Monday, January 24, 2011

I've been really impressed with the missionary work that goes on here in Vlorë.

Hey Mom!

So I used a ton of time sending pictures today so this e-mail probably won't be as long as usual. I'm sorry I've had trouble sending pictures lately, but I think my flash drive and SD card must have had viruses on them cause this guy here at the internet place got them working. It was awesome. I really like this guy now. But you're getting LOTS of pictures this week. They're all from the death trip or first branch cause I haven't taken any with Elder Knowles yet because my camera charger has been in first branch. But I got that this week too so hopefully we'll be able to get some more pictures as well.

We had a really good week for the most part. We taught a lot of lessons and were able to find some new investigators. I've been really impressed with the missionary work that goes on here in Vlorë. From the members, I mean. We've already met a ton of the members' friends and it's been awesome. We also have two recently returned missionaries in our branch which is AWESOME. So it's been a good experience so far. It's a little stressful sometimes, but that's okay. It's good for me. I definitely have learned a lot of lessons already. Most of them with managing my time. There's tons of stuff to do since we're over two areas and I also have to do Branch Presidency stuff since I'm the second councilor. I'm learning how to organize things and not forget stuff. I'm not very good at it as of right now, but I'm really glad I'm getting this time to learn before I come home. Man I have so much to work on!! It's incredible how much you realize that you're so inadequate on a mission.

We went to a really good training this week about first lessons and how to create a desire to want more in investigators. And when I say first lesson, I don't mean like the first lesson in PMG. I mean the first meeting we ever have with people (i.e. tracting). It was really good. We learned that we should be making it more of an overview rather than going into detail. We focused on taking something from the information that we get from them and applying the different principles of the gospel to their specific needs and interests. It sounds pretty basic, and it is, but you'd be amazed how you get caught up in what you think you're "supposed to say." I know for me a lot of the time, if I don't get a really good explanation of the first vision or the Book of Mormon or other such things, then I am uneasy. But the truth is that we don't want to get into too much detail so that we leave them wanting more. Genius! I really enjoyed the training and we're really gonna try to put that into practice.

As far as Kristina goes, she's doing awesome. The only bad thing is that we have to give her to the sisters now since we can't meet her at her house because she has some friends/a brother that don't let the lesson go very well. It annoys her too. She actually asked us if we could meet at the church before we could get it out. But she has been doing really well. She's reading and praying and coming to church. This week, she told us about how she got an answer to prayer that was really cool. She said she was reading the Book of Mormon and she prayed and felt something really good. She didn't really know what it was, but she knew that it was from God. We're really excited for her.

As far as what to get me for my birthday, how 'bout a "Get Back in the Swing of Things" Kit for when I get home. =) No, I seriously don't know. Because I'm only going to have it here for like a month and I'm already trying to get rid of a bunch of stuff for when I leave. Pictures are always really awesome. =) Oooh maybe a birthday cake mix? Or a recipe for a really good cake? Mmmm. . . .good times. By the way, Chicken A-la-King is awesome and I'm really glad you sent me that recipe. Griffith loves it too. But mostly I just can't wait to see you guys again and hang out with you.

I love you all! I'm grateful for your support! I'm praying for you and I'm grateful for your prayers on my behalf.

-Elder Swenson

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