Monday, April 5, 2010

Message for Friends Newsletter

What’s Up Everybody?!

Things here in
Albania are pretty good. I just got word that I’m going to be leaving Tirana for Durrës which is a city right on the beach. I’ll be white-washing my area because one of the zone leaders that was there had to go home for health reasons and the other finishes his mission in two days. So that should be interesting. Something that I’m sure some of you will find funny is that I will be driving a stick-shift. Good times.

Oh man how was conference for you guys? Do you all get to see it? I love getting to see conference. We only get to see the two morning sessions, but they were really good. I loved the emphasis on family this time around. I know I’ve definitely come to appreciate my family a lot more as I’ve been away and realized how much they did for me and how much better I could have been. I’ve also noticed what kind of effect families have on obedience to the principles of the gospel. Those people here that have good, supportive families behind them are the ones that really develop their testimonies and excel in the gospel. That doesn’t mean that those whose families oppose are out of luck, but having a family united in the gospel is a huge blessing. I’m glad I’ve been able to be a part of a great family during my time on earth and I hope to start an awesome family of my own in the next few years. The gospel really puts into perspective the importance of families for me. How happy we can be and what our future really holds for us. I’ve also been blessed to have an AMAZING circle of friends. You guys have been like a second family to me and your example has helped me so much. I love hearing about all your missions and your testimonies.

Well this transfer has been a pretty slow one, but we had a good time. I don’t know if you guys have the same problem, but we have to set up like 10 appointments for one to actually go through. It’s pretty lame and it’s been especially bad these last couple of transfers. But that’s where the faith comes in, I guess. The area presidency here gave us some direction and re-emphasized some stuff in Preach My Gospel like meeting investigators three times a week for short lessons and following up by making daily contact. We really tried to do that this transfer and it’s really narrowed our sights, but we have faith that by doing this we will find those who are really going to turn into good, productive members of the church with strong testimonies of the restored gospel. It’s also really helpful in that you can focus your lessons on just one or two key things which I am a fan of.

Geez, can you tell that I have no idea what to write for these things anymore? =) Well I guess I will leave you with my simple testimony that I know Jesus Christ is our Savior. He has suffered it all and then some more. He descended below every condition. That is a very comforting phrase. One of my favorite pieces of scripture has always been Matthew 11:28-30. If we come unto Christ and love him and try our best to keep his commandments, he will help us carry our burdens. I was reading in
Alma 31 and 32 this morning and in chapter 31 verse 31 Alma prays for help to suffer his burdens with patience. He doesn’t ask God to take his burdens away because God rarely does that, but he asks for help to bear those burdens. God loves us and he wants to help us. We’ve just got to ask. I love my Savior. I love this Gospel. I love my family. Can’t wait to see you guys again.

“Forward into battle, see our banners go! Onward Christian Soldiers!”

Elder Swenson

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