Monday, June 29, 2015

Speaking Skånish

Syster Mod in Lund. Those streets! Love them!

Let me begin by saying I LOVE MY MISSION!!!! My goodness. I made it to Lund and I am just in love!! Lund is seriously so beautiful and green and cute and European. And I am with BECKSTROM! I am obsessed. We are seriously best friends. I am just super, incredibly happy :)

This week has been such a mix of emotions. I started saying my goodbyes on Monday and Tuesday and it was so hard. I loved every single second I had in Uppsala. We got to pick up Syster Powell, Syster King's new companion, on Tuesday and have a sleepover though, and that was really fun! I adore Powell and I am leaving Uppsala in good hands :) Kim even came to the train station to see me off. It was so cute!! She gave me the BEST note I have ever received and a necklace too. I am so grateful that she is in my life! I just love that girl!

It was so hard saying goodbye to King :( She is seriously one of my best friends and I was devastated to leave her. We both may have cried. Haha! I think one of the biggest unexpected blessings I have received from my mission is life long friends. Our goal is to have a giant Sweden mission apartment when everyone gets back to Provo...Yes. I'm going to be one of those people. Haha I just love love love the people I have met here!

I made it to Lund safe and sound on Wednesday and I am so happy to be here! I just die every time I hear someone speak Swedish. There is a super funny accent here called Skånish and it sounds like people can't pronounce their r's. And they say "tion" really weird. I wish I could explain better...It's like speaking Swedish with rocks in your mouth? Hahaha I don't know. It is just so different from Norrlandska and I love it!

New companion, Syster Beckstrom
And I am with BECKSTROM! Oh. My. Goodness. We have had so many people call and text and be like, "So how is the dream companionship going? ;)". We are just so incredibly happy to be together! She is another one of my very best friends and I just love love love her. I don't think we have stopped talking since we got together. There is just so much to say!!

The Lund ward is absolutely huge!! Like 100 active people. I about died when I walked in and saw they had to use the overflow in the chapel. That has not happened pretty much my whole mission....I met so many fun people. Lund is a really big college town, so there are lots of YSAs here. I even met one who knew my cousin! Haha! It seems like everyone in the world knows a Mod. ;)

We have been meeting with a lot of people and organizing the area so far. It's been really good! We are headed up to Stockholm for a few days this week to go to MLC (Mission Leadership Council) and figure out things with Beckstrom's visa....It's going to be crazy. Our minds are just going insane right now with things we have to do! This is what happens in the summer :) I love it!!

Okay this email is alllllll over the sorry..but moral of the story: My life is good!!!!! Everything is great over here :) I love you all!! Hope you have a good week!!!

xoxoxox Syster Mod
Lund, Sweden. Is there anywhere in Sweden that isn't absolutely beautiful?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Luuuuuuuuund :)

Mod & King wearing their Midsommar flower crowns
HELLOOOOO friends and fam!!

Warning: This email is going to be a freaking novel because my goodness gracious. I think we have been in Uppsala like 2/7 days this week? It's been NUTS!

So! I fulfilled my childhood dreams of becoming a wedding planner this week!! A member in the ward finally was able to get a visa for his girlfriend in the Philippines, so she came over to Sweden last month and they got married on Saturday. She doesn't have a ton of friends or any family here, so we volunteered to help out with the wedding. May I just say that I will never get married ever?? Haha the work! The drama! It's all too much!! ;) It was a lot of fun though. We turned the church into a reception over night and set up flowers and decorated...and helped with her hair and makeup and the food and cake....yeah. I was tired. But everything went super well!!

In the middle of the week, we got to go on workovers to Luleå!! I swear, that place is the promised land. I LOVE it. I was with Syster Savage, who took my place when I left Luleå. We got to go see the new church (they don't have to meet in the school anymore! Yay!) and visit with my two favorite families, the Wirtalas and the Newells :) We also met with Henrik, who I worked with a ton when I was up there! I was SO happy. Luleå is so beautiful--completely green and amazing. Nothing has ice...I didn't even recognize it. It could not have been a more perfect day! That was probably the last time I will be in Luleå for the rest of my mission, and I am going to miss it so much. I love that place!
Look! Luleå with no ice or snow!

We came home just in time to go down to Stockholm for Midsommar!! We were at a place called Tyresta By with a bunch of other missionaries and members. It downpoured the whole day, but it was beautiful and fun :) Syster King and I made flower crowns and danced and it was a blast! After the big celebration, our zone and a couple other zones all met up at the Gubbängen chapel and had missionary olympics. Haha it sounds so lame but it was the funnest thing ever! I love hanging out with mah frenz ;) We got to sleep over with the Gubbängen sisters that night too on a whim! It was so fun.

Then transfer calls came on Saturday!! I am going to LUND with my bestie Syster Beckstrom!!!!! I literally could not be more excited or feel more blessed. Lund is in southern Sweden, right next to Malmö, and it is supposed to be just amazing. Syster Beckstrom and I will be STLs down there too, so I will still get to see a lot of the country and meet a lot more sisters :) And Beckstrom is just one of my best friends!! I am so excited!
But, as excited as I am, I am so devastated to be leaving Syster King and Uppsala....I have absolutely loved my time here. I LOVE UPPSALA! And most of all I love Syster King :) I have seriously had the most amazing companions. I will still get to see her at MLC so life is good, but really. She's the best best best!! I'm glad she will be in charge of Uppsala now :)

Erin & Syster Maxwell
And finally, Sunday! Syster Maxwell is here in Sweden and came to visit!! I WAS SO HAPPY!! She is the best also. I gave my little goodbye testimony, and Kim was confirmed!! YAY! She was so happy. I'm so glad it finally happened! Maxwell was so happy she was able to see it :) It was just a good day!

So yeah!! Did I miss anything? Haha. I am super excited for all the adventures that are ahead of me right now. Here we go to Lund!!! :)

I love you all!! Special shout out to my daddy for turning 25 (again) this week ;) And happy late Father's Day!! LOVE YOU!

xoxox Syster Mod

Midsommar Celebration:

Missionary Olympics:

Syster King & Syster Mod, the Wedding Planners:

Sunset: 12:06 a.m. Sunrise 12:59 a.m. Nearly 24 hour sun!

In the newly finished Luleå church

Picture taken at 10:30 p.m. (Not a typo)
Last time at the Luleå airport as a missionary :'(
Eating delicious Sri Lankan food made by an investigator:
You eat Sri Lankan food with your hands

Cute Kim with Syster Mod

Monday, June 15, 2015

Being at the Right Place at the Right Time

Geocaching for FHE
Helloooooo everyone!

It has been an absolutely crazy week and I have loved every second! Transfers are next week and we are nervous that I will move, so I have been trying to soak up every single second I have in Uppsala. I just love it here!

On Tuesday I got to go on splits with my bestie Syster Harkness in Täby! She was Syster Beckstrom's greenie and she is just the cutest and hilarious and the best missionary ever. I am always so impressed when I go on splits with younger missionaries. I had no idea what I was doing for a reaaaaaaallllyyyyy long time when I was young in the mission. Haha. They all just have it down pat! It's impressive!

With Syster Harkness
We got blåsted, so we decided to swing by this member who is from Iran. This was such a cool experience for me. The member opened her door and was very distraught and emotional. She said that her parents are still in Iran and there are terrible things going on over there, and talked about how she was doubting God--"someone that is really there wouldn't let these things happen". Apparently, right before we had rang the doorbell, she had gotten off of the phone with someone in Iran and was feeling super low. She started crying at this point, while she was telling us the story, and said "Gud alltid skickar sina änglar", which means "God always sends his angels". How cool is that!!!! I think the happiest times in my mission are when I recognize that Heavenly Father is using me in helping others. Sometimes I feel dumb or not useful, but those times make me realize that if I do my part, God will lead me to those that need His message. So that was cool :)

Who knew that Erin could be such a baker?
On Wednesday, I celebrated my one year in Sweden mark!! AHHH. I haven't even touched American soil in the last year. That is so weird. Syster King bought me a vitamin water that I have been DYING to try as a treat. Haha. I love her. No one understands my obsession with sugary drinks. And Thursday was King's year mark!! YAY! We had district meeting, where Elder Held made meatza again (yes I have eaten it twice....gross..). The Borlänge elders recruited Syster King and I to try to make something called "protein bullar", aka cinnamon rolls made with protein powder. They are such meatheads. Haha! We made them and ate them with meatza...I have never been so full. I didn't eat for like...3 days after that. Haha. 

District meeting and meatza!

On Friday, we literally did swing bys all. day. I think one person was semi interested out of all the people we talked to....oh atheists. Haha. We came home exhausted though, so that was good! Saturday made us even more tired. We helped a member in the ward clean out her barn from 10 am to 5 pm. King and I got sunburned!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were incredibly happy. Haha. A member had some aloe vera she brought to church for us (yeah...they were pretty bad sunburns...) but we declined because we love the pain. ;) We were pulling stuff out of the barn that dated back to the cool. Little vintage Swedish treasures :)
Barn cleaning treasures = 1960s graduation caps

Also, I wanted to give a big shout out to my little bro Tate who turns 14 on Thursday!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TATE!!

Well I just love you all so much!! I hope you have a good week!

Swedish Fun Facts:
-Midsommar is this week!! We are going to dance around a maypole and sing songs about toads :) So fun!!
-We are going to Luleå this week!! YAY!!!!!!!!! It's supposed to be in the 50s up there right now. Happy summer ;)

Love, Syster Mod :)

Monday, June 8, 2015

ett dop

Kim on her baptism day!
Hello everyone!!!

This week was nuts and so much fun! I feel like I have been around the world and back. Haha. What else is new?

On Tuesday, we had a zone conference in Stockholm! It was awesome! We talked about magnifying your calling and I loved it. It was one of those conferences where you leave and are like "YEAH MISSIONARY WORK yeah everything yay yay contacting teaching getting spit on I LOVE IT ALL!". Haha. :) I was so pumped. We talked about how being on a mission is already a pretty high standard, but we need to raise our bars a little more and keep striving to really go the extra mile. I have really learned what the extra mile is on my mission. We meet people who do the absolute minimum of what is required of them, and then we meet members who hold the wards and branches together. I want to always be like the latter :)

Windy workovers in Sundsvall
Wednesday was a day of travel and sleepovers! We went up to Sundsvall and did workovers with the sisters there. I was with Syster Poulson, who was trained by Syster King. It is always funny to see how trainers and greenies resemble each other :) We had a lot of fun and my love for Sundsvall and Norrland was reaffirmed! It is so green and pretty now. I can't wait to go to Luleå and be shocked by the lack of snow. ;)

We came back to our area on Thursday and got ready for the baptism on Saturday! Everything went SO well! Kim was so happy. A ton of people from the ward showed up, and we had quite a few investigators there. Kim was shocked that all of the people were there to support her. I don't think I am ever going to forget watching her go under the water and come back was just the best. Becoming a missionary is the best thing I have ever done. I just feel God's love for His children more than I ever have before, and I know how special we all are to him! We asked Kim how she felt, and all she could describe was "happy". Syster King and I were happy too :)

So this week was graduation for the high schools! I remember this season from last year and I LOVE it. Kids drive around in these huge trucks and trailers and yell and scream and drink and smoke all sorts of things. It is hilarious. Syster King and I were out contacting when all of this was going on, but it gets harder when all you can hear throughout the town is music and yelling...haha. All sorts of fun. I love it!!
Graduation trucks (and tractors...)
Graduation outfits
On Sunday, we had a special multi-stake conference broadcast to Sweden. It was broadcast from Scotland, and went from the UK to Finland, across all of Northern Europe :) We got to listen to Elder Holland, and he KILLED it. I just love that guy. He talked about the Book of Mormon, and after he was done, I felt blown away. How can people not believe that book when he can talk about it like that?? I love apostles. They are the best.

Swedish fun facts:
-National Day was June 6th (Shae's birthday!!). Unfortunately, if you think Sweden is cool and you celebrate it, you are considered racist. Okay? #merica
-No one cares about dandelions here...they are EVERYWHERE in everyone's yards and everyone thinks they are pretty. Nope. They probably don't sell weed killer here because it is harmful for the environment too....Sweden will save us all. Haha :)
-This has nothing to do with Sweden but I need to brag. Syster King and I make all of our own bread now because we are poor....haha. It's way fun. We even made homemade bbq chicken pizza yesterday. #wifeus #in5to7months #butprobablylongerbecauseweareawkward

I hope you all have an awesome week!! LOVE YOU!

xoxox Erin

Thank you Elder and Syster Hawley for taking them to Pizza Hut after the baptism!
This is Sweden at 10:30 AT NIGHT!!!

Main men on a mish---Ben & Jerry
Julia is going to Tennessee for the summer :)
Julia with the Uppsala missionaries

Monday, June 1, 2015

Exciting News!!

hejjj kära familj och vänner (Hello dear family and friends)!!

So. I have exciting news. We have a baptism this week!! Kim has moved her baptism to this Saturday :) YAY!!!! Literally everything has fallen into place perfectly and I have been amazed watching it all come together! I was a little bit stressed (okay, a lot a bit stressed) about if she was ready for baptism earlier this week, so I was just praying up a storm... Heavenly Father is the best. He answers prayers in ways you never expect. I got to thinking about my baptism when I was 8. My knowledge then about the church was faaaarrrrr less than Kim's knowledge now. Your knowledge does not need to be perfect to be baptized! All you need is a beginning of a testimony :) And Kim has a strong one! She has grown to be one of my super good friends, and I am just so happy for her. There is a light in her that just makes me smile :) This is the first person I have taught from beginning to end, from meeting her to baptism, and it has been one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. She is so prepared!

Other than that...we got blåsted a lot. It has been the rainiest week of my life! Literally every time we go outside we come back soaking. My shoes smell like mildew. It's adorable. We helped the Proselyting Office Elders move furniture out of the Hawley's and we left looking like drowned rats. Hahah. I guess there is a reason why Sweden is so green!

With Syster Gardner on splits
We went on splits with the Gubbängen sisters this week! I took Syster Gardner up here to Uppsala. She was asking me for all of this advice about the mission and contacting and stuff...sometimes I just don't understand how time flew by and we all got so old. I still feel like no one should ask me for any advice. Haha! We had a lot of fun though :) We got caught in this giant rain storm too. I just haven't really been dry since last Monday...hahah.

And we taught a super cool family! The mom is from Sri Lanka but born in Sweden, and the dad is from Lima, Peru. We talked all about America and I felt so multi-cultural and cool. They were super positive and interested in the church. We showed them Alma 32, and they thought it was so amazing how it talked about how the poor people are usually the most humble. We were all (in our heads), "Well, like, yeah, it's the word of God, so it's usually right." ;) We loved them! They really want to come to church next week!

How missionaries roast Starbursts :)
Fun facts:
-Yesterday was Swedish Mother's Day! I got one of the plants the Primary handed out because I'm a future mother. Yay for moms!! ;)
-There were a bunch of churches that got together in the main square on Saturday and handed out free Swedish pancakes. I asked why, and one of the guys said that "it's the only good way to get the kids to talk about Jesus." Okay....what works works, I guess. But free pancakes!!
-My trainer (s/o to Syster Hill LOVE YOU) sent me the cutest package with mini Starbursts, and since we have no fire pit by our apartment building, we roasted them over a candle. You just make do with what you got ;)

Aaaannd last but not least HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Shae, my favorite blonde sister!! ;) She's 18 and legal people watch out everyone!

Love you all!! Have a good week!!!
Syster Mod :)

Rainbows are the fringe benefit of all the rain.
Free Swedish pancakes!