January 22, 2018


Visby, Gotland Island, Sweden


Elder Spencer Ashford

I gave a Priesthood Blessing in Persian

Anything I say in my email won't top the news of a New Prophet so why don't we begin with that!  If you still some how haven't heard, we have a New Prophet, President Russell M. Nelson.  Last Tuesday, it was announced over a live broadcast that he would be Prophet with Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring serving as his councilors.  This is really exciting because this is the first Prophet change that I can really remember.  I was born when President Hinkckley was Prophet, but wasn't really old enough to remember him speaking in General Conference.  The Prophet that has really been the center of my life has been President Monson.  So it's kind of weird to think he has moved on now.  But I'm excited hear the Lord speak through another man and can testify that President Nelson is the man God has called to lead His Church.
Some other exciting news that is a close second to a new prophet is it snowed!  It snowed about 4 inches on Tuesday and it has actually stayed, it has even snowed a little more through out the week too!  Some facts about driving in the winter here in Sweden include, 1. Winter tires are required and they are actually really nice.  2. They don't use salt, they use gravel instead for traction.  It's actually kind of annoying because it's dirty makes your car really dirty and there's little rocks everywhere!  3. They don't plow the roads clean, they'll plow it so there's about 2 cms of snow, but then they just wait until it melts.  Also, I'm not sure if this was caused by the snow or the coastal climate or both, but on Friday there was a ton of Fog and I had to drive in it to visit a member on the other side of the island.  The fog was so thick that we could barely see 15 meters ahead, but we couldn't drive slowly because we had an appointment to make so I drove freeway speed through the fog making for one of the most intense car rides ever!   
Our fun in the snow didn't end their though.  On Thursday morning Elder Ashford and I made a snowman!  Elder Frosty is his name!  Then today, I took Elder Ashford to see the waterfalls out here on Gotland!  They were soo beautiful half covered in snow and icicles!  We took lots of pictures, but they don't do the falls justice.  You just have to experience it for yourself!  Also I found out that just because ice supports your first step, that doesn't mean it'll support your second.  Let's just say ice water's pretty cold!  After these last two paragraphs it sounds a lot like I've not been very careful, but I promise we are careful Mom.  And plus the Lord is looking out for us!  
Now let me tell you a story about that member we went to go visit and the subject of my weekly letter.  This member is named Mohammad and he was baptized this summer.  He is from Iran and can't speak much Swedish or English, just Persian.  So when we meet with him we have to call some one who can translate for us.  He is so faithful though and reads the Book of Mormon and prays in Persian everyday.  He's married and has young kids, but he is the only member.  When we arrived, Mohammad didn't have his usual happy attitude, in fact he was very sad and depressed.  We soon found out that his wife had left him and took the kids just a few days before.  Now I don't do good with situations like these, especially on this big of scale, but that evening, the spirit was with us as we talked and comforted Mohammad.  We read Alma 7:11-13 with him and testified that our Savior knows everything that we're are going through and can help us.  Before we left, I gave him a Priesthood Blessing of comfort with the help of our translator so that he could understand it in his language.  Mohammad is so strong and I look up to him so much.  
I have often wondered why our Loving Heavenly Father allows these hardships and trials to happen in our lives.  And I can't say I fully understand, but as I've studied this subject I have compared God to a Father and me to a Child.  Often a Father will tell his son not to touch the hot stove, but still his son may do it anyways.  And as hard as it would be to for that Father to watch his son do that, that Child is sure to learn. I can be the first to say that I learn a lot when life isn't easy. That doesn't answer all the question of why bad things happen; however, 2 Nephi chapter 2 does a good job of answering those.  I would invite you all to read that chapter because it does a lot better explaining than I could over email.  I do know though that our Heavenly Father loves us and he won't give us anything that we can not handle.  I know that our Savior has felt every pain or trial you have ever had and as we turn to him in prayer and faith, he will help us.  I know this to be true by the power of the Holy Ghost and I'm grateful for the time I have to share this testimony with the people of Sweden everyday.  Jesus Christ and his Gospel has greatly blessed my life just as I know it can bless yours.  
Elder Beckman

1. Elder Frosty2. Those are some big icicles3. Watch where you step4. Worked better in my head


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Sweden Stockholm Mission

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