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!