This has been an unusual week! They have started putting up wallpaper in our apartment and have now finished the kitchen, living room, and hall. Next week will be the bedrooms and then we’ll have a beautiful place to live!!! So tiring, but so excited!! So we couldn’t eat in our kitchen this week. Thank goodness for McDonald’s McMuffins!!! We ate breakfast at the most northern McDonald’s in Sweden every day!!
The northernmost McDonald’s in Sweden!
Recycling, even at McDonald’s! We honestly haven’t figured all the slots out!! Still trying to learn to be good Swedes!! LOL
Easter vacation started with a half day yesterday and goes till April 12 – a nice long time!!! So today, we’re trying a new mountain, Storklinten. This winter-spring weather has the snow very mushy while the mountain is like ice.
Nice view out our living room to the balcony and then the grill place (brown structure)
Transition is the name of the game right now. After 8 months of being transients, we moved into our apartment on Feb. 28!! Woohoo!!!! It’s great to have so much help from friends!!! We’re not quite settled yet. The apartment needed a lot of fixing and we’re now in the final phase of wallpapering. Fortunately, the landlords arrange all of this. So hopefully, we’ll be all settled in by the end of April. It’s about 1/2 hour drive to take the kids to school, so we’re getting used to that also.
Our church is also going through a significant change of location right now. Please keep Kroskyrkan in prayer – change is never easy for a church! And for us as it impacts our ministry as well.
The Swedes have a 5th season they call spring-winter!! It’s now, while we still have quite a bit of snow and ice, but the days are getting quite long, sunny, and warm!! And so, we are all about transition, leaving the cold, dark, insecurities behind and looking forward to a season of warmth, sunshine, and growth!! It reminds me (Gwen) of my life verse, Philippians 3:13 & 14 – “Brothers and sisters, I don’t consider that I have taken hold of it yet. But here is the one thing I do. I forget what is behind me. I push hard toward what is ahead of me. I push myself forward toward the goal to win the prize. God has appointed me to win it. The heavenly prize is Christ Jesus himself.”
We are happily jumping up and down!!!! Yes!!! We have received our permanent residence visas!!! Yes!!!! What does that mean? No more applying for visas to live in Sweden!!! YEAH!!!!! Thanks for your fervent prayers!!! Thank you, Jesus, for your good answer!!!!!
Although we’ve received our visas, we are still not finding any apartments suitable for us that we can rent. The housing crisis here in Luleå is worse than we anticipated. The lines are extremely long for the community’s apartments. We aren’t making much headway there. We were told by a private housing company that there is a 5 – 6 year waiting line for their apartments. Because of the housing shortage, people renting privately are getting nearly 100 requests for their apartments and houses. The apartments we possibly could get in to are almost double the amount that we can afford to pay. So this is what we are up against.
The simple fact is that we need to see Jesus move on our behalf to get an apartment. This will take a miracle!! We know that our heavenly Father is fully able to perform this miracle for us. But we need your help in prayer!! We feel discouraged about this and we need our praying friends to stand with us! Pray for God to open the door to the apartment that suits our family’s needs and pray for us to have the tenacity to continue being fervent in our looking, even when it seems so useless. Remember, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much!” (James 5:16) Luke 18:1-8 reminds to keep persistently praying until we see God’s answer. Please don’t forget us!
We are not without hope, just discouraged about the housing. Thanks for listening to our heart. And thanks in advance for your prayers and for those who are helping us look. And double thanks for our friends here in Sweden who are housing us. THANK YOU!!!!
We went to the doctor to find out the test results for Tony. The doctor came in saying, “I got nothing, zero, nada.” So the biopsies came up with no temporal arteritis. Now, the problem is that doesn’t mean it isn’t someplace else. It could be. The doctor did find that his sinuses are pretty well blocked though. But this is as far as this doctor can go. So he is referring Tony to a rheumatoid arteritis doctor because of the headaches and some blood work that wasn’t good. So we will see.
Tony’s been having headaches for the past month and the doctors aren’t sure why. Today, he’s getting a biopsy done on an artery in his head at the hospital to check for temporal arteritis. Please pray for God’s healing and for the source to be found so it can be treated. It’s hard to do anything with pounding headaches coming and going randomly. Thanks!!
Monday, while Jiana and I (Gwen) were going to Wal-Mart, our car broke down. We were in the Wal-Mart parking lot turning right to find a packing space and the car just stopped dead in its tracks! It just simply would not go! It was really strange because it was running fine, just wouldn’t go. I got out to look at the car and saw that both of the front tires were pointing to the center of the car!! Of course it won’t drive like that!!! It turned out that something in the steering column broke plus the inner tie rods. When the mechanic saw it, he told Tony we were “lucky” that we weren’t driving on the highway or it would have caused a major accident. I can easily imagine Jiana and I could have been killed. We know there was nothing “lucky” about it!!! Instead, God had it all under His control and didn’t allow it to happen until we were in a parking lot and had already come to a full stop!! And we were in a place in the parking lot where we didn’t block any cars in their parking spaces and all cars and shopping carts could still flow around us!!! We are so very grateful for God’s protective hand in our lives!! Thank you, Jesus!!!!
We’ve had a great time in Florida, visiting Tony’s aunt and seeing the sights! Now we travel on to Alabama and then Texas by the end of the week to visit Tony’s dad and the rest of his family!
We are so very happy to say that all of my (Gwen’s) medical tests have come to an end!!! Since I’m feeling well, the doctor is not going to put me on any medication for my liver disease right now.
So we are now ready to head back to the States!!! Truly, we are excited!!! It’s been about 8 months since I first started getting sick and 4 months since we had to cancel our tickets. I’m now eating a chocolate mousse tårte with berries for my birthday cake; one that I wanted for Mother’s Day but was too sick to eat!!! Sweet!!! We are all rejoicing!!! And thanking Jesus for answered prayer!!! Please rejoice with us!!!
This is the way my daughter went to school today! Can you imagine??? I love this fun-loving side of Jensina!!! She is getting into makeup now and loves to experiment with it. If I were her age, I’d really like to be her friend!!!! Instead, I’m blessed to be her mom!!! Thank you, Heavenly Father!!!
Tuesday, I lost my keys. Car, house, trash and recycle shed, bike, and all the padlock keys where we are storing out stuff. It was a rough day. It was the day we found out we couldn’t travel back to the US on August 17th as planned. We were all pretty bummed out about that, especially Jensina & Jiana. Just before the phone call, I had been taking the trash out to our trash & recycle shed with the girls. It was the last time I remembered seeing my keys. Wednesday was when I noticed them missing. The 4 of us tore the whole house apart looking!! I was praying the whole time, “Lord, you know where they are, please show them to us.” But no keys. Tony & I went out to the trash & recycle shed and looked there. I went through the 2 bins I had thrown the trash in – NOT pleasant!! No keys! So frustrating – I knew I hadn’t dropped them! They just had to be in the apartment, but they weren’t. We kept looking in the house and in the trash and recycle bin. No keys. Bedtime – “Lord, where are those keys?” That night both Tony and I dreamed about them. I saw them covered up by something and just sticking out a little. I really felt that GOd was telling me that they were here. (especially since I don’t usually remember what I dream about.) But where??? Thursday morning – back out in the trash and recycle bin and to look in the car – no keys. I gave up looking, but kept praying. Bedtime again, but I can’t sleep. Two hours later, I’m still tossing and turning, I stretch out and feel this strange lump in the bed. What is that??? MY KEYS!!! Sure enough, under the sheets on my bed are my keys. So much had happened, I forgot I had changed the sheets on our beds that day!! “My last prayer that night – “Thank you, Lord, for showing me where my keys were!!!”
Disappointment, tears, anger, sadness. All of these were a part of yesterday’s emotions when we found out that we would not be able to take our booked flights to the US on August 17. Gwen’s test in Stockholm to check the abnormal growth of cells in the liver and bile ducts is now scheduled for August 21. After that, it will take a couple of weeks before we receive all of the results and the doctors can, hopefully, let us know what needs to be done. So at this point, we don’t really know when we will be going to the States.
So now, we need to cancel our flights, find new housing for after August (this will be a real challenge), re-register the girls for school (they are not real happy about this), and figure out a new direction from what we were planning, at least for a while.
Friends are praying – for healing, housing, our children, our coping; we hope you’ll join them. Our UWM supervisor encouraged us to look at the names of God and remember what He has done for us in the past. We did that at dinner and we are encouraged! Overwhelmed, but encouraged.