Monday, March 27, 2017

PRINCE OF PEACE

Well, hello there!

This quite literally has been a week of miracles.  I'll try to keep it short...

We received two new baptismal dates, three new people that seem very promising, an 87- year-old Swedish lady that might become an investigator from seeing "The Book of Mormon Musical" with her grandson.  Our wonderful new convert blessed the Sakrament for the second time yesterday--that was wonderful! 

Then another miracle last night--we were contacting, and then behind us I hear, "Are those the Mormons?"  Then somebody comes up behind us and interrupts our other contact--basically we had a solid 25-minute street lesson, and this guy just had SO many questions... really good questions, too.  Sister Christensen and I agreed that neither of us feel like we have felt the Spirit quite so strong during a street contact before.  Just never have felt such a desire for them to just listen and take what you are saying and just ask for themselves! 
It was right in front of a bar--and the whole time we were talking, all of these different people came up and would join in on the conversation, and then leave, and it was just the guy again.  At the end, he didn't want to set up another time.  A quick shut down to meeting again.  We were kind of bummed about that, but we were just kind of astonished at how that felt.  How it felt to just really feel the Holy Ghost so powerful on the street...pretty amazing. 

Well, time went on, and about an hour later we get a call from an unknown number.  I answer, and just recognized the voice immediately.  He says, "I don't know what it is, but I cannot stop thinking about our talk.  You really planted a seed in me and I am really curious now."  Such a miracle!   And we set up a potential meeting for later this week.  We are really praying this all goes through--but a miracle, if you ask me!
And lastly--the new Easter Initiative is coming out soon!!!  I believe on March 31st.  You guys, it is marvelous.  I was just blown away.  It is beautiful and just so captivating. 

We had MLC (Mission Leadership Council) this past week to learn more about it, and to plan how we were going to get it spread here in the Sweden Stockholm Mission.  But the focus of it all is The Prince of Peace.  

I just blew it for you all, but I am telling you, you have got to see the video when it comes out.  It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL.  But, as well as being an amazing video, it also came as an answer to my prayers.  I cannot even tell you how blown away I was at just how much this training meant to me.

Peace is a gift.  It is a constant.  Peace is the calming reassurance from a loving Heavenly Father that everything is okay even when everything else would tell you otherwise.
The second half of our training was on Spiritual Whirlwinds.  It was based off of a talk called "Spiritual Whirlwinds" from Elder Neil A. Anderson, and a Mormon Message made from it. They showed the Mormong Message, and I just loved it!  Some may find it weird, but I absolutely love it. 

It talks about how in life, we lose sight of our focus and are led off by little gusts of wind that soon turn into something so much stonger if we are not aware.  It then talks about a power that can help us back onto the right path: 
video
"There is of course a powerful force that will subdue the wounds of sin.  It is called REPENTANCE."        -Ä. Neil A. Andersson

 A powerful reminder of the wonderful gift that is Repentance.  In a world where the winds are blowing all around us at reckless speeds, we can find safety in the eye of the storm. When we are focused on the Prince of Peace, we can go forward in peace amongst the chaos of this world.
I know now that this is perhaps one of the greatest of God's gifts to us.  The gift of Peace.  We all seek for an inner peace that can only be found in The Prince of Peace.  I have seen that, looking back on my mission, there has been one constant--Peace.  Through the good and the bad and the just plain seemingly impossible, there was still some level of peace.  I always knew that all the hard parts were just for a moment...  
 That peace is what allows me to look back on it all with an eye of gratefulness.  I am truly grateful for my Savior, The Prince of Peace.  For the ability I have to look forward with an eye of faith--to be able to see the good in it all.  Peace is precious--and it is a gift.  It is something to give and something to receive.  Never cease to be the peace that someone else is searching for.
I love you all, and now just go prepare for General Conference--make it so you get more out of this Conference than you ever have before.  Make it so personal to you that you will always turn to your Father in Heaven out of gratitude for the many blessings and answers He will give to you. 
This is an amazing opportunity to hear from our dear Prophet and the Apostles of the Lord. After all, the Father and the Son are still at the helm.  Leading their ship.  Though the waves might be crashing all around us, we need not be worried--for the Prince of Peace will calm the storms soon enough.

Med Kärlek,


Syster Campbell
Peace like a river....................................

Monday, March 20, 2017

IT'S TRUE

Our week:

Roamed around Stockholm…you know, just another Monday/P-Day on the mission.

Wednesday…oh, man!  This one was hard.  One of those “you just don’t even want to start the day” days.  But—good news—it went fairly well after:

            --1 no-show…even though we can to his house!

            --Next, a lesson with a SUPER non-interested Muslim.  That was a hard lesson.
            --Then, a total language-barrier lesson.  Oh, wow.  This one tried my patience.  It is super hard holding your composure when you’re trying to help answer certain questions, such as: “where do we go after this life?”  Then they totally disregard you while you’re answering, and immediately ask: “Well, where do all the animals go?”  Then, we start to answer, “well, we don’t know everything about…” and he totally cuts us off and says, “You don’t know, you don’t know, you don’t know!”  And very quickly—without really thinking about it, I just said, “Well, that’s because you don’t listen!”

Let’s just say that he listened after that and finally got some questions answered!  It’s crazy what listening can do!

            --But, then we ended the day teaching a lesson to an awesome Swedish lumberjack.  So all was good!

Thursday we had a lesson with this super cool guy from Afghanistan.  Very Muslim.  Didn’t seem too interested at first, but we taught him about the Restoration, and afterwards he said:  “Wow—I have never even heard of this before!  This is all new!”
That was one of those lessons that you just KNOW is a miracle.  THIS is why I’m on a mission.

We also had one of the most amazing less-active lessons.  It was so wonderful.  Things have been really hard for her lately, so we have just been trying to help in any way we can. 
We watched the Mormon Message “Hallelujah” with her, and she was just in tears.  It truly is amazing being able to see someone feeling the Spirit again.  She does want to come back…sadly, it’s not easy, but it IS most definitely worth it!
My favorite part was at that at the end of the video it shows a picture of the Savior.  We left it on through the rest of our lesson, and I feel like it just made the biggest difference.  It was an amazing experience.

But, aside from all this, I have been learning more Arabic!  My favorite.  I have been able to invite people to Church, and every time we stop them on the street and switch to Arabic they are just as equally confused as they are happy that we are speaking their language.  It’s actually quite amazing just slightly being able to break these language barriers.
Now, while waiting for this library computer to work, I can share some of the greatest quotes from this week:

            --A member from our ward said:  “I served in the Vietnam War.  But I never went to Vietnam.  I stayed back scrubbing the toilets while the other guys went.”

            --On the more serious side, one other member said something pretty cool:
“The power of God is taking a bum on the street, teaching him the Gospel…then twenty years later he becomes the CEO of this great company.”
But, aside from all of this, one of my favorite parts by far of this week was being able to finish the Book of Mormon once again.  All that I can think to liken it to is finishing your favorite series.  After you have invested so much of your heart, time and attention to it—and then it’s just over!  The people you have come to LOVE so much—and then, better yet knowing that it is all TRUE!  

And even a little further, that it was written for US TODAY.  That God has been so merciful as to give us more than one record.  That we have “the witness of two nations.”  And that we can seek the confirmation of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon over and over again.
While finishing up Moroni 10—the last chapter of the Book of Mormon—I took frequent breaks, looking through all of the very well-loved pages.  Looking at all of the markings I’ve made as I’ve read.  All of the notes expressing moments of ENLIGHTENMENT.  Times where answers were received, clarity was given.  

This little paperback has been with me through it all.  Spending most of the last 520ish days in my faithful little Fjall (Swedish backpack).  Who would have known that a book written 2,000 years ago could help me through each and every one of the hardest days I have faced in my mission.
“Love.  Healing.  Help.  Hope.  The power of Christ to counter all troubles in all times—including the end of times.  That is the safe harbor God wants for us in personal or public days of despair.  That is the message with which the Book of Mormon begins, and that is the message with which it ends—calling all to ‘come unto Christ, and be PERFECTED in HIM.’  That phrase—taken from Moroni’s final lines of testimony—is a dying man’s testimony of the only true way.”   (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland)
Moroni 10:3-5—

“I would exhort you, that ye ask of God, if these things are not true.”

Once again.  My heart and mind receive the same confirmation—“You already know this is true.”


Syster Campbell


Monday, March 13, 2017

ÄR NI JEHOVAS?



Hello!

Well, these past few weeks have been very interesting... Action packed, trying, and full of learning!  Quite possibly more than ever before.  I don't know if I have quite understood the saying "pushed to the limits" as much as I have come to find this week.  But, it has all been for the good! 

To keep things short, one of my dearest friends had to leave their mission early due to medical reasons.  Harder than I ever would have expected.  
Funny to think that before the mission, the scariest thing to me was if I would have to come home early.  I was terrified of that.  But now, sending home someone that is so dear to me, it just leaves this hole in my heart!  Almost feels worse in a sense!  
{"Points to anyone who knows this view!", she labeled this one}
So, this week has been full of a lot of emotions.  It's been a refining process, so I have no reason to complain.  Much of our life, we hope to be better.  I think that is a pretty common aspiration.  But, how much of the time are we complaining or feeling bad for ourselves when going through trials--which, in reality, is the very thing that will make us better?!  These trials are what help us grow!  Last week I think I mentioned something about how Saints thrive in adversity...well, this is still so very true--if not even more relevant than ever! 
Yesterday, the 2nd Counselor of the Bishopric came up to us just said something so simple-- yet something I had never quite thought of.  He mentioned that he had heard what had happened previously this week, and in a sense just gave us this legendary pep talk.  He said, "We go through trials and we come out better--That's what makes us CHRISTIANS." A little phrase that for some reason just really stood out to me. 
{her much loved Pontus and Susi came from Stockholm to surprise her at Church!}
But, just thinking about it more--you can simply be baptized and be called a Christian--or you can choose to become better because of the trials.  After all, the Savior became perfected after His hardest trial.  Just imagine the miraculous outcome that WE can become.  That we, as imperfect and flawed as we are, can be made better and better every day through our trials.  But the reason this applies is because Christians choose to become better during the trial.  We don't choose to just barrel through and hope to make it out alive--but we have reason to rejoice during the hardship.  There is growth to be had--so why not just enjoy it?!
Of course, there are, however, some exceptions.  In life, many people do suffer with a condition that makes it nearly impossible to enjoy any of the journey at all.  But find comfort in knowing that there is peace to be had.  That someday later on down the road, that there is joy to be felt.  Joy to be yours.  After all, "God gives some of His toughest battles to His toughest soldiers." 
{while in Stockholm, remembering her fist Kebab experience at this very spot!}
We are told on missions to not just go through the mission, but to let the mission go through us.  I might say, don't wish away your current adversities in hopes of receiving someone else's seemingly perfect situation--become what you want to BE.  Become who you want to be.  Become a Christian.  Knowing that whatever it is you are experiencing, that it is in fact the very trial that is working to make you Perfect.  
Have faith in the Father of this Universe. In the God that created you and me.  Have faith that He might just know better than you or I possibly ever could.  Let that faith shape you into someone that can turn trials into growth, and opposition into opportunities.
 {"somebody found the chalk!", is how she labeled this cute little picture}
So much more to be learned, and yet the time seems to be flying by.  I have been so grateful for everything that my mission has been.  I can't imagine my life without it.  I have grown, and I have been tried but never have I been happier than I have been when I have gone through the adversities--fully knowing that there was light on the other side.  To know that I was being comforted beyond my own personal capacity and to know that I never was alone. 

There is an all-knowing Loving Heavenly Father.  I know that just as much as I know that my knees literally have permanent marks from kneeling more than I ever have in my life. Those marks remind me of the One that went through it all with me.  
I look at the marks and realize that, yes--in the past few months, it has felt like I have been in a constant kneeling position.   My sweet companion and I have even come up with the name, "The Södertälje Kneel."  It's a real thing.  
But above all these marks show me that Someone has been lifting me.  Enabling me to stand up and continue on with Joy!  Pure joy. And I am far past the point of being able to give credit to anything else, not even trying to give credit to myself. 

God is there to pick up His children when they are in need.  Take His offer.  He is there for us all. 
"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."  (3 Nephi 5:13)   I have come here not just to have His name on my chest, but to open my mouth.  To share my experience of the Lord's hand in my life.  We are living testaments that God is there.  Our lives are witnesses.  Let others come to know Christ through you and your example.

I love....just everything.  Have a wonderful day:)


Sister Campbell

Monday, March 6, 2017

MISSION TOUR

 Hej sun! (pun off of how to say hello in Swedish--sounds like, Hej-saan--but when we saw the sun today, Sis. Christensen said, "Hej sun!") Okay. That might not make sense, but hello!

Well, I am still working on my list of the names of countries for the people that I have taught.  I have been really bad at updating it, but so far we have 58.  So, I will go through and see what I have missed.  So some good representation, I might say.  Ha--actually, make that 59--I just realized that I never added in America!  Oops...
 But as for this week, Sis. Christensen and I got to go to Göteborg for two days because apparently my companion is super cool and plays the harp, so we traveled across the country so she could play for a General Authority.  No big deal.  But, you'll hear about that more later.
Well, we totally missed our train that night--but you know, it was actually quite what was supposed to happen.  
Started talking to this guy who is half Japanese, half Italian.  He grew up in Rome--his father works in the Vatican--you know, just your average everyday street contact.  Well.  He doesn't really believe in God surprisingly, so we had a really cool conversation/lesson about the Restoration and most of Plan of Salvation.  It was actually quite amazing.
 We also got to go to the Temple this week, too!  My first time actually going through our dear Sweden Temple.  I have cleaned inside of it before, but this was a really special experience.
  Oh yeah!  And we passed out tons of copies of The Book of Mormon at the Book of Mormon musical!!! 
This week we were also lucky enough to have Mission Tour!  Which means that a General Authority comes and speaks to all the missionaries--gives guidance and feedback on what the First Presidency and Apostles have been seeing.
This was actually a surprise-ish Mission Tour, because the guidance, feedback, correction is the typical one but President and Sister Beckstrand said that we had already had all of the ones that were supposed to have already, so none of us really knew what was quite going on.
But we had President Kearon--President of the European Missions--come, and I just have to say--I absolutely love him and his wife.  Three days with them has changed my life, quite frankly...I can't really explain exactly how, but I will try.

Well... for those of you who don't know President Kearon, he gave the talk "Refuge from the Storm", last April General Conference.   Amazing talk--and if you still don't know which one I'm talking about, go listen to that talk and then come back and read the rest of this. Priorities. 
But honestly just down to the very way he and his wife spoke just astounded me.  They were so personal and personable.  Hilarious and so refreshing to listen to.  Honestly.  Listen to some of his talks and devotionals--they are so inspiring, and just learn from the way he speaks.  

With both of them, you just know that they LOVE whatever they are talking about. They pause to just take in a deep breath, regain thoughts, composure, receive insights, smile--then continue talking.  You feel the Spirit so much while they speak.  Then they whisper to reemphasize key points that they love.  It seriously was just so inspiring.

But, I'll just share some of the things that I just loved...
 --"Mormons Strive on Adversity! We Thrive in Opposition--because we come out STRONGER."

--Hold onto your faith until comfort comes.

--The Object of this life is not to be perfect, but we are expected to have a Change of Heart.
 --"With God nothing is impossible." And when we are able to find our relationship with our Father, we will be able to know this as a fact.  We will be able to prove this principle and to find the validity behind it.  That it is true.   That God truly is all-knowing and all-powerful.  That we can turn to him to find peace and comfort.  
I honestly think I have felt more of His peace and comfort this week just by thinking of this and trying to apply it.  Asking God for the little boost of peace in my daily life.

--"Don't Worry, Work Hard!"   He literally came just to tell us that the leaders of our Church have been impressed with the sudden change in our Mission, and he just wanted to come see why the Sweden Stockholm Mission was doing so well.  He said, "I don't know if I have ever been surrounded by such amazing missionaries." He said over and over how impressed he was, and that he was there to just cheer us on.
---He deemed that saying, "Don't Worry, Work Hard," as quite appropriate for us.  He said, "I come to the conclusion that I am amongst a bunch of worry warts!  Don't worry so much!  You're doing good!  You stress too much!  Enjoy the work!   This is an outstanding group!"   
"But, I seriously am so impressed that despite the tremendous amount of darkness here, you seem oddly normal and sane!"   That was one of my favorite things he said--he loved mentioning the ridiculous lack of sun he has been experiencing in just the 2 days he had been here.
But to continue...

--Repentance = New Strength

--Another really powerful one he said was, "You are good at teaching the Atonement, but are you good at applying it?"
 --And last--but certainly not least--was his focus on the Savior's Infinite Patience.  I just love thinking about the possibilities of the peace and comfort that we can all find under that title, if that makes any sense.  Just the concept of Infinite Patience is both liberating and comforting.  That there is a never ending supply of second chances, of clean slates, and re-do buttons as we are striving to apply the Savior's Atonement in our lives.  
I, for one, would most certainly love to experience even more of this Infinite Patience....of His Infinite love, compassion and understanding.  But, one thing that I have found to be true is that for us to feel that usually requires us to go outside of ourselves.  The way to find the comfort in our lives is by being the comfort in somebody else's life.

Well, I love you all and I'm just grateful for all of you.

Med Kärlek,


Syster Campbell