It's been hard week. I had to say good-bye to Elder Strong. That's okay though because I know he's needed in Örebro and he taught me so much while we were together! The biggest thing that I think he helped me with had to be my testimony. Elder Strong had a testimony that matched his name. And it came from diligent studies and prayer. The quality of my studies improved so much over the time I was with him. We have an hour of personal study every morning and I always wish it was longer because I love diving into the gospel. A big part of that love came from Elder Strong which I'm so grateful for. Also so much missionary work is dependent on others and how they chose to respond, but one of the few things you can control is your studies and that was a big thing that Elder Strong taught me.
However, all good things must come to an end and so Wednesday morning Elder Strong shipped out. And that left me ALONE. I haven't been alone for over 4 months. It was the weirdest feeling ever as I jumped in the car, alone, drove away, alone, and sang to EFY music, alone. I see why some missionaries come back and get married so fast. They have literally had some one by their side for 2 years.
My aloneness didn't last long though. I spent the rest of the day with Johnsons who are like my parents! My new companion Elder Ashford came in at 3 o'clock that day and he's awesome! He's from Minnesota, has been on his mission for a year and 2 months, and we're the same size. We got 2 little guys running all of Gotland! Also he lost his wallet a few months ago and hasn't been able to replace his drivers licence so I get to be his personal chauffeur! (Most area's in Sweden don't have a car but since we have to drive around the whole island, we kind of need one) Elder Ashford really knows his stuff though. In the lessons we've had this week he's been able to answer questions and explains things in a whole new way! The best part about having a new companion is that I get to show him how cool Gotland is! So today we went and walked around Old Visby and it reminded me that I'M IN SWEDEN! Sometimes I forget and then I remember and get really excited!
We also got a new District leader, his name's Elder Olsen. He's comes from California and he's been a missionary about the same amount of time he's been a member. Yep you heard me right! He was a convert and 1 year and a few months after he was baptized he left on his mission. He's got one of the strongest testimonies ever!
Speaking of strong testimonies, this Fast Sunday all the members in Sweden united in mighty fast and prayer for missionary work here in Sweden. There's a promise called "The Second Harvest" that came from President Monson when he rededicated the mission that said as the members and missionaries worked together, there will be thousands of converts. And this fast we just had I believe is the beginning of something amazing soon to come. We also had a wonderful testimony meeting in our Visby Branch of 11 people (6 members, 4 missionaries, 1 investigator) with some incrediable testimonies on the Book of Mormon. I really hope our investigator, Per, who wants to read the whole Book of Mormon before praying about it, was listening. Because there was defiantly a spirit there testifiying of the truth of the Book of Mormon.
Another hard thing about this week is that President Monson passed away. He's been the only prophet that I remember his teachings and it's weird that he isn't here any more. Fun fact about President Monson, he called about 30% of all missionaries everywhere! I'm grateful for my opportunity to have been called by a prophet of God. I want you all to know that I have a testimony that President Thomas S. Monson was a prophet of God. That he spoke the words of God and led the Church as Christ would. I also have a testimony that God answers prayers. When I finished the Book of Mormon last week, I followed the promise in Moroni to ask God if it is true. I received an undeniable answer through the power of the Holy Ghost that it is true. I'm grateful for the testimony that I am developing on my mission and I know that if you ever have concerns or doubts or need some help, you can turn to your Father in Heaven and he will be there listening and will answer your prayers. I love you all!
1. Good-bye Elder Strong2. Hello Elder Ashford3. Good Old Visby4. Preaching His Gospel