Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Monday, August 26th

A preface to Elder Swalberg's letter... Here are some questions from his Mom that he answers below...

A few questions for you this week.
1.  How much study time are you getting for Portuguese every day?
2.  Is there a limit on service hours you can have each week?
3.  How many meals a week are you eating with the members?
4.  Where do you go for emails?  A members home? library?  
5.  How many missionaries are there in your mission?
6.  Do missionaries from that mission ever get to go to the Boston Temple?
Okay....just curious questions...nothing too important.

=====  Here is Landon's letter====

Well first teh few questions!
1. Well we are supposed to have an hour for language study every day but it the thing that gets put off first. If our day is too filled up, then we dont do language study. Even with Elder Tewksbury its hard to do it. Its going to be so hard to get back to the language when I am MAYBE going to Brazil. But its okay.
2. President Stocker said we can have 8 hours ish. to do service.
3. Well Sundays we have luch and Dinner with members every time! Yesterday we had some great meals! But other than that we have one or two other meals a week. All of the members have been really nice about me being vegetarian. Of course the jokes are still there especially from my companions but I am so used to that its no problem! haha

Which reminds me! So my whole mission so far I have never had so many nick names for my last name. Its not that hard but between the MTC and here I have had all of these names. (Some I dont know how to spell but I will do my best): Swasberg, Swally, Slumdog, Swasbag, Steam isperigus, Swasburg (In the a heavy German accent)...and the list goes on. Its pretty funny!

4. There is a community college library that we are able to use to do emails here is a picture that I took last week as I was emialing.

5. There are 218 missionaries in the mission! Its a huge area though. haha

6. Yes, but they only get to go when they finish their missions here. The mission president takes them on their last day. But its technicly out our our mission. So yeah, I wont be able to go to the temple there.

Oh I am so glad Ed week was so great! Sis Edwards sent me a picture of Dakota, Austin and Taylor at their house. And Tella sent a picture of them all together i think in the wilk center. It was great! If you havent sent the package yet, you should send some pictures too. I LOVE the pictures I took soooo much. Pictures are seriously the best. I never knew how much I would love having them.

I am almost done with the letter about the BOM experience, and then a letter will be coming your way! :)

So quickly here is my week.

I had a training meeting for all the new missionaries that came out the same transfer as me, in Manchester this week on Tuesday. They taught us some pretty basic stuff but it reminded me that I really need to be exactly obedient and blessings will come! It was great to see Elder Gardner there! He is in Maine and is doing great! I love him so much so I was really happy to see him! Then its always great to see President Stocker and his wife I got a picture with them while I was there. There is that picture attached!

On Wednesday we have our district meetings but this time we had lunch with our district and I made a chessecake for it! I made the super simple one you taught me how to make, Mom, but like always it was super good! haha
One of the sisters needed a blessing afterwards and she asked me to give that. So that was cool to do, and I also gave one to one of the members too. She has a non-member husband, Alan, and we are actually teaching him. I think I already wrote about him. He is doing well and still coming to church.

I finally got to teach Leonice again, she is the Portugese speaking lady that we are teaching. It was really a lesson just answering a lot of her questions but it was still good to finally be able to meet with her after 2 weeks. She lives like an hour away so its hard to visit her very often.

Armida is a Marshalese lady that we have been teaching (part member family) and she is getting her baptismal interview this Saturday and will hopefully be baptised on the 6th of September. Her english isnt super great so its hard to know all that she understands but what she does say and explain to us makes us feel that she is prepared and ready.

Troy is doing soooooo well. This week we have continued to be able to pray with him every morning and he also came back to church. I think church is overwelming for him but he says he just needs to get used to it. But in our last lesson I extended the baptismal commitment to him and he responded "Definately." and later in our discussion he said, "Yeah, I want to do this. I want to show you guys Im not BS-ing," No he didnt swear he said it just like that...haha, " Becasue Im seriously TIRED of failing and letting the Lord down." We were so happy after that lesson. He is really studying the Book of Mormon and is naturally applying it to his situation and life. Its so great! He accepted the date of Sept 13th to work towards to be baptised! We are so excited! Keep him in your prayers, he needs them. He still says he struggles doing everything he should do, but he has faith that it will get easier!

Teaching all of these people is so great! I learn so much as I study for them. I know the Lord has prepared these people for us! I know I am supposed to be here at this time and I am so happy to be here too! This place is starting to grow on me and I can tell that it will be super hard to leave here when or if I get my Visa for Brazil.

I have thought of home a lot this week, but I am using it as a motivation not a hinderance. Sure I miss home but there is no place I would rather be than here!
But one thing that I have been super thankful for this week is the blessing of having Family scripture study and prayer everynight, going to church every week, and having FHE so often. A lot of missionaries are just finding out how important these things are but I am just so thankful for having those things so consistant. It is such a blessing to me out here! It really is sooooo important!

I love you all so much and miss you! Thanks for the letters and updates, it means the world to me! 

Taylor- good luck with school this next week! Work hard!

-Elder Swalberg

(A couple photos that Elder Swalberg sent...)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Monday, August 19th

Alright! So this week has been crazy busy! We seriously have so much to do in this area. My senior companion, Elder Terry says this is the busiest he has ever been in his whole mission. Its awesome though! We have one investigator that has a baptismal date for September 6th but I am still kind of worried about her, becasue she is Marshilese and doesnt speak english super well, but Elder Tewsbury knows her better than I do and says she will be ready, so I am excited! And this week we are also going to challenge Troy to be baptised the following Friday! He has been progressing super well. We have had 3 total lessons with him so far and he has followed every commitment we have given him! He is in his early 40s and has moved here somewhat recently to kind of get away from people he knew and try to get his act together. He is sooooo prepared! I cant remember if I told you this already, but we asked if he would like to pray with us every morning and he said he would love that, so for the past almost 2 weeks he has come down and prayed with us before he leaves for work and he says he feels so much more strength from doing it. He also kept his word when he said he would come to church. He came yesterday and said he really enjoyed it. He was only able to stay for the first hour because he had to work, but ever since we have been meeting with him he has been looking and appling to jobs that will allow him to have Sundays off and is getting very close to recieving those jobs. But until then, he is wanting to continue to come to sacrament meeting. The members were so welcoming to him and one lady at church even gave him a hug. hahaha. Bro. Wyant is the 2nd Counselor in the Bishopbrick and he gave the PERFECT talk for Troy! He talked about how the basics is what living the gospel is all about, and used Elder Uchtdorfs talk "What matters most" and he knew about Troy so he explained everything very simply and tailored the talk almost exactly what Troy needed. It was super cool. We love Troy and will hopefully have a goal for him to work towards for baptism this week. 
We also had another investigator at church yesterday. He is the husband of Sis Bolis in our ward. She is very active and has just been waiting for the right time to have someone teach her husband. We met him about 2 weeks ago and talked to him. They are both in their mid 60s, btw He has a strong desire to be sealed to his wife because he says he loves her a lot and he understands that if he is sealed that he will be with her forever. But he just needs to know and understand what needs to come before that. haha So its so cool to teach him becasue he has this end goal of going to the temple and so his desire is already there, it is just our job to help him fill in the gaps and help him gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, get baptized and receive the priesthood! He has health problems so he is kind of worried he doesn't have enough time to learn everything before he gets sealed, because he says "you know, I don't know how much time I have left." But like I said he is progressing and we got him to read from the Book of Mormon this week which was good, and we will be able to follow up this Wednesday with him!

Leonice is our portuguese investigator but sadly we havent been able to meet with her since my first Sunday here. She works a lot and lives far away. (about an hour....yeah our area is huge!) But she still wants to meet with us, and we will finally be able to meet with her this Friday so I will be able to talk about her more next week. I cant wait to talk to her again.

I have been able to do tons of service too. We are still helping Brenda and Kateleen at "Simply Comfort" every Wednesday and also Bob every Thursday. They are great people to be with and talk with. They just love the Elders! And we also serve an old couple every saturday. This week we are also helping The Wyants move (they will still be in the ward though). So we will have a lot of service this week! Btw the Wyants are awesome! we have dinner at their house every Sunday! They always invite us over and I always get stuffed. They are so nice. Their youngest daughter, Cristi, is about my age and will be sending in her papers in a month or 2 for her mission, and one of their sons Kyle is on a mission in St. George, Utah right now. They are also getting really excited about missionary work in this area! We are hoping they can help us be the driving force to get the rest of the ward on board with the excitment!

Oh and Mom, I got your message of "Hi" through a senior couple from the JSM. Elder and Sister Osborn are their names. They come to our ward for church because there are so many missionaries at the ward that meets at the chapel next to the JSM. But yeah they relayed the message for you at church yesterday! It was really cool that you found some of them through that blog you found! haha

Well I sure love you all tons and look forward to telling you more soon! I still havent mailed my letter about my Book of Mormon experience, but I will send it soon and hopefully it will be at home by the time you guys get home from Utah!

Thanks for the love and prayers!
Eu amo voces muitos!

-Elder Swalberg

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tuesday, August 13th

So This week was incredible I had so many miricles happen to me! I am so blessed to be in this area. Our investigators are doing well. We have almost 6 progressing investigators. But the one that I worry about the most is Helen. She is from England is married to a member. But she has recently been getting prepared for baptism. She has all the faith and knowledge she needs to be baptised but needs to stop smoking! The missionaries have been working on her with this problem for like the last 5 or 6 weeks. She just can't get over it yet. But I challenged her and her husband to have nightly scriptures and prayers TOGETHER at a specific time every night. (this wasn't originally happening.) After they committed to doing it every night at 7, they both felt that this would help keep the spirit in the home and eventually help her stop smoking.
But the miracle that I really wanted to share with you all is about a new investigator we met this last week. He lives in our appt. upstairs. But it wasnt us that made the original contact. It started as we were planning on Tuesday night, and we were goofing off and I said that we needed to say a pray to keep us focused and bring the spirit back. After we did that, we had a wonderful planning session and although we usually never sing afterwards we had this wierd desire to sing. and Elder Tewksbury and I always sing in Portuguese but we both wanted to sing in English and so we sang HYMN 220 and we actually didnt sound to bad. haha But then after we were just messing around in the front room of our appt. We got a note slipped under the door I will attach a picture of it.
We freaked out! This man was so ready for us to teach him and he just "happened" to hear us singing and want to know who we were. He knew we could help him and the spirit told him that! We imediately said a prayer and thanked Heavenly Father for this man. But it was too late to go up and talk to him. But 2 minutes later he comes to our door and knocks. we knew it was him and he introduced himself and told us the same things that the note said and just said he has been looking for a greater light in his life and said he had seen us around and that we had waved to him before. I told him how thankful we were to have him come to us and told him who we were and our purpose. Then Elder Terry told him he had a book that would help him with his struggles. (the Book of Mormon) He testified of it and gave him one. He said with such sincerity, "what do I owe you for this?" and I simply said, "Another time for us to tell you more about it." He said he would love that and we set up a day to talk with him more. And Elder Tewksbury asked if we could say a prayer before he left and he said a beautiful prayer and you could hear Troy just sobbing and afterwards as he was crying, he shook our hands and thanked us for talking and praying with him. WOW! we were so amazed at how perfect that went. He is so prepared!
We met with him this last week and it went great and have had the oppertunity for him to pray with us every morning before he leaves for work. He has such strong faith in God and Jesus Christ and wants to repent of and be better! We get to teach him again tonight so I will tell you more about him next time. But I just wanted to tell you how cool that was!
Well I have to go, but I will send a letter home this week to tell about my BoM experience. Thanks for the reminder! Love you all, and remember we are all missionaries, I just wear a name tag! ;)
-Elder Swalberg
Here are some additional photos that he sent - with his comments:
First one is me all packed up at the MTC the night before I left.
Next one is of me and my 2 new companions: From left to right Elder Tewksbury,Elder Terry, and me!
And this is my close MTC comp Elder Gardner at the transfer meeting before we went our seperate ways. (He is somewhere in Maine right now.)
My first meal in the field. Pretty good for not having barely any food in the appt. and not able to go shopping! haha

This is me in front of Dr. Smith's house. The Dr. Smith that operated on Joesph Smith's leg as a child. There is no sign about it, and is not owned by the church but one of the members gave us a ride to district meeting once and knew about it and showed it to us on our way back. It was pretty sweet!
Next one is of me infront of the JSM. We got to tour it and it was so beautiful! (btw mom, they told us the same story about how crazy it was to get the monument up there too! What an incredible miracle!)
And last one, me next to JS statue.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday, August 5th, 2013

So I can't even imagine trying to send personal messages this week so much has changed and happened! haha So here is a run down of my last week! I left the MTC Monday morning at 2:30 am! We traveled with a layover in Atlanta and final landed in Manchester NH at 4pm. There were apparently 24 missionaries total coming from the MTC to this mission! A good amount of them are VISA waiters like me to Brazil but also other areas in South America!
My mission President was waiting for us there at the airport in Manchester and with a trasportation for us all. We drove to the Mission home, which is a large, old style, beautiful New England Style home. They had dinner ready for us and it was sooooo wonderful to have a home cooked meal. Afterwards we all took turns being interviewed by Pres. Stoker. while we werent being interviewed some of the Assistants to the President did little study activities with us. My interview was great even though it was short! At one point he asked, "Are you ready to give me 100%?" and I quickly smiled and responded "110 President." I expressed how excited I am to be here! He is so sweet and I love him already. They are really new to this calling (4 weeks) but are so inspired in everything that they do! I was one of the missionaries that was able to stay downstairs in the Mission home that night. It was very nice and I slept very well.
The next day we got packed up again and went to Transfer meeting. At this point I was still with those few other Elders that I had in my district at the MTC. But after a short program we were given our new companions and areas that we would serve. Our mission covers all of New Hampshire, Vermont, most of Maine, and part of New York and Massecusetts. But I was called to serve in the Ascutney Area! It is half in New Hampshire and the other half in Vermont. haha Its kind of weird. We actually live in New Hampshire but go to church in Vermont! haha. Its great though. OH and we have the Joesph Smith Memorial Visitor center in our area! Thats where Joesph Smith was born! I cant wait to go. We are hoping to go there with some of our investigators this week! I was placed in a trio AGAIN! haha But this trio is seriously great! Elder Tewksbury and Elder Terry are their names. Elder Tewksbury is from Justin Texas and is in the Denton stake AND is waiting on a VISA to go to Brazil AND is going to Manaus, AND was in the same branch as me when he was in the MTC! Its kind of creepy. He was even in the Jubilee! (Btw Mom I told him that you were in charge of a lot of it and he says thank you! He loved it so much and said he will never forget it!) But yeah Elder Terry is from Mudlake Idaho. Its pretty close to Rexburg. They both are great and I love them both. Elder Terry has been out a year and is also our District leader, and Elder Tewksbury has been out for  weeks or one transfer. He still hasnt received any info on his visa. We will both just get a call some day from the mission office saying that it is ready, and would then leave within a few days! But I did get this in an email that appearently came a week ago:
Dear Elder Swalberg:
Visa Status:
By now you are aware that your visa to Brazil has not yet been approved. While this is undoubtedly a
disappointment, please know that we are doing everything possible to secure your visa. We will notify
you immediately when it is received. We ask that you and your family members not do anything, such as
call or e-mail the consulate, to try to secure your visa more quickly. Such actions may actually slow
down the visa process already in place.
While you are waiting, your mission experience in the United States will prove to be a great blessing in
your preparation to serve in Brazil. We encourage you to work hard, remain focused, and be involved
in all aspects of missionary work. As you serve the people in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission,
your testimony and ability to teach will increase, you will set the pattern of study and hard work for the
rest of your mission, and you will come to love the people.
May the Lord continue to bless you and your family as you dedicate yourself to preaching the gospel to
those who are seeking and ready to accept your invitation to come unto Christ.
Eduardo Gavarret
Assistant Executive Director
But seriously! This is exactly what I feel about this calling here! I am so excited to be here, and I know it is where the Lord wants me to be right now. Elder Tewksbury after 6 weeks says he feels like this is the mission he is just suppossed to be in, and that he wouldnt be dissapointed if he stayed here. I am sure we will get to Brazil, but I know I will be happy and do great things here until then.
So back to my week: After getting my companions they had lunch for us. Then we drove about an hour with one of the members from our new ward back to our appt. Elder Tewksbury has been here for 6 weeks so he had the rest of the day planned out for us and so that was nice. We got to teach two little kids a lesson that day about the book of mormon. They have been teaching them from the Book of Mormon picture book that tells all of the stories in a simplier way. It was cool. Then we came back and I made my first meal in the field. We have a lot of farms out here and so they have egg people from the ward that give us tons of eggs....CAGE FREE, FARM FRESH EGGS! haha I was a little happy. But we didnt have like any food, until today but we managed and lots of members and friends took care of us! The rest of the day we studied. I got to do my language study with Elder Tewksbury which was sweet! I am so happy I have him to study with. We always pray and sing hymns in Portuguese during the day and teach Elder Terry litte phrases too. We taught him "Amo voce" (I love you) and he says it alllll the time! haha He will learn more soon! haha But yeah it was a great day in the field. The next 2 days were awesome too! We have a lot of oppertunities to do service here! We do service for this non member named Bob. He is in his 60s and has a small farm, but his left arm is totally paralized and his left leg is some what also after a stroke he had a few years ago, so he cant do a lot on his own. The missionaries have been helping him for close to 6 years now! Its so cool. He loves us and he is really a great guy. He runs his own church, but has great morals and personality. He has been Mayor of the town of Clearmont, where we live, and also in the House of Reps. for NH in the 80s.  But after 2 hours of service he takes us out to eat for lunch. He always takes us to this little place called Simply Comfort! It is run by a lady named Brenda, and Kateleen works for her (she is close to our age). Brenda cooks all of the food from scratch so it tastes as good as home cooked comfort food! It is soooooooo good! They have gotten to know the missionaries really well too because they eat there every week. They love us too! It feels so much like home there! She is from Alabama so her southern cooking is very much what Im used to! And man I wish you all could taste her pies! They are sooo good. We got to pick some blueberries and we are going to bring them by to her today for some of her pies! But yeah they are wonderful. We also do service for Brenda and Kateleen every Wednesday and they feed us lunch for free afterwards too!
But yeah the other days we just visited with investigators, and I will tell you more about them when I know them better, so next week! But they are progressing well.
My sunday was great I got to bare my testimony and taught an investagtor during one of the hours of church becasue she came. And guess what? she is Brazilian! We got to teach her in portuguese for part of it becasue she understands it way better that way! haha Like I said, i am here for a reason!
Well I have to go but thanks for all of the support and prayers!
-Elder Swalberg
Have people send letters to the mission home address and they will forward it to me :
Elder Landon Swalberg
New Hampshire, Manchester Mission
2 Bedford  Farms Ste 208
Bedford, NH 03110-6525
I will send you guys about my Book of mormon experience soon in an actual letter! I love you guys so much! And sorry if I didnt get everything you wanted to know in this email. But I will catch you later!
Tchau! :)