Monday, October 27, 2014

Arctic Circle :)

Hejsan hejsan hejsaaaan!  (Hello hello hellooooo!)

This week was soooooo great. Our investigators are doing super awesome! We were able to meet with Ehsan, our investigator with the baptismal date. He loves learning more about the gospel, and it's been cool to see. We taught the Plan of Salvation with little pictures and everything! When he saw me pull out the pictures, he was like "Oh my gosh, we are learning like children." Then after, he thanked me because the pictures helped explain a lot. Chalk one up to Primary, the people in charge know what they are doing ;)

We met with this darling Iranian family last week,and they are super interested. The only issue is a super huge giant language barrier. The kids can speak a little bit of Swedish, but they all speak Persian and some language that sounds like Persian...Honestly, if they would have taught me Persian or Arabic in the MTC, I would have been just fine getting around Sweden. People from Iraq and Iran move here like kids following an ice cream truck. All of them really hate snow though, so I am not sure why they live in the North Pole... :) We had a translator help us over the phone to teach the family about the Book of Mormon. They said that even though they can't understand us, they feel something really different and good when we come. The mom said that when we prayed, she felt something strongly. *holla at the Holy Ghost* but really! It is so cool to hear things like that! Muslims are usually pretty firm in their religion, but this family is willing to change if they find out the Book of Mormon is true. I love that!! I love Iranians! And I wish I could speak Persian so bad!

On Thursday, I kind of had the coolest day of my whole mission. The senior couple in charge of the apartments, the Tolleys, invited us on a little road trip with Luleå elders. Elder Tolley served in Luleå as well when he was a missionary here in Sweden, so he wanted to go reminisce about a few of his mission memories. We went to a little town called Morjärv, where Elder Tolley spent a few days as a missionary, and looked around while he told us stories of being there. Then we went all the way to the ARCTIC CIRCLE! It was the best :) We saw reindeer and a moose on the way. One of the elders even fed the moose an apple! It was SOOOO cool. Now all I have left of my bucket list is see the Northern Lights and meet Santa (he obviously lives here. I mean, it feels like the North Pole for crying out loud) :) I love being here in Luleå!!!!!! This is seriously the coolest experience I have ever had. Ever. I feel so cultured now :) and I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

Syster Bolton, Syster Mod, the Tolleys, Äldste Allsop & Äldste Archibald

 Facts of Sweden:
-If you are fed pasta, lasagne, or anything with tomato-ish ingredients, Swedes will likely get out ketchup for you to put on top. We can't tell if they do that because they think Americans just like ketchup, or if they actually like it themselves. Either way, it is actually super good. Haha!
-We have a conference in Stockholm tomorrow,and we get to FLY down. I am so happy:) No more night trains for me, thank you very much!
-Happy 6 months to me this week!!! Most elders celebrate their 6 months by burning a tie, so I thought I would burn tights or something...until I got transferred to Luleå. I am def going to wear them instead. :)

I LOVE YOU ALL!!!! Thanks for all of the love this week :) Ha det braaaa! (Have a good one!)
xoxoxoxox Syster Mod
Looking for Santa...
Still looking....

You'll probably never see this happen again.
"Yeah. It walked away right as I tried to take a picture with it. At least we will remember the bum? Freaking mooses." Hahaha!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Yes, We Do Have Snow!

Syster Mod & Syster Bolton. New comps!
Hi everyone!! After a grand total of around 30 travel hours this week, I am finally settled into life in Luleå :) My Polar Express ride from Halmstad to Luleå, that I thought would be so wonderful, was 19 hours straight. I had a lot of fun looking out the window and seeing Sweden change from fall to snowy winter as we went into Norrland! However, needless to say, the first day in Luleå I was not lookin' so hot. Haha! This week, we have been traveling around to members, to Umeå for zone conference, etc etc, and I think I would be okay if I didn't get on a train for a while. But you can only get these experiences in Sweden!;)

My new companion is SO cute! Her name is Sister Bolton, and she is from Layton, UT. We met when we were at BYU together last year, so we have had so much fun reminiscing about the good old college days :) She is my first younger companion in the mission! I am greenie breaking her, which means I am the first companion she has had after her trainer. Big shoes to fill! But I really just love her and we are already having a ton of fun together. :)

Luleå.....Luleå is just a wow. It is absolutely beautiful. Winter has already started here. It snowed all day yesterday, and stuck! The lakes and ocean here are already freezing over. I am wearing my winter coat and starting to collect beanies and gloves. Yay. October. Haha! But I really do love it. The branch here is AMAZING! I am so excited to get to know everyone here. And the work...also a wow! We got a baptismal date with our investigator, Ehsan, at church on Sunday, and we have a lesson with him tonight to make sure of everything:) We have another cute 12 year old investigator, Stefan, who will be setting his date for the end of this month. I am just blown away by all of the prepared people here! I am having SO much fun working with all of them. People here are so nice and welcoming, even if we are strangers. It really cannot get better:)

My favorite experience so far was probably yesterday. We had an awesome time at church (s/o to Syster Mod for translating all of Relief Society, which turned into a lesson about how to protect yourself from Ebola...#gettingcreative) and got a baptismal date for Ehsan! After church, we didn't have any set plans, so we planned in faith for 5 lessons and went out and did swing bys. 5 lessons + swing bys = should be impossible. Just so you guys know. But we ended up getting all 5 lessons and met some really cool people. Faith!! It totally works!

I am so glad I can finally (hopefully) settle into an area and stay here for a while. I have this feeling that I am going to love Luleå. :) Thank you for all of the love and support all of you have shown me! Coming on a mission has made me realize how blessed I am with amazing family and friends :) I love you all! Have a good week!!

xoxoxo Syster Mod

also fun facts:
60 miles from the arctic circle. holla.
they have reindeer crossing signs here. lol.
we have a car!! I drove for the first time in 6 snow.  no one died. ;)
church! not ours unfortunately haha!


Monday, October 13, 2014

jag ska till luleå! (I'm going to Luleå!)

Hi everyone! This week was just proof of why I like missions so much. You never know what is going to happen! It has been a fun three weeks in Halmstad, but I am transferring again to LULEÅ this week! I am so glad I got to experience the south for a little bit before going up to the freezing north :) Luleå is the furthest north city in Sweden that has missionaries...I am so stoked :) Um hi real Swedish winter. I checked the weather forecast for this week up there, and it is already supposed to snow twice...One of my other companions, Syster Ludwig, was there for 5 months during winter, and she told me all about the Arctic Circle and driving on a bridge made out of ice (and having a car!!). I could not be more excited. If you are gonna live in Sweden during the winter, live in REAL Sweden ;)
But. I am so sad to be leaving Halmstad! I absolutely loved my time here, and was expecting to stay for a lot longer. The ward is so cool and our investigators are the best. I will especially miss Trang more than anything! She says she feels like my mom, telling me to eat better and be more ethically aware of the animals. Haha I think I am a converted vegan! Not a strict one (example A--we had a ward party on Sunday and I totally ate meatballs and loved it), but still :) I am so grateful I was able to meet her! She and her husband are the best. Her husband, Lasse, prayed for the first time ever yesterday when we ate at their house! It was cool. I love these people :)
Eating healthy at Trang's house :)
This week has just been crazy trying to squeeze all the goodbyes in. I am so sad I did not get to know these people super well! I wish I could have stayed for longer. However, on the (kind of) bright side, Syster Dawson is transferring out with me as well! They are putting elders here instead. And Dawson will be training in Gävle, my greenie area!! It has been so fun to tell her about everyone there and how much she will love it. She will be an awesome trainer :)

Life is so good! I will let you guys know how I am doing in the literal North Pole next week :) #hejSanta

-Last Tuesday, we were in Helsingborg for district meeting. There was a huge world fair out in the town selling all different kinds of food (but not American...the heck. I guess McDonald's cuts it for Europeans). Our entire district split a kangaroo burger from Australia, just to try it! Verdict: It tasted like beef jerky, and I really am a terrible vegan. Haha!

-I am an awesome packer now...3 areas in less than 6 months. Holla.
-Taking a night train to Luleå. IT IS THE POLAR EXPRESS PEOPLE <3<3<3
and s/o to McCall getting home!! Way to beeee ex-Soeur Mod :) And then there were 3 Sister Mods... :)

LOVE YOU ALL!!!!! Have an awesome week!
xoxox Syster Mod i Sverige

In Helsingborg with her district

In Helsingborg---Denmark is just past the fog line! They are so close!

Syster Dawson and Syster Mod. Only companions for three weeks. :(

Such cute sister missionaries!

Americans think this is so funny. Utfart= exit, Infart = entry. At least that's what Google Translate says. :)
Some of the amazing members that Erin will miss!

One last dinner at the Lindahl's before they leave. They are treated so well in Halmstad!

Trang even painted Erin's nails. See? Spoiled! :)
Erin at Tylösand. Beautiful beaches and a beautiful girl.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall is Here!

Hiiiii! Can anyone believe it is October? Time FLIES. I feel like missionaries are always counting long they have been out, how long they have been in the mission field, how long they have left...we were talking to the elders in Helsingborg last night, and they have been counting how long it has been since they last kissed a girl...obviously elders and sisters are a little different. Haha! #nodatingforme

So remember how Syster Dawson and I became vegetarians for a week because of our cute investigator Trang? I am happy to report that I am not withering away and it was super fun:) I even ate brussel sprouts this week. What's worse is I liked them! We made homemade sushi and ate vegan substitute chicken (don't ask me what is in it because I don't know). Just call me a granola :)

We made this!!
 Speaking of Trang, we have had such a good week teaching her! It has been kind of hard to set a dop date (baptismal date....dop is Swedish and it is a lot more fun to say than baptism) with her, and this week we have been trying to figure out why and how we can help her. Trang has a few theories that are ...out there, such as aliens and enlightenment and so on and so forth, and she opened up and told us all about them. She was scared to get the Holy Ghost because she thought it might be an alien taking over her brain, etc etc. During that lesson, the only thing going through my head was, "I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY SO MUCH!" You just don't get these experiences anywhere else. :) We have explained a lot and the Holy Ghost has really helped her understand the principles we are teaching. We taught about the Atonement this week as well, and it was amazing. I had no idea that is was a foreign concept for some people! Christ really did love us enough to die for our sins. He made everything we do now possible.

This weekend was AWESOME with Conference! Saturday was Sweden's national cinnamon roll day, so we grabbed some cinnamon rolls from a bakery with an investigator and headed to the church to watch Conference:) The ward set up one room with Conference in English and one room for the Swedish translation. Most of the ward watched it in English....everyone in Europe is so good at languages. What the heck. I loved Conference so much and learned a ton! We are so blessed to hear from our prophet and apostles every six months:) I loved all of the talks on the sacrament and Elder Robbins talk in one of the Saturday sessions! But really, I just loved it all. Doesn't get better than that:)

Syster Mod and Syster Dawson watching General Conference in the English room.

Facts of Sweden:
-bikes get stolen. it's fine. i didn't need it anyway....oh wait.
-when Swedes get drunk, they get REALLY drunk. and that is the only time they are loud. haha!
-fall is BEAUTIFUL!

Love you all!!! Have a great week!!
xoxoxo Syster Mod

Reading books between Conference sessions.

It must be a great book! Their faces are adorable!

Little Lukas was at Conference too. He is the sweetest baby!

Making cookies and then the oven door falls off! What?
Beautiful Halmstad.

It's definitely fall.
Halmstad at night.

This is a castle in Helsingborg, where we have district meeting every week!

Doing dishes = daily grind. :)