Monday, March 30, 2015


I am moving into my third transfer here in the Stockholm innerstan area. It'll be my second with my companion Elder Downing. 

Walking along a street where were were tracting.
This week, I gained a little bit more perspective with my life. On Friday, we met with a man named Gunnar. He explained his life to us, the struggles, and the pains he has endured. In the end, he simply stated that he had no interest in God, because God either has a sick sense of humor, or He cannot exist. He is 78 years old and merely waiting to die at this point. He is not depressed looking, smiles, and cracks some jokes, but he has accepted where he is at in life. He made sure that we understood that he likes our company, but has interest in religion. That same day we met with a man named David, who is from Iraq. And his outlook is the complete opposite. He explained to us how he thanks God for the hard times, because he has seen the mercy that God has showed him. His every breath is, in fact, a gift from God. I was amazed at the difference between these two men. One was born into the land of Sweden and endured a life that he did not find pleasant. The other was born into Iraq, has since lost his house due to war and has had his own trials. But the outlook on life has been so different. I think it is the belief in God that has made all the differences. Our faith is a hope. Some may call it misguided, but I have faith that God is there. And that faith is what gives me the hope and desire to move forward regardless of circumstance. I do find myself asking why, as almost everyone will. But my faith in God is what helps me find the beauty in life.

A view from our investigator, Karim's window.  Beautiful night. 
Then, on Saturday, we had our first meeting with a guy named Viacheslav. He was born in Russia, and at the age of 4, his parents kicked him out of the house. He was simply an unwanted expense. He tried to return home two times, but his parents wouldn't take him back. He ended up living in the subway station finding food where he could. When he was five he was sent to an orphanage. It was run in a military style. The kids were required to do push-ups, up, down, on command. If there was any complaint or lack of compliance, they would get a lash from a baton. He got moved from that orphanage due to the abuse, and was sent to a new one. They sent him to one set apart for children with mental illnesses, because he was quiet. And the silence could be an indication of the child being crazy. He was eventually adopted into a Swedish family, but has since, been back to Russia. He was working shifts from 6 am to 1 am 6 days a week. He first met the missionaries when they knocked on his door. He was apprehensive about letting two dudes in suits, knocking on his door in the evening, into his home. He found out they share a message about Christ, much to his relief, but nothing really came of it. He met with other missionaries here in Sweden about a year ago, but then the contact was lost. We called him up, and met with him, and heard his story, and I realized just how great my life has been. I cannot imagine the struggles that he has been through, but through it all, he has a faith in Christ. Perhaps that is what carried him, I'm not sure. But his belief is there nonetheless. His principles that he lives by are almost the same as the Church, but he developed them on his own. 

On Wednesday, we had two girls interview us for their school class. They went through the set of questions that their teacher had asked them to get information on, but the discussion continued for almost an hour after that. They were especially interested with the question of God's existence. It is a common thing here that Swedes will say they don't believe in God, but they don't not believe in God either. They simply have no evidence to prove it either way. We did our best to explain how we gained our belief in God, and as I explained that everything in this world testifies of God's existence, my belief in God was reconfirmed. And I think they felt something too, because we will be meeting with them again next week.

Overall, it was a pretty good week, and we hope things will continue to move forward.

We thought the orange in the puddle just looked so poetic.