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Archive for February, 2011

The Martin 4 + 1!!!

Yes!!! We are now 5!! The newest member of our family is Frigg!! We have become the foster family for a 9 week old German Shepherd, Frigg, and are raising him for the Swedish army!! He’ll be ours for the next 16 months!! We’re really glad to be able to do this and Jensina and Jiana are so very excited. It’s been such a wonderful experience and the girls have had a joyous day playing with their new puppy!! At this time, all 3 are sound asleep! We’ll see how the night progresses! LOL! Pictures speak a thousand words so enjoy the slide show below!!!

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Sunday’s here!!!!

What a wonderful day when we can worship Jesus with our brothers and sisters!!! There is nothing quite so joyous or fun!! The language doesn’t matter, the same Lord and Spirit are in each place!!! We are so privileged to be a part of Korskyrkan. We are so honored to have been a part of so many churches throughout the years and have so many wonderful brothers and sisters from all over! It’s a little taste of heaven!!! We have so much to look forward to!! Below is a little bit of the worship service at our current church. Hope you enjoy it. Gwen 🙂

A week of … ups and downs

Saturday, we traveled about 2 hours north to just inside of the Arctic Circle to Jokkmokk for the annual Jokkmokk outdoor market. We met friends there who showed us around and had a GREAT time! We saw everything from candy to Sami crafts to reindeer meat and skins. Our friend’s mom makes and sells hats, mittens, etc. knitted the old-fashioned way with a needle from the bone of the front leg of a moose. She does such a beautiful job!! Then, there was the 3-day marathon race where 4 teams did biking, mountain climbing, orienteering, and cross-country skiing! Now mind you, we are in the Arctic Circle where temps were -12 C (10 F) at the highest!!! The Swedes won!!! YEAH!!

Then it was off to the reindeer races!! The reindeer were NOT really tame and the drivers were NOT really trained. What a combination!!!! It took several men to get the reindeer started in the right direction and several to stop them at the end!! LOL!! What a ride!! The instructions to the drivers were “DON’T let go of the reins or the reindeer will NOT stop!!!” Here is Jiana’s version. “Last Saturday, my family and I went to Jokkmokk for the day. There we saw a reindeer race! I loved it. One reindeer didn’t want to go and it tried to take a shortcut. I laughed hard.” We had such a fun time – fun place, fun activities, fun shopping, and special fun with old friends and new!!

The down side was 3 out of 4 of us came down with bad colds. The temperature wasn’t that cold (it’s often – 30 C, -22 F) so we just wore our normal outdoor clothes. I think the fact that we were outside for about 6 hours made the difference! Well, live & learn!!! LOL! We are all on the mend and won’t make that mistake again…I hope!!

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Tuesday, we had a sad phone call from home. My Aunt Emily died and went home to be with Jesus. I’m so glad we had a short visit with her the day we left for Sweden. We thought it would be the last time we saw her, but that doesn’t make it any less painful. It’s sooooo hard to be so far away from home at a time like this.

Now, we are gearing up for a team retreat! Go, Team Sweden, UWM!!! Krista, our co-worker from Malmö, and Chad, our supervisor from Hungary, will be joining us here in Luleå for a long weekend!! We are really looking forward to renewing our friendship with Krista (she was with us at the Center for Intercultural Training last February) and getting to know Chad!

Well, that’s our week with just some of the ups and downs we’ve been experiencing. We so appreciate your prayers on our behalf. God really uses your prayers to keep us stable and going!! Thanks so much!! God bless, Gwen 🙂

Happy Chinese New Year!!!

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Happy Chinese New Year 4709 (by the Chinese calendar)!! It’s the year of the rabbit and is formally call Xin Mao. This is the biggest celebration for the Chinese people and much of it revolves around fear, good luck, and evil spirits. It is based on a legend involving a monster called Nian (also the word for year in Chinese) and how this monster came to prey on the villagers. The villagers received counsel from a wise old man who told them they could get rid of the monster by making loud noises with drums and firecrackers. They should also hang red paper cutouts and scrolls on their doors because the monster is afraid of the color red. The villagers did this and the monster was conquered. Chinese New Year is the anniversary of this date.  (Interestingly, when we visited the Forbidden City, the doorways had 8 – 12 inch steps painted red to step over to enter the buildings. We were told this was to ward off the evil spirits.)

Another aspect of the Chinese New Year is cleaning! Out with the old, in with the new! Sound familiar? For the Chinese,  this cleaning “sweeps away” the evil and bad luck of the past year.  The Chinese clean all of the old dirt away and get rid of things that are associated with the old year, including paying off old debts and resolving differences with family and friends. No sweeping is done during the first few days of the new year so that they don’t sweep away the good luck that has come in! They also use new money and get new clothes and shoes. An old Chinese proverb states that all creations are reborn on this day.  God says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (New King James Bible) Please pray with us that the Chinese people will find the good news that they really can become a new creation by accepting Jesus’ death on the cross to sweep away all of their past sins, never to be seen again!!! And that His resurrection gives them the new life they’re looking for, not only now, but for all of eternity! 


Wishing you and your families happiness in the New Year.  Gwen 🙂

Please pray for our friends

We ask that you would pray for our missionary friends, Jim and Lynne Head and their 2 daughters, living in North Carolina. Saturday night, their 16-year-old son, Andrew, was in a tragic car accident and died very suddenly. Jim and Lynne named Andrew with the hope that he would bring people to Jesus like the Apostle Andrew. They ask that now we pray God will use him in his death to draw people to Jesus. Today is the viewing and tomorrow they bury their son and brother. Please pray for God’s comfort for them today, tomorrow, and throughout the coming months of grief and adjustment. Thank you so much. Gwen