Monday, September 26, 2016

Never give up hope

Dear Family,

Well another week down and not to many left on the old countdown list. I really don't know were the time is going anymore it feels like just yesterday I was emailing home my week and now here we are again. 

Tuesday we had some crazy rain that really slows down the work but even with the rain we were able to get out and find some new people to teach. We have been working with the members a lot latley so that when we meet new people they have a fellow shipper right off the bat. Our favorite member is Brother Elmer he is the one in pics with the glasses on. His testimony is so strong and he always just wants to get after it and find new people. Honestly when I work with brother Elmer he gives me the extra spark everyday to get out and do everything I can to help people come unto Christ. 


Wednesday was a pretty big day, Elder Larson and I attended our last Zone Training and it was a pretty good one to end it off. It was funny because me and Larson are at least 10 to 15 months older in the mission than almost all the elders and sisters in our zone. I guess it just means that its time to head back to the wind whipped valley of Cache that I call home. Right after the training my Comps both started to feel really sick so we headed home and they slept it off. I had a feeling that the whole house would end up getting sick but we tried our best to stay clean. 

Thursday, Friday,and Saturday we are all sick as dogs. I really don't know what the heck is happening these days. All my mind wants to do is work as hard as I can to finish my mission in the right way. But my body is really taking some sick days these past two weeks. 


Sunday we had a couple miracles happen as we dragged our sick bodies to church. About half way through sacrament a sister walked in that turned out to be a former investigator that we had dropped a month or two ago. She was always hiding but she decided to come to church with her kids. Bishop called us into his office and there she was in tears and he said to us that we need to start teaching her. I just said yes and we scheduled a teaching time and I told her that this is the right thing for her to do at this time. The spirit in the room was so strong and I have a great feeling about the teaching appointment. 

Love you all and hope you have a great week, 
Elder Swanton

Friday, September 23, 2016

The work is accelerating


Well this week was not what I thought was going to happen my last transfer in the mission. I will try my best to describe the trails and the success that we were able to experience this week and how in the end we were able to make the best and have a great week.

Monday I got the call from the AP's that for the third time in a mission I would be training a new missionary. I don't know to many Elders that have had the chance to train 3 times so I am pumped to say the least. That night is the first night of the worst LBM I have had in my whole mission and it was just the first of many more to come. 

Tuesday we headed out and did some crazy finding to see how many less actives we could locate and then report back to bishop. It was so much fun to get back out on the streets and get after it. If there is one thing this mission has taught me its that you don't find people when you sit on your butt all day. Which after eating some street food was exactly what I did for the rest of the night. I think that I might be having some problems with my Gaul bladder because I cannot seem to digest grease in the least bit. So my diet has changed and it seems to be working cause I am losing tons of weight.


Thursday Elder Billings and I headed over to the office to pick up our new Comp. The new batch that came into the mission has to be the biggest in the whole mission history. They were 29 total not including the new couples that came in. When I walked into the chapel it was like day one for the third time haha. I had so much fun talking to all the new elders and seeing were they are from and who their MTC teachers were. When they called out the names Elder Billings and I gave out a big ChEEEEEEE WHOOOOOO and ran and gave our new comp a huge. He was a little Pinoy so he may have been a little scared but he was smiling the whole time. His name is Elder Tumbokon and he is from Quezon City North. He reminds me a lot of my first Trainee Elder Bontoyan, they just have a lot of the same mannerisms. As soon as we got home we hit the planning session and then headed out to meet some of the members in our area. I then spent almost all of the night in the bathroom with some great LBM. 

Saturday we woke up and did our study's and headed out to work. We headed back to one of my oyms earlier in the week and he was able to sow my shoes back together. I don't know if yall have noticed but I have only had those one black pair of Hush Puppies my whole mission and they are still doing great and have tons of tread left. My plan is to give them to Elder Crichton when I head home and he can finish his mission in them and then give them away to another elder. Anyways about 2 pm we went to the church to prepare for the baptisms we were going to be having later at around 3. Brother Rolly and Brother Arsenio were ready and willing so I was glad to help them on their way to salvation. All the elders in the mission call it Dunking Um so I did and they both almost made it to the bottom of the font. When Brother Rolly came up he was laughing and Brother Arsenio was just really happy to be baptized. 

Sunday Elder Billings and I both gave talks about service and missionary work. I can say it will be nice to give talks in English when I get home. But they both went great and after church we headed out and taught our progressing investigators. Brother Juan Carlos and Sister Juneah they are cousins and they both have a date for October 1st. Also my new diet means that I cannot eat anything that has grease or been cooked in a ton of grease. I will be eating veggies until I get home haha. But I am so excited for the weeks to come and I cant believe that another week has gone by. I guess this means that there is only 5 weeks left. 

I love you all, 
Elder Swanton

Friday, September 16, 2016

Last transfer

Dear Family,

Well this week has been one for the books to say the least. I have also been battling stomach problems all week and now they have finally gone away so I am pumped for the weeks to come. I am also amazed that this is my last transfer in the mission to think that after all this time it has come down to six short weeks before I come home. 

The whole week me and my comp have been getting ready for the baptisms in the upcoming months. I will have all of you know that I am not counting the days haha we don't even have a calendar on the wall cause I don't want to think about it all the time. I can say that the best two years may also be the fastest two years as well. 


I will just fill you in on the crazy news we just got last night. We were gathered around the kitchen table waiting for transfer txt from the AP's. When we got a call from Elder Tracy and he told me that not only were me and Elder Billings going to be comps for my last transfer but we would also be training a new missionary. I am so excited for the next 6 weeks and all the crazy times to come. We are hoping that we get to train an American elder so that we can be the 3 Joes were ever we go, but we will have to see what the cards have in store. 

One thing for sure is that it"s time to put it into overdrive, Elder Billings and I had a planning session last night and we are going to be the most obedient elders in the whole mission to see what miracles we can bring to our area. 

I love you all and know that this is the one true work. I know my place is right here in the field and I will work until we have harvested as many as the Lord allows in this Area. 

Love Elder Swanton

Monday, September 5, 2016

Teaching and helping

Dear Family,

The weeks really seem to by flying by and that is not really what I want to happen but I guess that is the aftermath of getting lost in the work. Mom I will get right on the office and have them send the right travel thing to y'all. Its good to hear that all of you are doing well and that life back home is fine. I am getting all fired up to get home and get me some of that cool autumn air. 

The breakdown of the week is pretty simple this time. We spent almost the whole week trying to find a house in our new area and at the very end we did it and then came the paper work and contract signing. After all the craziness we got moved in on Saturday. And right after we set our bags on the new floor we headed out the door so we could make it to our baptism. Sister Madelene was baptized by her dad who has been all but inactive for the last 20 years but because the spirit told him to come back about 6 weeks ago he prepared and was able to baptize his daughter. It was such a great experience to see the love of a father for his daughter and how much trust his daughter has for him. 
We spent the rest of the night unpacking in our new house. I love it so much it has high ceiling just like out house back home and its built like a Mexican bungalow. I will send some pics home next week. 

The pics with all the kids is on Saturday afternoon, after we got done cleaning out the AP's new house I found a big bag of Pesos so we decided to give it to all kids in the park close to our house and they loved it to say the least. Just seeing their smiles was enough to make my whole month. I love what we do over here. 

Sunday we went to church and had a great fast Sunday. In my time here in City ward we have increased in our weekly attendance by almost 40 and the ward is getting more and more every week. After the services we headed out and found some less actives that have not been visited for a long time. We got lucky and met one of their sons who is now 23 and still not a member. Antonio Jr. was his name and he has some real potential to become a Priesthood holder.  We ended the night with a big dinner appointment with the sisters at a members. Its always a good time to get everyone together and have a good time and eat some namit food. 


A great week to say the least and it also helped me to learn how much I love teaching and helping people understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. Something I have also learned is sometimes we just don't have the answers. I think that is the hardest thing to say to someone " I'm sorry I just don't know" but I do know were you can find the answers and if you really want them Heavenly Father will give them to you. 

I love and miss you all, 

Elder Swanton

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Not counting days...

Dear Family,

First of Happy birthday old man, I hope you had a great day. I can only imagine how the cold weather must be getting to you right now. Hopefully next year for your birthday we can get out on the mountain bikes and ride some single track. I love you dad and can't wait to get home and spend some time with the family. 

Well we have almost gotten into the rhythm of missionary work in our area. Everyday when we go out to work we see so many people that the Lord has placed in our path. Its funny because at the beginning of my mission I never noticed how many chances we have to make someones day and life so much better. 


Tuesday we were able to go on splits with the Zone Leaders and it was a great time to get into another area and see how the rest of the zone is doing. As we were working I just reflected on how far I have come since I was a Zone Leader here in this very zone. I worked with Elder Madrid and we had a good time teaching some of their investigators the first lesson and then hitting some tracting in the middle of this huge rainstorm. To say that the whole day I was soaking wet would be somewhat of an understatement. We ended the night be heading back to our area for a huge birthday party for Nanay Palma. It was so much fun getting to know all of her non member family and being able to slowly share the gospel through our experiences as missionaries. 

Wednesday Elder Billings and I headed out early to scout out our new apartment. We met with the owner and went over contract details and what time we would be moving in to the new house. It went great and hopefully this week we will be able to move in and really get to the full schedule of missionary work. Later in the day we attended a conference with President Cruz. He taught the whole zone on how we need to keep our selves worthy of the calling and how a companionship can if obedient call upon the powers of heaven to get the work moving in their area. I also gave a small training on how to keep a clean house because me and my comp have now helped the mission clean out three houses infested with Dengue mosquitoes. It went great and I hope our zone pulls together so we can see the numbers rise as well as the work have more meaning. 

Thursday we got to our area and taught one of our new investigators. Sister Juneah is the daughter of a long time less active but after we taught the restoration to them they both committed to come to church and take the sacrament. We are hoping to see Sister Juneah baptized before the end of September. Then we had to head home to watch Elder Tracy who had been running a high fever all day. The other two Aps had to get to their appointments to me and Elder Billings headed home to watch the sick man. 

Friday and Saturday were so much fun because we got to teach a ton of people the Gospel and they all made commitments to come to church and follow the gospel. Brother Arthur is an investigator and he is so solid it is crazy. We teach him the lesson and he does not forget a single things and every time we teach him the spirit is so strong I have almost been brought to tears when he prays for guidance and help in his life. We also were able to visit so many less actives and I love getting to know people and hear their stories of life. It makes it that much easier for us as missionary to help them see that the more they live the Commandments of God the better their lives tend to be. 


Sunday is always the best day of the week. I guess in the begging of a mission P day would be the best day but now I love Sundays because you get to see how your hard work pays off. I gave a talk on the Gift of the holy ghost and how as members we need to be worthy for him to always be with us. It was sweet because we had 4 investigators that came to church and listened to the messages of the speakers and they all seemed to feel good about it. After church we had a lesson with Sister Madalene, she will be baptized this next coming week. I would have to say we have the best investigators in the mission they all understand so well and just never give up in their search for truth. 

To tell yall the truth I don't know how many days I have left and it will stay that way until the day I have to go home. I love my mission and don't want it to end. President Cruz was joking with me that the way our work is right now I should extend hahah then we both laughed and said 24 months will do just fine. I miss and love you all. 

Elder Swanton

Pushed to the limit

Dear Family,

Well this week has been a lot of house hunting, right now we are on a mission from President to find a new house in the middle of our area and it has really proved to be a challenge.

The first half of our week was spent on walking up and down every single ally or street in our whole entire area. President Cruz really wants us to live in the city no matter how hard it is to find a house. I would also like to add that because me and my comp are white it really adds a lot to the plate. Every house that we did find was either not livable or it was so overpriced that we had to walk away before even seeing them. 

To say that me and my comp Elder Billings have been pushed to our limits by people the last couple days would be an understatement. We just want to get to work but when I had an interview with President he said that our sacrifice will be acceptable before the Lord. So for the next couple days we got to work visiting less actives and just being missionaries again. 

One great thing every week is when we get to teach brother Robert. He is our deaf Recent Convert. I don't think I have ever felt this kind of joy while teaching in my whole mission. Just the sparks that light up in his eyes when we help him understand things can almost melt a heart. The last lesson of the week was about how in a year he can get a Temple recommend and get to the house of the Lord. My sign Language is really coming along me and Elder Billings take turns teaching and praying at the end of the lessons. 

The days almost seem to be blurring together. I took down all the calendars in the house because I don't like knowing how many days I have left or even what day it is right now. 

I love my mission and just hope these great feelings keep coming. 

Love your son,