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:
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.
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!
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!