Sunday, April 20, 2014

Monday, April 14th - Sanford, Maine


So I got transferred to Sanford, Maine! Its only about an hour and 40 minutes away from Damariscotta! I guess I am stuck in the "Maine Trap"! Once in Maine always in Maine, as missionaries say out here. haha Guess who I replaced though?! Elder Gardner! My MTC companion! It was really cool to see him when we switch rides. He went to Topsham which is the neighboring area to Damariscotta. So yeah, not only did I replace Elder Gardner, but this was Elder Stallings last area, and Elder Terry (my trainer) served here too! Its pretty cool, because the ward pretty much knows most of my companions! Its been really cool to meet some people that I have already heard stories about from Elder Stallings and Elder Terry! 

The Ward here is huge! It was a big shock just coming from a branch to this ward. In my last branch there were only 3 people that were members long enough ago to have gone on a mission. 1 was in the stake presidency, one was the branch president, and the other was just released from the Mission Presidency and Branch presidency recently! But now, we have all kinds of families from Utah and Idaho, essentially we actually have westerners! Its so awesome! It makes everything in leadership just go so much smoother! Our Ward mission leader has been in this position for 7 years and was a Bishop right before that, and rocked his calling! He is so awesome Everyone calls him Brother L. because he has a wierd long last name. But yeah this whole ward has such a firm foundation, great youth, great leaders and great excitement of missionary work! There have been about 5-6 baptisms this past 6 months and Bro. L says "Yeah, but it really can be better." haha Its pretty sweet. I have never been fed so much by the members till here either. I have already had 3 meals with members and one tonight and it has barely been a week. That is soooo many more than my last 2 areas! So yeah, they feed us really well too! 

My new apartment is pretty good. Elder Stalling was pretty good about keeping up on cleaning and maintaining the apartment when I was with him and it showed here in this one. There are still a few things that need to be sorted and cleaned, and luckily I had some extra money left from last week because I had to by a lot of cleaning supplies because the apartment didn't have any! But yeah, give me one more week and it will be looking a lot better. 

So my Companion is Elder Hancock! Mom, I know you saw his picture. He is a good companion. He is from Farmington, Utah. He has a twin brother in the Rodchester, New York mission right now. He is a little quirky, but fun! We will be fine together. 

I would tell you about our investigators here, but we don't really have any real investigators. We do, but they aren't really that interested (at least the few I have met). Which is too bad, but hopefully we can get a few of them to start progressing soon! We have set a goal about finding new investigators but I need to explain a little more about what is so significant about this timing here in this area and ward. 

So first of all, the sisters that split this ward with us are both new! They are "shotgunning the area". Meaning they both are new to the area, and they have to rely on the records the previous missionaries kept and essentially work from there. This happened because the previous 2 sisters here DID NOT get along AT ALL! And the members, investigators, and missionaries around them knew it! It was heavily effecting the trust between the missionaries and members, and they were not doing much of anything teaching wise. But now there are 2 new sisters here Sister Reid and Sister Oliphant. They are perfect for this area. Sister Reid is so full of energy and ready to work hard and is super funny! And sister Oliphant just got back on her mission after some time at home with health difficulties, so she has the new missionary attitude plus the experience of 7 1/2  months too! SO yeah its super great! And then I am obviously new too, and Elder Hancock has only been here 6 weeks. Plus our Bishop was recently called and yesterday our Ward Mission leader got changed! But our new Bishop is super great, and very missionary minded, and the new ward mission leader knows he is going to have to fill some big shoes, but is ready for the calling. He is in his 30s and served his mission in Chili. He will be great! So with all this newness, the sisters and us were talking about how we need NEW investigators too. We know this new outlook on everything, and this NEW excitement and NEW faith will help us find new investigators! We are going to fast and pray with the sisters to be able to find new investigators this next 2 weeks for those that are ready to hear our message. We know as we do that and study and apply Chapter 9 in Preach My Gospel more fully, we WILL find success! 

I am so excited for this transfer and all that it will bring! I am very grateful for this week to reflect on my Savoir, Jesus Christ, and be able to share my testimony of Him to so many! I know he is my redeemer, and is the answer to all our discomforts and infirmities. I have used this scripture so much this past week as we have taught a lot of less actives: (Alma 7:11-12)

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

I love these verses! I'm so glad it is one of the new scripture masteries! It helps me know that the Atonement extends past just forgiving my sins, but comforting me through my trails. I know he has felt what I have felt and I know he has felt everything I will feel. I am so thankful that I will always have someone who knows what I go through. What more could I ask for. "Oh it is wonderful that he should care for me enough to die for me. Oh it is wonderful, wonderful to me!"

Be sure to use this site to share the gospel with others!

I love you all! 

-Elder Swalberg :)

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