Saturday, October 15, 2016

Down to the wire

Well Family,

This is really starting to get down to the wire over here for me. Every week that goes by, I almost wish one more would be added on but I know that this is the end of my time over here and now it's time to head back and get on with my life. I guess sometimes missionary's get pretty trunky about this time in their mission but I am lucky to have two great companions who keep me here in the mission every day. 

Tuesday we headed out and were able to teach a lesson to Brother Robert one of the Recent converts here. I still can't believe that Elder Billings was able to learn and teach in sign language in a little over 6 weeks. Its crazy that when you have the spirit the lord can help you do fantastic things. I myself have seen that with a little prayer I to can learn quite a bit of sign language and teach Robert so that he can understand the gospel. He gave me and Elder Tumbokon a mug that says Thank you and I love you on  the side. It feels good to be loved by the people you teach. 

Wednesday we taught sister Richelle and we still were able to get the message across about the plan of salvation. She is really struggling is her search for the happiness she wants. When we taught her I promised her that only in the Gospel will she find that True and eternal Joy. We will see if she will read the BOM and really start to progress toward baptism. 

Friday we had the Street Display in Molo Plaza, and it is quickly becoming some of my favorite days in my whole mission. About 12 of the Elders and Sisters get together and we put up some tables and have a sign that says FREE Book of Mormons. It is so fun to see the people that the Lord has prepared everyday for us to meet and teach. Elder Larson and I were in charge of manning the stand and we met some great people. It's funny because you can almost tell when someone is really interested because they have this glow in their eyes like "What are those Joe's handing out to everyone" It always ends up in the best way. That night after the street display we got a call from Dallin Tracy the Former AP and one of my closest friends from the mission. He said they were at the mission home and we could come over and see them. When we got there it was so fun to meet his parents and catch up on what he has been doing back in the States. They are here for about a week to visit all of his areas and meet his recent converts. 

Saturday was the Last General Conference as a missionary for a lot of us over here. It was great to hear the Prophet and Apostles speak about the matters of the gospel we need most. I think the one that hit me the hardest was the talk of Elder Jeffry R. Holland. Home Teaching is like being a missionary after a mission the people we teach are not just a check mark on a clipboard they are real and they have problems just like everyone else on this earth. Later that night we had baptismal interviews for Sister Juneah and Brother Juan Carlos and they both passed and will be baptized on the 15th of October. I am so blessed to be apart of two more baptisms before I head back to the states.


Sunday we headed to the Arevello Chapel and then we were blessed to hear the Sunday sessions of General Conference. It was so cool to see how many people showed up to see the prophet of the church. No matter the situation of their lives they still make an effort to come to Conference. I was also able to say goodbye to most of the members from my last areas which is a blessing in it self. Not to many Elders have served in the city for as long as I have so to be able to see 4 areas worth of members in one Sunday Service. Later that night we taught Sister Cicelia the wife of Brother Roberto and the mother of Brother Juan Carlos. We taught the Plan Of Salvation and at the end after we explained that a family can be forever she started to cry a little and then when I asked her to say the closing prayer she started to ball. It turns out they have a wayward daughter who does not want to come home right now and the sister knows that this is how she can make her family whole again. I know with out a shadow of a doubt she is right and if she continues after I am gone, her family will make it to the highest degree of glory in the Celestial Kingdom. 

I love you all and this two weeks will go by so fast before you know it I will be coming down the stairs at the airport. But until then there is a work to be done in the fields of the Lord. 

Elder Swanton

Monday, October 3, 2016

Staying focused....

Dear Family,

What a week we had here in the wonderfully hot and always rainy mission of Iloilo. I can say this week it has rained more than I have seen in my whole mission. It does not feel like a whole week has passed since the last time I emailed home but I guess it has been. Elder Tumbokon every Sunday says well Elder Swanton I guess this means one more week until we can't be comps anymore. It makes me sad that I won't get to finish his training or be able to see all the new missionary's that come into the mission. But all good things must come to an end. 

Tuesday we finally got over the last of the sickness and after taking a lot of meds and sleeping as much as we could we all finally feel back to full strength. One thing I have been able to do with all this free time is start the Book of Mormon again. It is so crazy that even after reading it everyday for two years. I am still able to learn so much every day just be studying and praying for specific things that I need in my life. 


Wednesday we got out and started teaching the first lesson to some of our new investigators. Sister Richelle is a former investigator but the last time the elders taught her she got shy and started to hide but she just came back to church this last week and when we went and taught the Restoration the spirit was so strong and she told us that this is the last time she will be taught because this time she will be getting baptized. We are hoping she will accept the date of the 22nd of October. That will be my last Saturday in the mission and we should be having a baptism. 

Thursday and Friday we were battling the rain and I hate to say it but these two days the rain won. No matter what we did by about 3 pm both days the three of us were soaked to the bone with water. I can say that back home I have been wet before but here its a different kind of rain. The water almost goes all the way to your bones and then you start the shaking and coughing to get warm. We had to head home and get dry, and when we got home we had to battle knee deep water just to get into our house. We spent that night praying that the water would not come into our house and then we would have a bigger problem on our hands. When we woke up the next morning all of our neighbors houses had flooded but our house stayed dry. 

Sunday we had a great turn out for church. It is always great to see how all your hard work during the week will show up on Sunday. After church we taught our two really progressing investigators they both have dates for the 15th of October. Brother Juan Carlos and Sister Juneah are cousins and they are both doing everything they can to become ready for their baptisms. I can say the Lord has blessed me with an opportunity to help so many people come unto the waters of baptism. 

Haha you can tell Adee I miss the snow so much that when it snows I will go out and make a snow angel face down. The only snow we get over here is called Halo-Halo and that is a desert that we eat all the time. I miss her to and don't worry the airport is just a few weeks away. 

I am way happy with our week and can't wait for the weeks to come. I love you all and hope you have a great week. 

Love Elder Swanton