2 years ago God spoke to both my wife and I and placed Sweden on our hearts.
I would have never thought it would have happened let alone to the extent of what God has done during the time leading up to the mission trip and during it!..
So here is the brief information of the 5 cities over 2 weeks in Sweden. Walking and praying over churches in the cities. I went over with the fullness of my heart to ignore the "man-made" denominations and focus on God and His church as a whole!!
I landed in Arlanda Airport (just north of Stockholm) at 11pm and spent the night on the terminal floor ready for my train to Karlstad early the next morning.
First of all was Karlstad. 5 days (Wed Am-Mon AM) Very nice city! I managed to get hold of a map of the city free of charge and set out a plan of action to walk as much as possible around the city and outskirts to visit as many churches as possible and pray over them. I had done some research over the layout of the city and some churches before I left so I had a good idea of where to start.
In the first 2 days I had walked over 20 miles and visited, prayed, over 15 churches. Pictures of each church was posted onto twitter for those who were following me could see and pray over them as well.
I planned a trip to the outskirts of Karlstad to a small place called Skare and some of the churches on the way. Purchased a bus ticket, as it was too far to walk, and left early. As I was not sure of exactly where to get off the bus I kept a keen eye on the map and the stops. I missed it! I couldn't believe it and was kicking myself over this. I thought I had wasted time missing the stop and that I had let God down for this short period of time. Little did I know it was Gods plan!! I jumped back on the bus in the other direction and got off the stop I needed.. Stood outside the church, took a picture, tweeted it and prayed over the church. The side door opened and outcome this woman and asked what I was doing. So I explained my purpose of why I was there that day and where I was wrong. At first, I think, she was a little taken back as it's not what you expect to have happen. She invited me in to speak to her team, as she introduced herself as the Pastor of that church, and pray with them. I accepted!! We talked and prayed over the outreach for the church. Anna, the Pastor, introduced me to her team and the other lady that was there from a different church. Also had the blessing to be invited to eat with them as well. It was such an encouragement to me to see and feel the love of Jesus, by them, to welcome me into their church and talk.. I just pray that my time with them and the prayers has encouraged them as well.. There is NO such thing as coincidence! It is ALL God!! I gave up after 2 days of measure how much I had walked as it started to scare me a little, I lost my step counter but also I felt that this mission was not about counting physical steps but leaving it all to God!
Attended a church, Korkyrkan, for worship on the Sunday, of my first week, and was blessed to have a good talk with the Pastor. The gentleman who was leading worship apologised that there were no English worded songs chosen that day but they normally do 1-2 every week. It didn't bother me and God, yet again, proved this is where I was suppose to be as the first 2 songs, whilst in Swedish, were the exact same ones I had learn from Youtube over the past few months. The whole service felt so welcoming. I was introduced to Simon, a pastor in another church who was here on his day off, who offered to translate the service and answer any questions I had during the service. After the service he invited me to go to the lake with him, his wife and some of his friends for lunch.. I was blown away by the offer and accepted. Sat there on these huge rocks on the edge of the largest lake in Sweden, bright sunshine, clear blue sky and great fellowship!! We talked about the struggles for churches in Sweden and share encouragement. It was an experience I shall never forget and the love/acceptance of those families was something amazing. I shall never forget them..
Monday morning I left Karlstad and headed, by train to Helsingborg.
(2nd week - Mon PM-Thur 4 AM)This was suppose to be my couple of days of rest but, being me, I couldn't. I once again walked and prayed for the churches of the city. Also by standing on the edge of the coastal wall I could see Denmark coast.. So I prayed over the churches in the distance. It was strange as I could actually see buildings and their colours too. Only person God put in my way to talk to here was a leader of the mormon church I visited and prayed over. I got to see my first look at the homeless of Helsingborg as I sat in the train station for about 2-3 hrs very early as I was waiting for the train to leave.
3rd city I was in was Jonkoping (Thur PM-Sat AM) Once again walking and praying over churches in the city, got hold of a free map to help me plan where to go and possible numbers. Also I had arranged to meet up with a church leader and also a Christian from another church. This was great fellowship as I got to hear about the struggles of the church in Sweden and Jonkoping but also how one of the churches is planning to do outreach into the community and the vision they had! I was so encouraged by not only hearing his vision but seeing it as well in my mind. I was blessed, once again, by a meal by both people. I felt love and acceptance again beyond words!!!
4th city was Stockholm (Sat PM-Sun AM) Was only here to visit one church and that was the New Life church just on the outskirts of Stockholm. The Pastor was so welcoming as we spent time that morning, as he collected me from the hotel and drove me to the church, showed me around and even took more time out of his busy schedule to speak to me before the service. Very open conversation and I saw great vision but, once again, felt pain for the church as it attempts to reach the community. Amazing service in both English and Swedish so I felt so at home. So much vision is planned for this church.. Truly amazing Faith!! Praying it happens.
This is the mad dash from New Life to Uppsala in which I had about 2 3/4 hrs to get to. I was so blessed by a family who were waiting at the bus stop just up the path from New Life. It was a trek to the metro station if I had of walked. I went to the bus station to get directions and they said it would be quicker to jump on the bus as it was due in a few minutes. I found out from the chat at the bus stop they were all from New Life church and were heading home. Chris, the one gentleman, who helped me, asked what I was doing and we spoke. He and his family helped me get on the right metro train and directed me to the right platform in Stockholm train station as this is where we departed from each other. Got onto the right train and headed to Uppsala! Jumped off the train and found the bus I needed to get on! Was planning to get to the service, which was in a possible of 2 locations depending on the weather. I misread the weather and went to the wrong location. I would have only been 5 mins late!! Kicked myself so much and jumped on a bus back to Uppsala city centre to get to the park. Really panicking the bus ride back to the city centre. Ran through some of the park, with all my luggage on my back, and it was huge.. Had no idea where they were!! I knew what the blokes face looked like but apart from twitter, had no contact details. I walked around the park briefly and was giving up hope. I thought I better walk to the hostel and arrange to meet him the next day. So I walked and then suddenly heard some music being played, walked closer and heard singing in English and walked around the small group and saw him playing the guitar. So I sat just outside the group and waited for the sing to be finished.. I made it!! 45 mins late but thanks be to God!!
5th City - Uppsala (Sun Pm-Tue AM)
Spent a great afternoon with the group having worship in the park. They asked about what I was doing in Uppsala. So I shared Gods mission. It was nice to worship outside and having the people in the park see the love of Jesus and not just stuck in a church. Managed to walk around some of the churches in the city centre that evening as well. Monday I walked around the other churches I had seen on the map of the city centre and was blessed again with a nice chat and lunch with the Pastor and the gentleman, who I arranged to meet, that afternoon. We went to Gamla Uppsala to visit the old church and eat. The history of the church and city, the fellowship and discussion was, once again, amazing. I was planning to travel out of Uppsala on the Monday night and spend the night sleeping on the floor of the airport check in for my early flight Tuesday but I was offered a sofa for the night in Uppsala.. What may seem to some people as a small thing was a huge blessing. It meant a decent rest before a busy day of travelling.. Woke up at 5am and walked around the block to the bus station. Jumped on the bus to Arlanda Airport and checked in that very morning to bring me back to the UK.
My wife, Smoffi, who was at home in the UK the whole time also had to deal with her own mission being without me for the 2 weeks, having to deal with the household things, her emotions and worries about me and life in general on her own.. Also listening to my journey and worries. I will never know what she fully went through but, I do know, she is an amazing woman and so blessed by God!! She went against her own worries and fears to allow me to follow me calling by God.. I am so humbled and blessed by this.
Would I do it again? Of course!
Was it Gods calling for me? Of course.. I have no doubt in this as I saw and felt things I could never imagine.
What would I change if I did that same 2 weeks again? More support for my wife to help her. A support network for me as being there on my own was hard at times.
Will this be the only mission to Sweden? Of course NOT!! God has stoked the fire within even more.. I feel there is so much to be done for His Kingdom over there.
What will the next mission hold? I have no idea as God has not made anything clear as of yet.
How do I know I have achieved anything? I don't know exactly what this mission has done for Gods Kingdom but I know it has increased it in some way. God answers prayer!! Those churches will see something happen now or in the future because of this.
Please just pray for the churches I visited and all those people within them! Outreach, strength in Gods Word and to change hearts for Jesus. Fire up people in Sweden to answer Gods calling on their lives. Please also pray for the church people who helped with the funding of this mission trip, the support given to my wife and put up with me not saying anything else but this for over a year!
If God speaks to you about a calling upon your life.. Pray over it, speak to your church leaders, (if you can) fast over it, then if it's from God..DO IT!!!