What is up everyone?! Elder Beckman's here reporting live from his new home in Kristianstad! This week was a goodie!
Before I left Helsingborg, we spent some good time saying good-bye to everyone including my boi Daniel! Daniel is probably my closest friend from the country of Sweden. Unfortunately he isn't the most active. I believe that's from the fact that he has a twin brother who went on a mission and started a whole branch in Russia. Where Daniel on the other hand didn't serve a mission and feels a little judged for that even though the whole ward loves him so much. But despite that he has a burning testimony of The Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ and is the best member that I've ever had help on lessons! Even though he didn't serve a mission, he has been the best missionary in his home town! He lives literally 1 minute from our apartment and was always willing to drop whatever he was doing and come help us out! We played some Mini Golf with Daniel and his cousin before I left and Daniel promised me he'd come play with me at Mullligans Golf and Games in the future!
We also had a little Fika with my two favorite Texans, Sam and Kris, before I shipped out! They aren't interested in the gospel but are super good friends to us! Kris has such a wild life history involving living with gypsys and skydiving without a parachute! But after that all, Elder Grover and I hopped on a train so I could go to Kristianstad and he could got to Stockholm to get his new greenie! We said our final good-bye and I said my first hello to my new home!
I'm honestly going to miss Helsingborg and Elder Grover so much. Elder Grover is one of the best missionaries I've ever served with and I know will do amazing things for Helsingborg. And the members in Helsingborg became like my family! Definitely a place I must visit again with my family!
But life goes on and I'm here with the man himself, Elder Warnick, who will be going home in September. There's also two other Elders serving with us here. Elder Langford from Texas and Elder Ellis from Seattle. Elder Ellis just got done serving on the blessed island of Gotland so it's been so great to catch up with him on investigators and members! He's also one of the funniest kids I've ever met! He reminds me of Wade!
But anyways the first day I got here, I was in a trio with Elder Young from my group and Elder Warnick. I was replacing Elder Young but he didn't leave until Wednesday. We went over to the church with the other Elders and they made dinner for us and this fantastic lady named Ida who they are currently teaching! After dinner we tried to teach her, but she had her 2 year old son Toge with her and he is just a handful. So I basically ended up playing with Toge the whole lesson, trying to keep him quiet while the other two taught her the plan of salvation! It was a blast!
In the morning the next day, we said goodbye to Elder Young and Elder Langfords old companion Elder Malone who was going home. Elder Malone was my Zone Leader when I first came to Sweden and is such a stud! That meant the trio continues with Elder Langford now. At least until about 11 pm that night when we picked up Elder Ellis.
After all that mess things were back to normal and I got to start meeting some of the members! I don't know if I mentioned, but half of the branch here is Chilean! It's basically all one family of 3 sisters and there children and grandchildren! And this isn't no small branch! There was about 70 in Church on Sunday. It's apparently the world's oldest branch! But the goal is to make them the world's youngest ward as soon as possible!
This week I had the opportunity to have dinner with each of these 3 sisters and their families on 3 different days. Lilliana, Nancy, and Claudia are their names and they and their families have some of the strongest testimonies I've ever seen! They truly live their lives doing all they can to follow the example of Christ! I'd love to talk more about them but this email is already pretty fat so we'll have to save that for another time!
One thing that I have learned about Elder Warnick is he is all about talking with the Swedish Tjejs. Tjej, pronounced like the name Shae, is a girl from the age of 14 - 28 ish. Many of which are very beautiful because the Vikings of old would go raid surrounding counties and take the most beautiful women back with them to Sweden. I'd like to just finish with a story about 3 Swedish Tjejs, Nova, Julia, and Elvira.
Here in Kristianstad, the First Counselor, George, owns a horse ranch where little girls can come and learn how to ride horses. It's called Fenix Park and he owns over 100 acres with tons of Spanish racing horses. Each week during the summer, groups of about 30 girls come and go. He invited the Elders over a few weeks ago and they had dinner with George and the leaders at the ranch and a few of the leaders, who are all tjejs, were interested in the Church. They even came to church with George.
This week we went out there again to visit these leaders, had some good Swedish pancakes and then they asked if we wanted to go for a tractor ride. We said Yes of course and hopped in the back of a trailer that was hooked to the tractor and they took off driving around the ranch at a very fast speed. Dust and dirt got all over us but it was a blast! Unfortunately we weren't able to teach them anything because they had to take care of some horses so we helped them with that before we left. They said they'd come to church though and they did! Nova, Julia, and Elvira loved all the testimonies that were shared during sacrament and we were able to teach them about Joseph Smith and the Plan of Salvation during the second and third hours! They all have Book of Mormons and have been reading from them! The sad thing is that they all live in different parts of Sweden and will be returning home after summer is over. They all still live in Southern Sweden, one even from Helsingborg, so hopefully we can get them meeting with the missionaries in those areas!
So yes, I'm loving Kristianstad! And I think I'm going to try to learn me some Spanish while I'm here!
Love, Äldste Beckman
Pictures: 1. 1 of the Sisters fam, Claudia Vasquez Correa 2. Out at Fenix Park on the trailer 3. Hejdå Daniel and Elder Grover and Helsingborg 4. I'll take you for a ride on my big green tractor 5. My Texas friends! 6. Nova, Julia, and Elvira and their Book of Mormons! 7. Me and my girl Monika