Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Email #74

November 23, 2015
Södertälje, Sweden


Whew... this week was a cold one. Like... I told Elder Burgin this earlier in the week but "it's officially winter here in Sweden." Still haven't gotten any snow yet but boy oh boy oh boy is it cold. I'm lovin' it though. Södertälje is the place to be right now!!

I had a super cool experience the other day! Elder Burgin and I were on the streets of Södertälje contacting the world, spreading that good word, and I was LOVING IT! I saw a lady walking with a stroller so I decided to contact her (Elder Burgin and I decided to divide and conquer both sides of the street). I started speaking to her in Swedish and she said, "I'm sorry, I don't speak Swedish." and then she started to walk away. I said, "WOAH! Hold up... I actually come from America so English is better for me anyway." She said, "Oh cool!" We talked for a few minutes and it turns out that she comes from Brazil. So... when I hear the word Brazil... I used my big brother as a way to make a connection. "No way! You're from Sao Paulo? That's so cool! My older brother lived in Joao Pessoa for a couple of years! He loved it there. She lit up and said, "What?? No way!" Her husband was working in Södertälje for a week so she came along and I happened to meet her. We talked for a little bit and then I said I was from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She said she had been to church one time in Brazil but had never met missionaries before. I pulled out the iphone and did a quick download of the "Because He Lives" video in Portuguese. I said, "Hey... I actually have a super quick video that talks about Christ. I actually have it in Portuguese! Maybe it'll be a little taste of home. Is it okay if I show it to you?" We watched the video and the spirit was so strong. I talked a little about what we do as missionaries and asked if I could get her phone number and address so that missionaries could come by and share a message with her. Like... it blows my mind how the Lord can soften someone's heart enough to give their phone number, address, etc to a random stranger.   She said yes, I got her information, and sent it right on down to Brazil! Marcia was so amazing and she seemed so prepared for the gospel. After we talked, she said, "I'm looking forward to seeing your friends in a couple weeks!" I said, "They're looking forward to it too! Listen to them. They have an amazing message for you and your family!" We went our separate ways and I just said a quick prayer to thank my Father in Heaven for that amazing opportunity to meet Marcia. I may never know what happens with her, but hopefully I planted a seed that will possibly take root and grow. It was a pretty amazing experience.

This week, we also had Zone Training here in Södertälje. President and Syster Beckstrand and the Assistants, Elder Sahlin and Archibald, came down to Södertälje and did a training for us and our zone. It was pretty amazing. We talked about the importance of Diligence, The Prophet Joseph Smith and his role in the Restoration, and the new Christmas initiative. IMPORTANT: If you haven't read the December Ensign yet on the Gospel Library app, and read from Elder Oaks' article called "A SAVIOR IS BORN." DO IT! That isn't a request. Go on-line to LDS.org, search, "A Savior is Born," and watch the new Christmas video the church has made. We need to FLOOD the EARTH with this video!!  It's a super cool video! Christmas is the best!!

OH... cool fun fact of the week... this week for p-day, we are gathering all of the missionaries in the greater Stockholm area and we're having a Turkey Bowl together! It's gonna be a ton of fun!! If you thought that Elder Featherstone was going to go through this week without throwin' the pigskin a little bit... you were WRONG! GO! FIGHT! WIN! *Insert BYU's Football Darth Vader March here... with music* ** if you don't get that reference... call Mr. Noah Featherstone**

A couple days ago, we went on splits down in a place called Linköping with some elders. I ended up going with a greenie named Elder Williams. He's such a stud and we had such a good time together! Elder Williams told me that we would be doing a presentation for a high school religion class in the morning. That is something that is decently popular here in Sweden. The high school teachers all over the country love the Mormon missionaries so they always invite them to come and talk with their students about America and about the church. It's something that I had never done before but I wanted to do before I left. Well... Elder Williams said, "Hey! We're talking to a high school class tomorrow about our church." I laughed and said, "No way! YES! This is gonna be the coolest!" I looked over the points that the teacher wanted us to cover and said, "Well, might as well just teach the Restoration to 'em." During companionship study the morning, we wrote out our game-plan and what we were going to do. This was a religion class, about 30 students, all 18 years old, so I was getting prepped for a pretty rowdy crew. Elder Williams and I got in there and OH MY GOSH... it was a complete riot! We had the funnest time with the students. It was a total blast! We were laughing, crackin' jokes the ENTIRE time! It was the coolest! We started by introducing ourselves, who we are, what we like to do, etc. Then, we asked them what they already knew about the "Mormons." We wrote all the things they said on the board and boy, were they hilarious! I was dying! If that was an actual religion.... I'm not really sure what I would say about that religion. Anyway... we wrote everything down and then we talked about God, prophets, and Christ. It was the coolest thing though.. But we talked about everything, just jokin' with each other and having a good time. Then it all changed. We talked more and more and then we talked about the Prophet Joseph Smith, and right when I decided to recite the First Vision to them, there was almost a hush over the students. It was quiet, everyone was listening so intently, and the spirit started to pour into the classroom. The entire time we talked about Joseph Smith, they were almost silent. No one was talking, just listening. As we continued to speak, the spirit continued to pour into the room. We testified of the Prophet Joseph Smith and of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. We were almost out of time but I pulled a Book of Mormon out of my backpack, held it above my head in my hand, and bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon with everything I had. The spirit filled the entire room and as I looked into their eyes, I knew that the spirit was testifying to them right then, that everything we said was true. We closed with our testimonies and it was the neatest thing ever. From the time we started talking about the First Vision until the end of our testimonies, the kids were absolutely silent, listening intently on the message we have of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was an amazing experience, one I will never forget. And I am so grateful that I had to opportunity to bear my simple testimony to them that day. We gave them all fist bumps on our way our and as we were walking away the teacher told us, "Wow... that was certainly amazing." She thanked us that we could come. She was super sincere so it meant a lot. I don't know what will happen from that little experience or who will act on that message that day, but I have no doubt in my mind that one day, some of those kids will join the church, and will partake of the blessings of the Restored Gospel.

Since then, I have been thinking a lot about testimonies and the impact they are able to make on one's heart. The other day, we were in Sunday School, and a member in the ward said something that really hit me hard. We were talking about testimonies and she said this... "If you don't share it, you don't believe it, or you are unsure." I think this small truth can be applied to the Gospel in general. "If you don't share it, you don't believe it, or you are unsure." I hope we can show the Lord that we do believe in his gospel, that we are thankful for the blessing it is in our lives, and that we are eternally indebted to the Lord and the power of his Atonement. If we truly do believe, then we will share. The Christmas season is coming soon, Thanksgiving is this week, let's show the Lord that we are thankful, we are grateful, we are appreciative of the gospel in our lives, and let us share it.

I love you all! I'm so grateful for everything you do. Keep doing what you're doing! And continue to build up the Kingdom of God by sharing it. I pray for each one of you every night. I love each one of you! Hope you have a great week! I'm cheering you all on from Södertälje! MWAH!

Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone
Officially cold...
This is our investigator Ritva. I'm not sure if you can see it but there is a little paper on the mirror that says, "Älskad av Jesus" which means... "Loved by Jesus." We took a selfie together after a lesson. Ritva is amazing!!

Took a short trip to Times Square! Megan and Preston... how do you live in that jungle??

We wrestled with the Jensen kids yesterday while we were waiting for the food. Whew... that was an experience. 

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