Monday, November 14, 2016

Snow caves and herb tea!


Our epic snow cave we built last p-day. We even had a tea party in it!
It is here and it came hard last week even down in Stockholm!  There was complete chaos there! I heard they got about 4 feet of snow, which is a record breaker for this time of year. So it's predicted to be a crazy winter for sure. Up here in Umeå the temperature has been dropping and was pretty cold this last week. It got to a low of -18 degrees celcius but now its getting a bit warmer and the snow is packing down and hardening. The sun is now setting at about 2:30pm and is setting earlier every day. It rises after 8:00am.. but will rise later every day as well. It has been fairly cloudy this last week so we didn't really see much of the Northern lights but will probably see them again soon as it the weather clears! 
The entry into our snow cave. It's only 3:30pm in this picture haha. The sun is setting at around 2:30 now!

This week was a bit hectic with transfers going on AND we had a big conference with all the members from Norrland, which is the entire top half of Sweden.  (**Several of the congregations up there are small so they call it a District Conference instead of a Stake Conf.) This conference was here in Umeå, and we had a fun time because it wasn't just the members that came to Umeå.. But also the whole zone of missionaries! President and Sister Beckstrand were also here and spoke. It was a good time and we met lots of cool people.

Found another frozen lake
But taking a step back.. This last Monday was pretty epic. We were emailing and looked out the window and saw a massive pile of snow that was about ten feet tall. It was snow that the snowplow had piled up from our church parking lot. My companion and I looked at each other and had the same idea. Snow cave!! So after we did some necessary P-day things, we got to work with the other Elders and started digging away. It actually turned out really nice and huge. Soon after we finished it.. We thought we were missing something.. HerbTea! So we had tea time in the snow cave we  built. It was a fun P day.  Next to the cave we built a big wall for snowball fights. That night was Family home Evening at the church so all the young adults had fun with the cave. 
We also found some frozen lakes and took some cool pictures on them. The rest of the week was full of teaching some new people and preparing Emma for baptism. The weekend started early Friday night when President and Sister Beckstrand flew up for conference and we went shopping with them to get food for all the missionaries coming in for the weekend. So that was fun and then the next day we had Emma's baptism, almost all the missionaries coming in, AND the first session of conference. It was pretty busy! 

Emma's baptism was at 9:00am in the morning and we had to get there three hours early to fill the baptsimal font. Felix Sahlin flew up from Göteborg to baptize her. He was a missionary in the mission not too long ago and served up here. He actually was the one who started teaching her and was really happy that he had the opportunity to baptize her. :) So that went smooth! Then we had Saturday Innebandy (indoor hockey) with the youth. That's when the Örnsköldsvik missionaries drove up and played with us. We then had a meeting with us, the other set of missionaries in Umeå and the Örnsköldsvik Elders. Later that day there was a session of conference and then the missionaries started coming at 7:00pm and we were shuttling them from the train station to the church!  
Elder Jensen and I standing out on a big frozen lake!

We had 4 Elders stay with us and 4 Elders stay with the other Umeå elders and 4 sisters stay with members. Two other Elders came down on Sunday and live close enough that they went home the same day. The fun thing was the sleeping arangements. When it came time to go to bed, Elder Mecham, Serving in Skellefteå was left without a bed or a pad to sleep on the ground.. So he voluteered to sleep on a 4 foot long couch. When we woke up he was curled into a ball on the kitchen floor, haha and it was cold! It was unusually cold.... So we did some investigation and found that the door to our balcony was left open over night! hahaha So it was a fun night for them but they were troopers! 

Other than that we shuttled everyone back to the station and it was a long but productive weekend. Elder Jensen and I will be flying down for a leadership conference in Stockholm tonight and will be coming back tomorrow night! It was also fun to have some time to get out and find new people this last week... and I'm excited for the week to come! 

Love you all :)
Äldste Blackburn

(** Additions from his Mom.)
Two of the Sundvall Elders: Elders Benson and Purkey, and the two Skellfteå Elders: Elders Mecham and Hainsworth. Made a pit stop to take a pic on the frozen lake!
There are huge channels of water next to our house leaving into the Baltic Sea which are all frozen!

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