Monday, January 26, 2015


Hi everyone!!

Happy last week in January! Not that I've been counting or anything....but at this time, my thoughts turn to Jon Bon Jovi and his inspiring words...."Woahhhhhh we're halfway there...WOOOOOAAAHHHH LIVING ON A PRAYER". Happy 9 month mark to me :) Time is slipping through my fingers and I am not really sure how to deal with it. Weird weird weird.

This week was the coolest!! On Monday, the STLs came and we did workovers together. That was a lot of fun. All the sisters here are so fun. We all slept over in our tiny little apartment, and then got picked up by the Tolleys and the elders and headed to the Arctic Circle!!! I'm not gonna lie, this time was cooler. There was soooooo much snow and it was absolutely freezing. It got down to around -35 degrees Celsius. I don't know what that is in Fahrenheit, but I know Fahrenheit and Celsius scales are the same at -44....needless to say it was cold. (This is Marci.... -35* C = -31* F) And so cool. Our eyelashes iced over! After visiting the Arctic Circle sign, we went to Jokkmokk, which is a city in the Arctic Circle. It is full of Laplanders, which are kind of like Swedish Native Americans....hahah does that make sense? They are called Sami people, and I am 110% sure I was born Sami. THEY ARE SO AWESOME. They wear reindeer fur and pretty reindeer leather bracelets and I think they are so cool. We went to a museum and learned all about them!

The rest of the week, we got blåsted every single day. Haha. I am going through my planner right now and literally every lesson we had written down for the past 5 days blåsted us except for 2. It is pretty impressive, to be honest...haha but we still found ways to teach! 

One of the lessons that actually happened was super awesome. We had a less active call us out of the blue (he hasn't been to church since I got here in October) and invite us over to his friend's house so we could "teach about the Mormon church". We were more than willing to oblige! We got to go over and celebrate our less active's birthday, eat some cake and hot dogs, learn some Spanish (they were all from South America), and teach about the Book of Mormon. I LOVED it! It was loud and noisy, and I haven't heard loud and noisy since I was in America. Swedes do not roll like that. I decided I would have been just fine being called to South America... ;) (just kidding. BUGS.)

The biggest lesson I learned this week was to not be hard on myself. I feel like ever since I came on my mission, my expectations for myself have jumped 10 times higher. I am a lot better of a person than I was before (haha trust me), but I keep falling short of my is not fun! I realized this week just how much God loves me and all of you and He does not want us to feel terrible about ourselves all of the time. He wants us to learn and grow and mooooove on. So yeah. Little missionary piece of advice. God loves you just the way you are and He is proud of you no matter what you are doing. :)

Mod is a word in Swedish, see?
-Sweden has 3 other languages that I never knew about--nordsamiska, sydsamiska, and lulesamiska. Only Sami people speak them! But since I was born Sami, I think I need to learn them too :) Except they look like Czech...#hard
-I speak Swinglish now...Stetler points out to me every time I speak English like a Swede and it is embarrassing. I use Swedish grammar in English sentences and apparently emphasize weird things in words. I can't speak any language now...
-Mod is a word in Swedish, and it means courage!
-Life is really good. I like being a missionary. :)

LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!! <3
xoxoxo Erin 

Arctic Circle Round 2!!

Reindeer fur coat
Traditional Sami costumes
These are the kind of hats you need in Jokkmokk!

Playing a video game at the museum

Monday, January 19, 2015

Chilling in the Woods

Dear everyone,

It was a good week! We traveled a lot and had a lot of fun. I am trying to think of all the good things that happened....I discovered the best milkshake in the whole world, we got blåsted a ton (you always get good stories from that), we got kissed on the cheek by our cute old lady investigator named Barbara at least 4 times, and I learned lots of things from Jesus The Christ. So it was cool.

Singing in the Swedish jeans!!
We went to Umeå (4 hour train ride there, 5 hour bus ride me a champ) and had zone training this week! I just love being around other missionaries. We started zone training in our jeans in the woods (I miss lucky people), building fires and talking about survival skills and missionary work. It was kind of surreal to be chilling in the woods in Sweden...afterwards we ran across the frozen ocean to get back to the car and I loved my life. I live in the coolest country ever (literally haha).

The Norrland Zone
The Tolleys (a senior couple) are here again to take us to the Arctic Circle tomorrow with the STLs from Uppsala! :) They came to church with us and we all made dinner together after. I love being taken care of!!! Everyone should be a senior missionary. For reals. Elder Tolley told the most amazing story at zone training about his son who served a mission in Slovakia. Sometimes, I am not very good about counting my blessings about being in Sweden...I could be in Slovakia! Life isn't that bad! Their branch had one member, who eventually went inactive. They knocked doors morning to night and never saw success. The missionary said he went through his own personal Gethsemane, but came out so much stronger and confident in the gospel. I loved that! You can get positive things out of every single experience, no matter what it is.

Erin getting 6 inches cut off her hair. First haircut in Sweden. Thank you Sister Tolley! 

So, I know this has been the lamest email many apologies. I am trying to think of good fun facts to make up for it. And I promise that I will have more fun things to talk about next week!

Fun Facts:
-Everyone says yes by sucking in air loudly here. I don't know how to explain it.... Like "Are you leaving?" "*big suck of air*" "Oh okay bye!" It's a Norrland thing and it's cool and I do it now. #poser
-Missions turn you into the healthiest eater...All I eat is kale and brussel sprouts and spinach. (And Swedish chocolate....but that doesn't count)
-When Stetler and I came out of church at 2:45 on Sunday and it wasn't pitch black outside, we almost cried. It is getting lighter people!!!! We will survive!!
-Speaking of, the apartment couple brought us something called a happy light that the mission is trying out. If you put it on while you are studying, it makes serotonin in your body that you get from the sun. My mood has been drastically better as of late. Haha!

Okay love you all!!! Have a good week!!
xoxoox Erin

A very empty fridge. It was Saturday!
Syster Mod and Syster Stetler----love these cute missionaries!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Happy Good Week :)

People use these sleds to get around.
Hi everyone!

It was one of those weeks where you didn't realize how good it was until you are talking to your mission leader and you keep going on and on and on about new and progressing investigators...Yay life!!! Yay world! Yay Luleå!!! Now we're really in business :)

We have been calling old investigators and potential investigators all week who said to call them after the New Years, and it. has. worked. We dropped by people and they let us in, we got referrals from church headquarters, we got let in two more times when we were tracting again, we were able to call so many ok. #blessings

We met with the cutest Chinese family, the Hus, and they started reading the Book of Mormon over the holidays! They don't come from much of a Christian background, so we got to really explain the role of Jesus Christ this week. I know I say this all the time, but I am so grateful for Him. I love telling people about what He did for us! It's the coolest part of my job!

Henrik came to church and made a plan to follow the Word of Wisdom by his baptismal date!!! I think Syster Stetler almost died of excitement when he walked in the doors at church. Hahah soo much good is happening there! He is just progressing like nobody's business. It has been awesome to watch.

One of my favorite non-success things that happened this week was one of the lessons we had while tracting. A lady was so insistent on telling us that we were brainwashed and had no choices and had no idea what the real world was and that we lived in a program....I kind of just wanted to be like "Lady. I am in a foreign country. I learned a different language. I have not talked to my family face to face in almost 9 months. I never get a day off. Do you really think I would do this just to follow a program??" Hahah. A mission is hard, and you don't do it just because. You do it because you love the gospel and your Heavenly Father!! And I love both of those things!! I learned a lot from that lesson, probably a lot more than the investigator... :)

Fun facts: 
-We are going to the Arctic Circle and Jokkmokk on the 20th and I am SO excited. Who gets to go to the Arctic Circle twice in their life?!?! Oh me me me me me!!!!! :) (Sorry for bragging...but I can't help it. It's the only exciting thing in my life right now. Haha!)
-I can make an amazing Swedish meatball dinner now. My mom would be proud.
-I figured out today that I have a song memorized that I never heard before my mission from listening to it every time we are on a bus. I guess that is one way to keep up with pop culture.
-How a text conversation went with a less active this week:
"Hey sisters, I am in Kemi, Finland this week for work, so I won't be able to make it to church."
"Fun!! Did you know there is a church there that you can go to? The address is duhduhduhwhatever."
"Absolutely wonderful!!!!!!!!! Thank you Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Changing lives here people, one at a time. Hahah.

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

This picture shows the cute town. I love it!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Great Weekend!

This one is going to be short because I talked to you guys like....2 days ago. And I have no pictures. Sorry!! But next week will be better :)

Saturday and Sunday were both really good! Saturday was an all-contacting and tracting day. Wooo. Love those. We decided to do a swing-by in a place called Gammelstad, and prayed about where we should tract. The first building we tried, one lady told us to come back, and another let us in! I almost died. I think that is maybe the second time that has ever happened on my entire mission, and I have been out 8 months. And tracted a lot. It was super cool! We had a lesson on the Book of Mormon with this cute lady, and at the end she told us she "wasn't so hot on the Mormon way of life", but we could come back anytime if we were in the neighborhood to warm our feet. Haha. I love people. Super cool though! The Spirit really does guide when you ask!

Sunday was great. :) We had an investigator at church named Marina. She thought church was kind of weird, especially with testimony meeting...but she came! That was good! Haha. Sometimes I forget how much of a different culture we have in the Church. You have to be a member to really understand all of the church-speak. EFY, LDS, YW, YM, etc etc etc. But the focus is all on Jesus Christ, and that is what's important! :)

This morning we helped a couple in the ward move with the elders and now it's 4 pm and completely dark. Oh this country. Haha! But I am excited for this next week and just to see what happens :)

LOVE YOU ALL!! Have an awesome week :)
xoxoxo Erin

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year!

It's 2015!! Gott Nytt År till er alla!! I honestly can't believe it! I still think 2013 sounds futuristic. Haha.

This week was super fun. We had lessons and tracted a lot at the beginning of the week, and the party really started on New Year's Eve :) We were invited to a member's house for a party, and they invited a ton of other people from the branch. We played party games and ate dinner and had a lot of fun. Swedes light sparklers on New Years, and LOOOVE fireworks. Around 10, we shot off fireworks from the house we were at, then drove into Luleå to watch the giant firework show the city puts on. It was aaaaaaamazing. It has been really super cold up here, so the ocean has frozen over. The fireworks get shot off from the middle of the ocean and it is SOOOOO cool. I felt like I was home at the Stadium of Fire. :)

The clock started getting closer to midnight and we were all counting down in Swedish and I just had a little moment. I am so lucky that I get to spend the majority of this year doing exactly what the Lord wants me to. What a huge blessing! I just couldn't believe I was in Sweden, spending the New Year, counting in a different language, actually understanding everything that was said to me, and having the time of my life! A year ago I would have never guessed that this is where I would be. I am so so so so so so SO grateful to be a missionary in my second favorite country in the whole world (America still has my <3). :) I LOVE THIS PLACE! Being a missionary has been my biggest blessing in 2014. I have changed so much for the better and I have gotten to help people in ways I never imagined possible. Can I just spend every New Year in Sweden? Anyway, it turned to 2015, and we all yelled "SKÅL" (cheers) and drank some apple cider and hugged each other. :) I am so ridiculously excited for this year. Stetler and I made some New Year's Resolutions:
-Exercise better (we are starting that one...tomorrow haha)
-Eat better (that's why we ate all of the Christmas candy we had before New Years of course)
-Take less selfies (sorry everyone we just can't help it)
-Be worthy of a Crest commercial (Stetler is brushing her teeth every spare second and I am using a whitening kit)

And last but not least, FUN FACTS (I have really slacked on these my bad):
-People keep trying to feed me pickled herring (called sill). Over it. Christmas is over, everyone. No need for weirdo fish.
-We are getting another greenie here in Luleå! My greenie is so old. I am halfway done training!
-Investigators are fun. We taught one lady today who has a super hard time praying because she can't hear her own voice over the voices in her head....
-My investigator who gave me a Quran found my blog and asked how some of our old investigators he read about were doing. Hahah. Shout out to Abood if you are reading this. ;)
-We had the BEST MOOSE EVER at the Wirtalas house last Sunday. It was seriously like top 3 favorite meals in Sweden. I love moose. Who knew? You eat it with potatoes and butter and broccoli and it is sooooo good.

I LOVE YOU GUYS!!! Have an awesome week! I have a normal pday on Monday this week, so I will talk to you all then :) xoxoxox!

Syster Mod