Tuesday, September 16, 2014

July 7th 2014
This week has been a really powerful spiritual experience for me. I have learned some life lessons.
The process I have really learned is truly understanding how to receive personal revelation. We really have to look deep inside ourselves honestly & understand our true desires in connection with God's. God will not give you an answer you are not ready to accept.
We are working with A TON of people haha. We found many families & we are doing a lot of teaching & there is a lot of potential. For example we are working with a woman named Ani who wants to be baptized & she is so elect. We are continuing to work with Zdravko but he is struggling to receive a testimony about Joseph Smith.
There are many things I don't know, but I am learning so much bit by bit!!
Please continuing praying for Zdravko& please pray for Ani that she & her husband Yordan will have the desire to be baptized & will be baptized.
Love Elder Gustafsson:)

July 28th 2014

Thank you for your well thought out email!

Ruse is the most beautiful city which I have served in thus far. It is soooooo hot. It's the hottest & the coldest city in Bulgaria. The Danube river is real close & I can see Romania from my apartment. My apartment is very nice but it gets very hot throughout the day because we only have a klimatik in our bedroom. A klimatik is like an air conditioner? & a heater? I don't know exactly how it works. My new companion is Elder G. He is from American Fork & he is a champion runner! What are the chances of having two companions in a row which are champion runners? We run every day:) of course I am slower. He has been in country for 5 months. We are getting along great:)

My role as a district leader is to lead & take care of the district. I love it, it's the best role I think. Ruse is a branch & there are about 20ish members. There was 22 this last Sunday including the missionaries & an investigator.

I think it is so excited that the Lord is using your talents & passion for family history work. You have always been a great speaker & people person so I know the Lord is using you to accomplish his purposes. Ever since I have been out here I have just become more & more excited about family history work. I want to know stories about our ancestors. Tell me about Grandma Kallen& Grandma Pidcock; stories when they were young, experiences they had in world wide events etc.

Okay so about the vacation/trip: I have known the whole time that you could not pick me up from the mission haha. But that's okay. First: Don't plan anything that we will not be able to afford. We need to live within our means but besides that I am all for going to Sweden, visiting the family there & going to the temple, & showing you Bulgaria. If we can do other things too that would be great but we must do Sweden & Bulgaria. The summer will be great & it sounds like a blast! It would be great for Ingela to come too..but if she can't I understand because she has her family responsibilities.

Just start saving a little every month in order to make it possible. But again if we can't visit Bulgaria immediately that is okay, but we must visit Sweden & the family there. I need to see them.

Okay there was something I forgot to mention last week. Last week before I left Sofia a different tooth of mine broke. So I had to go to the dentist again (It was great:) I love it there! Seriously I love those dentists. But anyway so I have to pay for it out of my own pocket most likely. So for a birthday gift I would like to just get that taken care of. It was 200 Leva so I will need that money in my account just in case. By the way, I have no idea how much money is in there anyway. I have taken some out from time to time. I bought a nice electric toothbrush for 50 leva which has a two year guarantee so that was part of my birthday too. No problem. Last but not least I broke both of my suitcases (one was already broken) so I will need to purchase new ones (They run about 89 leva) before I leave Ruse but that is not a rush so don't worry about that just yet.

Sorry for the random expenses. I don't need anything new or nice I decided for my birthday. I can buy a new suit before I go home. But for now I will just continue working:)

If you send a package just send it to the mission home like normal I'll get it for zone training.

I have been learning all sorts of new lessons here in Ruse like prayer, charity, & patience again haha. We have no investigators so I guess I came here to find new people!! Yay my favorite haha.

I just found out yesterday that my single convert in Hackovo, my first city, since I have been there about a year ago, he has: Received the Melchizedek priesthood, has become the group leader leading the group, & has baptized two of his friends! What a miracle! I never would have imagined it! It has brought me indescribable joy! Truly our works reach way farther than the time we spent there.

I know this is the work of God. This is his church!

Love your son, Elder Gustafsson

ps. the internet zala which we have right now does not allow us to send photos. But I will try to find a new internet zala which allows us to send photos. Sorry!

June 16th 2014

I am so impressed with the wonderful letter you have sent to me:) I am very touched by the story which led to your decision to serve a mission. Please share with Susan this wonderful story. I cannot wait to hear more:)

My week has been a week of miracles & blessings. I am so full with the spirit & determination to serve & love these people & the missionaries underneath my stewardship. Elder J& I have been working very hard but also with joy in our hearts & love for these people. 

On Thursday we set a goal to find someone on the street & have a lesson with them at 2.30. So we prayed & went out towards our intended destination. We hadn't even made it there yet & we found a young couple named Vacili&Ralitsa. We had a wonderful conversation & even met with them the next day. We know that the message we shared of faith & hope in Jesus Christ touched their hearts especially Ralitsa. I really care for them..hopefully they will have the desire to come again & learn more. 

I am just super excited! There were other miracles but I will tell dad &Ingela next. I am so glad you got to meet Brother S,

Thank you for the great photos:) I know that as we hope in the Atonement of Jesus Christ & exercise faith in Him it can change our lives & the lives of others. 

Love, Elder Gustafsson

June 23rd 2014

Thank you for the wonderful letter which you sent me:)
I first have to just tell you again, & I cannot tell you enough, what a key & significant role Brother S. has played in my life, not just my mission. I received his letter but he told me not to respond so I didn't haha because he wanted me to write you all first:) I can't wait to see him again.
It has been an incredible week with a lot of great things happening. We had mission conference with the whole mission & President Lawrence, President of the East European Area Presidency. He taught us how to be more successful missionaries: Using members, being obedient, talking with everyone, exercising faith (which was a whole process in itself), focusing on our goals, companionship unity, & the law of sacrifice. These things are actually life lessons! I have learned so many life lessons on my mission but the trick is always applying them:)
We are working with a man named Zdravko& he is way cool & is progressing so well. We meet with him at least every other day. His date for baptism is July 12th so please pray for him & his date specifically in each prayer. I am really enjoying my time with Elder J, he is a really good missionary:) He is exactly obedient & always wants to improve! He has been such a blessing to me in my missionary work.
We have tons to do!!! We will keep going!
Love your son! Elder Gustafsson
 I wouldn't be who I am today without your love & example

June 30th 2014

This week has been another week of miracles in the mission! We had a baptismal goal of 10 for the month of June & we only had 4 baptized. So this last week the entire mission made a few goals to make it happen. We prayed every prayer for the goals, we made personal sacrifices of our own free will, & gave baptismal interviews for people who were ready for baptism.
With all of the effort we reached the goal of baptizing 10 by baptized 11! 7 people were baptized this last Saturday & it was incredible! What a miracle!
Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven. I don't know what all of this will mean in the future, I can't see the end from where I am now so I know that it is true faith!
So before you send your package to me (hopefully with the same peanut butter which Grandma sent:))

Love your son, Elder Gustafsson
June 2nd 2014
You have asked a lot of questions about what the week is like schedule wise so I will answer those questions:)
We are very busy haha. The main forms of travel are buses & trains. We pay for the travel from our missionary fund which we receive every month but we get refunded for them.
When we go on exchanges we are with the missionaries for 24 hours of work. So we arrive, for example, Tuesday evening, work all day Wednesday, leave early morning Thursday & we do this at least once a week.
Yes that is the mission home in the office part. Our apartment is very close to the mission home.
I am a very clean & neat missionary & I eat well in terms of amount but I could eat more healthy& more balanced.
We follow the mission handbook & Preach My Gospel. So we are to be in our apartment by 9.00 pm & 9.30 at the latest if we are in a lesson. I would have to say "good areas" is subjective haha but we are safe if that is what you are wondering.
We follow the spirit & follow the rules to be safe & protected. I eat..haha but need more balance with vegetables! I exercise every day for 30 minutes like it says in the handbook. We go running & do weights:)

This week has been very good, every week is like a blur, I can't believe it is already June! My time is already dwindling! On preparation day we prepare..& teach family home evening in the evenings. But for example, today Elder G& I are going to play tennis for our last preparation day together. We will go to the mall too & eat there, perhaps buy something.
During the day we are looking for people to teach by talking to everyone haha& we teach lessons:) we have lunch, dinner, & language study every day. In the mornings we study, exercise, & eat breakfast. In the evening we plan for the next day.
Basically we do everything found in Preach My Gospel.
I will pray for Ivy, it is time for her to go I feel. I will pray for the family as well. She is such a strong woman!
This week I have thought a lot about returning to simplicity. Working smarter, not harder. This is the Lord's way. On Saturday there was a special Priesthood conference broadcasted in the East European area & we watched it. Elder Bednar presided & taught for the majority of the time it was way awesome! I learned a lot of great things. I will be involved in a lot of member missionary work when I return home.
Probably the most important thing I learned this week was being true to the faith & truth which I already know. "The size of our faith & knowledge is not the issue; but the integrity we demonstrate towards the faith & truth we already have"
I don't understand a lot of things, I have many questions every day, but there are some things which I do know & it is my responsibility to be true to them. I know God is there, He loves me & knows me personally. I know this is His church. I know these things are true.
I love you, I am constantly learning & growing. I am striving to push myself every day!
Love your son, Elder Gustafsson
June 9th 2014
Thank you for all of your wonderful letters. I want to let you know that I love you & appreciate you for YOU. I will always love you & cherish you.
When we sleep at other apartments sometimes there are beds, floors, couches etchaha. It works out very nicely. There are always cushions so no worries.
I know that Ivy is a better place:) Please send my love to the family, let them know I love them.
I am really glad to hear about Carley& Kim going on missions. What a blessing! As well as Brother Walker getting married. Do you know if he got married in the temple?
I'm sorry that there is a flu going around during June..haha I will write Ingela a letter but tell her happy birthday for me:) I will also pray that she gets better/endures.
I received grandma's package.. I absolutely loved it hehe:)
For the package just send the two most recent Conference talks, I don't need any more Ensigns/Liahonas than that. My clothes are holding up but don't send any socks or shirts or suits haha I can buy these things here (for cheaper). Speaking of suits, Dad asked what I would like for my birthday, the only thing I can really think of is a little spending cash for perhaps a suit & other little things here. I normally don't spend much of my personal fund so that is all I can really ask for at this moment but I will continue to ponder some real ideas which you can send. I am thinking letters & photos would be nice.
So we are now at the new transfer &my new companion is Elder J& he is from Redding California. He was in the MTC with his group just at the tail end of my groups time in the MTC. I am still in Sofia as a zone leader. Elder J is already with me right now:)
ELDER S. IS LEAVING FOR HOME TOMORROW MORNING! FIND HIM hahah. He is absolutely my best & favorite friend (besides Susan & you all:))
So the week has been really wonderful. I went on exchanges with Elder M, one of the assistants, I really look up to him. He is such an example to me. I learned about a lot of ways I can improve.
This last week we had Mission Council & we have all sorts of exciting things happening. June 20th we are having President Lawrence from the East Europe Area Presidency come down for a mission wide training. Even the missionaries from Turkey are coming! It is all way awesome:)
We have been working with a large variety of people. Kapka has disappeared off of the map sadly but hopefully she will resurface. We are setting a big goal of working extra hard with the members. It is a little exhausting haha. I am learning many lessons especially about how to deal with & love people more. It has been a great blessing in my life.

May 5th 2014
It has been an amazing work week this week. Elder G, who has now only 5 weeks left, is one of the best missionaries I have ever worked with or have heard of. He lives very close to Bourmemouth England. It is in the south by South Hampton? So that reminds me..where did Dad serve exactly for his mission?
Like I said this week has been just incredible! We have been working like crazy! We are now working with a lot of new families & investigators. We have two investigators that are pretty solid working towards baptism on the 31st of May. Kapka& a man named Romelo. So it has been really exciting working with them! I am learning how to be a much better leader from Elder G. which has been very fun!
It truly has been a testimony of the power of faith & action (working hard). The power is in us all! I testify that everything is in our power, we simply need to act & work hard!
I have Elder S. info, so I will get it to you so you can see him & his family. They truly are amazing! I am so excited for you! He will return home in 5 weeks.
Elder G.& I have been loving the peanut butter haha we mix it with Nutella & put it in the fridge..very tasty & death!
I lost my voice this week, that was an adventure haha but it has come back:)
I have been diving into the scriptures more & more. I LOVE THE SCRIPTURES haha I love seeing the doctrine & studying &comparing:) I testify that as we read from the scriptures our testimonies are strengthened! Which is funny because Elder S. loves praying so we are like the perfect pair! Best friends forever:)
I am so excited to see you all Sunday morning:) On Mother’s Day!! I know it is early but it is the best time that works.

I love you all:) We will baptize! The church is true! The Book of Mormon is the foundation of our religion & it is true! Joseph Smith is a prophet of God!
Love your son:) He loves you! God loves you! Christ is our Savior, our Rock, & Redeemer!
May 19th 2014
I thank you for your well thought out letter:)

It has been a very good week, a lot of things happened which were very interesting & I am continuing to learn & grow from the experiences:)

On Tuesday we had zone training & Elder G.&myself led, planned, & taught it, because that is our duty as zone leaders. A major focus was on the Book of Mormon & how we can use it more in our daily work. It was a very powerful experience:) We also discussed the needs of the zone & the most potential candidates for baptism in the month of May. Overall it was a very spiritual experience which I thoroughly enjoyed:)

We have been working very closely with Kapka. She came to church! & we had a wonderful lesson on the restoration by watching the short restoration video. We brought a lot of members to help out (positive peer pressure:)) & it seemed to be a success! She is very positive, quick, & she even prayed for the whole group! (There were 4 members helping us:)) so that was a huge step! She is making great strides towards her baptism on the 31st. Please continue praying for her specifically that she may continue to work towards her baptism & receive a strong testimony. 

Elder G.& I are putting are nose to the grind & just working haha he is quite exhausting! He is the hardest working missionary in the mission I believe. I have learned a LOT from him. We always talk & laugh & share stories. He is an interesting character 

We met with a lot of less-active-part-member families this week. These people are sooo amazing & so strong! Especially with the surrounding conditions, I know it is not easy & it has helped me become more grateful & humble. I should be more humble & grateful. 

I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon, without it, the restoration, & everything which came because of the restoration. We would be soo lost. Everything is so clear & simple. I testify that the Book of Mormon is the complete word of God. It contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ & is indeed the keystone of our religion. As I have searched through it & have prayed about it, I have received many witnesses of its' divinity. 

We need to read the scriptures more. I think too little of us can say "I read too much from the scriptures" haha. We should set at least 15 minutes every day to read from the scriptures & ponder the messages we read. It would change our lives. It has changed mine. 

I love you Mom:) I still have a lot I can improve on personally! But I am grateful I have each day to change, grow, & choose to follow Christ & help others. 

Keep the faith & hope in Jesus Christ! 

Love, your son, Elder Gustafsson:)

ps. Concerning the package: Just remember to be simple. I don't need a lot of food or candies but handwritten letters, testimonies, photos, & other special items are just enough:). Thank you for all you do:) I love you!

May 26th 2014
Thank you for the wonderful email:) It is so exciting to hear about all of the great things happening back home with our family & other members of the ward.
My week has just flown by as normal haha it is tough for me to keep track of everything that happens in the week, it is a big blur but this week we had a special opportunity:)
5 Elders from Ukraine came down to do passport work. 3 of them came to work at stay with me & Elder G.& it was super! The great benefit was that I was sucking all the Russian I could get out of them:) During language studies I would ask about Russian grammar & such it was really fun:) I know some Russian now & it is not that tough but we didn't get a chance to discuss the case system which is the most complicated part of the language but oh well. It was a blast like I said & we worked really hard:)
We planned to teach Kapka this week & prepare her for her interview that she may get baptized on May 31st but on Friday, before Saturday, the day of her interview, she got sick & she has been in the hospital for the last 3 days & we have had no contact with her. So please keep her in your prayers, be specific! So we hope to hear from her soon.
We are working with another guy named Bobi. He is the father of a part-member family & he is continuing to progress towards his baptismal date on June 14th. We will continue to work closely with him.
Overall the week has been very good:) We also did an exchange in Blagoevgrad, which is beautiful! I would really love to serve in Blagoevgrad, Plovdiv, Burgas, & Varna. So if I ever get the chance that would be great haha:) They are all such beautiful cities:)
Our work is continuing forward! There is sooo much to do & not enough time. Truly the laborers are few.
My testimony has been increased! There are challenges all around us but as we humbly pray & search the scriptures we will not be deceived but we will know the truth.
True principles understood change behavior.

I love you Mom:) & I can tell you the lamb was NOT delicious haha I hope to not do it again soon!
Always is an adventure in the Bulgaria Sofia Mission!:)
Love your son, Elder Gustafsson

Updates from Bulgaria March through May 2014

Hello Everyone, I am sending out a new update of letters from Alex’s Mission in Bulgaria!  I have been really behind but hopefully this will catch us up.
April 28 2014
This week has probably been one of the harder weeks of my mission but also the most rewarding. I have learned SO much this week.
So the time difference is for sure 9 hours. So right now I am typing at 10:40ish & it should be 1:40ish when you receive this email.
I received your package I loved it!:) The prunes were delicious haha. So some news is that we got transfer calls & I am remaining in Sofia & my new companion is Elder Greenacre from England & this will be his last transfer.
As a mission we have a challenge to read the Book of Mormon all the way through before July 1st & it has been an incredible experience. I have not been doing the challenge quite the right way haha I spent almost all week in 2 Nephi chapters 1-9. I was just searching so deeply & they were so powerful! One of the most spiritual study weeks of my mission.
I know whom I have trusted. My God has been my strength & support. I will rejoice & praise my God, the rock of my salvation forever!
I have consecrated my life to my Redeemer. My mission has changed my life & perspective. I have trusted in my Savior & I will trust in Him forever!
To build a foundation of unshakable faith begins first with faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. As we live with personal integrity; choosing the right consistently, living the gospel of Jesus Christ including all of its covenants, ordinances, & principles & then the most difficult part-Serving God & others persistently with full heart & soul.
Our power to endure will be in direct proportion to our spiritual strength & stamina. We must prepare every day because every day has new challenges. Today's faith will not be enough for tomorrow's battle.
I testify & know more fully that God loves us & that we can rely on Him wholly & completely.
For me you can build your daily spiritual stamina every day. Continue to pray for me & those I love.I am so grateful for the family's sacrifice.
Be true & faithful. Be the same in the dark as you are in the light.

Love your son, Elder Gustafsson

Monday, June 16, 2014

Friends from Haskovo

Fun pictures from February

Traveling on the subway

                                                   A modeling picture that Susan sent
                                                          Elder Stratton with Alex

More March letters

March 17th 2014
 A training cycle is usually 3 months (2 transfers) & Elder Munson & I just finished our first transfer together but I guess they really liked me in Sofia because they are transfering me to Sofia to be a zone leader. My new companion is Elder Maxwell & he has 3 months left on his mission so I will meet up with him in Sofia tomorrow. I am already packed & everything is ready to go.
So in light of all of this it has been an interesting week. I said good-bye to everyone especially Sister Teodora. It is hard to leave her because I have been with her since the beginning. She is so young in the gospel, but at the same time she is so strong so it's hard leaving her. But the Lord has a plan!
We also had zone training this week which was very good & uplifting. I learned a lot. 
Thank you for sending the package I am waiting for it patiently haha.
We have been doing a lot of good this week. The weather is amazingly warm & pleasant & I have felt really good helping people & preaching the gospel.
I am excited & grateful for the new opportunities I will have this next transfer. We had interviews with President Wilstead this week also which was very nice. Every time I meet with him or hear him I learn something.

I have the great opportunity to see Elder Stratton before he goes home in 3 months because he is still a zone leader;) he is also super excited haha.
YOU MUST GO TO ELDER STRATTON'S HOMECOMING WHEN HE RETURNS. You must get acquainted with his family they are amazing.
I love you:) there are a lot of new things going on & as we follow Preach My Gospel & the guidelines humbly we will have success.

I love you & the family:) have a great week! Remember to do the small & simple things: Daily prayer, scripture study, serving others & loving them & repenting.
Love you son, Elder Gustafsson
ps. Again everything is fine with my health if anything comes up you will be the first to know.

March 24th 2014

So here I am in Sofia haha it has been an interested week. I don't really have time for anything! haha We are always calling at lunch, dinner, & in the evenings but it is nice & it is not too crazy. My companion's named is Elder Maxwell he is from New York. He has only two transfers left; this one & the next one. Sofia is hugeeeeeeee! There are 4 companionships here in Sofia so the city is divided into 4 parts. Our part is the size of probably 10 Pazardjiks or Hackovos put together so it is quite a difference. We have about 100 members or so, maybe even 120 at church weekly but there are over 200 who are inactive so there is a lot of member work. I really like the work here in Sofia. We have been meeting with this woman named Yulia who is a part member family. She will be getting baptized this saturday. 
Our apartment is really nice haha:) it's a huge upgrade from my last two apartments. Zone leader duties aren't that complicated or special, we just make a lot of calls. But I am doing my best to get to know everyone in the zone & make sure they feel loved & cared for. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve not only the people of Bulgaria but also the missionaries. 
I am happy &healthy:) I can send you photos now so I hope you are happy about that:)

I love you so much Mom:) I get to see you & the family in a month (mother's day) so that is very exciting:)

Love, Elder Gustafsson

March 3rd and 10th

March 3rd 2014
Today is a really big holiday for Bulgaria. It is the day the Russians freed the Bulgarians from the 500 year "Turkish Yoke"
Everything is going well haha there is no need to worry. I have just had this thing on my arm & they are removing it so don't worry haha:)
This week has been interesting. The downer was that Lybka's husband doesn't want her to associate with us so we can't meet with her anymore. But she believes the Book of Mormon is true & everything else so we are keeping in contact with her  as well as doing our best to work with her through members. Hopefully one day her husband's heart will soften.
Yes I have spoken with Sister Teodora:) she is very happy & grateful for the help & she is really excited. No we have not had a relief society here. We are literally laying the foundation here in Bulgaria.
I looked at Familysearch& I was so impressed! But I realized that on Grandpa Gustafsson's side with his father the info isn't there on the site & I don't know why.
The work is still going:) haha& the companionship is going very well. It's exhausting being a trainer haha so hopefully I don't have to do it more than once.
So I will explain the arm in a little more detail because I know you like details but DON'T WORRY. haha Focus on the things there! So when I was with Elder Vassau this thing was growing on my arm & it is small but it looked like a blood blister & it just hasn't gone away. So I called the doctor & sent a picture & he said he simply needs to be removed. So tomorrow I am going to Sofia it will be removed then I will return &work:)
There is a lot of great potential here, we are doing our best & we are striving to improve. We are still building the church here.

I love you Mom:) again Don't worry haha everything will be fine. Keep keeping the commandments, doing excellently at work, exercising every day, loving & supporting the family, & growing spiritually:)

March 10th 2014
I am doing very well:) today at 6.00 pm our time I am getting this thing removed. I don't really know what that will entail so that's all I have to tell you concerning that haha. It should be pretty simple. We'll send you another email to update you.
I received grandma's package. Will you please thank her personally for me? Thanks
This week has been great:) We have had a lot of great experiences. I would like to share two which happened:
So in the last few district meetings I have received a lot of inspiration. They are things I have heard before but I have been trying to apply them. One example was in following the spirit. The promptings of the spirit will usually come first. If you dismiss it or start thinking of anything else or disregard it in some way those are all from Satan. So always act on the first prompting even if you don't understand it.
So yesterday we left the apartment after lunch & our language study to find people to teach. We decided we were going to head to an area with blocks to tract near Sister Teodora's house. As we went we passed a little street & I had just the smallest little thought which said to go down there. In about 3 seconds I thought: well I've never been down that street, it's small, there's not a lot of people there, & we are heading towards this place so no. I then immediately recalled the lesson learned in district meaning (actually the spirit reminded me) & I thought again & said let's go down that street. So we turned around & went down the street & nobody was there. In reality though it was heading towards the same blocks which we planned to visit so we continued. We turned to a new street which lead back to the main street. On my right a saw a block with a door & I had the prompting to go try it. As we walked towards the door I saw a man very close to it & decided no let's not go there because it could be weird trying the door while he watches. So I look at the other side at another block which is directly across from where we are standing & we see a block with an unlocked door wide open. So we go to tract it:)
We enter in & we knock on the first door that has people in it & a woman opens the door. We say to her the same things we normally do: Do you believe in God? According to you who is God etc. She said she believed something was there but doesn't really know exactly what it is. We asked if possible how could we find out who this God is. She said I don't know but I am reading something right now I will go grab it.
She returns & she had been reading Our church's Plan of Salvation pamphlet. With a huge grin on my face I pulled out the same pamphlet & said "Oh you mean this pamphlet? This is us:) haha. We got her info, she has a 1 year old son & she is married. We are hopefully meeting tomorrow. It was such a huge blessing because it was all possible because we followed the spirit & it really strengthened my testimony.
The spirit is with us, & it truly does speak soo softly & gently. We have to act on those first promptings. When we were baptized we were promised the companionship of the Holy Ghost if we are worthy. I know we have it & we need to follow it.
The week has been great & I have a dozen other experiences. But another time:)
I am happy &healthy:) The companionship is going very well. I am so happy to be here working. I love the work.

I love you all dearly:) I will write to you soon & don't worry, everything will be fine.

Love your son, Elder Gustafsson

New Greenie Companion

More February

February 17th 2014
I am so glad to hear you went to Brother Vassau's farewell! That is just super! Like I said he is an incredible missionary, I learned so much from him & hope you get the opportunity to really get to know his family. I look up to him a lot.
Brother Leonhardt& Brother Bryce are great missionaries too & were great leaders in the mission:) I am so happy you got to see them all:) I love them all dearly!!
If you see Brother Vassau again soon you could say.. There is a gripfull of work, it's in my wheel house & things are going very well. Tell him I am expecting an email from him when things cool down &Dimitur (the older man who is an english student) came to church & he is now investigating the church. We had a lesson with him & Sister Gergana but had to turn him over to the other missionaries because he lives in their area but we will continue to call him:)
So please deliver that whole message to him:)
We are eating plenty! I eat a banana, apple, eggs, cereal, & whole wheat toast along with a muti vitamin every morning. We eat chicken & rice for dinner. I love rice. & we buy out occasionally sandwiches. We eat a lot, enough.
You can send this out to Bishop Gray, or the emails if you still do it. I have his email, I just forgot to bring it today for emailing. You can let him know, or I will, that I got the envelope of letters from the ward & that I appreciate it:)
This week we had a leadership training for just leaders in the mission from all over the country. It was truly a rewarding experience. I got to see Elder Stratton for probably the last time as a missionary. He only has about 4 months
 As a side note Sister TeodoraDydova, our convert here in Pazardjik loves family history. She is really seeking help. This week we had a lesson on family history & I recommended you! My mother because you are an expert:) find her on Facebook & Family search/tree & help her if you could:)
I love you Mom, I love the whole family:) I look forward to hearing from Shawn sometime. I understand if he is busy though. Keep choosing the right, be anxiously engaged, & go & do!
Love your son:), Elder Gustafsson

February 24th 2014
I am so glad you were able to see Brother Vassau, I hope he is adjusting well. I am also very glad you are talking with Sister TeodoraDydova& that you are helping her it makes me very happy:)

That is so exciting about those mission calls! They will do great!
Let me tell you about this last week: We had zone training which was very nice & I learned a lot like always. But I wanted to tell you a bit about Lybka. Lybka has a date for March 15th & she is progressing very well. She is an incredible woman & she is reading a lot from the Book of Mormon & she has come to church twice. So we are very excited for her. Continue to pray for her Daily! 

I have so many special experiences as I am out here. The mission is just an incredible experience. 

I will share others stories with the family. I love You Mom:) keep going! I am so grateful that you are my mother, there is no one like you. Not only are you my mother but you are my friend:) Always remember that. 

Love your son:), Elder Gustafsson

Love your son:), Elder Gustafsson

Some February Letters

February Letters
February 3rd 2014
It is so incredible to see Shawn. He looks completely full of light! Tell him to send me an email, I would love to talk to him!
Well I have some news. It definitely was transfers this week. I will be training a new missionary here in Pazardjik. This means I will stay here for 3 more months, which lands me right at my year mark which is just mind boggling. I am grateful for the opportunity & privilege to train a new missionary, it's a special responsibility.
I saw Elder Vassau off today. It truly was a pleasure to serve with him, he is one of the best missionaries this mission has seen. Again I am just blown away by the photos of Shawn. He looks so bright. I am so proud of him. He served a faithful mission & it's not an easy thing.
I am doing very well. I have learned many things this transfer.So in my district here we will have Elder Watson (my companion in Hackovo! haha) he is the district leader & he will be with Elder Johnson who is in my mtc group & I will be training the new missionary, we don't know who he is yet, they are not in country yet. My trainer, Elder Stratton, , just went Zone Leader & he has only 4 months left it is crazy! Anton (the man Elder Stratton & I baptized in Hackovo) will be getting the Melchizedek Priesthood soon, he will be having his interview this week. I am so happy for him & that he is progressing.
The mission is improving, & I am improving & changing & progressing.
I love you & the family so much:) be good! work hard! Have faith!
Love your son, Elder Gustafsson:)

February 10 2014
I am doing very well. I have my new companion, his name is Elder Munson. He is from San Diego California:) We got Elder Vassau off very well. When we were in Sofia Elder Vassau's dad emailed President Wilstead& he said this "My son is not the same person I sent two years ago. I love the new one & I don't want the old one." I thought it was very powerful. Elder Vassau in his final testimony to President & the others was "I am a changed man" & again I thought that was so powerful & it led me to reflection. I hope that I become/am becoming a much better person & completely change for the better.
The weather here is really starting to pick up already. Today is very sunny &beautfiul there isn't even a need for a coat.
It has been an interesting experience this week. There was a lot of traveling at first & such because my companion & the other new missionaries don't get picked up by us until Wednesday. The mission is changing: we are striving to become better teachers & teach all the time especially on the street & I have seen a huge difference in the work already. We found this wayyy awesome woman named Lypka who is about 40ish. I think she has great potential. Toshko&Vulyo have fallen off but the work is really picking up because we found new investigators & taught a lot this week even with the crazy schedule & all the traveling! We also tracted into this awesome family of three. They are young & way nice. Their names are Borislava, Bogi, & their daughter Vasi. We will pray for them & continue to work with them.
As I have been training I have truly realized how much Bulgarian I know haha. It's incredible how much I understand & how much I can speak! Your prayers really helped me:) I am so grateful for the help. It has just been an interesting process training & leading. I don't really like being called a leader or being a leader. I like minding my own & just working hard & not having any attention. I also feel a bit inadequate but the Lord called me so I will do my best even though I have many flaws. The Lord has given me this rare opportunity to love, help, & serve others & to learn new things for my own progression.I love you Mom, I love you & the family. I know God is taking care of you, keep enduring, keep choosing the right actively.

Love me, your son, Elder Gustafsson

Another January Letter

Jan 27, 2014
I am well! This is the last week of the transfer haha. It doesn't feel like it, especially knowing that this is the last week with Elder Vassau. I still feel like we have a lot of work to do! We have people to find, investigators to teach, build the church, & strengthen the members.
But I really have learned a lot this transfer. I am ready for the next step in my mission/life/progression whatever that may be. I feel it coming. The main thing I have learned from Elder Vassau this transfer is Dignity.Every transfer there has been a major theme. Last transfer it was patience & compromise. My first two transfers were patience again haha. But an overriding theme has always been love; charity. It has been quite the process.Every so often I write down goals & desires but I am always striving to focus on the work. Consecration of course has been a key theme as well.
The first snow fall has come finally here in Pazardjikhaha. Winter has finally come! It is colder but it should only last February & then it will warm up:) Winters are shorter here haha.
In terms of work this week we have done street contacting &tracting. It's an interesting process haha:) But that is basically all we have done! We are finding people & there is good potential but we will see how it goes.
We are still working with Toshko but it will take a little longer than planned. So keep praying for him!:)
The chances of me staying in Pazardjik are extremely high. Anything could happen. If I train I will stay here until my year mark which is just crazy. So we will find out next week:)I have been referring to the "Where's Mom Now that I need her?" for food & stuff which has been great. But eating next transfer will be better:)Just keep praying for me, pray for the work here. Pray individually, as a couple, as a family:) Keep the commandments exactly! There are so many promised blessings I promise! Read scriptures individually & as a couple & a family. STRIVE TO DO THESE THINGS.
As you do those things you will help me:)I love you, keep it up! Be healthy & watch out for pain & stuff. Just be careful.

Love me, your son, Elder Gustafsson