Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Leave it all on the field

Dear Family,

This week was a good one full of splits with other Elders and really getting a feeling for our area.

Tuesday after District meeting I was able to head back to my old area in Molo and it was the most fun I have had in a while. Elder Rassmussen and I headed out to work. He is from Utah and we hit it off real quick. Turns out his dad loves the whole Enduro-Cross thing and they watch all the Erzburg Rodeo movies to. So we spent the day talking about bikes and what our favorite trails were in the state. I was also able to show him the whole area because he is new to the area. It was so good to see all of my old members and see how much they missed me. It is always nice to be remembered and loved hahah. I will be headed back next week to give a baptismal date to a sister that I found during my time there. She has now progressed to baptism, no work will go unnoticed.

Wednesday me and the comp went out and it must have been the hottest day in human history. My skin went from tan to pink in minutes and the next thing we both know we were dead from the heat. The rest of the day was full of ice water and teaching some of our less actives. In our area they are the gold mine that lead to baptisms and bringing people back to the church for their eternal sake. 

Thursday I went on splits with Elder Hallmark my batch mate from Provo. It was really fun to be able to see how we all progress differently. He was assigned on the other end of the island for a long time and I have been in the city for a good long time now. Anyway in the beginning of our missions we did not get along but as we both became more focused on the work we had a super fun day of work in my area. We visited one of my moms here in the area and she gave us some life advice haha they love telling us what we need to do in life to become successful. 

Saturday we had Stake Conference and it was the best I have been to in a long time. We were able to hear from the President of the Cebu Temple and also Elder Perez of the Seventy. I learned so much about our duty to the temple and how the temple should be full and fully working until the day of the second coming. We have a very important work to do. All the Elders I am going to room with made a pact we would get to the temple once a week for the our time in school. We want to do our part in the establishing of the kingdom and we have missed out on two years of temple visits. Its really hard because sometimes I feel that is all I need is just a trip to the temple. To feel that special spirit and get back into the work of the Lord. But we have to find that somewhere else here in our mission. Bet your bottom dollar that after the mission I will be spending alot of time in the Temple. 

Sunday was Stake Conference Part 2. We did not actually get to listen because there was so many people we could not fit in. So we stayed int the office and talked about transfers and what my next area will most likely be. Its crazy to think my next area will be my last and then its off to the cold arctic tundra of Cache Valley. 

The goal now is to prepare for the next part of the mission. To leave it all behind as they say. I have close to six months left to give it all I have and leave it all there on the field. I want to get on that plane and have only good things to think about on the way home to my family. 
Elder Swanton


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Power of conference

Dear Fam,

Well I can say that this week has held some of the biggest changes in
my whole mission for me. As I listened to General Conference it was a
spiritual awakening for me. I will try to explain the feelings and
thoughts that I have for this week.

Tuesday we had zone training and it was a great time for all the
missionaries in our zone. We spread the training's out between the
STLs and the District Leaders and then Elder Crichton and I finished
up. We feel like the elders and sisters really understood the
direction that the mission is looking to go the next couple months.

Wednesday we went on splits in San Miguel with Elder Bowden our
District Leader. I went to give a baptismal interview to the first
family to be baptized in the new area. We started out early at the
opening of the first 7-11 in San Miguel. After getting in the mayor of
San Miguel came over and we had a good 20 minute talk with him about
the gospel and how much it could help him. He was a really nice
persona and also the first mayor I had ever talked to. We also talked
to all the other high ranking officials in the town, it was one of the
funnest mornings I have had in a while. That night I interviewed
the family and they were so ready for baptism the because they had a
testimony of the Gospel and they are rock solid.

Saturday was the start of General Conference and also the start of a
new mindset.  I loved the priesthood session and how they really
focused on the power of the priesthood. How can we as males in the
church live worthy of the same priesthood God made the Earth with. It
really opens up the brain to some pretty thinking time.

Sunday was the same thing for all of us.The power of Elder Hollands
talk was almost unreal in the chapel we were sitting in. You would
not believe how many people were in tears. Take in mind that most of
these members do not understand English, but the spirit was so strong
that they didn't need to. I am so grateful we were able to listen to the
short and powerful messages from President Monson. The Priesthood of
God can Literally save lives in we are worthy.

I love you all and hope you had the best week ever.

Love Elder Swanton

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hard work pays off

Dear Family,

Well what a week we had here in the Crazy City of Mandurriao. Elder
Crichton and I really saw the work that goes into making all of the
system work so smoothly. Behind all the meetings, there are some really
in-depth Follow ups so that it all runs ok.

Tuesday was the last district meeting we had before transfers and our
whole team got transferred to the other parts of the island. It was a
great discussion about how we as missionary's can help our area by
being the best we can be. After that one of the members From Elder
Crichton's last area came and bought  us lunch and she also brought us
some t-shirts from Kalibo since I will never serve there.

Wednesday we had splits in my old area Molo and it was so much fun to
go back and see all the progress that the Elders are having and then
being able to visit the recent converts as well. They are doing so
well and because of their conversion, their family will also follow
them to the waters of baptism. At 5pm we had a meeting with the Stake
Presidency and President Aquino. We had a great meeting and me and
Elder Crichton looked great because of our super indentation report of
all our units. The Stake President was impressed and because of
that President Aquino took all of us out to MacDonald's. Hard Work pays
off ,hahah.

Thursday we had the first day of Mission Leader Conference. It was with
all the ZLs and STLs, we were able to identify some things that the
mission really needed to change in order to become the best it can.
That night we had a huge bonfire at our house and it was crazy. Believe
it or not most people over here don't just have fires for no reason, so
the neighbors were a little concerned, but when we talked to them they
were fine. Long night full of guitars and lots of food from the people
next door.

Friday was day two and the District Leaders were invited, we split up
as zones and came up with plans on how we can help our Elders and
Sisters fully understand what we are trying to do. It went great and
we are pumped for Tuesday and zone training.

Sunday was a step back day for me and Elder Crichton. We made plans
for how we can become the best example for our Zone. We both admit we
kinda slacked off but now we have the plans and the determination to
become the Zone Leaders we need to be.

I love you all,
Elder Swanton

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Happy Easter

Dear Family,

All I have to say after this very spiritual Holy week is that the
Philippines really know how to celebrate the death of Jesus Christ.
For one whole week everything closes down and people get to marching
around our city. It was so much fun to see how other
religions observe this Holy occasion. I will do my best to describe the
events that lead up to the Sabbath day over here.

Wednesday was super fun because we got to go on some splits with our
Elders from Lapaz. I went with Elder Tolman and Elder Crichton went
with a new missionary. Elder Tolman and I went out and had a great
time at some less actives houses and then all of a sudden we both just
felt so sick like in the stomach. We came to the conclusion it must
have been from the street food we had just eaten. We spent the rest of
the day at the house taking turns in the bathroom but in the end it
was a great day because we got to talk about the zone and his area and
how to help it progress.

Thursday was the start of Holy week which means no jeeps, a small
problem for Elders that still have meeting with stake leaders across
the city. A long story short in the end we finally got a jeep and made
it to the office for our high council meeting. It went great and we
are so excited for the future of our zone here in central. We were
also able to have a talk with the aps about the upcoming transfers.
Its crazy the transfers over here we almost feel like we are drafting
missionaries into our zones to revive dead and closed areas.

Friday turned out to be the most ineffective day I have had in a good
long time. Every store, Every jeep and every person was not available
to listen to the Mormon Missionaries. After hours of being told how
wrong we were and how we would spend the next life in hell because of
our Beliefs. We headed back to the house and watched the crazy Idol
Parades outside our house. That night we had a big surprise dinner for
one of the sisters in our District that is going home tomorrow. Sister
Averion was one of the funnest sisters I have met in my mission, she
will be missed.

Saturday was a day at the beach literally. Mandurriao ward had our
Ward Party/Baptisms at Riverside Resort in Oton. I was the best day in
a while we were able to have a baptism in the ocean and also have so
much fun with the ward. We feel so much closer and the ward members
have more trust for us. All in all the best day in a while.

Sunday did not go as we planed but in the end it was good. Church we
had a good turn out and we were able to help out with some blessings.
Also the Soliman family was at church so it was just a way sweet
feeling to see the converts of all your hard work and to hear their
very strong and ever growing testimony.

This week was so much fun and me and Elder Crichton are doing great
and everyday is a new adventure. I am doing well just trying to work
off all these dang dinner appointments that we have. We are for sure
spoiled here in the wonderland of Mandurriao.

I love you all,
Elder Swanton