Monday, February 27, 2012

Week Two in Denmark

Hey Dad,
That's awesome to hear the good news from home. It's crazy to hear about friends heading out to the field, makes me feel really old. And the baptism sounds like it was awesome. It's going really well in my area. We have 9 investigators currently, which is one over the mission's standards of excellence. One we picked up my second day here. He's a Danish man who works as a moving truck driver all around Europe. We stopped in and talked for about 15 minutes and he was very accepting of everything we talked about. He had been way busy after that, so we were worried he lost interest, but last Friday he called and said he wanted to hear more and invited us over tonight for dinner at his apartment. So hopefully it keeps going well with him.

The other investigators are progressing pretty well for the most part. We're working with one in particular, he had a baptism date set, but wasn't able to make it to church because of a health condition. He is in his late 70's. He has accepted everything very well, it's just been hard to get him to church. There's a really interested couple we're teaching from Poland. They speak perfect English so we have English lessons with them. The husband is one of the smartest people I've ever met, but still believes in the Godhead which is pretty amazing. The big challenge with them is getting them to identify what promptings come from God and what our minds make up. He actually was taught by my MTC teacher, Brother Pullan for a while then stopped seeing missionaries until my companion Elder Stoffey visited them. He has nothing against being baptized, but wants to learn more beforehand. Those are probably the more positive investigators we have, a couple others are taking the messages very well but are still newer so I'll let you know on them as it goes. It's exciting to watch the ones that have a desire to learn more and to be more faithful. It's pretty rare in Europe for people to have that desire, but we've been able to find some.

The everyday contacting hasn't been too bad either. We usually knock doors in upgangs (apartments) or just regular neighborhoods. Most people don't want anything to do with the church, or God for that matter. But, we've been able to give a few books out and have picked up three investigators since I've been here. The area has around 300,000 people, so our strategy is just to get out as much as possible and give as many people we can an opportunity. The Danish isn't perfect yet, but I'm able to understand the people more everyday and I can communicate decently enough to do my job. It's going to be fun if I can get fluent enough to sound like one of them. I've heard of a few missionaries being asked where in Denmark they were from. For now though, people just ask where in America I come from. Hopefully I get there, that would be fun. It's going good up here, let Mom know I'm still looking for a present for her birthday. It turns out I won't need the $600 for a bike here. All the areas are either car or public transit. And the areas where you could use a bike, the old missionaries have left bikes. On top of that none of the missionaries use them, so that will be good to not have to pay that. If I can find enough of it, I'm going to send you all some chocolate from up here. The chocolate is pretty well amazing, along with all the other food. There's bakeries on about every corner that pump out fresh pastries all day. On my Picasa Web album I took a picture of a huge one that we bought. It will be a miracle if I don't come home a fatty. I'm just hoping Gar doesn't beat me up when I see him next. He needs to lay off the steroids, that's kind of scary he's already 6 feet tall. Glad everything's going well, let me know if you guys want to hear anything else about the investigators or anything about the country. Love you all,
Ældste Swenson

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Denmark is Awesome!

Dear Family,
Well it's been about two weeks since I've been able to email you guys, but we finally made it here. The jet-lag was pretty bad, we basically lost a night of sleep on the way over. We left SLC at 8:30 AM and flew over the atlantic during the night, and I ended up getting maybe an hour of sleep on the way. We got to Copenhagen about 9:30 AM and we were all dead tired. We met the President and his wife with the AP's, then took a car-tour of Copenhagen where we stopped at a chapel with the original Kristus sculpture like the one in the visitor's center in SLC. After that we contacted for an hour in one of the outdoor mall things in Copenhagen, I forgot what they call them here already. That was actually really fun even though I couldn't understand much of what anyone said back to us. Later we went to Frederiksborg Castle just north of the city and the President took us on a tour through the inside. There's a pretty famous chapel in there, and a room call the "prayer" room where the king would say his prayers. The walls were covered in Carl Bloch's paintings, probably 20 or so.

It was pretty well freezing that day, the airport said -3 or something, but it was windy and snowy which made it even colder. It's definitely colder here than in Utah so far, the humidity makes your entire face freeze which is very pleasant, or dejlig as we say here (delightful). My trainer is Elder Stoffey, who I met the second day after we had dinner and breakfast at the mission home. He's a cool guy, from Colorado Springs and has only been here for 8 months which is pretty new for a trainer. We got on the train to Ballerup after our training, which is my first area. It's a little suburb area northwest or Copenhagen. It's been fun so far, we started with 8 investigators and actually picked up a new one my second day here. We were knocking doors in apartments and he was interested and let us in for about 20 minutes. He has lived here his whole life. We pretty well taught him the first lesson and left a Book of Mormon for him to read for next time, hopefully we'll meet with him again this week. It's about what I expected overall, there's tons of things that are new to me here, but really it doesn't feel too much different from home. The members here are awesome, we have had dinner appointments with them every night so far and they all cook amazing stuff. I'll send you a picture of my first wienerbrød, the thing was the size of about 4 plates and covered in chocolate. It was tasty, and I pretty well ate the entire thing right there.

Our apartment is pretty nice, there's actually 4 of us in it, it's me and Elder Stoffey with the Zone leaders for the area, Elders Veach and Bailey. They're pretty cool guys, and there hasn't been a dull moment so far, pretty entertaining. Yesterday, my wonderful companion offered to have me speak in sacrament meeting. I figured I would go ahead and do it, and to just make sure I mentioned that I'm a noob here in Denmark up front. It actually went very well, I just talked on Missionary work for about 5 minutes and a few people told me after that it was easy to understand which was a good sign. Our meeting house (menighed) is in Søborg, which is about a 15 minute drive from the apartment, so it's an adjustment to having a stake center in our back yard at home. Today we played basketball in the Stake Center in Søborg, I pretty well destroyed them and dunked it a few times. Hopefully one of the Elders on Sjælland is good and will come humble me a little. We're going to check out Nyhavn in a few minutes, which is going to be awesome. It's that picture on the front of that Danish book I got from the library a while ago with the red and yellow buildings over the canal. With our train passes, we can pretty well go anywhere in Sjæalland on P-days which is going to be awesome. My companion is awesome and actually wants to do cool things so we'll probably go to some castles and check out the viking ship musuem in Roskilde if we make it there. Well, it's been awesome so far, the work is going good. Let me know if you want to know anymore about whatever here. That's about all I can think of to write about right now, but there's probably a ton I missed. Well, Elder Bailey just told me he's going to send you an email, so hopefully it's good what he says. He's an interesting guy, as is my companion and Elder Veach. Like I said, I haven't been bored yet. You'll probably figure out why when you read his email to you. Well, let me know how you're all doing, I'll send you all some billeder from my first week.
-Ældste Swenson

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Safe and sound in Denmark!

This morning we received the following email along with these photos from the mission office:

Greetings from the Denmark Copenhagen Mission!

We are sending you an email to let you know that your missionary arrived in Denmark, safe and sound.

We are very excited to have him here. He looks excited to work and serve the Lord in Denmark. Thank you so much for preparing your missionary for this time.

Missionaries in the Denmark Copenhagen Mission usually have their preparation days on Monday. They will email on their next Monday. Just know that they are here and safe.

When you send packages: A) send them to the office at the address below. B) Do not send a package worth more than 50 dollars, or they may have to pay an additional tax to receive it. Missionaries love to get mail. All mail comes to the mission office and we forward it to them. The Danish Mail will no longer let us forward packages from here. If you need to get something to your missionary in a hurry, have him give you the address where he is currently serving. A problem with this is that he may have a transfer before he receives the package. Make sure that you visit with your missionary about future transfer dates and when you are sending a package. Otherwise, send it to the mission office and we will get it to them at our monthly Zone Conference, Specialized Training, or when someone is traveling to that part of the mission.

His permanent address is:

Elder Kenneth Swenson
Danish Copenhagen Mission Office
Borups Allé 128, 1 tv
2000 Frederiksberg

Elder Swenson will be serving in Ballerup with Elder Stoffey
His current address is
Slettebjergvej 2, st. th
2750 Ballerup

The trainers are the best of the best! Your missionary will have an amazing trainer that will help start off his mission in the right way! We hope all is well with you. Have a wonderful day!

Denmark Copenhagen Mission

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

One Week from Today...Elder Swenson will be in Denmark

[This is Elder Swenson with Elder Maughan from Montana, who was called to Iowa. "Funny kid," says Elder Swenson!]
Hej familie!
Jeg er så spent for Danmark lige nu, jeg kunne godt lide at flue derover idag! It's crazy that I've been here for 8 weeks now, it only feels like I've been here for half of that.....Tell President Morrison that Gordon Pont is my roommate here at the MTC! He is going to Vancouver, Washington.That was awesome to hear about Sterling's call, I'm way excited for him.

Something that's going to be amazing in Denmark is the castles up there. It sounds like Denmark was the headquarters of Scandinavia, and was usually where the king and queen lived. You know that statue of Christ in the visitor's center downtown? I didn't know this, but the original is in a cathedral in Copenhagen which we'll get to see our first day up there. ... I did some more family search stuff, and it's pretty cool, there's a line of ancestors on Dad's side who come from Scandinavian royalty and lived on Bornholm for about 200-300 years. Family search had the address of where they were buried, so I looked it up on Google Earth here. Outside of that, there's another huge line of "Pedersen's" who lived in Jylland and Sjælland. And another was from Odense, so we've had family live all over the country.

...The language is going surprisingly well right now. We took the LSA's again. I think I told you I got a 4.5 on the first one. This last one I jumped up to 5.5 which felt pretty good. Our teachers tell us that the average missionary is around a "4" when they head out so I guess I'm doing alright. Either way, I already know the first week is going to be insane, basically no more English for 2 years. That probably won't settle in until I get up there, but it'll be fun more than anything. Well, that's pretty much it for now. Not too exciting this week, we're just all ready to go. I'll just plan on talking to you all on Monday, hopefully I can get a phone for long enough.
Jeg elsker jer!
-Æelste Swenson

Monday, February 6, 2012

Vi fik vores rejseplaner idog!

Shrimp plans??? Elder Swenson is writing to us in Danish, and I have no idea what he is saying. When I first plugged the above sentence into Google translate, it came back as "We got our shrimp plans!" But it is actually, "We got our travel plans!" For some reason the second time I entered it, it worked.

Some goofy pics of the mishes...I got a letter and pics in the mail today :) :)

From left to right: Elder Petersen (Idaho Falls), Elder Swenson (what a McStud), his companion (or minkammerat) Elder Holyoak (Pocatello, ID), and Elder Christensen (Sandy, UT but went to Brighton HS).

Love that boy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Vi Skal til Danmark om 12 dage!

Hej Familie!
Jeg vil rejse til Danmark om 12 dage! Det er skør! Jeg føler ikke at jeg har levet her for otte uger allerede! So it was pretty much another amazing week here. Last night we got to hear from Elder Holland and Elder Nelson for the 50th anniversary of the Provo MTC. They talked alot on the history of missionary work, and how they used to train people. Our Branch President told us that when he served in New Zealand (in the 70s sometime) that he flew to temple square, went to the temple, got set apart then flew back home for a week. After that he flew out to his mission, so they do it a little different now. I still can't believe how fast the time is going here, it's kind of scary honestly. I'll be contacting in Denmark in about 12 days, which is awesome to think about. The language is coming pretty well, just learning more and more vocabulary every day, practicing fluency and trying to pronounce everything right.....

President Brown got up before the apostles talked and announced that Romney led by 15 percent in Florida. We definitely weren't expecting to hear about politics at a devotional, but that's awesome, sounds like he's doing pretty good now....

Everyday when I think about where I'm going, it still doesn't settle in my mind. I don't think I'll realize what I'm doing completely until I get up there and start contacting that first day. It's going to be an absolute shock, but I can't wait. Honestly, I can't think of anything I'd rather do right now. Everytime I hear our teachers talk about Denmark, I just get more excited to get up there. I wish we could have looked into it more before I left, but I would promise that we have ancestors up there still.
I just sent a few pictures home to you guys, they should get there today or tomorrow I'd guess. Until I get into the field, that's the only way of getting them to you. I'll just send all the pictures on my card my first P-day up there. Talk to you all next week! Jeg Elsker jer!
-Ældste Swenson