Tuesday, January 21, 2014

 Week 11 – January 20, 2014 – One Month in Sweden & Lots of Pictures!

I passed my first month in Sweden this week! Time is just flying out here! It's been a really good week. I had a few “greeny” moments this week that were really funny. First, on our last p-day we were originally planning on driving into Goteborg and play laser tag, so I decided I would wear shorts. Unfortunately, it was about 20 degrees outside. When we got into town the other Elders that were coming to join us cancelled and we didn't have enough people to play. So, we decided to walk around town and look at all the cool old buildings and stuff instead.  

Enjoying the Goteborg Architecture

Shopping downtown... I need those pants!
We walked around some of the classiest parts of town in freezing weather and I was only wearing basketball shorts, I looked crazy!  An older Swedish lady even pointed at me on the street and asked if I was crazy. The moral of the story is, don't wear shorts in Sweden in the winter!

Sitting in a heart-like sculpture with shorts and a parka?  Not advisable for sightseeing 20 degree weather!

Beautiful urban parks in Goteborg

Greeny moment number two was on sports night. The picking of the teams for soccer was done mostly in Swedish and I don't know any Swedish “sports words,” so naturally, I was confused. The only thing I understood was Sister Hill saying, "I got Stoeltzing," and I assumed I was supposed to be on her team.  So, when the game got started, I passed the ball to a person on her team and no one said anything about it. I did it a few more times and I got a few weird looks, but still no one said anything. Finally, I stole the ball from Elder Tietjen and got around another player, and I scored in the open goal. It was the proudest moment of my life playing soccer because up to this point, I have never done anything that athletic while playing the sport. Yet, sadly my moment of ecstasy lasted only briefly until I realized the horrible mistake I made. When Sister Hill said, "I've got Stoeltzing," she actually meant I'm covering Stoeltzing, and when my team looked at me in shock and disgust, I realized I had scored for the sister’s team! We had a good laugh about it, but it made me realize that I need a lot more Swedish practice and I definitely will not be playing for the Swedish soccer team anytime soon!

Playing street Hockey with the kids is more my speed!
Darn... Blocked by a seven year-old!
And yes, we have been doing missionary work, and lots of it. We had a cool experience this week where we drove out into the countryside and tried to meet with and old investigator. No one was home and no one in the area seemed to be interested. So, we decided to drive back, disappointed by the unprofitable trip. On the way home I took a picture of a really cool old wooden church. When we got back into Kungsbacka we only had half hour left in the day and we wanted to get something done. We decided to just knock on a few doors next to the church and see what might happen. It was an amazing night, as we watched family after family invite us back to meet with them again throughout the week. We ended-up having 6 of the 13 doors we knocked ask us if we could come back. I always thought that finding new people to teach would the part of missionary work I would be most afraid of, but we have been blessed to find people who want to learn about Christ put in our path every day. This night in particular, we saw the Lord’s hand in action as we found person after person willing to hear the gospel.

Old wooden church near Kungsbacka
The ward has really started to open up to us as well.  We've met with a few families this week that have kids who are less-active in the church. It has really given me a testimony that Elder Miles and I are supposed to be here as we've gotten to know them. One kid we met loves nothing more in the world than soccer and classic rock music. Elder Miles loves soccer more than anything and I love classic rock music more than anything, so we hit it off right away. We also met another kid in a similar situation. I played guitar with him for about a half hour last night and we got off to a really good start. We found out that he wants to study economics and law. Likewise, I want to study law and Elder Miles wants to study economics, so it was amazing to meet another great kid that we were able to relate to so well. 

Kungsbacka LDS Meetinghouse
My companion, Elder Miles, working in Kungsbacka
I'm learning that a mission, more than anything, is about people. Sure, we want to teach and baptize lots or people, and I'm confident in time, we will find them. But, looking back on this time, I won’t remember if we surpassed 20 lessons for the week, or if 4 less-active members came to church on any given Sunday, I will remember the amazing people we met. I will remember that my unique set of talents, as simple as playing guitar, can be enough to help a kid want to talk to us more, and hopefully be comfortable talking about church. When it comes down to it, there is nothing that gives me more joy than meeting people that I will remember for years to come. They are all doing as much or more for me than I am doing for them. I love everything about my mission and this is truly the best experience I've had in my life so far. 

Goteborg Zone Meeting
My first month in Sweden has been amazing and there's nowhere else in the world I'd rather be!  Here is a recap in pictures:
Arrival tour of Stockholm on the first day!

Royal palace
Largest amusement park in Scandinavia
Visiting Jonkoping Sweden on Lake Vattern
Celebrating New Year's Eve at the Sagelstrom's with the sister missionaries
Watching fireworks with Sisters Anderson and Larson

Elder Miles and I enjoying our newest favorite food... Kebab Pizza!

I love you guys so much… Thanks for reading! 
Äldste Stoeltzing   

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