Hard Work

September 28, 2015

This week was AMAZING. Elder Stevens and I set the record for most total lessons in a week for the Galashiels area. 12 total lessons! The past 4 weeks we got 5 or less. Scotland is a hard country to preach the gospel in, but with a little hard work and a lot of the Spirit, miracles happen! We found 2 new investigators this week! Elizabeth and Tracy. We knocked on Elizabeth’s door and we ended up talking to her for 50 min about basically everything we believed in. She agrees with everything we taught. We saw her again later in the week and she said she told her dad she might join the Mormon church. CRAZY. She has 3 daughters and they are all super nice and fairly interested as well. Tracy lives next door to Elizabeth and we knocked on her door and talked to her for 30 min! She is a recovering alcoholic and is angry at God for taking her 20 year old son. She has trust issues and has been meeting with Jehovah’s Witness’s for 6 years and has never invited them into her house! She is really nice. We taught her about the Holy Ghost and Prayer and she is really happy to listen to us. We also taught James again about the Book fo Mormon and revelation. James is part of a Baptist bible study on Sunday nights. We usually go, but the past month has been busy on Sundays. I finally got to go yesterday and it went really well. We talked about the Armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18. Elder Stevens and I snuck in some restored truths when talking about it. Everyone agreed with basically everything and I learned so much!

This week is the last week of the transfer and yesterday was moves call. Elder Stevens and I are staying another 6 weeks in Galashiels! I am really happy. The work has really increased in the past week and I am going to be able to see it progress even more! Our district leader, Elder Hornberger is going to Dublin and I am going to miss him a lot. I finally got an SD card reader, so I can send pictures now!
General Conference is this weekend and I am so excited. I love listening to the prophets and apostles of the Lord. They are so inspired and we can learn so much from what they have to say. I challenge everyone to watch all the sessions on Saturday and Sunday and TAKE NOTES. We can receive personal revelation from listening to the words spoken in conference, but it will mean nothing if you can’t remember it! Go to lds.org to watch it. I have a strong testimony of modern day prophets. Our Heavenly Father loves all of his children, so it would make sense that he would continue to speak to us today. I love President Thomas S. Monson, the rest of the First Presidency, and all of the apostles in the Quorum of the 12. Cherish their words. They apply to everyone, member or non-member. I love you all!
Elder Swenson
Paul was able to send pictures this week, so here they are.
1. MTC district
2. Pratt’s Hill
3. Elder Stevens and Elder Swenson
4. 1st mission field district
5. Elder Swenson eating haggis
6. Two studs
7. Cool hill in Hawick
8. Harry Potter phone booth (really just a phone booth in Scotland)
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Mountains to Climb

September 21, 2015

Hello everyone!

Missionary life is like climbing a mountain. You spend so much time trying to get to the top and when you are almost there, you fall all the way back down. Daniel was making great progress, but we didn’t see him at all this week. His friends said he got drunk and burned the Book of Mormon. We are going to try to see them this week and find out what’s up. Emma dropped us on Saturday, so that stunk. Kamal didn’t make it up to Edinburgh for stake conference, but that isn’t his fault. He didn’t have a ride! Stake conference was great. Our mission President and his wife were two of the speakers. I learned so much.
The rest of the week was great! I tried HAGGIS for the first time and it was amazing. I was so scared it was going to be gross, but it is delicious. We taught this man named James on Tuesday. He is Baptist and wants physical evidence of the Book of Mormon to know it is true. It is really intersting teaching him. We visited a lot of less actives this week and it was great getting to know all of them better. We have a new Elder in our district! His name is Elder Van Buyten. He is from Belgium and speaks French. He barely knows any English, but he is a great guy. I knew him from the MTC!
There isn’t that much more to say about this week! I want to say that I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon. I am reading it cover to cover for the first time and I just finished the book of Mosiah. I have learned so much from studying the past few weeks. If you haven’t read it cover to cover, I strongly suggest it! It can bless your life so much if you abide by its teachings. I love it so much and it is the main reason I am on a mission! Sorry for the short email, I have no time at all.
Elder Swenson
P.S. I forgot the Scottish word of the week again! Here’s 2
Fortnight=2 weeks time
Chuffed=pleased or excited

Blessings

September 24, 2015
Hello friends! This week has been great. Elder Stevens’ hearing is very slowly coming back. We had an amazing lesson with Daniel on Thursday. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation and he loved it. He really wants to come to church, but he has a bad memory. We gave him a baptismal calendar for a reminder. Sunday came and guess what? He didn’t come. We were super bummed. 10 minutes into the meeting, Kamal walks in! I almost jumped out of my trousers! (they don’t say pants in Scotland) Kamal is the grandson of Brother and Sister Anderson. He is 10 years old and is really mature and spiritual for his age. His brother got baptized 2 years ago and Kamal said that he didn’t want to at the time, because he knew he couldn’t keep the commitment of coming to church. We taught him on Thursday about the Book of Mormon and prayer. He promised us he would pray to find out if Heavenly Father is there and read a page a day. He came to church with his grandparents and loved every second of it! He said he has been praying and reading like we asked him too! I am so excited to see the progress that he makes in the gospel. Emma was too busy to meet with us this week 😦 We really want to see her because we know this church can help her!
I went on an exchange with one of my zone leaders, Elder Tang, on Friday. He is from Australia! We had a great time and did a lot of chapping. I learned so much from him about how to talk to people! It can be weird sometimes to just knock on someone’s door and ask them about their belief in God. Elder Tang is really good about being personable and finding something in common with the person before he even brings up the gospel. We talked to this lady for 20 min on her doorstep because of it! On Saturday, I tried doing the same thing with Elder Stevens. We knocked on a woman’s door named Elizabeth. It almost ended in like 20 seconds because she said she was a spiritualist and didn’t like organized religion. Then Elder Stevens started talking to her about her family and she completely opened up! We talked for 40 min about basically every trial in her life and all the questions she had about the church. She was really interested and wants us to come back! I used to hate chapping or knocking on doors, but I am beginning to love it.
If any of you haven’t heard Bill Carpenter’s or Glen Beck’s conversion stories, both of them are incredible. Bill was going to seminary to be a Catholic priest when he figured out about the church, and Glen was really rich and doing drugs when he discovered the church. They come from completely different backgrounds and I have learned so much from them. Look them up.
Thank you for all your prayers and support! I know that the Lord will bless us in ways that we don’t expect. We have to look for every opportunity to share the gospel and if we do, we will see the blessings in our lives. Everyone can be a missionary! Try it out this week. Ask one friend if they have any questions about God or the church. If they say no, then move on and be their friend still! Nothing bad will come of it. Referrals are pure gold to missionaries. I love you all and hope you have an amazing week!

Trust in the Lord

September 7, 2015

Hello everyone! This week was a tough one. We found out that Daniel didn’t come to church last week because he was in the hospital for hitting his head! He is ok now, but we were only able to see him one time this week. We weren’t able to see Emma at all. And they both didn’t come to church yesterday, even though they seemed so excited to come when we asked them. It can be really frustrating at times. We do all that we can as missionaries to help people progress in the gospel and come unto Christ, but it all ends up on what choice they make for themselves. We all have our agency and life would be pointless if we couldn’t make decisions, but Elder Stevens and I wish that we could force people to come to church. Haha, I know that if we work extra hard this week and try to show them as much love as possible, the Lord will bless us. But only if we trust in Him! Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.

Elder Stevens is still recovering from his sickness this week. He has developed a cough that sounds like it is coming from the lungs of a chain smoker. He also has about 70% hearing loss so it is kinda hard for him to carry on a conversation. That being said, we only had 3 lessons this week. 1 lesson with Daniel and 2 less active lessons. We are going to change that this week! We have lots of lessons planned and lots of contacting that we are going to do! Miracles come from perfect obedience and hard-work!
If anyone could find it in somewhere heart to write me a letter this week (missionaries LOVE letters), here is my address!
Elder Swenson
26 Woodlea, Wood Street
Galashiels
TD1 1QW
Scotland
I had to prepare a talk on sanctification for our district meeting and I learned so much. Helaman 3:35 reads:  “Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.” If we yield our hearts to God and align our will with His, we can be cleansed by the Holy Spirit.
I love you all! Thank you for all of your prayers and keep Daniel and Emma in them this week!
Elder Swenson
I forgot to do my Scottish word of the week last week, so you get 2 this week.
Neeps = Turnips
Taties = Potatoes

Apartments are Boring

August 31, 2015

This week was a crazy one. On Tuesday, I got a call from the mission office saying I needed to come to Edinburgh THAT DAY to pick up my BRP card. So we cancelled all of our appointments and hopped on the bus. About 30 minutes out I realized I didn’t have my passport. We got off that bus, hopped on another bus home, got my passport, and hopped on ANOTHER bus back to Edinburgh. It was about a 2 hour bus ride, so I’m glad I realized it when I did. And I finally got my BRP card so I’m not getting deported! YAY! I heard my first bagpipes playing in Edinburgh! It was too late by that time to get another bus home, so we went to the Dalkieth Elders flat to stay with them for the night, Elder Hornberger (my district leader) and Elder Green.

On Wednesday, we had Zone Conference in Glasgow! We got super lost on our way there and were an hour late. I got to see some of my MTC buddies so that was great and I learned a lot from President Donaldson and the zone leaders. When we got back to Galashiels that night, I got Kebaptized! Hahaha it is when you have your first kebab in the mission. It is basically a Greek gyro. I got a Donner kebab (lamb’s meat) and it was incredible.
Thursday we saw Emma! She is a young, single mother with a 4 year old named Mattie with Autism. Mattie was at nursery so we got to have a lesson with her. She really felt the Spirit and committed to baptism on September 19th! please pray for Emma and Daniel!
We had exchanges with the district leader on Friday. Elder Stevens didn’t feel great so he stayed with Elder Green in the flat. Elder Green has back problems and has trouble proselyting. Elder Hornberger and I had a great day and got to teach 3 less-active families! We were chapping (tracting or knocking on doors) and I heard a little, mean dog on the other side of the door. No one answered the door so we put a pass along card in the mail slot. I got my first “punch card”! It is when you put a pass along card in the mail slot, and a dog jumps up and bites a hole in it! Hahaha I put it in my journal and will send a picture when I fix my camera.
Saturday and Sunday were extremely boring. Elder Stevens had a fever of 103.8, headaches, and back pains. We had to stay in the flat (apartment) all day for 2 days. Life is really boring without a phone when you are doing nothing all day. I got to read a lot of the Book of Mormon in that time so that is good. We didn’t get to church and neither did Daniel or Emma so we were pretty bummed about that. Keep those prayers up for them! Elder Stevens’s fever is gone today, but still isn’t feeling 100%.
I keep learning to love the mission and the people more and more each day. I know that the Lord will bless our lives if we strive to be like him in everything that we do. Elder Stevens and I will get Emma and Daniel to church this week! I know it! Until next week!
Elder Swenson