Monday, June 28, 2010

Glad Midsommar!

Hej Familj!

Well, as you can see from the subject line of this e-mail and from what I told you last week we had Midsommar!! Woo!! Okay, so you should definitely take a few minutes and read up on it because its pretty crazy. Soooo much went on, and I hope that I can do it justice! (by the way, Äldste Barlow just got mistaken for a worker here at the library... ha!! lol) Okay, so we decided to head to Helsingborg to celebrate. We had been told that it was THE place to go. THEY WERE RIGHT! We left pretty early in the morning because it is like a two and a half hour train ride away. But that was okay because the train rides are the best! The rolling green hills and thick forests are breathtaking! I really wish you could see all of what Sweden has to offer. It is a paradise in that aspect! Anyway, we arrived in Helsingborg and found out that we had an hour before the missionaries could meet us... So, we walked around town. It was awesome! When we got out of the station we could smell the OCEAN!! It was so awesome! There were big ships and little docks and just amazing architecture! We went first to the coast where we snapped a few pictures and just smelled the ocean for a while. Then, we went back into town to take more pictures of the city and a really cool castle they have right in the middle of the city! By this time it was time to go back and meet the Elders. When we met them we headed up to the parking lot where a member family was going to pick us up and drive us down to the party. When we got to the parking lot there was a man and a woman standing there in traditional Swedish clothes ready to take us. It was a great indication of what was to come! The family is super nice, and helped us through the whole occasion. When we got to the party (which was set by a "castle" overlooking a steep drop to the coast... totally calender worthy) we first helped decorate the maypole or "Majstång" in Swedish. We next went and met a bunch of the other ward members and got to know each other. We then played some American Football and "500" (the game where you throw it to a group of people and call out a score and the first one to 500 wins... If you are still confused, just don't worry about it. lol) So that was really fun. It was then time to raise the Majstång, and guess what... The missionaries were selected to help carry and raise it. That was a BIG DEAL as they told us, and we were so thankful that the members used their "pull" to give us that amazing opportunity. After we got it into place, they had some authentic dancing by some performers and then it was our turn. This is the only time of the year that missionaries are allowed to dance, so we all danced like there was no dancing tomorrow... which there wasn't. Haha. It was super fun, and super awkward. We had no idea what we were doing.. lol we laughed A LOT. :) That was good... missionaries need that. Okay, so after that we had a break to eat cookies and juice and pastries.. lol I know, but hey, its SWEDEN!!! Then it was back to dancing until it was time to leave. After the party finished we packed up the blankets and baskets and headed to te members house where they were having a little get together. By the way, the party at the castle was huge! There were soooo many people there! So at the little get together they served a traditional Swedish dinner. Meatballs, potatoes, bread, and yes, even pickled herring. It really wasn't that bad. It was fine by itself, and actually pretty tasty with potatoes and sauce on it. :) Crazy, I know. Äldste Kundis is starting to like things that he has never, ever liked before and trying tons of new things! lol For dessert we had fresh picked Swedish strawberries and cream. Mmmmm! It was a good time! We played some games and played the piano alot. haha They had an Andrew Lloyd Weber piano book made easy, so I started trying to play them, and a few of the elders and I sang for a while. We rocked some of his songs from "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat!" haha We went to a park with some of the kids there and played more football and some child games like duck, duck, goose. haha That was interesting! All in all, I had an amazing Midsommar! It was such a great opportunity for me to really experience the culture and get to know people. So we stayed the night in Helsingborg with the Elders there and headed back the next morning and it was back to work in Växjö! We have been having a hard time. I think it is mainly because of Midsommar, but people have been colder and our investigators are avoiding us, and basically things are just tough. But I am glad that I can have this experience to learn and grow. I am truly learning how to, "Enjoy the tough stuff". Okay, to the e-mail! I was so happy that the pictures worked out and that you liked them! I was worried about that. Okay, DAD!!! Love ya! You are great! Thanks for your e-mail. Just to answer some of your questions quick, Brother Carlson from the branch did the confirmation. That was an amazing experience as well! To be able to stand in that circle was such an honor! As for the balance of men and women in the ward, not so good. We really don't have that many people at church. There are basically no relationships going on in the branch. There are like two married couples and some older single people and a few younger women and men, but only a couple. Its really sad.. the branch here really needs some strong families to help build it up. But I know that Sandra and her family will be a big help! Haha, sorry about the picture with the DHL truck. You see those all over the place here. lol I thought I would just share that with you. :) Anyway, thank you so much for your constant encouragement and your faithful prayers! I feel your love, and I am so thankful to have you! Okay, so on to MOM!!!! Yes, the baptism was amazing! It was just great! I am glad that you liked the e-mail.. haha I did too! You had three confirmations in the ward?!?! Thats awesome! OH!! Do you have a greenie anywhere in Great Falls? Well, I guess they would not be a greenie anymore, but who are they? Any from that MTC group?? Sorry, lol just curious! :) Yeah, so that is really good for the ward in GF! Congrats! The Lord is working miracles everywhere!!! I was soooo glad to hear that everything went well at the reception! I was praying that it would! I laughed pretty hard when I read about Mrs. Garrity! Thats pure gold as far as me laughing like crazy material. :) Haha So, yes... the trip down to Malmö last Monday was a ton of fun!! We traveled down and played American Football and Ultimate Frisbee with the elders and sisters. It was intense and just a good time! We had lunch and talked alot and then headed home. It was nice to be with everyone again! OHHHHH!!!! Wow, I am glad I didn't forget this! Okay, so at our distrikt meeting on Thurday we had a finding activity! We decided to use my idea. Which was... go to the most crowded part of centrum and sing. It was crazy! Most didn't want to do it, and one even stood around the corner because he was not up to it. I was pretty nervous myself! We stood in the middle of the street, not to the side or in a corner, but in the middle. Opened our Psalmer (Hymn Book) and began to sing a Swedish hymn. The second we started, my fears were replaced by the Spirit! It was incredible! We were originally going to sing just the first verse, but the Spirit was so strong that when the first verse was coming to an end, we all looked at each other and then sang the last two verses also. It was AMAZING!! Haha, I thought you would like that! Okay, so thank you so much for all you do Mom! I love you so much! I am glad that you have Matt back! I knew that you were really missing him. You are truly a blessing in my life! :) Okay, so MATT!! You are a stud muffin. I am glad that you enjoyed the basketball with Kevin, Willis and Joe. Be careful with all the working out man!!! Don't hurt yourself! Take your time and rest a bit! :) Spend more time working-out your scriptures!! hahaha Hows that for a missionary suggestion?? lol I love you so much Matt. I miss you! I hope that you got/are about to get my letter!! Anyway, keep being the wonderful person you are and keep up your personal prayers! They are soooo important!! Next, KEVIN!!! Wow I was glad to hear from you! And from Montana!! Thats so awesome that everything went well! I am sooo happy for you and Annie! Hows the appartment? Lookin' fine.. I know. haha :) Kevin, thank you so much for your kind words. You are soo right, those feelings never leave. I was so happy to read about you talking about your mission and how much you truly love those people and how you cried when you watched that part of the video. I had a BIG smile on my face. :D You are an amazing person Kevin! Keep being all I know you are! People are truly blessed to be around you. Okay, so I am running out of time, and I still need to e-mail President Anderson! But before I go, a quick little thought. Look a little bit at the desires of your heart. Are you praying for them? Are they being answered? Are the desires good? I have been asking myself these questions. In my scripture study I have come across some interesting examples. One of which is found in Alma 29:1-13. It has alot to do with me as a missionary and us all as church members. I would take some time to study these few short verses! Especially now, as times are tough with the work, I wonder where my true desires are. Is it possible that we are not having success because our desires are not purpose driven? Am I truly focusing on my purpose? Are we all focusing on OUR purpose? I have grown in this so much, and it makes prayer that much more meaningful. I know that great things are about to happen in our area. It is simply a matter of righteous desires and faith. Thank you so much family and friends! Your love and support are fantastic! I loved recieving the letters from the Activity Day girls.. Thanks for those!! :) lol You are all amazing! This mission is just incredible. It has opened my eyes to why I am here, and what I NEED to be focusing on. This has changed my life and will continue throughout my whole mission! Growth is good. Growth is GREAT! So, question is, what is something we can grow in this week? Perhaps our righteous desires, maybe its scripture study?!? I don't know, but I do know, that the Lord has blessed me in growth and for that, I am truly thankful. Until next week! Love ya!

Faithful and Steady, I AM Ready.....

Äldste Kundis :) :) :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Incredible week in Vaxjo!!

This is the newly baptized Sister Cortez, and one very happy to be in white Aldste Kundis!

This is the Branch meeting house in Vaxjo. Cute, isn't it?

Hej Familj!!!!!

Wow, okay, so things are going wonderfully! As you can probably tell, the baptism on Saturday went through and now Sandra is officially Sister Sandra Dalila Torres Cortez! haha I know, awesome name right? Thank you soooooooo much for all your prayers! It was amazing. Simply stated. Amazing. I was sooooo nervous, and excited, and a whole bunch of other things, but my prayers were answered and everything went great! All of the seats in the chapel here were filled, and the Spirit was in all of us. Right before the baptism started, Sandra and I were sitting on the front row and I leaned over and asked her how she was feeling (in Swedish). She replied, "nervous" (in English). hahaha It was funny, but I assured her that she was definitely not the only one. The time came for the baptism part and we took some pictures and everyone headed down to the font. After everyone had gone down Äldste Barlow and I quickly went over the baptismal prayer one more time, and I said a quick prayer. When I went down stairs she was standing by the font with all of the other people surrounding it. My nerves shot through the roof! I honestly can not think of many other times when I was THAT nervous. Anyway, I went down into the font, and invited her to come in. I took her wrist, like Äldste Barlow and I practiced lol, and started the prayer. I got through it but I missed one word... lol "namn" or "name" which you probably know. haha So I started over and got it right. When she came up out of the water she had a huge smile on her face. I got pretty emotional. She gave me a quick hug... lol. And told me thank you. It was amazing. The Spirit was just intense! I loved every second of it! For a brief moment, there in that font, in the basement of the chapel in Växjö, Sweden I felt a celestial surge of pure joy. A perfect sense of my purpose as a missionary. I am truly grateful for what I felt. So the rest of the baptism went wonderfully. Afterwards, we had cake and brownies and sparkling cider lol, none of which I ate. One, because I am trying to eat better, and two because I was just plain full of the Spirit. Seriously though, lol it was cool. Okay, so the members love Sandra. Her sister is a member, and they are both super strong in the gospel! :) They will be amazing members of the branch and will continue to strengthen it long after I am gone. So yes, I hope you got the pictures I forwarded to you.. If not, let me know so I can figure something out. Okay, so another exciting thing that happened was Zone Conference! It was nice to see President and Sister Anderson again. I really miss them, and love it when I get the opportunity to see them. Plus, I finally got to meet the whole zone! Let me tell you, Malmö Zone is on fire! We have a great fire in us, and we are expecting great things to come from that. I truly felt the Spirit there, and plus they unveiled the mission song! It is entitled, "Framgång genom Lydnad" which means, "Success through Obedience" haha, that is the mission motto, and when you sing it in Swedish the music and lyrics are just incredible! Especially when you have a big group of Elders singing it! :) So that was fun. Lets see, what else to mention about this week.... umm.. I have had tons of people talk to me about the World Cup. haha they think it is crazy that we can't watch it. Apparently the US is doing fairly well? Sorry, its hard to understand them in Swedish still. lol :) Oh, yeah the rain has been continuing. We have it off and on. But when it does rain, normally it pours all day long. Not always, but most of the time. haha Its kinda annoying sometimes, but mostly I like the rain. Okay, to the e-mails fast. Daddy! I love you! You are the bestest! I loved that scripture in Matthew. Very uplifting! :) Thanks for your words on the power of testimony. It is soooo true! A testimony is the ultimate tool! Well, along with lots of other things haha but yes! Crazy effective, and most importantly strengthening! I love you dad, every time you e-mail I know that you are taking care of things and working hard! You are a wonderful man, and an inspiration to all of your boys! Love ya! Mommy! Woooo!! Yay! Thanks for taking care of all this stuff! haha Please focus on the reception and flowers and such. I want you to be relaxed and enjoy what is happening around you! Hey, do me a favor... On the next super sunny day take a day off. Go lay out in the sun and just love the weather and the simple joys of life! We all need those days! Okay, so you asked what I was up to this P-Day. We were invited by our zone leaders down in Malmö to come down for a sports day! Woo! And the weather is gorgeous! So after we are done here we will be jumping on a train and headed south. It will be a fun time to be with most of the zone again! OH!!!! Wow, crazy of me to forget this! It is Midsommar this week! The actual day is on Saturday, but I guess they celebrate it on Friday! So, it is a non-proselyting day and we are heading somewhere to celebrate with some other Elders. We are thinking either Malmö or Helsingborg, but we are not sure. We will talk with everyone today to see. I am excited to see what it all entails!!! It will be a good time! So I will be sure and let you all know how that goes. Yeah!!!! The sun is just crazy here! When I go to be at 10:30 lol, the sun is still very much out, and it is super bright at 6:30 when I wake up! I woke up just last night at like 4 AM and it was light outside! Its just crazy cool! Don't worry mom, we have blinds to keep out the sun, and we are so tired anyway there is no way that the sun would keep us up! ha! Yes mommy, I am warm enough at night. haha I am so very blessed to have a mother that cares oh so much for he sons! Alright, so lets end this all on a bit of a spiritual note! Okay so something I have been starting to realize. You know those times when you feel the Spirit and you seem as though you are on top of the world? Well I too notice those, but something interesting has been happening. I have been more and more realizing those moments when there are things that drive away the Spirit. It seems to me, that on my mission I am constantly being led and guided by the Spirit, and am feeling it everyday. Sure, I have those moments of added Spiritual power such as an incredible teach, or bearing my testimony, or what I felt at Sandra's Baptism, just to name a few. But, I can more clearly distinguish between things that are constantly inviting the Spirit and those things that drive it away. I run as fast as I can from those things that drive away the Spirit. Like I was saying to Matt in the last e-mail, life is so much better when you can constantly feel the Spirit. I have a huge testimony of this! It is so true! If we look for a moment at characters in the Book of Mormon. Ammon, Nephi, Alma!!! They all had the Spirit with them.. In huge ways! They had so much power spreading the Gospel of truth, and were not afraid of anything! These examples have been huge in my life. I love the Book of Mormon! It is so great! So, I love you all! Another week gone by, and many many more to come! Full of trials, growth, failure and success! I look forward to today, tomorrow and the many experiences that are still yet to come. These truly will be, MY best two years!

Faithful and Steady, I AM Ready.....

Äldste Kundis

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's a Great Day to be in Sweden! Joshua 1:9

Hej Familj!

Wow! Lots of things going on! There was sooo much content in the e-mail I hope I can remember. You see, printing off e-mails here cost money. And money is something missionaries just don't have! haha But first before anything else.. Check out Joshua 1:9?? Yeah I think thats it. I love that scripture! It has helped me alot! Okay.. So whats happening in the life of Äldste Kundis?!?! I am pleased to say that everything is going perfect in preparation for Sandra's baptism! A little exciting news. We went to teach her a lesson and to talk about her baptizimal program. When we were there she told us all of what she wanted. (as far as talks and songs) But she asked me if I would baptize her... I accepted, and am so happy that I will have this opportunity! My first thoughts were, "oh wow, I really hope I can memorize the baptizimal prayer!" haha She was really excited about asking me because she knew that it would be my first baptism! She is such an amazing lady! I am nervous/excited/a whole bunch of other things right now. Her baptism is this Saturday which is also the same day as the crown princess wedding? I guess that is a big deal here! So just pray that everything goes well with that! I am excited! :) Hopefully I can figure out how to attach some photos of the baptism for next e-mail. As with Tony.. Not so great.. He is in Stockholm for a few days! So we haven't had too much of a chance to meet with him. :( But we hope to see him asap! I don't know if I told you about Somayeh?? If not, she is another lady with a baptizimal date. We are shooting for a date a little farther into the future because she is going to Malmö for a while so!! Thats also exciting. Anyway, othe than that lots and lots of finding work! Lots of doors, appartments, houses, streets, RAIN! haha By the way, my umbrella from the wonderful missionary mall broke. It broke bad. haha Basically the past few days here have been super rain days. I am getting used to the fact that when I go outside I get soaked. I have Kevin's jacket to proect me, but I always get drenched! haha I don't know what it is! Anyway I need a new umbrella. That one was.... bad. I think they can send me another one for free but I don't know how to do that, or even if I want to do that. haha the umbrella just dosen't stand up to Sweden rain storms! I am asking you (parental figures) if I should just buy a new one here?? Anyway, I am adjusting little by little. The Swedish is still a big struggle. I need all the help I can get with that one. :) It is still really hard at times when I think of home. I am getting better at not being homesick even though I still am! lol I feel as though I am sliding into the mindset of a missionary and just accepting the fact that things ARE going to be different for a couple of years. Thats just the way the cookie crumbles. Wow, sorry I just said that. How.... how... ugh, you know I am just sorry I made that analogy. Excuse me for that. lol Okay, so dad!! I love you with all my heart! The begining of your e-mail sorta confused me, but thats all good I figured out what you were saying! I can't believe you already got my fathers day card!!! That was super fast! Way to go Swedish Mail system! So HAPPY FATHERS DAY! lol love ya! Matt I am so glad you had such an awesome time at EFY!! I love you so much!!!!!!!!!!! And I really miss you too. I miss all of you so much, and love you all like crazy! I knew you were at EFY this week and my thoughts were with you! I am glad that you memorized scriptures and felt the Spirit so strongly! Thats really good. What scriptures did you memorize? I would like to know! I am glad that you have some time to be down in Provo for a while. You are right, it is a fun fun place! I love Provo! haha Keep trying to seek after that Spirit Matt. Trust me, life is sooooo much better when you can constantly have the Spirit with you and constantly be seeking for it! Have fun this next week! Enjoy your Summer Vacation!! :) My loving mother! Wow, you take such good care of me! I will send a separate e-mail answering those questions! Thanks! On a more serious note though... I was really sorry to hear about Sister Matthews. Thats good that she can finally rest, but I am going to miss that woman of pure love and charity towards others. She was an inspiration to all she came in contact with. I will truly miss Sister Matthews. I cried when I read that, and I think alot of people in the library thought I was crazy. :/ Anyway, oh!!!!! HELLO MOLLY!!!!!! I miss you!! That little ball of black fur! I miss my dog everyone. Let it be known! :( lol Okay... back on track. As for dinners here in Växjö. They don't exist. With only like 20 active members in the branch the missionaries just fend for themselves. So! Äldste Barlow and I cook the food and have our own little party! lol Hopefully I will go to an area where there is a ward with more people and a dinner calender! Woo! But for now, I am good! hmm... what else. I am trying to remember... Well I love hearing from you mom. You brighten my day! As do all my e-mails!! Thanks! :) I was astonished at how fast those letters got to you! Wow!! I am still in shock! Thats great! just means that I will hopefully get letters faster here! Come on US Posal Service! Lets pick up the pace! haha jkjk. I just want everyone to know something.. I love this work! I love all of you! I love my Father in Heaven and his son Jesus Christ. I have really been working on loving the people here in Sweden. Loving them as brothers and sisters and children of our Heavenly Father. It is really hard to face all of the rejection and harsh words, but the feeling I get when I CAN end my day on my knees and tell my Father that I loved with my whole heart and that I worked with my whole self is soooo worth it! I am more and more everyday coming to an understanding of why I am here. Why on earth did I come thousands of miles to a place that I know nothing about and to a language that I can't speak/understand?!?! It is because I know how I feel, and I know how these people can feel. I have something that alot of others don't have. I can see the people here, and I can see that they are truly seeking for something more. Its just so sad when they won't even give me a second to tell them about what they are looking for and that I have it! Right here!! I almost just want to have a big sign that says something like, "I am not selling anything, I come to tell you of something greater than us all, something that contains more happiness than any person can comprehend!!" I pray everyday that I can find people. That I can be prepared for situations when someone calls me out on my beliefs. That I can love. I love all of you so much! I am soooo thankful for the chance I have to serve this mission. I am thankful for the prepared, and for the chance I have to help Sandra this Saturday! I know the Lord will help us all! I know that all we must do is pray with all our hearts to our Father in Heaven and he WILL answer us. Family, friends, you keep me going, and I truly appreciate the love and support you give me. This work is so important. This Gospel is so true. My heart is full. I love you all! Until next week.....

Faithful and Seady, I AM Ready.....

Äldste Kundis :) (this paragraph is from the email he sent me requesting CD's and piano music...there's NOTHING like music!!!!)

I was playing the piano at the church one time here. I picked up the childrens song book and opened right up to the one that I sang at my baptism. "I like to look for rainbows, whenever there is rain..." I cried lol. But i have been working on a great arrangememnt for it and it feels so amazing when I play it and sing it. Makes me tear up almost every time! :) Sorry, I just had to share that with you. I knew you would appreciate it! I love you so much! Thank you for all you do! You are incredible! :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Arrival at Stockholm and the Mission Home

Do you see Aldste Kundis? (click to enlarge)

Aldste Shear, Lloyd, Deleeow, Werner, Thunell, Cluff and Kundis

Aldste Kundis and Barlow off to Vaxjo

Aldste Kundis with President and Sister Anderson

Monday, June 7, 2010

I Need Letters and Pictures !!

Hej Familj!!!

Wow!! It was REALLY awesome to get that massive e-mail!! It definitely made my day to hear from you all. Thank you soooo much! So, first things first. Sandra is progressing very fast towards baptism!! She is really a valiant Spirit! As for her children, not so much. Because she just broke off her Sambo (the man she was living with) he now hates the Church. So, trying to ask him for permission to have the children be baptized will be hard. Most likely it won't happen when I am here in Växjö. :( I know sad.. but hey! Here is some recent good news! We have an investigator that I had never met until yesterday. We were planning to teach him about the Plan of Salvation because his father just passed away from an unexpected heart attack. So during our planning for him I got this really strong impression to challenge him to baptism. So we talked about it, and felt that it was best to follow the prompting. So, his name is Tony. He is from Iraq. Yeah, I know.... Iraq?? But it was really really cool. He told us alot about Iraq, and about how hard life is there right now. I was nervous but I got over my nerves and things went very well. We were able to teach and feel the Spirit very strongly. We had a main focus on the atonement and it was very powerful. At the end we challenged him and he accepted!!! He is very excited about the idea, and his date is set for the 3rd of July... Hopefully we can teach him all he needs to know by that time! We invited him to Church and also to Sandra's baptism so he can see one before his. Hopefully all goes well with Tony! The Lord is truly blessing the work in Sweden right now. Our zone, the Malmö zone, is doing wonders and every week there are success stories! As for the language... It is tough!! haha thats about it! i am trying really hard. Its like learning math, but I actually WANT to learn it!! haha It is sooo crazy to hear little children talk in Swedish and Arabic.. I am really jealous of their knowledge! lol :) I get quite a large headache almost everyday because I am trying so hard to understand what all these people are saying! We are doing ALOT of finding work. So that means lots and lots of walking and knocking on doors. When we are lucky enough to have someone answer their door it goes down one of a few ways. One is this... "Nej, tack."... followed by a swift bang from the door. lol Another way is this, "Not interested"... followed by a mean chastisement which I politely smile through because I have absolutely no idea what they are saying. haha its funny because I will think a door contact went relatively well, and then I will ask Äldste Barlow what exactly happened and he will say things like they are not interested and don't want to talk about it at all! haha Rejection is much a part of the work here. And it's starting to hurt less.. but I feel it will always hurt. They are not just slamming the door on me, they are slamming it on the Savior and his Gospel. THAT makes me sad more than anything. Okay, okay... SO!! This weekend I was going crazy!! I knew that it was Kevin and Annie's wedding, and it was killing me!! I would look at the clock and be like well they are all getting ready. Or, well they should be getting sealed now, or, well they are married and probably having the reception now.. I was just losing my marbles! It was really hard to focus and get my mind off of what fun was going on back home. I am so glad that everything went well. My prayers were with them and all who were taking part in the wedding. Welcome to the family Annie!! I am soooo glad you and Kevin found each other and are so happy with each other! :) I know your love for each other will only grow and grow from here! Okay, so I NEED LETTERS AND PICTURES!!! haha I want to be in the loop one might say. I feel as though I have REALLY been torn apart from all of you right now. :( BUT!! I know the Lord is helping you and watching out for you while I am away! It is so awesome that Matt is heading to EFY this week! He is going to love it there! What is he gonna do when EFY is over? Just a question! lol Josh and Hillary are coming to Europe eh?? Well you are welcome in Sweden whenever you want to come, haha but just stay away from me!! haha I would be uber hard to see you! haha I know missionaries here have seen girlfriends and family seemingly by accident, and it really ruins things for a long while.. I know you won't be in Sweden though, so thats all good! :) I will hopefully get a letter out today with a card for dad for Fathers Day which is coming up soon, and hopefully mail a picture card off to you! So we will see how that all goes. I love you all so much! Sweden really is amazing. Things are different in ALOT of ways, but it is a fun adventure! By the way, the cost of living here is through the roof! I think THAT is the REAL reason I live in the Ghetto. lol But my relationship with the Lord grows stronger every single day. I can feel his love, and I know for a surety that he lives and IS my Savior. I am almost out of time so I need to wrap this up! I love you all.... with all of my heart. You are so incredible!!

Faithful and Steady, I AM Ready.....

Äldste Kundis :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Greetings from SWEDEN !!!

Hej Familj!!

Well I would like to start things off with a little game. It is called, "correctly pronounce Äldste Kundis' 1st Area!!" Okay... Are you ready? Okay here it is. Växjö, Sweden...... I will give you a few seconds.... Okay, think you've got it? Okay the correct pronunciation is Växjö (Vek-wha) Did anyone get it right? Yeah, I didn't get it right either. haha. Well hello everybody and greetings. I am soooo happy to be in Sweden! The plane ride was no fun at all! Haha well it was fun, but just really long. I studied alot and talked with some wonderful people and slept for about an hour. lol I was really tired!!! We arrived in Sweden a little early and everything with the bags worked out. We all had our stuff and made it through immigrations. We were amazed at how technological the airport was! Crazy! The toilets, sinks, doors, soap, dryers, basically anything you can imagine was automatic! lol I was loving it! We met the Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Anderson and the AP's. They were all so nice and they were waiting with luggage carts. Just as a side note... Remember when we saw that garment luggage bag with WHEELS?!? We should have purchased that one. Carrying that big 46 lb. bag is no fun at all!! Okay, so we exchanged money and went to the mission office. The ride to the mission office was just amazing! EVERYTHING is green here! And then you throw in a few of those amazing yellow fields in the countryside and it's just the icing on the cake! Or the Kebab sauce on the kebab! (Kebab is an amazing thing. I will hopefully get a picture to you. Its soooo tasty, but it gives you a headache and a stomachache) Anyway, we got to the mission office and filled out a ton of paperwork. Then they took us to the mission home. Which is also amazing! We were there until Thursday morning. During our time in the mission home we were spoiled. Sister Anderson took care of us. Amazing meals, listening to MoTab really loudly, playing games like Kub (lawn game where you throw big heavy wood sticks)... basically having a really good time. We were able to go to downtown Stockholm and do some contacting. THAT was soooo fun! haha lots of no's. There are so many people here who are not Swedish! haha So on Wednesday morning we were able to go to the Stockholm Temple. It was sooo beautiful! The Spirit was so strong, and I was able to listen to the entire thing in Swedish! haha (crazy cool) So on Thursday morning we headed out to the local church building and had some orientation. Then we got our "call letters" this told us where in Sweden we would be and who our trainer would be. They brought in all of the trainers without name tags. We opened our letters and read them aloud. I tried to trick mine by screaming his name and watching their reactions. None of them flinched, they were good. But I got a good laugh out of them after haha. So my companions name is Äldste Barlow. He is a pretty fun guy. We are going to get along just fine. I do miss Äldste Shear though. As you know, I am serving in Växjö. Let me tell you a little about Växjö. It is an interesting place full of tons and tons of immigrants. There are Arabs all over the town! We contact them like crazy, and let me tell you, I am still trying to get over my nerves and be like Christ. I am working on it! We live in the Ghetto. haha You know parkdale in Great Falls? Yeah, kinda like that, but much much worse. Lets just say that when I got here I had some real challenges and I was on my knees like crazy!!! The Lord truly does comfort and wrap his arms around us. I KNOW this! So basically, Sweden, at least in Växjö, is not like I imagined it! I got a real shock. The MTC and The Mission Home are really mean. They pamper you, and then you slam right into the real world! Okay, here is a really fun and exciting story. Just a testimony to the amazing things that are happening here in Sweden. I was feeling down. Sad, dark, lonely and crazy homesick. I pleaded with my Father in Heaven to bless me and to comfort me. I had an amazing talk with Äldste Barlow about what I was feeling and he read me some amazing scriptues and gave me some great advice. Then on Sunday I was able to go meet the Branch. I was not excited for this at all... From what I was told about the members it was not going to be fun. But luckily the members, all 20 who were there, embraced me with open arms. They are an interesting group of people. :) Anyway, the missionaries basically run the branch here. I passed the Sacrament and was able to bear my testimony. That went pretty well. Then we had our class for the new member/investigators. WE had one investigator that came and her name was Sandra. Niether Äldste Barlow or myself really knew her. But, I was playing the piano before the metting and she came up to us. She started saying something in Swedish, and from what I could understand I had a HUGE smile on my face!!!! I looked at Äldste Barlow to get a confirmation of what I thought I had understood and it was right! She had been having some "personal problems" that had been keeping her from baptizm for a long, long time, and she told us that those had gone away and that she would like to finally be BAPTIZED!! I jumped up and had a huge smile on my face! I felt a warmth flow over me that was nothing short of Celestial! We are heading over tomorrow to set the date. She also has three children! Two of which are of the age to be baptized! We are going to see if she would like them to be baptized as well! The Lord truly blessed Sandra and her family, and the Lord truly blessed me. He knew I needed to be picked up! So join me and Äldste Barlow in praying for Sandra and her family. I really hope all goes well! Yeah, I cried a few tears of joy.. more like alot of tears... hahaha :) So as for everything else! I am loving everything! Well, not EVERYTHING, but I am working at it! I just recieved mom's card today in the mail! That little thingtook forever! haha The mission office I think is changing addresses I think, so look for something in the mail talking about that. Make sure to put THAT address up on the Blog! The culture is great, the food.... is great when a real Swedish person cooks it. haha The language is killer. Hopefully that will start coming as well! I love you all so very much! You bless my mission so much with your prayers. Sweden is an interesting place, and I am soooo excited for what the future has in store! Jag Älskar alla er! I love all of you! :)

Faithful and Steady, I AM Ready!!!!!

Äldste Kundis :)