What I KNOW!

So I feel like I have never dedicated an email to my testimony and today, that is what I would love to do.

These are the things that I KNOW to be true and that I have learned for myself through many ups and downs, studies and prayers, and overall throughout my life. How I wish I had hours to write this email…
I KNOW that God lives and that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to this earth.
I KNOW that God has a plan for each and every one of His children, sometimes we don’t understand it, but He truly knows what we go through and what we need.
I KNOW that God answers prayers, He listens. He truly has answered each and every one of my prayers.
I KNOW that families can be together forever, this doctrine is true and I cannot imagine my life without my family.
I KNOW that God places people into our lives for a reason and we learn from them. There are no coincidences.
I KNOW that Heavenly Father is hastening his work in this time and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is real. I teach it daily and what a blessing it is.
I KNOW that this church is true. There is no doubt about it.
I KNOW that the Book of Mormon and the Bible are the word of God. They are inspired and they teach us how to live our lives.
I KNOW that miracles can happen if we seek them.
I KNOW that God prepares His children to listen to the Gospel. Each and every child will have the opportunity to learn for his/her self to know if it is true whether it be in this life or the next.
I KNOW that this life requires sacrifice, but each sacrifice we make brings blessings.
I KNOW that I am doing what the Lord needs me to do in this place, in this moment, at this time.
I KNOW many things, but most of all. I know that my life would never be the way it is if it weren’t for these things that I KNOW to be true. 🙂
Highlights of the week super quick 🙂
This week we contacted someone in the street and said that we were the CIA and that our church is only an american (USA) church and it has tried to take over Mexico but we haven’t because the virgin mary protects them. She also said we don’t get paid enough for what we do… then she went away. My comp had steam coming out of his ears, I was laughing after. hahahah!
It has started to POUR DOWN RAIN! We have got drenched a couple times this week.
I played basketball (Dad you should be proud of me) It was… fun. I have to admit 🙂 Though I would much rather play volleyball.
We taught primary yesterday (not just me teaching I am a Child of God) We (4 Elders) taught about the priesthood. We were separated into groups and my group was SO FUNNY! We had a picture of a couple in front of the Salt Lake temple. Every time I said the word temple they added Salt Lake, I explained to them there are other temples… hahah! One kid said that we get sealed in water… hahhahah! He explained that it was snow from Salt Lake. He also said I am white just like temples. BAHAHAHAHH! SO FUNNNNN!
BEST NEWS OF ALL! Our investigator we have had for a week is a referral from the Martinez Sanchez family (their neighbor) This is the family I skyped with BTW. Luz Maria is our investigator, she has had the Book of Mormon for a week, and on Saturday she was in ALMA 31!!!!!! WHAAAAAAAAAAT?!?!? SHE IS AMAZING. She accepted a date for the 19th of July…. SO if I stay in this area, she will be the last baptism I have on the mission. CRAZINESS!
Keep praying for the Baleon fam!
We NEED these investigators in church 🙂
Te amo!
Elder Swenson
Counting Blessings: A scripture instead…
Jarom 1:11 Found this today. I LOVE WHAT I AM DOING! 🙂
Wherefore, the prophets, and the priests, and the teachers (missionaries), did labor diligently, exhorting with all long-suffering the people todiligence; teaching the law of Moses (the gospel of Jesus Christ), and the intent for which it was given; persuading them to look forward unto the Messiah, and believe in him to come as though he already was. And after this manner did they teach them.


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We are the product of lives that have touched ours :)

This quote is from Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley’s first talk as a general authority and I just loved it 🙂 I truly believe this.

SOOOOOOO! I gotta make this one a quick one.
1. WE HAVE 2 BAPTISMAL DATESSSSSSSSS! FINALLLLLYYYYYY! I could die of happiness 🙂 We have been working with a less active family and it is Hna. Miriam’s husband and son. The Baleon family. So when I talk about them you know who they are. I feel like the difficulty will be getting them to church. Miriam is about 26 and she hasn’t gone to church since she was 13 but she is really receptive 🙂
2. I don’t know if I mentioned this, but I am teaching the primary kids the primary song, “I Am A Child of God” in English for a primary activity in August. They are SO cute and so obedient when I get to teach them. There is this little girl who is seriously adorable and a mini Marissa Paz. I seriously cannot explain how happy it makes me to see mini Marissa 🙂 hahahah! 
3. I met one of the investigators that Elder Spencer Robb had while he was here and she got baptized this Saturday 🙂 My comp did the interview. Isn’t that soooo cool? When we found the connection we both freaked 🙂
4. Scripture I found this week!!! 2 Nephi 4:20  My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mineafflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
Make God be your support if He isn’t already. This is one of the biggest changes I have seen in my life. He is there, and He loves us 🙂
I love you all and thank you for being the lives that have touched mine and made me who I am today 🙂 Make this week incredible, be good people, serve others, pray, and be AWESOME!
Te amo!
Elder Swenson
Counting Blessings: Memorial Day. I will always remember on Memorial Day our street had a BBQ and I loved being united as a block to celebrate this holiday 🙂 It is a great childhood memory! Hope it still continues!!! 🙂
Eric with Alva (Elder Spencer Robb’s investigator)
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Can you believe that we are into the single digits of WEEKS left?!?! … 😦 I don’t like this. But I read something this week that helped calm me down a little to help me feel more ready for change. THESE 9 WEEKS WILL BE AMAZING!

This Friday Elder Benjamin De Hoyos came to our mission. WOW was this absolutely incredible!!! We talked a LOT about the Book of Mormon. That if we want to have faith… not only faith… but faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement… where do we go? The Book of Mormon. He told us to challenge our investigators to mark every time it says Jesus Christ, Christ, Lord, etc. in the Book of Mormon and you will find it on almost every single page. You cannot tell me that this Book does not testify of Christ, it really is another testament of HIM. 🙂
He asked us to think about “What things if we did them well, or better, for a sufficient amount of time, would help us to baptize every week?” (This is the goal for the mission and all Mexico right now) 
He gave us some clues.
“Our attitude is our best friend or worst enemy”
He taught us to ask our investigators to invite someone to our next lesson, not just say “hey do you know anyone who would like to listen to us?” He said this is the key to finding and teaching 🙂
It was SO great to hear from the future President of the Mexico Area this week 🙂 He is a representative of Christ for sure.
Our lessons were AWESOME THIS WEEK 🙂 We taught Manuela and Jose Luis and they are “very faithful to the Catholic church” but “willing to listen and learn” the spirit was strongly felt throughout the lesson. We will teach them tonight 🙂 Woo hoo!!! 
This week was great and a lot of fun 🙂
I would like to tell you about my big trial of faith this week 🙂
So after the meeting with Elder De Hoyos, we went to a bank… and I LEFT THE AREA BOOK THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you don’t know what an area book is… it is kind of every record of the last 2 years of investigators, less actives, everyone you teach basically. It has EVERYTHING IN IT! Seriously this is a missionaries LIFE! We went back 15 minutes later and it was gone.. the area book and a letter from future Hermana Rhoads. I could have cried…. ( I felt like Martin Harris when he lost the record…) We did all we could to find it (left numbers, called secretaries, everything) on Friday it didn’t turn up… My comp and I had divisions that day and he was telling me “Elder, have faith. Cheer up. Everything will be fine it will turn up.” I have never prayed so hard in my life. That night I said to God “Father… please don’t let this area suffer and all thy children in it, and the future missionraies for a stupid mistake of mine. PLEASE.” hahaha!
Saturday night we get a call from Elders in another area… “Hey we have your area book, a sister found it in the bank yesterday!” I was BEAMING and jumping for joy. I will have the area book and lettertomorrow 🙂 This seriously was a miracle and a HUGE test of my faith. I love this mission and every trial that comes with it 🙂
I also learned that God does test our faith. He could have given an impression to that Sister “leave the area book there, the elders will come back in 5 minutes for it” BUT He didn’t. God loves us, He answers prayers 🙂
That is my message to each of you this week. Put it into practice. 🙂
Elder Swenson
Counting Blessings: This morning we went BOWLING!!!! and we went to CARLS JR! YUM. I got FIRST in our bracket. It was actually a really great time 🙂

A couple of pictures from the zone Carl’s Jr. stop and bowling.




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Now or Never

SO! This week went super great!!!

Though we have not been having so much success in this area, we have seen more miracles this week 🙂 I love the principle that is so true. We all have our agency and we can choose what we want to do. This is a gift from our Father in Heaven and He did not give it to us to go around and do bad things, He gave it to us so we can CHOOSE, by daily decisions, to return with Him again. EVEN missionaries have their agency… we can choose to work to our 100% or we can choose to work below that level… I testify that when we work to our 100% and do all we can, we receive miracles.
I was fasting this weekend so that we could find people to teach and I promised God that I would do all that I can do to make that happen. We were walking in the street on Sunday and we contacted a young couple… they received us so well and THEY LIVE IN OUR AREA!!!! (This almost never happens because this area is so tiny) I almost cried… ahhahh! I know that God gives answers to our prayers and our fasts… sometimes even IMMEDIATE answers! I am so grateful for these special times 🙂
I loved loved loved seeing my family and Xander for the first time yesterday! It was very special 🙂 
My title, now or never pertains to this time that I have been given. It is now or never to make this work progress, it is now or never to see more changes in the work and in myself, it is now or never to be the best missionary I can be. THIS IS SUCH AN AMAZING TIME IN MY LIFE. No words can express how much I love this work and the people that surround me. 
This is more than I ever hoped it would be. 
I love you all so dearly. Make this week incredible!
Elder Swenson
Counting Blessings: SARAH BOYER turns 21 this week 🙂 I LOVE YOU SARAH! Hope you have the best of birthdays! You are amazing!
My friends who are serving missions and the ones who soon will leave. I LOVE YOU ALL and I thank you for your support and amazing words of love and encouragement. I feel like the luckiest person on this earth to have such amazing friends!
Eric with Elder Romero
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Calling all the MOMS!

So before I step up onto my soapbox to talk about all the mom’s out there I would like to begin with the weekly report of what is going on down here (or up there, or over there) in PUEBLA MEXICO!

This week was super uneventful, I will let you know. We had to do monthly forms and it took fooooreeeeverrrr to do. All for some really bad coordination with the other Zone Leaders. hahah!
BUT I will tell you about our wonderful day of power, May 1st. The highlights! 🙂
We went to a family’s home this week. We have gone a couple times to stop by and give them a lesson and they usually only receive us when it is our turn to eat at their home. The Hno. always came out and would say “What do you need Elders, I am really busy.” Us- “Well we just would like to share a message with your family.” 
Him- “Elders… what is wrong? What did we do?”
Some type of conversation like that…FINALLY we had a lesson apart from the ones we’ve shared in lunch appointments.
We started the lesson and it all went negative… Hno. “Elders, you don’t understand… we don’t need to hear these things over and over again. We know that when we are wrong WE have to make the decision to change… etc.”
Hna. “Priesthood never does their job, they never ever do visits, etc. etc.”
I started to feel absolutely horrible, sad, and angry. But then the Spirit whispered to me, stop thinking about your feelings and see them the way that their Father in Heaven sees them. IMMEDIATELY I felt the love of our Father in Heaven for them. I got a little emotional when I said this and stopped what they were saying.
I said “Hno., Hna., sometimes we don’t understand why we come to your home… We love you, so much. Your Father loves you so much. YOU are my brother and YOU are my sister. I want you to realize what you do when you invite us into your home. We are representatives of Jesus Christ, not Him, but we represent him. You invite His presence into your home each time we come. Now, I want you both to realize that, never forget that we love you.”
It was silent… then I said, “When can we have a Family Home Evening with you and someone to invite?” They accepted and expressed to us that they hadn’t felt that way with missionaries in a long time and that we were the 2nd companionship that has ever made them committ. It was BEAUTIFUL!
I’ll have to tell you about the other experience another time.
Now, we had changes this week. I saw a very dear friend, Elder Sainz end his mission. I was really sad, but as we sang “God Be With You Til We Meet Again” (as we always do) we stood on the last verse to sing to the leaving missionaries… President hugged them one by one with tears streaming down his face. I began to bawl… it was very sentimental and I flashed forward to my time… that is not this change but the next. This time is so short and I just want to make sure that these last months are spent wisely. I am so blessed to be here, and I just am so happy to be serving the Lord.
Now… My message today is to all the moms out there 🙂
Mom, I love you so much. Cannot wait to see you on Sunday! Thank you for all you have taught me, I am the man I am today because of you. I don’t think you will ever realize how much you mean to me. You have supported me throughout my whole life and I just am so happy that I came into your life. You have been one of my greatest blessings in life and always will be. ❤
Maman, thank you for teaching me so much about life and the way that we should live. I learn from you each and everyday. Thank you for teaching me strength and faith, and for always loving me. You are a very special woman and I am proud to call you Maman.
Grandma, though I didn’t know you well. I know where you are and I will see you again. Thank you for your example.
Amanda, this is the first time I can say HAPPY MOTHERS DAY! I am so overjoyed to see you as a mother, I know you are doing an amazing job and I am just so happy for you. Thank you for being my best friend and my listening ear all these years. I know that your son and future kids will be able to say the same. Love you manda!
To all my Aunts, Cousins. Happy Mothers day 🙂 You are all so amazing.
I would like to mention some really special “mom’s” who I consider to be very dear to my heart.
Margie Seastrand, Momma Steed, Jackie Snowden, Mrs. Tyler, “Big Sis” Beth Seastrand, Chalice, Nikki Avery, Sis. Hasler, Jenna Rhoads, Sis Dutson, Sis. Busby, Debbie Lawter, Tina Christensen, Alison Olson, Sis. Borovicka, Sis. Horton, Sis. Boyer, my primary teachers, and so many more. Just thank you to all the women who have truly blessed my life in one way or another. You will never realize the impact you have had on me. 
LES AMO! (Te amo a la persona que esta leyendo esta carta 🙂
Elder Swenson
Counting Blessings: MY LIL BROTHER. I love you Paul, HAPPY 17TH BDAY this Friday. You are amazing and I am so proud of you and all that you have become. See you soon. 
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Traveling Troubled Waters

So this week in my personal study I read Ether 6 and just had a CRAZY CRAZY moment of inspiration 🙂


 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a afurious wind blow upon the face of the waters, btowards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.

 And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.

 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being atightlike unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the bark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.

 And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were adriven forth before the wind.

 And they did asing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did bthank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.

 10 And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither awhale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.

 11 And thus they were driven forth, athree hundred and forty and four days upon the water.

Now, when I read these verses I began to think of trials that each and every one of us face. I feel like each one of us, in some time in our lives if we already haven’t, will pass through furious winds, we will pass through mountains of waves, sometimes we will be buried in deep waters encompassed in the waves, and we will feel scared or abandoned. These trials may be DAY after DAY for almost ONE WHOLE YEAR! Can you believe they were in the storm tossed sea, in a little boat for a year. It just amazes me.

BUT if we trust in God and sing praises unto him and pray (I like that part) we will make it to the promised land and cry tears of joy for the tender mercies we receive from Him. 🙂

12 And they did aland upon the shore of the bpromised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his ctender merciesover them.

  I don’t know why this hit me so hard, but it really did. It is my hope and prayer that we may all pass through trials and be strengthed to be able to make it through. I love each and every one of you so much if you didn’t already know. The best method to help others in times of trouble is to find someone who has more need than you and give them your hand. I know that God loves each and every one of us. He is good to us 🙂 May we be good to Him.
FYI! Changes are tomorrow, but Elder Romero and I are staying put. We are happy about that 🙂 Praying for miracles! 🙂
Sorry this is so short, gotta get to work 🙂
Te amo!
Elder Swenson
Counting Blessings: Cinnabon 🙂 Just had one… deliciousness.
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Thanks fo Him

WELL. This Easter week was super eventful :)… well not really.

The best part was Easter, even though it is SUPER DUPER different here in Mexico.
Number 1 reason: It isn’t really EASTER. (Like bunnies, eggs, etc) there is none of that stuff. hahah!
Number 2 reason: The Catholics go literally insane here in Mexico… There was a procession walking down the street on Friday of “Christ” carrying a cross… they were whipping the two theives next to him too. It was really just… not cool. They said that in Mexico City they literally prepare a man for a whole year physically and they actually crucify him… It. goes. crazy. here. for. “Semana Santa” or Holy Week.
Number 3 reason: there isn’t really an easter program in church.
BUT of all the differences, the meaning is the same. We think of Jesus Christ and we remember all that He did for us. But, the best news we could ever have is that HE LIVES! He died and 3 days later took His body once again with his spirit and He lives. Because of Him, we all will be resurrected. I just love this doctrine, it brings so much peace to know that there is life after death. There is no end to this peace we can feel. It can last eternally, with our families. 🙂
I saw a video this week that EVERY SINGLE ONE of you have to watch. It is short, and it doesn’t matter what religion you are or if you even have a religion, you should watch it. It is really awesome 🙂
Have you watched it!? If not, stop reading and watch it… HAHAHA 🙂
Seriously this week was really great!
We are struggling with finding investigators but we have been working with the less actives and we had 10 of them come to church yesterday!!!! SO AWESOME 🙂 I almost cried of happiness… hahaha!
Something I loved about this week was sacrament meeting. The youth had EFY this week (they do it in stakes and the whole ward youth goes together) They all bore their testimonies of their experiences this past week. It was so amazing to see changed youth. I know that this church focuses so much on the youth because they are our future. Isn’t that so amazing, each generation has differences and similarities but with the advancement in the world these days, the youth continue to amaze me and I just love what I got to hear yesterday.
I got to remember my EFY days and I just remembered so many experiences and so many wonderful people who I love so much.
Well, that is all for now. I LOVE YOU ALL! Remember who you all are. Children of God, who loves you, and needs you. If we trust in Him, He will guide our paths.
Elder Swenson
Counting Blessings: the movie theatre 🙂 YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE THIS! Right now I am going to THE MOVIES!!!!! That is UNHEARD OF for a missionary. But there is a movie here in Mexico, I dunno if it is there in the US called “Hijo de Dios” or Son of God. President and his wife saw it and gave us permission. I’ll tell you more about this next week 🙂 COOL HUH!? 
Painting that Eric traded a couple of weeks ago for his CTR ring.
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