This week has been my last week in Tranås. It has also been a different week. I spent all of Monday working on the publishing company that is related to our church. It takes a lot of work to figure out all the information and variables that come with a webshop.
A lot of time was also spent with different people in the congregation. I got to watch a couple of soccer games with the family I stayed with. The favorite game was definitely last night’s (night for us) game between Germany and USA. It is hard, no matter my allegiance to the US, to not enjoy watching the German machine. It is even fun for someone like me, who do not watch soccer on a regular basis (A few games every 2-4 years). I also find the World Cup fascinating as it brings out people to cheer for their team who one didn’t even know cared about soccer.
I was also invited over for dinner and lunch by people this week. The lunch yesterday lasted about 4 hours as we not merely ate but also discussed philosophy and theology ranging from topics such as history of Philosophy, apologetics, Aristotle and Aquinas, and Van Til and Dutch reformers. I must say it was a great way to end my last workday in Tranås, now with an even longer book wish list; however, it now has a more diverse selection of authors and theological ‘camps.’ Note that I think this is one of the most important things for anyone. If one merely reads books written from a selected span of authors and presuppositions, then the result in one’s schooling will be very narrow and, in some ways, shallow and weak. If one would base his view on economics entirely by classical liberal capitalists then he would not be able to articulate the Marxist opposition nor be able to defend against it as well as if he would have read primary Marxist sources. This remains true not only of the camp people are in today, but is also applied to the time period the authors live in. It is not hard to find people today that call themselves Calvinists and say they adhere to the teachings of John Calvin whose views would not be too close to those which can be found in his Institutes or his commentaries. Now, I won’t go on to discuss this interesting and maybe for some controversial topic, but will instead end by stating the importance of studying primary sources as well as sources from different contexts and camps in order to obtain a strong, deep, and (hopefully) more correct view of knowledge and truth.
I am now currently on the train to Malmö where David and I will take the flight to England. We are meeting in Chelmsford tomorrow for our presbytery meeting. So please pray for all the elders that will be traveling there, and also for the meeting to be efficient and productive.
Here in Sweden we have been celebrating midsummer! It is the longest days of the year when the sun rise very early and set very late. It was originally a pagan holiday where they would dance around a pole for the sake of fertility. We still dance around a pole, but it is no longer for the sake of fertility. It is more like an excuse for adults to look silly by bringing their kids with them.
I did some dancing myself! However, it got all too wild for me.
You can see the midsummer pole in this picture!
And there was also traditional Swedish folk dance:
Midsummer is, apart from the dancing, also a great feast. A lot of food (and for most, alcohol) is consumed. Herring and potatoes are two essential foods alongside with strawberries (but not together). The rest is pretty flexible; however, meatballs, sausage, bread, and eggs are also very common.
We decided the best way to digest the food, in preparation for the dessert, was to play some kubb:
So Midsummer’s Eve was celebrated at David’s, with all of this, and Midsummer’s Day (today) was celebrated with a delicious lunch at one of our older member’s house. It is a long-weekend full of fun and relaxation (since most stores are closed for this holiday)
Today was truly an eventful day. A man in our congregation and I took out a couple of kids to go rock climbing south of Tranås.
The weather was perfect, the rocks were dry, and the mosquitoes were taking a nap. Perfect day to climb! The kids really enjoyed the climbing/hot dog combination we had going on. Well, we adults enjoyed it as well! We managed to get all the kids back with all their limbs still attached. Successful day! 🙂
One of the hardest things with a long-distance relationship is, of course, the distance. I mean, wouldn’t 6000 miles be enough? No. Because when those 6000 miles are sideways, then there is also a time difference. So the difference can make for some unusual (at least for me) habits. Like, going to bed at 3am and waking up at noon. That’s how I spent half my day off, in bed that is. But despite all of that, I really want to focus on the awesomeness of technology. It is truly a blessing to be 6000 miles away and still be able to see peoples faces and talk to them. It would be a foreign concept even 11 years ago (that’s half my life). But oh am I thankful for it.
Speaking of Skype, Google Plus, FaceTime (and all others), that is also how I was interviewed by the elders of Immanuelskyrkan. And that is also how David keeps in contact with the elders, Chris and Stephen, who are in England. It is truly a great resource for the church as it binds people, churches, and countries together.
So how can I sum up the past two days? Painting. It is quite the room. It is maybe 13 feet high, about the same width and almost twice the length. That is a lot of ceiling and wall to paint. However, thus far thus good! Hopefully the breathing of paint will not have any long term effects. Haha.
Right now I am waiting for my dad to come. He is driving 3 hours down here to visit me. So now I have to figure out what we are going to do. I do not know if biking 15 miles would be on the top of his list. Not on mine either, for that matter.
What can I tell you of the past couple of days in Tranås? Sunday was a little different since I was put in charge of Sunday school for the older kids. I did not feel like I had much important to say so I made sure the Word got to speak more than I did.
Monday was, as usual, my day off. So I spent the day reading and biking. I went on this 14-15 miles trail. So you could say I was rather exhausted afterwards. However, it was a beautiful ride and I got to see the Troll Stone:
The week started off easy with me buying the tickets for our trip to presbytery in England as well as buying paint and such things in order to paint a room in the church. It is going to be made into the new office room for the pastor and whomever else needs a desk while working in the church. We will see how good my painting skills are!
This weekend was spent out in the Stockholm Skärgård (archipelago). We had a retreat with the congregation in Stockholm. One of the families attending the church up there has parents that own some land on an island in the archipelago. So we went up on Thursday and came back today.
It was truly beautiful out there.
It was really good spending some time with the people from the church. I was kind of a pseudo-adult at this trip. I had all the rights of an adult (go to bed when I want, eat how much I want, go wherever I want) without all the responsibilities of an adult (taking care of my kids), cause, well, I was the only adult out there that didn’t have kids. Haha. Although, I, of course, looked after the other youngins 🙂