Thursday, May 22, 2014
This last week has been crazy! I checked it on google maps and we traveled a total of 2500 km. Sweden is the largest mission in Europe and we definitely were able to see quite a bit of it. We traveled to Gothenburg, down to Skåne, up into Norrland, and back again. Sweden is definitely a blessed country. It is so beautiful here it's crazy. And its great being able to see the different cultures that exist among the Swedes. Each area is unique and very special. That also means that this has been a tiring week because I'm switching between the different cultures of one given area. I thought that I didn't have time to relax before as a missionary, but I have none now.
Sister Newell has been training the mission on planning again. She did this more than a year ago when I had barely been in Sweden a month. The principle of planning is so important. Before the mission when I thought of planning, I would only think of planning for something that was surely going to happen. As a matter of fact, I thought planning for something I was unsure about happening would be a waste of time. When we plan on things happening we help bring about their result. When we plan on seeing miracles then work as hard as we can to plan them out and work towards them the Lord is able to bless us in the work, but also us in our lives.
Just yesterday we met with someone who was a referral from some members up north in Luleå. When we started talking with him we wanted to see how much he knew about the church as some of his best friends are members. He explained, he didn't know a lot about the church or our beliefs, but that he loved all of the members he had met. He said, he didn't know about the beliefs but he likes the lifestyle the church creates, and the teachings it gives us. He has only had a few member friends but their examples, have made him interested in meeting with missionaries and finding out for himself what is so special about the church. Members have more power as missionaries then a lot are aware of.
When we visited Norrland last week we were able to participate in District Conference. The northern part of Sweden is not part of a stake but is its own district. Being mission president, President Newell is the Ecclesiastical leader for all of northern Sweden. This is the last district conference that President and Sister Newell would be at. The spirit was strong as President Newell spoke of the second harvest and the state of missionary work in Sweden. At the end of district conference they had everyone stand and sing hymn number 107. In the Swedish hymn book that is God be with you till we meet again. I had a hard time singing the hymn, I could barely say any of the words. President and Sister Newell have done a lot for the work here in Sweden, they will be missed. I'm thankful that I've been able to learn so much working closely with President Newell. He has all my respect and love.
This last week we also went to the famous Vasa museum in Stockholm. The Vasa is a ship from the 1600's which is the oldest ship on display in the world. It is also the only preserved ship from the 17th century that we have today. The ship had only been finished for a couple months when it sank. As a matter of fact it was the first time the ship tried to leave the port that it sunk right in Stockholm harbor. Pretty embarrassing actually. The problem was they tried to build it a little too big. It was going to be the first ship with two levels of cannons. So the ship was also too heavy. Another problem is they had two engineers working on it, one was Polish, and one Swedish. They worked from opposite ends toward the middle, the problem is they used two different systems of measurements. So the Vasa was sailing to its doom. If it had been completed the Swedish naval force would have looked very different. Stockholm is full of culture and history, I love being in the middle of it.
The mission makes a dvd called "Den Andra Skörden", it is a film which portrays the prophecies of the second harvest. Right now we are re-making it into an updated version. As I have been studying and gathering research/pictures/clips for this film the greater my testimony of the second harvest has become. I know this is God's work and that he is hastening it, it will go as fast as we do.
Äldste Jonathan Moe
Saturday, May 10, 2014
I have been very good, and very very busy. In the last couple weeks we have had baptisms, we've traveled around Sweden, Met some new missionaries at the airport, saw some old missionaries off, celebrated a few Swedish holidays, and more. I'll try and do it all justice with this blog update.
First and best, a 19 year old Swedish girl we have been teaching was baptized this last Saturday. She is super cool, and super outgoing. In Stockholm there is an institutes center for YSA's, she fits in there perfectly and gets along with everyone. She is even super close with some members in the ward. Her family is not super religious but she has seen the roll it can play in our lives. She is a very good example to me and it is meeting and teaching such people that makes me really feel like I am making a difference. She sadly is moving closer to Göteborg in a few weeks and so wont be in Täby ward for much longer but it will be really good.
This last week I got to go back to Södertälje, the city I served in six months ago, it was just on splits but I got to see quite a few members as it was ward cleaning day. They all remembered me and seeing them helped remind me of all of the good times I had there, with members, non-members, and other missionaries. I am super grateful for the people I have been able to visit and get to know as a missionary.
I mentioned that we had new missionaries come into Sweden! And yes, we had two new elders straight from the training center in Utah. We were able to meet them at the airport and it was a wonderful experience getting to walk them through their first couple days in Sweden. As their first day came to a close they were so tired they were falling asleep in orientation. It wont be the last time they are tired on their missions. At the same time they came in with such strong faith and energy, it is admirable. They will be amazing missionaries here. It is comforting knowing that as good missionaries leave there are always new ones coming in eager to push the work forward here in Sweden.
Now to speak of the flip side. The day after being with these young missionaries we were able to spend time with six missionaries leaving the mission. Talk about a change of scene. I think one of the most powerful moments of the week is when we were sitting in the mission home with all of them and President Newell and they bore their testimonies one last time in Sweden. The spirit was so strong in that room, their gratitude was amazing. It makes me super grateful and happy for my mission. All six f those missionaries who left are amazing people and good friends of mine. I had been companions with one, Elder Tietjen in Skövde. Then two others I had served near, Syster Haynes when I was in Eskilstuna, and I lived with Elder Newkirk when I was in Vendelsö. I will definitely miss all of the people in this group, the mission is worse without them.
I would like to end with an amazing experience I was blessed to have this last week. The first man I taught who was baptized is named Ståle Bryde. He is an amazing man, I have always known that but just today I found out something very cool. Over the last year he has been a ward missionary and this last Sunday he received the Melchizedek Priesthood. I called to congratulate him and we were able to catch up quite a bit. He shared that he had in fact given out 7 copies of The Book of Mormon to people around him, and he had introduced many to the missionaries. He is so missionary minded. He is amazing! He is making plans to go through the temple soon. I am very excited for this.
So, to sum of this week, I am extremely grateful, I love my mission, I try and work hard and be the best I can to make up for these blessing but I will always fall short. I'm grateful for Jesus Christ and his atonement, and grateful for everything that he does.
p.s. the church's amazing easter video, a must watch, http://easter.mormon.org/
Thursday, May 1, 2014
|Sweden Stockholm Temple|
|Valborg-Bonfire before May Day to officially welcome in Spring|
|Aldste Moe and some departing missionaries|
|Barbecue with the office crew|