Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"You never lose with the Lord." (7/28/15)

Batman Selfie with Brink
This week was a week of accomplishment! If you thought it felt weird before, you have no idea now. It feels like everything just suddenly fell into place and I just no longer nervous at all! I am just excited for what the future holds for me! It has helped a lot that these last few days have been seriously perfect. We are working hard and loving what we are doing. I can't even believe that it is all changing soon! The work in Jönköping, as you have probably notice, is a bit different. We have a lot of young members and a lot of youth investigators. We have worked hard to really try to create situations where these two types of people can blend together and it really has shown amazing results! It is so cool to see friendship that can be created so quickly through the gospel. It is a major reason that I love Jönköping, we have a lot of fun and we see really amazing things happen.

A watch from Elder Pearson and
my handmade reindeer bracelet.
The closer we get to the end of a transfer I swear that is ALWAYS when things start to happen! It drives me crazy, it always happens. We have had some really nice things happen this week. The top part for me would be the baptismal interview I was able to give. His name is Dudas and he is a really good guy. He is the Sisters' investigator here in Jönköping. He really has a huge heart and a great spirit, he is a little older, about 75 but he really seems to understand the principals of the gospel! Looks like you are never too old to change you life and follow Christ! He showed me it's truly never too late! The interview was a amazing experience for me, when we got to the part of who will be baptizing him, I ask him and he responded: "Well, it would have to be you!" It was super nice of him to trust me to do that! So this Saturday I will be baptizing Dudas! I am very very excited for him! Should be a great ending! 

Borås Par-tay!
We had splits with the Borås elders this week. I went up to Boras with Elder Stoeltzing, an old companion from my Linköping days! We had so much fun together. It was really cool that we were together when we were both so young, we shared an area in Stockholm when we are in the middle and now we were able to compare where we are now, closer to the end! It is amazing how much you notice that someone has changed! He is an amazing person, I loved to being with him and talk with him. We went to help a member paint their house while I was there. It turns out that member was someone that I met in Skövde 2 years ago! We both recognized each other and it was a present surprise! We ended the night with a little fire by the lake with the Sisters there, had a little goodbye time. It was a lot of fun. We took some good pictures and called it a night!

I can't even explain what this picture means. #victory
This week has been full of members, and I LOVE it. The ward is way too good to us here. They make sure we are fed and support us in our actions! I love it, it is such a positive missionary atmosphere. I just love it. The Rönndahls are like amazing, we had gotten canceled with a dinner earlier in the day and I just thought I wanted to spend my last nights eating with members. So I thought of who I could ask if we could come over. Right away, the Rönndahls came to mind. Of course, they were awesome and said yes, but it doesn't stop there. I then realized with the splits and travel the Borås elders would have to take we would not only have us 2 but also them too, when I asked if it would be okay to have them come too, being now 6 missionaries, including the sisters. He simply replied: "Det är Lungt, alla kan komma :)" which means "That is okay, everyone can come!" It like meant a lot to me, I don't know how judgement day will go, but I am sure they will get some extra points somewhere for how nice they are to the missionaries. 

Suiting up for some Volleyball!
I am writing on Tuesday, because we had a pretty awesome Zone P-day in Göteborg yesterday! It was so AWESOME. We played Volleyball, like it was the greatest thing ever. Holy cow, I love volleyball. We were 24 so we split up into 4 teams and then had a tournament. It was crazy fun!! The team names were: Titans (my team), Gold Team, Booty Kickers, and Celestial Crew. We made it to the semi-finals against Gold Team, and lost 24-26... It was such a good game! Oh man, I was very excited and loud. My team was boss and we performed very well. It was a super killer Pday and we had so much fun. Our Zone consists of two districts, we had a quick best of 3 games, district vs. district... Those games we killed. It was so much fun. Overall it was the most jam-packed fun P-day anyone has every heard of. 

We are so cool, we can't even. #boråswannabes
I am so excited to come home! But I still have time to do good! I LOVE my mission, there is a lot of reflecting that has happened lately. I know there will be plenty of time for more on my 12 hours of flying I will be doing. But I am proud of the mission I have served. I am way more grateful for it though, as much as I feel I have put into it, work hard or sacrificed I KNOW that I have received so much more back. All of the people I have met alone has truly made every single struggle worth it, one hundred percent. Something I often tell people is a simple phrase that is: "You never lose with the Lord." That phrase had carried me through the hard times. No matter how much we feel something takes from us, or how much give up.. We will always receive so much more than we put in from the Lord. He is full of mercy and I am a living witness of that. He is the light at the end of the tunnel. He is the Good Shepherd, leading us home again. I am so thankful for this faith I have worked so hard to grow.  

The last week. Here we go! I am so scared but so excited! I hope it is just as great for you guys! I love you all! 

Äldste Farnworth

Monday, July 20, 2015

We are really doing so much! (7/20/15)

The coolest picture. Ever.
We had the coolest P-day in the world. It was really awesome! We went down into a cave! Like it was really cool. The whole district came down Sunday night and we got up early and discover the world under the world! It was crazy cool. We took a million and a half pictures. After being in the cave, we climbed the mountain that had the cave under it! We had a Fika and sang some songs! It was really cool. Like P-days in Jönköping are legendary! It is always a day to remember!

We have done enough work this week to fill 2 normal weeks! We are really doing so much! At the beginning of the transfer I made a goal as District Leader that I would go on splits with every elder in my district. Usually District Leaders only go on splits with each companionship but I really wanted to go with every elder. So I planned it out at the beginning and it looked like an easy goal to accomplish but of course, life happened and it got really hard! We had a lot of training meetings this months and things that created weeks that we couldn't go on splits! With 4 elders in the district it was becoming very complicated really quickly. The last two weeks we went hard to try to fit in an extra splits with Göteborg missionaries, and get on track to complete the original goal. Basically, we have travel more in the last weeks than I have ever before! On a late train last Saturday Night, I was thinking to myself: "Why am I putting myself through all of this?" 

Then it hit me, this is the Gospel to me. I believe we are here to help each to create relationships that strength and help people grow. That is where all the motivation has come from for me, it has been the satisfying feeling after I leave an elder that I just spent the last 24 hours trying all I could to help that person gain something. In church yesterday, I opened the thought to more that just a missionaries example. I realized that we are really here as people to help each other get back to God. God isn't here physically on the earth, he doesn't call us when we are having a rough time, or send us a happy text when we are sad, but he has sent us. He has created people that can do those things. That is one of the most important things I feel I have done out here in Sweden, I have been there for the people the Lord has trusted me with. Not just non-members but everyone. It has been the clearest form of happiness I have received, the feeling of knowing that I helped someone. That is why we are here. 

Starbucks... Mmmm.
On Wednesday, we spent the day in GÖTEBORG. I love that city, like a lot. We were there for a Specialized Zone Training, with President and Sister Beckstrand. They are great, we have such a good time when they are there. The whole training was about the Book of Mormon. It was really cool. We talked about two chapters the whole time. 2 Nephi 9 and The Book of Enos. It may sound like we are just becoming really repetitive in that but it is so cool! There is SO much to learn in there! I felt like the whole training was really good and it gave me a lot of energy to finish the last stretch of my mission really strong! I also did something that I thought I would never do at a Missionary meeting... I actually sang! A few people got a little group together from the district together and we sang a really great version of I Need Thee Every Hour. It was like SO amazing, I loved singing and it really seemed to help me feel the spirit better so it was really something that was awesome. 

We have this member named Williams here, he is a really great guy! We found out that the missionary that he always talks about wanting to meet again, the one who baptized him, was Elder Smith! My really good friend who is currently serving in Göteborg, so while we were up there we asked the President if they could come back and do a work over exchange in Jönköping so that they could meet again! President approved and the split was on! Elder Smith and Elder Jones were here! It was fun to have Elder Jones here too, he was my companion like a few months ago here! So he was really excited to come as well!!. 

Leaving the human zone... In style.
The other splits we had this week was with the Skövde Elders, Elder Walker came here and we had a pretty great time. We went to Värnamo and taught Carina! I loved it, it was like one of the best lessons I have had in a while, we taught the Restoration. All we did was read from Joesph Smith- History! There is so much goodness there, I really like it cause it is very simply said. Everything that he felt or experience is written so clearly. It took us a long time to get through it all because we were stopping and discussing it so much, I just got a lot of amazing insights from that! It was really great!

At church yesterday, it was a tough day for the ward. There is a member here that was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia, he is the greatest guy ever! It was really hard to hear that, he is so young and has an amazing family. There is a lot of Family-like mentality with the church here in Sweden, so it was really cool to see how much the members here care and as a ward wanted to willingly do those things that we can to help them! I love that part of Sweden, everyone here is family! 

I am excited to have another great week! I hope everyone has the same! I love and miss you all! 

Äldste Farnworth

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Argumentatively the greatest selfie ever. (7/13/15)

Just the view from my bedroom #nbd
The end is no longer something that I am seeing the future, the end is something that I am officially in. It is the now. It's funny, I feel like I am just as nervous to come home as I was to come out. I feel like it is the great unknown and what I am living now it the normal. I love my mission, I love everything I do and the hardships I face and have faced. I see everyday as a chance to start new through the Atonement, I see the hope and the pure joy that the Gospel can bring to anyone that is willing to except it. I love this so much, I really was hit with the fact that I am getting to the point that it will all end. I think for the most
part that people believe that is it just a happy and exciting time, don't get me wrong it is awesome, but it is a waterfall of emotions. I am just trying to take them all in and process them! I am choosing to go forward to with faith in God that he has a plan!

So many strawberries.
This week was amazing, I am starting to just love everything that I do! I swear, the Lord is saving the best for last! It really has been an amazing week! We started this week with a super awesome-packed P day, we went to this big strawberry farm. It was like huge, we went and basically picked a ton of strawberries! You would pay for what you wanted to take with you but while you were there picking you could eat as many as you wanted, so we really took that seriously, we ate the day away while we chatted and had a great time! We ended with a BBQ and Volleyball, so yeah, I am not sure that day could have been better. 

We are really trying to continue to take advantage of the nice summer heat and atmosphere that it brings to Sweden! There are a lot of people there that take all of there vacation days at once, and in Sweden, everyone gets a minimum of about 25 day off (working days) So a very common excuse we have gotten from a lot of people is simply: "Sorry, I won't be available the month of July. I will be taking my vacation then." Like there is not much to do when they say that, Swedes love to escape the country they live in and often go to Italy, France, or anywhere that is slightly warmer. It is pretty funny! It does have a big effect on the type of work we do and we are trying to just spread goodness in anyway we can! 

This lady is the best!
We have this lovely friend named Victoria, she is the coolest. We often have meals with her, I am sure I have sent home pictures with her before. If you can't remember I will send some more. Anyways, we have been working with her for a little while now and I just love it. She is so much fun to be with! On Wednesday, I feel like I got a little bit of a taste of what Zachary had the luxury of having on his mission: a "mamita."Victoria offered to come and make us lunch at the church, it is true that we get fed in Sweden by people quite a bit but it was just really funny having here talking about how we can make a lot so we can have extra to take home. She made this awesome food, and when I told that she was making me feel like I was a missionary in Chile enjoying the benefits of it. It was really fun. She thought that it was funny too. 

Argumentatively the greatest selfie ever.
I went on a wonderful exchange this week. We switched with the Boräs Elders, I took with me Elder Blackburn back to Jönköping. It was seriously so awesome. I had a great time, hopefully he felt the same. It was really cool to be with him, it was a little weird when we realized that he has been in Sweden the same amount of time that I have left... ahhh. We talked a lot about life and such and all that stuff that you talk about when you are meeting new people. Pretty quickly we found out that we have a lot of the same interests. It made it really fun, we spent the day with Saneeka, she followed us on our lessons and the whole day I was really impressed with Elder "Blackbjörn" (Blackbear), that is what I call him. He is like really going to do amazing things while he is here, he is already like so much more prepared then I was when I was in his shoes, so it was cool to see that. All-in-all we had a boss time, surely a highlight of the week.
The dream team

In the mission right now we are focusing on The book of Enos and 2 Nephi chapter 9. I have been studying them a lot lately, and they have so much amazing things in them. A daily 1- hour personally study just isn't enough. I feel like there is so much in the scriptures that we will never truly understand. I find myself re-reading verse 5 or 6 times before I truly start to grasp what the Lord is trying to tell us. How awesome is that? It makes me so excited to see and that we have such a great time and chance on this earth to learn and grow so much as people. We are simply here to learn and grow, that is pretty nice.

America... You have to compete with this. #goodluck
The Members here in Jönköping continually are getting better and better to us, the relationships I am forming here are quickly becoming those relationship that I know won't end when my time here ends. I love it here so much, I love the people, I love the language, I love this country. I am ready for life to continue on in the States but I am also so sad to see this part of my life coming to an end. It has been so good to me. We have a killer week, again, set up and I just can't wait to start! I love you all, I miss you all. I'll end my saying I know God lives, and I know that we Loves us. All, as his literal children, because that is what we are. 

Ha det bra allihopa!
Äldste Farnworth 

Monday, July 6, 2015

They were climbing UNDER the train!! (7/6/15)

Summer is so awesome!
Well this week we have been holding on with white knuckles! We have just been going and going and going! You always know it is going to be a great and fast week when you are completely booked by Monday evening. We were ready for it though! To give you an idea of how much we travel, I think I could honestly say that we spent 15 hours on Trains, and Buses this week! It is totally crazy. 

We got a referral for this guy named Olof. He apparently was really interested in the gospel and we were really excited to go and meet him. He only sent his address, so we went to Eksjö to contact him! After 2 hours of travel and tracking down his address in the warm Swedish summer heat, we came to the conclusion that he does not exist. It was tough break but the address didn't match up at all. We didn't want the whole trip to be a waste and we decided we were there for a reason. We contacted and taught a few people about The Book of Mormon and it was a really nice visit to be honest! I loved it. One lady that really meant a lot, after we had given her a Book of Mormon, I felt really strongly that she needed to know that she has a Heavenly Father that LOVES her and knows exactly what she is going through, it was definitely that small moment that stuck with me. Hopefully it was what she needed too! Trip to Eksjö = successful. 

I love this kid!
We went on exchanges with Skövde again this week! I love Elder Harrison! This was my second time going with him and he is just the straightest shooter! Gosh, he is the best. We had such a good day and we really talked a lot, there are too many good things to mention about that day. There is one crazy thing that happened though! We had to take a train that evening from Skövde to Göteborg to stay the evening for Zone Training the next day, and while we were stopped in Falköping (a city outside of Skövde) there was this crazy incident with these guys that would refuse to let the train leave. How? They were climbing UNDER the train!! I have never seen anything like that in my life. It was totally insane, it was all happening right outside our window so I took so pictures, but they probably wouldn't be the best to send. I don't want to have any problems. It was crazy though! 45 minutes we waited for the Police to come and stop them so we could leave! Of course, elder Harrison and I made a bigger deal of it among the other missionaries.... But hey, when not to much crazy stuff happens in Sweden you got to take advantage of stuff when it comes!! Haha 

I think Beach Volleyball is officially my favorite sport. Jönköping loves to play, we play all the time. I ain't complaining one bit! It is really awesome, the Friday Night Activity that missionaries do has simply become Volleyball. It is so much fun! We finally have summer here so it is really nice! I don't mean to brag but I am like pretty awesome at Volleyball! Just sayin' 

This week was AMERICA'S birthday! I am sure this is not news to any American reading this but to everyone else! We had the greatest celebration ever! All the Americans in the ward gathered and we met at the Strömberg's house! The best part? The Strömbergs are from England! I thought it was quite ironic that we were celebrating our independence from England with the very Brits themselves! It was actually really a lot of fun! British people have really grown on me, I might even say that I am starting to like British people. The party was a lot of fun, we sang the National Anthem and had American Flag cake and just had a blast! I am so grateful we have such amazing people here to allow us to have such a good time!! 

Sunday was the Holy Day. It usually always is, but this Sunday was just awesome. I love church so much. I am seriously going to miss coming to church in Sweden. Everything just sounds so much better in Swedish. I'll be the first to say that! We had testimony meeting today, which I just love. There were so many people that have amazing testimonies, including Saneeka! I loved hearing her speak, it was really cool! She is awesome. I gave my testimony about God be our Loving Heavenly Father. I just feel so strongly about that right now! I feel like I need to be sure that EVERYONE knows that before I leave! I really have come to know that He is not just the all-knowing, all-seeing being that watches over us all the time, but he is a loving and compassionate father that knows us, loves us and wants what is best for us! I have come to know this through hardships and trials that I never thought I would face but the knowledge I have now makes all those Hardships and trials something I am thankful for. I love my Father.

The coolest flower ever... Löjtnantshjärtan!

Äldste Farnworth