Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Good to see you

Note: We were able to Skype with Elder Swanton on December 25th. He looked great and was in excellent spirit.

Dear family,

I will try to make this short since we already had that awesome chance
to Skype. But it was so cool to see the whole family and be able to
talk to you all bout some of the crazy things that have happened to me
since I got over here.

Sunday we had some really cool things happen to us, one of the not so
good things is my comp is getting very sick and he is really starting
to hurt but he is working through it. But when we got to church we had
a surprise happen to us about 1 hour into church we had a Korean
family come to church and they only speak English. I was able to talk
to them and they seem very interested in the gospel and what it can do
for their family.

I love you all and cant wait to see you all again
Love Elder Swanton

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Back to work

My People,

My week this week was what you would call recuperation from the
craziness of last week. Right after the Christmas Conference got over
I ended up coming down with some crazy strong head cold that knocked
me out for the last couple days.  So I will go through my healing
process and all that has happened to us over here in MOLO Town.

Thursday was a bad day for me I woke up after getting no sleep that
night and to top it all off it was raining cats and dogs over here.
But for real there was a massive cat brawl on the roof that woke me up
and then the dogs started up. When we finally got out the house
Heavenly father just sent us a nice afternoon full of lessons and
miracles. When we got to our best Appointment I was for sure he would
not be there. His name is Jonathan and he not your average
investigator, he is covered in Tattoos and Piercings he is also
missing most of his right hand. Our lessons with him have been so sick
and this time he accepted a baptismal date and for us that is huge.

Friday was our ward Christmas Party and if yall have not seen the
video of me and my bros hitting the dance floor just look at my moms
face book. It was too much fun to get all the ward and the many less
actives together and have just so much fun. We also had 6
Investigators come to the Christmas Party and mingle with the ward
members and participate in the games and dances.

Saturday was just a  day for us to sleep and hydrate this
sickness right out of my body. For the most part it worked and Sunday
we were able to get out and get after it.

Sunday did not work out how we wanted it to, unfortunately we did not
have any of our investigators come to church. But I guess we just need
to think about the real conversion and not our timetables. I think
that is one thing that I have come to understand is that no matter how
great we are at teaching people have the choice to accept the message
or not and they control their own destiny's.

Today however was another story, me and the comp woke up real early to
head on another road trip with the APs. Elder Craythorne and Elder
Doorman are the sickest APs this mission has ever seen we jumped in
the car and headed up to North Zone. After some Disney movie madness
we all headed over to SM City to have some Real American Burgers at
Zarks. Now we had heard that there was a burger eating challenge
called the Jaw Breaker so you all know that I was the first to sign
up. That is the picture I will send home is the form me and Elder
Tolman had to sign, it said we could die. Unfortunately I was not able
to stuff 3 pounds of greasy burger and pipping hot Steak Fries into my
mouth but we vowed that next time I would hit it.

I am so excited to see all of you and be able to feel and see the
crazyness that is so far and yet to close to my heart every day. Christmas
is hard to be away from family and for the first time in a long time I
really wish that I could do the holidays with all of you back home. I
love you all and know this work it true. I would not be anywhere else
in the world, besides someone has to be here in MOLO talking to these
crazy people and seeing these crazy things.

Love Your Son,

Elder Swanton

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Best day as a missionary yet

Dear Family,

First off, Mom I would like to say sorry because I did not send you an
email before the Christmas Conference on Monday morning. But I hope as
I explain what happened in this email, you will not be mad with me and
will come to realize this was the funnest week of my whole mission for

Wednesday, we headed to the mission office bright and early to meet with
Elder Doorman and Elder Craythorne about the upcoming Christmas
Conference. I can say that these two Elders are the sickest APs in the
whole world. It takes a lot to be a good AP, but it takes special
people to do the things that we four were able to accomplish. In our
meeting, we finalized the games and activities that would be taking
place the following Monday and Tuesday. In short, we came up with the
crazy idea that we would make our Christmas conference a massive zone
challenge game show. I sent you the schedule so that you could all see
the things that were in the making of the madness. After our meeting,
we headed out to work to teach some of our investigators and bring
back some much needed less actives. We were able to have a great visit
with our soon-to-be-baptized investigator, Sister Catherine. She is so
pumped for her baptism this Saturday and she told me that she wants
all of her sins to be gone.

Saturday was the craziest day we have had in a while. We headed out in
the morning to teach some more lessons, as we had not the best days up
to Saturday. We were able to find a new family and they are super
sick. We taught them the first lesson and they said they will read the
Book of Mormon and pray. We then were able to visit a ton of less
actives and then it was off to the baptism of Sister Catherine. My
comp was the one to baptize her and it was so cool. She even brought
her best friend to her baptism. We will be visiting her next week to
start teaching her family. I was so happy with all the progress that
we were able to have today and with everything that was happening in
the mission.

Sunday, we headed to church and the blessings did not stop there.A
bunch of the people we talked to last week actually came to church for
all three hours! After church I got a call from Elder Doorman saying
that at 6pm we needed to be at the mission home to help set up for the
next day. I guess being an MC comes with a ton of work. Elder Larson
was called too, so we decide to go to the Christmas Devotional and then head
over to help the office staff. When we got there, we started to set up
the chairs and get all the decorations ready for the next day. Me and
Larson started to get the game show ready and all the little games
that went with it. After a free dinner from President Aquino, we headed
home late to get some much needed practice with our performance. Elder
Larson decided to sing 3 songs. The first is a remix of "I hope They
Call Me on a Mission" and Antique Living. The second was a song I
free-styled called The Problem Song. We had my brother, Elder Marikura,
help us with that one and it was so good. The third song I free-styled
on the spot to and it was called Bugasong Boys. I have never had so
much fun then when me and Larson get a good jam session on the guitar.
We also sang a song called "Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flats.

Monday morning, the day is finally here that our whole mission will be
meeting in one small room for the most fun any of us have ever had. Me
and Elder Larson got there early to start with the set up of the many
games the mission would be playing. I will tell you that at some point
I will be able to get a video of the whole thing and then I will try
to send it home, but for now I will be sending some pics of me and
Larson singing and being the MCs  of the whole Christmas
Inter-conference. The level of energy was so high and we had the whole
mission off their feet for most of the next 8 hours. When the whole
thing was over me and Larson just looked at each other and started
laughing. We had just taken over the mission for the last day and did
some crazy dance battles, had some crazy eating challenges, and had
some amazing jam sessions. I have made up my mind that when I get home
Elder Larson and I will be wedding singers. After the show we had so
many missionaries come up to us and say you can sing at my wedding for
sure. I don't have the words to describe what really happened and I was
not able to take pics because I was the MC but don't worry when I get
home there will be some amazing videos and pics that I will be able to
share with all of you.

Tuesday, we had a presentation of The Forgotten Carols and then we had
some spiritual devotionals on how we can keep this mission on FIRE.  We
were also able to take pictures with everyone because the whole
mission was there, so it was super fun and we had the best time ever.
The last few days are the kind that when I look back on them I just
start to smile and think of all that happened and all the smiles and
cheers that I was able to see and be a part of.

I am so thankful for this opportunity given to me and Elder Larson by
the APs, Elder Craythorne and Elder Doorman. They really worked with us
to make the best Christmas this mission has ever seen. I really saw
the leadership they both have in all they do, It takes a great
leader to be able to take advice and then give it to everyone around
them. I am also thankful for my mission president, President Aquino, and all he
did for us this holiday season. Without him being so chill, we would
not have been able to have as much fun as we did. These last few days
have been a fulfillment of mine and Elder Larson's dreams since we
came into this mission. Our First and Last Mission Christmas Party was
a success because of the talents of so many.

I love you all back home and I am sorry again for being late, but just
know I am great and loving my time here in the mission. These really
are the best two years that anyone could ever have. Let us always
remember who this season is all about.

Love, Elder Swanton

Monday, December 7, 2015

Fasting is way cool

Updates from Jacob...

Dear family,

  I can say one of the saddest things ever is that fact that I have
not seen of felt the snow in so long now. For anyone who has been out
of the country to a tropical place you know that the year is so hard
to understand because the seasons never change. Over here it's just hot
and then it's hot and raining. I miss the seasons so much and I am super
pumped to get to see some fall this next year. This was a good week
for me and my comp we have finally started to see some results after
all the hard work we have been putting in. We had two big things
happen this week so I will cover those and some other little things.

Wednesday was by far the coolest thing that I have ever been able to
be apart of. So as most of you know Elder Larson and I have been in
the same zone for our whole mission and that means we are basically
family. The APs called us and asked us if for the Mission Christmas
Conference we wanted to Be the MCs. We said yes and came in and had a
meeting with the office staff and APs. Me and Larson came up with the
sickest plan, you could say that me and elder Larson are in charge of
the Christmas Conference so we are going to make it something that the
mission can never forget. We have also been given the Opportunity to
be able to sing at the conference. Also as most of you know I have a
secret love for music and this will be so fun for me and Larson to
write and then sing some original songs. We have the whole mission so
pumped for it and we also have some super sick outfits picked out so
be ready for the best pics ever next week.

Saturday we went out and taught some new people and we had some really
good success for the first time in a while. I just can't help but smile
when I think back on all the fun and crazy things that happen to me
and my comp. We are two of the most opposite people ever and yet we
have the most fun. He is super quiet and does not say much and well
you all know me' I just can't stop talking and ever since I hit the
mission field I feel no fear' so we get into some crazy situations. He
always just smiles and watches me try to talk my way out of
conversations with old crazy Ladies, very gay cross dressers, and the
drunk of drunks. I think that is why I have so much fun  because we
both just go for it and that means the possibility are endless.

Sunday was full of some Miracles for the ward of Molo. We had started
out fast the day before so that we could have some of our
investigators come to church and progress and when we got to sacrament
there was none there. Me and my comp just started to pray that
someone would come. Half way through our Investigator that will be
baptized next week walked through the door and right behind her was a
super less active sister we have been visiting. I just looked up and
said thank you. My comp just smiled and said in broken English "Fasting
is way cool."

I am loving my time here and man it is starting to fly by and that is
super cool and super scary. Love the emails and keep them coming and
keep being very intricate with the information.

Love your Son,
Elder Swanton

Monday, November 30, 2015

Feasting on the word

Updates from Jacob....

Dear Family,

I will be able to type more because my finger is back to normal, this
is the second time in my mission that I have gotten a really bad
injury and then it just heals real nice and fast. I think I am being
tested by Heavenly father to see how much I can take and how I will
react. I think you would all be proud to know that my anger is almost
not even apart of me anymore. I used to get mad at the smallest thing
but now its all gone because of all the crazy things that my mission
has given me.

Alright so now for the week, I will say that it was a good week even
though we did not get done all that we wanted to it was still fun.

Monday and Tuesday we did a lot of tracting and I have found out one
thing since I arrived here in the city. People can be really rude and
they don't care at all. My comp who has not been in the mission that
long asked me if this is how it is going to be for the rest of his
mission. I said its just the city and the places were people are too
busy to listen. I feel bad for this kid both of his first areas have
been not the best, but we are working hard to change that and have a
great time here in Molo.

Wednesday was the best day we had so far here in a while. We woke up
early to beat the traffic and make it to the Lapaz chapel in time for
our Multi-Zone Conference. It was so good to see all of the long lost
Elders and sisters in the far away places. It was so good for all the
missionary's to get together and have a great time listening to all
the training's and talks from our Mission President and the Aps. Elder
Craythorne gave a great training about how this new way of being a
missionary has really changed his mission for the better. I really
feel the same as him in the begining of my mission I was just trying
my hardest but it just was not enough and now we have all embraced PMG
and it has changed the way we work. We really felt the mood change
when Elder Doorman walked to the front and started his training. I
will say that this was the best training that I have ever heard in my
mission. He talked about how we need to forget the past and look to
the future. Yes at one point all the missionary's here were going
through the motions but not anymore, we need to follow PMG and do what
it says and then we will reap the Blessings and Baptisms. I walked
away from this training with the most I ever have since I got here.

Thursday we headed out to work and really had a fun day. My comp is
really new in the mission so its almost like training all over again.
It has really been fun for me to go trough this process again. I can
also say that my language has really made some steps to being very
good. I love when we can just go out and speak the language all day
with no problems. This time here has been a blessing for me to learn
how to lead the lessons and really help my teaching skills.

Saturday me and Elder Mirasol thought that we were going to get in
trouble because the night before President texted us saying that he
wanted us to come and meet with him. The first thing I thought about
was I have not done anything wrong since I got here and my comp was so
nervous. But when we showed up to the mission home it turns out that
we were  just asked to come and eat a Thanksgiving feast with
President. It was super fun because he invited a bunch of the other
elders and sisters so we had like a little party. But it was nothing
like the Feast we have back home and I would have traded it to be back
home any day.

Sunday was a good day for us we had one Investigator come to church
and that was Sister Catherine. She has a baptismal date that is for
December 12 and she could not be more excited for all over her sins to
be washed away. Those are her exact words so yeah its pretty cool. The
rest of the day was full of member Present lessons to new
investigators that have some really big potential.

We are loving the work and just trying to get ready for the future of
this mission. I love you all and this Thanksgiving I am grateful for
the opportunity to serve a mission and that my family is healthy and
Love your Son,
Elder Swanton

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sometimes they find you

Updates from Jacob...

Dear Family,

Well I would like to apologize in advance I will not be typing very
much because last night I got my finger caught in an electric fan with
a metal blade and it did some work so it is not that easy to type but
I will do my best.  I pray that the family is safe and keeps their
health every day. Also that is so cool that you were called to be a
ward missionary and I hope you are ready for the calling cause the
sisters over here take this calling seriously. haha I am just kidding
around with you mom. I am glad that Adee had a good birthday and I am
also proud that she is growing out her hair again.  So here is how my
week went.

Wednesday we were able to get out to work and hit the streets again.
If there is one thing that I will learn from this area is how not to
be afraid of anything. We just talk to most anyone that we come in
contact with and that means that people can do some pretty crazy
things. Really for most of the week we tract and try to get a return
appointment for the coming days.

Friday we were able to work with some of the youth here and they took
us to some parts of our area that I had no idea even had members. But
if you are in the city basically every hole and rock has someone
living near or around it. We found a ton of less actives and it was so
cool to visit with them and teach them about the gospel they had
forgotten about.

Saturday was one of the best days that I had in a good long while. We
got to go to the wedding reception of our ward mission leader. Brother
Roy and Sister Jullians wedding was in Cebu and they are the true
example of what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is. Sister Jullian was super sweet,
 to see how they understand
why they are here and what the plan is. The spirit of joy was so
strong and we all had a good time with the ward and I was super happy
to be able to attend.

Sunday was a day full of the blessing of the Lord. Elder Mirasol and I
headed to church and sad to say none of our investigators came to
Church. But halfway through we had a member come into class and get us
she said she had someone for us to meet. When we got out into the hall
we met a family that had come over to see if the missionary's were
there. I said here we are and how can we help you, they wanted us to
start teaching them so we set up a teaching appointment tonight at the
chapel. After church we went on splits with some of our ward
missionary's to teach some more lessons. I went with Brother Alex and
we had a good time and were able to find some new people that really
want the change in their lives and are willing to follow Jesus Christ.

For me that's what its all about, I think back the the rich young
ruler when he asked Jesus what he needed to do to get into heaven.
Jesus said to sell all he had a follow him, to his disappoint the
ruler did not follow him. We as members need to understand what our
purpose is and then we need to be relentless in pursuing it. I love my
savoir and I will be never stop in my pursuit to perfection. He is the
example we just need to do the work. I hope we keep that in mind in
this Christmas season. I love you all and I will never forget all you
have done for me.

Love Elder Swanton

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hit the streets

Updates from Jacob....

My Family,

I'll just head through the week the same that mom did so that I can get
in all the details that I want to. But this week for Me and Elder
Mirasol was super good and we were able to have a great time.

Tuesday we had a Zone Training and lets just say things here in
Central Zone are just a little different than what I am used to. It
seems that every zone I go to is very different.
 Elder Larson said that we both would try our best to
have as much fun with these elders and sisters as we possibly can. The
meeting was on how we can use our time to the best of its use. I
really learned how we can use every situation to talk to people all
around us.

Wednesday was the day when we hit the streets and we were able to find
most of the old Investigators of the Elders that were in the area
before us. One really got my mind going and he has some real potential,
if he will follow all the commandments of God and just progress. His
name is Brother Ralph and his wife is a less active and they have a
little baby that me and my comp gave a blessing so she could get
better from the sickness. After he asked us how we were able to bless
her and we talked about the Priesthood and all the blessings that come
from it. He said he would try to come to church but he did not know
with his work schedule.

Friday we did a CSP in the church building with some of the members
here. It is so fun to have members that want to do things with the
missionary's, and a little secret, the better you are with the members
means more referrals and meals for free. So me and my comp are really
trying to get good at it. After that we headed over to Sister Ivys
house and talked to her about the whole baptismal process. She will
getting baptized on Saturday and we are super pumped for her and the
change she will be making in her life.

Saturday before the baptism me and my comp went out and did some
tracting in some of the area we have never been, it was such a good
experience for us. My comp is pretty new in the mission only 3 months
so he is still trying to get comfortable. We found a guy that his wife
is a member but she lives on another island while he is working here.
He said we could come back and teach him. He also took a copy of the
Book of Mormon and said that he would start reading it. Me and my comp
both got a good feeling from the whole lesson talk with him. We then
headed to the Baptism of Sister Ivy, it was a great thing for me to
see again. The spirit was so strong and she was very emotional when
the whole thing was over. I was surprised because after her nonmember
daughter came up to me and asked when we could come and start teaching
her and when she could be baptized.

I thank the Lord everyday that I have the chance to help these people
come to the knowledge of what is the real purpose of life and why they
are here. He kept blessing us when all of a sudden Brother Ralph came
to church for sacrament and he was just smiling the whole time. I just
get this swelling in my heart when I think of the life of Jesus Christ
he was the supreme example of what we need to become in this life. I
pray that all of you search the Standard Works and find the answers
that I have found.

All in all not a bad week, but we are both super stoked for the next
little while for us here. We have a lot of things that still need to
be done and many more people to talk to and teach. I love you all and
pray for you all every week, I miss you all even more with this
Christmas season but its comes with the Calling. Don't worry about me
I'll do my best to stay out of trouble.

Love Elder Swanton

Monday, November 9, 2015

Whitewashing in Molo

Updates from Jacob...
Dear Family,

This week was full of some crazy times and also some really sad ones.
I was really able to check myself and see how much I was able to learn
after one year in the mission. I will try to get all I want to say
into one email.

Tuesday we had District meeting and I had a feeling that this would be
my last meeting with my district before I transferred. When we got
home Elder Mudrow and I headed out and went to work to find some
Families that want to hear this glad message. After a good day we did
not get what we wanted, both of the families we were having really
good progress with moved and said they would get a hold of us and that
is not good news for a missionary. I really was humbled in this area,
I really put all I had in the tank and sometimes its just not enough.
We did however make sure that we planted as many seeds as we could.

Wednesday I was pretty sure that I would be transferring so I spent
today packing and then we headed out so we could visit some of the
members and less actives that I have gotten close to in this place. I
will never forget the work that went into bringing some of these
people back to the church. I wish that every Elder in the mission has
the chance to serve in the areas that I have served in. They are all a
great place to find out why you are here and get some good work done.

Thursday I get the call that I need to get to the mission home by 11
am for transfer meeting. It was so good to see all my brothers that
would be transferring as well. I was super pumped to see where
President wanted me to serve and when they read the transfer sheet I
got a good old surprise. He read my name and said, Elder Swanton and
Elder Mirasol will be whitewashing in Molo 1B. I was super happy but
at the same time I knew that I had some serious work to do. Molo is a
big ward on the island and it is 100 percent City. The other hard part
is that we were whitewashing so we have no idea were anything is or
who people are.

The next couple days were crazy to say the least, lets just say I
thought things were crazy in the bukid but things here in the city are
just out of this world. The question dad asked the last time we Skype
was have you seen anything you know like really bad? I have been in
this area for a little over 4 days and have seen some of the craziest
things in my whole life. My comp is this really small Philippine from
Bacolod. It is really sick because he speaks strait Illongo so I have
gotten good at the language. The other nice thing is that I have to
lead in all the lessons and finding so my language has really gotten

I am just so blessed to have this opportunity to be here in the city
and have a ward that loves the gospel. Back home we really take for
granted all of our callings and time we spend in the Church. Some of
the members just pray and fast for half the success that we have back
home. I love this part of my life and am so happy to serve my Lord and
teach his people around this world.
Love your son,
Elder Swanton

Monday, November 2, 2015

One year

Updates from Jacob:

My People,

Happy Halloween, Well it has officially been more than a year since I
headed into the MTC. I can say that a lot has changed in that time and
it has really started to blow my mind.

I will just jump to all the cool things that happened this week. So
for my one year mark I took a bunch of pants in to get them fitted and
man are they sweet. The new style over here is skinny skinny fitted
clothes so that is what I did with these pants and all my shirts. They
look good and I am really happy with them all. We were able to eat
lunch with Elder Larson and the boys from Miag-ao.

Thursday was the official one year in the mission day and we really
had a good day. Elder Mudrow and I just tracted all the places that I
have not gone. I can now say that while I have been in Tigbauan we
have hit every Burungy from here to the end of my area. I wish that I
could say that most of the people let us in but sadly they did not.
Anyway for dinner we had Larson and Elder Nillias come over and we ate
at my Member family here in Tigbauan. The Lopez family has been with
me the whole time that I have been here and I don't know if I would
have made it if they were not here. We all had a great time and then
after Larson and I burned the Traditional White Shirt to signify one
year in the mission.

Another crazy thing that happened is on Tuesday when I was teaching
District meeting. All of a sudden President Aquino come walking around
the corner. I was super nervous because I might have forgotten to
shave that day and might have also been wearing a skinny tie. But in
the end it all worked out really well. I taught how we all need to
focus on the here and now and not get caught up in the past or future.
That really applies to me because I feel the more I forget what is
happening back home and just push trough the better the work goes and
the more miracles that I am able to see.

Things that I have noticed happen in the last year is the following, I
am now able to speak and understand the language that I at first
thought would be impossible to learn. I have dropped a large amount of
weight because none of my clothes fit anymore and that is good and
bad. My body has built up the strongest wall against food borne
Illness, I am known in the mission for being the Elder who can eat the
local food and not get sick and the members love that. When other
Elders don't want to eat and kinda offend the members, here comes Elder
Swanton to save the day. Lastly and most important I have found out
how simple and beautiful this gospel is. If we as missionary's just
come to realize how great the sacrifice was then we will become so
much more effective in our work here.  I have loved this last year of
my mission and can't wait to get on to the rest of it.

Thank you for the videos they really made my day with those. I miss
all of you so much.

Love Elder Swanton