Hello Friends and Family,
Elder Swalberg is going to Brazil! We had a sweet email conversation with him today. I have tried to sum up our conversation in this email below so you can have the details too. Thank you, so much for your support and prayers for Elder Swalberg.
We love you all!
Tonia and Kevin Swalberg
ELDER SWALBERG: HEY Y'ALL! IM GOING TO BRAZIL! I GOT MY VISA!!!!!!
E-mail me back!
Sent FROM THE MISSIONARY TRAVEL DEPT
To: Brazil Manaus Mission; Brazil Manaus Mission President; New Hampshire Manchester Mission; New Hampshire Manchester Mission President
Subject: VISA RECEIVED - FINAL Travel Itinerary For SWALBERG/LANDON DEE - 12Aug - YCCOV2
Brazil Manaus Mission – FYI itinerary for arriving missionary
New Hampshire Manchester Mission – the below itinerary is for one of your visa waiters. Please note they will be traveling in time for the next transfer date of the RECEIVING mission. A FedEx package containing visa, passport and travel information will be sent out within 2 weeks before traveling.
TEMPORARY MISSION PRESIDENT: Please let the missionary know that they will be attending the Brazil MTC for two weeks per the request below.
At the request of the Brazil Area Presidency, missionaries who have been in a temporary assignment for more than two months will report to the Brazil MTC for a 2-week, intensive language immersion course before reporting to their mission in Brazil. Information will be provided about travel directly to the MTC in this missionary’s travel packet that will be mailed to the mission office.
**The Brazil MTC would also like to remind these missionaries that they will need to bring their Portuguese language training materials that they received at the Provo.
MOM: Oh My Gosh!!!! I am screaming!!!!! And Shaking!!!!! And almost crying!!!!! I am sooooo excited for you! Another testimony of prayers and fasting.
DAD: ME TOO!!!
ELDER SWALBERG: I know, It has been a crazy week! I haven't known if yall knew or not all week! I found out like 1 hour after I got emails with yall!
MOM: From this email you sent it sounds like you knew last Monday, then? Is that right, You have known all week?
ELDER SWALBERG: Yeah! I have. They told me I needed to wait till today to let yall know! And they wanted me to be able to do it instead of the office telling yall. So yeah, I’m just glad yall know now. I actually thought yall would have known by now because of the calls you were making to the travels office. But yeah I am writing up the story now in another email, but I think I am going to forgo the normal long email and just talk with you guys and yall can pick and choose what to put on the blog and email out.
Last Monday, after I got off emails, I got a phone call from President Stoker right before we went into a member meal! He told me that I would be leaving on Saturday (July 12)! I totally freaked out! If only I could describe the feelings that were rushing through me at that moment and the following days as I anxiously waited for President Stoker to call me back for travel plans.
DAD: I guess you are being sent there to comfort the Brazilians after their World Cup losses - their final match was against the Netherlands, which they lost 3-0 - definitely no comfort after losing to Germany 7-0!
But now they will be humble and ready to hear the gospel!!!
Love you –
MOM: So at first he told you July 12 instead of Aug. 12... Wow....I am sure you were freaking out.
Yes...we can pull an email together to send out from our emails today.
ELDER SWALBERG: Thanks for doing that!
I was on exchange that night too, out of my area, so I was with Elder Brown, just freaking out all night and the next day. But I couldn’t do anything about it and I knew it would work out, even though I knew I wouldn't be able to talk with yall until Saturday when I was at the airport, and I would have had to pack up everything, and send a bunch of stuff home all in like 2 days, and then head down to the mission home on Friday. But after district meeting on Wednesday, I got a call from President Stoker, and he let me know that the Travels Office changed it up and decided I should stay until transfers and leave on August 12th. So after that I felt so much better! In fact that morning I had prayed about why I needed to go so quickly, when I would be leaving so many things unfinished here in this mission. I felt very discouraged and confused to why this had to happen so crazily! I just wanted one, "normal" transfer after all the difficulties of the first several weeks in Sanford. After I finished my study, I didn't find an answer,...until I opened up to one last scripture. D&C 84: 116-119:
116 Let him trust in me and he shall not be confounded; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed.
117 And verily I say unto you, the rest of my servants, go ye forth as your circumstances shall permit, in your several callings, unto the great and notable cities and villages, reproving the world in righteousness of all their unrighteous and ungodly deeds, setting forth clearly and understandingly the desolation of abomination in the last days.
118 For, with you saith the Lord Almighty, I will rend their kingdoms; I will not only shake the earth, but the starry heavens shall tremble.
119 For I, the Lord, have put forth my hand to exert the powers of heaven; ye cannot see it now, yet a little while and ye shall see it, and know that I am...
And I did not see it now, but in a little while I did see it that I was not to go so quickly....and I truly do know that He is! That He knows me and knew I really needed to hear that! Even though I didn't know I was not going to be staying longer yet. I was put at ease with this answer. I knew it was His will, and I would be able to see his will soon. I am so glad I have him near me always!
DAD: What a wonderful experience.
I remember that scripture from my mission, ... but it was only verse 116... by an Elder that was going bald (fast) on his mission.
So fun to send out notes to everyone about your visa & travel dates! It appears that the travel department visit to the Houston consulate really made some progress.
BUT from your note - sounds like you will get to call us from the airport! (You mentioned that you would have been calling us on Saturday from the airport) Wahoo! We will all be in Utah that evening - so we will block that time!
Love you -
ELDER SWALBERG: So after I found out, I was able to calm down. But all of the Elders and Sisters in my district and our Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders thought I was still leaving. But at least I was out of my area for those couple of days, because I would have started going to all of our investigators and members to say bye and have last lessons with them all. Because I wouldn't have even had one Sunday to say goodbye! But not being in my area for those 2 days where I was still thinking I was leaving, was such a tender mercy for me! Especially being with Elder Brown! I love him a lot! He is so great! He is an awesome listener, and a great leader. He and Elder Lund have been by far my favorite District Leaders. Funny that I had them both as Zone leaders too! haha Elder Lund and Elder Chapman even took the extra miles and canceled one of their exchanges to come to our district meeting and see me before last Saturday, when we still thought I was leaving on Saturday! Here is picture of me with them and Elder Brown!
For a going away district meeting, it really was good,...but little did I know a few hours later I would find out I would get to have a few more of district meetings here in this mission!
MOM: Wow! What a neat experience with your prayers and scripture study. He does know you and is watching over you and is aware of your concerns....I have no doubt about that. I am happy for you that you have a month to process all of this and work your area as hard as you possibly can for the next four weeks! Make miracles happen!
ELDER SWALBERG: You know I will, Mom! I hope I can live up to the expectations you and Dad have for me. And especially my Heavenly Father! I am really happy for the experiences I am having right now and soon will have. It is not at all easy nor will it be getting any easier, but I am still happy. I know these challenges will shape me...Sister Edwards included a quote in one of her past emails that really helped me this past week, by Orson F. Whitney:
"No trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God."
I know this growth that he speaks of here, will be mine as I patiently endure the things I will face as I get accustomed to a new area, mission, country, people, culture, language, food, and living circumstances. I KNOW it won't be easy, but I know it will be worth it, and it is God's will for me!
Thank you for all your prayers and fasting for me out here in this mission and for getting me ready for my other mission in Brazil! I love yall so much!
MOM: Great photos. That will be fun to have another going away party in Aug. I hope this last month will be a great on for you as you wrap up this first half of your mission. I know you will go out strong....doing as much as you possibly can do so you have no regrets when you leave for Brazil.
ELDER SWALBERG: Thanks, Mom and Dad! I will do my best!
I sure love yall!