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.”
And it continues to come!!! Enjoy your day!!!
after almost a year of looking, we have an apartment!!!! YAY!!!!! We can move in on March 1!!! It’s in Sävast, about 20 – 25 min drive from Luleå. So while it’s not exactly where we want it, it is exactly what we have been asking God for!!! It’s 3 bedrooms, so the girls can have their own rooms!!! It’s on the ground floor, rather large (95 m2/~1,000 ft2), good storage, 2 big walk in closets, and a car garage!!! Dear Jesus, thank you for opening up this door for us. Thank you for this perfect place for us to settle in. It’s not exactly where we want it, but we trust You that You are placing us where You want us to be. We trust that when you want us in Luleå, You will open the door for us to live there. In Jesus’ Name, Amen 🙂
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!!!!
Fall is now here and gone, but the memory of it lingers on. Yellow birch trees again the dark green of the firs; brilliant sunshine coming through the trees, bouncing off the water; courageous lovely flowers continuing to show their colors; bits of bright orange and red every once in a while. That’s our fall, quickly come and quickly gone!! Now the snow lends its beautiful shimmery white to our nordic landscape!!!
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!!
Rejoice with us!!!! June 17 is the date we’ll leave US soil again and head back “home” to Luleå, Sweden, arriving there June 18!! We are so thankful for all God has done in releasing our funding!! So now we are just about to finish our home school year for Gwen and the girls and turn to the task of packing!! Always a challenge!!! And Tony also turns to packing and taking care of all the last-minute details!!
As we go, we do have a major prayer request. To date, we have not been able to find housing in Luleå. There is a housing crisis there so we really need to see God intervene. So please do PRAY!!!! We won’t be homeless as we have friends there who will let us stay with them. But, we have been living in temporary housing for almost 2 years now and we are really longing to be settled in our own place!! I’m sure you understand.
The other prayer request is for the next 2 weeks as we pack up. Pray for us to stay on task and to handle all the bumps in the road that are coming up in front of us. Peace, patience with each other, determination to do what we need to do instead of what we want to do.
Thanks so much for standing with us!!!!
We will be returning to Luleå in June so we have started looking for apartments!! We’ve applied for 3, which is the most we can apply for at one time! Please pray!!! There’s a lot of competition for apartments in Luleå as the supply seems to be lower than the demand! So we really need to see God move on our behalf here! And we need to be there in June as our visas expire the next month. THANKS FOR STANDING WITH US IN THIS!!!!