The City of Belfast

November 23, 2015

Hey everybody! Sorry about no letter last week! I knew I forgot something. Leaving Gala was really hard. I am going to miss everyone there so much. I am also really sad I am missing Elizabeth’s baptism. It was my first area so it will always be like home to me.

My first 2 weeks here in Cavehill have been great! My companion is Elder Smith from Idaho Falls, Idaho. He only has 3 months left on his mission! We have the nicest apartment. It was supposed to be an apartment for 4 missionaries, but it is just me and Elder Smith! We live on the top floor of the building in the middle of the City Center of Belfast. We have quite the view. Belfast is such a beautiful city. Our area is pretty massive and I am back to using buses ūüė¶ We had 2 investigators, Phillip and Cheryl. Phillip was preparing for baptism until this past Friday when he said he was going back to his own church. That was rough, but Cheryl is a new investigator and she is really nice and has a lot of potential! Elder Smith and I have talked to a lot of strange people recently. A guy invited us into his house and explained his religion to us. He is a Pastaforian and believes in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It is a real religion. Haha I am excited to help this area grow and hasten the work here! The members are great and are feeding us tons so that is always a plus.
On Saturday the 21st, I got to go down to Dublin for an All-Ireland Zone Conference! It was really good to see my old district leader and my friends from the MTC. After the conference we got to have 2 hours with Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. We all got to shake his hand. It was an incredible experience. He is really funny! He said that we can’t get out of missionary work by dying because we will do it in the spirit world, so might as well get good at it! He told us that we have to be great. We have to be the best missionaries of all time. He said that if we want to baptize more, we have to talk to more people! It is that simple. It was an amazing spiritual experience that I will never forget.
President Donaldson challenged us to ponderize a scripture every week like what Elder Durrant said at General conference. This week I am ponderizing Alma 36:18-20. Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death. And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain! It think this passage of scripture is the most beautiful one in the Book of Mormon. I know that repentance is real. Christ died for us for a reason! Let us not make His suffering be in vain. Utilize the Atonement. We can all be forgiven. Do whatever you can do become clean.
Elder Swenson
P.S. Since I am in Ireland now, I have to do an Irish word of the week.
1)What’s the Craic?(pronounced crack)=What’s up? or How are you?

2)Sham=friend

¬†—

elderpaulswenson.wordpress.com

 New Address
Appt. 92 17 Queens Square
Belfast BT1 3FF
Northern Ireland

Bye Bye Galashiels

November 9, 2015

Hello everybody! Please send all letters and packages to the mission office (address below) from now on because… moves call was yesterday. I am going to Cavehill in Belfast, Northern Ireland this Wednesday! I am going to be with Elder Smith (not my MTC comp) and we will be doing something called a whitewash. It is when 2 missionaries are moved into an area at the same time, so no one is familiar with where to go or where anything is. Our mission is one of the few where you can go to a different country and still be in the mission boundaries! I am really excited!¬†But at the same time I am so sad. Elizabeth is going to get baptized on December 5th and I won’t be here for it ūüė¶ And an elderly blind lady in the branch named Sister White passed away this week. We visited her almost every week and her funeral is this week so I won’t be able to go to that either. I am sad to leave my first area, but I am excited to see what Belfast has in store for me!

Sunday was Remembrance Day in the UK and Elder Gullion and I got to be in a parade! We got to march all through the town with a band of bagpipes playing and a bunch of military people. The church bought a wreath of poppies to put on display in town. All different kinds of churches had wreaths and were in the parade also. It was a really cool experience, minus the rain.
Today I was reading in the Book of Mormon about when Christ appeared to the Lamanites and ordained 12 apostles. 3 Nephi 12:2 says “And again, more blessed are they who shall believe in your words because that ye shall testify that ye have seen me, and that ye know that I am. Yea, blessed are they who shall believe in your words, and come down into the depths of humility and be baptized, for they shall be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and shall receive a remission of their sins.” Blessed are we if we listen to the prophets and apostles today! Because I will be in Ireland, I will be able to see Elder Ballard speak to our mission on November 14th. I wouldn’t have this opportunity if I was still in Scotland. Have a good week and God bless!

Elder Swenson

elderpaulswenson.wordpress.com

 
51 Spylaw Road
Edinburgh
EH10 5BP
Scotland

Piano Player

November 2, 2015

Hello! We put up flyers all over town looking for a piano player, and we got one! His name is Anthony Brown and he is happy to play for us. He came on Sunday and did a great job! We are going to start teaching him next week. Elizabeth came to church again with Bethany! It was fast and testimony meeting, and in a small branch of 14 people, there is a lot of silence. That silence allowed Elizabeth to feel the Spirit. She leaned over and said she felt like she needed to get up and say something. So she did! She bore a beautiful testimony. I felt the Spirit so strong and I felt so much joy. I love being a missionary!

Halloween isn’t that popular over here, but we still had to be in the flat by 6 because of all the drunk people. We heard a knock on the door and two girls dressed up as witches were there! In Scotland you have to sing a song if you want to get candy when you trick-or-treat. So they sang us a song and I had a BUNCH of candy and gave it to them! They were screaming for joy after we shut the door.
Alma¬†48:17 Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men. I love this scripture. It makes me look back on my life and see if I was like Moroni. I definitely wasn’t. Try to look at your life and live in such a way so that someone can say what they said about Moroni, about YOU! I love you all and miss you as well!
Elder Swenson

Scottish word of the week: Bonnie=Beautiful

elderpaulswenson.wordpress.com

 
26 Woodlea Wood Street
Galashiels
TD1 1QW
Scotland
Melrose Abbey
Melrose Abbey (Nov 2015) Paul - St Paul's Chapel