Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Email #69

October 19, 2015
Umeå, Sweden


Man... I just love you guys so much! Haha you're the absolute best! The bees knees! The cats pajamas! The... bears. Daaa bulls. Honestly, I'm so grateful for all of you. AND... woah... I can't believe I'll be able to see all of your beautiful faces in just a little bit. "Christmas time... is here." Haha well... according to Syster Beckstrand... Christmas is already here. Plus it's getting pretty chilly outside... so all the Swedes are starting to bust out the hot chocolate. ALSO... just thought I'd let you all know about transfers!! We find out what's going on this week. Elder Dahle is going back home to Orlando next transfer so I'm either leaving next week or I'll be here in Umeå until the end of January. So this is a big transfer.... I'm pumped though. It's gonna be sweet!

WELL... this week has been absolutely amazing! I have so much I want to say so I'll get right into it. YEE-HAW!!

A lot has been happening here in Umeå lately. The other day, we met a man named Andy who comes from Albania. He grew up Catholic but didn't really agree with what happened during the middle ages. Sketchy stuff. ANYWAY... Andy is such a stud! When I see him I just can't help but smile because he's just the coolest. The other day, after the first "other day," we sat down on a fotboll turf field and taught him the Restoration. We started talking about prophets and why they're important and he interrupted us. "Ya know... with all these prophets and stuff... I feel like if God were the same... then he would still call prophets today in our time." I was a little shocked at what he said and then I got this grin on my face and in my mind I said, "Oh... just you wait buddy." I was laughing inside and we kept teaching him. It was an amazing lesson and the Spirit was really strong. At the end, we talked about the Book of Mormon and told him that we even have it in Albanian. He just said, "No way... for real? Can I have one?" And then I got that same grin on my face. "Oh... just you wait buddy." Yesterday, we met up with him quick to give it to him and we're going to be meeting later tonight. He's doing super well and I can't wait to see what happens from here on out.

Something neat that we have been doing as a zone is something called "Frälsnings chatrum." It translates in English to "Salvation chat room." It's kind of a funny, goofy, but really sweet thing that we started up with the zone. We really wanted to get the zone pumped to go out and contact so we started brainstorming. The final result was "Frälsnings chatrum." SO... it goes like this. Every Tuesday and Friday night, at 9:45, the polls open up for the main section of F.C. All the companionships in the entire zone send in a quick "contacting story" from the previous couple of days and send it into a zone group text that we have. Last friday, Elder Dahle and I sent this into "Frälsnings chatrum." "Today we were out contacting and we ran into a persian guy from Afghanistan. He was Muslim (shocker) haha but we talked about the Book of Mormon and how it was the words of the prophets on the american continent. We talked a little more and he told us that he was actually wanting to read the Bible and learn more about Christianity. We gave him a Book of Mormon in Persian and he was super pumped to meet again later next week and talk more." Just simple little stories that can lift each other up and motivate each other to get out there and contact. Speaking of motivation... after the main section of F.C., we assign one companionship to host the "Coach Boone locker-room pep-talk of the night" and they share what motivates them to go out and contact. This is a super cool part of it because it leaves the zone with a spiritual testimony of contacting and pumps them all up to go baptize the WORLD!! Well... that's me for sure. It's been a super cool thing that we've started doing in the Norrland Zone.

Speaking of contacting... last Wednesday we had such a sweet experience! Elder Dahle and I were walking down the street and we contacted a man named Abdulai from Uganda. He had been living in France for the past few years but moved to Sweden to earn his PHD. He was Muslim and when we first started talking, he said, "Nothing that you two say will ever change my beliefs." Then that same grin came on my face. "Oh yeah... we'll see about that." Haha JOKES... I didn't say that. But it kind of took me back and I just though, "Well... alright then." Turns out that he had met missionaries before in France. I was curious what he remembered from them and he told us a little bit about what he took away from what they said. Abdulai wasn't super positive towards the church but we decided to talk anyway. Recently, I've been thinking a lot about Islam and what the differences between our belief, and what Muslims believe. Islam is a wonderful religion with many wonderful people who are trying to follow God, but this week, it finally hit me, that we are VERY similar. The only difference is that we believe in the Atonement. From then on out, I have been trying to teach about the Atonement to the Muslim people we meet every day. So I felt like it would be right thing to do, to teach Abdulai about the Atonement. We taught, testified, and talked for about 30 minutes on the street. We tried to help him understand what the Atonement was and by the end, he said he would read and pray to ask God if the Book of Mormon was true. Looking back, I cannot believe that what happened actually happened. It was amazing to see how the Lord softened Abdulai's heart so that he could go from "Nothing you to say will ever change my beliefs" to "I will read and pray about the Book of Mormon." It was a pretty amazing experiences.

Speaking of pretty amazing experiences... about a month ago, we got a text from an amazingly positive investigator who said that she couldn't meet anymore and that it wasn't for her. That isn't the amazing experience. Just hang on. Well... Elder Kapp and I decided to give her some time so we swung by a couple days later and she "peep holed" us. I was pretty disappointed and we went by a couple more times until Elder Kapp went down to Malmö. Last week, Elder Dahle and I decided to swing by her. On the way, I said a silent prayer in my heart, asking the Lord to soften her heart and help her open the door when we came. We knocked on the door and Flora's syster's husband opened it. His name was Leon. Well... as far as I know... it still is Leon. Ha... ha... alright lame joke. ANYWAY... Leon said that Flora wasn't home, but that she would be back later tonight. While we were talking with Leon, I was praying that Flora would just happen to come home while we were standing and talking by the door. I tried to stretch the conversation out as long as possible and then a miracle happened. Flora came. We talked to her and she was just her normal bubbly self. It was so good to see her. We talked for a few minutes and she said that she would be in a city called Sundsvall for the next three weeks and she was leaving that night. We told her that we could call her when she gets back. On Saturday, we were with the other elders and we had a few minutes free so we decided to contact. Elder Dahle went with Elder Nelson and I went with Elder Murri. I was with Elder Murri getting some pass-along-cards from the car when I looked up and saw that Elder Dahle and Nelson had contacted someone. I looked closer and it was Flora! I waved, ran over, and said hi. Long story short, she had come back to Umeå unexpectedly because her sister was sick and she needed some help. Flora came up to Umeå and we just happened to run into her. She would be staying until Thursday so we were able to set up a lesson right there and now we're going to meet with her!! Such a miracle!

Whew... sorry I've been taking up your entire lives with this email. Ha! The Lord really is hastening his work here in Sweden and it's exciting to see. I'm really trying my best to help assist in this marvelous work. The church is true! Christ lives! I know he does! And I'm so grateful I have the opportunity to have his name on my chest.

I love you all! Go out there and make it an amazing week! I'm cheering you all on!

Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

Splits in Skellefteå. Ran into a good friend named Sam! 

Our car was making a weird noise. Turns out there was a branch that got stuck in the tire. 

We had the lesson for the young men. These kids are going to make STELLAR missionaries!

Ran into Ylva and Erik yesterday while contacting. Ylva is a non-member but we've started teaching her and Erik about the Gospel.

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