Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Monday February 24, 2014

2 Weeks Later...And a Lot Has Changed!
(Note - Due to Presidents day on Monday Feb. 17th, he could not email home...)

Well, my goodness! I have had to miss yet another day of emailing home last week! Holidays on P-days hit us twice this transfer! Anyway, I don't have time to fill in everything for the past 2 weeks, so I sent a lot of it home in a vlog on a SD card...maybe Mom and Dad, you will put a few highlights and pictures up on the blog for everyone to see. I even covered up through Wednesday in the vlog so I am just going to start on Thursday! 

(Note - the main vlog was almost a half an hour long... I dont know how to summarize it...  it all seemed like highlights!)

Thursday- We did sooooo much service, like ALL day! But when the roads are pretty bad and it snowed like 4 times in one week, there really isn't much else to do! I loved it though! We started with library service and a huge miracle happened! I have been really thinking about one of our investigators, Frank, a lot the previous few days and praying a lot for him to accept us back, after he seemed very against us coming by anymore. We had no idea of how to best follow up with him, because we didn't want to seem even more pushy (which he was very afraid of). Guess who we saw at the library?! Frank! He saw us moving some CD cases upstairs and was just staring at us, and then I looked up, did a double take and was like "THATS FRANK!" He said hi and we got to chat with him for a bit! It was a perfect recontact with him. It was HIM that found us! How cool?! He was getting some books on CD for a trip he was about to leave on but we know when he will be back and will be able to offer some service for him when he gets back! Such a miracle!
We did a lot more shoveling! we probably shoveled the church sidewalks like 4 times in the past week! Including chipping away all the ice that caked the sidewalks too! But we also got to help Lisa and James with taking down the drywall in their room and taking up the floor to renovate it all. Needless to say we were wiped but it was so great to be involved in so much service!
Friday- We had a huge miracle too! We got to go and teach Brother Carlson-Norm-, who was just baptized a little over a month ago, and he invited his friend Mark over. Mark has been falsely accused for some legal things that I wont go into, but is from England and was raised Catholic but hasn't gone to church since he was 11 (33 years old now) and has been praying for guidance, especially in the midst of so much persecution against him. He just got bailed out of jail about 2 weeks ago, and Norm has been a big source of help to him and so he suggested that he stay for our lesson. He told us that he was actually really excited we were coming and was happy to stay. We taught him the restoration and Norm totally was teaching and testifying about the things we taught! He was a little distracted ( I think it was so natural of him to share those things that he didn't feel like it was that big of a deal that he was accepting what we were saying!) So yeah it was super awesome, and he said he would start reading the Book of Mormon that night! We look forward to meet with him again tomorrow with Norm!
But really quick Saturday and Sunday- We found out on Saturday that Elder Dally is leaving and I am staying and getting a new senior companion. We will be going to transfer meeting tomorrow morning and getting our new companions! We really have ended on a great note and it was great to go and visit the members we are really close with on Sunday for Elder Dally to say goodbye!
Anyway that is going to have to do, but it really is great to still be here and there will be so many great things that will happen here soon!
btw this is me with Bro. and Sis. Duffy! The best member missionaries in the world! 

Love yall!
-Elder Swalberg

Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014 - Zone Conference Week!

Well Hello again! This week has been pretty good! I think the main highlight was Zone Conference so that is what I will focus a lot on and then give a quick update about those we are teaching! 

Well we were instructed to read over a long packet called The 4th Missionary! It essentially addressed 4 types of missionaries. 

The first missionary is very disobedient, doesn't want to follow the rules and ends up going home of his own choice or is sent home. 

The second missionary doesn't want to follow the rules, and still does what he wants not what the Lord wants, but stays out on the mission the whole time. 

The Third missionary is a good missionary. One who follows the rules, does everything according to the White handbook, teaches, has much success and baptisms. But this missionary still inwardly wants to do what he wants, and doesn't enjoy following every rule. This missionary is always saying, things will be better when......(fill in blank...ex. I finish this day, I get through this transfer, I become senior companion, or any other leadership position.) They are always longing for something more. 

The difference between the third missionary and the fourth missionary can be said in one word. Our mission president, President Stoker, said, "DESIRE". A fourth missionary has desire: to follow the rules, to do what is asked of him, to serve with all his/her heart, might, mind, and strength! The fourth missionary is humble and never seeks to ladder climb (or in other words the aspiring missionary.) This missionary is content and happy in whatever position they are in. They are humble and don't seek to compare themselves to other missionaries! There are so many other attributes of the 4th missionary that are wonderful, but you get the idea! 

So the whole time we talked about how we can become the 4th missionary. And be that missionary all the time! It was so inspiring, and I have made a few goals that I know will help me become a more dedicated, humble, patient, and optimistic Missionary! 

The other great thing about Zone conference was a very exciting announcement that President Stoker made! In affect as of that day, we are allowed to go to the Boston temple even though its outside of our mission! There are a lot of stipulations and one of them is you have to be in an area within 2 hours driving distance to the Boston Temple.So we got a list that let us know what areas were able to go and sadly a lot of Maine is not within that 2 hour radius, including Damariscotta. BUT we are also only allowed to go once every 6 months. So if we get transferred to an area that is in that radius by June than we can still go within this first 6 months! Lots of other rules are included with this policy but thats boring stuff! The excitingness of this is I have the possible chance of going to the temple while I am here! I am sooo stoked! I have been having so many temple withdrawals! haha 

Well we haven't had too much success with our investigators this week. Frank and Carol, Davis Family, Mark and Krystal are all on stand by and aren't looking like they will be going anywhere in the short future. And Rob and Misty are struggling to keep any kind of commitment. We are starting to teach them from the gospel Principles book because they aren't coming to church so we are bring it to them! But we are hoping they will come to a church tour soon. I have only done one actual church tour and that was back in Ascutney, but we are hoping to use them more often here! 

But we found a hopefully miracle family this week! On saturday we were looking for a less active man that no on in the Branch knew. So we went to the address and he ended up not living there. But the guy we talked to was really nice and we introduced ourselves and what we do. We asked him a little about himself and he has a wife and 3 kids (kids ages, 7,6, and 2) and we asked if we could come back and share a little more about our church with him and he was totally open to it! His name is Nate and his wife is Devin, and we were supposed to meet them yesterday at 5 but when we went there they said they were actually about to head out, but apologized and said they wished they could have called us to let us know. We exchanged numbers and set up a time on Wednesday to see them! But it was still cool, because we got to meet 2 of the kids and his wife! They would be such a great family in our branch! We hope all will go well, and pick them up as investigators on Wednesday

Well that just goes to show ya that all though we felt like our teaching pool was dying, we kept doing our best and then the Lord blessed us to run right into someone that will listen to us! I know the Lord is watching over us and answers our prayers! That is one part of my testimony that has grown so much on my mission so far! 

Well thats going to have to be all for this week, and I don't know if we will be able to email next week because on the 17th this place where we do emails will be closed! So yeah, just as a heads up. But I love you all so much, and hope you have a great week! 

-Elder Swalberg

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Monday, February 3, 2014

Well another week has come and gone, and I still can't believe it! Time goes by so fast! It really does! I have already been out 7 1/2 months! Say what?! Its crazy! I am sometimes scared at how fast the time goes! 

Well I am going to do this week by day:

Well as boring as our P-days have been these last 2 transfers, we got to spice them up a bit with some pool with our friend Clayton, aka "Swearing Mormon", He has a pool table and we got to play some 9 ball with him! It was a lot of fun and he taught us some really cool tricks! He swears a ton, but the whole time he was talking about letting "It" guide our shots. (It being the spirit...haha) He is funny, and we like him! He said he will expect us every week at the same time so we don't have to call ahead, he said "Just come!" But today we had to cancel because we are having dinner at the Hovances tonight. But it should be a fun activity for p-days now. haha And next time he said we will do a little less pool so we could discuss God as well. haha 

Like always we had our food pantry service in the morning, and then had our Mormon.org time, and then went out with Bro Duffy to visit Norm and helped with a few concerns he had with tithing, because he is only on social security and then relies a lot on his family members to take care of the rest. But it was a good discussion and we think it helped him out a lot. Then we got to see Rob and Misty. We found this cool pamphlet to help people start family history on the church website. Here is a link to it: https://familysearch.org/myfamily 
We printed out part of in and used it in our lesson in which we were able to challenge them to write down a story of one of their relatives. And then we could help them get onto Familysearch and put it on the site. They liked it and said they would so Im excited to see how it went!

Sadly on Wednesday we called Frank to see if we could come over again and talk with him, and he seemed WAY more quiet than usual and he replied, "No, Not really..." it was silent for a moment. Then I said, "Alright, well is there anything we can do for you and your wife?" And he said, "No, we are all set." And that is a phrase that here in New England means "We are not interested and we satisfied the way we are." So yeah, that was a let down...we will call him after a little more time passes by, and try to offer service again. But then we called Mark and Crystal to just check up on them and see if we could help them in anyway, and it was once again the perfect time to call! Crystal said, "No, way! When you guys call is always amazing!" She then explained that we were in her dream the previous night and how after she told Mark about it that Mark said, "you know, now the Elders are going to call you." And what do you know 15 minutes later we called! haha It was really cool and they said they would welcome another visit, and so we got to see them on Thursday! 
But before I get to that. We had district meeting and then went on exchange. I stayed here again, with Elder Farnworth, our district leader, and Elder Dally went up to Augusta with Elder Shupe. 
And so Elder Farnworth got to help me teach the first session of our Book of Mormon Class. The sister, Bro Duffy, Bro. & Sis. Royer, Norm, and Brother Dowdy were there! And it went really well. We are using the list of chapters that testify of the savoir in Preach My Gospel chapter 2 under the Plan of Salvation. There are about 50 chapters total. So we are thinking it will be able to last close to a year. We really just introduced the class, and went over the title page and the introduction. But it went really well and we showed a couple of great videos that went along with our discussion as well! We will be teaching the Book of Mormon class again next week, but from then on out, the sisters will rotate teaching it with us. So yeah, the word will get out and hopefully more will come, but even if we only get those same people it would be a success. It is really going to be good for Brother Dowdy! We are excited to see him become more of a part of the Branch and more active! 

We got to do service at the library! Then went to to see Mark and Crystal! It went well, and we asked them if we could bring a member next time and they were game for it! So we will hopefully seeing them again this week wit a member! 
Then we got to go out teaching with Brother Hutchins again! He met us down in Boothbay and saw sister Perry first! We got her all set up with familysearch and talked about the importance and power of family history work and going to the temple. Brother Hutchins made some great comments that just brought so much more to our lesson. And afterwards we as well say Ellen. She is an off and on investigator and has been for many years. But we helped her with family search as well! She was so excited about it though! You could tell she was super interested in it! Hopefully we will see some progress from this new excitement! 
Then we got to exchange back with our normal companions. It was a great full day of teaching though, which was sooo nice! 

We had a long weekly planning day but it has been because of all of the records we have been making recently! I will explain more in the sunday section.
But after weekly planning, we went out to contact some more less actives that we hadn't met yet that were on the branch list, and had some good contacts there. But the miracle was following up with a former investigator. Her name is Jessica Gallant, and we stopped by and asked if she would be interested in meeting with us again, and she said yes and that she has quite the load of questions ready for us too! They are looking for a new church that is more in line with their beliefs but the father's health is kind of sketchy so she didn't know when. But she committed to come to a church tour the next day! I connected with her really well, because she was a homeschooling mom. Idk why, but I just knew it and had to ask! She was happy to hear how my homeschooling experience was very much influenced and enhanced by the church. It was cool! 

We had lunch with the Quinlans (SIster Quinlan is a vegan, so I am always happy to go over there! haha) Then we came back to damariscotta for the church tour. Sadly she didn't show but our member that came to be our extra male, Brother Goldrup, was a really good sport and offered to play the investigator. So we practiced on him and it was really good to do! So that was still really good.

We had a great testimony meeting! And the rest of the day was updating records with the sisters! We are going through the branch list and getting EVERYONE contacted! We are practically all done. Now we need to organize all the information that we have gathered to present it to our branch clerk and Pres. Quinlan. We are excited to get those who have moved (16+ people) on to their new wards, and the rest of the list updated! It has been quite a process, but very productive! 
We also met with Brother Dowdy. He is so great! We talked more about the plan of salvation and as well how to repent! After we talked, he asked for an assignment, HOW COOL! haha, so yeah we gave him a few chapters to read in the Book of Mormon. And then he told us "thanks for meeting with me, this really helps!" He is such a nice guy and really wants to be better! 

Well thats my week! I hope it strengths all those who read this, in some way! The Lords work is great work! And Im so proud to be a part of it! 

I love you all!

-Elder Swalberg