Sunday, September 22, 2013

New adventures is Sweden

Another week of new adventures in Sweden. We headed to the south end to set up a new apartment in Landskrona. I really like the area a lot. The apartment is spacious with huge windows and a great location. You walk one way to the waterfront or the other way to the central part of town. It is known to have a castle but there was no time to go and check that out. One thing I want to remember about Landskrona is their traffic circles are the most decorative. One has fountains, and another has a bunch of sails from ships. I must mention that I do notice and look for the artistic traffic circles. On the way to the mission office I really like the one with the huge cement whale that has blue lights shining on it at night. And the one on the way to the church looks like a grass roller coaster and then one time we happened by at night and it was covered with tiny white lights - Wow. Back to the apartment ... I just love making a nice home for our missionaries. When Elder Tolley drove to Helsingborg to pick up the elders that were moving in I did the final touches. When they walked in I loved saying "Welcome Home". They were very impressed with the curtains, rugs, nice furniture and right away noticed the big chocolate bars on their pillows. It would be fun to see their faces when they find food in the cupboards and fridge - BUT - we are off to help others. We were going to head home but we got a few phone calls and it changed our plans.

We had stopped in Norrköpping on our way down to fix the sisters bikes that we had found parts for. I just love Sister Merrell and Sister La Fontaine. When they met us they had a bag of cookies for us, and of course I got lots of hugs. The cookies were most delicious. They do not have chocolate chips in Sweden so you buy really good chocolate bars and cut them up for the cookies. I think it makes them extra tasty even though it is a little more work.
We are headed up to Jönköping tonight. We are going to have to get a hotel for the night, as we had received phone calls from two other apartments that needed our help. Since we are staying in Jönköping we had to call our friends, Elder and Sister Coombs. They have settled in nicely in their lovely apartment and invited us to come for dinner. How wonderful is that! Sister Coombs is a wonderful cook so we are excited to have a lovely evening with them.

So on our way to their home, I mentioned to Elder Tolley that we always work, work, work and it would be nice to have a little fun for the first time since we have arrived. So I mentioned to him something that Elder Carpenter (one of the zone leaders from Malmö) told me about Sweden. Looking on the map we could take a smaller side road and stop for an hour and check out Sweden's largest box store in the whole country. I was overjoyed that he thought that would be all right (especially because he is not usually up for shopping). I was convincing him that it was a cultural experience that we would have. As we got close to Ullared where we would find Gekås (the store) we passed a huge field with hundreds of trailers and motor homes. That was something we had not seen here before. We wondered what the attraction was. Then we get to the shopping area - and see the largest parking lot in Sweden with thousands of cars and people. Instead of finding one large store we found a plethora of shopping outlet stores as well. We finally found a place to park and as we were walking to the Gekås store people were coming out with huge smiles and carts and bags full of stuff. Then we noticed big buses loading up people and their shopping bags. This was going to be interesting. As it turned out we only had time to see about 1/4 of the one store. We did find some incredible deals on some things but just watching the shopping frenzy of others was most fun. We will have to return when we have time to investigate more thoroughly (hopefully with my mother when she comes to visit), and our granddaughters would go nuts in the Lego and toy section of the store. I saw Lego Advent Calendars - how fun is that! We did find slow cookers (278 K ) and blenders (199 K - about $30) for such great prices that we will be telling all the missionary couples about it. In fact I called the Coombs that were feeding us dinner that night and they had us buy them a slow cooker and blender. I found some yarn for knitting blankets for my soon to be born grandchildren. So off we must go....
the shopping bag has a map on it so you can find your way back......and it shows all the roads that lead there! It just so happens that this year is their 50th anniversary of being open. An entire city has grown up all around this one store. A must see in Sweden. And notice that the colors are the same as the colors in the Swedish Flag. It is not far from the coast of Denmark - I bet they all come to shop here too.

Other fun things we saw on our side road trip:
Just after this hamburger stand on the roadside we saw a long line of cows coming home to be milked. They were all in single file on a small path along the side of the road with very large udders and knowing it was time to head home. Did I mention that Sweden has the best tasting yogurt? My favorite breakfast is Cornflakes with Musli and Yogurt (Warren calls is Häst Mat - translated Horse Food). I never liked Cornflakes before but it is most delicious with the additions.

And then the beautiful rainbow. More colorful and larger than I have ever seen before. This is only the one end.

This windmill/home is just as we are leaving Helsingborg. It is up on a hill and must have an incredible view of the water with Denmark in the distance.

We drove through the town of Skeppshult. We have to go back there. The special salt and pepper shakers that we had from our last trip to Sweden that were in our home in Kalispell are from there. It is a cast iron company and they have an outlet store at the factory there. How sad I was that they were closed.

I think we will have to take a few more SIDE ROAD TRIPS. So much fun things to see and experience.
We miss you and wish you all could have been with us.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

We love what we do! We get to travel all over the country setting up the new apartments for our missionaries. We put in long hours (everything takes twice as long as we think it will), lots of travel time, and it takes a long time to find a place to park (Sweden was not designed for cars in the large cities). A lot of the money collected for the country comes from people who own cars, etc. You have to pay to park wherever you go. They have computerized machines under the "P" sign that takes a credit card. I see why bikes, trains, and buses are a great choice for commuting. However, it does not work for those who are hauling furniture and household supplies. P.S. That is why everything you buy at Ikea is packaged in the smallest box possible and you have to put it all together once you have hauled it up six flights of stairs into you compact apartments. :-)

This last week had some tender moments for us. On Wednesday, we attended a re-baptism of a man who had for sometime chosen to remove himself from the church. It was so wonderful to see his face just shine with love and happiness as he returned to full fellowship. The missionaries did not have anyone else available to play the piano for the baptism. They called me and asked if I would. Well it has been sometime since I have played the piano. I was very nervous and anxious to say the least. But my heart was willing. David called me to tell me the songs he would like (he spoke wonderful English which helped me). It is a very strange thing about playing Swedish Hymns - because the song is all in a different language it seems so foreign and unrecognizable to me. I have to try to play without looking at the words to recognize the hymn (which is hard to do when the words are right there under the notes).We were at a member's home doing our Home Teaching when he called. His baptism was in a few hours. We were going to go to the church an hour early so I could practice, but we were not able to get into the building until ten minutes before the baptism. On top of all this anxiety, I was also in pain from my sciatic nerve causing me grief that day. Well I could only think of praying for help at this point. I confided with my Heavenly Father, that I wanted to be able to play the piano well enough to have the "spirit" at this special baptism for David, and that I would have to have His help. I went straight into the chapel to play some prelude music. I was so thrilled to see a Simplified Hymn book at the piano (and it was an English Version). I was able to sight read the songs! I had never seen one of this books at our building before, not sure where it came from. The one song that was going to be difficult for me was also in the Simplified Hymn book. What a blessing. The other song I was able to play from the regular Swedish Hymn Book. And so....the meeting was beautiful; the spirit was so strong; and you would think I was a real piano player! I am so grateful for the help from above. There were lots of people at the baptism that we had not met before. One of the men that we were visiting with after the meeting was a Bishop from another city. Come to find out that he was a missionary while Warren was a missionary many years ago. He was serving in the Mission Office and was almost done with his mission when Warren was just starting his mission way up north. They had not met then - but had a great time talking about all the people they both knew. I re-learned that day that we need to do our best and the Lord makes up for our inadequacies.

Yesterday (Saturday) we shared some tender moments with our fellow missionaries. We had just delivered some new couple missionaries (the Coombs) to their new home in Jönköping. We had met them in SLC before we went into the MTC. It was so good to see them again. The Wheeler's are getting ready to leave for home in a few days, and the Coombs will be taking over for them. I wish we had been able to get to know the Wheeler's sooner, they are awesome. Sister Wheeler was born in Sweden and even has family here. They sent us on our way with some delicious home baked cookies and Swedish Sweet Rolls that were amazing. I am collecting delicious Swedish recipes everywhere I go.

Then on our way home we stopped to help Sister Merrell and Sister La Fontaine in Norrkoping. They were struggling with bad smells in their apartment and had broken down bikes. So that day we repaired their bicycles and became Odor Detectors. It is so wonderful to be able to rescue others and be of service. One thing we had not expected though was the best thing of all. Sister La Fontaine was especially glad to see us. We had been in the MTC together and it was a sweet reunion. She shared with us that she was experiencing home sickness for her Mom and I got lots of hugs from her. She was so happy that I could be there and be her Mom. We both shed some tears of joy at being together. These are tender moments that I had not thought would be so rewarding and special and a very important part of our mission. What a great day! I love being a missionary and being where the Lord knows we are needed! He knows each of us personally and we can be an answer to someone's prayer.

And then to top of the week we had our four missionaries from our ward over for Sunday Dinner. Elders Haddon/Schindler and Elders Beus/Sheldon. They were so happy to have their favorite food - Homemade American Pizza with Brownies topped with Ice Cream and toppings for dessert. They were wanting to call me Mom they felt so at home and cared for. I love to cook, they love to eat  - it is a good arrangement. Please take the time to welcome missionaries into your homes and feed them and care for them for they are all working hard to help our brothers and sisters around the world find true happiness and fulfillment, as they come unto Christ and follow the Plan of Salvation.
We love you and miss you, and think of you often. May our Heavenly Father's angels of mercy surround you all and may others come by to help you in your times of need as answers to your prayers. I am so grateful to be a member of Christ's true church, and the opportunities it has provided us to be so blessed, as we work together to serve others. I never want to live just ordinary every again!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The mysterious kitchen device. Mystery solved?

Wendy and I are enjoying very much that we get to travel all over Sweden in preparing housing for the missionaries.  We spend a lot of time in the IKEA store buying everything from bedding to desks to kitchen gadgets, and then set up the various apartments.  This week we were in Malmö, right in the bottom tip of Sweden.  We rented an apartment from a gentleman that came entirely "möblerat", meaning "furnished", so our responsibilities were to clean and organize and prepare the apartment for the arrival of a senior couple that will arrive next month.  As Wendy was organizing the kitchen and doing an inventory of the gadgets, she came across this one that totally baffled us.

Dave Stahley says it is a "smorffenbloogen"  Of course it is Dave!
We have had an absolute riot reading all of the guesses that came when we put this on Facebook and asked friends to tell us what it is for.  Everything from sausage turner, doughnut grabber, dental tool, back scratcher, Swedish pancake stealer, and even a troll chaser.  Because nobody REALLY knows what it is for, Wendy has been trying to find a use for it.  Then earlier today, she ran across a situation where she was wishing she had a tool to help her with a simple kitchen problem and TA-DAH!!!! she came up with a good use for it.  See picture below
A toast remover???  It works GREAT!!
Swedish bread is very seldom in large loaves like we are used to.  The slices are smaller and rounded, so it is very difficult to get them out of the toaster.  This thing works great!  The sharp points grab the bread very nicely and just with a twist you have your toast!  So until someone can give us a better suggestion, we will be using the "smorffenbloogen" for this purpose.  I will be calling it the "smorffenbloogenbrödrostuttagare"  Mystery solved.......

Warren posting. We have been VERY busy. New missionaries arrived!

Sorry it has been awhile since we posted.  We have been running ( well actually driving mostly) all over the country in our assignment to get apartments ready for the newly arriving missionaries.  We had a group of 18 new missionaries arrive on August 20, and we have been working hard to find apartments in the various corners of the mission for them.  This group was particularly special to Wendy and I because they were the group that entered the Mission Training Center the same time as we did, back in early July.  They arrived all excited and energetic, and as the day went on the jet lag settled in and they really struggled to stay alert.  We fed them a meal around 5:00 pm and then they just wanted to get to their beds.

Senior missionaries preparing the Swedish tables

New missionaries and their new companions

 Yes, even though they were tired, they still were willing to dig into the Swedish meatballs!!

Total of 18 new missionaries, 11 elders, and 7 Sisters with their new companions (trainers). Note Sister Tolley in the back making sure everyone gets fed.  We now have 171 missionaries in Sweden, and are expecting about 35 more in the next few months.