Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Email #44

April 27, 2015        
Vasterhaninge, Sweden


This week was so great! We have seen the work here in Västerhaninge progress and the work is absolutely BOOMING! It's so cool to see and it's exciting to see where it's going from here. I have been in Västerhaninge for about six months so I will most likely be transferred soon. It's really sad and I'm going to miss these people here so much but I am excited to see what's going to happen next in the two year adventure of Elder Featherstone in Sweden. It's gonna be sweet! So PONY UP!

Last P-day we went up to Stockholm to check out the "cherry blossoms." There is a specific type of flower that is famous here in Sweden! They bloom about this time of year and then they are gone within a couple days, so everyone goes to Kungsträdsgården to check out the cherry blossoms. I'll send a pic or two of them because they were actually really cool!

On Tuesday I was able to go on splits with Lars Holst who is the ward mission leader in Västerhaninge. We decided that we were going to travel down to Nynäshamn and then swing by less-actives all night long. Between Lars and I, and Elder Burton and Henrik Sahlin, we were able to beat our goal for less-actives in a week in just three hours. It was incredible! Lars and I decided that we wanted to swing by a less-active man named Rodney that I had never met before. We were on our way to their house when I just had a thought to call an investigator to check in and see when we could meet again. I picked up the phone, called Arman, talked to him for a few, and then hung up. There was nothing special about the phone call. While I was on the phone, a woman with her two teenagers were walking by us. Lars decided to ask them if they knew who "Rodney" was and the woman said, "Yeah... that's my husband!" They were so gracious, walked us to their house, and let us in. We ended up meeting Rodney and the entire family. Rodney was baptized when he was eight but then his family went less-active so he didn't know much about the church. His wife, son, and daughter are all non-members. We talked for a little bit and it was absolutely incredible! They were so amazing and they said that we could definitely come back again and share our message with them. I left the house with Lars and I was so pumped! There was no way that any of that should have happened! There was no way that we met them at that specific time and place. It was amazing and I couldn't believe it all happened. I turned to Lars and said, "How neat was that?" "HOW NEAT WAS THAT?" I was filled with a feeling of so much joy I just wanted to yell, "YEAH!!!" I actually turned to Lars and said, "We're gonna yell together at the count of three... 1...2...3... "YEEEHAWWWW!!" I was so excited and I still couldn't believe it all happened like it did. I said a little prayer to Heavenly Father, thanking him for orchestrating that meeting. It was all Him and I know that.

Yesterday, I spoke in Sacrament Meeting. I shared a quote from President Kimball that goes like this: "“Now is the moment in the timetable of the Lord to carry the gospel farther than it has ever been carried before. … Many a person in this world is crying, knowingly and unknowingly, ‘Come over … and help us.’ He might be your neighbor. She might be your friend. He might be a relative. She might be someone you met only yesterday. But we have what they need. Let us take new courage from our studies and pray, as did Peter, 'And now, Lord, ... grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word'"

I know that we are all in this work together. I hope we can all do our part and have the courage to take the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world. He will not let us down.

I love you all. Hope you have such a great week!

Strength and Honor          
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

Splits with Lars

The cherry blossoms in Stockholm

Found this random lion that I took a picture with
Elder Burton and I last P-day in Stockholm

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Email #43

April 20, 2015
Vasterhaninge, Sweden


This week has been so great! We have seen so much success here in Västerhaninge and it's pretty sad that my time here is most likely coming to a close. Västerhaninge has got to be the greatest place in Sweden. It definitely is for me! I love this place so much! Maybe I should rephrase that.  Actually. I love these people so much! I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most amazing people and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve here. It has been so wonderful!

I had a few amazing experience this week! On Thursday I went to Jordbro (a nearby city) to go on splits with one of the Zone Leaders, Elder Barnes. He is actually from Indianapolis so we talked about the Indianapolis Colts for a little bit. Ha! That still is a shame that Peyton had to leave us... BUT... back to splits. In the morning we went to teach a man named Jimmy. He is from El Salvador so he can't speak Swedish very well. We showed up and Jimmy had a basketball underneath his arm. I just chuckled and said to myself, "Yes... I'm going to get along just fine with this guy." Ha! We had the lesson in a park on a table and there was a basketball hoop right behind us. I was eyeing that thing for quite a while. We weren't able to communicate very well with him so we kept the lesson short and then played a game of horse with him. He loved it and it was a lot of fun. That was the first time that I was able to play basketball in Sweden (outside of playing with other missionaries on p-day)

Later during the day, Elder Barnes and I were right next to the train station talking to people. I looked over and saw a group of about fifteen teenagers hanging out by the walkway to the station and one of them was bouncing a basketball. I just thought, "There is no way that he has a basketball! These are Swedes! Alright... I'm going to go talk to them." I walked over and said in Swedish, "Hey! Is that a basketball? Do you guys like to play?" They nodded. I could tell that they were a little skeptical and were thinking, "Who is this kid?" Then I said "I was just curious. Not a lot of people play basketball here. I'm from the United States and I love to play." Then suddenly, a kid stood up, threw his hands in the air, and said, "WAIT... YOU CAN SPEAK ENGLISH!!" I laughed and replied, "Yeah... I can speak English." "Finally," he said, "someone that can speak English!" Emmen was a kid from Bosnia but grew up in Sweden and apparently likes to speak English. He passed me the ball and said, "Let's see what you got." We dribbled a bit and he tried to steal the ball from me. After I tossed the ball back to him and he said, "You're pretty good man!" We talked for a little while and then a kid that grew up in London came up to me and we talked as well.. The Englishman and I talked about faith, God, and what he believes. We had a great talk and I was able to testify to him that God actually does exist and that we can communicate with him through prayer. It was really cool! He  went on and talked to me about Sweden and how there is never anything to do. "You get lucky if you even go to a friends house to play video games." I laughed and told him that I used to do that all the time. I would invite people over, we would get a bunch of food, and we would have Mario Kart Tournaments. He stopped, turned around to the Bosnian kid who had left earlier, and said, "Yo! This kid likes to play Mario Kart." Emmen ran back over and they were freaking out. It was really funny! We talked to them for about 20 minutes and then we had to go to another lesson. I pulled out a card of my pocket that would take them to the church's new Easter video called "Because He Lives" and told them that if they went to the website then they could watch a really cool video about Easter and about Christ. They said, "Alright. Cool! We'll check it out for sure!" Probably one of the scariest contacts I've ever done but it ended up being really amazing!

Later in the day, Elder Barnes and I were walking when I randomly looked over to a cut-out of an apartment building. It is just a place that you can walk through underneath the apartment building. I looked at it and said, "Hey, Elder, let's go in there." We literally took two steps and a lady popped out of nowhere. There was a door to the apartment building right under the place where we were and she walked out right as we were right there. Her name was Didi and she was from Nigeria. She has been living in Sweden for six weeks. We stopped her, talked to her, and were able to exchange phone numbers. She said she was in a little bit of a hurry but that we could come by and share our message with her later in the week. We went our own ways and I looked at Elder Barnes. "Did that just happen." If we would have kept walking straight then we would have missed Didi. After, I realized that my thought to go into the tunnel wasn't actually a thought, but a prompting. The voice of the Spirit really is still and small and if we aren't paying attention then we could miss it. I learned a huge lesson that day and am trying my best every day to listen a little more.

I hope you all have a wonderful week. I love you all! 

Strength and Honor 
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone
My new friend
The Vasterhaninge Temple

Monday, April 13, 2015

Email #42

April 13, 2015
Vasterhaninge, Sweden


This week has been absolutely incredible! So many things have happened! I don't have a lot of time today because we were running all over Stockholm and were very busy! Just wanted to share a quick story about our investigator Arman. Arman is our investigator from Iran but has lived in Sweden for over 35 years.

This week we were in a lesson with Arman and we were talking about the importance of "Obedience, the Word of Wisdom, and Obeying the Laws of the Land." Unfortunately, Arman can't speak Swedish very well so we work through a member who has been set apart in Sweden for the missionary work among the Persian speakers and members. While we were teaching, Arman was speaking for an unusually long amount of time and Elder Burton and I weren't sure what was going on. The Persian translator who is a member in Stockholm relayed the message from Arman to us and it was absolutely incredible. One day, Arman went back to his house and told his brother (who lives with him) about the church and the Book of Mormon. Arman has a pretty strong Islamic background and his brother wasn't very pleased with it. To avoid contention, Arman decided it would be better to move away to a different city so that he was able to progress in the gospel and read the Book of Mormon. What a sacrifice! Arman sacrificed his own house so that he could make the decision to follow the Savior. It was a real testimony builder for me to see what others would sacrifice for the Savior. Arman already has such a testimony of the Living Christ and is willing to sacrifice what he needs to, in order to reach that goal of baptism. In a conference talk a while back, Elder Dallin H. Oaks talked about a similar story and his sacrifice.

"Many years ago this conference heard of a young man who found the restored gospel while he was studying in the United States. As this man was about to return to his native land, President Gordon B. Hinckley asked him what would happen to him when he returned home as a Christian. “My family will be disappointed,” the young man answered. “They may cast me out and regard me as dead. As for my future and my career, all opportunity may be foreclosed against me.”

“Are you willing to pay so great a price for the gospel?” President Hinckley asked.

Tearfully the young man answered, “It’s true, isn’t it?” When that was affirmed, he replied, “Then what else matters?” That is the spirit of sacrifice among many of our new members."

I know that the Lord appreciates even the little sacrifices we make for the sake of the Gospel. I know that we will be blessed when we show the Lord which way we face by sacrificing the things we need to for him and for the sake of the Gospel.

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

Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone
Sweden Stockholm Mission   eldercalebhendrikfeatherstone.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Email #41

April 6, 2015
Vasterhaninge, Sweden


This week has been so dang cool! We have had so much success here in Västerhaninge! General Conference was absolutely incredible! It was Easter weekend! I'm a pretty happy camper right now. It has been such a solid week! I don't have a ton of time so I'm going to go back to the famous "5 point method." Ready... GO!

1. General Conference was so great! I always learn so much and I am so grateful for the brethren. I have so much trust in the brethren and the prophet. "Follow the prophet. Follow the prophet. Follow the prophet, he knows the way!" It's so true and I'm so grateful for the leadership that we have in the church. They always help me open my eyes and give me a new motivation and resolution to be better. I can't wait to read back over their talks.

2. So there has been a little change this past weekend. Sadly, there was an elder that had to go home to the U.S. for some medical reasons. Now we have another elder hopping on the Västerhaninge bus for the next little while. It's going to be interesting with three elders teaching, contacting, doing everything together, but I'm really excited to work with Elder Bliss as well! It's going to be a great experience!

3. Arman, our investigator, is back from Germany so we are going to continue teaching him. We are planning for him to be baptized on the 25th so we're going to continue to work towards that date. He is such a stud and we're excited for it all!

4. A little while back we contacted a Chilean man on the street and ended up finding out that he was a priest/preacher for the Svenska Kyrkan in a ward with about 200 people. (The Swedish Church) We were actually able to get his phone number, set up a lesson, and teach him all within a few days. It was absolutely incredible! We weren't really sure how we were going to go through the whole "lesson" thing with a Swedish Church preacher but we just had a prayer and went for it. Ended up teaching him about the Book of Mormon and committed him to read it. We committed a Swedish Church preacher to read the Book of Mormon. It was so dang cool! The Spirit was so strong during the lesson and after it all happened I turned to Äldste Burton and said, "Woah... did that really just happen." We have another lesson with him so we'll see how it goes! Really exciting!

5. So that is about it for the week. I am so grateful for the opportunity that we have had to celebrate the Resurrection of the Savior. He truly does live and I know that we can find him through the scriptures, prayer, and church.

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

Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Email #40

March 30, 2015
Vasterhaninge, Sweden


This week was just top-notch! It's not a big surprise because Elder Featherstone is gonna stay in Västerhaninge another six weeks! There wasn't much buzz around the transfer happening on April 1st this time around. In a recent interview with the elder in the Southern Stockholm Stake his only comments were, "Västerhaninge, bring it on!"

Well... you hear it here first folks! I'm staying here in Västerhaninge! I didn't know I could come to love an area and a ward more. These people are so dear to me and it's going to be sad when I have to leave them. I will have spent a fourth of my mission right here with these people of the Västerhaninge Ward and it has been my favorite four months of my mission! I feel like the members here are family. They really are my family now and I love them all so much! Shout out to the members in VH!

Things with Arman are still going really well! He is continuing to read the Book of Mormon and he's loving it! The church actually isn't finished with the Persian translation of the Book of Mormon so it's a little tough to teach from it because we're not really sure what parts are and are not in the book. It's all good though! We are still really excited for the 25th of April because Arman is going to be baptized. I'm so grateful that I will be able to be here to witness it. It will be absolutely incredible! I'm looking forward to it! Arman is so great and has truly been prepared by the Lord to receive the Gospel.

I'm not sure how many of you know, but the church has come out with a new video for Easter. This video has been such a blessing to the missionary force because we are actually able to show it to people right on the street with the iphone. Sometimes we will go up to someone and say, "Excuse us, but we're the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we're showing people a quick video about Easter. Can we show that to you?" There have been so many that are willing to watch a video about Christ and we are able to testify to all of them that Christ actually does live. It has been so wonderful. If you haven't seen it then go watch it! Post it on social media! It has been so neat to share the true message of Easter with the people of Västerhaninge and help them feel of God's love for each of them. The video is called "Because He Lives."

This week I have been reading a lot out of the New Testament. I took almost an entire hour of personal study on Saturday and just read out of Luke and John. It has been so amazing to read about the Master and what he did and said when he was on the earth. I feel like I have come so much closer to him just during this past week. "Why seek ye the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen." As I have read about the Savior this past week it has become more real to me personally.  He actually does live today. I know that. He is there for us. All we need to do is reach out. He lives! There is so much power is those simple words. I know He lives and I am truly grateful for everything He has done and continues to do for me. I am grateful for the power of the Atonement in my life. I'm grateful for Him. He lives. He lives! I just want to shout it because this is the message that we have for the world! I am so grateful for the knowledge that we have in His church and the blessings that we receive because He lives. Everything is possible because He lives.

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

Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone
Sweden Stockholm Mission
            Hahaha our Ward Council is the best!  

Elder Lundquist and I

Elders James, Featherstone, Lundquist, Burton, Peterson, and Sisters Lund, and Poulson. The missionaries in our district