Sunday, May 15, 2016

Of Hedgehogs and Cinco De Mayo

hey everyone!

I just wanted to give you a quick update on my life! 

Right now I find myself in the city of Alingsås! I moved here about four weeks ago! Alingsås is a cute little city on the western side of Sweden. I am about 40 minutes outside of Gothenberg (or Göteborg if you want to be Swedish!) so we usually go there on P-Days. Alingsås is quite small, but it is beautiful! It is just so little and quaint and welll... mysig! Mysig is a cool word in Swedish that we don't have in English. It translates to a mix of cozy and magical. It is a cool word. But that describes Alingsås very well. It is a very picturesque city. It is pretty stereotypically ''Swedish'' too :) I like it here! Which is good because I think this is going to be my last area. 

I am with a new companion too! His name is Äldste Falkner. He comes from the land of... **drumroll please** LONDON, ENGLAND. He is a super fun guy and we are getting along well. He is teaching me all kinds of good British slang! One thing that is funny about Alingsås is that there are lots of ducks here, and because we walk around a lot as missionaries and we see all the ducks, Äldste Falkner has named them! So he introduces me to ducks as we walk along. He is pretty talkative and we have a good time chatting about everything! 

Here are some higlights of the past month:

-I saw a hedgehog for the first time in my life! Like, I'm not even sure if we have those things in Idaho or not. If we do, I've never seen one. Lots of people say that they are all over the place here but I just barely saw one :) 

-We had a member give us a tour of Göteborg! We saw some awesome churches and some cool views over the city. 

-We had our very own missionary Valborg! (remember the big bonfire holiday from last year?!) 

excerpt from 2015: [So Valborg is a viking holiday whose origins I have neglected to learn. Valborg from the viewpoint of an ignorant foreigner goes like so: 

a)  On the last day of April, take a pile of all the crappy sticks, twigs, branches, and anything else that can burn and put it in a big pile. If it isn't taller than you it is not good enough. 

b) Light that thing on fire. 

c) Stare at it until it is nothing but ashes. 

d) Now that winter is ''burnt out'' carry on with regular life. It probably is still really wintery though, because Sweden.]

All of the fires in Göteborg started too late for missionaries (which is only like 8 at night...) so we were forced to take matters into our own hands. We did our very own! We had a little fire, adn we had speeches, and poetry, and musical numbers. It was awesome even though it rained the whole time. I think it worked though because it is getting super hot here (finallly!) Everyone is naked and I am just walking around in a suit like ''what up?!'' 

-We also had our own Cinco De Mayo celebration recently. All the missionaries got together in Göteborg after district meeting and we made some nachos! I did a small presentation on the history of Cinco De Mayo (which is totally not the Mexican celebration of independence) and we made some cool Spanish cupcakes. We even had our very own real life Mexican, Syster Hong! Her parents are from Mexico so she made some bomb guacamole for all of us whitey Americans. It was a true fiesta. 

Right now we are working hard to find investigators and teach some people! It is coming slowly but guess what! Swedes are nicer now that the sun is out. We are talking to lots of people on the street and having a good time!

Love you all, see you soon!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Hallå allihoppa!

Hallå allihoppa!

It's me again! 

I have recently been informed by my little sister that I have less than 100 days on my mission. 2 digits! I am not personally counting down, but it appears that my family is counting down for me whether I like it or not! Gotta love em :) 

What has been going on here though? I'll tell you! 

Some random things!
- We went and saw a soccer game in Kumla. The sisters have an investigator who plays for the team there so we went to support him. It was super fun... and super cold. Literally, Elder Swenson got a cold 2 days after and we think it was from sitting in the cold for 2 hours. Do I talk about it being cold too much? Sorry. It is cold too much. Anyway, it seems like everyone here is super talented with their futboll skills! One of the members here actually plays for the big team here in Örebro. On Saturdays we play soccer (don't tell the Swedes that I say soccer plz) with the ward and we get smoked. 

-I saw a ferrari. I don't know much about cars but I do know ferraris are cool and I saw some other people taking pictures by it so I took one of my own. Maybe it is a nice one? who knows. It is a ferrari though :) 

-We have started shopping at a little Arabic shop called Ali Baba. It is amazing. I recommend it to all of you. We have been eating a ton of weird stuff from the middle eastern world. And by weird stuff I mostly mean different types of rice and breads. They sell some actual weird stuff.. like you can buy a lamb head for 5 dollars which is tempting. but what would I even do with a lamb head? 

-We visited a little area outside of Örebro with a member. I don't know what it was called... but it is a pit stop for geese that are flying North. Some of them go to Northern Sweden or Norway... and some of the silly birds go to Finland and Russia. (Just kidding Finland you are cool too :)) I don't know why they choose this exact spot but there was 3.600 birds there. I don't know how they counted but there was whiteboard that had a bird count so I guess I have to trust it. I didn't bother to double check. The birds were moving too much. You know birds. 

-Äldste Swenson ordered about 2000 Book of Mormons and we had to go pick them up at the DHL warehouse because they weren't home when he tried to deliver them. Let's just say that it was heavy enough to be a week's worth of working out. 

-We got to slackline for the first time of the year! It felt good to be back on the line. Slacklining is like the gospel! You gotta stay on the straight and narrow even if it is hard. Dope, huh?

-I went on splits in Västerås with Elder Fawcett. Äldste Fawcett is the mission magician. He is getting super good at card tricks and he gets invited over for way more member dinners because of it. Smart lod. Of course, we went to a member dinner and had some great korv. (korv is swedish sausage) Then Fawcboss did some sick tricks for the kids and became a hero. 

Area Report!
I have been in Örebro for about 4 months now and I have seen some cool things happen here. We have been able to work with some amazing people and meet some of my favorite people of my mission. We have seen great progress with some newly baptized members and we were able to do a temple trip with them in mid-March. I am so happy that I got chosen to be in Örebro. It is a great ward with great members. This has definitely been a high time of my mission. Currently, we have one investigator who is from Eritrea! He has been really busy with school though so things are going a bit slowly. Most of the work we do happens on the street. A lesson here and there is the best missionary work in all honesty. That is how Jesus himself taught! He just rolled around teaching when he could. Elder Swenson and I are having a great time.... but I fear it is coming to an end. Transfer calls are coming this week and I will likely be moving to my last area. Although it is exciting... I wouldn't mind staying here. Its a good place. 

Conference (of course)
We love conference weekend as missionaries! We mostly just hang out at the church all weekend and see it all. Nothing can beat conference on the couch with a stocked fridge and family, but conference on a mission is pretty fun too. On Saturday we had a church spring cleaning so we worked in the morning (we swept the parking lot!) and then went and played some futboll. Around dinner time we came back and watched the first part of conference. We also got to watch the Priesthood Session and the rest of conference on Sunday. It is pretty hard for me to pay attention for 10 hours but I still managed to pull some good stuff out of this one. I especially loved Dieter's talks, and the talk about helping refugees. It seemed like this conference had a lot of very applicable things. Just real life stuff, like family and current world situations. It is always interesting to be taught about doctrine but I loved learning about some very concrete examples of how they church helps individuals in daily life. 

It seemed like conference focused a lot on families. I think we as humans, religious or not, can all agree that stronger families make a stronger world. People need to grow up in a loving environment with good mentors and the world needs more strong families. That I know. 

I hope you all had a great weekend! Thanks for reading.

Don't run with scissors, 

Elder Treat 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Big Break

Hey everyone! 

You probably thought I was dead didn't you? Well... I guess I'm not! So things have been very busy and I have really neglected to write a blog post! It has been nice to take a little break but I will give a little update here. I guess I have just been building up a lot of suspense for this post during my two month hiatus. Well here it is, folks! 

The Big Break
So during the time since we have last talked there hasn't actually been very much change! I am still here in Örebro (which means pennybridge in English) and I am really enjoying it. I have a new companion though! Elder Baquedano left and went to Vendelsö. My new companion is American though! His name is Elder Swenson and he is from Sandy, Utah. He is a great guy and he is a snob about flag poles. His dad owns a flag pole company that he worked for so he goes around town judging the local poles. Apparently they aren't up to par. It is funny because most companions are a snob about something they worked with back home. I have seen snobs on everything from tires to internal household wiring. You pick up some interesting facts though! 

I think the easiest way to give you updates on all of the local happenings will be a short list: 

-In January we helped with the ward play! I was selected to work the spot light, and scene lighting along with some other ward members. Every year Örebro does a play that gathers Mormon people from all over Sweden! It was really well done and was a cool bonding experience for the ward. 

-A little winter market came to Örebro and  set up shop for a week. And by little I mean it actually filled the entire city and was actually a massive event. Most of the stands sold handmade mittens or some kind of sweets... But on of the stands was selling surströmming burgers. You might not remember but surströmming is the rotten fish that Swedes eat... For some reason. You could smell a special door coming from that stand! 

-We took a tour of the local castle. It seems like every place in Sweden has a local castle that is like a century old... No biggie! Örebro Castle is actually right in the middle of town though! We went and did a tour for some good language study and it was really cool. Even though it looks old from the outside they have kept the inside really modern which I really didn't expect. 

-We bought Ben and Jerrys ice cream! I got Strawberry Cheesecake and Swenson got Peanut Butter Cup. 

-We took a break from a blizzard and checked out an old church in Nora. They are always cool to check. They make me a little jealous though because I think church inside of a 500 year old cathedral seems kinda fun.... 

-Elder Swenson introduced me to a Scottish drink called IrnBru! We bought it at a little England shop they have here. It tastes like bubblegum and it wakes you up. (btw Elder Swenson's mom is Scottish! Wow!)

-Sister Woolsey got a greenie and we played a prank on her by meeting her at the station and pretended that we were random university students. We helped her with her bags! She was surprised when she saw us at district meeting the next day! :) 

-Elder Swenson and I have been observing a lot of civil unrest lately. During the past month we have seen 3 drunk people arrested and thrown in the paddy wagon. We saw a riot of soccer hooligans marching around the town. We also saw some drunks get in a fight on the bus. We  even had a drunk guy yell at us in the library in the middle of a solid lesson. It is almost becoming common place to have wild stuff happen! I almost forgot... Yesterday there was a big anti-NATO gathering of bikers in the town square. But not real bikers. Just people with little dinky bikes with little 50cc motors.  What can I say... God's kids are rowdy. 

-Spring actually came and then we got thrown back into Winter super hard with a freak snowstorm last night. 

-And last but not least we saw a Lego man in the mall. 

As you can see, we have been having a great time here in Örebro. Not only have we been having a ton of fun, but we have also been enjoying the work here! We spend most of our time knocking doors and visiting members who need help. We have found some really cool people on the streets to talk with. Most of them don't become investigators but we have a good discussion and we learn something. It is cool to be able to meet people from different religions and realize that in the end we aren't all that different.  We have a lot in common that is just referred to by different terms and concepts within each religion. 

This week we had a wonderful lesson with a young Swede and even though she didn't agree with a lot of the details of the Mormon ideology we had a fantastic discussion about transcendence and divine potential and direction. Throughout my mission I have found that almost everyone has something to teach me about my own religious views or my own paradigm on life. 

Sometimes I feel like we hear a little too much about how the world is going downhill... But we are meeting some people that really show me that people have a lot of good messages to share and a lot of love. There are some people who really follow Christ that have never stepped foot in a church. I love it when a random stranger teaches me how to be a better person. It is beautiful, really. I think we are all a lot closer than we sometimes feel. We are all just humans after all.

I hope you guys all have a great week! Enjoy March! I hope Spring finds its way to wherever your location may be. 

P.S. For those of you that are interested you will be seeing me at Utah State for Fall 2016. I finally got all that stuff figured out! Come slack line with me. 

Monday, January 4, 2016


Oh hej!

Wow its been a while so I will jump right in. I have a lot of updates to cram into one tiny blog post so I will make this as compact and well formatted as possible!

Without further to due: 

Yes, I am in Örebro now. I made the train journey to Örebro in fairly good condition for the most part. I say fairly good because train travel is stressful as heck. I guess the fact that most missionaries make it to there destinations is proof in and of itself that a greater being is watching out for us! En route to Örebro I had to ride one bus and take two trains. It is always a bit chaotic making the switch from one train to another especially when YOUR TRAIN SWITCHES PLATFORMS AT THE LAST MINUTE. Yeah... that happens. It is quite a sight for the locals to watch an american child try to drag 3 suitcases across the gravel** covered platform in order to make a nearly departing train. I guess the point is that I made it! It is always a relief to arrive safely and set those heavy bags down. 

I was welcomed by Äldste Baquedano, my new companion. Our first day in the area he showed me around the city, which is the seventh largest city in Sweden! It is a beautiful city that is centered around a castle. Winter looks good on Örebro. Speaking of winter looking good on Örebro we got the first snow of the year this week! HA! You thought Sweden was ''so much colder'' than Idaho, huh?! I remember before my mission I thought Sweden was akin to Antarctica in terms of weather habits. Maybe I have just been blessed with a mild winter though :) Anyways back to Örebro! Örebro is also known as the ''Heart of Sweden'' because it is kind of.. well... I don't know why the call it that. 

Our chapel is pretty close to the city but it happens to sit on the edge of a little forest. During our sacrament meeting you could actually see some deer chillin' in the forest. Sweden is such an exciting mix of modern city and nature! We have a great ward here to. I think we have about 70 members here and all of them are fantastic. 

Äldste France
I am currently serving with Äldste Baquedano who is from France! He has even taught me a bit of French which is pretty cool. Sometimes we teach some people from French-Speaking Africa and I get to sit and try to pick out the 10 words that I know. It is awesome. So more about him though, he is a great cook (stereotypes are true) he speaks English better than most Americans, and he has some super hip glasses. We are having a great time. 

Christmas was absolutely fantastic! We spent Christmas Eve with a family in the ward and Christmas day with the Bishop's family. In the meantime we mostly just hung out at the church watching Disney movies! (Which we are allowed to do!) I especially enjoyed Big Hero Six. It was really good... which is probably old news for all of you! It was nice to chill pretty hard! Of course I ate an unholy amount of candy and I think I ate about 30 tangerines in the space of 3 days so that was a wreck. Here in Örebro we are serving with two cool sisters. Sister Haikkola is from Finland and Sister Hoke is from Texas. Those two places are basically opposites! 

Två Tusen Vaaaa?
For the new year we went and watched fireworks at the castle. New years is the one night in the year where we are allowed to be out late! 12:30! It was really magical watching all the fireworks with the castle in the background. I also decided I love the Swedish way of doing New year! All the people dress up really nice and come and watch the fireworks. It feels very classy. It feels crazy that it is 2016 already! 2016 is the year I turn twenty, it is the year I start college, and the year I get to see my family again!.  I'm not that trunky... but there is just so much to look forward to. 

This is going to be a big year and I am so ready for it. I have no idea what life will be like next January and I love that. I love the feeling of being lost... not knowing what the future will look like. By the time 2017 rolls around I feel like life is going to be so different but I am really looking forward to it. Lately I have been thinking a lot about the fragility of this life and how important it is that we build deep and rich relationships with the people around us. In 2016 I really just want to focus on the people who are in my life and keep them close. I am going to travel  and try to visit lots of old friends and hopefully make new friends along the way.  I look forward to the journey. I hope 2016 brings me lots of unexpected and spontaneous adventures. 

Bye Bye Black Year
Among missionaries the year of your mission where you are gone for the entire year is called a ''Black Year'' because in terms of media and real life it is as if you didn't exist. So 2015 was my ''black year'' and 2016 marks the end of it! Najs! 

Swedish Primary>American Primary
On Sunday they asked us to come and talk to the primary about missionary work and what missionary life is like. We went in and we introduced ourselves. Quickly a lot of hands shot up because they had a lot of questions for us. I called on a little girl who looked really eager, expecting a simple question about what we eat or what we do, maybe even a question about whether we missed our families or not. What happened next was crazy. This little girl (about 6) proceeds to ask us where God came from, and how it doesn't make sense for him to just show up and that he needed to be created. We sort of stood there really shocked and tried to explain some possibilities but to be honest, I didn't have a good answer. 

So I moved on, and we called on another kid who proceeded to ask us whether or not the Big Bang Theory and the possibility of God existing were mutually exclusive or not. Again, I didn't have any thing to give him other than my best guess. We went in expecting simplicity and we left completely amazed by the deep level these kids were on. I think growing up in such an atheist society has led this kids to be incredibly deep thinkers and I think it is really cool. I mean, when I was in primary I was mostly just focused on the candy or cookies we got at the end of class. Swedish Primary is next level. 

Best Wishes
 I will close by wishing  all of you a fantastic 2016. I hope that it will be filled with big achievements, and wonderful experiences. I hope the peaks are high and the valleys are few and far between. Find the joy in every day. Take chances. Don't forget to breathe. 

In 2016 my focus is going to be on individuals. I think it is impressive to remember that every single person is a child of God. He loves them, and it is our job as siblings to them to find the reason why God loves them. I want you all to know that I am grateful for my family. Through families we really can find true love and success. The term family is important though. Because for some family is not the people who are related to them through blood, sometimes the family we are given are the friends and company we have. Not everyone gets an equal opportunity to have parents and siblings, but that doesn't mean family isn't important.  

Peace, Blessings, and Gott Nytt År!

-Äldste Treat