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!!
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 🙂