Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday, Dec 9th, 2013

Well, I don't have a whole lot of time: But here the big news is Norm has a baptismal date of Janurary 11th for sure! in our last visit, he said, "Good news: I want to be baptized." haha We are so happy! We are working to get the details all worked out and will give you more information this next week. 

As well Kathy and Crissy have a baptismal date! It is so awesome! They are as well preparing for Janurary 11th. That is the last Saturday of this Transfer. Chrissy has some addiction problems but we are going to start the stop smoking program with them this next week. They want to meet with us twice a week. I am so stoked! 

The Davis family has not made contact with us like they said they would. So I am really praying hard that as we stop by sometime this week that it will go well and that we can continue to teach them! They are so sweet and want them to enjoy the blessings of the gospel so badly! 

We have used the Christmas program as a perfect follow up visit for all of our potentials, so we have seen and invited about 8 people to it and I really hope some of them will come! They are all really close but just need that little extra interest to want to know more and have us come more consistently to teach.

Like I said, I am really running short on time today, and I am really hoping to be able to finally be able to catch up with you guys at Christmas! I can't wait to talk with you guys! 

I love this work and its an amazing time to do missionary work during this Christmas season! Take advantage of it! 

Love you all! 

-Elder Swalberg

Exchange with Elder Dahlberg pictures

Snow ("Hi MOM")

The District

Haircut Time

Oatmeal with Pomegranate - His "sweet-tart" oatmeal

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

Elder Swalberg will be in Damariscotta, Maine for Christmas.  This mission office is asking that Christmas mail be sent directly to the missionaries to lighten the mail traffic that goes through the office.  So, Christmas cards/packages for Elder Swalberg should be sent to:
Elder Landon Swalberg
P.O. Box 1102
Damariscotta, ME  04543


Hey, good news: I'm staying! Actually no one in our district is leaving! I think it is a pretty small transfer this time. Last transfer was huge so that makes sense. But yeah I am so glad to be staying! 

Anyway here is the update, and one of the days will be more detailed in that letter home! 

So It has been a cold week for sure here in Damariscotta, Maine and it looks like I get to enjoy it here for another 6 weeks! We had transfer calls last Saturday and no call came! Neither for the sisters in our Branch either! In fact our whole district is staying! Its pretty exciting! I am so glad that they are staying. This transfer is going to be really great! There are a lot of good things happening right now and it will be good to be here for Christmas as well! 

Well on Monday we had the normal p-day stuff, but that evening, we got to go to Lisa and James's home for dinner and FHE! They are the recent converts with lots of little kids! So prepared a thanksgiving lesson and for the activity we made Turkey's out of foam paper and had a lot of fun with that! haha I took some pictures but I still need to see if I can even send them at all. :/ 

But Tuesday has been the Miracle day of the week! I mean it was what I like to call "Harvest Day" of the Transfer! This whole transfer has been really rough on finding new investigators. We have been making finding a priority all 6 weeks and it all paid off this week! We actually went on exchange for that day as well. So I was with Elder Dahlberg that day! We get along super well! Btw he has a blog as well so you should take a look at his as well. He said his mom found mine last week! haha Kind of fun! Anyway this is a short version but my letter home will explain more because there were so many little miracles that were evident through out the whole day, and I knew this email wouldn't do it justice! haha
We finally were able to meet with Andie's (Recent convert of Oct. 26th--12 year old girl--) Grandmother and Andie's Mother who are both non members but have been coming to sacrament meeting since Andie's baptism and confirmation. They have not missed a week, but have been too busy to meet with us until this thanksgiving holiday when they had some time off work. This past Tuesday was their first lesson. We had 2 members there along with Andie as we taught them both the Restoration using the pamphlet. When we got to the part of Joesph Smith's role in the restoration, Andie wanted to tell the story and did a wonderful job! We were then able to bare testimony of what she said! As we testified of the first vision, Andie's uncle walked in and instead of trying to just walk by, he actually started to listen, one of the members saw his interest and gave him a pamphlet to look as well. He payed super close attention to the pictures and asked questions about them. We were able to give them all a Book of Mormon, and challenged them to read it, ponder it, and then to pray about it. They all readily agreed! Phil, the uncle said he would come to church this week as well! It was amazing! These three had been being prepared for this whole transfer and now we have 3 new investigators to teach. 

The Grandmother, Kathy, and her daughter, Chrissy, were there again at church this week but sadly Phil was not there. But, Kathy said that she thinks he felt bad that he didnt come. So I know we will get him next week! Such a miracle! 

That same day, Tuesday, we followed up with a family that we tracted into, that said we could come back. We shared a message about how families could be together forever, and as well had Brother Duffy with us who is a convert and answered a lot of their concerns as he told his story of coming into the church. They were nodding their heads and agreeing the whole time. Brother Duffy, the member with us, invited them to church this Sunday and said they would like to come and would talk about having us back over. So after much prayer and fasting, The Husband and wife both showed up with their 2 yr old son. And stayed for sacrament meeting. He is a dentist and many of the members know him because of that. They had a family they knew well that they were able to sit with and everything. They loved the meeting and soooo many members came up to talk to them before the meeting and after the meeting. It was a miracle and I know the Lords hand was in every part of it! 

That made our weekly key indicator for new investigators this week:5! Like I said, "Harvest Day"! It was such an amazing day. 

On that same day...yeah its not over...we also saw Brother Carlson. And Brother Duffy and Giusani were there! We got to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to him and so we brought up Baptism again as we cover Baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost. We discussed how he felt about it and what he wanted from Baptism, and after that, it was a perfect time to invite him a specific date again. We told him we had prayed about it and invited him to be baptized on the 11th of January. He has a hard time with committing to something like this, but the closest thing to yes is the answer we got. He said he doesn't know, but he would commit to that week or the one after that one, and he said "And that's a big thing for me to say!" haha Then Brother Giusani bore a powerful witness that this date is for him to be ready spiritually and that he shouldn't worry about the physical issues, that that part would work out. Then Brother Duffy gave his experience of when the Elders that taught him gave him a date and how he didn't agree to it right away and said he would let them know in a day or so if the date was okay for him.He said he prayed about it that night and called the Elders back and set it for 2 weeks earlier! haha But he told his experience in such a perfect way that I could tell set Brother Carlson at ease. We asked if we could bring a calender of what we want to cover with him in the next coming weeks to help him feel ready by that date and he said that would be just fine! And we asked him to write down any concerns that he had as well so we could incorporate them into the calender, and he said he would do that as well. 

I know he is ready, and is just amazing at church as well. He asks such great questions in classes, even in priesthood that really help the class as well! He is so smart! I love him, and want him to be able to make this step so badly.

 I am just so happy to be able to be in this area for another 6 weeks to see these Miracles progress and get even closer to these people in this area!

Well there were other things that happened in the week, but this sums up what I have been thinking about all week!

One thing I learned by all of this is that our Heavenly Father always answers our prayers and fasting is a powerful addition! I have prayed all transfer for these new people to teach and they have come! I know He is aware of us and loves us so much! 

I sure love you all! 

-Elder Swalberg

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hey y'all! 

This Texas boy sure is seeing a new kind of weather up here! Its been getting pretty chilly this week! Yesterday it was bitter cold, with highs just in the 20's and we even got a mini snow flurry. Not much here in Damariscotta but Boothbay (South of us on one of the Peninsulas in our area) got enough to accumulate on the ground! Brrr! It will be fun though. We are already starting the winter ideas list. Apparently because of the winters up here, it is pretty hard to stay busy, especially being in an area like this and you might not be able to drive some days. :/ So yeah, we are getting our ideas flowing! It will be pretty fun! haha 

But hey this week really has been good!

On Monday we got to go to the Goldrups because we still didn't have our car back. And Nick (the 19 yr old) came to pick us up and did our laundry there as well. But we went out to lunch with him and went to Moody's which is like a dinner restaurant, with awesome breakfast food! Nick said their hash-browns and blueberry pancakes were amazing so I had that and it sure was good! haha Then we headed back and our car was ready so we got to pick it up! SO this week we have had the blessed car back. I enjoyed the change of not driving everywhere, but it nice to have the car back, and its super nice now that its pretty cold! haha 

Tuesday, like always we went teaching with Brother Duffy! We taught Andie again, and we she is really ADD so I had to spice up the lesson (reviewing the restoration and teaching the priesthood) by getting up and having Elder Dally be Jesus giving me the priesthood and then I hoped up and asked her, " so because I am Peter and Jesus gave me the priesthood, can I give it to someone else now?" And she was now more engaged and said, "yeah of course!" and So I surprised Brother Duffy but told him to be Joesph Smith and put my hands on his head acting like I was giving him the priesthood and explained that that is who Joesph Smith got the priesthood and then had her attention enough to explain the duties of the priesthood! haha I will now come up with better object lessons for her! That is definitely her learning style, HANDS ON!  
Then we taught Norm and he still says he hasn't got a clear answer yet but says it really makes sense logically. That is was stuck out to me the whole time he talked to us about how he felt and we addressed that we are so happy that is makes so much sense logically but that he will gain that sure belief and knowledge of its truthfulness once it makes sense to him spiritually. Getting that spiritual witness with the logic is what we focused on. And I felt that challenging him to pray vocally when asking for answers to know if all of this was true. As I wrote in my letter home, President Stoker talked about the power that vocal prayer can have and it made sense to Norm and he recognized that he would put forth more effort in his prayers if he did it vocally! So we are hoping this helps him. He still isn't comfortable saying a prayer in front of us, so I really think that this was where we needed to focus our discussion. We hope that he will accept a new baptismal date of Jan. 11th tomorrow. 

Thursday Lisa and James  (recent converts) had us over for dinner and a lesson. She made sure to make a dish that was vegetarian! Members are so nice about that here! Its great! And then we got to have a lesson on the priesthood with them and really help James out to know what his duties are with the Aaronic Priesthood that he just received last week. It was great! 
They are such an amazing family! They have a Book of Mormon Stories Book that they read with their kids every night, but its their little boy Cale that reminds them to do it every night! Its so awesome! 

On Friday we had dinner with the Hovance Family and they made a vegetarian chili! soo good! And then we also got to go do service for a lady that works at spectrum generations. She needed some help carrying in some wood pellets and turns out that she had been praying that morning for someone to help her with it and when talking to Mary-Ann a lady we do service for here at spectrum generations, she told her "why dont you ask the Elder Boys?" And so she did and she was just so grateful for our help and she said she would be more than happy to have us back over for a message from us after we offered that to her! We sure hope that she is interested even more! 

Our finding efforts have really been a priority and so we are really having high hopes for this last week of the transfer with all the potentials that we now have! 

I have run out of time to share even more of the many great experiences of this week, but I hope those that I have shared have lifted your spirits and make you feel some what caught up with what is going on here! haha

I love this work, and am so glad to be out here in Damariscotta Maine! It's a great time to be a missionary, but also to be a member missionary!

Love y'all! ;D

-Elder Swalberg

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Monday November 18, 2013

Well hello! This week has been very different than many other weeks! The main reason being last Monday we had to drop off our car at a car restoration place to repaint most of the car, and they said we would be out of a car for a week! Previous Elders brought it through a car wash and it got a ton of scratches on it. So Elder Dally and I were the lucky ones that got to go without a car for a week, in an area that is so big that bikes simply could not cover it. Anyway, I was very pleased that when we needed to get out of town to go see our investigators, less actives, or recent converts there was always a member willing to take us out and help us. 

Even with all this help there was a lot of time left to fill and until Saturday our bikes were out of commission. So it whoever we saw had to be in walking distance. We did a good amount of service and tracting. But it seemed like a constant question at night who are we going to go see now? But somehow as we prayed to know where to go and what to do, our time was filled and things worked out. We have 2 return appointments with people we tracted into, and brought some banana bread to another family we tracted into that didn't give us a return appointment but did allow us in that night. And they seemed to appreciate that! 

Like last night after church we had about 2 1/2 hours to fill and we were not about to tract for that long. We knew we could do something more productive at that time. While we walked around town we stopped by a very high potential that the sisters have been trying to meet with but she was never home. Well we tried and lo and behold she was home! We couldn't go inside but we talked to her and said the sisters would be stopping by soon if they can. And she was happy about that and said they are always welcome. We then walked a little bit down the road and the sisters pulled off the road because they saw us, and we told them that Elaine (that lady) was home and they should stop by and they did and got to teach her. They said it went well and they were planning to stop by again this week! So one miracle right there, but as we decided to tract, we had planned to tract a street on the opposite side of town the night before as a back-up. Well instead of just tracting where we were, we went down to the street and we found a lady about 15 minutes into tracting who had talked with Elders briefly before and let us in. We talked with her and about her religion and really how similar her beliefs were with ours. (Episcopalian) We transitioned that into the restoration and without asking if she wanted to know about our church we just started teaching and got through most of it in about 5 or 7 minutes and gave her a restoration DVD to watch and set up a time for us to come back and talk more and answer any questions she had about the movie. We will be seeing her on Thursday! 

So yeah, there were multiple miracles that made our days full of things to do and people to see when we at first did not see how it would all work out. But it did! 

A quick update on Brother Carlson our progressing investigator. He is doing awesome! When we met with him, he said he hasn't received a clear answer, but that it still all seems right to him. But the things that amazed me was that he said he knows that Joesph Smith was a prophet! I was like, "Well then dude, you know its all true then!!!!!" haha, but I still think he is going to get an answer that will touch him so that he will know that everything else is true as well! He said that baptism is going to be quite the physical ordeal, because he is 400+ lbs, 83 years old, and is practically wheel chair bound. But I then asked him a question, "So Norm, if you had your 18 year old body would you be baptized?" After going on for a minute of everything he could do at 18 (diver, swimmer, athlete, etc,) He responded, "Yes, yes I would." We were all like, "Well then, we can work with that! Let us figure out an easier way and we will tell you our ideas next week." He was good with that, and said he will keep praying too! SO yeah he is sweet. We have brainstormed a little with our Branch Mission Leader and also with Bro. Duffy, who is in the Branch Presidency and always goes out teaching with us with to Norm, and we have a few ideas that will work. 

Anyway it is an exciting place to be, and I really hope in these next 2 weeks we will increase our teaching pool with multiple new investigators! 

This week I wrote out 11 pages of my thoughts on Elder Nielson's talks I heard last week, and what I learned at Zone Conference. It should be in the mail today to be sent home! Hope it gets there soon. 

I couldn't find my camera this morning. I know I need to send home some pictures so I think I might send home my SD card this week. If not, I will for sure send pictures next week some how! hahaha

I love you guys and appreciate all the prayers! 

-Elder Swalberg

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Just to update y'all on Landon's visa....we have once again been asked to get a current police clearance with even more information that before.  The Brazil Consulate has changed their requirement for visas once again.  In addition, we have been asked to submit his curriculum vitae on 2 separate sheets of paper (notarized) (before it was only on one sheet - back and front - with the notarization stamp on the back side which showed through to the front when they scanned the document....picky!)  and get 2 updated passport photos (recent within 6 months).  We are confident that Landon will get to Brazil; however, in the meantime he is LOVING serving in the New Hampshire mission.

Thank you all for giving him so much support!

Well I found out yesterday at Zone Conference. (This was regarding him needing to get to updated passport photos.) Because I was on exchange the day they called me about it. And my companion forgets EVERYTHING and didn't tell me or I could have had them to you already. I will be at the computer tomorrow as well so I think I can take them tonight and get them to you tomorrow afternoon. I think I remember the specifics. just in my suit, with a non smiling face, with a white background. Thanks for helping with this. Sister Skidmore said that she would be helping me out this week with anything else I need to do. 

Anyway, I just wanted to get that out first. 

I am so glad it got to you! Brother Hutchins is great! The article actually helped us out here too! We had multiple people come up to us saying they saw us in the paper. Its been pretty cool! 

And I have found winter stuff from the apartment/mission old missionaries’ clothes. So far I am feeling fine with what I have. I will send a couple pictures of what I have been wearing. haha

And I am thinking I will send home my SD card this week or next so you guys can get all of the pictures that I haven’t sent cause I am getting behind and you can then see the recording as well! But the guitar is awesome to have! haha

Ah I am so excited for BEN!  Man, that is so awesome! I am so happy for him! Portugal will be great for him! That's where my MTC teacher went and he loved it! I can't wait to talk Portuguese with SESH when we get all back! We will have to teach Kelsey I guess. haha She learns fast, so it will be good! :D lol 

So cool about Brittney too. Grandma told me about her too last week!

Well I thought I would send you the letter I sent in my Letter to President just so you know a little more that I won't be writing in the update of this week. Thought you might like it: 

Dear President Stoker,

I am so happy to have another chance to write to you today. I am so grateful for everything you did yesterday for me personally and all the missionaries during Zone Conference! I loved every minute of it! I learned a lot and recognized a lot that I need to change as well to become a better missionary! But I continue to follow the principle of exact obedience but I always can improve and will strive to do so! 

This week has been tough. We have not been able to meet a lot of our goals this week and many days where our numbers are hard to look at. BUT we have really been studying chapter 9 in Preach My Gospel to give us guidance on how to find more people to teach. We have had many miracles happen. I had the goal to never tract my entire mission because I had been taught there is always a better way. But with not many members in our area and very limited miles we recognized we needed to do something. I prayed really hard for 2 days and came to the conclusion that tracting a little bit through-out the week would be successful IF we sought for inspiration to where we should go, how long we should do it, and what time to go do it. With all three of those factors in place we had short tracting sessions and would find people that were interested enough to listen to us and possibly let us come back to teach more. I saw this as an answer to my prayers! I let go of a goal that was of myself and formed my actions to God's will and I saw beautiful results! I will always need those same factors to come into play for me to still tract because without them I am simply randomly knocking, which is not the best use of time.

Our 1 progressing investigator Norm C.  has been doing great! We will be following up on his commitment to pray sincerely about the Book of Mormon and what we have taught him and I know he will be headed to baptism shortly after! I am so impressed with this man! He listens to the prophets and apostles talks and loves hearing their words and never misses a Sunday at church. 

My companion, Elder Dally, and I are very different. But I am determined to make our companionship work! We had a good discussion during companion inventory last week and talked about being more open with each other instead of letting feelings be bottled up inside, because for us it isn't let go until we let it out. I have really relied a lot on prayer! I felt an increase of love for him every time I pray for it! I know it is the savior helping me feel in such a way. We may have conflicts but we discuss them in a way that we feel good afterwards not worse. 

I am so grateful for all that this area is teaching me. I know that I am here to help in the effort to make this Damariscotta area boom! There is great potential here, so now it just needs to happen!~I am thankful for the opportunity to be here at this time! 

Thanks again for all you do,

-Elder Swalberg

So this week has been interesting: Our numbers have been down in our key indicators but that's because we have been putting so much of our time into finding new investigators. We found another family during tracting last Monday who let us in to warm up and that was our chance! I connected well with them because they are a homeschooling family and said how much the gospel was incorporated into that schooling as well. They liked that. They first told us that they don't like organized religion but by the end of us talking to them and telling them more about the plan of salvation, and offering service. They might call us to have us over for dinner! WOW! It amazed me from 5 minutes before we left they told us they were all set and don't like organized religion to asking us questions that they had about life after death and wanting us back sometime for dinner! It was a miracle to me that it all happened as soon as they let us into their home and we were in an environment to be able to gain their trust and bare testimony! It was great, and we are hoping to follow up with them soon!

Norm is doing great! He is still coming to church and last time we met we watched the 3 part series of Elder Bednar Mormon Messages. "Patterns of light" It helped him understand how to recognize the spirit better. He is praying more often and said he will pray about the book of Mormon and what we have taught him this week for sure. I am so excited to meet with him tomorrow! He is so great and I love seeing him progress! 

The rest of the week included an exchange with my district leader Elder Lund! He is great I went up to his area in Bath, ME. We had a great time! He had Elder Woodall as his companion for the last 12 weeks (Elder Woodall is now in Brazil as of transfers) and so we connected really well with the many stories that we had and talked about how we worked with him. Anyway it was like a vacation being with him for a day. We are a lot alike. That night we were both really hungry and he told me there was a Little Caesars...and I said, "WE ARE GOING NOW!" hahaha So we split a cheese pizza. I will attach a picture. IT was awesome to learn from him as well he is coming up on a year that he has been out now. 

Sunday was great. Our Gospel Principles teacher didn’t show up so us missionaries looked at each other and said, "looks like we are teaching today." So I turned open to the chapter we were on and went from there. I led the class and it actually turned out very well! One of the sisters in our ward sat in that usually didn't and afterwards came up to me and told me It was a wonderful lesson, but I don't think she knew I winged it. I let her think it was prepared! haha. But it was fun though. I love being a missionary and getting to do those kinds of things at the spur of the moment. haha But then we got to go to the Fireside for the stake with Elder Neilson! He really got all the leaders of the stake and wards hyped up on missionary work!!! EXCLAMATION POINT! haha He used that a couple times. haha But really it was great! I loved hearing him speak about the close relationships he had with the 12 and the 1st presidency. He said earlier that week, he had the opportunity to pass the sacrament to the Quorum of the 12 apostles and 1st Presidency! CRAZY right?! With those kinds of things shared that night it made his statements about missionary work even more meaningful, knowing that it is the same message that any of the prophets would give! He said the missionary work is their top priority! Wow, what a statement! It was so great, and it was even cooler to spend the whole next day with him and his wife and President Stoker and his wife during Zone Conference! I will have to write a letter home with some of the things I learned because there is just so much, but just know there was such a special spirit there all day and I will never forget the feeling and memories of being with Elder Neilson for the day! 

I know we are led by true and living prophets and general authorities! They are truly called by God and receive revelation from Him of what we need to do in this day and age! I love them all they do! I know this gospel is true with every fiber of my being, and I love baring testimony of it each day! Everyone deserves to hear this message and the Lord will not stop hastening this work until everyone has! 

I love you all and thanks so much for all the support you give! 

-Elder Swalberg

Friday, November 8, 2013

Elder Swalberg in the News!!!

A member who serves on the public affairs committee in New England sent us this image from the Lincoln County News....  Fun to see!!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Well I now have my feet planted in the cold ground of Damariscotta, Maine! 
I am getting to know the area very quickly and also the members! I love them all, and it is actually a lot easier to serve in area with a Branch at least when trying to get to know everyone in the Branch, because there aren't as many names to remember! haha But really there are some great people up here! What I love is that so many of them are converts, its more of a rarity to find someone born in the church than not! It sure helps when teaching with them! I love it! 

Going from a trio to a regular companionship is really really weird! It is so quiet now! haha Its been wired but I am getting used to it and it is working just fine. My companion Elder Dally, is from Provo, Utah, but originally from New Mexico and Alaska. He is 20 yrs old now and has been out about 7 1/2 months. This is his first time being senior companion, so it allows me to learn a lot with him. So that is good. 

With our last 3 baptisms this past weekend, we are not visiting them as much. Our Branch Mission Leader, Bro. Royer,  has stated he wants the Branch Missionaries to teach them along with other members (home teachers and visiting teachers). I think it will be good. But that also cuts down on our normal lessons. But we are still teaching a few others.

One of them that is progressing a lot is Norm Carlson! Bro. Carlson is great! He is like already a member! He is soooo nice and lives a very good life. He is 83 years old and a very large man, practically wheelchair bound, but can get up and walk with a walker as support if he needs to. But since I have been here he has stopped drinking alcohol and coffee. Coffee was the biggie for him. But he has come to church without missing for more than 2 months, and has an amazing fellow-shipper, and previously less-active member no less! His name is Brother Giusani! He is awesome! He has been active for the past 3 or 4 months now. He still shows up in his sweets to church just like Norm, but I thinks its great! haha Bro Giusani goes with Norm to help in and out of his car and wheel him into the church building and to classes through out the day. Bro Giusani is retired, probably in his mid 60's, but really him and Norm are best buds! Its the best! 

Norm also recently got a roku box and has been watching everything he can possibly watch on Mormon Channel on his TV. Last time we came over we finished watching President Monson's Biography called "To the Rescue" with him. It was great! We had Bro and Sister Duffy (Branch Missionaries) with us that time and she bore here testimony later in the lesson about her own conversion and how she got an answer, and we were able to challenge him to pray about what he has learned so far, and he accepted. He also accepted a date for Nov. 30 to be baptized if he comes to know these things are true! I can't wait for our lesson with him tomorrow to talk to him more about it! He is such a great guy! Oh and his voice is the best he has the most calming deep smooth voice you can imagine! haha I love hearing him talk and read things in the scriptures aloud! haha 

Anyway we have a few other investigators that we teach every once in a while but aren't really progressing right now. But I will tell you more about them as time goes along.

One miracle we saw this week was concerning our district goal though, it was to tract for 5 hours this week. We all (4 companionship) had not received any new investigators and not many referrals. So that was our goal. I was not a big supporter of this at first. I had not tracked one door on my mission and I thought that was how it should be now that we are working with the members so much and it worked in my last area sooo great! But this is a new area and through much study, prayer, more study and more prayer I came to a very spiritual conclusion that I needed to support this decision to tract and so I put all of my faith into finding someone through this goal. Well the next night we went out and knocked on a total of 4 doors before we were let in by the husband of a librarian that we are with every week helper her out at the library! Her name is Jen and her husbands name is Brooks. they asked us to tell them more about our church and we had the opportunity to teach them the restoration very quickly and invite them to church. They didn't come yesterday but I know we will have the opportunity to see and meet with them again! They are looking for a church right now and I know this was meant to be! The Lord really does have a plan for each of his children and inspires us to do certain things to accomplish those plans! I am grateful for the gift of the holy ghost to lead and guide me and receive answers to what the Lord wants me to do! 

 Well Thats all I have time to say this week but I am so happy to be hear and am excited to see what more this area brings to my life and mission. 

I love you all! 

-Elder Swalberg

Monday, October 28th, 2013 - Damariscotta, ME

Well wow where to start?! Well like you know I am in Maine now! Its pretty similar to any other part of New England. haha But it is a little chiller here. It hasn't been above probably 75 since I have been here! But I got to keep a flees jacket I got in my last area. But it hasnt snow...yet. I know I need something much warmer but the sister training leader that is in my district said the mission will make sure that I get something. So either through the mission or the members should get me all set. 

And yeah we live above an orthodontist place. It was just recently made into that, but yeah we live in an apt just above it. Its pretty nice, but it still needs an Elder Swalberg clean before I am totally comfortable. haha :) It sounds like a great week and busy like usual! Sorry to hear you are sick now too! :( I'll keep ya in my prayers!

And Dad, glad to hear you finally had some time on Saturday to put aside work and enjoy yourself a little bit! You sure are amazing and are such an example to me of a hard worker and how well you provide for us! 

Oh and yes you are right about our building its the smallest kind BUT its a building! Its cool to be in a branch, its easier to get to know the members! haha We had 80 at sacrament mt this week is what our branch President said. (Pres. Quinlan) He is a great guy but travels a lot because of his work. But anyway yeah its a great branch. 

thanks for the rest of the things you mentioned! I will recount a little from my last week really quick! 

So this week has been great, tough, stressful, exciting, and NEW! haha Many more words could describe how I feel, but the main thing is that I am ready to make this new area as great as my last area in Ascutney.

This new area I am in is Damariscotta, ME. It is on the coast of Maine and is about the same scenery as my last area but the temperature is just a little chiller! haha It sure is colder than I ever thought I would be feeling in Brazil, thats for sure! 

I have loved getting to meet the members of this branch! There are about 80 active members that come and I am actually remembering their names! There are some great people and I love getting to know them! 

This area actually had 3 baptisms this weekend! Andie who is a happy 12 year old girl and a couple Lisa & James. They were both confirmed yesterday in church and Andie asked me to confirm her on the spot. I was able to remember what I needed to so that was good. She calls me Veggie "Berg"er cause my name is hard to remember. She is really cute! 

I will have to tell you more about our other investigators next week. But I sure am getting excited to make this area just as great as my last area and I know it will happen! 

I love being a missionary! And I have noticed so much that I have learned from my last area now that I have left it and come to a new one! 

Thanks for all the support and emails I get! It still means the world to me! 

I love you guys tons!

-Elder Swalberg

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Thank you for this detailed update on the family! And let Austin know how much I love him and that I will be keeping him in my prayers everyday! It’s sad to hear that, and wish I could do more for him as I'm sure you feel too.

Answers to your questions I will be sure to explain in my letter, all of them have great relevence to what happened this week. You just have that perfect motherly sense that you know what is going on before I even tell you.

So here is the scoop:
I had the opportunity to confer upon Troy the Aaronic Priesthood and ordain him to the office of Priest this Sunday. I told him that I would somehow get a hold of my priesthood line of authority and get it to him. And I was just so proud to know how I received my priesthood and of who gave it to me, you! I am so glad to have had a consistently worthy priesthood holder as my dad. It had affected me so much in who I am today. Thank you.

Well this week has been another week full of miracles! Tuesday, we have a lot lessons with Recent Converts. We have 5 recent converts (within 1 year baptized) that we try to visit weekly. Troy R, Armida R, Scott D, the Lucky family, and Rob V. We got to visit 4 of the 5 that day and taught them great lessons that day! Many of them are planning on going to the temple with the youth this Saturday. I sure hope they will make it!

One Wednesday we had District meeting and took a district picture because it was the last meeting before transfer calls. I will attach the picture. Then we did our normal service at Brenda's (Simply Comfort) with Kateleen. I hope to get a picture of them today so you know what they look like. They are so sweet to us. Almost every time they see us Brenda feeds us and gives us left overs from the previous day, tons of it! She says, "Well, I've got to take care of my boys!" She is like one of our mothers out here. And Kateleen is like a sister for us! To sum it up, they make us feel at home! :)
Thursday was sweet! We did splits for the first time and afterwards we didn't know why this was the first time we did it! The idea first came up from Elder Tewksbury. We had a conflict in schedule with a dinner and teaching appt. with the Lucky family and teaching Alan. So the Luckys would always do a barbeque because they are a Marshalese family like the Rings (Armida) and thats just what they always cook....tons and tons of meat! (as Elder Tewksbury described) haha So he said, "Well this is perfect, Myself and Elder Terry can go to the dinner appt with the Luckys and contact a referral out that way while you go with Brother Best now that he is all fired up and contact some of the less active names that he gave us, and teach Alan! And you will not have to eat meat!"

So that’s what we did and it really was perfect! The referral was a success and they want us to come back, My companions stuffed themselves with meat! While I connected well with Brother Best and had supper great lesson with Alan. Brother Best bore a super powerful testimony to him about his own conversion story and he comforted him in the fact that he doesn't have to know everything to become baptized. He said, "All I knew before I got baptized was that I knew God and Jesus were real, they loved me, and that they wanted me to keep his commandments, and for me to come back to them. And that was enough!" It was perfect for him and it led to us helping him make more commitments that will help him get closer to baptism!

It was exactly what he needed to hear. We stopped by a couple less-actives and sadly they didn't want anything to do with us, and seemed very against the church but were still on the records. But I know that it is needed to visit all of these less actives even if it is just to rescue one! So I felt so successful after that night and was a huge miracle for me this week.

The Saturday we received a call from President Stoker and I will be leaving the area, I am excited for the change and will find out where I am staying tomorrow at transfer meeting!

I love being a missionary and see miracles everyday because of it!
I love you all so much!
-Elder Swalberg

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Okay so a run down of the week:

So this week like last week hasn't been too great according to our numbers or key indicators. BUT yesterday we saw the fruits of our labor! Between our Mission Vision, Zone goal, and General Conference, we have been directed to work with the members over and over again! That is the inspired way that we will have the most success. Well this has been practically going to see Less Actives, Recent Converts, and members! We only got to see Glenn this last week. So other than him we have been working with the members solely! We probably did like 12 or 13 ours of service this last week! A lot of which for the members! It was good though! We are starting to see that trust that the members have in us by asking for our help! We get to know them better and get to serve them at the same time! They are also feeling more comfortable with the missionaries too! 

This has been great! And we also do member stop bys where we just go to members homes and try to stay for 20ish minutes and quickly get to know them and know how we can help them at all. And then share a message with them. This is truly an inspired way to work. 

We get to council with the Bishop quite often. This week we met with him for about an hour and discussed the happenings of our work and what we needed form him. During this meeting he asked us to visit a member that he noticed that hadn't been to church in 8 weeks and thinks they had been offended in some way. So we said that we would the next day we had some extra time in the evening and I felt prompted that we should go over and talk with them. So we did. We simply went to go and ask them how they were doing and if there was anything we could do to help them out. We talked for a little while on their porch and asked them about how they were doing and the Sister almost started to cry and looks to her husband and says, "Well the missionaries stopped by." And went on to explain that earlier that day they had talked about maybe coming back to church this week. And that all she was really waiting for was someone to come by or call her to show that they cared and that she was missed! 
It was such an eye opener to me! We expressed the love and concern that many of them had expressed to us about them and said we really would love to see them at church again! They agreed to come and could tell how much they appreciated our visit.

I know this is the case for so many other less active members. They were either offended, felt forgotten, or simply not loved. And all they need is a friend. Someone to reach out and care about them. Someone to express the wards love for them and that our heavenly father loves them too. And that He wants them to be at church. There were so many talks in conference about going "TO THE RESCUE" for all of these less active members! This is missionary work too! And its a great place for the ward members to start doing missionary work. These are people who have already been taught the gospel, these are people who had a testimony or still have testimony, and are the ones who are really in trouble for not going to church, because they have already made those baptismal covenants. 

Ward council yesterday was sweet! Most of the meeting was revolved around missionary work. Our ward, like many others, have close to 400 inactive members on the ward membership list in the area. I got to share briefly our miracle of visiting a less active member and the huge benefit those visits can be for those people and asked for their help to recognize those who have missed church for a while and to then give them a call or visit them. Bishop made a few comments about visiting all of these less actives also. We saw a big drive and excitement from the whole ward council to go and visit as many as possible. They were willing to do it and a finding night is in the works where all of the ward council including us will go out and visit a bunch of people we don't know and invite them back. It was a great meeting!

 After ward council, Our Ward Mission Leader bore his testimony during sacrament meeting he was like the first one up there. He said how he felt "chastised by the Holy Ghost" (in his own wards)  this morning as he didnt want to come to ward council this morning and was late. He said he has had a change of heart towards his calling and that he needs to do truly magnify his calling. He bore a beautiful testimony about prayer, reading the scriptures and then magnifying our callings! It was incredible! And he also told us after the meeting that he didn't want to wait for them to set up a date for a finding night. He asked us to find a night we can go out on splits with him and we can find some of these less active families and get them back! We were so excited to hear him say that and were totally on board! 
During Elders Quorum he came in and gave me a piece of paper with 5 names on it with addresses and phone numbers and said. "Here are 5 name of people I don't know that I found, all in Newport. (one of the towns in our area) Lets start here! Let me know when you guys can go in the next couple days and we will visit them and a few others that I have in mind!" WOW! It was awesome! I have never seen him so fired up! Such a miracle

Many other members came up to us during church asking for our help with service opportunities, help on setting up a mission prep class for the youth, meal appointments for the week, and even asked who they could go visit in their area to help us out! It was a miracle and I know it came because of our efforts to work with the members more and make them our focus! These are the fruits of our labor and although we may not see them in our numbers they were definitely evident! 

I am so grateful for the guidance we receive from our leaders! It is all so inspired! This work is hastening and is in the Lords hand and nothing will stop it form coming forth! I love this work, and I love being such a big part of it at this exciting time! Miracles are real and I see them happen everyday! And they happen according to our obedience to what our father in heaven asks of us! Keep up the member missionary work at home, and get all excited about this work! 

I love you all so much and think of you often!
Your prayers are much appreciated! I still need them! This is a fun work, but hard work!

-Elder Swalberg

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Hey mom!  This week has been crazy. I haven't really even been able to write in my journal much! Its kind of been an off week for me. But still good things happened.

To your last letter and this weeks:

So glad to hear about Zach's job and him getting started on that! My companion Elder Tewksbury worked for Best Buy for a while and really did well there and he loved it! He became a mobile specialist and was promoted a couple times, it sounds like a great place for Zach to work, if he hasn't applied there already!

Thanks for praying and fasting for my visa. I know that I will go on the Lords time and it will work out just fine!

So cool to hear about Jordan Reyes going to Riverside,CA! That is where 4 of the Elders in my MTC district got reassigned to! As far as I know they are still there waiting for their visas. All of my MTC district is still waiting.
And no to your question about the New Era we only get the Ensign.

Taylor, you are not a horrible brother! You are busy and so am I. I have the hardest time trying to write home and to everyone else that writes me! But I'm glad mom gives me an update on everyone though. Sorry to hear you have been sick though, and you too Austin! I can relate to not having time to be sick! Apparently our family is pretty close because even across the country I got sick the same time you guys are. The last 2-3 days I have had a really sore throat, cough, and mucus and snot out the wazzu!!! Luckily no fever, but just a little head ache every once and a while. Hopefully I will be over it in another day or two. Especially cause we are doing exchanges with the Zone leaders tomorrow for a day. I am going up to Lebinan Vermont to their area with Elder Tewksbury and Elder Terry will stay in our area with the other Zone leader. Anyway, I hope I will feel better for that whole ordeal.

And yeah, it is even prettier this week! I will send some pictures of it that show the colors even better!

During interviews with the president, we had a chance to talk with Sister Stoker too! She asked how our eating and exercising was doing and talked to us about how we can improve! She found out I was vegetarian and suggested I use quinoa instead of rice. Which I really think I should, and I already had bought some veggie bullion that is pretty good!  Anyway I just noticed I can do better at my eating habits too!

I will talk about conference in my letter about what has been going on down below.

 Thanks so much for the booklets! My companions and I loved having them! My companions both asked me to thank you for putting them together and sending them. Elder Tewksbury said this was the first time he ever watched all of conference and took notes for EVERY TALK through-out all of it! He was really excited about it and loved reading the facts about the prophets and apostles. i gave one to Troy and also one to Cristi Wyant. She is 19, and we know her family really well because they feed us every week! She was at the church watching it there every session so yeah. She really liked having it and thought it was super cool! Idk if I said this before but she is preparing to go on a mission, She just turned 19 a few weeks ago, but she is waiting for her older brother Cyle to come from his mission this December before she goes. Anyway The booklets were much appreciated and we loved them! haha

Thanks for your incites on the BSA broadcast this month with the church. I told Bro. Wyant about it and it seemed like they didn't know about it. So i hope I can help them know more about it and announce it in church and I love the idea of going to the other troops. i know who the scout master is in the ward so I hope to get ahold of him and get his help on inviting other troops to watch it. Is it going to be broadcasted to all the ward buildings like General Conference or what? I know you can watch it online but yeah I wasnt totally sure  on that. I can research that a little more tomorrow during our hour of time tomorrow. But yeah 2 of the 3 of us are eagle scouts and one was at least involved in scouts. Thanks for this idea for finding and reaching out to the community.

Also thanks for your thoughts on Ward Mission Plans! I have studied that more this week in PMG and I really think our ward here needs to refocus themselves to it and improve it. I have already talked to the Bishop about it, but he doesn't even really know what it all contains. As we continue to visit more member homes I want to help them create a family mission plan and personal mission plans as well! I am excited to use what I have learned in Gen. conf. to help with that! There was some great council from elder Ballard to the members and missionaries! I will comment more about his talk later in this emial!

And thanks for the pizza we went out a week ago from this past saturday at Romutoz Brick oven Pizza! It was more expensive than I thought, but it was super good and thought you of you during it! You would have loved it! It was your kind of style of pizza for sure! You going to have a brick oven outside by the time I am home along with your outdoor kitchen? haha.

Thanks for the letters and emails! I got your post card also! That was a nice surprise! I also got a little package from lynette and her family also. Let them know I got it and that I will write back sometime to answer their questions in their letters! Thank them so much for that! It was awesome!

Alright here is what I wanted to share to you all for this week and I will try my best to get it all in before I run out of time. I took extra time to plan out what I wanted to share this time! haha

First the explanation about my face that Dad asked about.
So the Thursday before my birthday we taught Troy a lesson and were late to our next appointment so we were hurrying down the stairs in the apartment building and with my big thick soled shoes, that I am still not used to walking and moving around in, on I tripped about 6 stairs and fell straight into the wall below! I punched a whole in the wall trying to catch myself and then my face planted right on the corner of the wall. (that part was reinforced with metal so the wall didn't brake there...just my face! haha) But It was just bruised and sore for a couple days and made for a good converstation starter for the next week! haha. You can't tell at all anymore. So its all good. But the tripping jokes never stop from my companions.

Well here is an update on our investigators. It has been a kind of rough week with them. We only met once with one of our progressing investigators, Helen. She was asleep the other time we can by, so we just talked with Jason for a little bit. But she has smoked twice in the last 4 weeks which for her is seriously a MIRACLE! She is still on the patch but braking the habit of having a cigarette in her hand is a big accomplishment. We are going to talk to her about family history this week. Jason has been helping her find information and documents about her grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other family members that have died so that Jason can do the baptisms for them. She loves the idea of family history! So I am going to bring the pedigree chart that Grandma Landon and Grandma Swally helped me with before I left and also bring the stories of William Cook Prows and Austin Hammer and read her some of those stories! It should be a great lesson and discussion.

Alan canceled on us this week because he was feeling sick. But last week he essentially said he wasn't quite ready to commit to baptism yet. He knows he can't drink coffee but he doesn't want to give that up and also is worried about going to church every Sunday. But he also said that he believes what we have been teaching him and wants us to continue to come back. This man is 74 years old and hasn't had this desire to learn from the missionaries the whole time he has been married to Sister Bullis so this is really still such a miracle that he still wants to learn from us and continue to grow in his faith.

Leonice the Brazilian has been in Brazil this last couple weeks so really this week we just want to meet with her more.

Glenn we are still trying to get to the JSM, but he just struggles to accept commitments. But we will be meeting with them this week and hopefully have a great lesson with him.

Dang it Im running out of time.

Well this week we had interviews with President Stoker! I loved it and getting to talk to him about my struggles and accomplishments was great and really comforting! It was like talking to my parents again! President Stoker and his wife are so wonderful to each of us and I love spending time with them! They have such a concern for each and everyone of us!

Conference was sooooo great! Even though I was blowing my nose the whole time because I have been sick the last couple days, I loved it! I had candy to snack on through out it just like at home! haha and had the booklet which made it seem more like home too! But I loved doing it as a missionary. New things popped out to me as being a missionary. and also the Wyants were so gracious to invite us over both days for dinner! They are an awesome family and sure take care of the missionaries even when its a sacrifice for them!

I love so many talks but especially Elder Ballard's talk! He stated so boldly that "NOW IS THE TIME for missionaries and members to work together!" I know this is the way that the Lord is hastening his work! There is no other way that the work will progress faster! I can't wait to help members work better with us!

Well I did my best to get everything in. but I have to go now. I love you all so much and hope you continue in all the great things you are doing at home! Thank you for all your prayers and support!

-Elder Swalberg

Here are a few pictures also like I promised!

The trees are beautiful! and seriously there are apple trees everywhere so you can just pick them! I never have to buy apples! Haha I love it!

And guess who is in my Zone now!!! Yep Elder Richins! We saw each other at Zone interviews with the President! We both freaked out! haha Pretty cool! Make sure Momma Sorensen sees this!

Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013

Well I had a ton of emails this last week and so I don't have much time again. But maybe I will write another letter home soon so I can write everything I want to. But anyway thanks so much for the emails this week! And thanks for sending the Gen Conf. note-taking booklets off to me Dad! I was hoping you would! But here is a quick update and a few pictures!

Well last Monday was pretty fun being up at the JSM memorial and getting to go on that hike that they have there! Its really beautiful up there! The leaves are finally starting to change! Its not all fully changed but a couple spots of trees are loaded with colors! Its so pretty with the reds, oranges, yellows and greens all mixed in!

Helen has been struggling again she smoked again, but is trying again. She is getting there I can tell but she still needs the prayers and support we are trying out best to give her!

Alan is doing well but wasn't as close to baptism as we thought he was. He did say that he believes everything we have taught him so far but has a couple reservations about committing to baptism. But its good though because he understands how big of a choice it is and want to be sure that this is right for him. But we are still so impressed  with him. He still likes us coming over and I know he will continue to progress!

We did a ton of service this week. We maxed out our 10 hours for sure! We did extra work with Bob this week on his farm to help him stack and store his hay for the winter. But it was fun and I love doing service for him I will have to get a picture with him soon!

Like I said, I don't have a lot of time today, but I will write more in a letter home. I am sorry I wish I could write more right now but cant. There are so many miracles that happen out here that I would love to share more about.

I love you guys so much and have thought a lot about you all this week! 

I hope all goes well this week for you all!
-Elder Swalberg

 I put a good gash in my face last week falling down some stairs. Its gone now though. im totally fine. But i will give the full story in my letter home! 

 The guy is Helens husband Jason. He is funny! hahah He is eating a powered donut!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Well Im glad to hear that my emails and letters are enough for you guys! I wish I could tell you more, but there is just never enough time! Its hard! haha I want to tell you guys everything! lol

Anyway, sounds like everything is going super well at home. I wont comment on everything so I can get right into my week. But I enjoyed so much hearing about everyone at home, thanks mom!

And yes I did get the package on time. I will tell more in my email.

Alright here was my week including my birthday!

Well this last week was sweet! We had some great lessons! On Tuesday we taught Glenn (the motorcycle, full gray beard guy) and talked about the Joesph Smith Memorial. He worked at a quarry so he seemed very interested in seeing the monument! So tomorrow when we see him again he said he will tell us what day will work. We hope this will work out, because we think that if he can commit to this then it will make it easier to commit to church and that is what he really needs!

We have been receiving lots of member referrals from this one lady in our ward, Sis Altmire! She is an old lady in our ward and is from Finland. And she just loves this gospel! She talks to everyone she meats about the gospel! And then gives us a call, tells us about the conversation, and tells us to contact them! Its great! Some don't want to meet with us, but a few are promising and have an appointment set up this Friday at the church to talk and meet with him! Hopefully these will help us get a few new investigators! Member referrals are great!

If I didn't tell you already. Our district now has a new sister and 3 of the sisters left last transfer. The new sister's name is Sister Tarawhiti. She is originally from New Zealand, but has lived in Utah for a few years. She is straight from the MTC and is super pumped to be here! haha We are having district P-day up there near the JSM with the sisters, so that will be fun. We will have lunch and then go on a hike. It should be fun!

But anyway, on Thursday we met with Helen for a short lesson and then again on Friday and Sunday. She has recently STOPPED SMOKING! Crazy right?! After one week she found 3 cigarettes in a coat pocket and smoked one of them, but her husband Jason made her brake the other 2 up. She hasn't bought any more since, and on Thursday she was looking way better than she usually does. After hearing this on Thursday, I felt impressed to share our message about the story of Lot's wife and the scripture saying, "Look not thou, behind thee..." And also shared the Mormon Message that goes with that scripture. I think she started to see this as a new way of life, that smoking again was not a choice...that she can't look back! I sure hope she sticks with this. If so, we can finally start to progress with her again!

Troy is doing great still we have a lesson or 2 with him each week, doing the follow up lessons. We have dinner with him at the Wyants on Sunday and they still help us teach those lessons with him at their house. Its a great way to teach and have them fellowship him at the same time! Its been great! We taught him about the Priesthood and about temples last night. And once we just about finished the lesson. We asked Troy if there was anything he had questions about, and he just said, "So when can I go to the temple?" haha Bro. Wyant said, "Well we can get hopping and get you in to see the Bishop, get you to be ordained a priest, get you a temple recommend, and you can go with the youth on Oct. 26 for their temple trip for baptisms for the dead!" And he just, "sounds great!" haha He is so solid. It is great to see him progressing in the gospel even after baptism! Its awesome!

And my birthday was also this week! Saturday was great! I woke up right on time, worked out, took a shower and made pancakes for me and my companions. I had Peanut butter, jelly and real New Hampshire Maple syrup on them with a big glass of milk! It was great! haha

I had received y'alls package in the mail just the day before and Im glad it was all wrapped us so that I felt like I should wait till my birthday to see everything. So right after breakfast I opened up my presents you all sent, and wow! Thank you so much! I loved it all, especially the new CTR ring, I love it and the great ties and the spiffy looking tie bar too! I love it! I will attach some pictures of that morning!

Then we had service, we spit wood for about 2 hours. I actually like doing it! we do it every Saturday for an old couple that really needs the help. Then we had more service for Alan. (yeah so that meant that we were in our jeans and t-shirts all day. haha Good present! lol) He took us out to subway for dinner and we then had a wonderful lesson with him. He is so close to accepting a date for baptism. The lesson was so powerful. He said he just isn't sure about baptism yet. He said it all makes sense and that he hasn't heard anything that he thinks is bad, but he just doesnt know yet. So I had him turn to the pamphlet we gave him towards the back it is titled, "How can I know" I read him the 2nd paragraph and testified that the Holy Ghost will help him know that what we have been teaching him is true! I asked him if he had sincerely prayed about the Book of Mormon yet, and he said, "You know, I havent." So I then challenged him to prayer sincerely tonight to our Heavenly Father if these things were true. And he accepted! I could feel the spirit so strongly during that! It was great! It was a great lesson and service that I got to do on my birthday. Thanks so much for all the birthday wishes and card you all sent in the package. It meant so much to me and I felt like I was at home with you all! I loved it so much!

Well that pretty much summs it up so I will talk to you later! I love you guys sooooo much!

-Elder Swalberg

Here are a couple pictures from my birthday:

Elder Tewksbury bought me a smoothie that day also. 

Monday, September 16, 2013


Well with my birthday. It looks like my winter clothes will be taken care of between the members and the mission. So I am not so worried about that anymore, but I'm trying to know I'm bad at asking for things...

well I could use a new tie. The same ones can get old to wear. lol Um...There are a couple of things I would like to buy at Mr. G's that are pretty good priced. (Like this tie cleaner spray that works like a charm, candy haha, and a couple other things) I could get those if I had just a little cash. Maybe some mechanical pencils, oh and like 1 or 2 small notebooks that are like my scripture size so that I can fit them in my scripture case. I have one practically full now. Oh and if you can find a simple nice looking tie bar that would be kind of cool to wear when I dress up in my suit for meetings and stuff. But if you cant find one thats not decently priced, don't worry about it. Anyway, those are my best ideas! And if Dad still wants too, we can go out to eat at this pizza place and he could just transfer the money back into my account. I probably wont have time on my birthday, but we could do it later that week.

And sorry I didn't mention your letter coming. It did, and I meant to mention it but I just forgot. Thanks so much for it! I loved the pictures I got too! I really appreciated that letter.

Thanks for the attachment. I look forward to reading it!

And thats good to know about the visa thing. I hope it comes before too long or I am going to freeze my butt off! haha
I'm glad you are able to tell the story of Troy around he is an amazing guy!

It looks like as usual you are staying super busy, but that means you are getting lots done. You are such a great example to me out here. You are such a hard worker and I try to be the same out here. Thanks for all you do to support our family! You're the best.

Well Here is a short update, but I will attach some pictures! I forgot to send some last week.

So this week has been a little slow, a good amount of our appointments don't go through, but we make the best of it. The thing that made it all keep going was meeting with Troy and getting him ready for baptism. We met with him on Tuesday and watched the long Prophet of the Restoration movie with him. He really enjoyed it and even took notes. haha We got to discuss it afterwards also and he was also going to the JSM on Thursday so he would be able to learn even more about Joesph Smith there too! But sadly come Thursday there was some miscommunication and he was there like over an hour earlier than we planned and Elder and Sister Osborn called us telling us this. haha They both come to our ward but serve in the JSM and they have become close with Troy and planned to do the tour with us. So when they called us, we just said for them to just go through it with him because there was no way we would make it there for another hour and a half. But we talked to him that night and he had such a wonderful experience and wants to continue to go back. I am kind of glad that he didn't have us there because he will eventually not have us there with him all of the time. But we told him to meet us at the church 30- minutes early to his baptism the next day and then had a prayer with him before we left. I love hearing him pray. He does it with such sincerity, and his relationship that he has with our father in Heaven really shows when he prays! Its awesome!

So he was there on Friday just on time and got him all set up in his white clothes and by the time we took pictures with him, about everyone else had arrived. There were a good amount of people there! I was so happy, the ward was so happy for him and really showed a lot of support. At church he is always talking with members and they are really taking him in. He had previously asked Elder Tewksbury to baptize him, and Elder Terry to do the confirmation on Sunday. And I was totally fine with that. I could tell how happy it made them both to do it, especially Elder Tewksbury, so I'm glad they got to do it. I lead the music, was one of the witnesses, and gave the talk on the Holy Ghost to Troy. It was really a wonderful baptismal service and was just so amazing to see Troy baptized after one 4 weeks of teaching him. He was so prepared by our Father in Heaven and he now has all of the right goals in mind. We ate at the Wyants again with him and they were able to help us teach one of the follow-up lessons (Plan of Salvation). And Troy made a comment at the end of the lesson about the Celestial Kingdom and said, talking to all of the family, " Well now I know where I'm going, and I don't know about you all but I'm going to the Celestial Kingdom!" haha Its just so simple to him. He is like, so to get to the Celestial Kingdom I just have to stop smoking? DONE! or I just have to pay tithing? I'LL DO IT! Its just been amazing to see him progress!

Well I kind of have to go but he was really our main focus this last week and hopefully I will be able to let you guys know more about my other investigators more next week.

I love you all so much and appreciate all of the prayers!

-Elder Swalberg

Oh and here are the pictures!
First is my old district before transfers. We have some new sisters now.

Next is of Armida, her husband, Goliath, and their baby Mato with us after Armida's baptism

Next is a flag on the end of a fire truck ladder in downtown Claremont on 9/11.

And last is us with Troy right before his baptism! I just noticed, this is the first time you have seen him and I dont think I have described him before so now you can finally but a face to the miracle!