Karlstad is definitely a travel area. Even now I am back in Skovde, my companion and Elder Kundis both have to renew their visas, so they went on splits and headed to Goteborg and I will head over there later today, we will play some football as a zone, then back to my area this afternoon. We do travel a lot on trains, and very long distances, very often... I hope I get my SJ card and start earning my own points while in Karlstad... When we get the silver card we can get free hot cocoa! Usually, when I am on the trains I study, read the BOM in Swedish or try to write a letter.
The Swedish people are not really outgoing at all, they do not talk to one another unless they are friends and culturally they never talk about religion. They are a very secular nation and they like it that way. Although once you get them talking, they open up a lot more. It is really fun being able to learn more about the people here and how I can better teach them. It is really hard for me to talk, I am usually cut off but I am doing more and more now! We do need to do a lot of reactivating, there should be about 150 people in church, not 20 - 30... hopefully it will begin to improve.
I don't know when it is technically spring here, it might as well be now... this past week we got a lot of sun, and that was really nice. Of course one night when we woke up we had a nice layer of new snow. I have to say, the snow here is amazing. It continued to snow all that day and is now busy melting again. I passed some people BBQing and it smelled sooo good. It is almost that time of year! I am excited to see a Swedish summer, they are supposedly very beautiful.
I might still buy a coat sometime soon, they should be on sale now and I thought it might be good to get something waterproof, so we will see! Plus, I was hoping to find something good at a second hand store, they are supposedly really cheap. A lady in the Skovde ward said she found some really good coats for only 40 SEK! That is like, 7 dollars!
We do a lot of tracting and contacting, though I feel like we need to be spending more time with our investigators. We have one investigator that is supposed to be baptized in a couple weeks, we are excited, but I am worried since he has not shown up to church the past couple weeks. We have another investigator that SHOULD be.
The most eaten meal that I have had here is Flygande Jacob (Flying Jacob) Though I have only had the missionary version. I really want to try the real Swedish dish, it sounds amazing. The missionary version is simplified, and probably not quite as good. First, the sauce is about a cup of sour cream, mixed with enough chili sauce to make it a pinkish color, heated and mixed until done. Then we cook bacon, about 6 pieces, and a chicken breast, both of which are broken up and mixed with the sauce and a bunch of cooked noodles. The real version supposedly also has bananas and some other ingredients... Sorry this recipe is not very specific, that is as specific as I have been told. We searched for a recipe online and found several, we also found a YouTube video demo of missionaries (pretty sure) making it in Sweden!
One of the best things about eating with investigators and members is they usually have fresh fruit, vegetables and other good food that we don't have. German pancakes are a new favorite in the apartment and we have made banana bread several times now. It is getting better each time!
I love the work here, it is a lot of fun and a good challenge at the same time! We meet with a lot of people and I am to the point that I can understand almost everything in Swedish, even the 89 year old lady with no teeth that we visit weekly. I have tried to speak French and, to my dismay, found that I cannot speak it anymore... I have forgotten everything as I learned Swedish! I will re-learn it about a year from now when I have Swedish down better... At least that is the plan. It should be easy to pick up again.
Thank you for everything that all of you do, your prayers and support really help! Prayer is amazing and powerful!
Love you all,