first friday: decemeber schedule

Here we are at the last month of 2016! It's so hard to believe that this year is almost over. Since it is the first Friday of the month, we want to take a little time and share our December schedule with you so that you will know what we'll be doing, and know how to better pray for us and for our ministry. Thank you for your continued prayer and support!

Home for Christmas
Though this is not in order, we need to start with this one because it is a pretty big announcement. On Wednesday, December 14 our family is flying back to the United States for an extended period of time (at least six months, but possibly longer). We will be in Tennessee with Lindsay's family from December 15-28, then will fly to Southern California on December 29 to spend some time with Grant's family. After that, we aren't exactly sure. We think we will be in California for about three months and then back in Tennessee for another three months. Our ultimate goal is to get back to Sweden, but we want to complete our transition from short term to long term missionaries well. We have been trying to make that change this year while being in Stockholm, but we have been advised by Converge, our sending organization, to be stateside for a while to raise more support, catch up with our current supporters, visit churches, REST, and work on a plan for future ministry in Sweden. If you'd like more information, you can read a more in depth explanation HERE.

Christmas Tea
On Saturday, December 3, Lindsay is hosting a tea at the apartment for women who have become special to her. Being a mom makes it a little harder to spend time with friends, so she invited about 50 women that she would love to spend more time with. A little less than half have said that they will be able to attend. She's looking forward to good conversations with some really wonderful ladies.

Pray for these 50 ladies, even though you don't know their names. These are great women from all over the world. Some are Christians and some are not.

Sunday Lunch
You know when you see someone at church and you say, "We've got to have you over for dinner soon." And then weeks go by and it hasn't happened yet? Well, we've had a few of those conversations over the past two and a half years. So on Sunday, we have invited over some of those folks to have a light lunch with us and enjoy some Christmas treats. We already know that when everyone leaves we will be saying, "Why didn't we have them over sooner?" But at least it's a step in the right direction!

Pray for those that are coming to lunch. All have moved to Sweden from other countries and are working hard and trying to learn a new language and culture and find a good community of people at the same time.

Life Group
We will have our last Life Group on Wednesday, December 6 at our home. It's sad that we will be leaving this group because it has just started, but we believe that the people who are part of the group can keep it going.

Pray for the Wickbergs, the Claessons, the Wedemalms, and the Duodos. Pray that they will continue to come together everything week and share life together. Pray for the musicians that are part of one of the worship teams at New Life, that they will continue to work as a team and that they will be bold and confident with the musical talents God has given them. They are such a blessing to New Life.

Dinner with the Dunns
One of our very favorite families that we have gotten to know in Stockholm is the Dunns (Brian and Caroline and three daughters). They are American missionaries who moved here a little over a year ago because they felt called to be here. They left great jobs, churches, families and friends and have embarked on a very faith driven journey. We think the world of them and couldn't have made it through this year without their friendship, prayers, support, and lots of talks over a cup of coffee/tea. We are going to miss this family, but will continue praying for their ministry and hope to see them on the Seek Listen Walk (Caroline's devotional that Lindsay has been working on) book tour this summer.

Pray for the Dunns as they work with churches in Stockholm (Click HERE to follow and/or support their ministry). Pray for their three daughters as they attend Swedish school and shine bright in classrooms with very few Christians.

Gospel Choir Concert
On Saturday, December 10 & Sunday, December 11, New Life's Gospel Choir will be performing. Swedes love gospel music, especially during the Christmas season, so it is a great outreach. There are actually three non Christians that are in the choir. It will be a fun time of worship and a great last weekend for us at New Life.

Pray that these two concerts will bring many to New Life who have never been to church before. Pray for the three women who are in the choir who are not Christians, but who sing the songs and hear the messages. Pray that the words will become real to them.

Saying Good bye
On Sunday, December 11 after church, New Life is having a Goodbye Party for us. New Life has become our family and saying goodbye is going to be very hard.

Pray for us as we say goodbyes.

Parent Group Christmas Party
The day before we leave, Lindsay will be leading her last Parent Group and what better way to leave than with a party. She's looking forward to a fun time with friends (her friends and Ollie's friends). Hopefully everything will be packed and ready by the party, so she can relax and enjoy being with these special people.

Pray for all the moms, dads and kiddos who attend the Parent Group. This group has been a blessing to our family and I know it has been a blessing to many others too so pray that the group can continue and that there will be enough leaders and helpers to make it happen each week.

 

After the 14th we will be away from the computer for a little while. We need some rest, some good family time, and we are so looking forward to introducing Oliver to all of his relatives. Thank you for your prayers! Merry Christmas!

-G&L&O
 

 

 


 

fika friday: our favorite things

We hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving and that you are enjoying the Christmas music, lights and excitement of the holiday season! Of course, we know this weekend is one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year in the states. While we are not fans of Black Friday and the culture of consumerism that has taken over the country, we do believe that giving gifts is a special thing and we especially love gifts that are given to help others. So we thought we'd share a list of our favorite things. These are ethical companies and organizations that are helping others and the environment and we'd highly recommend you support them/purchase from them this holiday season!

G&L's Favorite Things

World Relief  http://www.worldrelief.org/givehopeshop
World Relief stands with the vulnerable, partnering with local churches to end the cycle of suffering, transforming lives and building sustainable communities. You can support this amazing organization here or shop their gifts by clicking on the link above.

World Vision  https://donate.worldvision.org/ways-to-give/gift-catalog
World Vision is a global Christian humanitarian organization. They partner with children, families, and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Sponsor and change the life of a child and a community here or shop their gifts by clicking the link above.

Noonday Collection  http://www.noondaycollection.com/pws/homeoffice/tabs/home.aspx
We partner with talented artisan entrepreneurs to make a difference in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. By developing artisan businesses through fair trade, we empower them to grow sustainably and to create dignified jobs for people who need them. Noonday celebrates and supports adoption and many Noonday ambassadors are parents that are raising money to cover adoption expenses.

31 Bits  http://31bits.com/
Using fashion and design to empower people to rise above poverty. Their model is to create dignified work opportunities for artisans worldwide while providing customers with a place to purchase fairly made products.

Thread By Nomad  https://threadsbynomad.com/
Threads by Nomad's mission is to create comfortable, versatile, easy-to-wear clothing that inspires women to fall in love with the beauty of diversity. A key component of the production is the hiring of refugees stateside and the enlisting of creators from various countries providing micro-enterprise opportunities.

PACT clothing  https://wearpact.com/
Lindsay's favorite clothing company right now. Great for basics like undies, socks and tshirts.
NO TOXIC DYES. NO TOXIC PESTICIDES. NO SWEATSHOPS. NO CHILD LABOR.

Patagonia  https://patagonia.com/
Patagonia's mission statement is: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. Patagonia has great organic jeans (not so easy to find) and is giving 100% of sales on Black Friday to grassroots environmental groups. 

Oliberté shoes  https://www.oliberte.com/
Oliberté is a sustainable brand supporting workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa. They believe in empowerment, transparency, and doing right by all.

Ollie's pick...
Apple Park organic baby itemshttp://www.applepark.com/
Every choice we make today has an impact on the future of our children and our planet. Making conscious decisions about our buying choices that support sustainable living can:

  • protect our forests
  • encourage biodiversity
  • preserve natural habitats
  • keep water pure
  • reduce waste in landfills
  • ensure healthy living

 

There are many many other great companies out there. Post links to your favorite ethical companies in the comment section below!
For a great list of ethical Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales click HERE!

Shop well, friends! -G&L&O

fika friday: seek listen walk

Just a quick fika friday to let you know about a great devotional that is coming out in just a few days! Our dear friend, Caroline Dunn, has compiled 51 devotions from 51 women, and Lindsay has had the honor of working with Caroline on the design and marketing of the book. It has officially gone to print and will be ready any day now.

Go to www.seeklistenwalk.com to preorder your copy and it will be shipped by December 1. Just in time for Christmas! There's a cute tshirt, necklace and bracelet that you can order online also.

I hope you enjoy the devotional as much as I (Lindsay) have enjoyed working on it. Though I've never met most of these women, I feel like I know them. I'd definitely love to sit down and have a cup of coffee with each one of them.

Life is hard, but when we read someone else's story, we are reminded how much we all have in common. We are not alone on this journey! And when we SEEK the Lord, LISTEN to His voice, and WALK in truth we can move forward in confidence, even when it's hard, knowing that He is with us and He is in control!

Have a great weekend! -G&L&O

first friday: november schedule

We are in the beginning of a new month! It's hard to believe that it's November already. We'd like to share our November schedule with you so that you have a better idea of what is going on in our lives and how to pray for us.  

ALPHA PARENT GROUP
Lindsay is leading this Parent Group every Tuesday morning this month. The group is held at one of New Life's church sites, Fridhemskyrkan. It's in the center of Stockholm, so it's a great location for Swedish and International parents who live in the city. There are many facebook groups for International parents in Stockholm and recently one of the moms advertised our Parent Group on a few of these groups. We received great interest, so pray that many new parents and children begin coming to the Parent Group. We typically have between 8-10 parents each Tuesday and it would be great to see that number double.

Pray that this would be a safe place for non Christian parents to attend, ask questions, and be open to God's truths. Pray that parents who have just moved to Stockholm and are feeling lonely will find this group and make great connections with the parents and children that attend. May we be a light.

LIFE GROUP
Our worship Life Group will continue meeting every Wednesday night this month. September was a good first month, and we look forward to spending more time with these friends this month, praying for each other, worshiping together, and doing life together.

Pray that we will continue to grow in our friendships with this group, and together grow in our relationships with God.

SEEK LISTEN WALK DEVOTIONAL
Lindsay has spent the last few months working on a large design project with missionary friend and mentor, Caroline Dunn. Caroline has compiled 51 inspirational, real, stories written by 51 women. Lindsay has had the honor of working along side Caroline on this project, helping with the design and promotion. It has been a big undertaking, but the exact kind of project that Lindsay loves and thrives on. The last few edits are being made now, and the book will go to print on Monday, November 7! You can pre-order your copy online at www.seeklistenwalk.com. It will be a great Christmas present!

Pray that this devotional will get into the hands of women (and men) who need to be reminded that they are not in this journey alone.  

WORSHIP MEETINGS
This month, Grant and John van Dinther are holding two Worship Team meetings to discuss important next steps for the worship teams. Grant has done a great job working with these teams and raising up some worship leaders. Some members of the teams are leaving and some are just starting, so it's a great time to get everyone on the same page, thank and encourage the teams and look ahead to the future. The first meeting was held on November 3. The second meeting will be held on November 17.

Pray for a renewed energy in these musicians who give a lot of their free time each month for rehearsals and worship services. Pray that these meetings help everyone feel good and ready for the next season on ministry.

PROPEL WOMEN
Lindsay has joined a new Propel Women group. It is the first one in Stockholm. Last month there were 5 ladies, this month we are hoping to double that number. Propel exists to help activate, connect, and equip women to fulfill their God given passion, potential, and purpose. Even with just 5 people last month there was such an excitement and a true sense of community in the group. Lindsay is really looking forward to the next meeting on November 8. She's invited quite a few women and hopes they all attend! 

Pray that more and more women hear about this group and are able to join on Tuesday night. Pray that Ollie does ok while mom is away. Bedtime is a hard time to be away right now.

VISITORS
Though we don't typically look forward to November (cold, dark, wet), it's hard not to this year because we've got some great visitors coming to see us! Our good friends, Tim and Amy Gunther who we worked with in California are coming for a quick trip November 14-16! These two are more like family than friends so we are so excited to spend time with them, introduce them to Ollie and show them around Stockholm. Then on November 18 Grant's parents, Brooke and Doug Morgan, are coming to spend 10 days with us! They have not met Ollie in person yet, so we're praying it will be such a special bonding time for Ollie and his grandparents. We are so excited that we will be able to spend Thanksgiving with family this year, which we haven't been able to do in a few years.

Pray with us for some sunny days while our visitors are here so that we can enjoy showing them around the city, and maybe even a few snowy days. These Southern Californians don't get much snow. Pray for safe travels and a great time together. 

DARK DAYS
As we mentioned, November is a dark month. Today the sun sets at 3:44pm. By the end of the month, it will set at 2:57pm. Most days are cloudy with little to no sunshine. Though you don't always notice it, it really does start to effect your energy level and mood.

Pray that God gives us extra strength, motivation, and positive attitudes even during the darkest days. May we shine bright in the darkness because of Christ Jesus.

-G&L&O

 


 


 

 

fika friday: october 28

Wow, October has flown by! Here are some of the highlights!

New Life's Second Hand Sale was a huge success raising thousands of kronor (I will update with the exact amount once I have it). Daina Andersson and her team always do a great job of collecting, sorting and organizing for the sale.

We got to spend some good time with Bill Ankerberg, Gary Hunter, and Dennis McMains who are all leaders in our sending organization, Converge. They are also our friends and mentors. We so appreciated the time we had with them. Together, we debriefed the past two and a half years that we have been in Stockholm and then talked a lot about the future. We will be sharing more about that with you all soon. Until then, just know that we feel so loved and supported by these great men and a great organization, Converge. Oliver actually sat with us in both meetings and did a great job. The guys enjoyed getting to know him, and it seemed like Ollie liked them too.

We've had three great Life Group meetings this month with Worship Team members and family. We are enjoying the conversations, the food and fika, and getting to know each other and praying for each other.

Lindsay has started leading the Parent Group at Fridhemskyrkan, the New Life site in the middle of town. This past Tuesday we had an Autumn Festival, sang songs, did a craft, and dressed up like our favorite animal. The parents and children in the group are from all over the world. The countries represented just in this photo are: Hungary, England, USA, South Africa, Singapore, and Slovakia. It's a real treat to spend Tuesdays with this group!

We are savoring the last few days of this month. November is known to be most Swedes least favorite month because it is typically cloudy and the days continue to get shorter and shorter. For example, on November 1 it will be dark at 3:56pm. But we had some nice sunshine today and we are getting out our Christmas lights a little early this year to brighten up our balcony. It just takes a little light to brighten up the darkness! 

Thank you for your prayers and support. You are helping us be a light here. We are so grateful for you! -G&L&O

first friday: october schedule

Hi friends!

We hope you've had a great week and that wherever you are, it is beginning to feel like autumn. It sure is in Stockholm! The days are getting darker, the wind is blowing, and the coat, hat and gloves weather has arrived.

Since we are at the beginning of the month, we wanted to share our October schedule with you so that you know what's going on with us, and know some ways that you can pray for us. So from now on, every first friday of the month, we will have a #firstfriday upate instead of #fikafriday. But don't worry, you can still drink coffee while you read it!

 

OCTOBER 2016

LIFE GROUP
We have just started a new Life Group made up of families where at least one spouse is involved in worship at New Life. Grant has had the desire for a while to start a group that is based around worship. The idea is to do life together, grow closer to God and to each other, and worship through music, but also through our every day lives. So far there are five (including us) New Life families that plan to be part of the group. Pray for these families, some that we know well, and some that we are just getting to know, that we will form tight bonds with each other and closer relationships with God, and enjoy doing life together.

TECH CONFERENCE
Tomorrow, Grant is attending a conference called Swedish Gurus and has invited the Tech Team at New Life to go with him. He's hoping that it will be a fun opportunity for the team to "geek out", learn a few new things, and spend time together. Pray for New Life's Tech Team. Within the last year, Grant has built a great team of mostly high school/college age guys who are really interested in sound, lighting, and computers. One member of the team, Gabriel, got baptized at Church Camp this summer. Pray for these young guys. Many may be the only Christians in their classes at school. New Life has many great youth who love the Lord and love to serve, and we are so proud of the Godly leaders they are becoming.
 

PARENT/ALPHA GROUP
Starting later this month, Lindsay will be leading a Parent Group that meets at one of New Life's church sites, Fridhemskyrkan, on Tuesday mornings. Lindsay and Oliver have been attending this group since March, and have gotten to know many new moms and little ones. Jenny Wahlstrom leads baby songs every other week, and the other weeks, there is an Alpha parenting video and discussion. While many who attend are New Life members, there are quite a few who do not go to New Life and are not Christians. Lindsay is excited for the chance to lead this group and connect with more and more families (moms especially) in Stockholm. Pray that God will bless these parents and the sweet children that she (and Ollie) are getting to know.

GOSPEL CHOIR
Every Monday night this fall, New Life has choir practice! Though most Swedes are not interested in going to church, they are happy, and will even pay to join a church's gospel choir and have their children sing in a kids choir. New Life leaders knew that, and this autumn they were able to hire a choir director who works with both choirs. Grant is thankful to have a choir director and has been attending every Monday night to support and help with the practices. There are 17 in the gospel choir and 12 in the kids choir. Most go to New Life, but there are a few that are from the community, so it is a great start to something that we hope to continue for a long time. The choirs will be singing during New Life services a few times this autumn, and there will be a special gospel concert in December. Pray that the choirs will be a great new way to bring people to church. Pray that each visitor that comes to New Life will see Christ's light shining through us so brightly that they will know that the messages we sing about are true.

VISITORS
Our former pastor from WACC, Bill Ankerberg, and Converge's new Director of Global Ministries, Gary Hunter will be visiting us in Stockholm later this month. We plan to spend a lot of time debriefing our two and a half years at New Life with them, and look forward to the next 5 to 10 years. We so appreciate the time that both mean have spent coaching and supporting us through the years, and we look forward to this time together. Of course, they are not coming just for us. They will also be meeting with Converge missionaries, Jim and Lynn Jarman, New Life leadership teams, and will be preaching on a Sunday and speaking during New Life's church planting course, The Salt Shaker. These guys know how to pack a lot of good info and meetings into a short period of time. I think it has something to do with Diet Coke. Pray for Bill and Gary that their travel will be smooth and comfortable, that they will be refreshed and ready for their busy schedule once they get to Stockholm, and that God will speak through them in every meeting, sermon and conversation. We are so blessed to have these two wise, caring men with us on our ministry journey.

A dear friend, Cherie Kopecky, is also coming to visit us this month! We met her and her husband in Stockholm last summer as they were driving around parts of Sweden tracing her family roots. Cherie has a heart for Sweden and for Christ, and it is so evident. She is just a joy to be around and one of the sweetest ladies you'll ever meet. She is a newly retired California school teacher, and is spending two weeks in Sweden, reconnecting with people she met here (like us) and serving in many different ways at New Life. She has insisted on babysitting Ollie and letting us go out on a date, which is great timing because our 4th Anniversary is October 26! Pray for Cherie and her husband, Mike, as they spend two weeks on different continents. Pray that Cherie's time in Sweden is so special and a blessing to her and to so many others (I'm sure it will be!). I know God has a plan for Cherie and Mike and Sweden, so pray with me that God will reveal great things to her during her trip.

ANNIVERSARY
So we will be celebrating four years of marriage on October 26! Oh, how life has changed for us since then, but oh how sweet it is to be married to your best friend. Pray for us as we (and I'm sure we will continue to for the rest of our lives) are figuring out how to be parents, do ministry, and still make time for each other. It's not easy all the time, but we are so blessed to be on this journey together.

 

Thanks for reading and for your prayers! Happy pumpkin spiced latte month! 
-G&L&O

 


 

 

fika friday: seek, listen, walk

We skipped last Fika Friday (sorry), but hope you got to catch Lindsay's webinar debut! Caroline Dunn, a great friend and mentor in Stockholm has collected stories and testimonies from over 50 women and has compiled them into a devotional called Seek, Listen, Walk: The Journey of Intentional Women. Lindsay has spent the last few months collaborating with Caroline on the cover design and on creative ways to get the word out about this project. Caroline plans to have webinars with many of the different authors before the book launches late this fall. The first webinar was with Lindsay and it was a fun conversation getting to know her better. If you didn't get a chance to join in the webinar on Saturday, you can watch it on our Grant & Lindsay facebook page: www.facebook.com/grantandlindsay

Be sure to join the Seek, Listen, Walk facebook page for more updates about the devotional: www.facebook.com/seeklistenwalk

-G&L&O