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! 

Love,

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...

Love,

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!

Love,

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 there....so 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!

Love,

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
SWEDEN STOCKHOLM MISSION

Boden, Sweden

A bridge in chilly Boden, Sweden.

Aldste Ward with a recent convert.

January 27, 2014

Dear Fam,

This week was a pretty good one.  Not too cold if I remember right, but just decently cold hahaha (like average around -20 celsius).  I don't think the cold will bother me too much after this winter up here!  But first off I forgot to mention last week that we had a zone training (around 2 weeks ago now) and President Newell interviewed me then and thanked me for the card that you guys sent him and that he really enjoyed it.  Also he told me that Elder Clawson will be training next transfer and he felt that he should stay here so I will be transferring again! And if all goes as planned I will be going to an area in northern Stockholm called Täby.  It is where the mission office is and they want missionaries there to serve it full time because the office elders are busy doing stuff for the mission a lot so don't get normal proselyting time, so he said that I will be opening up the area for full time missionary work.  This ward is where President and Sister Newell go to and also it apparently is a wealthier area.  But all this is pending on if they can find an apartment which is hard in Stockholm, so we will see if I go there or not.  Transfer calls are this Saturday and then next Wednesday would be when I leave dear Boden.  

But I thought that I could tell some cool stories that I have noticed around me.  The first was when I went to Umeå for splits.  We stopped in this one building to do some tracting and visit some potential investigators (people they had met previously that said they might be interested in learning more) they had met and then I saw on the list of people living in that complex a guy who's name seemed familar, E.  Well when I came back up to Boden I was just looking through the phone for a number and saw a contact named E who was an old investigator in Luleå a few years ago.  I thought it was a neat little coincidence that we just happened to go into his building in Umeå and that I recognized his name.  But we gave his contact information to the Umeå elders and they went and talked to him and he didn't seem amazingly prepared but we will see in the future.  

Also another little coincidence I had was also while I was in Umeå.  We went and tried to teach this one African guy named A.  He lived in a weird student housing thing so there were doorbells to every room and he wasn't answering his so the elder I was with rang every single doorbell to try to see if any of them in there knew him and the last bell a girl answered and said I don't know who he is but I will go check the kitchen to see if anyone else does.  Well he was there in the kitchen and we taught him the first lesson and it went well and I didn't really think much more of it.  However the next time the Umeå elders went and taught him a girl came in and said oh I really like the mormon religion and was going to join but I still drink hot drinks so I can't.  And they asked what drinks she drinks and she said hot chocolate!  They said that was perfectly fine and she wanted to come to church and they have been teaching her and yesterday was her first time at church and after church next Sunday she is going to be baptized!  Also they were inviting A to come to church but he was saying that he couldn't because he worked until 4 AM and then had to work again on Sunday at 4 PM so he needed to sleep.  But when he said that the girl said well I work the same shift but I'll come!  It's church!  It was crazy how if we would have just given up ringing the doorbells that one day to find A this girl would have never been found!  It is neat to see the different ways the Spirit guides us.

Another one was this week we were looking out in this one town for an old investigator who seemed very positive but just disappeared off the map.  Our GPS in our car couldn't find the street name so we were just going to start looking on street signs.  We looked at one and it wasn't it and then drove a little more, in no pattern or anything just completely random and we stopped to look at another one in a different part of the town and boom that was the street.  We went and visited his house and it was his parents home and they said that he lives in Uppsala now.  So we gave the Uppsala elders his information and hopefully something happens with him because it was crazy that this random street we decided to check was the right one!

And one more fun little story.  We had a good day all set up and then it basically all fell apart and the last thing we did was go and look for an old investigator from 2010.  Turns out it was like immigrant housing or something and the first few doors we asked had no idea who we were looking for and then a really nice guy from Georgia (the country) who spoke only Russian, a tiny bit of Swedish, and read Arabic let us in as we tried to explain who we were looking for, and then that we were missionaries.  We ended up running to our car and getting a Ukrainian Book of Mormon and an Arabic one for him to read and he tried to give us the Quoran but we told him that we couldn't read it.  But we were all pumped because he was so nice, he is Muslim but really nice and there is a huge language barrier.  Anyway right after that we decided to just knock the next door just to ask if they knew this old investigator and it turns out it was an African family from Eritrea and Sudan and only one knew Swedish so he translated for the others.  They said that the two girls don't know anything about Christianity but need to learn more so they let us in and we taught the Restoration and wanted to come to church and have copies of the Book of Mormon in Amharic so they can read.  It was just cool to see how we were led to them even though it totally didn't feel like it!  
So those are my cool little coincidences that I have noticed lately, which I am sure aren't really coincidences and amazing things are going to come from them.  But the week was a pretty good one.  One funny thing that happened was that we went and had the car inspected for its normal yearly inspection (3 days ago) and then today as we were driving to Luleå to email and give the sisters the car for the next few days a light came on and the car started to make a horrible noise.  We slowed down and putted our way off the highway to a gas station and after a lot of phone calls and waiting we got it towed to the dealership to be fixed.  So that kinda threw off our day today and will probably throw off our week but we will see.  We've been joking that the dealership didn't do anything to the car actually or that they like ruined it or something because it was fine before it went in! hahaha

It is so great to hear from you guys though.  It sounds like it was a pretty good week.  And I am really happy that you guys found a renter and buyer for the house!  I actually felt that I should pray for that this week and also that Dad would not be so stressed at work and that things would work out.  I guess they were good things to pray for with all those house showings and especially with Dad's crazy day on Thursday.  That is another neat thing that happened this week I suppose.  

And I did write the Blotters a little letter, just to thank them for sending me their Christmas card and a little note and 20 dollars!  So nice!  I wrote a few other people who sent me things as well and am still writing thank you notes to everyone that sent me things.  A lot of people sent me Christmas cards and usually a little note as well.  I was grateful to receive them all.  Also I have gotten both of your packages and thanks so much for sending both of them!  So nice!  You guys are the very best!  The blue light makes a great alarm clock too, it shines a bright light on you with sounds!  But thanks so much for all your letters and packages :)

Also just fyi, I do get Grandpa's letters I just haven't had a ton of time to write him back yet!  I have loved hearing from him so thank him if you can before I do :)  I will try to write him back quickly!

That is also really fun that Abby had such a great time with Calvin.  I am so happy for her and any success or cool things that my siblings (and parents :)) have!  I'm sure you guys have an idea how much I miss you all, but just know that I love you all so much and miss you very much!  I love seeing pictures of you all on the calendar you sent and the Christmas card :)  My favorite is the one of me and Estee by that big nametag we got hahaha but make sure to tell Estee that :) haha Oh and tell Abby that that is too bad that she got those bruises from ice skating but I am glad that she had a great time!  Also that I do know exactly who Alex Outsen is.  I'm sure he will do a great job in Albania, what a neat mission.  I have met a few Albanians on my mission and they have told me that since it used to be a communist place, many people really don't have a religious background or sometimes they are Muslim.  Oh and I wanted to say that Bob sounds like the nicest guy ever and I am glad that you now know him!  Lastly, how exciting for Mollie and Luke!  I hope the best for them.  

Thanks for keeping me updated and I love to hear from you all and how things are going.  I love you and miss you and hope you have a great week!

Love,

Äldste Ward

January 20, 2014

Hey Guys!

Wow it sounds like everyone had a busy/fun week so I guess like usual!  Dad told me his schedule and he sounds busy as ever which is completely normal for him.  I love you all and hearing about how things are!  

This week was a pretty interesting one, and it has gotten a lot colder :/  -20 celsius doesn't feel too bad now (like it is now in Luleå) but -30 is kinda cold!  This p-day we haven't done anything cool but we did get haircuts from a guy from the middle east today.  He said that he thinks English is the best language and wants to learn it.  It reminded me how many people love the English language and America.  It is crazy really.  Everyone reallly loves it and anyone that doesn't like it just jealous according to what Swedes have told me and what I've seen.  I just remember how many teachers and stuff all said that Europeans think that Americans and America is so dumb and stuff but like that is not how it is at all!  I see more Yankee hats and American flag shirts here than I do home!  Like everyone in the world wants to learn English as well.  Anyway from this perspective it makes me grateful to think that I was born in that great land and I see that God really has poured out blessings on it.  

But also this week we decided that we better start sharing the car with the sister missionaries in Luleå.  Even though there is a bus system in Luleå that works pretty well it is pretty cold out!  So we have had to walk around Boden while it is COLD hahaha.  We went over to teach one of our investigators named T who lived across town and we thought that we could just walk there.  Well it was an hour walk both ways and got pretty cold.  It also exhausted us so luckily it was the last thing that we did that night.  

But other people we are teaching...S is a guy from Nigeria who we tracted into and he has been willing to read the Book of Mormon and learn about the church.  He is a nice guy and I think he has potential to be baptized soon!  He is busy but is continuing to read!

Also we have been teaching a lady named G.  She is an immigrant from the middle east and we use skype with a member in Stockholm who knows English, swedish, and arabic so she can translate for us.  G says that she feels that the church is true and the Book of Mormon is also true but she lives in Boden so it is way hard for her to come to church and her husband doesn't like us...but those are the primary 3 people we are teaching so feel free to pray for them.  

Also a last little highlight that I have is we took some boiling water and threw it outside and instead of turning into solid ice it just all turns into snow.  It was pretty dang cool hahahaa!  I got a cool video that I will have to try to send you.  

But that is cool about the random connection we have to the new president.  Its a small world!  And how neat that one of the new missionaries' family is moving into our new ward!  Again it is a small world.    

But I love you all and miss you all and love to hear from you!  Good luck in all that you guys do and have a great week!  

Love,

Äldste Ward/ Andy

January 13, 2014

Dear Family!  

This week was a pretty good week!  It finally got cold up here and oh man it got really cold!  Today while we were driving I broke my cold record because it was -32.5 degrees celsius which is -26.5 degrees fahrenheit!   But some highlights were that we had splits with the zone leaders in Umeå this week which was good.  The elder I went with was really good and taught me a lot and how to be better and how to better interest people that you talk to tracting and on the street.  

Also this week we traded cars with the Umeå elders.  I don't know if I have told you guys but we have a car because our area is so big (I found out it is bigger than the state of Vermont!).  Anyway that was exciting because we had to name the car (of course).  Our first cars name was Molly, after the name of a famous Swedish singer, and then the new one is named Veronica after another famous Swedish singer hahaha.  So far Veronica has been much better hahaha.  That is probably really boring but in exciting news today for p-day we went up to the Arctic Circle!  It was freezing but now its cool to say that I have been there!  We also visited a tiny little town called Jokkmokk and tried looking for some cool Sami stuff but we couldn't really find anything.  Me and elder Clawson both want sami knives like with a bone for the handle.  We will keep looking but no luck today.  ALSO today driving we saw some reindeer!! We both thought it was awesome to see them, but wish we could have gotten some pictures. :(

It is pretty cold up here and snows a lot.  We have driven across the river a few times but they didn't have any cones.  It is getting a little lighter which is so great!  I am kinda sick of it being dark all the time and never seeing the sun because it is always either rising or setting and never gets high.  

I will make sure to tell Victoria Wirtala that you guys loved the email!  She and her family are all so nice.  They actually have a son on a mission in England right now so they probably understand how you guys feel!  But I haven't gotten your package yet but thanks so much for sending me those things!  

And no I am not really speaking any French, the only people who I speak French with our the new converts Fxxxx and Oxxxxx and then also Dxxx.  So I read a chapter in French in the Book of Mormon with Fxxxx and I say prayers in French and I can understand a majority of what they say but their English is better than my French so I'm not really using it.  And no we haven't seen the northern lights yet.  Me and Elder Clawson are hoping that we see them!  But we didn't plan very well today so now I am out of time to email so I need to go now but love you all and so great to hear that you all are doing well still even though things are still always busy!  I hope Abby keeps doing well getting ready for the ACT and I hope that she beats me because she deserves it!  I have absolute trust that she is going to do great hahaha.  I also hope Jake and Estee keep doing well with skiing and basketball and kumon and swimming and playing with friends!  Love and miss you guys and you're in my prayers! 

Love,

Elder Ward/ Andy

January 12, 2014

Sister Wirtala sent me these great videos and pictures of some missionaries she had over for "tacodinner".   I love nice members that do this!!

video
The missionaries singing I am a child of God in Swedish.  I love it.
The darling sisters serving in Lulea area with Aldste Ward right now.

Eating "tacodinner"

Aldste Clawson (Andy's companion right now)
Wirtala Family who hosted the "tacodinner" they have a son on a mission right now and this is a pic of them skyping with him over Christmas.

January 6, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad and Family,

It is always great to hear from you and how things are going at home!  Yes, I will need to tell you guys more details about my life here.  

This week was a pretty good week after New Years...on Friday we met with two African members, Oxxxxx and Dxxx.  Oxxxxx was baptized pretty recently but is doing really well.  He can't speak much English and either can Dxxx so we bring another member who speaks French with us, named Fxxxx.  Fxxxx was also baptized pretty recently and is doing really well also.  He comes to church every Sunday and is learning English so we can communicate pretty well with him.  We meet with Fxxxx twice a week and read a chapter in the Book of Mormon in French with him and then once a week we give him 25 verbs to learn in English.  But these 3 are the only people who I actually speak French with and I can't say a lot in French but I can understand a lot more which is good.  Still not nearly that good but I try to say prayers with them in French and try to speak as much as I can with them in French.  

Anyway Oxxxxx and Dxxx live at this immigration house (they are from the Congo btw, and Fxxxx is from Somalia) and while we were walking in (with Fxxxx) there were some police that came and just asked us what we were doing and where we were from and then they left and we kinda thought it was a little weird.  But later Fxxxx told us that in the immigration house sometimes people sell drugs there and he said that the Mafia from Russia has a "base" in Luleå and then work with Arabs and Africans is what he said to sell drugs and stuff so that was kinda surprising to me that the Russian Mafia is up here but I guess I'm not actually that far from Russia.  But the good news is that Oxxxxx and Dxxx were having trouble coming to church because it is like a 40 minute drive and they don't have much money but they decided that they are going to sacrifice and save money for bus cards and come every Sunday because it is important for them.  

On Sunday at church I was able to meet our Branch President who had been out of town visiting family in Stockholm and actually President Newell because our Branch President is David Newell, the son of President Newell!  He went on his mission here and married a Swedish girl and they have a family here.  He actually teaches at Luleå University apparently, so funny little thing.  He seems like an amazing leader here and was very nice.  He also speaks French which is good for Oxxxxx and Fxxxx and Dxxx.  

We have also been meeting with an older Swedish guy named T and he really likes having us over (probably for the company because he might be a little lonely).  He has an awesome dog and it is a type of dog called a Lapphund, that live up here in the north and are like the kind that the Sami people use or something.  Anyway he has said that he will be baptized on Jan 25, but hasn't come to church!  He can't leave his dog at home and get a ride with the members (who were his friends who introduced him to the gospel) and he says that taking a bus won't work and his car won't work in the cold!  We just need to show to him that whatever sacrifice he makes to come to church will be worth it because this is the most important thing he could ever do!  But last time after our lesson he made us a bunch of toast and tea to drink.  Here in Sweden they always have butter and cheese on their bread, and not roasted or anything.    

Also a little about the grocery stores here, they aren't too different from back home, but they make you pay like 30 cents per bag to put your groceries in and then in general everything is more expensive.  Also the big stores all have like a post office thing in them and that is where you go to pick up packages you get.  At your home you get all of your normal mail and then if you get a package you get a slip or notification thing that says there is a package waiting for you at this grocery store, so then you go and get it.  

That is sad that Brother Perry passed away.  I remember visiting him once before I left for the sacrament I think with Dad.  I like that Psalm that you sent me, and yes I remember learning about the different constellations in Lewistown.  I wish I could remember all of the constellations!  Here the only thing I have noticed with the stars is that when I first noticed the big dipper it was like perfectly placed in the sky like kinda low, but like perfectly in place of how you would draw it so that is cool I guess.  And then we still haven't seen the northern lights up here!  We want to see them bad.  

Oh and being a senior companion doesn't really mean anything but apparently you just have the final say in what you do I guess or something, but I guess it is cool to be one. :)  But that is really nice that President Newell sent that nice letter to you.  I will have to thank him.  

That is good that you could all go up and give Grandpa Jorgy a senior wish!  I hope that they can keep doing well.  That is sad that they are still going downhill.  I am glad that Grandma always gets so happy when you tell her that I am on my mission in Sweden!  

Hopefully you can find a renter for the Mount majestic house!  

My companion, Elder Clawson, is a great guy.  He likes to work hard and to be obedient and we are getting things done!  He has only been out on his mission 6 weeks longer than me so it is fun to be with someone who has basically been out as long as me.  

These past few days have been a little harder for some reason.  I think that Satan is working hard against me right now, or at least it feels like it.  But he must just know that something big is going to happen soon if I just keep working hard!  

I love you all and pray for you and miss you!  Thanks so much for all you do and talk to you next week!!  Hopefully I can see the northern lights and send some pictures to you all!

Love,

Äldste Ward

Senior Companion January 5, 2014

Dear Brother and Sister Ward,
What a pleasure it is to have your son, Äldste Preston Ward, in the Sweden Stockholm Mission. He has recently been assigned to serve as a Senior Companion in the Luleå area.  He is a strong example of gospel living and of devoted, selfless service to the Lord, the members, fellow missionaries and the people of Sweden.
Thank you for your sacrifice in supporting your son in this sacred service.
 
With respect and kind regards,
Gregory J. Newell
Gregory J. Newell, President
SWEDEN STOCKHOLM MISSION

January 2, 2014

Dear Family,

Wow it sounds like you all had a fun week!  It is always so great to hear from you and all the neat things you are doing!  It was very fun for me to skype with you guys too and the time really flew so I guess that is a pretty good indicator that it was really fun (time flies when you're having fun)!  

I haven't been getting too homesick this holiday season, which is good.  It just feels different and I look forward to spending a Christmas season with you, but it is a very cool and unique experience I get to have hear in Sweden! Thank you for always caring for me and thinking and praying for me.  

On Christmas Day we were with that family for pretty much the entire day.   They were so nice and talked with us the whole time and seemed to enjoy it but we all loved it!   

That is so great that they Jorgensen family party was a success!  I bet I missed out.  That is so funny that Daniel and his girlfriend came with the Spaniards!  That sounds like a really cool party.   Does Grandma remember that I am on a mission in Sweden? Or does she still get excited everytime that you tell her?  How are her and grandpa doing healthwise?  

On New Year's Eve we got to go to a family's house and ate a ton of food with them (steak and potatoes :) and then at midnight got to go see the firework show in Luleå city.  It was cool and I recorded the whole thing, if you guys want maybe I could dropbox it to you.  And yes the dropbox works perfectly and it is great to see those pictures and videos!

And I haven't bought any vitamin d pills, but maybe I could find them somewhere...Actually how about if its not too much you can send them if you guys want me to have them hahaha. :)

But a little about the week I guess, I can't really think of anything cool that we did.  We have been teaching people and trying to find people who are interested.  Lately it also hasn't been too cold, like around 32 degrees F.  I feel like I have been getting fat up here with all the food that we have been given and then all the candy that we've got.  But know that I am doing good and trying to do my best and hoping that it gets lighter up here soon!  I am glad that you guys liked all the candy that I sent!  Did anyone like the "Fisherman's Friend"?  I don't think they are very good....but the other one's are way good!  Have everyone tell me their favorite so for their birthday I will have some ideas :)

I love you all so much and miss you and pray for you and hope the best for all of you!  I hope that things are as good as they sound there because they sound awesome.  Have a great half week and I will talk to you on the 6th (next monday).

Love,

Äldste Ward

Christmas!!

We got to Skype with Aldste Ward on Christmas Day for over an hour!  Best present ever!! It was so fun to talk to him and see his smiling face.  It made me miss him more though.  


The little Santa on the left is the newest and favorite part of my santa collection (the one holding the little Swedish flag).  
He showed up in this box all the way from Sweden!

Along with all this Swedish Candy.  

I'm not sure whats happening here...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The LDS church in Karlskrona, Sweden



December 16, 2013

Hej!

This week was another one out here and I'm still trying to do my best.  I received news on Saturday that the rumors were true and that I will be going to Luleå for the next few months!  I am excited to have a snowy Christmas right outside the Arctic Circle!  It is so great to hear from you all and hear all the exciting things that are going on!  I was able to talk briefly to the elders there right now and my new companion seems like a nice guy, named Elder Clausen.  They told me that there are a lot of immigrants from the Congo up there that speak French so I will have the chance to practice my French!!  It has been cool to read a little bit in the French Book of Mormon and see how much I can figure out.

I am glad, Mom, that you like the Santa!  I thought it would be a fun little present to have!  I also hope you guys like all the candies from Sweden!  Awesome that Abby had a fun time at her dance and that they all came to the house and had fun too!  Abby looks so beautiful in that picture you guys sent!  I am happy that Jake got to go skiing and go to a BYU basketball game and had a fun time and that Estee got TWO play dates with Jocelyn this week!  What a fun one!  

And it is good to hear that there is snow there.  There is still no snow on the ground here in Karlskrona!  I wonder how cold it actually is here...we don't have a thermometer or anything but one time this week it was really hot in our apartment so before we went to bed we decided to open the window and then we woke up the next morning and it was freezing!  And then last night we didn't open the window but then my companion opened it at like 6 because it had got so hot in our apartment!  So we might need to adjust our heaters. :) 

I think that is so great that you all read my letters together Monday nights!  You guys are too nice and I feel undeserving to have such a loving and kind family like you! I love you all so much!!

I love that quote that you sent me!  I think I might print that out so I can and remind myself those things more! This transfer has been a little harder and has taught me a lot about getting along and I just really like what you sent and hope to remember that more in my life!    

Dad, the guy that you interviewed who was applying to be a resident, that is really cool that he went to Sweden! Do you remember his name? Maybe some of the older missionaries that I know will know him, but maybe not because applying for residency is a few years down the road.  But that is really cool, another connection to Sweden!  

Oh and you asked how long the trip from Karlskrona to Luleå would take.  I just looked at the tickets and it is like a 5 hour train ride to Stockholm from Karlskrona and then we have a zone conference in Stockholm on Thursday so I stay in Stockholm for a couple of nights and then we take a hour train ride to some airport and then the plane ride is only like an hour and a half.  So like a total of 7.5 hours.  

Some highlights from this week are that we started teaching this one investigator and he is awesome and totally wants to be baptized and believes everything but is having trouble telling himself that he wants to get rid of smoking and coffee.  He says that he knows that God will give him the strength to stop but he just loves those things so much so is trying and praying for the will to stop.  He is a great guy and I really hope the best for him.  

Also I have a story that you may find humorous.  I believe that sometimes I was referred to as the "friend of the asian" just keep that in mind.  On Saturday we met with a less active guy named Fu and went to go play basketball with him.  It turns out it was the Chinese Union's gym rental time so me and Elder Ogaard were the only none Chinese there out of like 20 people!  It was funny.  We were also able to talk to a few of the people there about what we were doing here in Sweden so we will see if anything comes up from that.  I had a blast playing with them and hope that more opportunities like that come up in other areas because it is so fun!

On Friday we got to go to the St. Lucia concerts they have in the Swedish churches.  It was a pretty cool cultural thing to see.  They have a girl who wears like six candles on her head who is like the Saint for the event!  

Those are all the highlights of the week that I can really think of but I am doing well here and I am staying warm and things are good.  I will let you know more about what our plans for Christmas will be and what time we can schedule that will be best!  I love and miss you all so much!  Being out here and learning Swedish is such a neat and cool thing to do!  You are in my prayers!  

Love,

Äldste Preston Andrew Ward