Friday, February 7, 2014

Elder Christian Tanner - Blessings in Trollhättan

Hey everybody.

This past week has been incredible. We are being so blessed right now it just blows my mind. On Tuesday we were going to meet with one of our investigators whom we haven't had contact with in over a month. We finally got an appointment to meet with him, but when we went over to his place, he was sick. He could not meet. That was the only appointment we had that day. We had nothing else planned. We decided we were going to go by a less-active who lives by us. So we walked back up to the bus stop just to realize that we missed it by 2 minutes. We would have to wait half an hour for the bus to come, or we could walk. We decided to walk. About half way back to the ReseCentrum I had a thought to go see if Selim was home, as he lives close by. Selim is an investigator who works two jobs and can NEVER meet. He is always so busy. And he's not even that positive. He just likes Americans. At first, I just disregarded the thought. Then I thought it again. So, we went. Just as we were approaching the door to his apartment building we saw him carrying a bunch of groceries from his car. He was really surprised to see us. We helped him carry in his groceries and he invited us in. He had 2 hours until he had to go work his second job. So we sat there and talked for about an hour. We were able to get off the subject of "America" for about 15 minutes and teach him a little bit about the Plan of Salvation. He told us that he would like to come to church but that he's so busy every Sunday that he cant. But, if he had time one week, he would go. He is from somewhere in the middle of Europe. He has a house there and he invited us to come stay with him and he will take us around the country for free. Haha. I think its like Cosivo or something (And i have no idea how its spelled). It was just really fun to follow a prompting and have a small amount success come from it. The rest of the day something just seemed to happen and we were busy the entire day. It was cool.

Saturday was awesome! I can't tell you how awesome it was. I was almost in tears of joy at the end of the night. There is a member named Ann-Marie. A few weeks ago she approached us in church and told us about this woman she met at the Svenska Kyrkan. We attempted to find her many times, as she was interested. But we never could find her. On Thursday Ann gave us a call and said that she had her number and better directions to where she lives. She lives 2 bus stops away from our apartment so it was easy to find. So, on Saturday we go by to try and find her again. This time, we found her! And let me just tell you that she is SO prepared. Her name is Ramiza or something like that - not from Sweden but speaks very good English and Swedish. She talked about how she just wants to come closer to God. She reads scriptures every night and prays every night. She just wants the best for people and is so concerned for everybody. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she was super excited about it. We told her that if she went to the bus stop at 10:30 on Sunday morning she would see us on the bus and that she could come to church with us. (she had tried to find the church before.) Unfortunately something came up and she couldn't come on Sunday. We do, however, have a lesson with her on Thursday. Later that night after we visited Ramiza we decided we were going to get some contacts by knocking some apartment doors down the road. After only 15 minutes of tracting, we knocked on a door of a family who is a member of the Pingts Kyrkan (The Pentecostal church). We introduced the Book of Mormon to them and said we would like to talk more about it with them. It was just her and her husband who lived there with their new-born daughter. She took the book out of my hands and just started examining it.

"When can you come back?" She said. "Tomorrow at 6?"

We said that would work great! So we went on our way feeling awesome! Just a few minutes later we knocked another door of a guy who belongs to the Orthodox church. He invited us in. That was weird. After we sat down he says:

 "How long have you guys been out?" Both of us said "about six months." And then he responded "oh. so you only have a year and a half left." We were like....what? how do you know that? He wouldn't tell us much about himself. I wanted to know more. Just out of the no-where I asked him if he would be baptized when he found out that our church is true. He responded with "Oh. I already know it's true. I investigated your church 15 years ago. I read the Book of Mormon and believe it. I just can't change my religion because my family has been in the Orthodox church for generations. But, I have a daughter who is Mormon." That was most certainly NOT the answer I was expecting. It was better, obviously. He have an return appointment with him later this week. He WILL get baptized if its the last thing I do! Haha. I don't remember his name right now, though. He's from some weird place.

So now its Sunday. We had the return appointment with that family. We expected it to be just her and her husband. When we got there, we sat down on the couch and person after person kept walking into the room. Before I could blink the apartment was filled with people and I had no idea how many hands I had just shaken. I sat down and counted how many people were in the room. 13. 13 people! The most I have ever taught in one sitting that is NON member is maybe...2? At the most. I was quite scared. It was really intimidating. Apparently she had her Dad, Mom, 4 siblings, Uncle, Aunt and their 3 kids all come and listen to us. They had SO many questions about the Bible. I had no idea about some of the questions. But we talked about the Book of Mormon and how it goes hand and hand with the Bible and how it can bless the lives of everybody who reads it. We taught the lesson really well, actually, but it didn't turn out as well as we had hoped. They decided that they just wanted to stick to the Bible for now and they would call us when they are ready for a Book of Mormon. It was devastating! I had sat in that room for an hour imagining all these people dressed in white ready for baptism. All of them are so prepared and so ready for the Gospel! I truly hope one day they will realize the need of living prophets and the Book of Mormon. It was a crazy experience to teach such a big group of people all at one time. I think I prefer next time to do it in smaller groups. It's easier to address questions and have more focus with them.

 This next thing that happened was actually on Friday. Last week we received a text-referral from A guy named Turki Al-ashaab was interested. A Muslim, no doubt. We went by his apartment last week but found out it was port-coded so there was no way of getting in. We had plans to go by again, but had not done it yet. Anyway, on Friday we were on our way home to do some weekly planning after an appointment with a member. We decided we were going to swing by our Investigator Muhammad before we went home and see how he was doing with reading his Book of Mormon. When we got there, he invited us in and explained he didn't have the book because he gave it to a friend who is really interested in Mormons. We gave him a new one and he said he would continue to read it. About half way through, he just kinda stood up and said "hey, I will call my friend and have him come over and talk with us." Few minutes later he came back and said that his friend was going to come pick us up and take us to his apartment to talk. It kinda freaked me out. He showed us a picture of his friend. A huge Muslim with a gigantic beard. I thought "oh no. We are going to die. They are going to kill us." But we met his friend and he was a nice guy. As we were driving to his apartment, he said his name was Turki. Wait a second? What? The same guy we tried to find last week? It sure was. Our investigator referred us to a referral from last week. That was weird. But it was the Lord helping us. Turki is from Iraq or something like that. He is the equivalent of a bishop in the Muslim religion. He has a congregation and he is investigating our church! Haha. I guess he is also writing a book about Mormons from a Non-subjective point of view, which is pretty cool. He is really impressed with our religion because of the things that we believe in. Such as word of wisdom,etc. This is a side note but I want to write it before I forget. When we were at Turki's place, his wife gave us this lemon-milk drink that was SOOO good! It was like squeezed lemon with a creamy milk. I just had to write that. Anyway, we sat in his place for 2 hours answering all his questions. He had is friend there translating for us. Turki spoke in Arabic and his friend translated to English for us so that we could both use our native tongue. It was really neat. It was a taste of what it WOULD be like serving in the Middle East (maybe one day?).

The last thing I want to write is this: Between the sisters and us, we have 14 Investigators. It is driving the ward nuts! We had a fast yesterday for missionaries and missionary work. So many of the ward is so happy with the fact that they have missionaries who are working hard and love the work (for years Trollhättan hasn't had the best reputation with missionaries...). One lady was overwhelmed and expressed how she felt about missionary work. She has a whole new view of missionary work that she has never had before. It is the most wonderful thing to see how members can change over such a short time. Trollhättan is going t be doing a lot of baptizing over the next few months. I have so much faith and I pray everyday that we will baptize many of Gods children this month. I hope it is His will.

There is so much I could write but I just don't have time! I hope you all enjoyed this email as much as I enjoyed this week....although that is highly unlikely. I will respond to all your personal emails. Love you all and have a good week!
 Äldste Christian Tanner

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