|I don't know, maybe I send too many sunset pictures, but it's always a beautiful way to end the day. Down below are the soccer fields that we have Sport's Night on.|
This week seemed to fly by. Due to this being vacation time for most of the people in Sweden, we had the opportunity to do a lot of service this week. One of them was helping with some yard work, and I used the beast of all beasts when it comes to mowers. It was electrically powered. I felt more like I was vacuuming the lawn than anything else. And then when I went to work on the hedges, same story. Electrically powered. No smell of gasoline, no rumble of an engine, it was all very low-key. On Friday, we were helping paint a house. After about an hour of work, they brought out some ice cream so that we could take a break. And to make sure that we didn't get any hunger pangs, we would leisurely pick cherries from the low-hanging boughs. It was a stressful situation indeed, but we pulled through. When we finished, the member was very pleased with how much we had accomplished in the time we had worked, and we were pleased with the working conditions under which we had found ourselves. But the important part was that as we worked, his neighbor came out wondering why our friend was getting all the help. His first question was whether we were Per's (the member) children, and at this point, Per took the opportunity to introduce us as missionaries to his church. I thought it was awesome, because he was bold in introducing us, which is a tough thing to do in this society. Per explained that we work for food (Disclaimer: We work because we want to, food is just a bonus). So now his neighbor wants to invite us over for dinner, and possibly helping him out with some painting. I enjoyed the experience, because the service was enjoyable, and we reached out to someone in a new way.
|On our way to a dinner appointment with (from left to right) Nadim, Majeed, Fardin, myself, and Elder Taggart.|
Another person we met this week is named Sarah. And it was awesome getting the chance to meet her. We went over to her place with the other missionaries, and when we showed up, the smell of cake was wafting through the air. We sat down and started talking, and she pulled out the cake. And she told us it was a family recipe, but she had done her best to Americanize it, because she was hoping it would be like our moms' baking. The other missionaries had all met her before, when I was in Stockholm, but I felt like I was at home very quickly. We talked about many different things, and she kept stopping us and asking, "Okay, but what is wrong with you guys?" Haha, we tried to explain that she would find the fault in no time at all, but to simply accept the good while it was there. Over and over again, she told us how good we were and how she wants sons like us. She even offered to write letters to our parents to tell them they were lucky to have us. I was about to accept the offer but was cut off as the other missionaries said it was no problem, their parents already know. I nodded my head in agreement, still thinking it wouldn't have hurt for some time in the future when I do something stupid. I had a wonderful time there, and as we headed out the door, she told us to let her know if anyone gave us trouble. I had to smile as we walked away, because it's not often that I get the feeling that I'm part of a family here in Sweden. But when I left there, I felt like I had a family member here in Sweden rooting me on. And that's a cool feeling.
TRYING TO FLY?
There has been one other experience that stuck out in my mind during the week. We were walking through the streets, talking with people as we went, and we came to an empty stretch with no one in sight. We kept trekking forward anyways, and as we went, we saw a guy standing off to the side. We stopped and we talked with him. As we spoke with him, he told us about some of the struggles he had with his life. Particularly with drugs. He explained how hard it is to believe in a God, but how he wishes he could. And he kept saying, "I see you guys, and I wish I could be as happy as you, but..." at which point he would trail off. We persistently witnessed that we know God is there, especially for us in our hard times. He is waiting for us to find him. Each time I explained these truths, I felt that love that God has for me. He is our Heavenly Father, and He loves all of us. The guy again expressed his desire to have what we had, then he shook our hands and headed off. This is the rejection that hurts. Not in the way when someone gives you a snotty reply or does something to hurt your dignity. I wanted to rush after him and plead with him that he is so close to finding that happiness. But he did not feel like he was in a position to accept this message, and that is something that hurts. I hope that he finds that happiness he is looking for, and maybe we'll see him again one of these days. But at any rate, I think he is that much closer to finding his Father.
|Walking along last night, trying to find someone to talk to. The hardest part was deciding who to talk with.|
|One of the many canals that runs through the city.|
|The city of Malmö.|