We stopped by one afternoon to see how Angele was coming along with her pregnancy. Her belly looked a lot bigger than a couple of weeks ago. She offered to make us a quick snack from her home country, Togo, called *zwoe’. You can find the recipe on youtube by typing *zwoe*. It consists of peanut butter,flour,ginger,cloves,cayenne pepper and was delicious. It can go great with bread and jelly.
Angele has been helping us by preparing some material for arts and crafts that Elbita will do with some of the ladies one day. On that day we discussed some baby names and she showed us a list that are suggestions for the parents in Togo. Each name has a different meaning and most are ‘spiritual’ in nature and some for the day they were born. We are standing by and ready to take care of Geordy when the new baby comes.
Our friend, Marcus, from the Home group invited us to his home for lunch today. He prepared a dish from his home country, Hong Kong, called Tum Yum. It consists of fresh noodles, onions,mushrooms,coconut milk,ginger, lemongrass,red peppers,Tum Yum ‘paste’ and fresh thyme. When we arrived we were presented with a very nice table setting, linen tablecloth, cobalt blue plates and light blue glasses. He showed us to his kitchen where he was preparing one of his favorite dishes. He told us of the importance of eating this dish as soon as it has been cooked.
Most of the ingredients were ‘fresh’, including pinched thyme leaves on the meal from a small pot. He cooked this meal on a wok. We had flavored water with our meal and then enjoyed some hot tea afterwards. Marcus is a very humble person, even though he has a PhD in agriculture. He is on the technical crew at church and comes to our son’s home group every Thursday night. Thanks for a wonderful lunch Marcus!
Bakfickan(‘back pocket’) is a place in downtown Umeå that provides breakfast and lunch Monday to Friday, all year long to anyone with alcohol, drug problems or do not have good finances, Local restaurants donate most of the food and the city also helps fund this important project. The picture on the right is our walk with Arto from the bus stop to eat lunch here. The middle picture is us eating lunch with a picture of the ‘founder’ of Bakflickan (‘Lars-Eric Åhlen,known as Larson’). A buffet is set up with a hot meal, water and coffee and there were 3 staff members who replenished the food and kept the place clean. People could also take some bread and sandwiches home with them if they were available.
Arto, a church member, took us here to show us where to share God’s love.
In our host homethe typical breakfast consists of a variety of cold cuts, that do not consist of the traditional ham. A plate will be prepared by putting butter on toasted bread or “crisp bread” followed by cheese, cold cuts, fresh tomatoes and slices of hard boiled eggs. To drink is hot tea or very strong coffee(stronger than the American coffee). They use a special cheese slicer that cuts it very thin. The tea is made from loose tea leaves, not bags.
We enjoyed being part of game night on Saturday, hosted by our son and his family. The snacks were served and the game lasted several hours and was lots of fun for everyone. We got to meet some of their friends and neighbors. We all then enjoyed eating home made burgers and fries. Everyone left happy and with full tummies.
Daniel is the translator for the Birch Church, which is the only church in Umeå that provides “live” translations from Swedish to English from the pulpit. He does an excellent job. Doing mission work here is different because it is in a University city of intellectual people. The missionary work is unique due to the fact that most of the “physical needs” here are met. The Swedish culture is very reserved.
We asked Daniel to further explain from his point of view about the culture and he was very helpful in that area.We had the opportunity to put the sewing ministry to work by mending some items for him. Besides translating he is part of the “technical team” which sets up the audio and visual portion for the recording of each service.
Today we split up the work: Lester went to pick up a church member at the airport and Elbita went to help Casper’s mom with some house chores, because she had hip surgery 2 months ago and then shared with her about her recovery from hip replacement. We had the opportunity a couple of days later to mend some clothes and do some work outside.
We gave a new testament to Casper’s mom and he immediately sat down pretending to read it. She was running around after him to get it and told him it was for mommy. She pointed out to him all of his books and he grabbed one and came back to her and tried to exchange it for her new testament( we all laughed). We had some quality time fellowshipping with them and then Casper’s dad cooked us a delicious salmon dinner.(It was salmon on top of butter with leeks, dill, and mushroom butter on top with fresh sweet potatoes all around cooked over charcoal).
Björkstakyrkan ( the Birch Church) is our home church in Umea, Sweden. They rent the space from a community college located in a shopping plaza so they need to set it up every Sunday morning. We go each Sunday with our son and help him, along with greeting everyone as they come in. The service starts with welcoming everyone, prayer and announcements then praise music followed by the pastor preaching the word of God. The service is in Swedish and translated in English every Sunday and is available online(please see the link to the church’s page in the menu).
The church is small and made up of several different nationalities but all have in common the love for God and to learn His word and share His love with others. They have several teams to get each Sunday service accomplished: Pastor, praise team, greeters, technical team, set up team, refreshment (fika) team. The word “fika” is a Swedish word for a snack and is observed by everyone, everyday, and everywhere in the country. It is not only to take a break during the workday, but a time to fellowship.
We are blessed to have the opportunity to serve here in any way we can and hope to visit as many members of the church as possible. The need for God is great here as the majority of Sweden is secular.
After fika and fellowship and everyone has gone home, we put away everything because the facility is a community college during the week.
Geordy is a 2 yr old whose parents are from Togo, Africa and active members of the church we are serving. They are part of our son’s home group where we study God’s word every Thursday nite. We were the only ones participating via the internet(everyone else was in person).We were planning to visit them one day , so we called them to set up a day & time. When we called, the father said his wife was having contractions(3 months early). She was going to go to hospital by herself while the dad watched Geordy. We immediately got ready & went there to watch him so the dad could take her to the hospital.
When we got there the mom greeted us in tears because she was thankful her husband would be able to go with her to hospital. To our surprise, Geordy was comfortable being with us, since he has seen us often on the camera at home group. Geordy was eating his lunch and then we thought to watch cartoons with him. He loved the cartoons and even stopped eating because he was so into them. Later we used the word for sleep in Togo(‘dodo’). Lester put him to bed and he immediately went to sleep.
The mom was released from hospital with doctor’s orders to bed rest for the next 3 months. We thought to apply what we learned to bless people, which was to prepare some meals for them. We asked if they had any food allergies and told them of our plan to fix some meals. The menu we came up with was a variety of native American meals. Lester went to the store to get the food and then we helped fix lunch with the husband and had lunch with them. We shared about the sermon that God has authority over distance and time. We praised God that we came the distance to be at the right place at the right time.
Our son’s family and us prepared enough meals for several days and then delivered them. We give God the glory that we were His hands and feet to bless them.Psalm 100:3 “Know that the LORD he is God: It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves, we are his people , and the sheep of his pasture”.