Monday, June 22, 2015

Email #52

June 22, 2015
Skellefteå, Sweden

My dear family!

How are you all doing? It sounds like you are all doing so well and that you had a great week! I guess a great couple of weeks for Noah and Dad! Whew... I bet that Colorado river was an absolute BLAST!! Sounds like you both had a ton of fun on the river. I remember being on the Grand Trip a couple years ago and it really was GRAND!

This week has been grand as well! We have been doing a lot of finding lately and it has been going really well. The past little while I have been focusing on a scripture from the Book of Mormon. It's Alma 31:34-35. It says, "O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ. Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee." That is what we are doing out here. Sometimes I think about the negative parts of the work and I miss what it's really all about. Finding can be hard sometimes but the attitude is what makes the difference! These "souls are precious" to the Savior and we are bringing "these, our brethren, again unto" him. As I have tried to focus on that I have felt so much more joy and love towards these people. They really are "our brethren" and it has been such a wonderful experience to work here with them. It doesn't matter what their response is. Whether it's positive or not-so-positive, they're still the Lord's children and I have been trying so hard to remember that.

I have been able to dive into the scriptures this week. These past two months have been super neat with personal study. I don't think I have ever "likened" the scriptures to myself as much as I have done here in Skellefteå. The scriptures really do come alive when we really study, seek, search, and knock. It has been amazing to see what I have learned. I didn't really know how much of a difference it makes in scripture study if you actually STUDY. I was able to finish the New Testament this week and now I have been reading a lot of D&C. One night after nightly planning, I decided to read more of D&C. The next section was going to be section 4 and it is famous for its "missionary focus." I looked up all of the references and footnotes of section 4 and I was able to look at it in an entirely different perspective. Something that I thought was so neat was the first verse. "Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men." In section 6 the first verse says, "A great and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of men." The first verse in section 11 says, "A great and marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men." It says the same thing in section 12 and 14 as well. I was a little confused why the Lord would repeat it so many times so I got thinking. I decided to look up the word "marvelous" in the dictionary. It says, "Marvelous: causing great wonder; extraordinary; extremely good or pleasing." This is something to get excited about!! Like, you know those cheerleaders that are down on the court at a basketball game holding up those signs that say, "Get loud!" "Get pumped!" "Get excited!" That is what we’ve got to be like! This work really is something to be excited for. So get loud! Get pumped! Get excited! This work really is marvelous! This is the Lord's work. It's His. And it's something that I have gotten excited for. I'm pumped. I'm ready. In D&C section 6 the Lord tell us that he wants us to  "assist to bring forth my work." I can't even describe in words how much this mission has meant to me. It has been so amazing and the Lord has blessed me beyond that which I am worthy for. I have never been happier than right here in Sweden. The gospel truly is joy! The Prophet Joseph Smith said it best, "Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause?"

Jag älskar er så otroligt mycket! Var och en av er! Kämpa på!

Strength and Honor            
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone
This week we had a huge holiday in Sweden called "Midsommar." We were with the Luleå missionaries in a city called Haparanda for it.

My district these past 6 weeks here in Norrland

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Email #51

 June 15, 2015
Skellefteå, Sweden


This week has been so neat! Honestly, there has been so much happening here in Skellefteå and I can't even describe how much the Lord has blessed us here. I just wanted to start out with the highlight of the week.

On Wednesday I went on splits with Elder Israelsen who is actually an elder who is in my MTC group. We entered the MTC the same day, came to Sweden the same day, and there have been a lot of memories with Elder Israelsen so I was excited to finally go on splits with him. So on Wednesday, we took a bus down to a city called Sikeå to meet the Zone Leaders so we could go on splits. It's about an hour and 15 minute bus ride back to Skellefteå so it was quite the trip. While Elder Israelsen and I were waiting for the bus to come get us in Sikeå we contacted this woman who was waiting for the same bus back to Skellefteå. Her name was Ellinore. We talked to her for a little while and found out that she is actually from Iraq but has lived in Sweden for about six years. When people come from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, or other Middle-Eastern countries, they are most likely going to be Muslim. We kept talking and she said she was Muslim but actually converted to Christianity. She thought it was so neat that we were just two young kids from America talking to people about religion. Later, the bus came and we all hopped on it. We sat down across the walkway from Ellinore and we kept talking. Elder Israelsen and I started teaching her about the Restoration and what makes our religion different from others in the world. She was incredibly positive and loved the story about Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was trying my best to testify and allow her to feel the spirit and the truthfulness of our message. The spirit was definitely there throughout that entire discussion on the bus. After we talked about Joseph Smith, Ellinore said, "That is so interesting. I'm not sure if you do this or not but... do you think we could meet sometime and talk more about this?" I couldn't believe what just came out of her mouth. I looked at Elder Israelsen and in my mind I said, "This is completely insane! No way!" I looked back at Ellinore and said, "Uhhh... yeah. We actually do!" Ha! Then we pulled out the Book of Mormon and started talking about it. After we taught her about the Book of Mormon she said, "Can you take my phone number or email address so we can talk more?" I still could not believe what was happening. We ended up teaching her about the Restoration during the entire hour and a half bus ride. It was absolutely incredible.

There are so many people that we meet from the Middle-East and I have grown to love them so much. Arman comes from Iran and is one of my closest friends out here. In Västerhaninge, we would play soccer with refugees from all over the world but they were mostly from Iran, Afghanistan, and the Middle-East. They would teach me some Persian and Arabic every one and a while so I can talk to people a little bit in Arabic and Persian which is pretty neat. I love these people so much though! They are so amazing and so many of them are prepared to hear the amazing message we have.

We have been blessed so much by the Lord. The work in Skellefteå is going forward and I'm really excited to see where it's going from here.

I love you and and hope you have a stellar week! Keep up the good work!

Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone
The real Golden Gate Bridge

The Arctic Circle. We made it!

Taking elevator selfies. Haha

Year mark! Burning a shirt.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Email #50

June 8, 2015
Skelleftea, Sweden


This week has easily been one of the busiest, most insane weeks of my mission! We started out on Monday hopping on a plane and flying down to Stockholm for Zone Conference and we were down in Stockholm for P-day! I went back home!!! I really missed Stockholm! But it was such a neat experience! We actually went to the ABBA Museum again and WOW... was that a ton of fun! After that we went down to Västerhaninge to reminisce the old days of VH and ate dinner there. I have a special place in my heart for VH and the people there so it was really nice to be back.

Elder Hansen and I had a pretty neat experience later that night. We were on our way towards the apartment of the elders in Stockholm because we were going to stay the night with them and then suddenly our phone died. I was looking down at the iphone on Google Maps. We were going towards the apartment and WHAM... the phone died. When I said I know Stockholm like the back of my hand... I guess I was wrong. Ha! The Stockholm elders sent us the "port code" number which is like the code to get into the building and I remembered what it was so next thing I know we are going around and punching in numbers. We ended up getting into the building but we didn't know what door it was and we couldn't start knocking doors to find the right apartment because it was around 21:30 (9:30 PM). Elder Hansen and I went back outside and sat down on a bench and decided to wait. A couple of minutes went by and I said, "Elder Hansen, would you care if we said a quick prayer to help us get in safely." We said a prayer together on the street, closed the prayer, and I literally looked up to an elder waving his hands back and forth in a window right directly in front of us. I couldn't believe it. Moral of the story... PRAYER WORKS!!

The next morning we went over to Zone Conference in a city called Gubbängen. It was absolutely amazing and I learned a lot! I was asked to accompany a sister in the mission in a musical number so we performed it and it went really well. I actually played a song that I received as a gift from Ross and Michelle Boothe so THANK YOU BOOTHE FAM! That's my S/O for the week. I have been so grateful that I have had so many opportunities to play here on my mission.

We got back on Friday from Stockholm and then I went straight up to Boden (the most northern area in the mission) on splits with Elder Halterman. While I was in Boden with Elder Halterman, we did some service. We helped chop up some wood and herd some cows. Ha! It was quite the experience! Who ever thought I would have to travel all the way to Sweden to herd cows. Ha!  Later, we had Stake Conference that was broadcast from Scotland to the Europe area and they didn't show it in Skellefteå for some reason so we stayed in Boden for two days. I literally have not been in my area or slept in my own bed for an entire week which is absolutely insane but I'm glad I'm back and we can get back to work here in this area! Skellefteå is the coolest and I'm so glad I'm serving here right now!

I wanted to jump back to last week with an experience that we had right before we left for Stockholm. Last Sunday night, Elder Hansen and I decided to swing by to see some people we needed to get in contact with. We went by everyone that we needed to and not one of them was home. I looked at Elder Hansen and said, "Alright... well... let's knock a few doors." We walked up the stairs to an apartment building that we hadn't knocked before and knocked on the first door. It opened up and a little 6 year old african kid ran away back into the apartment. We said, "Hejsan! Är dina föräldrar hemma?" (Hey! Are your parents home) He said, "Mamma!!" and a woman popped her head out of the kitchen. She said, "Come in! Come in!" In my mind I was thinking, "What? You don't even know who we are!" Ha! We went in and met their entire family. They are from the Congo but can only speak French and Swedish. They have 4 boys and the oldest two are 10 and 8. We taught them about the Restoration and they absolutely loved it! It was such a neat experience!! We weren't able to go by again because we were in Stockholm but we're planning on going by tonight.

We are being blessed so much by the Lord. The work here in Skellefteå is getting back up to pace and we're really trying to baptize here.

Hope you all have a "quack-tastic" week! Love you all!

Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

The WIren Family that I was able to visit when I went back to Västerhaninge
At the ABBA Museum with Elder Archibald who is a good friend of mine. We went to the MTC at the same day and is one of my closest out here in Sweden.
Elder Treat and I feelin' a little tired
Malcom Wiren who is a member in Västerhaninge that I starting teaching piano to a little bit. He's now taking piano lessons from a teacher and is KILLING IT!

Herdin' cows in Boden

Choppin' wood in Boden

Elder Richards and I at the ABBA Museum
Another member from Västerhaninge that I ran into named Leo. He's from Finland and is one of my favorites!

Ran into a member in the Västerhaninge ward on the train. Pouyeh is from Iran and has been a member for about 2 years

Monday, June 1, 2015

Email #49

Family! Hey hey howdy hey!!

This week was a good one! Skellefteå is honestly the coolest place ever. It's kind of a weird city though. I told Mom this already BUT... Skellefteå reminds me a lot of Salt Lake City and of the small town-big town feel. It gets really green here as well and sometimes I feel like I'm biking around Redondo Beach, CA. Speaking of Redondo Beach... this week S/O is going out to the Paul and Mer Feathy crew, Trav and Chels, and Bishop Parker and my wonderful Aunt Dianne. I love you all! Keep up the good work down there guys!

OK... where were we... oh yeah! Skellefteå! The funny thing about Norrland (The North land) is that the sun never goes down during the summer. The sun is technically "down" for 4 hours but honestly it looks like it's 5PM at 2AM. Kinda crazy! I'm not really used to this type of stuff down in Stockholm but Skellefteå is the place to be right now!

A couple months ago, I was walking down the streets of Västerhaninge with my companion Elder Burton. It was about 10AM, all the grass had been cut a few hours earlier, and there was that nice "freshly cut grass" smell, if you know what I mean. WELL... I turned to Elder Burton and said, "Man, I never thought I'd say this... but I actually do miss mowing the lawn. Like, I miss that feeling you after you mow the law, look around, and say, "Yup, I did that."" I just laughed it off and didn't really think much of it. I show up to Skellefteå and guess what? We get to mow the lawn at the church EVERY WEEK! I guess I spoke too soon. Ha! Nah... we mowed the lawn on Saturday and it actually went really well! That S/O goes to Dad for showing me ropes on mowing the lawn!

Yesterday, we had fast and testimony meeting at church. There were a total of 7 people in church. I was thinking about testimony meeting earlier in the day and thought, "Is everyone going to bear their testimony?" Every single person got up to the pulpit and bore testimony of the Savior and the Holy Ghost was so strong. It was incredible. There is such a closeness and a love in the branch here in Skellefteå. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve here. It has been such an amazing experience and excited to see what happens during my time with these people.

Earlier in the week, we had set up a teaching appointment with a recent convert named Miguel. He's originally from Mexico but he moved here to Sweden and joined the church about a year ago. Miguel can speak fluent English and Spanish but will only speak Swedish with the missionaries because he's trying to learn it as fast as possible. Anyway, we sat down, started talking, and we asked Miguel to share his conversion story with us. I loved what he said! "Jag känner som jag kan tjäna Kristus här." (I feel like I can serve Christ here.) I thought it was the neatest thing! That's really what the Gospel is all about- serving Christ. Recently, I have been thinking a lot about this. I am out in Sweden to "serve Christ." Every day Elder Hansen and I go out, I try to remember that I am showing my love for Christ by going out and giving it my all and I know that he will bless me in return. I really do know that if we serve Christ by serving the people that we meet every day that we will be blessed more than we know.

I love you all so much. You're the best! You're the the bee's-knees, the cat's pajamas, the Great-Bambino! BABE RUTH! "You mean it's the same guy???" Alright you're all not actually Babe Ruth... that's kinda just where I felt that sentence going. But you're just as cool! Ha! The Sandlot is a good movie. ANYWAY... hope you all have a great week! Go crush it everyone!! Love you all!

Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

The Church in Skellefteå
Woke up at 2AM and took a picture of the "Norrland Sun."

Elder Hansen and I on the way to a lesson.