Monday, March 29, 2010

A family can help you so much in life.

Cool shoes!

Hey Mom!

Ha ha yes those are bowling shoes. And really sweet ones too. Yeah sorry I sent you some pictures without captions today. I don’t really have time to go through all of them today so just ask me what they are in the e-mail. Oh! Before I forget, will you e-mail me that potato soup recipe that you always used to make. The one that was white-ish with potates and carrots and other delicious stuff. I’ve gotta see if I can make that.

We actually just had branch conference a few weeks ago as well! I’m glad they talked about family at yours. I’ve definitely realized how much I took my family for granted when I was back home. A family can help you so much in life, especially when it’s made up of people like you. Bishop Pearson and President Owen are both really good speakers as well. I miss hearing those Alpiners speak. I think those stake goals are awesome. I’m really glad you got us to do family prayer when I was still at home. It was really simple, but really hard sometimes, but it was a great way for us to show our love for God. We were willing to give up something for him and I know he really blessed us and he will continue to bless you if you continue to sacrifice for him. Oh man I’m looking forward to General Conference, too. We get to go to President’s house and just chill and listen to the general authorities. Good times. I remember last general conference – which seemed like about 3 weeks ago by the way – and it was awesome. I definitely need it this time around. That’s such a cool thing we get to do. Listen to the living prophet and apostles! It’s basically the same thing as if we were listening to King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon. We are hearing scripture. Live. Awesome.

Well this week, we had pretty pathetic numbers, but we were able to set a baptismal date with an 11 year old boy named Kevi. He’s kind of. . . . .well he’s just an 11 year old boy. It’s kinda hard to teach him, but he is a really smart kid and I guess I can’t really say anything cause I’ve only met with him twice. I’m hoping for the best with him. We’re going to have to start getting creative with the lessons though cause he gets distracted pretty easily so we are going to come up with some good object lessons.

Things are going pretty well despite the low numbers. Me and Elder Hagen are having a blast and working hard. Ha ha yesterday we had an interesting day. Not that lots of interesting things happened, but that we were both just really tired because we couldn’t get to sleep for a while and it was daylight savings as well. So by the end of the night, things were pretty funny. We did some tracting towards the end of the day and I had one of the most ungraceful falls I have ever had in my lifetime down like half a flight of stairs. Oh yeah. I’m awesome. It was seriously hilarious. I was the one falling and I could tell it was just an awkward fall so it would have been just hysterical for anyone watching. We also saw a taxi protest this week which was pretty cool.

I love you, mom. I’m really grateful to you and dad for supporting me so much. You guys are awesome. Love you.

-Elder Swenson

Monday, March 22, 2010

More Pics from March

One of our District Meetings.

Up close and personal with my double chin.

Seriously we were trapped here yesterday.

The Elevator

Too Legit to Quit (Tazz's Birthday)

St. Patrick's Day tracting

There basically is no “wrong side” of the road in Albania

Hey Mom!

Well first of all you can tell Gretchen that there basically is no “wrong side” of the road in
Albania. But no seriously it’s the same directions as in America just about nine thousand times crazier. And congrats to Tim! Tell him good luck! That sounds like a pretty sweet language to learn.

Actually I don’t know what that creature on my pasta was. . . .I just kinda left it. And for haircuts we basically just go someplace close to our house. In 3rd branch we went to this really girly salon ha ha. But I got a really good haircut there so that was cool. I should be getting a haircut this week so I’ll let you know how that goes. My clothes are doing pretty well. I think my shoes are gonna be fine until it starts raining a lot again, but I’ll let you know if anything changes.

Well I’ll tell you something hilarious that happened this week. We had planned a Stop Smoking seminar for Tuesday and we had handed out a bunch of fliers to advertise for it and we were getting a lot of good interest in it. Pretty much everybody in
Albania smokes and just like anywhere else, most of them want to quit. A whole lot more people stopped and talked to us about the seminar than the gospel ha ha. So Tuesday rolls around and I’m freaking out cause I’m worried we’re gonna have a completely full seminar and we honestly weren’t that well prepared. I had to learn a lot of different vocabulary for the seminar and I wasn’t very good with it yet. And the day just seemed to fly by to get to 5:00 so I could humiliate myself in front of a ton of people. Well the seminar rolled around and we had a whopping attendance of ZERO people. This has actually become like a joke for me and Elder Hagen. We still will just turn to each other and say, “Guess what. Not one person came to the seminar.” And then we’ll laugh for a little bit. And the funny thing is we don’t know if it was a trial or a blessing from God. =)

So are you guys planning anything cool for Easter? When is Spring Break? But I guess you already went to
San Diego so you can’t have too much more fun. ;)

Mom, I love you. Thanks for writing!

-Elder Swenson

Monday, March 15, 2010

March Pics

Braden's birthday

An awesome old member, Vëllai Çopani. He pretty much has to stay in his house now, but he is so funny.

February Pics

Pasta! Mmmmmm....tasty. I ate everything except for that creature that was sitting on top.

Our District trip to City Park. But it's not a park. It's a mall. With an ice skating rink.

Mario's baptism

There we so many people there it was crazy. It was a really special day for Fatjona (his girlfriend) and her family.

Nënë (mother) Anderson
Best orange juice EVER!

Hermes' batism (he's the one on the right). Ergest looks super happy, doesn't he?

We're legit.

Last of January Pics

Some random dog that looked like he'd seen better days. Definitely not as cute as the last dogs we saw.
This was a lunch at President Zela's house. Elvis Lulo (the one with glasses next to Elder Anderson) just got back from his mission in Italy and so "he" made us pasta. It was good!

President Zela with Elder Anderson. Hilarious picture.

Prayer is an amazing thing.

Hey Mom!

Holy freak congrats to Jade!! Dang that’s cool! Tell her I said good luck and she’s going to do awesome out there! And Tim’s gettin’ out there, eh? That’s pretty cool. Everybody’s going on missions. Weird.

Holy cow I can’t believe that Mitch is already leaving. I was in Kamëz when he got his call wasn’t I? That was a long time ago. Time flies looking back on it. Mitch is going to be a killer missionary. It’s funny because kind of the same thing happened to me. I remember being really excited at my call opening cause I was going somewhere that nobody had heard of and that was cool when everybody was around. But after everybody left and I had a little while to think about what had just happened and how crazy this really was, I freaked out. I remember that I thought to myself that in no way was I ready to do this and to leave and learn a language for two years. So I prayed that night. The next morning I kept praying before I studied my scriptures and I will never forget the feeling of peace and confirmation that came. I knew that I was supposed to be going to
Albania. From that day, I have never doubted that this was the right thing to do. It’s been so dang hard, but I know that it is right. So I can relate to him about that. Prayer is an amazing thing. It is probably the biggest help we have as missionaries. Even this week we had a couple answers to just very small prayers that we couldn’t have done without the Lord’s help. He listens. And He answers. Sometimes the answer is, “no,” but He always hears.

This week was an interesting week ha ha. We had some really funny things happen. Okay so there’s this member named Dori, or as we call him Fratello Poçi (Brother Poçi in Italian), and he loves the missionaries. He’s been a member for just a little over a year and he has a small mental handicap that makes him just a little bit slow, but I love this kid. I actually sent you a picture of him today. So he’s been begging us to go do some missionary work together and we finally gave in this week. He wanted to go tracting so bad, so after Institute one day we took him to go tracting for an hour on his birthday. We haven’t gotten in tracting for at least a week and a half, maybe two, but of course we take Dori with us and the first door answers and we do our thing and tell them about the message and then the guy is like, “So. . . .do you want to come in and teach us or something?”


“Okay hajdeni.”

And we got a member lesson tracting. It was a good lesson. It didn’t really result in anything, but it was just awesome that the spirit that Dori brought with us helped us to get into the very first door we knocked.

I had another experience that was really hilarious/annoying that I wanted to share with you, but I’ll have to save that for another week cause I’m out of time! I love you mom! You are awesome! Oh! It was actually Mother’s day in
Albania on the 8th of March so Gëzuar Ditën e Nënës! Të dua forte!

-Elder Swenson

Monday, March 8, 2010

January 2010 Pics

Me and Elder Moyes on exchanges.

A cool Tirana sunset.

Me and Elder Anderson on a cold rainy night.

Our 3rd Branch English Course.

Ha ha I freaking loved this. It means, “Whoever throws garbage from above is garbage himself! May your hands dry up!” Ha ha ha ha oh my heck that is awesome.

Elder Anderson picking all the raisins out of some delicious Muesli.

This is me and Elder Anderson. This is really the only tie picture I could get on Fjeldsted's birthday.

Just me in a shkallë (staircase).

Playing the foot game waiting for the Red Cross.

Helping the Red Cross after the flooding in Shkodër.

Elder Anderson with this really cute puppy that was just walking around with a couple of his brothers and sisters. I guess they live around the Assistant’s house.

Me with the super cute puppy.

Elder Monson with another super cute puppy.

Playing the foot game.

The New Area is Good

Hey Mom!

Wow, lots of pictures! Ha ha sorry I only sent you one this week. Okay after I write everybody, I will resend those baptism pictures.

That’s sweet that Bishop Pearson works with Elder Hagen’s dad! That is way interesting. And his father has to be a great guy because Elder Hagen is also a great guy. He’s an awesome companion. I absolutely BLOW CHUNKS at the language compared to him. It’s ridiculous. We’ve been having a really good time together, though. Tell Matt congratulations for me!! That is so cool! I’ll see if I can get something sent off to him this week or next. That is super awesome and I am way excited for him. He’s speaking English? Man that would be weird to leave on your birthday.

Oh man that would be a really hard time for the Keslers. I had no idea he had been suffering from cancer for so long. I’ll tell you what, I don’t really know Phil, but I know that he has an amazing voice. I would even say an inspiring voice. That CD you sent me of Voice Male was probably my favorite CD to listen to. He had a huge talent and that music would seriously calm me down after a hard day or would help me get ready for a day when I might have not had a huge desire to get out and work. I appreciate that a ton. I will pray for the Kesler family. Tell them that I love them and that God does too. I know He has helped them a lot until now and will continue to do so.

On the lighter side, no I don’t get to drive a car as Zone Leader. The Outside Zone Leaders get too, but since we’re just in Tirana, we only get to use one once to go to Shkodër. The new area is good. We don’t have a ton of investigators. And when I say that, I mean like zero-ish. But we’re trying to be always finding and we actually decided that we’re going to do a Stop Smoking seminar and advertise for it. The church has an amazing program for that and I think we could actually pull in quite a bit of interest for it. So I’ll let you know how that goes.

Well, thanks for your e-mail, mom! I love you and I’m grateful that you take time every week to send me a message. It really makes my week. =) Love you!

-Elder Swenson

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Last December Pics

The 3rd Branch Christmas Party. Rockin'
Really awkward picture of me and the sisters with one of the coolest families on earth. On the right is Rajmonda. Oh my heck I love that woman. Her daughter is on the other side of me and her husband, Shpëtim, is on the left. Rajmonda is the only member, but the other Elders are now working on Shpëtim. I am gonna miss them.
A xhaxhi (old man) relieving himself.

Albanian rip off of McDonalds

Ester and Jozef Vogli. Basically an all-star family in the church. Super cute kids.

Our district at the circus.

One of the clowns at the circus.