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! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday, September 9th 2013

Well Thanks so much for your letters Mom and Dad and Austin. Austin I will probably send you a letter home soon in response to your letter. I printed it out so I can do that.

Mom, Im so glad you enjoyed my letters that I sent home. I really wanted to give yall as much as I could. In emails I feel so rushed to get everything in and read all the letters but with handwritten letters (when I find the time) I can fully express what I feel and what happened in the week. So I was happy I could share as much as I did in the letter home. I sent one to Zach the other day it should be coming in a few more days.

Its so good to hear about the family and how you are all doing!

Dad, I'm glad you enjoyed my letters too. Its so awesome to have you and Mom both as returned missionaries so that you know exactly what I'm going through! its awesome!

About the yeah the last 2 days have gotten pretty chilly! As I'm typing my fingers are pretty cold! haha It has been in the low 50's and probably high 40's this morning. But it warms up in the least for a few more weeks. If I'm here till November I'm told there will be plenty of snow and it doesn't go away till April. So yeah Im worried a little bit too. haha

Regarding the visa paperwork update you did for me, I hope that is good news for my visa. My companion has been here 3 months now and he said he has to turn in some police stuff too, but its different then what Mom did for me. He has to go in and get his finger prints done again or something and then send it in. So hopefully I don't have some of the same to do!

Thanks again for the letters and here is a quick update from my week:

So this last week has been pretty sweet to start out we had a baptism! Armida (the Marshallese lady) got baptized on Friday! Her husband Goliath baptized her and confirmed her yesterday in Sacrament meeting! He did so well. He was super nervous because he doesn't speak English very well, but he did it so clear and well! I was so proud of him! It was a wonderful service! The mission president was actually going to come to it (he occasionally does that) but was too far away to make it in time. But Troy had his interview just before the baptism and passed with flying colors and so his baptism is set for next Friday at 6 oclock, and the mission President said might make it to that one because he missed Armida's. So I sure hope he does, that would be so awesome!

Troy has been progressing so well! Along with stopping smoking, drinking coffee and accepting to pay his tithing, he is excited to serve in the church and give back what he received! He is going to be an awesome Home teacher! The bishopric is aware of this too and will be getting him a calling as soon as possible. He has never missed a Sunday at church and he finally is used to the meeting enough that he felt comfortable staying for the full 3 hours this time! His baptism was announced in sacrament meeting and priesthood meeting which made all of the members aware of him and SOOOO many people came to talk to him though out church. There was a lunch after church too that he stayed for and didn't even sit with us. He sat with other members and talked the whole time with them! It was the perfect hand off to the ward. He doesn't have any family in this area so he is excited to have his church family. Its amazing how faithful and strong he is and how much he understands about the gospel and the purpose of going to church.

We asked the Wyant Family, that has us over every Sunday for dinner, if they would invite Troy over as well. We had told them all about him and his progression to baptism and they loved the idea. They loved getting to know Troy and having dinner with him. After dinner we shared a message and after we shared a great message with the Wyants and Troy, Troy asked some great questions and he then expressed how much sense this gospel made to him and how so many more people need this message because they have never even heard of Joesph Smith or the Book of Mormon. He said " I lived in the town where the Joesph Smith Memorial was and I saw signs for it but I never knew what it was or who He was. And no one that I asked gave me a clear answer until I finally meet these Elders. And now I know Joesph Smith was a Prophet and that now Thomas S. Monson is our prophet. I know that now!" It not only touched us so much to hear him say that, but we could tell his testimony blew the Wyants away. When we left we hung back for a minute and they expressed how great Troy was and how strong his testimony was...they seemed so surprised! haha But they all committed to be at his baptism on Friday and they even moved some of their plans around to make it!

Troy is such a miracle. I will never forget him and the things he has taught me! He will be the perfect member to bring with us to lessons and teach with us. I know his testimony and friendship with help so many others come to the gospel. Elder Tewskbury, Elder Terry and I all can see him being a Bishop of this ward soon enough! haha We are so excited for his baptism on Friday. We will also be taking to the Joesph Smith Memorial on Thursday the day before his baptism which will be awesome. I will surely attach pictures of him next week after the baptism.

One last thing. Saturday was our transfer calls day, and we never got a call so that means we are staying here for another 6 weeks in a trio! It was quite unexpected actually, but we are happy so we can all see Troy get baptized! It would have been so sad to have left and not seen his baptism. So yeah that is the big news of this last week and what I have to look forward to this next week! We are so excited! This area is amazing! Elder Terry has been out over a year and has only been a part of 1 baptism and we are teaching over double the lessons he normally teaches in a transfer. (Plus most of our lessons are to actual investigators not mainly less actives which is what most of his lessons used to be) So yeah, like I always say the work is hastening and the members of the church are what make it happen! We have some great members here that make the work continue to progress!

Thanks for all the prayers and letters and I will hear from ya in another week!
Love you all so much!

-Elder Swalberg

Monday, Sept 2nd (postal letter transcribed)

Hey Family,

So I’m sorry I wasn’t able to write you on Monday, but after I sent you the short message I was able to print out Mom’s letter and Dad’s letter.  It was also great to hear from Grandma and Grandpa Swally and Landon.  I love their letters so much too.

Mom and Dad, thank you so much for updating my blog and facebook.  It takes a lot of stress off of me, so I don’t feel like I am forgetting about everyone else!

In response to Mom’s letter:  I’m glad you got a kick out of all the nicknames I’ve received, I forgot another one that I have been called in the MTC and here…. “Mom”.  Haha.  Anyway thank you, for praying for our investigators here.  We are seeing great success with them all. I will give you an upate on them all a little further in the letter.  The baptismal dates are set for Fridays because... I guess it is easier for members and others to get to the baptism on Friday evenings.  IDK, thats what Elder Tewksbury just told me anyway, haha.  But yeah, Troy asked about Friday the 13th too, it was funny. haha We just knew he would be ready by then.

I'm so glad you had such a great time at HEB camp with Austin.  And I am sure you loved teaching seminary.  I brag on you and the amazing teacher that you are to everyone that asks about you! haha I'm glad my experiences could be used to help you teach.  I sure hope our family can continue to go to HEB camp for years to come too.  I would love to go when I come back from my mission and be the same example to the youth at the camp, like Brady Edwards did for me.  He was just a great influence to me when I was there and I want to do the same for the other young men.

I'm so happy to hear about Burke's call.  It was killing me all week.  I knew he had seen his call just after my email time last week so I was dying to know all week.  I got to email him really quickly to tell him how excited I was that he was going to Brazil! I told him to start working on the language as much as he can before he leaves!  Those who do that are so far ahead in the MTC.  I wish I did more.

Oh how cool that Bethany, McKenzie, and Tyler are leaving soon. Looks like Gma and Gpa Swally will be visiting McKenzie's mission soon. They said they are going to Billings, Montana.

Sounds like some awesome games you got and will be great to plan on the "playing hard" part of Labor Day.

Q#1 - Well as a visa waiter I receive my money for food, haircuts, cleaning supplies, etc. every 2 weeks, I get 75 dollars. It goes to my senior companion's card, and we just get cash back and he gives it to us.  Elder Tewksbury and i won't receive our money cards till we are in Brazil or officially staying here. (BTW - if we are here for 5-6 months we are given this mission as our official mission.)  But yeah, the car/gas money is covered by the mission and is paid on a separate gascard.  We just have to keep track of our miles every day and gas.

Q#2 - Well I really don't need anything but I think I will need to figure out what I will do clothes-wise in a couple months.  Missionaries here have a suitcase full of winder clothes.  Luckily we got some blankets other than just our sheets, so we aren't freezing at night.  But really that clothes issue is the only thing I'm worried about not having. But Elder Terry says the mission might have winter clothes from toher missionaries who left them.  So I will check that out before I ask for anything specifically.  So I will keep you updated. Thanks for thinking of me! I sure love you!

P.S. If anyone sends money or something in the mail to me, seal it up with tape because Aunt Julie's letter was sliced op[en when I got it.  So I bet people know that.  I assumed that there was just pictures in there and that is why they tried to open it but just let people know that and be aware of that.

Hey Dad, thanks for your letter too the new scouting stuff sounds really cool. The are definately going in the right direction. I was very surprised that Zach agreed to doing that, haha  But then it made sense when I saw what he was presenting. He will do great.

Thank for the update and it means a lot to continue to hear from you even though you are so busy!  I love you so much Dad!

Well here is a quick rundown of my week and how my investigators are doing.

We had district P-day after I emailed you all so the 2 sets of sisters from the JSM came down to Claremont and we hiked Mt. Ascutney! it was a short hike because we drove most of the way up but was a lot of fun and it made me want to go on Philmont again. 

Tuesday we taught a guy named Glenn he is keeping all of the commandments, (stopped drinking and smoking), and reads from the BOM.  He knows it is true, but he wont come to church because the building is in Vermont, and Vermont laws say you have to wear a helmet if you are riding a motor cycle.  He is a total biker, with long grey hair, and a long beard, and about 60 years old.  He wont wear a helment, so we are trying to get him tup to a chapel north of here that is in NH. haha  But he is still a solid investigator.

Through-out the week we have been in the process of moving!  We had to take a long time to move out. We just moved down the hall, but it is a much healthier place to live.  The move is basically done now, but ther was a lot of cleaning to do in our old apartment.  It was nasty.  There were mold problems and that hallway always smelt so bad because of smelly neighbors and smoking.  And other missionaries didn't clean very well.  We have bleached, scrubbed, washed and sprayed that apartment many times and it is now about ready to give the keys back to the office.  We have new appliances, and nice tile floors in our new apartment along with an actually sanitary bathroom.  Fort the first time since I have been home, I feel comfortable enough to shower without my shower sandals. haha  Anyway, it is much better where we are now.

Alan is doing well, and is continuing to read the BOM and we are hoping to have a date in October for his baptism soon.

Armida passed her interview on Saturday and will be baptized actually this Saturday at 4pm. We are so excited for her.  Her husband has been less active and the both dont speak english super well so today we are going ove to teach him (Goliath) how to baptize and confirm his wife - it will be awesome!

Leonice we have yet to teach again, but she still goes to church in a ward that is closer to her house and we hope to get her learning more quickly soon.  She is really sweet and desires to learn more though.

And Troy!  Troy got the job that he wanted. Its for Coca-Cola here  in Claremont.  He now doesn't work weekends, and still has 40 hours a week!  We are so happy for him we have been prayng with him for that job.  He has come to church every week and enjoys it.  He is getting more involved in the gospel priciples class now that he knows more about the gospel, and is more comfortable with church.

We taught him the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity in one lesson last week. It seems intense but we were prompted to do so, and he took it really well.  He committed to follwo them both.  This meant he would need to give up smoking and coffee.  He promised to throw all those substances out and we had a lesson in the evening with him and he did exactly that. But he woke up the next morning and needed to smoke so he bought another pack.  But he was so disappointed with himself so afterward he chopped up all of the other cigarettes so he could not dig them out of the trash and threw them away.  We were so proud of him and testified that he was doing the things the Lord wants him to do. And that is really what he desires most, to not disappoint the Lord anymore.  He is still on track for his baptism on the 13th and we aren't the only ones excited for the baptism.  Troy wants to make this covenant to show the Lord  and us that he is serious.  The Lord truly works miracles and Troy is a miracle to us every day. He teaches us half the time.  He filed out the study guide in every pamphlet we give him and still studies the Book of Mormon and Bible.  He is trying to learn guitar and take lessons and take bike rides to fill his time so he isn't idle in his apartment.  He truly sets and example of someone who follows Christ.

I am so blessed to be here right now and I know the gospel is true.  As I try to help others come closer to Christ I see lives change, attitudes change, and their faith and spiritual growth increase!  Its amazing and I know the Lord is preparing people for each of us.  Pray for those opportunities every day!  Each week proclaim you are a Mormon to someone.  In every months fast, include in your fast to have a missionary experience, and then make the next step to invites someone to some event/ activity/church. If you do this diligently you will have a significant missionary experience.  That is a promise from our mission leaders!

I love you all so much and it makes me so happy to hear from you all and all the support you give me!

- Elder Swalberg

Monday, September 2, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hey family! Happy Labor Day! Hope your holiday is good because holidays on the mission arent so great. haha The library where we do our emails was closed so I am writing this from the library in the church and we dont have that much time because we have to share the one computer. I am able to print of the emails. But I will be able to send you a had written letter today and hopefully you will get it soon. I also sent my letter about my Book of Mormon experience so hopefully that will come soon too, if not already!
Thanks so much for the package! I got it and the same day I got Aunt Julies letter with the pictures and also the letter that everyone wrote on. Thanks so much for doing that, it was really great to read from everyone! I also ate the candy you sent pretty quickly! It was great! But guess what?! There is this discount store called Mr. G's Liquidation Center and they have really cheep everything and I found BUMPY NERDS there last time for $1.69! Crazy right! I was so happy! haha I downed that bag in like one day! haha Its okay I haven't gained a pound since I left! I usually eat really healthy but those bumpy nerds always get me! haha
Anyway I will tell you all more in my letter. But Dad, thanks so much for you letter you sent last week. I didnt get to reply last week, but I really loved reading it! It was so great to hear your thoughts and insites on ed week! Thanks so much for taking the time to send that to me!
Well I need to go now, so I will talk to you next week and I will write the letter home today.
Eu amo voces! :)
-Elder Swalberg