Aldste Scott Update!

Another great letter from Erik. He also took some incredible photos this week. Enjoy those as well!
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What a week. What a week indeed. We taught 15 lessons, which anyone who went to a Hispanic country may regard as sub par but for us came with much rejoicing. We have a few new investigators and several possibly new investigators come this week. One is Jonas, a extremely happy and passionate refugee from Eritrea. He just came into the country, speaks zero swedish but some sweet creole English that I wish I had naturally, (“you go sleep tight now broda!”) and is currently in a refugee camp 3 hours north of us. The difficulty is 1: he does not have residence yet (but he is a refugee and this Sweden so it should be fine) and 2: he does not have means to actually make it to Karlstad for church. He has a little bit of money from the government for survival until he can get settled but he says “the good people gave me money and I wanna show my thanks by not spending much of it.” So we hope and pray all goes well for him…. We meet a lot of refugees that have seen some terrible things and it is wonderful to see them working hard here in Sweden. They are very grateful people. They also awaken you to just how many people need to be helped in this world that is easy to not care about when you are far away and comfortable.

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Karlstad, Sweden

One very sad thing that happened this week was Samir (our investigator with a baptism date) lost one of his closest friends this week. He was killed as an innocent citizen by ISIS in the war in Syria. This was a very heavy blow for Samir. We are postponing his baptism date (it was suppose to be this next week) but he still is very strong and right now what is most important is being here for him. One would think going on a mission you are further from the things in the news but when you meet and teach people who are running from ISIS or have had family or friends killed by ISIS, it is very close to you indeed. I’ve never had to properly give these terrors much thought apart from the very American fear of another monument being blown up and our citizens dying, but now when I am teaching people that God is our loving Heavenly Father and they’ve seen horrible things, I couldn’t dream of and have had loved ones massacred by what I can call not much less than evil. It does become a weight on my heart.  Terrorism was such a distant thing once, and now I am meeting and teaching those whose lives have been torn apart by it. For anyone who may look at this world and all that is evil in it and ask, how could a loving God let this happen? Please read Alma 14:8-13: This is when Alma, a prophet from the Book of Mormon, was preaching the gospel to the city of Ammonihah. Several people were converted but the judges of the city, were evil men who imprisoned Alma and his companion, Amulek and forced them to witness all the people they converted get burned to death. and it reads:  “And they brought their wives and children together, and whosoever believed or had been taught to believe in the word of God they caused that they should be cast into the fire; and they also brought forth their records which contained the holy scriptures, and cast them into the fire also, that they might be burned and destroyed by fire.

 And it came to pass that they took Alma and Amulek, and carried them forth to the place of martyrdom, that they might witness the destruction of those who were consumed by fire.

10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.

 11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.

 12 Now Amulek said unto Alma: Behold, perhaps they will burn us also.

 13 And Alma said: Be it according to the will of the Lord. But, behold, our work is not finished; therefore they burn us not.

Often times, after witnessing or being closely impacted with a tragedy, one can feel heavy guilt that those they loved were killed and they are alive and safe.  But, they can find comfort in what Alma says, that those who were good that were killed by the hand of those who are evil, will  be rewarded in heaven, for God truly is loving. If they survived while their loved ones were killed, perhaps God still intends for them to do something very special in this life before going to the next. Perhaps even find the gospel! God loves each and everyone of us personally, and the pains we go through in this life will be paid 100 fold in love and peace and blessings in the life to come. 

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Lake Vanverne

On a much lighter note, the rest of my week….. We are also teaching Monika’s daughters now. Cajsa is 17 and the first lesson went very well. She was the most engaged investigator on the first lesson yet. Hope for great things with that family….

We get a lot of people not interested, but Swedes are very polite about it and we’ve only had two interesting encounters this week…I always love interesting encounters. The first was this man demanding to see our Mormon papers. I showed him my license to proselytize but apparently that wasn’t the *mormon paper* he was talking about so he slammed the door, saying that we are not “real Mormons.” The second was a very friendly old man from Bosnia,who met the missionaries back in the 1991 (pretty sure, he had a thick accent) in Sarajevo and loved their message but had to run away from the war to Sweden (again from what I understood) and has not been contacted since….Unfortunately, he has completely lost his marbles. We talked to him for a good hour and every five minutes he thought we were the authorities and showed us his residence card, and passport, and debit card, and other miscellaneous papers….He also kept forgetting to speak Swedish and started slipping into Bosnian and asking if we met before and where his daughter was. He actually liked what we had to say and seemed like he would be promising if he was in the right mind, but you can’t really baptize or indeed teach someone who is in another dimension. On the outside, the whole event was comical but thinking more on it it was rather sad. He lives alone, with a very little grasp of reality or sanity, and could very well have joined the church when he was mentally able. People like him, I am positive will be blessed in the next life.IMG_2676

I should probably stop writing, for people with normal lives don’t really have time for these letters anyways. But just so you know, I love you all and sincerely suggest you visit Sweden (and Norway also, the Lidins in my branch moved from Norway and would very much tell anyone who asks that Norway is better) at least once in your life. Sweden is a gorgeous country, with beautiful untouched wildlife always just over your shoulder, the most picturesque towns and the world’s best bakeries. Come here as soon as you can! I’m falling madly in love with this place. Especially visit Värmland. It seems like every two minutes on the train there is another lake, dotted with brightly painted lakehouses in the most beautiful countryside on earth. 

I love this church. I love this gospel. I love the Book of Mormon and I love how all three can bless lives. I also love my Dad who is turning 52 this week. Happy Birthday Dad! Thank you for being the best father in the world. Without you, I would not be here, or indeed anywhere if you want to be scientific about it, but more importantly without you amazing example I would not be who I am today. Thank you!

Love, Äldste Erik Scott

More photos!

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Typical new Swedish neighbourhood..
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Lake Vanvern- Largest lake in Sweden and the EU.

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Classic fika at the apartment. We eat very well, for bakeries are surprisingly affordable. The blue plate is the royal family to add a flourish. The blue tube is fish paste, which is actually delicious and  I intend on buying some from Ikea for the rest of my life .
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He said, “Sheep’s head for 80 crowns!”
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Erik said about the photo: “A genuine Beatles guitar from when they came to Karlstad in 1963.”
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Elder Ian Scott update- January 26th.

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When I asked him for photos, this is what he sent last week… Showing of a new haircut, Ian-style, I guess. 🙂

 A great letter from my always honest and heartfelt boy…

Thank you to all the people who sent random mail and packages. I could not have survived with out the extra support.  Thanks to Jessica-my sister, my mom, and Luke who sent some Star Wars socks and hipster shirt that gave me a great surprise.

Well, something interesting happened on Saturday.  We went to see 11 and 13 year old brothers who had joined the church but had gone less active because their family shows no support. The 11 year old was really nice but the 13 year old was a difficult child!  He gave me a hug when he first met me so he could steal all my stuff including my wallet and car keys,  which took much effort to get them back. It may have involved me using a sword pressed against his at his neck and a cousin holding down his hands to get my stuff back, but why would I do a thing like that? In order to focus their energy, we played football outside and I slipped and fell in the mud and got real messy. At least the kids have respect for us now but it came at a high price.

Then, there is this crazy guy who’s doctrine is out there! We helped him move a couch from his store to a customer. It was well worth it because we got to see his miscellaneous and furniture store. Words cannot describe the clutter and randomness of this place. I will attempt to get pictures. Just as a sample, in the window display, it has a giant stuffed tiger on a couch with ridiculous lamps that would make the Christmas Story lamp jealous and stuffed animals everywhere and a life sized Yoda statue. One cannot take it all in at once. To say the least, the place is a mission legend.

This next week, Peter Red-Crow, my blind Indian friend who is such a great example, is going to be baptized. It’s a long story  how he got to this point, but he says he wants to be  baptized in the frozen Mississippi( like all natives). The ward is not to keen on that , so he will be baptized at the church.

Companionship relations are getting better. My dad shared a very good story today with me that might change my mission or my life(you can read it later). I will be honest, sometimes  I have been suffering because I have just been thinking about what I want to do, but have been whipping my self to help others because of duty. That’s not a good place for the heart to  be, or to beat yourself to be good, it won’t last long and it won’t be real. Pray for grace, trust in Christ and believe in Christ. Do what Christ says, not by force but by willingness and love for Jesus Christ. It helps to love him when you know him more by reading about Christ in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. I am saying this to remind my self of things that have helped me before, and I know  they will continue to help myself, and every one else in the world that is trying to be good but is struggling to actually do so.

Well, that’s life in Illinois. I look forward to the John Deer factory tour today! Thanks for reading.

With the love of a hibernating sun bear,

Elder  Ian Scott

Erik’s “Brief” Letter:

"I've knocked on more Erik Andersons and and Ander Eriksons than I can count....just one of the many examples of how common my name is in sweden. I also have seen an Erik Anderson plumbing van, an Erik Andersson towing service and an Anders Erikson jewellery store."
“I’ve knocked on more Erik Andersons and and Ander Eriksons than I can count….just one of the many examples of how common my name is in sweden. I also have seen an Erik Anderson plumbing van, an Erik Andersson towing service and an Anders Erikson jewellery store.”

This will have to be a shorter letter than most for my p-day has been a bit shortened due to meeting with my branch president for lunch and a lesson with an inactive in a few hours. So, in the words of Friar Lawrence “Let me be brief”. (though the tale I have to tell is not nearly as long nor as well written nor as depressing as that of Romeo and Juliet’s.)

I’m steadily adjusting to missionary life. I feel like I molded into Swedish life perfectly fine, but I wish to  mold into the language better.  An 80 year old inactive couple we visit, got a chuckle out of the fact that I got sent to Varmland for my first transfer. The accent here is uniquely sing songy as far as Swedish accents go.  I’ll get there…. I can speak well enough to give a lesson but the MTC does not do much for teaching you how to understand what an old varmlandska farmer is saying in insanely fast-rapid Swedish.

Aldstes Scott and Dahl. The castle behind them is actually now a Salvation Army!
Aldstes Scott and Dahl. The castle behind them is actually now a Salvation Army!

This week we received four new investigators, which is very exciting for this area, plus a few that we have dates to meet them. The first of the week was Monica and her daughter. Monica is from El Salvador and has lived in Sweden for a while now.  Missionaries visited her awhile ago, but it has been several months since her last lesson. She really likes to talk to anyone about Christ, for in Sweden, Christians exist, but they are sprinkled among heaps of atheists. They are all very kind atheist that are never negative to you for sharing the gospel, but atheists nonetheless. The lesson went very well. She believes our words and she has a desire to be baptized. The baptism date cannot be made yet for certain reasons, but we will keep giving the lessons. She also will make homemade tacos with real Salvadorian spices next time we visit, which I look forward to very much, for Swedish food is delicious, but even the Kebab shops don’t get very spicy.

We also started teaching an old man (not sure what his age is) named Ivan who has an inactive wife. He collects cuckoo clocks and still has his hair like a snazzy 1950’s greaser. Our fourth new investigator came as bit of a surprise yesterday. Motty, from Finland, showed up to church asking how much it cost to buy a Book of Mormon. We were a bit shocked at first that an investigator actually came to us, but we recovered and informed him that it is free in any language he would like. We are now meeting him on Wednesday!

Lidin's Farm
Lidin’s Farm

As for the rest of the week, we had a very fantastic Tuesday on the Lidin’s farm, taking care of the horses, pigs and sheep. Their farm is one of the loveliest places on earth. Bjorn Lidin is in the branch presidency. His son,Christian takes care of the farm now.  He has a wife who is a recent convert and a little girl who turned 1 last Sunday. That night, we had some delicious chicken stew, from their own chickens, and they sent us home with a generous selection of thDSC_4071eir farm. We now have homemade loaves of bread on the table, a large bag of their farm’s potatoes that can last us months, and several pounds of their lamb in our freezer. (They also cooked lamb stew for the branch after church yesterday so they are very nice to have in the branch) We are going to go to their farm to help out again tomorrow after a day of contacting in Sunne.

IMG_1937[1]On Wednesday, we gave out free hot chocolate and decided to take a short cut across a frozen lake to a lesson, which was awesome and initially a good idea, but then we forgot that their was a forest on the other side before the road. For me, that made it all the more better, but we had a lesson to go to….So, much forest rambling to go through, which isn’t a big deal in Sweden. You can camp a night on someone’s property, and legally camp up to two weeks with their permission. (Much different from the good old USA where you get shot in the chest for admiring someone’s maple tree).  We made it to the appointment fairly on time.

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At Igenborg’s House in Kristinehamm.

The rest of the week was a decent cycle of contacting and lessons. On Saturday, we traveled nearly an hour to the town of Kristinehamn to contact a referral whose phone number didn’t work. Turns out the referral gave her friend’s address so her friend could make sure that we didn’t appear crazy first. She actually lives in Filipstad, which is another 45 or so minutes. So, we spent the rest of the day contacting in Kristinehamn which was actually very enjoyable. It is a very friendly community, and of the 45 contacts we actually got a few that will want us to come back. The friendliest of all turned out to be from Glasgow (Scotland) which explains why she was so friendly…. Glasgow missionaries have got it easy. Everyone from Glasgow will start talking to you like you’re their best friend.  The lady was an active Catholic but it was nice to talk to a Scot nonetheless. One door we knocked on, an old lady threw out her back when answering the door and we had to run to get the neighbors for help. It was all very frightening and a bit of my mission I hope to blot out for eternity. All in all, I love Kristinehamn and intend on returning often. We had dinner that night at Igenborg’s house. She is a member who lives in Kristinehamn, writes poetry about Varmland, has been collecting church stuff since the 60s and has a room set aside just for the missionaries to hang out.

IMG_2601I am so thankful that I can be here, in beautiful Sweden, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that this church is true, that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and this gospel is the only way to receive true joy and peace. If it wasn’t true, the idea of sending out thousands of 18-19 year old boys all over the globe, to live in apartments by themselves, would’ve failed ages ago. There is no way young men and women can do what they do on missions if this gospel wasn’t true. I’ve come to know that it is, and so thankful to have it in my life, and wish to give it to as many people who will listen, and see it change theirs. Yeah, Swedish clothes are nice, especially the sweaters, and yes. food is very good as well, but if I put the work before all else and have the faith, the Lord will provide means for me, and when hard times come.

I love you all and I hope Oregon gets a little colder so you can ski properly. We are supposed to get a heap of snow this week here in Karlstad!

Vi Ses,

Äldste Scott

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An authentic letter from Erik after all:

Thankfully for his mom, Erik was able to get on a computer to finish
his letter the next day.   The photos are all his this time. Here it is:

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So I am finally here!!!!! In Sweden, in Karlstad to be precise. My area is huge. It would take us nearly five hours to reach the top of our area by train and we do not have a car or even bikes. We actually have a referral that is 4 hours away that we need to find a day where we can afford in our schedule to spend 8 hours total travelling.

DSC_4008My area is called the Värmlands, which literally means warmlands, because in the summer I guess it is quite nice…Though, this morning it was in the teens and snowing hard, so the     name just seems rather ironic at the moment. This is a very rural farming area. (we actually are going to work on a recent convert’s farm tomorrow feeding the animals) The bulk of the nation’s ligonberries come from here… Ligonberry juice is cheaper than orange juice. (fyi, the Ligonberry drink at Ikea back at home isn’t actually ligonberry juice. It is this stuff called saft, which the swedes drink like crazy….just fruit concrete with tons of sugar that you put in your water…actually ligonberry juice is much more tart but delicious) Also, there is a very strong Värmlandska accent which is the most singy songy of all Swedish accents) One of our less actives we visit, Christer, said that if he goes anywhere else in Sweden they think he is from Norway. (which we will actually be able to physically touch for two seconds this week when we visit a less active that lives right on the border)

Karlstad itself, where we do most of our work, feels pretty much exactly like Portland, if not more Portland than Portland. It is a cleaner, more put together and even more hipster then Portland. Old men on the buses are more hipster than me…

Our branch is very small. There was 12 people yesterday at church, but that will change very soon. Our Branch president is from Nigeria, and he is a very nice helpful man who prefers to speak English around us, and had two little girls, who are the entirety of the primary program in the branch. The branch counsler is, Brother Gout. He is also really nice and also prefers to speak English with us, because he comes from Netherlands. The rest of the branch consists of their wives, Brother Gout’s son, Lillemor, a super nice little lady (ironic because her name means little mother) who feeds us on Saturdays when we shovel out the snow in the church parking lot for church the next morning, the Larsons, an adorable old couple who own an antique shop, and tow single older women. We also have the Lidens who come every week but I did not get to see them yesterday because it was a pretty big snowstorm and they live on a farm over an hour away. The branch has quite a few inactives, many who just live several hours away and actually are closer to the Norwegian branch. (30 minutes to the Norwegian branch, 4 hours to ours) We are visiting with quite a few, and several I am certain we can get back to church. One is very religious, has pictures of Christ all over his house and reads the Book of Mormon every day….but his ex-wife is in our branch….which is awkward with the attendance of 12-16 people as of now. But we shall work on that!!!

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View of Sweden from Erik’s plane.

We will certainly increase the numbers soon, for I have one investigator who I asked if he would be baptized and he said yes!!!!!! It was my first lesson ever with an investigator and I was super nervous beforehand. His name is Samir. He is a Syrian Christian who was a dentist back in Damascus before he came here. He is currently taking 3 classes of Swedish and speaks super good Swedish already, so he can become a dentist here. He has a wife who speaks very little Swedish but is also learning, and daughter who speaks baby because she is a baby. They have a very nice loving home, where you can feel peace just walking into their apartment. They already are very good, genuinely prepared people. Samir had met with the missionaries a few times before a few months ago, but they hadn’t made a teaching record for him, so we started with the first lesson. He agreed with everything we said, he has already read almost the entire Book of Mormon (in Arabic which looks super cool) and he has a very strong relationship with God. The whole event was rather unbelievable looking back. Beforehand, and indeed afterhand, I was understanding a small percentage of what Swedes were saying to me and I was struggling to put words in Swedish to say, but during that lesson I understood nearly everything and found that I could say everything that I needed to say. Immediately after that unfortunately, wasn’t the case but it was good for the moment. Värmlandska is very hard to understand…but give me 12 weeks and I’ll be fine.  We plan on holding a baptism service at the end of the month and in the mean time need to teach him all the lessons and hopefully find an effective way to also teach his wife. Needless to say Samir gave us quite a high for the rest of the week.

I’ve been lucky not really getting an negative reception so far in Karlstad. There are many who are disinterested, but they are very nice about it. One inactive that we meet who is actually from California (and lived in Roseburg, Oregon for a while) who came on vacation to Sweden nine years ago and liked it so much that he hasn’t returned back to the U.S. since, told us that Karlstad is a particularly friendly city of Sweden. He actually decided to move here because he was living in another city in the north where no one ever talked to him and he went to visit a friend in Karlstad and from getting off the bus to reaching his friend’s house he had more people say hello to him than he had in his entire four years in the other city. Of course, the people here are still very Swedish, so sitting next to someone on the bus is viewed as a rude gesture, but on the scale of publicly friendly in Sweden, Karlstad ranks pretty high.

I got a lot of people (mainly Utah and Idaho kids in the MTC that have never left the country

Mittens knitted for Erik by a lady in Stockholm. He was excited that they were Gryffindor colours!
Mittens knitted for Erik by a lady in Stockholm. He was excited that they were Gryffindor colours!

hahaha) tell me that the Swedes are a very proud, materialistic, godless people…. I think that must just be a capitalistic brainwashing philosophy to keep young American children away from the dangers of socialism or something….because from my one week in Sweden, though most people are initially shy, these are the kindest, most humble and genuinely selfless people I’ve met in my life. Yes, many are not interested in our message, but they apologize about that….really they apologize about everything….(you start speaking Swedish and they hear your American accent so they start speaking English and when you say you are trying to learn Swedish they apologize for speaking English…) They are never rude, and there are campaigns for charities and environmental protection programs and all sorts of good causes all over the place, so their hearts are in the right place. They are nice good people. They kind of had a bad history with a corrupted church ruled state in the past, and so many may feel that God wouldn’t have condoned a church to do the things it did…. Which is exactly why they need our message!!!!

Erik's companion, Elder Dahle
Erik’s companion, Elder Dahle

Sorry I’m droning on about the people and not actually saying anything about how I got here….. It was noteworthy and mentionable at the time, but now after a week full of missionary work it is kind of forgettable. Essentially,  I made it here fine and safe. I went contacting the day I got here on the streets of Stockholm, which is a very beautiful city but much faster paced than Karlstad so contacting was much more colorful than it is here. Then, I slept like a rock, woke up, got my visa photo and was given my new companion, Elder Dahle.

On the balcony of his apartment in Karlstad.
On the balcony of his apartment in Karlstad.

Our apartment is apparently considered one of the worst in the mission, which means it is really nice by other standards because apartments are posh and Ikead out here. We have a kitchen stocked with ligonberry juice, legit milk, (the sort of creamy stuff one does not simply get at a Safeway) Swedish meatballs (may sound tacky but they are super cheap) salmon, muesli, lamb (from branch members) pasta, all the needs to make curry, and always fresh heavenly bakery bread. So, we live very comfortably on our budget. That is pretty much it for this week. I’ll need to write some handwritten letters when I can. I’m taking a two hour train ride today to the village of Torsby (Thor’s village) right on the border of Norway (maybe touch good old Norge) to go work on a sheep farm for a recent convert and teach her the after baptism lessons, so I can probably write a few then.

I love you all very much and I hope all is well back home.

Kärlek,

Äldste Erik Scott

A kinda/sorta letter from Erik in Karlstad, Sweden:

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Lake Vanern, Karlstad, Sweden

I did not receive a full letter from Erik this week, which I’m quite bummed about as it was his first week in Sweden. Thankfully, he answered some of my questions and that will be his post for the week. He ended the email saying he was writing the blog letter, but I never heard back from him. He is in Karlstad, Sweden which is 3 1/2 hours west of Stockholm. It sits on the largest lake in Sweden-Lake Vanern. Karlstad and the surrounding area has a population around 80,000 with there being one LDS branch in the town. With Erik being about half Norwegian, it’s so awesome that he’s serving in a Norwegian community in Sweden!

I asked Erik about if his new haircut was mission approved, he said: “In regards to the hair, it really isn’t that bad. Both times you were referring to, I was wearing a hat before and I hadn’t fixed it yet so it made the hair look weird. Also the level of hipsterness is suffocating. Even 75 year old men are dressed more hip than Portland….it is hilarious. I asked President Becktrand and he said it is fine. He just does not like buzzed hair because he says it is fine in Utah and Idaho but here it is a gang statement….but my hair isn’t that bad, mum. Don’t worry.”

Photo I found of Karlstad, taken this week.
Photo I found of Karlstad, taken this week.

Of course, snow is important to Erik, so I had to ask how much snow there was: “ I don’t know where the punctuation is on a Swedish key board…sorry…but hey, I can do this öäå¨å¤) . We got dumped with a ton of snow. This morning it is about 16 degrees fahrenheit outside and we’ve got a nice pile. Karlstad is a beautiful place. My area is Värmland (I’ll explain more in the other letter)  but it is basically Norway. The accent, the rest of Sweden thinks is Norwegian. Many people are either Norwegian or identify themselves with Norway. Lots of people speak Norwegian on the street, and it is also the main producer of lingonberries so ligonberry everything is super cheap here. Ligonberry juice is cheaper than orange juice. Our area is the 3rd largest in the mission, taking over 5 hours to get to the top, with no car and no bikes (upsetting seeing as I had to pay for a bike when I got here straight off the plane). I’ll talk more about it in the other letter. “

In asking him how he liked his two days in Stockholm, plus more explanation of Swedes– “I’ll explain more in the letter but polar opposite from Karlstad. In Stockholm, which is a beautiful city, with tons of old buildings, no one has time for you. Proselyting for the hour, like I did, fresh off the plane, was interesting. Lots of cuss words, both in Swedish and English…though luckily only the English ones I understood. Karlstad is a different story. Swedes are still shy people, but they are also the nicest people ever. If they don’t want to hear your message, they will apologize profusely. If you are speaking Swedish with an American accent, they will start talking English for you. If you say you want to learn Swedish, they will apologize for talking English….Canadians and Swedes…maybe it is a northern thing. You can punch a Swede and they will apologize for hurting your hand with their face.”

About his new mission president: President Beckstrand is very nice. He is from a small town right next to Cedar City. He is powerful, but not intimidating in a negative way. Their home is awesome. It feels very much like ours.

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Karlstad, Sweden

Answering my question about the branch in Karlstad and his apartment: “Yesterday there were 12 people at church….we are going to change that. They are all very strong nice members. Lillamor (which means little mother, which is very fitting because she is a little lady that is like the missionaries’ mother) cooks us food every Saturday when we shovel snow out of the church parking lot for Sunday morning. She speaks hardly any English, has a very strong Värmland accent (singy songy Norwegian) and bakes us bread and makes us ligonberry jam. My apartment is known as the worst apartment in the whole mission, which is a very nice apartment: Extremely nice shower, nice wood floor, etc.. but I guess other apartments have nicer mattresses, newer kitchens, Ikea furnishings and showers that come from the ceiling….oh well….still very nice. My area has a reputation for being the dead zone…which we will change.

Erik with his new companion, Elder Dahle
Erik with his new companion, Elder Dahle

Because I worried if his bank card works over there without the chip in the card (like all Europe banks use): “The card works….i just need to control myself with it….everything is on really good sale because it is after Christmas and stuff in the States is nothing compared to Sweden…even better that Britain. I wish I would’ve just bought a few things before, because these are really good prices for really good stuff that I don’t actually need.

The last question he answered was about food, as I knew he’s be making his own meals most of the time: “I have to make the food for myself most of the time. Swedish meatballs, muesli, ligonberry juice, and salmon we buy in bulk because it is very affordable. We can eat pretty good on our budgets…with really good fresh bread.”

So, hopefully next week, there will be more details and stories for him to share. Until then…
Erik’s Mom

Cold, snowy and windy in Rock Island

A recent new photo of Rock Island's winter storm this past week.
A recent new photo of Rock Island’s winter storm this past week.

Here is Ian’s letter for January 12th. He promises photos next week!

It was a slower week as we started off being grounded, which means we couldn’t go outside by issue of mission president because it’s too cold. But, we did not get the text,  (at -30 windchill)  so we went out and shovelled for old people. When we got back and my comp discovered the text, he was not happy but the Norwegian blood flows warm and I did not mind.

There’s been lots of fresh snow to beautify the dull urban landscape. I still find value in the way it reflects light and captures cool shades of purple on distant deciduous hills across the Mississippi. It mostly slows down travel, but we made it though the week all right.

As far as missionary work goes, we have an investigator progressing well and being helped by her friend that invited her in the church. She has the last name of Reed so we may be related ( Reed being my mothers maiden name).  Already, it does not seem strange calling her “ Sister Reed”.  The other investigator we have who is solid, is progressing well but health prevents him from coming to church. These people were invited by their friends and as a result they have progressed much more.  Members who engage in the work with a desire to do it, will have amazing things happen if they ask the Lord’s help, because they want to bless the lives of those they care about.  This is the way the Lord would like this work to go, natural unforced, and done out of love. I like it when things go the way God plans: naturally and simply without contortion.

I like the ward members here but there is a division between us and the other missionaries. We were told by ward members that we were  “the laid back elders that were nice and polite”.  My companion took part of that as an offense,  but I rather enjoyed being labeled as laid back in opposition to how high strung I have been in the past.  Anyways, the other elders were labeled the “guns blazing, cowboy, “hell fire and brimstone” kind of preachers. They are very hard core, and do a lot of good work and baptize like john but they have not made ward members happy. It’s in a difficult situation we are all in. There is a division in the ward and only true charity from all parties that can rebuild the bridges. To say the least, I kind of feel bad standing idly by as an observer of this situation. I pray to know our part in it.

Transfers are coming up  and we find out tonight. I  am here for good but my companion may leave. I  will miss him singing Broadway musicals as the alarm every morning( today i woke up to Newsies). Speaking of which, he even dresses like a newsie with the cap and all.  I will need to send pictures next week.

Love,

Elder Ian Scott the 2nd

Erik leaves for Sweden

They
Erik and the other greeny missionaries right before they left for the airport to Sweden.

There will not be a letter from Erik this week as he won’t get a day to write until next Monday.  As of 8 pm, January 5th, he should have arrived in Stockholm, Sweden. Jon and I were able to talk with him from the airport, which was the best.  He is psyched for getting immersed in all things Swedish and is ready to test out the language.  He said the first thing he noticed when driving on a road for the first time in seven weeks was the $ 2 a gallon gas prices!

He’s learned so much and experienced all kinds of people and situations in the MTC that he already sounds more mature and closer to an adult then a youth.   He wanted to wish the best to all family and friends and asked about several of you.  The only thing he seems to be having difficulty with in regards to missing anything is Black Swan Youth Theatre .  He finds it hard to comprehend I’m directing a play without him for the first time in his memory. I guess I’d better arrange a photo journal of the rehearsal to performance of Willy Wonka.

Well. until next week for Erik!

Susan (Elder Erik Scott’s Mum)

A Roller Coaster of a Week

Ian on the morning he left on his mission, with his niece, Elanor. July 2013
Ian on the morning he left on his mission, with his niece, Elanor. July 2013

Dear Mom,

     It’s been a roller coaster week! It started off tough, and I learned that often the adversary strikes before good things. It was a hard lesson getting dropped by my African “braddah”who was solid and then didn’t want it anymore. To make the situation worse, an anti-Mormon was there during our lesson with him. I  learned that this is the only 100% true doctrine left not corrupted by man and I know that for sure.  Sometimes it’s hard  to do missionary work when all it brings heartache when the people who don’t follow though with the knowledge I give them.
     Despite this week’s set back, we found three new humble investigators, and another is getting baptized this week!!  These three are very willing to change their lives for Christ and through Christ. My companion and I have worked out our differences and have found joy in the work.
     The ward we serve in is okay. There are  lots of old people that are tired and a few powerful new young members that just moved in like the Rosers who are one of the coolest families I have connected with on my mission( they even think it is a sin to eat non organic food). They were the BYU-I outdoorsy couple who are power house missionaries and we get almost all our work from them. There is not  much priesthood and a very active Relief Society with a lot of single women converts. I like the ward but we haven’t been fed in two weeks except by a recent  convert one time. Iv’e been fed about one time a week on average.
     In this week’s scripture reading, I liked D&C 52:34 and it describes how I have been faithful in tribulation and now I am being blessed with much fruit. But, I believe the blessings come in life after the mission, as a friend I had that went home has said. With 6 months left to go, I will read a section of the Doctrine and Covenants each day as a kind of countdown tradition missionaries have.
     Well, I hope I  answered all your questions? I love you mom so much. Thanks for
all you do and you advice, strength and faithfulness.
Love,
Elder Scott

Off to Sweden on Monday!

DSC_3807Like Thanksgiving, Christmas at the MTC was unique. Christmas morning, I opened all my presents Harry Potter style. Thank you everyone who gave me gifts!!!! I am trying to write out as many letters in my spare time as I can. In the morning, I looked out the window to find a very fine layer of fresh snow, as one ought to have on Christmas morning. That was particularly fantastic considering that the last several weeks at the MTC had felt like a bland October and it was high time Utah ought to start acting like it should, with proper snow and all. Snow seems to do something positive for my mental well being for some unexplained reason so it made this week wonderful, and incredibly thankful I’m being sent to Sweden.

Christmas eve consisted of a talent show (oh Mormons and their pianos….) and watching the Nativity. Christmas morning I may have not had the Scott family traditions that I miss but I did have Elder Nelson come and talk to us. By the way, he wanted me to tell you Mum and Dad, “Thank you.” His message was understanding the doctrine of Christ and how it will help us and how it will help others we give it to…. for it is the ultimate gift of this earth and therefore very fitting to talk about on Christmas. He touched just nine factors of Jesus Christ’s doctrine and expressed the importance that we learn and understand them to the point that we can explain them simply, for too many missionaries over complicated things when true pure doctrine is simple and not just for old wise scholars, but for everyone, including children and adults alike. You can make the gospel very complex if you wish too, but as Elder Bednar said when he came here, “the things that really matter are very simple”.

After that, I was able to call home which was the best part of the entire week for my parents are awesome. Then, we all got herded back into 19M to watch this old lady with a very strong Utah accent pretend to be Mary alone on stage for thirty minutes, followed by the cast of Hale Theatre’s Christmas Carol singing some songs for us, (which was nostalgic having been in the play myself) and we watched Ephraim’s Rescue.

The rest of the week was a blur of language study and filling our heads with information we forget the next day and have to relearn all over again. Sometimes, I feel a bit like a sacrament cup, expected to take in a gallon of water being poured down on me….but I try my best and four days from now I’ll be flying to Svergie (Sweden) regardless, and what I don’t get here, I’ll get there.

On Sunday, David Archeluta came with Richard Elliot, the Motab organist who has some crazy skills you don’t see at conference. Richard Elliot spoke about the power of music, quoting Lorenzo from Merchant of Venice and talking about his younger years in a rock band. He did some underbar footwork on the organ….then David Archeluta trotted up to the stand and wow….he is tiny. He is like a little baby mouse with a voice of gold. We have called him ficka pojkvän (pocket boyfriend) because many of the Systers would not mind having him as a boyfriend and conveniently he can fit in your pocket so he is travel friendly. He sang some impressive numbers and did his little baby chuckles and there was much rejoicing.

Yesterday, Anthony D. Perkins of the seventy talked, who was the mission president for Taiwan (tip of the hat wag of the finger to dad). He talked about how we must being willing to change ourselves on the mission, and loving the people is essential. You can follow all the rules perfectly, but it takes love to make a difference.

DSC_3706Today I got to clean the temple (thus why this letter is late) which was a unique experience. Anywhere else you would think it was a tad bit excessive to dust every inch of everything that was dusted the day before so it does not feel like your dusting is very effective, but it is the temple. Being on the earth, the temple will never be perfectly clean, but we must make it as clean as humanly possible…..though I should never put as much attention and time into cleaning my house as I would the temple or I’ll never doing anything else.

It is four days until I leave and an overwhelming sensation of anticipation is filling me. I will never be a perfect missionary, but I feel ready for the field. My Swedish is broken and often grammatically incorrect, I do not know every quote I should know from the scriptures off the back of my hand. I will certainly be very much a stranger in a new land, but all of this I will improve on, and it is far better for me to do it in the field rather than hiding from the fear of responsibility. The next letter will be very different from the last several, for though the MTC is necessary for the field, I have a very strong feeling that it has not really prepared me for what is too come….which should be hard but absolutely amazing.

Farewell good old dry Utah. I must be off to Svergie, where the air is how it should be, like the northwest.

Mycket Kärlek,

Äldste Scott

p.s. I guess I got this virus in my throat that is giving me bad coughs and trouble breathing so I had to get an x+ray and prescription drugs for it but it is all fine, nothing to worry about.

p.p.s. sorry the letter has no proper structure. I know it ought to be several paragraphs….short on time sorry.

p.p.p.s. lyckliga nya år  (Happy New Year!)

DSC_3802
Erik with the missionaries in his zone. Twelve are going to Sweden and the rest to Norway, Netherlands. Iceland, Denmark and the West Indies.