What's crack-a-lackin' my my friends?! This week was a splash! Literally. Sweden's finally been getting some rain after this unusual hot and dry summer. As much as I was loving the warm weather, Sweden needs it. There's been wild fires throughout the central and northern parts of Sweden because it's been so dry. But when I say "dry" it's still a lot more humid and green than Utah, so I don't know why they're complaining so much.
This week we got to eat dinner with Abel, Sandra and 5 of their 8 kids! The oldest 3 were at practice or on a mission or something else. They are Chilean and have so much energy! I love it so much! Abel, son of Lilliana, is super funny and used to be the best quarterback in Sweden and was a walk-on at BYU until he got totally wrecked in a game and ended up in the Hospital. There his heart stopped for almost 3 minutes until the doctors and a priesthood blessing were able to get it going again. The whole family is just amazing and has so much faith in the gospel.
But after dinner we go to take the train home and it got canceled. So while waiting for next one to come in about an hour, we call a friend who lives close by and he happened to not be doing anything so we were able to come over and teach him. Then we go back to the train station and the next train gets canceled as well. We call Abel who shows up in his big van for all his 8 kids and he drove us as well as another man who was waiting in town! And thus we see, when the Swedish Train system messes up some plans, the Lord provides some means for us to continue the work! The man was super grateful for Abels help!
The members here really are amazing! We got to have dinner with the Correas again this week and their son, Samuel, is one of the top 8 football players in Sweden for Under 18 and he's only 16! But when his team had their Semi Final game last Sunday, what did he do? He told them he couldn't play because he believes Sundays are the Sabbath and a day for the Lord! The dude is amazing!
Lilliana, Abel's Mamma, is also super amazing! When she moved here over 30 years ago, she and her husband would take their young kids and HITCH HIKE 3+ hours to church every week. Then they worked out with some other members that Lilliana and her family would come over Saturday night, sleep at the member's home, and then they'd drive them the remaining 2 hours to church. These two members, Samuel and Lilliana, really understand the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy and I'm grateful for their testimonies. Do you have the same desire about going to church? Maybe the next time you complain about waking up for church, you can give a prayer of thanks that you live so close by instead.
Speaking of Sundays, Saturday night I was asked to give a talk in church. Sunday morning I wrote down some notes and shared my testimony about Ether 12:27, which may be my favorite scripture.
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
When we are humble and have faith in Christ, not only can we over come everything, but our weaknesses can become a strength. Take the example of someone where English is their first language and some one who learned English as a second language. Who would be better at teaching another person to learn English? The man who learned English as a second language because he knows the rules, why certain things are certain ways. Even though it was hard for him to learn English, now he's stronger because of it.
After Church on Sunday, we went out to the horse ranch to have dinner with the members who own it and teach the leaders of the camp one last time before they head home for school. Long story short, I learned how to ride a horse and y'all can call me Cowboy Beckman now! It was actually super fun as we saddled the horse, learned the basics and then went for a ride around the ranch. We aren't just talking a slow walk, my beautiful horse was galloping as I rode through the open land! Unfortunatly, when it was all over, the leaders weren't interested in meeting with the missionaries in their home cities.
We also did Splits this week. Things didn't change much though as the only other members of our district is the other set of Elders who share our area. So I was with Elder Langford for the day, still here in Kristianstad. Elder Langford is an awesome tall man from Texas, and boy is he proud of it. We spent some good time doing missionary work and tried something new. We tried playing Football in the park and trying to get others involved, but it didn't go so hot because not many Swedes know how to throw a football. But it was fun anyways.
One last thing before I go, on Tuesday this week we were able to teach a girl named Amanda (17) and her Mom. Her Mom, Jolanka, used to be a member but wrote herself out about 10 years ago. However, she still really likes the Church members and the morals of the Church and wants her kids to be a part of it. So another Member who is friends with Jolanka and has a daughter Amandas age invited all of us over for dinner. We read about the Isrealites carrying the Arc of the Covenant and how the River Jordan didn't part until their feet were wet, until they had taken a step of faith into the water. We explained that sometimes to receive an answer, we must take a step of faith first. Some very powerful testimonies were shared, even from her mom who is no longer a member. And then something super cool happened, something very strongly and very clearly prompted me to say "As a servant of the Lord, I'm here to tell you that the Lord wants you back on his team." I could literally feel the Holy Ghost speaking for me, it was not my own words. I don't know how to describe it. But everyone definitely felt it and all the girls, especially Amanda and she began to cry! One thing I noticed afterwards is that when I said those words and the few other sentences afterwards, I didn't stutter or stumble once and my Swedish was very clear. A real testimony builder for me of the gift of tongues. Elder Warnick then finished it off by helping Amanda describe her feelings with the words from Galatians.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
It was beautifully amazing and Amanda commited to be baptized on the 8th of September! I love this Church! I know it's true! And I'm grateful to be here, helping others learn to know that too!
Love, Äldste Beckman
1. Neat theater in Kristianstad 2. Neat River on the way to Church3-5. Cowboy Beckman! Feat my cute helmet and my trusty steed Lira