Monday, January 26, 2015

High on a mountain top....

Updates from Jacob.....

 Family of mine,
Well I will try to explain everything that has been going on this past week. The zone conference was so cool. We got so much great training and of course I was called up in front of the entire two zones. President was like, "Elder Swanton will you describe the 10 commandments in Kari-a for the Missionary's here" and I was like "yeah I can try." So I get up there and I totally forget the question and just say yeah we need to follow the commandments so we don't burn on the last days and everyone just started laughing and the President was laughing too, so I would say that it was a good explanation. Most of the training was on how and what a missionary is and does. Its was great.  But its all good, cause guess what, I am already six weeks down which means just six more weeks and then I can become the missionary that I want to be. In other news, I have to take all my shirts in and pants cause they all make me look so darn chubby and I need to get them like taken in, I don't know how to describe it, but mom you know what I am talking about. But yeah we have been having a lot of success in this burunguy called tica. It is a 30 minute trike ride out into the rice fields. When we show up the kids just start running at me they love to just hang on my arms as I walk. Its fun but all of my white shirts are getting ruined cause the kids, well lets just say they are not the cleanest haha. But  anything for them to get a good smile out of the day. So yeah its kinda weird all we teach is little girls. We have about 13 more baptisms planed for next month and I think that we will be able to get them all. Its just hard because the kids they all want to learn but the parents they have little to no interest in what we are teaching. Like this one family, they are the Sanyols and they are just the golden family. The parents don't work on Sunday and all the girls love what we teach them. But then when Sunday came around only two of the girls went to church. But still I love teaching them, and I pray every day that they will accepted what we teach and come to church.
 So coming to the end of the week when we had some extra time we went to Brother Perpectos house and he wanted to climb a mountain. So yeah we climbed the second highest mountain in Bugasong. I have attached some pictures of that it was so fun and so dangerous haha. I am alive and yet here to speak to you in the words of Ammon. So on Sunday we had a great day kind of, we had more people come to church than have ever come. 48 people showed up to church and yeah it was crazy we were even missing some of the main family's that always come. I know that if we keep trying to get people to church we will start to have some success. That is really all I think that happened. Just another week in the field and many more to come.
 I love all of you and hope you can get some rest and have a good week.
Elder Swanton
I love hiking this much! Where is a dirt bike when I need it...
Elder Larsen, Brother Perpectos, and me.

Me and my comp.
Brother Perpectos.....How does he do it?
Zone Conference- I'm far left...


Monday, January 19, 2015

Some good progress and cobra's?

Update from Jacob......

Well family, another week down. Elder Larson and I were talking, next week we will have been on our missions for three months! So yeah, that is a little bit exciting. This week has been a pretty crazy one. To start, we had a good turn out on Sunday. It still is nowhere near how many people should be there. Pero amat amat lang and then hopefully we will be able to have the branch turn into a ward. My weeks seem to be blending in. Anyways, we have been preparing these three little girls for baptism this next week and they seem to all be moving right along. It's crazy to see how much these little kids can take in and retain. I just don't think American kids have the ability to learn this stuff and remember all of it. So, the other day we were walking up to this Barungay and all of a sudden like thirty kids come running at me. The kids here love to grab my arms and hang off them and then I just spin a circle and they all fly off. They love it and then I ask them how old they are and what their name is. So after that,(they had all just got me all full of dirt), one of the girls said "What are Mormons?" I was like well this is a perfect opportunity. My companion wanted to keep walking. I just stopped and said no these kids want to know about the gospel and we are not going to walk away. So we walk to their house and they start to talk to us. It turns out that their parents don't even work on Sunday and they don't have any religion. So, I was like can we teach you and your family. They said they would love to have us come back. So, for the first time I put my foot down and now we have 7 new investigators. It felt good to have done something other than teach the same people and stop and rest for the same amount of time.  Also, I took some pictures of the dog that we have staying at the house where we rent a room. His name is Chester French and he is the sickest thing that has happened to us at this place. Whenever I come home and it has been a hard day, either we just got rejected or no one was home or we just walked 10 miles, that dog is just sleeping on the front steps and it is always happy to see us. Me and Elder Larson also run every morning and the dog will run with us. It is awesome. Today, we had a zone activity and we headed down to Sebalum. It's the area right below ours and we did a long and strait up hike. I will try to send the video. It was so dang fun. So the brothers with me are Elder Oarr. He is from Canada and is only 3 months ahead of me and Larson and he is so sick. Man, we have some fun times. So yeah, we are on this hike and I got so sunburned. We also rode on the top of the Jeepney and it was so awesome. The falls were so far up and we saw so many cobras! Yeah, I mean cobras. They are some thick, long, and nasty snakes. I don't want to get mixed up with one of those. Well, what to say, I know this church is true. I love the people here. I know that no matter how hard the trail, the Lord is always there. I will look at this little bump as a trial and I know it will make me strong. God loves us all and he does have a plan. It just takes some time to find it and never leave. I love you all and man I can't wait to see where this journey takes me and you all.
 Love your son and missionary,
Elder Swanton

"Chester French"

Hiking to the falls

The falls

Jeepney ride

Monday, January 12, 2015

Loving the people here....

Updates from Jacob.....

Well I would like to start out by saying sorry all of the pictures I took this week were on the wrong setting so they are all huge. But yeah, this week was so fun and at the same time it really makes me rethink why I am here. We had alot happen this week. So on Tuesday we headed down to San Jose for a Zone Conference. It was so fun because me and Elder Larsen got to see some of our batch mates that we have not seen in a while and they are all doing really good. It was also so fun because Larsen and I had the musical number for the conference. We borrowed Brother Perpectos guitar and I just made up a song on the spot and it was so fun everyone was super surprised that we could both sing and play guitar. Just before we played the zone leaders had just gotten on everyone's case for not making numbers for the month so it was good cause we softened the mood and made everyone smile. I included a picture of Elder Swanton, Elder Larson, and Elder Corenel.
 So this week we did some of our first tracting ever since I got here. Anyways we found some more people to teach and some Less Actives that we are working on right now. Elder Larsen and I wake up at 5:40 to go running and we get back at 6:30 and get done all of what we need to.  Anyways on to the rest of the week. So we have two little girls that have baptismal dates for the 24 of January so we are working on getting them ready for the huge commitment. They both seem really to be getting it pero, they don't ever study. This week I have also changed how I teach people. I have just accepted that I can't speak very well, so I just use it to my advantage with people. It makes people listen more intently and really try to understand what I say. And when it come to kids, you just have to play with them as much as they mess with you. I started to do these things not two days ago and I can already see change in how people treat me.
So on to Sunday, I had been praying all week that we would have some new people come to church and as we get there we see Sister Floreses husband who has not been to church for 10 years. He looked like he had a lot on his mind. So we ended up having about 40 people come which is super good for us. It means there is progress, also we had Brother Sessions with us for church. So I finally got to speak some English and man it was so nice. Anyways during priesthood we were having a discussion of the power of repentance. Brother Sessions shared a scripture and Brother Flores just started to cry and say that he will not be missing anymore church from now on because he knows that it will bless him and his family. After church we went to go teach the Celestial family. They are the ones who live in this little compound with all of their family and it is in the middle of all these rice fields. So we were walking to there house and then we see that they are planting all the rice which means that all the path ways and walkways are covered with water so I just rolled up the old pants and headed in the middle of knee deep rice fields. So half way there the kids see us and I just see about 15 little kids running or swimming at us and as soon as they get to me they just swarmed over me, so just imagine me walking in knee deep muddy water with 3 kids on one arm and 3 on the other and I am holding them above the water hahah it was soo fun. So as we get closer I am getting more tired so right as we get there I just let my arms drop and all these kids just fall into some water, it was so funny and they are all laughing so hard. We taught a great lesson and then everything that happened, happened all over again.
Other than that just a normal week in the field for a missionary here in the Philliys. 
We also got a dog, I just forgot to take a picture of it. I know that if I keep doing what I need to that you will all will be safe. Tell everyone that I love them and pray for them.                           
Love your slightly skinnier son,
Elder Swanton

Zone Conference
Shorts Pants

Add caption
Elders Swanton, Larson and Corenel

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Update from Jacob.....

Hellooooo Family,
Well, its been awhile since I have been in contact but, I had better tell you mom, Yes I did receive both packages and no I have not opened them because I am down at the Zone Leaders house for a couple days with the rest of the zone and I don't want to open a package with 14 other Elders who did not get any packages! So yes I will wait until I get home and then next week I will say thanks for all of the stuff. Well the family sounds like they are doing good and all tell all the kids that I said good luck and do good in school and don't take it for granted. Anyways I'm just sitting here in an internet cafe down in San Jose on our p-day drinking a coconut and cookies and cream smoothie and it is so nice here. The air conditioning here is funny cause if people have it then it is as cold as it can possibly go haha.
 So on to the week. I'm am going to try to be a little more in depth but no promises. So things here have been a little bit better because we had the traveling APs come to our house and go out with us during the day. So that was Wednesday and on Thursday we started to teach Sarah Boustista again. She was going to be baptized that Saturday. So we got everything ready and taught her and she was interviewed and she was found to be go to be baptized. So I was super pumped for that. Now we are to New Years Eve and things here really start to pick up haha. So new years night I went to bed around 10:15 and then at like 12:00am my comp and Elder Larsen wake me up and tell me that we are heading to our neighbors house to have a feast of food. I have included a picture of the fun. So I headed over there and here is just a head of a pig and the whole family is just watching Lord of the Rings 3. So we grabbed some food and watched the whole dang movie and yes it was soo long hahah but it was a great time. They are not members but they are our landlords so we gave them a little message and headed home not bad for a New Years party. And while we slept little did we know someone shot a fire work at our house and burnt my comps towel hahahahaha. So on New Years we had a Sarahs Boutistas baptism and little did I know that there was a small typhoon coming our way right during the baptism. So me and Elder Olivar headed there and when we get there her dad is way mad. He is yelling and saying that he does not want his daughter to be dunked in the middle of a Bage-o or storm. He looks at me and says how much do you weight and I said like 140 kilos and he said Ok you can do it but not him, and he pointed at my comp. I was like holy cow ok, yeah it was kinda interesting as we walk down to the shore the waves are five to six feet tall and it is so darn choppy out there I did not even want to do it. I said a prayer that the waves would calm down and I carried her out into the waves because she did not want to walk. 
I was walking backwards so that she did not get hit in the face, and about ten feet out a huge 7 foot wave hits me in the head and we go under and lucky I was able to keep my feet or we would have been gone, the back current was so strong. So any ways I tried to baptize her but she was freaking out at that point she would not let go of me. So I carried her back to shore and her dad had to talk to her. I asked him if he still wanted to do this and he said yes. So I pick her up one more time and head back out into the tempest. I kid you not the storm looked like Satan himself was powering the waves. I raised my hand to the square and a huge wave was coming so I finished and she started to freakout cause she could see the wave, but I could not and then I just shoved her under and picked her up and just held on as another wave hit me right in a back. I was slowly able to make it back to shore and she was so happy and smiling. So yeah that was my week just another week in not so paradise am I right. Well I love you all and mom, my favorite place so far would be Tica, it is a small town in the middle of 10 miles of rice fields. We have to walk on these little rice patty paths to get out to the members houses. The kids always see us way before they get there and they run so fast to come and see us. I love this place and the work even though it is for real the hardest thing ever. My favorite family is Nanay Lele. She is a old grandma in the middle of no where and she is such a strong member and so is all of her family. Ever time we go there she makes me a soup of just straight grass and leaves and tells me that if I eat it my diabetes will go away. The fun thing is that I don't have diabetes and the soup taste so darn good ahahah. I love you all, ha seeing all the kids here go back to school makes me think of back home and how much I miss you guys. Love god and never think that he is not listening to you or any of your prayers. Love 
Elder Swanton

PS. I finally finished the Book of Mormon and have started the bible and I am pumped to keep reading.
Where we live

Gourmet kitchen

Cool tile

Sweet New Years Eve Party- pig is not smiling

Baptism in flip flops

Coconut Dreaming in Bugasong

Update from Jacob:

My first coconut and they are not at all what I was thinking that it would be. Not very sweet and not very good at all actually. The other picture is of Brother Propecto. He is this awesome dude and hey plays the guitar way good better that I do. His family are part members, they can't always afford to come to church. More to come...

I don't think it was ripe!
Sweet guitar!