Monday, June 24, 2013

Happy Midsommar June 21st, 2013

Happy Midsommar!  Here Midsummer is celebrated on the Summer Solstice (the 21st of June).  Although once again, like almost all Swedish holidays the actual celebration happens the day before.  This is the lightest day of the year.  For Midsommars this year we went into Stockholm to celebrate it with all of the missionaries in a big Midsummers festival that the Church helps to organize.  This year there were over 2000 people.  So it was quite large.  The missionaries helped with parking and creating the Maypole.  The maypole is usually a cross heavily decorated with green branches and flowers with two large wreathes hanging from the horizontal beam of the cross.  After the Maypole is set up everyone gets in circles around it holding hands and they sing traditional Swedish songs while a band plays live music.  
   The Midsummer celebration was really fun and before it started we were able to play some American Football (Elder Judd needless to say was quite good).  It was good seeing so many missionaries and so many members at one place.  The longer I am here during the summer the more and more I love the kingdom of Sweden, it is really beautiful.   And I guess it just gets darker and darker from here on out.  
   Back in Eskilstuna all is well.  I gave a talk yesterday in Church on fruit.  And the fruit of the church, how someone has to taste the fruit of the tree in order to know it is a good tree.  In the same way someone has to read the Book of Mormon in order to know that the Church is true.  As members we have a responsibility to share the fruit and to taste of it ourselves in order to become better missionaries.  It was not until Lehi tasted of the tree of Life (1 Nephi 8) that he was filled with an overwhelming desire that others should also taste of it.  
   Our Investigator currently has a baptismal date for the 6th of July.  I think he is being baptized then.  He is ready for it.  Unfortunately, I will not be in Eskilstuna to see it.  I am being transferred to the Vendelsö area.  It's an area in the southern part of Stockholm.  The area is the second smallest in all of Europe apparently (the smallest being Handen, the area right next to it).  I am very excited to serve there but this means I have to leave Eskilstuna and those I love here.  Next week I'll write from a new area.  
love to all,
   Äldste Jonathan Moe

Monday, June 17, 2013

An inspirational bike ride!

After our 20 mile bike ride.

    This last week Eskilstuna has seen some changes within the companionships.  In the other companionship, Äldste Svennson has left and Äldste Asp has come in.  Äldste Svennson is now in Täby, an area in Stockholm, and is now serving in the same ward that his brother and sister both live in!  So he sees them at least once a week maybe more.  That would be hard.
   This last Tuesday we had a lesson with an Investigator who prayed for the first time (out loud in front of us).  The spirit was strong when he did and edified everyone in the room.  The next day, we were about to start off our day to go and try and meet with people.  He texted us  saying he would like to meet.   We've been wanting to take a bike ride up to a city called Sundbyholm next to the lake for a while, so we decided to do it together.  The ride is a total of 20 U.S miles.  The route goes up and down rolling hills.  It was beautiful.  When we got to Sundbyholm we sat down and talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We talked how it is through his grace we are saved and have any hope for anything past this life.  And how his grace is sufficient for all.  We made a goal with him to be baptized on the sixth of July.  All three of us are excited and hopefully these dreams will become a reality.  He's looking for a change in his life and more spiritually.   Äldste Judd and myself are happy to teach and make a difference in someone's life. 
    Elder Ballard's visit was over a week ago you can still see the fire that has remained behind.  He was just what Sweden needed and very inspirational.  We're all motivated to continue forward and keep trying to work hard.  He told members there are three things they should always strive to do.  1.  Strengthen their testimony, 2.  Build Zion (strengthen wards and branches where we are), and 3.  Preach the Gospel to every son and daughter of God.
This is a very hard area but we feel that we can handle it and just need to work smart and hard.  
    Thanks for the letters!

   Äldste Moe    

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Nordic Conference held in Stockholm

Missionaries in Stockholm for the Nordic Conference
This last Thursday was the Swedish National day.  The day the Kingdom of Sweden was founded as we now know it.  We talked to a Swede about how they celebrate it and she said it is actually very surprising, they don't do too much.  She said most years they forget it is Swedish National day.  
    Anyway to celebrate our Swedish National day we went and did some service for a member.  We did a lot of yard work and fixed a fence for them.  Afterwards we went fishing on Eskilstuna river.  It was pretty magnificent.  We went with our Branch President and his son.  None of us caught anything other then the Branch President, but it was fun to be out doing it.
    One of the crazier things I have seen in Sweden happened this week.  We saw the Swedish graduates partying throughout the city.  It was all of the graduates of gymnasts.  When they graduate they all get in trucks and drive throughout the city with banners and crazy loud music partying.  It stops traffic and activity in all of the city.  
   This last Saturday every missionary in Sweden was brought into Stockholm to stay with missionaries there.  We had the Nordic Regional Conference on Sunday but the day before was mission conference which was presided over by Elder Ballard of the Twelve apostles.  Unfortunately, President Monson could not make it due to the recent passing of his wife. 
   President Ballard spoke to us about teaching with power and how to be confident we have the power of the Holy Ghost in all that we do.  We did not actually stay in Stockholm because we live close enough but they did give us a car for us to commute back and forth.  Driving as a missionary and in Sweden felt so weird.  Nothing was too different but it just felt weird since it had been a while.
   It was fun seeing so many missionaries and getting to see all the missionaries I know and haven't seen for a while.  When you see all 153 it helps give you strength and remind you that you owe it to all them to stay strong and dedicated because they are all going through the same things you are in some degree.  The only thing that may have given us more strength was seeing the conference hall fill up with 3000 saints from Sweden joined in by the many saints from all of the Nordic countries by broadcast.  I even got to see some members from Skövde that I never got to say goodbye to.
Aldste Moe and Aldste Judd shaking hands with President and Sister Newell and Elder Ballard

love you all,
Aldste Moe

Sunday, June 9, 2013

P-Day looking for Viking ruins!

Ancient Viking writings

 So last Monday we went up to find some Viking ruins but never were able to actually find them...  We found some other really cool things like a Viking saga carved into a rock, and a big lake where the castle used to be (there is nothing left now).
   An exciting side note is that we now have bikes and have been riding around Eskilstuna on them.  The city is so beautiful during the summer, I love it here.  Its all just too good, we feel like we have a lot to do here now and that just because there are now four missionaries it doesn't mean there is less work, it means there is more that can get done, once again, we are not divided the work with so many missionaries, we are multiplying it.

Estilstuna Stads Park

Me with my new bike
   Around 6 weeks ago we knocked on this family's door and they said we could come back but they didn't have time just then.  We have returned every week (they said to try on Saturdays) and every time they are home, but, no time.  This last Saturday we went by and he said yes, for the first time, it was just him, but still a yes.  He said though, he didn't have much time.  He said he would have around ten minutes.  At first I thought no, we cant do that, we cant share our message effectively in ten minutes.  But then I heard 'Ja, det funkar', from my mouth.  And the spirit told me it was true.  We sat down on two small benches in his garden where he was working and talked about The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We testified with power and he agreed to read from the Book of Mormon, We will return soon.  It was one of the clearest ways I have ever shared the message of the restoration, and it was in ten minutes, the spirit was able to pick up all slack.
   This last week we had mission Tour.  We had the enormous privilege of having elder Richards from the Quorum of the Seventy at our Mission Tour.  He was planning on talking about teaching, and about teaching by the spirit.  But he got up and because of something said by someone else he decided that together we would discuss the Plan of Salvation.  We would spend three hours together talking about, and sharing everything we know about the Plan God has for us.  I am so grateful for my faith in this plan, it truly gives hope, not just for the individual but for everyone.  Knowing that all mankind will be resurrected, how the infinite mercy of Christ has redeemed everyone from death, physical and spiritual.
  Äldste Jonathan Moe