Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas in Sodertalje Sweden

 Sankta Lucia
  Elder Jones and I on Santa's lap
Christmas decorations close to where we live
Me and the guys at the Christmas party

 Hej Family and Friends,

    Merry Christmas!  Christmas is getting closer and closer but still no snow that's sticking to the ground.  Very weird for Sweden, but I'm sure we'll not be sorry for a shorter winter. Yet winter has just started so who knows.  As long as there is permanent snow for Christmas we'll all be happy.  
     This last week, we had the opportunity to participate in the ward Christmas party and to see the Sa
nkta Lucia ceremony in the Swedish church.  The ward Christmas party was wonderful.  I know how important a ward family means to so many but I was reminded of it again.  It makes me happy to realize that I have a family to spend Christmas with no matter where I am around the world.  The St. Lucia festival was amazing.  It was cool to see more of the Swedish culture and some of their Christmas traditions.
   The work is still going very well.  Hopefully, we have someone getting baptized on the twenty-eighth of this month.  But it is depends on whether or not they can quite drinking before then.  They have a firm testimony of the church and the Book of Mormon but they just need to begin to live the commandments in order to be baptized.  We have others who should be baptized soon.  I'm so happy to have the opportunity to serve and to try to help people change their lives for the better but the real change comes from within.  I'm really grateful that I get to be a missionary during this Christmas time.  When I focus on the true meaning of the season I can feel myself grow closer to my Savior.
   Yesterday was definitely hard.  I got bad food poisoning and was throwing up most of the day.  As I got to rest I thought it would be good to stay in and rest but it didn't feel good.  About halfway through the day, I woke up feeling a bit better and had to go out.  Even when sick it didn't feel good being inside when we should be out trying to reach others.  Even though, I was still feeling bad we did as much as I could.  I woke up today a hundred percent better and so thankful for my health and ability to go out and serve others.   

Puss och Kram,
   Äldste Moe 

Friday, December 13, 2013

A plan for success

Hej everyone, 
     I must apologize that I haven't done the blog justice of late.  There hasn't been a lot of down time.  Most of my time on preparation day has been running around to get ready for the coming week and trying to find a little time to relax and refill the battery.  But being busy isn't necessarily a bad thing.  We have a lot to do and tons of work right now.  We are working with quite a few people who are getting close to baptism.  Sometimes in can be frustrating when people don't do the really simple things they say they will.  We just have to remember that everyone has their agency and can choose for themselves.  Although we know something is better for someone we have no right to impose it upon them.  I just think about the capacity for frustration God has with us. 
    We have been seeing blessings this last week and I have found my personal formula for doing hard things.  This is something the mission President talked about and I have definitely worked to apply it and hope to keep this skill after the mission as well.  If we want something we need to create a vision, we need to lay out what exactly it is that we want to see changed.  A lot of the time we become overwhelmed by these visions or goals that we set because the things we want are big.  So next we need to plan it out, we need to think about what we want and when we want it then plan out baby steps.  We just have to break down the end goal into many smaller time bound goals.  Then we need to be obedient to the plans that we make.  We need to be diligent in following up on those little steps because then no giant miracle is needed, the execution of your vision is simple.  Lastly is faith, the secret to success, at all times we need to know that we can accomplish our vision.  So the formula for doing great and hard things is, Vision, Planning, Obedience (to the plans we set), and Faith.  I have seen the success from this plan.
   Right now we are in the Christmas season here and the spirit of Christmas is all around.  The Swedes love this season and there is joy everywhere.  I am very excited to be heading into my first Christmas in Sweden and my second as a missionary(last year I was visa waiting in VA).  I am doing my best everyday to remember Christ and all that he has done for me.  To really maximize my baptismal covenant to remember him.  And one of the best ways I can do that is by serving others.  I think the best birthday present we can give to Christ is really living the two highest laws, love the Lord thy God and love thy fellow man.  And it's when we show this love through charitable acts that we really serve the lord.  The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of Christ.
   This last week a man who we have been meeting with came to church, he's Swedish and and faithful.  He knows more about religion then any investigator I've met so far.  He has read about every book on religion out there and before we even met him he knew two of them were true.  The Book of Mormon and the Bible.  When I first met him he was quoting the Book of Mormon and he has never met with missionaries before.  Right now he is half way through the Doctrine and Covenants and came to church yesterday.  He loved church service and has agreed that he needs to find out if this is the one true church.  And when he knows it is he said he would be baptized. 
   I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season.  I'm happy to be here and serving the people of Sweden.  
  Äldste Jon Moe

Friday, December 6, 2013

Home teaching and Christmas decorations!

Helping members string their Christmas lights
 The six missionaries in Södertälje.  Elder Jones and I, Elder and Sister Lowry, then Sisters Faux and Chesley

Käre Vänner (friends),
This last week we have seen quite a few miracles.  They have been manifested in church attendance.  This week we had around 100 people in church.  This last summer there were always around 60-70 people in church.  And this last week there were a hundred!  It's fun to see so many people coming to church.  In Priesthood meeting we had to stand up because we didn't fit into the room we were using that day for Priesthood.  
   Winter is definitely coming.  Everyday is windy and cold now.  Most of the last couple days have been in the negative (Celsius) degrees.  There was a three day stretch where we did not see the sun because it was dark and we had clouds all three days.  We should be getting snow this week.  The days are getting shorter and shorter in regards to sunlight and winter is definitely upon us.  Winter this far north can be a challenge. A lot of people go into hibernation.  We don't see as many people as often.  Teaching is harder.  But we're up for the challenge.
    This last week some members invited us to go on splits and help with home teaching.  The calling of a home or visiting teacher is one of the greatest callings someone can receive.  The responsibility to be there for some of our heavenly fathers children is great. It's amazing how much trust God puts in our hands.   It is through home teaching that we grow but also that the Kingdom of God will grow.  I believe that to be the biggest difference someone can make in their ward or branch.  To serve as a loving Home or Visiting Teacher.
     It may seem a little premature but the Christmas music has been busted out.   We have been listening to the hymns made for the season and lots of JulStjärnor (Christmas decorations) are making an appearance.  These are star shaped decorations that Swedes hang in their windows during the Christmas season.  It's a representation of the new star which was seen on the day of Christ's birth many years ago.  It's exciting and very important to remember that is what this season is for.  When we keep the Christmas spirit we keep the spirit of Christ and his birth alive.  What a great time of year to reflect, ponder and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. The best present we can give the Lord is a humble heart and a contrite spirit.  When we have these things we can learn and grow.     

   Äldste Jonathan Moe