Sunday, July 31, 2016

July 25- Hey Guys........ :)

Dear Family,
It was another great week! We were able to see some awesome blessings and miracles as we acted with faith and diligence!:) I am loving seeing the area pick up and learn more about my new assignment and my new companion:) 

We went on divisions right off the bat to start the week, there was a companionship having a few difficulties. So, this is me and Hermana Mejia:) She is a REALLY hardworking missionary. She is from El Salvador:) 
This is her companion, Hermana Saldaña. Hermana Saldaña is really special to me because she is always asking me how I am and supporting me. She is 32 and from the Dominican Republic! She had a lot of challenges while getting ready to go on her mission- she had been filling out her papers for 5 years! One time on the way to an interview or something she got ran over by a truck. But she knew the Lord wanted her to serve and that Satan was trying to stop her:) She is a huge example for me. 
This is a huge horse that the Familia Bocanegra Cosme have in their yard, haha. One day while leaving the lesson this week I was waving to him and he came up to me really fast and scared me so I stepped back and fell into that huge hole behind me in the picture, haha. #mylife

These are two of the cuties that live next to us here in Alpuyeca. There family take good care of us, and they also like to practice carrying me around like a princess, haha. Their names are Camoy and Alison:) 
This is me and my real companion, Hermana Lopez:) She is so fun to be with, I am learning so much from her. Sometimes life is hard and the sun is hot, but we try to stay happy;) She just completed a year in the mission, so it was fun celebrating that with her!
The pants made another showing this week as the bug bites started piling up, haha. We felt a lot less awkward this time, its actually pretty fun getting to run around in them.. but it is a lot hotter without a skirt to let air flow come through, haha. Pobre Elderes;) 
This is me with my sombrero and one of the pretty places in our area- I Loooove all the naturaleza:) 
This is Benjamin, he is part of the Familia Bocanegra Cosme that I mentioned above:) He is ten years old and special needs, he is really special to me:) He loves Dinosaurs, Crocodiles, and Iguanas. Haha, he wanted to take a picture with us, but only if the dinosaur, crocodile, and iguana could be in it, too:) 
Me and my beautiful companion:) We are seeing some great things happen in our area and it has sure been awesome to pass through it together:) she is really funny and laughs and my silliness, haha, she says that I act like the guys on ''White Chicks''. I was like.. ''so you're saying that I act like a black guy who is acting like a white girl?'' and she was like ''Yes.'' ... ''Well, thank you.'' Hahaha
I love you all so much, and I hope you have a good week! Keep looking up and seeking Heaven's blessings!:) Remember that sometimes God wants to bless us but He is waiting for us to ASK and for us to LIVE WORTHY to receive those blessings:) Love you!

Hermana Swallow

Sunday, July 24, 2016

July 18- Alpuyeca Love :)

Hey Family! 
It has been another great week in Alpuyeca! We are seeing some really great progress in our area and I am getting more-used to my new routine:) I love being a missionary!

This is me and Hermana Saldaña, she is from the Domincan Republic and is probably the sweetest person I have ever met. She has been having some really tough struggles with her companion and my companion and I have been trying to help as much as we can. She wrote me a letter this week thanking me and I felt truly grateful for the Tender Mercies the Lord sends- she is a tender mercy in my life:) 

This is another one of the tender mercies in my life- her name is America and she is a youth in our Branch:) She is the cutest and Loooooves frozen:) She loves me and she calls me 'Elsa' and is always more than willing to hug me and lift my spirits always:) 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

July 11- What a WEEK!

My dear Family, 
WELL. This has been the fastest/longest week of my life. Life has never been so stressful or as exciting as a missionary:) But I am so happy! As an hermana capacitadora I am still a normal missionary, but now my companion and I have divisiones (one-day and one-night visits) with about 6-7 other sister companionships in our area. We have to call them to make sure that they are doing okay emotionally and we have to inform their district leaders and president on how we can help them. Basically the same thing as a normal missionary but now I have to try to be the best example possible:) 
I had my first 'consejo de liderazgo' with the other 5 sister training leaders in the mission and the zone leaders of the mission on Monday and it was really interesting! I learned so much and then afterwards they treated us to an American barbecue (almost;)) to celebrate the fourth of July:) 
This is me and my new Companion, Hermana Lopez :) She is awesome, a convert of about 5 years. She is from Tijuana, Mexico and speaks pretty good English:) We started in the field together (I was just in the CCM a month longer) so we have already been good friends:) I am excited to be with her:) 
I am in a new area, Alpuyeca (actually, we are working in three areas currently that dont have other missionaries) but it is the area right next to the first area I ever had so that is pretty funny:) My very first day in the new area we had to do divisiones with some hermanas and that was crazy! But it went good and I had a nice map to help us;) This is me and Hermana Robles she is from Tamaulipas, Mexico:) We had a pretty crazy experience but I don't have time to tell it.. maybe next week;) 

This is Hermana Payhua, Hermana Robles companion:) She is really nice and just got called to be a trainer! I know she will do a great job! She is from Lima, Peru!:) And shes climbed Machu Pichu, so thats pretty cool:) 
First successful divisiones!
The next divisiones we did were a little different because we went to the area of the other hermanas to help them find some new investigators to teach:) I went out with Hermana Gonzalez and learned that their area is awesome! But sso so super steep. That mountain that you see in the background just KEEPS going steeply up and that is their entire area, haha. 
I am in another Rama (Branch) and I love the members here, they are super amazing. So far my best friend is this little girl, Michelle:) She always hugs me when she sees us in the street and has helped me stay happy this week with all the changes happening:) 
We had a cool activity at the church, it was learning how to make donuts:) People were supposed to invite their non-member friends to come so that we could receive referrals, but no investigators came :( But I did learn how to sugar the donuts;)
Well, I am sorry that I don't have a lot of time to tell all the stories for the week, but I am doing good! Thank you for all the prayers and love! I will keep on keeping on and I am sure that I will get into the flow soon enough:) I love you all!

Hermana Swallow

Sunday, July 10, 2016

July 4- Happy Fourth of July!

Dear Friends and Family,
It has been a great week! I apologize in advance for writing so much earlier than usual and not being able to write anyone back today, I have very little time. I was called yesterday and told that I have Special Changes and that I have been called to be a Sister Training Leader!

(They are sister missionaries who help the other sister missionaries and go on divisiones with them for training and stuff). I am excited and looking forward to this new opportunity to learn! But we are running short on time because I will meet my new companion and get to my new area today and tomorrow. I am just going to send this weekly email with the pics and I hope everyone is doing amazing! 

So we recently got new information that the sisters in the mission now have permission to wear business pants and long skirts to help protect us from the mosquitos and mosquito-transmittable diseases during the rainy season here in Mexico:) So, they are taking all of the sisters of the mission to buy them a few new skirts and a pair of pants. It was really fun and I was able to see my trainer (my 'Mom') Hermana Garcia, My trainee (my 'Hija') Hermana Rodriguez, and the trainee of my trainee (my 'granddaughter') Hermana Oyerbayas :) It was really awesome being all together, since Hermana Garcia is finishing her mission next week!
We had to spend the night in the house of some of the sisters in our district because it was too late to go back to our area after the district meeting this week. We were just waiting and waiting for the bus to pass and after 30 minutes I said ''What if we say a prayer?'' so they all huddled around me and I said a prayer that the bus would pass so we could go home and NO JOKE the next bus that passed was the one we needed :) MIRACLE!
We found this really happy tree when we were house-searching this week (they want us to change houses)
This random man had a boa on the street this week and I asked to hold it. My companion was freaking out about if he had a permit and if the animal was trained. I was just like ''YOLO.''
It always rains here but this week we had a pretty strong storm that knocked our power out all night, so we had to plan in the dark. Good thing that we are Eagle Scouts #beprepared and had our flashlights:) 

This seemed like a safe railing to lean against. (I love you Safety Director, Dad!)
We had some extra time waiting for the Elders to come and eat one day at a members house so I played with the Playdough with Dalilah the daughter and I made a sister missionary:) 
They eat a lot of 'nopal' here which is cactus:) You just have to be careful to cut all of the spines off before you eat it:) I know how now!
This our investigator's daughter, Abril:) She is always happy!
It was hard saying goodbye to everyone in our beautiful little Branch, especially because I feel like I just got here, but I will always remember them!
This is Lucia, she is a recent convert but had stopped coming to church for the last 4 months, she finally came again yesterday because other than the missionaries a member of the ward went to visit her. Visiting teaching WORKS!
These are our neighbors who live beneath us, they are always less-active members. But their daughter Dani wants to be baptized so we will keep working with them to help her achieve that goal and NEVER FALL AWAY!
This is me and Hermana Juanita, she is the saintliest woman I think I have ever met. She literally never complains and always is willing to serve. She will always come with us to do visits and she goes and visits the investigators later just to check on them. She lives by herself but she always finds time to make food and give it to other people. I want to be like her when I grow up- a woman of much faith and a real conversion:)

Well, I hope everyone has a wonderful week! I am sorry that I didnt have that much time today, but things have been pretty crazy lately:) Wish me luck in my new calling, I will let you know who my new companion is and where my new area is at:) I love you all!

Hermana Swallow