Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Elder Christian Tanner - Where Are The Prepared?


Hey Family,

It has been a really great week. I will just dive right into it I guess. There were 4 experiences that I really want to share that I think you will like a lot. I most certainly feel strengthened spiritually and feel like a better missionary.

First, I know that last week I mentioned how confused I was. I still didn't know what I was doing in Trollhättan. Being Senior Companion really added a lot to that stress. Well, I, again, kneeled down in prayer. As I was doing my personal study, it hit me. "Visit all the members in the ward and teach them about Member Missionary Work." Instantly I started working on the lesson plans. Over the next hour and a half I read over the "finding people to teach" section in my Preach my Gospel (which I had already done 100 times. I don't know why I got it THIS time.) I decided that we wanted the members to commit to two things. 1. We would give them a pass along card. They would give this card to a friend, family member, or someone who they think needs it. and 2. to invited them to hold a personal or family fast and prayer that they can find someone to give this card to. After I decided this I said to Elder Hansen "Tell me yes or no...." Then explained what I wanted to do. He said yes. So we went right ahead and started calling all the members in the ward. Took about 4 hours, but we have appointments with them over the next few weeks. So this week is going to be really really busy with visiting with members. The finding wasn't happening by knocking doors or contacting (which by the way, my goal is 5 UNPLANNED contacts per day. Not the plans for the day of contacting/tracking) and I was getting frustrated. WHERE ARE THE PREPARED? I have come to the conclusion that this is the road we need to take over the next few weeks. Investigators will come. The Bishop is also going to ask the ward to hold a fast and prayer for the missionaries and for finding investigators this up-coming fast Sunday. For that very reason, we went to the BISHOP first. We also offered our help in anything. The members need to trust us, and the best way for us to build trust is to do service. When you have the Bishops trust, the rest will naturally follow. 

On Thursday, January 9, we went on splits with our Zone Leaders after district meeting. I went with Elder Mangum. The ZL's are in Borås, so I was excited to leave Trollhättan for a day. When we got to Borås, we spent a little while planning out what we were going to be doing that day. We had a total of 4 lessons planned - 2 with investigators, 1 with a member, and 1 with a less active. All of them fell through. I was really bummed, I wanted to teach a lesson with Mangum. We had a big list of "swing-by's" of former investigators and in-actives. So we started going by those. Everything just seemed to work out. As we were walking up to the door of one former investigator, he was just leaving his house to go to the gym. We had a discussion with him and he told us to come back (unfortunately, I wont be.). But he particular part of the story I want to share is what happened next. We drove over to our Less-active appointment and discovered that she had no intentions of meeting with us. The apartment complex had a port-code so there was no way we could have even gone and knocked on her door. We waited there for a few minutes to see if we could get a hold of her or if somebody would be leaving so we could get through. Nothing. So, we turned around about to head back to the car. Elder Mangum stops mid-tracks. He says to me "Elder Tanner, where do you feel inspired to go?" At first I was caught off guard. I don't know. I don't know anything about Borås. I stood there for a minute, and looked around at the apartment buildings around us. For some reason, my eyes kept going back to this particular window with the light on. So I started walking towards is. Elder Mangum said "okay. I'll just follow you."

I said "yeah, okay. But the place I am walking to is probably still port-coded so we wont get in."
"yeah, that's probably true." he said.

Well, we walk up to the third door of the apartment complex. Sure enough, it is port coded. But, as we walked up to the door, we could see which numbers were in the code because they had been worn down from being pressed too much. Not even 2 minutes later we were in the door, after having guessed the code. This particular door had only 6 (I think... maybe it was 8) apartments in it. We started at the top, and worked our way down knocking on every door. Out of 6 (or 8) doors, 3 people said we could come back and visit them again. The last door, one of the 3, had two kids that answered the door. One of them 17, one of them 14. We just started talking to them about a bunch of stuff. Where they come from, what they believe, and even things like soccer. We must have talked for about 20 minutes. The only this was, was that their parents were not home. Although these kids were totally interested what we had to say, their parents probably were not. The kids told us to come back in the next few days and meet their parents. A few days later, on saturday, I got a call from Elder Mangum.

"guess what" he says. "Those kids that we tracked into, we went back to them and met their parents and they want us to come back too." That is a family of 6 which means a possible 6 baptisms in the next month or so. Can you say "Totally awesome!" I know for a fact now that stopping just for a second to listen to a prompting can make the biggest difference. Mangum felt the prompting to as me, I felt the prompting to know where to go. By the end of the evening that night we had 11 new potential investigators. 6 of those potential I know for sure is now considered investigators. So awesome. We just saw so much success even though all our original plans went through. It was most definitely an incredible learning experience - and I gained an even bigger testimony... again. :) The apartment in Borås has a sauna, so Mangum and I relaxed in the sauna that night. It was the best ever. I felt so good spiritually and just relaxing in the sauna - awesome.
So another really good story that happened this week. As you probably know, Helen and Dag Stulen is the Bishop and his wife. They have a son, Martin, who is on a mission in the Phoenix, Arizona mission. They also have a daughter Sophia who is inactive. Her sambo is Daniel, he is a Norwegian and not a member. Daniel is taking the lessons from Martin through skype every sunday, however he isn't really interested. Also, a few months ago when Elder Faylor and Elder Peterson were here in Trollhättan, they left the bikes at the train station and just kept them there. So when we went to go get the bikes, they were destroyed beyond repair. We had permission to go and buy new bikes. But the bikes were in Uddevalla, a city about 25 minutes away from Trollhättan so taking a bus to get 2 new bikes (still in a box, by the way) by bus is quite a pain. I decided that we would call Daniel on Friday night and ask him if he could take us in his car to get the bikes. He said that he would. A few hour later he picked us up from our lesson and drove us out there. Right before he picked us up, however, Helena called us and said that she was giving Daniel money to take us to Burger King to get dinner, also.   We said thanks, but didn't think too much about it. We went and got the bikes. So now fast forward to Sunday night. After institute we asked if we could stay a few minutes behind and talk to Bishop and his wife about the Member and Missionary Work in the ward. After our lesson with them, we thanked them again for the Burger King on Friday night. Helena then started explaining:
On Friday when we called Daniel to ask if he could take us to go pick up the bikes, he had been in bed all day really depressed. (Both Daniel and Sophia have some health issues that cause this kind of stuff, but I wont get into that) He had forget to do something so that's why he was really depressed. Well, he and Sophia had gotten into a fight and Sophia called her mom to come get her to take her away for a while. So, according to Helena, the fact that we called him and asked him to take us to get the bikes was exactly what Daniel needed. He needed something to "break the ice" and to get out of bed. The reason that she gave us money for Burger King was because she was so grateful for us and because Daniel hadn't eaten all day. She explained how she was so grateful that we were so in tune to the spirit to just randomly call up Daniel like that. As she was describing this, I could see a small tear in her eye. For us, it was nothing. To her, it meant her family, but more importantly it meant her daughter. It was just a really really nice experience.
So for the final story. This was on Saturday night, the day after splits with the Zone Leaders. This lady in our ward had given us a referral...kind of. She gave us the address, but didn't know the name. Just that it started with an H. The address she gave us just so happened to be across the street from our own apartment. Number 40. We walked inside and found no name that started with an H. Which was strange because it was a BIG apartment complex. Probably at least 50 or 60 doors inside. My companion turned to walk outside but I said "nope. we are tracking this." With that many doors, it would take at LEAST 1 hour or more to tract. By the way, we live in Iraq. Muslims and middle-eastern people are around every corner and take up more than half the bus generally. He was kind of complaining that it was all Muslims and we wouldn't find anybody. I didn't say this, but I thought about it: So I guess our purpose as missionaries is to invite EVERYONE to the gospel, EXCEPT Muslims? No, of course its not. So I tracked the dang building by myself. I ended up giving away 2 Book of Mormons and 5 pass-along cards. (Before we left the apartment earlier that day I felt the prompting to take another Book of Mormon with me.) And even some of the Muslims that DID answer their door found it really neat that we leave our homes for two years and come to a foreign land at our age. So, it was totally worth it. I remember dad telling me a story one time of how sometimes looking for a referral is just a way for the Lord to get you to the prepared. Plus, after my experience with Elder Mangum, there was NO way I wasn't going to knock that. If you have time, and you don't find your referral, knock the doors surrounding it!!
We still have no investigators at this point. But now we have 2 potentials. I know that if I keep at it, keep being obedient and keep being faithful, they will come. They will come. This week was probably one of the best weeks so far of my mission. I learned so much. I love doing missionary work. I love the work. I love the Lord. I love this gospel.
Have a good week my friends.
Äldste Tanner

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