Sunday, April 27, 2014

One of the biggest sacrifices of serving a mission is missing events with our family back home. It is so comforting for us to know that our children and grandchildren are all doing well and making good choices in their lives. I would like to share with everyone a most wonderful family event that took place in January 2014. Our very first grandson was born. We now have 5 granddaughters and 1 grandson. These grandchildren are most precious to us and we are so grateful for technology so we can see them grow up while we are away.

Baby Ross Winton Tolley, born Saturday, January 25th, 2014 at 5:16 pm, weighing in at 9 pounds, 10 ounces and measuring 21 inches long.

And to top off such a blessing our new baby will be coming to meet us the end of May. Ross's dedicated parents (Dale and Alana) are willing to travel all the way to Sweden so we can have the opportunity to meet him while serving our mission.

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Tragedy of Losing a fellow Missionary - Elder Mason Lewis Bailey

On March 2nd, 2014 we lost a dear friend and one of the most amazing missionaries we have met.
Elder Mason Lewis Bailey was in our group of missionaries at the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah when we all started our missions together in July. He always had a smile that could light up the whole room and make you want to smile too.
Elder Bailey was serving in Västerås and had just had a most wonderful day. He had baptized a dear lady who had a wonderful story of how she found the church. (She had bought a beautiful white leather covered book in a second hand book store and went home to read it. As she was reading what was the Book Of Mormon she felt the spirit tell her that what she was reading was true. She also found a card with the missionaries' phone number and called them. Elder Bailey and Elder Barnes were the ones to be able to teach her and baptize her.) After such a special day, they were walking home to their apartment from a dinner appointment. It was after dark and they were crossing the street at the crosswalk when a car came speeding towards them. They realized that the car was not stopping for them and both missionaries jumped in opposite directions to avoid the car. At the last second the car swerved and went the same direction as Elder Bailey and hit him, knocked over a road sign, and ended up hitting a very large rock on the side of the road. The reports say that his death was quick and so we hope that he did not suffer. It has been so very hard to lose someone so dear to all of us in the mission. Elder Tolley and I were asked by the President to go and collect his belongings from his apartment along with the assistants and the other missionaries that shared the apartment. That was hard to do. We all helped each other by talking and sharing our joys of having been a part of Elder Bailey's life. While at the apartment we got a call from the Church members in Västerås to meet them at the accident site to place candles and flowers and pictures in a memorial to him. I hope that all the wards and branches of the Church here love their missionaries as much as this branch loved Elder Bailey. He was especially loved by all the children and they placed pictures that they had lovingly drawn for him on his memorial rock by the side of the road. It is fitting that there is a picture of the Savior as we all know that Elder Bailey continues to be a missionary on the other side, as he goes home to his Father in Heaven. Since Elder Bailey's passing we are still helping to teach and baptize people whose lives were touched by him.


Our group from the MTC


One of the things we try to do daily is go for a healthy brisk walk in our area. We have made friends with the local ducks and they love it when we bring them bread to eat. |Lately the seagulls have also been showing up and are very aggressive. They will dive for the bread while it is still in the air in order to steal it away from the ducks.

Time is going by too quickly. Another birthday has come and gone. It is wonderful to be remembered by so many dear friends and family even though I am so far from home. I am also grateful for all my new Swedish friends who made special memories for me on this birthday.

It is usual that friends and family will give flowers to those celebrating their birthday. I was so thrilled to get such a beautiful bouquet of flowers (tulips) from my dear Swedish friends the Holmdahl's. After all this is my first official Swedish birthday.