Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Monday, December 23

So this week has been very stormy! There is no question that we will have a white Christmas! haha, Just like last Sunday, church was canceled! This time I was super disappointed, because we had invited so many people! And a few potential investigators even said they would come because it was going to be our Christmas program! I was so sad! And we couldn't use our car at all! So we were essentially on lock down. It was a huge ice storm and the roads are still pretty slick but we were allowed to go out today but have to be really careful! Anyway so we also had another snow storm that dropped about 10 inches on Tuesday. We were on exchange at the time and had to postpone district meeting by about 4 hours until the roads cleared up, and then exchanged at district meeting. But through out the week, with all the storms, snow, ice, etc. we have struggled to do a lot. But the 12 days of Christmas that I talked about last week really helped us find something to do even when everything else wasn't working out! 

So this week may have been a rough one on key indicators, and I hate to use the weather as an excuse, but it has made it hard to do very many visits when our car is on lock down. But we have tried to make the best use of our time. I want to share a few miracles that have happened by following our Zone Leader's 12 Days of Christmas Challenge. Last P-day we needed to share 4 Luke 2 messages with 4 people and we also had exchanges and that only left us with 1 hour to do all for messages, so we came up with a way to share them during P-day. While we were shopping, doing emails, etc. We were able to give out pass along cards that had a link to and a scripture and quick thought from Luke 2 and we taped a piece of candy to the card. It was a friendly way to spread the true meaning of Christmas to random people through-out the day! And we gave 4 away! It was a miracle, to us, to have given 4 Luke 2 messages while we normally thought we wouldn't have enough time to do anything. 

Another Miracle that came from it was Day 9, and the challenge was to seek Christmasy referrals from 9 people. We sadly aren't close enough to enough members to possibly visit a lot of them in one day, so we called some members to ask them for people that we might be able to visit and give a Christmas message to. And we ended up with 9-10 names that day that we could visit. We have plans to see many of them tomorrow! I never would have called that many people to seek for referrals but because of the challenge, it stretched us to make sure we did it, and we did! I was amazed that as we put forth our full effort and faith that the Lord did the rest, and helped us accomplish our challenge for that day! It was really great! And the last few challenges are helping us work more with members, like tonight we are having a FHE with with the Hovance Family and then going to deliver a Christmas basket we prepared with a DVD, Book of Mormon, "The Family" a proclamation to the world, and some goodies, to a non member friend that they have. And we will help them know what invitations they might extend to them to help this family have a significant missionary experience! 

Its been really cool to use this challenge and I think I will do it again next year! its been great! Take advantage of this Christmas season, you can testify of the gospel in normal conversation during this time and it is so much more accepted by people at this time! 

Quickly, here is an update on Norm, Kathy, and Chrissy.

Sadly I was on exchange on Tuesday so I didn't get to see Norm,  but apparently he brought up a concern of not being fully sure that Thomas S. Monson is a true Prophet, but I know he has true desire to be baptized and we just need to help him make the connection between the fact that if Joesph Smith was a prophet then so are all other Prophets after him. We have received confirmation through our zone leaders that is okay to have Norm's Baptism in the Wisscasit Recreation Center pool so that he can get in and out of there with assistance or his walker/wheelchair. I'm happy to know that is all approved, and he is comfortable with having it there as well. I really hope Brother Guisani gets to baptize him! I think he wants Elder Dally and I to be in there with him though to stabilize him when he goes in and during the baptism. So that would be cool too! Also last week He was not feeling well and in Priesthood the previous Sunday we talked about priesthood blessings and Brother Duffy asked him if he would like one. And he agreed and so Brother Duffy got to do that, which was really cool! And this Tuesday he said his pains went away and said that he knew the blessing worked! It was super sweet! 

Kathy and Chrissy are doing well as well. Kathy more than Chrissy though. I know it is because Kathy is more in tune with the spirit as she is living the word of wisdom already. Chrissy has already made the goal to stop drinking and smoking as a new years resolution, and instead of trying to make her do it earlier we are just going to help her make the goal she has already set for herself. We have offered the No Smoking Program, and still might use it. But Kathy is really reading so much in the Book of Mormon and have seen so much progress from her as she has done so. She had a hard time reading it at first but has got a lot better and has read the first 14 chapters like 3 times. (She reads them over again, because she says she gets more out of it and understands so much more! I have been so impressed with them. They both asked for Priesthood blessings as well, after talking about the Word of Wisdom, and Elder Dally and I had the privilege to give them both a blessing. It was a tender experience! 

Although we may not have had a lot of lessons, the ones we had were really good. We had a good lesson with Andie the other day as well. We are starting to find good object lessons for her. And after her lesson on Saturday we got to go Caroling with the sisters on their street and met some really cool people! And that reminds me, we also got to go caroling on Wednesday with the Youth and youth leaders which was really fun and cool to be with the youth! Its so crazy that I am not the youth anymore and instead the missionary! Its super cool though, because you can tell they have such a respect for us as missionaries! I love being a missionary, its the coolest thing ever! 

Well I think that wraps it up for today, and I sent an SD card home with the Christmas package so you can post some of those on the blog! Thanks :) 

I wish all who read this a very Merry Christmas! May you think of the reason for the season, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! 

-Elder Swalberg

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