Thursday, November 14, 2013

November 11 2013 Bulgaria Updates from Alexander

Hello Everyone,
I am great:) we have been working like crazy! haha we have had a very successful week I felt. We had the zone leaders come over to work with us. I had the opportunity to work with Elder M. I have never learned so much from one Elder in 20 hours haha. He is one of the best contacters I have ever met. So I took what I learned from him & applied it, it works!

We had a funny experience this week. Elder W. & I (we are getting along great) found this older gentleman named Boris. We testified & invited him to learn more. He said "oh well if you want to find me I am always in this place for old people. We always play chess & cards" Light bulb went off haha I then asked if he had heard of Botvinnik, Boris Spassky, Kasparov, Fischer, & Topalov. Which he replied in the affirmative haha. So we gushed over that & said I would come play some time. So we met him a few days later & I played with him in the club, & tried to share the Restoration.. which didn't really quite work haha.. I won & he said again! then I won & he said again! & I declined haha because we had to go. Then another gentleman came who wanted to play with me. I said no, but he said we will play very fast. So I played & won & he said another quick one! I beat him again & what did he say? Of course.. another! I again declined & promised to come on P-day (today) so I can play everyone. They were all really excited to have me there haha. 

So that was great. We had General Conference (just the Sat morning session) in which we had three investigators come including Boris! haha so we talked & we all watched conference which was awesome for the parts that I could understand.. GO BEDNAR & my favorite talk easily was President Uchtdorf haha he was incredible!

I have felt an increasing amount of urgency. After this third week we will be half way through the transfer! I could leave Hackovo next transfer! I am almost out 6 months! I am thinking always: Who am I? What have I become in the last six months? What have I done to help Hackovo? Kind of like a mid life crisis.. but only a 1/4 of mission crisis. So I am working harder & more urgently than ever!

I love working here:) I have been learning a lot of different things with Elder W. One thing I have decided to study lately is Building Zion & the Gathering of Israel. They have made me understand my role as a missionary much more but also as a future husband, father, & member/leader/teacher in the world & the gospel.

I can't wait to read & hear how dad is doing. I got your package, don't send another chess life haha especially with Irina Krush & her legs on the cover! haha 

Thank you so much for the journal, the pistachios, the jerky, the twix, the honey almond butter. 

I love you:) 

First some quick answers from your email.

His name is Miroslav, I don't know his last name. Boris is just ancient haha I let him win a game & he felt really good to say the least (I gave him my queen on purpose) haha the other Elders are going chess crazy. They are always playing & talking & asking about chess it is funny. 

I already bought a coat for 200 Lev. You will see it in action in my photos. 

Yes it is Z. I believe that contacted you. I gave her your info:) that's all haha

Happy birthday to Grandma & Johnny! 

I will be going to Plovdiv this week for Zone Conference on Wednesday so I will more than likely receive the package Grandma sent  

So my week:)

I have been a little sick.. I have had a cold but it I am already getting better. The weather is flucuating a lot so I think that is the cause for the cold. I already talked to Sister Wilstead about it & she said it has been happening everywhere so it it normal. 

We have been continuing to work hard. I continually am learning & am really enjoying my studies. I am striving to have better studies. My Bulgarian is improving which is nice:) but as always I still have more to improve. I am excited to apply my language learning skills when I get home to learn more Swedish. 

We are doing a lot of contacting. It is difficult to get lessons, so we are constantly pushing ourselves & striving to find people to teach & who are willing to meet with us. But we are doing a lot of walking & now tracting. We have found more open blocks. I like tracting it is fun:) haha

As of lately I have been studying "God is our loving Heavenly Father" I have received much from the Spirit. My gratitude for my Father in Heaven has increased as well as my gratitude for Jesus Christ. 

I would like to hear about your spiritual experiences Mom. 

How is Ingela & the new family? 

I have been watching Conference every Sunday for church. it is difficult to understand.. but I get the main message of what they are talking about. 

Watch/read/reread Elder Bednar's talk. 

I feel I am still in the learning phase & being prepared, I continue doing my best every day. 

Investigators are low.. but we have a lot of potentials. Time will tell, but we are committed to finding, teaching, & inviting others to Christ. 

Thank you so much for all of your emails & packages & everything you have done for me:) I appreciate you & the family so much. 

Please stay close to the Lord & strive every day to have a spiritual experience & to be more converted. I know you can do it if you make time for it. Strenghthen our family! We must be united!

Set goals & make plans to accomplish those goals then actually DO them!

I love you:)

It sounds like things are going very well:) it is very nice to hear about all that is going on. I just asked Elder W. if he knew/has heard of an Elder L. He said yes he has heard of him, he was in the first group Elder W. saw leave Bulgaria. I can ask the others a little later perhaps. 

It is not even cold, winter is not even here yet, I don't know exactly what it is like in Utah right now but Bulgaria actually has Fall before winter haha. So we are still transitioning. I am not wearing my thermals yet, I don't even like wearing my coat just yet haha because it is not cold enough. 

I was in Plovdiv this last week for zone conference & I did not receive any packages or mail. If I receive anything you will all know. 

When is Shawn returning?  I am excited everyone back home is getting excited about family history work. 

When I return home I would really like to become heavily involved in the family history work & research for our family. 

So a little bit about my week:) 

We had zone conference which was just absolutely incredible. My mind is exploding with knowledge & I get so excited I just can't hide it:) I am constantly in a state of never ending excitement haha I get excited over the smallest things, because the gospel is incredible. 

We learned about our roles in gathering Israel & who we really are. These are things that have been impressed upon me greatly. 

I am getting very excited for the future. As I have been studying the General Conference talks I have become more & more excited to do member missionary work, temple & family history work. They are all one great work, the marvelous work & a wonder. I know the Second coming is coming & we are truly preparing the world. Get ready. 

Even though I have been watching General conference in Bulgarian & not understanding a lot of it my mind has been greatly impressed & my spirit touched. I know more fully that President Thomas S. Monson is the Prophet of God. It is extraordinary to me to see how the gospel of Christ clicks & works so well. This is the work of Christ. 

One thing I would ask the family to pray specifically for help for me to understand Bulgarian. I can definitely speak, but understanding & listening is something I still struggle with which is vitally important. That would be very much appreciated:)

I have been learning & singing the hymns. They give true strength. I am trying to incorporate them in everything. 

I was curious if you could resend my magnetic chess board & one of my standard, cheap, roll up vinyl chess boards with plastic pieces. The chess boards here are not really adequate haha & we play on P-day. Today Miroslav is coming to play me again it is very nice:)

I cannot explain in the smallest degree everything which happens & that which I learn. I am developing incredible friendships with people & I am truly growing. I am  being prepared for the future which excites me. 

I love you all very much. By small & simple things do great things happen. Pray sincerely, having a conversation with our Father, studying the scriptures with purpose, & find others everyday to help. You will have much greater joy. Keep the commandments. 

Your son, Elder Gustafsson.


I really appreciate the email it was very nice thank you:) 

Yes 6 months already it is crazy! I have been doing a lot of pondering & reflecting. I constantly do that to reevaluate. 

I received grandma's package on Halloween exactly:) I am very grateful for the package:)  Everything was awesome! I love packages!!

I am very much enjoying my mission haha "the opportunity of a lifetime only lasts the lifetime of the opportunity"I am seriously trying to do my best every day.

Same with Grandma, I don't want it to cost an arm & a leg. But be really careful how you send things because the more things that are in the packages, the heavier they are & the more difficult it is to receive them. For example Elder H. parents sent a big package through a company of some sort & it cost 200 lev to get it from customs & he ended up not getting it because of the complexity.

I have been using my guestbook:) I love it!:) Zone Conference was incredible again. 

We have pans for swedish pancakes but I am not going to make them that often anymore well at least for now. There is pasta here I can buy. We have essentials like pans & pots but nothing too fancy. It takes too much time to cook a whole big meal. 

How is Ingela & the new family? I haven't heard from her, I will write her today. 

We have two investigators & only one is progressing. It is hard here haha.. Bulgaria is hard but I really like that work it is rewarding & fulfilling. I have learned a lot about what I want to do in life, but that is a continuing process & a conversation for later haha. But her name is A. & she is making progress & is working towards her baptismal date but anything can happen. Right now she is in Sofia with her daughter for a time, hopefully she will return soon but all my district thinks I am leaving Hackovo next week when we get transfer calls so we will see. Anything can happen. 

It still is not cold here at all, in fact we still have some really warm days. It hasn't snowed either so Elder W. from our ward was right that the winters are shorter here for sure in comparison to Utah. I bet it has already been snowing & blizzarding there. Sorry!

So we contact on a street called R. & we have been tracting in an area called O.  Things are going well, we are getting numbers & planning lessons but they fall through almost every time so it is a little frustrating but we had an activity for Halloween on Saturday. The last activity we had was last transfer it was a disaster because only 5 people came & the activity before that was not fruitful as well. So we planned a very small activity for 10 people & 30 people came! It was crazy. The best way to describe it is that it was a success & a disaster haha because a lot of people came but we were disorganized because of the size of the group which was unexpected. 

Yesterday I came up with an idea to help the members bond more because there is usually tension & drama & such. So I created a reoccuring activity for Sunday night which is similar to "ward prayer" in singles wards. Basically we get together with members, have a spiritual thought, play games & eat for an hour. It was a huge success yesterday & hopefully will continue after I leave to build member relations. 

I work well with my companion:) thanks again for the journal yes it is beautiful.

Pray, study scriptures, keep the commandments always, love one another.

I love you all dearly, I am learning so much every single day, my mind is exploding with ideas & knowledge in every facet of life. I pray for your safety & success. 

Love your son, Elder Gustafsson

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