Monday, May 2, 2016

Email #96

2 May, 2016
Skellefteå, Sweden

Running after Swedes, Through the Fire and the Flames, Making it Permanent y'all!


Whew baby! Talk about an incredible week here in the blessed city of Skellefteå! Being a missionary, seeing the fruits, and serving the Lord in the vineyard. Doesn't get much better than that now does it.  

ANYWHO... this week, the legend Elder Kilton and I have spent a LOT of time on the streets! Remember that big ol' city street I have talked about in the past? Yup... that bad boy... we've spent a LOT of time preaching the gospel and running after the people of Skellefteå on that street. Speaking of which... that has become a little favorite thing of mine here on the mission. It's almost become my trademark as Elder Featherstone. Super funny! There's a lot of time you'll be contacting people on the street and you'll walk up to someone and say, "Hey! Excuse me! My friend and I are the missionaries with The Church of Jesus Christ." and then you'll get a big, fat, Swedish excuse because they won't want to talk to you. SO... instead of saying... "OH... yeah... well alright! Have a nice day!" as they walk by you, (by this time they're already 15 feet away because they're really trying to make a run for it. haha) you run back over to them, start to walk with them, and you say, "You know what! We'll do it like this. You don't have a lot of time SO... we'll leave you with this card ( pass along card) with this super cool website on it that talks a little bit about the church, why it's important, and how it can help us in our lives." It's the most hilarious thing ever because almost every single time, the Swede will stop, look at you with that big, cheesy smile on your face and give you a look that says, "Ha.. ha... ha... who is this kid talking to me about religion. And why the heck is he so happy? Alright kid, I'll take your card and I'll give it a look." It's absolutely hysterical. The Swedes love it and we're just planting seeds like no body's business. Gotta love it baby! On my first day in Skellefteå, I contacted someone and I got the classic, "I'm in a hurry. I can't talk right now." SO... what do I do? I pull out the OUR classic "run after the Swede technique" and give them a card. Elder Kilton stood there with his jaw wide open and said, "Elder Featherstone... what the heck was that?" I was super confused so I said, "What the heck was what?" "THAT! That was the coolest thing I've ever seen!" I started laughing and we kept on going. Last week, we were on the street contacting and Elder Kilton says, "Hey! Excuse us!" I don't remember who he contacted but I remember standing there and seeing him running after this person trying to give them a card. I stood there and BUSTED up laughing and as he came walking back to me, I said, "Atta boy Elder Kilton. Atta boy." We're having a good time with the Swedes. You gotta enjoy it on the way and so we're really trying to enjoy the time we have with them. Especially on the streets! They're the funniest people and we're actually having a ton of success with them lately. They're talking with us more and it's super neat to see. #secondharvest

On Wednesday, I was able to go on splits with the legend Elder Bailey from Umeå! We were companions for two weeks in Utby when his companion went home for some stress and other things. We were in the car for most of the day because we were swinging by some people we couldn't reach with the bikes. We had a super good talk about the mission and I sat there thinking about my time here in Sweden. I have loved being a missionary for the Lord here in this blessed country. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity he has given me to serve his children. When I was in Utby, we set up a "mission prep" with the priests in the ward. I remember telling the priests who were preparing for missions that "there is not one thing that is more important for you to do at this point in your life than to serve a mission." And I believe that. The Lord needs all who are worthy and willing. I was sitting in the car, Elder Bailey and I were just thinking, and I felt like I heard the Lord say, "Elder Featherstone, I need you for the rest of your life. I need you on my team for the rest of your life. But first, I need to know you're all in. I need to know if you're all in for me and my gospel, and I need you to show me during the last few weeks of your mission if I can rely on you and use you as a tool in my kingdom so I can rely on you during the rest of your life." It was a very distinct feeling and I feel as if that is why I am here in Skellefteå. And I think that's what missions do. Growing up in the church is great and all, but missions make it "permanent." Missions make the Gospel "permanent" in our lives and that's a goal for me this transfer. I love this gospel. It's true. And I want it to be permanent in my life and in the lives of others.

During the close of the day with Elder Bailey, we swung by a less active who lives a little bit outside of Skellefteå and we ended up talking with his non-interested cousin who lives there with him. We went outside and Elder Bailey said, "Hey Elder Featherstone... let's knock that building over there." I was completely on board so we walked up the stairs and pounded our fists on that first door. No answer. SO... we turned to knock the other door on that level and we heard someone walking up the stairs. It's always super awkward when you're just waiting there outside someone's door so I made a little joke to Elder Bailey, gave him a little elbow bump and said, "Alright... here we go buddy." A man walked up the stairs and it was actually the man that lived in the apartment we had just knocked on. We introduced ourselves and he invited us in his house. Long story short... we sat down, taught Shirzad the Restoration and he LOVED it. He said he feels exactly like Joseph Smith did and he is going to try to read out of the Book of Mormon for one hour every day. I looked at Elder Bailey and gave him a look like, "Woah... is this guy for real? Like... most members don't even do that." Super cool story and the Lord is blessing us. We've been able to teach a lot more than I thought and it's all going well here in Skellefteå.

The other big happening was a big holiday in Sweden known as "Valborg." It's just a big thang in Sweden where the Swedes gather a bunch of wood and stuff and have a MASSIVE bonfire thang. Super cool actually. Kind of along the lines of burning away the old and on with the new to welcome spring. It's pretty ridiculous that we're JUST getting away from the snow and it's JUST starting to get nice. haha gotta love it in Norrland. ANYWHO... we were able to go to the big bonfire and participate in the festivities. Well... we were on our way back to the apartment at the end of it all and we ended up running into an investigator who has been investigating for a while. He's a Swede and he is very doubting about things he believes. We stopped and said a prayer. That night, as far as I know, that was the first time Roger has ever prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet. It was the most incredible thing ever and the Spirit testified again to me that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. He is. And it doesn't matter what anyone else says or thinks, I know he is. Roger is doing SO well and is making so much progress. He'll be baptized. It's just a matter of when.

Speaking of baptism, I got a text from Elder Halterman in Utby saying that Sadik will be baptized this coming Saturday. That's HUGE!! It makes me so happy that he is finally able to be baptized and he is turning his life around. I'm going to see if I can skype for his baptism because that would be the coolest!

Well... that's about it for the week! Can't wait for another week and I'm so stoked that we can go out and spread the gospel again. How amazing is that?

I love you all! Hope you have a killer week! Go make it happen!

Strength and Honor

Elder Caleb Hendrik Featherstone

Our investigator Samson! He's such a STUD!

Teaching Samson and Dragan in Jörn with Elder Bailey!

District Meeting in Skellefteå with the Luleå sisters and the Boden elders!

                  Messing with Swedish art. haha

Takin' selfies on the streets with the swedes we just taught. haha #rodrick

Recording "Abide with Me" with Antti Syvänen in his studio on Monday in Utby!

Göteborg Zone on my last p-day

My boy Sadik whose gonna get baptized this week!

The Hungarian known as Gyula!

My boy Prince!! "Where's PRINCE?"

My boy Kofi!! "Where's KOFI?"

The Utby crew on my last day in Göteborg with Captain Kirk (the Ward Mission Leader)

Saying bye to Lennart. Gonna miss that guy!

Teaching Ivar and Juan at Ivar's house!

Valborg with the legend Elder Kilton

We ran into a recent convert named Therese at Valborg!

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