Sunday, July 27, 2014

Senior Couples Conference in the Sweden Mission. Then meet our dear friends and most talented artists Kurt and Gerd Sjökvist.

 This post is very late.  Our Senior Couple Conference was held in Stockholm back in May.  All of the Couples in the mission travelled to Stockholm where we had a wonderful time with some classes, scripture study, attended a session at the temple, and had some time for some sightseeing around Stockholm.
From Left: Wennerlund, Newell, Davis, Taylor, Kohler plus Jaylynn, Lowry, Boyer, Brown, Tolley, Leach, Sorensen, Coombs, Herrey 

Riding the Pendeltåg to some sightseeing

OK, SOMEBODY has to show them how to ride the train!!!

And some of the fun......
not sure what's in the barrel....

say "MOOOOOTH"   In Swedish this is an "Alg"
which means "Elk"

And of course we had to eat....and eat.....and eat...
Elder and Sister Coombs were the Conference Coordinators
and Chief Cooks

 This Conference was also an opportunity to say our farewells to President and Sister Newell who were going home the end of June.
We presented them with a Viking Statue that was made by
Gerd Sjökvist, a local artist and good friend of ours.
See further down for more information on the Sjökvists

President and Sister Gregory and Candilynn Newell

This is "THOR"
The gift to the Newells was hand-sculpted
and then made into a mold and recreated in porcelain


from Furuvik, Sweden
Gerd Sjökvist is a very very special friend in my life. In 1974 Gerd (Bergström) was a single mother from Sweden who was attending Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, studying Art.  She was a teacher at the Language Training Mission, and that is where I first met her.  She was the main Swedish Teacher and was our first experience conversing in Swedish as new missionaries.  Over two months time we had long hours together practicing the new language and we became very close.  Over the years since then, I have kept in touch with Gerd.  She returned to Sweden and married Kurt Sjökvist, who is a VERY talented artist, painter, woodworker, sculpter, musician, songwriter,etc.  They both have artwork in some very famous places, including the Church Museum of Art in Salt Lake City.

Here is a small sampling of some of their work.

All of these were sculpted of clay, and then made to molds for reproduction in porcelain.
The two heads top center are actually clay, and are of Gerd's parents
And more...
Swedish Nativity

more Nativity figures

Elder Sorensen and Kurt with wooden
sculpture by Kurt

two more of Kurt's creations

Viking in training sculpture.  Model for this was
Gerd's Grandson.

And of course some food creations!!!

While visiting the Sjökvists, Gerd took the time to teach us how to make "PALT". It is a ball of potato flour and shredded potatoes, filled with salted pork and boiled in water for one hour.  Served with some butter and lingonberry jam.  A NORRLAND Tradition.

Very Filling......."PALT"

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Land of the Midnight Sun. Closing the Beachfront Apartment at Halmstad

Right after the Midsummer celebration we travelled to Halmstad to close down an apartment that we no longer needed in the mission.  See an earlier post from September 2013.  This is the luxury condominium on Tylosand Beach that we have had Sister Missionaries living in since last September.  The owners were so happy to have our missionaries live in it for the winter that they gave us a great deal on the rent. Part of the deal was that they would move back in for the July and August months.  We went down and spent a couple of days enjoying the beach while cleaning and moving out of the apartment.  It happened to be right after the longest day of the year, so pay attention to the MIDNIGHT SUN.

This picture was taken at Tylösand Beach near Halmstad at midnight on June 22, 2014.
The camera is pointed almost straight North.

Lovely evening for a walk at the beach.
We saw a few other sights at the Tylösand Beach.

An old Swedish Church from the 1500's
located on the Beach

Beautifully preserved and ornate inside
We also learned that for about two weeks right around Midsummer that the Lupine plants blossom in beautiful purple and white and various shades.  They are everywhere along the roadsides and are absolutely beautiful.  Apparently they are so prolific and plentiful that the Swedes consider them more of a weed than a flower.  I absolutely love them.

And a few last pictures from the Beach

Monday, July 21, 2014


Midsommarsafton (Midsummers Eve) is probably the biggest celebration of the year in Sweden.  It is held on the longest day of the year, June 21, and has all the traditions and fun of dancing around the Midsummer Pole, good food and outdoor fun. Dozens of the missionaries serving in the Stockholm area were there, and we were especially happy to have a visit from a friend and former colleague from Flathead Valley Community College here to visit us.  Erin Howardson is embarking on a backpack/cycling tour of Europe and started her trip here in Stockholm.  We were happy to have her visit us and we took her to the midsummer celebration with us.

We introduced Erin to our Duck collection

She thought she was hiding behind the flowers?

 Woman in traditional costume who called out the steps to the dances.  Erin wanted to meet her.
We had to go to our favorite ice cream store

The missionaries helped to build and erect the "Midsommarsstången" and then the dancing and music started.
Up, up , up

a little more......

not quite there....

We got it !!

We had a wonderful time in the National Park just South of Stockholm.  Over a thousand people were there, and a large number of the missionaries were there.  A nice break from the busy schedules that we keep.

several of our MTC group were there.
Sister Tolley, Anderson, Elders Tolley,Taggart, Christensen,
Hanson, Cushing,Ward
Sister Taylor sneaked in the back...........

Sister Gambles with the traditional flower wreath
Sister Tolley and Erin Howardson
See the beautiful smiles on all three of them!!!

Sister Tolley with Fru Lindquist 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Grandma Brooks visits Sweden

On July 1 Wendy's mother arrived in Stockholm on a flight from Chicago. We greeted her at Arlanda Airport (Stockholm International).  How exciting to have her come.

We will have her here for 25 days and have done a whole lot of activities. Started by attending the WORLDS LARGEST CLASSIC AMERICAN CAR SHOW in Västerås.  Who'd have thought that  so many American cars would be restored and driven in SWEDEN?  Over 2000 cars dIsplayed at the annual "POWER MEET". Here are a few of my favorites

We immediately hit the road and have travelled the entire country with "Sister Brooks"  The office Elders made Grandma an honorary missionary with nametag and everything.  We went from Stockholm to the south tip of Sweden to Malmö, where we set up a newly renovated apartment then up the West coast to Göteborg,  Back to Stockholm, then off to the far North all the way to Boden and back.  Total trip over two weeks was 3500 kilometers with lots of work done all the way.

Lunch at Cafe Skåne in Göteborg

great little Bed and Breakfast in a Stuga at Docksta where we stayed

Pizza with the Elders in Umeå.  Elders Hitch, Barker, Ward and Packer

Mom and Daughter at the old Stone Church in Old Luleå

Grandmas bed at the Hotel

Lots of pretty flowers.  Note the nametag

Dinner with the Holmdahl family in Västerås.

More beautiful flowers.  This was taken in
Boden, which is just outside the Arctic Circle.

And the highlight of Grandma's stay was the celebration of her 81st birthday (about a week early) with a number of the Sisters and Elders from the Stockholm area.

Happy Birthday with frukt tårta.

Elder Niemenen, Sisters Taylor, Gambles, Clouse, Bass, Pieksma, Hauglid, Elder Tolley
Sisters Sjöblom, Brooks, Swenson, Spencer, Tolley