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!
After more than 10 weeks of not being able to open a bank account, enroll in the Swedish for Immigrants course, or do other seemingly simple tasks, the call we’ve been waiting for came at last. “Mr. Martin, this is the Skatteveret (Tax Office) and I have issued your person numbers…” Finally, we are now “in the system” and we officially exist!
Here’s Jensina testing her theory about pulleys at a fun playground in Boden. Also, don’t forget to check out the Martin Ministry page on Facebook to find out more about us and our ministry here in Luleå.
Here’s a slide show of our first month in Luleå! Hope you enjoy it!!!
The girls are doing well in school. Thanks for all your prayers. They both enjoy going and we’re starting to hear a little bit of Swedish from them. Yesterday, we were goofing around and Jensina said her first Swedish sentence. “Sluta nu!” Stop now! When she came home from school, she was excited to tell us that she told one of her school mates about Jesus. Even though it didn’t go as well as she was hoping, we are so glad that she wanted to do this. Please keep them in prayer as they live their lives in front of their friends. –Gwen 🙂
They're SO EXCITED!
Finally got the bunk beds assembled – IKEA style! If you don’t know, this type of directions have no words and a few scarce pictures with arrows haphazardly pointing at seemingly unimportant areas of the diagram. They also include some rather interesting tools that usually self-destruct by the end of assembly.
The girls are already planning how the dog and cat will sleep with them in the bunks. Tony and Gwen foresee many mornings with overly tired daughters!
We’re starting to feel comfortable getting around Luleå and realizing the importance of a good transition process. We make a good team – Tony drives and Gwen navigates! Our flat is starting to come together…seems like we’re buying all the things we just put in storage or gave away in the States!
We live just a 5 minute walk from the river where we’ve discovered a couple of beaches. We’re on the 2nd floor (1st floor for Swedes) and there is a playground right outside our balcony where the kids are enjoying meeting other kids and playing. Most of our days are spent looking for things for our flat so we’re trying to plan some time for fun and exploring! Jensina and Jiana are looking forward to getting some pets so we’re also trying to figure that out. Anyone know where to get an inexpensive puppy and kitten in Luleå???
Here’s a video of our girls as we left Newark airport. Think they were stoked???
We made it! Arrived here Tuesday morning on about 2 hours sleep and lots of coffee! Our sleep patterns are still whacked, but getting better. God has blessed us with a gorgeous 2nd floor apartment less than 10 minutes from the center of Luleå.
Our balcony overlooks a courtyard with a playground that seems to draw many residents, especially during these summer months. Our neighbor below was celebrating the Swedish summer with a gathering to feast on strawberries and cream. BTW, the temp has been a “sweltering” 71 degrees F the last two days…and I’m lovin’ it!
Spent some time yesterday scoping out a street in town specifically for pedestrians with lots of shops – great place to meet people, build relationships and do ministry.
Our pastor here has been an incredible blessing as he’s taken us to buy stuff to set up our new home and had us over for dinner with his family. He’s even letting us use a van (first time driving in Sweden) to look for furniture tomorrow.
Gotta go crash – it’s now 1:30 AM. However, it’s bright enough outside that you hardly need lights – no wonder I’m not really tired! For some reason, I can’t download some videos I took – I’ll need to reinstall the program when I find the CD in the black hole of our suitcases.
Will post again soon – love you guys!
Tony (for all)