The weather in Sweden is AMAZING right now! For the past 4 weeks it's been about 25-30 degrees Celsius and just clear! The sun is out and shining basically every minute of my day! It's light when I wake up and light when I go to bed! Some Swedes were saying this was the hottest May in almost 100 years. When we come home at night we are always so sweaty because the humidity is wild! I hope the rest of the summer is just as beautiful! My missionary tan is coming in very nicely I might add!
Last week, Elder Grover and I went out to Söderåsen! It's a national park down here in Skåne with some mountains (they're really just hills) that you can hike through! Even though it wasn't that high of elevation you were still able to get some pretty views! Plus it's just so wonderful to be out in nature with the smell of trees and dirt accompanied by the sound of running water and chirping birds! It was a real nice way to relax and reboot for the week! I obviously took my hammock and was able to chill over the stream for a while! I also caught a frog that I named Squirts and he came on the rest of the hike with us!
We've met some really awesome people this week! One guy is named Eric and he's got 4 kids! That's a lot for a Swedish family! He even drives a Chrysler Town and Country which I've never seen in Sweden! If you've ever been to Sweden, people only drive little cars. We were able to teach him for the first time this week. Then we taught this other cool guy named Philip who's studying to be a priest. He's not super interested in becoming a member, but he's Orthodox and it's funny how many similarities our faiths have. They believe that their church is the original church that Christ had, just continued through the centuries. We also believe our Church is Christ's original church, just restored to the earth through a prophet named Joseph Smith. We also taught a Swedish family this week which is so wonderful! They've got two kids who are teenagers and it's just fun to be teaching a family.
We had splits this week as well! Elder Schwitters, the District Leader, came down here to Helsingborg with me and Elder Grover went up to Halmstad for the day! Elder Schwitters is a great guy! He's only got 6 months left in his mission and has some great words of wisdom. I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but he taught me a phrase that's kind of becoming a motto for me. "Always Happy, Never Satisfied." Men are that they might have joy! However, this life is also a life to prepare to meet God. That's why I like that phrase because it illustrates the idea of finding joy in the journey!
Speaking of the journey, something I noticed this week is almost every time we met someone who was interested this week was while we were on our way somewhere. We met people as we were taking the train, or the bus, or just walking to the church or to a lesson or something. It's just a testimony that the Lord puts people in our paths who are ready for the Gospel and that we should never be afraid to raise our voice to share the Gospel!
Elder Grover is a great example of always talking to people. He's a real people person and it's fun to go contacting with him. He's also fun back in the apartment too. He used to be a boxer so he had me do an exercise with him that he used to do when he was boxing. Basically he hangs from a pull up bar and I punch his abs. I enjoyed it and I believe he does too because he keeps asking me to do it. We've also been playing disc golf in the mornings during exercise time with some Frisbees we've found. There's a disc golf course just right by our apartment and let me tell you, by the time I leave Helsingborg, I'm going to be professional! However, our disc golf adventures may have come to an end as Elder Grover threw his Frisbee into a nasty pond. He jumped in to go fetch it, but there was more mud and junk in there than water and he quickly became super disgusting and the Frisbee was gone. It was funny to watch!
Overall, this week was great! I was studying about repentance this week and I developed a better understanding of it which I thought I'd share. Repentance is a change of mind, a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world. I've always thought repentance was mostly physical. No longer smoking. Going back to church. But this definition from the Bible dictionary makes repentance seem more mental. I really like this because if we physically repent, we are moving towards God. But if we mentally change our mind, we TURN toward God and our actions that follow move us toward him. If you have ever heard the comparison of life to a line with 2 directions. One way points toward the Devil and the other toward God. In the end, it matters more which way we are facing than where we are at on that line. True repentance is turning your direction toward God, not only moving toward him. In Swedish the word for repentance is Omvändelse, which literally means to "Turn oneself about." I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to be here in Sweden sharing with others the joy that comes from turning towards God. I know that He is there. I know that his Son, Jesus Christ, came to the earth and paid the price for all of our sins and made it possible for us to return to live in God's presence. And you can too.
Love, Äldste Beckman
Pictures: 1. Me and My pet frog Squirts! 2. This part of the hike was just like Angels Landing but just not as high 3. Always Hammocking