This week was another one out here and I'm still trying to do my best. I received news on Saturday that the rumors were true and that I will be going to Luleå for the next few months! I am excited to have a snowy Christmas right outside the Arctic Circle! It is so great to hear from you all and hear all the exciting things that are going on! I was able to talk briefly to the elders there right now and my new companion seems like a nice guy, named Elder Clausen. They told me that there are a lot of immigrants from the Congo up there that speak French so I will have the chance to practice my French!! It has been cool to read a little bit in the French Book of Mormon and see how much I can figure out.
I am glad, Mom, that you like the Santa! I thought it would be a fun little present to have! I also hope you guys like all the candies from Sweden! Awesome that Abby had a fun time at her dance and that they all came to the house and had fun too! Abby looks so beautiful in that picture you guys sent! I am happy that Jake got to go skiing and go to a BYU basketball game and had a fun time and that Estee got TWO play dates with Jocelyn this week! What a fun one!
And it is good to hear that there is snow there. There is still no snow on the ground here in Karlskrona! I wonder how cold it actually is here...we don't have a thermometer or anything but one time this week it was really hot in our apartment so before we went to bed we decided to open the window and then we woke up the next morning and it was freezing! And then last night we didn't open the window but then my companion opened it at like 6 because it had got so hot in our apartment! So we might need to adjust our heaters. :)
I think that is so great that you all read my letters together Monday nights! You guys are too nice and I feel undeserving to have such a loving and kind family like you! I love you all so much!!
I love that quote that you sent me! I think I might print that out so I can and remind myself those things more! This transfer has been a little harder and has taught me a lot about getting along and I just really like what you sent and hope to remember that more in my life!
Dad, the guy that you interviewed who was applying to be a resident, that is really cool that he went to Sweden! Do you remember his name? Maybe some of the older missionaries that I know will know him, but maybe not because applying for residency is a few years down the road. But that is really cool, another connection to Sweden!
Oh and you asked how long the trip from Karlskrona to Luleå would take. I just looked at the tickets and it is like a 5 hour train ride to Stockholm from Karlskrona and then we have a zone conference in Stockholm on Thursday so I stay in Stockholm for a couple of nights and then we take a hour train ride to some airport and then the plane ride is only like an hour and a half. So like a total of 7.5 hours.
Some highlights from this week are that we started teaching this one investigator and he is awesome and totally wants to be baptized and believes everything but is having trouble telling himself that he wants to get rid of smoking and coffee. He says that he knows that God will give him the strength to stop but he just loves those things so much so is trying and praying for the will to stop. He is a great guy and I really hope the best for him.
Also I have a story that you may find humorous. I believe that sometimes I was referred to as the "friend of the asian" just keep that in mind. On Saturday we met with a less active guy named Fu and went to go play basketball with him. It turns out it was the Chinese Union's gym rental time so me and Elder Ogaard were the only none Chinese there out of like 20 people! It was funny. We were also able to talk to a few of the people there about what we were doing here in Sweden so we will see if anything comes up from that. I had a blast playing with them and hope that more opportunities like that come up in other areas because it is so fun!
On Friday we got to go to the St. Lucia concerts they have in the Swedish churches. It was a pretty cool cultural thing to see. They have a girl who wears like six candles on her head who is like the Saint for the event!
Those are all the highlights of the week that I can really think of but I am doing well here and I am staying warm and things are good. I will let you know more about what our plans for Christmas will be and what time we can schedule that will be best! I love and miss you all so much! Being out here and learning Swedish is such a neat and cool thing to do! You are in my prayers!
Äldste Preston Andrew Ward