Our week started with everything going wrong but then by the end, turning out for the best. On the way to district meeting in Örebro on Tuesday, the phone was left on the bus. If I wasn’t a missionary this would be annoying and I would do what I could to track it down but seeing as I was a missionary, this was *Titus Andronicus level tragic. (There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and someone may or may not have lost there hands and tongue and we were almost baked as pies). We had a heap of information on that phone, plus investigators, branch members and mission leaders needed to get a hold of us, and we needed to get a hold of them. Luckily, thanks to the “find my iphone app” the Örebro elders chased down the lost phone the following day and we celebrated over curry.
While we were without a phone earlier that day, we also had a charter bus pass us without stopping, which would not come again for an hour. At first, we thought this was terrible but when we asked to borrow a girl’s phone to call, she invited us to her house until the bus came which ended up being a very positive lesson. If we had made the bus, we would have never taught her….so sometimes what we think is a bad thing can end up being a good thing that God had planned for you…Though, it is still bad to lose your phone, despite the girl we met and the good curry that came of it.
When we got the phone, one of the missed calls was from a Nigerian man named Jerry (his real name is very long to spell so he goes by Jerry), who met some other elders in Borås at a train station and they gave him our number because he is in our area. We took a three hour bus ride to his refugee camp on Thursday and it was the best day I know I will probably have on my entire mission, for I’m in Sweden so I can’t expect everyday to be miracles and rainbows….but this day was. (minus the rainbows). We get off in a tiny town named Glava, which consists of a typical swedish Svenska Kryka, the smallest grocery store imaginable and a large old manor that has been converted into a refugee camp.
First it must be said, I love refugee camps. Sometimes they can be sad and leave your heart heavy, but there always is a certain energy of hope and the people you meet are some of the most amazing people you’ll ever know in your life. We met Jerry, who full on bear hugs us first thing, and started teaching him the first lesson. This man is incredible! He has been fasting for 40 days and reading the Bible and praying at every opportunity he can so that he can bring his wife and children to Sweden. He was an accountant in Nigeria and works super hard on Swedish to get a job here. The lesson went from giving the message of the restoration to teaching every lesson at once. He already lives the word of wisdom, preached to us for about thirty minutes about the importance of living the law of chasity. He wants to move to Karlstad just so he can be closer to the church. He will be baptized in March. After the lesson, he jumped up and said “All of my brodahs and sisters need this message! Come, help me win souls for Christ” and then he ran out of the door and started knocking on doors and gathering people to here our message.
We taught the first lesson, four more times that day to over 30 people and found nine new investigators who want us to return; two Syrians, one Ugandan, one Cambodian, three Eritreans and one Ukrainian. All of them are awesome. Jerry was even helping us teach the lessons which we just taught him.
We left that night laughing about how incredible it was. We then walked into a Kabab pizza place on the way home where we got in a long conversation with an Iraqi Christian who was interested. After that, we thought there was no way our day could get better. Then, while we were waiting for the train, a 25 year old Swedish man walked up to us and asked if we were Mormons and if we can meet him next week!!!! That never happens! Craziest day ever.
On the train ride home, I could not help but laugh about the miracles of that day. All of them just sort of fell on top of us. The following day was a very great lesson with Samir. He committed to follow the word of wisdom instantly. He will take the tests to become a certified dentist in Sweden soon. Both of our investigators with baptism dates are doing very well. Jonas is nearly done with 1 Nephi and defended our church to a quarrelsome Muslim. For the record, most Muslims aren’t quarrelsome and tend to be the nicest when you knock on doors. Our investigator, Jerry was already in the book of Mosiah two days after we gave him the Book of Mormon. He is going to be an awesome member and a better missionary than I’ll ever be. We had 21 lessons and 11 new investigators total, which, though I should always dream big, I don’t think I’ll reach again for a very long time.
Sometimes, I wish I had the spiritual excitement of the progressing investigators, like Jerry who said he has been looking for this all his life and he thanks God continuously for finding our church. But, I don’t need to find the gospel to have that energy. I just need to look at what it has done for me in my life, have gratitude and serve. When I meet refugees that have lost and sacrificed so much, who are giving thanks to the Lord everyday and are so happy for the simplest of things, I realize how unappreciative I have been to all my many blessings; for my family, for my health and safety, and most of all for this gospel that can give us true, pure, everlasting joy. I know this church is true, that Jesus Christ died for us and that Heavenly Father loves every single child of his, and if we look to him and follow his commandments he will bless us, in this life and the life to come.
*Titus Andronicus is a Greek tragedy written by Shakespeare, that is beyond tragic, thus Erik’s comparison. Haha