagar "Västerhaninge Everyday"

The tie burning ceremony



Friday, December 12, 2014

Email #25

Dec 8, 2014
Västerhaninge, Sweden


This week has been a good one. It's honestly been a tough one but a good one as well. I had to prepare for my first District Meeting as District Leader. I was preparing for it on Thursday and I had something prepared but I didn't feel that great about it. I said a prayer and just asked for the Lords help in this district meeting. There were some rumors that President Beckstrand was going to be there and that was a little nerve racking, but he ended up not being able to make it so that was a little relieving. Ha! But while I was preparing, I said a prayer and asked for the Lords help during District Meeting. After the prayer I immediately had a thought come into my mind that "as long as they feel the spirit it will all be ok." So, I decided that is what I would focus on the entire time. I didn't need to blow their minds with something spectacular but just as long as they were taught by the Holy Ghost and were able to feel the spirit then I felt like it would be a successful district meeting. I felt great about it when it was over and a little relieved as well.


Now to prepare for this week! Ha! But this week has been a tough one as well. Our numbers weren't that great but we worked hard and I feel like we did our job. Yesterday we decided we would tract into a few doors. I honestly am not a big fan of knocking doors but we didn't have anything else to do so I just kinda buckled down and we did it.  We ended up tracting into one specific door that I remembered pretty distinctly. Elder Peterson did most of the talking and then he turned to me to say something. The man who opened the door wasn't too interested, I didn't get his name, we didn't get his number or anything like that, but I was able to give him a card and invited him to go check out the website. I smiled at him and then he just said "Okej grabbar, tack så mycket! Ha det bra!" (Yeah ok guys, thanks so much! Have a good one!) and then smiled back. Although we didn't teach him the Restoration or get his phone number, we were still able to just get him to smile and hopefully have a better perspective of the church. That was a successful contact in my book.


Later on Friday we played fotboll (soccer) with some guys from the Middle East. It's just a bunch of guys that love to play soccer. They come from Afghanistan and Somalia and Iran. It's a pretty fun group. They don't know how to speak very much English or Swedish but they can communicate just enough to say what they want to. I'll be sitting on the sideline and all of the sudden I'll get a "MY FRIEND!" Then I run out onto the field and we play hard! It's a lot of fun!


That was a little recap of the week. Everything in Sweden is good! Lovin' it! You should see Stockholm at night in the Christmas get-up! So dang cool! Alright I love you all and hope you have a great week!


Strength and Honor

Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Email #24

Monday, December 1, 2014
Västerhaninge, Sweden


He is the Gift


Family! Have you heard anything about "He is the Gift" yet??? This is
some HUGE news so I'm gonna start it out with that. On Friday morning
we had Zone Training and the Zone Leaders presented us the "He is the
Gift Initiative" for this year. Do you all remember the Easter video
for this year called "Because of Him?" Well the church has come out
with a Christmas video called "He is the Gift." If you haven't seen it
yet... you need to. It's a must! You can go to christmas.mormon.org
and check it out! So what is going on with the initiative is that the
church is straight up just trying to flood the earth! The church has
bought advertisements on YouTube in the US, Colombia, Chile, Brazil,
Mexico, and a couple other countries. Sadly not Sweden but it will be
so dang cool! There will be a monthly advertisement in Times Square in
NYC and missionaries are going to receive some new "He is the Gift"
pass along cards. The Church is going all out with this initiative so
we need to take some initiative and share it with the world! If you
are reading this then that means I'm talking to you! If you go on
christmas.mormon.org you can post it to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,
and whatever else. It's really easy so go do it and #sharethegift.


Cool experience of the week... so I'm on the train the other day and I
contacted this man and woman in Swedish. We started talking about the
church and we had a good chat. I wasn't able to get their number
because they had to get off the train pretty soon after that but when
they left, a man turned to me and said, "You should have gotten their
number." I looked at him and I was so confused and just kinda laughed.
I didn't know what to say so I just said, "Wait, are you a member?"
Then he said, "Yeah I am! I'm from France! I asked him where he was
from and he said "Lyon!" I immediately thought of Elder James Taylor
serving in Lyon and so I asked him if he knew him. I knew it was a bit
of a long shot but then he said, "shorter, blonde hair?" I just said
"YES!!" It happened to be a mission leader in one of the strongest
wards in France and Elder Taylor served with him! How crazy is that?
His name is Toky and he went on about how much of a stellar missionary
Elder Taylor is. Didn't doubt it. Small world for real though!


Now I'm serving in Västerhaninge. It's right where the temple is so we
get to see it every day and that is definitely a pro. The ward is so
great! I kinda feel like a greenie again though because I don't know
anything about my area and I don't know anyone in the ward. We
actually had a ward christmas party (Swede's are on top of the
Christmas party) this past Saturday and I was able to meet a lot of
the members and it was really great! We were able to go to an American
couple's home for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday and it was so great
to just speak English. Ha! In Zone Training on Friday we had a part
where we each stood up and told everyone about a family Thanksgiving
tradition and what they are grateful for. I told my Zone about the
Thanksgiving program that we do before we eat every year and then our
kneeling prayer before we eat together. That was something that I
missed this year. But something that I was grateful for is the
opportunity I have to be home for Christmas. Sweden is my home now and
I love it so much. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to
serve the Lord here in this blessed country and meet so many wonderful
people.


Well I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. The Lord has truly
blessed us all so much so go out and #sharethegift of the Savior this
Christmas season. I love you all so much and am so grateful for each
one of you.


Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

Our stockings for this year

Nativity at the Sweden Stockholm Temple

Toky and I on the train