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Snapshot of Sweden – Swedish is the official language of Sweden, though Finnish is also the primary language of about 5% of the population. About two-thirds of the population belongs to the Church of Sweden, though membership has been steadily declining as secularism has increased. While most of the population still belongs to the Church of Sweden, very few actually attend church services or consider religion an important part of their life, and atheism and agnosticism are rampant.
Sweden has a highly developed culture. Newspapers abound in Sweden, with most towns having their own local paper. Sweden also celebrates unique holidays such as Walpurgis Night (April 30th), which is celebrated by dancing and lighting large bonfires. Sweden is home to a wide variety of popular music, including folk, heavy metal, techno, and pop. Soccer and ice hockey are favorite sports of the Swedish people, though horse sports are also rather popular. Fish, meat, and potatoes are common in Swedish cuisine. Some well-liked dishes include Swedish meatballs with gravy, lutefisk (a dish made using fish and lye), pea soup, and several types of dumplings. A plethora of pastries and fruit cakes (especially strawberry and cream cake) are also popular. Milk and coffee are both very typical drinks.
The Church in Sweden is steadily growing. There are around 10,000 members, with about 150 baptisms annually. Three years ago there were 90 missionaries in all of Sweden, but now there are 200. Most areas have two sets of missionaries.
Sweden has one temple, in Stockholm, dedicated in 1985. Depending on which part of the mission you are in, you may get to attend the temple occasionally. Other parts of the mission are allowed to attend the temple in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The majority of the time missionaries will be cooking meals on their own; depending on the area, (typically stronger wards), members may feed missionaries dinners several times a week.
Traditional Swedish foods are meatballs, brown sauce, potatoes, and lingon jam. At Christmas they eat ham with rice pudding.
Almost all missionaries take buses and trains to get from place to place. The five northernmost areas have cars, but only because the areas are so spread out that it would be incredibly difficult to travel without one. There are a few areas where missionaries use bikes, but these are few and far between. Most likely you will have a pass that will allow you to take any bus or train within a certain area of the city.
The Swedes are a beautiful people with blonde hair and blue eyes. They are generally friendly, but they do tend to stay inside their homes most of the time. The Swedish population also includes many immigrants from countries in Eastern Europe, North and West Asia, South America, China, and countries around India.
The biggest holiday in Sweden is Midsummer. Families and friends get together to celebrate. They eat lots of food, especially strawberries. Most of the holidays revolve around the sun coming back.
Swedish is the official language, but there is a strong Danish influence in the southern part of the country. There are different dialects all over Sweden. In Stockholm, the people speak quickly; in the North, the people speak much slower.
You’ll want a heavy winter jacket, thermals, hats, gloves, and a scarf before venturing outside during the winter. All the essential clothing can be bought there in Sweden, though, where it is made to be durable.
182 46 Enebyberg
Straight from the Sweden Stockholm Mission:
*What items were hard to get or not available?
*What did you eat the most of?
“Sausage korv, Fish, Cheese, Yogurt, Hard bread, knackebrood”
*What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Mayoralty fermented pickled herring surstrommingg”
*What was most surprising about the culture?
“Swedes are wonderful—very open minded, enlightened, brutally honest, pragmatic.”
*What advice would you give to someone going to the Sweden Stockholm Mission?
“Don’t be sad if you don’t baptize a lot, commit to loving the people.”
*What do you wish you had known before you served?
“What missionaries really do day to day.”
**Did you serve in the Sweden Stockholm Mission? If so, we would love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.**