Monday, February 23, 2015

Staying in Bugasong to labor....

Updates from Jacob.....

Here we go, just two weeks left and man its gonna be long ones. So yeah mom, I am better and all I have is just a little cough, and its not bad cause everyone in our zone is sick. I must have been the first. Man it stinks that there is no snow back home cause you will never guess, its still as hot as heck here. So this week has been an ok week. To start we headed down to San Jose on Tuesday for interviews with the president. It was super interesting to say the least. He did not do individual interviews, he did companionship. That was super awkward. When he was like "what has your trainer taught you?" and I said "Well he has taught me the area and how to speak the language". But I think we have taught each other instead of him just simply teaching me. President said, so you feel like you know the area? I was thinking, well oh no I guess I am staying here. He said yep you are staying in Bugasong. I don't know if I will be training or will be getting a follow up trainer. That is the real mystery that me and Elder Larson are trying to figure out. Larson was told the same exact thing.
But yeah we are all just doing our best to make it through these last couple weeks.  We just take it a day at a time. O Yeah I forgot to say I found a crab, he is so sick and also the three cats that are in the back had kittens so nights here are long. All we hear is all the cats meowing all night long. Larson has about had it with them haha I think that it is super funny. But for the most part all of the week just went into getting our investigators ready for baptism. As of right now we will have five baptisms on March 7 and then the following week is transfers. I am super excited for the 7th it should be a great day. 
These past few weeks I have really been thinking about why I came over here, and what my purpose is. I read my Patriarchal blessing yesterday and it really got my mind back on track. I also read D and C 24:8 everyday with out fail. It just makes me feel good knowing that the lord will always be with me. I love hearing all the news of back home and I love all of you and hope that this next week will be a little better for you. I pray for you all every night and hope to hear from you again. Tell Micheal to keep up the good work with lacrosse and tell Ethan to get moving and get active haha. Tell adde that I love her and hope she is still growing out that hair. 
Love you mom and dad.
Elder Swanton

PS. The Pictures are of Tatay Celestial and his batchoy farm, and also of the Boutista family. We also took some Twilight pictures in the woods before a funeral. And of course Elder Larson captured a picture of me studying with Chester sleeping at my feet, this is an everyday thing. And Carlton the crab.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Hardest week so far.....

Update from Jacob...

Man, I am so thankful for family. To start with, this week was the hardest I have had since I have left home and just reading all the emails from the family has made all the difference this p-day. Oh and tell Aunt Jen that I got her package and that she is the best. Now to answer the questions, No, I have not gone in to get my clothes fixed. I will explain why in the rest of the email. Ok, so Tuesday we headed down to Iloilo for the trainer-trainee meeting and that was the worst ride of my life. The drive to Iloilo should take about 3 hours. This one was the worst bus we have ever seen. Also, when we were on the mountain pass, a gas tanker rolled so there was gas all over and just a bunch of dudes smoking camels cleaning it up. So yeah, not the best ride. To top it off, it was the last ceres (scheduled bus) for the night so we packed more people than should ever be on a bus. Ok, so we get there and I have the worst night ever. I think that I have picked up some kind of sickness, which is so fun and has gotten progressively worse and now is followed by some of the best LBM I have ever had. Haha, it's a joke cause I have never had it, but yeah I am just trying to get through that and have been pretty bedside for about two days. But mom don't worry, it's all good cause the Lord is with me and I got a blessing, so I should be good to go. Alright, so the meeting was good. It was so awesome to see all the bros from the MTC. I have included a picture of all the boys and also a picture of me and Elder Frandsen and also if you look in the corner you will see President just jumping one of our pictures. Yep, it's crazy to think I am just three weeks away from training or getting transferred.

So the news to report is the language is really coming cause my companion pulled a fast one on me this week. He just said, "You remember how you acted the first week?" and I said, "Yeah, I was useless." He said, "Yeah, that is how I am going to act for the rest of the time. Your in charge." Ever since then my teaching skills have just exploded. It sucks cause I am mad at him for it, but it's so good for me. So back to the meeting, the training was good, just kinda a repeat of the last meeting. We all just chatted and talked some mad chismiss or gossip, hahah. Sorry this email will be super random and I am just doing my best to remember the week. So on Thursday we headed back cause we had to speak at a funeral. What a day that was because we did not even know the guy. He was 22 and died of sleep apnea. Super sad! Then, we had to dedicate the grave at a Catholic cemetery. After that, we came home cause it was so dang weird and I needed to rest. Haha, but it's all good. Some other news, we have 5 projected baptisms on March 7. It's a whole family in that burunguy up in Tica. A side note on Tica, the whole place is infested with chicken pox, not good. I have never felt so bad for these little kids. They just want to come play games with us and they are just so tired and covered that they have to stay inside. I just spent my whole day up there carrying water for the old women and getting firewood for the families. Ok so yeah, this email might sound a little negative, but we are just doing our best to make the best of it. I love hearing about the family and make sure they all know that I pray for them every night. This has been without a doubt the hardest week since I got here but hey it's already over and guess what we just keep moving just like the gospel. When people don't want to listen, we move on. There are so many that want or need the gospel. They are just waiting for a bunch of 18-19 old kids to come teach them. 
I love you all and can't wait to hear from you again.
Love Elder Swanton


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Hard work, hot bikes and everybody loves bacon...

Updates from Jacob.....

All I can say is wow. This week was a long one. To start with yes, we had zone conference and it was a interesting experience, the new Zone leaders are Elder Wadman and Elder Handal, they both came from very different places, one came from Aklan and the other from Iloilo central. But yeah it was super fun cause we got to see everyone again and that night we all went and stayed in Sibalom. But yeah then we headed on home and cleaned the house cause it was filthy.  The rest of the week we were preparing Bevelyn Ceslestial for baptism. She had a Word of Wisdom issue and she is 8 years old. So yeah that was interesting for me to see a 8 year old girl who drinks coffee every morning. We got that cleaned up and it all was good she had been clean for about 10 days and the Branch President said that we could baptise her on Saturday. We have some other investigators in the Burunguy Tica its way up in the Bukid with the rice fields. I have included some pictures of the kids and the sunset from the house we taught at. It is a family and there are so many little girls and teenager girls its nuts. Like it is literally nuts. I have no idea what is going on the whole time. The kids here are so funny they think they are so funny so they call me a baka, or a baboy. That means cow and pig. Little do they know I can understand them and then I pick them up and spin them around and they are quiet real quick. Haha I love it.
 To end the week on Saturday I finally had that one great day. It was uncle Ben who told me" that for every Great day you will have 30 bad ones". I know that statement is true, these past few weeks have just been the hardest ever. And it all came to an end on Saturday. We woke up bright and early  and headed for the Celsetial house.  We got them and headed all the way down to Gesuan, the place where we do all the baptisms. The Ocean felt so good and we had an amazing Baptismal Service. After the baptism we got on a jeepney for about an hour and finally got to Patanogon. It is on the edge of our area. We were looking for a referral that we had received. When we found them, I can truly say that I have never seen anyone who was more ready for the gospel in my life. The tatay was so happy to see us. The previous week he had asked for a blessing and some Elders from the San Jose area had come and given him one. He had been having heart problems and was not doing too well. He said they taught him how to pray and he prayed every night since then and he was feeling a ton better. I feel really good about them and hope that everything we do will help them in the end.
But yeah The week was good. The pictures I'm sending are of the Cagunda kids and the area in Tica, and also the baptism and the biggest pig I have ever seen in my life. Like you guys have no idea how big it is, almost 800 kg do the math please for them mom. For dad some pics of the average bikes around here and to finish some pictures of the Tatoy family. They are my main go to people here. They cook for us if we are hungry and have clean water when we are thirsty. 
 Love you all and cant wait till next week.
Elder Swanton


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Baptisms and battlefields.......

Updates from Jacob......

Ok, well another pretty cool week here across the world. We had a fun p day down in San Jose and did some crazy basketball games with the locals down there. After Me and Elder Larson went and ate at our favorite little dinner spot. I don't know what to call it, but it has food in a window and just like ten chairs. I get the same thing every week:1 rice, liver, intestines, and don't forget the lumpia on the side. Its soo good and for only 63 pesos I will get that any day.
 So yeah the rest of the week we were just getting ready for the baptisms on Saturday. Everything was going just fine until we headed out to the Celestial family( they are the ones who live in the middle of the rice fields.) When the branch president got done with the baptismal interview he came back and told us that there were a couple problems with the interview. He said that she drinks coffee every morning and that she thought that it would be funny not to tell us. This girl is 8 years old and she has been drinking coffee since she was 4. They sure do things differently around here, I was just devastated, all that work and she said she would try to stop. So we had to reschedule for the next Saturday. If she can go a week and a half with no coffee then she can be baptized. So yeah the rest of the week we have just been checking up on her and our other little girl Elline Galaxia she has been progressing so good and yep everything went how it should and she was baptized on Saturday it was such a cool experience. Man that makes 4 since I got here and they all have stayed pretty active. The hardest part is that most of the people that get baptized, they will come to church for the next 2 months or so and then just disperse. Never to be seen again, it makes our purpose pretty hard to complete.
I took some pictures of the main room in the house and the back yard, the yard is a work in progress. I have a lot to do. I built a flower bed and a big fire pit because we have to burn our trash, which you guessed it, is way good for the lungs. Hahaha but its all good, I always wanted lung cancer from burning plastic and trash.
 Church was just the biggest battle field I have ever been to, yeah dad Elder Sessions was at church and we had a great turn out. We finally hit our big mark 51 people showed up. When we showed up 7 weeks ago there was only 17 people at church and we hit 51. It felt so good and I had almost all of my new investigators show up to church. The battle started in Ward Council. We had a big agenda and the ward leaders were going to report on how there classes were going. The first thing that happens is one of the RS sister's stood up and said "I hate this branch and everyone in it, How can this church be true if all of you are apart of it? I am leaving!" and yeah she left. So next the YW Leaders stood up and said if they did not get more money that they were not going to come to church anymore either. Yeah and guess what Elder Sessions and the District Presidency left not 10 minutes before all this happened.
 But yeah here is some pics of the crazy life I live and I just want all of you to know that I love you and pray for you every night. 
Love  Elder Swanton

PS: here are some pics of the festival we tried to teach in. The whole road was blocked off and they would not let us through. And Yep that is the Trike (bike taxi) that they are able to fit 15 people in and they all are pretty comfortable. O yeah here is my breakfast and a pic of Chester sleeping under my desk. Its his favorite spot all day.
Festival plus cool bike taxi
yummy something on rice

so green

trouble times 3

Main room of the house

Flower garden?

Chester sleeping under desk

Elline Galaxia Baptism this past week