Sunday, May 29, 2016

May 23- Slower week, but still good:)

My dear Family,
It was a good week! I love being a missionary:) 

This is me and Hermana Stephenson:) She is from Las Vegas, and she is the only other white sister in our Zone of Iguala:) She is really funny, and likes to quote movies so we get along real good. 
This is us and our mom, Sister Olguin:) She always calls us ''mis niñas hermosas'' and likes to spoil us by buying us things:) This is super expensive coconut ice cream that they make in Chalco, Mexico. And they put it right back in the coconut shell for you to eat! 
This is us and Dana, she is the Bishops daughter and really great:) Of all the young women in our ward she is the one that falls the best for me:) She is super chill and loving. 
One of the sisters in the ward couldn't feed us one day so she gave us money to buy food, so we splurged for a Dominos pizza! I love working in areas that are more rural and pueblo-y , but there are some definite perks for working in an area that is more urban, too;) 
Now... I will give you some more fun Mexican Culture facts:) 

One of our neighbors recently passed away (actually the neighbor that lives right in front of us) and so I got to witness first-hand how they have their funerals here in Guerrero. Well, obviously its really catholic, but it is pretty interesting, too. The first day after the person passes away they bring their body back to their house so that all the family can be with them. The first night after the death all of the family and friends that want to stay up all night long to stay with the body and keep it company... then the second day or at the latest the third day they bury the body. But after the body is buried they make a shrine-like thing for the person who passed away in their house with lots of candles and pictures of saints and flour on the ground in the shape of a cross. For the next 9 days they have a catholic mass service at the house of the person every night with this shrine and all the family and neighbors (we obviously didn't go though). Then after the 9 days they gather up the flour that was in the shape of the cross and all the candles and flowers and stuff and take it to the burial site. And that is the culture:) I am not sure if this picture is super disrespectful.. but Hermana Muñoz said it was okay to take it to remember, but don't go posting it on facebook;) 
The second fun fact about Mexican culture is something I have already mentioned- how they usually have a large tank of water in their house, right? But something difficult is that running water, to fill the tank, isn't always available. Or... the city only sends water out once a week or every few days. So, lots of people have something called a 'sisterna' which is just a HUGE tank of water under their house that is like the size of a normal room. I didn't even know this was a thing until recently. One time we had an investigator that had an illegal pet alligator. It was a baby at the time but I thought ''Where are they going to put it when it is bigger?'' well, now I know;) So, these next pics are of the house of one of the members who are feeding us this month:) 
Anyways, hope that was interesting for ya;) I love being in Mexico and learning about their culture. Sometimes it is hard being a missionary because I just want to participate so bad in all the culture- but not all of it is approved;) So, I will come back one day:) 
Haha, and everybody has been asking me about the new pants policy for sister missionaries but they haven't announced anything in the Spanish world about it yet, haha, so I don't know if we will do it. The zika virus and chikungunya and dengue are things that are definitely an issue here, a lot of missionaries have got it, but we will see if these changes take place!!:) 
I love you all, have a great week!
Hermana Swallow

Sunday, May 22, 2016

May 16- I believe in Miracles!

My dear Family, 
It was a great week! I have learned so much and been grateful for the blessings of the Lord in my life:)

We had a fun service opportunity of cleaning the baptismal font this week. It was really cool because the member who knows how to clean the font is a less-active member and so when we asked him to help us with the font, well it got him back in the church building for something;) And now we are teaching his children who are not members of the church:)
Why were we cleaning the font, you ask?:) BECAUSE CECLIA GOT BAPTIZED!!! It was a wonderful, wonderful experience:) Also,look at that beautiful clear water, am I right?:) 
As always, the jumping foto, haha. 
I have grown to love Ceclia so much in the time that I have been blessed to be here in Iguala. She is truly an amazing daughter of God:) She told us back in January that she wanted to get baptized, and we have been working hard ever since. There have been ups and there have been some really low-lows, but the Lord knows exactly what He is doing:) I am so grateful for the opportunity to know her and to have been able to witness this change that has happened in her life. She is truly a different person:) THAT is the power of the Atonement. 
Me and Hermana Rodriguez worked with Cecilia alot before Hna Rodriguez got changd to another area, so we had to do some picture magic to get her to the baptism;) 
The only reason that Cecilia really progressed and kept moving forward is because one of her best friends is a member of the Church. So when things got hard and she told us she didnt want to meet with us anymore, she still had a friend and a connection to the church. She still had an example and a support that helped her come back again:) THAT is the power of members in missionary work! 
After her baptism even the Heavens showed their approval:) 
We went on divisions this week with our new Sister Training Leaders:) They are really great! They both are in my generation:) Hermana Lopez is from Tijuana and Hermana Aquino is the daughter of Paraguayans but was raised in Argentina:) She is really funny and her accent is hilarious;)
While on divisions I met Hermana Garcia, the 'daughter' or trainee of Hermana Johnson (my companion a while back). She started her mission in the same area that I started my mission- she actually took my place when I was changed:) It was fun talking to her and hearing about my investigators back in Galeana:) 
I just really love having a companion that does my hair forme... Hermana muñoz is the best. I call this the Princess bun:) 
Anyways, I hope you guys have a great week! I love you all and i pray for you down here in Mexico:) I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! 
Love, Hermana Swallow

Sunday, May 15, 2016

May 9- Happy Mother's Day!

Wow, it was a great week! I love being a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!:) It was a good week and I was finally getting into the swing of being in a trio when BOOM special changes hit;) Haha, so they took away Hermana Albiña, the one from Chile who made me laugh so much and is ending her mission in 3 weeks, but its okay:) Me and Hermana Muñoz will keep moving forward in the work!

Our awesome neighbors brought us Elote the other night- it had been awhile since I had eaten it and I decided I don't care that it is mayonnaise, it is DELICIOUS! Haha, and you can't tell by my face that I feel really passionate about it.
They say that if you are having a bad day you should hug a tree because it takes away the negative energy:) So when all day our appointments fell through I hugged a tree and someone let us in their house right after- and they had cold water and a fan! It works. 
Me and my chilena:) 
I found this cute little guy running around our house one night and I couldn't resist the photo-shoot:)
 Hermana muñoz likes to do hair, so she made me this cool bun one day that I have only seen on Pinterest! I felt like a princess all the day.
Since Hermana Albiña is going home soon she feels like the rules dont apply to her anymore and she holds children;) This is our neighbors daughter:) 
Things got really hot one day- we are talking 40s in Celsius ( I don't know what it is in Fahrenheit- it just translates to hot;)) so we found some grass in a strip of shade and took a pic;) Haha, and me and Hermana Albiña made the same exact face.
I got another little infection that was really funny this week, it is just a sty in my eye but everyone here thought it was really funny. They call them perrillas here and they say you get them because you say a dog going to the bathroom, haha. Someone also told me that I have bad energy or spirits in my eye and that I should wash it with an egg while saying the catholic prayer 'padre nuestro' haha. 
Something that you can do to treat stys (that doesn't include egg) is put a hot rice pack on it, haha. My companions thought it was really funny;) and Hermana Muñoz is just making a face for the picture, i am good at doing hair;) 
I feel like I send you guys a lot of ugly pictures of me- but that's just because they are really funny hahaha.. just remember as I was- beautiful and non-sweaty;) But this picture shows another home-remedy that they made me do here in Mexico. They say when you have a sty you should put a green chile in the fire and then put it on you eye- and IT HURTS. 
Us and the cute neighbor kids on our way to an appointment:) We love it when members accompany us for lessons, and we love it even more if they take us in their cars;) 
I ate goat for the first time on Saturday, it wasnt too bad:) It is carne suave. But they also made me try the goat stomach and that was not so okay. 
This is me and a youth in our ward, Amsi:) She is really great:) She will turn 16 soon and then she will accompany us for appointments:) 
Here is something AMAZING! Back in February we had a sister who was ready to be baptized but when she had her interview they decided she wasn't exactly ready yet. It has been a huge trial of her faith, and our faith as missionaries, but she has showed her sincere desire to repent and follow the Lord and she is finally ready to be baptized this coming week! HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!
Also... I GOT TO SEE MY FAMILY!!! It was the Best Thing Ever to see them. I love them and miss them so much, but I am so grateful for the support and love they give me!
So I am a happy camper:) I had the chance to help a tourist yesterday who got lost and didn't speak any Spanish and needed someone who could translate:) I was really grateful for the opportunity to serve, I know that I have been really blessed in my time here in Mexico.I love this language and I love my people:) Have an AMAZING week!!
Love, Hermana Swallow

Sunday, May 8, 2016

May 2- NEW address:)

MY wonderful family:) 
I hope you had another great week, I sure did down here in Insurgentes Sion :) (Zion Insurgentes:)) Things are going really great and I love being a missionary! To start off before I forget, there is now an address change for the mission office where you send letters and packages. Now, if your heart so desires, you will need to send them to this address:
Misión México Cuernavaca
Calle Francisco Leyva #109
Colonia Miguel Hidalgo
Cuernavaca, Morelos 62040

So, that's that:) Now with the pictures and stories! So, our ward is basically the best ward in the whole world. Faaaaact. And when we are hungry they are always willing to bring us tacos!! Tacos are basically my favorite thing ever. And now that we are three they just brought us like a mountain of them on Tuesday:) 
This is me with our investigator Guisela and her daughter Getsemani. Getsa is special needs, and SUPER proactive:) Haha, it is equal parts stressful and entertaining when we teach Hna. Guisela because I am always the one who tries to keep Getsa entertained while she tries to take off my clothes and sit on my laps and go through my bag and books:) I love it. 
We also went to this fancy pizza restaurant with Family Olguin who like to spoil us:) Fact: I love pizza with spicy green salsa. 
Another member forgot that she was going to feed us one day so she sent us to a Pozole restaurant, so that was sweet. Pozole is another favorite of mine:) It is made with pork and large corn pieces and deliciousness. 
Haha, we found out that the timing of a jumping picture for a regular companionship of two is hard, but with three it  is even harder hahaah..
But we got it down:) 
We have made some nice strides with companionship unity this week, it is pretty fun being with Hermana Muñoz and Hermana Albiña:) Its more like we are sisters than companions.. with all three beds squished into the bedroom and sharing everything we're basically like the 12 dancing princesses:)
Also they normally sell popsicles here at ''tres por diez'' three popsicles for 10 pesos, so we are taking advantage of that;) 
This is Hermana Yeni (Jenny) :) She is the bishops wife and another one of our moms. She is the best!! Bishop was a bit rebellious when the missionaries first came to teach them, but Yeni was baptized and faithful in the church for two years, even received her endowment, before Bishop finally converted:) And now they are living happily ever after-- that is how the Gospel WORKS!
So, yeah, it is pretty amazing being a missionary:) I honestly love it so much. I had a small miracle this week, too:) As missionaries we use a Daily Planner. Daily planner = Your Life. Literally;) You write everything in your planner, you cover your planner with pictures and every 6 weeks you get a new planner to love. Well, last Saturday I LOST MY PLANNER! It felt like I lost my arm. All the phone numbers and lessons planned and everything were just gone. My companions are new in the area and they weren't really taking good notes about the appointments and contacts and stuff. So I prayed that the Lord would protect and help me find my planner:) AND HE DID! On Tuesday it was safely back in my hands. I guess I left it on a comvie or it fell in the street or something and then someone found it and saw a picture of me and my girl Kat ( I love you Sister Sanders!) that I had put in it and recognized me as one of the Mormon missionaries they have seen walking around:) So they gave it to their nearest Mormon neighbor and that member gave it to me:) Can you say MIRACLE!:) Now we will see if that person who found my planner wants to find Christ as well:):)
Keep looking up and praying for missionary opportunities! I love you all!
Hermana Swallow

Sunday, May 1, 2016

April 25- Eyyy, Trio.

My Dear Family,
I love you all mucho, mucho:) It has been a slow picture week, but allow me to introduce you to my new companions!
Hermana Muñoz is the one in middle, she is really great:) She has 3 months in the mission, so she just finished her training and she is really amazing at teaching with the Spirit:) She is from Aguascalientes, Mexico:) The other companion on the side is Hermana Albiña, she is from Chile and is actually finishing her mission in a month:) But she is focused and works real hard. My main problem with her is that she says hilarious things or makes faces that I think are super funny and I laugh during lessons when I should be more focused;)
Some members put their bird on my head this week-- this one is different from the nice birdie from the other week- this one BITES! It had just bit my companion when they stuck it on my head- I screamed till they took it off;)
So being in a trio is interesting and its not the easiest thing in the world, but it has been fun this week:) We talk alot and joke alot and its nice having two people now to help support you:) 

None of us really wants to be in a trio, but we all get along really well:) 
Sorry for this random ugly picture of morning me, but if you are true friends you wont get offended;) Haha, this morning i woke up and I have this weird infected thing on my forehead. My companions started calling me Quazimodo (from hunchback of notre dame..) Haha, hopefully it goes away before we have to teach;) 
This is a pic of me and this really presumptuous pigeon we pass a lot, I think it is so funny the way it looks at the people in the street.
I love you all so much, keep strong and count your many, many blessings:) 
Love, Hermana Swallow