August 6, 2018




Äldste Spencer Ashford

Gävle! Week 1

So good news: I made it here to Gävle safely!

Other news: I am no longer in a tripan so I think that's a good thing.  Some Elders received their visas last second and so Äldste Young (who would've been my other companion) got moved to Uppsala instead, but he's in my district so that's neat! So now it's just me and Äldste Ashford running things here (actually the Lord is, but you know what I mean) in Gävle and he's awesome! He's kinda short, but super willing to get out and help others come closer to Christ! He was actually companions with Äldste Beckman, so we have a good time talking about how awesome he is :) Äldste Ashford has been out 21 months now and we'll probably be finishing the last 3 months of his mission together, so that's exciting.  I'm trying to absorb all his wisdom about missionary work as well as Swedish. 

Gävle is a beautiful city! Things are a little different here than in my previous areas though because it's my first time working with a branch instead of a ward. Usually only about 30 people come to church every week, but yesterday we had about 50, so that was awesome!!  We had some visitors from the states as well as 6 less actives in church, so it was a miracle Sunday for sure.  

Other miracles of the week (and there are a few):

-My first day in Gävle: We had some leftover food from a member meal and so we decided to give it to a less active because why not, and as we were leaving we told him to pray for us.  We then went tracting and THE FIRST DOOR WE KNOCKED ON was an awesome guy named Anders who was all about listening to what we believe and was so impressed with how we could speak Swedish and he basically just loved us! We were able to teach an awesome first lesson and the spirit was so strong, but he isn't down to try anything more right now, unfortunately.  He did say that we could come by anytime for water, food, a bed to sleep, or anything haha. All my fellow missionaries understand that it's a miracle to be let in on the first door you knock on.  Anyway, after that we went and swung by another less active who they haven't had contact with in months and we were able to meet him and get to know him better :) blessings.

-Went tracting another time during the week and noticed that the man we were talking to had a bunch of pairs of tennis shoes, so I asked if he was a tennis player and he said yes and we talked all about Wimbledon and everything and it's just so fun to use my knowledge of tennis to connect with people. It's also fun to talk about Wimbledon in Swedish haha.

-On Saturday we got a call from a random lady saying that she wanted to come to church! Her name is Gloria and she moved to Gävle the same day as I did and she came to church yesterday and loved it! We were able to have a lesson with her and a member and it was kind of crazy because the member kept going off on lots of things but Gloria still wants to meet and continue coming to church! She is really interested in reading the Book of Mormon and comparing it to the Old and New Testament and even asked for a study guide! It always blows my mind how the Lord prepares people for the gospel.  Before coming here to Sweden lots of people told me that it was going to be very rough and that no one would listen, but that's just not true.  The Lord is hastening his work more than ever and there are more and more people who are looking for the gospel. That's what our job is as members of the church, to reach out to those that are looking! They might be a co worker or a neighbor, but often times it is the people that don't act like they need it who actually need it the most. So be willing to reach out to them :)

Fun things:

-It's my birthday this week and I'm going to be turning 20.  Jank.

-Played innebandy (basically floor hockey but with a ball) with the Branch President and he gave me a shout out in the third hour of church yesterday because apparently I'm pretty good for being a non-Swede!

-Gävle has a tradition of building a huge goat made of straw every year at Christmas and every year someone manages to find a way to burn it down hahaha.  I love the people that I'm serving :)

It's been an awesome week here in Gävle and I'm looking forward to many more here! This week lots of people have been trying to tear down my faith and have been trying to "prove" that there is no God, but I'm so thankful for my testimony in God our Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior.  No one can take that away from me and it is something I hold precious because I know it's true and God knows that I know it's true.  I've definitely found that I strengthen my own testimony every time I share it with someone else, so maybe give it a try! Even if it is to your family, a friend, or even just your dog.  There is power in a testimony that no one can deny!

Ha en bra vecka!
Äldste Nathan Balls


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