Monday, January 26, 2015

Email #31

January 26, 2015
Västerhaninge, Sweden
This past week Elder Peterson and I had a goal to teach a lesson on the street every day. We were out on Tuesday and we were 100% so far with our goal. We taught a lesson on the street and for some reason I just didn't feel great about it. I turned to Elder Peterson and said, "What did that contact/lesson on the street need?" We talked it over for a little bit and we came to the conclusion that we need to TESTIFY! How important is testifying? So important! It made complete sense to me because that is how they are able to feel the Spirit. That is the goal with these people. We are trying to get them to be able to feel the Spirit and say, "Hmmm... what is it about those two young men? Maybe I want to talk to them more." Later during the week on Wednesday we still were looking for that street lesson for that day and we saw these two teenagers walking to the train station. We stopped them and ended up showing them the Easter video from last year on the iphone. The phones here have been such a great help. It's so neat to be able to just walk up to someone, show them a video about Christ and then TESTIFY about the truthfulness of what they just watched. So we showed these two kids the "Tack Vare Honom" Video. (The "Because of Him" video) The literal translation to English just means "Thanks to him." But we showed them the video and then we TESTIFIED! It was a great lesson and we could tell that one of the kids was actually sincerely interested and we could tell that he felt the Spirit. I TESTIFY that as WE TESTIFY then whoever we are talking with will be able to feel the Spirit and the Love of Christ through us. I always remember looking back on some of my most memorable experiences in Young Mens and being thankful for the Testimony Meetings that we would have together. One of my favorite District Meetings was a Testimony Meeting. Testifying is so important.
This entire week we have not been able to get in touch with Maich. Maich is actually the same person as Mich but he just decided to tell us that he goes by Maich as well and that most people call him Maich so... we're switching to Maich. Whew... ok... but I called him last night to invite him to church but he didn't answer once again. I wasn't really sure what to do so I called a newly baptized member of the ward to call and invite him to church. They're actually both from the same country of Kenya so that was great to get that connection. We didn't think Maich was going to come to church but he ended up coming in a few minutes late. I got so excited and we ended up having a lesson right after Sacrament Meeting. It was great! Please keep him in your prayers. He wants to do the right thing. We are going to have a lesson with him on Wednesday so we're hoping to get a baptismal date set.
Overall, we're doing well. Sweden is cold. We had another blizzard come in so there is more snow on the ground. It's supposed to snow tonight as well. From what I've heard from members there is supposed to be some "extreme weather" the next couple of months so I guess we’ve just got to get used to the snow. Ha! I thought I would be ok with it being dark all the time as well but I think I'm ready for the sun to come back out. Can't wait! The sun is the best!
Ok I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week! Pray extra hard for Edmund! AKA Preston! I thought "break a leg" was supposed to be good luck. Uh... haha just kiddin! Lycka till! Good luck buddy! Love you!
Strength and Honor    
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

Monday, January 19, 2015

Email #30

January 19, 2015
Västerhaninge, Sweden
This week was a good one! We started out the week and in the first three days we had almost hit all of our goals for the week. It was amazing! I called Birgitte to see if we could come by and teach her again and she said that she was actually going to call us. It was a sad call and she said that she wanted to do her own thing right now. It was sad to hear. It was really hard to swallow because she seemed so positive but we can't force her to do anything. Hopefully she will pull through, but for now she's on standby. After that we had a tough couple of days with finding and getting lessons but that all changed on Sunday. The lesson in Elders Quorum was on "Praying Always" but it was tied in mostly to missionary work. We were able to ask a few questions and get some answers on how we can build the relationship with the ward. It was a great lesson and I think that the Elders Quorum and the missionaries are now on the same page which is great. After church we had lesson after lesson after lesson and we were struggling to get everywhere. It was incredible and we got half of the amount of lessons that we wanted throughout the week... in one day. It was super neat and we ended the week on a high.
I have started to read in the New Testament and I am loving it! The words of the Savior are so powerful and it always gives me more motivation to try to be more like Him. The gospel is happiness and I know that if we live the commandments and principles that the Savior taught, we will feel His love and we will truly feel happy. Earlier this week I was able to finish the Book of Mormon. I just wanted to bear my testimony to you all and say that I know that the Book of Mormon is true! It is true! Every time I read it I become closer to my Heavenly Father and my Savior and my testimony gets stronger and more deeply rooted in this wonderful gospel. Elder Russell M. Nelson once said, "Do you want to get rid of a bad habit? Do you want to improve relationships in your family? Do you want to increase your spiritual capacity? Read the Book of Mormon! It will bring you closer to the Lord and His loving power." I know it is true! I know that if we read it, we will feel His love and His Spirit. Maybe we could do a family reading together. Let me know what you think.
I love you all so much I can't even express it in words. I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

The boys that we play soccer with on Thursday nights. They are refugees from the middle eastern countries and don't have a lot but they love playing fotboll. We can't really communicate very well with them because all they speak is Persian but we get away with high fives, low fives, fist bumps, chest bumps, annnddd.. the works. It's a lot of fun.

Email #29

January 12, 2015
Västerhaninge, Sweden

The Lord's Hand in His Work

This week has been such a humbling one. We have seen the Lord's hand in every aspect of his work. I have been trying to focus on the little things that happen every day that the Lord has blessed us with and I cannot believe how amazing it has been. There is an investigator in Västerhaninge named Birgitte who has been in contact with the church for over 30 years but hasn't ever been baptized. It's been hard to get in contact with her and get a lesson set up so calling her isn't the best option. We ended up getting a hold of her one day and being able to set up a lesson. We were even able to get a member there for the lesson. We went over to her house and ended up having a great lesson about the Book of Mormon. Oliver (the member who went with us) was so helpful with the lesson and it wouldn't have gone as well if he hadn't been there. The lesson went great and the Spirit was so strong. I think she knows deep down that the church is true but she struggles with the fact that there is more than the Bible. It went well and she even accepted the invitation to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. The lesson was about to end and then I thought of something that happened a couple weeks ago. We had Zone Conference…

Äldste Featherstone is currently busy playing ping pong so I'm taking over for now. I just want to say that you have a great and fantastic son and brother! One of the most loving persons I've ever met. He's also one of the most loved persons I've ever met. You can be proud of him! / Äldste Sahlin (The Swede)

... a while back and during the conference the Assistants talked to us about being bold and not being afraid to extend the baptismal commitment during the first lesson. I had only been with this investigator once before in another lesson and so I thought it would be a great opportunity to extend the baptismal commitment. It was hard for some reason because I wasn't extremely close to her and I didn't want to scare her away. I decided to invite her and she actually accepted. An investigator who has been investigating on and off for 30 years accepted baptism. Hopefully she will continue to progress so keep her in your prayers.

So we have only been able to meet with Mich once and I was getting kinda disappointed with how everything was going with him. I had called him so many times and I didn't want to get annoying so I kinda blew that one off. On Saturday night we were eating some dinner and I was just thinking about what to do with him. Later that night I decided I was going to call him one last time and invite him to church. I picked up the phone reluctantly because I didn't really want to talk to him again and be shut down. I called him and asked him if he had any plans tomorrow. He said he didn't. I asked him if he wanted to come to church tomorrow by chance and he said, "Actually, I was already planning on it." At first I thought I had something stuck in my ears. Sorry, come again? I was so pumped that he was going to come to church. On Sunday I was looking around for him but didn't see any sign of him. The ward asked me to pass the sacrament so I was in the middle of passing the sacrament and I see this duder walk in. It was Mich and I got so excited. How cool is that?? Mich came to church and we were able to teach him the Restoration during the second hour.  While we were sitting in that lesson I had that Zone Conference flash through my mind again and so I decided I wasn't going to flake out and not commit him to baptism. Long story short, we gave him the baptismal invitation and he accepted so he's going to get baptized!! We don't have a baptismal date with him yet but we're hoping to get one soon.

I know that the Lord is truly involved in His work. There have been so many miracles occurring here in Västerhaninge that I am truly grateful for. I hope all of you have a great week! You're always in my prayers!

Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Email #28

January 5, 2015
Västerhaninge, Sweden

2014, it's been real. It's been fun. It's been real fun. But now we're gonna bring in the big boy. 2015! According to Back to the Future we should have flying cars and automatic lace up shoes now. So! This is going to be a big year! Keep your eyes peeled! This is also the year that for all 365 days Äldste Featherstone will be in Sweden as a missionary. So buckle up and get ready because this is going to be one to remember! And please keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times.

This week has been stellar! We spent New Year's Eve at a member's house and we were able to stay out to watch fireworks at midnight. In Sweden, the individual cities don't do a big show but everyone just goes out and buys fireworks and fires them off when they want so it is pretty much just madness. Fireworks are going off left and right for a solid half hour or so. A big thing that Swedes like to do is light off floating lanterns as well as fireworks. In some parts of Sweden there will be thousands of floating lanterns all over the sky so that is real life "Tangled" there for ya.

It seems like everywhere I go I end up meeting someone and making some crazy connection. A couple Sundays ago I was asked by the second counselor in the bishopric to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting. It was the last Sunday in 2014 so there were still a lot of people visiting so there was a full house in the Västerhaninge Församling (ward) that day. The topic that I was given was "Kristus min frälsare." The direct translation from Swedish to English is "Christ my Savior." I shared one of my favorite scriptures which is Helaman 5:12 and bore my testimony that if we build upon the foundation which is Christ then we
cannot fall. Being on the mission has been one of the hardest, most confusing, yet most enjoyable, and rewarding things I have ever done. There are tough times for sure but I know that if we rely on Him then we cannot fall. He has literally felt everything we feel and He is always by our side. The rest of the talk went well and I felt good about it.

Ok now for the connection part. After Sacrament Meeting was over I had a man come up to me and say, "Hey Elder Featherstone! I'm visiting here from Norway but I was just curious if you knew a Joseph Featherstone." I wasn't really sure where he was going with it so I just asked where he knew a Joseph Featherstone from. Long story short, we figured out that this man served in the same mission with Elder Josey Featherstone in the New York, New York Mission. At a time, Josey was his Zone Leader and they lived in the same apartment together as four elders. He is originally from America but had lived in Norway for most of his life and was just on a business trip to Sweden so he decided to go to church in Västerhaninge. How crazy is that? It honestly is such a small world! Such a crazy connection!

The other day during Personal Study I was reading in 4 Nephi and a couple scriptures jumped out at me. I was reading verses 15 & 16 and they hit me pretty hard.

15 And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.

16 And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.

These are some of the happiest people that have ever lived on the earth and they were filled with joy because of the way they were living. Living the gospel, applying the doctrine, and the principles that Christ taught is being truly happy. That is something that I am going to try to do here during 2015. I am going to try to show unconditional love towards everyone that I meet. President Monson said it best. "We cannot truly love God if we do not love our fellow travelers on this mortal journey... Love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar. His life was a legacy of love." When I read 4 Nephi I thought of how much joy the Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought me. The Gospel is my life and I would be nothing without it. So how much more motivation would that give us to go out and share it. I know that we will be blessed if we just open our mouths in the small situations. I love you all. I love this gospel. I love my Savior. I know that living the gospel will bring true happiness and I know we will be blessed if we open our mouths. One of my favorite scriptures is Deuteronomy 3:22. "Ye shall not fear them: for the Lord your God he shall fight for you." Kämpa på!

I love you all and I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone