Sunday, November 22, 2020

These are a few of my favorite things . . . la la la

Whoops . . . this post should have been on my Sweden blog because now we are serving a mission in Sweden.  You can access that blog at (no www at the first).  But I'll just leave this post here for now.  Not Kenya though!

President Nelson, our church president, just posted a video with a short message of hope and healing for our troubled world.  I highly recommend it.  It's for all people, not just those of our faith.  It can be found here:

President Nelson asked us to thank God for our blessings and to share with others the things we are grateful for.  I'm thankful for the beauties of nature.  My dad often quoted the poem that starts with "I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree" and ends with "Poems are made by fools like meBut only God can make a tree."  I love trees too but I like them even better a little further away from me than they are here.  The reason for that is that I absolutely love the sky.  For the most beautiful skies, you need to see the ones in southern Alberta!  We don't see much sky here in Sweden, at least not in Stockholm.  Trees are everywhere here.  But at night, when we walk around the neighborhood, if we look way up, we can see the stars, even here in the city.  Yes, I'm thankful for nature, and for eyes to see the beauties that are all around me.

I'm also thankful for light.  There is so much darkness here at this time of year but there's also lots of light.  Street lights shine light everywhere.  Curtains are open, spreading indoor light to the afternoon darkness.  Christmas lights are already popping up in yards, at intersections and in malls.  I'm thankful for light.  And for eyes to see that light.

When you look at some of the pictures below, you'll think that all we do on this mission is sing.  Yes, we sing a lot!  The mission president asked one of our sister missionaries to compose a mission song.  Syster Nissen composed it in only three hours -- both the words and music, and it is beautiful!  She felt pure inspiration flowing down.  And the song is truly inspiring and the melody memorable.  Another missionary, Elder Safsten, scored the music, and Elder Torrie lent his creativity to the accompaniment.  It's called Gud finns här i Sverige, (loosely translated, God is here in Sweden).  And that is so true.  Even though Sweden is a secular country, we definitely feel the hand of God here.  He loves His children in Sweden as much as He loves His children anywhere.  So I am thankful for God's love, and for music, and for ears to hear that music.

Lighted Christmas trees spread warmth to the evening darkness.

The first snow came last Thursday.  Too bad you can't see the flakes falling down in this picture.  But you can see the joy that these two missionaries had as they frolicked in the snow, or rather, in the snowflakes.

It only snowed for about half an hour but Elder Stinson (from New Zealand) and Elder Nordgren (from Texas) are loving the snow!

The Täby Mall is alight with Christmas lights!
Not too many people are here on a weekday.  My daughter says she's glad to see people staying home.  But we went to the mall on Saturday and the parking lots were absolutely full.  We didn't stay, of course, but the mall must have been jam-packed with people getting their fill of shopping before further restrictions, which start this coming week.  Not sure how it applies to shopping malls, but only 8 people can congregate for the next four weeks.  So much for Christmas celebrations!

This must look amazing in the late afternoon and evening.  The mall closes at 6 p.m. on weekdays, except for Friday night when it stays open until 8 p.m.  Not the long shopping hours like in the west.

These six elders live above us and we associate with them everyday so it's like we're one big happy family!  We meet weekly for a mission counsel meeting.  L-R: Elders Nordgren, Stinson, Walker, McGill, Hoyt, and Olson.  The Sister Training Leaders meet with us often too: Sister Locher and Sister Perdue.

Elder Hoyt (in the middle with the grey sweater) is being transferred out of the office.  He's been an Assistant to the President for 7 months and to three presidents: President Youngberg, interim President Mattsson, and current President Davis.  He will for sure be missed.

We're all singing the new mission song.  It's powerful.

Sister and President Davis have joined in the singing too.  Music brings the spirit of the Lord into our meetings and into all that we do on this mission.

Elder McGill and Elder Hoyt in their office on Elder Hoyt's last day.  We love these Elders.  Glad that we still have Elder McGill in the office.  He will be joined by Elder Rantaniemi from Finland.

New missionary from England, Elder Wilkey (2nd from left) and new Assistant to the President, Elder Rantaniemi (2nd from right).  Singing again!!  I'm grateful for music in my life.  I'm not as musical as the rest of my family but I do enjoy it and appreciate it.

Two new missionaries came in this week:  Elder Wilkey (with the halo over his head) and Syster Saarinen (in the greenish sweater) from Finland.  Happy to have them join our mission!  There's Elder Torrie on the far right, taking a break from the piano to join the picture.

It has been great to work with you, Elder Hoyt.  You will be missed in the mission office.  Elder Hoyt will be serving in another area of Stockholm so he's still nearby.

We greeted new missionaries this week and now we are sending missionaries home.  Syster missionaries serve for 18 months.  Syster Horne is going home.  One last time to sing together.

And Syster Hunsaker, Syster Adams, and Syster Andersen are also going home after having served for the past 18 months.  They come knowing a little Swedish, and they go home being fluent in Swedish and with strong testimonies of the gospel.  Syster Andersen translated for us in sacrament meetings when we were here in January and February.

This is where I work all day long.  My desk goes up and down so I can stand up when I get tired of sitting.  I'm very pleased with the way things are set up.  I have file cabinets under that long table so my files are easy to reach.  But most things are kept on computer files.  The work is very interesting and I feel needed and useful.  I'm thankful that I can be of use in my old age!
Here's LeRon's side of the office.  We enjoy working together.

The red dots on the map of Sweden show the location of all our wards and branches.  The furthest north branch is in Luleå (pronounced Loo-lee-oh).
I took this picture this morning.  We haven't had too many sunshiny days lately but today it was bright and cheery.


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