December 28, 2015
I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas! I certainly did! Skyping home was a blast and it was so good to see my family’s faces. We get to watch movies on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Years Day in my mission! So Elder Smith and I watched Earth to Echo, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Big Hero 6, Home, Joseph King of Dreams, and El Dorado! Hahaha great times. Boxing day is a BIG holiday here so we hiked Cave Hill with our Zone Leaders! It was a super good view of the city… but it was SUPER foggy. Oh well! We called all of our investigators this week and no one answered. Basically, people don’t want to see missionaries at Christmas! Hahaha oh well. This week should be better! Think of something that you can improve on in this new year. Not a New Year’s resolution, because no one keeps those. Think of a little thing you can improve on because by small and simple things, great things shall come to pass! I am going to read an extra page from the Book of Mormon every day! I love you all and Happy New Year!!
Irish Word of the Week: Wain = Baby
Appt. 92 17 Queens Square
Belfast BT1 3FF
Paul after taking a fall down a very muddy hill.
Paul and Elder Smith with their Christmas decorations and presents. They are in their new Christmas PJ’s – a tradition in the Swenson family.
Paul on the hike.
4 days everyone! I wanted to start off by saying happy birthday to my nephew Xander, who turns 2 on the 26th! I flipping love that kid and miss him so much!
I had a great week! We got 2 new investigators, Mark and Ozzy. Mark is one of the nicest guys I have ever met. He is next door neighbors with a less-active member in the ward. We got to teach him the Restoration and he wants us to come back. Very promising! And Ozzy is a former investigator who loves 2 things. Native American Indians and God! I told him that we had the book for him! Hahaha he is also an extremely talented artist. He believes a lot of what we believe! I am excited to see the area grow even more!
I invite everyone to remember what CHRISTmas is all about! There is a difference between giving a present and giving a gift. Jesus Christ is the gift to all mankind! Remember him everyday! I love Him and He loves you! Merry Christmas everyone! I love you all!
Irish Word of the Week: Away On = You’re Kidding Me
December 14, 2015
I can’t wait for Christmas! I love Christmas time. Here in Belfast they hang lights all over the city center where I live and it is so pretty at night. I had an amazing week once again! Elder Smith and I are doing a lot of great work here and like I have said before, the Lord is definitely behind it all. Cheryl didn’t make it to church, which makes me sad, but she really loves to have us over and learn. Clara and Jane are being difficult, but progress is being made! Clara came to church once again, but she is scared to pray. She is scared what the answer is going to pray. Her older sister Jane is struggling with the possibility of God existing. Please pray for them! Elder Smith and I started teaching a man named Andy this week too! He has had a rough life and doesn’t have too much interest, but I know that will change.
I have been reading “Our Search for Happiness” by Elder M. Russell Ballard and I love it! It simply explains the gospel in a small book for anyone, member of our faith or not! I love the title. Isn’t that what life is all about? Trying to be happy? I know that I don’t have to search for it anymore. The Gospel of Jesus Christ can increase the quality of our lives and make it possible for us to have lasting happiness that God offers, not fleeting pleasure that the world offers. I love you all and remember what makes you happy this Christmas season!
Irish words of the weeks!
A Geg=A Funny Person
December 7, 2015
Hola! This week was amazing! The Lord is pouring blessings on Elder Smith and me! We have taught a lot this week. The most that Elder Smith has on his entire mission, and he goes home in February. Cheryl and Clara came to church again! Cheryl is so prepared and open to the gospel. We are going to extend a baptismal invitation for her to get baptized on the 26th of December, so make sure you pray for her! We have seen Clara and Jane 2 times this week and they are so eager to learn. They have so many questions, we can’t even get through a full lesson! Haha I am glad they are trying to find out more about their Heavenly Father. Vincent is avoiding us so that stinks We are working with a lot of less-active members and Nathan came to church 2 times in a row! Nathan loves to come out with us and I love him a lot.
We met a Catholic Parish priest the other day who knows our stake president (there is only one in all of Northern Ireland). He asked us about what we were doing. We told him that we dedicate 2 years to preach the gospel. I told him I was 18 and he was astonished! He said, “I can’t even get the people in my congregation to dedicate 1 hour a week! How do they get you to dedicate 2 years?! How many 18 year olds in the world are doing what you are doing?” And I have been thinking about that a lot this week. Why am I on a mission? Why did I delay my schooling? Why am I spending 2 years away from my family and friends? It seems pretty crazy if people don’t understand why I am out here. I know that the gospel can bring feelings of happiness that we cannot find in any other place in the world. The knowledge that I have of my Father in Heaven and His Son has changed my life. It would be selfish for me not to share it! I know that if we share the gospel, we can feel even more peace and happiness! I challenge everyone to share the website christmas.mormon.org
with one of their friends! There is a short 2 minute video that is amazing! I love you all and MerryChristmas
View from apartment
November 30, 2015
Three and a half weeks away people! I am excited for this Christmas season and the opportunity to remember the birth of our Savior! This week was great! Cavehill is really growing. We were able to teach a former investigator named Vincent Jones this week. He knows the Book of Mormon is true and I know he has potential. A member named Sister McKnight has 2 granddaughters that are not members of the church. Their names are Clara and Jane. Clara comes to church every week! We were able to teach them as well and they are awesome. They both have A LOT of questions, but that is a good thing! They truly are trying to find out the truth. We called our investigator Cheryl on Saturday night and invited her to come to church. And guess what? She came! We had an amazing Gospel Principles class with her. A less-active member named Nathan Haddock also came to church! The Lord is definitely blessing Elder Smith and I.
On Thanksgiving, we went to a Pizza Hut buffet and had a dinner appointment with some members! They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving over here, but we were well fed. I just wanted to share some things I am grateful for. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission. I have learned so much in the short amount of time I have been out. I have learned that I have taken the gospel for granted and I have never really realized how it has affected my life. I am so grateful to be a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know that I am the person I am today because of it. The gospel has made me truly happy and that is why I am out here. I want to be able to share that with others.
I am ponderizing Doctrine & Covenants 58: 42-43 this week.
Have a wonderful week everyone and make sure you remember what Christmas is all about!
Irish phrase of the week: “Where’s your digs?” = “Where do you live?”