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 :) :) :)