Sunday, February 24, 2013

February 2013

Keenan received his first transfer of his mission two weeks ago. Unfortunately, it was because two other missionaries had a fight, so they switched Keenan and the other missionary. They knew Keenan could get along with anyone. He is now in LA north and in an area that is pretty run down. He said there are lots of broken beer bottles all over and a lot of homeless also. The church building is in an old renovated catholic church. He said there are stained glass windows, and even a font for holy water etc. Pretty interesting.
Right before he got transferred he and his companion went down town Hollywood, and were over by the Chinese theater which was blocked off. People thought that it was for a movie premier, but a cop who was a member told them that it was actually a scene they were filming from the new Iron man 3 movie. He got to see a car being blown up by the theater.
He loves he people here and loves being able to speak Spanish to them. H said they are very humble people and love the Lord so much that they will buy food to feed o the missionaries, even if they don't have any food to eat. It’s been a very humbling experience for him to see this.
He had several baptism lied up before his transfer, and a couple lined up in this new area as well. 
His only complaint is that no on writes him enough, so please write him when you can. His address will never change since everything goes through the mission home. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Keenan's First month/Christmas in Los Angeles

Keenan has had quite an eye opener going from St. George to the big city of LA. He says there are lots of homeless people everywhere and the stores have to put remote locks on their shopping carts so they don’t get stolen. There is also a lot of diversity there and everything from the very poor to the very rich. Downtown Hollywood is part of his area though he doesn’t get a chance to really go there since they are always busy with appointments. He is on a bike and really likes it.  Here are some excerpts from his letters:
The L.A temple puts up a bunch of Christmas lights and it looks cool. They also do a lot of activities at the VC and have a bunch of Christmas activities
Here is something cool; there is good and bad news. The good news is that I got to meet the most famous Mormon in the world, Donny Osmond. He is performing or something in L.A and we met him in the Hollywood ward building. He went to sacrament meeting and after we walked in he was like hey elder! I actually didn’t know who he was but my companion was like "DONNY OSMOND!" the bad news is that we forgot our cameras and didn’t get to take a picture with him, so I have no proof. Oh well.
Yesterday was the Christmas devotional where everyone sings and says parts and stuff and there is a Samoan family in the ward and they were going to sing a song in Samoan, and they made me sing it with them even though I don’t know what it said, it was cool though. One of our investigators who we haven’t seen in a while went, but they left so I didn’t get to talk to her, so I was kind of bummed. Today we are going to go play volleyball with the ward, so I’m excited. I will write a letter this week, hopefully if I have time, .My companion had to pack a lot and get ready to leave so we did that a lot. 
     We got to talk to Keenan today for Christmas. He said he loves his mission and that there is nowhere else that he would rather be right now. He loves seeing the changes in people, and how the gospel touches their lives. He just got a new companion from Twin falls, MT. He has been out a little over a year and Keenan is really happy to have him as a comp. Keenan says his Spanish is coming along very well and now has a hard time saying a prayer in English.  He loves being a missionary!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Keenan’s First Week in LA

Nov 12, 2012
 So this is my first P-day in the field, and I don’t have very much time to write, we have even les free time in the field it seems, we are always working. We arrived in LA and met the Mission President and our trainers for the first day. I was put with Elder Abbott who lived in a very ghetto type area. LA is WAY different than St. George. There are lots of people just walking around with a shopping cart collecting recyclables to make money. There are lots of homeless people, and tons of cars. My first day I saw a black guy get arrested. He was tackled by 4 cops, and my comp said “Look, they got one” like it was nothing. But don’t worry, I’m safe. I won’t get mugged or get shot or anything. All the gangs are Catholic and they see us as representatives of Christ.
            The one thing I noticed is how much people look at you when you are a missionary. EVERYONE is looking at you at ALL times. It’s kind of weird. Most people are nice to us. Most people, especially old women when they saw us would say “GOD Bless Y’all” in a southern Accent. I also realized how bad I am at Spanish. Everyone talks so fast I can’t tell where one word end and another begins.
            I am now in my official area which is in West Hollywood. I can see the Hollywood sign and I am on a couple of min from Paramount studios. There are a lot of rich people here. I have seen a lot of Ferraris and porches and even a Bugatti. We are in a brand new area that hasn’t had missionaries for about 6 months. We are doing what is called “white-washing” and “flushing” an area. So we don’t have any investigators, we don’t know any of the members, and neither me nor my Companion know the area at all. It is kind of difficult. Since we don’t know any of the members, we don’t have any dinner appointments so I am very hungry. We are living off Ramen.
            My companion has learned how to get people to open up their doors for us. He has memorized stuff about every Hispanic country, and when they mention what country they are from, he  mentions the stuff they know and they get excited and let us in. I had my first real “chili pepper” on Saturday. It was a really hot pepper and it brought tears to my eyes… They all laughed at me. Me no Gusta Chile De Ardol.
            The streets are very congested in LA. We went down Hollywood street last night and everyone says “there’s the Mormons” It’s kind of funny. I’m having a blast here. Love you all. Remember,
La Iglesias de Jesu Christos de los Santos de los ultimo’s Pias Es Verdadera!

Elder Schwalger

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Keenan in California

Hello everyone,
Keenan left the MTC yesterday and traveled to LA with 15 other elders ready to do the Lord's work. He is  excited to finally be going to LA, and also happy for a change. He loves his mission and the Book of Mormon. He says to tell everyone hello and to please write him. His new address is:

                                                                              Elder Keenan Schwalger
                                                                              California Los Angeles Mission
                                                                               1591 E. Temple Way
                                                                              Los Angeles, CA 90024-5801

I will post pictures of him as soon as he sends some.  Than k foryour continued support!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Week 7 at the MTC

Hello everyone,
Well, 7 weeks down and 2 more to go! I’m tired of being in the MTC, I’m ready to get out. So nothing new this week, Pretty much the same thing. It is snowing outside right now though, we get to go to the temple every P-day and so we left to go walk to the temple and it was snowing pretty hard but not sticking. It is about a 5-10 min walk from the MTC to the temple and we got covered in snow and it soaked my suit, and it was super cold out. Stupid snow.  Anyway so nothing really new, my Spanish is improving little by little. Even  though I can’t speak it I really want to be in L.A already, I feel I would learned it faster in the field since we have already covered all grammar and stuff so now we just practice. One funny story happened on Saturday. We do Role plays with our teacher and we go and teach him as a portend investigator named Diego. And on Saturday it was our teacher’s birthday and during one of our lesions with Diego, he said that it was his birthday on Saturday too. So what I and my companions did was we took a cake that was sent to elder bird, it was just a plain chocolate cake with frosting that we didn’t eat, and Elder boon had some frosting. So what we did was take the frosting and make a homemade cake decorator and funnel for the frosting and wrote "Feliz Cupleanos Diego!" which means happy birthday. We went onto our lesson and busted out a decorated cake for Diego, who really isn’t a real person, and sang happy birthday in Spanish and he was so confused on where we got a decorated cake. He couldn’t even focus the whole lesion. After we were don’t he came back to our classroom and was like" do you guys have people making cakes for you on the outside?! Where did you guys get a cake!". We also got a bunch of stuff and put it in a bag and gave it to him. It was funny. Well not much else happens. I just want to get out of here. I’ve gotten some letters from people so it hasn’t been to bad here, But I’m making the best of it. I love my companion and I love my mission.
Until next time.

Elder Keenan Schwalger

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Keenan's 1st month at the MTC

Well I’m about 1 month and a half in to my mission and still in the MTC! Everything is good here, not much goes on although it gets really repetitive here same stuff everyday for 14 hours a day. We get up at 6, than go to a class room, than eat lunch, than go to a classroom, than eat dinner and then go to a classroom again. It gets kind of repetitive eventually. I Love it though, I’m really wanting to get out into the field already although I don’t really know the language good enough. My Companions are elder Bird and elder Boone. I’m in a Trio now because Elder Boone joined us. They are both Awesome Guys and I love em to death. The food here in the MTC has gotten very old and now i don’t like any of it. Thank goodness because otherwise i would not be able to keep up my weight loss. I’m pretty sure that all the food here is left over’s form BYU dining area. You can get as much as you want though but it seems to be that everyone gets sick form the food so I’m not going to take that chance by pigin out. Time has been flying by. Never thought i would say it but Saturdays are the worst day in the MTC, along with Thursdays. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are great considering Wednesdays are my P-Day and Tuesdays we don’t have class at night. My companion elder bird Get a package almost every day so we have a pile of plates of cookies and crud and sitting in the corner of our doom. I wish they gave you an extra hour of sleep everyday because I’m always tired. Spanish is going good. You would be surprised how fast you learn the language here, I took 3 years of Spanish is high school and literally learned more in the first 3 days than I did in those 3 years, I’ve been here about 5 weeks now, and can’t really speak it but I can understand it and speak it very slowly. Still it’s not easy I get frustrated sometimes when i cant conjugate or something like that but know more that I thought I would at this point. But everything is good. Hope you all send me stuff so that I don’t go insane. Well I got to go. Yo que se la iglesia es verdadera. Hasta luego.

Elder Schwalger

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Keenan's Week 1 & 2 at the MTC

Keenan's first two weeks at the MTC have been a whirlwind of motion. As soon as he arrived they had him put his bags in his rooms, and then sent him off  to Spanish class. The teacher would only speak Spanish to them so they had no choice but learn it. By the end of week one, he could pray in Spanish. He and his companion were assigned to teach an investigator that only spoke Spanish. It was challenging to teach the lesson is Spanish since the investigator didn't know any English. They keep them pretty busy going from class to class but he does get some down time on his P-day. His letter today said that he is so much learning the Spanish language that he was having a hard time writing in English. He said he has learned more Spanish in the last two weeks than he has learned the entire 3 years in high school. He is enjoying the MTC and says the spirit is very strong. He is happy he made the decision to serve the Lord.