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Archive for the ‘Learning about Sweden, Norrbotten, & Luleå’ Category

Ice Road

Happy 2011 to you all!!!!

New Year’s Eve, we drove to Hindersön Island, with a population of around 150,  in Luleå’s Archipeago. The exciting part was that we drove on the ice!! Yes, we took one  of Luleå’s ice roads. It was truly amazing to think that we were actually driving on the Baltic Sea!!! This year, the ice road was open earlier than usual because it has been colder than usual here. It’s about the size of a 4 lane highway and plowed down to a few inches of snow to help with traction. Pictures speak louder than words so please enjoy our slide show!!

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Ringing in the new year at midnight, found us in Luleå Centrum, watching fireworks shot off on the ice. What a fun day we had!!!

 Blessings, Gwen 🙂

Currier & Ives

We are living in such a Winter Wonderland!!! As I drive along the road, I often feel like I’m living in a Currier and Ives picture!!! Everyday!! The only difference is that I’m, thankfully, riding in a warm, motorized vehicle rather than being drawn in a one horse open sleigh!!! Here’s some pictures – hope you enjoy them!! Gwen 🙂

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Santa Lucia Day

Happy Santa Lucia Day!!! This is a very important Swedish holiday. Even though the kids don’t get off from school, it is celebrated a fun way. Here are some pictures from Domkyrkan (Luleå Cathedral) where I went today to see the Lucia celebration. Jensina and Jiana were also there with their classes. It reminded me of going to the American Swedish Museum in Philly for the Lucia celebration in the US! Unfortunately, the celebration in Sweden today doesn’t have any real Christian aspects. If you would ask a Swede about it, they would probably tell you it is a celebration of light. It represents the longest night of the year and from here on out, the days keep getting longer until Mid-Summer’s Day in June. They know very little about Lucia or her love for God. Join with us in praying that the true Light of the world will become known here in Sweden for who He really is, their Savior and the Lover of their souls! Hope you enjoy the pictures. Gwen 🙂

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Winter Wonderland!

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We’ve been living in a winter wonderland since the beginning of November. It is so beautiful!! These pictures are of Jensina and Jiana playing in the snow piles in the center of town!! Aren’t they huge??? Well, the are also no longer there. No, it hasn’t melted. This snow won’t melt until April, we’re told. Rather, they get so much snow here that they take it away to a snow dump, I’m told! So the big fun piles have now gone to the snow dump! Too bad! 😦

Beautiful sunset near our home looking over the Lule River at 2:30 pm.

Storforsen naturreservat

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What an awesome time we had!!! These pictures don’t begin to capture the beauty of these rapids. Every few seconds, I had to stop and take another picture! Are they ever powerful!! Truly amazing! From the 1800’s until 1982, loggers were using the Pite River to bring logs down to the port of Pite. They took a different path from what is there today. Too many logs were getting damaged so the loggers made a floatway to “squeeze” the water to where they wanted it to go. Isn’t it beautiful?? The Dead Falls is where the water used to run. What an amazing creation God has made with man’s ingenuity!! We had such fun watching the falls, having a picnic lunch, visiting the Logging Camp Museum and running around in the Dead Falls!!!! –Gwen 🙂

No More Sun Tans!

Our days are getting progressively shorter…and very rapidly! Check out the chart below from By December 1, we’re only getting a little over 4 hours of daylight!

Date Sunrise Sunset Length Change
Today 05:07 19:53 14:46  
+1 day 05:11 19:50 14:39 00:07 shorter
+1 week 05:29 19:27 13:58 00:48 shorter
+2 weeks 05:51 19:00 13:09 01:37 shorter
+1 month 06:41 18:00 11:19 03:27 shorter
+2 months 07:19 15:09 7:50 06:56 shorter
+3 months 09:07 13:32 4:25 10:21 shorter
+6 months 06:41 16:48 10:07 04:39 shorter

Please continue to pray for our ministry as we bring the never-darkening True Light that is brighter than the sun!


It’s surströmming season and we did it!!! We ate surströmming!!! All four of us!!! So what is surströmming and what’s the big deal? It’s a northern Swedish dish of  Baltic herring that has been fermented! They catch it in the spring and store it in a brine in barrels for a couple of months to start the fermenting process. Then, it is canned where it continues fermenting until it’s eaten. If you’re smart, you’ll open your can of  surströmming outside! It does have an awful smell that permeates everything. We ate it in an open-faced sandwich with very thin crispy bread. Butter the bread, pile on the potatoes, cut the fish into tiny pieces and place it on the potatoes. We also added onion, tomatoes and sour cream. UMMMMM. It mostly tastes like salt, but there is a flavor that grows in your mouth and stomach that I can’t describe! Leftover food is thrown away because the smell and taste infuse it all. It was a very fun evening at our friends’ home, but our tummies were talking to us about it late into the night!

So what else are we doing besides eating sour fish? Our boxes finally arrived last Wed, but badly damaged! We knew they were damaged in the States, but still were shocked at the sight of them. Some things were outside of the boxes, many had been opened, with lots of torn and crushed boxes. Thankfully, not much was damaged but things are missing. Unfortunately, we may not know all that was taken until we are back in the States and see what we left there. So we are now carefully going through everything and compiling a list of the damaged and the missing. We’re also putting together furniture from IKEA and more will arrive later this week to be built! And we have a couple of painting projects we’re working on together as a family. Pray we will also be faithful in our Swedish studies in the midst of everything else.

We took the girls to Leo’s Lekland (Play land) to celebrate the end of summer. They started school yesterday in different classrooms. It just doesn’t yet seem right to be going to school in August. The weather has definitely become colder (highs in the 50’s) so that helps. They are in Välkomsten (the Welcome School) which is the school for kids who are immigrating to Sweden. Here they will learn Swedish, then when the teachers feel they are ready (probably between 3 months and a year) they will go to the regular public school. Everything is in Swedish so it is a challenge. Please pray they will catch on quickly. For Jensina, pray that she will stand strong in the Lord and have a Godly influence and leadership on her classmates rather than vice versa. She is the youngest in the class. Also pray that she does her homework and English and math that Gwen will be teaching in the afternoon with a good attitude – this is often a struggle for her. For Jiana, pray that as she stands strong in the Lord and makes the effort to become friends with the other children and thus be a Godly influence.