Tuesday, July 7, 2015

4TH OF JULY SHINING BRIGHT IN SWEDEN




i wanna start out with a big happy 4th of july to everyone!!!
we have a couple american families in our ward and stake and so we had a big 4th pf july party! 
there was a ton of food and games!! we played football and watched the men (and our elders>) compete in manly contests of post throws and log tosses. 
and i was able to lead everyone in the star spangled banner with proud american tears in my eyes.
we are so privileged to be from a free country. growing up not afraid to be different and always being taught to love everyone around me and to be myself. 
sweden isnt like that. it is very surpressed and there is an unwritten law to not stand out. they teach the immigrants in the swedish immersion schools, to be silent on buses and to always sit on the outer seat of a two seat spot on a bus. to not talk to anyone. because its the social norm in sweden.
being able to be around 50 or so americans was the best thing ever for me.i forget that its like that at home.
theres an atmosphere of love at home and i was really able to feel it this weekend. 
im proud to be american, and i took it for granted. but i love america.



We had an amazing time.
the weather has been half amazing half awful this week. its been beautifully sunny all week...but like 85 degrees...and five billion percent humidity...its hard to breathe hahaha im just grateful for the sun and a nice farmers and ballet flat shoe tan. sister lund is having a harder time with it haha everytime we are on a bus she looks like she might kill someone...especially since for some reason the only bigger guy on the bus always comes and sits by her. she hates the heat and humidity but i just have to remind her that it may be satans armpit, but at least we arent in some south american country where there are giant bugs trying to eat us and our bus system is filled with a bunch of people ALL standing with boxes of loud smelly chickens trying to get you to trade your nametag for their first born goat. 
but dont worry, we are in the rainforest now, and its still 85 degrees and humid but pouring rain! i dont even know the difference between my sweat and the humidity anymore.
 

im going to write one experience that actually has changed my life a little bit.
as a missionary its pretty easy to feel like youre not making a difference.
on saturday morning we went to a less active member named Kia. she hasnt been to church in a VERY long time.. she has a daughter named josefine 18yrs old, who we teach because shes not  a member.
but we helped her move some things out of her apartment and she made us strawberry milkshakes. i had the impression that we needed to teach her the restoration...despite the death glare from lund (the apartment smelled pretty bad) haha i wanted to get out of there too..but i really felt like we should stay. so we taught it and she cried. we reminded her how important the gospel is.
well, in church the next day, guess who is there. kia. and who was up FIRST to bear her testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. the spirit hit me with a big 

YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE. REMEMBER THIS MOMENT.

i was tearing up as i felt the spirit tell me i needed to bear my testimony. 
i went up and i talked  about how ive seen the lord bless me with answers to questions we get on the street when we are contacting people and how he always gives me the right things to say...im looking around at the ward and i realize a man that i had contacted about 3 weeks before was sitting right in the congregation just smiling. 

feeling useless is all part of the missionary life. sometimes you feel like youre not doing anything that is truly helping anyone. but you are. i am. i see that now. 
i will always remember that moment of clarity when heavenly father wanted me to know that im here for a reason and that wants me to know that. 
that will forever be a memory that i hold onto, especially IF i start to doubt myself and my abilities as a missionary ever again.

i love you all!!!
please keep us four california kids in your prayers :)

​​​love,
 Giles

We have our eyes on you....
 What is the 4th of July without a 1/4 of a watermelon??
 Chocolate dipped ice cream makes us our faces deform : )
Our California/Boras group
ME : )  Elder Blackburn, Elder Stoeltzing, man in sunglasses, Syster Lund


Our Swedish homie..."pain is weakness leaving the body"

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