Monday, December 9, 2013

Dec. 2, 2013

Hey Family!

This week was another good week and it was fun to be able to "celebrate" Thanksgiving here!  Let me give you a run down of the week!  Last Monday we got to go into town and we got to see some of the cool city sights!  The centrum (like the downtown I guess) of Karlskrona is actually on an island, but it doesn't really feel like it.  We also got to teach this little family who are from Albania.  The wife doesn't speak any Swedish and very little English so we teach her husband who knows English and then he can translate for her.  We don't know the husband's name right now but the wife's is Fatmire.  They were so nice to us and said that they would read the Book of Mormon. We are going to teach them again this week and I hope they can continue to feel the spirit!  

On Tuesday the only really highlight I can think of is that we got to teach this one guy who don't really think is progressing but just likes the company of the missionaries.  He is an old guy that is really big so probably can't get out often.  We are going to meet with him a few more times and try to go over things really clearer so that he doesn't always ask the same questions.  Also he is kinda hard to teach because he is really hard to understand. He is old and kinda speaks I guess "sloppy" just that it is slurred so a little harder for non natives to understand :) The accent they have down here doesn't help too much either haha.

On Wednesday we got to do splits with the zone leaders.  So I went to a city on the west coast of Sweden called Helsingborg.  Our first lesson we taught a guy who is from Ghana and was baptized a year or so ago but is now being deported because he doesn't have official papers.  However the Ghana Embassy won't give Sweden any of his papers so he is just sitting in this immigrant prison.  So we got to go to the immigrant prison and share a little lesson with him.  And also if he goes to Ghana he is some sort of war criminal so will be killed when he arrives!  Crazy!  He also told us a story that his friend that is in the prison too and is in the same sort of situation.  Apparently the Swedish forged some papers and forced the guy on a plane to Africa.  But it had some layovers and the guy told the French officials to make sure his papers were right and they realized they were forged and so sent him back to Sweden and his guards allegedly were beating him for telling the officials about his papers! However I have no idea how much if any of this is true, but it makes a good story.  We taught a few other lessons that day and one was to this Philippine woman and she cooked us sooo much food!  We had the main course of poatos and meat and this soupy thing and then she made us all sandwiches and had us pack some for later and then we all (we were with the other elders in that area) had to eat this carton of ice cream hahaha.  It was super good but a lot.  If Zach doesn't gain weight on his mission in the Philippines then he deserves an award.  But also in Helsingborg it is just a few miles of ocean from Denmark and so I got to see Denmark and I also got to see the castle (in Denmark) where Hamlet (supposedly) takes place!  So cool!
Andy in front of a castle
On Thursday we didn't have any dinner appointments so we went and bought some salmon and some mini baguettes and cooked those up with some vegetables and bought some bottles of coke and had a great missionary Thanksgiving dinner!  

Friday was the real Thanksgiving though.  Our branch president set up some things and invited all the missionaries in Karlskrona (just us and the sister missionaries) over for Thanksgiving dinner!  Also a lady who lives in Provo and has a son on a mission here was there and helped cook a ton of the stuff she was so nice and her name was Sister Knecht.  She took some pictures of us and will probably be sending Mom some pictures this week because she is on that Swedish missionary moms facebook group.  But dinner was great and there was turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and apple pie!  It was so good :)

On Saturday the highlight was going and having dinner with this less active guy who was baptized almost a year ago.  He is from China and his name is Fu.  He cooked us all this wonderful Chinese food that was so good!  (I had a lot of good dinners this week!) He is such a great guy but doesn't know any Swedish and isn't great at English.  It is really sad because we found out that he didn't know a lot about the commandments in the church like that alcohol was against the Word of Wisdom and that you are supposed to go to specifically our church on Sundays.  I guess the missionaries who baptized him must have thought he understood everything.  But he is super awesome and I really like meeting with him.

On Sunday the highlights were getting to meet a recent convert and less active guy who loves computers and had like 11 terabytes of storage on his computer for gaming.  My companion loved talking with him about computers.  But we also got to have dinner with a very nice non member guy who usually comes to church just to "try his faith".  His name is Peter and he is very strong in the Catholic church but we are still trying to find out more about him.  Anyway we all had dinner with him and he made us some delicious ribs!

That was pretty much the week, but also this week I have been trying to make sure that we do language study every day (because sometimes it doesn't happen with just being busy) and I really feel like the Lord has blessed me with better understanding of what people are saying!  What I have been doing for language study is going through the Swedish-English dictionary and learning words that could be important and then quizzing myself on them frequently.  Also I started to read the Book of Mormon in Swedish and then writing down key words that I don't understand!  It is cool to be finally starting to feel comfortable!

This week I have started to see a ton of Christmas decorations!  In the city there are big lights that hang down over the streets and look really cool.  We also see Christmas trees set up all over the place!  However, there is not a sign of snow coming.  It is getting pretty cold but the weather has been great this week!  I think it rained once and then another day was overcast and the rest of the days were sunny and beautiful.  

So far the major industries I have seen here have been a little bit of the navy, and then there is a technological school too, so not really anything specific to a place by the sea.  And we actually do see the sea every day because we live really close to it but it is just a little river basically.  There are a ton of reeds by it and lots of birds live there.  It doesn't really look like the ocean.  

The main issues where we are that I can see, is that the branch covers a huge area and there are a few big cities that are far away so anyone that lives there and wants to come to church would have to travel a long way.  But other than that, the branch/ward is small but it seems like a great area!  

That is so fun that you guys all had a great Thanksgiving!  That is awesome that you guys all ran a little 5K and that Grandpa could come down!  I loved the picture of you all!!  

So far there hasn't really been a food place that we frequent a lot.  We go to this one kebab and pizza place every so often but its not nearly as good as in Gothenburg.  I was excited to have the kebab down here because I heard it was better in the south but it isn't haha.  Maybe in Malmö, but Gothenburg is my favorite for now! And the names of the missionaries in the area are me, my companion Elder Ogaard from Idaho; and then the two sister missionaries Sister B, from Spanish Fork, and then Sister R from Rexburg.  They are all cool and fun to be with.  

I am glad to hear that Dad and Jake are being Clark and Russ and getting the house ready for Christmas!  I will have to get some pictures!  

Also Mom that sounds like your lesson was so great!  I really like that about individual testimonies and that through Christ our fears can be overcome!  So good!  

Dad those football games sound insane!  That is good that Utah won even though they are again, not eligible for a bowl.  Also sick that Utah State is going to the Mountain West championship game!  I am excited for them and to watch the game in a few years hahaha.  But holy crap the Michigan Ohio game!  That is insane!  That sounds like a good ole Michigan Ohio rivalry game and Hoke reminds me of the old coaches that would try to win it rather than end the game in the tie (even though the seniors picked to go for it).  I will have to watch that eventually!  

Thank you all for being so nice and loving and supportive of me!  I love you all and miss you and pray for you!  Have a great week and I love you all!


Äldste Ward

PS I got one of the Christmas packages!  I almost accidently opened it hahaha but I didn't!

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