Fröliche Öster

Spring in England brings a variety of beautiful weathers.  One day fat snowflakes will drift like downy feathers caught in a current till they fall by gravity's heavy hand and blanket the hills below... the next day, Celestial light will peak through the clouds.  What a glorious Easter Morn it was, with the view of the pond with the sunshine glistening off its face.  

 When I first arrived, I opened my suitcase to discover an Easter present from home.  I love European candy, but I won't lie... I was very excited to get my traditional Peeps!!!  -  Thanks family! 

That day, elders consistently ventured outside to provoke -- and get attacked by -- the geese. We sang I Am a Child of God in 10 different languages, and at one of the meetings I had the opportunity to sing Come Thou Fount.  Boy have I missed performing!  We also had a devotional live from one of the apostles.  

I figured that our lack of internet would deprive us of our daily dosage of weird, but we definitely compensate!  Here are some of the quotes I have overheard this week.

* "I couldn't wear contacts.  I'd rather someone scooped my eyeball out with a spoon."
* "I'm like a pineapple: prickly on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside.
* "I imagine hell would be like when your feet are twisted and stuck in a sleeping bag that's too hot.  I think I would have a mental breakdown after a few days."
* "Sister Lundgreen, you couldn't sound angry if you tried.  It would be like an angry kitten."
* "My brain is like a microwave.  It just goes errrrrrr.  Nothing."
*  Another time during personal study, I got slightly distracted reading about the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Bible Dictionary.  I told Sister Gines this and then thought nothing of it until 12 hours later...  When she told our friends that I was researching "squirrels of the sea."  She had misheard "scrolls" and spent the whole day thinking I was a total weirdo.

{disclaimer: we are still in the giddy stage like I mentioned two weeks ago, so sorry if it's not actually funny}

       On a more serious note... In the Spirit of Easter, how incredible it is to think that the one perfect Man on earth would be willing to pay the price of sin for billions of people.  Sometimes I think about how long a year-and-a-half will be... I'm going to miss Adam's football games and guitar-playing, Eric's singing and cookie-dough-making, Sophie's personalized craft-making, Friday night adventures with Olivia and the graduation of Rachel.  But then I think about how long eternity is.  The number of missionaries who have walked the planet is so tiny compared to those billions.  My sacrifice seems so small when I think about the importance of bringing these people to Christ so that their families can be together till the end of time.

                                                                                                Swester Lundgreen

P.S. Everyone LOVES my puppy blanket!!


I have very little time for emails today because we took a field trip!  We visited a town, Downham, preserved to look as it did in the eighteenth century-- what a dream! 

One of our English sisters was making fun of all the Americans because we kept ooohing and aaahhing over all the beautiful sights in England.  Glitzy modern buildings are intermixed with beautiful antique architecture.  

We entered a cathedral built about 1055 AD and sang a hymn together, our voices echoing under the arches off the dark ancient stone.

I saw more sheep today than I have in 19 years of my life 

We visited the River Ribble where the first church members where baptized and also the flat where then-missionary Gordan B Hinkley received the letter from his father stating "Forget yourself and go to work!"

The white building is where some of the original missionaries were visited by a legion of demons trying to stop the gospel from spreading in England

In the above photo we are standing in the exact place where the gospel was first proclaimed in Europe.

I wish I could say more, but I'm out of time!  
Sorry to those I couldn't respond to!       

                                                              Sister Lundgreen                                                              


Guten tag! 

   This week a big group of English-speaking missionaries entered the MTC, making it a lot busier and yet all the more fun.  The German is coming along slowly but surely. I can say a pretty good amount of sentences all relating to the Book of Mormon, the Plan of Salvation, prophets, the priesthood, the importance of families etc, so it's crazy to think that only two weeks ago I couldn't say a single word.  I'm not quite sure what will happen when I get into the field and don't even know how to say the days of the week, but I am so excited to just be fully immersed in the language and culture so that I'm forced to pick it up!

    We've visited town three times, yet I never cease to startle whenever I look up and see the person in the front left seat not paying attention to the road.  Driving in the opposite lane is just one of the things British people do differently, and I'll admit the way they bake is phenomenal.  For three days straight, Sister Gines and I announced that we were going off sugar... and for three days straight, we changed our minds as soon as the chefs brought out, for example, the best cake I have ever tasted. Whoops!  After that we just gave up and instead have started working out super hard.  

   On the topic of food, we asked our teacher the weirdest thing he was forced to eat in the Alpine German-Speaking mission.  I figured it couldn't be too bad, after hearing my dad's story of eating chicken feet in Peru... but then he told us that this elderly woman fed him this frozen mush that was horrifically bittersweet.  When he asked what is was, she proudly announced that she'd made up the recipe-- a {very unripe} mango and a half stick of butter mashed together, salted and spiced and then thrown in the freezer for good measure.  Not quite as disgusting as chicken feet, but still horrible!  We were dying over the story!  Maybe it's not even that funny, but my Danish teacher said that she's noticed a trend in new missionaries.  The first two weeks they are super intense/scared, and then after that they go giddy.  However, our district went into the giddy phase a week early and I kid you not we find EVERYTHING funny.  There are so many times that we are just laughing to the point of tears, unable to compose ourselves after someone says something totally dumb like-- well I did type out an example, but then I realized it sounded way too dumb and I felt ashamed at how much we were cracking up over it.  Is this what happens when outside entertainment is taken away? 

  Our schedule is pretty much the same every day, so I don't really have any exciting stories. We learn lots of German and also receive many beautiful and inspirational gospel lessons.  Every night we have the opportunity to practice teaching, and we sometimes get other lessons such as stress management. This week I will be part of a trio singing in front of a member of the seventy. After seven months of being at college and not being able to sing due to living in a thin-walled dorm, this is pretty exciting for me.          
   I LOVE being a missionary.  Of course I don't know anything yet because I'm only in the MTC, but it's still so exciting, the prospect of giving people something that will allow them to draw closer to Christ and for their families to be together for all of time.  Every day we have an hour set aside for reading scriptures, and already I have come to love and appreciate the Book of Mormon so much more.  It's way easier to get something out of what you read when you're not distracted by thoughts of schoolwork or just doing it as a part of your bedtime checklist!  Truly making an effort to read its words helps me to understand why my ancestors sacrificedeverything for the testimony of this book when they traveled from Denmark to Utah ...  It's an incredible book which testifies that Jesus is our Redeemer and warns us of the dangers of forgetting our faith.  

                                                                                                Swester Lundgreen

Ich Bin Schwester Lundgreen

   There is nothing quite like that surreal blur of emotions that comes when one leaves behind everything they know to live as a missionary thousands of miles away.  Following the setting apart was of course all the chaos of last-minute packing, and then at 11:30 PM my dad made our traditional Lundgreen sourdough waffles, and then we headed to bed for a night of zero sleep.  I shared a room with Adam, Sophie and snuggled up in the top bunk with Eric.  Oh, how could I let them go?!  We got up a little after 4 and said our last tearful goodbyes at the airport before I took off.  It was another 24 hours of travel {if you count the huge time difference} before I landed in Manchester and then another few hours before we finally made it to the Preston, England Missionary Training Center.

    I'll admit the first few days were the longest of my life, and with several hours of German study combined with religious lessons and almost no breaks, I was never so excited for bedtime in my life. But we're adjusting well to the schedule, and even though it's slow coming I am very excited about the German I have learned so far.  It's mostly gospel terms, of course, but to think that we can still talk to our fake investigators and say as many sentences as we do considering it's been less than a week is pretty good.  I wish my brain would just be a little less prone to forget the vocabulary that I practiced time and time again.
      There are six people in my district {5 Americans and 1 very sarcastic Brit} and combined with the other district there are 14 missionaries total.  There are people from Italy, Spain, China, Tahiti, Portugal and the Caribbean! Many of us understand various amounts of Spanish, so when we have a hard time communicating in English that's typically what we switch to.  My district leader Elder Sinclair can never remember my last name, so he always calls me either Swester Sweden {because Lundgreen is a Swedish name and because I'm blonde} or Swester Greenlund. My companion Sister Gines is a lovely, smart Utah girl, and we are always with Sister Pugh and Sister Lehman.  I am so grateful to have been put with such fun girls!  At night we always swap stories and show pictures and it's basically like a sleepover with name tags. Mom and Dad, you'll be happy to know that all those years of piano lessons have been put to good use.  I've been signed up to play for meetings almost every day.  

  England is absolutely charming, and every class and bedroom window opens out to the beautiful rolling hills speckled with Victorian redbrick homes.  During our exercise hour, we can take a jog in the brisk afternoon through the gardens or around the geese pond. Our food is delicious, and it's fun to try new things such as crumpets or chocolate buttons. Every morning, our breakfast is complete with fresh fruit and the sound of our chef singing opera.  The accents of course are so elegant, although British Elder Sinclair's impression of an American accent ranges from a surfer "Duuuude!" to a high-pitched-still-English-sounding "Daddy take me shoe shopping!"  It's hilarious the number of times we've all gotten into arguments such as how to spell colo(u)r or what you call lemonade.  

     But really...You know you're a missionary when you go to the store and everyone flips out over the pop music on the radio, or when you're super excited to watch a pioneer movie and then everyone immediately covers each other's eyes because the two main characters kiss.
    On a more serious note... I am so grateful to be here. It's incredible being submerged in a completely gospel-centered environment, and when I get frustrated with the language or scared about how on earth I'm supposed to know the right things to do to bring people unto the Lord... I remember the difference the church has made in my life.  I'm currently reading about Alma and Amulek's struggles as missionaries, and it is such an inspiration.  I may be tired, but I have laughed so much already and I am so excited for what lies ahead.  This is definitely going to be an incredible 18 months!

    Thank you to everyone for sending me emails, it was so amazing to open up the computer and find such a full inbox.  I apologize if I didn't get to answer you back; we took a trip to the store so we had very little time on the computer!  I love each and every one of you!

                                                              Sister Lundgreen

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