Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Email #82

January  24, 2016
Göteborg, Sweden

Helllloooooo everyone!!

Man... I love you all so much. You're the coolest. But for today... Greg and Dad are my favorites. Happy birth...day... mis..ter.. pres..id..entt. Happy Birthday you two! Hope you have such a stellar day! Greg... hope it was good day yesterday. You're the man!

WELL... this week has been full of miracles, surprises, more miracles, and busy Utby elders. It feels like RIGHT when Elder Albertsen and I are getting stoked to go knock the doors, something happens that we have to go take care of in the zone. BUT... it's all good. I absolutely LOVE being a missionary in this zone! It's been INCREDIBLE to see what has happened in the Göteborg Zone during the past six weeks. These missionaries are incredible and they're really showing their faith by getting out there and showin' the world what they can do! Elder Albertsen and I are really workin' hard, trying to send him out with a bang, and it's all smiles right now. I love being a missionary. And I miss it already. I miss these people, this country, and this work already. Good thing that the missionary work is always going to be around! #missionaryforlife

ANYWAY... lately, we have been working with a less active member that is actually originally from Northern England. She has had a super hard life and has kind of lost her testimony of the church. She's has been in super hard with drugs her whole life and she got up to about three times the amount of an over-dose because her body has adjusted to the drugs. It's been super sad to see what has happened but on Tuesday we decided to go see her and her family. We sat down, had a great talk, and then we ended up having an incredible lesson with her. Something that I feel like I have struggled with throughout my mission is listening. Listening to the investigator, discerning their needs, and then relying on the Spirit for guidance on what to say. Before I went into the lesson, I decided I was just going to listen her, listen to the Spirit, and respond as the Lord would want me to. As we were in the lesson and as we listened and tried our best to discern her needs, she opened up more than she ever had. By the end, she was bearing her testimony to us with tears in here eyes. I looked at her with tears in my eyes and told her that her Heavenly Father loves her and that she is alive right now for a specific reason that only the Lord knows. I told her that the Lord needs her on his team and that he needs her spirit. It was an incredible lesson and we really felt the Spirit there. She was able to come to church yesterday and she is just glowing with that big smile on her face!

Later that night we had a training with all the missionaries in the entire world from the Executive Missionary Council and the Presidency of the Seventy. It was the first time that anything like this has ever happened and it was INCREDIBLE! It's pretty much like a big General Conference but with the missionaries. In the training, Elder Bednar talked a little bit about what happened with our English member. In short, he said, "Listening and observing preceeds discerning." He said that listening takes "intense spiritual focus" and it was so cool to see it in action. That's been a huge focus for me this week and it's helped so much!

OH... check this out... super crazy alright! We had transfers on Tuesday and Göteborg was in complete CHAOS! We woke up to an additional 15-16 inches of snow. We couldn't drive out so we spent Companionship and Language Study time out in the avalanche-hit city of Partille. We shoveled snow for two hours and FINALLY we were able to get out! It was insane! BRING THE RAIN!

This week, Elder Albertsen and I had a bunch of funny happenings that has to do with the language. We always joke around with each other when neither of us can remember the English word for something. This week, we couldn't remember what the "heel" of the loaf of bread was called. We ended up just calling it "the butt." Later, I couldn't remember what the two pointer thingy's on a clock are called. I started with legs, then I went to arms, and then a member from the Czeck-republic said, "Elder Featherstone... in English, they're called hands." haha I got a pretty good laugh out of that one. We always joke around that now we can't speak either Swedish or English. Just a mix of them called "Swenglish." Or... in Swedish... it's called "Svengelska."

Last Sunday we had a neat experience. There is an elder in the zone whose Dad got in a pretty bad bicycle accident back home before he left and he ended up being in a coma. This missionary has been on his mission for the past 4 or-so months and his Dad has been in the coma ever since. We found out last week and we were able to have our zone fast together for this elder, his dad, his mom, and the rest of his family. It was a super neat experience and it really brought the zone together. I have no doubt that fasting works. "... Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."

Alright... here is my S/O to my oldest and wisest brother Greg! Back when I was home, I heard Greg tell me one time that when he would do "door to door sales" that he would just not stop talking. "Don't stop talking and then they have to either listen to you or shut the door on you." That's what I remember him saying. SO... had a little Déjà vu moment, I put a determined look on my face, and I pounded my fist on that door. A tall, kind, sweet, old lady opened it and I started talking. She read my name tag, shook her head but I kept talking. She started closing the door but I kept talking. She tried to interrupt me but I kept talking. (That one probably wasn't the greatest idea. haha) Then she got this funny look on her face and was probably thinking "Wow... boy does this kid have a mouth. He won't let me say a thing. Or the kid next to him." During the entire door approach I didn't stop talking, taught her the Restoration, gave her a Book of Mormon, committed her to read and pray about it and then at the end she said, "Wow... this book is mine? I can have it? Thank you!!" She closed the door and I said to myself, "Greg... that one was for you buddy! Strength and Honor!"

Saturday morning we had a free moment so we decided that we wanted to go out and contact people in a town square called "Partille." Long story short, we were shut down pretty hard core and had some funny happenings that are funny to missionaries but not funny to missionary moms. No one was seriously injured. .... JOKES! Mom... it's alright... I'm just joking around. I'm doing just great! ANYWHO... I turned to Elder Albertsen and said, "You know what elder, isn't it just so cool that the Lord knows exactly what's going on and what these people are saying to us? Isn't it amazing that we're his representatives and that we can be persecuted for his sake? Every rejection gets us closer to the next baptism! Let's hit it! Kör hårt!"

I love you all and I hope you have such a KILLER week! Make it hap'n capt'n! MWAH!

Strength and Honor

Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone
What we woke up to on Tuesday morning! Göteborg had more snow than they have had since '95. I wasn't even born by that time!

Det finns snö!

Companionship selfie with the snow

                                            My Hungarian buddy Gyula! Pssst... that's a S/O to Tomas! 
Sushi with Elder Bailey!
These are my insoles... I had to buy new ones because they were destroyed.
Check these bad boys out! haha
Jules... haha she is the funniest person ever. She's a less-active member here in Utby.

Fereshte and our friend Michael who is a member in Frölunda's ward. He translates into Persian for us!
I had my first Persian meal with our investigator Fereshte. She's the greatest!
This is apparently a Persian delicacy. The burnt rice on the bottom of the pan. The Iranian kids go CRAZY for this stuff. haha
The Lennart legend! 
          A classic Swedish dish. This is SWEDEN!

This cracked me up! It's a Juke Taxi! The first of it's kind!
I love these two people so much! haha they're the greatest!
These two selfies are probably the most legendary in mission history. President and Syster Beckstrand
Sushi run!

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