Another busy week for Erik!

Good thing Erik likes to talk so much and loves to talk to all sorts of people.. It’s helping him as a missionary for sure, as you will soon see…
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Karlstad
Last Monday, we were forgot that buses in a certain area of town stop running after 8:00pm, so we were standing at a bus stop for a long time, with our arms full of groceries before we remembered.  Also waiting at the bus stop, forgetting that no bus was coming, was a women named Jenny from India who is here to get her PHD at Karlstad Universitet. She also lived in Kronoparken (the ghetto where we live.) It isn’t really a ghetto compared to American ghettos. It’s actually  quite nice and quite clean, but according to Sweden, anywhere where most of the people aren’t blonde and you can get quality authentic Kabab is “ghetto”. So,  we helped carry her groceries home. We talked the whole way home and now she is an investigator! She actually is a Christian (pretty awesome since only 2.3% of India is Christian). This week she is going to cook us legit spicy Indian food! It is more exciting than you may think because Swedish food is delicious but they don’t really do spicy at all. 

The rest of the week was a series of very good lessons where we get to see our investigators progress closer to Christ. Some of them, like Jerry and Samir are already very close to Christ as it is. Jerry is amazing as always. He wanted us to give him all the pamphlets so he can study the lessons before we teach them so now he is practically teaching us the lessons. He was able to come to Karlstad on Wednesday where we escorted him to a job interview (he wants to move to Karlstad so he is close to the church) and then showed him the church and had him meet our branch president, Michael, who also is Nigerian so they hit it off like brodahs.

Sadly, a lot of the investigators we had from his refugee camp were transferred to another refugee camp without any notice, but they were given cards to request missionary visits if they were transferred as we were predicting. That is the hardest thing with teaching refugees. Neither you nor them know if they are going to move to the other side of Sweden without any notice. Jerry has been moved 5 times since he got here in November. We still have a Bosian, Ugandan and the two Syrians at the camp. We are teaching seven Syrians total. I can’t explain exactly why, for I don’t know entirely myself, but Syrians are my favorite people in the world. I love them. I’m trying to learn a little bit of Arabic…. just how to write and say a few simple things…. not much. I kind of need to learn Swedish first….

In the meantime, Samir has been truly inspiring. He has a solid testimony and amazing heart and wants to get baptized….He just wants to be baptized the same time as his wife, because he is very firm that in marriage you need to be unified and all steps need to be together. She does not speak Swedish or English (taking care of their baby so she has not been able to take classes yet) so we can’t teach her but he gives her the lessons after we leave. I’ve said it before, but I just love that family. Samir has taught me many things through example, like what true sincere prayer is and how to be a good husband and father. (I’ve of course learned this from my parents as well.) He unfortunately was not able to come to church this week because his baby had a high fever. Jerry was not able either because the morning bus that he got up extra early to catch was not actually a real thing. No buses go through Glava on Sunday. He was quite distraught by this so now we need to find someone to let him sleep over Saturday and Sunday night until he can move to Karlstad.

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Yummy, yummy semlas!

Our other investigators are doing well, and we got a few new ones including a Swedish girl who works at a book store. (#discountonharrypotterbooksinswedish) The week was not all rainbows and semlas. Though there were several of those….Oh,  and it is international semlas day tomorrow which is a bigger deal here than Valentines so you all should celebrate with a semla!

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Erik’s desk. Notice the Swedish Harry Potter…

We had an inactive not want us to ever contact him ever again (to put it nicely) and there are the Jehovah’s Witnesses who from time to time bear false witness about our church and view missionary work kind of like how gangs view their area, which means a lot of good nice people who are afraid to talk to us because the last church that knocked on their door said something along the lines of eternal damnation, which really isn’t our message. I just want there to be peace…I also don’t want them telling people lies about us…but I’d rather have peace than fight about that. Anyways, we are now teaching a ex-JW who was told not to come back to their church because he was asking too many questions. We had some answers he liked and plus he likes celebrating Christmas so it is pretty positive. He came to our church and liked it….but I’ve been fairly fortunate.

Sweden is one of those missions that is painted as a low baptizing, low success mission, which maybe is true compared to Latin America or Africa, but I have fallen in love with this country and these people so deeply that I honestly would not take an offer to be sent to a higher baptizing mission. I could not possibly get myself to leave Sweden for the next two years. This is my home. These people are amazing. Honestly, the fact that I haven’t baptized yet while other greenies have baptized 20 in Guatemala or wherever by now means nothing. I am so attached to these people that numbers do not matter, people do…. and people take time, patience, love, and service. 

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Another amazing sunset in Sweden.
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