HAPPY DECEMBER EVERYONE!! I cannot believe this month is finally here...My mom sent me an advent calendar with a bunch of notes from everyone I love and I FINALLY got to open the first one today. Yay :) I love love :) Thank you all! I am so excited for this month. Even though they don't believe in Christ or God or really anything, Swedes go hard for Christmas. There are lights everywhere, people are noticeably happier, groups are singing in the town square (We literally have town squares. This is Europe people)...'Tis the season :)
And with this Christmas, I got my very own gift---missionary style. :) My greenie is here! Her name is Syster Stetler, and she is the BEST. I seriously love her so much. She doesn't even feel like a greenie. Her Swedish is killer, she teaches like she has been out here longer than me, and she is so fun to be around. Seriously! We get along so well, and I know we are going to have so much fun in the next couple transfers. I just love her. What could be better!?
It's been a while since I emailed, so this might be long...Sorry in advance. But it will all be good. :)
The Sunday before last (confusing I know....like the 23rd) was Äldste Allsop's last Sunday in Sweden. The Wirtala family invited us over so he could have one more Christmas in Sweden, complete with a julbord (that translates to Christmas table, it just means FOOD :)), presents, decorating the Christmas tree and singing Swedish Christmas carols together. It was so fun! I am soooo excited for real Christmas now. I am convinced it can't get better than that was, but you never know... :)
Later that week, I went to Stockholm to say goodbye to Syster Bolton and pick up Syster Stetler! Saying bye to Syster Bolton was sad...I helped her get her luggage onto the train from the airport to Stockholm's central station, and then we hugged for the last time. And then the train started moving. And the conductor said I couldn't get off and had to pay for a ticket. It was not funny at the time, but 5 minutes after (and after a call to the office elders making sure I could be reimbursed), it was really funny. I always seem to get myself in the weirdest situations here...haha. Finally, I got Syster Bolton on her train to Jönköping (and myself off of it) and got to go to a member dinner in Stockholm with Syster LaFontaine :) I want to serve in Stockholm so badly! It was a little shocking to see all of those people at one time though...Luleå is little. I missed it. Haha!
After that, I picked up Syster Stetler and we flew back to Luleå! The next day was Thanksgiving, which we spent traveling to Umeå (4 hour train ride) for zone training, having the meeting, and traveling back (another 4 hour bus ride). It was one of the more interesting Thanksgivings I have had, especially because all we talked about in the training was the Christmas initiative the Church is putting out. Haha! But it was great :) When we got home, I made some stuffing and potatoes and gravy just for the holiday's sake :) It was really good! My first big holiday in Sweden, and no Swedes even knew what it was about. Haha!
|Thanksgiving dinner....vegetarian style. She thought they had chicken, but they didn't. :)|
Stetler and I have just worked hard ever since! This Christmas initiative the Church is putting out has gotten me motivated! (PS-everyone go look at christmas.mormon.org and watch the video He Is The Gift :)) We have had some great finding ideas, and I think December is going to be the most productive month of my mission so far. We are going to focus on service, because that is what Christ would do, and this season is all about him! We are planning to start a "pay it forward" movement with service--scraping ice off of other people's windshields, baking treats to take to members, all sorts of things. We have also had the ward members write down one "missionary goal" that they want to complete by Christmas. I am so excited! We are going to have some awesome things going on in the next couple of weeks.
Okay sorry this is sooooooooooooo long. Props to all of you who made it this far. :)
-There is a Christmas soda here called Julmust. I loooove it. I think it tastes like Egg Nog, but everyone I tell that to thinks I'm crazy...I'm right though. It definitely tastes like Egg Nog. ;)
-Christmas here= fish. Raw fish, herring, caviar...you name it, they eat it at Christmas. I am grateful that I like it all. :)
-I can't remember the last time I saw the sun, because it has been hidden behind the clouds for days. The sun comes up around 8:30-9 ish, and goes down pretty consistently at 1-1:30 pm. I am taking lots of vitamin D. Haha!
Love you all!! Thanks for everything!!
xoxoxo Syster Mod