Friday, December 25, 2015


Merry Christmas this week, everyone:) I love you all very much and I am praying for you to all have a wonderful CHRISTmas this week with your families:) In the true spirit of Christmas I have decided to organize this email like a Christmas card for my week:) 
This is a pic of me looking right into the sun after we did a cool service project on Tuesday:) We helped out a school for special needs children-- I LOVED IT. I loved it. I loved it. It was amazing being around their special spirits:) I missed my job at Chrysalis a whole bunch. In the distance of this pic you can see Popocoptl which is a super cool Volcano:) The missionary in the picture is one of my Zone Leaders, Elder Stumpf. 

This is us being cute in front of a Christmas tree with one of our investigators and her granddaughter:) They are really great, she is Lulu and she and her husband are basically members already, they have 6 months attending church, they are just waiting for her Divorce to go through so that she and Ciro can get married and they can both get baptized:) 

This is me picking mandarinas ( I cant remember what they are called in English at this point). This nice member, Hermana Mejia, always tells us to pick mandarinas and give them to the investigators to help them make the decision better to get baptized, haha. I love it. 

If I could use one word to describe Mexico, it would be CATHOLIC. or, if I could choose a phrase to describe Mexico, it would be: Praise the Virgin Mary. Haha, but seriously, they are so catholic here. And Catholics worship the virgin mary. I dont know how they got it in their mind that she is more important than the actual Son of God she birthed, but asi es. They have these little statue shrines EVERYWHERE of the virgin mary, so one day I decided to selfie with every one we passed. (when there werent people there to wonder why the Mormon white missionary was selfying with Mary)

We had divisions this week with the Hermanas Capacitadores (Sister Training Leaders) and I was able to stay with Hermana Skonnard in her house for the night and work in her area for the day. It was AMAZING. She is from Utah, and is just wonderful. I learned so much from her and it was a needed break:) Plus in their house they have this magical boiler thing that heats up hot water so that it actual comes from the shower head and you can have a HOT SHOWER. It was the most amazing tender mercy. My favorite Christmas present so far. My first hot shower in 5 months. My first shower that wasnt from a bucket in 2 weeks;) 

In Hermana Skonnards area, this is their chapel:) It was one of the first churches to be built in Cuautla, so it is really old. And because it is so old they had to build it so that it looked pretty Catholic to be passed by zoning laws of the city at the time, haha. I dont know why I find this so funny- but I do:) 

We had our Ward Christmas party and it was great:) They broke piñatas and I loved it:) Turns out, they break piñatas here for like every type of party. They asked me if we break piñatas in the States and I was like, ''Uhhh.. if its Mexican themed'' Haha. 

This is the Bishop in our ward:) I still dont know what his name is. #fail but he is really nice and supports us well as missionaries:) Turns out this area of the mission, Zona Cuautla, is going to change to a different mission, the mission Mexico, Chalco. So, we will probably be leaving Cocoyoc soon :( 

This is Hermana Lizano and I being artistic in front of this random lake that I just saw for the first time yesterday, but apparently its been in our area the whole time, haha. 

This is this HUGE butterfly I found in the street two days ago. I thought it was dead, then 2 seconds after this picture was taken it started moving and I found out I have a deathly fear of butterflies I once thought were dead;) Haha. I screamed. It dropped. We walked away. Moving on.

This is this crazy hill we hiked up on Saturday. We got lost (Even though Hermana Lizano didnt want to admit it) and I thought this weird path reflected well what I want you guys to imagine me walking through;) 10 feet behind hermana Lizano because she walks so dang fast. It might be a peruvian thing. 

This is my first snow fall in Mexico:) My amazing sister Beth made me an ''open when you miss Utahs winter'' letter and inside were lots of handmade paper snowflakes so I could feel a little bit closer to you guys with my own snow here in Mexico:) 

Yet another artistic pic;) 
Here is a better picture of the Volcano Popocoptl :) 

This is me being the happy missionary that I try to be everyday:) 

I love you all so much and I hope you have an amazing Christmas week:) Remember the real meaning of the season and enjoy it with your families:) I am so grateful that unto us a Savior is Born. I love you all:) Merry Christmas!
Hermana Swallow

Dec. 14- Loco Cocoyoc-o

Dear Family,
It was a crazy first week in my new area, Cocoyoc:) I miss Galeana and knowing where people lived and which colonias we walk in and the names of members. BUT, I can tell that Cocoyoc is a really special place and I am excited, I know that all those things will come with time:) 
Mostly this week we were getting ready for the Christmas Devotional we had with President and a couple other zones in the mission. In the mission they organize us into Districts (usually 6-10 missionaries) and then the districts are organized into a Zone (usually 2-3 Districts that make up a Stake) and then the Zones are organized into groups of zones that get together now and then for conferences. In this change I had I moved to a completely different multi-zone area, so the conference this week was so fun because I have met hundreds of new missionaries I didnt know before:) 
For the devotional every zone made a skit to show the other missionaries and President, so it was really fun preparing ours! I got to be Elsa in our sketch, so thats why I am dressed like that in all the pics;) I had an amazing investigator actually give me that dress, and another investigator lent me the wig:) They are SO LOVING and giving here. It is amazing to me. They have really accepted me with open arms:) 
It is a little weird because I am in the same district and zone with Hna Garcia (my trainer) again, but it is good:) She actually had some crazy stuff go down with her companion after me.. apprently they fought so bad they had to get separated. I think this says a little about the patience I was blessed with ;) I am also the only American sister in my whole Zone, so that is a little weird. If I want/need to talk in English I have to do it with the Zone Leaders, but they are really nice:) 
My companion and I have been good together:) She is from Peru and has one change more than me in the mission, so 7 months. I am actually her first American companion, so that is a little tough sometimes. She is not used to having to explain things simply and not being understood. But we have already learned a lot together, and I know that we will have a good time as well:) She actually told me that I am helping her become less of a perfectionist because I am so chill with life... which I am sure will make my family and ANYONE ELSE who knows me be surprised, haha. Maybe I have changed in the mission? Because that surprised me, haha. But hopefully I can help her if thats what she needs:) 
Well, I love you all SO MUCH! Go out and serve someone in need. Sing a Christmas carol while walking in the street or shopping in the store. Live the Christmas Spirit:) Go ask for some Christmas pass along cards from the missionaries, and give them to your friends. Use #ASaviorIsBorn. Go to and print out those cool signs and post them to your insta, face (thats what they call facebook here, haha) or your WhatsApp (that is a texting app that EVERYONE has here, en serio.)
Hermana Swallow
PS- We got to watch the broadcast for the dedication of the Tijuana temple yesterday, it was beautiful:) One more temple, and Satans power is a little less:) #HurrahForIsrael !
PPS- Hermana Lizano, my comp, is the one in the pic with the blue sweater with white snowflakes :) 

Dec. 7- I'm Getting Transferred!!

I GOT MY PACKAGE!!!!!! Mom, I was literally screaming I was so happy as I unpacked it!! Haha, thank you so much! YOU SENT ME LEGACY!!!!!! I have already watched it three times this week. Not kidding. I am so happy:) I am so grateful! I actually got the package the day we found out Hermana Johnson was going to train, so even though I was a little bummed that 1) I was getting transferred and 2) I didnt get chosen to train, I had an amazing and love filled package from home:) You are amazing!
I am glad you had fun with Beth up in Idaho:) It is so weird for me to think about it being Christmas sometimes because it is so hot here. So very hot. I dont know if here in Cocoyoc it will be cooler.. but we'll see I guess:) Some fun Christmas things we are doing.. We are getting together with a couple other zones to do a white elephant present exchange:) I hate white elephant, but hopefully I can keep it together this time I play, haha. Other than that, not much:) President says we need to start arranging with our families when you want to talk:) We can do it December 24th or December 25th for 45 minutes:) So, you pick a time and day and let me know!:) I just have to be in the house before 6:30 my time:)

Nov. 30- Ha Nacido Un Salvador

My Dear Family,
How are you doing?:) HOW WAS THANKSGIVING?:) It is definitely not even a thing here in Mexico, but luckily I had my American companion so we could suffer together;) It was still a good day, though! 
This week was harder than some others, we are struggling to find new investigators and have appointments where people actually remember and are there, haha. But we press forward- seguir adelante:) It really is something special to know that whatever we do we are on the errand of the Lord. If someone isnt at their house when they said they would be, then maybe the Lord needs us to find someone on the street:) Thats how we found Walle. It was really special to see him sustained for the Aaronic Priesthood this Sunday, I hope I am here to see him bless the Sacrament for the first time:) It is amazing that there is always MORE. We are not done growing and progressing after baptism, or a mission, or marriage... there is always more to learn more to achieve and more people to help along the way. It is amazing. That is part of the beauty of the Gospel we are living:) 
I am sorry I dont have any good stories this week... A dog tried to kill me and Hermana Johnson, it was pretty funny. It looked like sid the sloth and scared the heck fire out of us, haha. We had divisions with the Sister Training Leaders again and that was nice:) I always learn so much. A guy in the street tried to kiss my cheek and I STILL havent figured out how to not-awkwardly get out of that so I just reflex-punched him in the shoulder as he leaned in. Surprise-surprise he didnt come to church this week,haha... One of our investigators told us he would give us thanksgiving dinner, and we we so excited! Then it was just tacos and beet juice- and just so everyone knows, beet juice is gross. Also Hermana J and I tried our best to dress up as an indian and a pilgrim for Thanksgiving, haha. We also bought a baby Christmas tree to decorate after Thanksgiving:) And that is my week in a minute!
So, its basically December now! How are you going to celebrate CHRISTmas?:) The church has an amazing Christmas initiative called A Savior is Born, Discover Why. I invite all of you to visit the site ( , watch the movie, and share it with as many others as you can:) You dont have to be on a mission to be a missionary- share the gift you have been given of the gospel with those who are in darkness. A Savior was born for us. Share why! 
I love you all so much! Have an amazing week! 
Hermana Swallow

We also went back to the Pyramids in Xochicalco again today and it was awesome:) We bought jerseys that say our Mission Zone on it (Zona Galeana) to be cool kids, and it was a lot of fun:) The name on my shirt is Swallita :)

Here is our cute Christmas tree, and also a candid picture of HJ and I trying to plan our Thanksgiving picture. I think it sums up our relationship pretty well;) 



Mi Querida Familia,

Walle Hernandez Aguas is the newest member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:) He was baptized on Saturday evening and confirmed yesterday at church. It has been an amazing blessing working with him and really seeing the light of Christ illuminate his life and change his entire outlook. Who once was a frightened and quiet awkward boy has now realized he is an important Son of God and that God has a plan for him specifically. I am so grateful I had the chance to be here and watch this transformation, and it was not an easy one for sure. 

I first met Walle 3 months ago in August. We met his Dad in a tienda (little store) and when I gave him a pass along card he told me he already had a Book of Mormon and invited us to come to his house to meet his family. We met Walle the first lesson we had and he learned about the Restoration and accepted a Book of Mormon. We were excited to be working with a whole family and helping them together, but over time everyone but Walle drifted off. The Dad started drinking more and would even be drunk when we'd come by for the lessons- no bueno. The Mom started listening to the Jehovah's Witnesses as they fed her lies and slander about the Book of Mormon and the prophet Joseph Smith. The other two children didn't want to listen. 

But Walle kept listening and every time we'd come back he would have another chapter read in the Book of Mormon:) He told us that he had started saying prayers and was really feeling like God was listening to him. He started coming to church and made friends with some of the other Young Men and started going to Mutual. He even told us that he used to have nightmares, but since he started reading the book of mormon and listening to us, the nightmares had stopped. It was an AMAZING change as we watched him progress. Eventually it was time for him to get baptized this last week, and since he was only 17 we needed the permission from his parents. 

When we came by three days before the baptism with the baptismal record to be signed by his parents his mother very rudely told me that she preferred him to wait until he turned 18 and was an adult (this March) and that she wasn't going to give her permission for something she didnt approve. I testified to her that Walle was ready for baptism and that this is what the Lord wanted for him. She said that she accepted that, but that he could wait 4 more months until he was baptized. She left and we all just started at each other heart broken. Walle kept asking us 'am I dreaming? Is this a dream?' We had talked to his parents before and they had said that they would support him in baptism. This sudden change from his mom was unexpected. We assured him that he WOULD be baptized, but that it was all in the time of the Lord. 

Suddenly his Mom came back into the room and said she had talked with his father and had changed her mind! She promised that she would support him since it was a good thing he was choosing to do. She even came to the baptism:) 

Walle even shared his baptismal service with another young man, Luis, that Hermana Garcia and I had started teaching:) He was the one that had problems with the law of chastity and same gender attraction but had sincere desires to change his life. We worked so much with him and then 2 weeks ago he moved houses and now lived in the area of the Elders so we had to stop teaching him. They finished the lessons and the baptism 'counts' for their numbers, but I am so grateful that I was able to be at his baptism and support him since the Lord blessed me to be a part of his conversion as well:) 


I love you all so much:) Thank you for your emails, support, prayers, and love:) I feel it. Have an amazing week and look for the Miracles:) 

Also, we accidentally walked into a parade the other day for one of the other Mexican revolution fiesta days and it was cool watching them in the cultural clothes and dancing horses:) 

Be prepared for a pic overload...
We found this super large and sketch door the other day, that kinda looks like the entrance to the maze runner, so we took this cool kids pic in front of it. We have this theory about drug lords hiding in the mansions up in the boonies here in Mexico.. its a pretty solid theory;)

And we saw a bunch of adorable puppies this week and I had to take pics with them;)

Nov. 14- What, a Saturday email?!

Mi Querido Familia,
First things first: My second chinche blood test results came back clean!! Wahoo! And I havent gotten anymore since (knock on wood) So we can just leave this blood-drawing heart-disease scaring time behind us;) Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support. 
We had another good week!! It was a little rough for the working because we had a Zone Conference and then we had a Multi-Zone Conference two days later. Which is awesome because you learn alot and are edified and its fun seeing other missionaries, but I also miss teaching and meeting with our investigators. On the up side though the ride to Cuernavaca is like an hour and a half which means the person sitting next to me cant run for all that time and I can usually get in a whole lesson and a book of mormon;) 
To be honest I am drawing a blank on any stories or interesting things that have happened.. I fell out of another comvie, that was pretty embarassing again. And we didnt get a contact out of it, the comvie driver just shouted at me to be more careful. Uh, rude. 
This coming week should be really interesting:) On Monday we have this religious freedom fair in Cuernavaca, so we will be contacting and working a booth about the church (thats why I am emailing today:)) and as well this next Saturday should bring my FIRST BAPTISM!! We have been working really hard with this young man, Walle, and he has progressed amazingly and is ready to be baptized into the fold of God:)  He is only 17 so we had to talk to his parents this morning to give permission.. the spirit was so strong. He will be an amazing example for them:)
Well, I love you all extremely much:) I hope you have an amazing week! 
Hermana Swallow
PS- the pic is of me being happy at the hospital after myblood test:) 
P.S.  I love having a camera again. It is the!
This is of us eating elote (the corn with the unrefrigerated mayonnaise;) and cheese and chile)

Nov. 9- Tender Mercies- Gotta Catch Them All!

Querido Familia y Amigos,
I have not time that I would like to express myself, but just know first off that I love you:) If I dont have time to respond individually to the emails today, know that I am so grateful and sorry that I dont have a lot of time!
It was a week of tender mercies and good times!
First Tender Mercy:
We have an investigator that loves plants:) I love talking to him, he is really cool and he loves that I was studying botany before the mish, so he loves showing me plants:) And we also talk about the Gospel, dont worry;) Anyways, one of the first charlas we had with him he noticed how bit up my legs are (literally covered with bug bites. Covered.) and he told me about the citronella plant that repels mosquitos:) The plant they use for  the citronella candles people buy in the states:) And this week he finally found one and GAVE IT TO ME!!!!! I am so happy. I am not sure if we're allowed to have plants, but it is now coming with me to every area for the next 14 months;) I named her citronelly, nelly for short;)
Second Tender Mercy:
I got an amazing and beautiful package from an angel, with a new charger for my camera!!!!!! So now I can start taking pics of my own again and stop mooching off my companions:) It also included American halloween candy and the members in my ward couldnt handle the delicious candy corn, jaja:) 
Third Tender Mercy:
WE HAD 7 INVESTIGATORS AT CHURCH!!!! That is a new record:) A new family we started teaching this week came first and I was sitting talking with them as I just kept watching investigators come in and in and in! We couldnt even sit by them all, we had to leave them with other members, I was on CLOUD 9! I am so grateful. I pray that they all felt the spirit and will keep progressing:) 
Fourth Tender Mercy:
I gave my first talk in Spanish!:) I mean, I gave a couple in the CCM, but those dont really count. That wasnt real Spanish, jaja. I was so scared to stand up in front of everybody and teach about the Plan of Salvation, but the Spirit is the real teacher:) And teach it did. I am so grateful. I made mistakes and I didnt feel I did real well, but many members came up to me to thank me for little things they learned. One of them even shared something they learned as their testimony in the Gospèl Principles class:) I am so grateful. 
Fifth Tender Mercy:
Hermana Johnson:) My companion is so amazing. She is helping me grow and find myself here on the mission. She is humble and kind and so compassionate. She is so willing to serve and is so free with her love and compliments:) She probably wont see this ever, but I wanted you to know how amazing she is:) 

The Lord really is in all the details. I am so grateful to just sit back and watch all the amazing things He is orchestrating:) The other day I was getting off a comvie when I placed my foot wrong and literally ate pavement. Hard. But there was a lady on the road that was really concerned about my well-being and we were able to talk to her and get her address to visit:) I am willing to be whatever tool the Lord needs me to be! Look for the little blessings and the opportunities to see His hand in your life:) I LOVE YOU!!! 

Hermana Swallow
PS- The pics: Me and Nelly (the plant:)), Me looking at pics of my family and lying on the floor because I miss them jaja, 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Nov. 2- Dia de los Muertos

Mi Querida Familia,
I had an amazing week! Life with a new companion has been pretty interesting, and I havent laughed this much in... 4 months;) Hermana Johnson is just flat HILARIOUS and I am so grateful to have her. She is very spiritually mature and her spanish is awesome, but she is awkward just like me and it has been a fun week:) One day we were walking in the street and there was a man making a tope.. which is a speed bump.. anyways, so he was almost done with forming the wet concrete into a pretty little speed bump when we crossed and I stepped over it, but Hermana Johnson wasnt paying attention and she STEPPED RIGHT THROUGH IT!!  It was hilarious. She destroyed it. She apologized and needless to say we did not contact that man, we dont want him to know we have connection to the church;) 

I also have never had problem with dogs until this week, maybe they are against white people? We have been chased and barked and scared more than a few times this week and I am losing affection for those furry friends. 
I don't know if it has just been the aftermath of hurricane patricia, but we had rain a few days this week and it has been AWESOME!! I love the coolness and the difference it makes in the days. That is something that I think would be hard about living in a place like Mexico for always- the weather is ALWAYS THE SAME. In Utah, and every other place I've lived, there are distinct seasons that reflect the time of year and the holidays and events. But here its like Winter- Hot, Spring- Hottest Hot, Summer- Still really hot, and Fall- Hot. There ya have it;) 
This weekend was always Dia de los Muertos! Remember when I told you about September 15-16 and how they usually have more than one day for their holidays because they party hard here? Well, its the same for Halloween. The 31st was the day they actually call Halloween and then November 1 & 2 are the days of the dead. They believe that those days are when the dead can leave the grave and visit their families, so everyone is in the graveyards, and they make shrines in their houses for their dead loved ones, and they make food offerings. Also, the kids dress up and ask for candy all the nights, jaja. I feel like that is the only reason I'd be good with it lasting three days. 

Well, I love you so much and my prayers are with you:) We have a couple of investigators who are really progressing well and it has been amazing to see them recognize the blessings that have come into their life thanks to this message. One of the things they almost ALWAYS notice that they find is peace. That is the message we bring:) That it really is possible to have peace in this life and joy in the next. What peace does the gospel bring to your life?:) 
-Hermana Swallow  

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Oct. 24- Staying in Galeana!

Mi Querido Familia,
First of all, I love you all so much. 
Second of all, The hurricane that hit wasn't as bad as they were scared it was going to be! And nothing at all happened in my area, only some clouds these last couple days:) I am safe.
Third of all, The results from my chinche bite came back negative! Yay!!
Fourth of all, I have another chinche bite. Yes, it is true.
Jaja, so this week was so good! As you know we started it with going to the Pyramids, and that was nice! But that day I noticed something new on my leg. Yes, another chinche bite. So, I didnt flip out, but I was ready for some stuff to get done so this would stop happening. The next day we washed all the mattresses with straight bleach, we went to the centro de salud for advice, we scheduled a fumigation for the house and hopefully this is the last of the bites!:) Since you have to wait 21 days after the day you get the bite, we went Thursday to Cuernavaca to get my blood checked for the first bite and today we got the results, that I am clean!:) But, I will have to get checked again in 2 weeks for the other one, so keep the prayers coming:) 
We also found out on Saturday that my trainer, Hna Garcia, would be changing areas! I was excited for a new adventure, but extremely frightened at the same time, jaja. We frantically packed all of her bags because that night was the fumigation and we had to stay with other missionaries for two nights before the house would be livable. It was a crazy busy night, but the Lord kept us safe and we got to the other missionaries house with all of her bags alright:) 
My new companion is Hermana Johnson! She is from Pleasant Grove Utah and is white just like me!:) She is super smart, when they called her to give her the Spanish phone test she got into the advanced group, so she was only in the CCM for like 2 weeks before hitting the field. So, she has 2 weeks more than me in the mission, but a transfer more than me in the field. 
Today has been crazy busy and stressful, but we are back in our area now and I know everything will be great:) The Lord is with us and will help us and is qualifying us for His work :) Hopefully with the help of the Spirit I will remember how to get us to all of our appointments and stuff;) I love you all so much! Thank you for all of your prayers and support! I really feel you love.
Hermana Swallow
PS- the foto is of me and Hna Garcia and Abi, a girl in our ward who just submitted her mission papers:)  

Oct. 19- Pyramids!

My Loving Family & Friends
I had a good week! It is pretty crazy how fast the time has gone- this is the last week of my training! Next week is transfers, so we will see if anything is different next week or if I am still with my companion for another 6 weeks:) What I DO know is that I don't have to spend anymore time with the training activities that newbies have to do their first 12 weeks- so that will be nice:) 
Something super sweet that we did was this morning all the hermanas from our zone (all 6 of us) went to the pyramids in Xochicalco and it was super awesome! Walking where the lamanites walked;) But really, though... We took a bunch of pictures:) 
There are some pretty weird things here in Mexico that we eat but this week I ate something I thought was really strange: COW STOMACH. Is that a thing in the United States?? I am pretty sure I had never heard of it. It was gross, if its a thing at home don't eat it, jaja. Everyone was laughing and watching me so closely when they handed me my bowl of it and I wasn't exactly sure what it was. they have a specific name for it that doesn't exactly translate to 'cow stomach' and no one would explain to me what it actually was because they were laughing and just telling me to eat it. :/ As I looked at the pieces with the microvilli of digestive tissue I was pretty sure what it was. BUT I ATE IT. #strongstomach #stomachstrong My comp only had a few bites of hers before she asked for something else. So everyone can be proud of me;) 
I also played soccer or futbol for the first time this week:) I am not really sure why I was playing, I don't think the Mexicans were even running or if they were flying... and somehow passing the ball back and forth, jaja. 
I am sorry, I am really struggling thinking of things that happened this week:) The work continues to roll forth! We are seeing some awesome things with our investigators and I love being a missionary:) Hopefully sometime this week we will be able to go get my blood analysis to find out more about the chinche bite, thank you so much for all the prayers and support! I LOVE YOU!
Hermana Swallow

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Oct. 12- The CHINCHE

My Dear and Loving Familia,
I am still alive and loving it here in Mexico:) This week was pretty lame story-wise, but I will tell you something that is happening, and then regale you with some more fun facts about weird things in Mexico, jaja:) 
So.... about a week and half ago I got this bug bite on my leg. And it hurt. I have about a thousand mosquito bites, so I knew this bite was different then those ones but I didnt know what kind of bite it was. I mentioned to Hna Garcia that I had a bite and that it hurt, but she just kinda shrugged her shoulders and said 'Lo Siento' (NO YOU DONT FEEL IT, jaja. ) anyways, so I just did what my Mom has always told me and circled the bite with a pen to see if it was growing. Plus the weekend this happened was General Conference and one of the other American sisters actually got Chickungunya (the really rough sickness the mosquitos spread) and so I couldnt talk about the bite much. It was kinda like that sketch of Brian Regan with the guy who walked on the moon, jaja, anything anyone said could be one-upped with the fact that she had Chikungunya. Anyways, so I just decided not to worry about the bite cuz no one really seemed disturbed about it. But it kept growing everyday. 
So, eventually one night when our district leader called us I told him about it, and he cared!:) jaja, and he told us to call the mission president's wife, Hna Avila. When we called her she told us we'd need to go to a doctor to get it looked at because there is this one kind of bug, the Chinche, that spreads a sickness that affects people's hearts in 10-15 years. POR FIN, hna garcia took me to a doctor in the ward after that talk:) And guess what? IVE GOT THE CHINCHE. Jaja. But really.. I guess it is a kind of large bug that comes and sucks peoples blood and deposits its feces (Thats right, Ive got chinche poop in my leg) and it can leave a kind of sickness in the people that causes heart problems or something.. To be honest, my vocabulary in Spanish for medical stuff is sketchy at best, so these facts are just what I picked up. Hna Garcia finally started showing some care, but it was because she had been living with a chinche in the house, haha #compassion. When we called Hna Avila to tell her she got real freaked out too and we were told to drop our citas for the rest of the day to start a deep-clean of the casa. Which seemed a little silly to me because we had been living in the house for about a week since my bite, but whatevs, Im glad to have a clean house now:) We never found the chinche, but they said it might not necessarily be living in our house , they sometimes travel long distances to feed... So, now I have to go to get a check up in 2 weeks to have a blood test and see if I have the sickness given from the Chinche. I received a blessing yesterday, and I know all will be well:) But, prayers are definitely appreciated!
Now for some fun Mexican facts!:) 
-I dont know if I already told you this, but here Dora teaches English to children:) And I think it is so funny. All the words she teaches in Spanish are switched to English in the program here:) Like, the backpack song in English is 'backpack, backpack... delicioso!' But here the song is 'Mochila, Mochila... delicious!' jaja. 
-They buy bread that is pre-toasted here. It is like buying stale bread, but whatevs.
-They sell and eat marshmallows like candy:) Like, you can buy a single marshmallow in a tienda and in houses people have bags of marshmallows to offer visitors sometimes:) 
-When referring to something that is going to happen in a week people always say 'in 8 days' and it drives me crazy because a week only has 7 days!! Like, when we tell them we have church service every Sunday they say 'You have it every 8 days?' 
Well, I love you all very very much! Keep looking up and find what the Lord is trying to teach you and show you in every moment:) In my agenda I write my tender mercies of the day, and sometimes they are large things like someone paying for our comvie, but sometimes they are small things that still show me God is mindful of me, like having a baby smile at me:) Te quiero!
-Hermana Lillie Swallow :) 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Oct. 5- Conferencia General!

My Dear Family and Loved Ones,
How are you?:) Wasnt general conference AMAZING??:) I am so grateful that we have a prophet on the earth today and that he holds the keys to guide through these last days of trouble and gloom:) I had a great week!
The week started with something amazing.. RAIN. It usually rains at night here in large thunderous bouts of flooding, but this week I guess there was a hurricane or something somewhere so we had almost 3 glorious days of cool overcast weather, it was amazing. PLUS, I got to use my sweet yellow raincoat:) The only downside to the cooler weather was the fact that our already-cold water was FREEZING for lack of the sun warming it up, jaja. I thought I had accidentally died when I took my shower the first night! Mental preparation was required for the next night. 
We had our second day of divisions with the Hermanas Capacitadores this Wednesday, and it was really good again! They are always so kind and such amazing missionaries and teachers! I learn so much. This week was rough, though, because EVERY SINGLE ONE of my appointments fell through when I was on divisions with them, jaja. I felt bad because youre supposed to show what kind of missionary and teacher you are.. and all we did was get rejected and contact and walk a lot:) But, that is a big part of being a missionary so I know they understand. They were really nice about it! Hopefully next time I can actually teach with them:) 
The best part of the week was GENERAL CONFERENCE!!! I am so incredibly grateful. The other american Hermanas in our zone came to watch it with us so we could watch it in English together in a separate room, and I am so grateful! I learned so much. We also witnessed another miracle:) 
WE HAD 6 PEOPLE AT CHURCH!! I am so grateful! We have worked so hard and we are starting to see some amazing fruit for the labor:) The Hermana who came to church because of the invitation I wrote on the back of her card, Marta, is progressing BEAUTIFULLY! She is so excited for her baptismal date in 3 weeks and says everything we teach her feels right:) She also calls us her 'preciosas' jaja.. I had a dream the other day about Lord of the Rings and I knew it was because of that. But other than that everything is going super great with her:) I felt bad that I was in the small room watching in English and not sitting with my investigators. Hopefully in April I will watch Conference in Spanish with my investigators:) 
I hope all of you have an amazing week! The Lord truly is in the details. Go and re-watch what you couldnt or what you werent paying attention to during conference and seek the inspiration from the Spirit to know what things you need to change or apply in your life:) You dont know what a blessing it is to watch it in English, to actually hear the PROPHETS voice, and not a person speaking over in a different language. 
I love you all!!!:) 
-Hermana Swallow

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sept. 28- Tengo Gozo en mi Alma Hoy!

My Dear Family & Loved Ones,
How are you? I hope and pray you are doing amazing:) It was another good week! The Lord is truly with us and in the details of our lives! I have officially completed 3 months of the mission! That is one third of one half, people! WOOOO!!:)
I have a newfound focus to help my companion learn Ënglish, did you know that is actually almost as important as us gringos learning Spanish? Preach my Gospel says so. And I have not been doing my part! But, now that Spanish is beginning (only beginning, I promise) to come more naturally, I am trying to talk more in English in the casa. So far I think the only word I have taught Hna. Garcia is 'awkward' jaja. And that is a testament to my life, right there. She doesnt fully grasp the word yet, but I have taught her the concept perfectly, jaja. When things happen she'll be like 'Esto fue su segunda awkward hoy!' (That was your second awkward today!) jaja. I seem to keep her entertained. The only other things I have taught her and the other latino elders in our ward are funny gangster phrases. It is so hilarious to hear them with their accents sayings stuff like 'Oh no you didnt!' or 'You must be trippin!' Jaja. 
I think my biggest tender mercy of the week was Womens Conference this weekend! If any of you women couldnt watch it, I encourage you to do so:) It was amazing! I was told that I would get to watch General Conference in English, so I was fully expecting the Womens Meeting to be in English for me too, which would mean some other companionships with American companions would come to our building so we could be in our own room with a computer in English. But, this didnt happen on Saturday and I was so sad! None of the other missionaries came, which meant I had to stay with my companion and listen to it in Spanish. She didnt understand why I was so disappointed, and just shrugged her shoulders at my distress. Jaja, this is something I sometimes I have sassy-ness issues with with the Spànish language. Their form of 'I am sorry' is Lo Siento, which means, 'I feel it'. So when Hna. Garcia shrugs her shoulders when I cant understand something and tells me 'I feel it' I want to be like 'Uh, do you speak Spanish? I am pretty sure you DONT feel it.'  Nevertheless, I still wanted to be grateful for the opportunity to watch womens conference, so I said a prayer to Heavenly Father that I would be able to understand what I could and what the Spirit needed me to. And it was AMAZING! The songs are still in English, and I could feel the Spirit so strong! And the Lord showed his power by helping me understand and even helping me to take NOTES! Which is almost impossible most of the time because usually I can only focus on listening and cant write at the same time. It was an amazing experience of feeling the Lords love:) He is there in the biggest and the smallest of our needs:) I still hope I can watch General Conference this week in English, though;) 
Something super cool is happening in our area with one of our investigators:) Well, one day we were walking and stopped at a tienda and a boy bought us water. We found out he was deaf and mute, so we signed what we could to tell him thank you. We ran into him again another day and this time we were able to set up an appointment with him through written messages. We have an hermana in our ward who is a recent convert and her son is deaf as well and is not a member, but they both came with us to the appointment to help sign and translate for us. It was a super sweet experience:) Also, if you thought understanding from Spanish-English was hard, try translating from Spanish Sign-Spanish-English, jaja. We found out that our deaf investigator is actually a member but his family moved and he is the only member in his family and didnt know where he could attend church. When he found out that his friend (the son of the recent convert) was not a member, he bore his testimony by sign and it was amazing because both I and Hna Garcia could understand everything:) The Spirit really knows no bounds. Now the deaf boy we contacted,MIchell, knows where he can attend church and renew his convenants, the deaf son of the recent convert, Luis, is going to attend church because his friend will be there, and the Mom is going to help translate and sign for both boys- She who was only converted almost a year ago and already is an amazing instrument for the work of the Lord:) It amazes me that the Lord orchestrates and plans everything in the life of his children so wonderfully. 
I testify that He is doing the same for all of you as well:) You cant understand what he ALREADY HAS PLANNED for you, just trust Him and do what you can to qualify for those blessings:) I love you all, have an amazing week!:) 
Hermana Lillie Swallow
PS- We had 4 in the church yesterday!!!!!! WHAT!!!:) One of them was an investigator we havent been able to get ahold of for about 2 weeks, but he said he looked at his pass-along card and saw the invitation and remembered to come:) WIN NUMBER 2 FOR MY CARDS!!!!! Jaja:) My comp has started writing the same invitation on all of her cards as well:):):):)

Sept. 21- Small Things Bring About Great Things

Mi Querida Familia y Amigos!
WOW we are all so blessed and strengthened in the Lord! This week was.. hard. Like every week;) But So Great!! Because even when things are hard we know the Lord is just preparing us for more blessings! 
So, you know pass-along cards? Well, I thought I knew pass-along cards before my mission, but now I KNOW pass-along cards and the art of placing them;) We use them a ton when we are contacting (talking to random people on the street in the hopes that they will let us teach them). Anyways, when I first started the mish I felt pretty stupid just giving a card with a picture of Jesus and walking away from people. If they didnt let us make an appointment or give us their address, we would probably never ever see them again. And what did they have from our visit? a couple seconds of conversation and a random card with Jesus on it. Which is pretty great, but I wanted to do something more in the hopes of seeing more:) So, I started writing invitations on every card I gave. I found out how to describe where our church was and I started writing on every card where our church building was, when we had meetings, and that they were invited to attend with us:) Well.. I give out a lot of cards. So writing this note on everyone of them takes some of my time in the mornings and my companion teased me that it was a waste of time because contacts never come to church, but I felt like it was something small that I could do and I told her that 'Someday, someone will come to church because of my cards.' I felt very secure about this and knew that I would keep writing my invitation on every card even if it never happened until my 17th month:) WELL IT HAPPENED!!!!!  Whaaaaattt?!:) YES! 
A woman that we contacted about 3 weeks ago in the street didn't want an appointment with us, but she took one of my passalong cards with her. She told us that as she looked at that picture later (the one of Christ in the Americas)she felt something in her- something GOOD:) And when she read the invitation she knew she had to attend church to find out more! so she finally built up the courage to come alone yesterday, and it was nothing short of a miracle to me. An amazing TENDER MERCY:) She loved everything about church and kept telling us that she was feeling something and that she knew it was right. I was so amazed- AM so amazed. I pray that the Spirit will keep working in her and we can help her become truly converted in the Lord:) 
This week was also the Mexican independence day, the 15th and 16th. I guess they never have like one day for a holiday, its always like 2 or 3 days haha. The mexican colors Red, Green, and White were everywhere so our Zone dressed up to show some Mexican Pride! It was a bit awkward when we were around a bunch of people who weren't dressed up and the whitey (me) was showing more country pride than them, jaja. And I guess when Mexicans party they party real hard, so we had to be in our apartment super early both nights, it was so strange not working all day, but we have to be obedient:) 
Well, I hope you all have an amazing week! I love you very much and I feel the strength from your prayers and love!! Remember that through small things the Lord brings about great things! A small invitation on a card can bring someone to Church, a small smile from a stranger can brighten someones day! Think of what little things you can do:) 
Hermana Lillie Swallow
PS- I had another tender mercy yesterday as well, I FINALLY understood a Spanish joke in time to laugh with the group! Jaja. We were learning about the Word of Wisdom and The teacher was listing different types of tea we dont drink and he was like ''Te negro, te chino...'' and one of the hermanos said ''te-quila....'' JAJAJA! I love you have a great week!