Tuesday, November 24, 2015

First SNOW! :):)

Uppsala Crew!

This week was full of traveling around for me and Äldste Bailey.  We went on splits with the Elders in  Gävle so I went up there to switch, and then came back down to Uppsala with Äldste Liddle.  We had an awesome time and had some fantastic lessons with people.  He is an Elder that used to work in the office and is really knowledgeable about a lot of things.  This is the second time I’ve been with him and I learn a lot every time!  

This blizzard was getting intense!
We went back up to Gävle the next day for a district meeting where it Snowed!  It was actually snowing pretty hard haha.  It is about a 30 minute walk from the train station to the Church.  As soon as we got off the train it started snowing and then about half way to the chapel it started falling hard!  AWESOME.  So we were able to witness the first snow of the season in Gävle.  It has snowed a little bit in Uppsala but not that much.  Should start here this week hopefully!  It’s just been really icy and frozen lately.  Right now it is about 3:00pm and the sun is almost completely set.  That makes things interesting too :) 

So we had a good district meeting.  We also had Stake Conference (Sat night and Sun).  Went down to Stockholm on Saturday to attend the Saturday session, then slept over at the missionaries place there for the Sunday session as well.  That was a party…. haha!  There were 10 missionaries sleeping in one little apartment!  It was super fun actually.  There were tons of missionaries at Stake conference so it was awesome to see a bunch of people I hadn't seen for a while too. :)  

That morning as we were walking to conference, we had the chance to walk through the cemetery in Stockholm and it was super pretty.  Got some awesome pics!  IT IS SO BIG.  Don't quote me, but I heard it is the largest in all of Scandinavia...  All I kept thinking was that God’s creation (the world) is amazing, and that he has provided a way for all these dead people to come back to him. AMAZING!
I love my Work!
Companionship photo of
the year right here!
We had the most amazing lesson with Klara this last week :D  We were finishing up teaching her the Gospel of Christ and the Spirit was so strong.  She made some amazing comments about Christ and the Holy Ghost, Baptism and all that.  We asked her if she had prayed to Heavenly Father if the Book of Mormon is True and if this Church is True.  She said she hadn’t...  We were then like, "Let’s get on that!!  That’s how your going to find out!" :)  We got her to commit to do that and then we asked her to pray at the end of the lesson.  In this sweet prayer, she asked Heavenly Father if the Book of Mormon is true, and if this is the word of God, and if these words we are saying are true….   I personally felt the Holy Ghost so strong.  A feeling of assurance and peace filled my heart.  She ended the prayer and there was silence for a moment.  Right then, we asked her how she felt.  She said that she felt peace and comfort like she was hugged by something or someone!  We shared with her that what she is feeling is the Holy Ghost.  We bore our testimonies of the truth of that principle and we are continuing to move forward.  She has grown so much spiritually!  This Holy Ghost is a powerful thing.  In Moroni 10:5 it says that through the power of the Holy Ghost, you may know the truth of ALL things.  It is so true!  We are not the ones teaching…. That’s the Holy Ghost’s job.  We’re just here to help make that connection.  Through this Holy Ghost we can all find out for ourselves, not only if the Book of Mormon is true, but with ANYTHING.   Any wisdom we lack can be found from God through the Holy Ghost.
OMGoodness SNOW

Love you all :)
Äldste Blackburn

Splits with the one and only Äldste Liddle!
He actually plays bass too! 
Mid-day contacting :)

I didn't actually go out like this but I can't
wait for the day I have to. haha
Selfie with our friend Zlatan in our kitchen
(Swedish Soccer Player) 
Getting creative for morning work outs
with Books of Mormon and my back pack.:)
Walking through Gävle for District meeting.
See that snow on my jacket!! 
Äldste Muirhead and I capturing this
beautiful moment of the first Snow fall!

Getting nice and cozy for the cold
Swedish nights :)

Walking through the forest this morning on the
 way to email and saw this little frozen
squirrel hole on the ground with an icicle
hanging off the leaf. I kept walking,
 then I felt that I should go back and
take a picture. I'm glad I did! haha
Our companionship is unique..
This place literally so sick. (Amazing)
I want to be buried in a Forrest!

Very unigue
At a members house in Stockholm
for a nice dinner! (rooftop view)
Sunrise this morning
outside our apartment
Walking through Skogskyrkogården
(massive cemetery in Stockholm)
 to get to Stake Conference


Just fantabulous!


Out of this world!

Some frosted-over graves.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Burn baby burn!! Six months down!

Hejsan!  (Hello)

6 months down! :D
A year and a half to go!
Six months down everybody!  Crazy how fast time fly's by.  I hit my six month mark this last Friday and it's a missionary tradition to burn a tie at six months so we went up to our roof and burned that sucker!  Next up is a year and I get to burn a shirt then!  I'm feeling a lot more comfortable with Swedish now and can understand a lot.  I speak more fluently and have even picked up an accent so people can’t tell I’m an American any more! :)  My grammar still needs work and still working on widening my vocabulary.  I remember when I was getting trained in my first area and it felt like i just wasn't cut out for missionary work and that I would never get it or feel comfortable doing it (speaking the language).  I'm feeling a lot more comfortable now.  I just have to keep working for it and pushing it.  This last week was awesome!  The temperature dropped a lot and it already feels like it’s dark almost all day.  It’s going to snow this next week too!  We also had some fun activities at church this week! 

Started off with Äldste Bailey I going to play basketball with a bunch of Jehovah Witnesses on Tuesday night .  Quote Äldste Bailey "On Tuesday, we were invited to play basketball with a guy and some of his friends at this old school (it's hard to find a place to play ball in Sweden). So we decided to go. When we got there we found out that like everyone there were Jehovah's Witnesses (J dubs). These guys are usually never willing to listen to our message but we tried anyways.  It was really fun to be able to play ball again.  It was hard to shoot the ball unless you shot a frozen rope because there was some gymnastic equipment hanging from the ceiling that the ball would hit almost every time, but I was able to dribble.  I know I'm not supposed to think about this, but in my head I was thinking "Jehovah's Witnesses vs. The Mormons" and that I would show them who the true church is hahaha but don't worry I didn't say any of this stuff and I kept my cool and was nice :) One guy was actually pretty interested that we talked to afterwords.  He said he would like to talk more about our beliefs. We are going to go tomorrow as well and feel out the situation. If we don't find anyone interested, we probably won't go back but it was still super fun."  My companion is a crazy baller.  (amazing basketball player) I'm not even super good but it was fun playing against Europeans that have never really played in their lives haha. 

Rockin out with members on
Music night at church!
Syster Irene and I touching
 people spiritually. 
This last Saturday was Music Night. They do it once a year and several people from the ward perform somthing. I ended up singing a song with all the missionaries (4 Aldstes, 2 Systers) that we wrote about teaching in Swedish.  It was actually pretty funny haha.  Then I performed Nämare Gud Till Dig (Nearer My God to Thee) with Syster Irene playing for me. Then Syster Irene and I sang Min Själ Dig Gläd (Be Still My Soul).  After that we were asked to perform that Nämare Gud Till Dig the next day at Ward Conference so we did and it was awesome.   Super fun!  I always love singing. 

The hunters in the forrest on the prowl
We got a lot of referrals this week!  (meaning other cities in Sweden refer investigators that live in our city that are interested in meeting) There is one really positive guy that came to the Music night and we will see were that goes.  He came from East Africa.  We are also continuing to move forward with our baptisimal date with Klara!  She’s doing great and just sent us a message about how she was having some problems and then prayed and how she felt so much better.  This is a Swede that has had no relationship or knowledge about God her whole life!  We had the opportunity to teach her how to pray when we first met her and to hear her first prayer.  It’s always special hearings someones first prayer…. It’s so sincere.  Some of these people really are wanting to know and we are just here to help them come to that knowledge and to invite them to act.

Love you all! Happy November!
Äldste Blackburn
On splits with Äldste Peterson!
Syster Kamauoha teaching Hula Dance
on the ward music night!

Quick pic while out contacting
Syster Irene and I stepping into the
"Rökzone" (smoke zone) as rebels. 
Our Uppsala missionaries saying goodbye to our
dear friend Barbra going back to Cananda!

Burning that 6 months away with a tie
from the thrift store and lighter fluid 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hej Hej! 

The Force is strong here in Sweden
(We got to play with a members light-sabers)
This week was nice and dark!  The sun is setting at about 3:30 now and getting darker every day.   It’s cloudy a good amount of the day too!  It’s actually been warmer this last week because it has been raining a bunch!  I think the hardest thing about it is that we come home for dinner and its pitch black and then we have to go back out in the pitch black.  But its fun!  Just gets hard some days to get the energy haha. 

This week was cool though.  I´ll start off by saying that we got invited to this club by a member that was a presentation of the Mormon religion to students.  He said that it was down in a basement and it kind of sounded sketchy.  haha  This same day we got back from a (missionary) zone training in Stockholm and it was late at night.  We looked for a while trying to find this club.  When we found it we had to go down these stairs that were outside to get into the basement.  There were candles set up out side and a sign out front with the name of our church.  We waited a bit and it still seemed weird…. but we went down and talked to the guy at the front desk.  We saw our member friend that invited us and he then let us in.  There were people drinking beer, coffee, and chilling down there.  Was a super old building!   We were then informed more about what this meeting was and that there was a representative from our church there.  It was a member of the Stake Presidency.  (local church leader)  He was SO happy to see us!  So many people showed up, probably about 25 to 30 people wanting to know what our church believes in and why we, as missionaries are in Sweden.  Elder Bailey and I were like celebrities!  haha  As soon as there was a coffee break, we went to talk to people and we were surrounded.  A lot of interested people and it was cool for them to see a missionary in real life!  We left about 15 Books of Mormon on the table and gave out some cards.  Was a pretty fun experience but we had to leave early to get home on time (mission rules).
An awesome thing that happened earlier this week was when Elder Bailey and I were out street contacting and talking to people. I made eye contact with a man sitting on his bike not moving.  We went over there to talk to him and he immediately recognized us and said that he was once a Mormon and that He hasn’t been to Church in over 10 years.  He was living in a part of Africa that didn’t have one and he has just moved back to Sweden and didnt know that there was a church in our city.  We then talked to him for a while and taught him a brief lesson and got his number, and we are going to try to get him back to church!  He wants to come and is down to meet with us too. There are SO many people in the world and our message is so important for people to hear or be reminded of.  

Love you guys! Peace...
Äldste Blackburn
Cleaning day with the ward preparing
 the church for winter!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Happy Alla Helgons Dag! :)


This week was fantastic but long!  Transfer weeks just tend to be long.  It was fun though.  Got to go with Äldste Johnson to say goodbye to a lot of people and investigators.  Very eventful!  We started it off going to do service at a members house.  We tore plant boxes apart and Äldste Baily and I went ham (went 200%) on those things.  We can say they have been completly demolished!  After that we went through their back yard and they had an awesome park where we got some high action pictures on the swings.  Pretty intense. :)

Äldste Walker joining in on the fun.
Saying goodbye to my companion.
He's going to kill in in Malmö
We dropped Äldste Johnson off at the train station on Wednesday…  Then the party started and the power companionship began between Äldste Bailey and me!!  We went hard this week and got a Baptismal date!  That means that one of our investigators just agreed to be baptized on a certain date if she knows our message is true for her self.  The date is the 29th of November and we are teaching here two times a week to get her ready :)  We hope that this will stick!  She is super cool and has an open mind and is willing to search for her self and reads a lot :)  We will let that spirit work on her.  Äldste Bailey is super driven with contacting and talks to everyone!  Awesome missionary.  We also got a new missionary!  Äldste Muirhead from Canada!  He’s really similar to Äldste Walker (his trainer) that’s good.

Another fun thing about this week was that right before sacrament meeting was about to start at church, we got a call saying that the Organist wasn’t going to be there and we needed to play the music.... so Äldste Bailey played the opening song, and I played the Sacrament song and the closing song haha.  That was a first!  Organs are pretty fun actually, but it was weird playing for that many people when they are singing along.  Good times!  Hopefully the last time... :):)

A funny thing that happened this last week that was spiritual as well just happened yesterday actually.  We were on our way to the Cemetery to see all the candles for this Swedish Holiday and we contacted this lady.  It started out really positive and then she snapped.  haha  She was saying how we were wrong about every thing, and how we are going to hell and saying all this weird stuff.  CRAZY  After a while, we realized she knew nothing about what we believe or teach, and that she was some sect of a christian church.  We tried sharing with her but she was just not letting us talk.  She then said she wanted to "pray" for us.  She first prayed for Äldste Bailey by grabbing his hands and was speaking the "gift of tongues" and was really just talking a mix of swedish/english/nonsense….  saying "set him free!" and "save this man!"  She then finished and did the same thing to me but touched my head and was saying the same kind of stuff.  She then finished and asked us how we felt and we both had the same feeling that was so strong that the Holy Ghost was witnessing to us that what we know is true and the knowledge that we have about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is true.  We straight up told her that.  She definitely didn't expect that, but its true!   Testimony builder right there!  There are over 90,000 different Christian faiths out there.  In the Bible it says in Ephesians 4:5, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism."  I have found out for my self that this IS the "one faith" and that we as missionaries invite people to search it out for them selves.  I love this knowledge I have! 

Love you guys! 
Äldste Blackburn
Candles out Alla Helgons Dag at the
cemetery in memory of the dead.

Happy Alla Helgons Dag! :)
Super cool!

Look at all these people out
on this Sunday night to talk to!

More beautiful country side.
Country side sky.

This city is growing on me!

This guy behind me has the right idea
This church is so big! and why
 does the sun set at 4:00?!