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,