Wednesday, February 20, 2013

District P-Day

We traveled to Goteborg for a district P-Day. It was great getting together with the other missionaries.

Use boldness not overbearing.

 This week we taught some religious classes to some gymnasiet (Gymnasiet is a school between high school and college (Högskolan or Universitet) where you kind of pick a major and take classes based on said major.) aged kids (16-19).  We taught the restoration and the plan of Salvation to them.  Swedes are very inward and closed, its kind of funny.  We had to tell them at the beginning of the class, don't be Swedes, you can be Americans or Englishmen.  You can choose, but for the next hour you are not Swedes.  They all laughed because they know its true.  You will never see random Swedes conversing.  And new missionaries always ask, how can I fit in best?  And you always have to tell them sorry, you cant, your gonna be talking to people, and swedes just don't do that.  Everyone picks us out as foreign as soon as we open our mouth.  About half is because a real Swedish accent is near impossible for foreigners but the other is because we are opening our mouth.  
   This week we had a lesson where someone brought up passion.  And how Mormons lack passion because we have rules.  I think back to a scripture which helped me when I thought the same thing.  When I thought rules limited passion, limited emotion.  The scripture that helped me comes from Alma chapter 38 verse 12. "Use Boldness, but not overbearing." It is important to be bold and direct when preaching the gospel but not overbearing. To remain Christ like in our teaching methods and delivery is important. It then says "and also see that you bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness." A lot of people say that there is no passion when you follow certain rules and don't participate in certain activities. Passion can be more then a force for instinct, passion can be a force to bring to pass much good. As long as passion is bridled it can be of great use. When filled with love for everyone on earth a passion inspired within us and it has the power to keep us from idleness.   
   I have also become addicted to the baked goods called Semlors that swedes make around the early spring season, which to me, still looks like the dead of winter.  Between Semlor and Marabou chocolates you need to make the most of your exercise time as a missionary.
   A man we are teaching named Chris said he would be baptized on the 16th of March.  We are hoping he receives his confirmation long before that date.  He is an amazing släkt förskning person.  Or like a family history researcher.  He knows a lot about Scottish history.  On my moms side of the family we have an old line that had been in New York years before the founding of America named the Mcbride's.  Their mostly Irish but a bit of them come from Scotland and since one of our visits he traced them back to the old Macdonald clan in Scotland and showed me what their Tartan looks like.  He is very talented at family history and quite an interesting man to talk to.
  The work is hard, but we're always moving as long as someones willing to listen.  It makes me happy to help other people regardless of the ways we help them.  Sometimes it means bringing in wood, shoveling the walks, or teaching a class. I'm just happy to be here.
Äldste Moe      

Winter is long, days are gray but things are good!

This is Semlor, baked bread that Swedes make early Spring. 

Earlier I think I said something about winter being behind us.  This is definitely false.  This week winter came back in full force making spring look quite a ways away.  It snowed 3 days straight over this last week and everything is iced over.  Snow is actually very good and comforting during winter because it lightens everything up.  Because of its color it makes the days look so much brighter then when there is no snow.  So even on a cloudy day it looks sunny when there is snow on the ground.  With the renewal of winter I have caught a bit of a fever.  It is hard working and being sick at the same time, but when it seems its worst I just think to myself, "imagine how bad it would be if you didn't have the blessings from serving others".  
   Right now the most frustrating thing about the work is people not reading the Book of Mormon.  One of our Investigators is reading a book on the Book of Mormon but he does not want to read the Book of Mormon.  Those who do find answers to prayers and peace while they read.  Reading the Book of Mormon seems to intimidate some people.  I feel like in a lot of these situations they have a deeper concern with it that they just don't want to share with us.  We cant teach as well as the Book of Mormon and there is nothing on the Internet or printed elsewhere that will give you a more unbiased opinion of the Book of Mormon then the Book of Mormon.  It is the one book which in its Introduction and it's concluding pages guarantees you revelation from our Heavenly Father just by simply asking him about it.
   Yesterday my fever was at its height and I really did not feel well.  Through church I was trying to stay active and engaged but its hard when one has so little energy and is sick, then it gets harder when the whole day is in Swedish.  I ached all over and just walking around town wasn't fun.  I also was prone to getting quite cold.  After Church Ståle was going to be ordained a priest.  When I went in for the ordinance he asked me to perform it.  I felt out of it and was sure I couldn't in Swedish as it is a lot of speaking.  I accepted because that is an opportunity to serve and to utilize my Priesthood which we must never be afraid to use to serve others because then we fail those same responsibilities. I ordained Ståle to be a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood, and through the whole thing felt not a single doubt, ache, cough, or runny nose.  I even felt warm.  The spirit was there and he directed my words, in Swedish.  I am proud of Ståle for his trust in me when I didn't know if I could trust myself, even without the fever I had only been in Sweden for a month and my Swedish is not perfect.  
   From being sick and even from having a bit of a slower week a scripture that has greatly helped me is 2 Nephi 10:17. "For I will fulfil my promises which I have made unto the children of men, that I will do unto them while they are in the flesh--". What I love about the gospel is we don't just promise salvation, and living with your Father above and earthly family (which all are quite significant individually). We promise happiness in this life, to all of those willing to partake in it. Yes some blessings must wait until the next life. But not all, and not enough to make this life miserable. Some people seem to have that thought on life and on many things.  We should always look for happiness in all that we do.
   This next week is Swedish week for the missionaries, we are going to be speaking Swedish to each other 24/7.  The only time we speak English is with Investigators that do not speak Swedish and writing letters.  It should help me improve my Swedish quite a bit.  
med karlek,
   Äldste Moe

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Trust in oneself and trust in the lord!

This is about as high as the sun gets in this part of Sweden and at this time of year.

This week was interesting, my companion Äldste Geddes went to a training in Stockholm with all of the other District leaders and Zone leaders.  It was great for him to see all his previous companions and MTC friends.  That left me and another fairly new missionary named Äldste Martinsson from Vancouver in the Skövde area.  Although, I was one group newer then him to arrive here I had to lead since it was my area.  I really got to see what I have been learning during that time.  It was like removing the training wheels.  I however had the blessing of seeing my improvement in a lot of things, including my Swedish, teaching, and definitely faith.  We taught quite a few different people and taught for the first time a 21 year old guy who has member friends and that has become very interested in the gospel.  He told us they had never talked with him about anything gospel related but just their example made him curious and to reach out to us.  It was inspiring.  
   This week was the week where we have managed to teach the most lessons.  The Lord truly blessed us.  I am proud of myself every time I turn to him for guidance, happier then I am if I am clever enough to come up with the same thing on my own.   The lord knows how to guide us and will always know whats best if we can just trust in him and turn our lives over to him.
Notice the bike section.  Is this what Mayor Bloomberg plans for NYC, with his bike lane creation.

It's amazing how different the sun and sky appear.  We're getting a little bit more light each day but it's still really cold.  This past week we received about 7 hours of day light but some days it's just white or grey with the sun trying but not succeeding to peek through. 
   Today I got to go into Göteborg again.  I really do love that city.  It's a wonderful place.  I would consider myself so lucky if at some future occasion I was able to serve in the inner city of Göteborg.  Anyway, we had a group of around 15 Missionaries and a member today.  We all met at the YSA center in Göteborg and played laser tag.  It was definitely the funnest P-day I've had so far.  It was a blast getting together and receiving that strength from other missionaries.  After we went to Family home evening with a family in our ward who always makes the most unique but best food.  They are raw vegans and so they are vegan but they also do not cook any food.  They are able to make some of the best dishes.
     A scripture I very much appreciated this week was Alma 5: 45-46. It talks about the finding of truth by the power of the Holy Ghost. In it he talks of how he reads but then he prays, he ponders, and he fasts for the knowledge of these truths. Reading we can obtain information but through prayerful study we can know such information to be truth. This just worked to remind me of the great importance of consecrating our study to the Lord and trying to keep it as relevant to our current endeavors as possible will allow us to realize a greater amount of truth.
I know the church is true, the work is hard but its worth it, and what better way to spend your time then doing something so worthwhile.  I'm happy I can help people change for the better and help serve those in need.

With love,

    Äldste Moe