Monday, March 3, 2014

Sad News, Aldste Bailey serving in Vasteras struck and killed by car.

One of Aldste Ward's missionary brothers has passed away.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the family right now and with all the Swedish missionaries serving now.  Aldste Ward was in the MTC with him and knew him fairly well.  He said he was one of the best missionaries and a great guy.  Such a shock but what a blessing to have the knowledge of the gospel and know that he is just continuing his mission beyond the veil.  Many prayers of comfort and blessings to his family. 

Aldste Ward said:
Some sad news that have happened in the mission.  An elder here in Sweden who was in the MTC with me was hit by a car last night and killed.  Elder Bailey is a really great guy and that is so sad for his family.  He really was a great missionary and I am sure he will continue his work on the other side.  I was with him for a mission leadership conference we had this week and me and my MTC companion and Elder Bailey got a picture together there after the meeting.  Please keep those families in your prayers this week.  
Aldste Ward, Aldste Bailey, Aldste Lundquist at a leadership conference this week.

March 1, 2014

Dear Family,

This week was a pretty good week.  Some people we were working with are J, from Cuba.  He has a lot of interesting thoughts about religion but loves to talk to the missionaries!  Also there are two ladies from Ghana who we have been teaching.  There names are L and B and they are religious but don't really want to read the Book of Mormon.  They are nice.  Also there is a young couple who the wife broke her foot and they have a puppy who always wants to be out so we got to take it on a walk this week and we hope to help out and take it on more walks when we're in the area haha.  L is a Swedish guy who is progressing relatively well and actually came and checked out the church this week and we gave him a little tour of it and so he got to see it.  We hope he will come to sacrament next week!  One more guy who we have been working with is T.  He has been investigating the church for a long time (his wife is a member) but is really nice and is reading the Book of Mormon now, which is really exciting.  Those are some of the people we got to meet with during the week.

Also some other news from the week was that we got two more assistants to the President this week so they will be living in the mission office where Elder Held and I had been living but they decided that 8 people was too much for one apartment so we will be living in a different part of Stockholm actually really close to the temple (one train stop away) but it is a long trip back to Täby everyday, about an hour.  They are hoping it will be a short time until the new apartment is ready near Täby Centrum for us to move in, but they have been waiting on it since we first got here at the beginning of last month!  

But to answer your questions the weather here this week has been pretty boring actually.  It has been cloudy and a little rainy and then even snowed last night a little bit.  I haven't been able to go to the temple yet, it is closed on mondays so we can't go for on p-day.  The language is coming along very well actually.  It is sometimes hard to understand everything if you can't ask questions to clarify or if you are tired and can't focus but most the time I can understand!  I also received some nice compliments about the language this week, including a lady that said that I sound Swedish it just takes a little more time for the words to come out hahaha.  I am so grateful that I have been blessed to at least sound ok sometimes!  My favorite area that I have been to so far is hard to answer.  But I would probably say Västra Frölunda in Göteborg.  The missionary work there was great, I was there in a nice part of the year, the ward is nice, my companion was great (well I am happy to have been with all my companions everywhere I've gone), and the area is really neat in central Göteborg!  But I have been to some fun places, and I am sure that each one would be absolutely beautiful to visit in the summer.  Each really has some really cool things about it.  

I am glad to hear that you all had such a great week.  Fun that it was the best ski day that Dad has ever had up at Beaver Mountain and that everyone else thought it was awesome too! And fun that you got to go to the Bluebird with everyone and then visit Grandma and Grandpa Jorgy and Jared.  Also exciting that Mom you got a new calling in the Young Women's, that will be fun to be with Abby!  How was it to see all the "Swedish missionary moms"? That sounds like it would be pretty fun to meet all of them.  The picture you sent looks like you are sitting next to a sister in my MTC group because she looks like her haha!  But good luck Estee with your piano lessons, you will love it!  Also have fun at Disney on Ice!  Jake keep it up with skiing and basketball!  How tall are you now? Abby great work with school and good luck on the ACT!  You will do such a great job!  Also Mom and Dad enjoy your trip to Hawaii!  I am jealous!

I was able to do some more family history this week, but I will have to tell you all about that next week because I am out of time haha. But I love you all so much and hope you have a great week!  I miss you and hope you know that you are in my prayers!  

Love, Äldste Andy Ward

February 24, 2014

Hey Guys!

This week was another good week in Täby.  The weather was generally a little bit nicer, so we got to see the sun out a few times.  It seems like it is pretty windy in Stockholm and so a clear day can quickly change into a cloudy one and then back and then cloudy again.  But a little about my week:

Monday- was a pretty good p-day.  Got to go play some basketball at a chapel on the other side of Stockholm.  It was fun, I always love to play basketball!  Didn't get to teach anyone though.  

Tuesday- following the family's pattern, I got sick!  I have been so blessed on my mission that I haven't been sick at all until last Tuesday.  We still went and tried to swing by some old investigators without much luck.  But it was good to go over to that part of the area where we hadn't been before.

Wednesday-  We are at the church every Wednesday and Friday to have the chapel open for people to come in who are interested.  We also do family history, so on Wednesday's a lady comes and does it and then a member is there to help out as well.  But I was also able to do some family history this week actually and I found out that Ezra Taft Benson, one of our ancestors (my great, great, great grandpa, on Dad's side, was the 20th apostle called in this dispensation and built apparently an amazing and beautiful house across the street from Temple Square, where the Zion's bank head offices are, directly south from the Joseph Smith building!  It was pretty cool to find that out.  I also found out that his son Frank Andrus Benson, had a house in Logan across the street from I think Logan High.  He married Amanda Charlotta Eliason, who had immigrated with her parents, Anders Eliason Jr and Hedvig Carlson from Sweden!  They are the other connection I have found to Sweden and they are from a place close to Göteborg, called Alingsås.  I have actually been doing work for their ancestors, not anything too exciting but fixing a few of the errors that were in the website, and looking through old Swedish 1700's church records for information.  I can not read what they say most of the time but the nice member who comes can translate into normal Swedish for me :)  I also read a little about Earl Eric Holmstead and how great an athlete he was.  Apparently he was very good at baseball and had scouts showing interest but decided to not play professionally.  However the gloves were thinner those days so his hands got a little curved from catching those hard pitches again and again and so he couldn't flex his fingers out all the way when he was older and they mentioned that it was funny when he was a teacher and would point to have one of the students answer they wouldn't know who he was pointing at!  And one more thing, about Hans Jorgensen now.  He was introduced to the gospel by his son who had just shortly heard it from Erastus Snow, one of our ancestors on Dad's side!  But yea it is exciting to find all the neat things about our ancestors!  To wrap up Wednesday we went and did a little family home evening with a family of 3, a mom, son, and daughter from Iran.  

On Thursday we went and visited this old lady, who lived on the 14th floor of a building.  Also went and tried to swing by some people and talk to people on the way, then went to ward council and talked a little about the missionary work here.

On Friday We had district meeting before we went to the church.  It was my first district meeting that I taught and I was a little nervous but I actually think it turned out pretty well.  We talked about the many characteristics that Ammon had as a missionary.  There were a lot mentioned in the scriptures!  We were at the church again on Friday and I did a little more of the family history stuff I talked about earlier and then after the church time we started our way over to a less-active member's house in the rain and talked to this one weird guy for like half an hour, but he wasn't really interested in learning, just discussing.  We visited this lady and that was nice and then she gave us this yummy Swedish treat called a Semla.  It is like a roll with almond cream and then sugar on top and I didn't think I would like them too much because of the cream but they are actually pretty good.  

Saturday we spent the day around this one street and visited a few investigators, including J and then an African family, and a couple of members living over there and also was able to meet a few people on the street.  One was an older lady who said that her son actually rents out his apartment in Stockholm somewhere to 2 missionaries!  It was a funny little coincidence and then another one when we ran into her later that day!  

Sunday- had church and President Newell wasn't there but Syster Newell was!  So I got to say hi to her.  The joke with the missionaries here is that President is a less active member in his own ward here.   Also yesterday got to teach another investigator named Leif, who we are trying to get to pray everyday and then come and see what church is like.

But that was pretty much my week!  It started off not so great since I was sick for the first few days but then I think we were able to salvage it haha.  It actually snowed here this week and we had snow for 2 days and then the snow turned to rain and now there is less snow than there was before haha.  But that is so exciting about each of your weeks!  It is neat that we now have a pet jaguar :)  and that skiing was great,  Abby had a fun dance, and a fun after party at our house and that is too bad that Jake got sick :(  but at least he got one day of skiing in, and Estee is becoming an amazing skier!  I can't believe it is almost March!  Where has the past year gone!?  It doesn't feel like it has been too long since I was sitting watching March Madness without my wisdom teeth!  And Dad yes I remember having a great time at Red Robin with you and sometimes Jake and how fun that would be with all that great food!  Abby how are all your intense AP classes going?  Is it hard to keep up with all of them?  How is Calculus? Oh and last week I forgot to tell Estee thanks for her beautiful picture she sent me, I love it!

Thank you guys for being the wonderful parents and family you are!  You guys really are the best and I can't imagine a better family! I miss you and love you so much! Have a great week! 


Äldste Andy Ward

February 17, 2014

Dear Family,

This week was a pretty good first full week in Täby!  I did get your Valentine's package and I loved it!  Thanks so much!  You guys are the best!  I really liked the one that Estee did that tricked me!  It said like I love you, look on other side or something like that and then you turn it around and it says ha ha ha ha.  She is a trickster!  Also thanks for the pics of that one guy from Utah State with the best red flat top of all time!  So funny!  I also loved to see all the different pictures of you guys and the Bugs Bunny quotes were pretty good too :)  I am still in the process of looking up all the scriptures on them.  Also I appreciated the nice comments that Abby and Jake wrote too like "I brag about you to all my friends" and "I miss going skiing with you"  I sure am grateful for my family!

Some highlights from this week were that we taught this cool guy named J who is from Cuba and we will see how interested he is in progressing.  He is a really nice guy who knows all these different languages and loves to talk to us.  

I don't know if I have told you guys this but we are doing an open church thing in the mission where they want the doors to be unlocked and open so that people walking by and feel free to come in if they want.  On Wednesday we did that and then also had scheduled this lady named Anne-Kristin to come and do some family history work with another member.  I think she really liked it building her family tree on the website.  Also the member there was a nice older lady and she was having me look up information on our ancestors (the one's from Alingsås, who are related to the Bensen line)  on this one program which had pictures of really old Swedish records so we were able to find a few names on there but they were already on the website.  Basically a large amount of family history work has been done for me!  Oh and also on the subject of family history I found out that Hans Jorgensen, our ancestor who gives us the Jorgensen name, is from Ödense, Denmark which is where Elder Held comes from!  It is kinda a funny coincidence. 

We also had a zone training this week where I got to meet everyone in the Stockholm zone which was pretty cool.  It was pretty nice not to have to travel five hours to get to the center point of the zone like it was up in Luleå! After we went to a Chinese buffet place for lunch that was delicious :)  It is still funny to me that here there are never free refills!  Still it was pretty good.  On the way back we got to through the Stockholm subway system which is so nice.  They have so many underground tunnels and the whole city pretty much runs on them.  It kinda reminds me of that time in Washington DC when we all went on the train system there with all our luggage and how hot it was hahaha.  When I was transferring up to Luleå I had to go on these with all my bags and it is kinda a pain but with only a backpack they aren't so bad to go on.   

On Friday we had a FHE with one of the families in the ward.  We taught a lesson about communication with God through prayer and the scriptures.  To help illustrate this we played a game where there are 3 people and one is like the detective and is interrogating another person (the witness) sitting in a chair in front of him. The third person is standing behind the detective and has to act out what the answers are to the detective's questions.  A murder has happened and the witness saw it, so the detective asks where it happened, with what, and who.  The witness has to guess what the third person is trying to tell them to tell the detective.  It is a pretty fun game that went well.  

The weather here in Stockholm has been pretty boring weather.  Around 32 degrees everyday and then always cloudy...also rainy every few days.  The trees still all look dead and so it doesn't look very pretty out yet.  The winters here aren't my favorite, kinda reminds me of Michigan actually.  Just long, but not much snow.

Dad, I am glad that you are feeling better finally.  I have been especially praying this week that you get better so I am glad that it happened!  Also I actually could read your letter quite well.  That is a pretty neat app I think.  Hopefully the stylus think starts working better!  But I am enjoying the new ward.  It isn't too big but it is large for Sweden and it is a nice place.  It was the same building where they did the first day orientation stuff and so for a while I couldn't shake the feeling that it was like a place of excitement and some anxiety for where my first area was going to be.  It seems to me that the Youth are pretty much the same here that they are back home.  Maybe not quite as many in numbers, but they are all nice.  There are a few Americans in the ward that are here for work too including our ward mission leader who works for Abbot I think, that one company that makes drugs and other medical stuff. 
Oh and President Newell being in the same ward as me is very intimidating, at least to me haha.  He is a very nice and loving man, but actually he hasn't been to church yet while I have been there.  Apparently he travels around a lot to go visit the different wards, so that puts less pressure on me!  

But I really like being with Elder Held.  He is just a nice guy and wants to go work hard and be his best!  He has been getting me a little more excited to lift weights when I get home, and he has been teaching me some Danish.  Danish pronunciation is crazy!  It sounds like a bunch of primitive vowels and groans put into a language!  But I have been trying to say a few things and it doesn't sound Danish at all.  It is funny because when we talk to people sometimes his accent is too strong for them to understand what he is saying in Swedish even though I think he is a lot better at Swedish than me because a lot of the vocab is the same in Danish and in Swedish.  But his family are all members and his plans after the mission are schooling.  He says that he really likes astronomy but also physics, chemistry and biology.  I told him he should think about a doctor because if I remember right those are pretty much all the main categories of the MCAT haha.

That is cool that you could go to Jake's farewell talk.  That is good that he is excited to leave to Chicago!  What a great place!  I think Chicago is one of my favorite big cities.  Also I will have to see how Aaron is doing.  He didn't leave much longer after I did.  I have seen Elder Lambson around every once in a while, and he is fun to see and talk with.  I think he is actually training a missionary right now.

Mom, that is too bad that you are feeling sick.  I will have to pray especially for that this week instead of Dad's sickness!  I hope that you feel better soon :)  Also I am glad that it was fun to go to Estee's class this week to help with the party!  And way to go helping Dad run the office and stuff!  Sounds busy as usual. 

Abby- It sounds like school is always ridiculously busy but I hope you're enjoying it!  I'm sure you are!  Have fun at your dance this week, which dance is it?  I am happy that it was fun to go to that concert with Dad and that fancy restaurant and test drive the Jaguar!  Keep being the great person you are!

Jake-  Hope you had fun skiing today!  I miss going skiing with you too!  When I come back we will go a ton and you will probably be better than I am.  You will need to teach me all the cool jumps that you will be able to do!  haha I also think that those Michigan pants are awesome that you made!  Have a great week!

Estee-  How was your Valentine Day party with Mom there!?  Was it really fun?  Is your lego class still fun?  Are you going on lots of play dates?  Do you like your new school still?  I really liked your hearts that you sent :)  

Well hope you all have a great week!  You are all in my prayers and I love you sooo much!  Sorry that this email is a little long...


Äldste Ward/ Andy 

February 10, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, Abby, Jake and Estee,

It sounds like it was a typical busy week for all of you!  The transfer went great and my new companion is really great.  I think I told you he is Danish, so that is pretty cool and then I also found out he won the Danish junior weightlifting competition or something.  So far I have really enjoyed working with him and I think we are going to get a lot of work done.   And yes I am the district leader for the area now so pretty exciting I guess!  And no we didn't see the northern lights my last night in Boden sadly.   We did get to walk on the ice on the Luleå river that flows into the ocean and it was pretty neat.  For my last Monday there the Branch President, David Newell (son of the mission president) invited us over for dinner with their family and then on Tuesday another American living up here for work for a bit took us out to dinner so my last few days in Boden/Luleå were spent well :)  

We had no idea the olympics were going on but good that Sweden is doing good!  Go Sweden and US!  I do remember watching them when I was little.  Always so exciting to be cheering for the US athletes I hope all my siblings like it too! :)

Good that Estee has been having fun with friends and that she was so advanced in her lego engineering class!  That is really funny that the teacher could apparently tell that Estee had done it before because she was so smart basically :)  I also really liked her picture that she drew at church!  So funny :) Keep up the great work Estee!  I love and miss you! :)

And nice that Jake had a blast skiing in great powder and that he has been having fun with friends!  I hope basketball is still really fun!  I love and miss ya!

Well good news that Abby has continued to do great in her busy life but too bad she had those 3 cavities that caused anxiety for her! haha I hope all is well and she is still on path to destroy my ACT score and all her AP tests!  How is ole McDonald treating you?  I love you and miss you!

Well a little about Täby.  It is a very nice area.  Like nicest houses in Sweden that I have seen.  (even though they houses aren't even as nice as one's that you see all around town but houses here are just so expensive and everyone lives in apartments so you can tell that it is one of the richer areas.   This was a little harder week because there aren't really any investigators yet who we are working with so we have been swinging by old investigators and talking to everyone along the way and trying to find people who are interested!  I haven't ever talked to this many people before so we are working out how to get better and better but it has been really good already.  Täby is a little north of Stockholm but the train public transportation system is way good here so it isn't a long trip to central Stockholm!  Also we have gone through Täby Centrum (like downtown Täby) a few times and it has a really nice mall there which is neat.  

But a cool little story I could share is last night we were walking home and we wanted to try to talk to 2 more people to reach our goal for number of people we talk to.  We were about 2 blocks from home and said a prayer to try to find 2 more people.  After that we tried walking a longer way home but didn't see anyone so we decided to knock a door and they said they weren't interested so we kept walking and were almost home when we saw a lady at the bus stop across the street from our house and then as we got closer another lady was crossing the street and so she came across and we talked to her and it turns out she was friends with the lady who we had seen sitting at the bus stop and we talked to both of them and the one who had been walking across the street was pretty interested and asked what we believe in and stuff and so we were able to teach her about the Book of Mormon and pray!  It was really cool to see that our prayer was answered.

Well I love you all so much and miss you and hope you have a great week!  You all are in my prayers!


Äldste Ward/ Andy

February 3, 2014

Dear Family,

Great to hear that you are all busy and doing well!  You will all still be in my prayers with all you are doing!  This week was a fun last one in Boden in the Luleå branch.  President did call me and "confirmed" the transfer plans and I will be going down to Täby this Tuesday and Elder Clawson will be getting a new missionary to train.  I am excited, but of course a little sad to leave this neat place in the far north.  I still haven't seen any northern lights so pray that they will come out tonight! haha.  My new companion will be Elder Held, and he is from Denmark.  I will also be living in the mission office with the secretaries and the assistants to the president, and actually the new secretary is Elder Ogaard, my old companion from Karlskrona.  We will only be living there until they get our apartment ready in the area (they had to just buy a new one).  I think Täby will be a really cool area to be at (just like my other ones have been) and living in Stockholm will be great.  

This week was a fun one because we got news that somehow the car had no oil pressure in the engine and it will take 3-4 weeks to fix...We were a little sad that the car will be out of commission for so long in a city where there are basically no buses.  So we have been walking around everywhere and luckily it hasn't been too cold of a week as well.  The farthest walk we had to go was about 5 kilometers to go visit our investigator, T.  However we have been taking buses to get to Luleå and back for church and such.  But I think I will do a little review of our week day by day:

Monday- P-day and the car broke and we had a good p-day and then spent the rest of the day getting home and having dinner...not very eventful.

Tuesday- every Tuesday we do this open church thing where we are at the church and have it open for people that maybe walk in and are interested.  That takes almost all day but we were able to go by this one really nice guy in the branch who has autism, and so socially it is hard for him sometimes and so we have permission to play video games with him! (and don't worry we've only gone over there twice haha) We went by him and played some wii and then nothing else eventful that day.  

Wednesday-  we went and taught this old guy who has been taught for a while named L, hopefully he can soon realize the truthfulness of our message.  We also taught a less-active couple, who because they both have Asbergers they don't really like all the social interaction at church, so hard for them to come.  Also walked to T's and taught him and he said that he must drive us home because his car should work because it wasn't too far to drive. Moral of story though is that it was like the craziest drive of our lives hahaha.  T is an old guy and it was like driving in one of those cartoons where all these crazy things are about to run into the car or something but the car just barely avoids it all, like a Donald Duck cartoon or something hahaha.  

Thursday- We were going to go on a 3 hour bus ride to go help a family in the branch deep clean their house, but they said actually it would be done by the time we got we didn't end up going and through together a district meeting.  

Friday-  We went and tried to find this one investigator but we couldn't.  Also walked to go visit another old investigator and found him and taught him and scheduled a time to come back and visit him next week.  Also taught our good friend O, who lived in the same apartment building.

Saturday- Again tried to look for this investigator.  Went and swung by some other peoples homes, taught Sidney, who is progressing well and that was all that was eventful.

Sunday-  Went to church and it was good.  Read a chapter in the Book of Mormon in French with O before church and also got invited to dinner by the Phillip's.  They are both American and just with his job had to move to Sweden for a few years.  He is from Taylorsville and she is actually from Cottonwood Heights and went to Brighton!  Apparently her sister was a senior when I was a sophomore...small world.  They were really nice and then we came back and went and taught this one guy named B with his friend, Brother Dahlqvist, who is a member.  We taught the Plan of Salvation because B's dad is dying right now.  And that was our week! 

Also I have been wanting to get better with talking to people wherever I go and on the street so I was thinking while we were walking on Friday and I thought that maybe I can just start saying hi to everyone.  I said hi to this man that was the first person I saw after this and he proceeded to ask all sorts of questions about the church and we told him, and he was talking so fast that he said goodbye before he would give him a card or anything!  I thought it was a cool experience and clearly not a coincidence!  

I have found a copy of Parley P. Pratt's autobiography in the apartment and finished it this week.  It is an amazing book about a great man.  Parley Pratt was one of the 12 apostles and served like 25 years of missions of his life (he only lived to the age 50!), he was imprisoned with Joseph Smith in Missouri and had many different experiences in his life.  I just think that you guys should read it if you ever get the chance.  I learned so much from reading it!

That is great that Jed got baptized this week.  Great for him!  And that was lucky to avoid that 29 car pileup too!  Also I am glad to hear that Estee is enjoying her busy schedule and Jake as well (except maybe a little more skiing involved :) ) Also congrats on the basketball win and great play by Jake! Oh and me and Elder Clawson both think that engineering with legos sounds like the coolest class ever.  Estee will have to send some pictures!  Also good to hear Abby is still busy :) and that she is going to the dance with Chris and has made a new friend in the ward!  I guess she knows exactly how hard it is to move to a new ward :) how nice of her.  Mom, keep up the great work holding everyone's worlds together hahaha.  I'm sure you're used to the busyness!  Dad, I hope you feel better and hope that work doesn't get too stressful :)  Hope you start to feel better.  And yes I remember those terrible sores I got!  That was terrible hahaha.  

And in case I don't get the chance to email Grandpa for all the nice things he sent me (a christmas package, emails, etc) thank him for me!  I love him!  Also any word for Jake Christensen's email?  Maybe Abby can sneak to our old ward some Sunday and get it hehehe :)

I love you all so much and miss you and am so excited for all the things you are doing!  You're in my prayers always and have a great week!


Elder Ward/ Andy

Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 8, 2014

Dear Brother & Sister Ward,
We are writing to express our appreciation for your son, Äldste Preston Ward. Äldste Ward has been assigned to serve as a District Leader in the Täby I area of the Sweden Stockholm Mission. He is a wonderful and well prepared missionary, and this added responsibility will be a blessing to him and to the mission.
May the Lord bless you and yours.
With respect and kind regards,
Gregory J. Newell
Gregory J. Newell, President