Thursday, July 4, 2013

Concerning Guitars, Lakes, and one Very Satisfied Elder

Käre Familj och Vänner,
Jag ska säga denna ska vara än intressant vecka, för jag ska prata svenska hela vecka! (translation: this is going to be an interesting week, it's SYL week!)
No, for real, I am speaking Swedish this whole week. We are preparing for the lovely new greenies who will be gracing us with their presence in the middle of this month, so we all need to be on our top game! May I just say, I am SO glad I am not training this round. Some of the other people in my group may be, and I feel sorry for them. =)

But I'm getting ahead of myself, aren't I? Hello everyone, and welcome to another week of my adventures in Borlänge, Sverige! It has been a wonderfully exciting/exhausting week, and I have about a billion and a half stories to tell, and I am guessing I will not get to half of them. So have some patience with me, and I hope you all enjoy the ride!
So to start off, Äldste Anderson is gone. Yes, we sent my dearly beloved blond friend up to the icy climes of Sundsvall, where he will surely return a Utah-cicle. It was a sad day on wednesday to see him go, but such is a missionary's life.
Luckly, I received a companion who is just as cool, if not cooler. His name is Äldste Hitch, and he hales from the rainy land Washington (some random town on the peninsula). He has been out just a little under ten months, and I must say, it is really hard to understand his Swedish, because up until this point he has served his entire time in southern Sverige, and has a terribly strong Skånska accent (the bad birth child of Swedish mixed with Danish). Luckly for my new companion, he redeems himself with his hilariousness and his AMAZING musical talent. This guy plays guitar to put Carlos Santana to shame, sings like a rockstar, and plays the violin like it's nothing at all! Needless to say, we have a good time.

In fact, we actually had a really fun opportunity with music this last week: we got invited -well, more like forced- to play for some drunk partying Swedes in our neighborhood. We were walking home from a day of swingbys on our newly fixed bikes (I missed biking SO much), and we passed by these people grilling. They were totally wasted. One of them stands up and walks over to us and says, in terrible English "Hey, do you speak English?" We said yes, and he then asked us if we were priests. We, thinking this could be some kind of bolt out of the blue blessing, replied that yes, we were priests (after a manner of speaking). Apparently he was more interested in the guitar attached to my companion's back, however, and he asked us to come play some music for his friends and him. We, never being the ones to turn down a contact (drunk or not) played a couple songs for them: Hallelujah, random songs about California; basically, the kind of songs that drunk Swedes expect from musical American traveling priests (I like that title, by the way. It has a ring to it). After a while, we made an excuse to get away (it probs didn't look too good with us sitting playing guitar with a bunch of beer cans sitting everywhere) and proceeded to spend the rest of the evening laughing our heads off over the whole experience.
Oh, another experience worth noting: I got my first two legit door slams in Borlänge this week. Sadly enough, they were both less active members, and both times I only came to give them food and be on my way. The first was a Chilean woman who rejected a cake I brought for her birthday. I was rather upset about that for a while. Seriously, who rejects cake on their birthday?! The second was a woman who turned down free cookies that we had spent all morning making. I'll admit, I wanted to just hand them to the kids who were playing outside, but I thought that probably wasn't the best idea. So yes, a little bit of rejection this week, but I think I'll live. (Oh, and if by some strange twist of fate this email reaches rejecter #2, those cookies were delicious, and made with Marabou chocolate in them. Your loss)
One more thing that we had this week was a baptism! Now, before you get all excited, it was a 8 year old from Utah who was visiting Sverige with his family. His great-great grandfather came from Dalarna, so they decided to have the baptism here in one of the lakes. It was a wonderful experience. That boy was glowing, and also slightly frozen. =) It was a really fun experience. Also, he's from Sandy, and his parents know Grandma and Grandpa Ogaard. Small Mormon world. lol (For Grandma and Grandpa, it's the Johnson Family, and I believe the father's name is Bryce)

Lets see, anything else? Nope I don't think so. That is, unless you all consider important the broadcast from the General Authorities of the Church backing up everything I've said about member missionary work for the past 4 months. Not going to lie, I felt pretty dang good after watching that broadcast; it was really a testimony to me that my focus on less actives and strengthening and encouraging our wards is the key to success in missionary work right now. I know many of my missionary friends have already said this to all of you, but please, please, please pray to see who you can share the Gospel with. I have a statistic for you: of those contacted by the missionaries alone, 1 in 1000 will become a member. When missionaries teach with a member, however, 1 in 3 becomes a member of Christ's church and follow his example. Think about it: when you invite people into your homes so they can see the blessings of the Gospel in your lives, it has a profound impact on them. In fact, I would ask you all to watch this video and then follow what it shows. I really love this, and I think it teaches a lot. We are disciples of Christ. We are not out to increase number in our church, we are out to invite people to follow Him, and the Spirit will testify of that. Show all the love of Christ, and be an example of the believer. Miracles will happen.
I love you all, I miss you all, and I hope you have a wonderful week.
Äldste Kody Christopher Ogaard

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