Three weeks in and I’m physically surviving off of the wonderful food people sent me (thanks so much everyone. I love it so much!) and soup on rice from the cafeteria. All of the physical negatives are truly nothing compared to all of the spiritual positives. My Swedish still isn’t great but it is improving faster than I had believed it would. I’m now able to have conversations without notes. This week was the first time I did TRC which is where you get to just talk to a real Swede to practice the language. I got to talk to an old Swedish lady, who was probably the best part of my week. She is a fifth generation member, her ancestors being some of the first converts in Sweden. She was just wonderful to talk to. She lived in Sweden until she was 40, then went back to work at the Stockholm temple.
All of the Dutchies in my zone, who I became very good friends with, left this week which made our hall for two very quiet, until all the Mexican elders (actually from Mexico) moved in. They are always having fiestas and mock Luchador fights and are just hilarious. I love it; almost as much as I love seeing the looks of fear on all of the Utah and Idaho white elders faces as they don’t know what to do when they see a culture other than their own. My Mexican neighbors inducted me in, calling me “blanco Lamanite.” The Dutchies also left me a ton of stuff they couldn’t bring like white shirts, flip flops and a quality electric shaver.
As always, the pinnacle spiritually of every week were the devotionals. On Sunday, we watched the LDS Christmas devotional, which was amazing, and if you haven’t watched it yet, it is the perfect doorway into the true Christmas season. I especially loved Bonnie Oscarson’s talk. (who by the way was he Temple President’s wife for the Stockholm temple) On Tuesday, W. Craig Zwick of the Seventy spoke and Lexie Walker sang. Lexie Walker is this twelve year old with the voice of a 30 year old. It is kind of, sort of amazing; just google her. W. Craig Zwick talked about what we can do to stay physically and spiritually safe on a mission, which everyone needs no matter how positive they are that they will be fine.
The rest of the week was just language study and sleep every day. The smartest thing Elder Ort and I did this week was utilize the temple cafeteria. It is technically in our MTC boundaries and our zone leaders think it is fine. Last P-day, after we went to the temple, we had dinner there and the taste of real food, real meat and celestial rolls was so good that we went back last night while Elder L was at choir. (I first did choir but Elder L is rather annoying and is of the belief that my voice isn’t very good, so Elder Ort and I enjoy some relief time from him) . The fact that Swedish meatballs were on the menu at the temple last night was divine revelation that it was just meant to be for us to have dinner there. You eat delicious food and feel the peace and spirit of the temple as a stress relief at the same time. Elder Ort, having made a hefty sum of money before his mission, has decided that we must eat there every Tuesday and Wednesday, and he will pay. It is seriously a much needed gift, for I won’t pretend I haven’t had stress here with the language and Elder L,. (I seriously have some new gray hairs on that one spot on my head where I get them) But no amount of stress overpowers my gratitude for being on this mission. My testimony has strengthened, my relationship with God is closer than it has ever been and I can honestly not wait until I can be out in the field to serve the people of Sweden. This gospel will give you more happiness and peace than anything in this world. I promise everyone that.
I love you all, especially Elanor who is turning 4 today and will probably be reading Keats and Bronte by the time I get home ….she is growing up to fast. I love you Elanor. Go read a nice stack of Peter Rabbit for me.
Jag älske ni,
Äldste Erik Anderson Scott