Off to Västra Frölunda, Göteborg

IMG_0506 The last few letters I’ve sent have been full of poor luck so you would think this week would be the week where it all falls into place and we finally get the promised blessings for enduring. False. Well, not entirely…. Good stuff happened, but I have not been given the grand exit from Västerhaninge I was hoping for.

On Friday night, jusIMG_0507t before Joseph’s baptism, he called us very distressed. He had taken the Saturday off work to be baptized but his boss was demanding he come into work on Saturday or else he would be fired. So, the baptism was cancelled and we called as many people as we could to let them know but still had to wait at the door to tell those who did not get the news that the baptism was off. It was a bit depressing. The worst part is the treatment Joseph gets from his job. It is illegal. In Sweden, you can’t work more than 8 hours a day and get paid double on weekends….He leaves his house at 6 am and gets home at 8 pm every day, getting paid under minimum wage, with no change in salary on weekends, no overtime pay, and no rights. Some people cheat the system, whether it is here in Sweden, in the USA or in India, and the poor people of this world suffer from their horrid greed. The good news is he will be baptized on Saturday and his wife will be baptized the following Saturday.

IMG_0501
Erik with Maryam and another friend.

I’ll be off to Västra Frölunda, Göteborg, on Wednesday so I won’t be able to see the baptisms, but that is all fine, for I must be off to the great west. I’m quite excited. Göteborg is the Portland of Sweden. Laid back, down to earth, hip and beautiful. I’ll also be missing Västerhaninge dearly though. I’ll miss Maryam, my dearest Persian friend. It has been so wonderful to be able to see her grow, from the day we first met her, a shy angel with a world of worry and sorrow on her shoulder, to now. The gospel has changed her. She is confident and happy and serves everyone she meets, with her limited Swedish and actions that speak more than words. The day she was baptized was one of the happiest days. This week we were able to go to the temple with Maryam to do baptisms  and it was incredible. She cried for the first time since she left Iran. AAAAAHHHHH I will miss her loads. Even though not everything in Västerhaninge went according to planned, Maryam changed my life, and her life was changed too, and that is worth more than all the world’s riches.

IMG_0502This week in Sweden something dreadful happened. Just north of Göteborg a man walked into a school and killed two people with a knife (Thankfully this isn’t the USA or else it would be a semi automatic assault rifle) to protest against immigrants coming into the country. This is the first time ever a school killing has happened in Sweden. It has seriously shook the nation. Sweden has been asleep for hundreds of years. They have had no catastrophes, no natural disasters, no wars, no large large civil unrest, no shootings in their modern history. They’ve always been blessed and safe through all the global tragedies. Now is Sweden’s time to stand. 12 million Syrians need homes as their nation has been torn apart by war. Sweden has plenty of room, one of the best economies in the world, and plenty of resources to take in a decent handful of the war torn refugees….. but that requires not only the money and space that Sweden already has to give, but the hearts of the people to be opened. Either Sweden will change dramatically and never be the same country again, or they turn their backs and go back to sleep. I already gave my speech on refugees on this blog back on world refugee day in the summer but I must reiterate just how huge this is. For you reading from Oregon or Utah or wherever you are safely settled, this is a distant problem you hear on the news. Here, this is life. The train stations are full of homeless, hopeless, starving Syrian children with no idea where the future will take them. Some walk past, pretending they don’t exists. Some get angry that they are disturbing their luxurious easy lives. One of my friends out here witnessed a man go to the nearest store and buy lunch for a couple dozen of immigrants. . Amongst the bigots and neo nazis that are cursing them and burning down refugee camps with sleeping young children, there still is goodness. There still are the kind hearted that reach out. It is a blessing for me to be here in Sweden to see the Swedes with hearts of gold reach out. I wish I could just hug every refugee in T-central and give them all warm beds and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been my privilege to become very dear friends with several. Their stories break my heart but when they open their hearts to the gospel, the greatest source of happiness, which they could not obtain in their home countries, it is the loveliest thing to see. I love them. I wish I could do so much more for them.
ADORABLE PHOTOS FROM WARD HALLOWEEN PARTY:
IMG_0504
IMG_0505
IMG_0508

Life Lessons

image
Why is it that the one week where the worst slings and arrows of outrageous fortune do all they can to bring me down, I find myself at the end of it all to be at my happiest? Probably, because this gospel is true. If it wasn’t, I would’ve given up months ago and be living in a log cabin in the solitude of British Columbia right now…..

Because the gospel is true, because God is our loving Heavenly Father who sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us, and through him, and him alone, we can find true and everlasting peace and joy in this life and salvation in the life to come by means of his teachings, his atonement and his church. I choose by my free will to do this, because amidst the storms and such I have never been truly happier. The Apostle Paul taught us that we “glory in our tribulations” and now I’m finally understanding what that truly means. When we desire to be more like Christ, to be a better human being, to grow in our love for others, we must acknowledge that it is through hardships that we grow. A muscle must be torn to strengthen. A tree must be pruned to bear good fruit. A human must face adversity to improve. If I had a mission of rainbows and constant baptisms, it would be for me spiritually exactly what confining myself to my bed would be for me physically. If I stayed in bed all the days of my life, my body would bloat into a flabby plate of flan. My legs would become too weak to support. My movement will become limited, and I’d die of some easily avoidable health issue. I’d be a beached whale for the Asian tourists to take pictures of. So glorying in tribulation isn’t getting some sick joy out of pain, but rather it is seeing the bigger picture and therefore being thankful for you know that the hardship will in the end, if you face it with faith, love, and help, make you a stronger, better, more Christlike person.

image

So, if you want me to be honest with you, yes, this week was horrid. We got multiple wonderfully progressing investigators drop us out of the blue. We had a baptism that was supposed to be this week, have to be canceled. We had trials beyond our comprehension hit our investigators, and days of all five lessons set up being cancelled. We had investigators in the hospital, our temple day postponed, and curses and hatred hurled at us. I was even offered 2000 krona and a ticket to anywhere in the world if I took off my missionary tag and denied that there is a God. But now, on this end of the week, I can rightfully say that I loved it. I am not the biggest fan of repeating it, but I am so thankful it happened. I became humbled. I needed that. I grew in my faith in the Lord and though the poor agency of others left me utterly heart broken, I only found that I increased in my love. “I’d rather be broken than empty. I’d rather be shattered than hollow.” as a wise Swede once wrote.

Now,  is much like the conclusion of Ghost Stories by Coldplay. This week was the duration of the album…. getting shattered and hurt and getting broken….”broken into two”…. and now at the end it, it’s just like the end of the album, “Sky Full of Stars” is the anthem, as I mend from the sea of troubles that was this week. It’s an upbeat recovery song, with a happy melody by AVICII (rather fitting considering my location) that just describes everything right now. “I don’t care, go on and break my heart.” I’m fine, I can take it because this gospel is real, people, and the Love of Jesus Christ can heal, through the Holy Ghost. Oh, how I wish I could listen to Coldplay right now. Ghost Stories album would be such a good medicine right now. There are things not of this church that are very much inspired directly from God. Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, and so many beautiful, soul healing songs out there among the trash.

imageFrom here, it is forward. We will have a baptism next week and it is most likely I’ll be transferred the following week. Not everything I thought would happen here in Västerhaninge has happened but that is okay. I put my best in, and have been able to grow.
Now Go read a quality book, go on a quality adventure, and put some quality time this week into others….. then you will have a very happy week indeed.
Love you all to bits and pieces,
Erik

image

Autumn Comes to Sweden

IMG_0219The world has turned golden and copper, the sun has shown itself less and less and the mornings are now below zero. It is a wonderful, beautiful world we have here, and I’m just so happy I can be alive in it. The best times of the year are the turning of summer into winter and the turning of winter into summer; the death and resurrection.

This week quite an interesting occurrence took place. As we were teaching Vera with the help of our buddy ol’ pal Jeffery, who is preparing to serve a mission himself, Vera’s husband, Joseph, came home late from work. He works in construction and a hammer had hit him square in the eye and his eyeball was filled with blood, rendering him blind.We gave him a priesthood blessing and then Jeffery rushed him off to the hospital. One of the most interesting conclusions to a member present lesson…. When Joseph got to the hospital he was miraclously given immediate attention and he has healed faster than the doctors predicted.

IMG_0222Joseph and Vera are two wonderful people of great faith and it is a blessing that I have met them. They have started praying together as a family and reading the scriptures together. It is a very special opportunity to teach a family. There is a love a family holds that nothing else can compare with. My sincerest hope is to one day have my own family with the love Joseph and Vera’s has, and that my parents raised me with. There is beauty all around when there’s love at home.
As my mission progresses, I find in my weekly letters I am writing less about what I did that week (like my novel sized letters from my first few months) and far more simply about what I feel. I feel happy, at peace, strengthened when I ought to be tired, and content when I ought to be upset. Being a missionary comes with very good feelings; bad ones too, like discouragment and exhaustion, but those are mere minor details compared to the joy and happiness this gospel brings me as a missionary.
Above all, I hope this mission can help me increase in my love for others and in the process help me increase in serving others. That is one thing I want to improve upon so much more, and where better than out on the mission field. I love you all and wish you a beautiful autumn full of crisp colourful days and cozy harvest soups. Here in Sweden, they don’t really celebrate Halloween, (which is all good because USA does not celebrate Midsommers and Valborg, making us the lame ones) but Västerhaninge is a very American ward (We have quite a few American young families) so I’m in the one place in this country where we will actually have a proper ward Halloween party. Anyhow….
 Peace and Love, Peace and Love, (in the voice of Ringo Star)
Äldste Erik Anderson Scott
IMG_0223

General Conference in Sweden

IMG_0119So first of, General Conference happened. General Conference is this fantastic event that happens twice a year where our church’s prophet, apostles and others speak to us from Salt Lake. All of the members in Västerhaninge gather together at the weird hours that the conference is live on the other side of the world and sit like little children waiting in line for a Harry Potter premiere. We have plenty of homemade tacos for everyone and it is the greatest of experiences.

This conference we got three new apostles including Elder Renlund (Scandinavian members will be the only people who will ever pronounce his name right) who served his mission right here in beautiful SWEDEN! and his parents are Finish and Swedish. I especially loved Elder Utchdorf’s talk in the Saturday Morning session about overcomplicating discipleship. The gospel is quite simple really. He taught that what really matters is 1. Uplifting our fellowman and 2. Building the Kingdom of God. The gospel is this: Because we love God we have a desire to help other people. Because we have a desire to help other people we have a desire to learn more in the gospel to be able to help them better. FAITH. HOPE. CHARITY. That is what the gospel is.

I also especially Holland’s talk. That is his second talk on mothers. I’ve listened to every talk he has ever given since I’ve been out. (I love you MUM!!!! ). Also,  Elder Stevenson is the first ever apostle that snowboards; fun fact.
FullSizeRender-7
So, this week we have been wonderfully wrapped up in the work of preparing our three Ghanan friends for baptism. It takes no small amount of time, but it is so rewarding. I just love them. Unfortunately, Joseph and Vera had to move out of their apartment and are currently staying at a member’s apartment but we pray they will find a new place soon. Jospeh is working tirelessly every day to provide for his family.
Tough things of course came our way, several of them in a nice neat little line, like I set up a free slapping booth or something. But, I am much happier and stronger than before and they are but small things compared to the wonderful blessings of this gospel. You should really try it out some time. It makes you happier than anything else on this earth.
Sorry this letter is awfully short but know that I love you all very much and hope you can all feel the Lord’s hand in your life. Trust me, it is there.
Love,
Äldste Scott
FullSizeRender-6