Mie and Björn on a 2 years mission to Thailand

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logo Agneta's WorldThe other day, I had a meeting with Mie and Björn Wennerström, a Swedish couple who just arrived a few months ago to Thailand, for a 2 years important mission.

Mie, or Maria which is her given name, was born in Blomstermåla, a place in Sweden between Kalmar and Oskarshamn. She went to school in Blomstermåla, until she started at the gymnasium in Kalmar. After having graduated she started to work as an export secretary for a company exporting toys. During her childhood she was part of the church community.

Björn was born in Mariannelund, north of Småland. He started school in Mariannelund, but went later to a music gymnasium in Jönköping. After his graduation, he worked during a couple of years as a musician. He plays trombon and tuba. Like Mie, Björn was also from young age, familiar with the church. Both Mie and Björn went to ”Söndags skolan”, at that time. Most children went for a few hours to Söndags skolan to learn about christianity and play with like-minded children.

In 1989 they married and the wedding took place in Ålens church, north of Kalmar. In 1991 they decided to go to the big apple, New York, on a mission for the Swedish church. It was a great experience Mie says. They visited a lot of ships with Swedish crew and one night they invited the crew from one of the ships to a dinner at their home, but to what kind of dinner? Both Mie and Björn laugh when they remember that evening. They had planned to serve something very Swedish, like Surströmming. They hadn’t been eating that before and had no idea how it would taste and probably they didn’t know the smell. Surströmming is a kind of rotten fish that you eat with Almond potatoes and Tunnbröd (a special thin bread from the north or Sweden). To this dish the real Surströmming lovers drink milk. I suppose these bad smelling fishes are easily eaten with cold milk……

Mie and Björn have many fun memories from New York where they stayed for 2 years. But in 1993 it was time to go to London, where similar work tasks were waiting. Eventually after 2 interesting years in London, they moved back to Sweden.

In 1994 their first daughter, Emma, saw the daylight and in1996, her sister Annie was born. Today, Emma studies to become a nurse and she lives in Kalmar and takes care of Mie and Björns apartment. As for Annie, she attends a gymnasium, called ”Riksinnebandy Gymnasium” in the city of Umeå, north of Sweden. We do have many kind of universities in Sweden where you can focus on your interests, might it be bandy, horses, dance or whatever.

Now, Mie and Björn have been for a few months in Thailand. I had to ask what made them chose to come here? Both answered, that there was a post to be filled for 2 years and so interesting and challenging so they just had to go for it. They had not been to Asia before, so they were excited.

They are here on an investigating mission, a lay worker job for a 2 years period.
I, of course, had to ask what that kind of job means and they explained to me that the counsular department of the Swedish embassy here in Bangkok is overloaded with work and needs help. The Swedish church abroad, decided to give a helping hand.

I had no idea that we have so many Swedes living in Thailand and having so many different problems. It might be people who are sick and can’t afford paying for hospital or doctor fees, it might be people with addiction to alcohol or drugs, persons who have been abused in one or another way or persons who are just very lonesome. Believe it or not, but there are more people than you think, who are suffering from these problems, no matter if you are wealthy or poor. There are also many very rich people around us with huge problems, that often leads to depression and diseases.

Mie and Björn’s task is to locate all these people and try to find out how big their needs really are and what can be done?

This job will take them around Thailand and already within this short period, they have been to Hua Hin, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Chang Rai and other places and more are to come. In the near future they will be visiting Mäh Phim, Surin and Phuket.

When we mention DIAKONI, I can tell it is a greek word and means ”serving”. Serving other people is exactly what lay workers do. With their long experience Mie and Björn are absolutely the right persons for this important mission.

Björn just explained that Mie, who is educated math teacher and have helped children with special needs and that her sense for figures, was a great help to them a while ago when they met with a Swede, feeling very anxious about his economic situation. You can feel how proud Björn is by Mie’s knowledge and he points out that her sense for figures and her pedalogical way is clear as a bell.

Mie is educated lay worker from the St. Johannes community in Kalmar and Björn has been a director for ”Stadsmissionen” in Kalmar during 10 years and he has also worked at a treatment home for alcohol and drug addicted people. He was organizing group therapy and with his cool way of beeing, I think he must have been very successful. Last, but not least, he has also worked for the Seamen church in Norrköping.

This will be their first Christmas in Bangkok and both are looking forward to welcoming Annie to Bangkok to celebrate the festivity with them. They are a bit sad that Emma can’t join. She has to prepare for her exams in January.

I finish our interesting talk by wishing them both good luck. I am sure, they will fullfill their mission to the very best. Now I know a lot more about things I haven’t thought about before and if you want to meet with Mie and Björn, they can be find at Stable Lodge, the Danish restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 8, Tuesdays between 11 am and 2 pm.

If you want to email or call Mie and Björn, you can reach them on
Email: bangkok.diakoni@svenskakyrkan.se or Mobile 081 809 7562

They are very interested to listen to your experiences and knowledge about Thailand and you are most welcome to see them.

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