Monday, July 28, 2014

Global Warming is Real

Käre alla,

HOLY GOOD HEAVENS IT IS SO HOT IN SWEDEN. It has been hovering around 90 degrees all week. I am not prepared for this weather, and neither are the Swedes. Air conditioning only exists in stores and on buses, so our apartment is a sauna... And everyone we visit also lives in a sauna. Stores are sold out of fans across the country. Hahah but seriously. We are HOT. I love it:)

This week was soooooo ridiculously good with our investigators!! It was awesome! We got to meet with Patrick and his family on Tuesday. We asked him how his Book of Mormon reading was going and he was just casually like, "Oh yeah I finished it!". I think we probably stared at him for a good 15 seconds just processing that...4 weeks people. 4 weeks. He read the Book of Mormon in the time it takes me to get through first Nephi (#confessiontweet: I am not a fast scripture reader. Like at all.). It was insane. We asked him how he felt about it, and he said he was still praying about it and waiting for an answer. Then we asked him how he expects answers to come, and he was just like, "Whatever way God thinks that I need them!" Um. Okay. I think his middle name must be golden. He and his wife are strong Catholics (she is Filipino) and the Catholic church starts at 11 too, so the next thing we have to do is get them to skip their church to come to ours...but for reals how cool is that family!? That is such a strong example to me of faith. Like AH. It was just the best to meet with him.

We also had an investigator come to church! His name is Olle and he is really cool. He comes and plays innebandy with us sometimes and I think I have a few bruises from that, but it is whatever. I will take one for the team. He is 40-50ish and has 2 kids. He just broke up with his girlfriend this last week, and now he is super into church...Haha I guess priorities? We are sure that we are teaching him right now for a reason! His only issue with the church is that he thinks people can become perfect, just like Jesus, in this life. If that is true, I am really in trouble! I feel like life would be a lot harder if you expect yourself to be perfect. But we are working a lot with him and we have high hopes:)

Let's see...I got to go pick blueberries in the forest this week! That was cool. Sweden is so pretty, plus free blueberries so holla! 
Mini golfing with Mihail, Hugo & Melinda
We also went mini-golfing for FHE last week and it was a ton of fun. Every Monday, we have FHE (it's called Hemafton) and we do something fun. Today we are going to play frisbee golf!
I absolutely love it here. The branch feels like my family and I am just happy!

It still doesn't feel real that I live in Sweden. I am so grateful that I get to be a missionary right now!
I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!! Have a great week! Pray that we don't melt:)
Syster Mod
At Zone Meeting: Sisters Anderson, Christensen, Mod, Hill & Elders Bilodeau, Farnworth, Forsyth, Miles

Chicken & pigs feet (African food Erin did NOT have to eat)
However, the girl loves her food! :)

The cutest little missionary EVER!!
Erin's BFF (best friend forever)--Marita

Annalil gave Erin this cute watch for caring for her cats while she and her husband were on vacation...

....and then she sprayed whipped cream on her leg. What a joker! :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Kubb, Cats and Carina

Hej everyone!! It has been another solid week of missionary-ing:) I hope you all had a good week!
This week we have been working a lot with the youth in the branch, and it has been so fun. Swedes are incredibly quiet, but when you get them talking, they are all super funny. We are just bringing out the American in them;) We played volleyball with them last pday and have been inviting them to activities and lessons and I love it! We have also gone to this restaurant with them called American Pizza Place...I miss American pizza. Swedes do not understand. You are not allowed to put bananas and curry on a pizza. We also had a Kubb tournament on Saturday with the entire ward, and I dominated. Kubb is this Swedish lawn game where you throw sticks at wooden doesn't sound fun haha but it rocks!
Carina has started her family history work so she can go to the temple to do baptisms next month! I am so excited. She has gotten really excited too. We showed her how works, and the next time we came back to visit her, she had already done a huge portion of her family tree! I think she will love the temple. Who doesn't love the temple?
Speaking of, I got to go through the Stockholm temple this week! A member and his wife drove us down (the entire 2 hours! they are so sweet!) so we could do a session. It was soooooo awesome. I love the temple. The session was in English and I felt right at home:)
I also found out that I am allergic to cats this week...We helped a member clean her house, and she has 3 cats. I have never sneezed so much in my life. It was so funny! But I am actually totally fine with being allergic to cats because I don't think I will ever own one:)
On Sunday we had some American visitors at church! It wasn't the first time, but I just love hearing American accents. Haha. I had to translate back and forth little small talk conversations for them and I was so excited because I could actually do it! Yay for Swedish:) and yay for people who don't know Swedish and make me feel better about my own Swedish;)
After church, we went to the Sjökvist's house! They are a super awesome family, and I am setting up their oldest son with one of my sisters. By the end of my mission, I am going to have all of my siblings set up with Swedes;) But anyway. One thing that is really big here is salt lakrits, which is salted black licorice. I don't know if you can get any grosser, but okay. The Sjökvists think it is so funny that Americans tend to hate it, so they tried to brainwash us by giving us black licorice flavored stuff that you give to babies. ...It was actually pretty good but STAY STRONG AMERICANS. Keep red licorice alive and well. Salted black licorice is not a good thing.
And last but not least, I got asked out this week. My first time as a missionary:) He couldn't speak English or he didn't really understand no..but it doesn't matter because #stillgotit;) Haha!!
Well I LOVE YOU ALLLLLL!!!! Have a great 24th of July celebrating my ancestor pioneers:) I will be here dreaming of fireworks:)
sister mod :)
Draper, Utah connections (the town just around the mountain from Highland): Äldste Farnworth (who grew up in Draper), and a Swede that they met who lived in Draper for two years

Monday, July 14, 2014

It is finally warm in Sweden!

Hi everyone! Just so you all know, I haven't had to wear a coat once this week. Sister Hill and I even got really great farmer's tans. #mishlife Summer is finally here in Sweden!
Now that it is actually warm, we get invited by members to have barbeques all of the time. I love it. It is usually burgers and korv with this sauce called American dressing. We do not have it in America...but it is super good. Like In-n-Out sauce in a bottle! Everyone in Sweden loves it and is shocked when we say that Americans have never heard of American sauce before. Haha!
Other than like 5 yummy barbeques (not exaggerating. Swedes love to grill), this week was kind of super uneventful. EVERYONE and their dog is on semester. (But literally, Swedes take their pets on vacation all the time. There is even a section of seats on every train specifically set apart for dogs.) Patrick (the guy who is speeding through The Book of Mormon) is on semester, 2 new, positive investigators we got last week are on semester, half the ward is on semester...we get asked all the time by less actives if we get a semester. Lollllllll just in a year and a half;) It's cool!:)
Carina, the lady that was just baptized, has been inviting her friend Tony to meet with us. He came to her baptism a few weeks ago and was interested in learning more about the church. We met with him on Wednesday and it went really well! Carina is seriously the best example of how to be a missionary. She casually brings up the church to everyone she meets, whether she is getting an ice cream or walking her dog or whatever! I told her how cool that was one day and she was just like, "I didn't even realize I did that! It is just part of my life now!" I thought that was soooooo cool. She is the best and I love her so much. And I know the Lord loves her too because she is just inviting everyone to learn more about him;)
We met a lady on the street from El Salvador, Armeda, who wanted us to bring her a Book of Mormon in Spanish. We dropped by her this week and she was so open to the Restoration and it was so cool...One thing I have learned on my mission is to listen when people talk to you. Whether they are trying to sell you something or tell you their deepest, darkest secret, you need to listen! Even if it is just for 5 minutes! It makes us feel so good as missionaries when someone listens to what we have to say, even if they say no (politely...sometimes I am glad I cannot understand what people say to us when we contact them. Haha!).
We accidentally matched!
I honestly just love it here! I know I say that every email but I mean it!! Everyone should come visit Sweden. It is definitely my second favorite country in the whole world (everyone knows--America has my heart:))
and now, swede facts:
-If you have a house here (not many people do, mostly apartments), you are supposed to paint it every 10 years. The missionaries learned this week that the paint does not come out of clothes. #stayinfresh
-A lot of kinds of jam come in these squeezy containers like ketchup. I think it is ingenius, especially when eating Swedish pancakes. Which I love.
-There are sooooooo many Africans in Sweden.
Real reaction to fufu. Oh brother!
One thing I have learned is that if African food is on the menu, I need to make up some allergies. A really common African food is called fufu. It is some kind of dough and unidentified pieces of meat in a sauce that you eat with your hands. Fufu = hard pass. Don't do it.
-The biggest cars here are like these VW vans...they look so funny and awesome. I love Europe. No SUVs in sight!
I love you all!!!!! Have a great week:)
sys mod in sweeeeeden :)

ps--Annalil took us to a sightseeing island off the coast of Gävle this week and decided to have a screaming contest with Elder Farnworth while we were there. And she won. Haha!
On the island of Limön--it's so beautiful!

The Gävle missionaries with Annalil

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Month in Sverige :)))

Hej alla!! This week we are celebrating my month mark in Sweden! Is that crazy to anyone else? Just me? It feels like I have been here for 3 days. My Swedish also sounds like that. Haha! This week was soooo good!
We have been meeting with a lot of less actives and members lately! It has been really cool for me to get to know the ward members. Every other week, we go to a member's house for dinner. Her name is Annalil and she likes practical jokes a lot. The past couple times I have gone over there, we have been sprayed by a water bottle and a hose, had whipped cream flicked at us, had rice thrown at us, and last time Annalil jumped on me and just laid on me for like 5 minutes. I died. Hahah! She doesn't speak a lot of English, so I don't understand a lot of what she says...Needless to say, it is always an adventure when we go to Annalil's;) She is a legend with all of the missionaries that have served in Gävle.
We have had a really good week with contacting and finding new investigators! Last week, we tracted into a man named Patrick, who has the cutest little family. We gave him a Book of Mormon, and by the time we came back this week, he had read half of it. Whaaaaaaaaat!? That doesn't happen. He is super cool, and I think he will get baptized:) Unfortunately, his entire family went on semester for 2 weeks. Semester is the Swede's really long vacation time. It is a little bit rough on the missionaries. Haha!
On Friday, we had zone conference and met the new mission president and his wife, President and Syster Beckstrand!! My goodness I love them. They referred to themselves as "down home folks", and they are from a tiny town called Meadow, Utah. I feel right at home:) They are going to be so perfect!

I don't have a picture of Erin with President and Syster Beckstrand, but I DO have one of her Aunt Lisa, Shae, Mom, Aunt Sandy and Grandma Karen with them! We loved them!
Also, we met the Lowrys who work at the mission office. Our kids are in SUCH good hands!
Sunday was really great. I could understand a lot of church and it made me happy. I can tell my language is improving a lot because I am starting to understand so much more! However, I am still really grateful for Sister Hill. Because sometimes I just stand there and smile and nod when someone speaks to me in Swedish. Haha! During church, we had some gypsies come in and try to sell us was so funny. If any of you are ever in Sweden and someone tries to just hand you a rose, don't take it. They will ask for money and make you a target for their little underground Romanian mafia is so weird. I just think it is funny because they pretend to be poor, but they have iPhones sticking out of their pockets. To each his own I guess!;)
Erin is so grateful for Syster Hill
Okej itty bitty spiritual thought because I am a mishie: I have been thinking a lot this week about why I am here, and I have come to the conclusion that all of us are exactly where we are in life because God needs us there! I am here maybe because Patrick needed to hear about the church. Or because someone needed a pass along card. Or someone needed to feel better about their Swedish, so they listened to mine;) But it is the same for all of you! You are exactly where you are because God needs you there:) So be nice to everyone and do good things:)
And now, Sweeeeede facts:)
--Sometimes, a crazy drunk cat lady will invite you in off of the street and tell you why your church is wrong. Then when you try to talk, she will ignore you and talk to her's normal every day stuff ya know?:)
--People love to make pie here, but instead of fruit in them, they make it a meal with meat and stuff. I had taco pie this week and it was soooooo good. I will make you all a taco pie in 16 months. Pinky swear.
--KLADKAKA!! Oh my goodness. That cake. I completely understand why sisters gain weight in this mission. But I have been working out like a maniac, so no one stress;)
--Also sorry for only talking about always. It's life. #yum

I love you all!!! Have a great week!!
Sys Mod in Sweden (where the rest of my family is too...can anyone calm down these road trippers?;))

Opening her 4th of July package. She's so pretty!
This is "a mail carrier thing," to quote Erin. Someone help her with her Swedish!
Who says missions can't be fun?! The systers with Äldste Farnworth and Äldste Gentillon
4th of July in Stockholm with Syster Spencer
Happy 4th of July from Sweden!
The smallest street in Stockholm
Beautiful systers! Hill, Spencer, Modersitzki & Young