Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Email #39

March 23, 2015
Vasterhaninge, Sweden

Dear Family,

This week was completely jam packed and there was a ton of stuff that happened! I learned a lot but had a lot of fun as well!

We have been working with a man from Iran named Arman lately. He has a baptismal date for the 25th of April that we are working towards. Arman was actually traveled to Germany for the week so we weren't able
to meet with him. We've kept some good contact so we're praying that he will continue to progress. He has lived in Sweden for over 30 years but actually can't speak Swedish very well so we have to have a
translator in Persian. It works out really well because we can get a member there for the lessons so I think it is actually a blessing.

On Thursday I went on a short splits with Elder Lundquist who is a Zone Leader in the Southern Stockholm Zone. While we were on splits we talked a little bit about trials and adversity while on the mission. We were talking about the reasons that things happen and the plan that our Father in Heaven has for us while we're out serving missions. Elder Lundquist compared what happens on missions to the temple that is being built in Provo. The Provo Tabernacle was a wonderful building. A building where the Spirit could be felt and a place that people were benefited from. The Provo Tabernacle ended up burning down and just walls remained. A while later, President Monson announced that the Tabernacle would be built into a second temple in Provo. Now the Provo City Center temple will be the House of the Lord and people on both sides of the veil will be blessed. Elder Lundquist compared it to the time that we have to serve on the mission. Sometimes we are given trials and adversity from the Lord so that he can build us up into something better. The Lord once said to the Prophet Joseph Smith, "And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." I know that the Lord gives us trials to help us become something better, something that he needs us to be.

I love you all and I hope you all have a great week!

OH... also... cool thing that happened this week. SO... Elder Burton and I were walking home the other night, we came around the corner of the apartment building, and BAM... there they were. The Northern
Lights were just hanging out in the sky. They decided to take a quick stop in Västerhaninge, Sweden. Super cool! I didn't think I'd ever see them all the way down here in Stockholm but it was such a cool

Alright well I love you all again and hope you all have a stellar week! Keep up the good work! You all have a fan in Sweden just cheering you all on!

Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

Sweden Stockholm Mission

Monday, March 16, 2015

Email #38

March 16, 2015
Västerhaninge, Sweden


Wow this week was such a great one!  Hope it was the same for all of you!  We were just runnin' and gunnin' the whole time.  Alright so once again I don't have a lot of time this week but I wanted to share an experience with you that I had this week.

On Friday night we got a call from the Zone Leaders asking us if we were able to help out with a Youth Activity in the Stockholm Stake.  We were happy to help out and it was actually a really neat experience.  The activity for the youth was actually a mini MTC and they wanted the missionaries to come and talk with the kids a little bit.  What we did was we taught the youth about the Plan of Salvation (something that they are already pretty familiar with) and then had them teach each other about it as if they were investigators and missionaries.

I remembered a story of a non-member asking a member of the church about the Plan of Salvation and wondering if he could explain it to him.  The member was completely fine with explaining a little bit about the church and thought that it would be a good missionary opportunity.  He went on to explain where we came from, why we are here on the earth, and where we are going after we die.  He explained the "BIG 3."  This "BIG 3" aren't the stats of the former Miami Heat power team but it's the three questions of the soul.  After the member explained it all the non-member jumped up and said, "Ah hah! I knew it!  I hear all of you Mormons explaining that your Plan of Salvation is all about Christ but when you were explaining it to me, you didn't say his name once. “

That story hit me pretty hard when I first heard it and I have always tried to focus on Christ when we teach the Plan of Salvation to a less-active, investigator, or even a member family.  The Plan of Salvation wouldn't be a plan at all if Christ wasn't centered in it.  That's something we tried to talk to the youth about and we tried to help them focus on Christ as they were teaching each other.  It was a pretty eye opening experience for me and I am so grateful for the Savior, His love, His willingness, and His role in the Plan of Salvation.  It truly is the Plan of Happiness and I know that if we build upon Him as the rock then we will not fall.  2 Nephi 31:19 says, "And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done?  Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save."  I am so grateful for the opportunity that we have to repent every day and come closer to Him every day.

I love you all so much and I hope you have a great week!

Strength and Honor

Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone
Elder Stinnett and I in front of the Royal Palace in Stockholm

Members of my MTC group that I saw at the mission conference a couple weeks ago

Alex and I on our way to church. Alex is a member of the Handen Ward but loves the missionaries. When he see's the name tag, he'll just run up to you and give you a huge hug! Love that kid so much!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Email #37

March 9, 2015
Vasterhaninge, Sweden


This week has been so great! I absolutely love being here in Sweden. We have been having so much success right now in Västerhaninge and the Lord has blessed us so much. This is such an amazing time of year with mission calls coming in! I love it so much! So neat to hear where everyone will be serving for the next 18 months to 2 years. I was actually thinking about this yesterday on our way back from church. I was walking home with Elder Burton on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and I was just thinking about my opportunity that the Lord has given me to serve the people in Sweden. While I was thinking about it, my heart became full of thanks and gratitude. I could not have chosen another place in the world that I would rather be than right here in the city of Västerhaninge. I have grown to love these people so much. The members here are incredible and I have met people that have shaped my mission. Sweden is my home now and I can't even imagine leaving this place. I love being here and there honestly is nothing that I would rather be doing than serving the Lord right here in this area. While I was thinking about being here I just had a testimony building experience and a reminder that the Lord needs me in this specific area and this specific mission for a reason. The Sweden Stockholm Mission is the place to be and I love it so much!

Yesterday we were able to go to the Vendelsö Ward because Arman wasn't able to make it to the Västerhaninge Ward earlier that day. I started laughing because it was the loudest sacrament meeting that I have ever been apart of. There were kids crying, crawling underneath benches, running up to the stand, and... the works. I felt like I was taking an investigator to a Nursery class instead of a Sacrament Meeting. Overall, it was really great. Arman had a great experience at church. His story still just amazes me. He has such an easy time feeling and recognizing the Spirit. It's absolutely incredible. This work is incredible!

Alright I gotta cut this one a little short because of time but I love you all so much and hope you have a killer week!

Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

Monday, March 2, 2015

Email #36

March 3, 2015
Västerhaninge, Sweden

Family! Wow this week was absolutely incredible! It has been a ride! We were able to teach so much this week which was so wonderful! I want to tell you about The Miracle of the Pass Along Card.

This past week had it's ups and downs but it ended with a bang. And when I mean bang I'm talkin' like an EXPLOSION! That's how cool it was! Ha! But yesterday we were at church. Elder Burton and I had a lot of investigators that just weren't progressing so we decided that we needed to focus on getting a new teaching pool set up. We had been doing our best to just find people. Earlier in the week I learned a very important lesson from Elder Burton. My whole mission I had just kind of thought of contacting people as just talking to them. We would be walking down the street together and I would say, "Alright Elder, you're going to talk to the next person we see." I had just thought of it as "talking" with people. Every time we would be on the street, Elder Burton would turn to me and say, "You want to go share the gospel with that person." It just made me step back and think about what we're really out here to do. We're out here to "share the gospel" instead of just "talk" with people. Every time he would say that, it would just wake me up a little bit and I would just think about how important and how wonderful this message is that we have to share with the people of Sweden and with everyone on the earth. The Prophet Joseph Smith said it best. "Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free."

Later in the week we had church. The Sunday meetings were great but we weren't able to get any investigators there. I was kinda bummed out. We picked up our coats and were just about to head out the door when we met a man who was right outside the door. I didn't recognize him and he seemed a little confused. We talked a little bit and we found out that he was a non member but he wanted to know a little about the church. He talked to missionaries and they just gave him a pass along card on the street quick. About a week later he came to the church. He lives in a place called Tunglesta and he went to the church in Tungelsta looking for the church that was on the card. They told him that the church he was looking for was in Västerhaninge. Arman ended up going to Västerhaninge (a nearby city) looking for the church. He went to the Swedish Church chapel and they told him that the church he was looking for was over on the southeast side of town. Later we had a lesson with him and a member that speaks Persian from Iran so he was able to listen to the message in his native tongue. When we were with him he said that he was about to throw the card in his coat pocket away but "a feeling in his heart told him that he shouldn't and he needed to go find this church." Tonight we were able to have a lesson with another Persian speaker from Iran and Arman accepted the baptismal invitation. Armar is going to be baptized on the 28th of March.

The Lord is always preparing people to receive the Gospel. Elder Burton and I didn't have anything to do with the initial meeting with Arman but I know that the Lord was preparing him to receive the Gospel. Missionary work is the best! I love this country, I love this church, I love my Savior.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Love you all so much!

Strength and Honor

Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone