My Last “Te Amo”

What in the world… is this reallllll????? This is my last email as a full-time missionary to you all.

I cannot believe it.

Many have asked me how I feel and I just want to put a scripture down…

2 John 1:12-” Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.”

Just kidding, but it fits doesn’t it? 🙂 hahahah!

ANYWAY, just want to tell you that my last week in the mission field was absolutely perfect. I can honestly say one of the best weeks of the mission. 🙂

We played a lot of fútbol in ward activites and to contact some people (a good 20 people 🙂 It was really fun and I seriously think that I play best as goalie (just like when I was 11)

We spent ALL day on Tuesday moving some members and sledghammering a hole in the wall to put a door in. It was REALLY fun and boy, service is so rewarding. I feel like I served people more this week than any other week and I felt SO blessed. We also helped the Cholulas paint a wall and their family room on Wednesday 🙂

My last district meeting was this week and it was perfect. It was on obedience, promised blessings in serving the Lord, and some other life lessons. I REALLY enjoyed it and my comp made me give my input on how this will help me when I am home.

I had my last interview with President this week and it was really difficult… 😦 He told me “Elder, this chapter of your life has come to a close. It is okay to say, hey that part of my life was INCREDIBLE, look how much it has helped me in my life, etc. BUT it is okay to say that that chapter is over.” In the prayer at the end Pres. Christensen said “Father, bless this Elder to add to the many things that he has learned here upon his return home. Help him to truly live his life faithful to his covenants.” It was really special. 🙂

We taught a lessont to about 9 people this week and I felt like I was giving my own “Sermon on the Mount” it was REALLY cool. Everyone was participating… there were adults, kids, and older people there too. It was just really special.

One day, on Saturday we had 4 lessons, one referral contacted WITH the member, 1 new investigator, and 14 contacts. It was REALLY quite the way to end off the week even though we still hadSunday left.

Sunday, the ward asked me to speak and so I talked about the 10 gifts to bring home from the mission field. I talked specifically to the Young Men and Yound Women. I told them “Hey, the reason I am adressing you is because you are going to see the future right now. What you will all learn in the mission field coming from an almost returned missionary.” I got pretty emotional at the end and saw some teary eyes in the audience. Even though I only had 6 weeks with this ward, I feel so blessed to have known them. They are so special.

Basically that was my last week, even though it is missing a LOT!

I have 2 scriptures I want to share.

1. Alma 17:23 …Yea, I desire to dwell among this people for a time; yea, and perhaps until the day I die.

This is SO hard for me. Leaving all these wonderful people here… They will forever remain in my heart.

2. 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

The mission has reached its end. I cannot believe it.

I want each and every one of you to know how much I love this gospel. I KNOW how true it is. I truly am a reflection of the faith that I have and though it may be small like a seed, each and every day it will grow. I am the person that I am because of what I have learned here. I cannot explain to you in words how special this time has been. I will forever cherish it in my heart.

If I haven’t said this enough I want you to know that I LOVE my Savior Jesus Christ. He suffered for me, in my person and in my life. Each day I can turn to that sacrifice for guidance and comfort.

I LOVE my Father in Heaven, He has been next to me each and every step of the way. I confide in Him and will forever for all He has blessed me with.

I LOVE my family. I cannot wait to see you in 2 days. It has been a journey, long or short I do not know. I promise that our family is different through these trials and blessings we have been given.

I LOVE my friends, I consider you special people in my life.You are my family that came into my life without being born into the Swenson family. 

I LOVE my mission. I will never be able to express my love for this country, Puebla, the Elders and Hermanas who serve here with me, the food, the culture, the funny memories. I just will miss it so much.

 

God be with you til we meet again.

 

Thank you all for everything.

Te. Amo.

Elder Swenson

Counting Blessings: My WONDERFUL missionary friends who will continue to serve. I love each and every one of you so very much. You all work hard now, be the best you can be. Reach limits that you have never reached before (I promise you they are endless so you’ll never reach em… hahahaha) Continue in obedience and the Father will bless you. Thank you for walking with me in the Army of Helaman. I feel so blessed to have done it with you.

 

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“There are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings”

Boy, oh boy, oh boy. IS THIS REAL LIFE! My second to last email.

I love love love this quote that I put as the heading. It means a LOT to me at this time. I know that there is an end to this time, but it isn’t really the end is it? (As said in Harry Potter 🙂 hahhaha)
There are only pages waiting to be written in my life and these 2 chapters, these 2 years of my life have shaped me completely into the person that I need to become. This isn’t over, there is always time for missionary work. Now is my time to finish strong and to fight this final battle. 🙂
TOO MUCH TO SAY! hahahah!
So a long while back I read a talk in a Liahona from Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley that was called “Gifts to bring home after being in the missionary field” or something like that. I truly feel like THESE are the gifts I will truly bring home, they are so important and have changed my life.
1. Knowledge of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and a love for them.
2. Knowledge of the scriptures and the word of God, and a love for them.
3. A greater love for parents.
4.  Love for the people that were taught.
5. Appreciation for hard work.
6. The certainty of the Spirit that is at our reach if we are worthy of it.
7. Understanding of the importance of working in a team.
8. The courage of personal virtue.
9. The faith to work.
10. Humility to pray.
Whoever is reading this, these are the gifts that I hope to bring home 🙂 They truly are the KEY to a returned missionary. I have felt so blessed to see these giant changes in me. I know that if I have learned all this I cannot toss it aside. These are the keys to happiness and the keys to peace in one’s life. If any of you see that I fault something here, remind me of it and help me to be better 🙂
My cousin Alison said something upon her return that I absolutely LOVED! She said “returning home after your mission is like eating a brownie with staples in it” HOW TRUE IS THIS. It is so bittersweet. I am so anxious for the reunions I will have with family and dear friends. So anxious to see my nephew who I haven’t truly known yet, so anxious to get back into the temple and attend regularly, so anxious to meet Paul’s puppy Koda, so anxious to live the gospel WITH my family and friends. BUT so hurt to know that I am leaving so many things behind… this country, this people, this wonderful spirit that can only be felt here in the mission and being surrounded by so many wonderful missionaries, my mission president and his wife, each memory that I have shared will be cherished throughout my life. I truly just cannot believe it is all coming to an end.
As Peter Pan says “HERE WE GO!!!”
Let’s top this thing off with a great scripture 🙂
Alma 26:12
Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
Everything that I have done here is because of HIM! I haven’t done anything 🙂 I really like this scripture.
See you soon 🙂
TE AMO!
Elder Swenson
Counting Blessings: Elder Ochoa is doing great 🙂 He is out of the hospital now. On Wednesday I stayed with him in the hospital all day. We watched the Argentina vs. Netherlands match. HORRIBLE!!!! hahahahaha! Sorry but it was so boring. :/ Congrats Germany on taking the World Cup. We watched “”White House Down” which E. Ochoa and I saw a part of in a bus on the way to Puebla. It was SO INTENSE and we stopped half way because we got to Puebla. A really good movie 🙂 I liked it. And then watched a good 20 minutes of Les Mis. It was a good day 🙂 Love E. Ochoa!! 🙂
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Hospitals=my worst nightmare!

FIRST OFF. Don’t worry, everything is fine 🙂 I will explain everything!
I have to go through the week to let you all know what happened.
I just want to get to the highlights because I am REALLY short on time and I have WAYYYY too much to say.
First, I had divisions with Elder Reidhead this week. He is from Arizona and he leaves with me this change. This Elder is SO awesome, we were laughing all day and we are great friends. 🙂
We went to visit Jherssan for the first time in E. Reidheads area… I was not expecting what would happen in the next 2 and a half hours…
Jherssan is an INCREDIBLE human being. He just got here in Mexico after living in LA, Cali for basically his whole life. He is 25 and he got there when he was 9.
He told us his whole life story, ALL in english. My first english lesson on the mission. Although I will tell you some strong experiences he had I want you to know that Jherssan was very calm, composed, and funny in his own way.
Basically, he got involved in bad things very young and acknowledged the bad influences of many in his life. He got into drugs, got into crews, got into alcohol. Many things… He explained to us when he was 18 he was in jail and made a commitment to help himself through searching for God and making his life better. He had a wife and 2 girls. So when he got out, he turned his life around. Got a job, got an apartment, and all was going good. His wife cheated on him because he didn’t treat her right SO he got back into bad things. One day the 26th of December 2010 he was super drunk and went to give his ex-wife a piece of his mind… on the way there he got jumped. With bats, golf clubs, and a wrench to his head. He went to see his ex to get some help but wanted revenge. When his ex wouldn’t give him a knife he was so drunk he jumped from a window wanting to get to the roof of another house. He fell and landed on the same side he was hit with the wrench. He immediately fell into coma. So when the doctors told the family that they could do a surgery but he had a 98% chance of having strong defects (losing speech, paralized, retarded, etc) he came out of the operation with a slight paralysis in his left side. He walks with a limp and he cannot use his left arm. BUT he is a walking miracle. He speaks English perfectly and Spanish as well. He then told us how he met the missionaries there. How he almost got baptized but ran away from the baptism because of the pressure and not feeling ready. It was just CRAZYYYYY! I was so blessed to know Jherssan and the many things he taught me that I will never forget. Sorry if that was so jumbled…. I hope you got the point of the amazing experience.
On the 4th of July I went to the hospital because my hip was being so weird and it was causing pain. SO, I HATE hospitals. They scare me and it is a scary place. Also, being a missionary it is awkward having nurses all around you and touching you and stuff. (I understand this is their job but yeah awkward…) Anyway they put me in that dress thing that hospital patients use to take X-rays. Everything turned out fine. I have Bursitis, which means that the hip bone and the thigh bone (i think) are just rubbing together a little weird but it will pass. I feel perfect today and nothing has annoyed me. He said it is caused by walking or running a lot. Uhhh…. well you think after 2 years of walking everywhere got me here… hahahha 🙂
Also Elder Ochoa is in the hospital so we went to visit him today and run favors for them yesterday in the pouring rain. PLEASSEEE pray for Elder Ochoa. He was bleeding from his knee after his operation 2 weeks ago and he had to go in for surgery AGAIN this weekend and is pretty bad. He needs our prayers and our faith 🙂 I love this guy, he was an incredible comp and I am glad I can be here for him in this hard time.
I loved something a sister said in her testimony this week. What would you do if you found the cure to cancer???? WELL, you would share it with everyone you knew right? Well we have the cure to a broken heart, loneliness, trials and pains. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ and we need to share it with others, EVERYONE 🙂 I LOVED THAT!
AHHHHHH! SO MUCH TO SHARE! NO TIME!
Just a quick quote and scripture to end this off. My Aunt Sherida sent me a package and a letter for my bday and I loved LOVED the quotes she sent me. I will share one 🙂
“Peace is not something you wish for. It is something you make, something you are, something you do and something you give away” Robert Fulghum
 9 I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.
 
I am an instrument in HIS hands. I am so grateful for this calling 🙂
TE AMO!
Elder Swenson
Counting Blessings: Happy Bday Zak my wonderful brother in law 🙂
SO MANY OTHERS I WANT TO SHARE!
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Planting Seeds!

I really like the fact that I am basically making a parable for myself in these last months of my mission. I have been planting LOTS of seeds that I will probably never see grow to the full bloom. It brings me peace to know that there will be other missionaries coming along after me to do a great harvest. Planting seeds has been in contacting a person, talking to someone who stops us in the street, teaching a member, bearing testimony, serving leaders, etc. I count my blessings that God placed me here to do this 🙂

I read the standard of truth this week and I just remember being a priest in my quorum reciting this every Sunday 🙂 NOW, I am here doing what this quote says. Joseph Smith said…

“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done”

So we have 2 kind of progressing investigators right now… but we have found and have 11 🙂 In an area that has NEVER been worked in I feel that this is AMAZING progress all from our contacting. 🙂

Reina- SUPER receptive and is reading the Book of Mormon. She is so special and she is passing through a LOT of trials in her life but she is strong and has a lot of faith. She took us coming into her Office material store and asking if we could present ourselves with her as a sign from God. 🙂 cool huh!? She is so READY to recieve the gospel.

Jordi- Our neighber. Loves to listen but seems like he doesn’t want to act on invitations… BUT he said that he will reflect on being baptized. He said if God gives him an answer he would do it. How great is it that we promise and know that He does answer! 🙂

My birthday day was really awesome 🙂 We ate Krispy Kremes and Tostiesquites!!! Lety and Mario (Recent Converts) made us food that day. SO YUMMY and Hna. Lety made brownies and ice cream for my bday! So nice 🙂 I prayed to spend my day working hard and losing myself in the work for this day as a gift to God/from Him for my bday. HE GAVE US THE BEST DAY OF THE WEEK! 4 lessons and 10 contacts 🙂 So great!!!

We had Zone Conference on the 26th and it was REALLY fun 🙂 We talked about managing money, planning, prophets, and a couple other things. We separated into English and Spanish at one part because President wanted everyone to understand at 100% this part. It was SO STRANGE learning in english and having a training in english. I felt like a USA missionary. It was cool 🙂

Last part of the meeting President always makes the Elders and Sisters who go home before the next conference share their testimonies… It was my turn. I have never felt more horrible in my life. I thought I was going to puke. I was on the verge of tears but I felt like I shared what I truly believed and what strengthened me by being a missionary. It was a bittersweet (more bitter) experience.

Something President told us this week, I LOVED. He said “Always happy, but never satisfied” That is how I feel. I am happy, but we always have so much more to do 🙂 This is God’s work. I am sure of it. He is hastening it day by day in His time, and in His way.

I love this time so much 🙂 I will serve til the last day offering my heart to those who need it 🙂

TE Amo!

Elder Swenson

Counting Blessings: CONGRATS TO: Gloria and Trey. Aria and her husband. Daniel and Ashleigh. ALL got married and sealed this weekend. HOW HAPPY I AM FOR ALL OF YOU! Congrats. What a blessing it is to start a family! May God bless each and every one of you! 🙂

 Eric and 2 of his “sons”

 Eric and his trainer Elder Munoz

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The BIG 21

Well, this week is my birthday week. I turn the BIG 21 on Wednesday. So crazy!

We celebrated today; E. Castillo, E. Ochoa, E. Reidhead, & I today at a Brazilian Restaurant. (Like Tucahno’s sp?) MMMMMM. MMMMM. GOOOOD! 🙂
Today Mexico played against Croatia and BOY was it crazy in the streets. Being in the restaurant we saw the 1st half. When we started to walk toward the bus we were surrounded by restaurants and when we passed by Mexico made 2 goals… The emotion is insane here in Mexico and it is so special 🙂 The whole world just stops for a second and everyone goes WILD, the screams the shouts and it is just so awesome 🙂 Kind of hard to describe.
Big news… JESUS CANO FLORES FROM XICOTENCATL GOT MARRIED THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!! He should be baptized by now :)))))) BEST NEWS!
I have to comment on something that has been big for me this week. I have been focusing a lot on following spiritual promptings immediately and not talking myself out of them. I have seen miracles with this in this week 🙂 A taxi driver promised me he would read the Book of Mormon after talking with him on the ride home. A woman we contacted completely accepted the principle of prophets. It was just really special and each one was a spiritual prompting. 🙂
We gave a Book of Mormon to an investigator this week and she was so so happy. She put the Book of Mormon to her heart and said thank you so much, it is beautiful. I will begin reading today. SHE IS SO AWESOMEE! Pray for Reina!
I LOVE THIS WORK! I gotta get going. Know I love each and every single one of you. Wish I could write more about this week but I got to get going.
TE AMO!
Elder Swenson
Counting Blessings:
I have to say that one thing that I will miss most about the mission is meetings and reunions. I LOVE the missionaries I serve with and when we get together it is a HOOT! I laugh and smile so big with them 🙂
Saturday session of Stake Conf. President told all the missionaries to come to the front and recite D&C 4. As I stood with each and every one of them reciting these wonderful words, I had tears in my eyes. This experience will never come again. I am so grateful.
 
Eric with his district celebrating his birthday. He bought everyone lunch.
Image
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Hail, Floods, World Cup, Drunk Jew, Walking, walking and MORE WALKING :)

Some quick info because it is time for me to get going 🙂

NEWS!
I am OPENING an area just like almost all my areas in the mission 🙂 
Antequera 1. It is in my same stake, other Zone. My Zone Leaders are… ELDER OCHOA and ELDER REIDHEAD! I love those two!
My companion is Elder Castillo from the Dominican Republic 🙂 I was his first Zone Leader in the mission. He is crazy and quiet at the same time 🙂 I will have to expand more about him another day 🙂
This area is a trial but Elder Castillo and I are enjoying it so much. We know that this is gonna be hard but we believe in miracles and they are already happening 🙂
This area is part of the first ward with 6 missionaries. Our part of the ward only has 4 active families and about 3 less active families, we started with 0 investigators. Talk about difficult right? 🙂 We eat SUPER far away and it takes some time to get there, our church building is far too but we are working with what we got 🙂
This week was INSANE weather wise. SUPER HOT, HAILING, OUR HOUSE LETS WATER IN! It was CRAZY 🙂
The World Cup started so that is craziness as well here in Mexico 🙂
the other day a drunk jew talked to us for about 30 minutes… hahahahah! SO FUNNY! He was speaking in Hebrew and it was just hilarious. 🙂
We contacted SO MUCH in the street because we don’t have very many people to teach. BUT we have seen miracles 🙂 We even did service with a Baptist church this week 🙂
I have to save the KKK ponchos story for next week 🙂 I love this one.
Happy Fathers Day Dad 🙂 I love you so much and you are just the biggest example. If I could just use words to say what I truly feel about my dad, but it is difficult to describe. He is such an amazing person and I will strive my whole life to become half of who he is 🙂
Happy 18th Bday to Marissa Paz as well 🙂 this girl has been a giant support to me and I really appreciate her 🙂 LOVE YOU MARISSA!
Te amo!
Elder Swenson
Counting Blessings: Mini Golf! We went to play this morning and it was a ton of fun 🙂
I am SO grateful to be a missionary and I know that what we share is true. This gospel  is the biggest blessing I have in my life.

 

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Buckle Up!

This is gonna be a bumpy ride 🙂

So, obviously I thought up a lame title for my email this week. BAHAHAHHAHH! I am going in to my LAST CHANGE tomorrow. It is unbelieveable. It is time to make these last 6 weeks unforgettable and full of hard work and success and most of all MIRACLES!
So number one on the board is… we had so many suprises on Sunday 🙂
Luz Maria is progressing very well. 🙂 She is in Helaman and carries her Book of Mormon with her everywhere. She came to church on Sunday!!! 🙂 We had a direct lesson with her on Saturdaybecause she isn’t married and so we taught with love and power. She is going to speak with her “husband” (boyfriend) of 7 years and we will see what happens. SO HAPPY FOR HER! The gospel is changing her life.
We had a member from another ward bring his daughter WHO LIVES IN OUR AREA!!! 🙂 to church on Sunday. WOWWWWW! She is pretty reserved but she is SO prepared 🙂 Her name is Yessica, her son came too! His name is Braulio and he was SO awesome in Primary. 🙂
Then on Friday we were walking in the street and this guy behind us HEY! ELDERS! (this is why we are ALL called Elder 😉 He talked to us, said that he just got here from Morelos and that he needed to know where the church was located. He and his wife came to church on Sunday 🙂 Little did we know he told us that his wife is not a member but would like to be baptized!!! AHHHH!
This was one of the most amazing things I have seen on my mission.
NOW, are you ready for the sad news… Saturday I get the call for the changes, expecting that I stay in the area and my companion was like a 50/50 because he has been in this area in total about 7 1/2 months. I am being changed 😦 I always break down when this happens… hahahah! I know that this happens to every missionary but it is really sad to leave an area with so many loved ones and so many memories 🙂 I will see them all again and hope and pray that all these wonderful people, new and old, will progress and embrace the gospel.
President has given me the heads up on his plans for the mission. Since there are only 4 new Elders coming tomorrow, I couldn’t train like he would have liked. He said “Elder, I am so grateful for your hard work and service in your assignment. I would like you to help out a District Leader. I will be doing this with many Elders this change and would like to build up our future leadership force. You will be Jr. Companion on an assignment to help a new District Leader become strong. Thank you Elder, I sure love you!”
I am SO STOKED and SO SCARED! hahahah! I have no idea where I am going but I know that this is going to be a great way to end my mission 🙂 I AM A MISSIONARY! and I love it.
Te amo!
Elder Swenson
Counting Blessings: My companion Elder Romero 🙂 I thought that I was going to end my mission with him as my companion, but there are other plans 🙂 I love this guy to the moon and back. He is a great Elder and I really have loved getting to know him and serve with him. I cannot wait til he makes it into BYU and joins me there in Provo 🙂 Thanks Elder Romero, I consider you a great friend and I will miss being your companion.
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