Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Midsommar as a missionary

The Office Crew at Midsommar
Täby ward council
Elder Haddon, myself and the ward mission Leader
 Missionary P-day
  This week has been another week filled with traveling and conferences.  We have been in every part of the country, from Norrland, to Västergötland, to Skåne.  The country is beautiful.  Although people always think of winter and cold when they think of Sweden the best time of year here is definitely summer.  When we were in Norrland last week we even got to see the Midnight sun.  It is light pretty much all of the time now, especially when your farther in the north.  Its not too bad here in Stockholm, the sun sets at 10.10 and rises at 3.30.  Sometimes it gets hard to keep track of time because of how much we revolve our lives around the sun, it really does mess with your inner clock.  
        This last week I did splits with the Stockholm Innerstan elders and was able to work with Elder Corbin, a fiery elder from Texas who I have a lot of respect for.  We taught a man from Brazil.  Having been busy with conferences and everything with the Newells leaving we have not been able to teach that much.  Sitting down and teaching him reminded me of why I came on my mission, reminded me that the best times I have had on my mission have been in the homes of others, teaching.  I have grown a lot, I have been able to learn how the church is organized, and been able to help the mission quite a bit.  But the reason I came to Sweden was to bless people with the peace and security that comes only through the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He talked about being baptized and his interest in becoming a member, his energy and excitement helped me to be excited about missionary work.
   This last week was a highpoint for Swedish culture.  It was Midsummer!  The 21st of June is the brightest day of the year and so in Sweden that is when we have midsummer celebrations.  Everyone gathers with family and friends and dances around the maypole singing traditional Swedish songs.  Eating Strawberries and other Swedish berries is a must as well.  During midsummer every grocery store and bodega gets completely emptied of all strawberries.  Its, in general a very happy occasion.  
    I had a few other run ins with Swedish culture in the last two weeks.  One of the Elders living in My apartment comes from Göteborg (Gothenburg).  And so he is able to cook very authentic Swedish meals.  Recently we have made Flygande Jakob, or flying Jacob in English, and Blood pudding.  The Flygande Jakob was amazing, and very Swedish.  The Blood Pudding I was kind of dreading, but either its not half bad or Elder Sahlin is the greatest chef there is.  After having both I gained a lot of respect for Swedish food, that will definitely be something I bring back with me, is some of the food and culture.  Although the Blood Pudding might not make it over the Atlantic...    Also this week we were able to visit with one of my role models here in Sweden.  He stands taller then most other people, even if he is in a wheel chair.  He has had progressive MS which has been attacking his body and now it just took a steep dive for the worse, on top of this the doctors said that he may be developing a strain of skin cancer.  Through all of this he doesn't question God or life but is as cheerful as he can be.  Because of the MS it is very hard for him to simple things such as read and pray. Things that we often take for granted.  
    This next week is proving to be a week of changes.  This Friday I am transferring from Täby, and I have really loved this area, to Stockholm.  I am very excited to be in the middle of Stockholm as a missionary.  The center of Stockholm is made up of 14 islands.  The day after I leave Täby President and Sister Newell leave the mission.  They have done so much for this country, the people, the missionaries, and for me that could never be quantified into numbers.  I am very excited to meet President and Sister Beckstrand, our new mission President, but President and Sister Newell will be greatly missed by Sweden.  I have grown to know and to love them very much.
love you all,

   Äldste Jonathan Moe

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The fruit of the Spirit

Colorful Swedish Homes
Jonathan with Runestones
 This last week went by so fast, it was amazing.  Time is going faster and faster.  Just as I can't imagine it going by quicker another week is gone.  It's summer 2014, and I left end of summer 2012.  I am excited to see friends and family again but it's coming too soon.  There are things on the mission that can be frustrating, or annoying, or discouraging.  But I love being a missionary, and I love being one here in Sweden.  It's the best.
      At one point last week, we were teaching an Investigator who had never really before had a faith.  He spoke to us about how he had always had Mormon friends and liked the church.  We taught him about Gods plan for us, how all will live again, and all will have a chance to follow Christ.  He said a lot of what we said spoke perfectly to his thoughts, to his concerns about the afterlife.  When we were finishing the lesson he talked about how much he needs to read the book of Mormon and we were just able to agree.  As we were wrapping up though one last thought came to me, to speak of recognizing the spirit.  We had to share the scripture from Galatians 5:22-23.
      22.But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering,gentleness, goodness, faith,
      23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
     After reading the Scripture he was able to speak of how he has felt the spirit in his own life, and how he feels as if he has been guided by the spirit even while growing up.  Part of it is having the ability to recognize the spirit in our lives. The spirit was very strong and I know that the spirit is able to carry to the hearts of all men and women the words of eternal life.  The word of God fills holes in the heart, but it's the spirit that delivers the message.
     This upcoming month (June) is going to be a month of invitation throughout all of Europe, every member is challenged to invite their family and friends to come to church.  The saints here are amazing examples.  And the work is hastening in Europe!  Never before in European history have they had so many people attend sacrament meeting as they have had this last year.  Europe is growing in church activity at unprecedented rates.  There is a special spirit of hastening here.  Last quarter Europe was the highest baptizing and reactivating continent (per capita active membership).  I am blessed to be a part of all of these miracles and progress.

   Äldste Jonathan Moe.