Weeks 59-60; January 1 2014 – Thank You Tomte!
Wow, it has been an amazing few weeks. My last Christmas in Sweden has been incredible and I've loved every second of it!
I'll start with the Friday before Christmas. I had a great chance to go through the Stockholm Temple with Elder Farnworth with the first person he baptized. I got to know her when I served in Väster Haninge. This was also my first time going through the Temple in Sweden. This experience really got these past few weeks off to a special start. I felt a wonderful spirit there and I really felt the Savior’s love. I am so thankful to enjoy the incredible blessing of the Temple.
|Elder Stoeltzing loved visiting the Stockholm Temple|
The next Monday was a really good day. We went over to a less-active family’s home for dinner and they made us Italian food. They are the nicest people in the world. It was a great meeting and they shared a lot with us about the challenges they've experienced. I was thankful they were so open to us and I hope that we will be able to continue helping them.
On Tuesday we taught an investigator named Lamin. He didn’t have much time to meet because of school, but this was the first contact he’s had with missionaries in about two months. We taught him about prayer, but he sounded a bit hesitant, but respectful of what we were teaching. We left him with a scripture from Alma, Chapter 32, in the Book of Mormon to read and better understand how someone can develop faith in Jesus Christ.
|Winter in Sweden|
Christmas Eve was a really fun day. We got up early and bought some small gifts for the members who'd invited us over. We had a lot of travel ahead of us. We started on the far end of our area with a member we call Mama Phyllis. She's from Ghana and is one of the nicest people on earth. She made us an African chicken dish and gave us some super cool African drum key chains. We couldn't stay long because she had to work, but she was super happy we came over for Christmas Eve.
Next, we had the crazy trip back down to Vendelsö to see some members from our last area. To get there quickly with the holiday schedule we had to switch subways twice and take a bus for 45 minutes. It was a long trip, but it was definitely worth it. We went to see one of our favorite families, the Karumo's. We we're a little late, but not too late for dinner, fortunately Swede’s do a huge buffet-style Christmas dinner, so we didn't interrupt anything.
|Jacob dressed as Tomte (Santa) Clause|
In Sweden, Christmas Eve is like Christmas Day for us. I love the way they do it here. Santa actually comes and drops off the presents personally. So, we heard a knock at the door and it was Santa (Tomte)! Their little son, Axle ran to the door. He's like two years old, so he's old enough to remember Christmas, but not that much about what happened last year. When we opened the door he said Papa? Then his Dad responded back and said, “No, it's Tomte (Santa). They went back and forth like this a few times and then when he actually thought it was Santa, Axle started crying. His Dad took off his Santa mask for a second and winked at Axle. As soon as he saw it was his Dad, he smiled and understood what was going on. Tomte unpacked all his gifts and Axle passed them out to everyone. He was having the most fun handing out gifts! Everyone would say, “Thank you Santa!” when they got there gifts, except Axle, he'd laugh and say, “Thank you Papa!” It was super funny! They we're very nice and they got us a ton of candy and some reflectors for our back packs.
Lastly, we got to watch the Disney movie, Wreck it Ralph. I don’t know how I missed it when I was home, but it was awesome! Marcus drove us home afterward and we actually went to bed a little early so we could get up early and skype with our families.
|Christmas Skype with family and younger brother Josh|
Skyping home for Christmas was so cool! It was the best Christmas gift ever! It felt just like I was talking to my parents back home and they got me so excited to keep going and make sure I keep giving my best every day. It was super crazy seeing my cousin Brooke too! I can't believe she's already home from her mission! I can't wait to see everyone again… And, that alone, was enough to make Christmas perfect!
Later that night we went to a member’s home for Christmas dinner. They were from Chile, so we actually had enchiladas for dinner and flan for desert. I was very satisfied to actually have Chilean food for dinner and it was probably the best flan I've ever had! They spoke Spanish most the night, so we didn't understand all that much, but we still had fun! She got us sowing kits and she gave me a children s Spanish book, so I could get some practice.
During the next few days we helped some members move and we spent some time with a few other families in the ward. We also played a really fun Monopoly game on Saturday.
On Sunday, we got to help the other Elders set-up a baptism for a man named Masood from Iran. He was one of the most spiritually prepared people I've ever seen and he was so ready to be baptized. He also gave one of the most sincere testimonies I've heard on my mission after he was baptized.
It was a great week and the next week should be really great as well, but I'll save that for next Monday! I hope everyone had a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!
I Love you guys!