Friday, January 9, 2015

January 5, 2015 - Feliz Ano NOVO!

Hey, Hey, HEY! Its 2015! Happy new year ya'll!

I hope this last week has been great for everyone, because it sure was for me!

Last week I was writing yall from Manaus, but since then a lot sure has happened, and I am out of that heat now too! haha

But after P-day we had our Mission Leadership Counsel on Tuesday, Elder Munhoz said it usually goes a lot longer than it did, but this time it was pretty quick! We started about 9:20 and ended at about 1;30. It was really quick, we covered everything before we even ate lunch!

But the things we covered were so great! We talked a lot of goals, and how the mission numbers have really been going down. Everyone gave their input of what they thought was the problem. We then talked about how our examples will be the only way we can change this trend. We need to follow up more with our missionaries in our zone! There was a lot more said concerning this but there is no way I could share it all.

But the other topic that President Casto focused on was our potential as missionaries here in this Mission. And that we are living below our potential. Our potential is to find 2 families every day, and to baptize a family every week! Thats a high standard huh?! And I still remember my emails I sent home when I got here in Brazil about how wrong I thought it was to say that every companionship should baptized every week. But I had been hearing this from missionaries, but being there in leadership counsel helped me understand this standard more clearly. Prior to President Castro, the leaders were carrying this information to the other missionaries in a distrorted form. The leaders took this standard of baptize every week as "do whatever it takes to baptize", and this is where the apostisy came in, but it was really the liders inturpreting everything wrong.

But now I understand. Here in this blessed land, the standard is higher, because the Lord really has more people here that are ready to receive these blessings. This is not the standard of the missionaries or mission President, but truely the Lords will. I know I can work harder and more effectively to find more families and baptize more frequently, and if the Lords will is that I can baptize every week, I will do everything to do so!

He taught us to that we should be discomfortable if we arent finding 2 families every day. It is so possible to find these families, we just have to have to be praying for it, and working towards this as our goal everyday with everything we've got, and the Lord always does the rest!

So the training really was really good, and I have really raised my vision and goals for myself!

But after the meeting we had lunch provided for us, and then had a bus to bring everyone to the Manaus Temple! It was so great to go back there. It is so beautiful there! I love it! I was able to understand a ton more too! We got into the 4:30 session and so afterwards I also got to do some initiatories as well! What a great experience to remember the great blessing promised me as I live worthy of the covenants I made there in the temple. I even did the work of some name there in the United States! haha It was great! What a special time it was to be there in the temple, and even after the intiatories, I got to just sit in one of the hallways and read my patriachial blessing and ponder about a few things that it talks about. Its amazing how much clearer my blessing has become during my mission. I can see how the Lord is really helping me shape my life in the way he wants me to! What a neat realization it is to see that everytime I reread my blessing!

Then the next day, we took our plane to Porto Velho, Rondonia. And then were waiting for our bus for a while to return to Ji-ParanĂ¡. We got back around 9:40 at our house. It was a long day of traveling. But it was New Years Eve too. So we had the other Elders in our house buy 4 liters of Coke-Cola, and Brother Neno brought over a container of food from their party for us and another 2 liters of coke haha! So we had our own little party in our house, and stayed up past 1 playing cards, eating, and drinking coke! haha it was a lot of fun! We have some great Elders here in this house so its been really fun to live with 4 Elders in the same house, and we actually have space for 4 Elders so that makes a big difference too! haha

New Years Day, we did a bunch of service. We helped our Elders Qouram President, Brother Fransico, with distroying some old brick walls that are part of an old house he bought and will restore to live in. Brother Neno helped us too. Afterwards Bro, Fransico let us shower at his other house to then rush off to an appointment that was close by, but his wife has just made homemade bread, so we got to eat some homemade bread first! It was so good! It reminded me so much of coming home from a long day at school and work and Mom had made dinner or homemade bread, and I would just open the door and I could just smell it all imediately! It was pretty great!

But our visits were really helping Maria and Estefine. They have moved to the other side of the city and now it is really difficult to visit them but before they moved, we had a lesson to confirm their baptism this last sunday, but Maria was really hesitant and said she wanted to wait a little longer and make sure this is what she wants to do. But after we kept pushing to mark another date, she blurted out, "Okay, I have to tell you the truth." ..."I know you two are really diciples of Chirst and I can't hide this anymore, I wont lie to yall. I dont feel ready for baptism because I still have a relationship that is resolved with a man that I used to live with for 10 years. I left him 2 years ago, and but he sometims still comes to stay here. And I know what we are doing is not right as we aren't married. I know he is holding me back, and he drinks a lot, but he has the rights to keep our son. So its hard to just end it all with him, because I wont see my son as much." We were so glad she opened up to us about this, she continued to explain that she had be talking to her daughter, the mother of Estephine, about this and She told Maria too that she needs to tell us this, that she cant hide this from us if she wants to be honest and walk this path correctly. What a great experience it was to see that she understood our purpose, and now we can truely adjust our teaching to help her. She has prayed about it since and I think she knows she needs to end things with him, its just a matter of her doing it now. But yesterday we were very direct with her about not procrastinating the day of our repentance (Alma 34:32-34). And she clearly got the message. We have to be really clear and direct with our investigators or they will not understand fully. That is a lesson I am learning very clearly here this transfer, and Elder Munhoz is really helping me do that! As soon as this issue is resolved they will both be baptized and the sisters are teaching another son of Maria, that we reffered them too! I have great hopes for this family!

Also Carmin and Helio are still trying to decided on whether they need to seperate or get married. They just arent willing to talk to each other about it! But the daughter of Carmin Lurgess and one of Lurgess's sons (Gabriel 11 years old) will be baptized this week! Lurgess is really great! She understands the Book of Mormon so well, and this week she told us she knows its true and testifies of the Bible. She went to church with her 2 sons (the other son is 6 yrs old) for the second time yesterday! It was great! We also taught her the Word of wisdom, chastity, and Tithing with a member yesterday and when we committed her to live them all, she was already living them! She had no problems with the Word of wisdom not even coffee! And she already pays tithing on everything she makes. We asked her at the begining what she thought what tithing meant and she explianed it as giving back the Lord's Money. She said, "Its not my money, so I when I get my paycheck I take it out immediately, and dont even think of it as part of my paycheck, because it is God's not mine!" How cool is that! She is really great. We are excited for her!

Well, that really wrapps it all up for this week. We have all of our zone her in Ji-ParanĂ¡ today. The 4 Elders from Vilhena, and 2 from Cacoal got here this morning for our Zone Meeting tomorrow. We will be giving the training tomorrow concerning the things that were giving to us our meeting in Manaus with President. It will be really good!

We will have some great things happen this week for sure! Im loooking forward to it!

But I sure hope that everyone is doing great and has made some great goals for this next year, I know I sure have! With the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can change anything we want to become better! (Ether 12:27)

Love you all! :D

-Elder Swalberg

Here with Elder Bateman to my left and other Zone Leaders and STLs  at another Pizzaria the night before MLC. If was fun! My comp hid behind me..looser! lol

The Manaus Temple with the Nativity still up! 

A little blury, but me with Elder Munhoz after the temple.

One of the Elders (Elder Thompson) fell asleep as we were waiting for our flight leaving Manaus! haha

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