Monday, September 9, 2013

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

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