Monday, July 29, 2013

Warren posting. See our lovely Swedish home!!

I have been warning Wendy for months now that we would likely be living in a big crowded apartment building with neighbors above, below and beside us.  But oh how I was wrong!!  The couple that we aree replacing in the Mission found us a lovely apartment, which is really the back of a private residence in a very nice neighborhood.  Our landlords are an older couple, Sven-Olav and Gunilla Jonasson, and they are very nice (typical Swedes). We have a very comfortable home on the very edge of a small city called Upplands-Väsby, about 25 kilometers North of Stockholm.
View of our apartment from the walking path.  Looking South.
Ours is the green home right in the middle of the picture. The lower balcony is ours.
Our mailing address is :
 Äldste och Syster Tolley
Ringvägen 6B
194 44  Upplands Väsby

Our driveway.  Our car is an Opel Corsa.

entrance to our apartment Ringvägen 6B

kitchen small but functional. notice the tiny microwave

cozy dinners for two. small fridge but sufficient.

We are actually very pleased with the living arrangements we have here.  There are no regular landline telephones in Sweden anymore.  Cell phone service is very good, and even our internet service is wireless.

We only have two of us living here, but we have a hideabed and floor space for visitors.  We even have our own SAUNA!!!

 Not bad eh?  One large living area, and very comfortable.

Deck facing North

Deck is all ours!!  Note Wendy's "dryer" by the kitchen window
Clothes dryers are not common in Sweden.

the deck is wonderful!!

OUR BIG DAY OF TRAVEL - July 19th thru July 20th

Last night we packed all the suitcases and carefully weighed them to be under 50 pounds.
This was my biggest worry of our whole adventure so far. Thanks to our son Dale who gave us a gadget that weights luggage we were successful and my worries were eliminated. Thanks to Lindy and Shane for letting us leave some stuff behind. It is so hard to know what to take and what to leave behind.

We woke up early at 3 am as we are to meet our shuttle at 3:30 am. We rode in a mini van, just the two of us and all our luggage.

A very nice young man, returned missionary drove us safely to the airport and dropped us off at the curb. With some creative juggling we managed to get into the airport and send off the four large suitcases so we only had to manage a small carry on and our personal bag for the rest of the trip. I must mention that my backpack might have weighed 50 lbs with all the books and heavy stuff that could not go into a suitcase. An interesting thing that we talked about on the way to the airport was... the #1 reason that couples do not go on a mission is....pets (not leaving their families). So when you beloved pet dies do not replace them so you too can go on a mission!

waiting in Detroit.  You can take the girl away from the knitting,
but you can't take the knitting out of the girl.

We flew from SLC to Detroit where we got on the big plane that would fly us to Amsterdam.
All the flights were very full, and so we had to sit in our seats the whole time. I had hoped to be able to lay down across the center seats. I cannot sleep sitting up. Warren managed to get a nap now and again. They fed us a lovely dinner, we watched a few movies. I was glad to have planned a knitting project as it helped pass the time. I started knitting a lace scarf that I hoped to have done when I landed in Sweden. However it got ripped out a few times, so I am not done yet.

We landed in Amsterdam after long hours of flying and the sun never going down. We missed a whole night and does that ever mess up your body rhythms. We were late getting into the airport there and had to run to try to catch our connection. We also had to go through customs and security again. Their security was way more tough and they searched one of our carry on bags and patted us both down. Even with that delay we did just barely get on the next plane - they were waiting for us.
President Newell greets Syster Tolley
We were so relieved to be on the last plane. The lovely flight attendants brought us a wonderful snack that consisted of a tasty whole wheat bread with a delicious European cheese and sliced cucumbers in it. We were glad this was a shorter flight as we were both extremely sleep depraved and anxious to be done with travel.
a warm welcome from President Newell for Äldste Tolley
front: Äldste Lowry greets Syster Tolley. Syster Newell looks on
Johansons, Tolleys, Newells
Wendy was SO happy to finally arrive!!

NO SUITCASES! - with such a tight connection the four large suitcases did not make it on our last flight. When we arrived in Stockholm we had to make a claim for them to send on our luggage when it arrived.
We were met by President Newell and his wife, Elder and Sister Lowry (the office couple) and Elder and Sister Johanson (the couple that we will be replacing). Wow what a wonderful welcoming committee. They grabbed all our luggage and loaded it up while Warren and I went and exchanged all our American money for Swedish Crowns (Kronor). We were driven right to our new apartment so we could catch a quick nap before going to the Mission Home for a very fancy formal dinner.

The Mission Home is lovely. It is a very big house. The dinner was amazing. Sister Newell is very experienced at entertaining. President Newell was the Ambassador to Sweden for the USA before being called to be the Mission President. Joining us for dinner were Elder and Sister Wennerlund (native Swedes just called to serve in the YSA in Stockholm). Interesting that Sister Wennerlund's brother was Warren's mission companion 37 years ago. Warren also knew Elder Wennerlund's family from his mission too. It is a small world in the church!

We visited and watched a special video presentation of the beautiful pictures of Sweden put together by submissions of favorite photos of the missionaries serving here. We are going to love our Mission.

Off to our apartment to hopefully sleep through the night!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Here we are in our office training during our last week at the MTC.

These are our instructors who knew everything we needed to learn. They are fun and smart and very helpful.
This is our district for our office training. Elder and Sister Clark on the left going to France;
Sister Newsom going to Fiji; Elder and Sister Sheffield going to Australia (they used to live across the road from Warren when he was a boy in Fort Macleod area); US going to Sweden; and Elder and Sister Olson going to Russia. What a great bunch of missionaries!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Our Last Tuesday Devotional before we leave the MTC

We have been receiving more training this week. We have been learning how to be more effective with our computer skills. It is amazing all the new tricks we have learned for programs that we have used for years. We are also receiving training for the church program " iMOS". It is so incredible the things that it will do to help each mission accomplish all the tasks that are required on a daily basis. Our instructors are very helpful and well informed on what we need to know. Again we are making close friends with our new small group.
At meal times we meet up with old friends from last week or new couples that have just arrived for their first week of training. It is funny to feel so experienced with the routines here at the Mission Training Center.

We attended another large devotional at the Marriot Center tonight. Elder Hinckley (son of Gordon B. Hinckley) and his wife were are guest speakers. It was a great meeting. After the meeting a photographer took a picture of us (the largest group of missionaries ever gathered so far). It is fun to be part of making history. This meeting was also being broadcast to all the MTC's around the world. I hope that we get a chance to see this picture sometime.

I am thinking of all of you, and feeling grateful for our times together. I hope and pray that all is well with all of you and that you will make choices in your life that will continue to bring you great joy. I would like to bear my testimony to you. I am so grateful for the "Plan of Salvation" that we know where we came from, know why we are here, and know where we are going. And the most wonderful thing of all, I know that our Heavenly Father knows us personally by name, and loves us. I keep learning to trust in Him more each day, and it strengthens my faith. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and His Atonement that enables us to be resurrected and have eternal life. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and restored the true gospel to the earth today. I know the Book of Mormon is true. As you read the promise in Moroni 10: 3-5 you too can know it is true for yourself. (and that it testifies of Christ). I know that President Monson is our prophet today. I am so grateful for all the leaders who spent their time and energy on all our behalf. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Warren posting this time

Warren posting this time. We have completed a full week of training and started into the second week.  Last week I was surprised when we went into the MTC for the first day and right behind us was Jay Thelin and his wife.  Jay lived just down the road from our farm way back when I was a little guy on the farm in Orton, Alberta.  He was close to my older brother Cal's age.  Jay and his wife are heading to serve a mission in Finland.  Then today we began another round of training, and when I introduced myself and mentioned that I was originally from Alberta, a voice across the room said "where in Alberta?"  When I said Fort Macleod, Elder Lee Sheffield chimed in that he was raised there too.  Lee is also older than I am, between my older brothers' ages.  He shared some fun stories that he remembers about my old hometown. He and his wife are heading to Australia for a mission.  He and I exchanged more Fort Macleod stories for some time between our training sessions today.
We are learning computer training and the EXTENSIVE  Internet Missionary Operating System (IMOS) that we will need to know in our assignment in Sweden.
I am really enjoying the experience at the MTC.  We leave for Sweden on Friday, though, and that is when the real excitement begins.  Our shuttle will leave Provo at 3:30 AM, for a 7:30 AM departure out of Salt Lake.  We travel through Detroit, Amsterdam, and then to Stockholm, arriving about 18 hours after we depart SLC.
They had Swedish meatballs on the menu in the cafeteria tonight.  They seemed so appropriate.......

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Here are our beloved Swedish Missionaries that are at the MTC the same time as us. They are divided into two districts of ten. We are really looking forward to serving with them and all the other missionaries already in Sweden. We had just been attending a Sacrament Meeting with them and other missionaries going to Western Europe. They will arrive in Sweden 5 weeks after us.
They are so amazing! We look forward to getting to know them all personally.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Our first week of training is over. It has been a busy but fulfilling week. I have loved getting to know so many wonderful people. Our trainers for our district were awesome.
This is a picture of us with Sister Anderson our morning instructor. She is a return missionary from Czech/Slovakia mission. We were especially glad to get to know her since our son Dale served in the same mission only years earlier.
 This is our district: Tolley's, Mower's, Sister Thomas(our afternoon instructor), Wright's, and Moss's. I think we got the very best couple missionaries in our group. We have gotten to know each other and have loved every minute.

We had to get a picture of us by "THE MAP at the MTC", just under Sweden.

And our picture with Sister Thomas, our afternoon instructor. We are her last class to teach, as she is headed off to Washington D.C. to start a new job after graduating from BYU.

Another group district picture with Sister Anderson. Don't we all look like we are about to change the world?

After all our classes today, we got to meet up with Jeff Tolley (our nephew from Oregon - LaRon and Susan's son). We had a fun visit. He is teaching Samoan at the MTC.
After dinner we met two of the young Swedish Missionaries and they have invited us to their language class tonight. So that is where we are headed next. Hej Då!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Finally, on our fourth day at the MTC we meet 12 of the young elders and sisters going to Sweden.
They are so amazing. There are 8 more that we have not met, but will get the chance over the next few days. They all arrived yesterday and will be here for six weeks.

Today was our last day with Sister Anderson. She has been instructing us in the mornings in our small district classroom. I am so glad that our lives have crossed paths. We have emails to keep in touch. We love you Sister Anderson!

Each day we learn so much that helps us see others as our Father in Heaven and Savior see them. I know that will help us in being effective missionaries and really loving and caring about the people that we meet.

Lots of missionaries are so happy about getting mail and packages from home. I had never thought that I would hope to get a letter but we have stopped by and asked if there was anything for us.
Just in case anyone is wishing they knew our address for the next week:
Elder and Sister Tolley
Missionary Training Center
2005 N 900 E
Box T
Provo, UT 84604

And after next Friday the Mission Home Address is:

Elder Warren Tolley
Sister Wendy Tolley
Sweden Stockholm Mission
Enebybergsvagen 38     (this is not part of the address but the a has two dots over it)
182  46  Enebyberg

And when we move into our apartment I will update our address.
The Mission Home Office Phone Number is 46  8-5447-0930. We will be getting a cell phone no. and do not know the number yet.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Another wonderful day at the MTC. (Mission Training Center)
The temperatures here in Provo are way too hot. But I must not complain as I must remember where I will be living soon.
We still have not found any other Swedish Missionaries. We will be able to attend church with them however on Sunday. We did find out that twenty some of the 900 missionaries that arrived today are going to Sweden.
It is still so amazing for me to be in such a remarkable environment. We are making so many new friends. We have especially grown close to the three other couples in our District. The Wright's are going to Finland, the Mower's are going to Austria, and the Moss's are going to North Dakota.
We have also met a couple that used to live across the road from Warren when he was 6 years old - Thelin's - they are going to Finland as well.
And we made friends with some young sister missionaries that are going to Brazil, when we sat by them at the devotional.
Did I mention how happy we are!
We taught our first discussion today. We had 45 minutes to get to know our investigator and teach the first discussion and then invite him to read the Book of Mormon, pray, and set up a time to visit him again. We accomplished everything except he did not pray - but he did promise to pray on his own at home. So we are studying and working hard too.
Sharing the gospel is wonderful - I feel sad that I did not do it more often at home.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Our second day at the MTC - the Mission Training Center in Provo Utah
What a wonderful experience we are having. We are meeting such wonderful people. It was an amazing experience to walk from the MTC to the Marriot Center at BYU with four thousand other missionaries for a meeting with a general authority. This year the church has the most missionaries serving than ever before. How exciting to be a part of it all. The people passing by in cars where pulling over to take pictures of us and waving with excitement.

It was also thrilling to be in a building singing with that many missionaries. For those who have experienced all this I hope it brings back pleasant memories. For those of you that have not - it is something to look forward to someday.

We are working hard. We were taught all day and by the end we are tired. How nice to go to a comfortable room for a good nights rest.

I must mention the cafeteria has such great food, with so many choices.  :)
The day finally came. After visiting all of our children and enjoying our time with them immensely, we finally arrived at the MTC in Provo, Utah on July 8th, 2013.

How did we get here? Here is the background story.....
I have always wanted to serve a mission. A few months before I turned twenty one and could qualify to serve, I met Warren. He sent me a "mission call letter" asking me to marry him and be his eternal companion and promised me that we would serve a mission together after our children had grown up and left the nest. Well ....35 years later we are on our big adventure together.

We had actually been planning our mission three years from now after Warren would retire, but after praying about when to set the date for us to go - we switched to a three month plan.

Selling our home and belongings was very hard and I had some tearful moments BUT it became easier as so many friends were excited about becoming the new owners of things that we have enjoyed. We were also able to give to those who had a need.
I am so grateful for all our friends who have supported us and made this possible. As hard as it was at the time, we now feel so unburdened and FREE! We can go and serve without worldly things being a burden - it is an amazing feeling.
And I must mention, that it is because our children are doing well (living the gospel and making wise choices with their lives) that has made our mission possible at this time. I am so grateful for their support. It is hard to miss the birth of two grandchildren, and Emily's baptism - but we know that we are to be serving a mission at this time and the Lord will bless us all! Thank goodness for the amazing technology so we can see and talk to our family and stay connected even though we are on the other side of the world.

Three years ago, we visited Sweden. I fell in love with the people and especially my new friends that I had met there. When we got home from the trip I had told Warren that when we retired I wanted to go spend a summer in Sweden. Well now I am going for two years! I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows us personally and provides miracles in our lives.