Monday, May 3, 2010

We are here to help the members.

Hey Mom!

Guess what?! We are going to be talking in like five days! Sweet, huh? I’m pretty excited.

That’s great that Chase is ready to go! Argentina will be sweet. Good soccer as well. ;)

Ha ha ha ha ha and yes that is the Elder Monson that I’m serving with now. That was hilarious cause he saw that picture on my screen and he was like, “Um. . . . .what the heck?. . . .” So yeah last week on Wednesday I moved back into Tirana. This last week was super busy getting ready for Zone Conference and making sure everything was going smooth. We also gave a training about working with the members. We called it “The Easy Way to Have Lots of Missionary Work.” Man I was so exhausted by the end of this week. On Wednesday (the night before Zone Conference) we ate lunch at 8:30 p.m. But I’d personally rather be busy as a missionary than have nothing to do. So it’s good. I do miss regular missionary work though. I mean we still do it, but there’s also lots of stuff we do that’s just kinda logistical stuff. Oh by the way, I think some people are confused that I’m an office Elder. . . . .I’m not. Elder Dittmer took that bullet for me a long time ago. ;) But now Zone Conference is over and we’re hopefully going to be doing a lot more finding and teaching this week.

We actually had a pretty good work week considering all the other stuff that had to get done. We’ve been trying to be examples of what we talked about in our training and working with the members to get referrals. One of the things that we really incorporated into our training was that we are here to help the members. They are not here to help us. Really if you think about it, it would make no sense if the missionaries were in charge of the missionary work. That sounds dumb, but look: Missionaries come into a branch for a fairly short amount of time and usually don’t have enough time in the area to see the whole process of finding, teaching, and baptizing. They usually leave somewhere in the middle of that process. The members are the ones that see everything and that will be there before and after to check on the progress of the new convert. For me it helped to compare it to when I was working at Chili’s. I remember there were about two weeks when the chefs from Headquarters came and did kind of hands on training for the chefs in our branch. They worked with them and just helped them become even more efficient than they were before. Then they left after a little while. It’s exactly the same with us. We come and make sure the teaching is going well. We are here to help the members with whatever they need to bring their loved ones into the fold of God. I don’t know if this is making as much sense to you as it did to me in my head. It was really an epiphany for me and it’s changed my way of thinking about missionary work. Ask me more on Saturday if you want to know more. But I’m guessing probably not.

Anyway! So we’ve met with a couple of families and hopefully we are going to be meeting with a couple referrals this week. I’m excited to see some real missionary work going on here. We also have just started meeting with a girl from Kosovo. . . . .over Skype. Her name is Donika and she lives in Kosovo. She’s been going to church there on and off for about four years. There is an American couple there that found our website or something and contacted the mission office so we finally got to meet with her on Thursday. The connection was really horrible so we’re gonna try it on a different computer that hasn’t had as many problems and we’re going to do it at a later time so hopefully there won’t be as many people on and hope things go better this time. Kosovars are so awesome. And they have a killer accent.

Okay so about my shoku. Elder Monson is from Orem, Utah and he’s been on his mission for like 22 months now. He’ll be leaving in July. Things have been going really well lately and President has been giving me some awesome companions. We do still get to drive although they just cracked down on the auto policy so not as much anymore. But we usually drive “Big Blue,” a huge, nine passenger, Volkswagen van that is a manual transmission. I haven’t driven it yet, but then again I haven’t really asked. But I think we’re going to Shkodër on Saturday so I’ll see if I can’t get some driving time in then. ;) Ha ha funny you say that I’m the one that’s always involved in emergency transfers. I came to the conclusion that, whenever they find out that there’s going to be an emergency transfer, the first thing that they do is say, “Okay, how can we involve Elder Swenson in this?” I’ve been a part of three now and they’ve all been fairly stressful, but whatever. This was actually probably the least stressful one.

Okay holy cow I have just been blabbering this whole time. I love you and I will talk to you on Saturday!!

-Elder Swenson

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