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 have been back in Sweden for about 1½ months now and are delighted to be here, renewing friendships and sensing for what God has for us here! We haven’t yet found an apartment in Luleå and so have been staying with very good friends. We are so thankful for our friends and their welcoming us back with open arms and open homes!!
We’ve been able to apply for our visas although we’ve been told it may take up to 16 months. But it is no problem for us to stay here and minister during this time! So we’ve been meeting with different friends, getting caught up and gaining a sense of how to continue on. We’re also preparing to assist Korskyrkan (our local church) as they go through some transitions and we plan to start meeting with others from our church so they can start planting house churches. In September, Tony will participate in a conference in Stockholm focusing on the Simple House Church Movement. The following week, Tony will again fly to southern Sweden to start training as a church planter coach.
From our limited experience, it’s been a very warm summer!! Arriving in Luleå, it was in the mid-50’s, after leaving a warm Pennsylvania in the high 80’s! Then, it turned very warm and has been in the mid-80’s and very delightful for biking and swimming!!! So we’ve been doing some relaxing before school starts on August 21. Now, “fallish” weather is starting to set in turning us to more serious endeavors.
This week, Jensina courageously went to a camp with some of the local teens! We’ve been praying that she has a great time, is able to connect with some Christian kids her age, and understands Swedish enough to hear God speaking to her.
CALLING ALL PRAYER WARRIORS: Apartment hunting is proving to be especially difficult. We’re sure we will get one sooner or later, but we’d rather get it sooner! We are currently living about 25 minutes away from our target ministry area and the girls’ school. So we are asking all those who feel called to prayer to pound on God’s door for an apartment (2-3 bedroom on the ground or 1st floor for about $1,000 and 300 sq. ft.), sooner rather than later, like the widow and the judge (Luke 18:1-8). If you would like to do some persistent “door pounding” with us, please let us know!
Just a quick note to let you all know we have arrived in Sweden!!! When we arrived at the airport, 6 of our bags were slightly overweight and 2 were massively overweight; but God and Norwegian Airlines were very gracious to us and didn’t charge us!!! We kept waiting for the lady who was waiting on us to say something, but she didn’t ever blink an eye!!
We had a very good flight, even though it was delayed 1 1/2 hours because President Obama decided to leave from JFK the same time we were leaving. Somehow, the airport decided he was more important than us!!! LOL That put us enough behind schedule so that we missed all of our other flights! Norwegian Airlines took very good care of us, rebooking our entire flight and giving us food vouchers for the airport in Oslo, Norway.
Our good friends, Anders & Sara and Clas & Christina, were at the airport to give us a very warm welcome back to Sweden!!!! Our luggage didn’t make it, which we were actually kinda thank for — not to have to deal with all that heavy luggage right then when we were so tired!! (The airlines delivered it to our door the next morning!! Thank you, Norwegian Airlines!!!) It was so lovely to spend the evening with our friends, sharing food, laughter, and good conversation, in both English and Swedish!!!! We are staying with Anders and Sara and their 1-1/2 year old son, whom we have just delightfully met, for a few weeks and then will stay with Clas and Christina until we find our own place.
Please do keep us in prayer as we settle in and readjust. We still need to find our own place to live and there is a housing crisis here. We know God has called us here and will provide a place for us to live. So just pray for us to be sensitive to God in His leading and diligent to look!!
Since we’re turning in our internet access equipment here tomorrow and need to hook up our internet access in Luleå,
WE WILL HAVE NO INTERNET ACCESS FROM JULY 10 UNTIL AROUND JULY 17.
Looking forward to posting from Luleå,
We can’t believe how God’s having everything come together.
Thursday, we loaded a U-Haul and brought our items to be stored to a place provided by a great friend – thanks, Father for meeting our needs!
Friday, the shippers came and our possessions for the next two years began their three week voyage to Luleå.
Saturday, we return our cable and internet equipment…no internet access for about a week!
Sunday, worship with home church family for the last time for the next two years. Sure to be a day of mixed emotions.
Monday, OUTTA’ HERE!
Please continue to pray for us as we transition to our new home. Next post from the other side of the pond!
I (Tony) saw a man looking at some furniture we had put out for trash and invited him in to see other furniture we were getting rid of. Through a simple conversation and the moving of the Spirit, he recognized his need for a Savior and prayed to accept Christ!
Thanks, Lord…doesn’t get any better to have the privilege to be used to bring someone to eternal life through Jesus! God, please be with Herman and help him to grow closer to you.
At 10:30 this morning, the temperature outside here was already at 100 degrees – can’t wait to get to Luleå next week where the temp is a more-bearable 70 degrees!
Sold our van last night and still trying to make final arrangements for the house. Packing’s coming along and we should have the stuff going to Sweden picked up by end of week.
Here are some pics of our apartment in Luleå.
Our friend’s (Brian and Linda from the Lancaster area) son Charles was involved in a horrific motorcycle accident Wednesday. The doctors have had to amputate his right leg below the knee and he will need some major surgery to save his arm. Please pray for Charles and the rest of family – Brian and Linda, along with their other children David, Brian Jr. and Debra.
Just 11 days till we leave for Luleå! We continue to pack (is there no end?) and get a bunch of other things done. Spent yesterday saying goodbye to great friends in New Jersey. I know it’s part of being a missionary, but I REALLY hate saying goodbye to people we love!
Our goal is to have stuff being shipped to Sweden to be totally packed today, then call for shippers to come. Other friends coming tonight to help pack stuff going into storage. Feel free to stop over tonight (or any other time) to help – we’re pretty overwhelmed right now! Thanks for being part of our lives!
Packing is the story of our lives right now. I look around and wonder will we really be ready by July 12? It’s hard to believe that in 2 weeks all this will be done and we’ll be on a jet plane bound for Luleå! We’ll all be rejoicing that day!!!! If anyone feels bored at home, feel free to come and help pack!!! There are so many other odds and ends to accomplish before we leave, too. They don’t seem like much, but each one takes time. So do keep us in your prayer — for patience, wisdom, energy, perseverance, & peace! Thanks!!
We’re having special fun times too – doing some fun things as a family and spending special times with friends, sometimes face to face and other times on the phone! This week the kids will be going to an Oceanography class at our local library. They have been so bored with mommy being so occupied. They’re old enough to need something more to do but not quite old enough to help pack. I try to take an hour break each day and take them to the pool and I’m hoping this short course will help with their boredom. Just DON’T call it school!!!
Tomorrow morning or I guess it’s actually this morning; we go to church to worship our amazing God! I am so looking forward to that refreshment to help refocus on what’s really important!!! Have a blessed day as you worship Jesus too!!!!
“I will seek you in the morning, And I will learn to walk in Your ways, And step by step You’ll lead me, And I will follow you all of my days.” (from Step By Step by Rich Mullins)
God leads and we’re learning to follow. Less than three weeks after we got our visas, the next step God lead us thru was the process of getting a flat in Luleå (a very interesting process from across the Atlantic with only a layout drawing and metric dimensions). The rental agency approved our application and mailed the lease which our pastor in Luleå graciously translated so we could sign. By June 8, the leasing process was complete.
Yesterday, we followed God thru the process of buying our flight tickets. We leave July 12 from Newark and arrive in Luleå the following day. I think the reality that we’re actually moving is finally sinking in!
God’s also taking us, step by step, into a deeper faith and trust in Him than we ever imagined. We still need to sell our house and van before we leave. Would you pray with us regarding these things? If you or anyone you know is interested in buying either, post a comment to this blog.
I recently had a discussion with someone regarding our ministry where I stated, “There’s no turning back!” We’re committed to following God wherever He leads us all of our days! Why not partner with us and help send our account “over the top?” Your tax-deductible gift should be made out to United World Mission and mailed to PO Box 602002, Charlotte, NC 28260-2002. You can also donate online at www.my.uwm.org and create a user account to track your gifts. You can also set up an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) there by downloading the form.
Now…back to following.