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

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