Monday, June 20, 2016

Senior Couple's Retreat to Gotland!!!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2016, the Senior Couples who are serving here in the Sweden Stockholm Mission drove down to Nynäshamn to catch the "Destination Gotland" ferry, which would take us to the Island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.  We certainly were missing Elder and Sister Koyle, as they did not travel with us because they were happy to have some of their children and grandchildren visiting them here in Stockholm.  Well, we safely boarded the ferry and soon we were out to Sea.  Pictured left to right on the ferry are:  Sister Beckstrand, Sister and Elder Watson, and Elder and Sister Wood.

 Pictured left to right:  Elder and Sister Clouse, Elder and Sister Mitchell, Sister Britton.

Sister and Elder Hurlbut, Elder Robinson, Sister Robinson, and Elder Clouse from the backade.

After we arrived on Gotland, the group went down to the wonderful Ice Cream shop to take part in the delicious ice cream from Gotland.  Then, on to the hotel to check in and relax for a little while.  That evening we enjoyed a wonderful meal at a great little (old) place inside of the Visby wall.

Our hosts for the retreat are Sister and Elder Madden, who have been serving on the Island for the past 18 months.  Elder Madden is the Visby Branch President and has done a wonderful job with the church members here.  Thank you Elder and Sister Madden for a great couple of days on Gotland.

This is the eating place we visited our first night on the Island, the Värdshus.  Sister and Elder Wood are on the steps.

The next morning, we got an early start because we have much to see here on Gotland.  This is called the Chimpanzee Rock.  Can you see the Chimpanzee face?
As we were traveling toward Fårö, we stopped at more ancient rock formations. 

We stopped at Jungfrun, the Virgin Rock, on the coast.  This is where a tragic love tale took place 100s of years ago.
 We stopped and saw this ancient Viking burial ground.  Elder Madden explained to the group about this burial spot.  When they removed all the soil heaped up in a large mound, this is what lay beneath.  It is like a wagon wheel with spokes.
 And in the middle, they found two stone coffins, where the dead were placed.

You've heard of the tree of life?  Well, I call this the tree of death.  Everything around is alive, but this tree, standing beside a Midsommar Pole.
 The group carefully surveys the "Sunwheel", where the burial ground is.
 We proceeded on toward Fårö, crossing the Baltic Sea on a small ferry for about 15 minutes, and then came to the city church.  Notice the Sea in the background.

The group stopped to see these famous rock formations on the coast line of the Baltic Sea.

 Elder Watson, taking long range pictures of the beauties the Lord has provided for us.

Be careful Sister Beckstrand.  You might fall in and wash out to Sea.
 Sister Beckstrand and Sister Clouse enjoying the beautiful scenery.

 We stopped to take a look at this very old fishing village on the Sea.

Leave it to these sisters to start a fad........Sister Beckstrand, Sister Clouse, and Sister Watson, ready to shove out to Sea.
 Elder and Sister Clouse.

 President and Sister Beckstrand and Sister and Elder Watson.

Here are most of the group, Elder and Sister Robinson, Sister and Elder Wood, Elder and Sister Mitchell, Elder and Sister Britton, Sister Clouse, Sister Beckstrand, Sister and Elder Watson.
 Elder and Sister Wood, Stockholm YSA Couple.

 Elder and Sister Robinson, Records Preservation Couple in Stockholm.

President and Sister Beckstrand.
 Elder and Sister Mitchell, MLS Couple in Örnsköldsvik.

 Elder and Sister Clouse, Office Couple in Stockholm.

Elder and Sister Britton, Records Preservation Couple in Stockholm.
 Elder and Sister Watson, Göteborg YSA Couple.

 And a "selfie" to finish off the fishing village.

This is the Gotham Parish Church, one of the oldest churches on the Island and also the one with the tallest tower.
 Another chance for a photo with this great group.  Left to right:  Elder and Sister Wood, Elder and Sister Watson, Elder and Sister Britton, Sister Beckstrand, Elder Madden, Elder and Sister Clouse, Sister Madden, Sister and Elder Mitchell, Sister and Elder Hurlbut, and Sister and Elder Robinson.

 Looking at part of the old church ruin here in Gotham.

On our second night on Gotland, we ate at the Wisby Hof Restaurant, Austrian dining.  The food was excellent and a Thank you to Elder Madden, as this was his selection for the evening.


Elder and Sister Watson.

 Elder and Sister Britton, who will be leaving us to return home in 2 weeks.

Elder and Sister Clouse.
 Looking at most of the group here at the Wisby Hof.

 The restaurant is built right in the old wall of the city of Visby.
 The Wisby Hof Restaurant, where the back of the building is the old Viking wall of Visby.

Our final evening on Gotland, we were hosted by Elder and Sister Madden at their home.  We had a wonderful evening and enjoyed a great BBQ meal prepared by Elder and Sister Madden, who will be returning home the end of June.  Thank you so much for your great service here in Visby and on Gotland.  We will miss you!
 The master chef, with tool in hand, Elder Madden.  The smoked BBQ pork was delicious.

Hey, what are these two guys doing?????  Elder Clouse and Elder Wood raiding the kitchen.

 Well, we had a wonderful trip to Gotland and on Sunday we all attended the Visby Branch and enjoyed a wonderful Fast and Testimony meeting with the members there.


Hey, even the Visby Elders got in on the BBQ Pork action........Elder Scott and Elder Blackburn.  Once again, Thank you to Elder and Sister Wood and Elder and Sister Madden for planning and carrying out a wonderful Senior Couples Retreat.  We love you!!!!!!!!!

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