Monday, January 31, 2011

Well this week was interesting.

Dear Mom,

I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. They were obviously taken with great care. ;) But I’m glad I got some pictures of the Tirana pallats. They are so awesome. I miss that city. And there are TONS more. That’s just like the norm for apartment buildings on main streets. There’s a lot of ugly ones, too, but I figured I’d spare the memory space on my SD card. And yes, pretty much everybody goes on a death trip. They have to finish the progression program, but most people do.

Oh man, I can’t wait for the newsletter. I love those things. Tell Bro. Briggs thanks for doing them. I don’t know if I’ve told him that before, but seriously that’s like the best thing I get in the mail every month. And man that’s a bummer about the Christmas package. =( I hope it gets to you cause it’s awesome! If it does happen to come, there’s something in there for Kiersten as well so make sure to get in touch with her when it comes. Yes that’s right, I used the word “when.” It’s going to come. I’m putting my trust in the Albanian Postal Service. But I have a history of trusting the wrong people. . .

Well this week was interesting. I was sick for about three days which was a bummer. It is sooooo boring sitting in your house doing nothing. I hated it. We got to go out for at least one appointment each one of those days, but man that was a long time in the house. Yesterday was our first full work day after that and it felt good. It also felt really good to wake up at 6:00 and get a workout in this morning. Oh man, I’m so glad I’m not sick. (I accidentally had typed the “sock” instead of “sick.” I thought that was entertaining.) It seriously is awesome to be able to work hard. Sometimes you complain about it, but man it is such a better option than the opposite.

We started our English Course this week and it was a HUGE success. Over 70 people came the first day and we’ve already had 6 or 7 people come to the YSA center. We’re really looking forward to this course. God must have helped us out a ton with that too because we didn’t have hardly any time to hand out fliers the week before which is when we had planned to hand out the most. Darn rain. On Friday, our religion portion of the class went really well. We did our famous cups lesson about the Great Apostasy and the Restoration of Christ’s church. The spirit was definitely there. I just remember that I was giving my testimony in the end of the lesson and it hit me really hard. Maybe the others weren’t feeling it like I was, but I know that this is God’s church on the Earth. I know the Book of Mormon is true and thereby that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Sometimes you just need a little testimony refresher and I’m grateful that I was able to get one this week. We’ve also got a couple of good prospects from the course. One of which we’re meeting tonight so I’ll let you know how that goes next week.

We also had the opportunity to do kind of a missionary directed discussion for second hour (your third hour) since it was a fifth Sunday. We talked about missionary work. Last year the branch had 12 baptisms and so we asked them what they would like their goal to be for this year. They were coming up with anywhere from 15-25 baptisms in 2011. We had discussed this with President Smith before and he had told us that we could change that to 80 baptisms if we had the members help. After they had decided on a goal of 20 baptisms for the next year, we asked them, “Would you believe us if we told you that you could have 80?” It was hilarious to hear everybody almost simultaneously say, “What?! No way!” Anyway, we were able to have a good discussion with them based off of Elder Ballards talk, “Faith, Facts, Family, and Fruits.” Or something like that. Basically we just armed them with things that they could say when their friends asked them to tell them something about their church. And not necessarily all about our beliefs, but cool facts that most people don’t know. Like for instance how a new church building is built every working day. We explained how when people ask that, they usually aren’t really interested in the church, but just want to know something simple. That’s something that I really hadn’t thought about that much. Probably since missionary opportunities in Alpine, Utah are running kind of slim these days. But it turned out alright. I always imagine things turning out stellar and so I’m always a little disappointed at the end of them when they’re not exactly how I had imagined, but I think it did the job and I think the Spirit was there. We’re hoping to see awesome things from the Vlorë branch in 2011.

It was so dang cold here last week, but today we were out on the beach playing some futboll Amerikan in short sleeves and shorts. I would absolutely love it if this week turned out that way. =) Well anyway, I hope you all have an awesome week! Let me know about anything cool that happens. Thanks for writing me and caring about me and supporting me and praying for me and all those other things you do on my behalf. It’s greatly appreciated. Zoti ju bekoftë dhe ju shpërbleftë!

Me shumë dashuri,

-Elder Swenson

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