August 20, 2015
Hello everyone! Elder Swenson here! Well my first week was pretty great at the MTC here in England! The flights were extremely long, but after my layover in Chicago, I had a layover in Newark. I met up with 27 Elders and 3 Sisters there so that was nice. It was raining when we arrived so I better get used to that. The England MTC is very small. We have 77 missionaries here going to Scotland/Ireland, Burmingham England, Alpine Germany, and Greece Athens. The missionaries come from all over the world! Holland, Denmark, New Zeland, Paris, Scotland, Norway,Germany, and England! The Preston temple is right next to the MTC and I get to go do a session in a couple hours! It is very pretty. When we got our name tags the first day, I got so excited. I can’t wait to get out in the field and serve! I have 2 companions! We are the only companionship of elders with 3 people. My companions are Elder Hansen and Elder Smith. Hansen is from Utah and I met him on Instagram before I got out here so it was really cool. Elder Smith is from Colorado. It is hard to teach when 3 minds are trying to say what the spirit tells them to and we are on a time limit. We teach “investigators” almost everyday. They are our teachers playing people that they taught on their missions. Some are a lot harder than others so I am learning a lot. We study so much here and it is hard to stay focused for 3 hours at a time in a small room with all your friends. Our district is super close. It is hard to stay awake sometimes because trying to stay spiritual for 16 hours a day is exhausting, It’s like going to seminary ALL DAY. Hahaha, I love it though. I’m learning how to study, how to be a better teacher, how to be confident, how to handle stress, how to speak “English” instead of “American”, how to serve, how to be humble, how to follow rules, and so much more.
There is a problem with my visa because it is only good for 30 days. I have to go get a BRP card so I can stay in the country. I need a letter that they sent me to know where to pick it up within 10 days of being in the country. I never got that letter. So it could be in Preston, which is 30 minutes away, or it could be in Edinburgh, which is 3 and a half hours away. I am going to Preston tomorrow with the other elders to see if it is there. If not, there is a slight chance I could get deported. (Mom here, the government didn’t send the letter – it is a new thing – he has 30 days and the church travel office is on top of things so it should all be good.) So keep me in your prayers! It is most likely in Preston so I wouldn’t worry too much. If it’s not, I’ll see you all soon! Hahaha anyway, on Sunday we watched a devotional from the MTC in Provo from last Tuesday and guess who I saw right in the middle of the screen? Elder Jensen! It was really nice to see a familiar face. President Nelson spoke and I really felt the Spirit. He said “Perfect obedience brings miracles.” I’ve made a lot of friends here. Elder Trease, Elder Mordue, Elder Hoopes, Elder Wall, Elder Rener, Elder Micklesen, and so many others. Elder Rener is German and he heard I could beatbox so he made me beatbox for our MTC president, President Preston. He said that I should do it to a hymn so we sang “Praise to the Man” in the lunch room and I beat boxed to it. It was hilarious. Today we went to a store called ASDA which is basically a Walmart. I get to do a temple session in a couple hours so I’m really excited. I can’t wait to get out in the field. My favorite quote from this week is “Heavenly Father is the one who is hastening the work. It is our job as missionaries to keep the pace.” I know that I was called to Scotland and Ireland for a specific reason and that is to serve the Lord and find people that no one else could find. I love this gospel and I am proud to call myself a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.