Monday, April 27, 2015


One of the prettiest sunsets I've seen in Sweden.
Our President recently asked us to focus on strengthening members, and at the same time, focus on improving our Swedish. We don't get as many opportunities to teach in Swedish as we would like, so we thought this would be a great opportunity to open up more doors to get to know the members as well. One of the members that we did this with is named Johan. He has been a member for a little over 2 years now, and he is still going strong. We had a great time teaching him, and got to know him better, as well. It was nice to hear his critique of our teaching at the end, but we also asked him about his story and why he is still active.  I think it's interesting that with every member, active or not, they always refer back to the special feelings they have associated with this church. We do not believe that in order to feel God's presence, we must be within this church. However, I do believe that the patterns in our lives do allow us to have those experiences more often than we would otherwise.
I felt like I was in Star Wars or something. Rather than go over the hill, this is a tunnel that goes through it. It was really random, right in the middle of Stockholm.
One of the big focuses of our week has been finding the lost sheep (Luke 15:4). The ward list is quite outdated, and there has not been a clerk working on it for quite some time now. Between that and some ward boundary changes, we have a lot of people who have been forgotten. I have looked through this list many times now, trying to find these people, get them back to church, and the names seem to stick in my mind. Occasionally, I will hear a name get thrown out in Ward council, and I recognize it, but I still have no face to put with that name. But there have been a few people who we have been able to get contact with, whether through the phone, or at the door. Or maybe they have moved, and we have been able to find them again, but those moments, when that name becomes a person, I understand the joy that Jesus talks about in Luke 15:5. Every soul is precious in the sight of God. No matter their circumstance in life, we are all His children.

 Luke 15 
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
The entrance to the tunnel.
I don't know that I have mentioned Rickard yet, but he has become one of my best friends here in Stockholm. We have been meeting with him for about 2 months now, and after every lesson, I feel a desire to do more and be better. He is a Swede who became Christian just a few years ago, and he is the only one in his family. We hadn't had contact for a week or two because he was out of the country, but Wednesday night, we were on our way back to the apartment for some dinner, when we received a call from him. He made some fish soup for us, and wanted to see if we could come over. Naturally, we said yes, and when we hung up, Elder Downing and I both got super pumped. It was just a great way to finish off the day. 
That's my companion. I thought I'd try and explain Elder Downing, but I think this does it best.
A typical Swedish church. 
One of the creepiest hot air balloons I've seen.

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