Loving it in Missouri

I’m in the brawling metropolis of Green City, Missouri now! It’s just an hour from Adam-andi Aman(but that’s not our mission).

My new companion is a good, skinny, runner, educated guy at the end of his last 2 months, who is into jazz and trumpet,. He is adventurous enough, and we get along without having to try, and share many similar opinions and experiences on missionary work,. The only thing bad I have to say about him is he is from Utah, (haha) but he can be forgiven for that.

I live in the middle of nowhere and there are miles of ranch land behind our house that is fun to explore. I started a small farm of potatoes and onions and basil, I also made a compost pile, and we burn all our trash because we are too far from it to get picked up. I have also made friends with a wild farm cat to help kill our the mice in our falling apart house. It is an old 1900 farm house with secret passageways and things to explore but it has been neglected a little.  It still has a homey feeling.

We eat well, though we only get fed by members on Sunday. Our fridge is full of steak, pork and deer, from all the farmer members. Missouri has more ranch land as the terrain is too rugged for crops, so it is beautiful ranch land and it makes meat really cheap,. So,  looks like I went from being a vegetarian to a meat head( meat is all there is to eat so the word of wisdom makes that excuse for times of famine).

The country folk are nice.  The real trick is getting them to stop talking. A few are humble enough to investigate but everyone lets us in for nice long chats or civil bible bashes.

We cover 3 small towns; Green city, Milan, and Unionville.  Last month a branch was started in Unionville that we pretty much run. It only has 6 members, all pretty recent converts but I have never had a more spiritual sacrament meeting on my mission.  Everyone is close and we meet in a log cabin at a campground. Then, we drive 50 miles to Kirksville to get to the ward on Sunday. There’s a lot of time behind the wheel and not a lot of paved roads. Although I wasn’t sent to Grimes, IA as I hoped, I love it here and it has made me less trunky about leaving in a month.

love, Elder Scott 2

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Typical Erik…now typical “Aldste Scott”.

IMG_3617This week I did something rather foolish which proves that I am still very much the same careless person I’ve always been and am in desperate need of change. On Wednesday, we had zone training in Eskilstuna, on the other side of the country, (there are four Oregonians in my zone. How often does that happen?) and stayed the entire day to visit several members Elder Brinkworth baptized when he was serving in Eskilstuna. We therefore got home just after 10:00 pm (still very light outside here) and I discovered that the keys to the apartment and the church had fallen out of my pocket on the bus………ÅÅÅÅÅÅÅÅÅ……so we tried to run to the bus station to see if we can catch that bus but it had already taken off back to Karlskoga for the night, which is on the other side of the county (and the birthplace of Alfred Nobel in case anyone was interested….that is about all Karlskoga has going for it). To make everything just splendid, our phone was dead so we were left locked out of our apartment, this time about 11:00 at night with no ability to call anyone in Karlstad, which means literally everything apart from pubs were closed. The apartment complex in which we live is the sort that requires a key to get in before you get to your own door but the weak point was that it had outdoor walkways on every level, so I could climb up the wall to the second level, which certainly did not look suspicious at all. We then proceeded to break into our own apartment. Luckily, we only left on of the three latches locked on the window so with Brinkworth’s mighty football ramming speed we broke the latch and entered through our kitchen window at 1:00 in the morning with an appointment rather early the following morning. We have successfully gone the entire week without the keys to our apartment or our the church. We hope to replace them soon because it would be quite nice to lock one’s own apartment.

That aside, it was a fantastic week. We will be having three baptismal interviews this week (for Ghazanfar, Mesomeh and Shadow Chales) all three of which will be baptized the following weekend! Ghazanfar and Mesomeh were able to finally come to church with the help of a member driving them, and they loved it. They truly made me realize how much of church I took for granted, seeing how overjoyed and grateful they were for every element of the church service that they had been waiting weeks to be able to enjoy. I’ve never seen anyone so excited to take the sacrament.

Meanwhile, Shadow Chales is spiritually on fire and ready to be baptized as well, but when all spiritually goes perfectly. something temporally goes wrong…..which in this case is his transportation to church. He has been to church without fail every Sunday for many weeks now but the restaurant that he works at just closed, so he can no longer afford a bus card to come to church. This is a problem we will need to solve soon as his baptism is fast approaching. We will try asking several members that live near him if they can give him a ride. This letter will have to end without any grand close or properly covering my week because now I have to go to a lesson….sorry. I love you all.

Much Love,

Äldste Erik Scott

A week in photos for Elder Scott

Elder Ian Scott is getting transferred on Thursday for his last six weeks of his mission.  Yay!! Only six more weeks!  He spent most of his writing home time today helping his brother, Erik out so, we get photos instead.  Enjoy!

Saying bye to all my Rock Island peeps. The sister said the picture was good because it doesn't look like we are in the hood, but we really are.
Saying bye to all my Rock Island peeps. The sister said the picture was good because it doesn’t look like we are in the hood, but we really are.
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After taking the car on a drive along the Mississippi River.
In Lil' Mexico
In Lil’ Mexico
Had to see the Davenport art museum, it is the best art museum in Iowa, but this on was my favorite. I but you can guess why.  I like Thomas Moran's style
Had to see the Davenport art museum, it is the best art museum in Iowa, but this on was my favorite. I bet you can guess why. I like Thomas Moran’s style
yep..... it's a lot to take in. You should see the his store and the rest of the house, but they are nice people. but thought I would give you more of a photo diary this week.
yep….. it’s a lot to take in. You should see the his store and the rest of the house, but they are nice people. but thought I would give you more of a photo diary this week.

Erik, the train jumper…

So Elder Dahle has left K-stad and his departure was rather interesting for me….This is what happened: The bus to take us to the train station was 10 minutes late (a Swedish first probably as Swedes are the most punctual people on the planet it feels like).So,  we got to the station just barely on time with Elder Dahle’s arc of the covenant sized suitcases filled with what I assume was either a collection of boulders or medieval weaponry based off the weight. I, trying to help, brought one of his bags onto the train to stow away for him and by the time I turned around the train was moving…. I was stuck on a snabbtåg (high speed train) to Stockholm with my new companion, Elder Brinkworth, arriving at the Karlstad station in 30 minutes. It being a snabbtåg I was on, it takes very few stops so after a nice extended period of time with my old companion, and seeing my new companion’s train pass ours rather early in the journey, I got off at the first stop and had to book it to catch the first bus back to Karlstad. Having been constantly with a companion for the last 6 months, it felt rather odd to take a 2 hour bus ride completely alone. Elder Brinkworth, with no cell phone, was waiting rather patiently at the station, probably assuming I went AWOL.

So, after much merriment and rejoicing, I started working with my second companion here in Sweden. Elder Brinkworth is from Utah, is very good at all the sports I never did at and is nearly done with his mission.

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With my new companion Äldste Brinkworth and Mehdi

This week we worked very hard, which felt good. Samir, the Syrian dentist, is always a blessing to teach. His testimony is inspiring strong. We hope to be able to get an Arabic translator so his wife can take the lessons. He wants to wait for his wife so they can be baptized together.

On Thursday, we forgot that it was a red day so we went to the bus station to catch the bus we usually would take to teach Shadow Chales (our investigator from DR Congo) in the town of Grums….but it being a red day the only bus going to Grums would not be coming for several hours. We were unable to get a hold of Shadow to tell him this. A little upset, we headed out to do some door knocking on the other side of town until the bus came in. I had no idea why I had decided to take a bus to where I did, I just sort of got on a bus and got off when it felt right. The door knocking did not offer any positive results but when we got on the bus to go back towards the bus station, Shadow was on the bus! His phone was not working so he could not tell us he could not have us come over to his house that day because he had to visit his brother in town for an emergency. So, we taught him a very good lesson in the bus station, and all that seemed to crumble apart was put back together by the hand of the Lord.

One bit of bittersweet news is that Osaro, my friend who I was able to baptize in March, has been deported to Germany this week. It is hard to come to terms with the fact that I won’t be able to see him again on my mission but I had to realize that Germany will be better for him. They have a better system for refugees and the church even has a better support system there. He will do great work in Germany. We have been reading a chapter every night over the phone and I can say with solid conviction that he will be a great member and missionary through life and eternity. Missions aren’t always easy, and in Sweden you have very unique problems. People get deported. That isn’t a common problem in many missions, but that is a common problem here…. but deportation does not end someone’s gospel growth. They get sent to Germany or Italy where the church is strong and they can continue to grow. Their leaving this specific branch does not lower the effectiveness of my work. Sometimes it feels like I’m not doing anything effective, but I need to look beyond the number of seats filled in this branch. I hope I am doing good work. I know that the work I am doing is for good.

Erik: Saying goodbye to his companion week

Having an adventure last p day  that me me feel alive
Having an adventure last p day that me me feel alive

This letter shall be rushed because I just got back from a trip to Charlottenberg so Elder Dahle could snatch a 7 month supply of Norwegian chocolate before he leaves and we will have family home evening very soon. Elder Dahle is leaving? Yeah, 18 weeks with this goober and he is off to Skövde, on the other side of lake Vänvern. I’ll be getting a new companion on Wednesday named Elder Brinkworth. Ch-ch-ch-chain-changes. (“turn to face the strain”) .

So, quick review of this week; at the Lidins I butchered some cow’s meat which I then proceeded to grind myself and make the most amazing hamburger this side of the Himalayas with. We had a jammed packed cereal bag of lessons to fill our days. (but no toy at the bottom, because someone sued because apparently it is a choking hazard.) The collaboration of the investigators we are meeting had us teaching ever lesson this week at one point or another.

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Next to a Picasso sculpture in Kristinehamn
On Thursday, we found a new investigator who has a baptismal date! Tord is an old intellectual Swedish man with the sort of facial hair you can only imagine on a German psychiatrist, though unlike a German psychiatrist, he is very religious. (sorry German psychiatrist, I don’t mean to over generalize you. If one of you are in fact religious you can send me a letter and I will personally apologize.) He already knows a great deal about the church. He is particularly interested because he has studied US history and finds it incredible that we in our early days received so much persecution and violence from a country that had religious freedom as one of it’s core principals. After we taught him the first lesson,  he wanted to start reading the Book of Mormon straight away with us. We were only able to reach the 3rd chapter before we had to catch a bus….but he is reading it rapidly.

This week Jenni came back from India! We went over to her house for dinner on Saturday and had some of the best food I’ve had in my life.. Southern Indian food is where it is at. Her husband is very interested in the church. They have a pretty awesome story. In India, where marriages are arranged, they did not get parental approval for their marriage, for he was a class higher than her. So, they waited 6 years until his father died to get married.

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Samir, Roleen and their adorable baby with, Elder Dahl

On Sunday, we were supposed to have 10 investigators at church. 4 showed up, which is a very good ratio actually. Chales, Emmanuel, Samir and Roleen! It is a truly special experience to watch Arabic general conference with Samir and Roleen and to see the Spirit touch them. They will always be very special to me. They were first ever lesson and now a fantastic friendship which I hope will last for eternity.

Then, I was able to Skype my parents for Mother’s Day which made it the best Sunday ever. I love my parents. They are the best two people in my life. I am so thankful for how they raised me.

That is all from Karl’s City.  Much love and all that, tootle-pip,

Äldste Erik Scott

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Ian’s “Uneventful” Week:

So, I don’t have too much to write since it was an uneventful week full of investigators flaking out along with preaching to people that did not give us the time of day; though we did have tacos and also giant steaks from two different long time less actives we just started meeting with. Never-the less, It was one of those weeks. But it ended well talking to my mum on Mother’s Day.

We had interviews with president and he said I”m getting transferred for my last six weeks, probably to Des Moines, but he made no promises. I have been in Illinois for six months and it is high time I made it back to the promise land of Des Moines. So,  I’m getting to the end, getting excited but I feel like there is one more person i need to help help, and that is my goal for this last transfer.

And then Ian sends me this…

Elder Banta( a crazy adrenaline junky from Idaho, who I am going to shed the back country with and get free snowmobile rides), anyways, he is a good friend I have served in the same ward with for six months. He wrote this story in his letter home this week, and I added in my part in parenthesis, and in purple.

“Had some really interesting experiences this week.(the craziest 45 minutes of my mission)  We got chased by this crazy guy. I have been yelled at and stuff but never actually CHASED! He was crazy. He was yelling, “I’m gonna kill you Mormon (beep), you LDS (BEEP).” Then we hid in this random person’s house (she was a lady we were actually teaching at her door when a hot rod revved up with “the Rock” in it. The Rock is a big, bad, crazy, old, guy who drives a vintage hot rod. He was one of Banta’s former investigators but he was dropped after he came to church and picked the bishop up by the collar telling him he was wasting his time and saying all kinds of things against the church. We haven’t seen him since that last episode. So, anyways, the Rock comes driving around the complex yelling so, she invited us in to hide, as a bunch of other rough looking ladies went out of the apartment telling him to go away, as he revved up his hot rod and tried to get out. the ladies had our back and it proved to be a good enough distraction that we were able to sneak out the back door and… we) and we ran out the back door. We ran through some back streets and hopped some fences and we thought we were clear. Then,  he come ripping around the corner at us so we ran some more. We got to the car, Elder Scott did a Bo Duke sliding over the hood. We got in and we were in a high speed get away with the Rock on our tail, blazing the MOTAB! Can you imagine that! Oh and “The Rock” was in an old ’57 chevy hot rod. We finally got away. So that was nuts.” (We arrived back at the apartment where we crashed from all the adrenaline pumping though our bodies. I’m not going to lie, I like the action and felt like one of the saints of old getting chased by the mobs.)

Elder Scott the II

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I hope you enjoy the facsimile from the book of Abraham that I painted on the apt. wall. I guess now i can say i left my mark on the area..

Spring in Sweden

IMG_3417For the last several weeks, it has been getting to the point where our schedule has been entirely booked.  Before, we have to do weekly planning, which is very good because our weekly planning sessions are pretty much completed before we have to start them. The negative side of this is we do not have very much flexibility in our week so we will have to make some changes before we can take on many more investigators. (It would be nice to have more than just two missionaries here)

So,  this week in review: On Tuesday at the Lidins,  we helped butcher a cow, which is very heavy, bloody, and not my cuppa saft. When the actual killing was being done, I was fortunate enough to be given the task of distracting the other cows so they didn’t have to see. But the product of the hard work of skinning and butchering and blood whisking was delicious beef stew and some nice boiled cow’s tongue, which is very fine quality meat.

On Wednesday,  we were blessed with another amazing lesson with Gazanfar and Mesomeh where Mesomeh gave the most powerful prayer I have ever heard, and I do not even speak Persian, so I did not understand the words but I felt the spirit strong. They have already read about the commandments we taught them and started to live them already, bearing strong testimonies of the word of wisdom  and tithing.IMG_3421

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At the Valborg Festival

Thursday was Valborg, which consists of choirs singing classic Swedish songs about springtime and nature, then burning a huge bonfire to keep away the witches and then all the unmarried adults get drunk out their minds and wreck havoc on the streets. We went to the more family friendly bonfire for kids in the alcohol free park and it was quite enjoyable. That night, being very close to a university, it was quite loud. Our neighbors (not the Beatlemania ones, the other ones) were having a house party so I was laying in my bed at 1 in the morning,  with the room vibrating to AVICII, Swedish House Mafia, etc. etc. which isn’t bad at all, but I do like my sleep. The next morning we did not dare go knock on doors. I don’t think most people would be in the mood after their liver abuse the night before.

On Friday,  after another awesome lesson with Ghazanfar and Mesomeh,  a miracle happened. We were going out for some kebab for we were several hours from home and would not be catching a train until late and in the kebab restaurant we met Doreen. Doreen is a member of our church who grew up in the Philippines. Her mother is Philippino and her father is Swedish. Two year ago she decided to move to Sweden to discover her Swedish side and never transferred her records and has not known where the church was here in Värmland. AND WE FOUND HER!!!!!!  So,  that was awesome, and another sign of God’s hand in our lives. We are meeting her next week and hopefully getting her back to church.IMG_3420

On Saturday, we went to an African Party. These are the best form of the word party. Africans know how to throw a party. White people should just give up….or ask an African to throw one for them. Africans know how to dance….and the food was amazing. I’ve heard horror stories about African food, mainly from Utah missionaries, which should be taken with a grain of salt, and this food was nothing like their description. Spicy meats, delicious rice dishes, cow stomach soup, fufu, which is this white cassava dough that you dip in spicy meat soup.Also, the middle easterners where having a barbecue outside, so it was a good day food wise, even though I was painfully reminded how terribly white I am, which is very hilarious for some Africans.

On Sunday, Chales shared with us why he came to Sweden. He and a couple friends lead a protest against the corrupt government of DR Congo and had to run for his life. Many who protested have been killed. The fact that he made it out alive was a miracle. He believes God must have kept him alive for a reason, and I believe him. That is all form Sweden.

Ha en trevlig vårsäsong!

Äldste Scott

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Ian gets to use his talents as a missionary!

Howdy,

Started off last week with some killer Midwestern mountain biking with a ragtag gang of bikes. At the end,  only 2 out of 8 bikes could work. I stripped out my peddle which  was later welded back on by my farmer friend. It was fun riding the bike without peddles it was like those toddler bikes where you kick with your legs, you can get some good speed, but it hurts to land when you go off a jump.

We did a lot of exchanges this week and  showed the elders who took over Rock Island,  the area and meet some of my old investigators. It was good to  back in Rock Island, home of the Blues Brothers. They had statues of them and so  I had to get a picture. The best part is my picture was taken by an old time platinum rapper who gave up his life of vanity and became a gospel singer and preacher of the word. He is just a humble street cleaner now, but he was a true O.G.IMG_3394

I miss Rock Island, and all the brothers there. Good news! After much fasting a prayer, my friend Joel is doing better and wants to meet again. He has been though more then anyone should have to in this life. He is a good guy and he is still holding on.  Now i’m just in Moline and the demographic is mostly middle class whites and poor Hispanics. We have found many cool new people this week.

One is a super chill college student who has had a bunch of amazing spiritual experiences and  is fun to talk to.  We also  talked to a bunch of people along the Mississippi board walk.  While there,  I did a chalk drawing of Jesus coming to the people in the Americas as a way to talk to people about the Book of Mormon. It was a way that I can use my talents and not be as annoying as going door to door. IMG_3393

There was too much going on on a Saturday night by the river: two weddings, tons of road bikers and walkers, a crowd getting out of a W.W.E. fight, everyone was getting pictures by the river for prom night, a youth theater troop doing Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat, a little league baseball tournament… One team was inspired by the drawing to start praying before there games, and we became  friends. I have never seen crowds like that in the Midwest.  I guess it was the right time to get the message across. i have found time and time again on the mission that when I use my talents and be myself I find the most joy and success in the work.

Take it easy,

Elder Scott 2