Monday, January 18, 2010

She chooses to laugh instead of cry.


Yeah gëzuar ditëlindjen means happy birthday. “Më mirë kështu” means “better like this” or like “better this way.” And yes I did get a package from the Call’s for Christmas!! It was great and it’s actually probably gonna help out a ton! I was trying to think of a way to organize some good scriptures for the principles we teach so that took a lot of the thinking out of it. ;) I think I sent them a post card. . . . .maybe not. Crap I can’t remember. But if they haven’t gotten it yet maybe not. Apparently the Albanian post system is really sucking it up right now. But what can you do?

Also that reminds me! So you know how on Christmas you told me you sent me a CD with all of our favorite hymns on it and I didn’t know which one it was? Yeah that’s because I only had one of the two packages!! The other one came a couple weeks ago and I just kept forgetting to say thank you in my e-mails. I’m sorry! So I will say it now. Thank you so much!! We just barely made use of the hot chocolate actually. It was great because I made it and I guess my companion doesn’t like mint and chocolate put together and he didn’t know it was gonna be minty so he couldn’t drink it. So I had a bunch of dang good hot chocolate. =) Thanks for all the stuff you sent me! I usually wear those under armour things like everyday now. Well at least the tops. They are great. And I think the absolute best thing ever is the music. I love the music. And my companion brought a CD player that actually works. It is so good. We’ve even gone to sleep to it a couple of times.

You guys are doing Trek this year?! That is cool. ;) Ha ha well maybe. Good luck!

No, nothing ever happened with Danieli or Odise. Danieli just wouldn’t ever set a time to meet. So we decided to give him a break for a while and try again and if it doesn’t work then, we’ll leave him in the former investigators section of our Area Book and when he’s ready, the missionaries will try him again. Odise has been helping out with the flooding up in Shkodër and so we haven’t even met him besides that one time a while ago. But we did find a new woman named Ingridë this week. We’ve met her twice and it’s been pretty good. She is of the opinion that she can’t change her religion when she’s 54 years old, but we’re working with her. I love being at her house cause everybody there is just so easygoing and happy. She chooses to laugh instead of cry. Life is a lot better like that. She is going to be hard to get to come to church and stuff because she hasn’t been able to leave her house for the last 3 months, but we know that God provides a way for those who are trying to obey his commandments. He will do the same for her and we are going to do whatever we have to do to help her.

Okay thank you for sending that thumb drive! I will try to send you a pic with me and my companion today, but we’ll see how it goes ha ha.

I love you, mom!
-Elder Swenson

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Love the Plan of Salvation

Hey Mom!

Yeah I actually knew that Sam was in Hawaii from facebook before the mish. =) Ha ha, but we never really talked or anything which was kinda stupid. But I met some kids in the MTC that went to Highland High and I asked them if they knew him and they said that he was the coolest kid they knew. So there ya go! Apparently he’s still doing well!

I guess January is just the month for birthdays isn’t it? Tell everybody that I said Happy Birthday to them. Or better yet, Gëzuar Ditëlindjen! Më mirë kështu.

Primary is always fun, isn’t it? You guys have a HUGE primary. The primaries here in Albania are just all the kids combined into one class and it’s usually around like 10 kids. But it’s still great. The other elders in 3rd branch got an AMAZING referral off of a primary aged kid. So you should get the class to do missionary work. ;) Speaking of which!! Forever ago, I got a letter from some of the primary kids and it was probably the best thing I have ever received on my mission. It seriously made me and my companion super happy. So tell them thanks if you get the chance. So how old are those kids that you sub for? I love the Plan of Salvation too. I still think that is my favorite lesson to teach. It is just full of hope and happiness. The cool thing is that it’s so simple, but at the same time, we can’t even comprehend everything there is to it. I love the principles that we know because of the restoration of God’s true church.

And speaking of the Plan of Salvation, we taught an awesome lesson on Friday. Me and Elder Jones found a family tracting a couple days before he left Albania and we went back on Friday. The first time we taught them, only the parents were there, but this time both of the boys were there too. So we had a lesson about the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement with the whole family. It was such a great lesson! We got the boys to participate and they seemed to like it! We talked about how we were with God before this life and the reasons why we came to earth. We talked about how God loves us enough to create the world and to give up his ONLY son for us. So that we could all return to him one day and be with all of our loved ones again. We talked about the importance of Jesus Christ and how huge his sacrifice was for us. I don’t think there is any topic that brings the spirit more than the Atonement. At the end of the lesson, Elder Anderson (my new trainee! I’ll talk about him later) added his testimony of Jesus Christ and the power of the Atonement. It was super simple because it was his first day in the country, but it definitely brought power into the lesson. After we finished teaching, we set up a teaching plan with them to come two times every week and so we’ll be going again tomorrow. I can’t wait!

So my new companion. His name is Elder Anderson and he’s from Roy, Utah. He’s really cool and ready to work. Training definitely brings me back to my first days and weeks in the country. I remember how weird it was and how stinking hard the language is. Already he’s helped out with our lessons and on Sunday, the Branch Presidency asked him to bear his testimony in sacrament meeting so he’s definitely getting some good practice with the language in. He’s kinda just a relaxed kid, but really nice and willing to work. Last night, we talked about some of the music we liked back home and just different stuff we liked to do. I also got to see a bunch of his family pictures and friends and stuff. It was really cool. It’s interesting because he actually knows Binoi Tamang (spelling is probably wrong on that) who is our stake mission prep teacher! Small world.

Thanks for your e-mail, mom! I love you!
-Elder Swenson

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I’m Training this Transfer.

Hey mom!

That is way awesome that you finished the Book of Mormon! I love that book. I have been reading it in my personal study time and it has been great. I am in
Alma right now. I just finished where he gives council to each one of his sons, Helaman, Shiblon, and Corianton. I think those are some of my favorite chapters ever. And it definitely shows what kind of a parent Alma was. It shows how hard it was for him to see one of his children go down the wrong path and how he pleads with him to come back. But it’s just because he knows that Corianton will never be happy without the gospel in his life. All he wants is the true happiness of his children. Kind of like what you were saying with Moroni. He is seeing all these people that might be happy for the two seconds that they indulge in their pleasures, but he knows it can’t last and he’s just begging them to come and find eternal happiness.

So you’re doing the Old Testament in church this year? That is way intense. Ha ha yeah I’ve never gotten even close to reading through the whole Old Testament. But it definitely has some way cool stories in it. Some of the most amazing miracles and people ever.

Well it sounds like you definitely had an eventful New Year’s Eve. But you got to relax, right? And that’s always good. We had a crazy New Year’s here! Every person just lights off as many fireworks as they can get their hands on and it is ridiculous. But pretty cool to see. We were kind of upset, though, because our pronari said that he was going to come open the roof of our 10 story pallat so we could see all of Tirana and watch the fireworks from up there, but he never came!! So I had to look out the back window of our apartment on the 3rd floor. Which basically means I saw none of Tirana, but it was still pretty cool. Fireworks everywhere. I got a good video of it so you can see when I get home. Speaking of which, will you send me that program because I don’t know how to send you photos without wasting like all of my internet time.

That is way cool that Eric is going to
!! Holy crazy sauce! Ha ha that is definitely perfect for him. So make sure you get me that address cause I definitely want to see how he’s doing. How was his mom? That’s too bad you couldn’t see his farewell talk.

Yeah there is an Elder Vail here. There’s actually three Elders here from Alpine. Crazy, huh? But I think Elder Vail heads home in April. He’s really cool and from what I can tell a really good missionary. He had to go back to the U.S. for health reasons, but then they let him come back and finish his mission in Albania!

And as far as investigators go, everybody was out of town last week and it was just kind of a bizarre week. So we should be meeting with Danieli again soon and we actually are meeting tonight with a man named Odise. I can’t remember if I told you about him, but he does something with like the ministry of trade, but at the same time writes children’s books? Yeah it’s kinda weird, but we do half English, half gospel lessons with him. We only got to meet with him once before the holidays though and so he’s finally back in town. We also tracted into a family a couple of days ago and had a really cool lesson with them. The parents were the only ones home at the time, but the mom was like calling the boys to tell them to come home because they were going to have a family night. (Nobody does family night in Albania) So we are excited for them and hopefully we can meet with the entire family this time.

Well I’ll talk to you next week. . . .when I have my TRAINEE!!!! Ha ha I’m training this transfer. Sweet, huh? They come on Friday so I’ll tell you about him next week. I am so excited that I’m not going to the office and that I get to train. So look forward to some cool stories from this next transfer. =)

I’ll talk to you next week. I love you, mom.
-Elder Swenson