Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Email #95

April 25, 2016
Skellefteå, Sweden

Well helllloooo family!

Wow... talk about a week. This week has absolutely FLOWN by and it's been another week in the vineyard helping people accept the Restored Gospel. It's some pretty good stuff you could say. Pretty good stuff? Nah... it's the GREATEST anyone could ask for! 

ANYWHO... Elder Kilton and I have had a LOT of time on the streets this week. We just walk up main street, and down main street, and up, and down, and talk to people alllll dayyyy looonggggg. It's a pretty good gig. We sifted through all of our investigators that we had and we came out with a grand total of prepared people that want to know if the church is true. It came out to a big fat ZERO. SO... are we going to get down about it? NO! Are we going to sit on our keisters all day? NO! ARE WE GOING TO FIND THE PREPARED PEOPLE? NO! OH... wait... wrong answer. YES! Dang straight! And as I would say to Scottie Tew after he aces a kid, "LET'S GO!" *insert side-bump here* SO... that's what our week has consisted of.  It may get hard but a mission is kind of like a night sky. It may seem dark, like really dark, BUT the bits and pieces of amazing experiences, the things we call "stars" can make it absolutely beautiful overall. That's kind of how I think about it. At the end, it's gonna be worth it. So keep on moving, keep on trucking, and the Lord will do miracles through you. The key is that you have to give him something to work with. 

SO... this week has been a lot of contacting! It started on Monday night and we met this super cool lady named Daphne. Turns out she's from Brazil but is studying here with her husband. (So that's a S/O to Brian and his Brazilians. P.S. Greg... I promise you all give you a S/O if I meet someone from Texas. Haha you know what? S/O to Greg for being a stud anyways! Love you buddy!) Anywho... we talk to her for a little bit, tell her about the Book of Mormon and she LOVED it. It's always my favorite thing when I can say, "This book, it talks about your ancestors. It talks about the people from America!" They always perk up and get a huge smile on their face. The coolest! We're going to meet up a little later with her and her husband so that'll be neat!

Later, we contacted.... wait for it.... ANOTHER BRAZILIAN! Can you believe it? We're in Sweden! 2 points for Gryffindor! Uhhh... I mean Brian and the Brazilians! Bernidito actually comes from Recife so that was super cool! We talked to him a little bit and he was pretty hard core Catholic and wouldn't listen, BUT... it was neat nonetheless.

OH... super fast... Elder Kilton's mom is actually from Alabama and so he claims the south as his roots. Haha SO... Noah, I might have some friends for you to meet down there. I didn't think I'd hear the words "ROLL TIDE" very much in Skellefteå, Sweden. BUT... Noah... for you... "Roll Tide baby! Roll!"

Later during the week of our "preaching to the masses", we contacted a man named Elias from Iran. We told him who we were and he said, "Hey... you guys want to go get a coffee?" Don't worry Mom, I didn't drink any coffee. But I did drink some Hot Chocolate. Mmmmm... OH... second of all... who in the Sam Hill ever says, "Hey you want to go do something because I met you 30 seconds ago?" Elias is the correct answer. "The Mormons. The Mormons is the correct answer." Turns out that Elias LOVES America and wants to move to L.A. to work at a car body shop, so he had some questions about the red, white, and blue, and then we taught him the Restoration. He came to church yesterday, and now we're going to teach him again this week. Super cool. While we were enjoying our hot chocolate, Elias had a buddy who said hi to him so we said hi to. Good thing I still remember a couple phrases in Persian. I pulled out the Persian on this dude and he just BUSTED up laughing and said, "How in the Sam Hill can you speak Persian?" ... Alright... he didn't say it like that, but you get the picture. This guy, Samire, wants to learn better English so we're going to teach him the Gospel in English and see if it doesn't go anywhere. Potential investigators on potential investigators on potential investigators. In Sweden, we call them "T-U's." SO.. that was a sweet experience! Elias is a STUD!

On Thursday, I went back home to the blessed land of UMEÅ! The boys are back in town! We had Zone Training and it was so cool! Elder Bailey and Elder Luke are my Zone Leaders and they gave a super good training. It was weird because the last time I wasn't giving the training, I was in Skellefteå, so I had a little Déjà vu moment. haha after the training, I asked Elder Bailey for a blessing for counsel and help during this last transfer. Two things from the blessing hit me really hard. I was told that Christ would walk beside me as I did his work, and that right now is the most important part of my mission. After that second part, I was a little surprised but it was a re-confirmation that you have to go to the end. I'm trying my hardest. We're working hard and we're trying to find those people that are ready. 

After this week, it was just a big confirmation for me that this really is The Church of Jesus Christ. I wouldn't waste two years of my life trying to learn a new language, being away from my dear family, and wasting the prime of my life on a fairy-tale. It's true. And the more I work in the Lord's vineyard, the stronger that reality becomes. It's true. It's all true. And I want to thank you all for supporting me here while I've been here in Sweden for these two years. It's been remarkable. It's been amazing. I don't think I could have said that at the beginning, but I know it now. I know it. And I love it. 

I hope you all have such a stellar week! Elder Featherstone is cheering you all on from this side. I love you all!

Strength and Honor

Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

The classic Elder Featherstone pose
            Skellefteå sandwich selfie!!

This is my boy Elias that we contacted!

Skellefteå Äldster unite!

What happens when Skellefteå is playing Frölunda in the Swedish Ice-hockey Final. This is "main street" in Skellefteå.

Having a "fika" with one of our käre medlemmar Ulla!

Haha being goofy with Elder Bailey. haha love this kid.

                              The Norrland ZONE!

Norrland Zone round 2

                    Check out this Norrland beaut.

                           After a long day of work...

The famous "Moröbacke Mirror" that we always take selfies in! haha

The Utby boys reunite! This is Elder Bailey. STUD!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Email #94

April 18, 2016
Skellefteå Sweden


Wow... talk about a week. It was a good one overall but a LOT of things happened. It went a little like this...

SO... here we go. On Wednesday morning we drove with the other Utby elders to the airport and I hopped on my plane to Stockholm. Then from Stockholm up to Skellefteå. Funny happening at the airport... I was on my way to my terminal, I look up and who do I see? Yes, the legend named Elder Nathan Nephi Jones. The one and only. He's also from the Geezy and was being transferred to Umeå! THEN... I hopped on the plane, landed, and as we land, I look outside and it is a complete BLIZZARD. Snow like you've never seen! I started laughing and just though, "Ohhhh buddy. I better strap myself in. GIDDY UP!"

Later, I was on the bus on the way to the city and heard, "I'm so excited.... and I just can't hide it." I started laughing again to myself and was thinking, "Uh huh. It'll be a good one." The Pointer Sisters said it best. This is going to be an INCREDIBLE transfer. I'm SO excited!

Elder Kilton is my new companion. He's about 5'6", from good 'ol Provo, Utah, and he's the funniest kid ever. We have been having a lot of fun and laughing a lot.

This week has been A LOT of contacting and tracting. We've been on the streets ALL day talking to people and spreading the good word. Skellefteå and Frölunda (My current area's and my previous area's ice-hockey teams) are also playing in the Swedish final during the next week and a half. During the games, the streets are absolutely EMPTY. The streets turn into an absolute ghost town so it's a little hard to contact during those times.

Church in Skellefteå was a highlight for me. I really needed it this week. It was pretty amazing. I sat down with my companion, two other members here in Skellefteå, and listened to the Branch President welcome everyone to Sacrament Meeting. I looked around in the small room and there were three members there. We had lost a few during the past months and a couple have become very sick and probably won't recover. I sat there during Sacrament Meeting, tears filled my eyes and I thought, "God bless these faithful saints here in this building today." I know the words are true when the Lord said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them—even so am I in the midst of you." (D&C 6:32) I knew it that day and I felt it. The Lord was there with us. That will be a Sacrament Meeting I will never forget.

During that same meeting, I performed a musical number and it went really well. After doing that I spoke for the entire meeting on the power of the Atonement, the power of prayer, and the help the Lord can give us when we show our faith to share the Gospel.

Ether 2:16 "And the Lord said: Go to work and build, after the manner of [areas] which ye have hitherto built. And it came to pass that [the Skellefteå elders] did go to work, and also his brethren, and built [areas] after the manner which they had built, according to the instructions of the Lord..."

That is our plan for now. We're going to "go to work" and "build areas according to the instructions of the Lord."
I love you all! Hope you have a great week!

Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

The Göteborgian Dynamic Duo (Halterstone + Featherman)

Utby crew 2k16

The Luleå Distrikt = The Northern Hooligans

We ran into our past investigator Alfa the other day. It was the funniest thing ever!

Dynamic Duo Round 2

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Email #93

April 11, 2016
Goteborg, Sweden

Well ladies and gentlemen...

As you could have guessed by the subject of this email... we have some breaking news. BUT... to give you the entire story, I'll hop back about 4 1/2 months when President Beckstrand and I had our little chat on the pews in the chapel about why I was sent to Göteborg. He ended the conversation with, "Well... Elder Feathestone... where would you like to end your mission? It's the Lord who decides but I know he takes things into consideration." I laughed and said, "You know what President? I haven't even thought about it but I'll write you in my weekly email in a few weeks and let you know how I would like to end." A few weeks later, I wrote President and told him I would like to go back to Skellefteå (yup... remember that place with 7 active members, no missionaries, and nothing going on? Remember that beautiful place that I love so much in Norrland? Remember that place that is now BOOMING with investigators? Yup that's the place we're talking about. AHHH... I love that place. That'd be cool if I went back up there my last six weeks. ANYWHO... I told President I didn't want any responsibility in the mission and that I just wanted to work. I know this might sound selfish but I didn’t want to worry about any other missionaries, just the people in my area. The selfishness and selflessness balances out then. WELL... long story short, I got a call from President again on Friday night. He said thank you for everything. I was actually a little surprised, because he is the one that does all the big stuff, but it was neat to talk to him one on one again. The Beckstrands are the greatest and I love them SO much! They've been my Mom and Dad on the mission. Well... during this phone call, President told me that I'd be leaving Utby and that I'd be moving home. Back home to Skellefteå. Hence the "Skellefteå 2.0: The Return of The King."  I am SO PUMPED! It'll be the greatest six weeks! And we're just going to hit it SO hard. I'm excited. Going back to the top!

Things here in Göteborg are incredible. I turned to Elder Halterman last night and said, "I didn't think I'd ever have just "one" favorite area, but I think Utby just hit the top." I love this place. This is where our Swedish ancestors come from, and it was incredible to be here. I'm really going to miss this ward and these people we've been working with. I had to say goodbye to some really dear friends. These people are absolutely incredible. This is where the Second Harvest will begin.

This week has been a great one. OH... before I forget... Mom, Elder Halterman and I did end up singing a duet in sacrament meeting. It went super well. Elder Featherstone's vocal performing debut was a success. It was super weird to not be on the piano. We sang "Abide With Me." There is a member who has a recording studio and wants to record it so we're doing that at their house for FHE tomorrow so I'll send you the song next week!

Since we don't have a ton of time right now... our week mostly consisted of a few things. 1. Doing the plague of "Stake Reports" where we have to call each companionship in the zone and talk about the work in HUGE detail, write up a MASSIVE report for the stake president, and then have a meeting with him regarding the report. 2. Teaching investigators and helping them prepare for baptism. #thecoolest 3. Driving to Borås to do a baptismal interview with an Afghanistani STUD! 4. Transfers and prepping for all of that. 5. Going on splits with Elder Falkner in Alingsås.

To end on a little spiritual note... This week I had a neat experience. On Thursday night, I was re-thinking my decision to want to go to Skellefteå. I thought about all the people here in Utby and I didn't want to leave them all. I got on my knees, started to pray, and I felt like the decision for me to leave had already been made. I asked the Lord to let me stay here in Utby for my last six weeks and I knew he could inspire President Beckstrand to make the change. I wanted to stay here, unless there was someone else who needed to be here and have this experience as a zone leader in Utby. Then I said, but whatever happens, I know that's where I'm supposed to go. Master, I'm ready. Skellefteå is where the Lord needs me right now and I am going to give it my absolute all. It's like Elder Holland's talk in General Conference, "Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders among you." The Lord is going to do wonders in Skellefteå and I'm excited that I can be apart of it.

Well... that's all the time I have for now. I love you all so much! Next time you'll hear from me, I'll be in the great white north where I belong. LOVES! Hope you all have a stellar week!

Strength and Honor
Elder Featherstone

              Splits with Elder Adcox in Borås. Talk about a STUD. The Borås elders are the greatest! 

                                               Borås round 2. feat. Ä Adcox o Johanson


                                         We jogged to this place one morning! BERGSJÖN.

                                                This is my Göteborgska lärare Maria Baker!

We taught these guys on the street the other day and decided to take a selfie. haha Look in the guy's hand! #cashmoney

Same exact story as above but with a different guy.

Random picture. 


Selfie on the zone hike feat. Elder Johanson

We had a zone hike last week and this was the beginning of the testimony meeting on the mountain. Super cool!

The classic featherstone to the zone selfie.

The zownnnnn!

A member took this while we were having our weekly "Sports Night" with the youth. S/O to Julian!

SADIK! He's preparing to be baptized! Stud! We have to figure out a couple things and then he's in the water!

Action shot on the Utby mountain... It's more like a hill.

The members up in a place called "Stenungsund!"

And then other selfie... 

This is my boy Oscar. He was just baptized over in the Frölunda ward. 

This is the Woods senior couple in Stockholm. They're actually friends with Paul and Mer Feathy! Love these guys! S/O to the Redondo crew! Love you!

Two of my favorite members right here. I joke with Brother Koch that he looks like Elder Bednar. 

Viktor and Oliver. They're both going to go on missions soon. Love these fellas!

Elahe... haha she's the greatest! Elahe is from Iran! 

Selfie with Mamma Sahlin! This woman is INCREDIBLE! She's Felix Sahlin's mamma!

Two of my favorite members right here. I joke with Brother Koch that he looks like Elder Bednar.

Haha this is Olof. He's also prepping for the mish! STUD right here. 

This is Fredrik and Jenny. I. Love. These. People. I feel like they're a big reason I was sent to Utby. 

Taking selfies like it's 2005.

Elder Falkner and I in Alingsås! 


Monday, April 4, 2016

Email #92

April 4, 2016
Göteborg, Sweden


Alright... so here's the deal. I have like hardly any time right now but we're going to see what we can do with the time I have. Strap yourself in and hang on!

FIRST... the weekly S/O definitely has to go to the Ameli-gory (Amelia - Gregory) crew for this week's news on the girl! May I suggest a name or two. Calebilia and Calebry would be two noble options. Haha... Wow.. those were terrible. I'm just cracking myself up now. Just want o say THANK YOU for the video you sent! So good to see all of your faces!

Speaking of faces.... I saw two familiar ones in my city the other day. I just happened to run into Trav and Tiff Graff in Göteborg this past Saturday! The world is small. Mamma and Pappa Graff are among the greatest people to walk the earth. We had a quick lunch with them but it was the coolest! I loved seeing them! Mom, I sent a hug back for you from Mamma Graff so be ready! We also had lunch with two more of my favorite people! Mamma and Pappa Summerhays who are serving at the temple right now in Stockholm. LOVE those people!

I had a neat experience the other day in the car on our way to a lesson. Elder Halterman and I were listening to a song called "In Christ Alone" by Owl City. I am usually singing along but I just decided to listen and think about the words. It's not by a church artist or anything like that but I felt the Spirit testify to me that what was being sung was truth. I turned to Elder Halterman and said, "You know what? I actually felt the Spirit listening to it that time." It was a little surprising for some reason but it was just a great reminder about the fact that the Holy Ghost testifies of truth wherever it is or whoever the source is.

The Holy Ghost really did teach me a lot this weekend. General Conference is the coolest! It's so amazing we just get to sit and listen to the Lord's servants and be taught by the Holy Ghost to our own personal needs. I wrote down a couple questions that I have right now and then I just listened intently for the answer. I was listening for a little counsel for when I return from the mission field and I felt like the Lord said, "Attend the temple and continue to read your scriptures daily. You will receive guidance, comfort, and the strength you need as you stay faithful in those two aspects of the gospel." That was incredible for me and it put my heart at ease knowing that I don't have to worry about what's going to happen during the next couple months, but as I stay prayerful, continue to read the scriptures, and attend the temple, the Lord will help me. I remember
something that Brian told me and the beginning of my mission. He said, "We can over complicate things as much as we want, by trying to "figure it all out", but why waste the time and energy when we don't have to. The Lord will do that for us!" That's something I've tried to do as much as possible. Do what you can, then let the Lord handle the rest.  SO... that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to just focus on the work until the day when the Lord says "it's done." The Lord only gives us two years to do this. So why slow down at the end! "Courage, brethren; and on, onto the victory!" My greatest desire is to lay down on my last day on the mission and hear the words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." And I hope that when I return to him, I can hear those words, but for now, there's work to do. There are people to help, lives to bless, and the Lord needs disciples forever. Let's be the ones he can count on!

I love you all! Go have a stellar week! Make it happen!

Hurrah for Israel!! Hurrah!!

Strength and Honor
Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone